Kent Jones, a guest preacher at the church plant we’re a part of gave us a great sermon this past Sunday to kick off the New Year. It’s often (wrongly) said that “the safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.” But those who have been there – John the Baptist, for example… Read More →
I’m in the middle of reading Lone Survivor, and the author’s spent a decent amount of time explaining that Navy SEALs don’t ever give up. They always think they can win, they can make it out. There’s no quit in them, no matter how bad it gets. For someone like me whose “struggles” are much… Read More →
My dog discovered a cottontail nest a couple nights ago. After a lot of yelling from the family, Maggie – reluctantly – spit out a terrified baby bunny on the porch. He was pretty cute, and the girls saw it before I was able to sneak off and let it go. So the next stop… Read More →
We’ve been in the ER since about 2:30 this morning to get K rehydrated and de-nauseated (so far, a success). But there’s this lady in the next room who has been yelling/babbling in a slurred sing-song voice the entire time. The ER staff have alternated comfort and firmness to try and keep her from disturbing… Read More →
My cousin is in a tough spot, but it’s a place probably most of us have been in (if you’re not actually there right now). She’s waiting for the next chapter. She’s floating along on the river of life, but at the moment, her raft feels a little like it’s caught in an eddy. She’s… Read More →
There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1934 (from Bonhoeffer, by Eric Metaxas)
This was remarkable to me (and convicting), and the coincidence of reading it on MLK's birthday was not lost on me.
Bonhoeffer was an up-and-coming theologian with lots of promise. He came from a wealthy, prominent and close-knit German family. He had everything to lose when the Nazis came to power and the German church capitulated, becoming a Nazi church, rather than the church of Christ. But rather than remain safely ensconced in his academic ivory tower, he risked everything to fight the anti-Christian efforts of the Nazis.
Peace is not the same as the absence of conflict, particularly while there is evil in the world. To not oppose evil - whether in the form of personal sin or the political and economic evils we see around the world (see Rwanda, or Sudan, or - is not peace. It's cowardice and abdication. And Jesus has called us to more.
But this is hard, isn't it? Stability and security - especially the economic or emotional varieties - are a big deal. I'll be real honest: I'm personally not a big fan of conflict or criticism, even when I can hide behind a computer or a drum set. I can't imagine risking arrest, imprisonment, death and public claims of being a traitor to my country like Bonhoeffer faced. I'm struggling with much smaller things. In so many ways, I want security and stability, and as a fallen sinner in a fallen, sinful world, the status quo is the enemy of peace. But if I'm honest, I'm not sure I have the courage to really pursue peace on a day to day basis.
What about you? Do you really have the courage and fortitude to truly desire peace? Or will you settle for the idol of security - the kind of control and stability that comes from a relationship, or a full bank account or 401k? The kind that comes from professional achievement or the illusion of control over the direction of your life?
Pray for me, and I'll pray for you - that God would give us the courage to truly pursue peace... even if it means we have to give up stability and security. Because doing that means we're truly living out God's call to us as His body, as His Church. And the world around us is literally dying because we're not doing it.
Steve Johnson, a wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills, recently blamed God after dropping a potentially game-winning catch. [blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/StevieJohnson13/status/9006757670031360″] He’s since clarified that he was just emotional and wasn’t blaming God. He was just frustrated. Fair enough. And while it’s easy to point at him and condemn his tweet, the truth is that most… Read More →
It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out… Read More →