Friday, April 04, 2003

So, I did this 'what is your pirate name?' thing, and I'm

Black Mary Flint

Like anyone confronted with the harshness of robbery on the high seas, you can be pessimistic at times. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!


Wednesday, April 02, 2003


One result of sin was the tendency of humans to hide from the presence of Yahweh (Genesis 3:7-9). In my own use of the phrase, “the presence of Yahweh,” I have noticed a lack of understanding. We let it pass our lips as if presence were a small thing. As if presence were simply a matter of proximity. It is not.

Have you ever sat with a person whose presence you felt? Someone who was so there that you could very nearly feel their soul? That’s presence. It’s the deep person-to-person interaction we all crave. It’s something many—maybe most—of us go without for long periods of time. It’s one cost of sin. Adam and Eve lost presence with one another, with creation, and—most importantly—with God. They hid from one another—the fig leaves. They hid from God—cowering behind the bushes, pointing fingers of blame.

Now, God makes it clear, though, that coming into his presence is not something done indiscriminately. When Aaron’s sons entered the holy place their way rather than God’s way, they died (Leviticus 16:1) and Aaron was warned that entering God’s direct presence was to be done God’s way (Leviticus 16:2).

Even nature trembles at God’s presence. In Psalm 97, the psalmist says that the mountains melted like wax at the presence of Yahweh (Psalm 97 4-6).

But here’s the good news: God wants us to be in his presence, so he made the way. One of Jesus’ disciples—Thomas—asked Jesus how the disciples would know the way to where Jesus was going. Jesus answered, not with a list of rituals, not with a list of doctrines, not with a list of hymns or prayers or chants, but with a simple statement: “I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6). The way to God’s presence is Presence—a person, Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, God himself. The presence thing goes even further: “…if you had known me, you would have know the Father also…” (John 14:7). Presence.

As the Way to the Presence, Jesus has taken the just judgment of God against sin to its completion. Coming into the Holy Place is no longer a scary thing. Believers are commanded to draw near with confidence. Why? To receive mercy and grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).

The greatest gift we receive from God is presence. Jesus’ sacrifice paid for it; his resurrection guarantees it. But there’s more. Presence is the greatest gift we can give. I realize the evangelism minded people out there are raising eyebrows right now, but hear me out. The point of salvation is not salvation; the point of salvation is living in the presence of God, yes? God’s people are here on earth to communicate God’s grace to a dark, crooked and twisted, world. And bringing grace is much more than bringing salvation. Communicating the Good News—life, death, resurrection—of Messiah is the apex, but it is not the whole. God pours out his grace on everyone. Now not all grace is what we call “saving grace.” God’s grace is bigger than that (Matthew 5:44-46). His grace is poured out in the rain that waters, in the sun that shines, in the wisdom and intelligence of engineers who build nifty things that make like better. His grace is poured out in truck drivers who haul produce to markets, in teachers who help students learn, in florists who put together really cool flower arrangements, in musicians who breath their music, in poets who paint with words, in artists who reveal their internal workings.

Grace is big. Presence is big. And the sacred-secular dichotomy? It’s a hoax, and it’s time Christians stopped believing it!

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Alright, so the lady coming out of the health club last night has earned a rant. I’m basically a transit-commuter/pedestrian. As a pedestrian I have a few questions to ask:

- Why is it that drivers look where they’ve been when they’re making a right turn, rather than looking where they are going—which is often right into ME!
- Why is it that pedestrians have to look both ways before crossing the car’s domain—the street—but drivers do not have to look both ways before crossing the pedestrian’s domain—the sidewalk?

This brings me to the lady last night. Here I was in the middle—yes the middle—of a driveway (where cars cross MY domain) and this lady, pulling out of the health club, drives her car—a bigger than me death machine—right into my path—about two feet from my person. Thankfully, her window was open and I yelled, “HELLO!” hopefully putting her heart into her mouth! Her response? A smile and a nod. No apology. No fear. No regret. Just a smile. Eergghh!

So for all the drivers out there here’s the deal. If a pedestrian is jay-walking—in the car domain without official sanction—, the pedestrian must fear for their life. If a pedestrian is in the crosswalk—in the car domain with official sanction—, the pedestrian needs to be careful. But if the pedestrian is on the sidewalk—the official PEDESTRIAN domain—let’s just say it would be a nice, respectful, other-aware thing for drivers to look both ways before entering the sidewalk. That’s right, BEFORE ENTERING the sidewalk. This means that no matter how much you want to get to that all important workout or that all important morning latte, the life of the pedestrian is more important!

OK, I’m done.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Well, we had our first worship art experience today after first service. It was cool. Today we were responding to the first three chapters of Romans--subject: sin. Some of the canvases were just awesome. People got it! Now all we need is a few monetary supporters so we can keep doing this and not break any budgets. So, if any TFBers are out there... consider it...

As soon as we get some digital pix, I'll post some on the pix page.