Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What if it's "what we're doing right" and not "what we're doing wrong"?

A friend posted a link on Facebook to this article and tagged his children.

The article: 3 Common Traits of Youth Who Don’t Leave the Church

This statement was interesting:
...Each had a story to tell about a “good Christian” child, raised in their home and in our church, who had walked away from the faith during the college years.
In this statement the author equates a college student no longer attending church with walking away from his or her faith. I get it. I'll side step the simplistic measure of a person's faith as a person going to church to get to the more juicy fun.

But this one was the one that really caught my attention:
The daunting statistics about church-going youth keep rolling in. Panic ensues. What are we doing wrong in our churches? In our youth ministries?
But, what if the reason these students are "leaving the church" is not the result of failure, but the result of success? Okay, before I open myself up for too much "what about kid X" or "what about kid Y", I'm not in any way saying every kid that steps out of church during their young adult years does so from a desire on their part to walk closer with their Father.

I'm certain there were parents wringing their hands over their children stepping away from traditional Judaism to follow this new Way that this radical teacher had introduced and which challenged their sound and long-standing system of faith given them by the one true god.

What if the result of some of the teaching in some places is actually helping students discover the relationship for which they were sought out in their growing-up years? And what if the result of firmly grounded students is actually a lifting of the veil which shrouds the vision of so many to see the self-serving monolith that many churches have become. What if the students actually see the disconnect between the stories they read and were taught in their early years and the "practice of their faith" that is before them as adults?

What if the real church is emerging from centuries of stifling tradition and individual kingdom building? What if these students have come face to face with a Way that was obscured centuries ago and are now a part of the next unique and genuine work of Father to redeem His people to himself?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Noah vs. Gladiator

I've been intrigued watching all the uproar from the church community over the new movie Noah and thought I'd share some of my thoughts.

First though, let me point you back to an earlier post about the visible brushstrokes of our Master Artist at work in all things.

And second, let me back up and talk a little about the release of Gladiator, one of my favorite movies, and, it so happens, the same actor playing both leading roles.

When I came home from watching Gladiator, at my earliest convenience I was really curious to look up how much of the story was true to the historical record. A quick search identified there was a Emperor named Marcus Aurelius who died at Vindobonna and was succeeded by his son Commodus.

He did expand the Roman Empire conquering other realms including a final campaign with the Germanic tribes.

There are smatterings of truth related to Commodus' reign including brutal gladiator games, but in reality very little of the historical record held up to making a great movie it seems. In fact Commodus was assassinated, but it was by strangulation in his bath at the hands of a wrestler after an attempt to poison him failed due to his vomiting up the poison.

There is no record of a beloved Spanish general who miraculously survived an assassination attempt by the new emperor and became a gladiator, vindicated the murder of his own family, and defeated the evil emperor in an epic staged gladiatorial display. Rome was not returned to the Senate and the people but was subjected to another emperor -- the first of five very short tenured emperors has been dubbed the Year of the Five Emperors.

Like I said, smatterings. But, the interesting thing about this movie was how the story prompted me to not only dive in and do some research into the storyline and characters, it also planted in me an interest in the Roman historical period which had not existed prior to seeing the movie. In fact, I've since enjoyed watching a number of other similar period TV series and movies which I might have ignored had Gladiator not sparked an interest in the history of that time period.

You see where I'm going with this, don't you?

The writers and directors of Gladiator took a lot of liberties with the historical record of the death of Marcus Aurelius and the reign and demise of his son Commodus to make one of the most epic and compelling movies to date (in my opinion) about the time period.

I'll admit, I was a little disappointed there was not a beloved general from Spain named Maximus Decimus Meridius, but that didn't prevent me from researching the story and learning a lot more about the history around that story and expanding to an interest in all things from that time period.

Where is the record of Noah recorded? We all know it's not in historical books, right? So if a viewer of this new Noah movie is moved to discover how much of the story is based on a written record, they will no doubt pick up a copy of the the Bible and read a very compelling story in its own right. And if the reading of that story prompts interest in the other engaging and rich stories which precede and follow the story of Noah, wouldn't that be a really good thing?

I say let the brilliant story tellers of the big screen make more Noah-like movies... I'd estimate they do less damage to the image of the Creator than the attitudes and behavior of many of those trying to defend the biblical story of Noah.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pain is weakness leaving the body - Part 2

In January 2010 I wrote about this topic. Well, sorta.

Today, two years later, I find myself saying this phrase pretty often. This is because of the realization that has occurred surrounding this key concept in walking with Father.

If you look back over your life, and the lives of anyone to whom you consider yourself in a close relationship it doesn't take long to realize that when it comes to "life lessons" (more than this is how you open a pull tab on a can type stuff) we seldom, if ever, learn those without pain being involved.

I was watching a story on one of the local news stations the other day about a boy who had recently died of cancer. The story was showing some previous interviews with him and some interviews with others who's lives he had touched. I immediately noticed something about him. In fact I noticed it about him and a friend of his about the same age going through similar life and death battles. In fact, several of the other newscasters who had met both the young men noticed and commented about it as well. They had an incredible maturity about them.

Reflecting back, I believe this is something I've seen in every person walking difficult paths who I've encountered in person or through reading, hearing, or seeing their stories. They have an unusual strength about them.

Even in families who walk difficult paths with loved ones, this strength seems evident.

Perhaps this is what James had in mind when he began his letter with:
Consider it pure joy brothers when you face difficulties of all kinds.
James probably had seen it and understood. The pain we endure is not without purpose (or I should say purposes as Father is always at work not only in us, but all around us as well -- that's a future post I'm going to call "Intersections" I believe). As I reflect back over the years of my life, I can't say I've experienced the pain that others like these boys have experienced, but I can say that through every cycle of pain to strength, the only true casualty has been weakness (usually in the form of unbelief or lack of trust) in my own life.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

One Year, Lots of Drafts

Well, it's been a little over a year since I published a post and lots of water has gone under the bridge. And if you've been "here" before you'll notice a new name and new home for what used to be MyWalkBlog.com - We're now Wallless Journey, but you can still get here with the mywalkblog.com url (for now). I've registered walllessjourney.com so perhaps we'll transition to that.

After many hours chasing hackers I gave up hosting my own blog and decided to go with the solution hosted by Blogger/Google. So hopefully now we'll be moving forward with no hacks and more posts.

Reset your reader links to the new RSS. It's time to work on and release some drafts I've been sitting on for some time now.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year's Resolutions, Goals, Planning, etc.

As I read through the New Testament, attempting to remove the filters of time and previous (prejudiced) teaching I continue to be amazed by the little things that pop out of no where.

In a conversation with my wife tonight we were talking about how today's devout church goers are beginning to say things that sound a lot like the new age thinkers around them. For instance, those whose comments I've been reading about being focused on setting goals for the year to come sound an awful lot like the new agers around me who speak of visualizing the good things they want to manifest in the future in order to make them happen.

The conversation with my wife turned to how little has changed from the times of Genesis through Revelation to today. Man still molds his religious practices into the image of the popularized culture surrounding himself or herself. Why? Who cares.

While Jesus was someone folks seemed to want to be around just because of His presence, He was not someone who "fit" in by any means. In fact, He fit in more with the ir-religious than He did with those who were considered religious in His day.

I find I am becoming less bound by religious thought and practice passed down for generations and more drawn to simply being of one mind with Father. While I'm not seeking to be different just for the sake of being different, I do more and more each day find myself separated from those who practice under any of the religious systems of this world.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Sometimes I wonder if people "speaking for Jesus" really think about what they say before they open their mouths. Take this quote I came across recently:
The number of followers a church leader has is directly related to the how passionately the leader follows Christ.


Here are just a few quick things that strike me about this statement...

  1. It's about numbers, not about Father.

  2. It's about "us" not about Him.

  3. It's based on a formula for success as man sees success.

  4. It's oriented to drive church goers by playing on guilt.

  5. It indicates there's a competition between church leaders.

  6. It removes Father from the picture indicating it's the man who draws and leads the people not Father Himself.

  7. It's based on our own effort, not on Father's provision.

Why would anyone follow, or want to follow, a church leader rather than following Christ/Father and doing it alongside others who follow alike? The themes of the Old and New Testaments continue to ring through... man wants worshiping the One True God to be about us (that's religion). We want a "king"... in a form or fashion which fits the culture of the day, but we want an earthly king to lead us because we want to be like the godless who place themselves at the center of their universe and create a god they can control and explain perfectly.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I am a reflector

This realization came to be more focused in the last few months and last week really zeroed in on a finer point which hopefully will transform... well, me.

Though I didn't have clear definition, I began realizing my nature as a reflector in college. I had played racquetball for years and had been beat by some outstanding players (being beat by someone really good always raises the level of your own game) for a number of years. While in college I would regularly go play with class mates. It was obvious when we got started warming up I had played much more than most of the guys I played with. It usually went this way, I would smear them in game 1, then in the subsequent games it was a closer match but they seldom won. This continues even today when I play racquetball (though I'm not nearly as good or as young as I used to be).

As a kid growing up our Air Force family moved all over the country (world in fact) and because of that I've always been a sort of chameleon. Accents come and go over time depending on where I live and for how long. I'm currently shifting back to no accent after coming back to Colorado with a Nashville influenced southern twang.

In one of my church staff positions there was a church member who had a handicap which caused him to stutter and slur his words and to make interesting hand motions and body gestures. Whenever I conversed with him I found myself, I had to be very careful to keep myself from mimicking his behavior. Not because I was making fun of him, but I was reflecting him in our conversations. And as I noticed it with this person, I began to see it with others in other ways. It had never been something noticeable until now because mimicking people who appear "normal" was no big deal. But mimicking someone who had difficulty talking or carrying on a conversation was considered rude and it made me notice what I typically did. Most everyone I interacted with I began to realize I would mimic the personality of the interaction back to the person.

In my final years in Nashville I began to see this in light of my responses to people I interacted with. Whatever attitude co-workers would bring to meetings with me I would reflect right back at them. So those who were civil and interested in getting things done created a great deal of productivity. Those who wanted to be troublesome and wrangle... well, it typically wasn't a calm and settled meeting and reaching consensus and moving forward was difficult.

At first I didn't see it. I found myself wondering what caused this transformation in me from Mr calm who rolled up his sleeves and worked with others to get amazing things done to Mr I Can Dig My Heels In Too. Was I Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Was there some crazy chemical transformation that took place when things got tense?

Then I put two and two together (with some other stuff too) - the same personality trait which caused my racquetball game to raise or lower to match the competition, allowed me to transform my style of communication geographically, and caused me to mimic people in my interactions with them was what was driving what I thought were crazy personality shifts at work (and in other relationships).

It was this last year I really began to put this all together and begin to be able to verbalize that I am a reflector. A great gift from Father which I had never recognized or taken the time to really contemplate. A few weeks ago as I began to think about this trait Father quietly began to help me see that in interactions I was to reflect someone other than the person I was interacting with. WOW! Being a reflector now had a whole new meaning and established a whole new set of goals. I set out to try to reflect Jesus in all my interactions. It was a new lease in life. In those instances where I naturally bounce back the personality of the person I'm interacting with, I began focusing on reflecting back Jesus instead.

Then, this last week it all came home to rest. Jesus reflected Father. The goal and purpose of His life was Father. So should be the goal and purpose of my life. And as such, I should be striving to reflect the character and personality of Father. (This is an additional blog article I'll try to add in the next few weeks... the over-emphasis some put on Jesus. That should stir some debate.) So, my new goals are to spend more and more time contemplating the character and Way of Father and in so doing hopefully begin more and more to reflect Him to everyone I interact with.

I am a reflector!