how faint a whisper

glimpses of God in a heaven-crammed earth

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We got some great snow after Christmas. I was like a little kid, as with last year’s winter being so incredibly lame, and the two before that spent in the African desert, I hadn’t seen this much snow for a very long time.

It doesn’t so much look like this anymore. Instead New York has currently decided to gift us with one of winters’ worst attributes – bitter cold and windy with no snow. boo. But hopefully we’ll see this again a few more times before the end of the winter.

Snow is so beautiful. It’s almost as if, through its pure whiteness, it makes everything around it seem cleaner and newer for a while, transformed by this soft, silent blanket of white, and somehow I feel as though I can be new again, the dirty brown and mud of the death of winter covered by a beauty I could never create. And then I remember that I am new, and can be new again every day. And suddenly the ordinary is extraordinarily not so; a reminder of redemption in a coating of snow.

A lot of things clamor for our attention and our clutter our vision in this life. I’m glad I didn’t miss this one. How faint a whisper. Continue reading

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the tension of wealth

I’m reading a book right now called What is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission, by Kevin DeYoung (who also wrote the gem of the little book Just Do Something) and Greg Gilbert. I’ve been reading it for a while, not because it’s hard to get through or boring, but mainly because I kept pausing to read things like Sports Illustrated. And other things with slightly more meaning. And also, it’s a well-written and thought-provoking book, which means…well, it means that it provokes thought, which tends to make it take longer to get through. But it’s been well worth it.

Anyway, I’m not finished yet, and will have to do more of a full book review at that point, but a [very] brief synopsis is that, as the title indicates, this book dives into the idea of the loaded word of “mission” as it relates to the church. What does it mean and what doesn’t it mean? What is it that the church is placed in the world to accomplish? What does social justice have to do with that, and how do evangelism and social justice interact? It’s a lot of questions my team wrestled through during our time living and working in Africa, and around which we had a lot of profitable, and sometimes heated, discussions. But they’re important discussions to have and it’s an important question to define, as it lies at the heart of the role and impact of Christianity in the world. Continue reading

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work matters

“The truth is stunning. The truth is that the regular, everyday, earthly work of a Christian’s life possesses breathtaking significance bestowed by the touch of God’s magnificent glory. God pulls the white-hot ingot of eternity from the forging fire of his sovereignty. Then, like master to apprentice, he entrusts the hammer to our hands (Eccl. 9:10; Col. 3:17, 23; 1 Cor. 10:31; 2 Thess. 3:6-12). He says, ‘Strike it. Strike it right here. This is your place. This is where I want you to influence eternity. Live the life I gave you to live.’ And so, in stammering awe, we take up the hammer. We live our lives—our regular, everyday, toilsome lives. The hammer falls. Sparks fly. Eternity bends, and the Master is delighted (Matt. 25:21).”
– Paul Rude

This paragraph, and the article it comes from, is one of the best I’ve read in a long time. Clear, simple, true. And something I’m very, very passionate about, which probably helps. Pretty sure I’ll be checking out his book.

Work matters. All work matters. Do it for His glory.

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the [not]simple truth

I tend to overthink things. That’s probably already evident in this blog, and honestly, is not bad in all areas. But sometimes it is. I can get so caught up in a line of thinking, analyzing, figuring it out, that minute details take on a level of importance and complexity far greater than they were ever meant to bear. The result of this is that I can have a tendency to rush by the true, though seemingly simple, realities where I really need to spend the most time in order to see all other things in proper perspective.

I was caught by a reminder of this the other morning I was reading J.B.Phillips’ introduction to the book of Romans in his modern English translation. Continue reading

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looking behind

“You say grace before meals
All right.
But I say grace before the play and the opera,
And grace before the concert and the pantomime,
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing;
And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”

G.K. Chesterton, From an Early Notebook

I love these words. Grace. A friend and I set out to write a song about grace once, a number of years ago, and found ourselves quickly stalled. Not because we didn’t know what to say, but because there was too much to say, and too much of it inexpressible. We didn’t know how to say it. Continue reading