Thursday, January 30, 2014

Walking Tall

I mentioned in my SpotOnTheLake post this week that my daughter, Lizzy,  had gotten stuck in the Tuesday traffic jam.    After 8 hours in the car,  she made the agonizing decision to leave her car and walk the remaining 6 miles home.  Lizzy didn’t have good walking shoes or warm clothing so her husband, Trey, packed a backpack and started walking to meet her.  As I listened to the plan, I couldn’t help but remember the time that Trey called me and asked to meet me for breakfast.  This was several years ago before they were married, and he had never invited me on a date before, so I thought I knew what was up.  He asked if it was ok for him to marry Lizzy.  I specifically remember asking if he was going to love her and take care of her, no matter what, and he said “yes sir”.  I wish I could have seen the look on Lizzy’s face as she ran to meet Trey Tuesday night.  Thanks, Trey, for keeping your word.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Searching for the spirit

Last week’s post generated some spirited discussion amongst my family.  You can see the full original post below, but to summarize, I was recapping Dallas Willard’s interpretation of the beatitude, “blessed are the poor in spirit”.  His interpretation was that Jesus was preaching TO the poor in spirit, and not that we should BE poor in spirit.   Several people disagreed and had some excellent supporting opinions from people like Billy Graham.   Most of our email conversations this week centered around what this “spirit” actually is.  Their interpretation is that it is not until we recognize our own complete bankruptcy (poor in spirit), that we can learn to ask for and seek Jesus’ spirit in us.  And this condition is one that we should continue to try to foster.  Many of the authors cited compared this to humility, which is something I struggle with daily.  Amen.  I agree 100%.  

It is a statement of Jesus’ greatness that he can speak words that can help different people in different ways and even the same person in different ways depending on that person’s life circumstances.  I have a go-to guy that I depend on quite bit when I am seeking to understand tough issues.  He has written several posts that have become popular with some and brutalized by others.  Actually, as a well-educated younger man, he spoke and wrote against Jesus and his teachings - until he met Him.  I found one post where he is talking about being led by the Spirit, as if you were walking side by side with him, talking with him and learning from him.  That is beautiful to me.  In another post he talks about the Spirit being inside of me, growing inside and replacing me with Him.  I love that, too.  Thanks Paul.   I believe Jesus was pleased  this week as we sought to understand Him more fully.  Help me to live like this more.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Blessed are the poor...

I mentioned Dallas Willard and his book The Divine Conspiracy in an earlier post.  I decided to read it again.  The book covers a range of topics, but this morning I was reading about his take on the beatitudes.  (This is the section of the bible where Jesus says “blessed are the poor in spirit…)  I say “his take” because he spends a good bit of time talking about how other people have interpreted the beatitudes, including different translations of the bible.  He mentions that some people have used this passage as the reason they have decided not to be a Christian.  Who wants to be poor and weak?  Willard points out that when Jesus delivered this message, he was in the midst of teaching and healing the poor and the weak, and those are the people he was speaking to.  He was not instructing people to be poor and weak in order to be blessed, He was speaking to the current availability of the kingdom of God through a personal relationship with Jesus, and that certainly includes the poor and the weak.  He wanted them (and us) to know that everything that was available to the religious elite of that time was available to them, too.  Willard isn’t finished yet.  He is about to take apart each of the beatitudes one by one.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Dallas Willard

I was introduced to the author, Dallas Willard, a couple of years ago by a minister from the pulpit who characterized him as a “current-day CS Lewis”.    CS Lewis has done more to encourage and strengthen my faith that any other author, so my ears perked up when I heard that.  I ordered a copy of Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy and found it extremely interesting and also very challenging.  Challenging, both in my ability to understand it, and my ability to do and be the parts that I did understand.   The reading was very weighty for me and also very important.  Dallas Willard died in 2013, and I just found this article written by a minister who knew him and served with him.  This makes my want to know Mr. Willard more.  Let me know if anyone would like to pick a book and read along with me.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Saving Mr. Banks

I don’t got to the movies much, so when I do, it is a real occasion for me. Last night, I went to see Saving Mr. Banks with my wife and my mom. My dad has passed away, but yesterday would have been my mom and dad’s 60th anniversary. My mom goes to the movies less than I do, but Saving Mr. Banks caught her eye. In case you aren’t aware, the movie is about the author of the Mary Poppins book, P.L. Travers, being wooed by Walt Disney to turn her book into a movie. Mrs. Travers was quite opinionated about the terms on which they would proceed and on the content of the Mary Poppins movie and most of the movie is about that process. I don’t think I am throwing a spoiler out by saying that the movie DOES get made with Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews, so that is no surprise. But the emotional progression of Mrs. Travers through the movie and the exceptional characterization of Walt Disney by Tom Hanks were both inspiring. All three of us were moved by the story, and I think the theme of forgiveness is something that we should all hear regularly. Take a peak and let me know what you think.