Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April's Top 5 Posts

April Reads

Here is the summary of popular posts read during the month of April followed by the summary of the all-time top five posts on this blog.

April Posts

All-Time Posts

Dec 20, 2012, 2 comments

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Salvation and Stuff

"I'm a little concerned right now about your salvation and stuff."
How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? --Hebrews 2:3a NASB

The Quote

The Scripture

The writer of Hebrews at the beginning of the book is primarily concerned with the preeminence of Christ in light of the things that have come before. Christ is greater than the prophets, because the prophets made reference to him. Christ is greater than the angels, because the angels are just facilitators for his purpose. And what was his purpose in this world? To redeem his creation.

By this logic, since Christ is the preeminent creature (used with respect) to ever grace this planet, his purpose should also be the preeminent purpose for his followers. Christ came to redeem all creation and has given us the task of spreading his gospel to mankind (Matthew 28:19). We should always be concerned for the salvation of our colleagues, friends and neighbors because that is what concerns our Christ.

If we truly consider ourselves to be followers of Christ, we must have a desire to share his gospel with others.

The Application

The video clips shows Nacho taking active steps toward bringing his new friend/colleague, Esqueleto, to faith. This illustrates the fact that spreading the gospel is an active thing, it is not a passive hobby. Yes, we should dowse the situation in prayer. Yes we should be sensitive to the Spirit's leading. Yes, we should gauge he situation and ensure that it is appropriate. But spreading the gospel means decisive action.

No, I do not mean we need to stand up on our desks and preach from John 3, though there may be an appropriate time for that. I am saying that we need to live the gospel and let it shine through our daily actions. This display should be a constant portrait of what the gospel does in a life. How do people know we are Christ's disciples? We love one another. Live a life of love.

But how can people believe without hearing or even hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14) We can live out love all we want, at some point the gospel must be articulated. Again, these things must be done with tact--unlike Nacho from the video clip. Are we concerned enough to speak out when the time comes?

This assumes that you know the gospel and can articulate the message clearly. Perhaps some study now will be necessary for that future moment. Take the time to learn, so that you will have an answer for the hope that is within you. (1 Peter 3:15) Remember, at the heart of all this is the desire to please our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who left us with this hope to share with the world.

More Reading

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Quote: Brennan Manning on Pseudo-spirituality

At Sunday worship, as in every dimension of our existence, 
many of us pretend to believe we are sinners. 
Consequently, all we can do is pretend to believe we have been forgiven. 
As a result, our whole spiritual life is pseudo-repentance and pseudo-bliss.

Brennan Manning
Apr. 27, 1934 - Apr. 12, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thoughts on the #BostonMarathon Tragedy

The blue headings in this post are used to show solidarity for the running community in light of the Boston Marathon Tragedy.

Wearing my Princess Half race shirt to work to...
Wearing my Princess Half race shirt to work today. Solidarity. #BostonMarathon #UnitedRunners #runnerd #tumblphoto #NotIntimidated via cjime008

Not what I expected

I followed the hashtag #BostonMarathon yesterday on Twitter. Just the day before, I figured that I'd read an article or two after the fact and be done with it. You know the drill, ESPN would probably be my source for news.

But I got sucked in. I watched the elite runners "loping along at a 5 min/mi pace." And I was hooked. I had to read tweets from the event. I refreshed Twitter every 5 minutes or so. Then it happened.

I saw my first tweet of tragic events, it was posted "35 seconds ago." I refreshed again and more tweets started coming through on the topic. Refresh again, the news was three minutes old. CNN didn't even have breaking news on it yet. In fact, it took upwards of 10 minutes for standard news sources to put together articles which, honestly, contained no more information than a tweet.

This is a Theology Blog

I am a runner. I am a Christian. The scope of this blog may overlap with running because that is part of who I am, it is focused on Theological principles as I perceive them in my own life.

A running friend posted an image on Instagram that quoted the following verse:
Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. --1 Corinthians 13:11 NLT
She asked the rhetorical question: "Why someone would...do something so heinous[?]" That immediately made me think of 1 Corinthians 13 and that passage regarding Faith, Hope and Love. My comment on her image was as follows:
"It goes back to 1 Cor. 13... People with no genuine faith, hope or love."
Without genuine faith, hope and love, there is nothing left to fill mankind but pure evil.


C.S. Lewis (and I quote this a lot) in his work Mere Christianity defined Faith in a way that has radically changed my perspective. He said that faith is the art of holding on to reason once accepted to be true. This is not some weird religious brainwashing technique. Genuine faith must be based on reason. If faith is not genuinely grounded in reality, then disaster ensues.

For instance, I can have faith in the premise that birds fly because of their feathers and if I glue feathers on my arms I will be able to fly. Clearly, if I were to stand on the roof of my three-story condo and jump off, I had better hope there's a paramedic passing by. I will not fly no matter how hard I believe.

Faith in God's ultimate plan for justice keeps the Christian from taking matters into their own hands. I do not need to shape the future, that is God's job. I don't need to make a statement through acts of violence. I believe that he is Sovereign and will see his plan through to the end.

That brings us to...


Again, C.S. Lewis clarifies that hope is not intended in this context to mean something I wish would happen, it means something I know will happen shortly. Christians describe this hope as something tangible that we have. It is not uncommon to hear prayers claim that we HAVE this hope. That is not a figure of speech.

I suppose it may be best to correlate the term "hope" here with the term "plan." Certain things are planned for the believer, and we are scheduled to attain these blessings. Consider investments, we put money into a retirement account with the hope of one day getting it back plus interest. That is how the Christian views hope, only with the God of the entire universe backing it up.

With this hope of eternal glory in our future, we cope with the present. We know that in this life the rain falls equally on the just and unjust, but things will be made right. Justice will be served.


And now we come upon the most important of the trio: love. One day God's sovereignty will be realized and faith will be needed no more. One day God's judgement and blessings will be revealed and our hope will be fulfilled. Love is an attribute of God and is therefore eternal.

A Christian who is not characterized by love is not characterized by Christ. That begs the question, What right to they have to claim to be a Christian? By this I do not mean random outbursts of anger, all men are flawed and will act out in an unloving manner from time to time. By this I refer to the kind of behavior that becomes part of one's nature: Suzy Q is 5'2", brunette with brown eyes and only thinks about herself. You may know those kinds of people.

Love is social. The opposite of love is not necessarily hate when love is viewed as a practice. Consider: Love must be practiced on someone. That's why the two greatest commandments in the Bible are: 1) Love the Lord, your God and 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. Your love for yourself is assumed to be there already, but love for self should never hinder your love for others. Selfishness, then, becomes the enemy of genuine love.

Truly, anyone who commits such a heinous crime is devoid of genuine love for others and crippled by selfish ambition.

Closing Statements

I, in no way, wish to capitalize on a horrific tragedy to get clicks on my stupid blog. In addition, I don't want to offer any kind of hokey "Jesus is the Answer" cliche statements as if they were a Christian Incantation to make everything better. It doesn't work that way. My heart is crushed by this tragedy. I feel pain as my wife follows her Girls Gone Sporty Twitter friends who were on location.

My head understands that this world is full of sin and dark people who do not love Jesus. But there are a host of Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Jainists, Atheists, etc. who would never have considered doing something like this. Christians have no monopoly on morality. I am not saying that.

However, I believe there is a common grace where non-believers are not completely corrupted by sin. They are not at the point where they are devoid of Faith, Hope and Love even if they do not claim the God of Faith, Hope and Love as their own. Is this enough? I cannot remain true to scripture and say yes. Clearly, the only path to salvation is through Christ according to verses like Acts 16:31. At that point, we no longer speak of Morality, we are now talking Theology (the study of the nature of God).

I have said none of this flippantly, I truly struggle with these travesties.

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Brennan Manning: By the grace of God go I

Brennan Manning
Brennan Manning (Photo credit: Jordon)

A great man

I read the news of Brennan Manning's passing late last night on twitter. There was a sad outpouring over his death and thoughtful meditation on his wealth of quotable sayings. I have heard many people say positive things about Brennan. I have heard many people say negative things about Brennan. My persistent impression is that Brennan Manning knew that he survived from one day to the next by virtue of God's lavish grace, and by that virtue alone. He placed his life in the hands of a gracious God.

Ragamuffin Grace

A Liturgy, a Legacy, & a Ragamuffin Band
A Liturgy, a Legacy, & a Ragamuffin Band (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The concept of the ragamuffin was Manning's literary boon. The Ragamuffin Gospel is the one book that defines him. Admittedly, that is the one book that I have read from him and I intend to read it again and review it shortly. From what I recall, it was an excellent read that inspires awe at the wonder of God's grace to an undeserving mankind.

Manning's legacy not only influences late 90s-early 2000s literature, but also it's music. Rich Mullins, one of the great theological poets if this period was heavily influenced by Manning's work as he composed (his backing band was known as "A Ragamuffin Band"). Others were also greatly moved by his devotion to the supremacy of God's grace, as evidenced by last night's tweets. While there are undoubtedly several minute stances made by Manning toward which some will not compromise (perhaps some would call for more balance), in the end grace covers all.

The greatest seasoning

When our lips are seasoned with grace (Colossians 4.6), our words become more palatable. I feel that is the case with Brennan Manning may we always remember that without God's grace drawing us in (past), working in us (present), and upholding us (future) we would have no hope.

Let us move forward in the Light of his amazing grace.
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English: Under the title "New Britain&quo...
English: Under the title "New Britain", "Amazing Grace" appears in a 1847 publication of Southern Harmony in shape notes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Better Duty and Easters

"Your only job is to cook. Do you not realize I have had diarrhea since Easters?" 
"Ok, maybe I am not meant for these duties. Cooking duty, Dead-guy duty. Maybe it's time for me to get a better duty!"

The Quote

The Scripture

Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?

Imagine that first Easter morning. I don't know very much about Judean culture at the time of Christ, but I'm pretty sure people weren't rising from the dead every day. In fact, I know for sure that nobody had ever raised themselves from the dead. So the shock factor of a missing corpse was likely immense!

The angels' advice was sensible though. Living people don't usually hang out in graveyards. Living people are usually active in the community. Christ rose from the dead and appeared to many. After that, he gave his followers instructions before ascending into heaven. His instructions began with, "Go."

The Application

He sends us to go as well. We each have our own duty and we are expected to do it well. We are given many adjectives regarding the quality of our service, including: Cheerful, Diligent, Faithful and As Unto the Lord. Remember the words of St. Francis of Asisi: "Preach and when necessary use words."

Maybe we need to re-evaluate what we are (or are not) doing and re-align it with God's will. Maybe we are slacking in our current service and it's hurting those around us. Or maybe we need to accept a new calling and step out in faith.

Related Articles

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Monday, April 1, 2013

March 2013 Top Five Posts

This month was no world beater, but I am glad to have some sort of platform to distribute my thoughts on Christianity. For those of you who read this blog on my Wordpress site, these links will probably open in my main site: wetalkofholythings.com (powered by Blogger). Do not be alarmed, this is supposed to happen.

Enjoy reading some of my most popular posts both from last month's hits and from the lifetime of this blog.

March 2013 Posts

Dec 20, 2012, 2 comments
Mar 21, 2013, 2 comments

All-Time Posts

Dec 20, 2012, 2 comments
Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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