Book Review: #OrganicJesus

#OrganicJesus
#OrganicJesus by Scott Douglas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Irreverant. Funny. Provocative. Sincere. Challenging.

The Good
Scott Douglas does a great job of keeping you on the edge. He says things in a way that challenges you to think more deeply. He has a knack for seeing the ironies and the humor in the Christian subculture. But, he does this while a committed member and defender of that same community.

The Bad
There is not a lot. This book is not about theology per se. It does tackle some theological topics in general terms. This leaves the reader wondering what they should believe on the matter. It would have been nice for there to have a been a nudge toward other resources to dig deeper. But, in the end, this is not the purpose of the book.

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4 Ways The Walking Dead Prepared me for the 2016 Election

I was not a fan of The Walking Dead when it started. I am not a horror, scary movie kind of person. As a matter of fact, I hate being startled. Just not my thing. But, I was looking for something to watch on Netflix and I thought, “Let me give this show a chance.” I didn’t know what to expect, but I started to really enjoy the characters and the story. Story is a such an important thing for me. If there is a good story I (usually) will watch or listen. Continue reading “4 Ways The Walking Dead Prepared me for the 2016 Election”

4 Steps to Achieving an Increase in Faith

**This was orginally a sermon [Original title: Why the Mustard Seed?] and was first given in May of 2005. It has been updated here.

5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

7 “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” (Luke 17:5-10 ESV, emphasis added)


Continue reading “4 Steps to Achieving an Increase in Faith”

1 John 1:6 | We walk in Darkness

6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (1 John 1:6 ESV)

After declaring and defining that one of God’s clearest characteristics is “light” in verse 5, John turns in verse 6 to an implication of this reality, of being in the light. It is the first of two that he provides in this paragraph.

John wants to highlight and contrast a contradiction between our confession, of being in fellowship with God, with our actual positional relationship with God. Now, it is important to maintain the argument John is making here. The power of the argument is that it forces us, as readers, to assess our own lives against the truth that John is bringing to bear. And what is that truth? It is that light and darkness cannot and will not coexist.

Let’s look at it more closely. John begins by asking, in the form of a conditional statement, where we stand. “If we say we have fellowship with [God],” this is our confession, “while we walk in darkness…,” this is the reality of where we stand. Now, it is important that we do not miss the contradiction here. The contradiction is that we are believing one thing and yet doing the opposite. It is not that we are just a little bit off. We must remember that John is using an undeniable contrast. When God is light and we are in darkness, we are left with an unbridgeable divide.

This is the problem and challenge John highlights. We are actively saying we are in fellowship with God while at the same time walking apart from him. What this means is that we are deluded and blind to the reality–and the danger–of our position.

Once we understand the conditions of our dilemma, we can better understand the conclusion that John draws. John says that when I, as an individual, exist in this state described I have two problems. First, I am a liar. Whether it is intentional or out of ignorance makes no difference. I have become a liar because my confession and my conduct do not agree. Second, and this may be more damning, I have physical evidence that I am a law-breaker because I am not “practicing” the truth. Every action I take that maintains the contradiction is another step toward bondage and away from freedom.

Application

Whether I can see it or not, if I do not understand that the contradiction exists I may never be able to break free from the cycle. Only the light of the truth of the Gospel can release me from this blindness.

What we may not want to admit, and what may even be closer to the truth, is that we already know that the contradiction exists, but we are unwilling or unable to stop being liars and failures as practitioners of the truth. We must hear the truth and allow that truth to be the light that illuminates our way out from the darkness of sin.