Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Purpose of Theology is Doxology

"We should never forget that the purpose of theology is doxology; we study in order to praise.  The truest expression of trust in God will always be worship to praise God for being greater than we know."
--  Geneva Study Bible note

Monday, October 13, 2014

No God But Allah Dollars

A friend forwarded an e-mail expressing concern about the emergence of dollars stamped with "No God But Allah."

So far, we have not seen any of those in Hayward.  If one shows up in the collection plate, we will deposit it.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Splendid Summer Dance

A poem I wrote a while back blending reflections on the grand finale of summer with my daughter's ballet recital:

Summer danced upon the stage
A slow ballet -- but halting.

The curtain, parting,
whispers hints of happy moments
this summertide may bring

A timid pause, then from the spring
on tip toe pirouetting --
Summer's here!

Magic gliding to the tune of
green grass, and azure sky
A choreography that flows so gracefully from June into July.

Capturing our breath, our hearts, uniting
and soulful happy thoughts begetting
The shorter days of August sadly hinting
that the dance is almost at an end.

And hardly just begun -- September coda.
Our summer dance is over.
How quickly good times fly.

A graceful bow
A glorious end, and then
The lights are dimmed.

The curtain falls
Green fades to autumn tones.
The silent dancer
leaves the stage --
contented, but alone

While the audience rises and wiping an eye,
salutes the glorious coryphee
With grateful hearts, and thundering applause.

"Thank You! Well Done! Bravo!"

Friday, October 10, 2014

Healing Troubled Hearts

Recently I had the privilege of reading HealingTroubled Hearts Through Exchanges With the Master, by therapist and minister, Dr. William Day.  Or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say this book read me.

Drawing from his own painful pilgrimage to inner healing from childhood emotional wounds, Day presents a profound and beautiful approach to integration and wholeness.  Each page is packed with rich meaning.

The first section of the book shares his story -- from the "chosen one" in the family to be a Catholic priest -- a lack of affection from his father -- going to boarding school to be trained by priests -- walking away from it all -- then zagging through life -- as a humanistic social worker -- then a New Age cult member -- a transpersonal psychologist -- and finally a Christian minister, after a dramatic spiritual conversion.

Throughout, Day does not just tell about his life -- but interprets it.  The meaning he draws from these experiences is quite profound.

Long after his spiritual conversion, Day still found himself struggling with old thought patterns, and wounds from the past.  There seemed to be a disconnect between what he knew in his head and felt in his heart.  One day, while counseling a client, he witnessed the power of Christ's healing presence for painful memories.  This began a quest to understand the true nature of his own inner healing and transformation.

The second half of the book is a guide for helping others towards wholeness, with many powerful insights.

One of my favorite take home points is that healing occurs when Christ is actually present, speaking His truth to the falsehoods we believe (subconsciously) from the past.  Real healing primarily takes place deep in the heart rather than the cognitive level.

Cognitive therapy may adjust behaviors temporarily but will not lead to true transformation.  The healing presence of Christ can accomplish what nothing else can do.

There is so much more -- a great read -- and I wish I would have understood this stuff a long time ago.

(A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me for review on this blog.  I was not required to write a favorable review.)

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.  Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Two Hammers

I have a sledgehammer in my garage, and I also have a small finishing hammer. They are both equally important to me.

If I had to choose between the two, I suppose I'd pick the little guy. He's been a real help to me over the years -- but I'd rather not choose at all. Both hammers are my good friends and trusted companions.

Thus, the hammers teach me a valuable lesson; bigger isn't always better! Smaller isn't always better either.

The value of the tool is determined by the task ahead.

Driving stakes for a circus tent? Use the sledge!  Repairing the living room coffee table? The finishing hammer will do perfectly. (My wife would not appreciate me using the sledge for that!)

This brings me to an important point. Why do we compare ourselves with others? Why do we allow ourselves to feel inferior (or superior) to the people around us? We're all equally important -- though we have different roles and functions in life. We're all a part of the same toolbox! We all belong to the same garage.

It would be silly for the finishing hammer to glance furtively at the sledge and murmur, "I'm so small and insignificant! Compared to that guy, I'm just useless!"
Likewise, the sledge could say, "I'm too awkward and clumsy. I wish I wasn't such a klutz and could be more graceful, like the finishing hammer."

Comparison with others is always a dead end street -- leading to inferiority or arrogance.

The importance of the hammer is determined only by the carpenter, not the hammer (or any other tool in the box!)

All the hammers -- both big and little -- are needed to build great cathedrals.

When it all is said and done, it won't matter which hammer was used for which part. Nobody will look at the majestic cathedral and say, "Wow, what a hammer!" Instead they will be inspired to glorify God and say, "What a Carpenter!"