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Giving From Nothing


Viktor Frankl describes the experience of nakedness in Auschwitz, a World War II Nazi concentration camp. When he had nothing – truly nothing – death no longer held fear over him.

By this time, he had lost his family, his career, his strength, his money, his possessions, his house, his clothing and his identity. The Nazis reduced him to a walking skeleton who answered to a number. Only then could he face death without wincing, knowing he had nothing to lose.

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...For the World?


As I observe the tribal differences, religious divisions, poverty and disease, lack of sufficient educational opportunities for our children, political upheaval and strife, it becomes obvious that the principles of Jesus Christ have not penetrated Africa enough!
— Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, speaking to other African leaders

Matthew 17:20
Luke 12:22-34
Luke 7:21-23

Is he enough for this world? Can he heal divisions in my church? In my country? In my government? On my team? In my office? In my household? Between India and China? Between Muslims and Christians? Between PCA and PCUSA? Between Bush and Clinton? Between Democrat and Republican? Between black churches and white churches? Between Palestinians and Israelis? Between oil barons and greenies?

Is there really neither Greek nor Jew in him? Rich nor poor? Catholic nor Protestant? Capitalist nor communist? Jock nor geek? Haves nor have-nots? Shiite nor Sunni? Is he enough?

Is Jesus enough today? Is Jesus enough to both rise from the dead and overturn man’s laws? Or do we need to rely on lobbyists and the Supreme Court for that? Is Jesus enough to create the world and end human trafficking?  Or should we pin our hopes on the UN and NGOs? Can the Jesus who fed 5,000 still feed the hungry? Can Jesus who healed the blind and cured the lepers defeat AIDS? Should we hope that Warren Buffett’s contributions to the Gates Foundation will suffice?

 Can he who calmed the waters heal the planet’s wounds, or should we hold out for Kyoto? Can the one who said he’d bring all men to himself reconcile Turks and Armenians, Russians and Chechnyans, North and South Korea? Can he heal South Africa? Can the one who gave the Spirit also guide America wisely?

Can he who tells us that the kingdom is near teach us not to build our own empires? Can the one whose love drives out fear bring peace in the midst of terrorism? Can he who cast out demons cast them out of Darfur? Can the one who said he’d come back for us provide a real family for MS13 members? Can he who raised the temple in three days bring down the sex industries of Vegas and Thailand? Can he who tells us to love also remake the hearts of those engaging in torture? What of tsunamis? New Orleans? Kidnappings? Beheadings? Rape? Corporate corruption? Ireland’s wars? Tribal warfare at home and abroad? Widow burning? Is he enough?

Do we barely stammer a “yes” for fear of not having enough faith? Do we qualify “yes” with “As long as six-party talks work, NATO involves itself, the right people are in office, the market picks up, we cut emissions, bills are passed, hearts change miraculously? Would these answers we offer ever be enough?

Or do we believe so much in certain views of scriptures that we’ve never dared dream he could or would do such if asked? If believed? Do we believe in him? Is he enough?


© 2006

Nothing is Mine


This thought stays with me in my more enlightened moments: nothing is mine. To that end, or to move toward that end, I try to avoid saying something is mine. I try to say, “The car I drive,” rather than “my car”, or “the place I stay,” rather than “my apartment”. This comes fairly easily, since the computer I use belongs to my employer; the apartment belongs to the landlord; the car belongs to a bank; and the clothes I wear have mostly been given me. I don’t even own my bed or desk.

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Where I Am Right Now


I hate sermons about the Great Commission. I cringe, and something inside me rejects the harsh guilt trip that pastors incite. “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel …” They present this like a new idea or an old one that they just discovered. 

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What's it NOT about?


It's not about being good.
Nor giving all you own to the poor.
Nor working hard.  Seriously.

Honesty, integrity, morality, honor and respect don’t make the cut, either. It’s not putting food on the table, or earning a degree or succeeding in the work place.  These may be good, but they’ll never grant us purpose.

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The Whole World Will Know


Jesus says God wants to save the world. He then teaches his followers to love one another. That’s his master plan: love.

Jesus says the world will know that God sent Jesus if his followers have “complete unity” (John 17:23).

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