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Unacceptable

By on Apr 10, 2017 in The Scrawl |

I have been pondering much about rejection, lately. When I was pushing hard to be a writer, rejection was sort of the name of the game. You submitted work, sometimes to a hundred different agents, and you got rejected by the majority. Sometimes the rejection was silent and timed, like a bad test in school. Sometimes the rejection was harsh and jarring, like being laughed at, also in school. (School was not the time of my life in case you were wondering.) My trajectory has shifted around writing. I am no longer looking at writing as a way to be independent of God nor as a shortcut to fame. (Can I be that honest here? I hope so.) I don’t know of a writer, a true writer, who has ever been able to truly give it up. It’s hardwired into our DNA. But I am changing how I think about writing and what I intend to do with it. But one of the weirder aspects of my change has been in how...

But how does it work?

By on Apr 5, 2017 in The Scrawl |

I’m writing more, bloggingly speaking, than I have in a very long time. I think I know why, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about diagnosing something that works really well. As most of you might have even grown tired of right now, I am currently in a season where I have been plunged into an ocean of grace, head first, and am breathing deep, liquid gulps of it. Last night, as is every Tuesday night, was Theology at Immanuel. So we studied, we talked, we walked in the light, we paid honor to each other, and we sang the doxology. But what I want to zoom in on today is the why behind the what. I have discussed what happens with regard to walking in the light, but here’s a refresher: 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (ESV) So I...

Rage Against the Machine

By on Apr 4, 2017 in The Scrawl |

When I was a teenager, and well into my current daily life, I have been a fan of Rage Against the Machine. Yes, they use expletives. So does nearly every book I read/write. Yes, they are politically liberal and, at times, unfair in their critique. But man, that yelly/crunchy guitar combo is just lovely. When I was a teenager, though, I loved RATM for a reason other than their musical chops: I was ragey. As so many many many teens are, I felt like the whole world was against me, and I it. Why? Because of limits, boundaries, and rules. I couldn’t get credit because I wasn’t old enough. I couldn’t get a house because they didn’t trust me to sign the mortgage. Things go on and on and there are good reasons for those things but my 17 year old mind just could not grok it. This morning I was contemplating some scripture and, because anger and dealing with it have been...

Jesus is the Better Monty Hall

By on Mar 31, 2017 in The Scrawl |

Note: This post is from the previous iteration of my blog. I found it and remember that I actually liked what I wrote. So I decided to repost it for you all on this fine Friday. I really love it when I have two completely disparate thoughts that converge into an amazing revelation. So what are these current thoughts and what is the new revelation? Oh, I thought you’d never ask! You may or may not be aware of what is commonly referred to as the Monty Hall Problem. To give you a very broad overview, I will just quote from the Wiki: Suppose you’re on a game show, and you’re given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1 [but the door is not opened], and the host, who knows what’s behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, “Do you want to pick door No....

Karma, Lazarus, and the Need to Die.

By on Mar 28, 2017 in The Scrawl |

Karma is remarkably false. Like Scientology, karma presents an entirely and demonstrably fake worldview that anyone who has been alive for longer than a month or so can easily identify. Want to know my shameful quasi-secret? I wish it wasn’t so. I wish karma were real. We all do, at some level. And, I would argue, we all still believe it is real even though we can prove it wrong almost instantly. So why do we want karma to be real? If it’s so clearly false, why would we hope for it to be real? Why would we live as though it were? Kids get cancer. That’s a reality that every human being lives with, each and every day. It’s not a debatable point, it’s just a truly horrific fact. But if karma were real, the answer would be that this kid did something to deserve it. So why/how do we want it to be real? We want to believe that our striving, our hard work, our...

A Culture of Honor

By on Mar 22, 2017 in The Scrawl |

Trying to explain the culture of any organization, institution, or church is difficult without experiencing it. I call the gift of “discernment of spirits” the gift of being able to see the present. And it’s one, when you have it, that allows you to see what’s happening in the moment. It allows you to understand things, intimately, like culture. People look at the culture of their church or their business and often they miss what it really is in light of what it ought to be. That may sound confusing, but I can’t tell you the number of churches I have been in where they say their mission is [insert pithy statement scrawled on a six foot tall banner] and then assume that I totally connect with and get that. Instead, I tend to see things how they are. Which was one of the reasons planting a church was exceedingly difficult for me, personally.   And what...

The Gift Isn’t What You Think It Is

By on Mar 20, 2017 in The Scrawl |

Human beings are indoctrinated from birth, in almost every culture, to observe gift giving. Have you ever thought of that? There are almost no humans on earth who don’t understand the concept. Go low: a child in a ghetto begging for scraps understands the meals he gets are gifts. Go high: the rich, for some reason, are often honored with tributes. Gifts are a part of the world, not just a single, isolated culture or race or socioeconomic background. Why? Why would gifts be that intrinsic to our condition? Is there any, totally natural and completely explainable, reason for gifts? I would argue that if the world we live in is purely a result of what biological matter does at this current temperature, if the world is purely biological and the immaterial is merely a construct of that biological material’s evolution, there is no reason for gifts. Gifts, even the most tawdry and...

Gospel Trumps Maslow

By on Mar 15, 2017 in The Scrawl |

That’s a pretty wonkish title, I know. Whatever, it’s my blog. Every Tuesday night, the men of Immanuel Nashville meet for Theology. Theology is pretty basic: Teaching. Walking in the Light Bestowing Honor We talk about Jesus and the bible, then we confess our sins to each other, and then we finish by celebrating one another. It fits in the whole rubric of Immanuel quite well. Having gone to these since they began in January, right after we moved, I can say that they are powerful but not in a way I’m used to. I’m used to stepping into “Men’s Bible Studies” of various kinds armed to the teeth to fight heresy, proclaim the gospel, and hopefully shine some Jesus on my brothers. Theology isn’t like that. It’s very subdued in many ways. The topic isn’t ever some pet theological theory or concept or innovation: it’s Jesus and...