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The Easy Evil of the Tribe

By on Jul 7, 2017 in The Scrawl |

It’s Friday and it’s time to rustle some feathers. I’m re-reading Crazy Love right now, so I am feeling really uncomfortable and want to share that with you. Something I observe and tweet about, on the regular, is the danger of tribalism. Tribalism is the natural go-to for humanity. We want tribes. We crave them. We want to belong. If anything, it’s one of the few things, as a high-level concept, we all agree on. We do. We don’t agree on the value of cats as a species, but we totally want to be either a cat person or a person who hates cats. So why is that? It’s far more comfortable to be within a tribe than outside of one. And here’s the interesting thing to me: we create ever smaller tribes when we no longer feel like we’re an important enough piece within our own tribe. So subtribes of subtribes of subtribes form. Instead of being a...

The Full Imagination

By on Jul 5, 2017 in The Scrawl |

I have a dangerous, wonderful, crazy, useful, lovely, sinful, redeemed imagination. Yeah, go ahead and parse that if you like, but those are just a handful of the words I use to describe my imagination. Coming through a life of utter and total depravity, coming through a life where everything was slanted, off-kilter, broken, and difficult, my mind developed in a rather unique way. I was in trouble for a very long time as a child. That sentence might not make sense at first, but it’s pretty much just as I have written it. There was a two year period where I was confined to my room, or doing chores, more often than I wasn’t. (That makes me sound like a prisoner but really I was just grounded more than anything.) I spent that time, or a majority of it, reading. I learned to grow my imagination and let it take me out of my confinement. So that all said, I believe that...

Are you broken yet?

By on Jun 30, 2017 in The Scrawl |

So much of my posting of late has been critical of the American church. I see it. I recognize that. And I am actually not that sorry for it. I can be critical of what I love and hope for. Why? Because being a prophetic voice isn’t about going along to get along. Today is no different. Well, maybe a little different. I have a problem with my own craven desire for comfort. I feel like a dog that knows what the word “vet” means. And my master has to chase me around the house for thirty minutes before I begin resisting getting into the car. I am rebellious. I am resistant to Him, regardless of how good it will be for me. I don’t want needles or pills or a bath or a new collar or anything. I don’t. I just don’t. And I see that I have been corralled into a situation where I have no more room to run. I am backed into a corner. God does this to me, often. I...

Two Walls

By on Jun 26, 2017 in The Scrawl |

In my last post, I used a dirty word. It was appropriate, I think, but the fact that I used an expletive, my first in a while, put some other thoughts into my head. Namely, what it means to publicly live out your faith between the caustic walls of our world these days. On one side, you have the wall of the world itself. This wall is full of mouths. Mouths that accuse you, constantly, of hypocrisy. “How dare you have an opinion about abortion that isn’t cohesive with my desire for government-funded child murder?! You can’t feel bad about your sins or my sins or anybody’s because SINS AREN’T SINS!” This world-wall is a constant, screeching yell, and it wears on the Christian. It would be so much easier if we could just go, “You know what? You’re right. There should be no standard by which we judge anyone, including ourselves.” And...

The Prophetic Community

By on Jun 21, 2017 in The Scrawl |

Common. Unity Community is such a funny word. Not in its actual composition. It’s about as funny, in that way, as ledger or aspirin. It’s funny because it gets a heaping helping of baggage almost anytime it’s uttered. “I belong to a community of like-minded individuals whose sole purpose is…” And whatever you fill into that ellipses gets dicey, quick. Some of you even started cringing a little with the lead-up. Community. A group of folks gathered around an idea or a connection of one kind or another. Community is an idea, though, that we didn’t invent. Like love, actually. Like marriage. We didn’t invent marriage or love or community. We didn’t invent them so we have to figure out where they came from and be informed, rather than grabbing a quiver full of ideas ready to lay waste to the world. God created community. He defined it....

The Painful Truth About Tolerance

By on Jun 2, 2017 in The Scrawl |

Here we go. Another potentially incendiary post about modern culture through a biblical lens. I use the word tolerance and immediately you have culturally-conditioned reactions. You do. No, all of you. Even you who think you have the right view of it. You especially have been trained to define tolerance according to your tribe. Which is pretty intolerant, really. So let’s begin with a couple of definitions just to help you understand and parse the point I am trying to get across. How can two people walk together unless they are both headed the same way, no? Tolerance = the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with. And immediately, some of you are pursing your lips. Stop that. It’s only going to give you wrinkles. (And if you’re offended by wrinkles, get over it, we all...

The Key to Failure

By on May 26, 2017 in The Scrawl |

Failure is something I have become intimately acquainted with over the last five years. We’re not exactly BFFs, but more like frenemies. I know failure. Failure knows me. We don’t do everything together, but we do enough to be considered closer than any of my coworkers and plenty of my friends. I want to make a few salient points, right up front, and then expound on them. Failure should not be rejected. Failure should not be avoided. Failure is (almost) never an end. Let’s get started on this happiest of happy Friday posts. Failure should not be rejected. This is probably the most common thing I see people do, when they fail. They usually will become a faster/better spin machine than any politician or pundit ever hoped to be. “I didn’t fail. What? It looked like that because this is part of my journey to success. I succeeded in other ways.” No, you...

No Self, No Selfie

By on May 23, 2017 in The Scrawl |

This might prove too on the nose for many. It might be that I am, as I have heard some of my brothers of color say from the pulpit, meddling and/or trifling. I don’t really do selfies. This should be apparent by my Instagram, my Facebook profile, and my Twitter feed. I will occasionally indulge my wife by letting her take a picture of me or of us together which is just a regular picture when two people are in it. Think about this for a moment. There used to be a process, a way, for pictures to be taken. Someone always had to stand on the other side of the lens. Someone had to operate it. And no, I am not saying that we should return to a day where we all had to do tintypes and wood carvings and hand paintings. Although I am sure in Portland that’s exactly where they’re headed. No, it’s not the technology itself that bothers me; it’s the self. It’s...