Speaking The Truth In Love

The Christian way of being mean is telling those we’ve offended that we’re “speaking the truth in love”.

Misappropriating this little gem from Ephesians 4 is popular because it allows us to be rude, condescending, and hurtful to non-Christians while simultaneously allowing us to hold on to our own privilege and self-righteousness.

There’s been a lot of talk in the last week about “speaking the truth in love.”

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Creating Space For Women to Speak

Last December, I published my first e-book, Scandalous: Lessons in Redemption From Unlikely Women. What began as a sermon series years

Ready to "Get Scandalous"

Ready to “Get Scandalous”

ago, became an obsession, which then became Scandalous. I had no agenda when I wrote Scandalous; that is no agenda other than allowing the strong and beautifully brave women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus from Matthew’s gospel to have their day in the sun.

Like countless women before and after them, the voices and stories of these women had been marginalized – or flat out muted. Some small percentage of these unvoiced stories were made so by accident and/or ignorance. Many pastors lack the curiosity to dig more than one-level deep. But more frequently the stories of these women – and, again, myriad women before and after – have remained undeclared due to systemic chauvinism.

I merely wanted to tell stories which weren’t being told.

I’ve been overwhelmed by the warm, sweet response readers had for Scandalous. Some have told me it allowed people in their congregations to start new conversations about gender-equality. Others have used it to aid on-going discussions in their community of faith. And still others are reading through Scandalous within their small groups.

These are important discussions. In fact, they are vitally important discussions which will have deep impact on the church. So today, I wanted to share the shortest and most talked about chapter from Scandalous; the conclusion. If you have yet to get your copy, you can access it free here.

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Was It Something I Said?

Was it something I said?

I guess it was, because last week – just between Thursday and Monday – nearly 16,000 people visited this site. What’s more, last Thursday’s post generated blog posts responses, Facebook discussions, Facebook notes, and hosts of other conversations. I was not privy to most of these conversations and did not want to be. From what others tell me, some conversations were healthy and good, while others, were, um, less so. Either way, I’m glad so many people are talking about the challenges facing my tribe (Churches of Christ), and many of these conversations will result in positive movement. At least, I hope that’s the case.

There is a strange, strange feeling that accompanies the knowledge that 16,000 people are talking about you. As a friend of mine said, “That’s about as Church of Christ viral as it gets.” The feeling is not what you think. I never felt offended or criticized or even popular.

I felt shocked.

I felt shocked because all the fuss and fervor were revelatory to me about the state of Churches of Christ. I figured these conversations were happening every week across the country. I clearly have no gauge about what’s controversial or not. Through all the fuss, I learned a great deal and perhaps, what I think I’ve learned is of deeper concern than those I spoke of last Thursday.

Here’s what I learned:

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Connecting Your Life to God in a Crazy, Busy, High-Speed World

Haven’t  you ever felt like spirituality is mostly trick with very little treat? Does it ever seem like spiritual formation is for some special breed of super-Christians someplace and you’re not one of them.

I know I have and often still do.

To put a re-fill the churches spiritual formation deficit, I’m putting together a small effort called “Wi-Fi Spirituality.” The goal of Wi-Fi Spirituality is helping people connect to God in a high-speed and fast-paced world. But “Wi-Fi Spirituality” will only be for subscribers to the page; individuals and families interested in engaging spiritual practices through means that makes sense in the 21st Century.

If you’re interested, I urge you to visit the Wi-Fi Spirituality home page and sign-up for the Insider’s List. The “Insider’s List” is the only avenue to connect with this life-transforming content.

Here’s a brief excerpt from an upcoming release on beginning a walk with God: “Confessions of A Spiritual Novice“:

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For starters, few of us have any idea what spirituality, spiritual formation, or spiritual disciplines are. Sure there are books and articles and hosts of other resources that can be bought and examined for our benefit.  And we can always turn to those folks around us that seem to have some kind of mystical lasso and appear to have roped spirituality and somehow tied it down for help.  You know those people. They pray—or at least talk about their prayer life—all the time.  Or they study—or at least talk about studying—their Bible all the time, and on and on the lists and stories go. Some even spend hours upon hours in silence.  Silence!  Did you hear that? Silence!

You Must Be Kidding!

Are there really people like that? People that actually look and sound believable when they talk of “praying without ceasing” or “praying for their enemies?  Don’t those folks have deadlines to meet or have to cart their kids to some activity or have people in their lives that so annoy and bother them that they don’t want to be praying and thinking of that person at the same time?

And what about fasting?  Are their actually people who gain some spiritual depth through prolonged not eating? You’re supposed to draw near to God, pray, and realize your dependence on the Lord when you get hungry during a fast, but aren’t most folks really thinking about when they get to eat next?  What they will eat? Who they will eat with? Are there really people who think about more during their fast than when they will break their fast?  It’s like there is a colony someplace that produces super Christians and every church is given a few, maybe just one or two. They’re kind of like the Texas Rangers that way.  One riot, one ranger.” 

Let’s Get Real

If we were honest, we would admit that there is something about the spiritual life that we just don’t get.  That’s why we find refuge in talking and studying about God, Jesus, the Bible, and the church rather than engaging our hearts, emotions, experiences, and dreams.  It is a lot simpler and much less messy to participate in God’s story in the theoretical sense rather than the spiritual sense.  We love “the theoretical sense.”  Plus, that confounded Holy Spirit just blows wherever it pleases.

So we buy the latest book, share the newest ideas, ruminate on the most thoughtful literature and then go on with only our minds engaged—and even then not fully.  Because at root we know that there’s no such thing as the separations we’ve created between heart and head and spirit and soul.  None of us ever makes decisions just one portion of ourselves.  Our souls are one whole: We think what we feel; we feel what we think.  These separations between heart and head leave us partly engaged and the parts of the spiritual life—those parts we naively thought were just heart or souls or spirit parts—the parts that we didn’t get before we read what we read or studied what we studied are still drifting out there unacknowledged, unengaged.

We knew all along that we couldn’t just think our way to being more like Jesus, but that seemed like the safe, more predictable way to live. 

 

The Life Abundant #4: Getting Fit

Recent posts have been dedicated to the spiritual discipline of physical fitness. No series of post have generate as many personal e-mail and conversations. I’m glad so many are rethinking their stewardship of their bodies.

Last week I sat down with Luke Norsworthy and recorded an interview for his podcast, “Newsworthy with Norsworthy.” In it we discuss my fitness journey, the point of physical fitness, and its intersection with spiritual disciplines. In particular we discussed Gnosticism and why Christians should reject “spirit-only” thinking as heretical.

Give it a listen and tell me what you think in the comments section.

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