Surely you’ve experienced this. Nothing lasts. Nothing satisfies. The two happiest days in a man’s life are the days he buys a boat and the day he sells it. A bigger house is just more to clean. A new cell phone is an old cell phone two weeks after you buy it. You CAN tell the difference in an artificial tan, and besides … it fades so quickly. Everything that we “munch on” and “drink down” turns out to be “so five minutes ago.”
When a pastor chooses to thoroughly ignore the buzzing in his pocket and instead remain present at dinner with his wife and kids, he confesses his non-omnipresence. When he says, “I don’t know” to the person asking the question that outstrips his knowledge, he confesses his non-omniscience. When he closes his books at the end of the day and goes home to eat and rest, he confesses his non-omnipotence. He confesses his earthiness, his dust-origins, his weak frame—all the things, in other words, that God will clothe with power from on high (2 Cor. 12:9).
I want a pastor who actually believes he is not omni-anything. I want a pastor who can send the buzzing rectangle to bed without dinner without succumbing to a feeling of low-grade guilt as if he must be as digitally approachable as the throne of God. I want a pastor who will truck little concrete fragments of his own pride out to the yard like Andy Dufresne does with his prison walls in The Shawshank Redemption.
I am utterly confident that prayer works, but am far less certain about how prayer works. God invites and commands us to come to him with our petitions, our requests. He promises that he hears them, that through the intercession of the Spirit he perfects them, and that it is his joy to answer them. He gives us the things we long for, though not always in the way we ask and often not in the time we ask. Still, he is a God who hears and answers prayer.
It may seem out of place to interrupt our celebration of Luther’s legacy by discussing some of the darker aspects of his life and thought. That’s how some reacted earlier this week when I tweeted a link to an article called “Luther’s Jewish Problem,” which lays out in all its awfulness the anti-Semitic turn of Luther in his later years. I agreed with the article in saying that we must look this evil square in the face and not explain it away.
The truth is the truth. And truth is not served by hagiography and exalted biographical sketches that minimize our heroes’ flaws. I believe Luther, who never minced words regarding sin and evil, would recommend we not minimize his sins.
Today the National Archives will be releasing to the public thousands of files related to the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.
Here are five facts you may not know about the Kennedy assassination.
The truth is, most worship leaders I’ve known genuinely want to see the church grow in godliness. It’s just that no one ever told them that they might be able to do something about that. Believing the lie that their job in the church is to finagle some kind of emotional response during the musical portion of service, they have no awareness of the fact that the task they’ve undertaken is of a pastoral nature. Or, believing that they have no claim to spiritual authority, they take no pastoral responsibility for the flock under their care!
A favorite from the archives:
We don’t really know what to do with that whole side of the Christian faith… y’know the supernatural side of it. But we can’t not talk about it. Not if we’re going to really express what Christianity is all about. And make no mistake: Christianity is inherently supernatural. Remember, we believe that the Creator of the Universe took on human form by being born to a virgin girl, took all the punishment we deserve for our disobedience and sin upon himself, died and came back, left the earth by being carried up to heaven, sent his Spirit to live in us and give us new life, and has promised to come back and completely remake the world.
Nope, nothing supernatural there at all…