Yousef Nadarkhani

Recently  Kent Bush of the Pekin, IL times wrote an op-ed piece titled,  “It’s just too hard to go to church.” Being someone who tries to make sure church is worth going to, I was interested.  Bush talks about how full life is, and how difficult it is to squeeze in one more thing.   Then he drops the bomb.  He points to a pastor in Iran, Yousef Nadarkhani who has been convicted to die because of his faith in Jesus Christ.  For him church is a matter worth life itself and he may pay that price.   But for us, it may be too easy to let our contact with the creator of the universe to be just another option that we contemplate squeezing in to already-too-packed schedules.   Bush’s point is that it isn’t hard for us at all when we see what going to church cost Nadarkhani. Continue reading


Fitting In

This week I encountered a story about actress Rooney Mara and her role in the soon to be released film, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”  It seems that Ms. Mara beat out a number of what are known as ‘Hollywood heavyweights’ for the part.  Her roles to this point had not included that of a dark character.  She was told (presumably by her agent) to spend all night the night before her interview with Sony drunk.  (She ended up throwing up all night.)  After getting the role, her hair was dyed and shaved on the sides, her eyebrows shaved and they took her out for four body piercings.  One author, after hearing what she went through to get the role and then have done to her commented that maybe the other women in Hollywood thought that not getting this role was not such a bad thing.  What she was willing to do got her the role.  It seems that she would have done anything necessary to get the role.  The question was asked, “Was it worth it?”  At what point does one lose what we are to get somewhere or some approval? Continue reading

Disappointment with God

Picture courtesy of New Direction Church

Have you ever been disappointed with God?   Several years ago Phillip Yancey wrote a book with the title Disappointment with God.  I’ve always thought that it might have sold more copies if it had another title because it seems somehow heretical to admit we might be disappointed with God.  However, truth-be-told, I have to admit there are times that I find myself in a place spiritually when I wish things were different.  In my heart I have to admit I can be disappointed. Continue reading

Missing What God is Doing

A Tendency to Phariseeism

Some time ago I heard someone say that everyone who has been a follower of Christ for more than three or four years ought to read the New Testament words of Jesus to the Scribes and Pharisees as if they were directed at them.  It is true, in my experience that the present day church often reflects the spiritual blindness exhibited by the Scribes and Pharisees.  It would appear that this kind of spiritual behavior is almost hard-wired into us.

painting of Jesus healing a man born blind

In my devotional reading in John 9 recently, I came across the story of a healing that the Pharisees did not want to accept because it did not meet their predetermined criteria of what spiritual truth looks like.  There are, I am sure, hundreds of sermons written and preached about their recalcitrance — how they refused to see Jesus as messiah — how they could not get beyond their limits on how God could act.  They ‘kicked out’ the very one God had chosen to bless with healing because that healing did not fit their scripts. They were so invested in the picture they wanted painted that they missed what God was doing in their midst.  That is the danger of religious systems. Continue reading