Make Good Tables

“The Church’s approach to an intelligent carpenter is usually confined to exhorting him not to be drunk and disorderly in his leisure hours, and to come to church on Sundays. What the Church should be telling him is this: that the very first demand that his religion makes upon him is that he should make good tables. Church by all means, and decent forms of amusement, certainly—but what use is all that if in the very center of his life and occupation he is insulting God with bad carpentry? No crooked table legs or ill-fitting drawers ever came out of the carpenter’s shop at Nazareth. Nor, if they did, could anyone believe that they were made by the same hand that made Heaven and earth.” 

-Dorothy L. Sayers

I know personally I sometimes make being a Christian very difficult – mainly because I make it difficult. I love being reminded of simpler expectations like this one. Nobody wants to listen to your story because you go to church on Sundays. But to shine the the light of Jesus in your work…phew, that’s something unique. To exude hope instead of cynicism, to encourage instead of demean, to be honest and forthright instead of engaging in politics and gatekeeping – all of these will display the love of Christ way more than just being “a good boy and good girl.”

Incidentally; there’s one class of people that I find over and over again exemplify just this, no matter what field I find them in. Hardest working people I’ve ever encountered.

Farmers.

Ready to be Used?

I know @thomasroadwas handing out notebooks but I’m still taking notes on the iPad. Great sermon and I love this quote from Pastor @jonathanfalwell; “what could you accomplish if you were simply ready to be used?”

Encourage Fiercely

When you offer critique, do so gently.

When you offer encouragement, do so fiercely.

@scottsauls

I’ve had a number of Pastor Scott’s tweets in the queue but this one always just sticks with me. If you want to know how to bless someone today just encourage them. Say a really kind thing to someone on social media. Tip your food server way above what you would usually tip. Text a friend you haven’t heard from in a while. Instead of saying “I’ll pray for you” say “Would you mind if I prayed with you? Right now?” Do this without any strings or conditions on the other person. This behavior begets more of this behavior. Seriously.

I would humbly like to extend this tweet and say, “if you feel like you must critique someone, maybe forget the critique and encouragement them instead. Fiercely.”

Kingdom Normal

This was a tweet from @deaninserra . I had to retool it a bit to fit here and I hope I didn’t misconstrue any of his points! Here’s the original in it’s entirety:


I think part of Christian discipleship is helping people redefine “normal.”

The things you see in this world might seem normal, but it is exactly that, a “normal” for the gods of this world, not the kingdom of God.

-Your parents screaming at each other isn’t normal.
-A life of greed isn’t normal. 
-A professing Christian being detached from the local church isn’t normal.
-Covering up abuse for the powerful isn’t normal.
-Functional alcoholism isn’t normal.

There is a new normal for anyone who is in Christ. New creations. Old gone, new here.

Teach a new normal. Kingdom normal.

This resonated with me so much. Now, I don’t want to say that to be a “normal Christian” requires you to be perfect but I think it does require an action to rewire the things you use to tolerate before you were in Christ. Parents who scream at each shouldn’t be content to just live in that state – that’s not the design. Greed, consumption, and living on the hedonistic treadmill is not the prescribed way to live based on any verse I’ve ever read. And on and on.

I want to be careful here because I think institutionally we go down a dark hole when we try to figure how to adjust peoples behavior at large. A.) I’m not sure it works and B.) it leads to “good stats” while people who suffer are churned through the machine and spit out.

But the heart change described here is so refreshing. Instead of taking the “normal” things of this world and making them ours we redefine them the way that they’re supposed to be. Kingdom normal.

Farmers Don’t Build Babels

Maybe we need less language about building something great, and more language about tending the field God gave you. Head down, hand on the plow, eyes on Christ.

Because farmers don’t build babels.

@sharonhmiller

Sharon recently made an appearance here but this quote went so well with the one I posted from Tim Keller yesterday I had to include it.

This type of thinking really resonates with me. I’ve personally found my work to be the most fulfilling when I’ve narrowed the scope and reduced the expectations of what it meant to be “successful.” I’ve tried making money with my art and it always kinda fell short. I could make *some* money but the idea that I could support my family with art alone was something that always frustratingly eluded me. It wasn’t until I started this account and explicitly decided to *not* make it profitable that I started to realize how much I enjoy the creation process. It removed the measure of success I imposed on it of which I had no control. The longer I spend on here, my virtual field so to speak, the more I keep removing the metrics that would implicate “something great.” I don’t know what the future holds but I certainly don’t plan on taking the hand off of the plow.

Some real 1 Thessalonians 4:11 vibes and I’m here for it. 🙌

Social Media Identity and the Church

Could at least some Christians be known for their love on the internet? And could they take part in the rebuilding of new spaces of public discourse in which we can present our faith confidently and listen to our critics carefully and humbly–at the same time?

Yes, we could. But will we?

@timkellernyc

Tim Keller’s article on Social Media, Identity, and the Church was an interesting read for me. For one, I spend a fair amount of time on social media. I post here, I post on Facebook, I post on twitter, and fortunately I’m small enough where I can (kinda) handle all of the communication that happens on each platform. One thing I noticed early on is that people don’t really share things that they find interesting; they share things that make a statement about themselves. That piece of art you made could be amazing, that short story or song could be well-crafted, but if a person doesn’t see themselves in it – it’s not going to be shared.

The problem is we tend to lose nuance and humility and share some of the more striking posts we find here. If anything, social media can take a topic and turn the volume all the way up. Sometimes that’s good and needed. Other times it just becomes a shouting match where people divide into two groups and hurl grenades at each other.

I don’t know how to fix it, but I’d love for this to be a safe space for the moderates. People who have nuance and don’t mind asking questions. I know I’m guilty of this, I post things about racism and politics from time to time and it tends to fire people up. But I’d love to be one of the careful and humble listeners that Keller talks about; looking to rebuild the public discourse.

Here’s a link to the article: https://quarterly.gospelinlife.com/social-media-identity-and-the-church/

A Life of Sacrifice

“The Lord has called us not to a Sunday Event, but to a life of sacrifice.” @myronpierce

It’s easy to go on Christian autopilot – especially when you go to a large church. You can check the box, attend the Sunday service, pray before meals, tithe right at 10%, and you’re still in the club. I get it, sometimes there’s a season for that. Sometimes it’s all you can do to walk in that building once a week. If that’s you, this message isn’t for you.

But I think Pastor Myron touches on something here. I think it’s helpful sometimes to see not what you’ve gained from Jesus, but what you giving up for Him. If it’s consistently “nothing” that my be something to look into.

If you haven’t seen the video of Pastor Myron’s story I highly encourage you to tap through his bio and check it out! Powerful stuff. 

Loki and Pastor Rich

3 preaching points from Loki (Episode 2)

1. Apocalypses are points of revelation. 2020 is a reminder of this

2. Order ≠ Peace (Order—especially of an institutional kind—is often a tool of oppression & depersonalization).

3. Much of life is oriented around the tyranny of timelines.

@richvillodas

I was going to wait until next week to post this but I had a lot of fun making it so it’s going up right now! I don’t know if anybody is even here on Saturday. 😅

I love seeing allegory in modern pop culture and I really appreciate Pastor Rich’ insight so when the two collide I definitely listen. And it helps that I’m a Marvel fan and there are a slew of movies coming out for the rest of the year. I’m going to take the opportunity to draw more super heroes on this account for sure!

It’s interesting to me that just like in the show – there’s an amazing amount of things that affect our life that we have absolutely no control over. It seems like in modern times (and especially here in the U.S.) we have a surprising amount of autonomy that past civilizations could never realize. Still – these preaching points are relevant because the show is centered around Loki trying to gain control of a situation he has no ability to control. Just like a pandemic, a market crash, or even being in Pompeii at the wrong time – it’s so much important to trust in a God that built us to exist long after this world has crumbled to dust.

I can’t draw all the Loki preaching points but I wanted to get at least one of them out there! Hope your weekend is going well friends! 

America and Racism

“The idea that America has been systematically racist is an idea entirely compatible with scripture’s depiction of sin. But it’s entirely incompatible with the story America tells itself. And a lot of Christians have believed America.” @kaitlynschiess on Twitter

I want to get in the habit here of posting things here that are not necessarily controversial but that address something to think deeper about. I drew this out because when I saw this tweet from Kaitlyn I stopped scrolling and spent some time thinking about the implications of what she said. 

I know this argument could quickly be whittled down to someone saying “CRT” but I don’t think that’s entirely the point. The point I pulled from this is that we should be honest about the stories we tell about the institutions we hold dear. I think our Christian culture is to hide the things we feel shame about within our organizations when they should be brought to the light. I’m no expert on unity but I do know it certainly doesn’t happen by quieting people who have been hurt by a system.

I have a lot of respect for this country. I’m thankful that I’m here, I’ve been afforded all the opportunity in the world, and there’s no other place I’d rather be. I just want that same experience for everyone and I don’t think we’re there yet. 

Anyway, Kaitlyns work on the @holypostpodcast is great and she posts a lot of interesting thoughts on twitter interspersed with tweets about pies so if you struggle with pie like I do (I’ve been known to eat an entire pie in a sitting) – watch yourself! 😅

The Task

“If all you do is bring people to your church for a show you’re going to be ineffective. You have to take the missionary task unto yourself.” @mark_clark

I really enjoy the @careynieuwhof podcast not just for the people he has on but I feel like it’s a frank discussion about our responsibilities as Christians. While we all may not be in paid ministry (me included) we have just as much work to do in fulfilling what we’re commanded to do.

It’s a great watch on Youtube and if you stick around long enough you’ll see Mark do a song and dance routine. 😅