Wednesday, October 19, 2011

a quote to consider

This statement from something I read today made me think.
Arrogance is the opposite of humility. It compels us to treat our limits not as unique openings through which God can reveal his goodness but as diseases to be cured. - Susan Annette Muto
I think the most obvious example of my not having this attitude is in the way that I express my prayer requests to others. Does this quotation ring true for you?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

CHRISTian

So often I lose sight of what I should really be focusing on.  It's not really a 'what', but a 'who' - Christ.  Thankfully my devotional book this week helped me by having me read a series of passages about him.  Can I even begin to express some of the excitement and awe felt in these passages as the writers talk about our glorious Lord?  Because I think it is so crucial that you and I grasp it, I will try.
Although it makes a long post, I will start by letting you read a few scriptures that I have been reflecting on this week (emphasis added):
"The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For in him all things were created [...] He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. [...] he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy" (Colossians 1:15-23)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight [...] in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. [...] he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
[...] I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you,[...] and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.  (Ephesians 1:1-23) 
[...] have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
 Who, being in very nature God,
     did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
 rather, he made himself nothing
      by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
 And being found in appearance as a man,
      he humbled himself
      by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place       and gave him the name that is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,       in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,       to the glory of God the Father.  (Philippians 2:1-11)
Christianity isn't about me or you, or even about us, the church.  It is about Christ.  (Really it is about the whole Godhead - Father, Son, Holy Spirit - for they cannot be separated)  And he is worthy of our worship.  Because of who he is and because of what he has done, is doing and will do - because of all of this we should be striving each day to love and worship and glorify his name more and more.  For "yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever, Amen!"

Part of me didn't want to publish this post.  Instead I thought about just writing, "go spend some time pondering who is you worship and then go worship him!"  But I went ahead and posted, mostly hoping that the power of these scriptures will help you love and worship Christ.

May you be filled with wonder and awe as you live in the presence of our glorious risen Lord!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Information and knowing

We live in an age of information.  It is not just money that changes hands around the globe, but information.  We send and receive emails, texts, twitters... we write on our blogs.  There are whole fields of study devoted to information  - information theory, information science, economics of information - just to name a few.  It is easy to create and difficult to quantify; essential and practical yet somehow intangible.  Have you ever thought about the role of 'information' in your life?

In the field of Quantum Optics (where I work and study), information theory becomes important.  Many questions arise, such as "how much information can be 'stored' in a photon?" or "what are the limitations on transporting information - how fast can we do it, and with what loss of information?"    These are fascinating questions with clear implications for the information-driven society in which we live.

Yet - in the midst of this world based on bits of fact or idea - yet we long for something more.  Do we not?  It is not enough to simply possess knowledge.  We want to really know it, to have it affect who we are at our core.  How many times do we hear someone express the desire that something will make the transition from their head to their heart?  Or that they feel like a hypocrite, saying what they do not feel?

In my own life I know that I long for more than simply information.  It is not enough to know about the love of God.  I want that love and the knowledge of that love to transform me.  It is not enough to say that God is good or beautiful.  I want to be filled with wonder at who God is.

It seems that even as we become better and better at producing, quantifying, and transporting information, this deep need we have will remain.  We are dependent on the slow working of time in our lives for this true knowing to happen.  More than that, we are dependent on the work of God in our lives to transform us.  And not just dependent - grateful that he does work in this way.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Beginnings and Living [the Resurrection]

Eugene Peterson, in his book Living the Resurrection, writes
As a culture, we are great at beginnings.
We set magnificent goals.  But in the in-between, we don't have much to write home about.  When things get bad enough, we just make a new beginning, which we are very good at downing.  Or we set a new goal or "vision" or "mission statement," as we call it, which temporarily distracts us from what is going on right now. [...] the church in which I live [...] has become more like the culture in these matters than counter to it.  The enormous interest in "spirituality" these days is not accompanied by much, if any, interest in the long intricate and daily business of formation in Christ-- that is, the practice of the dispositions and habits of the heart that changes our word spirituality from a wish or a desire or a fantasy or a diversion into an actual life lived to the glory of God.
These statements stood out to me.  Do you think they are a good analysis of the situation?  Is there anything we can do to change this?

Maybe if Calvin thought resolutions didn't really bring about change he wouldn't be so insulted by Hobbes. :)