You Have Struggled With God and Have Overcome

ImageYou are Jacob.

The have two wives. They’re sisters. One is a beauty and one is plain. You love the beautiful one, but it’s Leah who gave you Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah. Rachel gave you Joseph. The others came from handmaidens. You have eleven children, all told. Eleven children, two wives, two handmaidens, and more cattle and wealth then you rightly know what to do with.

Or rather, you had all that. You’ve just ferried it across the river, and now you’re alone in the desert, waiting for your twin brother to come and kill you, as he promised to years ago. It is night. There will be no fibbing your way out of this one. No sleeves of goat hair or stew of lamb’s meat to cover your ass or stave off judgement.

You were born grabbing your brother by the heel. It seems he’s finally learned how to kick back.

All you ever wanted was the blessing that had been denied to you by mere seconds. Esau was the elder. The hunter. The favorite. The firstborn. Had there been just the smallest flinch in the womb—a mere hiccup—you would have been born first. Then there would have been no need for games.

But no. It had happened just so. And the blessing was no longer something given, but earned. No, won. 

And you had won it. Hoodwinked your father out of the blessing. Gotten all this.

So why don’t you feel very blessed?  Read the full post »

This Is My Internet Rant

1c616-soapboxThere is an issue. An issue that we all know about, and might even all be upset about. It is an issue that has been covered relentlessly in the national news media, and the uproar has reached a fever pitch. Heads are rolling. Mobs are forming. Hashtags are trending. The people behind this issue ought to be held accountable, arrested, deported or perhaps just killed. We all agree about that.

But while many of us are upset, we may not have truly thought about why we are upset. In fact, many people are upset for the wrong reasons, and have not fully grasped the nuances of the ways in which we should be upset. I too am upset, but unlike most people, I am upset for the right reasons. Reasons which I will outline below. Read the full post »

Suggested Analogies For Various Sins

Last week, an online acquaintance told me her pastor had preached a sermon comparing women who’ve had sex outside of marriage to dirty toothbrushes.

I suppose the idea is that premarital sex makes you dirty, and so why would anyone want to clean their teeth with you. It’s a rough metaphor, but it’s effective—and it’s one I’ve heard variations on for most of my life in the Church. So, in the spirit of multiplying the effectiveness of this analogy, here are some ways to apply this line of thinking to other sins.  Read the full post »

Dear Formerly Sponsored World Vision Child: Sorry, But Look at It From My Perspective

Edit: Thanks, everyone, for reading this piece. Two things about it.

1. It is satirical.

2. It was written in a very emotional moment, and I regret not being more gracious in my approach. I’m leaving it up, because I stand by my general point, but I am aware that good, smart people disagree with me on this one, and I have love for those people.

Thusly armed, read on:

 

Dear Nabirye,

I’m sorry to say that this will be my final letter to you. I know what you’re thinking and, no, you didn’t do anything wrong. You are a victim here. As a matter of fact, we are both victims here, Nabirye. Let me explain.

You may not have heard, but World Vision has decided to hire people whose are living lives I believe the Bible tells us not to. World Vision is the place that takes care of you. And if I were to continue to support your ongoing health and wellbeing, I’d really be supporting decisions they’ve made about their hiring practices.

I take it you’re beginning to see the problem here.

I’m sure this isn’t easy for you to hear, but before you start getting all upset, try thinking about it from my perspective.

Read the full post »

The Book of Jo: A Play

BookJob[The scene opens on two men playing at a board game on a table. The stage is bare.]

1: I find this dull.

2: That’s why you’re losing.

1: Don’t do that.

2: What?

1: Don’t strike that high and mighty, know-it-all tone. It doesn’t impress me. I know I’m losing. I always lose.

2: So why do you keep playing then?

1: Nature, I suppose.

2: No. Not nature.

1: You’re doing it again.

2: Being know-it-all is in my nature. Read the full post »

The Rich Young Ruler

ImageFitz figured his laptop only had about twenty-five minutes of battery power left before he’d have to get out of bed, dig under his desk, fish out his computer cord and plug it in, but he was on a roll and didn’t want to interrupt it.

Furthermore, he typed, his fingers spidering across the keyboard, how many things will the Church take a stand against before it learns that it’s not doing any good? Everyone knows what the Church is against. It’s against gay marriage. It’s against abortion. It’s definitely against Obama. You all have made that loud and clear. But if you were to ask the average person what they thought the Church was for, what would they say? A taller wall between Texas and Mexico? And where do you get that from the Bible—because it isn’t

Fitz stopped and started to look up references to verses about how the Israelites were supposed to treat foreigners. Twenty-three minutes left, and he was feeling okay.  Read the full post »

Making Room for the Rap of Heaven

ImageI’ve been trying to make some for the rap of Heaven in my life lately. Let me tell you what I mean.

“Listen to this,” Jess* squealed, jamming iPod earbuds into my hears. They were a new invention at the time, and I still was dazzled by the idea of song after song after song stuffed onto them. We were in college, and new music was to us what Kelloggs is to Cornflakes.

The music was unlike anything I’d ever heard. I was still emerging from the throes of my late high school music: Brand New, Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters and the like. College had acquainted me with Death Cab for Cutie, the Smiths, Arcade Fire and a growing understanding of Radiohead’s bristling post-OK Computer work.

But I’d never heard anything like what Jess was playing for me.  Read the full post »

If Love Songs Were Written Like Worship Songs

Forever I Am Dating You

Verse 1

I was single

And you started dating me

Sad and alone

You washed over me

Chorus

You date me

Forever

Out of being sad

Forever

And now I’ll spend my days

Looking at your face

Because I’m no longer single

Forever

Verse 2

When I get sad

You are always happy

When I am scared

You are always brave

And when I get single

You will date me still

Repeat Chorus

Bridge: You are so pretty (30x)

Repeat Chorus 5x

Read the full post »

Looking God in the Face

If only God were solid, I think. If only he were like rugs and pastries, like a freckle-faced boy on a bike. If only he meandered the streets, be he five feet tall or fifty, I’d take solace in that. It’s not that I want to see God (who truly would?) but I’d like him to have the connection to my life that the market has. I’d like him to draw my eyes, my fingertips. I’d like to feel some warmth coming from him. I’d like him to scrape my palms like tree bark. The thought of him interrupting my senses in any old way sounds a good deal more comforting than his current nebulous ubiquity. Read the full post »

A Creation Story

adam_eve_painting

She is looking at him when he wakes up with a detached curiosity, like his waking was an expected ordeal. She, on the other hand, was not what he had expected at all. She did not look like him. She didn’t look like anything he’d ever seen.

“How long have you been there?” he says.

“I’ve always been here.”

“No, you haven’t. You’re new.”

“New,” she repeats, tasting the word. She discovers that she agrees with him even as she says it, and the word falls newly from her lips into a garden in which many things were just so. She pulls her knees up to her and rests her chin on them, wrapping her arms around her legs. He thinks her movements odd, but he cannot stop watching.

They sit in the earth, with trees waving about them like hands to God. It is morning, and the garden is bursting with chatter. Creatures acquainted only with life and nothing else. The world green and naked and wild.  Read the full post »

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