The Blog Has Moved! :)

9 Jun

Hi Everyone!


Thank you so much for following my blog!  For awhile now I’ve been using two separate websites and Facebook pages for my work, one for pastoring (this one) and one for yoga. In my mind and experience, these two are inseparable.  Plus, in order to better focus my efforts, I’ve decided to combine it all into one.  With that in mind, I’ll no longer be using this site for my blogs, instead please head on over to Grace n Peace Yoga.  There’s several blogs already up for you to check out, the newest is one on living into the powerful message of the new Wonder Woman movie: THE GOSPEL OF WONDER WOMAN: BLESSINGS ARE TO BLESS, YOGA IS FOR OFF THE MAT, AND ENLIGHTENMENT IS TO LOVE


MUCH Love to you all!!!


Grace and peace,


The Superpower of Forgiveness: Freedom and a Reminder of Our Inherent Goodness

16 May

Last Saturday our family pretty much tried to do EVERYTHING and please EVERYONE. As you can imagine, the result was NOT good, and can be summed up by tears and frustration. Just about to go perform in “The Wizard of Oz”, my daughter (Lara) sat crying in our car #dadfail. Fortunately, in leapt my wife (Lisa) with a superpower, forgiveness. This grace not only saved the day for Lara, it made the day great for us all. I’d love to share with you how, because forgiveness is an INCREDIBLE gift we can offer. It’s freedom. It’s a reminder of our inherent goodness. Check it out.


Before Lara’s show, Lisa and I had hustled an hour-plus away to watch two of her granddaughters in a dance recital. Lara asked to stay home, promising she’d get her chores and a couple extra ones done while we were gone. Barely in time to get her to “The Wizard of Oz”, Lisa and I got home and picked her up. “How’d everything go at home?” I asked.


“Good,” came Lara’s standard response.


“Did you have fun with your friends?” I wondered, as I knew her bestie had come over.


“Yeah, we had a good time,” she replied.


Following up I asked, “How did the chores go.”


“I got some of my room done,” she started, “and checked the laundry, but it wasn’t dry so I ran it more.” Long pause. “And then I got distracted and forgot,” she said with a choke in her voice and glistening eyes.


“Hmm,” I responded. “So you’re saying you pretty much didn’t get any of your chores or what you promised done?”


With tears leaking down her cheeks came a “No.”


From there we started talking about what we should do, and by “we” I mean HER. The thought process in my head was: How should Lara make up for not doing what she’d promised? Naturally I was trying to teach and instill responsibility and a keeping of her word in Lara. AND, simultaneously you could truthfully say I was pondering and communicating to my daughter that she needed to do something to reestablish her worth. In short, to become “good” again, she had to earn it by doing extra chores next week, forfeiting allowance, or something like that.


Enter Lisa and the superpower of forgiveness. While Lara and I were trapped by society’s message that favor must be earned, love requires something, and “debts” have to be repaid, Lisa interrupted us with forgiveness. After my tearful daughter said she’d do extra chores next week and get them all done before playing with friends, Lisa said: “Do you think that’s realistic or fun? You have shows next weekend too, and you’ll want to spend time with your friends. Do you think you’ll have a good weekend if you do that?”


“No, but I will,” Lara answered, “and I’ll get them all done to make up for this weekend.”


Here’s the thing, Lara’s amazing NOT because of anything she DOES, but because she’s an INCREDIBLE reflection of our Creator … just like you and I. With that in mind, Lisa said: “Instead, why don’t you just do your normal chores next weekend? How about you learn from this weekend, grow from it, and also still enjoy your friends? Sound good?”


“Yes,” Lara said with a smile.


That night she went on to be one of the few cast members the director named MVPs of that performance, and I think Lisa’s incredible display of grace and forgiveness played an instrumental part in Lara’s success. I say that because forgiveness frees us from burdens, inadequacies, failures, the need to perform, and pressure to be perfect, reminding us of our inherent goodness.


(Lara basking in the glow of a great performance)


I don’t think it’s a coincidence that in the same week I heard multiple podcasts/books with bits on the power and importance of forgiveness. Richard Rohr writes Jesus’ central themes were forgiveness and inclusion. These are love in action; otherwise it’s meaningless sentimentality. Mindfully forgiving and including others leads to actually doing the radical things Jesus’ invites us to, like loving our enemies and praying blessings on those who curse us.


Along those same lines, here’s something hidden in plain sight in the Bible (at least it was from me!). Put yourself in Jesus’ place. Imagine you’d healed and cared for tons of people, you’d shown immense amounts of grace, and you’d loved others incredibly well, only to be betrayed and abandoned by friends, and killed in the most horrible way imaginable. Then, picture yourself coming back to life. What would you say and do to the friends who betrayed/abandoned you and the people who falsely accused and killed you? I don’t know about you, but I do know I’ve wished hard times on those who hurt me and people I love. Jesus, though, does exactly the opposite. There is NO mention of revenge or reminder of wrong. There’s ONLY forgiveness and inclusion. Love in the flesh.


Hand-in-hand with this, two important things Jesus communicates to the disciples after He’s raised from the dead are peace and forgiveness (see John 20.19-23 as an example). Experience and spread peace and forgiveness, the Christ seems to be saying to both them and us. The early Church echoes these messages in various ways.


As I thought about the transcendent healing power a flood of forgiveness would bring, the story of the woman caught in adultery came to mind. The religious leaders try to trap Jesus by catching a woman in adultery and bringing her to Him for judgment. The Jewish Law said she should be stoned, but they figured He’d be lenient, which would put the Christ at odds with the Law. They ask Him for a verdict, so Jesus says: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” while writing in the dirt. One by one they all leave. Jesus turns to the woman and asks, “where are your accusers?”


“There aren’t anymore,” she answers.


Jesus then sends her off by saying, “then I don’t either. Go and sin no more.”


I’ve heard and thought of that last bit as a: I’m letting you off this time, but knock that crap off, because next time you’ll be in trouble. Not only is that counter to Jesus and grace, though, but in pondering this all a new understanding came to me. What if Jesus is saying: You, beautiful lady, are better than that. YOU are good, faithful, and true in your core. Don’t be burdened by the pressures of society and weight of your past. Go and be free from the load and guilt of sin? I have a hunch that could be close to the mark. 🙂


This brings me to a hypothesis of sorts and one more story about our Saturday. Lisa and I were lucky enough to get to go to the U2 and Mumford & Sons concert on Sunday, which was incredible. On our way in we saw a familiar sight, a few people with signs and shouts effectively proclaiming: Repent and ask for forgiveness of your sins or you’ll go to hell.


What if, I wondered, Jesus’ message and the mission of Christ followers isn’t to tell people we NEED forgiveness or MUST recognize and confess our shortcomings, so much as it is to just show and let EVERYONE know they’re forgiven … period? Is it important to recognize how we mess things up, how we do harm, and the like in order to transform? Absolutely! And I’d like to speculate it’s Christ follower’s occupation to spread forgiveness like it’s a salve for our wounds. We’re called to remind people they don’t have to carry the burdens of their past, their hurts, their faults, their failures, the need to succeed, etc. anymore. I think we already KNOW there are things wrong in the world and our lives, just watch the news. What we thirst and long for are reminders these hurts, wrongs, and sorrows are but threads in a greater tapestry of health, wholeness, goodness, and Love. Forgiveness is a reminder to you that you’re loved as you are without having to do or be anything, and a reminder from you to others of the same. It’s freedom from the weight of performance and competition. Like Lisa’s moment of grace with Lara did for my daughter, forgiveness sets us free to fly.


Lara wasn’t the only one blessed by the superpower of forgiveness on Saturday. Lisa and I were too. While I’m an enthusiast and try to squeeze all the goodness and activities I can into everyday, Lisa aims to please all the peoples. So, on Saturday in addition to our normal housecleaning, laundry, and workouts, and needing to get Lara to her play, we tried to fit in a daddy-daughter date, the trip to see Lisa’s granddaughters perform (complete with 2.5 hours of transit), and a biweekly group get together. In attempting to fit everyone in, it seemed to us we didn’t love any of them well because we had to cut every aspect of the day short and left our family wanting more.


Fortunately, amidst our exhaustion and frustration we allowed the healing power of forgiveness to seep in. We did our best, gave our loved ones everything we could, and next time we’ll communicate more clearly and not try and do so much. In short, we showed ourselves grace and it made all the difference in the world. It freed us from feeling like we had to be perfect and do everything exactly right. It gave us room to breath. And it allowed us to, without beating ourselves up, figure out how to do better next time.


I’d like to bring this all home with this conclusion: Forgiveness is a superpower we can all tap into. It’s Love in action. It frees us from the burdens of life and society to fly, by reminding us of our inherent goodness.


If you enjoyed this blog you can sign up for email notifications of future ones on the right.  Additionally, I have a Facebook page where I regularly post articles, blogs, quotes, meditations, etc. to encourage us to more Light and Love.  Again, to the right there’s a link for you to “Like” the page. 🙂

Grace and peace,


I’m Switching Blog Sites

2 May

Hi Everyone!


Thank you so much for following my blog!  For awhile now I’ve been using two separate websites and Facebook pages for my work, one for pastoring (this one) and one for yoga. In order to better focus my efforts, I’ve decided to combine it all into one.  With that in mind, I’ll no longer be using this site for my blogs, instead please head on over to Grace n Peace Yoga.  I even already have a new blog for you, one I’m super excited about, you can check it out here:

Meditation on Practicing Nonjudgmental Awareness to be Love

25 Apr
When I read these thoughts from Judith Hanson Lasater the other day I knew I HAD to share them with you. She says: “There is a famous book called, Your God is Too Small. I think that today, we could say the same thing about yoga. Our yoga is too small in the sense that yoga is so much more than doing asanas on a mat. Over time, it has become increasingly apparent to me that there is no other way to practice yoga than to live with awareness.”
What she’s getting at is the practice of noticing things as they happen, while, and here’s the KEY, avoiding jumping to conclusions and judgments about them. It’s simply noticing your thoughts and feelings as they arise … PERIOD. No more and no less. Why? Because when you stay present with your sensations, you’re radically brought into the present. I say radically, because in that moment you enter the peaceful pause in between judgments, to-do lists, etc. and you get in tune with Spirit and your True Self. In that space of grace you’re able to kindly observe your irritation, for instance, and realize it’s really because you’re too rushed or hurried in life or this moment. What is more, when you also bring this nonjudgmental, take things as they are approach to your interactions with others, you become more loving.
So, today I invite you to practice nonjudgmental awareness to be more your True Self … Love.

Meditation on Moving with Intention/Life as a Prayer

31 Mar
In my mind, one of the most famous and influential yogis ever, B.K.S. Iyengar, pretty much nailed it when it comes to both life and yoga by saying: “My body is my temple and asanas are my prayers.” Our Source, the Spirit (whatever you understand it to be) binding us together, is not only all around us, but also within us. We acknowledge this truth at the end of our yoga practice when we honor each other by saying, “Namaste,” meaning the Love, Light, Sweetness, Spirit, and/or Divine in me sees the same in you. Your, my, and everybody’s body is a temple of and for Light and Love.
With that in mind, doesn’t it make perfect sense that our poses and movements on our yoga mats are actually embodied prayers? Yoga is a moving meditation in which our arms, legs, fingers, toes, etc. express our desires, intentions, and hopes for ourselves, others, and the world. Whether we realize it or not, we’re ALWAYS communicating something, the key is to be mindful and purposeful with what the temple that IS YOU is expressing.
So, today I invite you to move with intention and view your practice and life as an embodied prayer. Communicate something with your hands. Let your heart and spirit pour out of you. Perhaps you give gratitude, let out grief, express joy, send out care and healing for others, and/or whatever your beautiful heart desires. Regardless, let Light and Love shine through your body!

God is NOT a Man, YET Jesus Named God “Father”, Why? The Reason Could Blow Your Mind

21 Mar

One of my pet peeves is that we nearly always refer to God as “He” or “Him”. Being the rebel that I am, I’ll even sing “She” while everyone else sings “He” at church sometimes! 🙂 While I believe God did indeed come TO us uniquely and fully as a man named Jesus, God is NOT a man. The Divine is ALL genders and NONE. God is FULL of gender. YET, why did Jesus call God “Father”? A possible/probably reason why I recently heard blew my mind and I think it might blow yours too! 🙂


A game changer when it comes to understanding people, life, the Bible, and more is context. Context, ladies and gentlemen, makes a HUGE difference. The environment Jesus lived in was a small Jewish segment in the great Roman Empire. A key aspect of the Greco-Roman culture, and let me emphasize this was also basically the NORM for most other societies as well, was Pater Familias. Pater Familias meant within a family, the eldest living male had complete control of the ENTIRE family. The “father of the family” (a literal translation of the phrase) was the CENTER and FOCAL POINT for EVERY family member. He ran the whole clan, and whether he did so with kindness or with an iron fist was completely up to him.




This was the context in which Jesus boldly and subversively named our Creator and the Source of all Life and Love, “Father”. Although I’m an Ancient History major I’d never made this connection until Brian Zahnd pointed it out in a sermon I was listening to the other day. When we pair the way Christ frequently referred to the Divine with the setting He lived in we get a potentially life-changing truth. The epicenter of life, love, and meaning for virtually EVERYONE in Jesus’ day was her or his Pater Familias … who frequently was little better than a tyrant, which made life pretty sucky. What Christ was saying, then, by calling God “Father” was our Creator is ALL of our true Pater Familias. BUT, instead of dictating our lives, punishing us, bossing us around for his own pleasure and benefit, or harming us, God as epicenter FREELY GIVES us freedom, forgiveness, life, joy, grace, peace, and love.


What about those who had a good and kind Pater Familias though? That father would someday die. The gifts and blessings of that leader were fleeting. What is more, even a good head of the family couldn’t help but be a bit selfish, defensive, and/or reactive from time to time. My, and I think Jesus’ point is making (or being told to make, as our culture says) ANY person, group, money, material item, or ideology the CENTER of our lives, whether they are good, bad, or neutral, WILL inevitably let us down. All the things of this world are fleeting and impermanent. God, however, is NOT. Making the Divine, who is Love, our centers will FILL us with rivers of life, joy, peace, and love that NEVER end. Will it feel like that every single moment of every single day? Of course not … YET, as we live and grow, my experience and belief is this magical, wonder-full reality saturates our lives more and more and more.


Another aspect of how we experience this truth brings up what I believe is another reason why Jesus named God “Father”. God is personal. Is the Creator of planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies, and the universe immense beyond our comprehension? Absolutely! Is the Source of Life and Love AWE-INSPIRING? Naturally! AND the Divine is also intimately relatable, present in every experience of love, and devoted to relationship. Which, is why Jesus calls God not just “Father”, but also “Abba”, essentially meaning “Daddy” or “Papa”. Christ is effectively saying, the Creator of ALL reality is also like the kind, tender, loving Father a small child sweetly and joyfully calls Dada.


While God isn’t a man, to name the Divine “It” would be to completely miss the relationship God desires with each and every one of us. Thus, Jesus brilliantly and subversively names God “Father”, thus both re-orienting our lives from the fleeting things of this world to our enteral, life-giving, overflowing with love Creator, and letting us know God is our close companion who is WITH us and FOR us. I think the more we live into these two realities, the sweeter life becomes.


If you enjoyed the blog you can sign up on the right for email notifications for future blogs I write, or check out the most recent blogs here.  Also, I have a Facebook site named “Beautiful and Broken Becoming Beautiful” where I post encouraging words on living love that I’d love for you to “like.”

Grace and peace,

Learning to Be a Human BEING Instead of DOING: The Hidden Message of the Story of the Good Samaritan

14 Mar

When we meet someone, after we learn their name, what’s one of the first things we ask him/her? “What do you DO?” When we come home from work or being gone for the day, what do usually ask our spouse, kids, parents, etc.? “What did you DO today?” I don’t know about you, but when I judge whether a day was successful or not, what measure my verdict by? “What I DID today.” These are all great and helpful … YET, they’re also a PROBLEM. I say this because we are HUMAN BEINGS, not doings; and it’s in BEING that we discover, experience, and are able to give abundant amounts of peace, joy, and love.


Not long ago I was innocently minding my own business, out for my regular run while listening to a podcast I frequent, when I had one of those AHA moments. One of those times when we better understand our self, life, and others. That week the pastor was talking about the Story of the Good Samaritan. While the title and meaning of it are pretty well known, I don’t want to assume you know the story, so I’ll paraphrase it for you. The short version starts with a bit of history 🙂 (I smile because I LOVE history). In the ancient Middle East the Samaritans (who lived in Samaria) and Israelites (who lived in Israel) lived right next to each other … and they HATED one another. Hundreds of years before the time of Jesus, the Samaritans had been Israelites. However, wars, captivities, and internal divisions led to them splitting off and becoming their own people group. My point being, they were basically siblings who’d grown apart AND had also adopted different views on religion, politics, and life. This meant their dislike for one another was passionate and fervent in the manner that only exists between once close friends or family. Imagine your closest friend ever, then picture that friend betraying you in the worst way possible … that pretty much sums up the relationship between the Israelites and Samaritans.


Now the story of the Good Samaritan. Recognizing the importance of loving our “neighbors”, a man asked Jesus: “Who is my neighbor?” in response to which the Teacher told this tale. A Jewish man (aka Israelite) gets mugged and left for dead along the side of a road. One after another, two Jewish religious leaders pass by on their way to perform religious tasks, WITHOUT stopping or even PAUSING to see if the potentially dying man was okay. They had important, religious things to DO, PLUS they couldn’t DO those things if they came into contact with a dead or dying man because of their purity laws. Then, a Samaritan comes by, though, and he goes to the hurting Jew, tends to him, and carries him on his donkey to the closest place of comfort and care (an inn). Here the Samaritan pays for all the Jewish man’s bills and promises to cover any further necessary expenses as he departs. “The” point being the Jewish man’s neighbor actually included people he viewed as his hated enemies. Love knows no bounds, can’t be contained, and spreads to and envelops everyone.


What’s this have to do with being a HUMAN BEING instead of a human DOING, though? Beats me, I just wanted to share that … just kidding 🙂 Having gone to church my whole life, the Good Samaritan story is old hat to me. I’ve ALWAYS thought the religious leaders were dummies and NEVER really related to them … only this time, in listening to the story, for the first time I found myself identifying with the religious leaders.


Not long before my wife (Lisa), daughter (Lara), and I had gone to Tucson to visit friends. Our flight back didn’t land until 1AM, which meant we got home to bed around 3 in the morning. The plan my daughter’s mom and I had coordinated was for Lisa to take Lara to school on her way to work around 11AM. Since Lara had slept in the car and on the plane some I figured this would work fine. We got up and chilled a bit with breakfast and coffee to wake up and relax. Then, as the time neared for Lisa and Lara to leave, I switched from BEING to DOING.


(My daughter and I before the Daddy-Daughter Dance last year … I lost the beard 🙂


I don’t know about you, but when I’m in DOING mode, I’m really task oriented. I’m all about getting X, Y, and Z done, as well as getting places, finishing things, etc. on time. YET, while DOING mode has its benefits, it’s quite lacking in understanding, patience, and love, those are the qualities of BEING. I say this because I’d told Lara the usual ten’ish times a 12-year-old requires that she was leaving with Lisa at 10:45AM, “so be ready.”


10:45 came and went and Lara was NOT ready. I asked her what was up, and she started falling apart. With my DOING mode in full swing, I met her tired tears and pleas NOT with kindness or understanding, but WITH appeals to what she HAD to DO. I said something like: “Sweetie, I love you. And I told you to be ready at 10:45. Now, Lisa is going to be late for work. This isn’t okay. You knew the plan.”


Not long later, I realized the error of my ways, apologized to Lara, and we cleared things up. Lisa wisely took her to her grandma’s instead of school and my sweet daughter felt heard and cared for. This whole scenario was still on my mind, though, when I heard the Story of the Good Samaritan. I’d been reflecting on what I could have done better and how. Lisa and I had even discussed how I could better care for and love Lara.


Listening to the story I had a big AHA! I realized: “Oh … my … word! That’s my answer. I’m the religious leader! Like them, I was SO focused on DOING that I didn’t even SEE the person who was HURTING and right in FRONT of me!” I was so preoccupied with the tasks of the day that I failed to see the beautiful, tired, out of sorts BEING who was literally crying out to me.


DOING is task, project, and time oriented. While these are important, we are first and foremost HUMAN BEINGS, and BEING is person, relationship, understanding, kindness, compassion, and love oriented. This is the lesson I learned from a bit of a dad fail and the Story of the Good Samaritan. I hope it helps you grow in light and love as well! Let’s DO less to BE more!


If you enjoyed the blog you can sign up on the right for email notifications for future blogs I write, or check out the most recent blogs here.  Also, I have a Facebook site named “Beautiful and Broken Becoming Beautiful” where I post encouraging words on living love that I’d love for you to “like.”

Grace and peace,

Meditation on Doing the Next Right Thing

14 Mar

Most of the yoga classes I teach are Vinyasa.  Generally and practically, this means we focus on our breath and link movement to breath.  Less focused on, but equally important is the true meaning of the word: “To place in a special way.”  Vinyasa is literally the practice of mindfully and lovingly placing and aligning your body parts.

With that in mind, check out this insight from Oprah Winfrey: “The way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself, what is the next right move?”  When we face trials, adversity, and hardship in life, often the best thing to do is the NEXT RIGHT THING.  Take things one step at a time.  Truthfully, I think this pretty much applies to ALL OF LIFE.  Think about it, how present, connected, and full of joy would we be if we focused our minds, bodies, and spirits on doing the next right thing? It’d be love followed by care followed by kindness followed by courage, and so on.  This approach puts us radically and powerfully in tune with both ourselves and others.
With that in mind, today I invite you to practice doing the next right thing.  As you move your body, mindfully place it in a special way.  As you go through the day, focus yourself on doing the next right thing, choosing healing, self-awareness, others-awareness, kindness, care, courage, and love.

Pursuing and Uncovering the Thing Behind the “Thing” Will Bless You and Others

10 Mar

My kind, giving, beautiful, and loving wife recently flew to North Dakota to help her son and his family. He’d just had back surgery, which combined with having two little kids and a very pregnant wife to mean they could use help in a BIG way. YET, when Lisa asked me about going, internally part of me shouted, “NO!” What the what?! Where’d that come from? Have you ever had thoughts or done things at odds with who you know yourself to be? I imagine many of us both have and been impacted by others doing so. This is where I think pursuing and uncovering the thing behind the “thing” will bless you and others. Check out what I mean by that!


I’ll start by giving credit where credit’s due, I got the phrase/idea “the thing behind the ‘thing’” from Rob Bell. The thing behind the “thing” is the root reason, story, or experience behind why we individually do/think something, the driving impulse leading a group/movement a certain direction, and the like. It’s what’s left when you peel back the layers of the metaphoric onion to get at the core issue behind something, the real motivation for an action/thought, etc.


The Thing behind the “Thing” is like the sun behind these clouds.  It’s always there, it’s shining bright, it matters most, but sometimes we have to wade our way through the clouds to see it!


Here’s an example to show you what I mean: Imagine you’re married, it’s dinner time and both of you have just gotten home. The two of you hug, chat for a bit, prep dinner, and sit down to eat. A few minutes into supper things go south. Your spouse turns grumpy and bites your head off. Ouch! What a jerk! Right? … Only probably not. I don’t know about you, but often my impulse would be to take it personal (i.e. I did something wrong) and grow sad, or get angry and lash back at her for being a meanie face (i.e. SHE did something wrong). The “thing” is this surface issue, your spouse acting irritable. The thing behind the “thing”, though, is what’s really going on. As you might be able to imagine, in this made up story your partner had a bad day at work. Their boss reamed him, or a co-worker let him/her down, or there was too much to do and too little time, or _______.


As you can imagine, if you didn’t find out she/he had a rough workday, things wouldn’t go well. YET, if you were curious and found out what occurred, the two of you would draw closer together, instead of further apart. When we stay at the level of the “thing”, the surface issue, we misunderstand each other, argue, get sad, etc. BUT, when we take the time to peel back the layers and get to the REAL thing, we arrive at understanding, compassion, care, and love.


Taking the time to uncover the thing behind the “thing” will bless us individually, relationally, and collectively. In other words it will help our individual inner-work and transformation, our interpersonal relationships, and our understanding of and love for others around the country and across the world.


Let’s go back to my story I started this off with. Why did part of me want to tell Lisa: “NO, don’t go and do that kind and loving thing for your son and his family”? As I peeled back the layers in my mind, the first few were still the “thing,” merely surface issues. “My” objections included the unexpected and not insignificant cost of the trip, all the extra work around the house I’d have to do, and that I rely on Lisa for transportation because I can’t drive due to a vision impairment. As I held these notions up to the Light, I realized none of them was really why part of me was saying “no,” so I dove down further. At the bottom I discovered my deepest hurt, the fear of being left/abandoned … again. The story of Lisa leaving to care for her son and family had echoes from the story of my second wife leaving me.


Once I uncovered the true thing, I was able to smile lovingly at my vulnerable and hurt self, and give him a loving hug of reassurance and security: “Lisa is not _____, she loves you fully, freely, and totally. I hear your fear and worry, it’s lovely and it’ll be just fine.”


Now, I’d like to expand the power of pursuing the thing behind the “thing” to interpersonal relationships. Are you friends or family with any know-it-alls? That guy or gal who has an answer for EVERYTHING … AND is POSITIVE he/she is right? I used to be that guy, think I know why, and have a hunch it applies to know-it-alls pretty frequently. I believe she/he acts that way because they’re insecure. They’re insecure because they lost control, power, protection, etc. in important aspects of their life. Perhaps she lost a job, or he got divorced, or she was abused, or he was neglected, or her parents divorced, or he moved constantly, or _____. Being a know-it-all is the “thing,” but behind that is THE thing, some loss (or losses) of security, stability, and such, which leads him/her to cling SUPER tightly to something they CAN control: knowledge. Realizing this truth leads to understanding, compassion, empathy, and love.


To end, let’s take this a step further. Much of my circle of friends is pretty liberal/progressive, which means we were shocked Trump was elected president. How could anyone vote for an openly racist, sexist, and discriminatory person we wondered? Stopping with that surface issue, however, is to stop at the “thing,” which will keep us separated and unloving. As I understand it, here’s THE thing, at least for a significant number of people. Lower class and/or less educated Americans felt UNHEARD and UNCARED for by the well-educated, wealthy Democrats. Trump gave them a voice. Trump told them he was on their side and was going to make them great again. I think it’s that simple. That’s the thing behind the “thing.”


When we pursue and uncover the thing behind the “thing”, all sorts of blessings and goodness occur. We are able to understand, relate to, care for, and love ourselves and others more freely and fully.

If you enjoyed the blog you can sign up on the right for email notifications for future blogs I write, or check out the most recent blogs here.  Also, I have a Facebook site named “Beautiful and Broken Becoming Beautiful” where I post encouraging words on living love that I’d love for you to “like.”


Grace and peace,

Christ is the Prototype of a New, Beautiful Body

6 Mar

Christ. Some days I think we’ve pretty much missed the boat on the Christ. He seemed far more interested in being FOLLOWED than WORSHIPPED. Christ talked way more about us MIMICKING Him than ELEVATING Him. What I’m saying is Jesus was the Prototype for a new Body and humanity.


Did you know some people consider themselves faithful and true Christians, but DON’T believe Jesus was God? While I don’t agree with them, I do think they emphasize a REALLY good and important point. A primary purpose and point of Christ’s time on earth was to form people to be LIKE Him. In fact, He even said we’d do greater things than Him, and initially Jesus’ early followers called themselves members of the Way. They considered themselves part of a New Way of living, loving, and being human.


Here is where the power of the words “both/and” come into play I think. Was/Is/Will Jesus be uniquely fully Divine and King of all Creation? Yes. Was/Is/Will Christ call us to become just like Him, transforming into mini-Christs? Yes. I think the Christ was BOTH the Creator God worthy to be named “Lord” AND the Model for a new humanity, the Body we were always meant to be.


In my experience, the Church has largely missed the second half of this, while thus overemphasizing the first part. We stress worshipping Jesus to the detriment of becoming mini-Christs. The interesting thing, though, is I think the truth of the second is hidden in plain sight all over the Bible … IF we have eyes to see. Consider just a few quick examples:


At the beginning of the Gospel of John, the author writes: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1.1-5) By “the Word” John meant Christ, and the meaning and power of that Greek word (Logos) has been lost in translation I think. In present day English, it more accurately means “Blueprint” or “Design”. In other words, the Christ, who was Love incarnate, is the Design for ALL humanity. We’re all made by, in the image of, and infused with the presence of Christ.


John effectively says Christ is the mold that shapes us all. The author of the Book of Revelation takes up this same chorus in declaring Jesus the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1.8). Christ is the Alpha, beginning, and Omega, ending, of history; our start and our finish. As Richard Rohr says: “Love is both the cause and the goal of all creation.”


The Apostle Paul frequently and often takes up a similar motif. Consider this masterpiece of literature in the Letter to the Colossians, where he writes of Christ:


“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1.15-20)


While books could be written about what this means and implies, I’ll draw your attention to just a couple things. Notice how the Christ is the firstborn of all creation, who both created and holds us all together. This means He’s both the pattern for all humanity AND the glue (aka Love) holding us all together. In other places Paul writes how Jesus is the first fruits of a new humanity, and we see echoes of that here. Two aspects of this stand out to me, and I think they have amazing implications for us all.


In 1.18 Paul declares Christ the head of the Body and links this to Him being the beginning and firstborn from the dead. These are two major themes in Paul’s letters, and not only do I think they’re inseparable, as I think about it I also believe they’re very much what Jesus taught us during His life. Paul’s two main points are (1) Christ established a new, optimal way to be human, so mimic Him, and (2) This new way of being human (i.e. following Christ) joins your individual body to a collective, diverse, and united Body of many bodies who form one Body, the Body of Christ.


I think a significant part of what it means to imitate Christ, and thus joining the new, bigger, more beautiful Body, is death and resurrection. As we saw in John and Colossians, Jesus is the pattern for everything. While the Church has frequently applauded Him for dying for us, it’s forgotten Part Two of the story. While Christ’s death and resurrection was unique, powerful, and for us all, we’ve forgotten He frequently called us to DO LIKEWISE. While for a select few this is literally an invitation to go die for the sake of God and love, for all of us it’s also a summons to die to ourselves. We die to ourselves by putting our egos, selfishness, competitive nature, striving, beating others in the game of life, acquiring more money/possessions, and such aside, so as to unselfishly love, care, give, and pour ourselves out for the sake of others, thus joining the new humanity (aka the Body of Christ), which is intended to be ALL the diverse beauty of humankind coming together as one. One Body comprised of many different bodies, united by Love.


Along these lines, I’d like to wrap up by dropping some knowledge on us (as the kids say 🙂 What do you think the most quoted Bible verse(s) is today? Probably John 3.16 (“For God so loved the world …”), right? Did you know for Christianity’s first 300 years (i.e. before it became the Roman Empire’s religion), the most quoted New Testament verse(s) was Jesus COMMANDING us with these words: But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5.44-45a)? The most quoted Old Testament verse was equally as revolutionary and astounding. It goes a little something like this:


He shall judge between the nations,

and shall arbitrate for many peoples;

they shall beat their swords into plowshares,

and their spears into pruning hooks;

nation shall not lift up sword against nation,

    neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isaiah 2.4)


I LOVE this verse. In fact, I have a tattoo based on it. I think turning our weapons for war, harm, and violence into tools for harvesting and creating food to feed and care for people is one of the most beautiful images of all time. The craziest part is most of us have understood this verse as a prophecy about someday. We think it describes the distant future. We faithfully believe this is something God will do LATER, when everything is better. NOT so with the Early Church. They believed Christ had ALREADY made this verse true, so lived and acted accordingly! To follow the pattern of Christ, to be like Christ, thus, meant and means to act nonviolently, pouring our time, energy, and efforts into care, compassion, and kindness as opposed to war, violence, and harm.



Recognizing and acting like the Christ is the Prototype for a new humanity changes EVERYTHING. When we do this and become transformed into mini-Christs, we realize there is neither American, Muslim, Black, White, Male, Female, Straight, Homosexual, etc. (to put Galatians 3.28 in modern terms) “for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3.28b) That’s not to say we literally stop being those things, instead it means we come together in all our beautiful and magnificent diversity to form one Body, one new humanity, one collective community of love, care, and kindness for ALL. When we follow Christ, we form an amazing community named the Body of Christ.


Really, all I’m trying to say is I believe Jesus meant us to be far more like Him than I think we often think. I’m not sure how Christ-like we can or will become, and believe Jesus is uniquely God and worthy of praise, yet I think we should also never stop trying and allowing the Spirit to make us as much like Christ as possible. When we do this, I’m convinced you, me, everyone, and the world becomes amazing.


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Grace and peace,