August 15, 2007

Words for the Day


Moving often has helped to keep my possessions to a smaller quantity than if I were permanently living somewhere. However, as I moved apartments today, I still felt like I had too much stuff. Five bags of clothes and miscellaneous items are being dropped off at the Salvation Army tomorrow.


New apartment and new bed. I'm really excited about the bed. Feels right to be somewhere new for the new year.

August 13, 2007


I'm back on campus at seminary.

I'm exhausted.

It's weird to be here.

August 12, 2007


Sunday, August 12, 2007
Hebrews 11:1 - 12:2


It’s just a five-letter word.
It wouldn’t earn many points in a game of Scrabble.
It might even be laughed at
by those who take their Scrabble a little too seriously.


It’s just a five-letter word.
It’s not the biggest or most impressive sounding word
a seminary-educated individual, like myself, could use.

There’s words and phrases like
eschatological imagination,
hermeneutic of suspicion,
subjective atonement,
and pneumatology.

Now those would be some big, five-dollar words
to leave you with on my last Sunday.
But they aren’t the words for today.
There’s just one word today,
maybe even the one word: faith.


“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1)

“Faith is the firm foundation under everything
that makes life worth living.
It’s our handle on what we can’t see.” (The Message)

“Faith is the complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” (

“Faith is a firm and certain knowledge of God’s benevolence toward us,
founded upon the truth of the freely given promise of Jesus Christ,
both revealed to our minds & sealed on our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” (Calvin)

Those are some good definitions –
from a couple different translations of the Bible,
and from a dictionary and from good ol’ Calvin
(can’t forget about him) –
but what does it all mean …
What is faith … really?

Pushing aside the English geek or grammatical fanatic,
and the fact that the word “faith” is listed as a noun in the dictionary,
I think faith is really best thought of as a verb,
as an action word.

You know:
Billy and Susie ran.
Spot jumped.
Mommy yelled.

Because as author Kathleen Norris puts it,
faith is more than just a thing that you either have or you don’t.
Faith is not just an abstract concept.

It’s trust in God in the every day stuff.
It’s obedience to the Lord’s commands.
And those two things require some doing.

And so,
faith is an action word.

We see that word in action in chapter 11 of Hebrews.
There is a whole litany of the actions of the faithful over the years.

In the past,
faith has been
building a ginormous ark
even though you haven’t ever seen a torrential downpour or a flood;
faith has been
setting out for a new, promised land,
even though you have no idea
what a land flowing with milk and honey
actually looks like or if it even exists;
faith has been
walking around a city and blowing trumpets
even though you have never seen such actions
bring a city to its knees.

Faith has been about the doing (the verb part)
the building and the setting out and the walking,
despite reason, and “even thoughs,”
“althoughs” and “neverthelesses.”

And faith is still an action today.

It’s offering to God a portion of our money
even though we might be unsure about the bills later in the month
or the retirement savings and fund.

And faith is sharing food and clothing with neighbors
even though we’re worried about them both running out
and we’re not sure if the person is even really our neighbor.

And faith is worshipping the Lord our God with song and prayer
even though we might not be certain about everything.

Faith is more than lip service –
saying “I believe this” or “I don’t believe that.”

It’s putting those beliefs into action –
into the actual offering and sharing and worshipping.

It’s living faith.
It’s faith as an action word.

And those actions come from ordinary people.

Ordinary people –
like you and me
and the person on the street corner
and the one with a lisp
and the one who was barren
and the ones who liked to complain.

Ordinary people who were willing to move and do –
do some confident wandering,
rather than just some stationary wondering.

Ordinary people
who trust in and obey an extraordinary God.

So more than the five letters and the smart sounding definitions,
faith is moving beyond the “I believe” to the “therefore, I do …”
It’s about adding on some good verbs:

What does your faith do?


That’s it …
and that’s everything.

Thanks be to God. Amen.

August 06, 2007


I played putt-putt golf with some friends last night. It was still awfully hot and humid at 7pm, but we had a good time anyways. None of us were even close to par ... this course was much more difficult than it looked. And then there were the times when the golf balls went into the water and through the bushes and into the water and backwards and into the water... can you tell we had to fish some balls out of the water? Let's just say it wasn't so much about the accuracy as it was about the fun.

But reflecting on the fun and games from last night, I've realized that I approach life much like I approached the course last night. Whenever we started at a new hole, I always walked around it to the end. I had to see where the final hole was; if there were multiple holes that would shoot my ball out at the end, I wanted to know where it was going to come out. However, one of the friends with whom I was playing often just stepped up and started while I was still investigating the turns and dips and holes (caused me to have to jump a few times). She just figured her ball would come out wherever it was supposed to come out. Me ... I wanted to know ahead of time. I wanted to be able to plan.

August 03, 2007

Leaving Soon

The countdown continues and it's hit the single digits ... only 9 more days left until I am done.

That means I'll be leaving Internship Church soon and returning to seminary for my final year.

But between the end of my yearlong internship and the start of my senior year, I have three glorious weeks. And that's what I'm focusing on right now. I've scheduled a haircut and a massage, which both always lift my spirits. I'm already arranging and rearranging my apartment at seminary in my head - it'll be so nice to have my own space again. I can't wait to spend some time at home with family and friends and mentors who are ready to give me space to relax and to love on me.

Suddenly 9 more days doesn't seem long at all.