My Fulcrum: A Psychological Odyssey

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Prologue

My mind is my greatest source of leverage, granting me power over issues professional, personal and spiritual. But leverage requires a lever, which requires a fulcrum. Something immovable that I can use to move everything else.

But what if the root of the most important issues I face is hidden under that fulcrum? What can I use to move an immovable object?

And what is the secret I have spent my whole life pressing further away from my consciousness?

What Lies Beneath

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Dream: The Agony of Hope

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“We have forgotten — or perhaps never really understood — what it means to trust that God is in control.
Politics matters.
But we have forgotten that good political leaders were supposed to be our gift to the world.
Now we think they are something the world has to give us, so we can truly practice our faith — or feel good about ourselves.
So whenever we see a leader — inside or outside the church — who doesn’t seem to honor our truth, we are filled with anguish; and act like God has abandoned us… ”

Music Playlist: The Agony of Hope

With Bill Breck
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RSVP with God: Outcome-Driven Quiet Times

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RSVP stands for the four steps I have been using to help my spirit align with God’s purposes for my life:

  • Rejoice: Meditate on yesterday’s emotional highs and lows until you find a way to rejoice in them
  • Shalom: Repeat until you can rest in God’s peace. Over time your “set point” of how much peace you expect will increase.
  • Vision: From that place of Peace, ask God what to focus on today. As part of this, I like to read a short devotional, look up relevant Bible verses, and God for a single “theme” word for the day to prime my thinking.
  • Praise: Finish by affirming God’s sovereignty over everything that is going to happen, and thanking Him for showing up.

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Spiritual Christianity: Theology, Simplified

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Update: Accepted as a Poster Session. Slides now available.

Abstract submitted for PassionTalks 2018 on Saturday, August 11th at Convergence House of Prayer in Fremont, CA.

Spiritual Christianity arose from a series of blog posts I wrote to prepare my seven-year-old daughter for baptism.  I wanted her to start out with a faith that was:

  • Resilient to disappointments
  • Relevant to culture
  • Revolutionary to society
  • Reviving to the church

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Anjali’s Catechism: A Childlike Invitation to Spiritual Christianity

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Anjali’s Catechism: The Book is coming in Summer 2019.  Preview now.

The Invitation

Are you ready to:

  1. Embrace the One who created the universe as the Heavenly Father who loves you like Jesus?
  2. Submit your awareness, values, and goals to becoming more like Christ’s?
  3. Receive God’s Spirit, Word, and Body to reveal and heal the wounds in your spirit that hinder you from becoming like Jesus?
  4. Value God’s happiness, glory, and relationships more than your own?
  5. Practice generosity and vulnerability so others can see Christ in you?
  6. Surrender childlike happiness for the grown-up joy of loving like Jesus?

Lessons

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Lesson 1/6: You and God (Anjali’s Catechism)

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The GospelGod Loves Us Like Jesus

You are an amazing person.  You have a lot in common with other people, but there is nobody quite like you.

  • You have a body.  Head, fingers, toes, belly button.
  • You have a soul.  You think.  You feel.  You want.
  • You have a spirit.  You can reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and desires.  You can decide what kind of person you want to be.

God is amazing.  We are like God, but God is not like us.

  • Our whole universe — including us! — is like a small part of God’s body.
  • He knows everything that happens to us.  He feels everything we feel.  He wants us to know Him, and enjoy the life He give us..
  • He has a Spirit that our spirits can talk to, and hear from.

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Psalm 151: A psalm of Ernie

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Psalm 151A psalm of Ernie, while waiting for funding

Bless the Lord, O my soul.

Exalt His holy name.

For the LORD is good at being God, and deserves the highest praise.

The evil one laid many snares for me

Wicked and immature men plotted against me

But the Lord delivered me from them all.

Death, where is thy victory?

Shame, where is thy sting?

Though He slay me, yet will I praise Him. 

Even if my body should be burned, and all my possessions sold to the poor, yet I shall be rich in Him.

His rod of justice and staff of correction, they comfort me in my light and momentary afflictions, for they are achieving an eternal weight of glory. 

Rejoice, you who call on the name of the Lord. Remember all His mercies towards us. His kindness never fails. His love never ends. 

Bless the Lord, all Ye children of Zion. Praise Him with harmonica and ukulele, with GarageBand and six-string guitar.

All those who surrender to Him will never be put to shame.

Bless the Lord, O my soul. 

Alleluia. Amen. 

Wise Risk: Faith in Two Syllables

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Part 5 of 6 in the series Childlike Theology:

  1. The Gospel
  2. Discipleship
  3. Holiness
  4. Worship

As children, we express faith in our parents by obeying them to stay safe. As adolescents, we risk danger in order to express faith in ourselves.

I have come to believe that the hallmark of a mature faith is wise risk. Which implies we should be designing our lives — and churches — to maximize learning rather than avoid failure.

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LEAD! C.5 Studying Scripture

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boIn Which Diligently Searching God’s Word Leads Us to Truth

Few disciplines are as essential — or as dangerous! — as studying the words and works of God. Used in the wrong spirit, theology can become a heavy burden or a useless distraction (cf. Matthew 23:4). But when taught by the Holy Spirit, God’s word becomes the very source of life itself (cf. Luke 4:4). The challenge to us, as to Timothy, is whether we will apply God’s word rightly

Memory Verse: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)

Assigned Reading
  1. Richard Foster: Celebration of Discipline

    • 5. Study
  2. Donald Whitney: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

    • 2. Bible Intake (Part I)
  3. Eugene Peterson: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

    • 6. Help: “Oh, Blessed Be God! He Didn’t Go Off & Leave Us!”
  4. Ruth Haley Barton: Sacred Rhythms

    • 3. Scripture: Encountering God Through Lectio Divina

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LEAD! B.3 From Mockery to Hope

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In Which Our Souls Find Hope Amidst Suffering

theo_hope

Hope is the primary virtue of the Soul. It provides Reasons to encourage positive Emotions, and the Emotional energy to search for better Reasons. It can be defined as “the ability to joyfully pursue a higher purpose — even when painful.”

Hope is particularly needed by the Mocker, who is driven by both the need to control (due to fear) and the illusion of control (due to pride). Yet if they can unclench their soul enough to hope in God’s wisdom, Mockers may yet discover that true freedom comes from giving up control.

Though such learning usually only comes after great suffering…

Assigned Reading
  1. Peter Kreeft: Back to Virtue

    • 5.B (Hope) The Three Theological Virtues
  2. Dick Hockett: Foundations of Wisdom
    • 5. The Mocker

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