Divorcing the War on Marriage

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In the conservative Christian circles I live in, we often talk about the war on marriage: how the laws of our culture must uphold the biblical pattern against those who would seek to redefine it.

While that may be true, we seem to be ignoring a painful reality. The church lost that same war decades ago: on the issue of divorce. Maybe we should take the time to understand why before we make the same mistakes all over again.

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Limerick: Tempting Gifts

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When we are still under Law
Temptation will stick in our craw
For if we give in
We know its a sin
But we can’t unsee what we saw

Yet when we are living by Grace
Temptation’s a whole ‘nother place
Our hunger for sin
Reveals what’s within
And makes us to seek out His Face

Fruit of the Spirit vs Veggies of the Law/Jellies of the Flesh

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My mind was blown a couple months ago when our preacher that week pointed out, almost as an aside, that the Fruit of the Spirit was primarily something we gave other people.

Perhaps like you, I had subconsciously assumed that Fruit meant I was feeling more love, joy, peace, etc. But once I reimagined Fruit as “experiences we give others that contain the seed of Christ,” I started to get really excited.

For three reasons: Revival, Metrics, and CounterFruit.

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Dream: Prison Break

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A story of Law and Grace

Two men.
Old.
Ghosts.
With a mule.
1897.
Treasure Hunters.

They capture me.
Take me into a dungeon.
Make me dig.

I break free.
Shove them into an abyss
Including their little black dog.
Ignoring their screams for help.

I open the steel door and lock it behind me.
Then turn a corner in the corridor.
There is another door up ahead.
Repeat.
I am always escaping, but never free.

I wake.
Then I meet Jesus.
He sends me back down.
I don’t want to go.
But I obey.

It seems to take forever.
I finally get to the last door.
I look inside.
I see the tormented soul in the ditch.
It is me.

TGR-S6E6: How to Cure Train Wrecks

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Join us on The Great Reset (via Zoom or YouTube Live at Tue Jan 5, 2020 at 1PM PST) as Ernie pitches a framework for tying together our recent themes of discipleship, reconciliation, and loving more like Jesus.

Question: Is there a single thing that both causes and sustains “train wrecks” (i.e., cascades of broken relationships)? If so, can it be inverted to provide a cure?

Perspective: Yes, abjection (i.e. dissociating self from what is toxic or outside our control). The tragedy is that abjection is essential for identity in both groups and individuals, yet ultimately destructive of the larger context. The cure is to follow Christ by incarnating into what was abjected, and overcome it by the power of the cross.

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TGR Code of Conduct

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Draft 1, 29 Oct 2020, The Great Reset

  1. John 13:34 A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another.
  2. Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him with a spirit of gentleness. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
  3. Whenever you need help with (1) or (2), just ask.
  4. If you see someone struggling with (1) or (2), offer to help.

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LEAD! C.11 Discerning Direction

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In Which We Hear to Obey, and Obey to Hear

Few questions are more fraught with promise and peril for the believer than “What is God’s will for my life?” While we know the textbook answers, we still long for more specific, personal guidance — and rightly so. Properly hearing God’s voice can open the door to dramatic transformation of people, relationships, and society; alas, mishearing God’s voice can result in darkest tragedy.

There is no simple answer, but there is a sure promise: if we entrust our ways to the Lord by faithfully pursuing the disciplines in submission to the Spirit, the Word, and the Body, He will ultimately lead us in a way that glorifies His name…

Memory Verse: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

Assigned Reading
  1. Richard Foster: Celebration of Discipline

    • 12. Guidance
  2. Donald Whitney: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

    • 12. Learning
  3. Eugene Peterson: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

    • 3. Providence: “God Guards You from Every Evil”
    • 14. Obedience: “How He Promised God”
  4. Ruth Haley Barton: Sacred Rhythms

    • 7. Discernment: Recognizing and Responding to the Presence of God

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LEAD! B.7 From Envy to Submission

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In Which We Submit To Our Place in God’s Creation, And Are Commended By Him

“Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.” — Matthew 5:4

Envy is a close cousin to greed, though greed focuses on the thing desired while envy on the person who currently has it. It has been called the most miserable sin, since it doesn’t cause even temporary pleasure to those who commit it!

Envy can be defined as resenting those who possess what we crave. In contrast, mourners have processed the painful truth that this life will never fulfill our deepest longings. But as we submit to our place in God’s created order, we receive what the wise crave most: the comfort of His divine presence.

Assigned Reading
  1. Peter Kreeft: Back to Virtue

    • 9. Blessed Mourner vs. Mourner at Others’ Blessedness (Envy)
  2. Dick Hockett: Foundations of Wisdom
    • 3.6 (Modest) Example: Proverbs about the Tongue

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LEAD! Curriculum Reset for “Theological Foundations”

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So, the good news is that our church is gearing up to start LEAD! on September 4th, and already taking applications! That’s also the bad news, since I’ve only finished three classes. 😦

Still, it only takes me about four hours per class, which is two late night waiting-to-feed-Rohan sessions (assuming he behaves), so I should be able to keep up.

The real problem is that my lesson topics have gone in a completely different direction that originally envisioned. More, my pastor has a slightly different vision for how things should fit together. Given the time timeframes, it is essential we get on the same page (and stick to it, if possible).

Here’s my current vision for what is now being called “Theological Foundations”. Hopefully my pastor and I can converge on this syllabus soon (once he’s no longer busy with his new grandson 🙂

[Updated and ratified 8/19 with John Isaacs]

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