what you see – it’s who you are

What we see says a whole lot about who we are.

In fact: What we see makes us who we are.

In our daily lives, every situation and every person and every landscape can be seen differently. And what you see in a given situation or what you see in a specific person or what you see in a landscape before you – what you see, says a great deal about who you are. Going even further again: What we see in all of this makes us who we are. You just are a person who sees this, rather than that – or that, rather than this.

Perhaps we can get a little bit more specific. When you look out into the night’s sky and you see all those stars visible to the naked eye – when you see all those stars, which are just a fraction of the 300 billion stars that make up our galaxy – when you see all those do you see a universe that came from nowhere and is going nowhere? Do you see a universe that is accidental and meaningless? Or in seeing those stars do you see the mysterious and wonderful work of a God who gives the world as gift and grace. A universe within which we may find our own lives as gift and grace. What you see in those stars says a lot about who you are – it says a lot about the hope and peace that defines you.

We can bring this down to another level altogether, of course. When you see a dad dragging a screaming 7 year old through the parking lot at the grocery store, do you see a dad who has lost his temper; do you see a dad who is impatient; do you see child who is spoiled? Or do you see someone struggling to be a parent in the way that every parent struggles. Someone who knows how to love and is almost certainly learning daily how to love more faithfully? Continue reading

on starting to say something interesting – and then totally missing the thread – #oldhabitsdiehard

UnknownIn this Huffington Post Religion blog post (click the image), Henry Brinton (don’t know him at all) starts to say something quite profound – and then drives into a cul-de-sac

Here’s the money quote: “Congregations need to establish hospitable ‘threshold places’ that link the church with the world around it…” It’s very well put. And the specific architectural example he gives leading up to the point is an insightful one – a church building that is both indoor and outdoor.

But then he drives into that cul-de-sac – he gets into full attractional church mode: parking lots, landscaping, greeters, etc… Please, no.

The image of ‘threshold places’ could be explored to great profit. To my mind, such threshold places would be contexts in which the church is drawn into meaningful encounter and work and conversation with the world around – and very often it will be a territory in which the church is guest or partner. Thinking missionally, it will necessarily be a territory in which the church is not ‘in control’ and is not  ‘host’, but in which it may nevertheless live graciously and confidently in Christ, serving his kingdom.

The one example I think of is Paul and Lydia outside of Philippi. Lydia was free to listen, or not. In that public place she was free to stay or to walk away. Paul simply spoke of his faith in Christ and, in that ‘threshold place’ (a place of open and honest and transparent encounter), let her freely respond. In her case the response was one of faith, and insistent hospitality.