Enter the Slave Garden

photo by Tulay Palaz
photo by Tulay Palaz

Living Hope Community Church meets at Ironwood Elementary School, and to enter, you must pass through a small gated courtyard before you reach the doors to the worship space.
Every Sunday we are able to come to our church space, pass through the gates, enter through the door, and participate in the worship service. There are no requirements, no check points, no guards at the door who require you to prove your worthiness to enter. You are not restricted by your age, your gender, your education, your finances or your past. You aren’t stopped because of who your parents are or were. You don’t have to present papers, or pay to enter. You are welcomed in freely.
But what if that weren’t the case? What if you showed up and there were chains on the gate? What if, suddenly, you were made to enter though a side door, and wait for the chance that you might (or might not) be allowed to enter? What if someone or something owned you, and you weren’t free to worship how or where or when you wanted, because the one who owned you had forbidden it?

Continue reading “Enter the Slave Garden”

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The battle lines have been drawn

the-somme-5-1315328.jpg
photo by Matt Cockbain

Do you feel that you are a woman of strength? Are you powerful? Strong? Equipped? Do you feel prepared to face the battles that may come your way? Are you angry? Hurt? Burdened? At war?

Do you know what “Victory in Christ” is?  I wonder if any of us truly do, because it seems clear that very few of us are living victoriously. The saving work of Jesus and his Gospel is an ongoing event in your life.  It predates the moment when you accepted Christ and submitted to him—because he was working toward this goal before you knew it—and continues every day after.  Salvation in Christ is MORE than simply acknowledging him as God and your Savior.  The work that Jesus does in the life of every believer is a continual process that includes saving, healing, equipping, instructing, and sanctification. Continue reading “The battle lines have been drawn”

What’s going on here?

despairThere’s something that has been on my mind for months now, and I am tired of wondering about it, so I think I’m going to do some digging and see what I find. I wonder if you’ll be curious about this too.

Not too long ago, I was working in a department store at the mall–just one of those jobs you take to try to help make ends meet–and there was a scene that happened in the store that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. An older woman came to our counter to purchase some pants that she thought were on sale. When they did not ring up at the price she expected, she took the clerk over to the sign with the sale price. The clerk pointed out that the sign referred to some jeans that were on the same rack, not the cotton pants that the woman wanted, and so she politely refused to sell the pants at the lower price. I cannot fault my co-worker (much) for what followed, because she handled the situation as she had been trained to do. The old woman was more than upset, she was distraught. She made a bit of an angry scene at the counter, but then, as she was walking out of the store, she began wailing. WAILING! Continue reading “What’s going on here?”

What happened to Hospitality?

Perhaps this has always been the case, and I just missed it by years of attending the same church, but I can’t help to feel that the church has all but abandoned the concept of hospitality. In the last couple of years, as I moved to a new city, completed grad-school, and relocated (again), I have had the opportunity to visit many churches.  The most overwhelmingly common characteristic of the seven churches I’ve attended in the last three years? A cold, unwelcome, or insincere feeling.

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Letting Go of Holding On

I’ve been all but paralyzed all day. There is plenty to do, and I’ve been so stuck that by this time I am not confident that I can pull off the few pressing things that really need to be done right away.

The thing is, that I’ve been putting more hope than I’ve realized into things that are beyond my control.

No, not quite faith exactly.  Just that I suddenly realize that I have been counting on assumptions that I’ve made, and that others have made around me and my family.  And those assumptions have been boiling to the surface lately to bite us.   Continue reading “Letting Go of Holding On”

Proof comes to Fuller Seminary

This week, the Fuller Company will present our third-ever full-length production, Proof, written by David Auburn, for our winter offering to the Fuller community.   Proof centers around 25 year-old Catherine, who has spent the last several years caring for her father, Robert; a brilliant and famous mathematician who has become mentally unstable.  The play opens on the eve of her birthday, and we begin to discover what caring for her father has cost her—and it is certainly more than her social life.  Catherine is subjected to intrusions that she would not choose for herself, including the persistent presence of her father’s protégé Hal—who is looking for evidence of Robert’s brilliant mind in the pages of the 103 notebooks that he filled over the course of his illness.  Add to this the steam-rolling arrival of Catherine’s estranged sister, Claire, and we are quickly thrust into a world that many Fuller students might find uncomfortably familiar.

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Finally Comes the Bard

“The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,

Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;

And, as imagination bodies forth

The forms of things unkown, the poet’s pen

Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing

A local habitation and a name.”

William Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Act 5, Scene 1

Unscripted Ephesians Ch 6

We’ve come to the end of our series on the book of Ephesians, but we’re not through yet.

The last chapter of Ephesians contains a little segment that is popular with Sunday school teachers: the good ole’ “armor of God”. What I find interesting and entertaining about this passage is how we’ve seemed to make it kid-sized through video games and coloring books, but have all but abandoned the adult implications of it.

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Unscripted Ephesians Ch 5

Last time we talked about the book of Ephesians, we talked about the directive in chapter 4 to “live a life worthy of the calling you have received”.  If you happened to go crack a Bible and look that passage up, you’ll have noticed that much of the rest of the chapter goes on to talk about what that looks like.  And if you kept reading, chapter 5 seemed like much of the same—and it is—but if you read long enough you probably hit a nice little speed bump: “wives submit to your husbands…”

Ouch.  Continue reading “Unscripted Ephesians Ch 5”