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Showing posts from November, 2012

The Jesus of Christmas

“Immanuel” - “God with us” announced the angels two millenia ago. And thus, a great cosmic mystery unfolded in human history. The most holy and omnipotent God, whose nature and existence we cannot comprehend with our finite minds, who exists beyond the universe that he made, broke directly into human history to reach out to us. The eternal Christ emptied himself of his divine powers and prerogatives, took on human form, to show us the way to salvation. And not just to show us the way, but so that he himself would become the way, as he humbled himself to death on a cross for us.

This month, as we reflect on the Christmas gift of the Son to us, let us remember it not just as a story of long ago, but let us also remember his profound love. Let us open ourselves to experiencing it more each day. Jesus, our Immanuel, came to be with us, and is always with us and in us.

This is amazing for so many reasons, first of all, because God himself is infinitely…

So, how’s your relationship?

People in relationships often ask themselves, at some level of consciousness or another, how they feel the relationship is going. Particularly they ask themselves, “how am I benefiting from the relationship” or “what am I getting out of the relationship?” And in a healthy romantic relationship, a person would ask him/herself, “I wonder if s/he is benefiting from or enjoying the relationship, and me?” These are the kinds of questions that healthy people would ask themselves in healthy relationships, as long as their expectations aren’t unreasonable or overly selfish.

We also have to evaluate our relationship with God, but we can’t evaluate this relationship in quite the same way. To simply ask, “how am I benefiting from this relationship with God” in the same way would be egocentric. A better way to approach this question would be to ask yourself, “for what specific things am I thankful to God?” and to reflect on all his mercies, grace, and blessings to you – m…

The cost of being a disciple

In Jesus’ day, a disciple was a follower, a student and an apprentice of a rabbi (a spiritual teacher). If one wanted to become a rabbi, one trained as a disciple-apprentice to a rabbi, learned from him, followed him, and then started to do as the rabbi did. Jesus, by the way, was a self-taught rabbi; as God’s son he did not need to learn from a human rabbi.

Jesus commands us to be his disciples. We follow him, we learn how to live the spiritual life that he wants for us, we learn his teaching, and we spread his teaching to others and encourage them to become disciples of our Lord. Being a disciple, then, entails a cost, because we must give up everything to become his disciples [Luke 14.33]. There’s no room for the sort of easy-believism that has become popular today.

One could be a faithful disciple, or a disciple who is ineffective or inactive (just as one could be a good or bad student, but a student nonetheless; in fact, ‘disciple’ and ‘discipline’ come from the Latin word for…