Showing posts from November, 2013


Some reject God simply on the basis of bad things happening to good people. If there is a loving God why is life so nasty for some? I think it’s best to let God answer the ‘why’ questions. My attempt might sound like I was defending the God who needs no defense. When we see intolerable suffering and grave injustice, where can the gospel take us? Is there a resolve that makes sense?
When you are faced with a horrible crisis, God wants to be present with you to reconcile all things. This is the story of how the disciples experienced it after Jesus had been put to death. They heard rumors that he had raised from the dead, but who could believe that? How could anyone have hoped for good to come from such injustice?

John 20:19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples …


Like the Psalmist David, there are many who lament as they remember the sins of their youth (And let’s not forget the sins of last week.) Something internal tells us that God was not pleased with our selfish choices. 

We lament at the ways that we were weakened and scarred. We regret the hurts and disconnect that we caused.
Extend the lament to community and nation and our sorrows increase. For instance, how did our ancestors legitimize the genocidal practices and abuse toward the First Nations people? The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada[i] has been at work to find answers for the widespread abuse in the previous century’s residential schools sanctioned by the Churches.
Jesus is all about reconciliation. For all that is damaged and broken, God came to restore and set right. Even when the abusers were supposed to be God’s representatives, the gospel has power to judge and heal. That’s right—the gospel is also a message of judgment against all that’s wrong in us and in the w…


One of my favorite singer/songwriters is Michael Roe. I’ve listened to his music for 30 years. I’ve long admired his confessional tone and word play. About his writing, he said,

"These songs are a forum where I dialogue with myself and with God. A lot of these are prayers, some of them are promises I'm making to myself, some of them are just wishful thinking. Oftentimes my songs tell on me, they indict me, they provoke me, they convict me." Roe adds, "We're only here for a short time, in this veil of tears...I hope my songs help people in general to realize what we have been given and how much is available to us."[i]
As a young man in my twenties, I was especially drawn to a blues song entitled ‘I Could Laugh’. It’s a lament in the vein of David’s ‘remember not the sins of my youth’.
(You can listen online at )
I Could Laugh
Mama Don't UnderstandShe Wants To Hold My Hand Night And Day
She Don't Like My Cloth…


A recent study in England researched the spiritual and religious practices of people that are homeless. In many places, the homeless are viewed as the ‘unrighteous of community values’. They are the ones whom parents warn their children about and city officials want out of sight. Business owners shoo them away.

The parable of the lost sheep tells us that the concerned shepherd leaves the 99 righteous sheep to find and restore the 1 back to the flock. If the church in any community does not have a concern for the homeless, I question if they grasp what it means to be the flock of God.
For homeless people – both those with faith and those who are not conventionally religious but see themselves as spiritually curious – religious belief, practice and doctrines can help them come to terms with a past that is often characterized by profound emotional and material loss, enhance and give structure to the present where time hangs heavy for many, and create a purposeful future built on hope, fe…


The parable of the lost sheep speaks to the challenge of living right. Personal righteousness was a central theme to Scribes and Pharisees. Lost sheep were those who did not follow the leader and stay with the flock. They disobeyed the rules of good sheep:

1.Sheep need to listen to shepherd’s voice and follow2.Sheep have a communal flock instinct. Sheep that are ill might wander away
When someone distances him/herself from the faith community, it is usually for similar reasons. They have had poor leadership in their life or lacked respect for shepherds in general. Wanderers let the sickness of soul lead them away instead of letting a good shepherd restore them to health, bind their wounds or accommodate for their weakness.
So we may easily blame sheep for wandering away. But that is not the moral of the story. The heart of God searches for the wanderers and brings them home, fully aware that the sheep is sick, wounded or foolish. The Shepherd values every lamb and knows each weakness.