Tag Archives: Spiritual

Spiritual Triage and Why We Don’t Get It

Tuesday Re-mix –

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife… So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present,  hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.  1 Corinthians 5:1, 4-5

Triage:  the sorting of and allocation of treatment to patients and especially battle and disaster victims according to a system of priorities designed to maximize the number of survivors  merriam-webster

“Triage” is the term for having to make quick, hard decisions (usually medical) about which wound or patient to treat first in order to do the most good.  In the spiritual warfare we call “church”, there are casualties…and none more so than when blatant and public immorality are at issue.  That is what Paul confronted in the Corinthian church, and his counsel is both passionate and harsh.  It is about spiritual triage.

If you are being honest, you will admit that you do not like this instruction from Paul one bit.  Furthermore, if you are like me, you have twisted and contorted and struggled to find some way of interpreting and teaching this passage that somehow takes the “harsh dogma” out of it and makes it more understandable…more palatable to the mainstream Christian…more “in line” with our notions of grace and mercy.  We do this in light of Jesus’ treatment of church discipline in Matthew 18 (“treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector”…remember how Jesus treated the tax collectors?) and in light of Jesus’ treatment of the adulterous woman (“Then

Hearing God Speak Through the Noise of My Brother

Tuesday Re-mix –

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”  But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”… Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  John 20:24-25, 29

The ears and the mind are necessarily connected.  That is because hearing requires much more than just ears.  When we were children, we could hear the wind blowing through a sea shell but we thought we were “hearing the ocean”.  We could hear just fine, but we could not discern very well.  Now, as I get older (alas), I am finding that my ears don’t always hear very well.  I can be sitting with you in a crowded restaurant, trying to hear what you are saying and my “discernment” has to kick in so that I can make up for what my ears cannot hear.  I suppose that balance shifts more and more with time.

Interestingly, our Spiritual hearing works in a similar way.  When we are young (spiritually), we don’t discern all that well.  We may hear God’s voice, but we hear it along with all the noise and may not have the spiritual maturity to discern that which is God and that which is other.  I believe we develop that discernment over time, with the help of the Spirit.  I also believe this spiritual skill is critical to our life together in the church.  Wasn’t that the point of Jesus’ lesson to Thomas in John 20?

Thomas’ …

God, Google, and Magic 8 Balls

Tuesday Re-mix – 

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

Do you remember Magic 8 Balls?  I do…that awesome Mattel toy (wow, just the name Mattel conjures up so many exciting feelings for several generations of Americans…Barbie dolls, Hot Wheels, Matchbox cars, and all those games!) that would answer any question you have about anything!  Ask it any “yes” or “no” question and then shake it and, voilà, the answer would magically appear in the little window.  “It is decidedly so”, “signs point to yes”, “Don’t count on it”, “Ask again later”…it was all very simple, really.  We liked that about it.  We got to set the agenda, we got to ask the questions we wanted answered…and if we didn’t like the answer, we could just shake it and ask again!

We’ve grown up now and we no longer rely on Magic 8 Balls to answer all our pressing questions.  We realize, of course, how silly we were when we did that.  Now, we have something much more powerful, something much more completely accurate to answer all our questions.  Now we have the internet.  The process still works the same way, of course, because it is a process we like, one we get to control.  We simply log on and Google whatever our question is and, voilà, the answer magically appears on our screen.  We like getting wisdom that way.  It appeals to us.  We set the agenda, we ask the questions, and we get the answer.  We are powerful.

It is this notion of being in control and powerful, I think, that makes it so difficult for us to embrace the Bible (or a walk with …

Three Little Questions that Changed My Life

Tuesday Re-mix – 

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22

There is a very simple explanation for why so many people outside the church accuse the church of being full of hypocrites…why people who profess to be Christians often appear to talk one way, but walk an entirely different way.  It is because it is absolutely true.

I learned some time ago that knowing the Bible does not make me a better follower of Christ, and in fact, does not really change me at all.  I can attend church every Sunday, attend small group every Monday night and discuss in great depth what I believe this scripture means or that scripture means…I can listen to Christian radio all day long and can subscribe to podcasts of my favorite preachers…I can read my Bible every day…I can graduate from Seminary with advanced knowledge in Greek and Hebrew…I can do all these things, but if I am only a knower of God’s Word but do not become a doer of God’s Word, I am the biggest hypocrite of all.  And I am not changing for the better.

In The Gathering, which happens to be the class I have the privilege of teaching on Sunday mornings, we talk about each of us having a “next step” to take toward God.  No matter where we are in our faith walk, from the strongest athiest to the most mature believer, we each have a next step to take.  Scripture teaches us what that next step looks like.  The same passage of scripture may show one next step for you and another entirely different next step for me.  That is the beauty and the power of God’s Word.  But in every case, taking that “next …