Heroes & Heretics: Flannery O'Connor

Heroes & Heretics: Flannery O'Connor

Flannery O’Connor had a lot of the acerbic wit of Twain, and certainly wrestled with some of the same fears about the future. Being a devout Catholic, this writer wouldn’t abide me calling her a saint, and being humble and self-aware she wouldn’t abide me calling her a hero. But she offered something to me and many others that most great American authors couldn’t offer, something that repositioned her whole view of humanity and existence.

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Heroes and Heretics: Origen with an E

Heroes and Heretics: Origen with an E

Today I want to introduce you to a similar young man. Zealous and tenacious and, like Anne, familiar with tragedy from a young age. His name is Origen....with an E (05 Origen with an E). One of the greatest theologians in Christian history that perhaps is only rivaled by Augustine in genius and only by Anne Shirley in his imagination. More than anything what I love about Anne Shirley is that she is a learner. She and Origen share a ravenous love for learning and for books. And like Anne, his speculation got him into some trouble.
 

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Out of Egypt: The New Passover

Out of Egypt: The New Passover

On the very day of the Lord’s passover, Israel was saved from her slavery.  It was a night of deliverance not to be forgotten.  And for generations upon generations, the Israelites celebrated each Passover as a way to remember God’s promise of protection and as a reminder of where they came from so that they would never forget how they got out Egypt, Mitzrayim, out of the narrow straits, and into the wide and spacious land promised so many years before.
 
It was a day so profound — so unlike anything the world had ever seen before — that even the calendar would be re-written, and the years would be marked from this moment onward.  A new hope is about to burst on the scene. 
 
History is about to start over and a new age is about to begin.
 
Evil will be used for good, mourning will turn into laughing, sadness into surpassing joy. Injustices will be righted. Equity will be established. Righteousness will reign. 
 
Because God has come down.
 
This is what the Exodus offers as hope for a different future.

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Out of Egypt: From the Nile

Out of Egypt: From the Nile

It’s a pretty good story.  A baby born under a death sentence becomes a prince of Egypt…becomes a Hebrew Batman bringing vigilante justice…becomes an exile…becomes a hero…becomes a shepherd.    

Something interesting stands out to me about Exodus 2.  For 22 verses, we read the incredible, you-can’t-make-this-up-if-you-tried story of Moses’ life…and at no point in the story do we read single reference to God.  Not once.   

I wonder if Moses ever sat on a hillside and asked the questions that we ask: How did I end up here?  Is all of this random?  Chance?  Luck?  Does it mean anything?  I wonder if Moses ever took stock of his life, looked towards heaven, and asked, “Why did all of this happen? Why has the road been so crooked?  Why didn’t you show up more?”

But when I read Exodus 2, the text starts to ask me a question, “What if God did show up?  What if He shows up all the time...but I just miss him?  What if HE is moving, but I don’t see him?”  

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Out of Egypt: The Narrow Straits

Out of Egypt: The Narrow Straits

The Hebrew word for "Egypt" in Exodus is Mitzrayim, meaning narrow straights. The same place known to the ancient world as verdant, majestic, a center of culture and progress, this place was remembered by Israel as a place of suffocating limitations, a place of oppression.

Egypt had been a place of great promise for the Israelites, when Joseph rose to power long ago. And it served them well as a home for generations, and became a place of growth and fruitfulness. But in time, it became Mitzrayim, narrow and constricting.

How often is this pattern seen in our lives? The very land of promise, the fledgling relationship, the acceptance to that prestigious school, that perfect home: at first, it felt like freedom, like promise. It felt like a joy and calling so substantial that you could unpack your bags and live forever in it, burn the ships, make a home in that new opportunity, that new life. And then that verdant delta, that source of new life, starts ever so slightly closing in on you. With every new disagreement, with every new impossible assignment, with every new spike in property taxes and every new unexpected repair, the broad acreage of your joy becomes your Mitzrayim, narrower and narrower with each added demand, and what gave you hope and happy thoughts now steals your sleep and takes up far too much square footage in your daily thoughts.

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