Loving All of God

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God is love.


God is justice.


God is tender and merciful and He is sharp and condemning.
To love God is to love everything about Him. Even the parts we don’t understand. Even the pieces we wish were different.


To wish that God were only comfort and healing is to wish away judgement for those who abuse children, rape women, sell humans. It is to wish away the cross, and this diminishes Christ’s sacrifice.


When we wish for God only to be mercy and grace, we wish away His sharpness, and it is His sharpness that prunes and perfects us.
Christ’s love is not the soft love of human emotion, but a burning fire that cleanses and sears. It is a love that demands self-sacrifice. ~ J. Heinrich Arnold in The Center
And sacrifice is the only way to conquer death, defeat Satan, rescue the world.


So we come full circle.
To love the saving, forgiving piece of God is to love the judging, condemning part of God.
These pieces which come together in the Christ who hangs on the cross.


On this Good Friday, look up at His bloody form and love Him.
All of Him.

Seeking Approval

Is there anything quite like the level of desperation we feel when seeking the approval of our parents?
I can remember as a child not being willing to go to sleep until an argument had been reconciled, even creeping out of bed at night to make sure Mom and Dad weren’t angry with me anymore.
Even as an adult, those feelings have not diminished in the least. In fact, since the situations I encounter these days are a bit more important in the realm of the eternal (raising small humans rather than being late for curfew), perhaps my desire for my parents to be proud of me has even grown.
What is this longing we have for those in authority over us to approve of us?
Even those who have had too many authority figures abuse their power have only pushed those yearnings deep down rather than never having had those feelings in the first place.
It must be something placed inside of us, something sown in the soil of our hearts.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
It must be a need to be who we were created to be, a need for the One who made us to approve of what we have become.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well…How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
The desperate hope that I will be able to please my parents must be the natural outflow of my hope that I will be able to please my God.
And just as my parents guided and taught me to do the things that pleased them, so God will teach me how to please Him, and I yearn in my deepest places for Him to do so.
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
I have caught a glimpse of the beauty that we can become, and that glimpse drives the desire for God to judge our hearts and help us to look more like Jesus. I want Him to judge me so that He can help me become who He created me to be.
And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
May God, out of His infinite grace, judge us all.

Scripture is from Psalm 139

Law of the Land

There have been a lot of consequential decisions handed down by the Supreme Court lately.

Perhaps one could argue that all decisions made by the Supreme Court are consequential.

There was the decision on Arizona’s immigration law and there was the decision on Obama’s healthcare plan.  There was the decision about giving minors a life sentence without parole and there was the decision about how much power Unions have over non-union members.  There was also the decision about how strict the FCC can be over incidents of expletives and nudity on television.

In the midst of all of this recent uproar, I have been thinking about and looking back on past years of the Supreme Court.

One thing I have found interesting is that this Roberts Court has changed, or at least interrupted, the trend of the Supreme Court to become more and more broad and momentous in its decisions.

Until the 1940’s or 1950’s, the Supreme Court simply made decisions on the cases it was given. Around the mid-twentieth century though, especially during the Warren Court, the Court began making broader and more sweeping decisions that affected the policy of the entire United States rather than solely impacting the case or the law that was under judgement.

This trend has had the effect of giving the Supreme Court the sort of power that is held by Congress and the President. The sort of power that can change the law and policy of our country.

The Roberts Court seems to be deliberately scaling back this trend. The majority of the judgments handed down by this current Court are much more narrow, are applied only to the particular case in dispute rather to the entire country. I will let people who are smarter than I tell you why this is, but one thing I find of interest about this is that there have been many more unanimous decisions with this Court than in the past.

Another interesting effect of this narrowing of the role of the Supreme Court has been that, until fairly recently, the Court has faded a bit in the public eye. Chief Justice Roberts seems to be comfortable with not setting his aim for creating a public legacy, for making himself and his Court more important.

I wonder what you think. Should the role of the Supreme Court be more broad, affecting public policy in a large way, or should decisions be more narrow, confined to the case and the law in question? 

I think that many conservative Christians would instinctively lean toward the latter opinion. After all, wasn’t it the comprehensive judgement in Roe v. Wade that made abortion legal and set our hearts to aching for all of those unborn babies?

Yet in the interest of conversation and in the interest of using our hearts and minds rather than only our hearts, we should think about other changes the Court has made over the years. Good changes as well as poor changes.

The first and biggest example that leaps to my mind is the very broad judgement in Brown v Board of Education. If you need refreshing on your case names, this is the judgement that paved the way for the ending of racial segregation in our country. This is the decision that stated that separate is not equal.

Who of us would ever say that ending racial segregation was a bad thing? Yet when Congress wouldn’t do the job it should have done, it took the Supreme Court making an encompassing judgement to change the policy of our nation.

So. Narrow or broad? Case-deciding or policy-changing? Should the policy and laws of this country be decided only by an elected Congress and President or should the appointed Supreme Court be allowed to step in when others are not courageous enough to do the hard thing? And who gets to decide which hard thing is right: abortion, segregation, right to an attorney, gay marriage? 

I’m interested to hear what you think. 

I’m interested to continue watching the Roberts Court and to discover where they will lead our country.