Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why are there so many religions? And, can they all be right?

Last night was my favorite discussion so far. You all really thought deeply about why people follow so many different beliefs, and in turn, why you subscribe to your own. Not only did you look at why individuals choose certain religions, but why whole cultures create the settings that foster new religions and spiritual movements.

But can all religions be right? The consensus seemed to be "no." There are too many religions, for instance Scientology, everyone agreed were either evil, or flat out crazy! However, one similarity was clear; all religions are searching after God and there is truth in that search. "There is a need for God in the heart of man," said Donald Miller. We all have faith in something we can't prove (that includes Athiests). And if the argument became between religious people and atheists, we would probably link arms and stand side with our friends of other faiths.

If not everyone can be right, at least we can find comfort in our united struggle for Truth. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once said, "Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all knowledge." Spiritual people look at the world and are utterly amazed by what they see. This wonder and appreciation for mystery opens us up to a realm of possibility that includes love for a God bigger than our minds can grasp.

One thing is for sure, wether you take this literally or metaphorically,"Jesus is the way, the truth and the life."

grace and peace,

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Purpose of Life Pt. 2

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
-Marianne Williamson

"No, life cannot be understood flat on a page. It has to be lived; a person has to get out of his head, has to fall in love, has to memorize poems, has to jump off bridges into rivers, has to stand in an empty desert and whisper sonnets under his breath... We get one story, you and I, and one story alone.God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?"
-Donald Miller,"Through Painted Deserts" (Comming to Rocketown April 27th)

“For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment.”


“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone's task is unique as his specific opportunity.”
-Viktor Frankl  (Holocaust survivor)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


This past week we watched episode #2: The Purpose of Life (pt.1). Greg took the cast snorkeling, and back on the boat they began to discuss what they would do if someone gave them 10 million dollars with no strings attached. Their answers were very honest. Some talked about taking care of their families, traveling, buying expensive cars and homes, writing novels, giving to charity, etc... We also asked this question in small groups. I was really proud that all of you took the time to look at your priorities and answer honestly as well.

The second discussion in the video included the story of King Solomon. Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes is under a section of the bible called the "wisdom books." God gave Solomon the gift of wisdom, a gift that he would never loose no matter what circumstances he found himself in. We all know that sometimes good sense goes right out the window when we're with our friends, or at a party, etc... But God gave Solomon wisdom he couldn’t ignore. So, Solomon decided to use his brilliance to figure out what makes life fulfilling. For an entire year, Solomon drank as much as he wanted, bought thousands of slaves, lived in huge palaces, married hundreds of women, had 700 concubines (prostitutes), amassed a huge fortune, etc... Everything he did was excessive. He says in the bible that he denied himself NOTHING. And at the end of all this, Solomon says "it was like chasing after the wind"; which is a saying that means it wasn't fulfilling, it left him empty, it didn't ultimately make him happy.

In my group we talked about the implications of Solomon’s experiment. A lot time we go to church and the pastor gives all kinds of moral commands for things we shouldn't do or try; ways that we shouldn’t live our lives. A lot of times we think, "Dude, you live in a bubble. you've never tried that, had do you know its so bad? and how dare you tell me NOT to do that." But Solomon, he got the credibility. He LITERALLY did every sinful thing you could possibly do, hoping it would satisfy him, and it didn’t.

In the bible Jesus says that he came to give us the life that is truly life. Or, as some translations put it: life to the fullest. Zane talked about this. But sometimes we look at all the things we're commanded not to do, and suddenly seems like Jesus is this really uptight drill sergeant, shouting down commands at us. But the bible paints the opposite picture. God says, 'sure, you can go off and do whatever you like, but don't expect it to make you happy." You see readers: the life Jesus invites us into is completely counter intuitive. he says if you die to yourself, only then will you truly live. It sounds backwards right? And he calls this way of living "the life that is truly life, "life to the fullest." Apparently, when we live in tune with how God created us, we will be richly blessed and wholly fulfilled.

I believe the next step is trust. I have to trust that going against my cravings will give me a lasting satisfaction. Pastor Rob Bell puts it this way, "Lust promises what it CANT deliver." God always delivers, he never fails.
As you reflect on what you purpose in life is, be encouraged that the backwards way of the gospels is how we have been created to live. And when we step into that way of life, God will give us the life that is TRULY life!!!

Grace and Peace,