All posts by Benjamin

Some say Christianity is easy in our culture, as in, it's easier to live the Way of Jesus now than in other times and places. Perhaps they’re right. But, much of what I’ve seen has been mirage after mirage — very little Living Water. I intend to map out what I see and what I don’t see. I feel like I’m surveying the way of Jesus within a spiritual desert. My family and I live in Kansas City, KS. We’ve joined friends and live as an intentional Christian community there. The kingdom of God unfolds in vivid ways here and we've enjoyed rhythms of daily prayer, Scripture, and dinners. I am currently (2014) a director of Christian education with the people of Trinity Lutheran Church, in Mission and Shawnee, KS. But now they're sending me to the LCMS Specific Ministry Pastor program (2015).

We Can Learn from All People (The Art of Spiritual Discernment)

A great development occurs in us all when we begin discerning who gives the right way and who gives the way that is dead.

“Watch their lives,” Jesus says.

Many have looked and sure enough – Jesus is right! Dead people speak dead advice. Living people speak life and vitality. We are learning from all people.

The hurdle is in coming to know what “living” means.

Yes: This development is a gift – we discover that we can learn from all people. We can respond with gratitude, even if we disagree.

Every day we’ll hear and see Continue reading

The World is Frigid (The One Who Conquers)

The world is frigid and I wonder, year after year, how we endure these frozen, dead months. It’s not these days we endure, but ourselves and our sanity.

The cold drives us to dwell indoors more, yet those who survive these months (even thrive in them!) are the adventurers, those who head out and work in the tundra, or maybe just play there.

This one stands and yells, “You don’t keep me locked behind the gate so to breathe my own airless disease! No! Here I am, free and inhaling God’s magnificent creation! Even if my feet are frozen, I will remain!”

This is the one who has conquered.

How Old is All that is?

I grew up in Southern Idaho, a mile and a half from a small, ancient volcano that had blown a hole in the side of itself. “Tens of thousands of years ago,” they said. Mother even decorated parts of our yard with ancient volcanic rock. And when we three boys dug around we’d swear we’d find dinosaur eggs – rocks that had to have been! They were shaped just like what you’d think. (Only the latter evidence here is suspect.)

Idaho: The Gem State. Southern Idaho: the place where Yellowstone’s hot spot used to be, millions of years ago they say.

There was also a road sign on Highway 25, one of those historical markers, that talked about Prehistoric Man and ancient fossils. You’d face north east when you’d read the sign, out toward “Hunt”, a desolate, ancient desert wilderness filled with sagebrush and antelope.

I remember thinking as a small boy

Continue reading

The Bill Nye + Ken Ham Debate (A Reaction)

The Bill Nye + Ken Ham Debate (A Reaction)

Which is it? Is the earth 6,000 years old (4,000 post Noah’s Flood) or is it 4,530,000,000 years old?

What does either answer imply?

The question of origins is a question that comes and goes for me, one I like to toy with, pretend to answer, and then put away for another day.

We friends were curious to hear what Bill Nye and Ken Ham would say about these things; we remembered after dinner and all of a sudden that the debate would be on.

The hinge question in the debate was: “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern, scientific era?”

Jenny said it best: Continue reading

A Thin Violence in the Desire to Influence?

A Thin Violence in the Desire to Influence

The way is down, friends. This way to freedom.

What does it mean to “influence?” The dictionary reads: “…the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something.”

How do we look at it, at the process of influence? What’s our first visual image? Someone with charisma and someone with a little less than? Someone with a good answer and someone with a little less than? Someone with _______ and someone with a little less than?

Is it the “strong” making something happen in the “weak?”

But, friends, what is “strong?” What is Continue reading

Living in Christ’s Presence by Dallas Willard (Book Reaction)

(Final Words on Heaven and the Kingdom of God)

Whose voice can help us pay better attention to Jesus and the restoration that Jesus brings? I think Dallas Willard sits well on the list.

I’ve been an appreciative reader of Willard for a few years now and had the privilege to meet him at an event in Wichita, KS. There in passing, he held the door for me and in slight hallway conversation I saw a thin glimpse of this man being in his core what his writings try to bring about in others.

As others have said, there is something about Dallas Willard that is truly alive and there’s something about his writing that connects the words of Jesus even more firmly to the disciple.

Living In Christ’s Presence is an overview book, a glimpse of Continue reading

Bread for the Journey by Henri Nouwen (A Book Reaction)

I read Nouwen like I listened to the stories of my grandparents: I want to carry the family likeness. I want to receive these stories, these words, into the depths of my being and live from that source.

Each day’s reading in *Bread for the Journey* is a short letter of sorts, a little note to live by. They’re small reminders that say, “Don’t forget who you are and the family who is with you.”

The daily sections are short and easy to read; they’re a wonderful way to start the day. In my case, I read them beside Scripture and prayer and let Henri’s words weave the life of Scripture and prayer together. For me, it’s like I’m watching my grandfather live the spiritual life and speak about it right beside me, every morning. I read Scripture and then hear his voice, his thoughts before dawn.