Book news…

Well, dear friends, many of you ask me often about what I’m working on, so I thought I’d give an update. I wrote a book after returning from my trip to the Holy Land, and I’m delighted to say it’s going to be published. Soon I’ll be able to tell you more about it, and all the details of what it’s about and when it’s arriving.

In addition, I’ve got a couple more projects in the works. They will be a ways off as they are still in the inception stage, but know I’m researching and reading a lot these days (I kid you not- I read 20 books in June alone), and I’m excited about them and can’t WAIT to share them with you all!

A friend asked me recently if I get tired of people asking if/when my next book is coming out, and the honest truth is: I feel so honored when anyone asks that. I appreciate people taking an interest in what I’m working on and showing interest in there being a next book. It’s the reason I get to be a writer and I’m just beyond grateful for it. So thanks- and stay tuned! A book is coming your way very soon!

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Does the Kingdom of God belong to this world?

Happy Moltmann Monday! Last night at Journey we were talking about creation care and it made me think of this passage from Jesus Christ for Today’s World. Moltmann uses some questions about the kingdom to clarify his theological positions. Here’s his second clarifying question, and his response:

Does the Kingdom of God belong to this world, like an earthly kingdom, or is it a heavenly kingdom in the next?

The people who would like to see it as belonging to the next world always point to Jesus’ saying that ‘my kingdom is not of this world’ (John 18:36). But in so doing they are overlooking the fact that this is a statement about the origin of the kingdom, not its place…When Jesus said these words the kingdom of God in person was standing in front of Rome’s imperial governor, Pontius Pilate. If it is the kingdom of the Creator God, then it embraces the whole of creation, heaven and earth, the invisible side of the world and the visible side, too…

In the Lord’s Prayer we pray for the coming of the kingdom ‘on earth as it is in heaven’, meaning by heaven the side of creation which already corresponds wholly to God, and by earth the side of creation which is still in dispute…

So there is no salvation without the earth.  God’s kingdom is as earthly as Jesus himself was…

Two things I love about this: Moltmann so succinctly described how we confuse origin and place. (We also confuse metaphor with literalism but don’t even get me started on that…) And also, he pretty cleanly described what we mean by “on earth as it is in heaven.” There, we confuse location (a contrast between the place of heaven and the place of earth) with a state of being (whole or broken). It’s because this prayer is not about place that we can say we see the kingdom of heaven among us. We don’t mean we accidentally slipped into some other dimension of reality, apart from this one. We mean that we see something whole in the midst of other broken things.

The kingdom of God is among us, and every once in a while we see it- it’s wholeness.

 

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Moltmann Monday: Does A Theologian’s Personal Life Matter?

I’m going to do something a little different this morning. Instead of posting an excerpt, I’d like to talk about my German friend in relation to a post I read on Patheos last week from Roger Olson. He asked whether a theologian’s life should matter when we are studying his/her theology. Between his post and the comments, well, let’s say I have a few thoughts.

On one hand, none of this information is new for me. I’ve heard the dirt on most theologians, and it’s definitely not always pretty. Highly intelligent people are not any different than other kinds of people: they are flawed, and inconsistent, and paradoxical. And I’d be some kind of terrible Christian if I didn’t extend grace upon grace to them, even if I do think Barth was maybe the worst husband ever (and a coward besides), and Luther was an anti-Semite. And that doesn’t mean I don’t read what they have to say, and acknowledge when they say something helpful and insightful and good. God works through talking donkey’s asses, so a few imperfect theologians isn’t that tall an order. Obviously, God works in and through brokenness and quite possibly prefers it, so that’s not my issue.

The problem I had with the article is how SEPARATE the theologian’s personal life was treated, like it can be cordoned off with no big effort and not affect anything else. That’s just patently untrue. It does affect everything- it shouldn’t discount everything, but it does affect it. I have a real issue with the way we treat theology as a Bento box- this goes here, totally separate from this other section here, and never the compartments shall meet. The truth is, there are no compartments. We are all one big skillet meal, mixed together. So sure, it would be easy for me to just dismiss what Barth has to say about family life, but I also have to wonder how the power dynamics he lived out in his marriage colored his view of the trinity, and of God’s power, because you better believe they do. There’s no judgment on that, necessarily, but the idea that a theologian can talk about God in some abstract kind of way is naive and irresponsible.

The second issue I have is the underlying assumption in the article that a theologian’s actions in life are somehow something other than his beliefs. This, too, is a kind of separation that is entirely untrue, and absolutely unhelpful. Let me tell you something obvious: you do what you believe. If you want to know what your beliefs are, look at your life’s actions. How you treat people, what you spend your money on, where your time is invested: that is as true a measure of your belief as what you envision in your mind to be your “values.” Sure, our life’s goal is to make the beliefs in our mind actually match our actions, and of course, none of us aligns our words with our actions perfectly, or even consistently. Grace upon grace. But the idea that there is no correlation at all? Well, let’s not deceive ourselves. Every prophet writing in holy Scripture begs to differ. Does a theologian’s personal life matter? OF COURSE IT DOES.

Which is how we get back to the Moltmann Monday part of this post. I love Jurgen Moltmann for a whole lot of reasons, but the primary reason, the overarching reason that holds up all the others, is that I LIKE HIM AS A PERSON. I actually love him as a person. If I could move next door to him and ask him endless questions every day, I totally would. I think he is one of the most wise, loving, beautiful people I’ve ever met. I felt this way when I read his books, and I have never been more terrified in my entire life to meet someone in person, because I wouldn’t know what to do if he ended up being a jerk, or an elitist snob, or a buffoon.

I had no reason to worry, because he blew away my expectations. He’s just a genuine, beautiful soul, and who he is matches in tone and tenor what he says about God and how he feels about God. I’m under no assumptions that he’s perfect. He was in Hitler’s army, you guys. He of all people knows what it means to have been on the wrong side of something- in a big way. And he’s open about how he married a brilliant theologian and how, when his own career took off, she had to carry more of the parenting load and that hindered her work and her success, and that was a major, major sacrifice. Maybe the difference with Moltmann is that he’s so honest about his shortcomings, that he doesn’t hide them away or dismiss them as unimportant. He integrates his life and his theology. No Bento boxes. No velvet ropes.

What he has to say about who Jesus is and what the Spirit does and what the Church is for, all of that is vital. But it’s equally relevant that his grandchildren love him to pieces, and that he lives simply and travels light and smiles often. It’s equally important that even theologians he disagrees with vehemently can call him a friend.

When I got to meet him, I knew I’d have the opportunity to have him sign a book. And since I have his whole collection, I had to think long and hard about which one I wanted him to sign. Crucified God, because that book literally kept me Christian? The Church in the Power of the Spirit, because that was like my vocational calling card and compass? When it came down to it, though, I knew which one I wanted him to sign: his autobiography. I remember Tony Jones remarking that he was surprised at my choice, theologian nerd that I am, but to me it made perfect sense. Jurgen Moltmann is my favorite theologian of all time, not only because of the beautiful things he says about God, but because of the beautiful things he LIVES about God. 

If I’m going to look up to someone, I want someone who is integrated, and aligned, and centered. I think that’s what the world needs most, and that’s what I long to be. So does a theologian’s personal life matter? Yes, absolutely. All of our personal lives matter. It’s where our beliefs either ring true or ring hollow, and we should always be mindful of how we can align them more beautifully.

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Moltmann Monday: What May We Hope For?

Happy Moltmann Monday, all! Today’s selection is from The Politics of Discipleship and Discipleship in PoliticsMoltmann is talking about political theology and how the messianic hope of Christ has real-life implications:

The religious question of modern times is: ‘What may I hope for?’…The universal question about the future concentrates here on the question of the ‘coming one’ who will turn calamity to wholeness of salvation and lead people from oppression to freedom.

When Jesus shows himself to be the coming one through his gospel to the poor, his healing of the sick and his forgiveness of sinners, and when he is believed in and known as the coming one by those people who are affected, then the whole future of salvation and the kingdom of freedom must be expected from him…There he reveals himself as the Christ because he makes present their true future…

…If Jesus is the anticipator of God then he must simultaneously and unavoidably become the sign of opposition to the powers of a world which is opposed to God and to this world’s laws which are closed to the future. Because he proclaimed the kingdom of God to the poor he came into conflict with the rich. Because he gave the grace of God to sinners, he contradicted the laws of the pious, the Pharisees and the Zealots. Because he revealed God’s lordship to the lowly and oppressed, Pilate let him be crucified in the name of the Roman Caesar-god.

Eschatological anticipation thus inevitably brings forth historic resistance. Salvation can enter the situation of misery in no other way; liberation can enter into a world of oppression in no other way.

So, two things here. First, you’ll see that Moltmann points out that we not only CAN expect much from Jesus the Christ, but that we OUGHT to expect much from him. In him lies “the whole future of salvation.” This doesn’t mean our lives will be perfect, but it does mean we have big, hopeful, radical dreams and expectations about the future in which Christ will make things new and aright.

The second point is that because Jesus is the coming one who announces the fullness of this new way, this righteous Realm/kingdom, inevitably it will follow that Jesus–and, by extension, his followers–will come up against the very real resistance to these radical practices of grace and freedom in the world. Jesus is “the sign of opposition to the powers of a world which is opposed to God.” That isn’t to throw the world under the bus, so to speak. The world is created good by God. Moltmann is using the word “world” here in the way Paul often uses it- not as a blanket rejection of how bad creation is, but as a word that calls into question the systems, political realities, structures of power and national governments which are all too often in opposition to the laws of the realm/kingdom of God. It is these powers that Jesus resists- and these powers, which seek to oppress the poor, freely offer grace, heal the sick, forgive the sinner, that his followers are meant to imitate in their own lives.

So what may we hope for? Lots. Big, huge, powerful, redeeming things. But we should also know that to hope for those things is to live into their reality, and we do so by following the way of Jesus even when we come up against the very real resistance the powers of the world have against it.

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5 Things the Church Can Learn From the Spurs

Yes, I am. I’m talking about the Spurs on my blog. And yes, it’s because I love them and because I’m still overjoyed that they won Sunday night. But it’s also because their win showcases so much of why I love them. And in those qualities the Church can find a good number of things worth emulating. The San Antonio Spurs are a top-notch organization, a well-run organism, and they have plenty to teach us about what it means to be church. I’ll limit myself to 5, because boy is that number sweet about now. :)

5. A culture of flexibility, adaptation and change. I’ve been watching the Spurs since they drafted David Robinson in 1987. Since Pop took over as head coach in 1996-97, the Spurs have shown a stunning ability to adapt around their players, their opponents, and the changing landscape of the NBA. Pop doesn’t ever sit on his laurels and do things again just because they worked the first time. He’s always looking at his system with a critical eye, scanning for inefficiencies, looking for opportunities to capitalize on the best gifts of the players. He’s a master at designing ways to allow his players to grow and to shine.

What if the Church, instead of maligning the rapidly changing culture, considered it a playground? What if we stopped complaining and instead started experimenting, adapting, finding things that work and easily letting go of things that didn’t? What if your church created a culture that restructured around the actual people who participate strongly from year to year? At Journey, we often say that we are who shows up. If a bunch of artists are showing up, that’s what defines us. If a bunch of theological nerds infiltrate, you’ll see that reflected. We are different not only year to year but gathering to gathering based on who decides to show up and speak up. Contrary to popular belief, that doesn’t create instability. It creates an environment that feels energized, and authentic. Are our churches reflecting the people in the pews, or the people who were in the pews 5, 10, 20 years ago?

4. Humble Commitment to the Team. The Spurs are a living example of how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Sunday’s Finals championship game is a perfect example of that, actually. A couple of the Spurs’ go-to players had off nights; Parker was cold for almost 3 quarters before he warmed up in the 4th, Danny Green didn’t sink a single three. Earlier on in the series, Leonard stumbled through two entire games. No matter. The bench is deep, and the team is known for centering not on one superstar but on a full-court-press cast of contributors. When Parker was cold, Patty Mills stepped up in a big way. Green missed threes but Leonard and Ginobli swished left and right.

But here’s what’s so beautiful about that: everyone celebrates a basket, no matter who gets the credit for the shot or the assist. The Spurs work well as a team because they honestly don’t care about who gets the credit. You have the shot? You take it. You don’t? You pass it. It’s that simple. You don’t believe me? Take a look at the salary roster. The big guys on the team have consistently taken pay cuts and gotten less than they could command as a star of another franchise because they make financial room for a whole team of good players. They literally put their money where their mouth is.

A few years ago, Pop had a quote written on the walls leading to the Spurs locker room. He had it written in every language spoken by the diverse cast of players. And this is what it says: “When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two and I know it was not that blow that did it but all that had gone before.”

I honestly think much of America is sick of seeing Christians who are vying for the spotlight, for headlines, for credit. Pastors with their faces on billboards, churches that do good but spend more time and money on the advertising to tell people about it… There’s a better way. The Spurs’ radical commitment to the common vision and success of the team sounds a lot to me like what it means to be humbly and faithfully committed to the good news. No matter who gets the credit. No matter whether someone notices or not. Just because you believe in it. Just because you care about it. Just because you’re committed. We do the work, day after day, even when we don’t see results, because none of us know when the Realm of God is going to break open.

3. A shared ethos that is absolutely counter-cultural.  Call it the Spurs Way, a doggedly consistent adherence to a way of being together that is shared by everyone from owner to bench player. The Spurs are known for creating a stable culture, one that literally shapes the players and coaches who come there. There is a way to be a San Antonio Spur, and it has very clear expectations about how one is to act, live, and interact. And it is, in a million different ways, counter-cultural to the vast majority of lived reality in the NBA. They do not do hype. They do not do flash. They do not boast. When’s the last time you heard about a Spurs player in People magazine? Heck, even Tony Parker’s marriage and divorce to Eva Longoria was pretty quiet.

The Spurs do things differently. They get panned for it, often. Sure, there are rare moments (like this week) when it becomes obvious that they command a lot of respect in this league, but most of the time, they are just doing what they do, in the background, unnoticed. For years they did this in the face of a sometimes nasty David Stern, who belittled them three ways to Sunday for being boring, for not driving up ratings, for being so guarded and unflashy about their wins. Stern hated it, but it’s what I love most about them, really. They do the work, and they let the work speak for itself. If that isn’t the heart of a truly Christian ethic–being motivated by what’s right, by what you are convicted to do, and not by popularity or hype or paydays–then I don’t know what is.

And do you know what’s awesome? This shared ethos does not in any way limit individuality. All of those players grow, but they grow in a particular direction. They don’t become worse versions of themselves. They become better players, better people, but still uniquely themselves. Sunday night it seemed all the commentators mentioned what a globally diverse team the Spurs are- the most diverse in NBA history. There is so much diversity- culturally, in personality style, in basketball style- and yet, this ethos is still mutually held by all.

For a Church that is constantly trying to figure out how to live counter-culturally, I am so thankful for their example. The NBA is not an easy place to swim upstream, and they do it well, consistently. We can too, you know. We can be individually who we are, uniquely ourselves, and still be committed to the counter-cultural work of the gospel. We may not always get headlines for it, but if we do it well enough and long enough, the respect will be there.

2. A culture of community and a commitment to mentorship. Because there’s such an emphasis on the team, the goal of the Spurs franchise is to raise up as many great players (and coaches) as possible. The Spurs don’t do competition. They do mentorship. Rigorous, methodical, persistent mentorship. And mentorship requires sacrifice. When Duncan joined the team, Robinson knew he had to step back and let the new young guy do the heavy lifting. He could have been territorial as the Face of the Spurs, as the heart of the franchise, as someone who was clinging to the end of his run as San Antonio’s leading man, but instead he took Tim under his wings, taught him everything he knew, and gave him every opportunity to shine. Robinson’s stats lowered dramatically that year, but he got a Championship.  This Sunday when Kawhi Leonard was given the MVP award, I saw the same scenario play out all over again. The team rallied around the 22 year old like giddy school kids, mussing his hair and grinning profusely. Nobody felt one-upped by the young rising star. They felt proud. Duncan said in an interview that he was just honored to be playing with someone like Leonard right now. Take a second to think about how awesome that is, and how rare. But not exactly surprising: Duncan was simply paying forward the same kind of praise Robinson and Pop had given him at a young age. And it’s not just Duncan- the whole team operates that way, like a mutual mentorship camp. For the Spurs, a rising tide lifts all boats.

This community focus and mentorship isn’t only on display in the glory hours, though. Last year, after the-game-which-shall-not-be-named, Pop gathered up all the troops. He invited the players and coaches, AND their spouses and families to have dinner together. That night, after they suffered a heart-wrenching loss, they gathered around the table and broke bread together. Because they are a family, and they stick together in good times and in bad. There was no sulking alone that night. Nobody retreated into their egos, or nursed thoughts of blaming and shaming teammates. There was shared sadness, a space to grieve alongside one another, a physical reminder that they are in this together, for better or worse, and that this will not be the end of the story.

That sounds like what church is meant to be, doesn’t it?

What if your church could cultivate that kind of collaborative, mentoring participation? How can you make space for newcomers to shine, for new skills to be practiced, for gifts to be utilized? The Church talks a lot about raising up leaders, about mentoring and discipleship, but few of us display the kind of thoroughness and consistency the Spurs have been displaying for nearly 20 years. Their commitment to raising up new players and leaders is why they have been a force in the NBA for so long. We could learn from their focus and their long-range visioning.

1. A centered leader. Gregg Popovitch is a singularly excellent leader. There are many things that make him extraordinary. He knows who he is and he’s secure in it. He doesn’t look for outside praise, nor does he need it. He is known for his short answers, his constant refusal to talk a lot about himself or his franchise or his method. He does the work and that’s all he needs. I think part of the reason this works for him is that basketball does not run his life. He’s a known foodie. He stays up on current events. He reads. He has a full life, off the court. He doesn’t need basketball to fulfill everything for him because it’s not the only thing he has going. (How many pastors can say the same?!) He seems to be someone who knows how to appreciate the small things in life, and he cultivates that sense of gratitude in his organization. He enjoys the game, is committed to the discipline and work. He has said in interviews that he loves his players, and it’s clear he means it. He invests in them, deeply. He loves when they call him on the phone, ask him for advice. Plenty of times I’ve read that he invites David Robinson to come and be part of things, to this day. (Did you see the Admiral on the court after the win?!) He has deep and meaningful relationships with people. But he doesn’t expect them to fill his tank, either. Maybe that’s why he can enjoy them so much.

Most of all, he leads by example, and he leads from the back. When everyone was storming the court on Sunday night, the camera was panning around, trying to find Pop. He was on the bench, head in hands, taking a moment. On stage when they got the trophy, he was still in the back, smiling, watching his players relish the win. He didn’t go up front one time.  He doesn’t need the credit. He knows his job: he builds leaders, and he helps them succeed, and when they do so, he gives them every ounce of credit for the work they did to get there. I know Pop gets ribbed a lot for being short on praise, but I actually don’t think that’s true as we think it is behind closed doors. The guy is nowhere near effusive, but he is persistent in giving credit. He holds the bar high because he fully expects those guys to reach it. And they do.

Whenever Pop retires, it won’t be a big sendoff. He doesn’t need it to be after another championship win. He may leave as quietly as he came. But his mark will be unforgettable.

Pastors could learn so much from Pop about casting a vision, creating a culture, mentoring leaders, having high expectations of their people, fostering deep relationships, and having the kind of centered, balanced life that provides a fantastic example for others to follow.

 

We’d do well to learn from the long-running excellence of the Spurs, strange as that may sound. I’m convinced our churches can be places of innovation, collaboration, mentorship and commitment. I don’t think Pop will mind if we steal a thing or two from his playbook.

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Moltmann Monday: Jesus the Unlikely Chosen One

Hello friends! This morning’s quote from my very favorite German comes from Ethics of Hope. I think it’s good to be reminded often that Jesus as the Son of God is a surprising revelation of who God is and how God loves.

In the raising and exaltation of Christ, God has chosen the one whom the moral and political powers of this world rejected – the poor, humiliated, suffering and forsaken Christ. God identified himself with him and made him Lord of the new world ….. The God who creates justice for those who suffer violence, the God who exalts the humiliated and executed Christ – that is the God of hope for the new world of righteousness and justice and peace. 

We are always happy to discuss Christ as the Christus Victor, as the celebrated “winner.” And though that’s true, we can’t forget that it’s also surprising. This rejected one, this humiliated one, this crucified one- this is God’s power revealed? Yes. Yes it is- revealed in such a way that all those powers and systems that lead to rejection, humiliation, crucifixion are not only called into question but revealed as a temporary speed bump to eventual resurrection. God has exalted the crucified Christ, and no other.

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Pentecost = The Dignity of All Creation

 

Happy Pentecost, everyone! In honor of my favorite, blazing-red holy day, today’s Moltmann Monday excerpt comes from The Spirit of Life (bold mine):

To experience the fellowship of the Spirit inevitably carries Christianity beyond itself into the greater fellowship of all God’s creatures. For the community of creation, in which all created things exist with one another, for one another and in one another is also the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Both experiences of the Spirit bring the church today into solidarity with the cosmos, which is so mortally threatened…In earlier times, contempt for life, hostility towards the body, and detachment from the world was merely an inward attitude of mind. Now it has become an everyday reality in the cynicism of the progressive destruction of nature. Discovery of the cosmic breadth of God’s Spirit leads in the opposite direction- to respect for the dignity of all created things, in which God is present through his Spirit. In the present situation this discovery is not romantic poetry or speculative vision. It is the essential premise for the survival of humanity on God’s one, unique earth.

Here’s what’s so great about Pentecost: it’s a declaration to go big. It’s a declaration that God is everywhere, that our responsibility to be light extends to everywhere. It means there are no church walls, only places where the church becomes more or less evident. It’s a declaration that new creation is going to encompass everything. In the presence of God’s Spirit, we are moved OUTWARD in such a way that we begin to see that all things are filled with the dignity of God’s holy touch. Everything matters. It all counts. Nothing will be lost. That’s where this story is going, and Pentecost is one fabulous way to get it moving in that direction. Well, of course, Easter wasn’t such a bad way to get it going, either (!)…But Pentecost lets us know that this isn’t just about Jesus but about all of us walking toward new creation together.

And when we walk toward new creation together, in the life and love of the Spirit, we have respect for the dignity of all created things, just as God intended. That’s when shalom is possible. That’s when redemption happens. That’s when love wins.

You can’t help but love celebrating a holy day like that, right?!

 

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Faith Forward: ALL Questions Matter

I had the great honor of meeting Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso at last week’s Faith Forward conference. I was already a big fan of her books (In God’s Name, God’s Paintbrush) and I was delighted to learn that she was even more wonderful and engaging in person. (Don’t you just love it when that happens?!…and don’t you hate it when the opposite happens? Ugh.) I could have listened to her all day. Anyway, in her session she told us the story of how God’s Paintbrush was published. And of course, as these stories go, it was for a long time rejected and unpublished. One publisher finally said they’d like to acquire it, but could she please take out the questions on each page? Well, that didn’t go over very well with Rabbi Sasso, who explained that the questions WERE the story, after all. They were the most important part. She refused and left the book for a while. After some time passed, she thought perhaps she didn’t know what she was doing, and so she took out the questions and tried once more to send it off, this time to a Jewish publishing house. They responded and said they were very interested in the book, only they wondered if she could add in questions?

Isn’t that just a marvelous story?!

Because, of course, questions matter in faith. They are central to our practice. And not just questions of skepticism. Lately I’ve wondered how it is that we have come so far in being more open to certain questions (Did that really happen? Does God really exist? etc.) while still being uneasy or perhaps just unaware of the many other kinds of questions we also could be asking. It’s as if postmodernity gave us permission to be skeptical, but we took that skepticism and assumed it was the only kind of questioning that was important or necessary or even intellectual. 

Don’t get me wrong- I do think there is a need for those of us in faith traditions to question in this way. I think the rampant fundamentalism and radicalism that lurks in every faith tradition’s shadowy corner is proof enough that blind allegiance to one perceived view of our faith’s truth is a terrible, harmful path. I’ve spent most of my pastoral years making space for people to ask hard questions of their faith, of the Scriptures, of God, even, who I’m convinced is not rattled by our musings. This is an important form of questioning that is our responsibility, and we avoid it at our own peril.

However, I don’t believe for one second that it’s the highest form of questioning, or the most important. There are also the positive questions, the exploring questions, the wondering questions. There are questions of awe, considering the unknown-ness of it all. There are the questions so big we can’t put them into words but must instead sit inside of them and see what happens.

In God’s Paintbrush, children wonder what makes God sad and happy, consider what it means that “God wants the world to grow,” ponder what God’s touch feels like. These questions expose that place where we ponder the most sacred moments and musings in our lives. It is in this space that Rabbi Sasso’s book exists. And it is, I fear, the space we often forget to foster in the walls of the church.

I do feel very good about what I see on the horizon, though. Being at Faith Forward with 300 fantastic people who are alive with passion and creativity and purpose and depth has made me feel like we are all onto something, like the Spirit is moving us toward a better way of being together and of walking together in this journey of faith. We don’t have it all figured out, but I did leave Nashville feeling that we have a sense of where we want to go, and I’d pick that over details any day of the week.

I think moving from skeptical, linear, rational questions into the wider expanse of existential, meaningful, awe-inspired questions is one way we will get there. I do think we’re on our way.

So let’s keep making space for wonder.

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