Showing posts with label Faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Faith. Show all posts

Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Review: RE: Memos on Faith and Life by Timothy Palmer

Tim Palmer has been a friend of mine since the Fall of 2005 I have known him to be one of the most authentic and passionate individuals imaginable. His life and faith have been an example to me that I try to live up to. When I found out he was writing a book I couldn't wait to crack it open.

I had no idea what to expect.

Re: Memos on Faith and Life is truly that, a book of memos. Short Stories and poems from everyday life that cause you to stop and reflect on things that are important. Tim writes, much like he speaks, in a way that is easy to identify with on a personal level. Occasionally (yet intentionally) Tim has you wondering "where is he going with this?" and at just that moment he brings the idea full circle changing your perspective on the whole subject. 

I do not recommend buying this book to read it in a day, although of course you could do that with some ease. Instead I recommend buying this book and reading a story or two a day. Think about what is being said, pray about how the truth told in the stories can be true in your life, then use the the given lines to take notes. This is a great book to be used as a devotional and is cheap enough that you can get a group of friends together and buy 10 copies and use these stories as discussion starters. (Click Here To Get Your Copy)

My Favorite Story

Re: Jesus
I know Tim to be constant in word and deed with regard to caring for those in need. Which is something that I think we as Christians all wished we could do better on. In this story Tim gives an accounting of just one of those instances where he interacts with a man in need of assistance. Yet he frames the story in a way that makes it easier for all of us to live out love. In the spirit of Matthew 25 he replaces every instance of the man who was the least of these with the name Jesus. I am certain that you will find this story to be true, to be inspiring, and to be convicting. I have read this particular story at least 10 times already.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ev@ngel*$m has become a bad word

Evangelism, The E-Word. Aside from very few traditions, this word is run from rather than embraced. How can a word that simply means “good news” cause such a negative reaction?
Whose stomach doesn't turn when they see a sign like this one?
Explore with me what has happened with this word, and how maybe we can see this concept in a different light.

Throughout the history of the Church, Christians have often approached their views on God as an, I’m right and your wrong, this is what you should believe, the way of impacting others and increasing the number of those who participate in their religion. There are words used to define such views as a right view (Orthodoxy) and a wrong view (Heresy). This language and this mindset have led to creating a very insider-outsider worldview that leads to hostility and not love. Not only has it done this with our views of Christians and Non-Christians, this hostility has translated itself into Catholic Vs. Protestant, Christain Vs. Jew, Methodist Vs. Baptist, Evangelical Vs. Social Justice, Conservative Vs. Liberal. Yet we wonder why and continue to condemn the actions of others when hostel language infiltrates media and politics?

There are many who are a part of any one of those groups that would disagree with what I am saying and many in those same groups that see a contradiction.

I am not here to say that one is right and one is wrong, I am not here to say I am right or that I know more than you about it. I am simply writing about what I have seen and heard in my experiences with various peoples and you are welcome to not only disagree but also to tell me about it and share your opinion.

I have grown up in the Methodist tradition, and with that, I have experienced people from other traditions telling me that my relationship with God is not valid because I do not participate in their tradition. I have been guilty of assuming the same of others at one point or another.

You see when others have told me that I am wrong and that I should believe as they believe, it only serves to detract from both our faiths and not to build up either one. I take it as an attack on what I believe and in turn attack another. We are all guilty of this no matter if you are post-modern or fundamental.

The Jesus I know was not like this. The Jesus I know lived in the midst of contradiction and embraced it instead of distancing himself and demonizing the oppressors (specifically speaking of the Romans). The Jesus I know taught a different way, a way that I still have trouble comprehending. The Jesus I know said I should love those who hate me and to hate no one. The Jesus I know was concerned with truths and un-truths not “I’m right”s and “your wrong”s. The Jesus I know was not sent to condemn but to redeem. The Jesus I know followed the Law and the Spirit. The Jesus I know lived deeply and spoke simply(parables).

So When Gandhi says “I like your Christ, but not your Christians” I can’t simply agree. I have to realize that I contribute to that.

In a world where Christian Media has become so mainstream that people identify Christians more with what we hate than what we love, then Evangelism has become a bad word.
In a world where we get more upset with a teenage girl having an abortion than we do about all those children that are born without a positive influence and support system, then Evangelism has become a bad word.
In a world where we blame our neighbors for their problems as an excuse not to help instead of meeting their needs and guiding them through troubled times, then Evangelism has become a bad word.
We see injustices, and out of fear of offending, or not being heard, or contributing to the “I’m Right! You’re Wrong!” mentality. Out of Fear we too often remain Silent! Because Evangelism Has Become A Bad Word.

You see the God I know is Big enough.

You see the God I know loves You and there is nothing you can do to change that!

The God I know is a good God

The God I know Plans to prosper and not to harm

The God I know will never leave us

You see the God I know created ALL Things

You see the God I know knows ALL Things

The God I know is Big Enough

So when I share with you these things I share with you, my faith. I may not have it all figured out but I have seen things and I have experienced things. I have witnessed Love and I have witnessed hate. All around me I hear people talking about things as if they were true and although I cannot say you are wrong, I can say that I know something else to be true.

I know that people look for fulfillment and/or escape by drowning their sorrows in alcohol. I have seen how that simply leads to further destruction and even more pain.

I know that people seek sex and the approval of others to validate their lives and to give them a feeling of importance. I have seen how that leads to confusion about who they are and only causes them to feel even more insignificant.

I know of many other situations like these where people are looking for truth in places I have never seen it found. I have seen myself too often stay silent about the value and the truth that God has been for me.
Isn’t that really all we can do anyways?

All I can offer you is what I have seen and what I have experienced. I cannot Convert you, nor should that be my goal.

What I can do is I can share my faith

I can tell you about my life and what God has been and done for me

I can only provide you information

It is for others to decide what to do with the information.

You see Evangelism has become a bad word….
…… and when I keep my mouth shut, I only contribute to the problem.

Share your faith with anyone you can in every way you can as often as you can. Live your life as an example for others, but don’t forget the challenge that Saint Francis gave us “Preach the Gospel at all times when necessary use words.”

If we only remember the first part and fail to use words when the situation calls for it, when our life experience can benefit our neighbor, then we continue to make Evangelism a bad word.

What are you doing to spread the good news?

What are you doing to share your faith?

What are you doing to show others about the God you know?

As Always thanks for your time and giving this a read. If you enjoyed it share it with friends, you can do so easily with one of the buttons below. I pray that you will embrace life in the Love and Grace offered to you through Jesus Christ and that you will always remember Jeremiah 29:11.  – For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, Plans to Proper You and not for harm, Plans with Hope for the Future.