if the grace you extend comes with a ‘but’ at the end, it isn’t grace; it’s condemnation.
since the beginning of this blog, i’ve posted an annual ‘best posts of the past year’ which was based on which ones had been shared the most via social media, or had the most comments (here’s the top ten of 2013 and 2014).
seeing as today is the even of a new year, that’s this post; however, instead of linking my most popular posts from 2015, i’ve chosen to link those i believe to be the most important.
so without further ado, here’s my top ten from 2015 (with a bit of a teaser from each of them) ::
seek to see and celebrate the beauty of the divine image in every person
you come into contact with.
if you follow my facebook feed, you’ll know that leading up to this holiday season i spent some time defending my counter-cultural suggestion that since the jesus of the gospel narratives is quite clearly against killing people, folks who claim to follow him ought to be as well.
though it’s not the first time an impassioned disagreement has taken place in my world, i was surprised that the most vitriolic – sometimes even violent – responses came not due to my previous suggestions that the gospel is far better news than what we learned in church; or that the family of God expands beyond the walls of religion; or even that accepting syrian refugees and muslim immigrants is a christ-followers’ ethical and moral responsibility; but the assertion that christians shouldn’t kill people.
i don’t say so lightly. such an assertion flies in the face of the faith and family in which i was raised – and not just because we used to sing, ‘onward christian soldier, marching off to war…’ during children’s church.
for me, it started on the day i was born.
living as jesus lived and loving as he loved brings the kingdom of God here, and now.
the purpose of (un)common good collective is quite simple; we serve as a shared resource organization to provide services and fund the work of churches, organizations and individuals within our growing circle of friends. we seek to develop strong partnerships with friends and partners around the country (and even around the world) who are working toward creating a more just and generous world by giving our time, treasure and talent in a shared economy of goodness.
in more than two decades of doing non-profit and ministry related work, i’ve found the following to be true –
‘doing good’ is quite common.
there are countless people doing good in our world. it’s common. what is historically uncommon, however, is intentional collaboration and the sharing of resources within these communities of do-gooders. many times perceived competition for donor dollars combined with a scarcity mindset limits the range and effectiveness of the work – and stifles our vision of the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.
to have possessions and to become possessed by them are two very different things.
recently, the president of the largest evangelical christian university in the nation called on his students to carry concealed weapons on campus – presumably, to protect themselves from a terrorist attack. like his late father before him, jerry falwell, jr. made national headlines by making comments in the name of christ that are absurd as they are contrary to the teachings of the very jesus he claims to represent.
in the midst of those headlines, a number of my friends and co-conspirators for goodness in our world added their own thoughts to the fray. brian mclaren penned an open letter to jerry falwell, jr., students and faculty of liberty university on huffington post, rightly declaring,
Your message faithfully represents a longstanding (and ugly) stream of American culture and politics. This tradition goes back to those who argued against the equal human rights and dignity of the Native Peoples and African-American slaves, often abusing the Bible to justify white supremacy under its various guises.
shane claiborne spoke up saying,
It’s hard to imagine Jesus enrolling for the concealed weapons class at Liberty University. And it is even harder imagining Jesus approving of the words of Mr. Falwell as he openly threatens Muslims.
but not all my friends agree with one another.
jesus taught us to live as fully human, tapping into the divine image
– which is within each of us –
in ways those around him found amaizing.
our present circumstances are often confusing.
we could use some ancient wisdom.
yesterday, i shared on social media this post – a HuffPo piece written by a friend and colleague concerning the coming (some might suggest present) evangelical schism. the author proposes that the jesus being taught by a number of self-identified evangelicals isn’t quite the same as the jesus invoked by some others of us who similarly claim to proclaim good news.
from my perspective, the primitively conceived, angry and wrathful (even violent) God of some self-proclaimed christians stands in stark contrast to the benevolent being believed by myself and others who claim to be compelled by the life, teachings and example of jesus.