What is Truth?

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John 18:33-39:  (The Message)33Pilate went back into the palace and called for Jesus. He said, “Are you the ‘King of the Jews’?”  34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own, or did others tell you this about me?” 35Pilate said, “Do I look like a Jew? Your people and your high priests turned you over to me. What did you do?” 36“My kingdom,” said Jesus, “doesn’t consist of what you see around you. If it did, my followers would fight so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But I’m not that kind of king, not the world’s kind of king.” 37Then Pilate said, “So, are you a king or not?”   Jesus answered, “You tell me. Because I am King, I was born and entered the world so that I could witness to the truth. Everyone who cares for truth, who has any feeling for the truth, recognizes my voice.” 38-39Pilate said, “What is truth?”

What is truth?  Is there a bigger question in our lifetime?  I really don’t think so.  Your sense of truth is what undergirds your worldview.  Your worldview is your lens for your beliefs and your actions.  We all have them, we just might not know where they come from. I am personally enthralled with the search for truth.  I look for it under the stars on a clear night, I look for it in simple conversations with my kids, I look for it in the affection of my wife, I look for it in the deep conversations with friends around a fire, I look for it in every new experience life brings.  What I wouldn’t give to have been an aid to Pilate on that day.  I find the truth of Jesus to be utterly compelling, would have loved to have heard it from the inflection in his human voice.  To hear veritas (truth in greek) from one spoken with such conviction as he was completey separate from this world, his identity rooted in the Kingdom that is unseen.  I couldn’t be there that day, but I can be here today.  And today has similar revelations of veritas.  That I be open, mindful, expectant and thirsty for his kind of truth. On this holy week, my friends . . . . Seek the truth, and don’t accept counterfeits. peace,Marshall

Let’s Go X!

A simple blog entry today.  A tribute to my Jesuit brothers from Norwood and my favorite college hoops team:  The Xavier University Musketeers.  Tough task vs. Minnesota, Tubby Smith has a National Championship under his belt.  But it’s all about Jordan Crawford today, time for him to show his star power.  The role players do the complimenting work, Love, McClain, Dante Jackson, Holloway.  This is not their deepest nor their most talented team, but as usual come tournament time, they are balanced inside and out.  A great tournament for them would be 2 wins and into the Sweet 16, to me, that’s the goal.  They win when they rebound and play smothering defense.  They’ve won close games this year with making their free throws down the stretch, they may need that again.  I need to find a way to take a long lunch today.  So that’s what’s on my mind today.

X . . . A. . . V. . . IER!  Let’s Go X!

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Work as Sacrament

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Today’s Aidan reading from Celtic Daily Prayer re: St. Columba’s residence in Iona Community:

“The days were filled with prayer, study and manual labor . . . In dairy, granary, or in the fields, each worshipped God in his appointed task, and made his toil a sacramental thing . . . The secret of the early Celts lay in this, that they linked sacrament with service, altar with hearth, worship with work.”  – F. M. McNeil/Troup 

 Wow, I’m a fan of this kind of thinking.  I am as guilty as the next person of having a bad attitude re: work.  I worked in vocational forms of ministry for about 10 years before somewhat firing myself for a life of being bi-vocational in ministry.  I just couldn’t stomach the focus on $ for church buildings and staff salaries when the needs were so great in the larger community around us.  I struggled for years with this shift internally, feeling that I had lost a huge part of my identity, of who I was.  Now I see all and any kind of work somewhat wholistically.  No separation of sacred and secular.  All work can be sacrament, that is sacred, holy, meaningful and done unto our Creator.  We may struggle with work structures, culture, organizational management, pressures, over-bearing coworkers, lack of respect, sense of being dehumanized etc.  But no matter the context, the desire to make work sacramenet I think is up to us.  I have longed believed that hard work is good for the soul.   I was in a meeting this week with a room full of life coaches, corportate speakers, HR consultants, inspirational cheerleaders, job seeking gurus etc.  It was all about them wanting to work with my clients to help them find fulfillment in their work etc.  There is some merit to this kind of coaching, but I really struggle with the premise.  I do not believe you look to work to find meaning, meaning is found within.  You have a life for meaning, you work to work .  Meaning is in relationships, work is for provision.  I believe the curse to man going back to the Garden of Eden that he will toil the land all his days is still a part of this broken world.  Women face pain in childbirth as a part of this curse and anyone (male or female) who are working to provide, will find work hard.  Work is supposed to feel like work and the sweat of our brow can be a holy thing. Work as sacrament, sacred and holy, it’s what we choose to make it. peace,marshall

continued death of free market

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Rarely do I get too political, but this caught my eye today:  GMAC bailout.    I don’t get why we are so afraid of allowing the free market to open and close doors for businesses.  I thought the free market was part of the American Dream.  If you work harder, have a better product, deliver it better, then you get to thrive.  If you don’t, you are on your way to extinction.  This American Entitlement to existence will be our downfall, just ask Rome.  At the end of its days, Rome spent more resources consuming and less and less resources producing.  There was free bread in Rome, so why protect the boarders.?  Their enemies crossed boarders and closed in like a hot knife through butter, they got soft.  (this is not a boarder/immigration issue, this is just basic economics)    America is soft, run by those who profit off of the masses who feel entitled to their inflated ways of life and doing business.  A free market is harsh, but it’s real and it’s free.  But it will be the ideals and tenets of a free market that I will teach my children, for a borrower is always slave to the lender. peace,marshall

March 2006, a dark season

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I am reposting here my blog from March 10 2006 and  another that followed.  Chad Canipe having passed and Mark Palmer slipping away from our grip at the same time.  The darkest season of my life.  When it was all over, I was left with a broken heart that still to this day is not fully healed. 

March 10, 2006“As of about 7:00 this morning, my friend Chad Canipe crossed over to Kingdom fullness. We’re incredibly sad, confused and hurt, but Chad has gone before us. We yearn to be where he is. We’re making plans for a memorial at around 10:00 a.m. at St. Elizabeths in Norwood on Sunday. He was an amazing friend to me, so solid, so loyal.Please pray for Renee, Colon and Aidan. Pray away the darkness so that they can mourn in peace. Its so overwhelming to lose someone like Chad, don’t let the enemy bring despair to their hearts. Pray for peace, pray for presence, pray for Kingdom space to heal.Tonight we gather to remember and celebrate life, the way Chad lived with us. 

and

March 12, 2006“Today at 10:00 at St. Elizabeth’s here in Cincy we had the Memorial service for Chad Canipe. It was pretty amazing. The worship just lifted the room, the stories brought laughter and deep truths, the communion shared together made us realize the thin place between this world and the next. A huge thanks to all who made it happen, there are so many. The hope in the room lifted the cloud of darkness and gave room for the family to grieve in peace.Yesterday, 10 of us gathered at 64 King in Columbus to pray for Palmer and give counsel to the Landing Place kids. It was a very fruitful time of community and intercession. At times our prayers were intense and in the Spirit. Palmer spent the night in the hospital and he is there now in great suffering. They are trying to make him comfortable, but his body is not responding. Amy finds herself alone at times to wait with him, please lift her up. I have not been released by the Holy Spirit to pray for anything else but his rising out of this sickness. So even tonight in my exhaustion, I pray for God to touch him and cause him to RISE. And when He does, we will let it ring over the earth.There is so much to share from this weekend, but I’m so tired. In the midst of our suffering, God’s Kingdom was exploding all around us. It is so rich to live in the ways of Jesus, suffering can’t even touch it. I’ll share more when I’m rested.For tonight, Lord, let Palmer RISE!amen.” 

I have to admitt, the pain from this season still hurts today.peace,marshall

a future already prepared?

 

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I daily use Celtic Daily Prayer from Northumbria Community.  It is a monastic community on the north shore of England bordering Scotland.  I stayed there on a personal retreat a few years ago and it continues to have a hold on my thinking and my living.  They organized a prayer book and I’m a pretty big fan.  I have long been interested in Celtic Christianity and the legacy of St. Patrick.  I would say St. Patrick has influenced my spirituality as much as the Apostles.  It must be the Irish in me. I read this in Celtic Daily Prayer from today’s Aidan reading and it hit me between the eyes:

“I know the plans I have for  you, says the Lord, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11)  God can take events of the past and weave them so skillfully inot a new plan for us that not only do we find there is a future for us after all, but it is as if there have been no wasted years.”Christ Before MeHe forever goes before us to prepare a place for us.  He is on the road we tread.  Where life is leading us, He has gone before.  Perhaps we have no clue about what lies ahead; we know who is ahead of us, so the future is not quite unknown.  – David Adam, The Edge of Glory

peace to your future,marshall

an honest complaint

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“These are the times that try man’s soul.”  – Thomas Paine

7 O LORD, you deceived [b] me, and I was deceived [c] ;       you overpowered me and prevailed.       I am ridiculed all day long;       everyone mocks me.  8 Whenever I speak, I cry out       proclaiming violence and destruction.       So the word of the LORD has brought me       insult and reproach all day long. 9 But if I say, “I will not mention him       or speak any more in his name,”       his word is in my heart like a fire,       a fire shut up in my bones.       I am weary of holding it in;       indeed, I cannot.  12 O LORD Almighty, you who examine the righteous       and probe the heart and mind,       let me see your vengeance upon them,       for to you I have committed my cause.

Sometimes, this is just how you feel.

 peace,marshall

on leaving home

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“Aren’t you, like me, hoping that some person, thing, or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire?  But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment you will go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied.  You know that this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy, but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run.  This is the way to spiritual exhaustion and burn-out.  This is the way to spiritual death .”Henri Nouwen  Life of the Beloved  .

This is part of my lecture tonight on the book of Romans and I think Nouwen describes our internal search for salvation well.  We are wired to look for it and be restless until we find it.  Even after our intial finding of this salvation, we are tempted by so many pursuits to search for the next fix or magic pill somewhere else.  But these searches are often fruitless and sometimes destructive in their consequences.  All we need is found in the home of our Father.

“Now I realize that the real sin is to deny God’s first love for me, to ignore my original goodness.  Because without claiming that first love and that original goodness for myself, I lose touch with my true self and embark on the destructive search among the wrong people and in the wrong places for what can only be found in the house of my Father.”– Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son

peace,marshall

Back in the USSR

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Back in the USSR  Who says the days of Soviet dictatorship has to be over, Russia has gone retro with this response. 

In televised comments, Medvedev said if those responsible for preparing the athletes don’t resign, then the decision will be made for them. He did not mention anyone by name.“Those who bear the responsibility for Olympic preparations should carry that responsibility. It’s totally clear,” Medvedev said. “I think that the individuals responsible, or several of them, who answer for these preparations, should take the courageous decision to hand in their notice. If we don’t see such decisiveness, we will help them.” 

What’s next, another forced famine of the Ukraine for the good of the rest of the Union?  I guess progress is a threat of the loss of jobs is far superior to the loss of lives.  I also suppose that the leaders implicated here  kind of knew this was going to be the response going home.  It’s like being a coach in New York, if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.  Here’s a great quote from their sports minister, “Doping bans also had deprived Russia of several leading medal contenders”.   I mean, how are you supposed to compete if they don’t allow cheating?  That’s just not the soviet way. This just all reminded me of the good ole Cold War days.  Memories of Ivan Drago dropping Apollo Creed in Vegas like a rag doll.  And let us never forget that it was not Ronald Reagan, nor the fall of communism that ended the Cold War.  It was Rocky Balboa at the end of Rocky IV with his words to the Moscow crowd:

Rocky: During this fight, I’ve seen a lot of changing, in the way you feel about me, and in the way I feel about you. In here, there were two guys killing each other, but I guess that’s better than twenty million. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!  

Apparently the Soviet President needs to sit down and re-watch Rocky IV in surround sound and embrace the change, cuz his retro response to yester-year is a bit chilling.peace,marshall