For Where Your Bling Is…

Jesus was not a cardiologist. And yet, I would guess that many modern cardiologists, along with the majority of people, would agree with this long-ago statement from Matthew 6:21:

For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.

Did Jesus really say it? The Jesus Seminar scholars, a loose-knit group of academics that have rigorously examined Jesus’ words in the Gospels (and who challenge readers to realize some of Jesus’ statements may have been “invented” by the Gospel writers), had mixed reactions to this verse.

A version of these verses also appears in Luke 12:33-34 and the Gospel of Thomas 76:3. Did Jesus say it? There’s no doubt that scholars can debate its veracity. But I believe the statement; those brief words can rattle and rekindle my faith.

Belief believes.

I recall when a friend called to tell me he was scheduled for a procedure in the near future. An angiogram. There might be more if blockage was found, including a stent placed in one or more of his arteries. He and his cardiologist had been monitoring some cardiac aberrations and it was past time to take a closer look.

I think my friend was afraid. (I would be too.) Continue reading →

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Seeking the Alter

This happened years ago, but I remember my question: Where was the alter? The cross was easy to find, hanging high above the choir loft. Since it was large, and smack dab in the middle of the chancel area, the pulpit was obvious.

But what about the alter?

Back then I was officially on a sabbatical and not serving a church. I decided to attend one of the “mega churches” in the Fresno area. You know: wherever two or three thousand are gathered in my name . . .

I should be honest and put a few labels on the table . . . or on the alter? I am a liberal, progressive Christian. The church I attended was not. Since I’m being confessional, I will admit that I attended the highest profile church in our region out of curiosity, and not to worship our loving Creator. Continue reading →

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On the Darker Side of Light

I didn’t mind the absence of light. We slowed down. We talked . . .

Me.

My wife.

All alone.

Candlelight.

Dare I share about the romantic gestures, the knowing looks, or the whispered words? No, I dare not. After all, we were sitting in the dark, candles sputtering and flickering, because all of the electricity was kaput. Years back, I recall when a roiling, boisterous thunderstorm zigzagged across the Fresno area and we were under one of the more dramatic zags. Indeed, the next day it was reported that our part of town was drenched by a half-inch of rain in less than an hour. We also had hail, pea and penny-sized as it dropped in the backyard, but sounding like large caliber bullets when smacking against our garage doors.

Across town at the airport (where rain measurements are officially recorded for Fresno), there was “trace” moisture. Go figure. Continue reading →

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