Gospel Clips Part 1

The funny thing about the gospel is that it’s everywhere if you know how to look; the world can’t help but seep gospel out of its pores. Even those set most adamantly against Christ echo His song faintly. Creation, fall, redemption, restoration, grace, shame, transforming love, rebellion, community, rescue, chaos, beauty, the war between good and evil—this is the stuff of legends, pointing our hearts toward eternity. Here are three clips running with the threads of Scripture just beneath the surface.

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Scripture Aesthetics: The Garden

The value of the myth is that it takes all the things we know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by ‘the veil of familiarity’. The child enjoys his cold meat (otherwise dull to him) by pretending it is buffalo, just killed with his own bow and arrow. And the child is wise. The real meat comes back to him more savoury for having been dipped in a story; you might say that only then is it the real meat. If you are tired of the real landscape, look at it in a mirror. By putting bread, gold, horse, apple, or the very roads into a myth, we do not retreat from reality: we rediscover it. As long as the story lingers in our mind, the real things are more themselves.

(C.S. Lewis, ‘On Stories’)

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Hoist the Colors

There’s a soft spot in my heart for Captain Jack Sparrow. Not because of his cheeky spirit or swashbuckling guyliner, but because he’s who I am without Jesus.

A friend says God’s people have always behaved more like pirates than children. We invent ways to destroy, to rebel, to plunder, to make of this beautiful world a scavenged carcass. No rules for us! we cry on our unimpeded path to chaos. We naturally perfect violence and corruption in our black hearts; seas teem with the carnage we’ve created. The flag that flies over us is death, but nothing can convince us that we’re not masters of our own fates, captains of our own souls. And we pilot our ships and everyone around us straight to hell, singing loudly and numbing ourselves to the pain with delusions of glorious independence.

And then, one Friday afternoon, the sky goes dark and every pirate flag disappears. We all lift our eyes and gaze at the new crimson banners snapping overhead, and the ocean is stocked with very confused marauders.

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A Deeper Turning

Repentance: (n) to reorient away from sin and toward God; effective for kingdom entrance and daily maintenance of spiritual vitality

Last January, God began working on me in the area of repentance. He gently pointed out that I had no idea what it was meant to be, how I was dismissing one of the greatest gifts of the gospel. I’m pleased to announce to you all that, after a year of hard work, I have now arrived. I’m awesome at repentance and have no more need of it.

Pfft. Right.

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Taking Silly Seriously

(This post was originally published on the Baptist Convention of New England’s blog on April 5, 2019. You can find it here.)

There are many qualities about God’s character I find deeply comforting: His omni-ness (omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent), His justice, His mercy, His wisdom, His patience, His faithfulness. On and on it goes. These attributes and a thousand more draw my heart to the throne with a profound sense of wonder.

But I keep forgetting He’s a dad—a really, really good one. Which means there’s a new characteristic I need to add to my list of what I love about this fascinating God the angels never tire of extolling.

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Dismantling Old Monsters

I passed the monster every morning for a year. And I’m not speaking metaphorically here—it was a massive red, hulking thing draped in a cloak, and it waited for me in the piano room when the house was asleep. I was a high school band kid, up before anyone else so I could get to marching practice on time. Part of my morning routine was going for q-tips in my little brother’s bathroom on the other side of the house, and I had to pass through the piano room on my way. So I faced a daily date with the beast: absurdly long claws, piercing eyes hidden by a hood, and this horrible silence that spoke volumes against my safety.

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A Few of My Favorite Things

Wake up, you sleepyheads! Winter has departed, and April is upon us! Cast off your dark grave clothes—step full into the light. Of course there will be soggy days, but what are umbrellas for? Doesn’t your heart beat stronger in the sunshine? Haven’t you longed for some morning coffee on the porch, tracking new growth peeking through the dirt? Empty gardens, like empty tombs, have a habit of birthing life this time of year. Spring is here! Let’s squeeze every sweet drop of goodness from it we can wrap our fingers around.

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