Bludgeoning Badges



…or else.

Sometimes being a Christian can become like being a Girl Scout. It all seems innocuous at first – singing songs about making new friends and keeping the old, selling delicious baked goods, giggling. Soon, however, competition is stirred and the jade sash comes on – badges become instruments with which to bludgeon others spirits into the ground.

It would be great if after becoming followers of Christ, we could all be friends, stand in a circle singing hymns of faith and fellowship, and enjoy one another as members of the Body. Unfortunately, legalism often creeps in and doing good things or doing things in the name of good become badges which we wear with the intent of either putting people down or showing off like a Girl Scout with a sash full of badges.

I have a spiritual sash. Thankfully, it’s not as full of badges as it used to be. To be certain, some badges are still as tightly stitched to my sash as the day they were sewn there. A few are hanging by threads.

One badge – the “I-only-have-godly-friends” badge – is in the process of being torn away. I used to wear this badge proudly, toward the top of my sash. I lived by the idea that my not having worldly, sinful friends was a sign of my own spiritual prowess and well-being.

Then I read about Jesus a little more carefully. Far from rejecting him for his godly standard of living, “the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him” (Luke 15:1). In fact, you don’t have to pay attention that hard while reading the Gospels to notice that Jesus got invited to a lot of parties, most of which were hosted by or attended by people who we would look down upon – tax collectors, prostitutes, sinners. And in the first century, eating with someone meant that you put them on the same level as yourself, that you accepted them as friends. The Pharisees expressed this sentiment when they said accusingly of Jesus, “This man receives sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:2).

Over the next few months, I want to go past a casual reading and look at the people that Jesus showed friendship toward – specifically, prostitutes, tax collectors, the Pharisees, and Judas. The first two flocked to Jesus. The second two tried to get away from him. What was it about Jesus that made loose women, thieves, sinners, and the most marginalized people in society flock to him? And if those same types of people don’t feel comfortable around Jesus’s followers today, where have we gone wrong?

Your thoughts?

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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Uncategorized



What if…

“Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of these eager followers of Jesus in the first century. What if I were the potential disciple being told to drop my nets? What if you were the man whom Jesus told to not even say good-bye to his family? What if we were told to hate our families and give up everything we had in order to follow Jesus?

“This is where we come fact to face with a dangerous reality. We do have to give up everything we have to follow Jesus. We do have to love him in a way that makes our closest relationships in this world look like hate. And it is entirely possible that he will tell us to sell everything we have and give it to the poor.”

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt

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Posted by on January 4, 2011 in quotes


I am Resolved

My wife is so good. She usually has her new year’s resolutions ready to go come the end of December. But this year, I beat her! Usually, I have a vague list floating around in my noggin, which I promptly forget by January 15. So, this year, they’re written down; before we ring in the new year, each one will have its own action plan. In the spirit of accountability, here is my list.

  • Learn French, regain Greek, and maintain Spanish
  • Learn guitar
  • Eat French-ly again
  • Blog at least once a week
  • Read through Gospels, paying close attention to examples of Christ being a friend to sinners
  • Read (at least) one book a month:

JANUARY: Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (David Platt)

FEBRUARY: Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis)

MARCH: Grace-Based Parenting (Tim Kimmel)

APRIL: Faithful Feelings: Rethinking Emotion in the New Testament (Matthew Elliott)

MAY: Surprised by Suffering: The Role of Pain and Death in The Christian Life (R.C. Sproul)

JUNE: God is the Gospel (John Piper)

JULY: Gospel-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting (William Farley)

AUGUST: Genesis Unbound (John Sailhamer)

SEPTEMBER: Preaching Christ in All of Scripture (Edward Clowney)

OCTOBER: Imitation of Christ (Thomas à Kempis)

NOVEMBER: Church Planter: The Man, the Message, the Mission (Darrin Patrick)

DECEMBER: It is Well: Expositions on Substitutionary Atonement (Mark Dever)


Do you set resolutions? If so, what are they?


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Posted by on December 31, 2010 in books, life changes, things I'm new at


Aarti Paarti in my mouth

So, we really feel like winners. From episode one the Next Food Network Star, we’ve been rooting for Aarti Sequeira. And for good reason – have you seen her cook? Have you seen how mouthwateringly wonderful her food looks?

But I digress.

So she won (congrats, if you ever read this)! In honor of the win, we made her quinoa. Except we didn’t have any and we were tight on time and pennies, so we used the brown rice we already had. And alas, no bran flakes.

But here’s the original recipe for you to try:

Um, two words – yum and wow!


Posted by on August 17, 2010 in food


RECIPE: Shrimp Spaghetti with Thymed and Curried White Beans

I just stumbled upon this recipe that I wrote while we lived in Panama. I remember it being good enough to write down, but I don’t remember exactly what it was like, so I’m going to be testing it again soon. But, I thought maybe you’d like to test it along with me. I’ll put a picture of it up when I make it.

Shrimp Spaghetti with Thymed and Curried White Beans

  • 1 package (500 g) whole-grain spaghetti
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cans white beans
  • 2 tsp yellow curry powder
  • 1 tsp crushed thyme
  • 3 pinches crushed chili powder
  • 2 cups celery leaves/tops, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup fully-steamed shrimp, deshelled
  • 4 tbsp butter

Fill a large pot with water and add a couple of tablespoons of salt. Bring it to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, caramelize the onions and the garlic; that means, cook until a beautiful, golden-brown color. Add the beans (with the liquid from the can), curry, thyme, and chili powder. Stir until combined. Set aside until the pasta is done.

Add the spaghetti to the boiling water. Cook until al dente. Drain the water, leaving about 1/4 cup of water in the pot.

Dump the drained pasta back into the cooking pot. Add the bean mixture into the spaghetti, along with the celery leaves and tops, the shrimp, and butter. Stir over low heat until the butter melts and the celery leaves are just cooked but still a nice, vibrant green.

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Posted by on August 17, 2010 in food


The Appendix First

I love knowing the ending. I google while watching movies to find the ending. I read the last paragraph of books. It drives my wife crazy.

What I wasn’t in the know about was the fact that I would have my appendix taken out a week ago tomorrow. Which put a cramp in my plan to start discussing Mere Christianity this past Sunday. I apologize to you – my one reader – for not being able to follow through with the plan. Today’s the first day that I’ve felt like sitting down at the computer to write this blurb. Because of that, we’ll be starting this Sunday someday after things get settled down with the baby. Sorry for the delay.

As long as no other organs need to be removed.

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Posted by on February 25, 2010 in Book Discussion Group


Reading Schedule for Mere Christianity

As promised, here is what I’m going to be reading, week-by-week, as we read through Mere Christianity. Please join me if you will, and discuss it with me. Again, I’ll be posting my thoughts on what we read on each Sunday. Oh, and before I forget, if you’re reading this on Facebook, please join me here on my blog, so our comments are all in one place!

If you haven’t found a book, each chapter heading below links to the corresponding online copy.


1. The Law of Human Nature
2. Some Objections
3. The Reality of the Law
4. What Lies Behind the Law
5. We Have Cause to Be Uneasy

1. The Rival Conceptions of God
2. The Invasion
3. The Shocking Alternative
4. The Perfect Penitent
5. The Practical Conclusion

WEEK 3 – MARCH 1-7
1. The Three Parts of Morality
2. The “Cardinal Virtues”
3. Social Morality
4. Morality and Psychoanalysis
5. Sexual Morality
6. Christian Marriage

WEEK 4 – MARCH 8-14
7. Forgiveness
8. The Great Sin
9. Charity
10. Hope
11. Faith
12. Faith

WEEK 5 – MARCH 15-21
1. Making and Begetting
2. The Three-Personal God
3. Time and Beyond Time
4. Good Infection
5. The Obstinate Toy Soldiers
6. Two Notes

WEEK 6 – MARCH 22-28
7. Let’s Pretend
8. Is Christianity Hard or Easy?
9. Counting the Cost
10. Nice People or New Men
11. The New Man