Monday, December 1, 2014

Yes Ma'am

Apparently I have a uniquely feminine voice. I say that because I often get mistaken for a woman when I talk to people on the phone. I'm beyond getting offended or having my masculinity challenged by it and I've stopped correcting people if I don't have to. Mostly, I just feel bad for the person at the other end, when I have to give them my name, ("Doug Rutter? Did you say, Deb?" No, it's Doug.) after they have been calling me ma'am for the past 5 minutes. AWKWARD!

Well the one thing I have learned is that I don't like being called honey or darling. I don't like being condesended to about technical details or mechanical issues. These are never issues I confront in person...only when my assumed fairer sex is on the phone.

But I realize that this is a gift. To be given the opportunity to experience something that you never would naturally...that's amazing! It's made me more sensitive to my own phone etiquitte. It's made me a better person to understand the experience of someone else.

It makes me think I should look for more opportunities  to broaden my understanding. Have I truly sought to understand first while watching the protestors in our inner-cities? Have I truly sought first to understand the motivations of the illegal immigrants in my country? Have I truly sought first to understand the motivations of terrorists, agitators, atheists, etc?

Isn't that what God did for me? Don't I owe that to the people who he created and loves?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


It's hard to argue that our modern clebration of Thanksgiving has any connection with the Pilgrims & Indians our children learn about in school.

The Pilgrims fasted first and then celebrated the God who had delivered them through a winter of suffering and starvation. We lose some wieght in anticipation of the gluttonous rampage that will take us from late November through the first of January.

The PIlgrims knew that thier very survival was due to the constant protection and provision of the God they came here to worship. We must be contstantly reminded that our abundance is not only a gift, but a massive temptation to neglect to see that God as the ultimate source of our daily bread.

Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to yams & pumpkin pie, football & shopping. But I'm praying that I don't neglect to see that everything I enjoy about this time of year is an opportunity, not for indulgence, but for whorship.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17 ESV)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Black Rage...White Outrage

As the events of Furgeson unfolded on my television last night I was conflicted on how to feel, much less how to respond to the destruction and violence on my television. And to be perfectly honest I don't know how I feel about it except that I feel manipulated.

I feel manipulated by the leaders of the race-industry. I distrust commentators, intellectuals and community acitivits who try to convince me I should feel some sort of shame or guilt for the plight of their people. I similarly distrust the commentators & politicians who criticize them. I distrust all their motives and question their intentions. I belive they all have an interest in continuing the racial divide in our country, not ending it. 

I feel manipulated by the media. As my son sat next to me, mouth agape, I reminded him that the media are motivated (and compensated) by attention and therefore will seek (and sometimes cause) the most sensational aspects of any news-worthy event. At one time this was only true of the worst elements of tabloid press, but sadly it is the norm now. CNN seems to show the violence as an example of the legitimate outrage of an oppressed minority. Fox News seems to show the same events as an example of fake-outrage used as an excuse for bad behavior. I konw who I am inclinced to agree with, but I feel manipulated either way.

So I refulse to give into the manipulation. I will feel what I feel, but with humility and grace remind myself that I know very little about the expereice of being a poor person of color in this society. I will pray for wholeness and healing. I will pray for peace. I will avoid categories, stereotypes, assumptions & hyperbole.

I'm going to resist the tempation to have a strong opinion about this. If you know me, you not that doesn't come natually. But my natual insticts are rarely holy ones so maybe I'm on the right path.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Isaiah 55:10-11

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."
Isaiah tells us something specific about the effect that the word of God has in the world. When God's word is introduced into the world though scripture, teaching or preaching it accomplishes something: unfailingly and purposefully. God doesn't waste his words.

What Isaiah hints at is that it may take some doing for God to get this done. In the metaphor of the rain to bread process there's sprouting and seeding, harvesting and baking. And finally bread is produced. God's word is no different. Don't assume that a single hearing of a pithy sermon or a Bible motto will produce the desired transformation God intends to effect in your life. The word has to take root, it has to grow, it has to be harvested and it has to be applied. God's word is powerful tool for radical life transformation, but not a tool for invasion. God's word goes where it is invited and it achieves what we allow it to.

What Isaiah doesn't tells us is that God will accomplish what He intends, but that may not be what we intend. God's word is intimately and unbreakably tied to God's will. Although we can choose to allow it to enter our lives, there is no predicting the level of transformation it will accomplish once we allow it. Remember, God's word accomplishes what God intends not what we desire.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

I John 3:2


Beloved, now we are children of God and it hasn’t been revealed what we shall be. But we are aware that when He is revealed we will be like Him, that we will see Him as He truly is.
I love uncertainty in the Bible. It gives me such hope when I can see the humanity of the Bible’s authors slip through between the lines of their inspired texts. These authors have the Holy Spirit guiding their thoughts to produce God’s words for God’s world, but still they are human writers wrestling with real, human doubts and uncertainties.

John is honest with us that he just doesn't know what eternity with God will be like. he is confident that today, we are loved by God and accepted as His children. he knows that being connected to God in this way is transforming us into some remarkable future. But he also lets us know that he doesn’t know the details of what that future will be like. There’s something comforting about that.

I don’t know about you, but there are things about the Christian life that I don’t understand. Where is the intersection between the will of God and our own, personal responsibility? Why is Hell necessary, was there no other way? Do we pray for what we want or for God’s will. These are just the ones I’m willing to admit to.

But it is encouraging to me that with all his advantages, John’s in the same boat as I am. John walked with Jesus. John heard His words and saw His face. He shared meals and hugs with Jesus. He saw diseases healed, dead raised, and demons conquered. He was chosen by God and inspired by His spirit to write a Gospel, 3 epistles and the book of Revelation. But there were mysteries that even John didn’t understand.

For John, it was enough to know that God knew his future. He had a confident faith and a calm assurance that our glorious future in Jesus was worth the was worth the not knowing.

The ancient Hebrews had a saying, “the secret things belong to God and the revealed things belong to us.” (Deut. 29:29) John knew he didn’t need to know everything about God to know God. What’s more it’s only those who approach God with humility who will ultimately know that Great Mysteries. Hebrews 4:16 may invite us to “approach the throne of grace boldly” but we still do it on our knees. Copyright © 2008 D'Black by Ipiet's Blogger Template