Christians are Naturalized Citizens

The following is the naturalization oath that makes someone a citizen of the United States when immigrating from another country: I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the…

Some Encouragement, O Christians!

Sometimes, Christian exhortation can get you down. It’s not that it’s not edifying when received well, but sometimes we don’t receive it well. If we’re not ready to receive the exhortation, we feel judgment. And of course an encounter with God’s word is always a judgment, because it reveals who we are. We should be receiving God’s word with joy, because it’s good news,…

The Struggle of True and Pure Citizenship

With the national election now (mostly) in the rearview mirror but yet not so distant, we are again in a time of reflection on national service and what it means to be a citizen, most especially on our duties to our fellow citizens. Unfortunately, most of the reflection is of a rather cynical and externalized sort, trying to figure out why this candidate won…

What is Spiritual Discipline Actually For?

Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh is one of my favorite modern writers because, even though I have not really even begun to read all of his that is available in English, whenever I read something by him, I immediately feel a sense of hope in Jesus Christ. His transparency and peace are immediately accessible in all his writing. And since there is still so…

Shouldn’t This Thing Just Work? An Intentional Christianity

I get frustrated at machines sometimes, especially computerized machines. They do the most inexplicable things at times. When I was a stagehand, we called this IWF (Intermittent Weird Failure). IWF when I was a stagehand was eminently addressable—in most cases, we just switched out the offending part and went on with our lives. But I don’t always have that option out in the world…

No One Ever Gets the Problems He Can Handle

Another bit of wisdom today from Edwin Friedman’s A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix: Where parents are willing to take responsibility for their own unworked-out relationships either with their own parents or with one another, children rarely develop serious symptoms. Symptoms in a child are most likely to develop in the areas of the parent’s own traumatization where…

The Key to Growth is Not More Data

Just a few quick thoughts for today from Edwin Friedman, whose works I’ve been getting to know over the past few years—all three from his work A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix: Even the United States Government Printing Office has pamphlets about “A Teenager in Your House” which, like “Termites in Your Basement,” is designed to teach parents…