Keeping the Sabbath

Keeping the Sabbath

Everybody I know is tired. You are tired. I am tired. Your work wears on you. Your expenditure of energy in people, places, and things drains you. Your spirit is fatigued.

You shoulder major responsibility. You make life-altering decisions. You hire and fire. You give counsel. You care for an elderly person. You keep an eye on a feeble neighbor. You bake a casserole for the funeral of a friend.

You listen to complaining people. You hammer nails. You chase a toddler all day long and then wake up three times a night to coax him back to sleep.

In addition to the work, you battle the monotony of doing the same things repeatedly. Laundry breeds in the closet. School homework is eternal.

Customers keep showing up. Things break and require fixing, again. Grass grows. Snow has to be shoveled. Reports are due by the end of the week.

Little ones hit the floor, feet and mouths running. Paperwork stacks up. Planes line up on the runway. Your inbox, mailbox, and voicemail are full. Bills stack up. Groceries disappear. Gas tanks plummet toward empty.

We’ve done these things all our lives, every week, most days. And we grow tired of the rat race.

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Getting to Beautiful Places

Getting to Beautiful Places

In our summer attempts to refresh the weary soul, we often vacation in the most peaceful, beautiful places we can find.

I vote for the simplicity of the little town that time forgot, Sewanee (nearby us in Nashville), and its mountains that bring the great Appalachian chain to an end.

I also love the Great Smokies, but on the North Carolina side rather than the Tennessee side due to the commercialization of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. The Inn at Biltmore seems to be the place that frames the mountains just right, with a porch view and a rocking chair and some fresh blueberries and a good book.

I have nothing against towns in particular, but my soul needs something besides concrete and stores for renewal.

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Science and Wesleyan Theology

Science and Wesleyan Theology

In my last post on Science and Religion, I left off just as I introduced the idea of interpreting Scripture from a perspective of Wesleyan theology. That’s where I want to begin today—looking at this issue through three specific lenses: tradition, reason, and experience.

Tradition

We listen to the ancient church and what Christians have believed from the past. We give dead people a vote by paying attention to their understanding and theology.

In the current science-religion debate, we should go back in history beyond the past one hundred years to hear the close symmetry between science and religion. Most science was done by scholars rooted in the church. And where the church was wrong about science (a flat earth, the earth rotating around the sun, etc.), the church corrected itself. This is our tradition.

Saint Augustine, writing centuries before Darwin was a gleam in his parent’s eyes, wrote concerning in The Literal Meaning of Genesis:

In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in search for truth justly undermines this position, we too will fall with it.”

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Male and Female He Created Them

Male and Female He Created Them

Of all that was created, there is only one unique creature into which God breathes his breath and declares that it is his own image and likeness.

The dignity and character of God are embodied in the human creature. No other created thing is given the relational and rational capacity to understand this or respond back to the creator.

The union of a fragile creature and a faithful creator is the intent of our making. We are fashioned for relationship with God. John Wesley said, “For what is the most perfect in heaven or earth in Thy presence but a void, capable of being filled with Thee by Thee” (from A Plain Account of Christian Perfection).

But it doesn’t end there. Our narrative also says that God created the human, male and female he created them. And it was not good that the male was alone. No other material being filled the ache of aloneness – not birds, trees, or rivers – though he was made of the same stuff as they. Only when presented with the woman, made of the same dust yet fully other, did the male find his aloneness addressed.

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