The concept of the sabbath is an important one, and not one we probably typically think of very often. I’m not talking about what you can or cannot do on the sabbath, or what exactly are your weekly practices. I’m talking about the big picture of the sabbath, from the beginning of time. Why is the important? The sabbath is where creation is going, it is our trajectory. The world isn’t an endless cycle, it’s a story. And the sabbath is one way to tell this story. The sabbath is the end goal of creation.
Here is a (very) brief overview of the sabbath story, from Genesis to Revelation.
This is the seventh and last post in a series on our inadequacy. Read the others here.
I’ve written for six weeks about how we are inadequate in a bit of detail. Back in the first post I said this reality is gloriously freeing. How can something like this be glorious, be freeing, why do I believe that?
I don’t know about you, but I often feel like I’m under the burden of needing to have everything all together. A productive work life, changing lives in radical ways, an amazing social life where I look good all the time (at least on Instagram), the most caring and yet care free parent in the world where my kid looks and acts cooler than any other kid on the block. This is just the scraping off the top of the world’s expectations on us. Do you feel any of that? I know I do. And it’s crushing. Continue reading
This is the sixth post in a series on our inadequacy. Read the others here.
Growing up, my father used to call the television remote, the “power”. “Can you give me the power?” “Where is the power?” “I need the power.” He liked having the power. Of course he did, we all do. But real power, deeper than a mere remote control, is often not handled rightly. As Lord Acton famously said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
We have a problem with power. We can be corrupted in our use of it (having too much and not able to handle it) or we just don’t have the power we think we need.
Both of these are true: the power we do have is ruined, not because power itself is bad, but because we are corrupt. And, we really don’t have the power we need. The proof of this is the fact that we still have problems. We aren’t powerful enough to fix the big things in life that need fixing (especially starting with us). Continue reading
This is the fifth post in a series on our inadequacy. Read the others here.
How long can a human survive without water? Without food? Without air? I don’t know exactly (I’m sure Google does) but the exact time doesn’t matter as much as the big truth: not long. We are not exactly autonomous creatures, we depend on so much in our lives. Even for the most basic needs like food or drink, we are dependant.
But for most of us in the West, our “needs” are much more than mere survival. We need all sorts of things that we don’t really need. The size of our houses, the cars we pick, the compressed and inhospitable calendars we keep attest to this. And with these needs come the mortgages, loans, working hours, and anxiety that inevitably come along. But we want to present ourselves as self-sufficient, able to conquer all. Problem is we know we aren’t. And the more we prop up this shallow façade, the more we feel its weight. Continue reading
This is the fourth post in a series on our inadequacy. Read the others here.
We spend so much time with protecting ourselves, though don’t we? Comfort, or the logical end of protection, is what we chase after. It’s why we sign up for 55 hour work weeks, why we spend so much of that money we earn on recreation, alcohol, big homes and new cars. Comfort is one of the chief gods of the Western world. But this god never tells the truth. No matter how much you sacrifice in the name of comfort, we are never completely protected. Tragedy is no respecter of persons. And when it comes, and it will, we learn this:
We are inadequate to protect ourselves.
When it really comes down to it, we do not have the power in ourselves to protect ourselves. And if anything, that reality presses on the nerve of our sense of self-preservation. And when that reality does come to bear down in our lives, how do we react? Do we embrace it or attempt to ignore it? Continue reading
This is the third post in a series on our inadequacy. Read the others here.
Whenever I come out of a superhero movie, I feel a bit of a superhero myself. I’ve watched Batman be awesome and cool and save the day long enough to think of myself as Batman. When I leave the theatre, I’m not in my Golf, I’m in the Batmobile. I think of getting the bad guys, seeing justice reign, and I feel my muscles getting bigger and my stomach getting flatter. I like Batman as the hero, but really, I want to be the hero. And who doesn’t? Being the hero looks pretty cool.
But reality is obviously different than a two hour Hollywood version of a comic book. We can’t be the hero, we just don’t have what it takes. We can’t do it alone, we need others. Continue reading
This is the second post in a series on our inadequacy. Read the others here.
We all want to be a part of something that will change the world. Or at least we really like that idea. At some level we realise that living for ourselves isn’t enough, or it ought not be enough. At the same time, we are also easily satisfied. We know we shouldn’t live for ourselves, but we really like to.
We want to end world hunger, but we also want to buy a boat.
And we vacillate between these two poles: our altruistic selves and our consumerist selves, never staying at either long enough to feel at home. We end up a little guilty, a little anxious, wondering if we’re living for the right thing or if we’re missing out. Maybe there’s a better way. That better way would start with us realising that we are inadequate in what we choose to do. We don’t have what it takes when choosing the mission for our lives. Continue reading
This is the first post in a series on our inadequacy. Read the others here.
“Hi, I’m Greg, and I am inadequate.”
We all want to be seen as people who have it together. We set goals and meet them, surpass them even. We use every spare scrap of time to be incredibly productive and we enjoy every second of it. That’s the kind of people we want to be and, because of that, often how we present ourselves to the world.
Working hard is good. Being productive is good. Surpassing goals is good. But why do we care so much to be seen this way? Maybe you don’t care that much about it, but I bet at least part of you does. I know I do. I want to be seen as knowledgeable, helpful, someone who works hard and does amazing things. Why do I care about this so much? Continue reading
Have you ever felt like “home” was a concept and not a reality?
We haven’t lived in Manchester long enough yet for it to feel like home and sometimes it feels like we are living “somewhere else”. We are in between home and somewhere else. Some days are hard, some more than others. For us, this is just a reality that we live in at the moment. It can be hard to live in a place full of reminders that this isn’t your home, a place that feels like somewhere else. Hopefully as time goes on and we grow in our connections to people here it will feel more like a home.
This is not a feeling reserved for people who move to different places, for refugees, or wanderers. A full length album of mine came out of this search for home, and I was living in the culture where I was born and grew up. We all ache for home.
It is in this ache that we find this truth: we will always be living in this world, between home and somewhere else. Like Abraham, we are searching after a city whose architect and builder is God. Like the Israelites in the wilderness, we are caught between where we came from and where we want to be.
What a wonderful hope we have as part of the Father’s family. Our hope is that all aspects of our homesickness, and there are many aspects, will all find their home in the gift of God Himself when we are finally with Him. Finally at Home.
There is a good side to being overwhelmed even though it almost always has a negative connotation in our culture. In spite of my own reactions, I believe we ought to embrace being overwhelmed. See, in my own life, I mostly try and avoid this feeling and for many different reasons. In my modern world I have complete control over pretty much everything and this feeling of “being overwhelmed” is unnerving. I try and avoid it or dominate it, really whatever I can do to undo it. But I think I’m missing out on something important because of this. Continue reading