Archives For relationship

I find it interesting to see which of my blog posts are the most popular during any given period of time and decided to share the information for July with you, my readers. A few of my more recent posts have been quite popular, but there’s one older post that has remained on the list month after month. Here it is, in declining order of popularity:

  1. Psalm 16:7-11
  2. Texas Bar Sues Church
  3. Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola
  4. Sabbatical
  5. MuseScore and ScoreRender
  6. Stop Dating the Church! by Joshua Harris

Please read and comment!

I came across an interesting post on Internet Monk a few weeks ago and want to share it with you. It has led to interesting discussions among my family members and caused me to question my own reactions to certain behaviors. The post is entitled “Will We Have To Leave?” and relates to cohabitation and other sinful lifestyles and how the church responds to them. Here’s a snippet:

Nothing really works in this situation. People are broken and looking for something to glue themselves together. Religious people are accumulating morality points and abandoning the Gospel. The possibilities of a community of Christians to show what it means to love people as Jesus did and in their own weakness get lost in drawing lines and pretending there is such a [thing] as justification by having never [cohabited].

The possibility of seeing someone repent of sin, come to Christ and move toward true gifts of forgiveness and marriage is apparently less appealing than the Pharisaic joys of letting sinners know they aren’t welcome with us or the God we worship until they clean up their mess.

Read the entire post here.

It’s confession time. I actually have avoided inviting people to church because they were cohabiting and I wasn’t sure how this fact would impact the people’s experience at my church. You can probably imagine the thoughts that were going through my head: “What will people say if they find out? Will they still be welcoming and be a good testimony?” The good news is that when I’m being honest with myself I do think that those in my church would do the right thing. Most of them, at least, would join me in welcoming any guest, regardless of the areas of sin in his or her life. That doesn’t mean that my church would be accepting of the behavior, but sensitive to the fact that while the behavior shouldn’t be approved of, the person should feel welcome. The behavior should change if/when the person forms a relationship with Christ. If, at that point, the behavior continues, then we have a problem that needs to be dealt with.

Time for self-examination: how do I really feel about this? Would I participate in gossip about this individual? If it weren’t my friend, would I feel comfortable with the situation? Would I be a good testimony? I would like to think so. I pray that I wouldn’t gossip, that I would feel comfortable enough to make the visitor comfortable, and that I would be a good testimony. I also pray that I wouldn’t be so accepting that I inadvertently show acceptance for the behavior.

How about you?

Your Whole Self

By Nate LaClaire —  October 27, 2009 — 4 Comments

Several years ago, Christian singer Dan Haseltine (of Jars of Clay) challenged readers of Relevant Magazine to bring our whole selves into our relationships. I must admit that when I first read his article, entitled Your Whole Self, certain aspects turned me off. However, on closer inspection the truths found within overpowered the negatives.

There is a weight to the Gospel. There is a mass connected to the story of redemption. It is in the dark places – the addictions to pornography, alcohol, drugs, power and control. It is in our propensity to blame and abuse each other, our greed and our depravity. It is the substance of these things that gives us a place to speak about the slow road to recovery… In our church culture, there are behavioral codes set in place to give the appearance of victory. There are things that church people cannot talk about. There are activities that church people do not engage in…. There is not a darkness or a shadow to speak of… Because we have chosen to speak only about the victory from these things, we are left to promote a gospel that is feeble and moveable at best… Our Gospel is unbelievable because it is only half a Gospel. It is the resurrection without any signs of the crucifixion. I believe there are profound reasons why Jesus still carried the scars from the nails on His hands when He appeared to His friends. He was bringing the entire Gospel to His disciples…

The full article is available here.

Last winter, a series of events reminded me of his article. I was reminded of the importance of being authentic. It is only in our total authenticity that we are able to testify to what the Lord has done for us. Too often we Christians give an air of perfection. Several years ago, I heard a testimony that the giver was saved from a life of “terrible sin” at the age of five and had lived for Christ ever since. Twenty years of the person’s life was missing. Twenty years of struggle, twenty years of growth. As someone who was at that point very much teetering on the edge, suffering from addictive behaviors and very nearly ready to give in at any moment, the testimony left me with a sour taste in my mouth. “Terrible sin at the age of five,” I thought, “you don’t know terrible sin – I’ll show you terrible sin!” At the same time, I knew better than to believe that someone so close to my own age hadn’t struggled over the previous 10-15 years with certain sins that were very much a reality to me. It seemed insincere. And yet, that testimony reflects the norm for our sterilized church culture. In fact, if you had asked me yesterday you probably would have heard a similar response: saved somewhere around the age of five, forgiven for my sins, now I’m a new man and look forward to eternal communion with my Savior. Is it untrue? No, not at all. I believe that I was forgiven for my sins once and forever when I accepted Christ at around the age of five, but there is so much more to my story. The fact that I don’t have much of a pre-conversion story (due to my young age at the time) doesn’t mean that God hasn’t been working in my life.

Funny thing about sterility: it tremendously inhibits the ability to reproduce/multiply/spread the Word. Seeds that aren’t planted will never grow, stories that aren’t told will never inspire, and pain that is never shared will never give hope to another hurting soul.

So, what now? I’m going to work harder to bring my whole self into my relationships. It might hurt – probably will – but anything else is a lie and will inhibit my ability to serve Christ.

PS Despite my initial reaction, I don’t question for a moment that a five-year-old can be saved from a life of “terrible sin.” All sin is terrible. Life in sin is terrible. I am confident that the person giving that testimony was referring to this fact. I don’t mean to suggest that my own sins have been worse than anyone else’s, but rather that our struggles as redeemed children of God are very much realities that we should embrace in the name of authenticity. Failing to do so shortchanges those around us and fails to give God the glory for the progress He has made in our lives.

Thanksgiving

By Nate LaClaire —  November 27, 2008 — Leave a comment

I was thinking last Sunday about how my life has changed over the past year and that has led me to several days of consideration about this topic. Some know that on my 26th birthday I was frustrated about where I was in life and set a list of goals to achieve before my next birthday. As August 2008 approached, I became more and more depressed and frustrated by the fact that I still hadn’t achieved most of my goals. Well, my 27th birthday has come and gone and I still haven’t achieved most of the goals on that list. Know what? I still care, because all of the goals will have a lasting and positive impact on my life, but I am no longer mad. I realized on Sunday that while I was focusing on certain areas of my life, something else was happening. My list of goals included reconnecting with one old friend. Aside from that, the goals had nothing to do with friendships, or relationships of any kind. What I realized on Sunday was that God had other plans: to give me the quality relationships that I so much needed. Over the past year, I have formed closer friendships with people that I have known for several years but hadn’t been close to, restored close friendships with people I had drifted away from, reconnected with people I had lost touch with, and formed new friendships. A few days after my birthday last year, someone commented to me about telling my friends something. Although I kept this to myself, I realized at that moment that although I had “friends,” I hadn’t been giving myself time for friendships. I knew people that I would consider friends, but I couldn’t be sure they felt the same way about me. Then there were the people that I knew I could count on as friends to help me out in a pinch, but could they say the same about me? 

No man is an island and I am living proof. Through Facebook and LinkedIn, I have reconnected with those I have missed communicating with. Through church and college, I have built new friendships and rekindled old ones. Meanwhile, I have learned who my real friends were that I was just too blind to recognize. I discovered the true meaning of friendship and learned what a real relationship looks like.

I thank God for what He has done in my life this past year. I pray that I will never again get so caught up in my own list of goals that I miss the work He is doing in my life.

An interesting view of Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney’s decision to give state police the task of arresting illegal immigrants from Thomas Keown, the director of media relations for the Irish Immigration Center in Boston:

…beyond immigration it is the purely law enforcement angle that shows most clearly the danger of state police enforcing immigration law. Effective community policing depends on effective partnerships. Police departments have worked hard to build trust between them and the communities they protect. This new duty would shatter the relationships so painstakingly pieced together by making immigrants – legal and undocumented – fearful of a force that benefits from their backing.

News will sweep through the immigrant community that any contact with police carries the risk of deportation. Immigrants will be deterred from reporting crimes they have been victims of, been a witness to or even just from flagging suspicious behavior. Safety in your neighborhood depends on police being able to do their job, and we should be encouraging, not discouraging, your neighbors to co-operate with them.

Source: BostonHerald.com – Opinion & Editorial: Immigration enforcement is for feds

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them – just post a comment. Thanks!