Monday, January 10, 2011

Power: Who Wants It and Who Has It

Mark 10:35-52 shows us two encounters with Jesus. Each encounter had a request and in each encounter Jesus asked the same question of those who came to Him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

How would you like for Jesus to ask you that question?

Dennis – “Hey, Jesus!”
Jesus – “Hey, Dennis!” (Jesus and I are always very excited to see and talk with one another)
Dennis – “Jesus, could you do me a favor?”
Jesus – “What do you want me to do for you?”

What do you think I should ask for? What would you ask for? What would you like for Him to do for you? A new car, a new kidney, a cancer-free check up, a better job, a different president, more money, a more equitable tax structure, a better spouse what would you want?

I wonder if I would ask the right question or if I would fall into the same trap that ensnared Jesus' disciples in Mark 10? That’s right; there is a right and a wrong answer to this one.

In this chapter there are two encounters. James and John get it wrong but the son of Timaeus gets it right. But what was so right about the one and wrong about the other? Take a look at Mark 10:35-52 and see what you come up with and then we can talk about it in a couple of days.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Belief and Perception?

Several years ago my daughter and I were at a park around the corner from our house. It was a beautiful day. Geese were swimming in the lake, the sun was shining, there the hint of spring in the lightly blowing wind, Makayla was swinging and I was pushing.

In those few moments of relaxation and peace my mind began to wonder. I allowed my senses to take in all that I could see, fell, touch, smell, and hear. A squeaky swing, a baking dog, the warmth of the sun on my face, the cool of the wind on my neck, my little girl’s giggle; In this moment I became overwhelmed by God’s love and presence.

“God, why don’t people believe in you?” I prayed. “Why can’t they see You? You are so evident in Your creation! How can people doubt You when creation screams so loudly for Your existence?”

I just didn’t get it. All the information is the same. Isn’t it? We have the same observable repeatable scientific data to consider. Don't we? We are all capable of having similar life experiences. Aren't we? We are all confronted with the same paradoxes of life which do not seem to have clear and easy answers. Why is it that some people look at the world around them and see compelling evidence for God while others look at the same world around them and see compelling evidence for denying the existence of God or a god?

How can two people, or two groups of people, experience the same “evidence” and come to opposing conclusions?

Is it possible that the answer to this question lies within our a priori assumption(s) rather than with the “evidence” we observe? Is it possible that our starting point of faith determines the subsequent point of perception?