Choosing Love Over Anxiety

Every day we are faced with moments of despair, doubt, fear and self-rejection. In these moments when we do not see clearly, and lose sight of what is really important, it is all the more crucial to remember to choose love over anxiety. The restlessness of anxiety causes us to forget who we are and what we are here for.

For to choose to love someone is to choose to love myself. And, to think on their behalf is to think on my own behalf. In this way, loving someone becomes the greatest reward we could possibly receive. After all, to love my neighbor is to love myself. In this kind of love, we remember who we are as the beloved. We are choosing to not only give the gift of God’s presence to them, but we choose it for ourselves.

To pray for, to choose to love someone, is the greatest way to overcome our despair, doubt, fear, and self-rejection. In these moments, we move from hostility and become the presence of God’s hospitality. And, when we can receive God’s hospitality we are ushered into his gratitude for us, and we experience our own gratitude for those around us. The only cure for the fear that accompanies anxiety is love. Because perfect love casts out perfect fear.

The One Thing I Can Never Hear Enough (Brennan Manning)

As great as acts of justices, discussions around theology, and motions about the church are, sometimes we just need to hear we are loved. And, that in the midst of our daily struggles, our sources of shame and guilt, that someone always loves us. The source of love, loves us. And, that he loves us more than we can imagine, and he expects more failure out of us than we do out of ourselves.

How Men Claim Their True Masculinity

“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”-Genesis 1:27

What I love about this passage is that it is not an exclusive claim to God. It reveals that God exists both in a feminine image and a masculine image. God is not found in polarity here but in integration.

The great psychologist Carl Jung once spoke about how a man doesn’t come into psychological completion until he finds what he calls the anima. The anima, which is the term he used in reference to the soul, for a male, is feminine. Until a man comes in contact with his feminine side, the side of him that is more concerned with compassion, love, and relationships, more than being a distant, barbaric, scotch-drinking, TV watching, father and husband, he‘ll fail to find his whole and true-self. I think that this is why a woman, at least his soul mate, has such power over a man. She begins to ground him, allows him to feel not only at home with himself, but at home with her; he feels understood. (This concept applies to women as well, Jung called it the animus).

We as Christians find so much symbolism in the cross. So much so, that the apostle Paul tells men that the way they are to love their wives is not through being a distant, barbaric, scotch-drinking, TV-watching man, but a man who is willing to pick up a cross for her. The cross isn’t a sign of being militant (which is why Jesus told them he could threaten violence over them, but his kingdom was not of this world), but the cross is a symbol of radical self-sacrificing love. A symbol of compassion from a man who did not yell, “Screw every last one of you, you will all burn in hell,” but a symbol that reminds us of a man who said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Masculine Christianity is not found in being a tyrant, but being a servant. Masculine Christianity is not found in being chauvinistic, but in being compassionate, loving, and relational. Masculine Christianity is also not a denial of our masculine side, but it is an integration of the feminine side in which God also created human beings. Masculine Christianity leads us to the cross. It leads us to love. It leads us to the tender heart of God.

Dealing With Your Perfectionism

I am, in many ways, a perfectionist. I obsess over little details, events that have transpired throughout the day, ways in which I could have done better, or how I can constantly be improving. Perfectionism is exhausting. Perfectionism is the enemy of the good. Which is why I believe perfectionists have a hard time receiving love. They aren’t quite good enough to receive love. Or, the love they are receiving isn’t perfect enough for them. Either way, perfectionism is a hard way to live out your humanity.

As Richard Rohr would say, “Perfection is perfectly accepting your imperfections.” In accepting— and—  even learning to love the imperfections within yourself and around you, you really begin to learn to love things that might not seem lovable. You don’t idealize things or people. You find immense love for what is. And, you allow your cup to overflow, because life is overflowing with goodness.

What South Park Can Teach Christians About Easter…

What I love about this clip is that it exposes the sentimentality that we as Christians have been caught up in over our holidays. For us, these holidays have more to do with consumerism and consumption than actually reflecting and being transformed by the event itself. If we don’t learn what Easter is really about then we will fail to become what the Church was meant to be, a people set apart. It is the job of the Church to be aware of the world, and to remember who they are, so we can in fact celebrate what it really is. Not reduce it to a petty nothingness. Most people I meet these days, at least my age, do not know the implications of the cross or the resurrection. If we, like Stan, fail to question our social practices, and the implications of this event, we will lose a great personal and social transformation.

“The message of Easter is that God’s new world has been unveiled in Jesus Christ and that you’re now invited to belong to it.”-N.T Wright

“The risen Jesus is the final revelation of the heart of God-a God who teaches love rather than hate, forgiveness rather than blame, nonviolence rather than violence.”-Richard Rohr

“What happened on that day became , was, and remained the center around which everything else moves.  For everything lasts its time, but the love of God- which was at work and was expressed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead- lasts forever.  Because this event took place, there is no reason to despair, and even when we read the newspaper with all its confusing and frightening news, there is ever reason to hope.”-Karl Barth

“Yet his end became his true beginning. His public death was followed by Easter appearances…and with these appearances the new beginning was inaugurated…The disciples who had once fled then returned to Jerusalem and proclaimed publicly the raising of Christ from the dead and the open horizon of his sovereignty. This about-turn from disappointment to certainty and from deadly fear to a faith which is not afraid of death is the real proof of the reality of Christ’s resurrection…’The empty tomb’ itself is not a proof of Christ’s resurrection, for it could have been empty for a different reason, if the body had been removed by other people. It is the proclamation of the resurrection by the disciples in Jerusalem which is proof of the empty tomb…With Christ’s resurrection from the catastrophe of Golgotha the new beginning has already been made, a beginning which will never again pass away because it issues from the victory over transience.”-Jurgen Moltmann

Amazing thoughts by Miroslav Volf on the cross:


How Will Atheism And Religion Play Out In The Future?

Great thoughts by James K.A Smith on the future of Religious and Atheistic discourse.

The Lie We Believe About Human Happiness…

I have a running joke with some people in my life that I am actually going to start telling the truth of who I am on my social media sites. When asked what he left out of his memoir Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller jokingly said, “The truth.” Likewise, the same is true with social media. We only post the best parts of our lives, we post the parts of who we want to be with the world. Our social media selves are actual selves we wish to be true. What we project onto the screen is the person we desire to be. I don’t want to start posting Eminem lyrics on my Twitter account. But, I have my Eminem Pandora station on more often than I would admit to the world. Instead, the cool thing is to post lyrics from Bon Iver, because the cool kids all listen to Bon Iver. And, I would never dare share my anxieties, fears, paranoia‘s, and depressions with social media. The part of me is what Carl Jung would call, “The dark side.” The social media self is, to some extent, a lie. A lie to the world, and even a lie to ourselves.

And, so I believe the same is true for most people and their happiness. Most people have a belief that happiness comes through the pursuit of pleasure. I agree with the Christian philosopher J. Budziszewski when he writes this:

“The last time I asked my students, “What is happiness?” the first half-dozen all gave variations on the answer, “Freedom from pain and suffering.” The negative element so filled their eyes that they were completely unable to suggest anything positive that happiness might mean.

“My guess is that students have lived all their young lives in pursuit of pleasure — as the young generally do– but with less restraint from our crumbling conventions than the young have lived their lives in previous generations. Consequently, even at this tender age, they have begun to experience the hedonistic paradox, which usually kicks in much later. He who makes pleasure the object of his life eventually finds that it evaporates: he who fails to distinguish between good and bad pleasures ends in misery. Although my students don’t formulate the paradox explicitly, they feel it in their bones.”

I agree with Thomas Merton when he says, “Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” But the only person who knows balance, order, rhythm and harmony knows to create a flow of life. To let life come to them and through them. To accept anything and everything in life. We spend so much time resisting our pain, our anxiety, our fears, that it causes us even more pain. As Carl Jung says, “If you resist, it persists.”

Budziszewski says about his students again, “Consequently, their first cheerful idea, that happiness is pleasure, suffers a dark transmutation into the equally naïve, but morbid idea, that happiness is just absence of pain. And that is what they say in my classroom. Not many of them look happy. Each year they have less sense of humor. They show all the signs of exhaustion.”

This idea that happiness is pleasure ruins us. It eliminates the biblical idea that we can find joy in suffering. We believe a lie to us that is ultimately destroys the very thing we seek. And, just like our social media self, we’re living in a narrative that is a lie to our selves.


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