Skip to main content


There is one thing wrong with the spiffy camera Dean bought me for my birthday a few years ago: it does not have manual focus. Instead of highlighting the wonderfully ripe cherry above, the all-knowing camera believed that the disturbed snow on my deck was a much more interesting subject.

Today, I also feel sightly out of focus and wish there was a handy manual setting to realign things in their proper perspective. Perhaps it was the trek outside to wrangle some windblown trellis out from under my deck that resulted in cracking my head on a wooden beam and then breaking one of the trelli (I am almost certain that is the plural form of trellis and if it isn't, it should be), or the fact that Tea was convinced that she needed a second feeding and meowed in my ear for an hour this morning interrupting my 8 hour sabbatical, or the detour on the way to the bank that sent me driving through winding residential roads without cause (at least in my opinion), or any number of tiny things that just did not go well today. Somewhere along the way I set my patience adrift and chose annoyance and criticism as the motivational force for my life on this particular January day. Bad choice.

I was reading one of my fellow blogger's posts today in which someone chastised him for being too critical of the church. Are there glaring wrongs and errors in the church? Of course. Should we shy away from pointing them out? Not really, for how will things change unless we admit there is something desperately wrong? But I also understand this reader's comment. While I love this blogging man and his daring honesty, sometimes I think his focus, like mine, is just a bit off. The beautiful bride of Christ is before us (in fact, IS us) in all her imperfect and underdeveloped glory, but she is glorious all the same because Jesus chooses to imbue her with his love and stand with her and shine on her. If I lose sight of that glory at any time, I become the most cutting and critical cynic, pointing out so many flaws that hope starts to wilt in even the most buoyant souls. It is not a question of being truthful or honest, it is a question of focus. If my focus lies on the faults, where does hope live? Truth is not what we see in front of us, but how God sees what is in front of us.

I very much desire to see the creative power of words evident in my life, a characteristic of God (see Genesis one) and Jesus (be healed!) that I believe is lying mostly dormant in us because we don't know how to use our words. When I speak, I want life and light to come into any situation.

Anyone can see a valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37), but it takes a true prophet, a true seer, a person with a keen eye focused on the subject (and the subject of life is Jesus) to be able to call them to join together and live!

This cherry was sacrificed to my enjoyment immediately after this photo was taken.


Shelley said…
Over Christmas I got into a controversial conversation with my bro, (what else is new) about the catholic church. I keep thinking about it, and I realize that while he is ever on the lookout for deception and wrong doctrine (according to him) I am on the opposite end. I work in a the catholic school system, and I am always looking for truth and life and real relationship with JEsus, and I find it everywhere. Sure the other stuff is there too, but what is the point of focusing on that? Far better to blow on the flame that I do see....
shane magee said…
calling all 21st century prophets. god knows we need you!

Popular posts from this blog

what does the cross mean?

Words which we use a lot can sometimes become divested of their depth of meaning. In the Christian tradition, we talk about the cross a lot. We see visual representations of the cross in prominent places in our gathering spaces, we wear crosses around our necks, some get crosses tattooed on their bodies. The cross is a ubiquitous symbol in Christianity, so lately I have been asking myself, what exactly does the cross mean? For the most part, the cross as portrayed in contemporary Christianity is a beautiful thing, festooned with flowers and sunsets and radiant beams of light (just google cross or cross coloring page). But in the first century, the cross was a symbol of disgrace. To the Roman empire, this ignoble instrument of death was for those who were traitors and enemies of the state. We are many centuries removed from this view of the cross as the locus of torture and death and shame. The fact that Christianity has made the cross a symbol of hope and beauty is a good thing, but p…

stained and broken

Recently, I was asked to speak at another church, and the passage of Scripture which was assigned to me was John 1:6-8. "There came a man commissioned and sent from God, whose name was John. This man came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe [in Christ, the Light] through him. John was not the Light, but came to testify about the Light." (John 1:6-8, Amplified Bible)

The first question I usually ask when reading something in the Bible is this: What does this tell me about God? Two things are immediately obvious - God is a sending God and God wants to communicate - but there is a third which merits a bit more attention. Though God could communicate directly with humanity, sending truth and love to every individual via some divine mind-and-heart-meld, God chooses to send messengers. Not only that, instead of introducing Jesus directly to the world as the main event, an opening, warm-up act appears as a precursor. What is the point of incorporati…

the songs we sing

NOTE: I am going to make some pretty strong statements below, but understand that it is my way of taking an honest, hard look at my own worship experience and practice. My desire is not to be overly critical, but to open up dialogue by questioning things I have assumed were totally fine and appropriate. In other words, I am preaching to myself. Feel free to listen in.


When I am in a church meeting during the singing time, I sometimes find myself silent, unable to get the words past my lips. At times I just need a moment of stillness, time to listen, but other times, the words make me pause because I don't know that I can sing them honestly or with integrity. This is a good thing. We should never mindlessly or heartlessly sing songs just because everyone else is. We should care deeply about what we say in our sung, communal worship.

At their best, songs sung by the gathered body of Christ call to life what is already in us: the hope, the truth, the longing, t…