November 30, 2015


In the beginning, God created everything.

For a long time, all that existed was God. But then, God decided to make a place that was NOT God. But without God, the space that wasn’t God was formless, void; a deep, bottomless nothingness … chaos.

So Moses' account of creation says that God took this chaos and began to give it form, order, meaning. He created boundaries between sea and sky, planet and star and space, between light and dark. And then things were made to inhabit these places - plants and animals for the sky and water and land. And with everything in its proper place, God created humanity to maintain the order, to govern, to keep the peace - you might say, to keep chaos at bay. With the place that wasn’t God in order, God would walk in its gardens, visiting His creation.

But we know what happened next. A bad choice, and then another one, and the world began to slowly descend back into chaos.

For John, too, the world could not exist without God. In John’s gospel, we find that the voice God used to speak creation into order has a name: the Logos, the Word. This Word, John wrote, gives life its very essence. When the space that was made apart from God was chaos, God molded it into order and beauty through this Word. But then, those God had chosen to govern this newly-ordered creation allowed chaos back into this earthly realm because they believed they could take God’s place.

Yet instead of wiping away the place apart from God, God decided to once again infuse His presence into that place.

This is what we mean by the incarnation: that our world, given the gift of its own will and mind to govern itself, still cannot exist without its Creator giving it life; without God, our world becomes chaos. Our world still needs God. But the Creator, instead of again ordering the world from the outside, chose instead to re-create the world from within.

The true light that gives light to all humanity came into the world, John wrote. The Word became flesh and blood and made His dwelling among us; God moved into the neighborhood, into our zip codes and cultures and ethnicities and everything that makes us human. The wonder of this is that God was not corrupted by the chaos; rather, by taking on our humanity and cultures and ethnicities and everything that makes us human, all of that is now being redeemed from the inside out. The light is driving away the shadows. Chaos is becoming beauty.

Because Jesus is the Word made human.

And so Mary now consoles Eve, because Mary knows what Eve could not; that God is no longer a visitor who comes and goes in our world, but has become one of us and made the world His home.

There is, once again, no place without God.

November 16, 2015


One of the most important things I learned from the various times I’ve spent out of my home country - particularly in India, Mexico, and Haiti - was that the importance of any funding we brought with us paled in comparison to our presence. I know this because, no matter where I’ve been - no exception in any country, church, or ministry - one phrase has been universal upon leaving: 

“please don’t forget us.”

In light of this past week … in light of Paris, of Beirut, of Iran, of Japan, of Mexico, of Palestine, of Syria … let’s not forget that donating money isn’t really the solution. We Americans think that our money is what shows people we care, and that’s admirable, but in the rest of the world - and really, here too, even if we’ve a hard time showing it - money is of secondary importance to relationship.

I know we can get numb to the constant news of rockets finding their way into Palestine, or how easy can become to scroll past another story of drug violence in latin america, or to a car bomb in Lebanon. Places like South Sudan and Pakistan and Rwanda barely even make it on the journalistic map anymore unless it’s REALLY big. I know that sometimes it takes a tragedy in a place like Paris - a tragedy that’s everyday news in other parts of the world - to wake us up to the reality of the brokenness around us. It’s a cost that shouldn’t have to be paid for us to notice the injustice and oppression and violence in our world, a cost that shouldn’t be needed for us to desire peace or to pray for justice and mercy.

But at least now we’re paying attention.

Make it count. Pray. Love. Go.

Don’t forget.