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The Jewish scholar Abraham Heschel, in conversation with the monk Thomas Merton, said that the first commandment, You shall have no other gods before me , is first because it is the root of all sin (Merton, A VOW OF CONVERSATION: JOURNALS 1964-1965). So, I m thinking that idols aren t so much about worshiping and serving a different god, but about over-emphasizing just one aspect of the one true God, creating a whole new god out of that one feature. God is the god of all gods, king of kings and lord of lords (Deuteronomy 10:17), the God of...

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Morning! In my efforts to improve my own blog, I ve been doing some research online. I came across ProBlogger, Darren Rowse s personal blog, LivingRoom. This is his own description of his site: "Welcome to LivingRoom! Pull up a bean bag, grab a coffee and chat with us for a while about Emerging Church, Blogging, Faith and other General Silliness from South of the Equator." I identify with much of what he says in terms of what the church and ministry are. Read his own blog post, Thinking About Ministry . I found it quite interesting and strangely familiar....

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Thanks John for your thoughtful comment on today's earlier blog. On our way to Kansas City for the conference I wrote about in yesterday's blog, I bought the book LINCOLN by David Herbert Donald. When I read the following passage, it timely grooved with the insight I received upon hearing from the Cambodian pastor: From his earliest days Lincoln had a sense that his destiny was controlled by some larger force, some Higher Power. Turning away from orthodox Christianity because of the emotional excesses of frontier evangelism, he found it easier as a young man to accept what was called...

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This post is in response to a few comments made on some previous posts. Comments like I am a church-basher, a cynic, overwhelmingly negative, and a deconstructionist. I am very, very grateful for the variety of comments being made, and I invite more. In fact, I am going to launch a contest soon in which all those who comment on one of my posts will be entered into a draw to win one of my original paintings! Stay tuned. Here s an apology in my defense: I decided long ago that the problem with the church isn t finding a...

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In 1997, my wife and I went to a conference in Kansas City, Missouri. During a pastor s luncheon, the host introduced a pastor who was visiting from Cambodia. The pastor had just heard that his church elders had been lined up and shot by a death-squad. Now he was desperate to hear from his family. Could we please pray for him and his family? I watched the pastor. I was so impressed by this man s austere faith that it triggered a line of thinking in me that I ve never been able to shake. And it is this:...

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