Tag Archives: Paris

Grace and Truth or Good and Evil?

The Tree of Life

As I am reading through the Old Testament again, I continually wonder why God tells this story of a feckless Israel and one that puts Him in a bad light, seemingly. Even as I write that I think of what I am writing for my grandkids and their children after them, and theirs after them, and so on. I want to be honest and not sugar coat things, but I also am selecting the stories that come to mind and that capture the essence of what shaped me to be who I am today. Is that not what God is doing with the story of the Old Testament?

The Gospels and Epistles make it clear that Jesus Christ is the true representation of God, the revelation sufficient for us in this world’s realm. There are some who interpret our journey as God’s journey of development as well. He started out without a legal code, then gave the legal code to Moses, then realized it was never going to work so sent Himself in the incarnation of Jesus Christ to satisfy that code once and for all and has spent the last 2000+ years encouraging us to accept His gift of mercy and grace in Himself to us.

I am leaning more toward God giving us what we wanted and chose in Adam and Eve, the knowledge of good and evil, rather than eating from the tree of life. Since that was our choice He responded in kind, knowing it would never work, always calling us to relationship with Him outside of that construct, yet always dealing with us within the construct we had chosen; good and evil, right and wrong, Law and consequences.

We still, by nature, choose that way. With or without acknowledging Him we tend toward drawing circles of defined behavior and then go about choosing who is in and who is outside of that circle. Once the circle is drawn judgment is required according to the identified rules of the circle. That can be the current vogue of wokeness and is just as clearly represented in the total rejection of the standards of the “woke” by many conservatives. It always states itself in moral terms; right and wrong, good and evil. In the public discourse in the United States of America these days almost all disagreement is cast in the form of the “other” being disagreeable beyond being merely in disagreement. “They” are wrong and we are right.

God’s revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ is a radically different approach to our partnership together with Him. In Jesus Christ mercy and truth have kissed. Mercy without truth would be meaningless and truth without mercy is too harsh for us to bear. The Old Testament describes for us the clear choice that is still before us every day. Will we choose a quid pro quo existence with God, one in which we are constantly the loser and failing? Or will we choose to live in a relationship with Him that depends on His mercy while He coaches us toward His truth? Honestly, my instinct is toward the former, but my choice is the latter. May the Lord help us all to live in His grace and by so doing offer His grace and mercy to our family, friends and all with whom our lives intersect.


IMG_0109I arrived home tonight after a full week of work ready for some relaxation for the weekend, to the news report of the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris. I am unable to describe all that I am feeling right now. I am writing glued to the television. I want to turn it off. I want to go out to a movie or watch something funny on the TV, or read or do anything but watch the unfolding story, really listening to reporters with video running of milling around responders, the side of an ambulance, dark blurry figures.
I feel like a voyeur, sitting in the comfort of my safe home, but if I turn it off then what else am I going to do. I can’t do anything else. It would seem the height of narcissm to do anything other than be with Parisians and others there, even if only with my prayers and being an ocean and 1,000 miles away in the heartland of America. I want the reporter to shut up, and I want him to tell me more.

France has just declared a state of emergency. Pictures of motorcycles parked with police standing behind them. I feel sorry for the announcer. He has to keep talking, no dead air is allowed. He has to keep talking when he doesn’t have anything new to say. It’s his job to talk. He is saying the same thing over and over again because there is nothing new to say but he has to keep talking.

I have dear friends in France. One is often in Paris. I hope not tonight. All I can do is send him a message and wait until he responds or doesn’t.  I just checked.  Nothing yet, and it is now 2:00am Saturday morning in Paris. He often takes a long time for him to get back to me. I hope not so long this time.
I am not going to try to explain any of this right now. No sermonizing about reasons why, or calls for peace, or love or understanding; though all that is need and must be done. Now, only human outrage at the malicious evil that seduces any man, woman or child into a way of thinking that can in any way justify violence targeted at other men, women and children just like them.
I am going to have to turn the TV off sooner or later. I will go to bed and sooner or later sleep. Tomorrow the horror will already begin to fade for me and most, but it will only grow for those who loved the ones now dead. Lord, help us all to grow aggressive in our gift of peace to as many as we can. And may your peace one day reign among every person on this planet, all of whom are loved by You.


I just read a blog from an old friend who has been actively sharing the gospel with Muslims for a number of years.  He brings a perspective worth the read:  Thinking Biblically About the Muslim Threat