This Is Love Dinner – Want to Come?

Love Dinner“When did we quit living the Bible and just start studying it?”  – Jen Hatmaker author of 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.

I hope she forgives me if I misquoted her, but I read 96% of Hatmaker’s book 7 while traveling around Zambia, then I left it on the plane.

She’s right, we do spend a lot of energy studying the Bible, which is a good idea, but how much time do we spend actually doing what it says?

Stuff like this:

Do not be quick in spirit to be angry or vexed, for anger and vexation lodge in the bosom of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9

The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives. Proverbs 18:7

For if you forgive people their trespasses (their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment), your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14

There are a million little pearls like that, but I picked those for a reason.

At one time, my mind was like a smouldering fire barrel. Every day I stoked up my grievances and burnt heaps of mental garbage. Not surprisingly, some of that toxic smoke billowed out of my mouth and into my environment, where other people wound up charred and sooty.

Now I’m sure that’s just me, you…would…never…

Then I started reading the Bible, and all its talk about renewing my mind, shutting my mouth, forgiving people, not being arrogant and judgmental started to sting, and I realized I could put the fire out if I wanted to. I just had to figure out how.

Luckily Jesus boiled it down to two things: Love and Love.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:35-40 NLT

I’ve spent the last three years studying the Bible and changing my mind, and today my life is different. But as Hatmaker suggests, is it even about me? Or is that just phase one in a grand design?

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22

candles

(Photo credit: rogerglenn)

So what if I quit making excuses and got down to loving God and loving others like I mean it – every day in practical, biblical ways? Would my own lingering broken parts heal up as a result?

And what if, rather than going it alone, I teamed up with seven girlfriends (and a few hundred online friends) once a month, over red wine and dinner? What if there were taper candles and chocolate dessert, good coffee and long communal prayers?

What if we picked one scripture that fulfills Jesus’ mandate and spent the next month just doing that? Forgiving? Submitting? Loving the unlovely? What would that look like, especially over time?

To me it looks like Love Dinner and it’s starting at my house next month.

Want to join us? Like Erin Kirk – Writer or follow this blog by email. Then let me know you’re here in the comment section.

Advertisements

On Rivers Wide and Deep.

Remember last week when I said I’d given up on coincidence? If there is no God, or he’s unconcerned with me, why am I reading books like Jeff Goins’ Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life and Jen Hatmaker’s Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, days before landing in Africa?

Please.

So here I am, laying over in London enjoying a latte and scone, and Hatmaker says this:

How can I be socially responsible if I’m unaware that I reside in the top percentage of wealth in the world? (You probably do too: Make $35,000 a year? Top 4%. $50,000? Top 1 percent) Excess has impaired perspective in America; we are the richest people on earth, praying to get richer. We’re tangled in unmanageable debt while feeding the machine, because we feel entitled to more. What does it communicate when half the global population lives on less than $2 a day, and we can’t manage a fulfilling life on twenty-five thousand times that amount? Fifty thousand times that amount? It says we have too much and it’s ruining us.

Ostensibly, short term missions are about spreading the gospel by addressing physical needs in developing nations, but I’m starting to think that’s about half of it. What if it’s God’s way of yelling at sleepy-headed, obese-with-blessing Americans like me, saying:

“Wake up little sister and disperse all that brilliant, amazing crap gathering dust in your brain and house. I put it there for a reason, get busy.”

Upper Yosemite Fall and Merced River on Swingi...

So I predict in about 13 hours an earthquake is going to level my tidy, little house, shifting my ground in ways I can’t predict, making this whole Africa endeavor a lot more about me than I care to admit.

But it’s ok because I tried every other way of making my life matter and I came up short. I’ve laid myself so bare to this experience, I can’t even pray without weeping, and I’m still in London.

What a freak.

See Jesus will wreck your life if you let him, but I know from experience now, that he leaves behind a wide river of living water, running deep and still through the center of our lives. It’s an achingly beautiful place you never want to leave, like the Merced River out of Yosemite, and on the days I choose to follow him, I don’t have to.

And that’s what I want every day.

What do you want? Are you still struggling with the how?

 

Where Do the Righteous Rush?

Author, speaker, blogger Jen Hatmaker, posted recently about the upcoming election. She took to task Christians on both sides of the political fence for cozying up to their chosen party’s un-Christlike shenanigans.

And, she was pilloried for it. (Pause here for a moment of surprise.)

Haiti 2010

(Photo credit: Cap’n Brian)

The week before, Hatmaker was in Haiti blogging on behalf of Help One Now a Christian relief organization, attempting to address, among other things, the conditions in Haiti’s tent cities which have earned them the nickname “rape camps.”

Did those posts go viral? Engender outrage? Nope. The response, Hatmaker says, was sincere but small.

Why are we comfortable with a version of Christianity that bears so little resemblance to Christ? What do we think we are doing? How can you call yourself a ball player if you don’t actually play ball?

“Yah, take that,” I can hear the non-Christians saying.

Well, wait a sec. It cuts both ways. When I was not a Christian, I still considered myself a socially conscious, defender of the poor. Unfortunately, that mostly meant I sat around with my socially conscious friends and talked about the problem of poverty, but none of us did that much about it. No ball playing there either.

Hatmaker considers this in thoughtful post about our priorities as followers of Christ – especially those of us to whom much has been given, ie: most Americans.

“It’s so easy to get incensed over American politics; that pill goes down like a dream compared to rape camp. Identify with Jesus in His sufferings? Pass. Identify with a political party? Sign me the freak up.”

Her post is worth a read for the solid reminder that God cares a great deal about widows, orphans and the poor. Hatmaker suggests that God cares less that we defend His honor during election season and more that we defend theirs in rape camps.

The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of the public arena but the small clearing of each heart. Meanwhile, the lot of widows and homeless children is very hard, and it is to their defense, not God’s, that the self-righteous should rush.” ~Life of Pi (quoted in Hatmaker’s post)