I was looking for a section to quote from Reflecting the Glory today, but every paragraph had potential for lifting.  So as seems to be my pattern as of late, I’m going to share two great things today.  One will be the entire reading.  It’s about three pages.  But the means by which I am sharing it is nearly as amazing as the shared thing itself.

Google Books is evolving into an incredibly useful tool for those who regularly interact with the content of books.  Trying to remember a quote from a book, but don’t have the exact wording or know where it is?  Google Books is your new best friend.  It provides the ability to search electronically for words or phrases in a number of books.  Not every book ever printed is there, but there are lots.

So for example…  today’s entry (if this works right) can be read in its entirety right HERE, and it is very, very good.

Just in case you don’t think you are getting your money’s worth, I’m throwing in a couple extras for good measure.

I still remember the cheesy video that Jackson and McCartney put together for this song.  I like this gal’s twist on it…

Didn’t get your fill of Wright?  Here are some timely comments that I think express the sentiments of many… and certainly my own.

drawing a blank

This blogging experiment is turning into the discipline I knew that it would eventually become.  I had just hoped that it would have taken a little longer.  I’ve started two posts today.  Both are tucked away in the draft folder for some future inspiration that will more than likely not materialize.  Does this classify as whining?

And so instead, you’ll be treated to another favorite musician as of late.

Rosi Golan – Hazy (with William Fitzsimmons)

I saw her perform with Greg Laswell in Nashville a couple weeks ago, and both were great.


Wright’s observations on 2 Corinthians 3:18 are clear, penetrating, and insightful.  Here’s a taste:

The basic point [Paul] wants to make is simple, though startling.  It is that when Christians, in whose hearts God has written his law by his Holy Spirit, are in one another’s presence, they are beholding the glory of the Lord as they look at one another.

Vintage Wright.

A wealth of writing, lecturing, preaching material of Wright’s can be found at N. T. Wright Page.

While on the subject of smart Christians on the intranets, as you might expect I follow more than a couple of theology blogs.  Here are two of my favorites:

Jesus Creed
This one is manned by Scot McKnight, a New Testament professor at North Park University in Chicago.  I like his style and his particular theological flavor.  He will frequently post two or three times a day.  I find any post having to do with the nature of Scripture and the shifts taking place within evangelicalism of particular interest.

Between Two Worlds
As frequent a poster as McKnight (if not more so), Justin Taylor’s main contribution seems to be in finding what other stuff is out there for the thinking Christian.  Judging from the people and material that Taylor seeks to share with the rest of us, my sense is that his theological bent is a bit more in the conservative direction.  That doesn’t take away from my appreciation of him keeping us in the loop.

“to” or “from”

post soundtrack…

Today’s reading from Reflecting the Glory was a reflection on 2 Corinthians 3:12-17.  This complex passage borrows imagery from the Exodus story to demonstrate the surpassing glory of the New Covenant in Christ.  This greater glory is summed up in Paul’s assertion that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

Those words were particularly relevant for the events surrounding today.  As mentioned yesterday, this weekend has been consumed by engaging middle school students with the subects of Love, Sex, and Dating.  And one of the pertinent issues was (and is) “how far is too far?”  A student certainly could be led to believe that because they are totally forgiven in Christ for everything they’ve done, are doing, and will do, that what they do sexually is really of no consequence.  It is a line of thinking that people (both young and old) pursue that says “since I’m forgiven, I’m free to do…” whatever I want.

However, it seems to be much more the case that we aren’t necessarily free to, but that we are free from.  So as it relates to the students and the subject matter of the day, we aren’t free to engage in any and all sexual activity.  Rather, we are free from the lie that it is our right to do whatever we want, whenever we want.  We are free from being enslaved to gratify our animal instincts.

When freedom is understood in these terms, “free to” is really no freedom at all.

It is “freedom from” that counts.

game day

For your listening enjoyment…

Tonight, somewhere close to eighty people (mostly middle school students) will overrun the church for 23 hours of maddness.  The theme is Love, Sex, and Dating, or as we fondly refer to it LSD.  Several years ago, leaders who work with the students of our community realized that there was a need to address this huge issue in adolesdcents life from a biblical perspective.  It is a tradition that has endured, and tonight we’ll be making every effort to help them sort through the awkwardness and confusion and silliness that surrounds these topics.

If I survive, I’ll report back tomorrow!


Ok, so second day into the blogging project and I’ve already surmised that some changes in format are going to be necessary.  I don’t have ADHD, but I do get bored easily.  While I enjoyed the devotion on 2 Corinthians 3:1-6 this morning and the thought that “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life,”  I’m going to alter my commitment slightly.  The commitment will be to post about something daily.  “Something” is just the sort of vagueness I need to stay interested over the long haul.

That said, today’s post is simply an update of sorts.  If anyone is actually going to come to the site, I figure I need to start tidying up some.  And if how I ‘tidy up’ at home is any indication, this is going to be a slow process.   First, I’ve changed the name of the blog.  I know that Taido Chino had a nice ring to it, but I’ve opted for something a bit more enigmatic.  I’ll leave you to reflect on its significance.

And then there is the problem of those tabs for different pages.  They seemed like such a great idea at first, but they have become small thorns in my flesh.  Daily reminders of the mountain of things that I’ve left undone.

But amidst the flurry of Lenten hysteria, I’ve added yet another Lenten commitment.  Foolishness, I know.  But here it is:

No more whining.

I’ve decided to take back my attitude and instead of looking around and seeing tasks left undone, I’m choosing to view them as opportunities.  So those wonderful opportunities (cleverly disguised at blog page tabs) will be addressed in due time.

you smell

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17

Today is the beginning of Lent, and the timing of the Scripture that Wright has selected for the first day couldn’t be better. The next several weeks abound with various ministry events. And before this morning, they weren’t much more than that… events. The preparation for these various opportunities was becoming overwhelming.  I can so easily forget the event is not the end goal, but that the events are simply the context in which ministry might (or might not) happen.  I was in that place that I sometimes find myself in not seeing the forest for the trees.

One of the things I appreciate about Wright is his turn of phrase, and the sentence that will stay with me (hopefully, longer than just today) is… “Paul is deeply aware that his vocation is to be the living embodiment of the outpoured love of God in Christ.” I’m hoping and praying for that awareness in my own life today, and that I will recognize that every thing I do (and the way in which I do it) is a reflection of how in touch I am with that particular vocation.

So, in every phone call, email, conversation, interaction with wife/children/coworkers/ministry leaders/students, I hope to be the living embodiment of God’s love. In every piece of trash picked up, mile driven, meal prepared, I hope to recognize that it is all part of being the fragrance of Christ.


Ash Wednesday is a few short days away and will mark the beginning of the Lenten season.  I don’t come from a high church background, but not long after I embraced Christianity I was exposed to the practice of observing Lent.  Over the years (not every year), I have regularly given up something for Lent as a way of reminding me of the sacrifice Christ made on our behalf.  It has been a helpful practice to prepare my heart, mind, and soul for celebrating Easter.

This year, instead of giving something up I’ll be adding something (which I suppose if you want to be technical about it, I’ll be giving up some time that would have been used for something else).  The addition will be reading a daily devotional guide by N. T. Wright entitled Reflecting the Glory.

Wright has been one of my favorite writers for a long time.  He is a first rate New Testament scholar from the Anglican tradition whose work has done much to stir up fresh thinking at an academic level.  This “stirring up” hasn’t been universally appreciated, but in general the perspective he brings is healthy and helpful.

Nor does he write for the academician alone.  Admirably, he attempts to bring his considerable intellect to bear on the outworking of his understanding of the gospel for people living in the 21st century.

Therefore, I’m planning on doing two things for Lent this year.  One is to allow Wright to be my guide in (re)thinking through the implications of what Reflecting the Glory would look like for us.  But in the spirit of Lenten commitment, I also plan to blog daily about the experience.  I’m hoping that I can convince some people to join me in the exercise and to be a part of the conversation.  But even if no one does, it will be a way for me to jump-start my sagging commitment to getting the old blog going.

I’ve just ordered some copies to hand to friends, or you can order up a copy of your own to follow along.

Good Music

Ok, so this would be the main reason that I am (and remain) hesitant to blog.  I just don’t think I’ll stick with it.  And that bugs me.

So in lieu of a legitimate post, I’m sharing with you some of my favorite recent music.  Here goes…

William Fitzsimmons – I Don’t Feel It Anymore

Blind Pilot – One Red Thread

PT Walkley – Audrey Macy

As Good a Day as Any…

to join the world of blogging. I’ve been considering for some time to throw my hat in the blogosphere, but up until now have had about five million reasons which kept me from actually doing so (possibly the subject of my next post). However, given the historical significance of this day, it seems that the time is ripe for me to add my proverbial two cents.

First, let me get this out of the way. I couldn’t be more proud of our nation today. That a minority could have risen to the highest place of prestige, power, and prominence in the land (and world) is surely a sign of the strides that we are making as a nation. I recently read someone describing the outcome of our elections, and he compared the step we’ve taken as a nation in electing a minority to the Oval Office to an adolescent who is finally maturing to adulthood. I couldn’t agree more. I have a great deal of respect for President Obama, and want to be hopeful about the promised change he and his administration might bring about.

However, as much as I have tried to suppress it, I remain cynical. Now, it is without a doubt that cynicism is one of my defining characteristics. I don’t say it proudly. In fact, it is not infrequently something of which I am ashamed, but I’ve come to an uneasy peace about that particular facet of my personality. I digress.

My problem isn’t so much with Obama, as much as it with the entire political process. While speech-makers and commentators alike fell over themselves to highlight today as being yet another successful “peaceful transition of power,” I couldn’t help but think to myself that the reason that it has been peaceful (yet again) is that no real transition of power has taken place. The real power brokers – corporations, special interest groups, big money, etc… – are all still securely situated in the driver’s seat. I really don’t think that those groups of people who control unfathomable financial resources in our country really cared much one way or the other who ended up in office. As long as the play makers in the administration (also frequently not the president) are willing to play ball, then they don’t have much to worry about. And on, and on, I usually go, quoting Ephesians 6 and the like. I hope I’m wrong. I really do. But I’m probably not.

Which sort of almost brings me back to why I’m choosing today to begin the blog. I need an outlet to communicate my often half-baked and less than mainstream ideas. I’m well aware that I’m not the only person who feels the way I do about our political process, but today it felt like I was. I found myself among a group of people who were attempting to attach some weight and significance to the events of this Inauguration Day. They wanted to recognize it for the truly watershed moment that it is. And in the midst of their meaningful reflection, I spew my smug and unsolicited opinions. Socially awkward? Yes. Both the situation, and me in general.

So there it is… this blog’s raison d’etre. A place for me to put on display all my cynicism and social awkwardness. Sounds promising, doesn’t it? Almost as promising as the candidate I voted for in ’08… Nader for REAL Change!