Saturday, December 17, 2011

On Finding God at a Punk Rock Show

Admin note: This was going to be titled "On Finding God in a Hardcore Show" but I thought that might draw the wrong audience.  :)

I find God in places many might consider...unorthodox.

When I was 18 years old, I found God in a tent in the middle of an oppressively hot July evening on a pig farm in Bushnell, IL.  It was Cornerstone 2000, and the tent housed the stage where one of my favorite bands of all time, hopesfall, were finishing up a powerful set with the song "Broken Heart of a Traitor."  The air was thick with a mixture of sweat and anticipation as they began to thunder through seven minutes that would have a profound impact on the rest of my life.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On Doubt or "Why I Don't Feel Safe in Church"

This is a short one, because I don't want to come off as a cranky old curmudgeon, but be warned, it is a rant.

//Rant Initiated

It's not because I doubt that I don't feel safe in church, it's because I fear how the church will react to my sincere doubt and honest questioning.

I have been called a skeptic, cynic, heretic, rabblerouser (my personal favorite) and all kinds of other names.  I have been asked to leave churches, asked to keep quiet, and more often than not, censored myself in "church settings" and around "church people."  I have lost friends.  I have alienated others and been alienated by yet others.

All for the "sin" of doubt.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

On Love as a Pre-Bedtime Dance Party

My head and heart have been heavy lately, but instead of dumping all of that on the four of you, I thought I'd lighten things up a bit and give you a little glimpse into my life.

Friday, November 18, 2011

On Love, the Mother of Beauty

There is a constant stream of ineffable prose running through my head.  It is a feeling, an emotional response, a stirring in the deepest places of my heart that connects it profoundly to the beauty in the world around me. There are volumes of poetry that will never be written and songs that will never be sung, as the words just never come.  In moments of inspiration, when it seems that I might be able to capture the beauty I see - a particularly beautiful Midwestern sunset, the gentle rise and fall of sleeping baby on sleeping mother's chest, the quiet expressions of love I see in strangers giving to strangers - the moment passes and the words I'm left with are simply inadequate, barely brushing up against the true beauty of the moment, a crude facsimile, a copy of a copy of a copy. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

On Veterans Day: The Most Uncomfortable of Holidays.

In the name of those few of us veterans who have realized our folly, and have turned to seek peace instead:

I am a veteran.

Please don't thank me for my service.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

On Giving Versus Being a Giving Person

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about property, asking the question whether or not Christians own anything.  I came to some conclusions in the writing of that post that have been, to say the least, challenging.  The TLDR version of it is this: Any meaningful definition of Christianity is at odds with traditional definitions of property and ownership.  Thus, we must deny the validity of (A) our definition of Christianity, or (B) our notions of property and ownership.  If you don't agree with that conclusion, I would challenge you to go back and read my previous post in full, and identify which particular piece of the argument you disagree with.

Friday, October 21, 2011

On Jesus and Property: Do Christians Own Anything?

Admin note: the first time I wrote this, it was so ridiculously long, I decided to split it into two pieces (both of which are only slightly less ridiculously long).  This one addresses the philosophical issues surrounding Christians and property, and the next post will address the pragmatics.  Just promise me that if you read one you'll read them both.  Deal?  Deal.  (edit - the second part is complete, and can be found here)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On Having Two Incredible Little Boys And Having No Time To Write.

First, some housekeeping.  Special thanks to Rachel Held Evans (who blogs here) and Alise Wright (who blogs here) for driving an absurd amount of traffic to my last post.

So, it's been a couple of weeks since I've written here, and I promise, I have a good excuse...and that excuse is right here:

Asher Jeremiah Harms was born on September 27th, so cut me some slack.  :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

On Poverty, Prosperity, and Pastor Mark's Parable

Warning up front.  This is long-ish.  Sorry, but I'm passionate about this, and it's not a topic that lends itself to brevity.

So, how fitting.  My last post talks about having grace for Christians, and on Saturday, @JesusNeedsNewPR brought my attention to a piece by Mark Driscoll on Poverty Theology.  Pastor Mark and I have a history.  Some of his offhanded comments about gender were what inspired my first post ever on this blog.  Anyway, when I saw this tweet come across, the precise use of scare-quoting set the tone as I began to read it, but my reaction wasn't what you might expect.  I expected to find myself flying off of the handle.

But in the end, it just made me profoundly sad.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

On Radical Grace

Grace is a radical thing. 

It upends my perceptions, changes my priorities, and challenges my assumptions.  Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you: these are not commands that mesh well with my sense of entitlement.

Then I read the stories of Troy Davis and Ross Byrd, two men whose lives serve as testimonies to this radical grace.  Troy Davis' last words were a prayer for mercy and blessing for the men taking his life.  Ross Bird fought until the end to save the life of Lawrence Russell Brewer, the man who killed his father by dragging him behind a truck for miles, and who was unrepentent to the end.

Still, this radical grace escapes me. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

On The Rich Young Ruler, and How He Is Me.

So @WritingJoy who writes at the appropriately named Joy in this Journey (which you should read, because it is an incredible and honest story of love, grace, and joy in the midst of the messiness of life and grief) asked the twitterverse to be honest about their weaknesses in her #lifeunmaksed series.  The posts that resulted were both devastatingly honest and incredibly inspiring, but I did notice, rather unsurprisingly in light of the request to actually be vulnerable and honest, a marked lack of dudes.  So, in the interest of diversity, here's my submission, my life, unmasked.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

On the Purpose For My Pacifism

I wrote this as a response to a question posed on a freind's blog, but I thought I would share it with all 3 of you as well.  It might come off as a little bit overly-analytical (especially compared to my usual writing style), and I'm going to get all philosophical on you, but stay with it, and I think you'll get where I'm coming from.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

On My Journey From Vengeance to Grace. (The 9/11 Retrospective I Swore I Wouldn't Write)

11 years ago I was sleeping off a late night when my good friend called me and told me the news
10 years ago I joined the Army
6 years ago I made my first trip to Afghanistan
4 years ago I was supporting some of the most highly-trained killers in the world, and quite good at it.

Today I am in need of Grace just as in those days, as I struggle to reconcile what I've done, what I've seen, and where I've been with what He wants me to be.

Part of me wants justice, but that same part of me has no way to define what that justice looks like, leaving me with one nagging question.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

On Giving Up on Politics, and Finding Freedom in the Process

If you haven't noticed, the theme of this blog is tension.  What could be more tense than a discussion about politics the day ofter a room full of apparently blood-thirsty Republicans cheered when Brian Williams announced how many executions Rick Perry had overseen? 

But don't fret, I'm an equal opportunity critic. I'll likely piss everyone off equally before this post is over. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

On the tension between culture and Christ.

It's introspection time.

How have I, a follower of a 1st century Jewish Rabbi (and His mouthpiece in my current cultural context), faired in being salt and light?  Have I distinguished myself from the culture in such a way that I am living out His two simple commands to love God and love others?  Honestly, I would say, for the first 29 years of my life, I did a pretty poor job, but I'm alive, and I'm growing, and I'm learning what it means to love God, to love others, and how the two are hopelessly and inextricably linked.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On the slow death of Luke Harms, American man.

There were a few specific situations over the past couple of weeks that have served to help cure the cement of my hatred of the archetypal American Male.  The first two situations are less personal.  First off, (if you know me at all, you might have guessed it) was one of my favorite bloggers, John Jensen, laying the proverbial (but loving, of course) smack down on the often thick-headed gender charicature that is Mark Driscoll after his ill-advised comment mocking effeminate male worship leaders (see additional commentary herehere, and here).  The second was the orgasmic delight with which seemingly the entire nation reacted to the salvaging of the NFL season.

Thank God for that.
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