The When-Helping-Hurts Father


When NOT to return HOME

Fat Beggars School of Prophets

N.T. Wright once wrote that the parable we call “The Prodigal Son” could have just as easily (and perhaps more meaningfully) been called “The Running Father.”  Wright points out that in the culture in which Jesus tells that story, older men, such as the Father in this parable, typically guard their dignity in various symbolic ways, one of which is to NEVER be seen running.  Not even walking too fast.  Thus part of the shock of that story is how this heartsick Father watching the horizon everyday, hoping against hope to see his boy, at the moment when he finally does, throws caution and dignity to the wind and goes RUNNING to greet the boy upon his return.

The parable of The Prodigal Son is one of the most famous passages in the Bible, known to believers and nonbelievers alike, and rightly so.  It is a powerful depiction of the…

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Pop Quiz: Bible Math


It all Adds up

Fat Beggars School of Prophets

This is a serious Pop Quiz.  Remember, JUDGMENT is riding, not so much on how you answer, but on how you live out the right answer.  So if you are having trouble coming up with the correct answer, now would be a good time to brush up on your Bible math.

1.    Revelation 3:20 + Matthew 25:31-46 =

2.     Hebrews 13:2 + Luke 24:28-32 =

3.     Matthew 25:31-46 + Hebrews 13:2 =

And the correct answer is…

.

.

.

….. drum roll please….

.

.

.

.

Open The Door!  That stranger knocking is Jesus!

(If you answered “Matthew 22:37-40” … that response will be accepted!)

Now… let’s get out a red marker and grade the quiz.  Everyone pass your quiz to the person behind you, and you in the back, pass yours to the front!

Come on.  Hurry up.  Judgment is coming!

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Agape Hurts


Making love and a bowl of plastic cereal

Fat Beggars School of Prophets

(Warning: Long post, probably not worth your time.  Nothing to see here folx, just keep on moving….)

I posted recently “Love Hurts” and referenced the song by that title.  I then spent a good deal of that post distinguishing the sentiment of the song from the LOVE of Jesus.  But I endorsed the notion that love does really hurt, though.  The song got that part right, and we need not avoid suffering as we set out in ministry – that would be unloving.  Yet, no doubt the “love” featured in the song is a very selfish parody of the LOVE of Christ.  As for the song, it deals with a romantic kind in particular.

(That really says something.  Don’t you think?  Our culture has totally hijacked the word and thus the meaning of “love,” of which we only have one in the English language.  And while other languages (Greek for…

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I Repent


THIS TOWN AIN’T BIG ENOUGH FOR THE TWO OF US; ONE OF US HAS TO GO!

Fat Beggars School of Prophets

My story needs to remain confidential.  And even though I strongly doubt anyone in the know would read it here, I will take care to tell my story in such a way as to skew a few of the facts (not the pertinent ones though) and obscure the identities of all involved (except God, assuming he is involved).

Several years ago, I was invited by a church to join a leadership team which was going to pray carefully and seek God’s guidance for the future of our little congregation.  It was truly a great honor to be invited to participate, and this church was an exciting and dynamic group to be involved with already.  So I was absolutely thrilled to join it.

In some respects, this was a highlight of my career.  Soon I found my own input rising up as some of the more influential parts our group worked…

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“I’ll Have What She’s Having!”


“….Either making love or else expecting rain…”

Fat Beggars School of Prophets

I am not a big fan of “chick flicks” generally.  Romantic comedy is not my USUAL genre of movie enjoyment.  (And I like movies!)  But there is one HUGE exception, in my list of favorite movies: 1989’s When Harry Met Sally.

This is all the more an anomaly since the movie is such an overt exploration of casual sex, which I do not advocate in the slightest.  The plot, the language, the worldview portrayed, not to mention the genre, all make a perfect recipe for me to leave it alone.  But the acting is good, and the zingers and one-liners are brilliant… and… and then there is that most perfect comedic scene where Meg Ryan, sitting opposite Billy Crystal in a restaurant surrounded by the anonymous, restaurant-eating public enjoying a fine meal, fakes an orgasm and draws the attention of everyone in the place, then suddenly stops and goes…

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The Prodigal Son Kidnapped In LUBBOCK, TEXAS


Where Everyone Knows Your Name (and it’s not a good one)

Fat Beggars School of Prophets

I went to church Sunday, the same church that has so thoroughly shunned me.  The church in which the small group that used to meet in my home organized against me to disappear like a fart in the wind.  (No.  Really!  Just when I was expecting people to show up for the regular meeting, no one did, and despite the fact that my name had long been included in the email circular, I was not notified but apparently every last one of that group was except me, because NO ONE showed up at my place even by mistake.)  The church where the shepherd told me that I can “scream at the top of my voice” yet they “will not listen to me.”

Yeah.  That one.  I went there Sunday for worship.

And though my attention was quite divided between the sermon and my unruly children, I managed to catch a…

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Strangers & Angels


Welcome to Deadwood Jesus is playing cards in the back room holding a Dead Mans Hand

Fat Beggars School of Prophets

When I was young, I dreamed that I might be a rock star.  I didn’t take the fantasy too far; never really gave it a try, but like so many before me, I tried on the notion in my fantasy life.  (It fit in there sometime after wanting to grow up and be an astronaut, a policeman, a pro football player, and before attempting to be a lawyer.  I have since settled on a lowly homeless minister for a vocation.)

Anyway, if I were a musician, I would call my band Strangers & Angels, I think.  (However, I think I would prefer to be a blues musician rather than a rock star… but that’s just me.)  Part of the problem is… I ain’t a musician.  Can’t sing either.  But aside from that, a great idea!!!

I don’t have any ambition to start a church.  Jesus did that already, and…

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It’s not you they are rejecting; it’s Me


And I said, “They rejected Jesus too.” And they said, “You’re not Him.” Bob Dylan

Fat Beggars School of Prophets

In the book of I Samuel, in chapter 8, we find the elders of the church coming to the prophet of God saying, appoint for us a charity system like the 501c3’s.  And the thing displeases the prophet who speaks to God about it, but God says, “Obey the elders; give them what they want.”

Then God tells the prophet, “It’s not you they are rejecting; it’s Me.”

What a fascinating notion!

The prophet as of yet says nothing to God about his own sense of rejection, but God addresses it outright and orders obedience to these wayward elders!

This is jacked up on so many levels.

The people of God do not need a charity system “like the 501c3’s” of those outside the Body of Christ.  That already makes NO SENSE.  Not for the body which walks those dusty Galilean trails pressed in on all sides and healing…

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Private Jets, Starving Children, and … the CHURCH


I’m a leaving, on a Jet Plane..don’t know when I’ll be back again…

Fat Beggars School of Prophets

Here is a framework for the worldview in which I operate:

In this world which YHWH, the creator God of Israel, made in his infinite LOVE and WISDOM, and in which the human creatures in particular are made to bear his image (represent him), when I see ANYONE owning, using, and keeping a private jet WHILE ANY child ANYWHERE in God’s creation is known to suffer hunger, then those private-jet people are very selfish, self-centered, and egocentric and thus do not bear God’s image insofar as they keep those jets.

It practically goes without saying.

If we ALL shared those jets, then this argument would not hold up.  But the fact that they are private, particularly, makes them problematic.

These are markers, in my worldview, of the edges of practically everything.  Let us situate ourselves IN THAT framework.  Where is the church in all this?

I don’t personally know any…

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