On NPR’s Marketplace recently their reporters dealt with stories of economic transactions and how different types have profound effects on people’s lives. The first story was romantic. A young man sits one seat away from a young woman at an NBA game in Milwaukee. His friend is sitting between them and, while his friend chats with the young woman, he hardly says a word to her. His only memory of her was she was wearing an Indiana University sweatshirt. Then weeks later, the young man is at the Detroit airport waiting for a flight. He sees the young woman in the same IU sweatshirt. That causes him to recognize her. They talk recounting how they met at the game. When the plane boards, they wish each other a nice flight thinking that’s it. But they end up sitting next to one another on that flight. They talk for the whole flight, exchange phone numbers, and long story short: They’re now married with a child. “It was meant to be, the young woman said. They’re transactions involving game tickets, flights, and especially buying that IU sweatshirt, led to their life together.

The second story was about a family’s long desired vacation to Hawaii. They research and plan for months. They book a condo, flights, and a rental car for the week. Right before they leave, they learn that the husband’s mother is dying. She has just weeks to live. They readily cancel their long anticipated vacation to be with her. They’ll lose most of their non-refundable flight costs. They can cancel the rental car with no penalty. The condo agreement, however, clearly states that a late cancellation would require them to forfeit the week’s rent. The wife emails the condo owner explaining why they must cancel. The owner writes back saying he’ll return all their money. He tells her his wife was diagnosed with ALS last year. He knows they’re grieving. He’s been moved by the compassion others have shared with his family. The wife whose mother-in-law was dying said she was overwhelmed by a total stranger’s kindness. It transformed her life. She would now treat others similarly in the future. If that family had never transacted for the condo, then they never would’ve had this profound experience.

The Marketplace story saw these two stories to be about transactional grace,” which is really oxymoronic. The first “transaction” wasn’t about grace. It might’ve been about coincidence, or even providence, or as is said in The Princess Bride, “true love,” but no one sacrificed anything except the money to buy game and flight tickets and that sweatshirt. While it’s a beautiful story, there was no personal cost” to the two people involved. They simply took advantage of the opportunity the transactions provided.

The second transaction is about grace. For grace always requires an intentional sacrifice. The condo owner knowingly sacrificed his entitled rental fee even though he could’ve kept it. If there is no intentional sacrifice or cost, then there is no grace. We should understand grace that way, because it will help us fathom just how amazing it is, both with the graces we offer and receive in our lives and with God’s Grace freely given us in Jesus Christ. And once such “costly grace (to use Bonhoeffer’s phrase) sinks home, we’ll want to practice such grace with others, not as a quid pro quo transaction, but as the way God has called you and me to live in this world.

+Scott

 

Since we’re now in Ascensiontide (you can look it up), I’m reminded of one of my favorite icons of the Ascension: The disciples are gathered in a circle with their eyes gazing into heaven. And just at the top of the icon one can see just the feet and ankles of Jesus as he ascends. That icon serves as a cautionary tale for the Church. We can spend much of our time figuratively looking into the heavens. We can focus so much of our energies on the fine details of liturgy or the intensity of committee work that we fail to look out at a world that’s dying for the Gospel of Jesus. There’s an old Johnny Cash song that sums this up well. It’s called “You’re so heavenly minded, you’re no earthly good.”

Now there’s nothing wrong with looking into the heavens. We all need time for rest and retreat so we might gain wisdom and perspective on our lives. The temptation, however, is to stay there. As long as we look up, we don’t have to look out for one another. We don’t have to deal with the hard work of human community. With our eyes to the heavens, we can honestly report that we can’t see the pain and struggle of others.

That’s why, I believe, those two men approached the disciples as Jesus disappeared from their sight. They pointedly asked the disciples: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven?” Nineteen Centuries later, Bishop Frank Weston asked a similar question as he addressed the Church of England at the height of the Industrial Revolution. He asked: Can we claim to worship Jesus in the Church if we do not show Jesus compassion in the street? Can we worship Jesus in the Sacrament of his Body & Blood while we are ignoring Jesus in the suffering of his sisters and brothers?

A poem written by the Orthodox nun, Maria Skobtsova, illustrates this charge. She practiced and lived radical hospitality in her ministry in Paris during World War II.

I searched for thinkers and prophets who wait by the ladder to heaven,
see signs of the mysterious end, sing songs beyond our comprehension.

And I found people restless, orphaned, poor, drunk, despairing, useless,
lost whichever way they went, homeless, naked, lacking bread.

There are no prophecies. But life performs in a prophetic manner;
The end approaches, the days grow shorter; You took a servant’s form — Hosanna

When the Nazis invaded, Jews began coming to her convent in Paris to get baptismal certificates, which she gladly provided them to fool the Nazis. Later, many came to live in her convent and she helped most escape. Eventually the Nazis closed the convent and took her to a prison camp in Germany. On Holy Saturday, 1945, just days before the war’s end, she was executed. As Maria suggests in her poem, we can wait by the ladder to heaven for all sorts of “signs, thinkers, and prophets.” But if we do, we’ll miss the restless, the lost, and the despairing ones. Our Lord’s Ascension proclaims to us that you and I have the privilege of leaving the safety of our church buildings to follow Jesus into this beautiful, yet broken and hurting, world he so loves. 

+Scott

 

 

Human nature is so faulty that it can resist any amount of grace and most of the time it does.
The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor

When I was reading again some of Flannery O’Connor’s letters the above quote hit me like a 2×4 up the side of my head. “Yes,” I said out loud (and I usually don’t speak out loud when I’m reading). Ms. O’Connor’s insight into human nature and God’s grace has always walloped me. We resist grace because it comes to us not on our own terms. In a culture that rewards achievement and merit, grace makes no sense. Thus, we rebel against it as if it were foreign to our experience, which of course it so often is. We can’t earn it. We can’t claim it as our own. We can’t rationalize receiving it as a just reward. It’s a pure gift from God through Jesus Christ in which we must trust.

One of Ms. O’Connor’s characters in her short story, A Good Man is Hard to Find, says: “Jesus thrown everything off balance.” That’s what grace does. It throws “off balance” a world based on personal achievement or self-justification. And of all things, our cultural celebration of Christmas helps distort our comprehension of grace. I’ll explain. Let’s say at Christmas we receive a gift from someone from whom we didn’t expect to receive a gift. To our discomfort, we really love the gift. What’s our first reaction? Exactly: We didn’t get that person a gift of equal or greater value. Grace is the gift for which we can give nothing in return to even things out. That’s why “Jesus thrown everything off balance” is on point. Grace undermines our assumptions about how life should work.

Elsewhere Ms. O’Connor writes: “The operation of the Church is entirely set up for the sinner; which creates much misunderstanding among the smug.” The “smug,” the self-justifying, the pull-yourself-up-by your-own-bootstraps types don’t care much for grace. It doesn’t fit into their worldview of how things should be. They prefer to divide the world into worthy folk like themselves and others who are sinners. They’ll in most cases acknowledge their own sin, but see it as small potatoes compared to others. It’s easy to find someone else who’s a worse sinner. It aids one’s self-justification.

Ms. O’Connor writes in Everything That Rises Must Converge: “She was a good Christian woman with a large respect for religion, though she did not, of course, believe any of it was true.” While “the operation of the Church is entirely set up for the sinner,” often those who have “a large respect for religion” don’t believe the Church should really operate that way, because deep down, they refuse to believe in a God who would be that weak-kneed by letting sinners off the hook. Religion for such folks isn’t about the grace given to sinners through the cross of Jesus. No, for such folk religion is about controlling other people and making sure they follow the rules.

Trusting in God’s grace and practicing it with everyone else, changes us. Ms. O’Connor writes: “All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us.” But when we let go of our resistance to God’s grace we’ll come to realize that such grace isn’t only God’s way of changing us, it’s God’s way of transforming the world into God’s likeness.

+Scott

 

As we live through the rapid change of our contemporary culture, some are fearful that Christianity is losing its traditional, privileged place. Demographers tell us that the fastest growing cohort is the so-called “nones,” those with no religious affiliation or particular religious practice. Those who are fearful about this development warn that the lost, privileged place of the Church’s faith will inevitably lead to a growing hostility toward Christianity. Every fear has at least a kernel of truth to it, so there’s reason for us to pay attention. But I don’t think fear about the changing nature of the culture is a faithful response, even as we pay attention to it. Fear is never faithful. All culture is highly elastic and, at least partly, cyclical. Historians look back and find times when particular social, religious, political, and economic conditions in one era were similar to those in another. That’s true of Church history as it overlaps with the larger cultural history. In every age then, the Church faces new as well as familiar challenges for how she will be faithful to the Gospel of Jesus.

I believe we’re in a similar time as to what the Church experienced in the 4th Century. Christianity then had a foothold in the culture, but it was by no means the dominant religion. The Roman Empire had grown vast, outgrowing its own power to govern and control that vastness. In the other words, the Pax Romana wasn’t what it had been. This resulted in great social anxiety as groups sought to blame other groups for why Rome wasn’t what it used to be. Some blamed the Christians. Others blamed the laxness of the traditional Pagan practices. What was evident was this: No one group was dominant or privileged in its ability to guide the culture. This was also the time of the great Church Councils of Nicea and Chalcedon. At these Councils, the Church struggled to define her own faith, identity, and practice. But even amidst the great debate within the Church, we continued to witness to the grace, compassion, and mercy of God. In the middle of the 4th century the Roman emperor Julian (later he had the moniker the Apostate” attached to his name, which, let’s just say, wasn’t a term he chose) wrote a sarcastic complaint about the Christians he observed: “These impious Galileans not only feed their own poor, but ours also. While our pagan priests neglect the poor, these hated Galileans devote themselves to works of charity.” 

The Church today is struggling, as we always have, to live out our faith, identity, and practice. As was true 17 centuries ago, today we’re not all of one mind on various issues. But that has never stopped the Church from its essential witness to the world’s redemption by our Lord Jesus Christ. We’ll need to continue to find ever more creative and effective ways of sharing and dispensing God’s grace to this beautiful, yet broken world, especially as it becomes more disinterested in or indifferent to the Gospel. So, I believe the truth claims we make about Jesus will never win the day if they’re limited to a “we’re right and your wrong” contest. I think the Emperor Julian (the Apostate) unwittingly showed us the most effective way: A steadfast commitment to sharing God’s unmerited grace with others, particularly to those who are lonely, lost, or left out in our culture, through specific acts that make tangible God’s grace in their lives. The old camp song has it so right: “They will know we are Christians by our love.”

+Scott

 

Change is Hard (eCrozier #260)

Change is hard. We resist it. I resist it. I prefer the familiar, the known, the comfortable. It helps me make sense of the world. I’m drawn to rules and routines because it reduces the level of chaos in my life.

Some rules, routines, habits, and customs are life-giving. They help shape our faithful living as long as they remain realistic and manageable, rather than become yet another piece of evidence of how we have failed to live up to some standard (our or others). When that happens, we can fall into the trap of unhelpful self-judgment leading to the downward spiral of self-condemnation.

This means that personal change, or what we in faith would call spiritual transformation, must come from the inside working of the Holy Spirit in our lives rather than from the outside critique of others. I know from personal experience that the changes I’ve made in my life and the spiritual transformation I’ve experienced never was aided by constant nagging from others or from their very willing desire to point out my many faults. Some “trolls” don’t just live in cyberspace. Such change and transformation, if it is to be real and lasting, comes from the inside out.

This is not to say that feedback from others should be ignored simply because it comes from outside of us. Those who love us enough to be truthful with us are indispensable partners in our personal and spiritual growth. We need to hear from them. While such feedback may not always be pleasant to receive, if we can avoid getting defensive, it can be an important ingredient in our work of personal and spiritual growth.

Even then, making a change in the way we live our lives, rather than displaying the pretension of change (see the New Yorker cartoon above), is still no walk in the park. If we fail (and often, we will, at least in our initial efforts), we can spiritually beat ourselves up and see ourselves as complete failures, which then reinforces unhelpful self-judgment. But if we succeed, we actually open ourselves to another danger of developing a self-righteous stance in the world. In effect we’d be saying: “See what I did! Why can’t

everyone be like me?”

Personal, spiritual change is hard. As we seek it, we should avoid connecting it to God’s grace-filled love for us. God loves us whether we make a desired change or not. This is actually the most liberating news we can receive. It can give us the grace and the courage to become what God desires for us.

+Scott

 

Sanctus bells have served an important role in the Church’s worship. Traditionally, they were a call for the congregation gathered to pay attention to what was happening at the altar. In a time before pews and when the mass length was much longer, Sanctus bells called people out of whatever distraction, or dare we say sleep, to give their attention to the Blessed Sacrament of the Church that was being celebrated at the altar.

Our culture receives the ring of a Sanctus bell from time to time to call us to attention. It can call us to a deeper awareness of the kind of culture we’ve nurtured over hundreds of years. Such a ring can also sound out a truth about ourselves we may not wish to hear (e.g. we’ve been asleep). We’ve received a number of clear Sanctus bells over the last year. Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and now Walter Scott were all unarmed African-American men killed by a member of the police force. They’re not the only ones. There are many others who have received less notice and media attention.

A simplistic response to these particular Sanctus bells would seek only to blame the individual police officers involved. They’re the few so-called “bad apples.” To solve this problem then means to get rid of these policemen. But that is akin to a physician treating a cancer in someone’s leg deciding just to cut off the leg and not look at the patient’s whole body for other signs that the cancer might be present as well. The cancer of racism has infected the whole body of America. For generation upon generation it’s infected us all with irrational fears and false conclusions about one another. It’s distorted and deranged our ability to see and understand clearly.

Police officers have a difficult, dangerous vocation. We can’t expect them to be social workers or clinical psychologists. They’re formed and shaped by the same culture in which we were raised. Their police training can’t trump the culture of racism. It’s too big and pervasive. They’ve become a reflection of the deeper problem racism creates. That helps explain what happened when Officer Thomas Slager of the North Charleston Police Department stopped Mr. Walter Scott for having a broken car taillight. Because of racism’s cancerous effects, each one “knew” something about the other. Mr. Scott “knew” of the historical power of the police to kill black men, even for a broken taillight. So, he fled. Officer Slager “knew” of the power of black men, even an unarmed one much older than he, to possibly kill him. So, he shot Mr. Scott in the back four times as he fled. What they “knew” about each other led to this tragedy.

Officer Slager should face criminal consequences for this murder. It will be overly facile, however, if we believe that’s all that needs doing. We must learn to “unknow” the distorted and deranged “knowledge” that racism has bequeathed to us. That’ll be hard work for us all, but it’s work we all must do. We haven’t done this work either because we didn’t want to believe it was still necessary or because we never believed it was necessary in the first place. I hope it’s the former and not the latter. Because if we remain willfully ignorant of what racism has done and is still doing to our body politic, we’ll ignore the cancer that infects us all. The Sanctus bell is ringing loudly and clearly.

+Scott

 

 

“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”
― Winston S. Churchill

The states of Indiana and Arkansas have recently enacted laws purportedly to protect the religious freedom of their citizens. Some see these laws as back door efforts to discriminate against others, particularly gay and lesbian citizens. Other people see these laws as needed in order to protect their religious beliefs and convictions. So, through the democratic process we as citizens are trying to honor what may appear to be competing moral claims: On one hand, the right to practice one’s religion as one sees fit, and on the other hand, the right not to be discriminated against because of who you are.

But are these really competing moral claims? I don’t think so, not if we’re actually committed to honoring both. Yet, in order to honor both we must first acknowledge what’s happening. There are those who aren’t being honest about their real agenda. Some pushing for the religious freedom laws really do want to discriminate against gay and lesbian persons because they believe such person’s sexuality is against God’s law. But they feel they can’t get what they want if they present it that way, so they seek the cover of such laws. Then there are some who oppose these religious freedom laws because they really don’t want to protect religious beliefs with which they disagree. Laws that protect such religious belief, in their mind, will simply further legitimize that belief. But they, too, don’t feel they can get what they want if they present it that way.

Democracy is messy. Laws help sort through this messiness, but laws alone can never make us respect the dignity of all persons. Laws can make us behave within certain boundaries, but enacting laws will never be able to change our hearts and minds so mutual respect can flourish. Learning to honor the dignity of others, even those with whom we disagree, is the necessary first step. Otherwise people on the extremes will prevail. That means religious believers who are opposed to gay and lesbian person’s sexuality must insist that gay and lesbian persons won’t have their dignity abused by discrimination. Likewise gay and lesbian persons must respect people’s religious beliefs that lead them to oppose homosexuality. That means not calling such persons bigots or suing them when they won’t provide a service. Rather they should support the huge and growing number of service providers who will gladly provide that service.

People on the extremes will oppose this. Depending on their views, what I’ve proposed will lack either a religious or a justice backbone. Both extreme positions demand complete purity and total fealty to their way of seeing the world. They are the Pharisees of the extremes. There’s a way forward that doesn’t capitulate to such Pharisees. It’ll require a critical mass on all sides of this issue to exercise genuine humility and to show remarkable restraint. This will lead us all toward an empathic compassion for those who disagree with us. Such humility, restraint, and compassion will invite us to recognize that each of us has a common human dignity imprinted with the image of God. God’s image is even present with those who we might find objectionable or offensive.

+Scott

 

For I have given you an example that you also should do as I have done to you.
John 13:15

What Maundy Thursday proclaims is far from the splendor of much of modern religion. Rather, it’s the menial, sometimes degrading, task of washing another person’s feet. What Jesus shows us in this humble act is his steadfast love for us. This simple act of foot washing also anticipates and symbolizes the more demeaning act of his death.

And even though Jesus had been with them all this time, the disciples still needed this particular example to know him fully. Foot washing then isn’t just a model for Christian behavior. It’s a vivid portrayal of God’s nature in Christ. It’s God’s nature to wash the ugly and the smelly, to clean us from the foul smell of our sin. When this sinks home, with Peter we can cry out: “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” So, it’s the nature of our Loving God to make the unworthy, worthy and the unclean, clean.

We can follow our Lord’s example and wash one another’s feet until our hands are raw and soggy, but unless we do so with our hearts and minds focused on Jesus, we’ll only come away from our service feeling exhausted from giving ourselves up to such a menial task. We should not wash feet because it’s fun, rewarding, or pleasant, because it clearly isn’t. We don’t serve the lonely, the lost, and the left out because doing so makes us feel good about ourselves. While we may indeed derive a good feeling from serving others, that should not be our purpose in doing so.

As the Church, we wash feet, we serve others, because that’s what Jesus showed us to be the very nature of the Incarnate God, and thus, the nature of what the Church ought to be. We don’t engage in loving service so others will see us as saintly people. We could never fool that many people, could we? Rather, we do it because we’re in the practice of being the Church. And the Church must reflect the nature of God if it’s indeed going to be the Church of Jesus.

Still, the act of foot washing exposes our ongoing confusion as the Church. In the early Church, Christians stood as they worshiped God (there were no pews or kneelers) and they knelt before others in loving service as Christ’s Body. Then we turned that upside down. We began to kneel before God and to stand over others dispensing service. On Maundy Thursday, we relearn the proper position. We wash one another’s feet; and maybe even harder, we allow others to wash our feet. We’re reconciled to Christ: standing before God as daughters and sons, and kneeling before others in loving service.

We meet God in the person of Jesus. And in the person of Jesus we find one who humbles himself, kneels at our feet, washes them, and on the next day, dies for the sins of the world. The Church, the people of God, must also be like that. We must be willing to kneel and humbly serve our sisters and brothers. That’s God incarnated in Jesus. Our call as his disciples, as Jesus tells us, is to do to one another as he has done to us.

+Scott

 

 

While repentance is a year-round, daily practice for all disciples of Jesus, we’re aided by the Lenten season when we particularly focus on this practice. Repentance isn’t about being sorry for our sins, although personal sorrow is probably an appropriate emotion we experience while repenting. Repenting isn’t a feeling or an idea. Repentance is an action where we intentionally seek to change our understanding of ourselves in relationship to God, and consequently, the way we live in the world. The Greek word for repentance in the Bible, metanoia, literally means: “to change our understanding.”

A story that instructs me in my repentance is the story of a rather obscure saint of the Church. Her name was St Mary of Egypt. In her early life, Mary was a prostitute in Alexandria, Egypt. One day, she went to exercise her profession down at the boat docks and there saw two groups of men. One was a group she knew well, a group of sailors. The other group was a group of Christians heading for Jerusalem on a pilgrimage. Without thinking, she decided to go with the pilgrims to Jerusalem. Her life story even reports that she exercised her profession among, shall we say, the less mature pilgrims on the boat trip to Jerusalem.

When they arrived in Jerusalem she had a profound experience. She went with the pilgrims to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which is the Church built on the place of Jesus’ crucifixion. She saw the pilgrims enter the Church and she tried to enter with them. But when she tried to enter, she couldn’t. A force she couldn’t see was keeping her out. She tried again to enter, but to no avail. She left the Church’s entrance and ran into the city. She spent the day repenting of all that she had done throughout her life that had obstructed her relationship with God. The next day she entered the Church. She left a changed person. She had changed her understanding of herself, of God, and of her life in the world.

She spent the rest of her life, over 40 years, in the desert south of Jerusalem. There she lived in prayer and praise of God. We’d know nothing of her life, if it hadn’t been for a monk, Abba Zosimas, who accidentally came upon her, a naked old woman, in the desert when he went there for solitary prayer. At their meeting, she told him her life story. But before she did, this is what she said to him: “I am ashamed, Abba, to speak to you of my disgraceful life, forgive me for God’s sake! But when I start my story you will run from me, as from a snake, for your ears will not be able to bear the vileness of my actions. But I shall tell you all without hiding anything, only imploring you first of all to pray incessantly for me, so that I may find mercy on the day of Judgment.”

Notice the honesty and humility of her words. Not present are the arrogant and entitled words that we so often hear today. Her words do not presume a sense of deserving anything, yet they are filled with the hope of God’s love. St Mary of Egypt saw herself clearly and changed her understanding. She repented. Her life story invites us to do the same, trusting that when we do, God will not run from us, “as from a snake,” but rather that God’s mercy will envelop us “on the day of Judgment.”

+Scott

 

God’s Mercy & Exhausting Judgment (eCrozier #255)

God’s mercy is the heart of what we observe in Lent. Mercy describes God’s essential nature wherein God says to us: “Even though you’ve broken my laws and my covenant, I won’t break you. I forgive you.When Jesus cries from the cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” he was being overly kind and especially polite. Because I think we knew exactly what we were doing to Jesus on the cross. And we did it anyway.

There is no Christianity without mercy because it’s God’s essential nature. There’s no intelligible explanation of the Christian faith that anyone can make that doesn’t have God’s mercy foremost in it. Mercy is the proto-virtue because it alone creates a space for forgiveness to grow. Without mercy, there can be no forgiveness. So, if we wish to participate in what God is up to in the world, then our practice of mercy will be essential to our identity. We must learn to practice mercy, not judgment, with everyone.

We, however, live in a culture rampant with judgment. We’re judged all the time. It’s everywhere. Our bosses judge us on our job performance. Our neighbors judge us over the weeds in our yard. We’re judged when we don’t dress in the right fashion. We’re judged by the words we choose. We’re even judged by our spouses, friends, and parents. Even our children judge us. Oh my! And such constant judgment exhausts us because we can rarely measure up to their judgment. Even when we do measure up, we often end up thinking we really haven’t. Such is the power of living under such daily judgment.

There’s a story of a woman who took her ten year-old grandson to spend the day at the beach. She brought his sand toys and a blanket, beach chair, and umbrella for herself. When it all was set out, she told her grandson to go play while she settled down to read. Minutes later she heard her grandson crying out. She looked up from her book and saw that he was far out in the water struggling against powerful waves. The lifeguard on duty was already swimming out toward the boy fighting a strong tide and relentless waves. At last, he grabbed the boy, but it took him a half hour before he could bring the boy safely to the shore. A crowd gathered around the exhausted lifeguard as he administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Minutes later the boy coughed up the water from his lungs and sat up breathing normally. The crowd cheered. The lifeguard rolled onto his back in the hot sand completely spent from his work. The grandmother smiled and looked at her grandson. Then she stared down at the exhausted lifeguard lying in the sand. With a look of displeasure, she said to the lifeguard: “He had a hat!”

We know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of judgment, earned and unearned. It’s not that we don’t often deserve judgment. Of course, we do. But it’s not about what you, I, or anybody else deserves. Rather it’s about what God is up to in this world through Jesus. God is up to mercy. Jesus’ cross on Good Friday proclaims that eternal truth. So, what if we became flagrant in granting mercy to everyone all the time? What if we just gave up sitting on the judgment seat and sat in a place of mercy instead? We would offer a compelling witness to the mercy Jesus embodied in his life and in his death. And in the process we would change the world for his sake.

 

+Scott