Posts Tagged 'God'



Love and Basketball

This story has been making the rounds on television – I saw it first on the CBS news, so here’s the link:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/texas-high-school-basketball-team-incredible-sportsmanship/

It tells about how a couple of high school boys in Waco, Texas, thought it was sad that the Gainseville, Texas, juvenile correctional facility’s basketball team never had any fans when they came to play. So this time, when the Gainesville Tornadoes came to play in Waco, these two students made sure that the Tornadoes had fans, posters, and even cheerleaders to make them feel like a real team.

Of course, they were already a real team, but it just took a bit of love to help them to fully realize it. A classic definition of the kind of love God expects from us is this: meeting other people’s needs at the expense of our own. I’m sure it wasn’t necessarily easy for the two Waco kids to put this whole thing together, and I’m sure that they could easily have just brushed the whole thing off. But in the end, because of the love showed by the people in Waco, at least a couple of the Gainesville players said they would never forget that day for the rest of their lives. Who knows, maybe it even turned them around.

I work in criminal justice, and I understand the need for empathy to solve the kinds of criminal issues we see today. What I don’t say enough is that I absolutely think that God is really the only way to solve any criminal justice issue. We can talk about cost-benefit analyses, constitutional mandates, and even social science research, but it’s only love for our fellow human beings that will change our future for the better.

Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me,” but this merely reminds us that the word “least” is really a label that we use in the world. God doesn’t love them any less, but they do offer us an opportunity to show love, mercy, and justice in concrete ways.

As Saints, what we do in the world matters, but the two boys in Waco have shown that you don’t have to dump a bunch of money at a problem or come up with some amazing super-solution to make a difference. All it takes is a bit of love and creativity, and God smiles.

God and Music

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Wow, when things get busy, they really get busy. Denise is working harder than ever, and I’ve been out of town. Still, I have no excuses for not talking about God. Supernaturally speaking, it’s sort of inevitable. The more you want to talk about God, the more resistance you’re going to get. But that, my friends, is a completely different blog.

So when I’m rushed and don’t know what to say, I talk about something that I really love, which is music. Now, I don’t know about you, but you just can’t explain music without God. There is simply no way to fit music into evolution, or secular humanism, or anything apart from God, who gives some of us the gift of being able to play, and the rest of us the ability to feel the powerful emotional touch that comes from music. That’s why most musicians will never attribute anything they do musically to themselves. They can’t. Even when they don’t necessarily call it “God,” they know that it all seemed to exist outside of them, and that they were merely permitted to grab onto a part of it. If you watch the Oscars, you’ll see a lot of people thanking their producers, their directors, and their fellow actors, but if you watch the Grammys or the County Music Awards, a ton of people thank God or Jesus Christ.

When I play concerts, which is certainly not very often, I try to end by talking about the notion of gifts and infinity. God gives all of us gifts. Some of us are blessed with the gift of being able to make music, but we all have something, and each of you have at least one, and probably several, really wonderful gifts from God. And because we’re also given an ability to understand the concept of infinity, we can immediately take a known concept and imagine what it might be like in its infinite or perfect form. So, for example, if a piece of music seems beautiful, people can think of beauty and imagine it in its perfect form. This perfect form, of course, is the thing that awaits all of us when we enter the Kingdom as followers of Jesus Christ.

Every good thing that we do provides people with a glimpse of God and heaven, because we can reach people through our gifts and then tell them, “now imagine how you might feel if you experienced this thing in its infinite and perfect form.” That’s probably why one of my favorite passages is Matthew 5:14, which says, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before [others], that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

So . . . whatever your gift, find someone and share it with them. Heck, share it with me!

But never forget to give all the glory to the one who gave it to you.


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