Tag Archives: God thoughts/ God walks

Death You’re a Bastard… or why there will be baseball in heaven

Death You’re a Bastard… or why there will be baseball in heaven

No one gets out of here alive…

Death and grief are things that I am familiar with. I’ve known them since I was just under 3 years old… as long as I can remember.

First it was my mom. I think it was some time in August of ’82. She was pregnant with my brother or sister. I don’t remember the funeral, but I’ve known the grief of that loss my whole life. It’s a grief for something I never remember having.

I think my Grandma Bernice (my mom’s mom) died in 1988 some time. I remember seeing her in her hospice bed. At that time, she was living in the house my dad and mom used to rent from her. When the cancer got real bad, she moved into her house to die in some sort of comfort. A good friend of the family brought little brass figures for us kids. I still have my brass bear.

Great Grandma Mauddie was the coolest old lady ever. She loved the Denver Broncos, crosswords, and Jesus. I saw her for the last time about an hour before she passed. It was good to see her smile.

When I was in 9th grade, amid the hormones, long hair, and budding teen angst, a classmate died. They had been drinking, and he was goofing off on a truck. The truck went forward, he fell off and with a hit of the head he died.

In 11th grade, a friend (Mikey) let all the pressure of life in Utah get to him. He lit himself on fire in the mountains that weekend. We all drove around listing to “Brick” by Ben Folds Five for days, girls crying, David thinking about killing himself, and me in a haze.

My Papa (dad’s dad) died when I was 21 or so. He had survived a tipple bypass a few years back, but this time he never woke up after surgery. Grandma (his wife) had a stroke around ’05. She died 6 months later I think.

Death has been around the corner most of my life. He is a bastard and I fucking hate him.

Death is not just a part of the life cycle. Death is an abrupt, tragic end to something that should never stop. I know death isn’t how it’s suppose to end; it hurts too much to be anything but a damn curse.

This week, I’ve felt the weight of that curse again. My friend, teacher, and blogging hero Michael Spencer died on Monday. Cancer was the symptom; death was the sickness. And I am sick with grief.

Michael was a good man. He spent most of his life working in the poorest county in the U.S., seeking to teach and help kids find life. He was a prolific writer at Internet Monk.com, writing about the problems of the evangelical church he loved so much and the Jesus shaped solution to it all. His words impacted me, helped shape my thinking about church, Jesus, and what part we play in it all. I never met the man face to face, be his interactions with me were always gracious and thoughtful. He even let me be a part of his virtual pub, The Boars Head Tavern. He was a sort of father figure to me. He helped me not give up on the people in churches. He helped me see Jesus.

Death got him, just like it’s gonna get all of us. None of us can get out of this messed up world alive. Even though it’s not how it’s suppose to be, we are all dying. Death comes for us all, and no one has a get outta the grave free card.

Are you sad yet?

Are you mad?

Are you confused?

Do you just want to ignore it till life can move on?

Ya, me too.

Death messes with my heart and my head. Even though I’ve dealt with it in so many ways for so long, I am still surprised by grief that wraps my throat and makes my heart heavy.

But… Death doesn’t win.

I believe that Life will swallow up death, everything will be made right, and all that is sad will become untrue.

(you hear that death… your gonna become fiction! Eat it!)

This is the good news, the gospel if you will. Jesus didn’t come and die so that you and I can be good little people who get to be some wussy angles strumming on a harp when we “pass on”. Jesus came, died, and got up from the grave again so that we could live on and on and on and on and on forever and ever amen.

(Where O death is thy sting…)

Michael believed this. His hope was in Jesus making all things right for those who hope in him. Now, Michael is seeing that hope more clearly than I am. I believe he is with Jesus now… and they are waiting. Waiting for the time when heaven and life breaks into this screwed up, sinful existence we call the world. When that happens, everything is gonna be right. We aren’t gonna become some ethereal spirits floating around some bright white clouds. Heaven and earth will be married and joined as one and everything will become more real than it ever has been before. Earth will finally not be some hell hole filled with wicked men and women, power struggles, war, and assholes. Earth is going to be home for God and for true humans to have true humanity and true, never ending life.

All that stuff that is good right now, things like good beer, good coffee, good books, good films, good music, good food… all of that is finally going to be what it’s trying to be now.

Michael loved baseball. The game was a sanctuary to him, the field was a chapel for him. In the new heaven and earth, Michael and I and all our friends are gonna go to a baseball game, drink beer, eat good “field food”, and watch a good game.

This is the hope I have. This is why I can grieve over the people I have lost in my life and yet rejoice, because I’m gonna see them again, the real them. And they are going to see the real me. And Jesus is gonna be at the good game with us, drinking beer, eating food, telling jokes, and finding joy in the rightness, the goodness, the LIFE he has given to us forever.

Finally.

Look to the sky while working the fields of earth… or consummation is coming

Without a strong eschatology social justice becomes little more than hospice care for a dying world. Without a biblical eschatology preaching amounts to little more than coaching people to live moral lives. Without a wide, deep, overarching eschatology people get fed, sickness gets cured, governments change,  church pews get filled, and the status quo staysContinue Reading

Weaker brothers (and sisters)

UPDATE: Be sure to check out Bob’s comment. Its a good response to balance out who actually *is* a weaker brother/sister. Bob Hyatt posted this to twitter Monday morning (link here, if you really need to read it). Quick synopsis: a “discernment blog” looked at an interview of Tim Keller and decided that he has/isContinue Reading

What the Atonement Did

This is a condensed version of the ‘What the Atonement Did” series I wrote a few years back. This version appeared in the March 2007 edition of Next-Wave. We evangelical Christians talk a lot about atonement stories, throwing out theories of penal substitution, ransom, recapitulation, and so on. These are all good, but, this isContinue Reading

Bob Hyatt: The Death of Preaching

Bob Hyatt (bob.blog) has a good post about video venue and how they will eventually lead to the death of preaching. This goes right along with the thoughts from my last post. I can foresee that if church takes this shape, we will have more and more people driven to “discover” preaching as their spiritualContinue Reading

Charis and Action: some thoughts on spiritual gifts

I was thinking about ‘spiritual gifts’ this morning. Rolling around the idea that maybe our various church cultures (at least in the evangelical stream) do a great job of promoting the gifts of preaching and teaching… and the personalities that go along with them. The trend I have seen is that ‘going into (the) ministry’Continue Reading

Scattered thoughts on Driscol's final thoughts, or don't spend your crazy weather on self recognition.

Final Thoughts from Pastor Mark at 12:37 am After the Lowest Sunday in Many Years Some random thoughts and question raised by this post: Is it holy to feel humbled that people did extraordinary things to come see and hear you? Devotion is a good, good thing… however we always must raise the question, whatContinue Reading

Sin and Effexor//: what drugs do to my sanctification

I’ve got these two little pills I take every day. One end is gray, the other a very light pink. Each has 37.5mg (edit October 13, 2009) I take one red pill every morning at 7am(ish). It has 150mg of a drug commonly known as Effexor. In early June, I was diagnosed with a moodContinue Reading

Doing it before you say "I Do"

This morning, the Boars Head Tavern had a discussion going on about sex and marriage going. Here is a letter I sent to add fule to the fire: If sex is a sin outside of marriage, we have to ask ourselves what is marriage. I would argue that sex it’s self it the act ofContinue Reading

All my theology summed up

I’ve had alot of time to think lately. (Job hunting will do that to you.) Theology and gospel has been on my mind lately, and I’ve reduced what I believe to this one compact statement: Because he loves us, God gives us hope. Any thoughts?

So, all you Theologic types out there, here's a question for you:

what is one word to describe/found/explain you’re theology? And if you just say “Jesus” or “Christ” I’m gonna ask “what about him” Ready… go!

Suprised by Hope://chapter 5&6

How do we see the future? Are we looking forward to an escape to finally get to our true “spiritual” home? Waiting for an existence that is finally free from this earth and these bodies? Or, do we look forward to the progress that is happening? We continue to advance in science, medicine, government andContinue Reading

Psalm 1- I bear fruit because I'm a tree… not the other way around.

Psalm 1 Some translations read “Happy are those…” Others read “Blessed is the one…” The Message says, “How well God must like you…” My joy in life rests on God’s opinion of me. He rejoices in/over me because I am like a tree that he planted in his garden, in Eden, not cavorting with andContinue Reading

suptised by hope:// chapter 4

“This then is the more of less universal witness of the early Christians: that they are who they are, they do what they do, they tell the stories they tell not because of a new religious experience or insight but because of something that happened; something that happened to the crucified Jesus; something that theyContinue Reading

surprised by hope://chapter 3

“…What sort of an event was it? Just how empty was the tomb on Easter morning?… What should we believe about Jesus’ resurrection, and why?… The issue is not whether the Bible is true or not. The issue is not whether miracles occur or not. The issue is not whether we believe something called theContinue Reading

Suprised by Hope://chapter 2

NT Wright asks the question “How do you see death?” There has been, in fact, an oscillation between two polls… Some envision death as a horrid enemy, stalking it’s pray. This is often combined with the firm proclamation that, though an enemy, death will finally be defeated… The other pole of belief is represented byContinue Reading

Suprised By Hope://chapter one

“First, what is the ultimate Christian hope? Second, what hope is there for change, rescue, transformation, new possibilities within the world at the present?” (pg5) Monday night at the Lompic, Chris and I started talking about the problem of suffering… which is really the problem of evil… which is really the problem of sin. MyContinue Reading

New Book

So, I keep hearing about this book by some guy who is named after the New Testament (or was the New Testament named after him… I kid). Suprised By Hope by N.T. Wright is suppose to be a great read, and since I just dropped a few bucks for it, I hope it is. I’mContinue Reading

Why I’m a catholic// I gave up on your “church” and got into the communion of saints

Michael Spencer recently posted a honest piece about what the past year of His life has been like and why He gave up on your god. It is honest, beautiful, and (apparently) like kicking a hive of proselytizing hornets that are just itchin’ to get you across the Tiber (aka make you one of the “TrueContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Guest Blogger (of sorts…): Transaction Theology

Joel Hunter (of BHT fame) responded to my question about transaction theology: Hi there, Aaron. Michael has written a great article about this subject: http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/imonk-101-out-of-business-with-god. In general, a transaction is an exchange, a quid pro quo. It is also the basis for all religion. You do X, and the deity does Y in return.And thisContinue Reading

It's a big question in my head…

This is a theology question, but i hope some people will give some input here. How is the necessity of accepting the grace of God to find salvation not a transaction? And, if it is a transaction, is it grace?

doing, having, discipleship, and hope

I’m good at ideas. I can play with ‘em, deconstruct ‘em, pull ‘em, turn ‘em, put ‘em back together, restructure, rephrase, rethink and re-understand them. I’m comfortable in the abstract. Theology comes natural to me, at least the part of theology that deals with Ideas. It’s been a safe have, a shelter, a buffer forContinue Reading

Thesis

We only share our needs and fears with those we hope/believe can help. Any thoughts?

Letters from Kamp Krusty: In the Cubicle Next Door

Just read this. Letters from Kamp Krusty: In the Cubicle Next Door

What is Gospel?

Someone comes to you, and asks, “I hear alot of talk about the kingdom of God, faith, belief, gospel, atonement, sin, wrath, discipleship and Jesus. But i don’t know what i have to do to be saved! What do I do? I can’t make since of it all. Can you help me out?” what doContinue Reading