How To Be A Christian Without Being A Jerk

Faith in real life


March 23rd, 2009

Genesis 2:19 describes God bringing birds and animals he had already created to Adam. These are called “creatures.” The Hebrew word is “nephesh.” We would translate this “soul.” Emotions, passion, and willful decision-making are all atributes linked to this word.

If you ever wanted to know why humans throughout the ages have worked with certain birds (hawks) and mammals (dogs, horses, oxen, etc.), as well as kept birds and mammals as pets, now you know.  We also have snakes and lizards and fish, but they aren’t “nephesh” biblically, and wouldn’t you know, they don’t fetch too well!


March 18th, 2009

In Genesis 2:18, God doesn’t want the man to be alone, and chooses to give him a “helper suitable for him.”

What does this mean? In the ancient language the word “helper” is also translated, “partner” or “companion.” Whatever your English equivalent, it is someone who  means just that. Someone who shares your life and you both expand your world’s as a result.

However, it is the word, “suitable,” that is most interesting here. In its most ancient root, it means someone who is “opposite” and “against.” Someone who sees things from a very different perspective and informs my thinking through that tension. Sees life through very different eyes.

Not necessarily a best buddy or a dear friend, but certainly my wife fits the bill. I would not be who I am in the same way without her.

hey, what about Patrick?!

March 17th, 2009

Well, when all the green beer, et. al. is over, we are left with one of the most amazing “Christ-connectors” ever. His profound focus on the Trinity has informed Celtic theology over the centuries, and more close to home, has been instrumental in my own thinking. Dude knows what’s up when it comes to the extra-dimensional properties of the trinitarian reality.

Here is one way Patrick said, “Good night.”

“The God of life with guarding hold you;

the loving Christ with guarding fold you;

the Holy Spirit, guarding, mould you;

each night of life to aid, enfold you;

each day and night of life uphold you.



March 16th, 2009

Genesis 2:18 says, “…it is not good that a man should be alone.” People are created to be in relationship. Even the word for “alone,” shows this. In the Hebrew it is pronounced, “bad.”

So it is “bad” to be “bad?”

beautiful and delicious

March 13th, 2009

In Genesis 2:9, we are introduced to still another attribute of a loving God. “Beautiful” trees and “delicious” fruit. After all, plain trees and bland fruit would still aid the development of advanced life forms on planet earth.  Why “beautiful” and “delicious?”

I can immediately subject a skeptical spin on it and question, “Who decides what is beautiful and who decides what is delicious? ” So, I am going to simply assume God made the trees I think are beautiful and fruit I think is delicious.

The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit.

In other words,

The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—including jacaranda (like in our backyard) and papaya (like fresh for breakfast in Maui) trees.

What a God…What beautiful tree and delicious fruit come to mind for you?

existence of evil

March 11th, 2009

We never had a perfect world. Genesis 2:9 makes clear there is evil in existence from the beginning. “The tree of knowledge of good and evil” alludes to this. The Hebrew word for “evil” comes from a root meaning of “broken” or “shattered.” God’s creation is the best possible goodness where the brokenness of evil is allowed.

Why allow evil? Its existence makes the existence of chosen relationship between people and God possible. Without the possibility of separating from God, how would a freely chosen loving relationship be possible?


March 10th, 2009

According to Genesis 2:15, humans are created to work.

“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”

We are created to work before the fall of humanity, and so the idea that work is a curse for the sin that comes into the world through Adam and Eve, and through the rest of us, is false. Work is to be a blessing. Two quick observations.

1. When we hear about “jobless” rates, “being on government assistance,” “being on disability,” and such, these words take on a whole different meaning philosophically. This isn’t about statistics or policies as much as it is about humanity and how we are wired.

2. There is no concept of “retirement” in the Bible. Only retiring to the grave. So, what is the relationship between retirement and our human wiring? Is it a good thing?


March 6th, 2009
magazine ad to sell seeds

magazine ad to sell seeds

I remember selling mail order seeds door-to-door as a kid. I must have been around 10. Trying to get a decoder ring or something…But, I never planted my own seeds successfully. My mom was a wonderful gardener. She had the best iris’s. Not me. My seeds never seemed to work.

Well, in Genesis 2:8, God himself is planting a garden. It doesn’t seem fair because, of course, God is going to have the best garden. I wonder what that first garden looked like? Beautiful, no doubt, and he didn’t have to use mail order seeds…


March 3rd, 2009

In Genesis 2:7, after God breathes life, we read, “…and man became a living soul.” The word for “soul” is related to “breath” and “spirit.” The man created is a spiritual being. A “soulish” creature. Our connection with God begins when life begins. God gives this life when we are conceived.

What does it mean to you to realize we all share the same Father?


February 27th, 2009


In Genesis 2:7, God “breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils…” The word, “nostrils,” is the same word as the word for “anger” in the bibilical language.

What is the relationship between these two?

I do know that if you are angry your nostrils flare up a bit!

How To Be A Christian Without Being A Jerk

Faith in real life