Monday, January 14, 2008

The Braxton sucks sermon.

Sorry, blog. I'm pretty tired lately.

I spend a lot of time cursing Toni Braxton. Okay, I know they're really called Braxton-Hicks, but whatever you call them, practice contractions are of the devil. Besides, she clearly has poor taste in how to help endorse dental floss and Charmin.

Anyway, I'm running around feeling all my insides tense up and wondering if we are going to go from a family of three to five in a short period of time, maybe even shorter than we thought. And I wonder if I will be allowed to have a life outside mommyhood between now and my first year in the AARP. And if maybe parenting's what I'm supposed to do to the exclusion of other stuff. And whether I can do all this and still focus on my faith and my marriage let alone my music. Yup, MY. Mine. Me me me. I feel no guilt saying I've gotta be able to honestly commit to the roles I choose, especially parenting.

I've been reading John Piper's Future Grace, and it has already changed the way I thought about how we are supposed to live. The modern Church's way of sort of making good living a required & expected response to God, a "thank-you" lived out to repay Him, cheapens grace. It's unattractive to non-believers because it is all premised on a transaction-style dead and dusty faith. You're either in... or you're out. Worse, it's not what's emphasized by God in the Bible. Piper makes a very convincing case for our living by reliance and joy and thankfulness for Future Grace- well, here are some of my favorite of his words:

If grace is to be free- which is the very meaning of grace- we cannot view it as something to be repaid... {the debtor's ethic}
The Bible does not assume the true believers will have no anxieties. Instead the Bible tells us how to fight when they strike.
This is not decoration on the permanent structure of Christian life, it is what makes the Christian life permanent. We live moment by moment from the strength of future grace...

This is a radical idea, and it brings the emphasis back to a lively and almost dangerously current view of faith. There should be no worldly safety in being a Christian (incidentally, no guarantee of prosperity either). God's got us in a world full of all kinds of challenges but even greater piles of grace are available and God deigns to allow his grace to show (be glorified!) through us. It should be a little scary to ask for opportunities to be given those gifts, if we really understand what we're asking.

Just in case anyone's still reading, looky what Toby ate for dessert after lunch. Playdough!!

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