Acts 13 — May 6th, 2009

One of my regular devotional practices is to read a chapter in scripture each day and journal my thoughts/initial reactions in a stream of consciousness fashion.  I use the Journal feature at and tag verses that jump out at me as I go.  My reactions/responses are not deeply pondered, well though out theological considerations… they are simply my gut level response to what I am reading.  I thought it might be an interesting experiment to invite people into this process.  This is not an invitation to critique or argue… it is simply an invitation to read scripture in community without judgement or jumping to theological conclusions… just gut level response.  Through this experience individually I know my theology has been strengthened.  I'm wondering if it might help even more to invite others in.

Here is my response to my reading of Acts 13 this morning.

This is such a strange story… one that makes me wonder sometimes if
the God that I preach is too safe. I'm not saying that I should become
legalistic or cast judgment on people (as it seems Paul does in his
encounter with the sorcerer) but when I read something like this I feel
like maybe I am too comfortable in my image of a loving God… so
comfortable that I have softened the power of God's discipline as well.
There are consequences for going down a path apart from the one God has
laid out, but that doesn't always preach as well when you're trying to
communicate God's love. As a communicator I think I need to continually
be wrestling with this tension.

I'm also a little confused by the "act of defiance" at he end of the
chapter. They shake the dust off their feet in a sort of protest or
writing off those who reject them. Is this just a, "pick yourself up,
dust yourself off, start all over again, " or is it a blatant, "you
have rejected us, so we reject you?" I'm not sure.

All I know is that it is re-assuring to me in a strange way that it
doesn't take long for the seemingly perfect church of Acts 2 to run
into difficulty… not because I want something other than this Acts 2
Church, but because it reassures me that the church, ever since its
inception, has had to struggle to remain as God intends it to be. The
church still needs God. That is reassuring to me because I know there
are days when I don't feel like I have been redeemed… the joy of the
Lord feels somehow far away. I still need God… I'm living in the
already and not yet of the kingdom of God. I don't have to beat myself
up for the times when I feel distant. It is just the reality of
learning to live as one who has been made whole. My scars and my
brokenness runs deep and I am learning to live into that which has
already come… that which has already been done.

2 thoughts on “Acts 13 — May 6th, 2009

  1. Brian, enjoyed reading your thoughts. I have not use YouVersinon for a little while, it prompted me to go back and check it out. Now you have a follower!

  2. I think we- each of us- and the church communities that we belong to are never far from Eden. That is, we want to eat of the tree of life and to be G-d.
    We want to be very very good, if not perfect. Yet G-d alone is good, G-d alone is perfect. The beauty of it all, to me, is that once we KNOW that we are who we are (broken, imperfect needy beings made from dust and breathed into by the Creator) and KNOW that we are not G-d, then we become open to compassion and to acting out G-d’s love in the world. That’s when we recognize our need for G-d; that’s when we recognize our need for others; that’s when we can begin to live into the Great Commandment- love G-d, self, and neighbor.
    We can’t do this until we know that G-d is G-d and we are not!
    Enjoy the day my friend!

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