Right into the Danger Zone

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While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. John 17:12

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. John 17:15

Highway to the Danger Zone
I’m gonna take you
Right into the Danger Zone
Highway to the Danger Zone
Right into the Danger Zone
– as sung by Kenny Loggins; lyrics by Tom Whitlock

With the Presidential campaign in America in full swing, and the issue of safety already turning out to be one of the key elements being addressed, I thought it might be good to talk about what the Bible promises about safety, and the answer is a resounding: Not much.

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Change starts here

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As the story goes, The Times once sent out an inquiry to famous authors asking the question “What’s wrong with the world today?” to which author G.K. Chesterton replied:
“Dear Sir,

I am.

Yours, G.K. Chesterton.”

Although there is no proof of this since neither letter has been found, The American Chesterton Society comments, “This story has been repeated so often about Chesterton that we suspect it is true.”

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Sin’s place in the life of a believer

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Laura liked the connection I made yesterday between Kris Kristofferson’s “Why Me, Lord?” and Charles Wesley’s great hymn, “And Can It Be That I Should Gain?” Both of them speak of a deep awareness of sin and marvel at being selected to be a recipient of God’s grace.

“What did I ever do that was worth loving you, for the kindness you’ve shown?” wrote Kristofferson; to Wesley’s: “’Tis mercy all, immense and free, for O my God, it found out me!” Both talk about being overwhelmed and undeserving of God’s kindness — the least likely candidate to receive it. To which Laura commented, “My friend and I are reading Bonhoeffer’s Life Together together. The last chapter on confession and communion talks about that dynamic of realizing our sin, confessing it to God and our community, and then living in the freedom of God’s love and forgiveness.”

But wait … there’s more.

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Charles Wesley Kristofferson

Charles Wesley Kristofferson

Charles Wesley Kristofferson

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

This great hymn by Charles Wesley has long been one of my favorites, and to understand its meaning you need to hear it a certain way. To hear it one way is to hear that last line without any real inflection. That Christ should die for me along with everyone else is a grand enough thought. But to make it even grander you need to add an embellishment on that last “me.” How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die “for ME?”… and the question mark is appropriate. It’s in the original lyrics. Charles Wesley would have resonated with Kris Kristofferson’s “Why me, Lord?”

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‘Extra! Extra! Read all about it!’

IMG_1228It started with the police shootings in Dallas eleven days ago. That was followed six days later by the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice, France. Two days after that was the attempted coup in Turkey, and then yesterday, another attack on police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Each one of these events was announced in the Los Angeles Times with a completely separate front page section called the “Extra,” with huge 3-inch headlines and lots of pictures. It’s almost as if they knew there was going to be a run on horrendous events that would require a new news format for reporting. It makes me wonder what’s happened since I went to bed last night that would need a separate section to cover.

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Being part of the solution instead of the problem

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Well folks, after a week spent on the topic of racism I can truthfully say I know no more about this than when I started. I spent a good deal of time on today’s Catch and it ended up in the trash. It wasn’t right. I was talking about something I thought I understood — something someone else said that made sense to me, but I realized I do not have a good enough handle on it to pass it on to you. I looked over what I wrote and realized I didn’t know what I was talking about.

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What matters

Shetamia Taylor

Shetamia Taylor

“He has a gun; run!” That’s what Shetamia Taylor, an African American mother of four sons, heard a white police officer yell at her last week in Dallas as he was shot and falling to the ground. Shetamia, too, was hit, in the calf, and she later recalled this story as she was in the hospital recovering from surgery and being reunited with her “babies,” who were all safe, thanks to other officers who shielded them and got them out of harm’s way. But she’ll never forget that officer concerned about her safety as he, himself, was going down. She never even knew if he survived or if he was one of the casualties.

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Getting along with those who are different

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Wayne Bridegroom, aside from being my roomie in college (which means very little in the grand scheme of things except that it provides for our personal connection), is the pastor of a multiracial church in central California. The church has been in an area of town that has changed over racially three different times and the church never moved. It just adjusted to the predominant culture around it. It’s the main reason why the church is mixed, racially. When others moved out, they stayed. As the world around them shifted, they shifted to meet it. As a result, he’s learned a thing or two about race relations from the best school there is — the school of life, and from that school he’s learned three important lessons that he shared with us on our BlogTalkRadio show last night — three simple things to do to get along with someone who is different from you.

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