Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hey, folks. I've decided to unplug. Find me on Facebook at Growing a Soul by Bob Flanagan

Sunday, March 22, 2009

God in Creation

I've been spending a whole lot of time on the waters in and around the St. John River in Jacksonville, Florida. Manatee area! I haven't seen one yet, but I have witnessed the remarkable beauty of God. It is not simply the wildlife, mostly birds, that I have seen. It's bigger.

I am not one who is usually outside in the predawn hours. This week I have been and here's what I've witnessed: I have seen the waning moon with Venus keeping company nearby. I have seen the sky brighten and fill with the noise of birds beginning their day. I have seen the placid waters begin to ripple as the wind awakens from its calm slumber. I have see the cool fog lift off grass. All of these things have filled me with peace and more. They fill me with a view of the wondrous divine gift of creation. The world continues like this, unnoticed and mostly undisturbed by human hands everyday. It simply continues, because it gives glory to God.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Truth of Our Existence

I want to share with you a bit of my sermon from this past Sunday. I was speaking out against the fear and falsity of our current economic crisis verses the truth our our lives in Christ.

I describe the truth of our existence in this way: I stand at the edge of a great abyss, whose depth, breadth and width I cannot measure. I know this great blackness falls away and would consume my soul into an infinity of emptiness. A torrent of wind hurdles clouds of black and gray past me. A great sound moans a throaty song of destruction. A primordial ocean crashes against the rocks behind me. Yet, I am. I exist. In the very midst of this chaos I choose to be.

Moreover, in spite of the emptiness, in spite of the chaos, in spite of the cacophony of nothingness, I am not alone. God is with me. Not in the sinews of my flesh or in the synapses of my brain, but in the fibers of my soul, God speaks to me in the quietest of whispers. Like Elijah hearing the still, small voice of God that was not in the fire or the earthquake or storm, God speaks a voice of love calling me to be with him. On this outer edge of my spiritual existence, I say, “I am loved as I am nothing.” Why? Because God is the only thing that matters in this world and the truth of this world is my relationship with God.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

This Weekend

Sunday I have the fabulous opportunity to visit with two congregations in North Carolina. I will be speaking about how parents can their children develop a real faith. I will post parts of my presentation and sermon to the blog next week and I will post more information on my website,

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Three Vignettes

I encountered an elderly couple several times the other day. These encounters remind me of the relationship that we have with the Lord and how he is our present help.

In the morning I saw the man and woman sitting by a pool. In their hands was wool. It was tangled and the man was helping the woman untangle the ball. Later in the day, the man and woman were sitting together. The woman was knitting and the man was taking a nap. Then late in the day, the two walked by holding hands. Their relationship is a metaphor to ours with the Lord.

The Lord helps us in many ways. He helps us untangle the knotted webs and tangles of our lives. Patiently aiding us in making sense of our problems and helping us become free of the knots that keep us from knitting threads of goodness. He is there when we are tired and need to rest. Third, he is willing and wants to hold our hand. When we simply want a friend to keep us company. The Lord is a faithful friend, company and helper. He is ever-present and at our side. And in doing so, we are empowered to tackle the troubles of our lives and overcome difficulties and rest when we simply need to stop.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Why Pursue the Spiritual Outer Edge

The sign that we need to move closure to our outer edge is fear. When we are afraid to pray, when we are fearful of going to church, when we shudder at the thought of reading the Bible, when we are scared to help someone else, we need to pursue our spiritual outer edge.

There have been times in my life when I have succumbed to this fear. It produces a lethargy and apathy that inhibits. These times have often surrounded difficulties in my life: when I have had someone close to me die, when I have changed a job, or when I have moved far from family and friends. In these times I have found myself atrophied as if I was standing in hardening cement. All of my spiritual engery has seemingly poured out of me. At these times, praying seems pointless. Going to church seems as if running a marathon. Opening the Bible seems like lifting a boulder.

Yet, in giving into this fear, the fear of what will happen if I push myself spiritually, is debilitating. When I have pushed myself spiritually, in spite of my fear, I am rewarded. The reward can be simply this: When I have stepped into the divine silence, I find that I am loved. When I open the Scriptures and read, I find that I am cared for. When I serve others, I am served. And that makes all the difference.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

What's been on my mind

I'm a theologian. I approach the world through a fairly unusual way. When I come across a theory about the world, I question it as a theologian meaning I try to keep God in mind when I analyze it.

So I saw this commercial on television. It turned out to be a gum commercial. It touted that this gum kept it's taste longer than other gums, by using a tongue-in-cheek approach. During the commercial, the gum is first eaten by a one-cell creature, which evolves into a fish, which evolves into a lizard, which evolves into another creature, which evolves into an ape, which finally evolves into a human. The gum was being chewed all the way. Obviously the underlying premise is the theory of evolution.

This commerical makes me wonder: In 2.6 million years since the first appearance of hominina there has been about six or seven "evolutionary jumps". There has been only a couple movements from apes to humans and all of those happened some two million years ago. Why? Why wouldn't more evolutionary jumps happen? If evolution is a natural occurance, then wouldn't it happen all the time? Wouldn't there be more bipeds descending? Wouldn't we discover that even today apes were becoming homininas?

As a theologian, I believe in abundance of God's creation, not scarcity - the Bible teaches that. Thus if the theory of evolution is true and valid, which I see no reason why it isn't, then why would evolutionary jumps be so scarce, rare and distant?

It's just been on my mind?