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EvanDonovan2's blog

A Coding Meditation

Sometimes I think programmers are a little bit like Adam - except instead of giving names to the animals, they give names to pieces of code.

Self-Forgetfulness is Freedom

From the Bible we learn that love keeps no record of wrongs. Today, I have realized that it also keeps no record of rights. If you are keeping track of the good works you have done for others, in the hopes that they will reward you, then you are not serving out of the freedom of love.

When will I get the message?

It's not about my possessions, my skills, or my performance. It's about my relationship to a Person.

"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42)

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Reflections on Ephesians 1:15-23 (11.13.07)

Silence is a gift
I could never buy;
Stillness a practice
That I could never learn.
Simplicity of speech, the Spirit's Word within me -
No more to strive, Christ's rest unearned.

Want a Friend in Boston? Get a Dog: Thoughts on Community in Dorchester, MA

I was walking my roommate's dog last night, and I was struck once again by how the neighborhood suddenly came alive.

City-dwellers (myself included) are a notoriously unsociable bunch. You could walk around the neighborhood for days without hearing a hello. But bring a dog with you, and suddenly you're not only being greeted by everyone you meet, but you're part of a whole dog-walking subculture. Though people may never ask your name, at least they always learn your dog's. It almost makes the hair and mess worthwhile.

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No One is Righteous: Thoughts on History

The other day I read a critique of Howard Zinn's The People's History of the United States. Though I disagree with the author's general political stance, especially in regard to war policy, he does have one excellent point:  Progressive triumphalism is just as distasteful as the old-school kind.

Alternative history has been a necessary corrective to the "great men of Western civ" history which has been our only option up till now. But, as we are Christians - people who believe that sin is a universal human trait, not merely a consequence of a particular social order - we cannot stop at debunking the mythic past. As we lay "Christian America" to rest, we must also begin telling the story of the Kingdom of God, which has been growing through the centuries as a tree to heal the nations (Mark 4:30-32; Rev. 22:2).  Neither "the Founding Fathers were Christian heroes" nor "the Founding Fathers were hegemonic oppressors" are the full story.

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Christians: if you only read one book this year...

Read Jim & Casper Go to Church. It's a rare opportunity to gain spiritual wisdom from an atheist - someone on the outside who isn't afraid to tell us all the crazy things we're doing.

I don't agree with all of Jim & Casper's observations. But if I only read books where I agreed with everything that was said, then I might as well not read books at all.

I agree with their main point, though: Jesus didn't come to this earth, live, die, and rise again so that we could have awesome church services. He came to reconcile us to God, and He has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation. So let's get out there and get involved. The church service should be the fueling station for believers in their lives of service, not the rock concert that makes outsiders wish they could be as cool or as saved as we are.

Casper (the friendly atheist) had one profound question which could transform our lives if we let it: "Is this really what Jesus told you guys to do?"

He is absolutely right that, though Christians often "do church" in similar ways, we are all over the map in regard to how we live out our faith. Sometimes it seems like our worship is not an expression of true faith, but a substitute for it, a pleasant routine.

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Evangelical Politics Seeks a New Path (The New York Times)

NYT Mag: Values Voter Bumper Sticker Montage

You know things are changing in the evangelical world when the New York Times takes notice.

This Sunday, the New York Times Magazine published a feature article titled "The Evangelical Crackup." It's a quite lengthy and well-researched piece detailing how many evangelicals are waking up to the reality that God's social concerns are broader than the platform of the Republican Party.

If you don't have the time to read all 10 pages of the article, Jim Wallis has the highlights.

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The Humbling of Evangelicalism?

The Mystery Worshipper reports on New Life Church before and after Ted Haggard left. The first report seems to exemplify everything I find distasteful or flat out wrong with American evangelicalism, but the second report gives cause for hope. Hopefully, the Lord will not always have to use such dramatic means to teach humility.

I was talking with my friend Bob the other night about Christian nationalism, and what it should look like in a world where the Great Commission is actually being realized: a world in which Christianity is no longer the property of the West. I am cautiously hopeful about the future - someday soon, American Christians may realize we are not the source of all missions efforts. Someday soon, we may realize that Christendom is dead, and bid good riddance to it.

But we can only renounce our "theology of glory"-like aspirations to power and respectability insofar as we have something to put in their place. Thankfully, God has not left us without a witness. The Christian community development movement offers to us an alternative model of church life, a model in which stewardship does not pertain simply to our money, but to our entire way of life.

What would change if we stopped being the church for the sake of the church and started being the church for the sake of the world?

These are the issues I believe we need to be talking about, and, by God's grace, these are the ones I plan to continue to raise. I'm wondering if I should start a small group to discuss them, with the aim of moving from theory to practice. I spend my days posting resources on community development to the wiki. So far, though, I haven't gotten much of a chance to read them, much less put them into practice.

I miss the after-school program. I miss service. May God grant me the strength to make a place for it in my life, as I know He calls me to do.

Recap of EGC's Intercultural Leadership Consultation (Oct. 20, 2007)

Last Saturday, the EGC held its second Intercultural Leadership Consultation. It was a tremendous opportunity for the various "streams" of ministry in the city of Boston to come together and praise the Lord for the work He is doing in the "Quiet Revival", while learning from each other.

Dr. Elijah Kim, of EGC's Vitality Project, also spoke at the conference. In this clip, he describes how God called him from his ministry in the Philippines to encourage the spread of revival in Boston.

Here are some quotes that stuck out in my mind, which to me capture the purpose and tone of the conference:

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moved by this

But God has chosen 
the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise,
and God has chosen
the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
and the base things of the world
and the things which are despised...
and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,
that no flesh should glory in His presence.

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God
and righteousness and sanctification and redemption
that, as it is written, "He who glories,
let him glory in the LORD."

-1 Corinthians 1:27-31

I missed Blog Action Day, but here's a belated ramble

I remember when I was in England last year, looking out over the plains by the sea, where farmland was divided by canals. I stood on the path by the Royal Military Canal and looked up at a Roman ruin on a nearby hilltop. There used to be a port there, the sign said. And my friend Adam and I looked at each other and I said, "Soon it may be one again."

I haven't done much for the environment, I confess. I try to turn the lights off in my house. I still get plastic bags at the grocery store occasionally, when I have a lot of groceries. I drive more than I probably should (or need to).

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Sojourners: "Bush Has Given Christ a Bad Name," says Pastor in India

Kuruvilla Chandy

"Somehow I get the impression that the agenda of White Evangelical Christianity is being thrust on Evangelicals around the world." This testimony from a pastor in India is discouraging, but worthy of our attention.

God's Politics, a blog written by Jim Wallis and friends, has the full letter.

Again, I am struck...

Love can accomplish what law cannot. And if the other person does not change, your love may change you so that what you saw as an insurmountable barrier is actually a worthwhile difference.

The Power of the Word of God: St. Bernard of Clairvaux

"For who dare compare the sayings of men with what God is said to have said? The Word of God is living and effective (Heb 4:12). His voice is a voice of magnificence and power (Ps 28:4). "He spoke and they were made" (Ps 148:5). He said, "Let there be light, and there was light" (Gn 1:3). He said, "Be converted" (Ps. 89:3), and the sons of men have been converted. So the conversion of souls is clearly the work of the divine voice, not of any human voice. Even Simon son of John (Jn 21:15), called and appointed by the Lord to be a fisher of men, will toil in vain all night and catch nothing until he casts his net at the Lord's word. Then he can catch a vast multitude (Jn 21:15ff.; Mt 4:19).
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