Comments for Life at the intersection of Grace and Growth. Sat, 07 Sep 2019 05:03:10 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on Just For Today, Again by Marc Sat, 07 Sep 2019 05:03:10 +0000 I’m glad you found the song again! Blessings. (And thanks for letting me know the impact of this little song.)

Comment on Just For Today, Again by Terence Sat, 07 Sep 2019 04:43:56 +0000 Gentlemen, thank you.
Marc, thank you for writing down what the Spirit gave you that day at the grand piano you wrote about. Thanks for sharing this prayer song.
Rob, thank you for posting how many Church of Christ folks sing it! It was so good to hear it like I learned it in college.

I’m not Church of Christ, but I attended Abilene Christian University in Texas (a Church of Christ school) and that is where I first heard this song, probably in 2005. It is such a beautiful memory/song. It’s simple, meaningful, and easy to sing/pray.
I was sad the other day when I could not remember this significant song, but tonight God brought it back to me, and it’s so good to hear it again.
Thank you both for your parts in blessing me.

Comment on 2 Reasons using the Bible to prove your point is often wrong. by Marc Mon, 05 Aug 2019 19:35:09 +0000 Hey Jason, thanks for the thoughtful comment. What you refer to is something that is true for a certain sub-set of Christians. I would call the way of reading scripture that you are talking about “Biblicism,” or “Fundamentalist Literalism.” It is more common in American Christianity in the past few generations, but it is by no means the only way (or even the majority way) that Christians read the Bible. But, if you’re not part of the insider-conversations, you might not know that. The folks who read the Bible that way are the most vocal, and the ones that often get the loudest hearing. (Sadly)

Christians as far back as the early church fathers in the 2nd and 3rd centuries were quite comfortable with a metaphorical reading of many of the stories in the Bible. For many of them, it was their primary way of understandings scripture. And today, with the benefit of textual criticism, and so many other fields of study, almost all branches of Christianity accept that the Bible is written in different genres and that in order to understand it you need to respect the interpretive conventions of each genre.

For example, poetry is not journalism. When a poet uses a metaphor, no smart person takes their words literally. They are using a comparison to talk about something larger than words. So, passages of scripture intentionally written as poetry (Like Genesis 1, all of the Psalms, John 1, and other passages) need to be read with a poetic eye. What is the deeper truth being referred to? The details matter, but the details are not the point. Within the books of the Bible, there are many genres. Poetry, sermon, mythic history, letter, biography, and more. There are parts of the Bible that were written with the intention that they be taken literally (like today’s journalism or letters might be) and parts that were meant to communicate something larger and more significant than the literal words. Reading the Bible without this understanding only leads to problems.

Your last paragraph is a great example of the kind of problem I mean. The person you were talking to seems to have been using the Gospel story of Jesus crucifixion as a cover-up for their own anti-semitism. That’s a big problem. Not only in terms of our society, or in terms of that person being an integrated, compassionate human, but also in terms of scripture. The point of the story of Jesus’ crucifixion is being overlooked entirely. Were there Jews involved in the crucifixion? Sure. But the idea that all Jews are culpable is blatant ignorance of the text. The point is that people in power (religious leaders as well as political leaders) were threatened by Jesus and his teaching, and they manipulated the crowds in such a way that they could justify their attempt to legally murder Jesus. And yet, Jesus (who I believe was God) was willing to enter into this dark place of abuse and oppression to show us the true character of God.

So, in my view, anyone who uses the Gospels to support anti-semitism is misreading the text in a number of ways. They are ignoring that many besides Jews were involved. They are ignoring that Jesus chose willingly to enter into his passion. They are ignoring that Jesus, on the cross, verbally forgave everyone involved in his crucifixion, and they are ignoring the rest of the New Testament that teaches that Jesus’ very actions of submitting himself to this dark and terrible experience was showing us that the character of God is other-centered co-suffering love.

I hear your frustration with folks who seem to be blindly using the Bible to avoid dealing with their own hearts, or to cover-up their own prejudices. I feel exactly the same way.


Comment on 2 Reasons using the Bible to prove your point is often wrong. by jason Mon, 05 Aug 2019 06:01:52 +0000 I’m not a atheist but i feel all religion is mans way of connecting to a higher power. Jesus saw Judaism and decided to teach it his way which is good but i’m not sure he wanted a religion based solely on reaching God only through him.

So much has been written in his name by others after his death, he was a prophet and wanted others to live a moral life the other stuff i cant speak on.

my only problem is Christians that take everything literally without a second glance. every word as fact,no matter how odd or weird it is.

men living to be 900, walking on water, different languages because the tower of babel, a burning bush meaning more than it does. a person being physically lifted to heaven…etc

i had a convo with someone today and they talked about jews getting more coming to them for the crucifixion..jesus was a jew and you cant blame all jews in perpetuity for a few years ago for egging on jesus being killed.

Comment on 2 Reasons using the Bible to prove your point is often wrong. by Isak Fri, 02 Aug 2019 17:19:07 +0000 Sorry that was long…I love to write XD

Comment on 2 Reasons using the Bible to prove your point is often wrong. by Isak Wed, 31 Jul 2019 20:48:46 +0000 Thank you a lot, this is a problem I run into with a lot of my friends, they take one verse without looking at the rest of the bible to put it all together the correct way. one way I see people doing this is with “loving” each other. they take the verses that say “love your neighbor as yourself” or other ones, but they don’t study the Bible to realize the TRUE meaning of love. lets say, for example, someone is saying “well we have to love idiolators!” (or any other thing the Bible says is wrong) but they mistake love for acceptance. we can’t just let people do things the bible says is wrong. but we CAN love them, the correct way. remember in matthew 18:15 when Jesus says “If your brother sins, point it out to them, if they listen, you have gained a brother.”? the main point of jesus coming was to show God’s love for everyone, and so, everything jesus teaches somehow relates to love. so, (like you said) in matthew 5, Jesus says “do not believe I have come to abolish the law or the prophets, i have not come to abolish them, but to fulfil them.” in THAT verse, he is telling us that what the bible says is a sin, is a sin. or anything else included in the old testament. we have psalm 33 which talks about “God’s everlasting word” meaning, what he says is what he says, and it isn’t changed. and also revelation 22:19 which says “and if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” and matthew 5:18-19 says “18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” so we can’t add or erase to what the bible says is a sin, BUT, we can change how we deal with it. We need to love these people, yes, but not in the way a lot of people are doing it now. The bible says nothing about needing to “accept” each others sins and just let it go, pretend it didn’t happen, or make believe that it’s not a sin…what the bible DOES say about love is like i said earlier. talk to the person who sinned, and make it right. what greater gift can one give than bringing a friend closer to God? none. and HOW do we bring one closer to God? well continuing sin obviously doesn’t. we help the person, accept what they are doing is wrong, repent to God and and ask for forgiveness, and put some effort into changing. Like you said, we can’t just imagine up our own versions of the Bible or what it says. we can’t just assume that our own feeling-based interpretation is correct, we have to use the BIble. the WHOLE Bible. and like you said again, some verses are lenses to understanding others. The verse matthew 18:15 helps us understand a verse like Mark 12:31. and then we have verses like 1st Corinthians 13:13 which says “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” and the reason the greatest of these is love, is because it is what we can use to help bring each other to christ. and hold each other accountable. Faith and hope are personal. They are things you do yourself, to yourself(with a few acceptions, obviously. like how you can give someone hope in a bad time, but they aren’t as powerful as love, and here’s why). But love is something you can give to many people, and many people can give to you. imagine if you had 12 people all holding you accountable, making sure you didn’t slip, helping guide you through your sin, that’d be amazing! but only if they are willing to be strong and TRULY love you. if they just “accept you for who you are,” its weak. one: we are not just “made who are and can’t change.” that is assuming God also made the terrorists of 9/11 how they were, too. its a weak excuse and its assuming we can’t become better people and be brought closer to God.(not to mention that it is selective thinking which you did a good job at rebuking in this document) also, if we were made how we are, the Bible wouldn’t talk so much about redemption. it’s a fool’s argument, and a weaklings shield. but like all shields, it will break at one point or another. so better to just not have a shield at all. be willing to accept our sins. not as ok, but as something we can ask forgiveness for, and work on fixing. Two: people who TRULY love you may be annoying sometimes. because no one likes to hear their faults. one difference between strong christians and weak christians is that strong ones will accept their problems and change. TRUE friends will hold you accountable, help you demolish your sin, and bring you closer to God, not closer to comfort. As we know, being a good christian is not easy, the more comfortable we try to make it, the more comfy we will get. and when we get comfy, we get lazy. We must stay on alert and always be ready to defend God, TRULY. without forgetting to have some fun as well, but within the boundaries of God’s amazing house. thank you again for this awesome article, I completely agree with it and it’s a problem that needs to be addressed (like you have done) and something done about it.

Comment on Write Your Own Psalm by Marc Thu, 25 Jul 2019 02:17:32 +0000 Ah, I love it! Thanks for sharing.

Comment on Is it possible to grow spiritually in the middle of a busy life? by Marc Alan Schelske Thu, 25 Jul 2019 02:17:06 +0000 That sounds like the right path. How can we live in each moment, aware of God’s presence? We are not alone, even in the seasons of busy commitment.

Comment on Is your purpose really to give God the glory? by Marc Thu, 25 Jul 2019 02:16:18 +0000 Thanks for reading and for the blessing!

Comment on Write Your Own Psalm by Megan Castle Wed, 24 Jul 2019 17:22:25 +0000 Thank you for your suggestions, Marc. Here is my Psalm:

Better to know the language of God
Than all the languages of the world combined;
I would choose one whispered, “I’ve got this,” or one simple command, “Go,”
Over hours of conversations with famous speakers.
Because the LORD God is a living book, a fountain of truth;
The LORD speaks to the spirit, sings to the soul;
Deep secrets and fantastic ideas are bestowed
To those who call Him “Teacher!” “Rabbi!”

–Megan Milas Castle

Comment on Is it possible to grow spiritually in the middle of a busy life? by Karen Thu, 18 Jul 2019 15:29:52 +0000 I’m in that zone: caregiving and other commitments that keep me busy. Usually I can find one briefly open window of time to listen to or read a passage of Scripture each day. If I go into it with a “What-did-You-place-here-for-me” attitude, some nugget lodges in my thoughts that I can meditate on while walking (or running?) through my day. It becomes a connecting point for me and my Lord all day long.

Comment on Is your purpose really to give God the glory? by Obiano-Ngwu Ekene Sat, 13 Jul 2019 10:25:57 +0000 God bless you Sir for this wonderful piece, more grace.

Comment on Just For Today, Again by Marc Alan Schelske Mon, 24 Jun 2019 03:24:15 +0000 Hey Anthony, it’s a gift to me to have you leave this comment. Thanks! I’m glad my prayer can be meaningful to you too!

Comment on Just For Today, Again by Anthony Mon, 24 Jun 2019 02:30:35 +0000 Thank you Marc… I found this song while wrestling through similar difficulties mentioned in your testimony. It sings like a prayer. I am amazed how the Lord works through our brokenness and shines in our weakness for His purpose and good. This piece is a true blessing. God is Faithful (1Cor 1:9)

Comment on How a driven performer has found healing in a mystical prayer. (A Reflection on the Anchor Prayer) by Marc Tue, 18 Jun 2019 16:49:47 +0000 In a very dark place of struggle, a mentor I admire said to me, “In this one day’s grace, may you sense the embrace of Relentless Affection.” His words have stuck with me for years. If I can be a part of “one day’s grace” for you, and help you sense that embrace, then I’m am thrilled.