Monday, March 31, 2008


I was raised in a VERY conservative holiness church, in a VERY, VERY conservative district of conservative holiness churches. We were separatists from other believers as well as the unsaved masses. We defined holiness mostly by externals. Most of these focused on length (e.g. hair: long for girls, short for boys, sleeves: long for everyone.) There was a sense of elitism and hubris that was unattractive to the unsaved, believers of other persuasions and even to me.

However, I found God through this witness. Then God helped me find Christian Liberty that moved me away from much of the legalistic trappings of this witness without abandoning its principles.

A few years ago, a pastor in my same holiness connection authored a book asking the question, What Ever Became of Holiness? It chiefly delt with nuances of the theology of holiness.

I have recently begun a personal study and discipleship journey seeking to answer this question from another angle. Where does holiness, or the idea of being set apart from and set apart for, fit into my life, my local community of faith and my larger denomination connection?

Holiness in scripture is a sign of belonging to God's people. Kosher laws in the Old Testament and abstaining from food offered to idols in the New Testament are examples. Both create noticable patterns that distinguish the believing community from the community at large. There really is no other reason for them.

So how do Christ-followers (individually, locally or collectively) express holiness and still engage others in loving, attractive ways?

More thinking-out-loud will follow.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Holy Thursday

For the past several years we at Faith have called a sacred assembly on Thursday of Holy Week. We have honored this last evening of Jesus' before his trial and execution in a variety of ways. We have re-enacted the Last Supper with a table set for thirteen and re-enacted the service of the Bowl and Towel.

For the last two years we have processed through stations of individual interaction with Jesus and ended with a Communion meal together. One year we interacted with the sections of the Pater Noster (Lord's) Prayer. Last year we focused on the particular events of Holy Week, starting with Palm Sunday and ending on Thursday night.

Tonight we again walk through the events of Jesus' last week before his death on the cross. I have had the words of the old spiritual "Were You There?" rolling through my spirit all day long. As I move into the heart of his Passion I long to move closer to his heart...