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April 20, 2015

Reflection for the Week- April 20th, 2015

Ode to rediscovering the “lightness” of being> When searching for life in the midst of death, we sometimes have to turn to drama rather than reason. That is, an embrace of poetics, the vertical, the breaking of clock time dimensions, takes us beyond logic and science. This elevated reality connection – contact, can never be reduced to subjectivity or objectivity, though it concerns both, but implies a resilient commitment to action, reflection, wonder, and exploration that forges new perspectives, which compel us to continue the search in spite of paradox and discord, until we find.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 13, 2015

Reflection for the Week- April 13th, 2015

Current scientific understandings are raising serious questions for some traditional interpretations of Genesis 1-3. As a result, many people are turning away from the Christian faith. Biblical interpreters have to do a better job at putting science and the biblical text into dialogue, come what may. Credibility is crucial, especially in this “defining moment” for church and culture.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 06, 2015

Reflection for the Week- April 6th, 2015

It is crucial to first ask the “why” questions. Push them as far as we can. Study, wonder, and explore. But after our thoughtful investigations take us to the limit, we will sometimes still have no answers. When this happens, we want to shift the focus from “why” on to “how” to live in this world, notably as followers of the Crucified and Risen One. It is the “how” focus that overturns the “why” and becomes primary, while nevertheless the “why” questions remain; they fade into a secondary position.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 30, 2015

Reflection for the Week- March 30th, 2015

The persistent voice telling us that we’re out of sync, not doing enough, not doing enough, all too easily slips into a mantra, whose continuity is hard to break. Being obsessed with false shame and guilt is a corrosive enterprise. These feelings, however, should not go unchecked. In calling them into question is important is to consider a trust and suspicion dialogue that will help us discern a truer picture of who we really are. The goal then is not to recover, but to embrace a new identity and new practices related to the gift of a gracious portrayal of ourselves from the Divine One.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 23, 2015

Reflection for the Week- March 23rd, 2015

Our question marks ??? in life will probably never entirely disappear. The persistent battles within ourselves about what is “real” are unlikely to diminish. Don’t worry. That’s ok. There is bound to be “more” to our stories and experiences than a concept of “proof” can bear. Demanding either a “yes” or a “no,” a complete resolution, tends to lead us astray from the crucial reality of trust. But, of course, what and who to trust has to have some criteria – lines of appeal – to merit our trust, otherwise it would be downright foolishness. None of us should buy into folly, yet we do want to admit that life is complex and therefore escapes our being able to put it into a neat and tidy little box that we slip into our pockets and call a done deal.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 16, 2015

Reflection for the Week- March 16th, 2015

My Living Spiritual Rhythms books attempt to create community - a sort of mini-project concerned with “people and place,” and an embrace of a redemptive life from God, and then living it towards the other, the self, the land, and home. This multi-faceted purpose carries with it an impulse for love that should flow out from us into the wider world. That is, people in the Rhythms community are not intended to stay there, but to learn to live a certain kind of life and then take something of that with them, wherever they go.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 09, 2015

Reflection for the Week- March 9th, 2015

One of the emblematic notions of being a self is that we are “interpreters ‘of’ - ourselves, others, texts, the world, and God” and “interpreted ‘by’ - ourselves, others, texts, the world, and God.” This significant doubled identity marker is monumental, though it often goes unrecognized and in doing so thereby distorts a deeper understanding of “who” we real-ly are.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 02, 2015

Reflection for the Week- March 2nd, 2015

The paradoxical relation and distinction between guilt and debt plumbs the depths of forgiveness. True guilt is mine and remains mine, but my debt can be paid by another on my behalf, which results in release. Since I’m mired in degrees of inauthenticity and therefore robbed of the capacity to consistently act for the good of self, others, and institutions, I need an Authentic One to “recalibrate” my life, “lighten” my burden, and “open” a vein of trust. When that happens, I can hopefully and more reliably navigate my way through towards fresh expressions of integrity, justice, and love.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 23, 2015

Reflection for the Week- February 23rd, 2015

For the narrator of the gospel of John, Jesus’ acts, in contrast to the other gospels which represent them as power manifestations, are frequently referred to as “signs.” That is, they are indicators or “sign-posts” that direct the reader towards an authentification of Jesus’ mission of revealing God on God’s behalf. Jesus, as it were, “signs in” as the Jewish Messiah, who in turn through “signing” becomes the Messiah of the world. Yet, in this story “signs” are never presented as ends in and of themselves. Physical sight or empirical investigation can too easily become “just one more time.” While the testimony to Jesus’ acts includes a dimension of sight verification; a witness to the “signed,” it still does not result in true vision. This appears to be case because the goal of the testimony is not to merely witness to the “signs” per se, but to “sign” people towards God and his Messiah, so that those who believe in him will actually “see.”

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 16, 2015

Reflection for the Week- February 17th, 2015

God’s forgiveness is unconditional, yet at the same time paradoxically conditional. That is, Christ’s work on the behalf of humanity is universal. It takes care of the totality of sin once and for all. There is not one single sin that stands outside his powerful blood to cleanse. While this wonderful truth is a done deal, it is crucial for each person, as the opportunity presents itself, to recognize, accept, and embrace this gracious invitation to be forgiven, and then to live out its implications for the past, present, and the future.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 09, 2015

Reflection for the Week- February 9th 2015

We don’t have to have everything as it should be before coming to God. Tidy up, get our house in order, insure that all is put in the right place. That’s just never going to happen to the extent we need it to. God is actually the One who, in Christ, removes the obstacles, roadblocks, and barriers that stand in the way, and then invites us onto the path of life. When we receive and accept this offer to come as we are; to step into community with God, we’re embarking on a long and transformative journey that knows no end.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 02, 2015

Reflection for the Week- February 2nd, 2015

The present day Exodus from churches continues at an unabated pace. The bail out rate from many of these is increasing as I write. European cathedrals and churches are already empty and this phenomena is spreading like wild fire in North America . When people experience a lack of love, hypocrisy, ignorance, and idolatry, then they will leave, since it appears that it makes no real difference whether they stand inside or outside a church. True, there are some good churches left, but there’s an even more than desperate need today for renewal from the bottom up, if the majority of churches are to survive.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 26, 2015

Reflection for the Week- January 26th, 2015

The symbolic can be seen as that which evokes imaginative thought and carries meaning that reaches beyond one’s total comprehension. In a sense, the symbol transcends what can be known. The biblical text, for example, is full of symbols (God is a rock, etc). As an augmentation of reality, symbols carry the potential to expand the interpretative space and give rise to an outpouring of meaning. Therefore, symbols form the means to encode and promote explorative thought and thereby, open up a realm of creative possibilities for reflection. It is important to note that even though symbols have extensive meaning, they still operate within a given domain. Without these constraints, the symbol would be incomprehensible. What this means practically is that the interpretation and understanding of symbols revolves around their connections to realities in the living world. However, this measure of hermeneutical realism does not limit the reflective potency of the symbolic.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 19, 2015

Reflection for the Week- January 19th, 2015

Charity, grace, and love combined with a hunger for truth, should exemplify the lives of Christians. Today is the day that now more than ever calls for a growing and observable reciprocity between what we say and do. As empty lives, broken hearts, and shattered idols have accelerated dramatically in our times, a credible testimony to Christ becomes all the more important and essential to a world that is looking for hope in the midst of despair.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 12, 2015

Reflection for the Week- January 12th, 2015

A voluntary decentering of oneself is not an act of self-violence, but an appropriate response to God. Through this life long task and vocation, one affirms, and not negates, one’s creaturely and salvific status, which indeed is a high calling.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 05, 2015

Reflection for the Week- January 5th, 2015

In spite of the malfunction of ourselves and the world around us, most of us get used to “living” and even “loving” life. Because of the people, experiences, tastes, smells, light, and so forth that bring about a formidable plus for embrace – facing death can become an undesirable challenge.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 29, 2014

Reflection for the Week- December 29th, 2014

There is a broad plurality of recounting in the biblical text. The Torah, for example, expresses law as both the way of life and the road to death. The Gospels portray Jesus going to Jerusalem only once and many times. And in Acts, there are no less than three stories of Paul’s encounter with the Crucified and Risen One. Seems to me, we want to envision this sort of phenomena as a tensional testimony to a variety of sub-plots that find their place in the over-arching plot of God being One God; the Creator, who is out to redeem Israel , humanity, and the world through the Messiah. Think of this rich relation and distinction between sub-plots and plot as something like a masterful symphony, where many musicians are coherently interpreting and playing different parts of the same piece of music in a majestic way.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

Reflection for the Week- December 22nd, 2014

When we speak of a table in any language, we do not make it what it is. Whether we sit around it and eat and drink, or use it as a place to stack our books, we do not make it what it is. Even if we built the table, we do not make it what it is. This is because a table has an “isness” of its own as an object in the world. If this is the case and the case for reality more broadly, it would mean that we as subjects are interacting with objects that cannot be reduced to having their source and origin in us. The challenge today is to embrace that the subject and object are related and distinct, not just related. And this is monumental.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 15, 2014

Reflection for the Week- December 15th, 2014

A shattered naïveté will be difficult to rebuild. There’s no going back. Picking up the pieces is not a viable option, but that is as it should be. Even though it seems painful, we have to move ahead through breakdown and criticism to discover what has more credibility than what we previously believed. This will be a season of questioning, searching, and exploring new possibilities that over time will then begin to coalesce and form a web of interconnected subjectively objective truths, which offer a resilient elasticity that stretches, but will not break.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 08, 2014

Reflection for the Week- December 8th, 2014

The two great modes of narrative, fiction and history, can never be entirely synthesized. In fact, both the concordance and discordance between them becomes more recognizable when each mode is put in dialogue with the other. This connecting is precisely what allows their difference to appear. Unlike novelists, historians do aim to re-narrate the past and are therefore subject to what once was. Historians receive a past before they create a story, yet this does not give them access to the events themselves.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery
 

December 01, 2014

Reflection for the Week- December 1st, 2014

We shall not cease from exploration And the end of our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time These salient words from TS Eliot in the Four Quartets set the tone for this post. Poets, like Eliot, have ways with words that configure worlds and how we view them. Thus, they are creators of powerful images of innovation and impertinence, which careen off the walls of time and sweep over the landscape of life, calling us to re-envision where we started. Being engaged in the intricate and inquisitive art of exploration is a perpetual challenge, which comes to an end with a new perception of the beginning.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 24, 2014

Reflection for the Week- November 24th, 2014

Dialogue animates and breathes life into ideas, which tend to stagnate into oblivion when reduced to monologue. If we take a dialogical trajectory in our thinking, we will begin to develop formulations that yield a greater credibility. This is so because we are working with a broader sphere of possibilities that combine to offer a surplus of meaning. And reality is like that – breathtaking and overflowing with meaning – which is not entirely captureable, nor however, is it anything we make it out to be.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 17, 2014

Reflection for the Week- November 17th, 2014

The issues of science and theology, trust and suspicion, interpretation, art, objectivity and subjectivity, along with others, merit hard and careful thought. If Christians are to continue on the road towards credibility, there is a vital need to face the many challenges ahead. In order to participate in the hope of renewing a thirst for the living God and a living spirituality that touches the whole of life, Christians must not only track their culture, but also trace it. This means it is essential to be aware of the personal and cultural impact of ideas, and to leave, through an involvement with people, a Christian imprint. My hope is that such efforts, dedicated to God and the Christian community, will inspire others to take notice that the God of the biblical text is there and that Christianity is true.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 10, 2014

Reflection for the Week- November 10th, 2014

How rationality can be limited to p is not non p escapes me. I must be missing something. These types of proposals cannot really be serious. What’s rational, it seems to me, appears to deal with a larger surface than the mind or principles of logic. After all positivism and rationalism are like; ‘dead in the water.’ But no doubt, I could be mistaken on this. Yet, I can’t help offering a small wager. That is, rationality has to deal with the laboratory of relationality, or even more challengingly, the laboratory of life (see Thursday Thoughts - October 16 and Living Spiritual Rhythms - October 22) if it is to be considered rational. Thus, the notion of rational should be as mega (Big) as it can get, without supposing that it will ever be meta (Total).

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 03, 2014

Reflection for the Week- November 3rd, 2014

When her/his default mode is undermining belief in her/him self, her/his line of appeal for this is her/him self. Such an orientation creates difficulties, and attempting to be a self-authoritative self in this particular area of life is one of them, as he/she knows very well it will not hold up elsewhere. Isolating modes of being creates monologue, which in contrast to dialogue, leaves much more room for lying to oneself. Another problem is that the scale of trust and suspicion is strongly tipped towards trusting him/her self in unbelief, when suspicion should be tilting the scale in its direction. Clinging to her/his unbelief in him/her self, therefore, is a devastating contradiction, since she/he is supposed to be negating belief in her/him self, but in actuality is really affirming it.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 27, 2014

Reflection for the Week- October 27th, 2014

A misrepresentation of selfhood sets off a chain reaction, which pushes us in the direction of seeing ourselves falsely. This type of seeing has grave consequences, but one of the particularly devastating ways it manifests itself is in a meritocracy. That is, setting up our own standards by which to measure ourselves happens all the time. This is just the norm for so many. But such standards can tend to put God in the wrong place, while they also falsify us. God’s standards are not our own. They come to us through creation, cross, and new creation, showing us that freedom is not us being at the center of our lives.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 20, 2014

Reflection for the Week- October 20th, 2014

As readers of the scriptural story today we are foreigners to the text and its ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman context, yet we are not excluded from its time, narration, drama, and spherical refraction. The extraordinary possibility of integration, for us to be grafted into the revelatory story of God’s creation and redemptive outpouring of love in Christ, remains a marvel. Renewing people and the earth is part of God’s majestic destiny and fortunately we’re invited to participate in this adventure. 

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 13, 2014

Reflection for the Week- October 13th, 2014

The power of despair is highly significant and provocatively tempting. One of the realities we most desire – to be known – is what we tend to fear. Being known is a dangerous enterprise that challenges our control over ourselves and the other. The risk factor appears so momentous, we retreat and dare not expose who we are. De-relationship though brings us further and further into deception. This direction is often embraced because we assume it’s safer to be unrelated, than it is to connect with the other. Better to deprive ourselves, before we allow anyone else to do it to us. But this is one of the worst forms of attempting to be a self that will ever come across our paths, as it will only produce death. A turn towards an-other, however, while it will no doubt be a challenge, has the possibility of generating life, since life is deeply rooted in real relationships with all their perils and joys.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 06, 2014

Reflection for the Week- October 6th, 2014

The “how” of human agency in the context of “what is” has monumental significance. Here’s what I’m trying to get at. Let’s consider, for example, that meaningful relationships are a central part of being human. This amounts to the “what is.” But an essential element to consider carefully is “how” we engage relationally. To do so in a self-centered manner will result in self and other defamation, while acting in the realistic configuration of oneself as another will open up possibilities for a more appropriate “how” of relating in healthy and trustworthy ways. The implication of this focus on “how,” highlights the crucial perspective that the ‘guts’ of our relationships really do matter, if we are to be aligned with and tethered to “what is.”

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 29, 2014

Reflection for the Week- September 29th, 2014

Memory bears the marks of time. We have such a fascinating potential of recognizing phenomena and then to be able to remember people, places and things related to it. Life, both consciously and unconsciously, is continually changing. It’s so saturated with texture and richness that our gaze can barely take small, but nevertheless significant pieces of it into our stories. We are both shaped by and shapers of each element and can marvel at our capacity to integrate this interaction in a coherent fashion that forges continuity with what has taken place previously. Remarkable. Telling memorable stories about what once was, is meeting the challenge of taking disparate parts and making them into a unified whole. The restoration of a faithful resemblance, however, will remain a fragile matter of trust and suspicion, as temptations to false testimonies plague us and seek to undermine the truthful ambition of memory in its reaching out and grasping the flow of life back when.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 22, 2014

Reflection for the Week- September 22nd, 2014

As the famous French philosopher Albert Camus once commented: ‘the meaning of life is the most urgent of questions.’ Taking Camus seriously, there seems little doubt that we are fragile agents in time and story, groping for a picture of our lives that makes sense. Our plots may include shifting dimensions of hurt, suffering, despair, and healing, joy, and well being, but these very spheres of our narratives leave us in a world that’s way too small. Faced with continually discovering that we are not able to emplot a self-determined existence, we stumble along and are forced to ask Camus’ burning question again and again. The truth is there is far more to the meaning of life than our present circumstances may be able to recount. Surely, in some areas this truth is widely accepted, but just as surely in others it is not. There are many instances where we readily acknowledge there is more, while in some situations we still tenaciously grasp at the illusive power of being the ultimate authority. Thus, we all too often continue to demand to tell the key parts of the story our own way, but in attempting to do so, this simply leaves us short of meaning that is sufficiently able to address and cohere with a world that is not of our own making. Following on from this, we begin to recognize the need for a bigger story – the biblical mega narrative – which appears on the horizon, not as a totalizing account, but as a meaning-full telling with the force of explanation and new understanding that, while limited, takes us to the limit.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 15, 2014

Reflection for the Week- September 15th, 2014

Receiving the gift of a new self, anchored in a Divine call from beyond and a Christo-redemptive act from within, deconstructs manipulative power and conniving selfishness, setting us on the path to life with all its detours and complexities. The vistas opened up along the journey are breathtaking, as God’s promises for the past, present, and future begin come into focus and to coalesce in our lives. As a result of this re-constructive reality taking place, novel ways of seeing, being, and living sear the landscape of the whole of who we are, encouraging us to begin to let go of self-defeating strategies of control and exploitation, and to embrace God’s project of genuine love that is out transform us and the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 08, 2014

Reflection for the Week- September 8th, 2014

Covenant, which connotes YHWH’s love, liberation, and identification of a people to be in community with Him, is a central theological motif in both the OT and the New. Grace, law, and holiness find their place in this broader category of covenant. YHWH both establishes (unilateral) and cuts (bilateral) covenant, where each requires an action by the giver and yet a necessary response on the behalf of the receiver. In covenant there is a mandate for unity, a call to justice, and an appeal to love, to listen, and to do. YHWH’s people are to engage in and act upon covenant in order to stand out and be known as those who are marked by a vision for the redemption of the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 01, 2014

Reflection for the Week- September 1st, 2014

God, as I understand, is not composed of various properties, made up of intricate language systems, or constructed by a series of concepts. True, we can, yet only barely, account for God in some such formulations, but this does not give God the being that God is, since God is the incomparable One who be’s beyond them all. Infinite actuality expressed in the love, power, and grace of the Divine is an “isness” that is Other than all others.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 25, 2014

Reflection for the Week- August 25th, 2014

It doesn’t seem to make much sense that God would be angry or threatened when humans accomplish good things. After all, this is one of the chief reasons why we exist. In fact, a key feature of the creational mandate is that humans would step forward and represent God in this manner. When we do this well, as evidently sometimes happens, God should not mind. He may even applaud the accomplishment with both hands. Well done! But I guess we’re not quite sure what to do with this possibility. Usually, we’re told that it is inappropriate to value what we accomplish. Part of the logic of this view is that when we accomplish something good, it can lead to arrogance or idolatry. Yet, I would want to argue that while this is sometimes the case, it isn’t necessarily so. That is, we do have other options. Take this example. Keep accomplishing good, but steer clear of arrogance and idolatry. When we do so, we partially fulfill our Creator’s call. This means there seems to be a place and space to see our accomplishments of good as valuable, without them turning into something that is anti-God.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 18, 2014

Reflection for the Week- August 18th, 2014

There are at least two ways a crisis of hope may express itself. First, pessimism: cynicism overtakes us and we decide to take matters into our own hands. Second, optimism: naïve idealism saturates us and we decide that God will resolve it all for us. Neither of these false options has much to do with a Christian point of view and both will leave us empty. Yet, we may tend to spend significant amounts of time and energy floating from pessimism or optimism, or attempting to solidify and barricade ourselves in one perspective or the other. Never this simple, life with God will challenge these polarizations, and in so doing refigure the false options into growing opportunities for truly engaging in community with God, ourselves, others, and the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 11, 2014

Reflection for the Week- August 11th, 2014

If all is subsumed under God, the integrity of a risky, yet functional natural world that God made is in danger of becoming irrelevant. This proposed creational orientation does not set out to under signify the Divine, but rather it sets out to embrace the credibility of the created as given, which allows it a mysterious degree of independence.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 28, 2014

Reflection for the Week- July 28th, 2014

Keep this quiet. Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone. There is often a shroud of secrecy in place when it comes to the problems, doubts, and questions that people have with their faith. These important issues, it is assumed, must be safely hidden away and never discussed with anyone. It is all okay – no worries, merely reinforces the fear of exposure. Myriads of Christians are caught in the shroud of secrecy. They’re deeply struggling with what they believe and are convinced they mustn’t say anything about it. But let’s face it, most of the time the shroud of secrecy is encouraged by pastors, churches, parents, and friends who won’t and don’t understand. One can’t tell them anything without facing a barrage of condemnation. Thus, trusting others is seen as fraught with danger. Sadly, keeping the secret becomes more important than keeping the faith.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 21, 2014

Reflection for the Week- July 21st, 2014

Many people, in what I will refer to as Generation L, are intoxicated with suspicion. They claim they are suspicious of everything. And why not? What’s worth trusting? After all, heroines and heroes have all but disappeared from the scene these days, except in fantasy stories. As that is the case, the L Generation may have something going for it. But I wonder if such elevated toxicity levels of suspicion could be a problem, since it seems that no one is entirely suspicious. Here’s why. Trust always precedes suspicion, thus suspicion presupposes trust because we all have to trust the accuracy of our suspicions, otherwise we wouldn’t have them.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 14, 2014

Reflection for the Week- July 14th, 2014

Indictments of the supposed guardians of orthodoxy proliferate throughout the Scriptures. Prophets are continually speaking God’s word to a faithless people who set aside his commands for their own benefit. Jesus is even more to the point with his sarcastic irony towards the religious elite of his day concerning the pretense of washing hands to be clean. Pseudo-orthodoxy called for ceremonial washing before eating. Jesus says this is an absurd charade because it leaves the heart uncleansed. Those today that wave the banner of “we’re orthodox and you’re not,” need to seriously consider where their hearts are, rather than inspecting the hands of everyone else.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 07, 2014

Reflection for the Week- July 7th, 2014

It is essential to develop lines of appeal to critique our self-deception or to affirm our trustworthiness. Depending on ourselves alone is likely to sow confusion. Thus we need help from other informers, including the biblical text, the spirit, and the natural world. When these three are in place as we seek to discover our direction, we’ll have more options to consider, which in turn will attune us to where we are and where we should go.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 30, 2014

Reflection for the Week- June 30th, 2014

While there is a place for suspicion in our lives, it can often dominate and control our engagements with self, other, world, and God. When this happens, suspicion functions as a call to itself, and, therefore, one of the major idols of our times. Yes, I can hear you saying, “But suspicion is what makes critical reflection possible.” We sometimes assume suspicion keeps us safe and provides us with a space to dwell, without having to commit or needing to participate in something that might threaten the status quo. Yet, this is far from the truth. Trust is integral to our essence and identity. Breaking through the walls of suspicion, which condemn us to be unknown and unloved, is a revolutionary orientation that marks us out for the economy of gift, where the desire to be known and loved is understood, applauded, and welcomed.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 23, 2014

Reflection for the Week- June 23rd, 2014

Human beings are interpreters of and interpreted by God, nature, other, and Scripture. The biblical text, for example, will not magically interpret itself. We’re going to have to work at better interpreting it and recognizing the challenging ways that we are interpreted by it. If we never seriously engage the text, yet expect it to somehow make sense to us, we will spend a lot of time floundering around in the non-sense of our own making, instead of connecting to the characters and plot of the story.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 16, 2014

Reflection for the Week- June 16th, 2014

A voluntary decentering of oneself is not an act of self-violence, but an appropriate response to God. Through this life long task and vocation, one affirms, and not negates, one’s creaturely and salvific status, which indeed is a high calling. 

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 09, 2014

Reflection for the Week- June 9th, 2014

The “all’s” or “nothing’s” (like: we have total or no control of our lives) are illusions. Both require, of us, deep levels of pretending. We demand it all, and when we don’t get it, we embrace nothing. Tenacious attempts to have closure and completeness fail, and we therefore fall again and again into the void. Yet, and the point is, we’re just not the kinds of selves that can attain or be resigned to either of these fantasies. What is true and full of life is most frequently found somewhere in the middle, not on an extreme or pole. Thus, figuring it out is far from a done deal. Admitting this puts us in a position where the real work begins concerning how to be and how to live in a complex world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 02, 2014

Reflection for the Week- June 2nd, 2014

A dual allegiance to trust and suspicion is a crucial dynamic for moving towards truer selfhood. Yet, the major difficulty is that these essential dimensions of being human are all too often oriented in unhelpful directions. This produces confusion, instead of clarity. When we should be suspicious of ourselves, were not, and when we should trust ourselves, we don’t. Embracing the fallacy of being self-referential selves will not give us much help on this, so we need other informers, including the biblical text and the natural world, to pave the way. Our call to being truer selves is not a monologue, but a dialogical and relational destiny.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 26, 2014

Reflection for the Week- May 26th, 2014

Our culture of consumerism and self-centeredness holds out great temptations to allow ourselves to be consumed. It’s often so much easier to go with the flow that leads to death, than it is to be agents of life. Let’s remember to be partakers in and messengers of love, redemption, and forgiveness as we live out the Christian story in the fullest and most meaningful way possible.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 19, 2014

Reflection for the Week- May 19th, 2014

Improvising is not about doing something entirely new. Think of it this way. To improvise is to join in, to recognize that we are part of a work in progress - something that precedes us. Faithful improvisation is listening to and speaking for others. To participate in God’s story in following the Crucified and Risen One, is to respond to an invitation to improvise.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 12, 2014

Reflection for the Week- May 12th, 2014

Lamentably, the founding stories of our faith are so often entombed in church buildings that lack the presence of God, or in electronic boxes that perpetrate a mindless faith in consumerism. By contrast, the subversive and radical power of the mission, ministry, and person of Jesus illumines the path towards authenticity. Cherish the Gospels, read them diligently, appreciate their relation and distinction, and above all, live their truth in love.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 05, 2014

Reflection for the Week- May 5th, 2014

Having our life story re-narrated from a redemptive perspective won’t make the sordid past go away, but it will provide us with a new way of looking at it and its capacity to negatively impact the present. Redeeming memories, through Christ and the power of the Spirit, is one of the ways we are brought into community with the God who forgives. And in this community we are sheltered, comforted, and loved so that we in turn might shelter, comfort, and love others.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 28, 2014

Reflection for the Week- April 28th, 2014

Genesis 1-3, the founding narrative of the nation of Israel , does not fit comfortably in the ancient Near Eastern categories of myth or history. Probably better to see the story as representing a “possible world” (not entirely actual, but not entirely unreal) that mixes together a post-Exodus picture of law, and an explanation and exploration of God, humanity, and creation.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 21, 2014

Reflection for the Week- April 21st, 2014

Nature is related to and distinct from its Creator. In the emerging creation, the Creator is involved in, but not entrapped by the natural world. Idolatry flourishes in the confusion of the two. Yet, God and nature are not one and the same. This truth is crucial for Christian spirituality, for what we worship is not nature, but the Creator.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 14, 2014

Reflection for the Week- April 14, 2014

As Easter approaches and we prepare to be more intentionally immersed in the death and resurrection of Christ, may this remarkable event weigh heavily upon us in new and refreshing ways at this time of year. How grateful we are and hopefully growing more to be, that Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom of God , brought salvation to Israel and the world, was victorious over death through the resurrection, and opened the way into deep and everlasting community with God. On this basis, each of us can experience our own release from captivity in Egypt ; our own exodus, which will take us through the Promised Land into a new heaven and earth.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 07, 2014

Reflection for the Week- April 7th, 2014

To live a spirituality of the cross of Christ is to participate in the drama of God’s salvation. Let’s follow in the footsteps of the Crucified and Risen One, be focused on the Scripture, and open to the Spirit, as we are shaped by the dialogue of our community with God, each other, and the world. In the light of the power at work within us and our destiny to image Christ, may we rejoice and be thankful for this day.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 31, 2014

Reflection for the Week- March 31st, 2014

The Phenomenon of Quitting church is reaching epidemic proportions. Caught in the vice between those who exchange the gospel for a social code and those who market it as a consumer product, streams of people are flowing out of churches. From what I can tell, many of them long for God, love, truth, credibility, justice, and redemption, but are disappointed with what the church is offering. Bagels and coffee, and promises of health and wealth, are limited and breaking down. Thus, today’s pseudo–gospel is having less and less traction, and for this we should rejoice. Yet, the fallout is serious, in that the legitimate questions people are asking are not being addressed, nor are these folk being provided with a place to dwell, which has more to do with spirituality, than merely a geographical home. Rich and diverse gospel-centered communities are essential to the renewal of the faith and will contribute to the demise of what has been known as church for far too long.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 24, 2014

Reflection for the Week- March 24th, 2014

As readers of the scriptural story today we are foreigners to the text and its ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman context, yet we are not excluded from its time, narration, drama, and spherical refraction. The possibility remains for us to be grafted into the revelatory story of God’s creation and redemptive outpouring of love in Christ, which offers us a place on the stage of the cosmic drama of life. Renewing people and the earth is part of God’s majestic story. Fortunately, we’re invited to participate.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 17, 2014

Reflection for the Week- March 17th, 2014

Neuroscience is showing that we know more now, than ever before, about how much we don’t consciously know about what we do. This confirms that we are not in complete control of many dimensions of who we are or the world in which we live. We still, however, have a measure of sufficient knowledge and control, which enable us to continue to understand ourselves as making choices and having responsibilities.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 10, 2014

Reflection for the Week- March 10th, 2014

In Revelation 3:14-22, Christ wishes that the Christians in Laodicea were either hot or cold. It is often assumed that hot means ‘on fire for the Lord’ or a full commitment, while cold means, ‘no fire for the Lord’ or no commitment. If this is the case, the question we’re faced with is why Christ would approve of no commitment at all. That doesn’t make sense. Hot and cold, therefore, are not to be taken as positive and negative descriptions, but both are positive in regard to what the church’s actions should be. Steaming hot or refreshingly cold – either get a thumbs up. The real problem then is being lukewarm, which seems to identify all too many churches today. As the Laodicean church proclaimed to be rich, it was actually poor, which is very similar to our own times. We too need to learn that true riches are spiritual, not found in a glut of material possessions, but in Christ himself. If you’d be interested in reading more about this legendary recounting of the end of the world, check out my book Living Apocalypse.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery


Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 03, 2014

Reflection for the Week- March 3rd, 2014

“Brink of Disaster”
“Suicide Bombing”
“Destabilizing”
“Terrorist attack”
“High Risk Clashes”
“Crimes Against Humanity”
“Vertiginous Debt”
“Starvation hits new record”
“Church to Build a Ten Million Dollar Bowling Alley for Members Only”  
No commentary…………………  .

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 24, 2014

Reflection for the Week- February 24th, 2014

The question: what would Jesus do? while sometimes well meaning, doesn’t have a straight forward answer. It’s absurd to assume that there will always be a direct overlap between his context and ours. While this may occasionally be the case, most of the time it simply won’t be.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 17, 2014

Reflection for the Week- February 17th, 2014

God, through the created world and the potential for a relationship with others, graciously offers us a space to be and to do. This striking atmosphere of the given is loaded with responsibility and freedom. God wants us to engage with both. This means that we are called to be attentive to God and to interact with the created. The former is all together fitting, since God is God, but the latter should not be viewed as irrelevant or as a betrayal of God, who encourages us to be and do in the dimension of what has been made.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 10, 2014

Reflection for the Week- February 10th, 2014

Developing a rich and responsible imagination will lead to a greater sensitivity to read and be read by God’s story. To imagine, in this way, is not connected to perceiving an object in the world, but it is a startling engagement with language, as semantic innovation, that results in a productive event or eruption of meaning that has the capacity to bring us into contact with the Infinite One.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 03, 2014

Reflection for the Week- February 3rd, 2014

The response to someone’s inappropriate skepticism is not less than a fine tuned and sensible argument, but it’s also a deep love, which is far, far more.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 27, 2014

Reflection for the Week- January 27th, 2014

To struggle with objectivity in the interpretation of texts, art, and relationships is a welcome and challenging task. Where to pull back and where to let go is rarely black and white. Since objectivity is never total, this signifies that we’ll have to wrestle with greater and lesser degrees of it in various contexts. Think about it like this, although there are several ways this plays out in life: Inappropriate objectivity would be taking so great a degree of distance from the other that there’s no risk of being touched. Appropriate objectivity lessens the degree of distance and allows for transparency and exposure to gradually unfold, albeit with caution. Learning how to negotiate our way through the labyrinth of otherness is a fitting enterprise for who we are and what we do. Too much or too little objectivity will have the tendency to deaden meaning and truth, which are both central to healthy interactions with the other.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 20, 2014

Reflection for the Week- January 20th, 2014

The issues of science and theology, trust and suspicion, interpretation, art, and objectivity and subjectivity, along with others, merit hard and careful thought. If Christians are to continue on the road towards credibility, there is a vital need to face the many challenges ahead. In order to participate in the hope of renewing a thirst for the living God and a living spirituality that touches the whole of life, Christians must not only track their culture, but also trace it. This means it is essential to be aware of the personal and cultural impact of ideas, and to leave, through an involvement with people, a Christian imprint. My hope is that such efforts, dedicated to God and the Christian community, will dare others to take notice that the God of Scripture is there and that Christianity is true.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 13, 2014

Reflection for the Week- January 13th, 2014

Biblical interpretation often revolves around in a diametrically opposed fashion that goes something like this. All meaning is authorial meaning or all meaning is readerly meaning. Those who embrace the former, argue for an objective and universal validity view. Others, who hold to the latter, prefer a subjective anything goes perspective. These evident polarizations remove the need for negotiation, which recognizes that meaning is a reproductive and productive orchestration between author and reader. That is, interpretation brings about a co-creation of meaning, where a reader’s dialogue with the author is not abolished, but complicated. This signifies that the literary “what said” of an author may be complex, but it nevertheless is a crucial part of the interpretive process through which a reader becomes a better co-creator of meaning.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 06, 2014

Reflection for the Week- January 6th, 2014

Being and becoming a follower of the Messiah, according to Mark 8, is to deny self and take up a cross. This does not mean to be a zero, nobody, or nothing, but to set aside self-centered interests, especially with regard to our own messianic ideologies. To do so is cross taking and following Jesus. Self-denial then is denying a particular self – a self-consumed self, a self-sufficient self, a selfish self, which all amount to a false self. Not sure there is anything more radical than this. Breathtaking! Appropriate self-denial makes sense and has the ring of truth, as opposed to the deception that we so often see in the contemporary context, which suggests that a total refusal of self is necessary for Messiah following. On the contrary, God actually wants truer selves to show up and be accounted for.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 30, 2013

Reflection for the Week- December 30th, 2013

I hope the 50 or so Reflections of the Week and other posts in 2013 have been helpful, challenging, and spiritually illuminating. A special thanks to you all for taking time to ponder the thoughts expressed here and for your support of my work. Be blessed in Christ.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 23, 2013

Reflection for the Week- December 23rd, 2013

There is a broad plurality of recounting in the biblical text. The Torah, for example, expresses law as both the way of life and the road to death. The Gospels portray Jesus going to Jerusalem both once and many times. And in Acts, there are no less than three stories of Paul’s encounter with the Crucified and Risen One. Seems to me, we want to envision this sort of phenomena as a testimony to a variety of sub-plots that find their place in the over-arching plot of God being One God; the Creator, who is out to redeem Israel , humanity, and the world through the Messiah. Think of this rich relation and distinction between sub-plots and plot as something like a masterful symphony, where many musicians are coherently interpreting and playing different parts of the same piece of music in a majestic way.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 16, 2013

Reflection for the Week- December 16th, 2013

Many Christians today have given up on being part of the larger biblical story that flows through space and time. Creation, humanity, Israel , and the rescue plan for the world inaugurated by the Messiah, are too dense and complex. All that matters nowadays is the individual’s story with God. Not that this is irrelevant, but when it’s all reduced to me and God, the major plot and sub-plots of the narrative are woefully missing. Not only is such a view desacralizing, but it’s downright dehumanizing as well. Desacralizing because it gravely misunderstands who God is and dehumanizing because it misunderstands who humans are.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 09, 2013

Reflection for the Week- December 9th, 2013

A Christian view of spirituality affirms the truth that there is a creational spirituality. That is, the created world is a world that we are to explore, care for, and sustain as stewards of what has been made. Living and true spirituality does not reject the material world, but engages it in service of God. We are, therefore, to imaginatively participate in the earthly and contribute to bringing goodness to all areas of life. As God has not left creation or humans to desolation, decay, or ultimate death, neither should we consent to dying forms of spirituality that have no capacity to redeem and renew the created. From the New Revised: Living Spirituality: Illuminating the Path. Now available on Amazon.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 02, 2013

Reflection for the Week- December 2nd, 2013

God's way of reconciliation is configured in the death of the Crucified One, which results in not reckoning people's sins against them. God has done everything that there is to be done from his side in order for us to be reconciled. This "logos" of reconciliation has been downloaded into new covenant, which through God's initiation, is written on human hearts and not tablets of stone. But the absolutely massive context for all this is God’s reconciling the world to himself in Christ. This is a big story – a mega-narrative going far beyond personal individualistic salvation, culminating in a new heaven and earth. And if God is reconciling the world to himself in Christ, we are to be ambassadors of this reconciliation, as those through whom God makes his appeal to others. Check out the New Revised: Living Spiritual Rhythms Book 1. Now available on Amazon.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 25, 2013

Reflection for the Week- November 25th, 2013

Grace, Grace, Superabudant Grace. I’m thankful I can trust that God will remember me. I leave my destiny to his imaginative impulse of resurrection.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 18, 2013

Reflection for the Week- November 18th, 2013

If the biblical text is not historical in certain places, this is not necessarily a loss of revelatory value. The text has to be taken and read genre by genre. There may be a marked difference, for example, between Genesis 1-3 and the Gospels, though the Gospels may not in every instance be loaded with a historical impulse for them to be packed with sufficiently true testimonies that radiate revelation. A careful reading of the biblical informer then is not an all or nothing enterprise, but an engaging with and being engaged by various interpreted expressions, facts, and stories that God participates in configuring, so that we might be called out of darkness and into light.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 11, 2013

Reflection for the Week- November 11th, 2013

I would assume that a trust and suspicion dialogue would need to be in place for not only assessing what’s true, but for decoding how to interact with God, self, other, and world in some type of related and distinct manner.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 04, 2013

Reflection for the Week- November 4th, 2013

People often say, “If I was born somewhere else, I would believe something else.” This implies that context is determinative for belief. While there is a degree of truth to this, it is a reductionistic subterfuge. Context does play a role in belief, but so do many other features of being in the world. Things are really much more complex, when it comes to belief. Surely, we in the West are more prone to illegitimate context transfer. That is, we desire to suspend belief because it might be different if we were in another context. This is a charade. To imagine that we were born somewhere else would mean to imagine that we are not who we are. We might attempt this, but we will never escape ourselves. Dealing with the matters of the context we are actually living in the midst of, therefore, will be the appropriate trajectory for coming to grips with legitimate belief.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 28, 2013

Reflection for the Week- October 28th, 2013

Charity, grace, and love combined with a hunger for truth, should exemplify the lives of Christians. Today is the day that now more than ever calls for a growing and observable reciprocity between what we say and do. As empty lives, broken hearts, and shattered idols have accelerated dramatically in our times, a credible testimony to Christ becomes all the more important and essential to a world that is looking for hope in the midst of despair.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 21, 2013

Reflection for the Week- October 21st, 2013

The failure of the grand narrative of modernity – achieving it all: absolutism, progress, reason – is shattered. Its replacement is the master narrative of post-modernity – achieving nothing: relativism, play, contradiction. The former attempted to construct a unified story for all humanity, while the latter left behind shards, fragments, and sub-plots with no beginning or end. Unfortunately, many Christians have bought into one or the other of these story lines and uncritically woven it into the biblical faith. Moving away from the power schemes of modern or post-modern meta-narratives is an essential task for believers, if we are to be able to present the gospel in a credible and persuasive manner to a world that has lost its way.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 14, 2013

Reflection for the Week- October 14th, 2013

The demise of pseudo-Christianity in the West is well underway, and rightly so. There are many changes needed to re-present a real faith, but one shift that is essential is for Christians to wake up to having a well thought out belief. Thinking is not poison and it is important to wrestle with ideas in a credible manner, whether we are engaging believers or not. Respectfully listening to and learning from others will enhance our integrity and ability to communicate without forfeiting our freedom to disagree when that runs contrary to God’s truth and love. Escapism and ignorance are not representative of belonging to the living God, who calls us to connect with the world and others, and to participate in shining light into dark places by bringing sufficient explanations into the theater of life and death.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 07, 2013

Reflection for the Week- October 7th, 2013

There is a place in living Christian spirituality for being responsible. God wants us to care for what has been given and to accomplish what we can in its midst. Don’t fear doing something well, that is, to the best of your ability, as if God would somehow be against this. Go for it! And if you get there, forget about being arrogant, but by all means do enjoy the moment and appreciate God’s applause.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 30, 2013

Reflection for the Week- September 30th, 2013

Looking for contact with God can sometimes seem to be an arduous task. Often we expect something direct – a clear pathway opening up between God and ourselves, like the wrestling Jacob, the law receiving Moses, or the barren Sarah; yet are disappointed when this does not usually take place. Perhaps our vision would improve if we began to reflect on the indirect ways in which God, through nature, the trustworthy other, and Scripture, can create conduits bridging the distance that we may be experiencing. Being attuned to the manifestation of God through these configurations opens us up to new ways of seeing and perceiving the multifarious touching points between us and the great and mysterious I Am.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 23, 2013

Reflection for the Week- September 23rd, 2013

Having significant roles to play in belonging to the drama of creation and salvation is both a task and a joy. Thankfully, God illumines the path so that we can give valid testimony to his existence and redemption, as we work for and rejoice in his kingdom project to renew us and the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 16, 2013

Reflection for the Week- September 16th, 2013

Christian truth is something like a complex web of fragile inter-related connections and relations that stretch, but do not break. When truth is pictured in such a reality-image, it allows us a flexibility to explore new possibilities without the fear that if we find more truth, everything we have previously embraced and believed will disintegrate. Not so. I would wager that during our journey some strands will come undone and have to be re-joined elsewhere, while others are going to be innovative and expand the web to another dimension, as it takes on greater intricacy, verve, and splendor.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 09, 2013

Reflection for the Week- September 9th, 2013

Capacity for contact. We’re hard wired for connection with God. But this becomes distorted and mired in self-deception. Think of this along the lines of trust, desire, and imagination. We don’t choose these – they’re just part of who we are. In contrast, we do find ourselves with a choice of whom and what to trust, desire, and imagine. This is where our hard wiring gets short circuited. We choose the wrong who’s and what’s and trust idols over the living God. Graciously, God has set in motion a rescue plan – redemption – that will re-connect our short circuits and take us toward new contact with him.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 02, 2013

Reflection for the Week- September 2nd, 2013

Being and becoming Jesus’ follower, according to Mark 8, means to deny self and take up a cross. This does not mean to be a zero, nobody, or nothing, but to set aside self-centered interests, especially with regard to our own messianic ideologies. To do so is cross taking and following Jesus. Self-denial then is denying a particular self – a self-consumed self, a self-sufficient self, a selfish self, which all amount to a false self. Not sure there is anything more radical than this. Breathtaking! Appropriate self-denial makes sense and has the ring of truth, as opposed to the deception that we so often see in the contemporary context, which suggests that a total refusal of self is necessary for following Jesus. On the contrary, God actually wants selves to show up and be accounted for. The question is: who will be present?

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 26, 2013

Reflection for the Week- August 26th, 2013

The biblical text is full of worlds. I suggest that there are pertinent signs and resolute traces of God, making himself known in a polyphonic manner. Think of the Garden in Genesis, the burning bush in Exodus, the throne theophaines in Isaiah and Ezekiel, and the resurrection of Jesus. These writings manifest the truth that God is there. Expressed through the language and material context of our world, they also go far beyond it. Therefore, to understand more about God, it is essential to imaginatively enter these worlds as we read about them, and then to inhabit them through our actions.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 19, 2013

Reflection for the Week- August 19th, 2013

This visceral longing to be cleansed from our own faults, those perpetrated by others against us, and the burdens of the world, leaves us in a state of searching for redemption. These deep etchings carved into our flesh are like a flow chart leading directly to our battered hearts. Living takes its toll. The challenge before us is to continue the dialogue between the “in spite of” and the “because of” that concerns all of reality and truth. We are followers of the Crucified and Risen One, who are suffering, yet committed to a journey of renewal.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 12, 2013

Reflection for the Week- August 12th, 2013

Being captive to the ideologies of certainty or uncertainty is like being pulled into a vortex that leads nowhere. Certainty aims to insure us that we have it all together and that everything is straight forward, while uncertainty attempts to illustrate that we don’t have anything together and that nothing is clear. We can become so addicted to polarizations, that moving into the middle seems highly unsatisfactory. Yet, withdrawal symptoms are required and sometimes painful, as uncovering that which binds us and leads us astray is so deeply entrenched in every perspective and dimension of our identities. Letting go will be extremely difficult. Release, however, comes from learning to follow in the footsteps of Christ, which is not least to discover the hidden ideological trends and currents in our lives, and in so doing, to open us up to the possibility of a refigured destiny, culminating in transformation.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 05, 2013

Reflection for the Week- August 5th, 2013

There is a marvelous wonder and a profound mystery in committed relationships. The hope of beauty and fear of danger encircle our hearts and challenge us to move forward in love. We wrestle with “letting go” or “holding on,” with “form” or “freedom,” with “suspicion” or “trust.” On the way from an individual to a mutuality of space—shared lives together at different levels of intensity—we are invited into new ways of being, seeing, and living, where the drama of inoffensive possession neither stifles, nor disdains the narrative of oneself or the other.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 29, 2013

Reflection for the Week- July 29th, 2013

Indictments of the supposed guardians of orthodoxy proliferate throughout the Scriptures. Prophets are continually speaking God’s word to a faithless people who set aside his commands for their own benefit. Jesus is even more to the point with his sarcastic irony towards the religious elite of his day concerning the pretense of washing hands to be clean. Pseudo-orthodoxy called for ceremonial washing before eating. Jesus says this is an absurd charade because it leaves the heart uncleansed. Those today that wave the banner of “we’re orthodox and you’re not,” need to seriously consider where their hearts are, rather than inspecting the hands of everyone else.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 22, 2013

Reflection for the Week- July 22nd, 2013

Having our life story re-narrated from a redemptive perspective won’t make the sordid past go away, but it will provide us with a new way of looking at it and its capacity to negatively impact the present. Redeeming memories, through Christ and the power of the Spirit, is one of the ways we are brought into community with the God who lives. And in this community we are sheltered, comforted, and loved so that we in turn might shelter, comfort, and love others.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 15, 2013

Reflection for the Week- July 15th, 2013

It doesn’t seem to make much sense that God would be angry or threatened when humans accomplish good things. After all, this is one of the chief reasons why we exist. In fact, a key feature of the creational mandate is that humans would step forward and represent God in this manner. When we do this well, as evidently sometimes happens, God should not mind. He may even applaud the accomplishment with both hands. Well done! But I guess we’re not quite sure what to do with this possibility. Usually, we’re told that it is inappropriate to value what we accomplish. Part of the logic of this view is that when we accomplish something good, it can lead to arrogance or idolatry. Yet, I would want to argue that while this is sometimes the case, it isn’t necessarily so. That is, we do have other options. Take this example. Keep accomplishing good, but steer clear of arrogance and idolatry. When we do so, we partially fulfill our Creator’s call. This means there seems to be a place and space to see our accomplishments of good as valuable, without them turning into something that is anti-God.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 08, 2013

Reflection for the Week- July 8th, 2013

Breaking down the familiar is hard work. We get so used to what we’re empirically bombarded with that it tends to crowd out any other options. That is, an actual world immersion can deprive us of a possible world vision, which goes far beyond what the literal eye can see. Yet, the real world will always be a hybrid of the two.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 01, 2013

Reflection for the Week- July 1st, 2013

Living spiritually is enhanced and enriched through the Psalms and their frequent affirmations of and appeals to God’s covenant loyalty. Many of these writings, however, may shock us with their realism. In the midst of our sometimes automatic pilot spirituality, where everything is supposedly bright and happy, some of the Psalms remind us that community with God and the path to life are far from straight forward. There is and will be brokenness, mystery, dark times, judgment, desperate searching, and much more. Though these circumstances frequently lead to illumination and new understanding, arriving there means going through—not taking a detour around—facets of spirituality that may not fit our desired schemes, notions, and expectations of God. In other words, the path may sometimes become difficult and the destination may seem far away, but the hope remains that God will be faithful to lead us forward. The Psalms are a richly textured slice of life with God, and they offer us revelatory insights into humanness and living spirituality. From the New Revised Edition of Living Spirituality: Illuminating the Path.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 24, 2013

Reflection for the Week- June 24th, 2013

Wisdom emerges in our lives slowly and sometimes painfully. It invites reflection, question, and struggle. It covers everything from advice on how to take care of daily tasks, to the absurdity of them all. Wisdom, without the illumination of the fear (awe, reverence) of the Lord, loses its way. For true wisdom relates to living spirituality as it deals with facing life in all its ups and downs. God graciously meets us through living, as we shape the contours of daily routines and choices, so that we might learn to wisely follow the path to life. The fear (awe, reverence) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. This loaded saying targets a two-dimensional reality: wisdom as internal; focused on the individual, and as external; situated in a variety of social contexts in the world. Life is to be filled with the gift of the wisdom of God, which applies to the whole of human activity, as we forge ahead on the journey.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 17, 2013

Reflection for the Week- June 17th, 2013

God’s creational diffusion in humanity is a labor of love, which offers us at least three dimensions of who we are. We have been given the capacity to trust, desire, and imagine. These remarkable traits are all embedded in us. That is, we are trusting, desiring, and imagining beings at the outset, and each dimension is a complex part of our hard wiring. If this is the case, we cannot not choose whether to trust, desire, and imagine, since they are already there within us, yet we can choose who and what to trust, desire, and imagine. Sometimes our choices will get it right, though just as often we’ll get it wrong. When the latter takes place through being a self-determining or self-deceived self, we’re faced with the problem of brokenness and damaging ourselves or others. Thankfully, God’s salvific transmission in Christ offers us, where need be, a new way of choosing that leads to healing and redemption.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 10, 2013

Reflection for the Week- June 10th, 2013

God’s creational diffusion in humanity is a labor of love, which offers us at least three dimensions of who we are. We have been given the capacity to trust, desire, and imagine. These remarkable traits are all embedded in us. That is, we are trusting, desiring, and imagining beings at the outset, and each dimension is a complex part of our hard wiring. If this is the case, we cannot not choose whether to trust, desire, and imagine, since they are already there within us, yet we can choose who and what to trust, desire, and imagine. Sometimes our choices will get it right, though just as often we’ll get it wrong. When the latter takes place through being a self-determining or self-deceived self, we’re faced with the problem of brokenness and damaging ourselves or others. Thankfully, God’s salvific transmission in Christ offers us, where need be, a new way of choosing that leads to healing and redemption.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 03, 2013

Reflection for the Week- June 3rd, 2013

To hear and read the gospel of Mark is to enter a world. This story is one of conflict and drama, possession and dispossession, subversive reversals of perspective, intrigue, mystery, and strange riddles, with Jesus as its central protagonist. As we enter the story world, we hear and read of struggles over life and death, issues of God and Satan, activities of angels and demons. It is far from a simple or nice story, filled with easy answers or a basic list of rules to follow. Readers, in contrast, are challenged to participate in the story and to lose their lives for Jesus’ sake in order to find them. Mark’s story is presented as a contentful drama to be acted upon. As the world of self serving power, greed, and the addiction to material possessions is shattered, readers are invited to embrace another world that will lead them towards a transformation of being and doing..

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 27, 2013

Reflection for the Week- May 27th, 2013

Paul’s rhetoric of equality in 1 Corinthians 7 is astounding. Not only do the bodies of wives belong to their husbands, but the bodies of husbands belong to their wives. Marriage partners are not free to do what they please with their bodies. Spirituality is an earthly-bodily phenomenon. Liberty , asceticism, and idolatry are three false emblems of an overly already-focused spirituality that leads us astray. Misunderstandings abound today. Bodies are worshipped (idolatry), devalued (liberty), or seen as having nothing to do with the spiritual, which is entirely cut off from the physical world (asceticism). The body - both what it is and what it does are key parts of living spirituality.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 20, 2013

Reflection for the Week- May 20th, 2013

Love is not making it up as we go along. God is love and therefore God gives us direction as to what love is. Love is never less than justice, but always more. And Superabundantly more. The path of love is kind, gentle, and gracious, and doesn’t cherish keeping a list of grievances, but neither is it unchallenging. We are to love God, each other, and all human beings, as we seek to be those who demonstrate the truth that God sent Christ to redeem and restore the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 13, 2013

Reflection for the Week- May 13th, 2013

Fiction making may not be self-deceptive. That which leads us outside ourselves is at least potentially informative about what is real and true. Taking a too direct view of who one is – gazing only at oneself – will inevitably be unhelpful. We have to be open to a long detour through signs, symbols, stories, and poems if we hope to arrive at a better understanding and explanation of who we are. But the other and nature also have to be recognized as realities that will confirm a necessary exteriority for recounting a life beyond the material, which is saturated with meaning that can often be expressed through the beauty of fiction.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 06, 2013

Reflection for the Week- May 6th, 2013

Breathing chaos at daybreak, an armor plated character stands on the horizon and releases fire into the air. Despite the remarkable complexity of dawn and the steely cold appearance of the figure, there is a masterful arrangement to the floating currents of warmth that emerge out of solid mass, and then settle into a new pattern of resilience. Forged in the mists of a winter night, a litany of movements stream out of this personal being and spiral towards a spring day in the material world; the made for love is transformed. Deftly engaged in producing life, the explosive miracle takes place yet again. And that which now flourishes, a blessing for a short time, will soon die.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 29, 2013

Reflection for the Week- April 29th, 2013

Unmasking and denouncing the fear of exposure is no doubt a step towards trust, but we rightly wrestle with ‘who’ is trustworthy – self, other, God. Surely this is not a venture for the uncritical, yet criticism is never an end in and of itself. Letting go of that which entangles us and moving into the laboratory of trust is a challenging task and a liberating joy that begins to diminish illegitimate coverings, while increasing appropriate disclosure.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 22, 2013

Reflection for the Week- April 22nd, 2013

Following in the footsteps of the Crucified and Risen One will sometimes carry with it a myriad of difficult consequences in this life. Recall one. As Jesus went into his home town and was amazed at the lack of faith that he found there, we too may encounter complications with the apparently faithless crowds that surround us. Moving ahead is hard in these circumstances, but necessary. We need courage and to not fear, for God is with us on the journey, even though it may appear to us at certain times, to be arduous and unproductive.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 15, 2013

Reflection for the Week- April 15th, 2013

Light is such an amazing phenomena, as it is so infused with a surplus of meaning, and therefore difficult to bring to closure. It appears, uncovers, and illumines, to mention just a few metaphors. In stories, Jesus is said to be the light of all people; to be the light that shines in the darkness. He also is recorded as saying: “I am the light of the world,” and that “when we love one another, we inhabit the light.” As I get older, I enjoy the testimony of John more and more. Metaphors and stories of light are indeed perplexing, but that is one of the reasons why they’re attractive. They open up the unseen, engage and surpass the darkness, and point us towards that which cannot be captured or owned.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 08, 2013

Reflection for the Week- April 8th, 2013

Christian truth is something like a complex web of fragile inter-related connections and relations that stretch, but do not break. When truth is pictured in such a reality-image, it allows us a flexibility to explore new possibilities without the fear that if we find more truth, everything we have previously embraced and believed will disintegrate. Not so. I would wager that during our journey some strands will come undone and have to be re-joined elsewhere, while others are going to be innovative and expand the web to another dimension, as it takes on greater intricacy, verve, and splendor.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 01, 2013

Reflection for the Week- April 1st, 2013

As Easter has just passed and we were more intentionally immersed in the death and resurrection of Christ, may this remarkable event and its significance remain with us in new and refreshing ways throughout the year. How grateful we can be that Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom of God , brought salvation to Israel and the world, was victorious over death through the resurrection, and opened the way into deep and everlasting community with God. On this basis, Easter is a daily affair that allows us to re-live the experience of our own release from captivity in Egypt ; our own exodus, which will take us through the Promised Land and eventually into a new heaven and earth.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 25, 2013

Reflection for the Week- March 25th, 2013

In the early part of the Genesis narrative, we read that God is the Creator of the world and present in it. Creation exists because this particular God created it. It has a sanctity, but not of its own. Creation, therefore, is special and central for many reasons, most notably because it is created with purpose and a divinely personal touch. We also read that there is a clear biblical mandate for respecting creation; caring for it based on God’s actions and enabling creation to fulfill its purpose of praising God. But the created is not God. The soil, sun and moon, animals, and humans are distinct from God. They are not divine. And God, who is Divine, is not some impersonal force or energy aligned with everything else, but a set-apart, personal God—one who relates, makes covenants, and speaks and acts within creation in an ongoing way. We should not think of God as caught up without restraint in the created world or exclusively identified by it. The Genesis God is the God who sees, names, replies to, and proclaims that what is created is good for its purpose. Thus, God is related to and distinct from creation. When Christians ignore either of these two truths, they do so at their own theological and spiritual peril.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 18, 2013

Reflection for the Week- March 18th, 2013

The New Testament clearly highlights that God is love and that Christians are to love God, themselves, and others. Being loved by God then is an invitation to love. Loving our neighbor as ourselves, loving our enemies, and loving strangers are actions that should identify us as lovers. In a quite stunning and remarkable manner therefore, God’s love for us opens up possibilities of having a greater love than could ever be the case otherwise.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 11, 2013

Reflection for the Week- March 11th, 2013

There is an acute and desperate need for creating genuine and authentic Christian communities. Churches exist in abundance, but many believers today are sitting on the sidelines about to give up on the faith, or abandoning the church altogether. Searching and perceptive Christians are becoming refugees in what should be the land of the living. When buildings, programs, and events are prioritized above people, we lose the path toward true love and community. In order to reverse our spiritual impoverishment, we need God’s help. It is imperative to move in new directions. Our churches ought to first be true communities. People are the priority. Hospitality, love, and forgiveness are to take precedence, and our communities should be places of alluring redemptive grace. Christian communities, therefore, are not to be “other-worldly,” but “this-worldly.” We are to be down-to-earth, sharing life together in real ways, being real people, and living in the real world. And Christ is to be Lord of it all.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 04, 2013

Reflection for the Week- March 4th, 2013

In some churches, people currently receive teaching about kingdom life, kingdom theology, kingdom prosperity, and so on. They learn that the Kingdom of God has already arrived in its fullness and everything is here for the taking. Other churches teach their congregations that the Kingdom of God is important, but not for this present life. These people are taught that the Kingdom of God has not yet arrived, but will at some point in the future. Still other churches completely ignore the Kingdom of God , attaching little or no importance to it whatsoever. All three of these orientations are unhelpful. Better to think of the Kingdom of God as a dynamic action and rule that includes God as Creator, God as love, God as judge, God as the covenant-making King of the universe and Israel . This reigning activity was manifested in the Messiah, the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, the church, redemption now, and ultimately final blessing and judgment on the coming day of Christ. The Kingdom of God , therefore, is to be understood as both already present and not yet complete. Churches that polarize, by teaching that the Kingdom of God is either already fully present, not yet present at all, or to be paid no attention to, fail to adequately represent this tensional perspective. An already/not yet tension is closer to biblical narrative, than a either/or resolution.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 25, 2013

Reflection for the Week- February 25th, 2013

Like razor wire slashing through flesh, many Christians and churches leave people spiritually lacerated. There seems to be no limits to the piercing levels of impoverishment, as Christianity slides towards dehumanization, theological irrelevance, and cultural isolation. Hidden comfortable idolatry vilifies integrity and credibility, and outright indifference to truth and reality shreds hearts and minds. When fine sounding soothing rhetoric and clever speech take charge, God’s place of radical dispute and testimony has been tarnished and stained. Reversal, with God’s help, has to start by dismantling the razor wire. Generating humanness, mercy, compassion, redemption, and love will be vital and significant steps towards severing that which kills, and bringing healing to the deep wounds that cut people off from life.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 18, 2013

Reflection for the Week- February 18th, 2013

To follow after Jesus is to first deny oneself. Self denial then is a denying of a particular self – a self centered self, a self sufficient self, a messiah making self, a selfish self: = a false self. This does not mean to become nothing, but it means to put one’s counterfeit self interests aside, especially with regard to messianic ideology, and to embrace the Other, namely God and then the things of God. Bogus imaginary constructs and unrealistic hopes can often turn us into our own messiah makers. Messiah making is a risky and dangerous enterprise and something that we can all tend to do in one way or the other. Better to discover and explore the steps of the Crucified and Risen One, which has the explosive potential of leading us in the direction of being true selves.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery
 

February 11, 2013

Reflection for the Week- February 11th, 2013

From my forthcoming book: Living Imagination. J-P. Sartre’s Nausea captures and exposes crucial issues concerning the real and the empty seduction of the unreal. Antoine, the book’s narrator, is left with a severe and devastating case of nausea – and nausea – and more nausea. Life is like that, but in his eyes at least it’s real. This bleak and haunting novel should cause us to reflect seriously on reality, the status of image, the notion of the real and unreal, and who we are in relation to both. The radical division, in Sartre’s view, between the real as perception and the unreal as imagination forces imagination to become more and more isolated and wholly beyond the real. As Antoine, who was left with the choice between living or telling, so also Sartre leaves us with the choice between real or imaginary nothing. According to Sartre, to enter into the imaginary is to de-realize oneself, while to enter the real is to realize oneself. Yet, we may question whether human experience, one of Sartre’s major interests, is ever so pristinely distinct, without at some point also being related. Perhaps, a more adequate view would be to see imagination and perception as related and distinct, with neither having, nor offering exclusive claims to the real, which is dependent on far more than what we imagine or perceive.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 04, 2013

Reflection for the Week- February 4th, 2013

Eyes burning and seared by the present views and circumstances of life blurs a passion for the possible of a different future, yet God has promised to renew the world and we must trust and act on his ability to do so. Learning to perceive the imprint of the future on the present is no easy task. We sometimes stray from the visionary and realistic, blindly immersed in the apparent unchanging status quo that only recycles everything into the same. Imaginary orientations rooted in God’s manifestations of hope, by contrast, open up and broaden our horizons toward change, and help us to look and see again.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 28, 2013

Reflection for the Week- January 28th, 2013

Sometimes we sense a loss of contact with God. We grope around in darkness longing for light and wander through the desert thirsting for a cup of water. When this happens we need to cling to God and his promises, to the truth that we are not on our own, and to the reality that we have a destiny of being transformed into the image of Christ.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 21, 2013

Reflection for the Week- January 21st, 2013

God, I’m giving you a chance to show up and be accounted for. I have not been the most careful in dealing with my financial responsibilities, so I would like you to provide a way for me to pay my bills. There is also the small matter of a new job, and not just any job, but direct me to the right job for me. Furthermore, my accommodation is no longer satisfactory, and I would like you to lead me into finding a place that’s more suitable for me. If you don’t take care of my needs now and give me something to go on, then you must not love me or be personally involved in my life.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 14, 2013

Reflection for the Week- January 14th, 2013

Mirrors reflect too clearly and thereby falsify who we are. Perhaps, a better indicator f identity would be a prism, which has the capacity to create something new out of something old. In a sense, this metaphor may be a theologically fitting one for what God is doing for us. Self re-imaging and re-shaping will never have much to do with a physical appearance, as they desperately require a reliable representative who is able to transform the seen into the real.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 07, 2013

Reflection for the Week- January 7th, 2013

Barriers to belief in God may plague us throughout our lives. Forgone solutions and conclusions will only increase our difficulties, instead of resolving them. After all, our access to the possible world of Eden is beyond reach and we are hampered by a real world inability to get outside of ourselves in order to have an ultimate vantage point that will put all the pieces in place. Since this is true, we are likely to experience times of struggle and questioning, which occur on different levels, but choosing an alternative of automatic pilot spirituality where everything makes sense is merely a foil for non-sense. There is no such thing. Thus, as we ramble through our days, sometimes villains or sometimes disciples, we don’t want to give in to the pressures of unbelief, as powerful as they may appear to be, for the roadblocks on the path can turn into signposts that point in the direction that belief in God is warranted and sensible in the midst of this wild, wonderful, and broken world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 24, 2012

Reflection for the Week- December 24th, 2012

I hope the 50 or so Reflections of the Week and other posts in 2012 have been helpful, challenging, and spiritually illuminating. A special thanks to you all for taking time to ponder the thoughts expressed here and for your support of my work. Be blessed in Christ this Christmas season.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 17, 2012

Reflection for the Week- December 17th, 2012

Someone mentioned: “I’m frustrated with what is often portrayed today as Christianity. There is so much that is trite and superficial, without any concern for depth and a connection between truth and love. How can we move in new directions?” My response to this was: “Seems to me, you should be frustrated. The current portrayal of the Christian faith, in many circles, is not only frustrating to you, but no doubt to God as well. From what I can tell, God doesn’t appear to endorse the shallow and trivial. If that’s the case, you’re right to protest, seek fresh insights, and a realistic credibility. God is on your side. What is passed off as ‘Christian’ today often goes against the very core of what it means to follow in the footsteps of Christ – the Crucified and Risen One. Somehow we’ve lost the vision that love and truth go together. To move in new directions it is imperative to understand that Christianity is about as deep as it gets. First and foremost it’s about being in community with God, through Christ, in the power of the Spirit, and being in community with the other – from there we are then called to live in love on the basis of the truth of redemption and forgiveness situated in the reality that the God of Scripture exists, has created this world, and sent Christ to restore it. There’s real depth here: deep love and deep truth, in contrast to the trite and superficial.”

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 10, 2012

Reflection for the Week- December 10th, 2012

To see the significance of Picasso attempting to paint a painting without any trace of Picasso in it should give rise thought. Could he do it? Was it possible for him to be so disengaged from the work that its meaning and interpretation would be entirely up to the viewer? Picasso, intriguingly, may have set out to accomplish this, but I would wager he failed. What he was attempting – a total distinction of the subject from the object – is a deceptive goal. Neutrality is not a plausible option for us, as intentionality is unrelenting. After all, being erased, unnoticed, excluded from participation would not be human. We are present, involved, leaving traces of ourselves in time. This truth amounts to the gift of a perspective of the world and humanity that shows us the subject and the object are commissioned to interact with each other. Meaning and interpretation, therefore, cannot ever be reduced to the viewer, as the painter always plays a role in what’s painted.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 03, 2012

Reflection for the Week- December 3rd, 2012

Memory bears the marks of time. We have such a fascinating potential of recognizing phenomena and then to be able to remember people, places and things related to it. Life, both consciously and unconsciously, is continually changing. It’s so saturated with texture and richness that our gaze can barely take small, but nevertheless significant pieces of it into our stories. We are both shaped by and shapers of each element and can marvel at our capacity to integrate this interaction in a coherent fashion that forges continuity with what has taken place previously. Remarkable. Telling memorable stories about what once was, is meeting the challenge of taking disparate parts and making them into a unified whole. The restoration of a faithful resemblance, however, will remain a fragile matter of trust and suspicion, as temptations to false testimonies plague us and seek to undermine the truthful ambition of memory in its reaching out and grasping the flow of life back when.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 26, 2012

Reflection for the Week- November 26th, 2012

A crucial theological question is central to spirituality. Our concern here is not with something that we feel or experience as “beyond” or “transcendent,” but with the issue of who is speaking and acting, who is calling, and who is addressing us. Of course, impersonal entities neither speak nor act, and if we have little or no accurate information about the referent of our spirituality, we should have some serious questions. A real and genuine spiritual connection, through the redemptive work of the crucified One to the personal God who is actually there, results in release from sin, a changed heart, and a transformed mind—life amidst the divine community. From Living Spirituality: Illuminating the Path.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 19, 2012

Reflection for the Week- November 19th, 2012

Christians all too often reject or ignore the material and physical, promoting a heaven like picture of reality that borders on idealism. Too much of an other worldly focus can lead to a denigration of our actions and relationships in this one. Surely, this is an inappropriate trajectory. Being re-directed towards what God has created and is out to renew will help us keep our feet on the ground and to be engaged with the matters at hand.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 12, 2012

Reflection for the Week- November 12th, 2012

God invites us out of the bomb shelter of safety and into the battle for life. Self protection, while appropriate in many circumstances, can be a one dimensional and destructive cycle that prevents us from encountering an-other. Depriving the other of oneself and guarding oneself from the other becomes deceptively secure within insecurity. Yep, secure in one’s own insecurity. Breaking down the walls of falsehood is a formidable task, but the call to relate and connect draws us into a world of reality, love, and truth that knows no end. Engage and choose life – it’s costly, but it’s worth it.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 05, 2012

Reflection for the Week- November 5th, 2012

The power of despair is highly significant and provocatively tempting. One of the realities we most desire – to be known – is what we tend to fear. Being known is a dangerous enterprise that challenges our control over ourselves and the other. The risk factor appears so momentous, we retreat and dare not expose who we are. De-relationship though brings us further and further into deception. This direction is often embraced because we assume it’s safer to be unrelated than it is to connect with the other. Better to deprive ourselves, before we allow anyone else to do it to us. But this is one of the worst forms of attempting to be a self that will ever come across our paths, as it will only produce death. A turn towards an-other, however, while it will no doubt be a challenge, has the possibility of generating life, since life is deeply rooted in real relationships with all their perils and joys.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 29, 2012

Reflection for the Week- October 29th, 2012

A Christian view of spirituality affirms the truth that there is a creational spirituality. That is, the created world is a world that we are to explore, care for, and sustain as stewards of what has been made. Living and true spirituality does not reject the material world, but engages it in service of God. We are, therefore, to imaginatively participate in the earthly and contribute to bringing goodness to all areas of life. As God has not left creation or humans to desolation, decay, or ultimate death, neither should we consent to dying forms of spirituality that have no capacity to redeem and renew the created.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 22, 2012

Reflection for the Week- October 22nd, 2012

The aim of the Christian life is not to spend enormous amounts of time and energy trying to figure out how and when God answers prayer, especially “for me,” but to love God, follow in the footsteps of Christ, love others, and to be and do this in the power of the Spirit. It seems likely that God responds to prayer in accordance with his Kingdom purposes – not offering parking places closer to the mall or providing special effects in the sky on an afternoon walk, especially “for me.” God, in my modest estimation, is not doing everything in micro-managing the world on my behalf, nor is God on stand-by doing nothing at all in response to prayer. If that’s the case, the line of Divine action is not fixed, but is a moving dynamic that has the capacity bring about God’s purposes through the very guts of the material world that God has caused to exist in the first place. How and when that happens, it seems, will remain a mystery that goes beyond human representation.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 15, 2012

Reflection for the Week- October 15th, 2012

Unfortunately, in our context today, the defense of the gospel all too often becomes a matter of self-interest, which is akin to defending one’s own position at all costs. In this scenario, there is little or no understanding of or openness to pertinent questions that may undermine what is so tenaciously held on to, and different interpretations of the biblical text and natural world are ignored or dismissed without serious consideration. Empty heads are assumed to equate full hearts, but in my assessment this configuration is more likely to be an “apologetics of the uninformed self,” which tends to hold sway in many evangelical type circles and amounts to the blind leading the blind. Challenge and engagement are the new directions for apologetics, as our credibility and integrity are on the line in a culture that is fast becoming post-Christian.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 08, 2012

Reflection for the Week- October 8th, 2012

The force of various biblical genres such as narrative, prophecy, letter, hymn, law, and wisdom is that each offers a unique way of perceiving God and reality, which in turn form a hermeneutic of ‘contact’ that names God, though not in a comprehensive manner. This intertextual ‘contact’ framing requires a dialogical orientation between one genre and another, while at the same time it presents significant, though worthwhile challenges to the formulation of an integrated perspective. ‘Contact’ opens up possibilities for a wide and imaginative trajectory of interpretation, as it turns out that God and reality are always more than any single textual representation can offer.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 01, 2012

Reflection for the Week- October 1st, 2012

Many chemical companies and drug manufacturers couldn’t give a rip about us. They’re in it, bottom line, for the money. The logic probably runs something like this. “We’ll make more millions by selling this crap before it’s found out to be toxic, than we’ll ever be fined for producing pollution, suffering, and death. Go for it.” Indeed, while this idol of wealth cunningly operates behind the closed doors of power and in the hidden halls of greed, we’re fed the worthless public rhetoric that a concern for humanity and for the environment are at the heart of corporate efforts to make the world a better place. Beware! Evil does not go unseen or unaccounted for.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 24, 2012

Reflection for the Week- September 24th, 2012

When it comes to the discernment of diversion from the gospel, we require a fine balance between trust and suspicion; trusting trust and suspicion and being suspicious of trust and suspicion, in relationship to the referents for both. Cunning rhetoric and lofty speech are powerful players that can divert believers’ attention from sincere devotion to Christ. To receive someone’s words is therefore a continual challenge; a task and a joy. We want to be listening carefully, as there are multitudes of ways in which people portray the gospel; health, wealth, and consumerism being just three of a diversity of bogus representations that are set in place as substitutes for the real thing. Let’s face it, in our day and age, gospel can mean just about anything people want it to, unless it is diligently described and its sense and referent tracked by careful research and study of the biblical text.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 17, 2012

Reflection for the Week- September 17th, 2012

Sunrises and sunsets are filled with beauty. When we perceive the reds, blues, and oranges, we’re struck to the core and feelings of awe and wonder majestically flow through us. At the same time, these natural world phenomena are connected to the mechanism of the earth turning round the sun. Such pictures of reality are composed of these two dimensions and much, much more. Sometimes we will want to have a greater focus on one aspect and at different times, the other, but if we attempt to live off mechanism or feelings alone, we will surely die. Intriguingly, in this sense, the complexity and integration of reality promotes life and having it more fully. In something of a mysterious way, we’re tethered to reality, yet reality is tethered to us. 

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 10, 2012

Reflection for the Week- September 10th, 2012

Betrayal and rejection in the face of love is an awful thing. My wager is that, if and when this horrific experience happens to us, it is also in tears, one of the unenviable ways we are closest to God.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 03, 2012

Reflection for the Week- September 3rd, 2012

Looking for contact with God can sometimes seem to be an arduous task. Often we expect something direct – a clear pathway opening up between God and us, like the wrestling Jacob, the law receiving Moses, or the barren Sarah, yet are disappointed when this does not usually take place. Perhaps, our vision would improve if we begin to reflect on the indirect ways in which God, through nature, the trustworthy other, and Scripture, can likely create conduits that contribute to bridging the distance that we may be experiencing. Being attuned to the manifestation of God through these configurations opens us up to new ways of seeing and perceiving the multifarious touching points between us and the great and mysterious I Am.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 27, 2012

Reflection for the Week- August 27th, 2012

Breaking through the complex web of lies and distortions is a monumental task that may take someone years to accomplish. Surely, after many failed attempts to save one’s self, it becomes all too painfully clear that we mess up our own and the lives of others in the charade. But it may take time, so much time, to begin to admit and accept this truth. Somehow the false is a power structure that cycles and recycles through us again and again, leaving us debilitatingly safe, yet deceived. Self-deception is one of the major defeater’s that covers and closes us into a shroud of secrecy. Uncovering and openness, however, become the way ahead for a new depiction of being and doing, which are ultimately rooted in the reality that what we so desperately need is a redemption that comes to us as an invitation from the Sacred One.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 20, 2012

Reflection for the Week- August 20th, 2012

The patron saints of reductionism and polarization in contemporary Christian thought frequently dominate disputes over language, philosophy, theology, and interpretation. Let’s move in a different direction. We want to be part of communities that establish a space for dialogue, mediate one-sided extremes, and offer a hermeneutic of relation and distinction rooted in love, which depicts a new vision for engaging with these contested issues. It’s time to be challenging and insightful, opening up possibilities that invoke a perceptive wisdom going beyond modernist and postmodernist perspectives, affirming the tension-filled and organic character of Christian truth.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 13, 2012

Reflection for the Week- August 13th, 2012

Wisdom emerges in our lives slowly and sometimes painfully. It invites reflection, question, and struggle. It covers everything from advice on how to take care of daily tasks, to the absurdity of them all. For true wisdom relates to living spirituality as it deals with facing life in all its ups and downs. God graciously meets us through living, as we shape the contours of daily routines and choices, so that we might learn to wisely follow the path to life and goodness. The fear (awe, reverence) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. This saying targets a two-dimensional reality: wisdom as internal; focused on the individual who be’s and do’s, and as external; situated in a variety of social contexts in the world. Life is to be filled with the gift of the wisdom of God, which applies to the whole of human activity, as we forge ahead on the journey towards our destiny.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 06, 2012

Reflection for the Week- August 6th, 2012

Relational break ups and downs destroy both the strong and the weak. Devastating losses accumulate over the years and attempt to numb us and rip us apart. Left in bitterness and despair, we weep over what once was and what could have been, but now is not. This being driven to tears though, slices through to the core, and can open a space for hope. Yet, such a hope passes through a sharp knife that cuts the throat of the lamb, spilling blood everywhere over everyone, presenting us with the problematic of a choice.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 30, 2012

Reflection for the Week- July 30th, 2012

One of the most significant questions we all face is – how can we be a ‘real’ self in the midst of the strong and influential currents of the modern and post-modern world? It seems evident that we all exist in time and story, so we are neither entirely transparent, nor completely opaque to ourselves. Unfortunately, our legitimate fears of being deceived may lead us to trust and embrace the ultimate authority self of modernity or the lost and alienated self of post-modernity, instead of finding a mediated place and space to be and be with others. The old modernist perspective that there are only facts and the new post-modern one that there are no facts only interpretations leaves us in the quandary of being either masters or slaves. In a diversity of ways, neither of these options fit, as they represent unrealistic polarizations, which by the way are always enticing, yet dangerously flawed. Let’s say a better formulation would be something like, there are only interpreted facts, as far as we know. This calls for a worldview of subjective objectivity, which allows us to know something of ourselves and reality. If this is the case, it means we will always be situated selves, but in seeing this we will find there is an open possibility for a trust in the Infinite One, who will not deceive and who frees us to be real. God’s gracious offer of creation, redemption, and new creation invite us to be truer selves, as we begin to live in his picture of trust and suspicion and his economy of exchange and gift. As a result, we will need God’s wisdom to help us have a clearer picture of who we are in the context and framework of a given life that is beyond us to control or define.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 23, 2012

Reflection for the Week- July 23rd, 2012

As the famous French philosopher Albert Camus once commented: ‘the meaning of life is the most urgent of questions.’ Taking Camus seriously, there seems little doubt that we are fragile agents in time and story, groping for a picture of our lives that makes sense. Our plots may include shifting dimensions of hurt, suffering, despair, and healing, joy, and health, but these very spheres of our narratives leave us in a world that’s way too small. Faced with continually discovering that we are not able to emplot a self-determined existence, we stumble along and are forced to ask this burning question again and again. The truth is there is far more to the meaning of life than our present circumstances may be able to recount. Surely, in some areas this is widely accepted, but just as surely in others it is not. There are many instances where we readily acknowledge there is more, while in some situations we still tenaciously grasp at the illusive power of being the ultimate authority. Thus, we all too often continue to demand to tell the key parts of the story our own way, but in attempting to do so, this simply leaves us short of meaning that is sufficiently able to address and cohere with a world that is not of our own making. Following on from this, we begin to recognize the need for a bigger story – the biblical mega narrative – which appears on the horizon, not as a totalizing account, but as a meaning-full telling with the force of explanation and new understanding that takes us to the limit.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 16, 2012

Reflection for the Week- July 16th, 2012

We are invited to be wary of self-deception, fiction making, power plays, exploitation, and control tendencies that inevitably result in us making it up as we go along, and which will only lead us into the landscape of hopelessness and despair. A God focused holistic hope, by contrast, pertains to self, other, world and the destinies attached to each. Self = a new self being transformed into the image of Christ – the other = a person loved by God and one who has weight concerning who one’s own self is; oneself as another – the world = a redeemed and renewed planet breaking away from all that is not good. Such a trinity of destinies is breathtaking in its features and scope, in that it is sacrificially offered by the Divine One, who encourages us to be released from competing networks of manipulative interests, since this spewed out grace, which infuses us with new identities, illustrates a redemptive trajectory that inaugurates a dwelling place in his space.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 09, 2012

Reflection for the Week- July 9th, 2012

Renewed and being renewed selves are to be saturated in hope. This hope is best pictured as a virtue – a good character trait, made possible by God’s grace – the key that unlocks the direction towards that which is worthy of hope. Feelings of hope may be valid, but they must undergo a dialogue with the notions of trust and suspicion, in order to evaluate their referents. But even when feelings of hope are considered trustworthy, they are not to be embraced as ends in and of themselves. This happens to be the case, because hope is more than feelings. Hope reflects, therefore, a deliberate way of viewing life and destiny that translates into a state of being, which promotes a holistic configuration of selfhood and a confident looking forward to all that’s good.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 02, 2012

Reflection for the Week- July 2nd, 2012

Receiving the gift of a new self, anchored in a Divine call from beyond and a Christo-redemptive act from within, deconstructs manipulative power and conniving selfishness, setting us on the path to life with all its detours and complexities. The vistas opened up along the journey are breathtaking, as God’s promises for the past, present, and future begin come into focus and to coalesce in our lives. As a result of this reality taking place, novel ways of seeing, being, and living sear the landscape of the whole of who we are, encouraging us to begin to let go of self-defeating strategies of control and exploitation, and to embrace God’s project of genuine love that is out transform us and the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 25, 2012

Reflection for the Week- June 25th, 2012

Proof-texting – taking a verse here and there from the Bible – can be a dangerous enterprise when it comes to understanding God, self, other, and world. Random reading leaves too much to chance. No doubt sometimes God can use his word in this very selective sort of way, but most of the time if we want to understand better, we need to be informed about the historical, theological, and literary context of a passage before assuming that it is speaking directly to and for us. Surely, this more careful approach is part of what it means to hold a high view of Scripture and to honor God and his revelation.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 18, 2012

Reflection for the Week- June 18th, 2012

There are at least two ways a crisis of hope may express itself. First, pessimism: cynicism overtakes us and we decide to take matters into our own hands. Second, optimism: naïve idealism saturates us and we decide that God will resolve it all for us. Neither of these false options has much to do with Living Spirituality and both will leave us empty. Yet we may tend to spend significant amounts of time and energy floating from pessimism to optimism and back, attempting to solidify and barricade ourselves in one unlivable perspective or the other. Life with God is never this simple, as it will challenge these tendencies and in so doing refigure the false options into growing opportunities for a realistic hope, engaging in community with God, others, and the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 11, 2012

Reflection for the Week- June 11th, 2012

A crucial theological question is central to spirituality. Is anyone there? Our concern here is not with something that we merely feel or experience as “beyond” or “transcendent,” but with the issue of who is speaking and acting, who is calling, and who is addressing us. Of course, impersonal entities neither speak nor act, and if we have little or no accurate information about the referent of our spirituality, we should have some serious reservations concerning its viability. A real and genuine spiritual connection to the One who is there, through the redemptive work of the crucified and risen Christ, gives access to the personal God who is actually there beyond me. This union results in a release from sin, a changed heart, and a transformed mind—life amidst divine community, towards the other, and in the world. From my book Living Spirituality: Illuminating the Path.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 04, 2012

Reflection for the Week- June 4th, 2012

The desperate search for who I am often appears to lead to a dead end. Faced with no future, the failure of the past, and the suspicion of the present, selfhood is a question without an answer. When the self-centered ultimate authority self or the self-decentered entrapped reduced self collapse, drifting begins to emerge as our only option. The supposed inaccessibility to knowledge and truth, portrayed today as merely subjective forays in the dark, plays into this and tends to leave us without a place to be. Selfhood is stranded, seeking someone or something to be with and belong to. But God’s love generates the possibility of welcome and embrace, inviting us into community; a space to be in and with, which is deeply connected to the power to forgo the self-centered and decentered selves and to be caught up in being recentered, through redemption and the gift of a new self.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 28, 2012

Reflection for the Week- May 21st, 2012

Christians are taught to find themselves or to find God. This is an inadequate way of teaching what is true. In actuality, we have a deep need to find both God and ourselves. Questions about who I am and why I am should not and cannot be ignored, yet in order to discover answers to these important matters, we can only go so far without also asking who God is. Being attentive to finding both God and ourselves reaches a meeting point— a symbiotic configuration that has the capacity to and is a catalyst for putting each in its dynamically appropriate place.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 21, 2012

Reflection for the Week- May 21st, 2012

Quitting church is reaching epidemic proportions. Caught in the vice between those who exchange the gospel for a social code and those who market it as a consumer product, streams of people are flowing out of churches. From what I can tell many of them long for God, love, truth, credibility, justice, and redemption, but are disappointed with what the church is offering. Bagels and coffee, and promises of health and wealth are limited and breaking down. Thus, today’s pseudo–gospel is having less and less traction and for this we should rejoice. Yet, the fallout is serious, in that the legitimate questions people are asking are not being addressed, nor are these folk being provided with a place to dwell, which has more to do with living spirituality, than merely finding a geographical home. Rich and diverse gospel centered communities are essential to renew and redo the faith in what appears to be the demise of what has been known as church for all too long. 

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 14, 2012

Reflection for the Week- May 14th, 2012

Living spiritually is enhanced and enriched through the Psalms and their frequent affirmations of and appeals to God’s covenant loyalty. Many of these writings, however, may shock us with their realism. In the midst of our sometimes automatic pilot spirituality, where everything is supposedly bright and happy, some of the Psalms remind us that community with God and the path to life are far from straight forward. There is and will be brokenness, mystery, dark times, judgment, desperate searching, and much more. Though these circumstances frequently lead to illumination and new understanding, arriving there means going through—not taking a detour around—facets of spirituality that may not fit our desired schemes, notions, and expectations of God. The path may become difficult and the destination may seem far away, but God is faithful to lead us forward. The Psalms are a richly textured slice of life with God, and they offer us revelatory insights into humanness and living spirituality. From my Living Spirituality: Illuminating the Path.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 07, 2012

Reflection for the Week- May 7th, 2012

God has given us precious creational and salvific rhythms to live. Order and beauty shape and frame the world, while the death and resurrection of Christ extends reality and brings it into an entirely new dimension. These rhythms shake, rattle, and roll us off our seats and in so doing invite us to take part in the groove. Imagine dancing to God’s rhythms and learning to keep time with his beat. Join in the Divine concert. Get the rhythms, get the rhythms, get the rhythms and gooo! Get the rhythms, get the rhythms, get the rhythms and gooooo!

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 30, 2012

Reflection for the Week- April 30th, 2012

Western culture is saturated with idols. In our context, there’s no need for pagan temples or shrines to promote idolatry. Money, possessions, sex, the human image, and so forth are constantly dangled before us with the persuasive message – “you and what you have is what it’s all about.” Idolatry may portray itself as subtle, but it has radical implications for what and who we worship and value. There’s no place for being naive on this subject. Be aware, cautious, and critical, as the asymmetry between the living God of Scripture as Creator of the world and lifeless idols couldn’t be more sweeping and thorough. The total incompatibility here is vast and unbridgeable, which should give rise to careful thought about the risk of losing the reality of who we are and the presence of the God to whom we belong.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 23, 2012

Reflection for the Week- April 23rd, 2012

As readers of the Genesis creation accounts today we must realize that we are foreigners to the text and its ancient Near Eastern context, which strikes as strange and unfamiliar, yet we are not excluded from engaging with its God, time, narration, and drama in a somewhat recognizable pattern. Refigured lives then become a real possibility for those readers who are grafted into the revelatory story of God’s sculpting in time, both through creation and the ever-present redemptive outpouring of love in Christ, which graciously offers us a place and a role on the stage of the cosmic drama still in progress. This poetic and theologically-loaded biblical world production not only includes a narrative concordance that supersedes discordance with respect to time or changing portraits of the actual world, but it also proclaims that life triumphs over death and will continue to do so throughout God’s ongoing story.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 16, 2012

Reflection for the Week- April 16th, 2012

God's way of reconciliation is configured in the death of the Crucified One, which results in not reckoning people's sins against them. God has done everything that there is to be done from his side in order for us to be reconciled. This "logos" of reconciliation has been downloaded into new covenant, which through God's initiation, is written on human hearts and not tablets of stone. But the absolutely massive context for all this is God’s reconciling the world to himself in Christ. God’s story is big – a mega-narrative going far beyond personal individualistic salvation, culminating in a new heaven and earth. If God is reconciling the world to himself in Christ, we are to be ambassadors of this reconciliation, as those through whom God makes his appeal to others.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 09, 2012

Reflection for the Week- April 9th, 2012

Life often appears to be like a flickering candle flame, dancing in the textured and stark shadows of nightfall’s gentle breeze. In spite of our frailty, uncertain existence, and fear of being extinguished, the resurrection of Christ gives us great hope for victory over death. Practicing resurrection is being a new creation and embracing ordinary and everyday matters of humanness, while seeking to live a spiritual life aligned with our destiny.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 02, 2012

Reflection for the Week- April 2nd, 2012

The wisdom of God consists of God’s plans for the world, including the past (creation), the present (everyday life), and the future (new heaven and earth). The details of the present find their meaning in the whole, which unfolds as past and is projected as future. It’s not as if this wisdom for us can be put in a plastic container and stored away for safe keeping. Wisdom is too big and too explosive for that. First and foremost it is as treasure given to fragile human beings who are to pass it on in various ways. Thus, the wisdom of God can never remain a matter of simple reception or possession. It must be acted on and flow into all areas of life. No doubt this action will be, at times, challenging, difficult, and costly, as it was in the stories of our predecessors Job and Qohelet, but following wisdom will lead us onto the path of life and help keep our footsteps moving in the right direction.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 26, 2012

Reflection for the Week- March 26th, 2012

We are increasingly facing uncertain times today. As natural disasters, financial chaos, and unprecedented tragedies proliferate, please pray for all those who are suffering. Pray that relief efforts would actually be able to get to the people in need and that the power and truth of the gospel forges its way into all the earth. Yet, remember that we have a significant part to play in God’s unfolding drama of his mission to humanity and the world. Seeing ourselves with others as part of this dramatic story is imaginative, challenging, and rich. May God help us to be presently living in the light of the return of Christ, so that our actions towards social, political, and ethical transformation will gain credibility, as we await the redeemer who will renew all things.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 19, 2012

Reflection for the Week- March 19th, 2012

Capital ‘I’, the attempt to be our own ultimate authority, is often thought to only be an expression of “I know it all.” But this is not true. The claim “I know nothing” is equally a declaration of capital ‘ I. ’ Let’s take another matter. Capital ‘I’ is not just “I’m the best” but also “I’m the worst” or “I’m important” but also ‘I’m worthless.” Christians are called to die to self, but the question remains, which self. Self-dying is a death to capital ‘I’, to a false self, not a denigrating of self, who is an image of God. What is essential is the continual giving up of the ways of self-mastery, self-authority, self-centeredness, and self-determination, rather than embracing how incredible or awful we think we are. There is only one you and that’s who God loves and wants to redeem from attempts to be capital ‘I’ in all its deceptive forms.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 12, 2012

Reflection for the Week- March 12th, 2012

Imaginative variations challenge us to be attuned to the poetry and art of life. In contrast to the pervasive and impoverished mantra of being uninterested in a disenchanted world, poetry and art raise the screen and open us up to the possibility of a re-enchantment. Ironically, or better perhaps strikingly, poetry and art dominate the landscape of the mega narrative of Scripture. The Bible is so full of art and poetry that the meaning of its words could never be contained in-between the covers of a book. The beautiful, yet fragile treasure of art and poetry, and their capacity for creativity and critique in describing God and the world, give us living formulations that re-ignite a sphere of the sacred and a space for the spiritual, which are all too often today buried under the technological evolution of a de-natured naturalism. Poetry and art take us far beyond passive contemplation of the pleasing and aim to fit us for faithful action and engagement with the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 05, 2012

Reflection for the Week- March 5th, 2012

Cherishing a moment in the mist filled gentle breeze refreshes and awakens the spirit to wisdom. Take the time to be swept away with the clouds, to ride on the stars, and to rise and set with the sun. The striking power and order of creation is so often missed today, as we distract ourselves to death with gadgets and gimmicks. Losing touch with the natural reality that surrounds us, intimidates us, and that allows us to carry on is sheer folly. The heart of wisdom beats in the Infinite One, who through it laid the foundations of the earth and set the heavens in place. Wisdom calls out - follow the path that leads to the tree of life – embrace it, as those who do are indeed fortunate.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 27, 2012

Reflection for the Week- February 27th, 2012

There is much gloom and darkness in the world and ourselves. Superficial gimmicks, legalistic devices, political treaties, new economic policies, and even one world government will not stem the tide. Scriptured voices point to the light, but the night is long and sometimes seems endless. Prophets, psalmists, artists, and poets arise. Help us break through the masquerade and tell the story again about the way it really is. In the midst of denouncing this dark tragedy, there is a call to joy and hope, as God has not forgotten his people, redemption is already in action, and someday there will only be light.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 20, 2012

Reflection for the Week- February 20th, 2012

We live and die in the midst of brokenness and beauty. They both engage us deeply in an insightful and real truth. Why? Life is like this. Our world and our lives, as it were, are cut in two. This tension permeates creation and us. Looking outside and then inside reminds us that this is the way it is. Sometimes there’s a dirge and sometimes there’s a praise, yet both are woven together and one never effaces the other. Faced with this reality, we long for redemption and the gift of resolution, where brokenness is absolved and beauty alone remains. 

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 13, 2012

Reflection for the Week- February 13th, 2012

Living in a world of wonder, exchanged for profit and greed, invites a sense anger. Woe to those who strip the earth of its glory, rob people of their dignity, and propagate darkness. If ever there was a time for re-making a world and a worldview in light of the Infinite, it is now. Proclaiming lament and hope are a beginning, but they have to translate into a polyphony of actions that will make a contribution to change for the sake of a just mercy. When we make a pledge to radically reject the forces of materialism, our commitment will no doubt transform us into exiles from that vast network of betrayal and oppression, as it attempts to parasitically reign over all that is.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 06, 2012

Reflection for the Week- February 6th, 2012

Displaced and dislocated. Wandering. Home has drifted away, as quickly as the raging wind sweeping over the glacial, barren, white landscape. Shelter has vanished. Still hoping all is well, - but no, no it’s not. Pain seeps uncontrollably through flesh and bones, leaving a fractured heart. This sense of loss runs deep within and shakes the confines of self. Being home-loss is not supposed to happen – broken home is a betrayal and a love-less pseudo reality that devastates the very guts of who we are. Crying for home, tears of sorrow flood the eyes. How we long for a homecoming, not so much as merely a space, though that’s important, but as a community of trust, acceptance, grace, and love, which is offered first and foremost by the audacious trio of the Infinite. When this reality becomes our address, liberated and transformed memories now surpass the treacherous debris of disruption and defeat, as being at home will begin to heal our wounds, to reset our hearts, and to grant us a place to dwell.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 30, 2012

Reflection for the Week- January 30th, 2012

Pseudo-gospel babblers in church and culture are taking all too many for a ride to nowhere. Practioners of the real call to good news will want to voice care and concern for those trapped in the fake and dubious, while being aware of the risk of blending into the flow non-sense. If ever there was a time for compassionate confrontation, it is now. There is a desperate need for spiritual wisdom and the force of a hermeneutics of trust and suspicion in knowing how to live the truth in love in the world of increasing hype and spin. Presenting a cutting edge message and an engaging faith will testify to the credibility of this prophetic invitation and to entering a destiny that ends where it all began.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 23, 2012

Reflection for the Week- January 23rd, 2012

The real problem for philosophy remains, as it has been throughout time, subjectivity, not objectivity.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 16, 2012

Reflection for the Week- January 16th, 2012

A post post-modern malaise permeates the cultural landscape. Political deceit, economic oppression, and social blindness are gaining ground. While the O(other) was of momentary curiosity, the play now goes on and the discourse of a secular kingdom, demeans what it seeks to enthrone. When beauty is exchanged for debauchery and love for possession, it becomes more than difficult to find our way, since the very fabric of what can release us lies deeply buried under the artifacts of self-interest.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 09, 2012

Reflection for the Week- January 9th, 2012

Drifting away into arctic waters, our hearts and minds slip into glacial uncharted seas. The cold seems as unbearable, as does the lack of direction. Gasps of warmth dissipate and the compass freezes. To be chilled and lost leaves deep traces of disenchantment, piercing flesh and spirit. In the midst of shivers and aimless floating, a gradual but bold divine touch adds renewed substance and clarity to the mission of love, which offers tenderness and an itinerary for shelter to the salvaged.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 02, 2012

Reflection for the Week- January 2nd, 2012

Walking through the shadows of death is a lifelong journey. As we ramble along, there will be struggles to find the way. The promise of God in Christ is light, a piercing and revealing action that illuminates the path, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, who will not lead us in a false or dubious direction: life is our destiny. This two-fold covenant blessing ensures us that we are not left to merely our own devices for developing deeper community with God, self, other, and world, even when foreboding silhouettes shroud our every step.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 26, 2011

Reflection for the Week- December 26th, 2011

I hope the 50 or so Reflections of the Week and other posts this year have been helpful, challenging, and spiritually illuminating. A special thanks to you for taking time to ponder the thoughts expressed here, make comments, and support this blog. Every blessing in Christ to you all this Christmas season.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 19, 2011

Reflection for the Week- December 19th, 2011

Deeply engraved with complexity and mysteriously forged by extravagance, the drama of the biblical and natural world informers presents significant challenges for readers, taking us to the limits of imagination. Pushing reality to the edges raises questions and issues that mustn’t be ignored. To take each informer seriously means being open to learning and embracing truth wherever it is to be found.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 12, 2011

Reflection for the Week- December 12th, 2011

Intentionality is a moveable key to fidelity and commitment. Pledging ourselves to God and the other therefore far surpasses any form of self-constancy with its desperate staticity and facile regulation of obstacles and problems. Placing inertia, mired in stoicism over changing desire and challenging risk, will decrease our capacity to be ‘available.’ Autonomous selves are an untruthful fiction, yet so frequently a pretension embraced by people today. Shattering self-constancy brings release from falsehood and ‘availability’ opens us up to a true dialogue with the O(o)ther to whom an obligation is owed. Keeping promises is just and being intentional in motion. Not keeping promises is unjust and it betrays both self and O(o)ther.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 05, 2011

Reflection for the Week- December 5th, 2011

Tragic wisdom and practical wisdom are related and distinct. They are related as to wisdom of action, but distinct in the sense that the tragic creates difficult tensions and irresolvable problems. Tragedy disorients action, yet practice becomes the best response of reorientation to the inevitable place of lament. The itinerary of reconciliation – a poetics of wisdom – avoids both univocity and arbitrariness and charts a course through the maze of life’s conflicts, offering a transition from catharsis to conviction, which is rooted in a meditation on the cross and the mediation of the incarnation and resurrection.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 28, 2011

Reflection for the Week- November 28th, 2011

Awakening to a balmy sky, as glimmering vistas escape into clouds and mist, creates a sense of the slippage and eventual loss of time. Eternity beckons, but only for a lingering moment and then its gone. Caught up into the chaos of the here and now blurs vision and devises its own way of seeing the invisible, while forever becomes ungraspable by the rhythm of a blinking eye.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 21, 2011

Reflection for the Week- November 21st, 2011

Broken promises and betrayals of trust leave deep wounds in our flesh and bones. Fear and suspicion then become our primary skills in coping with scar tissue, which leaves its mark in the memory of our being. Yet the call to imagine again draws us out and past our ways of survival, transforming what had become essential into that which is merely secondary.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 14, 2011

Reflection for the Week- November 14th, 2011

Jesus calls his followers to have faith, as he himself does, in God. There is so much in and around us that lures us into a false sense of hope and security, while having faith in God is a challenge filled with tension leading us into the pathway of life. Jesus, therefore, does not merely want to cleanse us of the idols in our lives, but like the image of the fig tree, he wants to destroy them from the roots to the leaves, as a pre-figuring of the judgment of God on all that is false Purging our deep attachments to the unholy and cutting away our meta-religious god identifications will no doubt be an uncomfortable operation that takes place over the course of time, yet this liberation is crucial for developing a radical and uncompromising trust, which Jesus himself exemplifies with: Have faith in God.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 07, 2011

Reflection for the Week- November 7th, 2011

In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself. God has declared, through Christ and the arrival of the New Covenant, that he no longer counts sins against us. This act and message of reconciliation is handed over to God’s people, so that they might become ambassadors of Christ and the righteousness of God, announcing and living his settlement for all to hear and see. Stunning! A heavy responsibility, but as we work together with God let’s do our utmost not to accept his grace in vain, nor in the mission of reconciliation to set obstacles in anyone’s way.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 31, 2011

Reflection for the Week- October 31st, 2011

When we lose the ability to understand that centaurs and dragons are more real than technology and mechanics, we’re in deep trouble. Impoverished imaginations create unfaith and a loss of meaning, neither of which have anything to do with following in the footsteps of the Crucified and Risen One. An enlightened biblically shaped and Christ focused imagination will be attuned to the interpretive space of dialogue with symbol and story, which eloquently heighten and enrich meaning as an augmentation of reality that is now able to be understood, yet remains inexhaustible – there is always more to be imagined, found out, and discovered.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 24, 2011

Reflection for the Week- October 24th, 2011

Sometimes it seems our lives are going so well – at least no disasters or catastrophes – yet our faith is waning and losing traction. Where’s God and where are we in the story line? The continuity and repetition of daily life appears to go on and on with no resolve, and this can weigh heavily upon us. We want to know where and when it’s all going to come down. But what beginnings there must have been some many, many years ago as God spoke to fill the starry sky and shape a barren earth, and what endings there will be perhaps many, many years from now as God dwells with his people. The story of commencement and ending in the biblical text gives a sense of direction for our lives that in spite of an ongoing now or the cessation of an individual existence, promotes the notion that life as we know it will not continue ad infinitum, but there will be a change – a present and future transformation – that is to be fully realized in the consummation of the coming Kingdom of God, which will bring renewal.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 17, 2011

Reflection for the Week- October 17th, 2011

If we are to find out who we are and what to do, we have to be willing to consider what story we are part of. Being situated in the Christian story of God’s mission to humanity and the world translates into living in Christ like ways – costly love will hopefully begin to shape and identify who we are and what we do. While this being and doing is never perfect, there should be a marked sensitivity towards dispensing grace to the stranger, the weak, the disenfranchised – victims of the economic, religious, and social meltdown of the early twenty-first century. The failure of Christians to recognize what story we are part of will result in our leaving people ungraced and history will not forget our hardness and lack of hospitality during these shattered years, and our selfishness will not go unnoticed and unmarked in the flow of time.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 10, 2011

Reflection for the Week- October 10th, 2011

Slick apologetics attempts to offer fast and easy answers to serious questions. If you’ve got a question, SA will make sure to give you an answer. This tactic is most unfortunate, if not deceptive. Driven by the disguise of “having it all together,” this type of apologetic endeavor will ultimately fail to convince, and do more damage than good. People, when they find out the strategy of contrived answers is bogus, being exposed for its lack of integrity, will turn away and go in the opposite direction of the faith that has been so ineffectually defended. There are some questions that simply cannot be answered, which is not to say there are not appropriate answers to honest questions. Apologetics that seeks to have it all is an apologetics without love. Loving apologetics deals with real people and actual life settings, admitting to uncertainties and dilemmas that do not detract from, but enrich the Christian faith.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 03, 2011

Reflection for the Week- October 3rd, 2011

The failure of the grand narrative of modernity – achieving it all – absolutism, progress, reason, – is shattered. Its replacement is the master narrative of post-modernity – achieving nothing – relativism, consummation, contradiction. The former attempted to construct a unified story for all humanity, while the latter left behind shards, fragments, and sub-plots with no beginning or end. Unfortunately, many Christians have bought into one or the other of these story lines and uncritically woven it into the biblical faith. Moving away from the power schemes of modern or post-modern meta-narratives is an essential task for believers, if we are to be able to present the gospel in a credible and persuasive manner to a world that has lost its way.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 26, 2011

Reflection for the Week- September 26th, 2011

Superficial and agenda driven readings of the Bible plague the church. Too many readers make up their own meanings as they go along, showing little concern for the orientation of the text. Instead of paying close attention to author and context, there is a tendency to drift from one passage to another in hope of a jolt for the day. Such a strategy, so widespread in our times, puts us at the center of meaning, and in so doing, therefore underplays the power of God’s revelation in its offer of a living and sustainable spirituality. Recovering credible biblical interpretation remains a long and difficult road ahead, but should we be unwilling to engage and to be engaged by the text and its meaning, the integrity of the faith we profess will suffer a serious blow and people will rightly turn away.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 19, 2011

Reflection for the Week- September 19th, 2011

Quitting church is reaching epidemic proportions. Caught in the vice between those who exchange the gospel for a social code and those who market it as a consumer product, streams of people are flowing out of churches. From what I can tell many of them long for God, love, truth, credibility, justice, and redemption but are disappointed with what the church is offering. Bagels and coffee, and promises of health and wealth are limited and breaking down. Thus, today’s pseudo–gospel is having less and less traction and for this we should rejoice. Yet, the fallout is serious, in that the legitimate questions people are asking are not being addressed, nor are these folk being provided with a place to dwell, which has more to do with spirituality, than merely a geographical home. Rich and diverse gospel centered communities are essential to renew and redo the faith in what appears to be the demise of what has been known as church for all too long.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 12, 2011

Reflection for the Week- September 12th, 2011

Promising is one thing, but being obligated to keep our promises brings the sincerity of action into light. A theoretical promise without compelling force and lacking application does not do anything. Of course, on the action level of doing our promises, we will run into conflicts and obstacles that challenge our fidelity to the other. Yet, being committed to engage in dialogue with the other raises the stakes of our personal integrity, as well as underscoring that broken promises do violence to justice and the other, to whom we are to be available for. In times like ours, where false and broken promises are front page news, from pulpit and pew to politics and economics, fidelity and commitment to promises for the sake of self and other should be two hallmarks that identify followers of the Crucified and Risen One, as a testimony to the church and the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 05, 2011

Reflection for the Week- September 5th, 2011

One of the most impressive features of human thought is that we are capable of creating and configuring symbols in an effort to express meaning. Recognizing this relationship between language acquisition and symbolic thought provides the opportunity for a phenomenology with theological clout. God’s speech acts give rise to revelation in language and symbol. This interlacing of conceptual fields effectively expanded the function of symbols so that they were seen to reveal God and being in the world in polyphonic ways. At the same time, being human was envisioned as uniquely connected to language, and language to reflection, and reflection to hermeneutics. Thus, God’s speaking embedded in Scripture by symbol and thought finds its connection through the hermeneutical nature of being in the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 29, 2011

Reflection for the Week- August 29th, 2011

The validity of the Christian faith will only continue to suffer if we do not engage the issues and ideas of our day. To bury our heads in the sand and hope the challenges to the truth of what we believe will all go away, is wishful thinking. We have the significant calling to be a testimony to the love of Christ, but this will not be heard, if we speak an entirely different language unrelated to current discussions, nor will it be seen, if we live in a spiritualized world of our own making, divorced from that which is really happening. Being informed about what’s going on is a responsibility for ourselves and others, as we tell the story of life and death in a pertinent and persuasive manner that has traction in the listening and watching world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 22, 2011

Reflection for the Week- August 22nd, 2011

Self-interest does not always translate into selfishness. God calls us to accomplish things and to take some credit for these, yet we are to avoid arrogance and self-centeredness like the plague. Confidence and humility are both markers in our stories. As created and spiritual people, who are gifted with the Spirit of God and Christ, this feat is not entirely beyond us, as we embrace the tension of working out our salvation, because God is at work in us.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 15, 2011

Reflection for the Week- August 15th, 2011

Given the folly of debt circulating around the world, it’s no wonder the bankruptcy or potential default of countries, has not resulted in the fateful crisis that it should. Not dealing with the truth and reality of overspending and accumulating massive debts, will surely jeopardize the future for many, as it will inevitably bring about warlike conditions between nations of power.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 08, 2011

Reflection for the Week- August 8th, 2011

Unmasking and denouncing the fear of exposure is no doubt a step towards trust, but we rightly wrestle with ‘who’ is trustworthy – Self, other, God. Surely this is not a venture for the uncritical, yet criticism is never an end in and of itself. Letting go of that which entangles us and moving into the laboratory of trust is a challenging task and a liberating joy that begins to diminish illegitimate coverings, while increasing appropriate disclosure.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 01, 2011

Reflection for the Week- August 1st, 2011

Coercion, manipulation, and dishonesty are power tools of the trade for the selfish self, while love, justice, and mercy battle it out within the theater of life to promote redemption. Graciously convicted of sinful practices by the Infinite One, allows selfish selves to undergo the penalty of death, in order to be offered new life in Christ, the Unselfish One.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 25, 2011

Reflection for the Week- July 25th, 2011

Demands for exhaustive truth will continually fail to meet the target. Such illusions are tempting though unfulfilling, and they do a tremendous amount of corporate and personal damage. The sooner we face the truth that there are no meta-narratives, the better. No one has a total explanation of everything, even though at times a person can act as if this is the case. So be it. Illusion peddlers have been around for a while, and are likely to continue to be with us. Conversely, Christians proclaim their freedom from meta-narrative and therefore distance themselves from illusions. In doing so, we rightly let go of attempts to portray a comprehensive story, and embrace a mega-narrative of possibilities for the credibility of the existence of God and his creating and saving action through the Crucified and Risen One in faith.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 18, 2011

Reflection for the Week- July 18th, 2011

Emerging out of the darkness into the light can be a daunting adventure. Grace and compassion, for example, seem more contrived than anger and malice, while self-constitution reigns over being given a self. We’re plagued by the unreal that appears real and much of the time our awareness level is so low, we can’t fathom anything but the same and obscurity prevails. Yet God has created luminosity, as well as revealing it through the Christ, so that we might have a vision of majesty. Enlightened imaginations heighten the acuity of perception, which begins to enable us to venture out through the illumination to embrace a radiance that glistens with all that’s transformative for good.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 11, 2011

Reflection for the Week- July 11th, 2011

While it is true that biblical interpretation is always mediate, indirect, a task of seeking sense, as opposed to immediate, direct, or a giveness of complete sense, a text is never entirely semantically autonomous. Texts are author intended entities, not necessarily enclosed within the psychological constraints of the mind, but opened by a literary act, which unfolds a world out into the world, which a reader's world is then able to engage with. An author’s intentions must be considered as pertinent to textual interpretation as it is communicative actions that set the literary genre for and the content of the text. A search for the meaning of biblical texts, therefore, is to be concerned with what the author has accomplished as an action of communication and then how that arrow of sense points the reader towards a meaningful encounter that will refigure life in ontological, epistemological, and ethical matters, to the glory of God.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 04, 2011

Reflection for the Week- July 4th, 2011

Being responsible and being faithful are crucial elements of the Christian life in witnessing to the Crucified and Risen One. Keeping these essential features in separate compartments or to embrace one over the other is folly. These two characteristics of living spirituality are to complement and re-enforce each other, as we seek to follow Christ, who is life. Testimony nowadays, therefore, has to embody both actions and beliefs, if it is to have traction in the watching world. And when the world watches and merely sees itself in a mirror, the grim reality will be that we have not done our part to present that which is true and credible with integrity.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 27, 2011

Reflection for the Week- June 27th, 2011

Flowing out of redemption, we receive a cleansed heart and a renewed mind. Therefore, we are to put away falsehood and embrace truth, receive grace and abandon malice, live in the light and discard the darkness, as we seek to learn to practice the habits of living spirituality. Habit forming takes effort and responsibility, while it also requires being attentive not to grieve, but to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 20, 2011

Reflection for the Week- June 20th, 2011

Following in the footsteps of the Crucified and Risen One means no less than to sacrificially embrace the fragrance of life. Being a new creation, a new self, has the distinct aroma of forgiveness, mercy, tenderheartedness, and hope. Do not lose an appropriate trust and suspicion, therefore, and remain unwavering in doing good to all.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 13, 2011

Reflection for the Week- June 13th, 2011

A torrent of rhetoric flows at us and we are inundated by dubious prospects of freedom, equality, and rights. Some speak of gathering behind the veil of ignorance, others of a liberty without constraint. Autonomous notions of the justice like these, however, will be unsustainable. Conversely, to be called by the Infinite One and to respond to his voice, while not supplying a perfect resolution to all our quandaries, opens up the possibility to embrace being justly loved and to love justly that which is lasting and sure. Beyond the pale of self-determination lies the Giver who situates us in being and being in a world that is not our own. Only in the light of this giveness can we truly work out a just dependent independence.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 06, 2011

Reflection for the Week- June 6th, 2011

Self-absorption binds us to false commitments, while deceptively assuring us that an ‘I’ focus will be safe and sustainable. Insecurities, complexes, and doubts weigh all too heavily in preventing us from engaging relationality. The O(o)ther, however, calls us from both near and afar, colliding with our pretensions of self-enclosure as a viable option for the minutes, days, months and years; all that lies ahead. Tearing down the barriers and dismantling the walls of estrangement is a continual challenge, and should we refuse to embrace the O(o)other, we shall never find ourselves.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 30, 2011

Reflection for the Week- May 30th, 2011

Lord, please give us the gift of patience as we live together in our churches and communities. Help us to be kind, gentle, and forgiving in the struggle for unity, and lead us into delight with you and each other. Let us learn to love as you have loved us, as we seek to represent and demonstrate something of who you are to the believing, to those who do not know you, and to those who do, but have gone astray.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 23, 2011

Reflection for the Week- May 23rd, 2011

Stories help us come to terms with sorrows. No time to read and recount leaves us little time to mourn. And mourning is now more necessary than ever for the faithful. There is so much to mourn, be it political, social, ethical, or personal. When memory, imagination, and testimony provide an opportunity of working through the darkness of loss and suffering, it is crucial to recount and read, and to do so in the light of redemption and transformation that will eventually turn our mourning into rejoicing and our sorrows into joys.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 16, 2011

Reflection for the Week- May 16th, 2011

One of the major fallacies that many Christians embrace is that they don’t have biases, problems with ideas, or serious shortcomings. If anything undoes the necessity of the cross and resurrection of Christ, it is this kind of perspective. When we are pointing the finger at everyone else and arguing they’re influenced by secularism or materialism and therefore have it all wrong, we forget that critique needs to start at home and that our own views also have to be examined, evaluated, and assessed in order to help us sort out our own blindness, before sorting out that of the rest of the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 09, 2011

Reflection for the Week- May 9th, 2011

May we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit a fresh to renew us in the ever increasing conviction that God is there and that he has acted, is acting, and will act on behalf of love and justice for his own sake, for the world, for Israel, and for us.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 02, 2011

Reflection for the Week- May 2nd, 2011

The spirit of fear, not the Spirit of Christ tends to dominate in many Christian circles today. Fearful of being carried away by the spirit of the age, the faith can grow narrow, lack credibility, and become lifeless. While it is true that believers want to be cautious about adopting the cultural, philosophical, or scientific trends of any given moment, there is an important place to engage new ideas and to be somewhat open to where they may lead. The Spirit of Christ casts out fear and releases us to a new configuration of confidence and humility. This Spirit allows for discussion, questioning, and, investigation. To have received the life giving Spirit who inaugurates community with God, over against a spirit that leads to a separation from him, means that we are free to seek, find, and follow truth where it may be found. Fear not, says the Lord, for I am with you.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 25, 2011

Reflection for the Week- April 25th, 2011

In this post-Easter week, as our world continues in its rhythm, seemingly untouched by the dramatic event of the resurrection of Christ, we want to focus on at least these five points: 1) The resurrection of the dead is relevant to creation, salvation, and eternity; to the past, present, and future. 2) Death, as a separation from the Living One, is an enemy that will one day be destroyed. 3) The body is important to and for Christian spirituality—it is and forever intends to be embodied. 4) Resurrection is an affirmation of life that puts us in conflict with sin and evil. It provides a way into a deep and living tension. 5) Faith and action must be grounded in the truth and reality of the resurrection of Christ, which is to permeate all of who we are and what we do.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 18, 2011

Reflection for the Week- April 18th, 2011

Christians all too often become inoculated against the real. Plagued by inauthentic churches peddling illusions, and the covert deception of unreal images that manifest themselves in misplaced expectations and extravagant regimes, believers are facing serious impoverishment and succumbing to bogus spirituality. Instead of having the power of the real, the testimony to truth, and a life of authenticity, we unfortunately seem to have little to offer a world gone mad. Our plight, at times, seems overwhelming, yet God continues to shape and form a people to proclaim the good news and its credibility, and longs for us to leave the rest behind and to join in the drama of his creative and redemptive intentionality, which is as real as it gets.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 11, 2011

Reflection for the Week- April 11th, 2011

Empires are impersonal. Trading in statistics, quotas, and mis-information, they entice us into embracing a falsification of the real and authentic. We tremble at the call to resist and fear the prospect of an exile from the facts, figures, and calculations. Threatened by the radical turn to a personal relationality and a potential loss of an assumed sense of equilibrium, we are then comfortably recycled back into the flow of the Empires. To leave Empire ways behind is a continual challenge, but the stakes are high, as a fear of failure to engage with people, to be personal and relational towards the other, will silence our ability to speak, to hear, and to love.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 04, 2011

Reflection for the Week- April 4th, 2011

Being captive to the ideologies of certainty or uncertainty is like being pulled into a vortex that leads nowhere. Certainty aims to insure us that we have it all together and that everything is straight forward, while uncertainty attempts to illustrate that we don’t have anything together and that nothing is clear. We can become so addicted to polarizations, that moving into the middle seems highly unsatisfactory. Withdrawal symptoms are required and sometimes painful, as uncovering that which binds us and leads us astray is so deeply entrenched in every perspective and dimension of our identities. Letting go will be extremely difficult. Release, however, comes from learning to follow in the footsteps of Christ, which is not least to discover the hidden ideological trends and currents in our lives, and in so doing, to open us up to the possibility of a refigured destiny, culminating in a transformation into his image.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 28, 2011

Reflection for the Week- March 28th, 2011

The biblical text is comprised of a medley of genres that reflect on and name God. To be sure the Revealed One inspires the plot and characters in the story, who are given creative license to explore and configure the Being who Is. Prophecy, apocalyptic, wisdom, law, psalm, and narrative send polyphonic tremors throughout the textual sea, as Infinite meets finite and tracks the traces of the communicative action of the Speaker. Surely, now we can move critically through and gently beyond Descartes, Kant, and Hegel, or the likes of the more contemporary influences of Heidegger, Derrida, and Ricoeur, as we seek to encounter a naming and thinking which stands next to none.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 21, 2011

Reflection for the Week- March 21st, 2011

Cacophony drums its steady beat through the soul, leaving a scar of perplexity. Faced with a surging discordance, our attempts to recover and to find concordance seem vain. Like being told a never ending story in which we struggle to discover the plot, hope seems to escape, as a vapor that disappears with the rising sun. Behind the shades of disheartening and the lines not yet written, however, lies the searing character of unbound love, which creeps into the narrative with a shattering power that goes beyond the resonance of time.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 14, 2011

Reflection for the Week- March 14th, 2011

Finding shelter in our world from the vacuous and inconsequential is harder and harder to do; the rhythm of trite leaves us exposed to a devaluing of heart, mind, and imagination. Rapid-fire bs captures the air waves and infiltrates our capacity to think clear and true thoughts that can be lived, in contrast to the prevailing and woeful meltdown of the critical adventure. While it’s true that criticism is never to be an end in and of itself, it is an essential component to chasten naïveté and to promote the virtuous life of following in the footsteps of Christ. Engage, critique, embrace―the Infinite One, other, and world; the given of giveness and the power of this trinity that offers us the spooky haven of relationality; the space to dwell in oneself as another.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 07, 2011

Reflection for the Week- March 7th, 2011

Scripture provides direction, but does not work out every detail, as to how we are to live in the world. Surely, there are many clear imperatives that shed light on the path and we should be grateful for the revelatory insight and knowledge we do have. Yet, the biblical text often challenges us to express these truths in compassionate and loving ways that takes the other seriously; ontologically, epistemologically, and ethically. This means that if we are to find traction, there’s no use looking for simple formulas or mechanisms. Conversely, we have to stand against that which will insulate us from the relationality that forces otherhood upon us, and see that it creates a myriad of joyfully taxing choices concerning how to live responsibly as God’s people in the twenty-first century. May we have the strength, patience, and wisdom to do so for the sake of Christ.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 28, 2011

Reflection for the Week- February 28th, 2011

A tendency to equate bread and love leads to an impoverishment of love. Love cannot be bought and sold; it is not a consumer product, even though commercial and personal interests may want to convince us otherwise. Since we can’t purchase love, we may figure the best way to obtain it is to make sure that we receive before we give. Whenever we center on “what’s in this for me?” or “why should I do this unless I’m going to get that?” we’re losing love and operating in a manner akin to living on bread alone.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 21, 2011

Reflection for the Week- February 21st, 2011

Retreating behind walls of fear blinds us to the prospect of loving and being loved. There is, however, it is true, the need for spiritual strength and wisdom to be able to come out from hiding and to embrace possibilities, albeit without the assurance that it will all work out in one’s favor. Terrible hurt and pain can make such a move seem impossible. Rejection and reaction reign as the only features that make sense, as new suffering always appears to be inevitable. Yet grace is corrosive and cuts into the fiber of wounds, gradually mending that which is bleeding.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 14, 2011

Reflection for the Week- February 14th, 2011

Plug and play spirituality is an unfortunate expression of contemporary Christianity. No wonder the faith is losing traction. While redemption is powerful and realistic, we mimic the trite and superficial. The watching world is getting tired of looking and seeing itself in a mirror. There’s no better time for those willing to think and question to move in new directions of deeply living truth and love in dynamic ways. Enhancing the credibility of the faith is not entirely our responsibility, but it is something that should be dear to our hearts for the sake of Christ and others.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 07, 2011

Reflection for the Week- February 7th, 2011

The trauma of loss can overwhelm us and deplete our strength for embracing life. Our rights, relationality, and stories will not sever us from being suffering selves; a true part of our identity as humans. Thank you Lord that you have covenanted to join us, and now you know the bleak path of desire failing, though in following the will you find your journey never ending, never ending. And so it is: passing through the territory of darkness can seem like an eternity, yet light does slowly appear through the cracks and we emerge scathed, but alive and released.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 31, 2011

Reflection for the Week- January 31st, 2011

He who was seated on the throne says, “I am making everything new.” In renewal, we are not offered an escape, but an engagement with heaven and earth—the material world where matter and spirit will meet in visible ways. We need to recall and re-affirm that there is already a present aspect of this newness in our lives as Christians. If we are in Christ, we are new creations. However, notice that God’s salvific activity includes the political, social, economic, and the creation itself. John is instructed to write this down as it is trustworthy and true (Revelation 21:5).

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 24, 2011

Reflection for the Week- January 24th, 2011

When our worldview assumes that everything is headed for destruction we tend to reject the worth and value of God’s creation. It becomes misused and misunderstood, depleted, and torn apart. All manners of disfiguration blot out creation’s capacity to praise God. Some Christians believe that destruction is God’s way with the created, so what does it matter? Go ahead and let it go. It’s all headed for the flames anyway. Yet, this is not the case, for the intensity of redemption burns into transformation already now and then ultimately at the end of the age. In this way, creation will be enabled to give praise to the Infinite personal One who created it, attaining its final and glorious destiny. 

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 17, 2011

Reflection for the Week- January 17th, 2011

The threat of becoming part of the machine is ever growing. A fierce battle of realities invades our daily lives, as we are lured into a mechanistic world of our own making. Facing this powerful force of de-humanization and fabrication, and standing against it is a biblical virtue. The lost relation and distinction between Creator and creature has to be recovered, and lived in imaginative ways that underscore the value of humanity and the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 10, 2011

Reflection for the Week- January 10th, 2011

We are on the way to becoming fully sanctified—imaging Christ through the power of the Spirit. As we move in this direction, we will find ourselves attaining different degrees of this ultimate destiny. When it comes to sanctification, some of us will be living sanctified lives in lesser degrees, while others are living sanctified lives in greater degrees, and this may fluctuate in different areas. Yet, no one is ever completely sanctified in this life. That awaits a future reality. There’s always room to move ahead toward the goal of more faithfully imaging Christ.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 03, 2011

Reflection for the Week- January 3rd, 2011

This visceral longing to be cleansed from our own faults, those perpetrated by others against us, and the burdens of the world, leaves us in a state of searching for redemption. These deep etchings scratched into our flesh are like a flow chart leading directly to our battered hearts. Living this way takes its toll. The challenge before us is to continue the dialogue between the “in spite of” and the “because of” that concerns all of reality and truth. We are followers of the Crucified and Risen One, who are suffering, yet committed to a journey of renewal.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 27, 2010

Reflection for the Week- December 27th, 2010

Finding a truthful dwelling in the middle of polarized extremes is a fitting place to be; it’s often the space where life is to be found. Extreme positions usually only produce further extremes and that’s why they are merely referents for themselves, inevitably pointing to an ideology of death. Fear not the middle voice, which speaks softly, yet with rigor and passion.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 21, 2010

Reflection for the Week- December 20th, 2010

Living spirituality is a web of truths that flow out of and back into being in community with God. Take personal evaluation as one of these. Surely, this dimension is interconnected with many, and is desirable and necessary for developing a deeper interface with God. Our tendencies usually run along these lines. Either we focus way too much on the personal - God and ME, or we ignore it all together – God and THEM. Living the spiritual life – living spirituality falters without insightful assessment of the past, present, and future, but it is equally impoverished without a personal us in the picture. So goes the tension of life with God, as we work out the varying degrees of community that are appropriate for each context.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 13, 2010

Reflection for the Week- December 13th, 2010

The virtual silence of God is deafening. It may go on for days, weeks, months, or even years. But then speaking comes, like precious gold, in its splendor and value, it enriches and orients us. Yet cycles of disorientation re-appear and we again find ourselves seemingly deaf to the sounds of action performed within the economy of light, shrouded in darkness. Awaiting the orchestration of reorientation calls for patient listening, for the Divine will surely be heard from soon on a coming horizon.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 06, 2010

Reflection for the Week- December 6th, 2010

Renewal in these days of December, a friend wrote recently, is a desirable phenomenon. Yes, indeed, and especially during the last moments of the year, which mark the end of one period of time and the beginning of another. Being renewed is connected to a variety of dynamics, not least to the hearing of the communicative action of God in time. To receive the Voice opens us up to embrace living spirituality in the present, as we develop a realistic retrospective of the past and a viable vision for the future. In experiencing a time of reflection here and now, where renewal can break through into the whole of our lives, we find a trajectory of interaction that has the theological force to shape our destiny.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 29, 2010

Reflection for the Week- November 29th, 2010

Forging our way forward, following in the footsteps of Christ, is no simple task. We can be thankful that God has promised to be with us and that the Spirit is in our midst directing our pathways. Still, there is uncertainty and disorientation - these don’t disappear - but are salient reminders of what is real within the evolving process of transformation towards our ultimate destiny of imaging the crucified and risen One.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 22, 2010

Reflection for the Week- November 22nd, 2010

There is a place in living Christian spirituality for being responsible. God wants us to care for what has been given and to accomplish what we can in its midst. Don’t fear doing something well – to the best of your ability – as if God would somehow be against this. Go for it! And if you get there, forget about being arrogant, but by all means do enjoy the moment and appreciate God’s applause.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 15, 2010

Reflection for the Week- November 15th, 2010

Paul’s statement to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 12:3) that no one speaking by the Spirit of God can say, ‘Jesus is cursed,’ and no can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit, is radical stuff. True, in most situations today anyone can say what they will, but that’s not the point here. These early Christians, some who came out of pagan contexts, would have been politically cautious about calling anyone other than the Emperor, “Lord,” as may be the case in some political environments in the present.  The apostle wants to re-enforce that Spirit activities are not pagan communicative acts, but are to result in the proclamation that ‘Jesus is Lord’ in spite of Roman or Jewish claims otherwise. Furthermore, Paul is aiming to shift the focus onto the Lordship of Jesus and away from the Corinthian fascination with the manifestations of gifts. Even legitimate expressions of gifts may inadvertently direct attention away from their true aim or goal of being given in the first place.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 08, 2010

Reflection for the Week- November 8th, 2010

Sacrifices on the altars of resolution rob us of the sacred. Conversely, slices of tension permeate our space, provoking thought and raising questions. God has communicated sufficient information, but there is much that is open to discovery. Embrace the tension and wait for that day when we shall see face to face and know as we are known.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 01, 2010

Reflection for the Week- November 1st, 2010

The Western church has further impoverished itself by ignoring or excluding the artist, musician, and poet. These creative people have a whole lot to teach us about Christ, culture, and living spirituality. Let’s make every effort to invite and welcome these players into our communities and to open our horizons to their insights. We desperately need fresh perspectives that will enrich and illuminate the path ahead. Being closed minded is not a Christian virtue.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 25, 2010

Reflection for the Week- October 25th, 2010

Seems to me we’re living in a post-trust world. When the major trust identities in a culture are shattered, there is little left to promote confidence. Since we have no where else to turn, it must be time for renewal.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 18, 2010

Reflection for the Week- October 18th, 2010

On the global register the financial picture is bleak. There is no better moment than now to set in motion an economy of gift, which goes far beyond the economy of exchange. The notion of exchange dominates our cultures and influences all we do and say. While there is some validity to and place for exchange, it is not, as it pretends, the end of the story. Let’s beat back this omniscient narrator, through a grace and generosity that is linked into God’s economy of superabundance.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 11, 2010

Reflection for the Week- October 11th, 2010

Our lives are so cluttered with debris that it’s harder and harder to think. It’s almost as if there is a conspiracy to prevent us from thinking about anything at all. Being zombies and robots – that’s it – that’s what it’s all about. Don’t bother attempting to reverse the flow. Beware! Thinking may do some serious collateral damage to us all.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 04, 2010

Reflection for the Week- October 4th, 2010

Feeling at peace with something may not be a reliable source of confirmation that this is what you should do, or what God wants you to do. To feel this way or that is an important factor to take into consideration when deciding something, but it is wide open to duplicity. Making decisions and commitments anchored in theological truths, however, is a more sure and trustworthy guide for following in the footsteps of the crucified and risen One.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 27, 2010

Reflection for the Week- September 27th, 2010

The way knowledge operates in our lives is often tricky. That is, some claim to not know much, but they have a trenchant critique of those around them who, in their eyes, do not measure up. Further, they sometimes assert exactly what God is doing in their own lives and in the world. Such contradictions show that those who say they know little is a foil for the manipulative power play of having a God like knowledge that is wielded like a sword and stabbed into the flesh of anyone willing to listen to the propaganda. Knowledge is important and we want to be as honest and theologically accurate as possible concerning what we know. When we are not, it can lead to serious misunderstandings of God, self, other, and world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 20, 2010

Reflection for the Week- September 20th, 2010

It may be relationally risky to follow in the footsteps of Christ. We pray, dear Lord, for strength, patience, and wisdom to stay on the path of truth and love, as we live as children of light in this world of darkness.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 13, 2010

Reflection for the Week- September 13th, 2010

We should outright repent for our inappropriate polarizations. Among the many that plague us, take the mind and heart dualism as an example. Some Christians say all that matters is the heart, while others focus solely on the mind. Yet, the developing of a Christian heart is as relevant as promoting a Christian mind. Gravitating towards God requires both, and a whole lot more – namely all of who we are.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 06, 2010

Reflection for the Week- September 6th, 2010

There are many forms of being self-centered, but I want to highlight two. We are probably all familiar with the first. A person who says, “I am proud, arrogant, and selfish,” we usually understand as self-centered and therefore unspiritual. The second, however, may be less evident. A person who says “I am nothing, a zero, and empty,” we should also understand as self-centered and unspiritual. Why? Capital ‘I’ is at the center of both! Humans are not capital “I’s” but creatures – images of God. We have a creational mandate from God to achieve and accomplish things, but not to think too highly of ourselves in doing so. This holds true for Christians. God wants us to be productive toward the other and in the world. When we are, we should notice that we are loving God, hence this will enhance spirituality. The arrogant and the nothings need to re-center the flow. Living a fine tension between confidence and humility in loving God is one of our spiritual callings that has unfortunately gone too far astray.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 30, 2010

Reflection for the Week- August 30th, 2010

If we do not inhabit the gospel story, first in imagination, and then in action, we will be unable to live it.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 23, 2010

Reflection for the Week- August 23rd, 2010

There is no worse testimony than when Christians miss defining moments in the history of the Christian faith. Too much gets trashed and the next generation spends most of its time digging its way out of the wreckage. I believe we are now facing a hugely significant issue that will mark the faith for years to come: science and theology. Unless we are willing to engage with new data and seriously consider our interpretations afresh, we will leave a trace that marks the faith as ignorant and arrogant.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 16, 2010

Reflection for the Week- August 17th, 2010

Charity and hospitality are fading attributes. Restoring these two features of a Christian confession should be a goal that persistently dominates our sacred calling as those who follow in the footsteps of the crucified and risen One.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 09, 2010

Reflection for the Week- August 9th, 2010

Being and knowledge given. What a sensible perspective. The given precedes being and knowledge, as the One who gives stands apart from and is prior to all else. This theological consideration has strong implications for philosophy and the whole of life. That is, ontology and epistemology cannot go it alone, as both are preceded by a life of giveness, which has to begin to be recognized for what it is.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 02, 2010

Reflection for the Week- August 2nd, 2010

Freed for life in a new community with the one who was, is, and will always be, is a startling experience. Broken and enslaved to dying, moment by moment, brings sadness and lament. Renewal shatters the well worn grooves of non-existence, overcoming the threat of terror that so quietly, yet powerfully aims at the grave.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 26, 2010

Reflection for the Week- July 26th, 2010

Lord God, we call out to you for wisdom, strength, and patience. Help us know how to love more deeply, to be courageous when so much that is wrong with us and with the world appears to be out of control, and to have endurance in serving others as we look forward to and await the glorious renewal of all things.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 19, 2010

Reflection for the Week- July 19th, 2010

Finding an original is like looking for the first pair of Levis or the first aspirin. God is the only Being, so it seems to me, who is capable of originality. But what is breathtaking is that out of what precedes us, we can produce something new. Sedimentation therefore shrouds who we are and what we do, yet innovation persists to contribute to life in discovering more and more what can be, from what already is.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 12, 2010

Reflection for the Week- July 12th, 2010

Notions of the possible should illumine our lives. God is the God of the possible. Think of creation. Reflect on humanity. Ponder the incarnation. Envision all things renewed. Strangely and mysteriously incomprehensible all, but we can know sufficiently and find ourselves known intimately. Being here and there is a wonder of imaginary ontology and representing the incomprehensible on the face of the earth.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 05, 2010

Reflection for the Week- July 5th, 2010

In the midst of catastrophic destructions of the natural world, lamentable economies, and ruinous governmental policies, necessary reform seems far from being a priority on the environmental, financial, and political agendas. Maybe we just don’t like bad news and once it arises, we do everything we can to ignore it. God is not pleased by the folly of our times. Confession, rooted in the foolishness of God expressed in Christ crucified, is a first step in moving to fresh and innovative directions. Embrace the good news of God’s kingdom, and help bring its resources into the whole of life.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 28, 2010

Reflection for the Week- June 28th, 2010

No doubt we have much to mourn as so often we find within the church a complacency that amounts to no moral courage. Be it in Europe or some other part of the world, pride and self-assurance have become identity markers and badges that fend off valid critique. There is a real and desperate need for the confession of sins and for this to translate into convictions and actions that are reminiscent of following in the footsteps of Christ.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 21, 2010

Reflection for the Week- June 21st, 2010

Christians are to see themselves in a new way. We have a distinct character, mission, and destiny as set apart for God, through the death and resurrection of Christ. Being freed from oppressive forces opens out onto the battlefield of time. In being set apart, we have become insiders who are sheltered and protected from the territory of destruction, as we await a new heavens and earth – a dwelling place where it is safe, under the blood of Christ, to flourish and live.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 14, 2010

Reflection for the Week- June 14th, 2010

Becoming aware of our limitations should be considered a virtue. Embracing our limits opens up imagination for the intrigue of God and the whole of life in all its wondrous dimensions, while wishing it was different leaves us spinning round in circles of unimaginative bliss. Some of us complain and shake our fists because everything is not all figured out. Well, I say, let it go. When the time comes, we will see as we are seen and we will know as we are known. God’s salvific action results in our being able to see and know through an imaginative intrigue that begins now and will never end.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 07, 2010

Reflection for the Week- June 7th, 2010

Dialogue animates and breathes life into ideas, which tend to stagnate into oblivion when reduced to monologue. If we take a dialogical trajectory in our thinking, we will begin to develop formulations that yield a greater credibility. This is so because we are working with a broader sphere of possibilities that combine to offer a surplus of meaning. And reality is like that – breathtaking and overflowing with meaning – which is not entirely capturable, nor however, is it anything we make it out to be.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 30, 2010

Reflection for the Week- May 30th, 2010

The plight of the suffering and disenfranchised is not to be forgotten. Their reality calls forth a myriad of responses and levels of action, which should be aimed at and geared to release. Welcoming in and showing hospitality to the stranger and orphan pleases God.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 24, 2010

Reflection for the Week- May 24th, 2010

Having significant roles to play in the drama of creation and salvation is both a task and a joy. Thankfully, God illumines the path so that we can give valid testimony to his existence and redemption as we work for and rejoice in his kingdom.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 17, 2010

Reflection for the Week- May 17th, 2010

Being Spirit formed and shaped by Scripture will open up possibilities for us to love, forgive, and show grace. Somehow, it’s so much easier to ignore all this as what really counts because we busy ourselves with the trivial and call it life. Each day God gives us fresh opportunities, but leaves it up to us to act upon them. Acting on what is given will help transform the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 10, 2010

Reflection for the Week- May 10th, 2010

The lack of love that is so prominent in many church contexts is shocking. Instead of loving each other and the stranger, we only tear down and fail to build up. Pray for personal transformation and renewal in the church. Forming our own tribes of hubris and exclusivity will be a faith defeater. God calls us to be responsible and gracious.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 03, 2010

Reflection of the Week- May 3rd, 2010

Proof-texting – taking a verse here and there from the Bible – can be a dangerous enterprise when it comes to understanding God, self, other, and world. Random reading leaves too much to chance. No doubt sometimes God can use his word in this very selective sort of way, but most of the time if we want to understand better, we need to be informed about the historical, theological, and literary context of a passage before assuming that it is speaking directly to and for us. Surely, this more careful approach is part of what it means to hold a high view of Scripture and to honor God and his revelation.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 26, 2010

Reflection for the Week- April 26th, 2010

When the scientific and theological communities attempt to avoid hermeneutics (interpretation) they are liable to make a mess of things. Specialists in both disciplines face the obligation to admit that they are interpreters of data and not merely assessing the bare facts. In spite of their incessant antagonism towards each other, these two communities are interdependent, and therefore need to be in dialogue in order to better understand God, the world, self, and other.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 19, 2010

Reflection for the Week- April 19th, 2010

There are a myriad of tantalizing temptations in the human enterprise of culture; money, possessions, and sexual infidelity, to mention a few. While culture is a valid informer to some degree, we can be carried away in imagining it to have an authority superior to what it merits. Two other informers have to be taken into consideration when deciding how to be and live: Scripture and the natural world. Combined with culture, these two will give us a more stable and far ranging vision and illumine the path towards responsible action.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 12, 2010

Reflection for the Week- April 12th, 2010

Trying harder is not a viable solution for self-hate. Those who hate themselves are operating with high levels of invalid trust and insufficient knowledge about who they are. They assume that their self-assessment is both true and accurate. Such a view is not only epistemologically faulty, but it embraces a convenient suspicion of all except oneself. Self-haters will have difficulty maintaining the status quo when they are challenged to begin to recognize what it means to be human.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 05, 2010

Reflection for the Week- April 5th, 2010

Dear Lord God, we come before you to repent for the proliferation of irrelevant things that divide us and tear apart the body of Christ. We pray that you would help us to focus on the unity that we should have and to, in a credible manner, portray that to the world, which so desperately needs a persuasive vision of love and truth.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

March 29, 2010

Reflection for the Week- March 29th, 2010

False shame and false guilt rip their way into the heart of who we are. In such cases we have to become more acutely aware and suspicious of the “lie” and its deceptive power to control and manipulate us. Real guilt and real shame for living unspiritually, however, calls us to acknowledge and trust what is “true” and its dedicated power to rescue and liberate us. Reckoned right through the mediatory work of the crucified and risen One, who illuminates the path away from the “lie” and to the “true”, brings us the possibility of living spiritually in that the false and its power begins to diminish, while the true and its power begins to flourish.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 22, 2010

Reflection for the Week- March 22nd, 2010

The fascination of living in the thought world of the mind promotes the woeful attempt to be a self contained self. God tells us this is not only foolish, but inevitably impossible as the other and the world break in and through the false fortress of self sufficiency. As the walls of pretending are broken down and shattered in creation and through Christ, recognition of who we truly are will begin to free us from the enticing power of self deception.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 15, 2010

Reflection for the Week- March 15th, 2010

I continue to be baffled by how many Christians seem to be so bound to the Law. God, they conjecture, is the mighty Lawgiver who condemns them at every turn. It’s as if Christ is absent. Somehow the relevance and superabundance of, “now, therefore, there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus,” is remarkably silent in the vocabulary and voice of the one who speaks under the Law. Yet, and this is the power, “Christ condemned sin in flesh so that the just requirement of Law might be fulfilled in us who walk (conduct our lives) not according to flesh but according to Spirit.” Be free and start walking.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 08, 2010

Reflection for the Week- March 8th, 2010

Lost in translation. Transversing from good theology to relevant praxis is like learning another language. Getting translation going can be like pushing water uphill. We all too often get stuck somewhere along the way between cutting edge theology and compassionate praxis and therefore find ourselves without a way to speak and act. Yet, being first-rate translators will please God and help change the self, the other, and the world. The art and labor of translation is a necessity if we are going to sufficiently move from theology to praxis and back in credible and authentic ways. Let’s learn to translate and seek to be attuned to the language of motion and dialogue so that theological truth doesn’t end up not touching anyone and not going anywhere.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 01, 2010

Reflection for the Week- March 1st, 2010

Imagination is the elixir of life and the pathway to the discovery of truth, wherever it is to be found. Reason, sense observation, feeling, and experience suffer severe impoverishment without the recognition that imagination is the lynch pin that makes each of them possible and holds them together in a related, yet distinct manner. To be sure, knowing God, the revealing God, and being in community with him, is a possibility that be(s) and becomes much more of an accessible reality in and through imagination.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 22, 2010

Reflection for the Week- February 22nd, 2010

There are many times when we assume that we can’t do much to contribute to change and transformation in the life of the other. This is simply not true. We all have much to offer and to extend a gracious hand in the attempt to cultivate life, enrich community, and perpetuate blessing can surpass the false boundaries of self doubt in expressing the love of Christ to the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 15, 2010

Reflection for the Week- February 15th, 2010

Torn apart. Voices and screams of the oppressed and disenfranchised awaken us to the plight of the majority who desperately need love and justice to reign in like the mighty power that God manifested when he raised Christ from the dead. Lord give us hearts to see those who are suffering and in pain and give wisdom as to how to follow in the footsteps of Christ to reduce the total misery and affliction that beset the world at this time.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 08, 2010

Reflection for the Week- February 8th, 2010

There are at least two ways a crisis of hope may express itself. First, pessimism: cynicism overtakes us and we decide to take matters into our own hands. Second, optimism: naïve idealism saturates us and we decide that God will resolve it all for us. Neither of these false options has much to do with a Christian point of view and both will leave us empty. Yet we may tend to spend significant amounts of time and energy floating from pessimism or optimism, or attempting to solidify and barricade ourselves in one perspective or the other. Never this simple, life with God will challenge these tendencies and in so doing refigure the false options into growing opportunities for engaging in community with God, others, and the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 01, 2010

Reflection for the Week- February 1st, 2010

Eyes burning and seared by the present views and circumstances of life blinds us to a passion for the possible of a different future, yet God has promised to renew the world and we must trust and act on his ability to do so. Learning to see the imprint of the future on the present is no easy task and we sometimes stray from the visionary and realistic immersed in the apparent unchanging status quo that only recycles everything into the same. Imaginary orientations rooted in God’s manifestations of hope broaden our horizons toward change and help us to look and see again.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 25, 2010

Reflection for the Week- January 26th 2010

Jesus redeems Israel from exile and thereby opens the way for all people to come into community with God. There is no longer a holy city, a sanctified place, or a Promised Land as Jesus de-centralizes and re-centers God’s righteousness in himself. All that had come previously is focused in and on him so that those who follow in his footsteps will inherit the blessings of love, liberty, and justice.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 18, 2010

Reflection for the Week- January 18th, 2010

We can easily wander away and lose patience with God. Deep renewal is crucial to pray for and to seek out during these times. Hearts, minds, and spirits are to be engaged and involved in a holistic manner if effective and realistic transformation is to take place. As we long and wait for the untranslatable splendor of face to face community with God, the lessons of time and patience will be of tremendous value.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 11, 2010

Reflection for the Week- January 11th, 2010

Jesus said, love your enemies. This remarkable command shows us something of what being a Christian is all about. While loving our enemies may not always be a possibility because of broken trust, abuse, betrayal, or oppression, a gracious extension of forgiveness is a necessary step. Love remains the target to aim for and then we must see how far we can come towards this in actuality. Love is to be a lens through which we act and through which we are seen and identified by others, including enemies.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 04, 2010

Reflection for the Week- January 4th, 2010

Covenant, which connotes YHWH’s love, liberation, and identification of a people to be in community with Him, is a central theological motif in both the OT and the New. Grace, love, law, and holiness find their place in this broader category of covenant. YHWH both establishes (unilateral) and cuts (bilateral) covenant, where each requires an action by the giver and yet a necessary response on the behalf of the receiver. In covenant reception we find community, a mandate, and a call, which includes to love, to listen, and to do. These are three astonishing characteristics that YHWH’s people are to engage in and act upon in order to stand out and be known as those who are marked by covenant and its vision for the redemption of the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 28, 2009

Reflection for the Week- December 28th, 2009

Forget about shopping and focus on the Christ event, the Christ event, and the Christ event.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery




December 21, 2009

Reflection for the Week- December 21th, 2009

One of my deepest hopes and enduring prayers is that we will all be more fully Living Spirituality throughout 2010 and the years to come.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 14, 2009

Reflection for the Week- December 14th 2009

We may find it rather easy to get caught up in webs of deception. In order to counter this tendency we need to make a concerted effort, on the basis of the spiritual power at work in our lives, to bring about a Christ centered perspective and a trajectory away from our deceptive thoughts and actions, and towards a new life. Having been given the offer of resurrection, we sometimes struggle to embrace it, yet we are free to live in a community where there is no condemnation.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 07, 2009

Reflection for the Week- December 7th 2009

When it is understood that Jesus Christ is the gateway to living spirituality, there are new and momentous opportunities that open up for us. Here are a few notable examples. We are given community with the Infinite-personal God by tasting living water and experiencing a new birth of the Spirit through faith in the Crucified and Risen One. When we accept the invitation to walk through the gateway, our world explodes because we confess that it is no longer centered on ourselves. And it is then that we start to find our place in living spirituality and to discover the true meaning of life in all its richness and mystery.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 30, 2009

Reflection for the Week- November 30th 2009

Science and Scripture are both valid informers concerning God, ourselves, and the world. Credibility is hinged on dialogue and being willing to see what comes of it.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 23, 2009

Reflection for the Week- November 23rd 2009

During this week take extra time to be thankful to God.


Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 16, 2009

Reflection for the Week- November 16th 2009

May God be with us as we seek to live by faith in the crucified and risen One.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 09, 2009

Reflection for the Week- November 9th 2009

Selfishly deceptive? Sometimes we assume that if we do what we want to do that God must be against it. God only approves of us doing things we don’t want to do. It goes like this: doing what we want to do is selfish. But this may be a deception. Why? God may not be at all opposed to what we want to do. We can all too easily deceive ourselves about being selfish, either when we are or when we are not.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 02, 2009

Reflection for the Week- November 2nd, 2009

Someone once said to me that because Christians are parts of a body this means that God has a specific plan for each one. I think the point is rather that Christians need each other and when some attempt to pridefully isolate themselves from their fellow believers they make a mess of things. Sectarian overtures in the Christian community, as in the Corinth of the Apostle Paul’s day, will inevitably produce a lack of love. Being part of a body is a symbol of unity and mutual interdependence, and the recognition of this reality should produce a more active love towards each other.


Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 26, 2009

Reflection for the Week- October 26th, 2009

Reading the biblical text wisely opens us up to new possibilities for living in community with God, the other, and the world. Being read by it challenges our hearts and minds, shapes our characters and identities, and changes our spiritualities and lives. Take and read. Read and be taken.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery


October 19, 2009

Reflection for the Week- October 19th, 2009

God knows us and loves us as we are. His invitation into community is always the same and without conditions. No need to get everything right before accepting. He is waiting, just come, and you will be welcomed.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 12, 2009

Reflection for the Week- October 12th, 2009

Forgiveness of someone, because of deep wounds, may be something that takes time to grow into. It is important to recall that we are beings in time. We exist in and through past, present, and future, hence should not expect instantaneous resolutions to all our issues concerning forgiving others. God is patient with us. Forgiving, then, may turn out to be a long process, but hopefully it will be one that we are challenged to take more seriously as each day goes by.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 05, 2009

Reflection for the Week- October 5th, 2009

All the justice and love of God and all the justice and love of the world converge in the cross of Christ; the crucified, dead, and risen One.


Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 28, 2009

Reflection for the Week- September 28th 2009

A sign of reluctance may be a virtue, not a lack of conviction. Pastoral sensitivity is careful to seek to meet people where they are. This is far from relativism and closer to compassionate community. We all face life in the midst of death, hope in the midst of despair, joy in the midst of sadness, and courage in the midst of fear. Demanding that “in the midst of” disappear will destroy tension and our arrogance will rob us of the truth.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 21, 2009

Reflection for the Week- September 21st 2009

The disintegration of words is a common occurrence in our times. “I love that car or that movie” is okay, but perhaps it risks trivializing love. While woefully inadequate, words are often all we have to express ourselves. This means that intentionality and care for words are important.  If we don’t cherish words, no one will.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 14, 2009

Reflection for the Week- September 14th 2009

The stench of niceties proliferates in many churches these days. We have nice music, nice clothes, nice buildings, nice toilets – why we’re just nice and even nice to each other. Simply delightful, it might be said - those church goers are such nice people. Let’s stop being “nice” and start to be gracious, kind, compassionate, forgiving, and loving.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 07, 2009

Reflection for the Week- September 7th, 2009

One of the stark warnings in the biblical story is to be careful of self-deception. Be it from false prophets, false teachers, the religious elite, or ourselves, we have to reckon with the ever present danger of being deceived. Our sufficient, but incomplete way through this dilemma, is the unending giveness of God in creation, revelation, Jesus Christ, the Spirit, and existence itself.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 31, 2009

Reflection for the Week- August 31st 2009

Many rightly ask where God is when there is so much pain and suffering. There he is, not far from us, nailed to that cross.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 24, 2009

Reflection for the Week- August 24th 2009

Opening new ways of seeing, being, and living is at the core of the mission of Christ to redeem, renew, and transform the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 17, 2009

Reflection for the Week- August 17th 2009

Believing in love goes beyond language and transcends the things we see. Language games or materialistic ventures fail to sufficiently explain the beyond and transcendent character of life.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 10, 2009

Reflection for the Week- August 10th 2009

A vital factor to understand about daily life in general, and concerning the Christian faith in particular, is that our feelings may deceive us. This salient feature of being human and Christian all too often goes unrecognized as we tend to implicitly trust what we feel, simply because we feel it. Living spirituality aims to call this into question, reversing the tendency and creating suspicion that will explicitly contribute to refiguring our lives in a more holistic manner.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 03, 2009

Reflection for the Week- August 3rd 2009

Social disintegration, moral corruption, biblical God haters, and religious subterfuge finally took their toll on the nations. Desperate attempts to revive the patients were undertaken. Lungs, heart, and vital signs were functioning. Breath there was; a heart beat, but it amounted to little more than pumping blood through the veins. The patients faltered, gasping for a spirit that would refresh and revitalize, yet it was to no avail.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 27, 2009

Reflection for the Week- July 27th 2009

Knowing God is ideally relational, but at times we struggle with this and God seems far away, uncaring, and impersonal. Turning to Scripture will be crucial here, for finally this word must be our authority and hope. When scriptural testimony prevails, even in disorienting stages such as these, believe it or not God is with us.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 20, 2009

Reflection for the Week- July 20th 2009

In the midst of trials and questions don’t forget to seek wisdom. Remember to look for openings and new possibilities of being and seeing, and embrace God’s love and truth and honor God’s name.


Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 13, 2009

Reflection for the Week- July 13th 2009

To follow after Jesus is to deny oneself and to take up one’s cross. A denial of self does not mean to become a zero or selfless, but is stressing the necessity of setting aside one’s self-centered interests, especially with regard to messianic ideology. That is, the tendency of turning Jesus the Messiah into a savior of one’s own making, instead of a focusing on and embracing the things of God. In doing the latter the result will be cross taking, which translates into life receiving.


Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 06, 2009

Reflection of the Week- July 6th 2009

Re-envisioning our lives as children of the living God is a worthwhile enterprise. To do this try taking a step forward. While the routine and the every day are important, it is similarly quite essential for Christians to focus on the future culmination of the Kingdom of God and its bearing on the present. A re-envisioning of our present lives means that we are never to consider them on their own, but we are to know and embrace the truth that they are to be seen as integrated with the New Testament writings that mark out the “day of Christ” as the time in which Christ will reign not only our lives, but over everything. This future perspective should saturate the present in opening new horizons for redeeming and renewing action now.


Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 29, 2009

Reflection for the Week- June 29th 2009

Setting up our own standards by which to measure ourselves happens all the time. This is just the norm for so many believers. But such standards can tend to put God in the wrong place, while they also falsify us. God’s standards are not our own. They come to us through creation, cross, and new creation, which frees us from being the center of our lives.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 22, 2009

Reflection for the Week- June 22nd 2009

There is a lamentable lack of focus today on reading the biblical text. Bibles proliferate, but go unread. One of the most significant things that Christians want to attempt to do is engage and be engaged by the biblical text. In a very basic, yet profound way we want to learn more about being open to God’s word, so that it can read us. Being read will help us turn away from selfish tendencies and towards the living God, creation, and each other.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 15, 2009

Reflection for the Week- June 15th 2009

The plight of all too many churches is internal disintegration. Judgment and separation dominate, leaving in their wake bitter and unforgiving hearts. In such awful circumstances renewal and redemption need to break through the hardness, so that love and unity can flourish.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 08, 2009

Reflection for the Week- June 8th 2009

Sometimes we may feel washed over by waves of doubt. Wrestling with our faith in God puts us in good company with many a character in the Bible. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions and to seek to find true answers. God invites us to do so, giving us sufficient ways to understand Him, ourselves, and the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 01, 2009

Reflection for the Week- June 1st, 2009

Following in the footsteps of the crucified and risen One will sometimes have a myriad of difficult consequences in this life. Recall one. As Jesus went into his home town and was amazed at the lack of faith that he found there, we too may encounter difficulties with the apparently faithless crowds that sometimes surround us. Moving ahead is hard in these circumstances, but necessary. We need courage and to not fear, for God is with us on the journey, even though it may appear to us at certain times, to be arduous and unproductive.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 25, 2009

Reflection of the Week- May 25th 2009

At this time of year, when we acknowledge and celebrate Jesus’ ascension and the day Pentecost, keep in mind that Jesus leaves the scene of this earth so that the Spirit can come and reside with us. This Spirit personal reality is unleashed on Pentecost in a fresh way, so that we too might come to know and be in community with God, through the Holy Spirit. Since God has made the ascended Jesus both Lord and Christ, being marked by the Spirit gives assurance that there is more to come as God will ultimately reveal himself to be God over all.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 18, 2009

Reflection of the Week- May 18th 2009

Indictments of the supposed guardians of orthodoxy proliferate throughout the Scriptures. Prophets are continually speaking God’s word to a faithless people who set aside his commands for their own benefit. Jesus is even more to the point with his sarcastic irony towards the religious elite of his day concerning the pretense of washing hands to be clean. Pseudo-orthodoxy called for ceremonial washing before eating. Jesus says this is an absurd charade because it leaves the heart uncleansed. Those today that wave the banner of “we’re orthodox and you’re not,” need to seriously consider where their hearts are, rather than inspecting the hands of everyone else.


Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 11, 2009

Reflection of the Week- May 11th 2009

Evading God’s ways for the sake of human traditions won’t do. Jesus takes a hard line on this sort of subterfuge, concerned about justice and doing well, as he is. There are subtle, yet radical ways we conservatively or liberally do what we please, instead of seeking God and his wisdom for how to live in this world. What God is after is our hearts, that is, us and all of us, not some external performance based on human ways, which belies the truth. We wrongly assume that giving God ourselves will come at great cost, but in reality the expense is hardly worth consideration.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 04, 2009

Reflection of the Week- May 4th 2009

As we move into this week towards Sunday and the fitting celebration of Mother’s day, let’s not forget how important Mother’s are. Bless them in their various walks of life and try to encourage and care for them in the ways they need.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 27, 2009

Reflection for the Week- April 27th 2009

The church should set out to be part of the process to overthrow political barbarians who sleekly and unjustly abuse their authority. Jesus message is radically subversive and challenges those who wield abortive, yet tremendous power in their own favor. As the chilling atmosphere of political hedonism seeks to establish its own kingdom, Christians want none of it. The journey of following the crucified and risen One and participating in the Kingdom of God is not merely astounding, but it should also raise many a conflict with the ruling elites along the way.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 20, 2009

Reflection for the Week- April 20th 2009

Jesus’ ultimate mission and message is the Kingdom of God . Just read the gospels and you’ll find it there over and over again. KOG is the truth that should alert us to what God is up to. What has been awaited for from old had now arrived in Jesus and this, with all that it comprises, is the good news for all with ears to hear. Listen!

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 13, 2009

Reflection for the Week- April 13th 2009

Life often appears to be like a flickering candle flame dancing in the texturedly stark shadows of nightfall’s gentle breeze. Our dear God, you know we’re such delicately crafted creatures, and that we long for your lasting light. Burning to survive for another day moves us towards destiny and that final meeting with your piercing illumination, where darkness is extinguished and the light never ceases. Resurrection and renewal; earth and body: hope for life and light, in the end, to saturate the whole of God’s creation.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 06, 2009

Reflection for the Week- April 6th 2009

As we enter Easter week, let’s remember that we are facing a time of unprecedented turbulence and uncertainty in our world. Take moments out, especially this week, to focus on and pray about the truth and power of the cross and resurrection of Christ being made known to all tribes and nations.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 30, 2009

Reflection of the Week- March 30th 2009

God’s joy and God’s pain are to give us a vision for each other and the world. The coming reign of God, and all it means in its already and not yet manifestation, incites us to creatively and imaginatively live Christ in the present, while we set our hearts and eyes on the horizon of the future.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

March 23, 2009

Reflection of the Week- March 23rd 2009

The way Christians relate to culture often borders on the absurd. Culture is not all good, nor is it all bad. To aim to be a full time embracer or negator of culture will simply throw those who represent the Christian faith into a ridiculous and untenable polarization. Selectivity is bound to be more helpful and realistic as we seek to interact with, transform, or change parts of our culture, all the while recognizing that we are those who live within it.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

March 16, 2009

Reflection of the Week- March 16th 2009

When a relationship begins to fall apart due to serious sin on the behalf of one person, the culprit will have to change if the relationship is going to be sustainable. What often happens here is that the offender pretends to change external behavior, which is all too easy a solution. The idea here is, “just tell me what to do and I’ll do it.” The offender’s assumption is that if one behaves differently and better, that’s all that counts. Yet this is unlikely to be convincing for the offended as being a charlatan is part of what led to the breakdown in the first place. Several problems arise in this scenario, but the most severe is an issue of trust concerning who this offender is. An unknown identity increases suspicion. Real change and release has to come from an internal transformation and this must first take place between the perpetrator and God before it can eventually have an impact on the offended so that trust, the very essence of sustainable relationships, can begin to be built again.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

March 09, 2009

Reflection of the Week- March 9th 2009

An unthinking and disinterested perspective has hijacked too much of the church today. Regrettably, there is a lack of thickness to Christian lives and stories and this miserably fails to represent the adventurous, lively, and truthful trajectory of the biblical text and the power of the Spirit. Thinking, creativity, and curiosity should be deeply woven into the fabric of all we say and do as we seek to engage Scripture and Spirit and to be symbols of light that are imaginatively contrasting the darkness of the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

March 02, 2009

Reflection for the Week- March 2nd, 2009

The fragility of life breaks through and haunts us at various times. We’re never ready to face our worst fears, though there is not much that we can do to prepare for them. Life is sometimes like that. Heartbreak takes forms that traces itself upon our desires and etches its way onto our flesh and spirit. Yet, redemption is our weapon and hope is our shield against the onslaught of human brokenness and its consequences for those who live in the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 23, 2009

Reflection for the Week- February 23rd, 2009

As the once mighty consumerist fortresses of church and state begin to crumble we ask you oh God to remake our values and set us on the path to a new way of living. Money and material possessions have reigned over us for all too long. Teach us what it means to more emphatically follow in the footsteps of the crucified and risen One and help us to be obedient and willing to love you and our neighbor as we ought.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 16, 2009

Reflection for the Week- February 16th, 2009

Present breakdowns can push us back to the past or forward to the future. A Scriptural vision sets out before us the following. Remembering that God has redeemed our pasts and projecting that he will completely redeem us in the future is to translate into a living hope for the present. Living hope for the present does not mean that all will go well in the here and now, but it does show us ever so extravagantly that our life stories are connected to the God of the past, present, and future. He powerfully and gently holds us in his hands.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 09, 2009

Reflection for the Week- February 9th, 2009

Dark clouds sometimes form in the recesses of our lives and bring storms of discontent. During these moments that may turn into days, weeks, and months, we fear the solitude and sense of emptiness will never end. Yet, God in his wisdom has made us in such a way that these powerful impressions too will diminish and eventually fade into a horizon that is larger than anything that we can fathom.

 

February 02, 2009

Reflection for the Week- February 2nd, 2009

Pangs of loneliness mark us all. Displacement, alienation, restlessness, and instability so often permeate our culture and mindset. There is in us, however, a deep longing for a safe place to be and to dwell, for friends and for home. God graciously invites us, amidst the fragmentation and chaos of life, into a unique community with himself and others who are following in the footsteps of the crucified and risen One. We have a place there that is to saturate the whole of our lives here.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

January 26, 2009

Reflection for the Week- January 26th 2009

Oh God, we ask that you release us from the sin that enslaves and holds us captive to a woeful daily death. Teach us the cadence of truth and life so that we might serve you responsibly and in love. Mark us with your Spirit and show us the way to missionally, authentically, and effectively testify to your love as expressed in the Lordship of Christ over the whole of life.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

January 19, 2009

Reflection for the Week- January 19th 2009

Christian love in action is powerful and life-changing, but almost entirely absent in many Christian contexts. Let’s face it. We are in desperate need of deep spiritual renewal. If we are to have a hand in reversing spiritual impoverishment today it is essential to realize that there are no simple formulas, no superficial solutions, and no trite answers. Rather, we should be aiming for something like this. Through the power of the Spirit, we are to exemplify an informed, holistic, interactive, interpretive, theological, and redemptive spirituality that is lived in community with God. Christ’s love is to flow through us and then out of us to each other, our neighbors, our enemies, all people, and the whole of creation. When this starts to happen – watch out, for God is on the move and reversal is at hand.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 12, 2009

Reflection for the Week- January 12th 2009

The consumer church has adopted a new trinity of culture, experience, and feeling as its primary authority. This is a cadence we don't want to follow. Tangled webs of interconnection with these three run so deep that Christians find themselves trapped in and saturated by that with is not of God. Sapped of resistance to the banal and overwrought by appearances, Divine meaning begins to dissipate, and Christian truth and faith become irrelevant to the church and the watching world. It’s time for this to change and take a new direction. A return to Scripture and the art of reading it will open up possibilities for breaking away from the former empty indulgences and beginning anew.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 05, 2009

Reflection for the Week- January 5th 2009

Christian parents all too often provide an atmosphere of inauthenticity and legalism which, among other things, results in a failure to align saying and doing. Children see this incongruity and because of it end up rejecting the faith that it is supposedly based on. When a more real expression of Christ comes their way, instead of finding their observations reinforced, they discover that they are challenged. Good! This frequently leads to a renewed faith and an authentic embrace of Christianity that parents unfortunately reject because it is not their own. Not good! If you’re a parent reading this – be open to a reformulated faith in Christ on behalf of your children. If you’re a child reading this – don’t give up on pursing a true faith or in the hope that your parents will become more open to where you stand as a Christian.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 29, 2008

Reflection for the Week- December 29th 2008

Happy New Year 2009! May this be a year of reformation and renewal in Christ for each of us and the whole of the church.
Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 22, 2008

Reflection for the Week- December 22nd 2008

May be boundless love of Christ be with us all, as we more intensely focus on the cele br ation of his birth during this time of year.
Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 15, 2008

Reflection for the Week- December 15th 2008

Breaking through the darkness to the other side and into the glow of light that God provides in Christ is a profound experience of love and grace. As we forge through the difficult times in our own lives, a shadow is always there beckoning us towards the hope of the illuminated path ahead.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 08, 2008

Reflection for the Week- December 8th 2008

Reading Genesis 1-3 as the theo-drama of creation opens it up for dynamic re-interpretation, first of all in the Old Testament itself, and then the New, and then for the many generations preceding ours, and finally for refiguring readers lives today and into the future. This mighty theo-drama represents a script that is a legitimate informer about God and nature, which has the capacity to situate readers on the stage and to refigure their lives in the name of the Creator.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 01, 2008

Reflection for the Week- December 1st 2008

As readers of the scriptural story today we are foreigners to the text and its ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman context, yet we are not excluded from its time, narration, drama, and spherical refraction. The possibility remains for us to be grafted into the revelatory story of God’s creation and redemptive outpouring of love in Christ, which offers us a place on the stage of the cosmic drama of life. Renewing people and the earth is part of God’s majestic story. Fortunately, we’re invited to participate.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

November 24, 2008

Reflection of the Week- November 24th 2008

Our culture of consumerism and self-centeredness holds out great temptations to allow ourselves to be consumed. It’s often so much easier to go with the flow that leads to death, than it is to be agents of life. Let’s remember to be partakers in and messengers of love, redemption, and forgiveness as we live out the Christian story in the fullest and most meaningful way possible.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 17, 2008

Reflection for the Week- Novmeber 17th 2008

The setting of boundaries is crucial, not for the purpose of keeping others out, but so that they may be invited in, and receive and experience a life giving hospitality, centered more in love than in duty.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 10, 2008

Reflection for the Week- November 10th 2008

Take some time this week to recognize and be thankful for the importance and relevance of imagination when it comes to belief in God.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

November 03, 2008

Reflection for the Week- Novmeber 3rd 2008

Thinking seriously about important matters is a Christian responsibility. To attempt to ignore people and what’s going on in the world is not a virtue, but a default. To assume that a Christian should have an empty mind is not spiritual, but unspiritual. To the contrary, engaging ideas and people, for the sake of Christ, is being a spiritual witness to what is true.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 27, 2008

Reflection for the Week- October 27th 2008

Our cultures frequently banalize or ignore God and truth. As the pressures of extreme forms of postmodernisms develop and new expressions of pantheism and pragmatism rise and gain a foothold in our cultures, we want to be able to think clearly and to love boldly. Insight and direction, combined with compassion and grace, are crucial for knowing how to navigate through the high degree of confusion in today’s world and for seeking to follow in the footsteps of the crucified and risen One.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 20, 2008

Reflection for the Week- October 20th 2008

How wonderfully exciting it is to offer hospitality and shelter in the midst of life's chaos, bewilderment, and uncertainty. Hospitality and home sharing are deep expressions of Christian spirituality. As so many today find their identity in the hollow promises of media, consumerism, and making it up as they go along, we’re thankful especially for those who are seeking truth, spiritual direction, meaning and purpose in life, and credibility and authenticity. And even more so, that God meets them in a diversity of ways. What is so amazing, in a world of the fake and counterfeit, is that what’s real continues to happen again and again.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

October 13, 2008

Reflection for the Week- October 13th 2008

As we prepare for autumn and begin to experience the sleeping of the earth in winter, let us continue to be ready and awake to God, so that his love and truth might bear fruit in all of us. Pray that his work would blossom and grow in extravagant ways that would surprise us with hope and joy. In looking forward to spring, be thankful for personal spiritual renewal and the promise that God is out to renew the whole world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

October 06, 2008

Reflection for the Week- October 6th 2008

What’s happening to our world? We find ourselves in unprecedented times. We’ve never been here before. Yes, the world’s previously been a mess, but the scale of our plight has now dramatically increased. Financial markets are crumbling and in turmoil, natural catastrophes are creating havoc and destruction, governments are run by incompetent and sometimes corrupt elected officials, political sovereignty is awfully close to being a consumer product, and much of the Western church is not only ineffective and woefully impoverished, but it is tanking and its very existence and sustainability are under threat.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 29, 2008

Reflection for the Week- September 29th 2008

God’s new city measurements emphasize its perfection and completeness as the dwelling place of God. John continues to describe in further detail, at the very limits of human language, the reality of the Holy City (Rev. 21:15-21). It is made of pure gold, transparent as glass, with walls of jasper, and visible foundations decorated with a list of precious stones.

The general picture of God’s city is one of magnificence, brilliance, purity and the assured rest of completion as all waiting is now translated into the present. In the midst of the great city there will be direct fellowship with God and the Lamb. The ‘not yet’ will be ‘already.’ In the literal and figurative sense, blurred vision will be corrected, healed, and brought to perfection. God will dwell with his people, and they with him in everlasting fellowship.


Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 22, 2008

Reflection for the Week- September 22nd 2008

We should neither be reading every event on the world’s stage as end times prophecy, nor should we be naive. Interpreting the times calls for Christians to have minds of wisdom and hearts of patient endurance, so that we can continue to trust in both God’s faithful working out of his purposes and the victory that believers already participate in because of the blood of the Lamb.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 15, 2008

Reflection for the Week- September 15th 2008

The tragedy of monologue is that it impoverishes our spirituality. A one dimensional perspective is ruinous for living spirituality as it robs us of what is really true. We are made by God to be in dialogue – God and self, self and others, others and world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

September 08, 2008

Reflection of the Week- September 8th 2008

God is the great sculptor in time. Catch the vision of this imagery for yourself and live it out as you sculpt a life in time.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery


September 01, 2008

Reflection for the Week- September 1st 2008

God is the mystery of the world. What a wonder that we have in Scripture and nature the knowledge of God that we do. Praise God today for the gracious revelation that has been given to us and may we act on what we have, as we await the fullness of the future.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

August 25, 2008

Reflection for the Week- August 25th 2008

Christian truth is far from maintaining the status quo. It challenges the arrogant powers and despotic tyrants that seek to possess and control the world. Status quo is death. Christ came to bring life, to o-pen possibilities, to affirm change and inaugurate transformation.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

August 18, 2008

Reflection for the Week- August 18th 2008

Become a glocal Christian. Those who follow in the footsteps of Christ are called to a local and a global community and are to have an intense passion and concern for both spheres of life in the body of Christ. Keep the fires of love, trust, and compassion burning for brothers and sisters wherever they are found.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

August 11, 2008

Reflection for the Week- August 11th 2008

Improvising is not about doing something entirely new. Think of it this way. To improvise is to join in, to recognize that we are part of a work in progress - something that precedes us. Faithful improvisation is listening to and speaking for others. To participate in God’s story in following the crucified and risen One, is to respond to an invitation to improvise.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

August 04, 2008

Reflection of the Week- August 4th 2008

Money cannot save us. Beauty cannot save us. Poetry cannot save us. Service cannot save us.

Only a suffering God, a God of victims and victimizers, a God who invites us to be true and authentic selves beyond the pale of insignificance, can save us. 

July 28, 2008

Reflection for the Week- July 28th 2008

As the apostle Paul so eloquently puts it: I give thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in all speech and knowledge, just as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you - so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into fellowship with his son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  1 Corinthians 1:4-9

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 21, 2008

Reflection for the Week- July 21st 2008

As Western culture frequently banalizes or ignores God and truth; as the pressures of extreme forms of postmodernisms develop; as new expressions of pantheism and pragmatism rise and gain a foothold, we need to pray for insight and direction as to know how to navigate through the high degree of confusion to clearer thinking and living for the sake of Christ.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 14, 2008

Reflection for the Week- July 14th 2008

There are two vast expressions that seem more prevalent than ever in the culture: first, a sense of aimlessness, rampant consumerism, a lack of stable relationships and families, and sound bite superficiality. Second, the virtual spirituality interwoven with anything and everything is resulting in a dearth of true spirituality and a growing loss of contact with the real world. May God give wisdom as to how to address this spiraling impoverishment.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 22, 2008

Reflection for the Week- June 22nd 2008

When it comes to the Christian faith, don’t be afraid to improvise. That does not mean to make it up as we go along, but to join in with the symphony of Scripture and to find your place in interpreting and becoming part of the composition.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

June 15, 2008

Reflection for the Week- June 16th 2008

Despite the many obstacles and false paths we take, Jesus says he is the way, the truth, and the life. Follow him and find community with God.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery 

 

June 10, 2008

Reflection of the Week- June 8th 2008

Might we be living in times where what we have known as church and culture are falling apart and beginning to disintegrate? And if so, where are we going to turn to find renewal and hope? If Western culture and church are to be revived, fervent prayer and the power of the Spirit will be essential. Further, I believe that one of the crucial elements of recovery will have to be a deep commitment to the reading, study, and appropriation of Scripture. Living the practices embedded in the biblical text is central to Christian existence and having an impact on church and culture for the sake of Christ.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery 

June 04, 2008

Reflection of the Week- June 1st 2008

Lamentably, the founding stories of our faith are so often entombed in church buildings that lack the presence of God, or in electronic boxes that perpetrate a mindless faith in consumerism. By contrast, the subversive and radical power of the mission, ministry, and person of Jesus illumines the path towards authenticity. Cherish the Gospels, read them diligently, appreciate their relation and distinction, and above all, live their truth in love.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

May 25, 2008

Reflection of the Week- May 25th 2008

The times are mystifying. Everyone is searching for a spiritual life. One person goes this way, another that. So many trends and options are available today. In the midst of the driving enthusiasm and obsessive quest for a spiritual life, spirituality has come to mean everything, yet nothing. Christians have to help lead the way out of the maze by embracing and living the truths of the faith. We should embody and demonstrate the existence of God, the redemption of Christ, and the power of the Spirit.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 18, 2008

Reflection for the Week- May 18th 2008

There is nothing more spiritual, no other way of having the fullness of life, than following the crucified and risen One, which is both a joy and a task.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 11, 2008

Reflection for the Week- May 11th 2008

Remember we’re not alone. As we celebrate Pentecost we can be thankful that the Holy Spirit was poured out and that he guides and directs our lives as Christ’s presence with us until the end of the age.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

May 04, 2008

Reflection of the Week- May 4th 2008

Impoverished spirituality separates sacred and secular into ironclad compartments. Living spirituality resists this unfortunate framing, stressing that it is crucial to realize that Christ is Lord of all of life and to live in the light of that truth.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery 

April 27, 2008

Reflection of the Week- April 27th 2008

Theology cannot remain stuck in books and classrooms, but must become part of our own stories. Making truths our own is crucial and there is nothing more vital for living spirituality than welcoming new and foreign redemptive perspectives into our lives, that in turn will be lived out for others. Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 20, 2008

Reflection of the Week- April 20th 2008

The “present” is never complete because it’s always a present for me, and as it’s for me, it will always be too small to be complete. Don’t fight being finite and limited, but embrace it and it will bring you closer to the truth.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

April 13, 2008

Reflection for the Week- April 13th 2008

The Bible is not God. In many circles of Christianity, I fear, there is a growing bibliolatry that assumes that having and reading the Bible is enough. This ignores the truth that the Bible itself points us past itself to an encounter with the living God, who invites us into community with him. Text and encounter are essential to a vibrant and living spirituality.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

April 06, 2008

Reflection of the Week- April 6th 2008

When we experience oppression, suffering and a sense of the absence of God in the Christian life, these experiences are not to be left unconnected or unrelated as if they stand on their own. Rather, we are to integrate these difficulties into the cross of Christ, which provides community and mediation. Christ shares our plight and reconciles our sorrows, and this is the lens through which we are to see our lives.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 30, 2008

Reflection of the Week- March 30th 2008

We who are Christians need not look to the consummation of God’s rule in fear and trepidation. We too can shout, “Hallelujah!” for our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him the glory.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

 

March 23, 2008

Reflection of the Week- March 23rd 2008

The crucified and risen One is alive. Christ is raised. Celebrate the victory of life over death. Joyous Easter!

 

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 16, 2008

Reflection of the Week- March 14th 2008

Throne theophanies in Scripture are visions of God enthroned. God is holy, almighty, and who was, is, and is to come. He lives forever and ever. He is worthy for he has created all things. Revelation 5 captures one of these awesome scenes. In this majestic scene there is assurance that those facing dire circumstances and life-threatening persecution can trust God. In a world that may seem to be out of control, in a world of suffering and death, God is there, moving history to its cataclysmic consummation.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 09, 2008

Reflection of the Week- March 9th 2008

In Revelation 3:14-22 Christ wishes that the Christians in Laodicea were either hot or cold. It is often assumed that hot means ‘on fire for the Lord’ or a full commitment, while cold means, ‘no fire for the Lord’ or no commitment. If this is the case, the question we’re faced with is why Christ would approve of no commitment at all? This doesn’t make sense. Hot and cold are not to be taken as positive and negative descriptions, but both are positive in regard to what the church’s actions should be. Problem is being lukewarm, which seems identify all too many churches. We, as the Laodiceans, proclaim we’re rich, but Christ says we’re impoverished. True riches are spiritual, not found in material possessions, but in Christ himself.

  Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

March 03, 2008

Reflection for the Week- March 2nd, 2008

Christ stands at the door and calls, awaiting a response from anyone who hears his voice. The crucified and risen One standing at the door is not a threat, but a promise. There he is calling out. No doubt this imagery should jolt and challenge us. Whenever we hear his voice, it is time to open the door. He assures us that our hospitality will not be deceptively abused.

  Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 24, 2008

Reflection for the Week- February 24th 2008

Have you ever reflected on the silence in heaven in Revelation 8? This occurs just after the opening of the seventh seal and before the sounding of the seven trumpets. A dramatic scene if there ever was one. Then an angel is given a massive amount of incense to offer with the prayers of the saints, which both arise to God. The prayers of the saints are important enough to God that there is silence, an awaiting the arrival of these prayers, and then action in response to them. After this the angel unleashes a series of natural warnings to highlight God’s coming judgment. Prayer is important—vital —and does not take place in vain. God has created a world in which our prayers make a difference in the total outcome of his involvement in the world.

 Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

February 17, 2008

Reflection for the Week- February 17th 2008

Struggling to find the way in the desert is no easy task. God seems distant, yet we know he’s there. During these times we ask, oh God, for cold refreshing cups of water to sustain us and for a growing trust that will provide strength to continue on until we once more intimately meet you again.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 10, 2008

Reflection for the Week- February 10th 2008

Welcoming strangers into homes and churches is a lost art of hospitality. This loss strikes at the heart of Christianity, which all too often these days is seen to be inverted and self-serving. Jesus was concerned with hospitality and providing shelter to those who were outcasts. As his followers, we dare not at least do the same.

 Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

February 03, 2008

Reflection for the Week- February 3rd 2008

Christians all too often become inoculated against the real. Plagued by inauthentic churches peddling illusions and the deception of unreal images that manifest themselves in misplaced expectations and extravagant regimes, which are given an illegitimate authority and unwarranted priority, Christians fade from the scene of the real world. We have become all too clever at making it up as we go along, propagating reveries and imagining life to be as it is not. There are many attempts, for a variety of reasons, to live in imaginary worlds of our own making, rather than living imagination from and to the world as it is: vive l’imagination.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 27, 2008

Reflection for the Week- January 27th 2008

One reason for a lack of reality and excitement about the Christian life is due to a lack of imagination. When our imaginations are not engaged or fall dormant, our faith will begin to die. God is there, and this is not a mere matter of analysis or feeling and neither are the goal. Being in community with God, as unfolding through imagination, should be the end of the pursuit of truth.

 Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

photo by Michael D. Shivers

 

January 20, 2008

Reflection for the Week- January 20th 2008

Like shafts of light piercing into the depths of darkness, God illumines the world in creation and through Christ. Catch the spherical shaping and seminal configurations.

Memories

 

Darkness shrouds that long lost valley

Billowing grey blinds vision of fleeting sky

 

Crevices and curvatures

Swallowing contours of obscurity                     

Dreams of hoping, seeing

 

To the Heavens cries earth                      

Open a deep and lasting illumination                           

Remembering, forgetting

 

Moon songs glowing at dawn

Following a cherished sun gone                        

Losing recollection of the night

Waiting for light

 

 Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 13, 2008

Reflection for the Week- January 13th 2008

It’s all too easy, and in spite of best intentions, to control and dominate Scripture to the degree that it loses its voice for us. In reading Scripture, let’s be open to transformation and new ways of seeing. Monologues demand and change nothing. Dialogue is a risk and requires courage. Be risky and courageous. Hear the text well, perform it in a fitting manner, and live.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

January 06, 2008

Reflection of the Week- January 6th 2008

Wisdom emerges in our lives slowly and sometimes painfully. It invites reflection, question, and struggle. It covers everything from advice on how to take care of daily tasks, to the absurdity of them all. Wisdom, without the illumination of the fear (awe, reverence) of the Lord, loses its way. For true wisdom relates to living spirituality as it deals with facing life in all its ups and downs. God graciously meets us through living as we shape the contours of daily routines and choices, so that we might learn to wisely follow the path to life. The fear (awe, reverence) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. This saying targets a two-dimensional reality: wisdom as internal; focused on the individual, and as external; situated in a variety of social contexts in the world. Life is to be filled with the gift of the wisdom of God, which applies to the whole of human activity as we forge ahead on the journey.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 30, 2007

Reflection for the Week- December 30th

Happy New Year. In the year to come let’s remember this. When love has no basis or personal referent outside of ourselves—notably the Infinite One who is love—we are left to make it up as we go along. And as we attempt this, there will be serious consequences. Love, when not anchored in and referring to the personal God, has limited significance and meaning. Love is not whatever we make it to be. Idealism and utopias will be unsustainable, and a journey for the sake of the journey is a dead end – we need a destination and the loving God provides that for us in Christ

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 23, 2007

Reflection for the Week- December 23rd

May be boundless love of Christ be with us all, as we more intensely focus on the celebration of his birth during this time of year.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery 

December 16, 2007

Reflection for the Week- December 16th

Those who follow the crucified and risen One are to grow increasingly aware that love is engraved on them and it is etched into the depths of their souls. It should be the imprint that produces Christian unity and identifies us to the watching world. When people look at us, they are to see our love for each other and the unity that results from this.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

December 09, 2007

Reflection for the Week- December 9th

Deep spiritual renewal is necessary, even vital, if we are to reverse spiritual impoverishment today. There are no simple formulas, no superficial solutions. Through the power of the Spirit, an informed holistic, interactive, interpretive, theological, redemptive spirituality lived in community with God, with the map of Scripture in hand for the journey; renewal can begin to take place. Christ's love is to flow through us and then out of us to each other, our neighbors, our enemies, all people, and creation. Christian love in action is powerful and life-changing.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery  

 

December 02, 2007

Reflection for the Week- December 2nd

Paul’s rhetoric of equality in 1 Corinthians 7 is astounding. Not only do the bodies of wives belong to their husbands, but the bodies of husbands belong to their wives. Marriage partners are not free to do what they please with their bodies. Spirituality is an earthly-bodily phenomenon. Liberty , asceticism and idolatry are three false emblems of an overly already-focused spirituality that leads us astray. Misunderstandings abound today. Bodies are worshipped (idolatry), devalued (liberty), or seen as having nothing to do with the spiritual, which is entirely cut off from the physical world (asceticism). The body - both what it is and what it does are key parts of living spirituality.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery  

 

November 25, 2007

Reflection for the Week- November 25th

The life, death, and resurrection of Christ are the imprint for redemption, which stamps itself upon us in living spirituality. These events are the key markers on the map for our journey and they open up the path to life. To obey from the heart is to live a new life, understanding the double-edged truth that grace reigns and that sin is no longer our master.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery 

November 18, 2007

Reflection for the Week- November 18th

Take some time this week to read and study Romans 6. This is an amazing chapter. Of course, if you’re able to, reading chapters 5, 7, and 8 would be helpful in order to understand chapter 6 in its wider context. Here are a few highlights for us from beginning to end in this wonderful chapter: grace reigns and sin matters; being baptized into Christ’s death to live a new life; unity with Christ; freed from sin; Christ dies to sin once for all and lives to God; consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God; sin shall not be your master; under grace not law; free from sin and slaves to righteousness; free from sin and slaves to God; grace reigns and sin matters; grace leads to life and sin to death.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

November 11, 2007

Reflection for the Week- November 11th

God is not out to turn us into zeroes or zombies. He addresses and calls us through grace to respond to his offer of salvation and to being in community with him. This means we have to show up, be accounted for, be responsible, use what we have, and appreciate and enjoy the freedom that God gives.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

 

November 04, 2007

Reflection for the Week- November 4th

The perpetual cycle of sin can diminish in our lives. By the grace of God, the revelation of his word, the gift of the Holy Spirit and our own sanctified and redemptive being and becoming like Christ, there can be a renewal in every present situation - self to God, self to self, self to other and self to world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 28, 2007

Reflection for the Week- October 28th

Sometimes we sense a loss of contact with God. We grope around in darkness longing for light and wander through the wilderness thirsting for a cup of water. When this happens we need to cling to God and his promises, to the truth that we are not on our own, and to the reality that we have a destiny of being transformed into the image of Christ.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

October 21, 2007

Reflection for the Week - October 21st

Praise God for who he is and for what he has done, is doing and will do - for his mission through creation, Israel and the Christ to renew and redeem humanity and the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery 

 

October 14, 2007

Reflection for the Week- October 14th

In the theater of life let’s aim for a focus on mission, living spirituality, truth, honesty, community with God and each other, concern for the poor, the environment, culture, the arts, and the authenticity of redemption. A fitting performance counts, and we all have an important role to play.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

 

October 07, 2007

Reflection for the Week- October 1st

There are plenty of ungracious attitudes around and we all make mistakes, sin, and are in need of redemption. Thank God for Christ. Embrace grace and then give it away today in generosity. God’s grace comes to us superabundantly and freely. Let’s offer it to others in overflowing joy.

 Dr Gregory J. Laughery

 

September 30, 2007

Reflection for the Week-September 30th

To better understand God and ourselves, we have to read and study three books: Scripture, nature and culture. Dr Gregory J. Laughery

September 23, 2007

Reflection for the Week-September 23rd

Grace has been misplaced. Everything seems to be focused on negotiation. Surpassing notions of exchange or “let’s make a deal” however, is the directedness of God for our lives. Dr Gregory J. Laughery

September 16, 2007

Reflection for the Week- September 16th

Going to work this week or staying at home? Whatever you’re doing in these next moments, hours and days, remember this: God is on a mission. Through the work of Christ in the power of the Spirit, and your acceptance of this, you are in community with the living God and your brothers and sisters from every tribe, nation and tongue. Now that’s awesome.

 >>>> Dr Gregory J. Laughery

September 09, 2007

Reflection for the Week- September 9th

Disconnected and reoriented. Unplugged is not just a term for an MTV acoustic concert, but it can be a metaphor for a life connected to people.  When we’re constantly plugged in we deprive others, and the possibility of a two way interaction is broken. We don’t receive from them, nor can we give to them. We’ve lost the way. Unplug, at least for a good part of your life.

 >>>> Dr Gregory J. Laughery

September 02, 2007

Reflection for the Week- September 2nd

“I desire the joy of the Lord.” Hear it all the time. Problem? Everybody wants it, but the statement is often nebulous as it tends to be rooted in personal experience or a feeling of the moment. While these are no doubt sometimes valid indicators of joy, they fall fleetingly short, and this is because they usually lack the theological force of the conviction. That is, the origin and source of the joy of the Lord, is the Lord, and what he has done, is doing and will do to redeem humanity and restore all things. When joy is rooted in the Lord, it then can become more our own.

>>>> Dr Gregory J. Laughery

August 26, 2007

Reflection for the Week- August 26th

A traumatic encounter with the living God leaves us shaken with awe and wonder. Come, oh Lord, and awaken us from our slumber. Create in us clean hearts, engraved with love and a peace that passes understanding.

>>>> Dr Gregory J. Laughery

Encounter

photo by Michael D. Shivers

 

August 19, 2007

Reflection for the Week- August 19th

Thinking about the mundane; the hum-drum of daily living. Life is not less than this, but always more. Seems to me though that most of the time our lives are made up of the not less, and not the more. There should be both a level of acceptance and dissatisfaction with this. Accepting that this is daily life and dissatisfied that we don't yet see God face to face. All the while hoping that God injects the more in what we do. We shouldn't be consumed with the not less as the injections of the more also need to be in evidence. If not, I start scouting around for ways to escape where God has called me to live. 

>>>> Dr Gregory J. Laughery

mdshivers-mundane.jpg

photo by Michael D. Shivers 

August 12, 2007

Reflection for the Week- August 12th

There is a central and wonderful tension in living spirituality: grace reigns and sin matters. Now, let’s live this truth in community with God and each other.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

August 05, 2007

Reflection for the Week- August 5th

What’s your fragrance? To those entrusted with the gospel, mission is spreading the fragrance of Christ, both to those being saved and to those who are perishing – the fragrance of life and death. The aroma of the former is like a scent that gets better and better, while the scent of the latter is like a stench that gets worse and worse.

>>>> Dr Gregory J. Laughery

mdshivers-rose.jpg

photo by Michael D. Shivers

July 29, 2007

Reflection for the Week- July 29th

We are in a triumphal procession and let’s be grateful for the polyvalence of the imagery. It stands for, I believe, both victory and humiliation, which are both part of the gospel mission and ministry. Humiliations can abound and result in rejection, yet God in Christ accepts us and this leads us on to victory.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

July 22, 2007

Reflection for the Week- July 22nd

Confidence without humility is arrogance. Humility without confidence is relativism.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

July 15, 2007

Reflection for the Week-July 15th

The poetry of the Psalms is a lens through which we may see much of our lives. There are creational promises and covenant shattering. Light and darkness engage in warfare, and while darkness seems to pervade the landscape, God illuminates a path and the light is captured again. Oh Lord, keep us on the way to light.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

July 08, 2007

Reflection for the Week- July 8th

Exodus remains a central and remarkable phase in the self-revelation of God and the life of God’s people. Living spirituality is never far from the double focus of this founding event: release and justice. Live in memory of the Exodus and apply its outcome to oneself and all of life.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

July 01, 2007

Reflection for the Week- July 1st

Theology, as I see it, has a deep and living connection to spirituality. That is, theology and spirituality ultimately refer to God, are connected to our personal knowledge of God, and are essential to our being in community with God and his people. It is crucial to see the final orientation and practical application of theology as a challenge to live spiritually, not merely to inform accurately.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

June 24, 2007

Reflection for the Week- June 24th

Release us, oh God, from the power of sin that chains us in the darkness, and bring us into your liberating light so that we might live anew for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

June 17, 2007

Reflection for the Week- June 17th

Holy Scripture is more than a set of propositions or record of facts. It is an invitation to participate in the drama of God’s salvation. This means finding our place on the stage, performing the script, and living out our role in the light of God’s redemptive mission to the world.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

June 10, 2007

Reflection for the Week- June 10th

The target or goal of the words of Scripture is to reveal God. The words don’t refer to themselves, but to God and to what God has done, is doing, and will do to renew and redeem us and the world. They recount, report, jive, jump, skid, symbolize, and invite us to have an ever deepening experience of the reality of being in community with Father, Son, Spirit and each other.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

June 03, 2007

Reflection for the Week- June 3rd

What seems a blow to the ego may help us find a better footing to live the life of faith and to trust God. A deflated ego can be a vibrant reminder that God should come first in our lives. When we put God first, we’re on our way to being true selves – followers of the crucified and risen One.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

May 27, 2007

Reflection for the Week- May 27th

May the power of the Holy Spirit deeply indwell us individually and in community as we follow the missional trajectory of witnessing to the Christ to the ends of the earth.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

May 20, 2007

Reflection for the Week- May 20th

The Holy Spirit is not some vague impersonal force or energy, or a guide without a map merely doing his own thing. In contrast, he is a personal agent whose actions are in harmony with the Father and Son, and who therefore is a capable guide in that he points us back to them, to the map of Scripture, and how to live as we move toward our destination of imaging Christ. Clearly, the Spirit and the map are to work together. The Spirit glorifies the risen Christ, acting as his very presence, illuminating the map in accordance with the directions that unfold for followers of Christ Jesus.

From Living Spirituality: Illuminating the Path.
by Dr Gregory J. Laughery

May 13, 2007

Reflection for the Week- May 13th

In living spirituality, Christians need to take time to nourish real relationships and to build communities that represent a shared life; a life together. We should learn to fast and feast as one, share books and stories jointly, listen to each other in attentive and caring ways, support and encourage, and be willing to accept and offer loving critique where necessary. Real relationships and shared lives, with Christ at the center and empowered by the Spirit, will lead to transformation into the image of Christ. We will experience new ways of seeing, being, speaking, and acting. And this type of transformation, lived in the Christian community, is also capable of being lived out in the world to the glory of God.

From Living Spirituality: Illuminating the Path.
by Dr Gregory J. Laughery

May 06, 2007

Reflection for the Week- May 6th

Living spiritually is enhanced and enriched through the Psalms and their frequent affirmations of and appeals to God’s covenant loyalty. Many of these writings, however, may shock us with their realism. In the midst of our sometimes automatic pilot spirituality, where everything is supposedly bright and happy, some of the Psalms remind us that community with God and the path to life are far from straight forward. There is and will be brokenness, mystery, dark times, judgment, desperate searching, and much more. Though these circumstances frequently lead to illumination and new understanding, arriving there means going through—not taking a detour around—facets of spirituality that may not fit our desired schemes, notions, and expectations of God. The path may become difficult and the destination may seem far away, but God is faithful to lead us forward. The Psalms are a richly textured slice of life with God, and they offer us revelatory insights into humanness and living spirituality.

From Living Spirituality: Illuminating the Path.
by Dr Gregory J. Laughery

April 29, 2007

Reflection for the Week- April 29th

A crucial theological question is central to spirituality. Our concern here is not with something that we feel or experience as “beyond” or “transcendent,” but with the issue of who is speaking and acting, who is calling, and who is addressing us. Of course, impersonal entities neither speak nor act, and if we have little or no accurate information about the referent of our spirituality, we should have some serious questions. A real and genuine spiritual connection, through the redemptive work of the crucified One, to the personal God who is actually there beyond me, results in release from sin, a changed heart, and a transformed mind—life amidst the divine community.

From Living Spirituality: Illuminating the Path.
by Dr Gregory J. Laughery

April 22, 2007

Reflection for the Week- April 22nd

A Christian view of spirituality affirms the truth that there is a creational spirituality. The created world is a world that we are to explore, care for, and sustain. Living and true spirituality does not reject the material world, but engages it in service of God. We are to participate in the world and contribute to bringing goodness to all areas of life. As God has not left creation or humans to desolation, decay, or ultimate death, neither should we consent to dying forms of spirituality that have no capacity to redeem the created.

From Living Spirituality: Illuminating the Path. by Dr Gregory J. Laughery

mdshivers-clouds.jpg

April 15, 2007

Reflection for the Week- April 15th

Words, words, and more than words. Being a follower of the crucified and risen One is not a word rehearsal, but a performance. Performing is deeply connected to knowing the script (Scripture) and to the direction (Spirit) of the cast. If we are to produce a stellar and faithful recounting of the story line, it is time to see ourselves in radically fresh ways. We are part of the theodrama – the troupe of performers who have a role in God’s mission to the world.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

April 08, 2007

Reflection for the Week- April 8th

He is risen, indeed!


Dr Gregory J. Laughery

Flowers

photo by Michael D. Shivers


April 01, 2007

Reflection for the Week- April 1st

As Easter approaches and we prepare to be more intentionally immersed in the death and resurrection of Christ, may this remarkable event weigh heavily upon us in new and refreshing ways at this time of year. How grateful we are and hopefully growing more to be, that he inaugurated the Kingdom of God , brought Israel and us salvation, was victorious over death through the resurrection, and opened the way into deep and everlasting community with God. On this basis each of us can experience our own release from captivity in Egypt , our own exodus, which will take us through the Promised Land into a new heaven and earth.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

March 25, 2007

Reflection for the Week- March 25th

Philippians is a wonderful letter. Have a read. It’s only four chapters. Whatever our present circumstances, we are to see our lives in a larger context. Present circumstances are important, but shouldn’t control us, because our lives are directed to a greater destiny—to image Christ. As humans, we tend to be so integrated in the present, so overwhelmed by it, that we see the present as all that matters. But Philippians encourages us to recognize that present circumstances are not our final reality—whether joy or suffering. We should be careful not to be lured too deeply into either good or bad present circumstances as if they are all that count for the Christian life.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

March 18, 2007

Reflection for the Week- March 18th

May we be thankful this week that we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit. The biblical Holy Spirit is not some impersonal force or vague natural phenomenon, but the Spirit of God and of Christ. It is this Spirit who illuminates the path to life and who will be with us until the end of the age.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

March 11, 2007

Reflection for the Week- March 11th

There is a pathway to the truly spiritual life. The gateway is Christ. As we traverse the gateway onto the path we need to be more aware that the power that is at work within us is that same power that God exercised in Christ when he raised him from the dead. And that’s an incredible and awesome power.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

March 04, 2007

Reflection for the Week- March 4th

Love is not making it up as we go along. God is love and therefore God gives us direction as to what love is. Love is never less than justice, but always more. And Superabundantly more. The path of love is kind, gentle, and gracious, and doesn’t cherish keeping a list of grievances, but neither is it unchallenging. We are to love God, each other, and all human beings, as we seek to be those who demonstrate something of the truth that God sent Christ to redeem and restore the world.


Dr Gregory J. Laughery

February 25, 2007

Reflection for the Week- February 25th

To live a spirituality of the cross of Christ is to participate in the drama of God’s salvation. Let’s follow in the footsteps of the crucified and risen One, be focused on the Scripture, and open to the Spirit as we are shaped by the dialogue of our community with God, each other, and the world. In the light of the power at work within us and our destiny to image Christ, may we rejoice and be thankful for this day.


Dr Gregory J. Laughery

February 18, 2007

Reflection for the Week- February 18th

Many forms of postmodernism today are really an expression of modernism. Extremes reign. Some modernists suppose that Reason is the light that will explain everything, while some postmodernists argue it explains nothing. Christianity offers us a third way that is not restricted to these types of polarization. There is a place for reason in the Christian faith, but neither reason nor faith is able to give us all the answers to life’s mysteries.


Dr Gregory J. Laughery

February 11, 2007

Reflection for the Week- February 11th

True spirituality is living spirituality. Living spirituality is both adjective and verb. That is, this spirituality is living in that it originates in the living God, and then comes to us through creation, Scripture, Christ, and Spirit. It is also to be lived because it offers us the only way to life in the midst of the pandemic of death.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

February 04, 2007

Reflection for the Week- February 4th

Having our life story re-narrated from a redemptive perspective won’t make the sordid past go away, but it will provide us with a new way of looking at it and its capacity to negatively impact the present. Redeeming memories, through Christ and the power of the Spirit, is one of the ways we are brought into community with the God who lives. And in this community we are sheltered, comforted and loved so that we in turn might shelter, comfort and love others.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

January 28, 2007

Reflection for the Week- January 28th

Nature is related to and distinct from its Creator. In the emerging creation, the Creator is involved in, but not entrapped by the natural world. Idolatry flourishes in the confusion. Yet, God and nature are not one and the same. This truth is crucial for Christian spirituality, for what we worship is not nature, but the Creator.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

January 21, 2007

Reflection for the Week- January 21st

We can never begin with Suspicion as it always takes place in the preceding first order discourse of Trust. There is no way to escape the priority of Trust. We all Trust first because that’s the way we’re made as God’s images. One of our major problems though is that we trust the wrong things, but in God’s mercy and grace this can change as we learn to put our Trust in God.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

January 14, 2007

Reflection for the Week- January 14th

Seriously consider your worldview. How does it correspond to being a human being in the world? The Christian worldview, as no other, gives us the necessary truth about reality and ourselves. Here, we have a true fit that is sufficient and can be lived, yet is careful not to claim to be exhaustive.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery

January 07, 2007

Reflection for the Week- January 7th

May our desire for God’s substantial healing be greater than our fear of failure. Let’s live in the hope of Christ’s second coming and not be presently defeated by that which seems insurmountable.

Dr Gregory J. Laughery