David's Monday Morning Musings, Labor Day Edition
From the desk of Dr. David Swanson
"...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord....." Philippians 2:10-11
Last week, I'm out downtown and I run into someone that I know. I am also convinced her name is Susan. I enthusiastically greet her, "Susan! Hey!" She smiles and greets me in return, then says, "You know my name is Beth, right?" Argh. I hate that. Hate, hate, hate it! I hate it because names matter, and while I try hard to remember, I blow it more than I care to admit. A name is a powerful thing. It is history, identity and reputation all rolled into one. For that reason, understanding the names of God is critical. He is not generic "God", but He has named Himself so that we might more fully understand His being, nature, character and history. That revelation is seen most fully in God made flesh, Jesus Christ. His is the name that is above all names, the only name given to us by which we are saved (Acts 4:12). And unbelievably, our Creator God knows OUR names. It is the answer to our deepest longing: to be known. He knows us fully, calls us by name, and claims us as His own. He never forgets our names, for we "are graven on the palms of HIs hands." (J.I. Packer) #HonortheName #PraisetheName #HallowtheName
THE MARRIAGE RETREAT: Registration opened last week for The First Pres Marriage Retreat, February 9-11 at Mission Inn, and we already have 53 couples signed up. Our max is 100 couples, so look at your calendars, talk to your spouse, and plan for a great Valentine's gift by joining us that weekend. Leigh and I will be speaking on the dynamics of forgiveness, communication, intimacy and spiritual growth. #everytwoyears #donotmissthis
Recently, a group of conservative theologians and pastors released something called The Nashville Statement. It has been signed by a number of people throughout evangelicalism, but I am not one of them. Some of you have asked me why I didn't. It's not that I find anything particularly wrong with the statement, but there is more to Christian witness than just being right. There is tone, timing, context and relationship. It lacks pastoral sensitivity to those outside of the church, the very ones that we in pastoral ministry are trying to serve - and reach. It was ill-timed as thousands suffered in southeast Texas. To paraphrase what has been said before, in order to have a good song, it takes both words and music. The words were fine, but the notes were flat. #truthwithlove #lovewithtruth #NashvilleStatement
To be sure, theology absolutely matters. Sadly, it has played out in Houston in the wake of so much suffering. Anthea Butler's NYT column The Cheap Prosperity Gospel nailed it when she said "sufferers don't need platitudes." When Joel Osteen has told people over and over that life always works out if you love Jesus or you'll have your best life now, what are people left with when real human suffering arrives? They have not heard about God's redemptive purpose for suffering. They have not learned from the suffering of Jesus nor His presence in it. They are left empty and wanting. #theologymatters #thefalsefeelgoodgospel
I don't usually say much in the political realm, but our government needs to protect the children of illegal immigrants through DACA. There are 6,000 in Central Florida alone. They are here by no choice of their own. They did nothing. They need some way to gain legal status as those caught in the middle.
This is an excerpt from David's regular #MMM Monday Morning Musings on Facebook. Read the full post.
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The Rev. Dr. David D. Swanson is the Senior Pastor and Head of Staff of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando. In his spare time, Dr. Swanson enjoys reading, running, playing pick-up basketball and golf. More about David.