taking the words of Jesus seriously

CS Lewis used to describe the Gospel as ‘a good contagion’. I would describe the continuing emergence or out-working of the Gospel as the equivalent of good weeds.

No matter how much solid legalism, suffocating dogma or toxic confusion and distortion we pour or build on the living spirit of God, it will pop up – pure and alive – somewhere else.

And like some particularly hardy weeds, the true Gospel will never be fully eradicated.

Even the deadest church holds some smoldering spark or latent, hibernating seed waiting maybe decades, possibly even centuries for the right mix of nutrients, receptivity and opportunity.

‘Can these bones live?’ was the question in Ezekiel.

‘Only God knows’ is the eternal answer.

We like to imagine that we know, with our bi-polar yes or no.

Our hope is too shallow and we give up too easily.

Some trees takes centuries to reach maturity, some movements takes generations just to take root.

Many of these ‘good weeds’ are constant irritations that annoy us and take our time.

Our private projects are disturbed and then, when we didn’t even notice, our precious projects are over-shadowed by an immense monument of beauty and strength we had done our best to ignore. Or even stamp out.

God’s Grace is like that.

It emerges without our permission, beyond our will, and most of the time, in defiance of our expectations.

Jesus described the Holy Spirit as being like the wind. We never know where it came from, what it will do or where it will go. Or where it went.

This is how I see the Holy Spirit in my life – it catches me by surprise when I do see it, but mostly I only see its effects – or its absence.

There’s the lingering sense that something holy was here, and perhaps the spores still remain, but they’ve scattered and we step on them and capture, isolate and fossilize the few we do find.

And we, like children, expect them to be our pets, and do our bidding and wear our cute little costumes and take part in our eager charades.

But how little we realize that we have taken in a whirlwind – a loving storm that will turn us upside down and inside out.

We will be, if we allow it, far more, far deeper and more real, more uniquely ourselves than we could have ever imagined.

No matter how old we are, our story is just beginning.

Morf Morford considers himself a free-range Christian who is convinced that God expects far more of us than we can ever imagine, but somehow thinks God knows more than we do. To pay his bills, he’s been a teacher for adults (including those in his local county jail) in a variety of setting including Tribal colleges, vocational schools and at the university level in the People’s Republic of China. Within an academic context, he also writes an irreverent ESL blog and for the Burnside Writers Collective. As he’s getting older, he finds himself less tolerant of pettiness and dairy products.

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About The Author


Faith is not a formula. And I wouldn't even use the word 'relationship' - and probably not the metaphor of 'a journey'. The older I get, the more it seems that faith is a process - a determined focus on listening to the eternal, sifting out the noise and distractions and becoming closer with each breath and each word, to the fullness - and emptiness - of the pulse, hand and purpose of our Creator, which, ultimately brings us where we belong. I'm a teacher and writer, which really means that I am a listener and I share what I see and hear.

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