A Blog for the Disorderly

The Disorderly Blog is for anyone who doesn’t fit—for whom the status quo is a failure. It is for anyone who recognizes that the political, economic, and religious cultures around them aren’t working.

The Disorderly Blog is for anyone suspecting a better way exists—for anyone curious about a man named Jesus who showed up two thousand years ago, teaching a new world order. A man whose teachings are so distorted in our culture that he is barely recognizable.

The Disorderly Blog will not spit out answers. But if it does its job, it will raise important questions about Jesus’s plan for the world. I hope you will join in the conversation.

The Disorderly Blog will look at notes attributed to a man named Matthew who heard Jesus speak about his plan. You can read these ancient notes in Matthew Chapter 5-7.

So if you are feeling a little or a lot disorderly, please sign up using the “follow” button on the website. If you’d like to read a few of the blogs, click on Disorderly Blog and scroll down, the most recent blogs come first.

Needing Comfort

2021/Blog 3

As Jesus describes his way of living where love is the core value, he turns from addressing The Poor in Spirit to addressing The Mournful:

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted,” (Mat 5:4 NRS).

Again, Jesus is intentionally vague. What are they mourning? Racism, poverty, riots, pandemics, hunger, war, death, personal failure, personal sin?

I don’t think it matters. He calls everyone weeping to be a part of the Reign of God—the Reign of Love. It is here that we all belong! The promise Jesus makes is that his way of living will address our deepest needs and hurts.

But

There is something Jesus teaches later that is very important. To fully experience the comfort offered to us, we need to forgive those who have brought us to tears. This doesn’t mean we don’t hold them accountable or stop them from causing further pain.

My friend defined forgiveness as:

“We will not do to them what they have done to us; however, we will hold them accountable.”

Accountability is an act of love. Stopping injustice and harm is also an act of love. So is making room for the repentant in Jesus’s world order.

Jesus is calling those in pain to him. Our part is to accept the comfort and wholeness offered by forgiving those who have caused us pain, stopping them from causing further pain, calling the guilty to repentance, and inviting the repentant into Jesus’s way of love.

Suggested Spiritual Practice for this week:
At the end of each day ask where you experienced hurt that day

and where you may have hurt another.
Make a plan for showing love both to those you have hurt
and to those who require forgiveness & accountability-holding love.

Feeling Down?

2021/Blog 2

Does anyone need convincing that the world isn’t working? I doubt it. Not after this past week. Jesus didn’t think the world was working either. So, like Trump, he addressed his followers. Trump, however, demanded his followers march down to the capitol and fight for him–risk their lives for him. He tells them they can’t be weak. They must be strong. He even says he will go with them, but then retreats to safety while he delights, watching on as they do his dirty work.

Jesus is different. He begins his address with “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” (Matt 5:3). I love the intentional vagueness of “poor in spirit.” The Greek word used is prochoi, meaning expendable, empty, bent over. Poor in spirit describes the person wanting to retreat to an off grid cabin in the mountains and hide for the next decade. It also describes the activist who wants to change the hearts and minds of the oppressors while working for justice on behalf of those being mistreated. Poor in spirit even describes the mistreated—the ostracized, the homeless, the hungry, and the sick. It describes those suffering injustice—those hurt by racism, sexism, ageism, religion. The list is long.

Jesus tells the poor in spirit to have hope, because “theirs is the kingdom of heaven”—the reign of God, the reign of love. Jesus didn’t choose mean, angry men dressed in hate to fight for him. He chose the poor in spirit to build the reign of God—the core value of which is love. Then Jesus, unlike Trump, led the march, putting his own life on the line, serving as an example of loving with an unconditional love. And two thousand years later, Jesus is still relevant.

If you are feeling poor in spirit, let love be your core value, the guiding light of all you do. For you are a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven!

Suggested Spiritual Practice for this week:
At the end of each day ask where you showed love,
where love was shown to you,
and make a plan for showing love tomorrow.

The Reign of Love

2021/Blog 1

Jesus was born into a world where the faith of his ancestors, Judaism, was in full religious bloom. Judaism had become a relationship with a set of religious rules—thousands of them. This is not a failure specific to Jews. It has happened inside Christianity too. Instead of being a funnel that helps people connect to God, religion becomes a way to control God (I keep the rules and God blesses me) and for the religious leaders to control society (The people in power define the rules and I keep them in order to fit in).

The rules many churches set forth today include some subset of: vote for the right political party, have the right theology, don’t be gay or different, and do the right set of good works like reading your Bible daily or giving a tenth of your income to the church. In more extreme cases, drinking, dancing, and hanging out with people who do are on the list.

As this blog unfolds in 2021, I hope you’ll agree that Jesus wasn’t teaching a list of rules to follow, a detailed theology to believe, or even a set of required deeds to do. He was doing something much larger. He was outlining a new world order: the Reign of God. And since God is love, the Reign of Love.

He was teaching us how to live in love for each other. Weekly, we will dive into one of Jesus’ teachings from Matthew 7-9.

This week’s (optional) Spiritual Practice is to take some time to meditate (spend some intentional time thinking) on what a society whose core value is love would look like.
What role would you want in that society?

St. Francis & the Christian Life – Galatians

“St Francis and the Christian Life” uses the fascinating, mystical life of St. Francis to illustrate the lessons found in the Epistle to the Galatians.

It looks at the question: “How do we live the Christian Life?” This was the question that the author and her husband walked with as they retraced the footsteps of St. Francis across the Italian wilderness. Did they need to renounce materialism and live more simply? Did they need to do more work serving those in need? Was more Bible study or a stronger prayer life needed? What made their commitment to Christ different than those committed to other faiths? How could their lives make a difference?

The author was planning a lecture series on Galatians, written by the Apostle Paul, when she and her husband began their pilgrimage. As they journeyed into the life and legends of St. Francis, a playful old school Franciscan monk befriended them. Together the three named the parallels and divergences in the lives of St. Francis and the Apostle Paul. In doing so, they discovered an entirely new—but ancient—way of following Jesus.

The book contains a discussion plan for those wanting to study it as a group.

Available at Wipf and Stock and Amazon. Digital versions available too.

Click here to read the first three chapters (compliments of Wipf and Stock Publishers). Click here (coming soon) to print out a flyer for this book.

Goodreads badge add plus

 

Dismantling Injustice – Song of Solomon

“Dismantling Injustice” uses the story of an African-American congressman coming to age during the civil rights movement to illustrate the Song of Solomon.

The Song of Solomon is an ancient Hebrew opera found in the Old Testament. It was written as a rallying cry to the Northern Kingdom, encouraging the inhabitants to resist King Solomon’s unjust rule.

Around the study is wrapped a story which takes place in the halls of Washington, D.C. as an African-American congressman recounts his life.

The book contains a discussion plan for those wanting to study it as a group.

Loveable Sounds Podcast interview with April Love-Fordham on Dismantling Injustice.

Available at Amazon and Wipf and Stock.

Click here to print out a flyer for this book and here to read the first three chapters (compliments of Wipf and Stock Publishers).

Goodreads badge add plus

James in the Suburbs – Epistle of James

“James in the Suburbs,” awarded five stars by the Reader’s Favorite Review and the 2019 Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal for Christian Devotion/Study, uses the antics of a soul searching, fun loving suburban Bible study group to illustrate the teachings of the Epistle of James.

The Epistle of James is a letter from James, who was likely the brother of Jesus. He was writing to a group of 1st century Christians, who were having to figure out what it meant to follow Jesus while dealing with a lot of problems.

Around the study is wrapped the story of six men and women living in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia whose lives were turned upside down by the teachings of James.

The book contains a discussion plan for those wanting to study it as a group.

Available at Amazon and Wipf and Stock.

Click here to print out a flyer for this book or here to read the first three chapters (compliments of Wipf and Stock Publishers).

Goodreads badge add plus