A Theologian In Progress

June 19, 2015

Charleston Shooting and the Church

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sean Carroll @ 3:10 pm

Here is the link to my recently published Examiner article. Please read, share and engage.

Responding to the Shooting in Charleston

June 18, 2015

Charleston and the Church

Filed under: gospel,politics,theology — Sean Carroll @ 8:03 pm
Tags: , , ,

The ‪#‎CharlestonShooting‬ is a tragedy. Innocent people had their lives taken because we live in a nation that believes more powerfully in the right to weapons than it does in the radically inclusive love of the Gospel.

Last night brothers and sisters in faith had their lives cut short as they worshiped and prayed. As these brothers and sisters were united an act of unfathomable violence stole away in their pews. A man murdered these faithful because of their skin tone. But more profoundly these brothers and sisters were saints in their witness to the Gospel. They allowed a stranger in, they welcomed him, and like Christ they died while loving their enemy. This is sacrifice, this is the Gospel. We mourn because we have lost bold saints who worshiped at a church that has for centuries stood against the status quo, they worshiped when it was unlawful for African Americans to have a church, they saw their church burned during the civil rights movements, and they continue to keep loving their community.

This is church. Not programs, but a witness to the nation that there is a better way. Today in honor of them may we decry the celebration of violence in America. These brothers and sisters are heroes, even more they are martyrs. They died for the eternal Kingdom of peace. May we honor their lives and memories by standing against the violence around us, may we declare we must turn our swords in plowshares. May we stop violence, and share a meal. May we start to realize we are not strangers but loved creatures made in the eternal image of the loving God. May we work for healing and peace. Today may we learn to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. As Jesus said may we love our enemies, pray and bless them, because only as we celebrate these saints will we see that their sacrifice is the tangible representation of the Cross that declares even our sworn and hated enemies must become our family.

Matthew 5:
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely[b] on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41 and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42 Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters,[o] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Revelation 21

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”
5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless,the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

May our churches become what they are intended to be, the physical home of God among this broken world. That’s what these saints believed like the apostles, like Martin Luther King, Jr., like Bonhoeffer, like those in the Middle East, India and across the globe today. These saints remind us that God is here, that he is wiping away tears, and he is making all things news. Those who resort to violence show they never knew him, they show they have chosen to live without God, and God will in due course recompense them for their profligate decisions. But today, and for the rest of our lives may we be bold enough to live as these saints, to live as the Gospel demands, and to structures are lives like the true Church, the physical manifestation of God’s love to bring peace to the near and far.

“Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the Cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God. So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes. There is his commission, his work. ‘The kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been spared’ (Luther).” -Bonhoeffer

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Dr. King, Jr.

‪#‎gospel‬ ‪#‎america‬ ‪#‎violence‬ ‪#‎prayforcharleston‬11427670_10103261475044787_2178328833189317591_n

January 2, 2010

5 AM

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sean Carroll @ 10:27 am

It’s 5 am and I can’t sleep.

God does that sometimes when he wants to talk, right?

I am so confused.
I am so hurt.
I am so full of sin.

Oh, but there is forgiveness.
Oh, but there is redemption.
Oh, but there is an eternity to get this right, to love you God.

My heart is broken, for the world. Why are they so lost, why are we so lost?

God come now, and heal your people.
God come now and use me.

My heart, my heart, my heart is yours.

He is coming, on the white horse. He is coming.
Prepare the way for the Lord.

The King he is coming. Oh come King, return to your barren land.

I am comatose without you.
Bring me to life.
I am fully alive.
You said you would never leave.
Let’s comb the room, stay all night.

My mind is a mess of redemption, of forgiveness, I am flooded by the weight of it all, but the yoke of my Jesus is beautiful. I will carry His cross today. Bring the pain, the blood the hate. I want the world to despise me, because Satan is king of this present darkness. I will scream at the top of my lungs that Jesus is Lord, and every knee shall bow before him, and everything confess that Jesus is Lord. If we fail the rocks will scream, the rocks will cry. The mountains crumble and the waves crash to make known the power and glory of the Lord Almighty.

I am nothing but a wretched sinner, a child before my Lord. Yet his coal has come now and touched my tongue, and my spirit is cleansed. Demons will have no power, only the words of my God shall forever spring from my mouth.

The tide has turned in me, I am no longer going to be a complacent observer of the failures of this world, to sin run rampant. The Lord God proclaims that He shall be a streetlight to those wandering lost in the darkness, he proclaims that this decade is His, and a harvest shall be reaped. Prepare, gird yourselves as His servant Job and question and He shall answer. He calls to his people now, come and I will cure your backsliding. Only in YHWH, the great I AM, is there forgiveness of your depravity.

God is majesty, and ascribe to him all praise, glory and honor. Make known to God that you are his so that at the judgment you may stand. Make your stance known, and put on the true armor of salvation so that you may withstand all the attacks that shall come.

Your Deliverer is at hand. He sits at the door and waits, with his heart in his hand. His story shall not wait.

He was born of a virgin circumcised as Emmanuel, Jesus, God with us, on the eight day.

He taught in the temple the priests, the elders at 12 for it was His house from before the time of creation.

He was an open vessel, baptized by John to fulfill all righteousness. He was the one of whom God said this is my son.

He healed the sick.

He gave hearing to the deaf.

The blind saw.

The dead walked.

He was betrayed for silver.

Judged falsely.

Beaten over 33 times.

Crucified a criminal.

Died as such.

Spent three days in a tomb not his own.

On the third day rose again. He conquered sin and death and has begun to bind Satan.

He lives to never die again.

His Kingdom comes with water and fire, and shall have no end.

Make straight your paths.

The Kingdom is here.

The King is returning.

Amen, Amen. Take heart you weak of spirit, and assailed in the flesh. Your King has won the victory why must you fear. Make strong your shaking knees, and go forth.

The battle calls your name.

How will they hear if there is no to tell them?

Do you call yourself a Christian?

I care not, call yourself a follower of the Most High God, a disciple of Jesus his Holy Son.

Labels mean nothing. The Lord God calls his people to action, why are you waiting? Does the earth stand still? Is tomorrow promised?

Make your word your life.

I am Sean Carroll, a wretched and dreadful sinner, prone to the death of sin and its powers. I Sean Carroll have been cleansed by a power none can conquer. Jesus has come down with his angels in tow and said, Sean, you are forgiven, the angels have exclaimed he is won to the Lord. Jesus said come and learn from me, come and follow me for my yoke is light and the burden easy.

I shall stand for God, and am no longer prone to the failures I have made in this world.

Amazing grace.

Please pray, please come with me. Fight for God and for his most holy Lamb?

Look now it may dark, but with dawn comes rejoicing.

Lord your redemption has a crazy power of us that were once lost. Thank you.

Speak through me once again.

Heaven cries Holy. That you are.

Lord I will follow and seek you every day no longer will the past hinder me.

December 2, 2009

Beauty, Busted, Restored

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sean Carroll @ 5:04 pm

She was a beautiful girl.  She was given the world when she was younger.  But the older she got the more pride crept in, as she continued to grow in beauty so did her pride and ego.  She became a butterfly when she was married, flying and landing one man to the next.  Her husbands could never keep her happy with presents and praise, they didn’t appreciate her beauty enough.  Now she has become a wasp, everyone in the town avoids her.  She is the epitome of beauty, only a little bit busted at this time.

The well, away from town is the only place she can cry, it is the only place she can forget.  She goes early, but there is a man there.  This man ask, “May I have a drink?”  The woman wants to quickly avoid him and says, “Why, as a Jew, would you ask me a Samaritan.”  The man replies, “Oh, only if you knew God as I did, I could give you much greater water than this well. You would never thirst again.”  The woman replies, “Oh, I would love this water.”  It is a chance for her to avoid the others.  The man says, “Go, bring your husband and come back.”  She replies, “I am not married.”  “True, you’ve been married a lot, and living with someone else now” the man replies.

They continue to talk of theology, God and life, who are right Jew or Samaritan.  Finally she says “I know the Messiah is coming.”  The man says, “I am.”  She excitedly hurries, renewed to the city, and brings many to him; she has found the Messiah, the Savior.

One conversation, in love can restore the beauty of this world.  If we could be more like this Jesus, what could we do, who could we help, who could we save?

Black Nikes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sean Carroll @ 4:17 pm

I don’t know if many of you remember that quote or know where it is from, so let me refresh your memory.

This quote is from the early part of the movie Friday Night Lights, one of my all time favorite movies. It comes from the locker room before the first practice of the season starts in the sweltering Texas heat at Odessa Permian High School. Boobie Miles is talking to his backup and says, Water Boy you got the wrong shoes, as for me, Bobbie Miles is gonna knock em out with black nikes on his feet ain’t that right preacher.

Ivory then responds I can knock you out with flip flops.

So why am I spending time going over a quote from a movie, and a quote about shoes?

Recently at Beaverdam I have been leading a study on Ephesians, and in preparation I have reached the passage about the armor of God, in particular I found that Ephesians 6:15 in the Harper Collins, NRSV has a very interesting translation. Here is how it reads:
“As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the
gospel of peace.”

So, in reading this it is not like the other translations that say fit your feet with the gospel of peace, instead it makes the point that the writer was trying to make. That is, preach the gospel, no matter how, it must be done. Like Bobbie Miles said he was going to play with black nikes, and Ivory said he could do it in flip flops, whatever you need to make you ready to run to others to spread the Gospel put it on.

Some practical ways you can prepare to run to spread the Gospel are prayer, and study. We need to remember that we must preach educated and not simply brow beat those who have not heard. Like our shoes give us support and help us run smoothly, cut better and hold our ankles in place, that it what study of the Word will do. It will support us, it will keep us in place, and it will help us see the holes we need to run through, the smallest opening to preach the Gospel.

Like we have heard so many times, this is a battle between those of God, and those under the oppression of the evil one and his army. We must prepare, and we must be ready to stand and fight. So no matter how, use whatever makes you able to proclaim the Gospel to all around you.

I think I might use some Under Armour’s because when they hear the click clack it’s too late, or maybe some Nike Air Zoom Flights. But know that I am getting ready, and preparing in the Word for all the openings Jesus will ask me to run through.

Beaverdam United Methodist Youth

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sean Carroll @ 4:15 pm

So last night was my first ever planning meeting to set out a whole year’s worth of events, programs, and trips. It was a little overwhelming at first to have to think a year in advance. I almost didn’t know where to start, but now that it’s all over and done.   I am really excited about all that is going to happen the end of this year, and the beginning of next year.

Just to give a heads up to all the youth we are having our end of the year Christmas party on December 20th.

Get ready for 2010, all I have to say is January 16th, 2010 Car Bash. That’s the first event of the year I can only get more stoked about the future.

Past that I am working on finding some bands to come play in Beaverdam.

Here are the bands contacted so far that I am waiting to hear back from:
The Almost
Flyleaf
I Am Terrified

Pray that these bands will take up the chance and we can host something awesome.

2010 is going to be epic in Beaverdam, get ready, and come get a real dose of the living Christ.

A Facebook page for the youth group could be coming soon, we shall see.

Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sean Carroll @ 4:13 pm

I want to pretend that the world does spin slowly, and that fireflies never say goodbye.

It seems like we are little better than a lighting bug, who so quickly says goodbye as the sun rises. All we do in life is celebrate goodbyes. By the time we realize a new day is upon us, we say our goodbyes and run. We are perfect at running, and saying goodbye. We never take the time to express ourselves and show others what we really are, to show them the light which shines from within. We push down the things that are different. We push to fit-in. We push to never let our weakness show, to never let our uniqueness be appreciated. By the time we finally begin to know someone we are already beginning to run away. The dance only just begins but we are focused on the last dance, the send-off. We go through school and celebrate our end with high school, and college graduation ceremonies, we celebrate the next step without looking back at the people and the first steps. We never truly tell someone how much they mean until a funeral.

There is so much we miss in life trying to find our own way, we miss so many unique dances that other would try to teach us, by not allowing ourselves to join them in a friendship. We are but mere acquaintances, simply acknowledging each other as we pass through a day.

If we ever realized how many misty eyes there are who have been so sad to see us say goodbye so soon.

December 1, 2009

December 1st

Filed under: Life at the time — Sean Carroll @ 4:26 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I must say I don’t know what words will follow, but honestly these words will flow from my deepest spirit.

As I am job searching I am looking out of my window and see the apartment complex, the parking lot, the people with heads down go to cars to head to some dead end job where employers expect the world, but give little in return and will fire for no cause because they have a manager that runs the company to the ground while the “good” employees are name calling behind her back.

Now as I look up I see the sky clear blue, and the trees swing picturesque. The colors of fall are turning to the colors of winter the evergreens are ever present, looming a perfect image of endurance. A small, unique blue jay sets on the light post debating which direction he wishes to go.

Why can we not be like the blue jay, we have given up control to do as we wish. We run after the dollar sucked in by the oppression that is political economy. They make us think we need millions, that we need cars. All we need is our God.

But to us we have forgot HIM as well. He is a grandfather, a invisible sky god, removed as we try to build glorious towers that reach higher and higher, we think we can be HIM.

What are we?

We are somewhere between saint or sinner, our mind is full as we silently transgress. No one knows who we really are. We cling to hopes of recreation, we think humans, as if presidents, salvation bring. We bring nothing more than ever increasing desecration. We are the epitome of depravity. Life is nothing more than another dead cliche, it is beauty, busted.

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