Seasons of Challenge, Moments of Clarity: The Last Lee

By Stephen L. Flowers

Introduction

This is the second of two essays that actually began as separate testimonial self-reflections I’ve had over the past year or so. I came to realize that each represents a season of challenge (at times knowingly and other times unknowingly) that covered many years before experiencing some moments of clarity.

Continue reading “Seasons of Challenge, Moments of Clarity: The Last Lee”

Seasons of Challenge, Moments of Clarity: Visit From A Past Demon

By Stephen L. Flowers

Introduction

This is the first of two essays that actually began as separate testimonial self-reflections I’ve had over the past year or so. I came to realize that each represents a season of challenge (at times knowingly and other times unknowingly) that covered many years before experiencing some moments of clarity. There is also a third season of challenge for me that was previously documented online– the story of how I came to affirm LGBTQ Christians. You can listen to it on Ivy Lamb’s podcast (also available on Apple Podcasts) or read the full story here.

Continue reading “Seasons of Challenge, Moments of Clarity: Visit From A Past Demon”

The Chaos Ladder: Seeing The Forest – Episode 10

The Chaos Ladder is a podcast by Steve Flowers that explores how the Bible is not a gaping pit waiting to swallow us but a ladder for us to climb.

Episode 10 — Working out our own summary of the Bible can help us better understand how isolated verses fit into the Bible. We don’t begin by copying someone else’s summary but by asking big-picture questions like, “How does this verse fit into the author’s purpose?” We won’t know the answers a lot of the time. But if we stay aware there is a bigger picture and work to find those answers as we can, it’ll help keep us centered and eventually give us a better understanding of the Bible as a whole. An example summary of the Bible is included.

TCL e10 – Seeing the forest – essay transcript

The Chaos Ladder: When Inspiration is Fully Unleashed – Episode 9

The Chaos Ladder is a podcast by Steve Flowers that explores how the Bible is not a gaping pit waiting to swallow us but a ladder for us to climb.

Episode 9 (Part 3 of answering “What makes the Bible inspired?”) — The first two answers (ancient believers’ reframing of scripture and Jesus as the greatest revelation of God) are traits of the Bible that create a trajectory which Christians are to further. Scripture has been reframed by Christianity over its history. We reframe scripture today when we look at it through the lens of Jesus in a new or different way to change the focus or perspective of what scripture has to say in light of our own experiences of God. This continues the trajectory created by the Bible’s own reinterpretations and Jesus’ re-centering of scripture to more fully reveal who God is and what God desires.

TCL e09 – When inspiration is fully unleashed – essay transcript

The Chaos Ladder: The Greatest Revelation of God – Episode 8

The Chaos Ladder is a podcast by Steve Flowers that explores how the Bible is not a gaping pit waiting to swallow us but a ladder for us to climb.

Episode 8 (Part 2 of answering “What makes the Bible inspired?”) — We can find God being revealed throughout the books of both the Old and New Testaments but the greatest revelation of God is in the person of Jesus. This means that where Jesus reinterprets scripture, He is not only reframing it, as is done by other biblical writers, but He is re-centering it to reflect how God was meant to be revealed in scripture (i.e., who God is and what God desires).

TCL e08 – The greatest revelation of God – essay transcript

The Chaos Ladder: Walking In The Company of Those Who Came Before Us – Episode 7

The Chaos Ladder is a podcast by Steve Flowers that explores how the Bible is not a gaping pit waiting to swallow us but a ladder for us to climb.

Episode 7 (Part 1 of answering “What makes the Bible inspired?”) — The ancient biblical writers and people in the Bible often reframed their understanding of God after finding themselves between two stories— the first one being the stories of how God was promised by those who came before them and second one being the very different way God was experienced in their own lives. This caused them to reassess how they viewed God and then express that in their reinterpretation of scripture.

TCL e07 – Walking in the company of those who came before us – essay transcript

The Chaos Ladder: And Then God said, “Everybody down on the floor! Now!” – Episode 6

The Chaos Ladder is a podcast by Steve Flowers that explores how the Bible is not a gaping pit waiting to swallow us but a ladder for us to climb.

Episode 6 — An introduction and background on the Bible being inspired is shared, but that belief is complicated. So biblical inspiration is compared to a bank robbery to provide the shocking twist we might need to help rethink the nature of an inspired Bible.

TCL e06 – And then God said Everybody down on the floor Now – essay transcript

The Chaos Ladder: The Bible is Not the Problem – Episode 5

The Chaos Ladder is a podcast by Steve Flowers that explores how the Bible is not a gaping pit waiting to swallow us but a ladder for us to climb.

Episode 5 (The Bible is not God part 2) — The Bible is not the problem. The problem is when Christians view ambiguous or objectionable passages as a problem, and then feel obligated to offset them. The Bible is like a bunch of different faith-journey jigsaw puzzles all dumped into the same box. God does not need us to make amends for anything in the Bible or re-shape it to fit our image of God but just to listen to its many voices.

TCL e05 – The Bible is not the problem – essay transcript

The Chaos Ladder: God Didn’t Dictate the Bible – Episode 4

The Chaos Ladder is a podcast by Steve Flowers that explores how the Bible is not a gaping pit waiting to swallow us but a ladder for us to climb.

Episode 4 (The Bible is not God part 1) — God inspired the biblical authors but did not control what they wrote. Failure to understand that an inspired Bible is not synonymous with God dictating the biblical texts to those authors in some fashion is often the biggest presumption hindering Christians from not only a better understanding of the Bible itself but from what God’s Spirit is actually speaking through it today.

TCL e04 – God didnt dictate the Bible – essay transcript

The Chaos Ladder: Yellow Lawn Mowers – Episode 3

The Chaos Ladder is a podcast by Steve Flowers that explores how the Bible is not a gaping pit waiting to swallow us but a ladder for us to climb.

Episode 3 — We all bring presumptions and preconceptions to the Bible. The problem is when we are blind to or deny them because that more than anything corrupts our ability to more fully hear what God is speaking through the Bible.

TCL e03 – Yellow lawn mowers – essay transcript

The Chaos Ladder: The Double-Edged Sword – Episode 2

The Chaos Ladder is a podcast by Steve Flowers that explores how the Bible is not a gaping pit waiting to swallow us but a ladder for us to climb.

In this episode, Christianity’s history includes both favorable and unfavorable consequences in its application of the Bible. The Church has used it to help everyone but has also used it to alienate and hurt others. But only the side of this double-edged sword used to help everyone is the one inspired by God.

TCL e02 – The double-edged sword – essay transcript

The Chaos Ladder: Beauty Amidst the Chaos – Episode 1

The Chaos Ladder is a new podcast series created by Steve Flowers.

In Steve’s words, the Bible is not a gaping pit waiting to swallow us but a ladder waiting for us to climb it. When the Bible sounds confusing or concerning, our reaction shouldn’t be distress or anger but seeing an opportunity to climb. And the ladders to climb out of our biblical chaos begin with the very questions and doubts we have about the Bible itself. It takes work to climb such a ladder, but the result will help us better hear what God has always been speaking through these sacred texts.

TCL e01 – Beauty amidst the chaos – essay transcript

Holy Saturday: Lenten Devotional Series 2020

The Morning After by Pastor John

I am always struck by the contrast between this day, Holy Saturday, and the rest of Holy Week. The crowds and turmoil of Good Friday have given way to silence and stillness. There is no meal or intimacy like on Maundy Thursday. The excitement and hope of Palm Sunday’s triumphal entry have ended with two women seated before a sealed tomb.

Holy Saturday feels lifeless.

Continue reading “Holy Saturday: Lenten Devotional Series 2020”

Holy Monday – Lenten Devotional Series 2020

A Poet’s Look at the Story of Jesus by Heather Monkmeyer

There is so much beautiful humanity in this passage and so much to wonder about. Can you imagine being at a dinner party with someone who had just been brought back from the grave?  Perhaps you had attended the burial and now he is right in front of your eyes! What would that be like for you?

Continue reading “Holy Monday – Lenten Devotional Series 2020”

Lenten Devotional Series 2020: Day 38

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

Peace Prayer of Saint Francis