Good News: The Chaff's Gonna Burn

Good News: The Chaff's Gonna Burn

I laughed when I read the gospel in the lectionary last week.

John the Baptist often has that kind of effect on me, which may be the point. I don’t laugh out of ridicule or mockery. Rather, John wakes me to the unexpected and absurd nature of good news.

The laughter was specifically centered on a verse actually skipped by the lectionary, a non-important juncture, so it would seem, in the flow of the story of our Lord’s baptism.

I read it anyway.

Right after telling us about chaff burning with unquenchable fire, John the Baptizer’s narrator says: “So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people” (Luke 3:18).

Is that not hilarious? I could not contain myself.

Oh yeah, One is coming, John said, who will baptize us with Spirit and fire—sounds pretty cool—and then, smackdown, this Coming One will separate chaff from the grain and BURN IT WITH FIRE.

Which is good news, Luke says.

What the heck about burning anything with unquenchable fire is supposed to be good news? When is unquenchable fire EVER good news?

For feasting, Lucky, & Christ the King! - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 47

For feasting, Lucky, & Christ the King! - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 47

This week I am grateful…


For community lessons in real time.

I have only three more weeks with my Winston-Salem roommates, but I am already counting the lessons they have taught me about living life in community. Last Saturday we had a roomie check-in date at our local Chikfila where we talked through our household expectations, etc.

Which is much harder to do than one would think.

It is a blessing to dwell with folks who want to live well together, not just get by. I am thankful for these three and the ways each of them have helped me see Reality from different perspectives.

For Peacemaking Comedy, Baptist Gatherings, and a Clean Cupboard - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 13

For Peacemaking Comedy, Baptist Gatherings, and a Clean Cupboard - Seven Gratitudes, vol. 13

Seven Gratitudes is a weekly gratitude practice. Several of my friends and I linkup every Friday to share the ways we notice the bubbling and swirling growth of grace in our lives. Thanks for joining the fun! 

This week I am grateful...


For open windows.

We were able to turn off the air conditioning and throw open the windows in our apartment this week. It is a wonderful feeling to save energy. Did you know that about 40 percent of US energy usage goes to simply air conditioning our indoor spaces? It felt good to be relieved of that burden for a while.

Even better, I have to admit, was the acute feeling of community I felt with the chirping birds, chatting neighbors, and whistling wind. It was a joy to rise in the morning to the sounds of the world waking up, to notice throughout the day what was happening in the natural world, and to rest at night with the evening breeze. My body synced with the rhythms of the other creatures nearby and I loved it.

Into the Deep, pt. 2

Into the Deep, pt. 2

Being Baptist has a lot to do with baptism. It is right there in the name after all.

However, we are certainly not the only Christians who baptize.

So why are we called the Baptists?

Baptists first got their start in England 1609. Two men, John Smyth and Thomas Helwys, gathered with a small band of Jesus followers and snubbed church and state in one fell swoop—they baptized adults.

In 1609, most of the Western world was governed by the complete enmeshment of church and state authorities. In England, the king was head of the Anglican Church. By giving themselves to be baptized, the first Baptists were exposed not only to accusations of heresy by the Church, but also political treachery, if not treason.

Into the Deep, pt. 1

Into the Deep, pt. 1

To pass through the waters of baptism is a subversive act. It is at once a move toward ultimate liberation and utter surrender.

It is a new birth and a coming of age.

It is a public declaration of a personal reality even as it is a corporate sacrament celebrated by the gathered Body of Christ. Its actual waters may be penned in chemical equation, but between the hydrogen and oxygen is the Spirit of God Herself.

Baptism is a many blessed thing.

Baptism is also a topic of much discussion and discord in Christian history, and, for that matter, the history of the Western world. In my life of late, my understanding of baptism has lain at the crux of continuing through faith as a Baptist or not.

How To Be A Crazy Plate Lady

How To Be A Crazy Plate Lady

After a few let’s-get-REAL-real moments with God a little over a year ago, I knew my lifestyle was in for some major changes. The most logical place to begin was in the disposable department. My goal was to cut out all single-use items from my life, starting first with disposable table settings and continuously work toward a zero-waste lifestyle.

It will be simple, I thought. It’s not like I keep disposables in the house anyway. I’ll just keep a spare table setting with me while I am out and avoid trash-y restaurants. It’ll be fine.

Oh, baby, ain’t nothing that easy.