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brenda jung's blog
a bare exploration of what the gospel means to me...
Interests: books. coffee. words. theology. family. truth.
Recent Activity
We are on Question 26 of the catechism (Q: What did God promise in the covenant of life? A: To reward Adam with life if he obeyed God perfectly.). I've learned that my children can only handle small amounts of talk about God, doctrine, and biblical truth. (This confirms that... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2012 at Catechizing my children
The “worst” thing that could happen in life is for God to show up. As a sinner, there is no more dangerous place to stand than before a just and holy God. (Why would a criminal walk into a courtroom?) Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2012 at OPEN KIMONO
The real Jesus is not necessarily the one in my heart; He is the one in Bethlehem. Christmas offers me the God who is actually there. Today, my faith is given an anchor. A face. A name. A body. When I wrestle with the truth of Christianity, I must wrestle with this body—the body in the manger, who is the body on the cross, who is the body missing in the grave. In this body is contained the story of the world, the meaning of life, the purpose of my existence. But thinking too long and hard about Jesus at... Continue reading
Posted Dec 25, 2011 at OPEN KIMONO
I became a Christian because I was told God loved me and had a “wonderful plan” for my life. I envisioned a delightful marriage. Obedient children. A comfortable income. Manageable bills. Minimal pain. A meaningful existence. Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2011 at OPEN KIMONO
My younger self would judge my present spiritual life a complete failure. I can read about Christ’s sufferings, watch The Passion of the Christ, hear sermon after sermon about the height, length, width, and depth of God’s love for me, and remain completely unaffected and unchanged. Like my husband saying to me, “I love you”, the words don’t warm my heart the way they used to. I despise Dayspring e-cards, Christian t-shirts and photo frames, crosses and doves. Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2011 at OPEN KIMONO
If you are willing to be a “bad” Christian, you are ready to be a true Christian. If you insist on being a “good Christian,” you will never get on your way to experiencing a real life of faith. The pursuit to be a good Christian is an illegitimate quest. You must be a bad Christian or no Christian at all. Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2011 at OPEN KIMONO
The daily Christian life is a cycle of coming and going. Leaving and returning. Now I’m here, now I’m not. Now I love God, now I don’t. Now I surrender, now I won’t. (How does God put up with this?) Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2011 at OPEN KIMONO
After almost twenty years of calling myself a Christian, I expect near-professional status by now. I should be praying for the entire world, giving lots of money to worthy causes, frequenting overseas missions fields, sharing the gospel with my neighbors, confessing my sins daily, reading the Bible regularly, showing up at church every Sunday. Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2011 at OPEN KIMONO
Me: “Bryce, how many true gods are there?” (Children's First Catechism, Question 6) Bryce: “One.” Me: “And how many persons is this one true god?” (Question 7) Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2011 at Catechizing my children
Bryce is now 3 years, 7 months old. Claire is 2 years, 3 months old. I am ramping up the catechetical efforts now that I think Bryce is old enough to memorize the questions and answers (I'm using the Children's First Catechism). I introduced Question 1 ("Who made you?") when Bryce was two years old. It's taken us this long to get through the first four questions. Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2011 at Catechizing my children
Grace, God’s favor toward the most undeserving people, comes across as too ridiculous to be true. It is Santa Claus visiting only the homes of naughty children, leaving them X-Boxes, Disneyland tickets, and ponies. There is something fishy about grace that makes me look for the fine print. Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2010 at OPEN KIMONO
I used to think that I should outgrow saying ordinary, self-centered prayers and say more “other-centered” prayers. I used to think that only spiritually immature people pray for themselves and their interests over and over and over. Only spiritually immature people ask God for stuff. Spiritually sophisticated people, on the other hand, have learned to rise above their “felt needs.” They ask God to transform them, challenge them, and use them. Sophisticated Christians pray for the concerns that are on God’s mind and heart, not theirs. They spend lots of time praying for the “lost,” which is commendable. Sophisticated Christians don’t ask God for incidentals, for stuff. Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2010 at OPEN KIMONO
My husband and I don’t pray together regularly. We don’t belong to a Bible study. We haven’t bothered to make plans for family devotions with our children. We’ve kind-of-sort-of begun catechizing our two-year-old, but don’t really know what we’re doing. It’s still experimental at this point. By all conventional standards of a godly marriage and godly family, we’re not. Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2010 at OPEN KIMONO
I’m still trying to figure out if I really love God. I do so little that demonstrates love for God. I want to talk to Him in prayer, but I do the dishes instead. I want to read His Word, but I check email instead. I barely make it to church on Sundays. Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2010 at OPEN KIMONO
That I am guilty of sin has become a mere theory I believe, empty words I confess, not emotional reality. Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2010 at OPEN KIMONO
Yesterday at 10:30 a.m., at the doctor’s office, I found out that one of the twins I had been carrying for the past 11 weeks didn’t make it. From the beginning, it was small. But it was alive. There was a heartbeat; the doctor said, “It’s trying.” She printed out four photos of the ultrasound showing two amniotic sacs, two embroyos. The photos are still hanging on the side of our refrigerator. Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2010 at OPEN KIMONO
I find myself rejecting Christianity more often than is probably healthy. I play my own devil’s advocate. I pretend to not know Jesus and imagine the kind of God I think I need. I pretend to not know what is in the Bible and make up a story of how things came to be, and why the world is the way it is. Sometimes living under God’s rule is like trusting a lion to lead me out of the jungle. He can protect me from every other animal in the jungle, but I am never protected from him. I am... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2010 at OPEN KIMONO
“Winners” are the people who seem spiritually “together.” They are always quoting Scripture, listening to Christian music, asking how they can pray for you, reading a bestseller. “Winners” seem have answers to all their questions, reasons for their misfortunes, faith that is neat, clean, and tidy. The problem with “winners” is that they are over-committed to a false Christian image—a Christian who is always happy, always hearing the voice of God, always ready to speak for Him, always active and involved with Ministry. They have not accepted that a healthy spiritual life includes grey areas, unanswered prayers, tough theological questions,... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2010 at OPEN KIMONO
Nobody deserves to be loved by God. Everybody is too in love with themselves. We’re too unspiritual. We don’t pray enough. We don’t love people enough. We don’t love God enough. We don’t obey His laws. Our motives aren’t pure. We don’t like church. We haven’t stopped bad habits. We use four-letter words—and we like it. We’re all disqualified from receiving anything good from God. Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2010 at OPEN KIMONO
We don’t get to enjoy Jesus despite our condition as sinners; we get to enjoy Jesus because we are sinners. Jesus died for sinners, and only for sinners. “Sinner” is what condemns us; it is also what saves us. I find Christianity offensive because Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2010 at OPEN KIMONO
At any given moment, we have unanswered questions, unconfessed sins, unfinished prayers, damaged relationships, and unsupported theology. We don’t have to wrap everything up before we can follow Jesus. We can work on things while following Jesus. If we believe that we can’t have real peace with God and with ourselves until we tie up all the loose ends of our faith, we will miss the point of Christianity—that God makes peace with us while we are still a mess. Jesus forgave the men that nailed him to the cross while they were hammering. Even on our “best” days, we... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2010 at OPEN KIMONO
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Dec 18, 2009