Posts Tagged ‘iCrucified’
Most Viewed Posts of 2012
I’m so grateful for the many readers who visit the iCrucified blog from day to day and I enjoy the interactions that I have with my readers, both comments and thought provoking questions. As we wind down another year, I thought I would share your most viewed posts from 2012.
The blog is a very active place for book reviews. Looking over the stats, it is very clear that the vast majority of iCrucified visitors come to check out the reviews. I appreciate this and will continue to do my best to provide opinions on most (if not all) the books I read. Thank you again for your support.
Now, without further ado, here are the 2012 most viewed posts.
- Book Reviews
- Advent: Actively Waiting in Hope
- Spiritual Direction
- A Ram in the Bush
- Invisible God
- False Gods
- Imaginative Prayer
- Saturday—Holy Week
- A Lenten Reflection
- A Personal Rule of Life
- Holy Spirit: Union With God
Surrender: “Let’s Go Die with Jesus”
Reading: John 11:9-16, 25-26 <> Psalm 31 <> Luke 9, 14, 22
The past few days I’ve been thinking about what it means to “surrender” to Jesus. I wonder about how surrender might be defined. It seems, in our society, there is a desire for this word to have cultural impositions placed upon it. Sometimes I get the impression from the words of others that “surrender” is similar to tolerance. Other times I get the impression that surrender is conditional and given only until it reaches a certain point of a person’s predetermined limitations; “I surrender this amount of me or I surrender only certain of my rights.” It seems rare that I encounter the idea of surrender being full and unconditional.
I wonder how Jesus interpreted and defined surrender.
We have the Bible to provide us with what Jesus said and while his words seem indisputable, they must be… disputable, because there are so many variations and degrees to how people interpret them. We have interpreted “Carry your cross…” from the wearing of a tiny charm/pendant to literally nailing ourselves to wooden crosses and everything in between those extremes. We’ve interpreted “Deny yourselves” from not eating chocolate to punishing, deathly ascetic lifestyles and every point in between those extremes. I’m reasonably sure other instructive commentary from Jesus; “You must lose your life to save it” and “Follow me…” have equally colorful interpretations as well. So, the question remains; “What does Jesus require with regard to a surrendered lifestyle?”
Over and over again, I am reminded of how Jesus emptied himself and provided us with the ultimate explanation and visible expression of surrender. I find these defining moments in many places throughout Scripture, but I think a few of the primary passages that bring substance to “surrender” can be found in the following:
All of the above verses represent a very radical commitment to the way of following Jesus, and in many cases, can be very different from what is taught to people attending Christian churches in North America. It is not my intent to slam or criticize anyone or any organization, but the message of radical surrender to the person and mission of Jesus Christ as Jesus described, taught, and modeled is a rare message in our churches today… even more rare in our society at large.
I don’t know what “surrender” means to other people, but when I read the call of Jesus from the Gospels, I cannot come to any other definition or meaning other than total and complete loss of and abandonment of self. Not only do I find his words crystal clear, but the example shared by the apostle Paul (Phil. 2:5-8) is difficult to argue against; “Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.” (The MSG Bible)
Surrender is what I encounter when I look upon the night of Jesus’ arrest as he prayed earnestly to his heavenly Father; “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want… Again, he went away for the second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.’” (Matthew 26:36-46 NRSV).
“Those who in fact risk all for God will find that they have both lost all and gained all… Everything other than pleasing God is nothing” -St Teresa of Avila
I think when it has all been considered… maybe Thomas had it pretty well defined. Jesus had announced to his disciples that he was heading back to Judea (where he had been threatened by stoning)and his disciples tried to change his mind, fearing for Jesus’ life and their own… I’m sure. After a few more words, Jesus is undaunted and begins to head back to Bethany… and Thomas adds; “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.” (John 11:16) NLT. Surrender. I think this captures the definition as well as can be described. Surrender is to “go too—and die with Jesus.”
I suppose the question we live and die with is whether or not we are truly willing to surrender according to Jesus’ definition and terms or do we constantly excuse ourselves from surrender with efforts to redefine what it really means?
It’s a tough call…but in the end, these are His words; “Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me…” (John 12:24-26 NRSV). Maybe even more specifically, I should ask what losing my life looks like as I live my life for Christ day to day.
The False Self: Distorting Our View of God
I wonder a lot; in fact, I probably think too much about stuff sometimes. Lately, I’ve been thinking about some of the ripple effects of what it means to “deny one’s self” according to the imperative given to us by Jesus (see the Gospel of Luke chapter fourteen). Actually, I’m thinking about what not denying self means; specifically, what it means to the person who wants to associate themselves with Jesus, but not fully commit themselves to His Way.
Today I was thinking about theodicy (defense of God’s goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil), this especially in the light of recent events taking place in Aurora, Colorado. As I’ve pondered the idea of why and how something so tragic could happen, I’ve also considered the angry comments, rants, and accusations of so many people expressing their hurt and outrage over the internet. It seems that there are almost as many different perceptions of who God is or is not as there are people… and I wonder why this is so.
I have become more and more convinced that so much of who we are as people, so much of what we know AND so much of what we believe is controlled by our ego—our relationships, our vocations, our worldview, our philosophy, our theology, and so much more—all and everything, influenced and even controlled by the fallen and broken persona that is “self.” This is the same “self” Jesus mandated his followers must deny and crucify before they could become his disciples. If we fail to deny self, we encounter a serious, if not insurmountable problem. If we attempt to follow Jesus without first denying “self,” all of life, our hopes, and our view of God are seen through the brokenness of our confused and false self; ultimately, this is a broken view…and a wrong view. Any perception or perceived understanding of God through the un-crucified self is a false understanding and results in an idolatrous view of God.
Without the purity of God’s purging truth we are unaware of the lies we hold as our version of reality. The Apostle Paul writes that we understand in part…we see through the glass dimly. This, I believe, is understood with the assumption that he writes to people who have assumedly begun the path of self-denial. If this is true for those who have agreed to live a life of self-denial, how much less do people know who have decided to hold on to self? The heart of the false self is full of deceit and misguided beliefs; it only knows what it knows. While this misguided false self may have noble intentions, it’s not following Truth… it can’t because it is ruled by itself. Thus, Jesus implores us: “Deny your self…” Denial of self is the first step toward clarity and whole truth. We cannot hope for understanding until we deny ourselves—the false and broken self—and allow God, the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit to re-form us into the identity that is the true self, the self that was first formed in the image and likeness of God.
I do not have the answers to all the questions regarding theodicy, evil, persecution, injustice, oppression, and other issues of suffering. I do know that having a proper view of God and Spirit guided path through life are what I need to navigate a world with unresolved questions. A right view of God is the only hope I have when faced with pain and suffering I cannot provide answers or give reason for. A god of my own making doesn’t provide me with the comfort my heart needs and a god of my own making is what I get when I fail to deny self.
Icrucified. I. Crucified. Galatians 2:20
Top Ten Posts and Pages Viewed for 2011
The most viewed posts for the year are totaled! I always find these trends interesting…what I think might be a “good” post isn’t always as popular as I thought it might be. Conversely, sometimes I’m surprised by what you like and receive a great amount of encouragement for what I have written as I continue to just “write what I hear.”
I wasn’t surprised by the top “hits” being spiritual direction and book reviews. Both of these pages get numerous hits faithfully each month. I appreciate your support and interaction with my book reviews and pleased that I am able to provide a ministry of “recommended reading” for folks with busy lifestyles who might not be able to know what books are available. I’m also thankful for being supplied with a steady stream of books from several publishing agents who trust my reviews.
A quick note about spiritual direction: The amount of page views for this ministry is surprising to me; the sheer number of curiosity seekers shows there is a huge interest in this type of relationship. If you are one of these persons interested in a spiritual direction and life-coaching relationship, contact me and let me know. We can talk about this in more detail and I can answer any questions you might have. If you determine you’d like to pursue this means of spiritual growth for a season, I have openings available.
- Spiritual Direction
- Book Reviews
- You Can’t Handle the Truth
- Spiritual Practices – Imaginative Prayer
- False Gods
- Pentecost Sunday
- Anyone with Ears
- While We Wait
- Silence, Solitude, and Alphas
- Hearing God and Plugged Ears
Thank you again for visiting my blog!
She’s been a workhorse, but dying fans, optical drives, memory issues, and overheating problems are hastening her demise. I’m talking about my computer. I’ve nursed some minor problems for the last couple years, but in the past few months a couple of more issues have surfaced and I believe the end is near. This isn’t good.
My computer is my research, writing, and my part-time employment tool. Additionally, I use my computer for audio, video, photography, and occasional desktop publishing projects. I maintain several websites, including the domains of jeffborden.net and icrucified.com which hosts the icrucified blog. In short, most of what I do is done from my computer… so, to be without it would limit my ability to do what I do for ministry, professionally, and creatively.
The reason for sharing this information is not to whine or lament, but to solicit financial help for replacing my computer. My assets severely limit my ability to make a purchase of this nature. Until a couple months ago, I had been unemployed for over a year. Last year I sold off most of the items I had that held any real value in order to fund my enrollment in the School for Spiritual Direction. I realize times are tough for a lot of people and the holiday season doesn’t make that any easier, but I’m asking anyway. I know there are a lot of folks who read my blog and maybe a few who have been encouraged by some of the words I’ve shared in my writing. If this is you, and you can help, I’d be most grateful for your financial blessing to help me keep my writing and the blog going without any interruptions. So that I’m fully transparent with my request, I do have a couple of emergency backup options, but those are “stop gap” in nature and won’t be a long term solution.
You can make donations through the PayPal link to the right side of my blog, use the PayPal link on my Facebook page, or you may send direct to via US Mail to Jeff Borden, 3217 Yelm Hwy SE #8, Olympia, WA 98501. Thanks for anything you can do; all will help.
Top Ten Popular Posts — October 2011
October was another big month for Book Reviews, so I’ll start out with a link to the whole list of reviews and follow that with the most popular reviews from this month. Thanks again for all the views, comments, and encouragement. I always appreciate your interaction with comments and emails. Without any further ado, here are your top-ten visited posts the month of October.
1. Book Reviews:
- Speaking of Jesus
- Dictionary of Christian Spirituality
- Not a Fan
- The King Jesus Gospel
- Renovation of the Church
- Holy Listening–The Art of Spiritual Direction
- True Self / False Self
- Sanctuary of the Soul
2. About (The page that tells a little “about” Jeff)
10. It’s Coming!
Book Reviews were a big hit this month because of some of the awesome titles that were released. I would suspect that the same could be true for the month of October considering some of the great reads that I have on deck for the coming weeks. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep up my reading schedule.
Here are the top posts you liked for the month of September. As always, thanks for visiting the site! Also, don’t forget that you are able to subscribe via RSS feed or receive the notice of a new post on the icrucified blog in your email box. Just sign up!
Top 10 Popular Posts September 2011:
A Burning Bush Encore
I think one of my limitations and perhaps a limitation shared by all of humanity is our lineality and our connection to things that are finite. We are closely knit to things that have a beginning and an end; such is the nature of created things and this is also the nature of the finite. Human beings are also creators; we understand births, deaths and the linear existence that dwells between those poles of beginnings and endings. This is not to say that understanding and familiarity of these definable beginnings and endings is comfortable; it is not. There are extreme highs and devastating lows in the linear and finite world, but most often, it is something that we come to terms with and learn to deal with.
It is the infinite and the uncreated that is the cause of our greatest consternation…and this is why I AM WHO I AM causes so much tension in our lives. It is hard for us to comprehend sheer existence. When I think of GOD Eternal and His Being always Existent and Self-Sustaining, it cramps my brain. Seriously, I stop thinking about it and just move on… “There’s nothing to see here folks, move along.” Maybe this attitude is okay; I mean, we will say we “accept it on faith,” but do we really? Do we live according to our acceptance of GOD’s immutable, eternal, sustaining existence? I try to live this way according to my faith, but I find myself slipping, sliding, and stumbling as I traverse and climb the mountain of the Eternal Always Existent GOD… His word has recorded that I was created with the seed of eternity embedded in the threads of my DNA (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and this compels me to approach with a holy curiosity this Burning Bush GOD Who blazes eternal and infinite…never, ever consumed. I think we continue to push and press, struggle and strive, worry and weary because we have not or do not accept His eternal existence.
The finite is easier to grasp and so we search for our own identity because we have yet to believe His Eternal Identity, I AM WHO I AM. The problem with this approach is that our own identity is found in His Identity; therefore, searching anywhere but seeking GOD will result in our failure. We must seek the Infinite Identity if we are to find our own (true) identity. When we believe and surrender to His identity, it is then we begin to truly find and explore our true…identity.
Everything that has ever existed or now exists derives its being from the One, the only existent and preexistent being, who also said, “I AM the Existent.” …As the only being and eternal being, he is himself the cause of existence to all those to whom he has imparted existence from himself by his will and his power and gives existence to all things and their powers and forms, richly and ungrudgingly from himself. -Eusebius
The past couple of weeks I was reverting to habits that I think God has tried to break in me over the past year of being set aside. I have been trying to learn to rest in Him and allow the fellowship of the Trinity sustain me. It is interesting to me that almost as soon as I sensed God’s releasing me back into the “world of do” I exited the “world of be.” My winsome turned to tension and my peace turned to pressed; I realized something was awry, but wasn’t able to make sense of it until a few days ago. Thomas Merton writes; “What we have to be is what we are.” If we have found ourselves “in Christ,” then we are the temple of God and He lives in us and all we have to do is… Be. “I AM WHO I AM.”
We are created in the image of GOD. We bear His Image; we are created to “Be” as He is. We wrestle with and struggle with all nature of things, but GOD calls us to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). This is the nature of being. He specifically calls us to enter His rest. He is the One who’s nature holds all things together, even the things we wrestle with and struggle against.
Through him all things came into being, not one thing came into being except through him. (John 1:3)
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him GOD created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth… Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else. (Colossians 1:15-20 NLT)
Choosing to BE-lieve, surrender, and enter His Being frees us to rest and begin the journey of “Be-ing” ourselves…free from wrestling, free from struggling…free from finding a false identity in our “Do-ing.” It is only in Him that we “live move and exist” (Acts 17:28). This is where we are called to “Be.” Outside of Him, we are always in some degree of conflict and turmoil…finite wrestling with the Infinite. He calls us to embrace the eternity that was seeded into us even before we were created. We are rebirthed from finite endings to Infinite Beings when we embrace the Uncreated, Eternal, I AM WHO I AM. Freedom comes when we learn to Be what we are, children of the Eternal, Immortal, God, I AM WHO I AM.
It is GOD, through his word and through his people, who urges us to live in His Presence in uninterrupted fellowship so we might fully experience the depths and riches of Jesus Christ. -inspired by Sanctuary of the Soul by Richard Foster
I will listen to what the LORD GOD is saying, for HE is speaking peace to his faithful people and to those who turn their hearts to Him (Psalm 85:8). I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you (Psalm 9:1, 10). Know that the LORD does wonders for the faithful; when I call upon the LORD, he will hear me (Psalm 4:3). We have waited in silence on your loving-kindness, O God, you are our God for ever and ever; you shall be our guide for evermore (Psalm 48:8, 13). Come quickly to help me, O LORD my Savior (Psalm 38:22).