Sunday, June 29, 2008

Blogging Ground Rules

The time has come to write the first blog for my newly designed website, so I thought I'd lay down the ground rules so there are no misunderstandings about my intentions. Maybe if you see a little bit about who I am, you'll understand where I'm coming from in this ongoing narrative and I won't have to say, "I warned you."

I'm a Christian. Might not be popular, but that's who I am. Called. Forgiven. Didn't deserve it. I'm telling you up front, 'cause if you're offended by "God-talk" you shouldn't read any farther.

That said, this blog isn't the place to go for all the answers.

It is the place to go for honest transparency. Sure, I'm a Christian. A writer. A surgeon. A missionary. But along with all of my titles comes a tendency for others to stick me on a pedestal or in a theological box and if there's one thing I don’t want is for us to let the pedestal-thing get in our way. I know me. I don't belong on a pedestal. If you want to go right on thinking that missionaries are super-spiritual, don't struggle, and can preach, pray, prophesy or fast at the drop of a hat, don't read this. If I have a recurrent theme, it's that I'm little and my God is big.

Everything I am, I am by grace.

Someone let me borrow a Louie Giglio DVD a few weeks ago. (If there is something foreign missionaries crave besides American junk food, it is exceptional Biblical teaching from home.) He said something, almost in passing, that has really made me think. It was "bottom-line" thinking that surgeon-types like me just love. Sin, he explained is essentially making the small (that is me), big, and the big (that is, God) small. I think that theme is going to resonate through my writing for a long time.

Making Jesus small in my way of thinking is the essence of domesticating Jesus. That’s an obnoxious term for a pervasive attitude that I have to fight. I see it creeping into my life in so many little ways. Domesticating Jesus is something Christians do without thinking. He created the universe, actually spoke it into being, yet sometimes we act as if he isn’t powerful enough to solve our day-to-day worries. In our anxieties, our fears and in our wallowing in guilt, we have made our Jesus and his gospel very small.

The ways in which I’ve stumbled into domesticating the Lord of the Universe will almost certainly find its way into this blog.

Maybe I should issue another warning, here, up front. I’m a surgeon. Medical themes permeate most of what I write. And most of what I see and do on a day-to-day basis in a mission hospital in Kenya is among the items banned from dinner conversation at the Kraus house. So if the mention of blood or bodily secretions makes you green, perhaps you should start skimming anytime I begin a sentence with, “You wouldn’t believe what I saw in clinic today….”

This blog is a window for my readers into my writer’s life, my surgeon-life, and inseparable from the rest, my life as a Christian. Don’t read this if you want to learn how to write fiction. I might drop a pearl or two, but there’s bound to be a better way to learn how to make up a good story.

Do read this if you want the inside scoop on missionary life sans the pedestal. Do read on if you want to know why I think medicine is an effective spearhead for the Gospel. Do read this blog if you want an honest look at life from the viewpoint of someone who thinks that having Jesus figured out is a bigger job than my little brain can handle.

Read this if you want a perspective from someone who wants to know Christ. I’ve been a Christian for nearly forty years and the longer I’ve lived this life, the more I understand that he is beyond comprehension. Foremost of my passions is my desire to understand him. His character, his heart, and his intentions for me.

So that’s it. This blog is all about God-talk, an honest inside scoop on Christian struggles, blood, surgery, keeping Jesus big and me small, the insidious and pervasive practice of domesticating
Jesus and a picture into my writer’s life.

If you can stomach all that, welcome home.