Friday, December 10, 2010

on the missing of humility

A guy I really respect, Thomas Sowell, wrote an article on how meaningless media coverage of sporting events had become. I want to say things and listen to things that really matter, so this was just what I wanted to read.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

getting out there

This has been a big season of life for me. I've begun really extending myself, I think, in hopes and preparation of my future here, whatever that is. My music is going pretty well, but it looks like the way I've done that for some time will need to change as well. Singing at church is great and it's the highlight of my week when I'm on the schedule. I'm also involved with Christmas at the Playhouse, which is waaay out of my element, since it's musical theatre and I don't really do that stuff. It's more like acting than singing.
So anyway, the whole Playhouse thing has been so overwhelming I almost decided not to do it. I got a solo, which I've been told is quite rare for a first-timer, and I have awakened many nights lately fretting about it. I have pretty terrible stage fright, which I intend to improve as time goes on, and the time commitment to this thing is large. I had almost convinced myself that it's not worth it.
But how much am I around non-Christian people? Almost none. I mean, I'm not working so I'm not talking to them at a job. So I guess this is where God intends me to be. I pondered the idea of working for a church again someday, but I don't think I'd ever do that. It's like Os Guinness has described "a religious ghetto." It's just not for me. So, although I'm concerned about my next job and have no idea about what it could be, I've just GOT to be around seeking people. I mean, I'm a Christian and I'm still seeking. There's got to be people God wants me to talk to.

Friday, November 5, 2010

you DO matter

I heard something again this week that I've probably heard in church all my life. It goes like this-if I don't do something, God will find someone who will. I've been thinking about it a lot because, for the first time, I realized what the statement is doing. It is devaluing the individual. Now I'm not stating that the Christian should be the "rugged individualist": never needing others, having quiet times alone, crying in silence. We need each other and should help each other in every way-physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But I believe that the individual is VERY important to God.
Think about it, if I wasn't important to God, why would He waste time in wanting me to transform my character? I mean, why don't we just "follow the rules" like in the Old Testament? Weren't the 10 commandments and the Levitical laws good enough for me? No they weren't. God wanted me to learn to "think differently", not just follow the rules. And he made me and you particularly, with a unique personality, style of communicating, and physical gifts.
So yeah, you can choose not to do something God is CLEARLY asking you to do. But you will suffer because you will have missed something. Pay attention so it doesn't happen to you a second time. God loves you too much for you to miss out on some of the greatest experiences of your life. As a UNIQUE individual.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

no choice?

I just read a FaceBook status yesterday that people are "born gay." Well I don't think so and maybe you don't either if you ever read my blog. But I decided to do a little investigation on google to see what other, possibly unbiased sites thought. So that eliminated sites with a only Christian worldview.
It seems that the scientists don't agree on this idea. Some have tried to find a "gay gene" and have stated that they have; others have stated that to find this singular characteristic is impossible. Animals in nature may CHOOSE to be homosexual for a time but there's no evidence they're born that way. And humans that pair as same sex couples serve no biological function, that is, they can't have children naturally without adoption or surrogacy, so that's out.
Biblically, homosexuals are pictured as depraved in the Old Testament and willfully sinning in the New Testament; a sinner that God loves but a sin that God deplores.
If persons are BORN gay how do some become ex-gay? Wouldn't their physiology preclude that from ever happening?
One of my favorite TV shows that has made me laugh for over a season is now pushing the political issue. It's a shame really but if Modern Family continues going in this direction I won't be watching any more.
I don't have any gay or lesbian friends. I guess I have been propositioned in the past but I have always felt this to be an aberrant behavior. And I'm sure there are nice people that are also homosexual and someone has a ministry there, it's just not me. I've read that the philosopher/theologian Henri Nouwen was gay and celibate. Loved everything I read of his.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

what "they" think of "us"

I'm into bikes these days. As in bicycles. And if I ever work again I hope that's something to save for.
Anyway, there's a whole hipster edge to faith these days. I don't think I'm trying too hard. But this was interesting from a bike blog that I visit.

Monday, September 20, 2010

stop being wimps

This was too good not to share. Hope you find it useful.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Well, if you're friends with me and not Jill on FaceBook, you might not know that I'm now legal in Canada as a visitor for one year. I can't work still and have no medical privileges, which is a pretty big deal in socialized medicine, but it's OK for me to be here as well as travel back and forth to the US. Maybe a trip down home is possible over Christmas time. And the agent who checked me through at the border also told me that my permanent residency process was seen in the database so that was a HUGE blessing as well. She took my original work document from me so maybe I'll soon be able to put that whole experience behind me. Hope so.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Whole New World

Can't you just hear Peabo Bryson now? I was at a baptism where my church baptized a lot of people this past Sunday, and I thought and worried about new believers in this day of the church. I can't help transporting my culture to this new place, but I of course grew up in the Bible belt and living in more than just a cultural Christianity, I grew up in the church. Mom was the choir director and Dad was a deacon and sang in the choir. I grew up in Sunday School, watching Billy Graham films about the end of times, and hearing hellfire and brimstone sermons occasionally. I heard all the Bible stories and learned about quiet times and Scripture memorization and was grown in the faith by my mom and youth camps my entire life. And for all the youth that turn their backs on the church when they leave home, I was one of the success stories.
Which brings me back to why I was worried for people that are being baptized right now. Increasingly people are completely unchurched for their entire lives. No one has ever taken them to church. I would like to be one of their older and wiser Christian friends that helps them navigate the minefield that I went through when it was much safer. I mean, I was seven. How difficult could the world have been then? They are in their early 20s or older.
I may not be all that old, in years anyway, but I hope someone might need my wisdom. I'll be praying.
And I'll continue to influence the only one whose life I have any control over-Celia Grace. I read or heard all Christians used to live together in New Testament days. Now that would've been a church...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Different Use of Social Media

I hope I haven't titled this poorly. I just had an interesting experience today that I thought I might share. As many of you know if you read this blog, I've had a rough time here in Canada with being run off from the only job I could work here, getting sick, and my wife having to go back to work while I stay at home to take care of our child. Well, I posted some raw stuff not long after losing the job and some students got hold of that blog and decided to respond to it. In a really hateful manner. On Christmas Day. Well, that's what made today interesting.
I was in a queue for food this morning at the market when who should come up but that kid. The one that tracked me through someone's friend list on FaceBook just so he could send me a snarky, even hateful, FB message. And I'm standing right next to him. Does he feel self-conscious? Should he? Is it OK to say bad things from the anonymity of a computer that one wouldn't say in person? I say that it is.
It made me consider the humanity of social media. The people on my list really were my friends at other times in my life, as well as now. I mean, I like having a big list but all of these are people that I would actually speak to again.
I don't know what I'm trying to say. I didn't say anything to this guy. I mean, he's not a friend. What would Jesus or Paul have said to the people that deliberately tried to hurt them? In Jesus' case, abuse and kill him?
So maybe people communicate their true feelings when they can be anonymous. Not me though. I'm going to try to treat everybody in the right way. Hope I'm teaching somebody something. That's what I love doing the most.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lady GaGa analysis

I don't really listen to pop music at all anymore. When I was teaching, I listened to it a little more, and found the song Poker Face to be quite catchy. A study of GaGa's recent Rolling Stone interview was interesting, to say the least. Those that say we can change the channel or radio station must also know we can't always be with our kids, students, and youth. I need to know what and who they're listening to. I believe in studying media and think it's very important, especially living in today's culture. Not to be puritanical and say it's all bad and should be avoided, that's incredibly naive and unrealistic. But simply to know. And whether I'm ever in full-time ministry again or not, I'm always going to think that's absolutely essential to what I do.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

As Good As I Once Was

as I look over FaceBook pictures and statuses of former youth that were part of ministries I led or was involved in, I'm always disheartened that some weren't affected at all by Jesus. I mean, I know it usually takes crisis to bring us to faith(and keep us there) but I definitely realize (now) the ministry wasn't about how great I was as a pastor/teacher. It's a Holy Spirit job...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Escape From the Past

Not blast from the past. That's some of my favorite 80s tunes. Jill pointed this out to me and it's too good not to pass along.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What We're Here For

I have a great church. I love it and I don't mind who knows. But that's because I want to go where I can see them going. And I want to be part of that somehow. I think this article describes it well.

Supposed to be...

Who hasn't been hurt by the church? Some of us really badly? I have and this article and the comments following it are great for understanding it a little better. And, who knows, some of us might actually heal from those wounds one day. Straighten up church. Businesses treat people better than some of you have.
So here's a glass to loving each other better.

Monday, May 31, 2010

After You Believe

This is one of the most amazing things I've read, and I just had to share it with you.
"Give people a command for a particular situation, and you help them live appropriately for a day; teach them to think Christianly about behaviour, and they will be able to navigate by themselves into areas where you hadn't given any special instructions." NT Wright
This is what I intend to do with my life if I can just hang on until I can work again. I've long hated the idea of making rules for Christians but it's also true that we can't just "be ourselves", because that may very well be someone very off track with Christian behaviour. I had a good family, even sometimes a moral family, but not one that promoted Christian behaviour by teaching it with lifestyle.
And this is one of the most amazing, although dense, books I've ever read. If you're up for it, pick up a copy of the book in the blog title. You won't be sorry.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

new admiration for The End

As many of you know, I've been a LOST fan since the very beginning. And as many of you also know, the show just ended this past Sunday night. I didn't have a good feeling about the end episode to begin with, but I've since changed my mind. I felt the goofy, universalist idea put forth by the chapel with every possible faith symbol in the stained glass was wrong or the easy way out. I already knew that the flash sideways was a type of purgatory, especially by this last show. And like my favorite CS Lewis novel, The Great Divorce, I thought the ideas that persons could choose Heaven but if they remained in purgatory it was Hell. I believe the Island and all that went on it was real and I loved the idea that flawed human beings can do valiantly unselfish things, like Jack did by returning things to normal before his own wonderfully recorded death. I pray my own ending will be as good, cause don't most of us want to do something that really matters in this life?
Cheesy comparisons to the old Ray Boltz song aside (boy didn't that turn out bad?), I think most of us want to know we made a difference in the world. And I think that's why I changed my mind about The End. No, it didn't tie all the loose ends together. But I think it made me realize how much every person was created for an amazing drama, and if two completely non-Christian guys (as far as I know) could write such an amazing Christian allegory, then I must have a lot to talk to non-believers about.
Oh and I got some of my ideas from this guy. Hope the show is still growing on you.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Counting the Costs

So, what has it cost to continue living in this town? And you know I don't mean financial...
Generally, when most of us lose a job or break up with a lover, we pray not to see them again. Makes you sore all over, you know? The best thing you can usually do is move away so you don't have to see all the old spots, old friends, hear the favorite songs while riding around, or see your former students. That doesn't mean the town is bad. Just that there's so much baggage we don't need or want.
Well, since I lost my job in this foreign country I still see all those old people, cause we weren't able to move away. Saw the board chairman's(now principal?) wife in the mall and you shoulda seen them run! Wasn't going to speak anyway but there they were, almost running into me but trying frantically to ignore me.
I made some choices this past weekend as we finished a sermon series about Joseph. I more compare my life to Job but if anyone had reason to harbor grudges it was Joseph. So I've determined to say nothing else about the school-from staff, faculty, board, and church. They were all part of driving me out and stranding my family here. I choose to forgive-hopefully not blogging about them and participating in negative conversations count for that.
I'm also struggling with some mystery fatigue/anxiety illness that I can't seem to get well from. But I choose not to negatively mention the school and its associated parties anymore. To continue to hit myself in the head with the hammer and expect them to feel the headache is the definition of insanity.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Writing the Modern Era Bible

I don't like everything Donald Miller says cause I don't really like all the watered-down political Christianity of emergent, but this post is great. I believe we've got to continue to be relevant as Christians, and the Bible stands the test of time as an open, honest book about God and his very imperfect people. Just like me!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Psalm 40

How long, Lord? Here's hoping for a better decade. Happy Earth Day. Oh and my birthday.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Price of Staying Faithful

I'm not really a golf guy, but I do love great sportswriting. I've always casually read Rick Reilly, first in SI, now on I don't know if Phil Mickelson is a Christian but I do know he's going through adversity. That's what makes this story so great. And it reminds me that my life is not all about me.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The New Era of "Nothingness"

I occasionally pick up Adbusters magazine, a liberal rag that studies modern media. This article had already been commented by a fellow blogger but I thought it was great. Give it a read. It's short and really gives Christians some idea about who we're talking to, especially those in the university world.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Devil Went Down to the Island

OK, I'm sure all my seminary friends that watch LOST already knew this, but this season's John Locke is Satan. I think we've seen how he goes after people that are out of community and mad at the world and tells them lies. It was never more obvious than taking Sawyer around last night after finding him sitting in his underwear drinking whiskey and redneck grieving over Juliet. And the scene in the cave at the end of the episode where Locke basically tells Sawyer that Jacob is the island's killjoy and just doesn't want anyone to have any fun. But everyone else knows to go to the Temple where they can be safe together. Sawyer was easy pickins'.
If this wasn't the temptation from the Garden of Eden or the wilderness temptation of Jesus I've completely missed the boat back to the mainland.
Hope you're enjoying the show.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Great article on the emergent church

I love Rob Bell and Donald Miller's stuff but that's probably as far as I'll delve into emergent. I loved this article though. Have a look at it.


Monday, January 25, 2010

The Revolt Against Leftism

Read what Charles Krauthammer has to say about why Scott Brown got elected in Massachusetts. I had a crazy fit(excitement) in my living room when I heard the news.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Teaching others and 24

I finally have some new, original material! I hope you're watching 24 because it's a very interesting study of many things about human nature. And the show has built on itself for several seasons so now we have this mammoth development of characters. That's one reason that I hope it won't end soon, although I do have other favorites that I've been following faithfully that I will also talk about here.
So in last night's episode, we have a character from last season that was Jack's romantic interest, a former FBI agent named Renee. She was a real follower of policy last season and a bit of a square contrasted with Jack's "at all costs" attitude.
Well, she came back last night on the new season and boy had she changed. Instead of a lady with compassion for others and a desire to follow the rules we saw a pragmatist very much like Jack. Only she learned poorly.
Brought me back to some grade sevens I had last year for Phys Ed. I was trying to teach everyone to be more aggressive in soccer, like defenders making contact with the person trying to dribble in to the goal. Not fouling per se but making some body contact to disturb balance. Wasn't long before they were pushing and tripping each other. Not what I'd taught at all, but definitely what they'd learned.
My daughter and I play rough. I tickle her hard and give her little punches to the ribs and put her in gentle headlocks. It's not MMA; I love her dearly and would never purposely hurt her but sometimes I accidentally do. I apologize and kiss and hug and otherwise try to make her feel better and it works. Then she initiates the contact a little later by walking up to me and hitting me hard with her sharp, tiny little fist. Sometimes in the nuts. And sometimes her mother, who has nothing to do with our battles. And I know I've been a poor teacher.
So Renee saws off a guys' fingers last night to get off his house arrest bracelet, after being all amorous first to earn his trust. "Do what is necessary?" Jack came running in with his gun drawn. She had learned poorly.
I love the show. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

President Obama must choose sides

This is just something good to think about. I hope you'll join me in continued prayer for the leaders of our country, and that we'll be active and alert in our jobs and ministries, wherever they are.

Friday, January 1, 2010