Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Image.

Posted: Monday, August 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

This was a post started on August 27th, and just finished today (Oct. 5th).

I preached a message this past Sunday at the church my family and I attend.  The previous times I have spoken there I have taken a message that I have spoken before and have reworded it, updated it, re-tooled it for that context.  This time, however, I brought something completely new.  I wasn’t sure how it was going to go over and had some apprehension and nervousness about it.

I rarely speak a message without some amount of nervousness because I know I always come to a text with biases and certain lenses on how I read and understand the Bible, therefore, how I interpret it.  I will never, ever, be able to come to any text pure and free from bias.  Nobody can.  We can get close.  But we will always be influenced by something or someone.  This is not the point of this post.

The message was on stories.  How we tell stories is determined by how we begin our stories.  Far too often we have started the story, in the Christian tradition, with: you are a sinner.  In other words, we have started the story in Gen. 3.  We tell them, they are sinners who need forgiveness.  But is this the right beginning to the story?  And if not, where is?  And if another place is the right starting point how will that affect the trajectory of the story we do tell?

The story starts in Gen. 1.  Yet what tends to happen is we mine Gen. 1 for a whole bunch of scientific proofs that the Earth is only 8,000 or so years old, or that God created in a literal 24 hour, 6 day framework.  And we miss the beautiful truth that is being told.  I am not convinced that the Earth is young, and I am not convinced in a literal understanding of a 24 hour, 6 day creation (and yes, I still believe in the historicity and literalness of other biblical stories, I still believe in the virgin birth, the work/miracles of Jesus, his death on a cross, his literal resurrection, etc.).  But I am not opposed to those ideas either.  And as fascinating as these issues are if this is where I get stuck concerning Gen. 1 – I am missing out on something very profound.  There are plenty of resources to help guide one in the intricacies of Gen. 1, but when we start with a young earth, instead of being created in God’s image we have already let a minor issue upstage the beautiful, wonderful reality of how we have been created in God’s image.

Gen. 1 tells me, bottom line, it was God who created.  I will leave the how and when to Him (since he was around at that time and I wasn’t)…he wants me to know, simply, that he created.  He created male and female.  And he created us in His image.  His likeness.  Why do people have value, and worth, and dignity?  God’s image reflected in us.  All of us.

Above all that God created he created female and male…..in his image.  Even the angels themselves have not been created in his image.  We are unique, we are valuable and we have incredible worth because of this image of God in us.

The story doesn’t start with being horrible sinners.  The story, properly, starts with us being creatively, lovingly fashioned into the image of God.

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Like the Left?

Posted: Monday, March 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

Rush Limbaugh says that his “poor choice of words” and the fact that he used “those” words has made him stoop to the left’s level and “become like them” even against his “own instincts and knowledge”.

Or maybe, just maybe, he has exposed a little more of what truly lurks in his heart.  Perhaps he hasn’t identified with the left at all, but rather, has identified with humanity.  In this case, for ill. 

I started to write this post to slam Rush and to criticize him for his comments but soon found myself convicted that what I was about to do and the words that I was about to write were no better. 

Rush’s comments prick the false veneer that most of us carry around.  We all claim (at least at one time or another) to be above the fray, to be more “knowledgeable”, or whatever, but at the end of the day what is in our heart will flow, eventually, out.  And that can be quite bad, embarrassing, hostile, evil, hateful, envious, etc. 

Rush didn’t become like the left in using those words he became like the left and like the right a rebellious person who is filled with attitudes and thoughts that haven’t been brought under the shaping and cleansing power of Christ, in trying to justify and backtrack and make excuses. 

We all have those moments, we all have those thoughts, attitudes, and actions that don’t reflect Christ.  The difference is will I, as a Christ-follower, own up to those times (without seeking to make myself look good, or justify any wrong action or thought on my part), ask forgiveness (simply say I am sorry and I was wrong), and allow myself to be shaped and formed a little more into the image of Jesus.  

I know that like Rush, I probably have a long way to go. 

Why Blog?

Posted: Friday, July 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

Having been almost a month since my last post has given me pause to think about my blog and why i may or may not continue to use this medium.

First thought:  how arrogant must i be to think that people will actually want to read what i have written?  b/c if there is not some thought of wanting others to read my thoughts why take the time to develop the look, feel, layout of my site?  People who say that they would continue to blog regardless if people read their site are full of crap.  There are much less time consuming, more beautiful ways to write and keep track of your “personal” thoughts (and much more portable and “on the spot” ways of jotting down random thoughts) than logging on to a computer and typing (and editing and re-editing my thoughts).  So at the very least….i want, to some extent, people to read this blog….is this arrogant?  Even just a little?  I mean….in maintaining our blogs don’t we assume we have words that people will want to read?

I know that some write in short bursts.  What I mean is that their whole thought is a “teaser”.  And purposefully so.  We live in an age were many people don’t read anymore.  They have been affected by t.v., movies, videos, and “blog posts” that supposedly give the whole story, the whole context, the whole narrative.   For instance (and these statistics are a few years old): 33% of high school grads never read a whole book the rest of their lives; 42% of college grads never read another book after college; 80% of families never purchased, or read, a book in the last year and 57% of new books purchased are never read to completion.  Why is this troubling?  A book because of it’s length and purpose provides context, develops and builds a logical (hopefully) argument.  Books, rather than blogs, enable the reader to critically think through the wider angle, the deeper context and blogs, simply don’t allow this type of thinking.  And people aren’t reading books.  We live in a soundbite world and are increasingly living in a “teaser” world.

Am I, as a blog poster, good at listening to the thoughts of others and interacting in a positive way?  I am referencing blogs that have as their aim or goal to have open discussion and thoughts on whatever it is that I, or anyone else, as a poster posts.  I am not intending to level criticism against those blogs that don’t want discussion or are truly more “journal” in nature.  Am I there to truly dialogue with others or simply push my point and my agenda?  There is nothing wrong with giving my opinion but when does my opinion end and my incessant need to be heard and/or right, start?  I think bloggers live under the guise of wanting “dialogue” or “conversation” and then when others challenge our viewpoints we tend to back off and say, “hey, this blog is just a blog of my thoughts”.  In other words, ‘let’s have a conversation…unless that conversation challenges my thoughts.’    Are we open to listen to, hear, and perhaps, at times, even reform our thoughts based on the wisdom and insights of others?

In addition to writing in short bursts we tend to load our blogs (and this is one area that I have really tried to move away from) with a whole bunch of pictures and/or videos.  We do this to move along or aid the point our “teaser” is making.  And to a certain extent there is nothing wrong with this goal.  Pictures have power.  For good or for bad.  But there is a sense in which pictures not only aid our story but detract from it as well.  Are the pictures there to fill up space?  Are they there for purely emotive reasons?  Are they their truly to aid our point?  And do they assist us in a culture in which we would rather look at pictures (regardless of how good that may be) rather than read the words that may be attached to those pictures that give (hopefully) the context that the picture fits into?

Please don’t get me wrong.  I like blogs.  I do like blogging.  I read others’ blogs.  There is a valid place for blogs.  But is there something wrong with blogs (mine included) that could have a detrimental effect on me and others?  Do i complain about how we live in a side-tracked culture but then offer my blog as another neurotic stop on the web?

Blogging can get us interested in thoughts or ideas that maybe we wouldn’t have thought about unless somebody else brought up the subject.  However, the above statistics on our reading a book habits seem to indicate that we may get initially excited about a subject but in the end we don’t do much about it….in terms of reading from a larger body of work that would set many things in perspective and context for us.

Could it be we like our information and our thoughts over the web just like we like our news?  In soundbites?  But in the internets’ case….like ‘teasers’?  Could the internet turn out to be just as unhealthy for us as the fast food industry?  It is way easier to drive through Wendy’s and get dinner then it is to go home, get stuff out of your garden, prepare a meal and then sit down and eat it.  But which is ultimately more enjoyable and healthy?  Which will bring greater benefits to our bodies?  Is it wrong to have the occasional fast food?  No.  But can we truly live off this diet for any sustained length of time?  No.

Blogs start me here with something brief and then hyper-link me here to something else.  So i have moved from how N.T. Wright made a great case in his book, Surprised by Hope to how hope is something we all long for, to how “Faith and Hope” used to be a show on T.V. (starring Faith Ford and Kelly Ripa) to Kelly Ripa hosting “Live with Regis and Kelly”.  What made Wright’s book so compelling?  Let me click the back button (or close down three or four tabs) to see.  Oh yeah, that’s right it’s a good book b/c…..  But, now, i want to read it, but i really won’t..but that is okay because I have this “teaser” thought on a complex book that explains all i really need to know about the book…..but i don’t know how Wright got to his conclusions, the arguments given to support his conclusions….but that doesn’t matter…..someone told me it was great, gave me three or four points to work with and allowed me to “get the gist of the book” in a span of 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

Awesome.

Different Look

Posted: Sunday, June 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

I changed up my blog just a tad.  Nothing really cosmetic, just shifted the “stats” page away from this blog to Tabletop Madness .  I did this for 3 reasons: A.  I don’t do a great job of keeping numerous places of my blog updated and that happened to be a large page to try and keep current.  B.  I felt that it would be better served on it’s own site rather on my main blog which I try to keep to faith, culture, events, etc.  C.  Building on the second reason it is more of a niche thing and having a separate site where I can edit/modify it as a whole without having to change my “main” blog was something that appealed to me.

Nothing earth-shattering.  Just my attempt to clean up and get things a little better organized.

Now I Understand.

Posted: Monday, October 25, 2010 in politics, thoughts, Uncategorized

It’s all becoming clearer.

Pat Toomey (Republican, Tea Party), who is facing off against Sestak (Democrat) for the PA Senate seat (the one formerly occupied by Specter) and who, in his estimation is being hindered by Christine O’Donnell’s Delware campaign ads being run in Philadelphia and closely linking the two has now said that he disagrees with O’Donnell on many issues.

Oh my.  What a horrible thing to say!  Apparently.  According to some.  Well, according to Quinn and Rose.  Truth be told….according to Rose.  Why?  This is good.

She said that she is “really upset about this” and she “always thought he wasn’t a real tea-party(er)”.  In this great movement that encompasses people of all stripes there is no room for divergent opinions.  He (Toomey) has distanced himself from O’Donnell and Rose said that “Christine O’Donnell is our darling and we agree with everything she says.”

Wow.  You agree with everything that a politician has to say or stand for?  I love Jim Wallis (yes, I am a card-carrying, bearded, left-wing, socialist/communist who seeks the utter downfall of the United States) but I don’t agree with him on every things he says.  That is ridiculous.

So, Toomey disagrees with O’Donnell and because of that he isn’t a true Tea Party patriot and his credentials come into question?  Rose asked, legitimately, that he explain which issues he disagrees with O’Donnell on.  Fair enough.  But if i remember right her and Quinn both distanced themselves from Bush somewhat while he was president.  Should then we question her commitment to conservative values and ideals?  That just doesn’t make sense.  It seems that being a Tea Party patriot (funny how “patriot” is attached to Tea Party as if to give the impression that this is a mark of a “real American” – ie, belonging to the Tea Party – but that is the “hidden agenda”, the “subtle point” isn’t it?) is not necessarily about moving the country forward but about agreeing lock and step with every “jot and tittle” that the Tea Party has to say.  It is less about ideas and more about “agreement”.

Later in the day I heard Rush Limbaugh.  Besides filling in for God, Rush also has a 3 hour radio program where the whole point is centered around his insatiable need to listen to himself.  Things are getting very interesting now.  Rush is now saying that if the Republicans don’t make the gains expected (if they only pick up 50 seats instead of 52 – or whatever) then, says Rush, the “state-controlled” media will proclaim that the Tea Party movement is a failure and irrelevant.  I am glad Limbaugh isn’t on O’Reilly because there is a whole lot of spin going on with that statement.  Speaking of spin he told how news outlets are now quoting the minority leader saying that “if we win back the house we can make compromises with the president when and where we can” – but how that statement was spoken 6 months ago.

SPIN ALERT – Rush says that this is a ploy to get conservative voters wondering about their candidates and maybe voting in such a way that would actually help “liberals”.

But here is another idea, just an idea: maybe the “liberal” news media actually does sense that this is the “year of the Republican” and that great gains are going to be made and just maybe the Republicans are going to control both the House and Senate.  And they are holding the minority leaders feet to the fire saying ‘remember what you said….are you going to be true to your word?’  What is wrong with that?  Do they have an agenda with that angle?  Probably.  But when it comes to politics who isn’t angling for something?

Maybe the news media is simply saying “you really want to move the country forward?  Then let’s see that compromise and not just empty words and promises”.  Why would a major conservative figure head frown on that?  Unless it isn’t about “forward” but about “agreeing” with what we want to do.  Which will only present more gridlock and frustration.

Brother and Sister

Posted: Sunday, November 22, 2009 in fun, funny, parenting/family, Uncategorized, video
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Posted: Sunday, November 22, 2009 in Uncategorized

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