Thursday, December 09, 2004

Consumers of Church

It seems that as we form our societal bonds; they are based on consumer needs. That seems particularly appropriate for churches and especially churches in a city like Nashville. We get together in groups where we agree on what we're going to consume: a worship style, a type of preaching, a youth leader, one cup, etc. But, when something comes up that we disagree with, as consumers we feel it's our right to find another church.

I wonder sometimes if the amount of choices for churches in a city like Nashville makes us awful, terrible at resolving conflicts. I wonder if we've stopped thinking of church as a family and more of a social group. If we disagree with a social group, we find another one. If we disagree with our family, we try to find a way to solve the problems.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I discovered something brutally honest about myself today: I have a great capacity, underthe right circumstances, to be a huge a…….

Normally, those circumstances include when I am absolutely convinced of the righteousness of my cause and the complete wrongness of the other side. It almost completely removes my ability to see how what I can do, say, or write can affect others. I can be hurtful under the guise of honesty and I push my agenda onto people, again convinced of the righteousness of my cause.

I may have irrevocably damaged a relationship today. I may have hurt and disappointed someone that I care about. And even worse, I did it in Jesus' name.

I told this person that I thought actions he was taking were not as Christ-like as I felt they should be. Saying by implication, "Why aren't you as much like Jesus as I am?"

I've done some stupid stuff in my life and honestly, this doesn't really crack the top ten. But today, it hurts like h... to know that I've spiritually wounded someone, a friend, someone I've looked up to in the past, and still do. But someone I disagree with on some issues.

However, I decided that because I knew so much better than him, it was ok to question his actions and motivations. I decided that the way of the Pharisee was better than the way of Jesus.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

I'm setting up this up for a discussion of issues brought up in Lee Camp's class that I taught today. Specifically, what are a Christian's obligations to the poor. But please don't feel limited by that. Bring up anything else you want to from the class discussion or even ideas sparked by it.

Friday, November 05, 2004

I’m going to take a break from reading theology for a week or so. In the last six months, I’ve read more books on Christian theology than I think I have ever. If I tried to remember them, it would be too many for me to think about. Probably eight or nine (A New Kind of Christian, The Story We Find Ourselves In, Blue Like Jazz, A Generous Orthodoxy, Mere Discipleship, Adventures in Missing the Point, Stories of Emergence,and The Original Jesus, so eight [I’d link to them, but you can probably go to Amazon yourself).

One of the main reasons for doing this is that I can feel the reading starting to become a hobby. When reading becomes a hobby for me, I stop thinking about what I’m reading and I almost get to a point where I turn page just to turn them. I’m not really reading and absorbing the material itself. I find myself having to “reread” things that I had read before. Almost like when I was in high school and being forced to read. I fell into the same issue in high school when I was really into Christian music. I found a subculture that I could slip into and delved in. I listened to Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, Petra, and a variety of other artists, some of whom are still around and some who were Christian macarenas (anyone heard of Rhythm House?)

I think the other issue is that I can forget why I’m reading what I’m reading. I get so caught up in the minutiae that I forget that the purpose of this is to develop a deeper level of spirituality. I don’t want to read them because they’re the cool thing for Christians to be reading right now. I want to read them because they offer something to me. But I find myself slipping into reading just to read, reading because others are.

I’ve decided that I’m going to read Scripture. For the week, in those times when I would pick up one of the books, I’m going to read from Scripture. Where you ask? I’m going to the Prophets and the Gospels. In thinking about who Jesus was, I realize how strongly he was affected by the Prophets in his life. He really resonated with their calls for justice and the Day of the Lord, so I think it would help me to gain his vision. I don’t know if I’ll read more or less than I would have before, but I’m interested to see if my perspective will change as a result.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

It's been a while, hasn't it? Well, last weekend, Sheryl and I took a Mommy and Daddy trip to New York City. We stayed with my cousin and his wife and daughter in Queens and it was a lot of fun. I'll put that on my list of things to talk about at some point.

So right now, the list includes:

  • Mere Discipleship
  • The ZOE Conference
  • Part 2 of Inspiration
  • The New York Trip
  • My broken pinky

However, on the plane up and back, I started reading The Original Jesus by Tom (NT) Wright. It was recommended by a friend.

I'm not all the way done with it, but I'm really liking it. It looks at the Gospels, but looks at them in a literary way, confirming a lot of what I wrote in the Inspiration piece below. Anyway, one thing that's really hit me is how revolutionary Jesus was for his time. He was some who knew what would happen to him if he said the things he said. He knew that preaching his message would be misunderstood by both his close followers and the ruling powers. He knew that as the leader of a large group of people (a lot of whom were probably militants), he would be considered a threat, by both the ruling Jews and the Romans.

And he did it anyway.

I think we've tamed Jesus. We've put him in our church boxes and made him say what we want him to say. We've made his words easy, we've made his example simple.

But here's what I truly believe: Jesus didn't live his life the way he did, died the way he did, and rose again, so that we'd all sit in our pretty church buildings and sing pretty songs, while thinking how great we are compared to everyone else.

Jesus didn't say the things he did or do the things he did for us to side with a particular political party (insert elephant or donkey here) and try to be a part of the power structures of the world.

Jesus formed an army. Not an army like the Romans thought he was doing, or the Sanhedrin thought he was doing, or even his disciples thought he was doing. Jesus formed an army of people who would lay down their lives for their enemies, who would love others radically, who would show grace at all costs. I'm not there yet, but that's where I want to be.

I'll end tonight with something Lee Camp said: We make the mistake of thinking that grace is only a spiritual concern. Grace covers all areas of our lives. It is a spiritual, political, economic, and social concern.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Some thoughts on Inspiriation I'm having and how it relates to my thinking on God and Scripture. This is Part One, because that's as far as I've written. I know that I still have to post on Mere Discipleship, plus I was at the Zoe Conference this weekend and heard Brian McLaren speak.

Anyway, here are the thoughts on Inspiration.


I've been pondering what it means for something to be inspired recently. Generally, this word, at least in Christian circles, describes Scripture. It gives an air of authority to it, as though it has come directly from God.

Nov, I don’t dispute the idea that the Scriptures we have came from God... somehow. I don’t know what that looks like, exactly. I don’t believe that the Holy Spirit came down over Paul or Luke or John and physically controlled their hands or months as they wrote or dictated the words that became our Canon. I don’t believe that any of the authors of Scripture were able to divest themselves of themselves, because God doesn't work that way. He uses us as we are, and where we are.

I think it's obvious from Scripture that the authors didn’t divest themselves of who they were. Paul talked about slavery because that was in the culture in which he existed. He obviously didn’t condone it, as the book of Philemon showed. Gods plan is not for one person to be enslaved by another, but that condition existed in the first century and Paul wrote how to be a Christian in that Situation. However, that is a tangent to explore later.

Back to inspiration. I think that we've really overrated and underrated inspiration.

I think we've overrated it in this aspect: we have come to equate inspiration with authority. The idea has developed over the centuries that simply because the Bible says something that it is authoritative. We talked before about the cultural aspects of Scripture. It doesn’t mean that Scripture isn’t from God. But it also doesn’t mean that because God said it to Paul and John and Luke, that it applies directly to us. Paul was writing to first century Romans and Corinthians, to specific situations that had come up. John had an agenda when he wrote his Gospel. Luke had a specific story to tell in his Gospel and Acts.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Smuggling Cats for a Gay Celebrity - Christianity Today Magazine

A beautiful piece on showing the love of Christ. May we all venture into uncomfortable situations.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Our church is embarking on the journey of building a new building. I have some issues about this.

Last night, there was a meeting at the home of one of our elders, and here's my recounting in an Instant Message conversation with Adam, a friend of mine in Panama City Beach, Florida. I've linked it since it's a long conversation, but I hope it gives some insight into one person's thoughts.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

TIMEeurope Magazine | Slaughter of the Innocents

I pray God's comfort of the wounded and those left behind. I pray also (through gritted teeth) for those who perpetrated this...atrocity. That they may come to knowledge of Christ.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

The Shawshank Redemption

(If you haven't seen the movie, don't read this post. But go rent it and watch it right now. Seriously. I'll wait.)

What's your favorite movie? If I'd been asked that question 5 years ago, it would have easily been The Empire Strikes Back or maybe Kenneth Branagh's Henry V, but probably not Shawshank. It was so gradual for me to realize that this was my favorite movie that it was almost like falling in love. I saw it running on TNT for the 100,268 time, and thought, "This is a great movie. This is my favorite movie."

I love the reactions of the Warden and Red as they realize that Andy has escaped. I love the way that Andy becomes a part of the community of the prison. I love the relationship that develops between Andy and Red, but I got thinking the other day, "What's the deal with the title? Why is it called The Shawshank Redemption?"

Here's the question: Who get redeemed? Is it the Warden, the purported Christian? No, he gets a bullet through his head. Is it Andy? No, he escapes. He breaks out hanging onto the last shreds of his humanity, but hanging onto them, nonetheless. Here's what I think the title is referring to. I think the one who gets redeemed is Red.

Now, here's what you should do: go get your copy of the soundtrack. Put it in and go to track 19, Compass and Guns. Listen until the end.

Red starts off the movie as a hardened prisoner. He's become accustomed to life in Shawshank. He's the guy who can get things from the outside world inside. He makes bet on the first new prisoner to cry and on Andy's first night, he bets on Andy. Dusfresne doesn't cry at all. And from that, Andy and Red form a friendship and a bond that gives them something to hang onto, some dignity of life that allows them to be in prison, but not imprisoned.

When Andy escapes, Red is alone for the most part. Yes, he's got his other friends, but his closest is gone. But it's also because of Andy that Red stops trying to BS the parole board and tells them what he really thinks, of course getting Red out of prison. Red doesn't adjust well to the outside life, but better than Brooks who was released earlier in the movie, and commits suicide due to the difficulty.

But Red is different than Brooks; Red has something outside of himself in which to believe. Andy has told him where to go to find directions, directions to join up with Andy in Zhuatenejo. Red follows them and in some of the most hopeful scenes in any movie any where any time, we see Red as free. His face looking out the window of the bus, heading to the border. He feels something, he feels hope. Even though earlier in the movie, he'd said to Andy, "Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane."

Now though, in the closing moments of the movie, as Red is walking up the beach at Zhuatenejo, his shoes tied together over his shoulder, carrying his coat, he sees Andy working on his boat, and he narrates to us: "I find I'm so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I imagine it's the excitement only a free man can feel. A free man at the start of a long journey, whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border... I hope to see my friend and shake his hand... I hope the pacific is a blue as it has been in my dreams... I hope... "(You should be on So Was Red on the soundtrack by now)

Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope gives us freedom to dare for something more. Hope allows us to look beyond where we are and believe that there is something better. Hope makes me look at the church and say, "Yes, it's screwed up, but Jesus chose this to be His body and the representative of Him until He returns. If Jesus could have hope for what we could be, so can I." Hope allows me to look at myself and think, "I'm not what I once was, but I'm not what I will be either."

God is at work. I don't always know how; I don't always know why; but I know He is. My life is evidence. My wife's life, my daughter's life. God gives me hope.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

God of Tragedy

This is a little piece I've worked on a couple of times. If you like it, great. If not, let me know what you don't like.

In the last couple of months, I’ve seen several tragedies befall families near me and mine. At church, we had one three year old who had to get his foot amputated after a lawn mower accident. Another child was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. A friend from high school and college gave birth to a baby that only lived a couple of days. And a couple of weeks ago, a neighbor girl was on a rope swing with a friend. The branch the swing was tied on broke and fell on her, killing her.

I can use my faith to deal with some. Disease and birth defects are part and parcel of living in a fallen world. Lawn mower accidents can be part of our increased reliance on “dangerous” technologies, but it’s the last one that has really hit me.

I can only imagine that the parents would be loath to hear about “God’s plan.” I know that I’d hate for someone telling me about God’s plan that included taking away my only child. I wouldn’t want to hear meaningless platitudes about how this all fits into His hands. I wouldn’t want to hear about how “all things work together for the good,” because they sure didn’t in this case.

I’d be asking where God was. I’d be asking why He didn’t make a gust of wind blow that branch away from her, why He didn’t touch the chromosome to make that baby boy “normal” or the little girl live without CF, or why He didn’t make the lawn mower run out of gas before it cut off that little boy’s foot.

As I think about this, I realize that I feel entitled. That for some reason, because I follow God, the everyday tragedies that befall someone somewhere everyday shouldn’t happen to me or those close to me. But they do, and they happen to people that claim the name of Christ and those that speak against him.

I don’t know why things happen. I don’t know why families lose children, why husbands whose wives stay home lose their jobs, why marriages die, why any of them happen. But I do know that I think I’ve come to disagree with the old saying that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

I think that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you weaker, more dependent on God. And when we’re at our weakest is when we open ourselves up the most to the supernatural. When all the natural explanations have failed, only the supernatural remains. In the hardest situations do we truly experience the supernatural comfort that God offers.

I don’t know why things happen. I don’t know if God allows them. I only know that in His comfort and in His arms is where our hope remains. And hope does not disappoint.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

I just wanted to post a couple of things about my Friday excursion with Kinsey.

Sheryl started back to school last week and our babysitting arrangements didn't work out, so I took a day off and spent it with Kinsey.

First, we went to the zoo where she got a bit cranky. I ended up getting her a stuffed coral snake (named Corey) and a cheetah (named... wait for it, Speedy). Yes, I splurged. Yes, she has enough animals to start a distribution center, but I did it anyway.

We then went to Sheryl's school to have lunch with her which is always nice for all three of us. On the way home, Kinsey fell asleep in the van. I watched a movie while she was down, then she got up and watched Sleeping Beauty (one of her favorite movies beyond Robin Hood and Cinderella) and then I wanted her to watch one of the best Disney's in the last decade, The Emperor's New Groove (I love Kronk and so should you [Squeek Squeekin Squeek Squeekity])

We finished off the day by going to a park close to us and she and I ran around the wooden castles. It was a beautiful wonderful day.

Now, I think about deeper meanings a lot and one thing has struck me really hard since she's been around. I see so much of how God sees me in her: her obstinance, aggravating nature, complete tenderness, and undying love.

Now the flip side of that is this: Kinsey is going to base her idea of God off of me, as her father. Honestly, that scares me to death.

I love being a daddy. I cannot wait to show Kinsey so many things: Fall Creek Falls, the Original Star Wars Trilogy (not the Special Edition), a live Titans game, etc, etc, etc. But the idea that when she thinks of the analogy of God as her Father, I'm the template for that, is frightening. Me. Selfish, lazy, aggravating me.

But thankfully also, tender, loving, gracious me. Only by using God as my template for Fatherhood can I really exemplify to Kinsey what it means to be a child of God and a follower of his Son.

It's kind of a Circle of Life thing.

I think.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Church of the Redeember (Things that made me uncomfortable)

Early last week, I mentioned that I'd talk about some of the things that made me uncomfortable during the Church of the Redeemer service.

However, before I go into that, I want to state a couple of things at the outset. 1) I did grow up Church of Christ, but I didn't grow up thinking that we were the only ones going to Heaven (another concept I want to explore on of these days, Heaven, I mean). 2) When I talk about these things, it's not that I think they're wrong, they're just different and not what I'm used to. So having said that, here we go.
  • One thing that made me uncomfortable was that there seemed to be a lot of focus on the pastor, Father Thomas. He taught the sermon, did the announcements, conducted the Communion, et cetera.

    Now, I've thought about this over the last week, and tried to picture how someone would view one of Otter Creek's services for the first time. I've wondered if they'd see a lot of focus on the praise team or Brandon or Tim. I can say that I definitely prefer more people being involved, different ones for communion, the family prayer, and so on. It makes it feel like the whole congregation has more ownership in the worship service. Well, the men, at least.
  • There was also a lot of ritual involved. Father Thomas and the other laypeople entered to a processional song and left to a recessional. They held a cross above them and carried a large Bible (although it may have been a Book of Common Prayer, but more on that in a minute). It was very solemn and reverent, but made me wonder about why they entered the service in such reverence, and the rest of the congregation didn't.

    Onto the book. There was a great deal of reverence shown the book, which makes me think it was a Bible. It was kissed at one point, and held above someone's head to show the congregation. Now, I think the idea behind the reverence for the Bible is a great thing. It shows the intent of the heart to hold Scripture in such a high place, but I kept thinking, "It's only a book. Yes, we believe it holds the words of God, but still...."

Like I said, just a couple of things that made me uncomfortable. However, I did neglect to mention two other things that I really liked in their service.

  • I loved that there was a dinner immediately after the worship. That seems so inline with the intent of the early church to not just worship as a family, but spend time as one too. I really love the Spirit that seems a part of that idea.
  • I also really liked the fact that all of the worship was lead from up in the balcony. It took the focus off the leaders of the worship and put it on the Lord. I'd like to see Otter Creek try that one of these days.

Anyway, if you have thoughts on this and I know a couple of Redeemer are reading this, I'd like your comments on it.

Also, look for a recap of this last Friday the 13th. Nothing unlucky. I just got to spend the whole day with my little girl, Kinsey.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Jen Lemen is an interesting voice in the Emerging Church deal that has been unfolding and that I've been aware of for about 8 months. Lemen is a member at the church where Brian McLaren preaches. McLaren is the author of the book I talked about back in April, A New Kind of Christian.

This is a very interesting article called evangelical hangover: the morning after I highly recommend reading it, whether you agree with her or not

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Church of the Redeember Worship Service

So comments on Sunday night.

The Church of the Redeemer service itself was a nice change from the typical "low church" setting I usually get at Otter Creek. It started off with responsive readings and singing with the congregation. One thing I did like was that the band and "praise team" were upstairs in the balcony, reducing the distraction to the congregation. There were readings from the Old Testament, New Testament, and the Gospels. Father Thomas McKenzie preached the sermon. All of that was pretty standard and fairly familiar to Otter Creek.

Some significant differences that I liked: There was a time for prayer, during which Father Thomas opened up the floor for prayers from the congregation. Anyone could call out a praise or request at any time. Some were obviously prepared ahead of time and others were off the cuff. One thing it did was really give a sense of community, even in a group of 250.

There was also a time for confession of sin. It was done privately and an absolution of sorts was given by Father Thomas. That seemed a little strange to me, but I didn't dwell on it. The really cool thing was that after the confession, the congregation greeted each other and just this great sound of joy of conversation came from the floor.

Communion was also different in that we all went down front in groups and stood in a semicircle. Father Thomas brought around the wafer of bread and a layperson brought a chalice of wine from which you could drink or dip your wafer into it (which I did). People then went back to their seats and others came up in shifts. It was another time of community among the whole congregation.

We closed out by reading from the Nicene Creed. I know Churches of Christ reject creeds pretty much wholesale, but I've always liked this one, because it so clearly states the basics of orthodox Christian faith.

All in all, I enjoyed it and found it strangely comforting to be a part of a congregation that was doing the same thing that other congregations all around the world were doing. Different, but good different. Tomorrow (or whenever I post next), I'll talk about some things that I felt a little uncomfortable with.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

It was a long day. One of my two jobs is working as the AudioVisual guy at my church, Otter Creek Church of Christ I have to get there at 7:30 to get things set up for our sound check. Well, today I did sound for both services, which is a long day in and of itself.

Today was also the first day that Church of the Redeemer had their services in our sanctuary. Redeemer is an Anglican church that split from an Episcopal church. That meant being back at the church building at 2 PM after leaving at 11:45. We had to start from scratch in the whole set up, since they were up in the balcony instead of on the floor in front of the stage.

Once we got everything set up, it was interesting. As different as it was, there are so many unifying themes in the action of the worship service. I may do some writing on those ideas tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Yes, it's been a while. OK? Good. We got that out of the way.

I got an XBOX tonight. I love how the name has to be in Caps, just to remind me how important it is.

I've wanted a gaming system for a while, because naturally, I'm male and my genetic code determines that I have to want a fast car (I drive a beat up minivan), eat red meat (all right, I had a steak tonight), and get a gaming console. With the choices between the Nintendo GameCube (the only reason for that is Rogue Squadron), PlayStation2, and Xbox, I had a tough decision.

My brother has a PS2 and told me some horror stories about it. So, even though that was my first choice, I didn't go with it. I went to Sam's and got an Xbox package with the DVD adapter and a second controller.

Now, I know that I have an addictive personality. I can be playing a game and look up and it's 3 hours later (The first Deus Ex game), so I'm going to watch myself on this. I made sure that I did the laundry and put it away before I put the console together tonight. It's all part of that "Work before Play" deal I keep trying to tell Kinsey.

Kinsey update. The passy is gone and pretty much was when we got back from Florida. So now she sleeps without and does great.

On my things to do list is to update pictures of Kinsey on the site so that might happen in the next three months.

Stay tuned. If I can pry my fingers away from the Xbox, I'll do some posting on a new book I'm reading called Mere Discipleship by Lee Camp.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Got back from Orlando on Monday, which made it a long day and then back to work on Tuesday. It was a good trip and about the right length for something like that. Three days is just about right. Kinsey had a great time, although a little scared at the beach by the ocean. It’s kind of funny. I remember when Kinsey was a bit younger that she wasn’t scared by much of anything. Now, a train at night or even the vacuum cleaner really makes her scared.

The other big thing I’m worried about now is her pacifier or passy. She didn’t really take it much when she was an infant, but now she HAS to have it in the car and in bed. I want to break her of it, but I know that’s going to be a bad experience. Sheryl and I have been talking to her about giving her passy’s away to her cousin when she’s born in a couple of weeks, and Kinsey’s seemed like she’s ok with that. However, I don’t think she understands that she won’t get them back.

Of course, last night, she called herself a big girl and when I pointed out that big girls don’t need passy’s, she didn’t seem broken up by that, but then gave her usual addendum that she needs it in her car seat and in bed.

One last Kinsey note. She’s been singing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King, and only that line from the song for the last couple of days. We’ve been trying to remind her that there are other songs in the world, but she doesn’t seem interested. On our way home from the grocery store last night, she started singing it again. So I started singing “Hakuna Matada” (sp?) at the same time. Then Sheryl started singing “Circle of Life.” So all of us were singing at the same time at the top of our lungs and trying not to die laughing at the same time. We had a blast.

I finished A New Kind of Christian the other day, but I’m going to have to reread it. There’s a lot of stuff in there that I’m not sure I comprehended and maybe not even agreed with. I may be too modern to grasp all of it, but I at least want to think about it. It's a different way of thinking about faith.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

My family and I traveled down to Orlando last night by plane. We’re here visiting her brother and his wife (and spending just a tad of money at Downtown Disney[thanks, Walt]).

Anyway, on the plane, I noticed myself doing something that I feel like is indicative of a lot of my spiritual walk. I’m reading Brian McLaren’s A New Kind of Christian right now and once Sheryl, Kinsey, and I got on the plane, I pulled it out and started reading. No big deal in and of itself, but I noticed in particular the way I held it. Up in front of my face. Ok, not really a big deal on that part either, but we were on the left side of the plane and the cover of the book wasn’t showing. And I was disappointed for a split second that no one (besides Sheryl) would be able to see me reading the book. Although most of Christendom isn’t very aware of it right now, I know that “the cool people” are aware of it and as a result would respect me or think better of me because I’m reading it.

I’ve always been a conforming non-conformist. I’ve found people that I like and respect and change my views accordingly. Most of these people are non-conformists, so as a result, I’ve generally taken the road less traveled, but by following someone else.

I went to Belmont Church because that was where my dad was and I wanted to rebel against my mom and stepdad.

I’m reading A New Kind of Christian because others have recommended it to me.

Maybe I’m being a little unfair to myself. Maybe God is using other people to get through to me and I need to recognize His work through them to get to me. Maybe He’s working on my heart to prepare me for something else, a deeper following of Jesus. All the conversations I’ve had over the last three months have been God’s hand working and pushing me to stretch my faith.

One last thing. I had a very interesting conversation with my sister-in-law today about faith. I told her that I didn’t think she and my brother in law had left Christianity. They’d left a version of Christianity that was useless to them. It was one where you went to church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night, not because you felt a reason to, but because you were checking off your church duty for the week. You judged people because you were right and they were wrong and it was your Christian duty to point that out to them. I think that’s why a lot of people walk away from Christianity. They don’t see a life-changing faith. They see a social club of people who are trying to keep out anyone who doesn’t agree with them on every jot and tittle. God calls us to community and He calls us to love.

Well, it’s getting late for such ramblings. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be more lucid, but don’t count on it.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Just some thoughts about the death of Pat Tillman today in Afghanistan.

I listen to a lot of sports talk, particularly the Dan Patrick show on ESPN Radio. They've talked a lot about the incredible nature of this guy and how he walked away from $3 million to go serve his country. It's mainly said with amazement. The challenging thing to me is that he did what we are all called spiritually to do. He put feet on his patriotism after September 11 in the way that I'm supposed to put feet on my faith. Dallas Willard said at one time that having money is not a problem. It's when the money has you that the problems start.

I admire Pat Tillman for the example he set in showing that there is more than money to life. I forget that too many times in this consumer-driven culture.

One last thought: I've got a face on a soldier who has died, but there are many others. Lift one up for all their families and the loss and that God will surround them in their grief.
So. I guess I'm getting on the blog wagon. Maybe one day I'll tell you about me.
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