Monday, January 31, 2005
The whole Dobson/Spongebob subject really doesn't interest me that much but the general issues of how we engage this culture that is growing more and more confused about sexuality, morality; and learning to live among those who don't share our views of truth does interest me a lot. This quote below summarizes my apprehensions about the ring that has been built be Christian hands and those who are getting thrown within it. I am worried about the bullying nature that truth often seems to breed. I have witnessed it within myself and seen it's ugliness among those I have walked with.
Religion often seems like a black widow that mates for its own needs
and than eats those who it has lured into it's web. -Eric
"How much harm has been done to the church and to the cause of Jesus Christ because Christians have placed other considerations alongside or above the command to love as God loves? In the name of truth, Christians in the past have sometimes destroyed people, even physically torturing and murdering them. In the name of holiness, Christians have often pushed away and shamed those who don't meet their standard, creating their own little holiness club to which struggling sinners need not apply. And in the name of correct biblical doctrine, Christians have frequently destroyed the unity of the body of Christ, refusing to minister or worship together because of doctrinal differences, sometimes viciously attacking those who disagree with them."
"The unsurpassable worth of the person who doesn't share our truth, doesn't meet our definition of holiness, or doesn't agree with our "correct biblical doctrine" has all too often been neglected or denied. Which means that in such cases the truth, holiness, or correct doctrine we have defended was altogether worthless: clashing cymbals, resounding gongs, religious noise, nothing more. Such noise tarnishes the reputation--the glory--of God. It also explains why the church generally has been known for many things other than love and many things that contradict love." -author, Greg Boyd
Sunday, January 30, 2005
OK, I am trying to take all my audio messages from the church and convert them to mp3s so I can put them on my blog for people to download and listen to if they desire. I would also like to get them on CD to get our church into the 2000s. Those crappy tapes just got to go. So my plan is to get the new Mac mini because it's fairly cheap and will allow me to record the messages in digital, (if you know of a better plan, let me know). The quality of sound from audio to digital is killing me when I upload them onto my computer. The sound stinks, a lot of hissing, warbling and distortion. So I am working towards solving the problem with this new little betty...I can't wait!
Just for the record...I don't have a beef with Dobson, he/they are doing many great works through their ministry. That said, I still think much of the anti-homsexual agenda just doesn't sit right with me.
I understand their point, their fears, their concerns but I don't understand the feeling I get when I hear and read their rhetoric. It almost never reminds me of something Jesus would say or do.
Deep down inside I just think there has to be a better way to engage a culture on its moral confusion. Granted truth always has enemies but it seems we have exchanged the love your enemies path with another that simply leads to anger, villainous overtones, hysteria, fear mongering and gnat straining. Sometimes I feel like we are going to hear about some of these ministries wanting to sew pink triangles on homosexuals clothes like the nazis did.
I know that seems extreme to say but I am just being honest. There are a lot of other agendas out there that worry me more and frankly I would think are of a more concern to Jesus. Personally I think there needs to be a good diversity education in school because we are not the school of yesterday. We do have a multitude of diverse ethnic, religious, family units, and backgrounds. There needs to be an understanding among the new Americans based on our pitiful history of racism, prejudice and hate crime in this Nations past. I think based on recent history and present reality we should educate for something different. It would be foolish to not capitalize on the advancements of tolerance, acceptance and civil liberties won by noble Americans and various civil rights movements towards equality.
Many times I think we sound like the disciples of Jesus asking to call down fire on those who don't receive us or what we desire to teach. The response of Jesus seems to fit...you do not know what spirit you are of, I did not come to destroy mens lives but save them
Saturday, January 29, 2005
The notion that we could raise $35 million by buying a book of stamps is powerful! As you may be aware, the US Postal Service recently released its new "Fund the Cure" stamp to help fund breast cancer research. The stamp was designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland. It is important that we take a stand against this disease that affects so many of our Mothers, Sisters and Friends.
Instead of the normal 37cents for a stamp, this one costs 40 cents, the additional 3 cents will go to breast cancer research. A normal book costs $7.40. This one is only $8.00. It takes a few minutes in line at the Post Office and means so much. If all stamps are sold, it will raise an additional $35,000,000 for this vital research. Just as important as the money is our support. What a statement it would make if the stamp outsold the lottery this week. What a statement it would make that we care.
So why not do two things TODAY:
1. Go out and purchase some of these stamps.
2. E-mail your friends to do the same.
Friday, January 28, 2005
Dreamers Of the Day
BLAZE YOUTH CONFERENCE
May 13-14 2005
"All people dream but not equally.
Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their mind,
wake in the day to find that it was vanity.
But the dreamers of the day are dangerous people,
for they may act out their dreams with open eyes,
to make them possible."
-Lawrence of Arabia
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream,
your young men will see visions.
What a day!
Wine streaming off the mountains, milk rivering out of the hills, water flowing everywhere...a fountain pouring out of Gods sanctuary, watering all the parks and gardens. -Joel 3:18 (the message bible).
Old men you are dreaming...visions young men you see...daughters speaking prophecies...this is what I believe.
Painting by Bonnie Mincu
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
My brother Matt made it home from Banda Aceh.
He said...It was an exhausting bizarre trip, felt like doing business in T.S. Elliot's "Wasteland".
He has been doing film work for various news outlets in areas where the Tsunami hit.
I am glad he is home and safe and look forward to seeing more of his journey here.
He is married to Thanita, a wonderful Thai woman, so I guess this disaster hits close to home for us, because her people are our people as Ruth put it.
Monday, January 24, 2005
Thursday, January 20, 2005
The husband should not deprive his wife of sexual intimacy, which is her right as a married woman, not should the wife deprive her husband. -1 Corinthians 7:3
In contrast with the above verse, here is a look at past church teaching...
In the second century, Clement of Alexandria allowed unenjoyed and procreative sex only during 12 hours out of the 24 (at night) but by the middle ages, preposterous as it now seems, the church forbade it forty days before the important festival of Christmas, forty days before and 8 days after the more important festival of Easter, 8 days after Pentecost, the eves of feast days, on Sundays in honor of the resurrection, on Wednesdays to call to mind the beginning of Lent, Fridays in memory of the crucifixion, during pregnancy and 30 days after birth (40 if the child was a female), during menstruation, and 5 days before communion.
This adds up to 252 excluded days. Not counting feast days, if there were 30 of those (a guess which may in fact, be on the conservative side) there would then have been 83 remaining days in the year when (provided of course, that the woman did not happen to be menstruating or pregnant or in the postnatal period and provided that they intended procreation) couples could with the permission of the church have indulged in (but not enjoyed) sexual intercourse.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
I found it! Finally after many months of being given up for stolen or lost, I found my Hammer necklace. I bought this in Oslo Norway after I gave a prophetic word on the Hammer of God while in Oslo. It was a precious word to me and this necklace was a symbol of all that word held. I was really bummed out when It disappeared. I found it in a box the other day...
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
No one can change what happened,
But what we can all change is what happens next.
-President George Bush Senior & President Bill Clinton,
in a TV ad for the 04 Tsunami
I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything,
but still I can do something
But if anyone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need and refuses to help, how can God's love be in that person?
-1 John 3:17
If not you, then who?
If not now, then when?If not there, then where?
Friday, January 14, 2005
A Fresh rain.
I need a fresh rain.
My languishing soul is summer blacktop hot,
and the suffocating heat is gasping haunting wisps
of fiery serpents off my smoldering heart.
I need a fresh rain,
To cleanse the dry riverbed mud from my long jaded dreams,
that mock my thirst like a barren womb torments a longing wife.
I need a fresh rain,
Because I have forgotten the pungent fragrances
That would resurrect me to the very moment
I was forgetting to live within.
I need a fresh rain,
To drown the primordial thirst;
That my personal mirages, have left me gasping with.
A rain to heal the deep fissures that have been scratched
into my raw aching throat. A baptism sent to extinguish
my smoldering ghenna, whose smoke is choking my desire to plead.
I need a fresh rain to wash away my nagging memories
So like soil after a vigorous plowing, my mind can start over again.
I need a fresh rain.
The kind of afternoon down pour that evokes
a wild idea that one should dance in the overflow.
To walk in places you dont normally plod.
To abandon reason and leap with unfettered glee.
I need a fresh rain.
I need to remember what it feels like to soak my dignity.
To forget whom I have unfortunately become
and simply feel rain again on my young face.
I need a fresh rain that will draw my face heavenward.
That will provoke me to open my eyes
and gaze into the falling rejuvenation.
I need a fresh rain.
Thursday, January 13, 2005
by F. Kefa Sempangi
Unless we are broken, we are of no use to God.
And unless we are broken, we are of no use to the community of believers of which we are a part.
Hardly any of us can go to his or her Christian community and say, "This is my body which is broken for you. I am laying all my professional skills, abilities, and economic resources at your disposal. Take them and use them as you see fit."
We cannot say this, because we are not broken. We are too proud to give our lives away to people who are not perfect. We don't want to lose ourselves for sinners. We want to find the perfect person and the perfect community, but we never find them.
So, like Judas, we make only a partial commitment to the body of believers to which we belong, and we find our identity in our rebellion from them. Unlike Paul who clearly saw his identity - "an apostle of Jesus Christ" - in terms of his function in the body, we see our identity in how we are different from the body and opposed to it.
If we are following Jesus, we cannot wait for the perfect community. It was while we were yet sinners that Christ allowed his body to be broken for us. Jesus lays the foundation for community life in the midst of betrayal: "the Lord Jesus Christ, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread..." He gave thanks and broke it and gave it. Our commitment to one another in community can be no less than his: "This is my body broken for you."
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
This statue currently stands outside the Iraqi palace, now home to the 4th Infantry division. It will eventually be shipped home and put in the memorial museum in Fort Hood, Texas.
The statue was created by an Iraqi artist named Kalat, who for years was forced by Saddam Hussein to make the many hundreds of bronze busts of Saddam that dotted Baghdad.
Kalat was so grateful for the Americans liberation of his country; he melted 3 of the heads of the fallen Saddam and made the statue as a memorial to the American soldiers and their fallen warriors. Kalat worked on this memorial night and day for several months.
To the left of the kneeling soldier is a small Iraqi girl giving the soldier comfort as he mourns the loss of his comrade in arms.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
I saw this painting and it reminded me of my two younger brothers and I.
We were blessed to be able to be raised in many places that allowed us to swim, fish and hike for countless hours unfettered by nervous parents, creepy villains or impatient curfews. Those were good days, when you could roam about the little world you lived in and not be afraid of someone killing, raping or harming you. Let's go exploring was a phrase that I am not sure if I have even heard my boys say that much. It was always on our lips. Caves, ravines, dark forests, tall trees, holes, basements, attics, old trucks, abandoned cisterns, burned out houses, huge red barns with owls in the rafters, dens of beasts, long dusty roads, leech infested ponds and irrigation streams. hours and hours of fort building, potion making, army chasing, skin diving and on and on it went.
Those were good times!
Well today is the end of an era. Micah went to his first day of school. He is going 2 days a week at a local christian pre-school. Mom called crying...he was so excited he pretty much forgot to say good-bye...poor mom. It is hard passing through the changing seasons of life.
Monday, January 10, 2005
Here is a picture from the Tsunami the my younger brother Matt shot. There are some more pictures with Matt's commentary on them at his website. It's a bit more helpful to hear him share about each shot.
As you read and look, remember this: currently the US has designated about 350 million to the relief work; practically with support, supplies, transportation, logistics, I am sure it's far more hard dollars but....$350 million comes out to about $1 per American.
I don't know about you but I think we can do better than that as citizens of the world.
According to Matt, he saw the Red Cross and World Relief doing major work on the ground. I am game for choosing World Relief (http://www.wr.org) because I know they have solid infrastructure to get the job done and do the long term work as well. Just my opinion.
Here is my brothers site: http://matblauer.blogspot.com
Friday, January 07, 2005
Thursday, January 06, 2005
The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity I need! My name in print! That really makes somebody! Things are going to start happening to me now...I just laugh when I think of this line form The Jerk, one of my favorite Steve martin movies. I saw this quoted at another blog and it reminded me of the movie. That man hates cans!!! LOL! what a scene. I got to rent that again.
Monday, January 03, 2005
That these men do good, sometimes directly and frequently indirectly, I do not deny;
and it is equally evident that they do a great deal of harm, the worst of which, perhaps, falls upon themselves.
Like the charge of a cannon, they do damage to an enemy's fortifications, but they burn up the powder there is in them, and lose the ball. Like blind old Samson, they may prostrate the pillars of a great wrong, but they crush themselves and the Philistines together.
The greatest and truest reformer that ever lived was Jesus Christ; but ah! The difference between his broad aims, universal sympathies and overflowing love, and the malignant spirit that moves those who angrily beat themselves to death against an instituted wrong!"
-from a chapter called "Men of one idea" in the book "Lessons in Life" by Timothy Titcomb, 1863