Monday, December 31, 2007
"It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was." -Anne Sexton
This is Frederick Christian Blauer III, my father, or more acurately...Dad.
I am Frederick Christian Blauer IV and my eldest son is Frederick Christian Blauer V.
I am proud to call myself a Blauer and to call this man my father.
Not because of who he has been, as much as...who he has become.
Isn't that a more worthy test of a man's life? Anyone can point to moments of goodness, seasons when he was better than at other times. But it is the fruit of age that proves the healthiness of the tree. This man has grown more into a man worthy to follow the older he has become. I think that is wisdom. Not that I don't treasure many times past, reflections on the way he was with me as a son. The countless hours of talks, prayers, enjoyment, adventure and ministry. I do.
When my parents divorced, I chose to live with my dad...I never regret that choice.
I love my mother and she was a gift from God for my childhood, and I am forever grateful for who I am, that is part of her.
But I needed my Dad to become a man...and he came through for me. Thanks Dad...for showing me Christ in human hands and in a human heart. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. Having someone who wants to talk with you, is a gift in this world. I treasure talking to you and listening...I will remember that above all.
Frederick Christian Blauer IV
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Delve deep, roots of my inner life, intertwining with stability.
Branches ascend higher, than I can see from below...inviting wind to come.
Water passes...memories rush by withstanding my grasp.
Slipping through my fingers, washing over my grip...all is vain.
I am a tree that finds itself in both places at once.
In time...the moment at hand.
In eternity....the moment that has not yet come.
In memory...the ghost that passes.
In hope...that which swells towards me, untamed, unseen.
In reflection...the leaf that floats off in traces.
Fruit comes even as the taste fades.
Seeds they fall...hope for tomorrow,
unsown but plentiful for chance to find.
-Eric Blauer 12.07
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
"If a man comes to the door of poetry untouched by the madness of the Muses, believing that technique alone will make him a good poet, he and his sane compositions never reach perfection, but are utterly eclipsed by the performances of the inspired madman" - Socrates
I've been pondering why I was so moved by the movie "Once". I've noticed that for some reason I am somewhat alone among friends, as far as how deeply stirring that film and more so the music was for me. It's melody has been haunting me. It seems to unlock my heart somehow. Scary, how it seems to do so, so easily. One moment you fancy yourself to be so safely locked up and secure then some poet comes along and turns your water to wine and you find you were far more thirsty than you feared. And you greedily drink up the offering with lips that seem parched for anything that can heat up the blood again....or at least make it run freely in your frozen viens.
I think am at a place that I am feeling the weight of eternity in the moment to moment. I've been carrying something within me that wants out and hearing another brother express his inner turmoil in such a raw way...resonated with me like a tuning fork splits crystal.
For me...this movie was a small bush burning. I heard a voice in the voice...a wheel within the wheel. Two normal people intertwined by music...helping one another along to the next step. Simply a living word for this traveler.
"By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet." Thomas Merton
If in the melancholy shades below,
the flames of friends and lovers cease to glow,
Yet mine shall sacred last; mine undecayed
Burn on through death and animate my shade.
-From Homer's Iliad
I had a distant friend that shot himself a few months ago, leaving his daughters to figure out all the pain and confusion of life after suicide.
Today, I visited my second former youth that attempted suicide a few days ago. I got the news down in Portland that she had tried to kill herself and was in the hospital. I visited her today and was yet again, reminded that we live in a culture that is suffering from deep pain, emptiness and for some it's a life and death issue.
This last year, I've been to the funeral of another former teen I pastored and visited another in the psych ward after an attempted suicide. It's been a tough year.
-Suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescents ages 15 through 24.
-Suicide is ranked number 11 in the leading cause of death of Americans.
-There are nearly one million suicide attempts in the United States each year.
-A suicide occurs approximately every 17 minutes in the United States.
- Women attempt suicide as much as three times more often than men.
I have suffered over the years with depression and know it's hard grip.
If you are suffering and contemplating suicide. Please...seek out some help.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” -Elizabeth Lawrence quotes
My favorite part of our holiday trip to Oregon, was getting to meet and spend time with my newest niece, Ginger. My younger brother Marc and his wonderful wife, Angie, made a star. She was a much needed reprieve. Nothing is more softening to the hardening soul, that surprisingly, can grow tougher than sun-dried leather...than a child who can still eat their toes.
Here she is, trying to be bigger....oh, dear child don't...it's better under the table.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life. -Proverbs 13:12
My hopes were dashed on the rocks of consumer madness reality, as a book lovers vain pursuit for the elusive "2 books" was ended in the aisles of not one but TWO Powell's book stores in Portland. Yes, there I sat, dumbfounded, mystified, disillusioned and dare I say...crushed, as I discovered that my always faithful, ever fruitful dealer of all things paper...was barren. Yes, the great and mighty Powells books, a massive three story multi-city block Valhalla of literature...was nothing more than a cheap all talk, no show book pushing hussy. I was furious with her...luring me with promises of bibliophile ecstasy. Like a mariner mesmerized by the soft siren call, I braved miles of nasty weather, mind numbing and butt cramping driving, child bickering insanity...just to be let down. Passed by like a buck toothed freshman at a senior winter dance. Oh the agony, I was so disappointed I wandered around in a jaded lovers daze and in the end walked out of the manuscript mecca...with nothing.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Ft. Stevens, WA
Originally uploaded by ericblauer.
Short update...lots more to follow.
I am in the great Pacific Northwest on a little me and the 4 kids vacation, visiting family. Here is a shot of our afternoon trip to Fort Stevens. I will post more pics later, but here is a shot of one of the replica cannons that manned this huge bunker that overlooks the waterway. There was actually a Japanese Submarine attack in 1942 right here. Pretty cool place to visit.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
"When you do something, you should burn yourself completely,
like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself."
This movie grabbed me like no movie I have seen in a really long time. I am going to be completely honest...I felt like I was going to cry so many times watching or listening to this movie. In fact, I wish I would have...because not crying was harder than just diving into the pathos that was all over this movie. I was emotionally mesmerized by the songs...Glen Hansard ripped me open with his singing and left me bleeding for a day now. When he was singing his song "All the way down" in the street at night...I wanted to stand up and shout and...I dont know what, kick something, i guess, just to express the pent up emotion that he unleashed by his voice and guitar. Damn....can one man really pack that much emotion in one small moment without causing some kind of nuclear reaction in the elements around him? And Markéta Irglová....wow has there been a woman on film more attractive or more beautiful in all her simple womanly charms? Not the Hollywood stuff but the real stuff...the things you stay with a woman over...smiles, nose crinkles, head tilts...the way they walk or listen or care for their kids....the charm of one deeply in love with an instrument...liked she loved piano.
This movie might be more deeply felt if you have ever wrestled through any of the sufferings that were at the heart of this story. I don't know if you can appreciate the song "Lies" if you have never tasted the bitterness that such a betrayal or the sorrow that a crumbling relationship produces.
The movie capture the mysterious moment of creation that happens when a song is played by a group and they enter that place that seems almost holy in it's perfectness. When the song and the heart and the moment all come together in a way that seems touched by the eternal. Musicians often call it being "In the pocket" but that seems far to simplistic to describe such a gift.
I think the summation of his elderly dad in the end, after he listens to the recording sums it up, best...you will have to see the film to see what he says.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Crowd: Middle age women
Question: What do a group of middle age women talk about?
-Dieting & Weight
Thought: Do today's women care about anything other than stuff that primarily revolves around their personal domain: ie. Butt, Gut & Hut? I read a quote the other day that said: "Well behaved women never make history".
Agree or disagree...?
Friday, December 14, 2007
What is a Green Card:
A United States Permanent Resident Card, also green card, is an identification card attesting the permanent resident status of an alien in the United States of America. Green card also refers to an immigration process of becoming a permanent resident. The green card serves as a proof that its holder, a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), has been officially granted immigration benefits, which include permission to conditionally reside and take employment in the USA. The holder must maintain his permanent resident status, and can be removed if certain conditions of such status are not met. An LPR can apply for United States citizenship after 5 years of being in the permanent resident status through the process of naturalization (or after only 3 years if married to a US citizen). Citizens are entitled to more rights (and obligations) than permanent residents (who are still classified as aliens in this respect). Some of the rights include: the right to vote; the right to be elected in federal and state elections; the ability to bring family members to the US; and eligibility for federal government jobs. Other citizenship benefits include no visa requirement for several countries in the world. Certain conditions that may put a permanent resident in the deportation proceedings do not apply to US citizens.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire.
This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.
One of the gifts I have been receiving for the last 2 years is something that could only have come from a group of struggling refugees from the distant jungles of Burma. I've been able to see my own life, my american life, up against the backdrop of another culture. A community of people that have lived without all the complexities of our consumer culture.
The way the Karen refugees from Burma celebrate holidays is communal, not private. They share their lives together. They celebrate not by giving gifts but by sharing a moment together. They have a wonderful way of keeping the focus on each other instead of what people do or do not bring. Sure giving is an integral part of their shared lives...you wont be in their home 5 minutes and not be given a drink and snack...but it's never about stuff. They celebrate relationships beautifully...not in a Hallmarkish way, not full of cheap sentimentality but in a simple, gentle way.
An example: A few days ago, I helped a couple of the families with various household and business stuff. Phone calls, car repairs, instruction, computer set up and training, appointment setting, showing them how to use a dishwasher, a thermostat, a gas pump, a Oil Lube center, a fuse-box...general living stuff. Many things, that in all honesty, they have no way of really repaying in kind. At least they might think that. So yesterday it snowed and I happened to look out my window and there is one of the Karen I assisted...shoveling the snow off my walkway and sidewalk. Then later, I saw another one shoveling the snow off the sidewalk around the church.
A simple gesture of thanks, in return.
I was moved.
Helen Keller was once asked, "Is there anything worse than losing your sight?" "Yes," she replied, "Losing your vision!"
It amazes me how we can lose "our vision" in the day to day chaos of this American life. I saw it, when I asked them if they would like to go and get family Christmas trees again this year. Instead of each family buying their own, they came together, discussed, and decided to forgo that and instead they are going to buy one tree and come together on Christmas Eve as a group and decorate and celebrate...together.
I received this photo of a Christian relief worker who serves the people of Burma. I wept when I read of how they choose to celebrate Christmas...the sacrifice and the simplicity. I see a family that is being influenced by their Karen friends just as I am. I was challenged by the "way" they are living. I pray to be someone who embodies these values that I am seeing before me in this refugee community. I hope to learn how to live more communally and less individualistically.
That's one gift I have received from my Karen friends...one they don't even know they have given me.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
My daughter Destiny is on the Varsity Volleyball team at her school and here is a short clip of her serving and hitting the ball and then her teammate slamming the ball into an opponents chest....good serving but oh, the poor girl was hurting :)
Monday, December 10, 2007
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
Yesterday I spent hours driving around this town trying to find two books that I want to look at. (What Was I Thinking?: Things I've Learned Since I Knew It All by Steve Brown and Jesus Drank, Judas Repented and God Divorced his Bride by Steve Brown) I want to buy them but I need to "LOOK" at them first. I need to peruse them, look at the chapters, read portions and make a decision to buy or not depending on the weight of what is written inside. Not on the cover, not by the publishers, not be reviewers but by the AUTHOR!!!! That means I am at the freaking mercy of booksellers and what they decide I or fellow Spokanites deserve to have access to. And there lies the source of my vein popping storm of emotion. Nobody in this town has a clue as to what religious books, spiritual books, christian books....need to be available to the public.
I am being abused!!! Call the authorities...I am being starved...mentally, spiritually...experientially. Why can't an area of over 500,000 provide a bookstore that has guts, that has literary kohonnas. I despair of looking to the church to provide anything more than a grandma in jammies bookstore experience. They are lost in a religious la la land that bows to conventional thought, marketing restraints and is pushed around by bully legalists that have their over caffeinated jittery fingers on their wallet book and book burning torches. Please send us a pagan that understands the need for books from many different streams of thoughts. Please let the heretics tomb of thoughts sit next to the saints scrolls. Let the buyer decide for himself what is good to read.
Above is Powell's bookstore in Portland, Oregon. The best bookstore in the Northwest, that I have been able to find. Look at that shot of just one aisle! God above have mercy on us...there are are more books in that one shot than most "christian" bookstores around here! I am going to Portland for Christmas and all that present stuff and family is fine...but one thing is for dang sure...I am going to buy books and do it with an addicts melodramatic flare!
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
So when they got out on the land,
they see a charcoal fire laid
and a cooked fish lying on it and bread...
Jesus says to them, "Come have breakfast."
None of the disciples dared to inquire of him,
"Who are you?"
knowing that he was the Lord.
Jesus comes and takes the bread
and gives it to them and the fish likewise.
This is one of my favorite set of verses in the Bible.
Jesus making breakfast.
A simple act of love.
God making something...for his friends to eat.
There is something holy...yes, I said holy...about making something for someone to eat. I am not talking about throwing some cardboard box into the microwave and scooping out its contents onto a plate. But when you take the time to think about what you will cook. When you prepare something that was first conceived in your mind and heart for those you love or want to bless. It really is an offering.
Cooking should be rescued today from the frantic hands of over busy lives. The kitchen should once again be sanctified and set up as an altar of worship. A place where time is spent. Where the aromas of slow cooked delights ascend like incense; calming the heart, soothing the troubled mind. The table should be set with a prayerful hum. Each setting is an invitation to share, to commune, to receive.
Cooking is really personal...you handle everything...you touch the meal. I pray that those who fight to remain at home would be hallowed in their home care. I pray that those who are forced or choose to be out of the home...would fully inhabit the home when they are there.
"It takes great artistry to create a home where people will want to talk to each other; where they will want to linger over dinner; where they will want to snuggle up with a quilt and a book on a rainy day instead of escaping to the shopping mall. it takes skill and sensitivity to design ways to buoy, comfort and strengthen the people we love." -Linda Burton "The making of a home".
This isn't woman's work...it's parent work. It's ministry...it's worship.
When was the last time you found a quilt or a blanket that was really, really comfortable and enveloped your son or daughter in it...together? It's about the feel of the blanket chosen...a deeply felt experience. Most memories are packed full of sensation, smell, sounds...a meal can fill the gut or fill the heart and mind. The danger for us parents is when we lose sight of the importance of home and the many nuances of home life that are sacred.
"We need to scrutinize the rush of our activities, because even venerable exertions may be keeping us from becoming and doing what God wants. A packed schedule may be detrimental not only to ourselves, but to those we seek to help. A few years ago our neighbors were drawn to us, but when we talked to them about the Lord, their response was, "We couldn't be Christians; we couldn't live at your pace." They had been attracted to Christ, but the busyness of our lives had scared them from a commitment. -Jean Fleming, "How Busy Is Too Busy?"
I love that Jesus...sat down and cooked a meal..a charcoal fire...not Elijah fire from heaven...PRESTO...kind of cooking but...He cooked fish and bread...in fact the scriptures mention the "means" in which He made the breakfast, it was a charcoal fire.. He took time making a fire and slowly cooking a hearty breakfast for hard working fisherman.
We should worship God in the same way...slowly, with intent, with quality food...in the spirit of Jesus.
Old man winter is exerting his influence around here. I had to pull out the snow blower today and clear the sidewalks around the church and house. We plan on heading South for Christmas, so I am not sure if we will head to the hills to cut down a tree this year or not?
I was listening to the Christmas song "I wish you a merry christmas" the other day and heard the lyrics: "...bring us some figgy pudding." I must confess...I do not want any "figgy pudding". Odd.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
While Mr. Spurgeon (Charles Spurgeon) was living at Nightingale Lane, Clapham, an excursion was one day organised by one of the young men's classes at the Tabernacle. The brake with the excursionists was to call for the President on their way to mid-Surrey. It was a beautiful early morning, and the men arrived in high spirits, pipes and cigars alight, and looking forward to a day of unrestrained enjoyment. Mr. Spurgeon was ready waiting at the gate. He jumped up to the box-seat reserved for him, and looking round with an expression of astonishment, exclaimed: "What, gentlemen! Are you not ashamed to be smoking so early?" Here was a damper! Dismay was on every face. Pipes and cigars one by one failed and dropped out of sight. When all had disappeared, out came the President's cigar-case. He lit up and smoked away serenely. The men looked at him astonished. "I thought you said you objected to smoking, Mr. Spurgeon?" one ventured. "Oh no, I did not say I objected. I asked if they were not ashamed, and it appears they were, for they have all put their pipes away." Amid laughter the pipes reappeared, and with puffs of smoke the party went on merrily."
So begins a series of posts that will appear here off and on: The Saint Sourpuss Lectures. Reflections on the issues that push cranky christians into vein popping fury. Above is our patron saint of sourpussness who will oversee our dialogue.
I love the above story because it highlights the issue of being "ashamed" and how so often we walk this tightrope of freedom and sensitivity to other peoples consciences. I see flare ups of this issue often. It's refreshing to be around someone who is sure in themselves about the life they are leading. It's painful to see people cower before other peoples scruples. It's often a religiously imposed set of behavior collars that are tightened around the neck to produce actions that wont upset anyone. It's spoken about in binding jargon about love, not making people stumble and other fairly difficult principles that are hard to walk out...consistently and for everyone you know. It's one great mission to make everyone bland, safe and mellow. We produce christians that if they do have a life that produces a loud bark...they got no teeth in regards to impact. We impose a room temperature temperament upon the masses. We neuter people in a religious way that hopes to make everyone more mild and congenial. But in reality our palatableness becomes tasteless. Soon we are one big group of spiritual buffets...where everything tastes the same and all of it can be eaten with no teeth. Heard it, seen it, smelled it, felt it...it's all the same mushy spiritual pepto-bismal. Forgettable people who blend in with the soft colors of our sedative inducing sleepy churches.
So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. -Rom 14:22-23
Monday, November 26, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
"So I'm heading out to the highway
I got nothing to lose at all
I'm gonna do it my way
Take a chance before I fall
A chance before I fall!"
Strange how God can use anything to inspire us and speak to us.
This song spoke to me at a time when I was wrestling with daring to follow a dream at great risk.
If God can speak through a donkey...he can speak through metal.
We live in some whacked out days...the above video from a recent event in Berlin, Germany exposes that. It is disturbing to see how freaking guidable some people are to any eccentric nut job that comes down the spirituality sewer. One of the things recovered in the Reformation was the freedom from all powerful popes. Dethroning the religious powers that exalt themselves above their brothers in a antichrist like manner. Luther stood up to the religious demagogues of his day like a wild boar. He did it because the gospel was being perverted, distorted and administered through a hierarchy of power.
We are in danger today as our brothers before us of not standing up to the powers that peddle a different gospel. I admire the young germans in this video for calling a spade a spade. For standing up and pointing out the religious fascist that was trying to cast a spell of stupidity over their minds.
Cheers to the Germans who know how to give a nut job a boot to the keister!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
But the issue raises some sticky problems. It raises the issue of why these people dont have relationship with the poor in their own circles?
Too many people just dont know the names of anyone who is needy. If we have to go to some organization or church to find the poor..I think that is sad position to be in as a human being, christian or church. Before we can care for the poor, we need to know the poor...they have names. They are not "needy" they are people with names and deserve the respect of relationship before charity.
Charity has its place but the issue of poverty is tough...When we have gone and delivered gifts in the past, I've seen some dads not even come out to receive charity..it is too humiliating. So I have sought for ways to sidestep that issue a bit, still give people a way to bless and reach out, but do it in a way that doesn't hurt the recipients too much. Granted there will always be open hands around here...and for some-people a gift is something they dont have to spend their-money on...so they will take anything and everything...for free. But I am not convinced that is the best for them or their kids. Kids need to see the gift that was purchased, wrapped and given...from a loved one. A gift from someone-else...good but not best. Hard issues, and I dont say any of this to downplay any other works or ways...its just me and my thoughts based on living in an area that wrestles with these issues.
As a church we are doing a thing we call Jubilee Christmas, where we are picking families depending on how much money we raise and paying their rent (to the landlord). We do this so it feels a little more like empowerment than charity to the families. They can then take their "rent" money that they would normally spend on rent and buy their family presents they know they want or need. It helps with saving the families dignity a bit.
Giving gifts is awesome but giving dignity to the poor as well is better. I challenge you to live out a faith that walks with the poor day to day, not once a year. The poor are everywhere...not just "down here". Become friends with people who are struggling...build friendships with them. Know them...invited them into you homes, love their children. Then you will know how to "help" them when holidays or situations come around.
You shouldn't have to call anyone to find someone in need...the church should be caring for the needy already.
Monday, November 19, 2007
We will be looking at what Luther meant by this comment, when we guys gather at the Philosophy & Theology Symposium on Sunday, 4:30 @ the Empyrean.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Here is a list of articles I want to write but...not sure if I want to deal with all the backlash:
-What I learned from my realitives porn collection...and how it helped my marriage.
-Latte's...the domesticated man's whisky...why many of today's men have got no kohones.
-Emerging church: candles, coloring books and sharing...and other stuff that makes the church fathers roll over in their grave.
-Jesus ate meat, drank alcohol and hung out with wild women...and other good examples for character development.
-How God used a prayer meeting to set me free from praying...
-How I got blessed by not tithing...and other stories you wont hear from the pulpit.
-How smoking a pipe turned me into a better christian.
-Why I let my son listen to Metallica....and other parenting tips for postmoderns.
-How I recovered my faith in fantasy...and other liberating tales.
-How the Judas Priest's song "Heading out to the Highway" helped me plant a church.
We will see...we will see...
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come." Mark 4:26-29
Let God be God...-Martin Luther
Unfortunately...we modern christians are full of ourselves. We have a feverish focus on all things man. We proclaim him, we write about him, we teach on him, we lift him up, we analyze him and all his ways, we buy his books, his tapes, his manuals, we attend his conferences, watch his videos, we trust him, we admire him, we measure ourselves by him, we strive to please him, we fear him, we limit ourselves by him...we bow down to the idol, sacrifice anything to elicit some sort of response or reward from the flesh. We are imprisoned to conform to the patterns he pushes on us, and we seem to love it so.
But the New Testament teaches a different way, Paul sums it up like this: “We glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh” -Philippians 3:3 Or as the NEB puts it...who put no confidence in anything external.
Martin Luther summed up his confidence in God and His word like this:
“I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philipp [Melanchthon] and [Nicholas] Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything.” -Martin Luther
Wow! Take that and shove it in your postmodern, ceo-managment style, flesh striving, trend following, administration top heavy, market driven pipe and smoke it! Maybe we would see a whole lot more accomplished if we put our faith in God and His word and went to sleep!
Monday, November 12, 2007
Ok...I watched "Metropolis" a 1927 silent film by Fritz Lang, with my son Christian and our church film group leader, Mike. Wow...crazy, trippy, good flick. But one of many questions remains...why do dudes have a thing for "Fembots"? I mean really...what gives...what is going on in the wiring of men that produces this tendancy? And why did the film call the two breasted female robot...a man? More gender confusion, I guess...well, for sure...look at the son's pants for heaven's sake! Those were the most fruity pants I have ever seen and why was his tie tucked in his pants? And what was up with the hair styles...swooped back...king georgeish...were all German men in that era...gay?
I was surprised at the amount of slightly erotic imagery in this film...though nothing nude, there were a few points that I went...whew, that was a bit sensual. I dont know why...I guess I thought people didnt have those thoughts back then.
This lady was brilliant with expressions...a saucy, vixen that lead the men of Metropolis into a hormone frenzy that made me laugh. The expressions and groveling of the men during her dance as the Whore of Babylon was priceless...Oh and she can do some funky stuff with her eyes...and where did she learn those dance moves?
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Now here is one of my literary and cultural heros...a man that touted one mean mustache...in fact, his hair and eyebrows were as eccentric as he was.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
-Eugene Peterson (The Contemplative Pastor)
This is a truth that isn't lived out with the New Testament exuberance that I think characterized early church life.
It's reflective in the letters written to the Corinthians...not a letter to shackle but contain the exploding freedom found in the gospel. I think we could use a few more Corinthian churches today.
In the Old testament there is a passage dealing with some festival/tithe stuff that captures what I think we have lost in our cultural reinterpretations of the moral principles of the scriptures.
Deuteronomy 14:26 reads, “You may spend the money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.”
I am not sure we have room today in most christian circles for an understanding of how to mix...food...wine, strong drink...hearts desires...the Presence of the Lord and rejoicing. Imagine a gathering in todays christians circles...this wouldn't be a description of our meetings.
It seems we are more consumed with the fears of living fully than actually teaching people how to live fully. Out of fear of making people stumble; (which by the way the new testament says the gospel/Jesus is "a stone that people trip over, a large rock that people find offensive" -1 Peter 2:8) we get hung up trying to fretfully appease everyones hyper scrupples or sins. Not to say that the recovering person isnt to be handled with care and compassion. We are to use our freedom in a way that empowers others to let go of tugging on their straining bootstraps and puts their hands into the grip of grace.
The gospel if really understood...offends the religious mind....the self glorifying man stumbles over free grace.
"If you wish to use your freedom, do so in secret as Paul says, (Rom 14:22) "The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God" but take care not to use your freedom in the sight of the weak, On the other hand, use your freedom constantly and consistently in the sight of and despite the tyrants and the stubborn so that they also may learn that they are impious, that their laws are of no avail for righteousness and that they had no right to set them up...These...resist, do the very opposite and offend them boldly lest by their impious views they drag many with them into error. In the presence of such men it is good to eat meat, break the fasts, and for the sake of the liberty of faith do other things which they regard as the greatest of sins. Of them we must say..."Let them alone, they are blind guides".
-Martin Luther in "Freedom of a Christian"
For the sake of liberty...oh the dangerous gospel we preach.
In this sort of temptation and struggle, contempt is the best and easiest method of winning over the devil. Laugh your adversary to scorn and ask who it is with whom you are talking. But by all means flee solitude, for the devil watches and lies in wait for you most of all when you are alone. This devil is conquered by mocking and despising him, not by resisting and arguing with him. Therefore, Jerome, joke and play games with your wife and others. In this way you will drive out your diabolical thoughts and take courage Be of good courage, therefore, and cast these dreadful thoughts out of your mind. Whenever the devil pesters you with these thoughts, at once seek out the company of men, drink more, joke and jest, or engage in some other form of merriment. Sometimes it is necessary to drink a little more, play, jest, or even commit some infraction in defiance and contempt of the devil in order not to give him an opportunity to make us scrupulous about trifles. We shall be overcome if we worry too much about falling into some sin. Accordingly if the devil should say, "Do not drink," you should reply to him, "On this very account, because you forbid it, I shall drink, and what is more, I shall drink a generous amount." Thus one must always do the opposite of that which Satan prohibits. What do you think is my reason for drinking wine undiluted, talking freely, and eating more often, if it is not to torment and vex the devil who made up his mind to torment and vex me. Martin Luther
I will toast to that...
Now...I'm not trying to turn you into a drunk, that would be sin. In fact, I care not if you drink or not...that isnt the point of the post, its just a lightning rod to draw the strike. So dont lose the point in the flash of reaction. Jesus often used such a method to awake us through outlandish means. We are slapped into attention... to truly think about our life, our laws and our gospel.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
One topic...many voices.
Hosted by: Spokane Gentlemans Society
Topic: The Freedom of the Christiain by Martin Luther
Sun November 25th
Symposium: originally referred to a drinking party (the Greek verb sympotein means "to drink together") but has since come to refer to any academic conference, whether or not drinking takes place. It was a forum for men to debate, plot, boast, or simply to party with others.
The Philosophy & Theology Symposium will include these elements:
1. A meeting or conference for the discussion of some subject.
2. A collection of opinions expressed or articles contributed by several persons on a given subject or topic.
3. A convivial meeting, usually following a dinner, for drinking and intellectual conversation.
4. Oh and really good beer.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Monday, November 05, 2007
and I'm still waiting for the rain to fall,
pour real life down on me,
cause I can't hold on to anything this good enough
am I good enough for you to love me too?
-Good Enough by Evanescence
This video really moved me. I think it is one of the most creative videos I have seen in a long time as far as the subtle use of imagery goes. A woman singing about the consuming nature of moments in our lives, the increasing heat and combustible fire...the helplessness of her condition...the fiery crescendo...the look heavenward...the falling rain...the drenching rain that snuffs out the flames...the word that had been planted burst forth in life giving hunger...the dawning light that enters the dark...the blooming flower in the final shot...simply awesome.
I plan to use this in my series on the book of Romans.
"There is none who does good...there is not even one. -Romans 3:12
In one way that seems like the most depressing news...but from a redemptive view...the complete hopelessness of it...liberates us. We are free from being good enough...to live in God's constantly descending grace.
Friday, November 02, 2007
The Barbarians need the gospel...
I really believe that the gospel is poised to reap a huge harvest in this generation. If you have keen eyes and sharp ears you can see the coming together cultural elements that are positioning the church to speak to an age that is fully ripe to the resurrecting power of the gospel. Might I add, the gospel as it is expounded through the reformed tradition seems to be particularly calibrated to penetrate this emotive, dark, and awakening generation. Our Lord stands among the graveyards of this culture and brings to life the sleeping souls. His voice opens graves. His light can give a path to those in darkness. His hands are scarred and open to lift the downcast out of the pit. He is the sunrise from on high...that is dawning on those who sit in the shadow of death.
He can make you fully alive.
I am starting a new series through the book of Romans called: "The gospel for the Barbarians" starting this Sunday. I pray that it will unlock prison doors and set captives free from...religion, law, the past, the self, sin and every binding noose of false piety that keeps people from living in the liberty of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
LeeElla and I have been waiting to watch this film for awhile and finally found a quiet, kid-less night to enjoy it. It was a deep look at love, life, death and immortality told within 3 stories and 3 time periods and revolving around a book and cancer. It really is one of the most thought provoking films I have seen. I have pondered it a lot since seeing it. I will use the movie as a tool in teaching on sickness and disease at some point...probably within a recovery, inner healing, burying the dead context. It wonderfully highlights the struggles of facing death, embracing death and seeing death through the eyes of resurrection. It teaches some powerful truths about what to focus on when going through the valley of the shadow of death. It's an emotional film, especially if you have gone through something similar. The part where she is in the tub and cant feel her feet and the horror, the anguish, the look in her husbands face and then the beauty of the embrace and suspending the march towards death in a passionate kiss in the moment...was deeply moving. Oh that we could all suspend time and hold those we love in spite of deaths creeping long shadow...love truly triumphs...oh, death where is you sting? Only one who will rise again can truly say that with hope and surrender.
Here is another great article that deals with, what will your spouse be like when you die?
Have I nurtured my spouse's personality, or buried it?
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
"The problem with evangelical Christianity in America today, a large majority of you have sacrificed the essential for the sake of the trivial. You concentrate on the trivialities—not smoking, not drinking, not using bad language, not dressing inappropriately in church, and so on. Jesus doesn't give two hoots for that sort of bulls---. If you go out and DO Christianity, you can smoke if you want, you can drink if you want—though not to excess, in either case."
As a pastor I have been wrestling with such scriptures as:
The base things of the world and the despised...God has chosen. -1 Cor 1:28
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. -1 Timothy 1:15
In the church...we tend to choose the people who look good, promising, respectable and have potential. Judging is a major part of gathering leaders. I find myself struggling with this way of thinking, especially when God messes it all up.
I was at our church prayer meeting at lunch time...alone, since hardly anyone attends that hour. That can be disappointing as a pastor...its like a window banker not having anyone drive up to his window. Whats the point? But anyway...I was sitting there and in came a man I know from some activities in the neighborhood. He sat down and said he felt the Lord sent him to encourage me. He then preceded to tell me his life story.
He was a recovering sex offender; who molested his daughter.
He shared, we prayed together...he left.
I sat bewildered yet again by Jesus and who he chooses to use. Of all the people we would think to send to encourage the "pastor". Of all the people who God could use...good ole, respectable, church born, together people...He sent our society's most despised to shed his love on this at times...generally prayer times...discouraged pastors heart.
I think Jesus went to a different leadership seminar than I did...
Monday, October 29, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
I am sorry for not giving you the gospel, in the way and in the clarity that you deserved. The gospel is about Jesus...so much of what I gave you was about you. The true gospel focuses on what He has done, who He is and sets people free from themselves...both their sins and their "righteousness". It is liberating. The other gospel...has man and what he does or doesn't do at it's center. It creates bondage and encourages sin...both the good kind and the bad kind. Looking back, I know I sincerely wanted the best for you. To see you grow in Christ, change the world, reach the lost, draw close to God, become more prayerful, remain pure, lead others, find God in worship, know your bibles, reach your campuses, love the lost, be good kids, obey your parents, sacrifice for God's kingdom, touch the nations and a host of other "good" things.
But in the end...I encouraged you to work hard...but I didn't teach you to rest in the work of God.
The simple gospel is: "...knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 2:16)
I am not sure if you would have come to that knowledge under my ministry. For that I ask your forgiveness. Looking back, I see more and more that "ministry" was more about me...than you. It was more about the growing drive to reach more, grow bigger, impress people, make a name, go farther than others in the spirit, have a more "spiritual" youth group...in fact, drop the "group" and put the word "church" in there, because we were going to be better than other "groups" we were going to be a youth church. So much of that, though sincere...was sincerely wrong. It divided. It put some in and others out. It put undue strain on teens who should of been enjoying just being teens instead of gathering the world onto their shoulders.
You were good enough for God but not good enough for me...and that was wrong. I see now that so much of youth work is really in vain. It's like trying to wash out the stripes of the zebra. The gospel accepts our sinfulness, our humanness, our immaturity...in fact to truly understand the gospel, you have to start with: the truth that...you are not able to save yourself.
So much of church ends up teaching you that you can save yourself, improve yourself, control yourself, restrain yourself, beat yourself, trust yourself, harness yourself...and when life teaches you that you are not able...a deep disillusionment can settle in. I have seen this happen in many of you. Some of that is simply believing a false gospel that is centered on human work instead of the work of Christ.
For some of you...it was too much. I was too much...to intense, to raw, to strict. I was to legalistic in my drive to help you "give it all to God". I was hyped up on too much world changing charismatic shit. I was to young to see the difference between growing something and producing something.
A large anything is usually unhealthy...but the pressure to perform is innate in the systems of church, the world, academics and relationships. We are plagued with a cancer of human potential thinking that sounds so good to hear but when you come to the end of it...you realize that Christ and you are two very different realities. One opens up life like a flower and the other portrays life like a dark chore to endure and change.
I hope and pray that in your struggle to grow up that you are finding Christ. My hearts desire is that you would be consumed with the rest of enjoying Him, walking with Him and serving Him in a humble and sincere way. That you would see your life as a gift to live gratefully and in doing so, you would see that your life glorifies the One who gave it to you.
I wish you would of encountered more of Jesus and less of me...but, in the end, that is the trouble of this world...seeing Jesus in the midst of so much other crap. I hope you do better than I have done.
I think all Christians would agree with me if I said that though Christianity seems at first to be all about morality, all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond. One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things, except perhaps as a joke. Everyone there is filled full with what we should call goodness as a mirror is filled with light. But they do not call it goodness. They do not call it anything. They are not thinking of it. They are too busy looking at the source from which it comes."
- C.S. Lewis
You are loved...in all your youthiness, in all your imperfections, in all your teenish ways...in all your failures and accomplishments. I think of you with love and grace. I pray for you and dream of the day when all of us can walk gently and humbly in love and in grace for the glory of God.