Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wall-e

What a fantastic movie! We watched this last night and really enjoyed it. Creative story, amazing animation/cgi whatever they use these days, simply stunning. A heart warming story with a wonderful use of limited language in a lot of the movie. One of my favorites for sure. I think what I enjoyed the most was hearing Micah laugh so much, he leaned over to me and said: "Dad, i'm laughing so much, I'm crying!" :)

Hummmmm....

Newly discovered planet....and the Eye of Sauron.

Defiance

Friday, November 28, 2008

Through a glass darkly...

"For now we see through a glass, darkly…” (1 Cor. 13:12)

The thoughts below come from an email to my father, concerning a discussion we were having on Martin Luther's " "Against the murderous and Rapacious Hordes of Peasants" that is often charged as Luther's highest literary crime in the sparking or fueling of so much bloodshed in "The Peasant War". After reading over the thoughts, I figured maybe the ideas or ramblings might resonate with other travelers. I offer these, in their rough hewn state, not a theological treatise; but as witness to the challenge of navigating our way through the many rough water streams of Christian thought that tumultuously rush together around the honest seeker of truth:

"Yes, some of the words in that treatise were horrible. Though, the historical events surrounding the writing of them, are subject to more misuse and revisionism than my mind can grasp or sort through. This site alone has such a mountain of answers and in depth treatment of the countless historical realities that should be honestly examined and the towers of anti-Martin Luther myths that abound:

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/search/label/Martin%20Luther

As we read on the internet, we soon come to realize that it's plagued with "quote and misquote" disease...you find out that a lot of the sites posting various quotes and statements that are evil, derogatory, anti-Jewish, perverse or whatever from Luther are most often linked to Catholic apologists that are in varying degree either sure Luther was born of the devil (literally according to some) or was mislead, or mental, or just caught in a historically challenging time. The verdict is still out in my opinion on whether Luther was solely guilty of sparking the bloodshed of the P.W.

It appears to be that it was made up of various issues (economic, political, cultural, theological) that were ignited at the same time...maybe one led to deepening or igniting more of this or that in regards to for example the Peasant uprising. The whole subject is wrought with deep ravines that I'm not sure one can truly come to a complete conclusion upon. At least from my limited understanding...kind of like figuring ones way out of the labyrinth of predestination and free will; a subject that most would agree is essential and necessary in figuring out some key issues within ones understanding of God, salvation and the place of works.. But can we truly unweave the scriptures in a way that doesn't ruin the garment of Christian experience...I've not succeeded.

I'm growing more and more unable to stand on one bank of Christian tradition...I find myself wading and sometimes swimming in various incoming or undercurrents of christian histories streams of thought, belief, teaching or influence. At times, Ive gotten farther down the river pushed by this or that movement or voice. I've felt the Spirit including certain aspects or points from this vine or that, and found refreshed, revived or helped with some element that my spiritual constitution was lacking.

I'm growing more and more free to eat of all the trees of the garden. I find life in the eating from a mindset that seems to be easily followed by the Spirit I follow and am sustained by. Narrowness, selectivism, isolationism and all the other religiously bigoted means of lifting one fruit of one tree above the other seems in the end to be silly. Have you the life of God? Does love and compassion stream like heavenly juices from your dinning? Does light break in on your understanding of Christ and does a love for Him warm the furnace of your devotion from the fires you sit at? Or does the sparks of illumination spread a fire that consumes, destroys, smokes more than lights, clouds more than sheds light on the paths of those that journey?

Truth has turned into a treacherous mountain side that can only be ascended with the ropes, and tricks of the trade provided by the mountaineers of theology. Children of Jesus who simply desire to walk on the holy road are despondent by the books of the learned that have been stacked to impassable heights. The way of Christ that supposedly was going to be straightened, uncrooked, lifted up out of the depths of obscurity, and brought down low to once again be accessible to the ignorant, little and simple; is made more difficult and unpleasant than it should be.

It wearies me and worries me.

A serious spiritual reductionism is deeply needed today...coming back to love again. A love that maybe is more blind to the misty futures, the gloomy pasts and more wide eyed to what is right in the moment.

God knows, I need that more.

Song to listen to after this post: "The cure for the pain"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Reconfiguring...

We are attempting to reconfigure our meeting space to facilitate more seating, better flow before and after services and to arrange for a more concise area for the music team. When you are working to maximize the use of the facilities...you got to get creative. We finally got our audio visual projector in and are working at placing that in the best way in a small space. We got our new signs up after two years and put in new carpet in the children's wing...the old carpet was so old, it was the kind that they stitched together when it was originally installed. Now I am working on trying to come up with a decorating plan for the meeting space that will resemble more of our cafe feel we had on the east end but facilitate the seating needed for Sundays....not an easy thing to do in this space.

Wed. Community Thanksgiving Feast...today at 5PM

Jacob's Well Community Resource Center is hosting our Thanksgiving Community Feast today. Here is a shot of the set up in the center...a lot of people have put in many hours, love, cooking, cleaning, decorating and preparations; to extend an invitation to our neighbors and anyone who desires to come and celebrate together...doors open at 5PM.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Feeding my weary spirit...

This worship song it's one of my favorites right now.

Does God sing...

"Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts." EPHESIANS 5:18-19

I found the part of this short interview (Bob Kauflin) that spoke of singing being the fruit of being filled with the Holy Spirit, to be a profound thought to meditate upon.

Some of our worship team returned from a recent worship conference and it's been evident that they were "filled up" by what is "spilling out". Good stuff taking place at our church among the musicians and the multiple teams that serve two services. We are seeing song, craft, excellence and a honest and humble offering of themselves to the Lord in singing, playing and writing. They are an amazing group of worshippers that are expanding, growing and stretching to become all that God deserves and yet reflect all that God is pleased with at this moment in time. It's good stuff and I am so proud to see two of my kids right in the middle of all the hard work and heartfelt ministry.

I am excited to see it, experience it and watch it grow. People are touched, God is worshipped through instruments and singing and Lord willing, those who do not know the Father will be drawn to the celebration in His house, by the music spilling into the streets.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Expelled

What an awesome flick. The interview at the end with Richard Hawkins, going on and on about how he thought the origins of life came from visiting life-forms from another planet...was priceless. The visit to the Nazi compounds and the Nazi hospital where they killed handicapped people was the most chilling thing I have seen in a while. The link of Eugenics and Planned Parenthood gave me the creeps. I watched this with my eldest son Christian, and I found myself hoping the young men like him will devote themselves and their brains to science to be part of a new rebel alliance that will love God with all their minds, as well as their hearts. Such men and women are needed desperately as our educational systems are closing their minds to free thought. Well worth the rental fee.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

He made the Pleasures...

“Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s [God’s] ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures” -The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis

Visiting prostitutes, men sleeping with their dad's wives, illicit affairs, homosexual sex, burning lust, sex starved marriage partners and biblical counsel to indulge in copious amounts of God glorifying, passionate sex...are all part of preaching through 1 Corinthians. It will stir things up for any pastor who dares to really teach through it...because it hits us where we live.

It's sad to me to think that the God of Solomon's steamy song; is often represented by a church that would ban the book if it was titled differently and included in some other book of literature other than the Holy Bible. In fact some of the greatest critiques of Christianity have leveled their attacks below the churches belt:

“The church fights passion by cutting it out, in every sense; its practice, its “therapy” is castration. It never asks, “How does one spiritualize, beautify, deify, desire?”—its discipline has always emphasized eradication (eradication of sensuality, pride, the ambition to rule, covetousness, vengefulness).—But ripping out the passions by the root means ripping life out by the root; the practice of the Church is an enemy of life…” 
-Twilight of the Idols ,Friedrich Nietzsche

But the church has brought a lot of this scathing rebuke on herself:

"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."

So much of this subject really is the fruit of a misunderstanding of the gospel. At the heart of this anti-body theology is a gnostic heresy that says, our bodies are not good...only are spirits are truly good. It's a lie...and this teaching pervades many Christians ideas of how to live in this world.

As we move into chapter 8 we will begin to see this idea as we deal with those who Paul calls the ones who have "weak faith". I imagine this discussion is going to rock some peoples world!

Should be fun....

Good change...

I just wanted to give God praise. This last year we went through some really tough challenges in our family. Situations that I have hinted at and asked prayer for at various times. I wanted to share and say a big thank you for those who prayed and helped us at various times as we navigated through the parenting challenges that were part of our journey. These last few months have been some of the best in our home due to a number of reasons. I just wanted to extend a word of encouragement to those parents that might be faced with challenges that go beyond your abilities to solve. God is faithful to bring help, grace, wisdom and strategies to help you and your family. Don't give up and don't give in to the sometimes overwhelming nature of some of these stressors. Have faith...God isn't deaf to your pain.

Power of the People or the State....?

"I'm wondering when those who pretend to be concerned about marriage start insisting that we repeal the no-fault divorce laws and that divorce be limited to infidelity ONLY; no exceptions for battery or psychological abuse, just as there are no exceptions in Scripture" -Commenter on the below article.

I found this comment sharp as a razor, cutting to an issue that I find fascinating...the tightrope of legislating morality. I am seriously concerned about the assault on the democratic process that is taking place in the attempts to yet again overturn the will of the California voters in regards to Prop. 8. But I also reel from the the often one-sided and hypocritical nature of much of the politicization of these moral issues. As the above poster said...how many of these opponents of gay marriage who base their positions on various scriptures; would feel as crusaderish if the issue was "no-fault divorce" laws? A position that could be based on very clear teaching of scriptures too?

Much of these debates are based on faulty logic in my opinion, on both sides too. But I did feel this article below, was one of the best (though a bit old) articles that states a clear, logical reason against State enforced recognition of gay marriage. here is a quote from the article:

"Moreover, it is not correct to argue that government recognition of two-sex marriages is unfair or oppressive. If proponents of same-sex “marriage” ask why the government should be allowed to require people to acknowledge traditional two-sex marriages, the answer is simple: It does not. The institutions of society acknowledge heterosexual marriages on the basis of historical and cultural preferences dating back millennia. The government didn’t decide this; society did. Government recognition of traditional marriage was not a change forced upon society, but rather a legal codification of what society had already established." Read the whole article at Salvomag

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ethiopia's Orphans...

Weekends movies...

LeeElla was away at a worship conference in Seattle this last weekend; so the kids and I watched three movies I've been wanting to see: Kung-Fu Panda, Get Smart and the new Journey to the Center of the Earth. We enjoyed all of them...but I thought Kung-Fu Panda was the best for sure. In fact I think its in my growing, favorite animated movies list, in no particular order: Robin Hood, Robots, Aladdin, RATATOUILLE, The incredibles, Shrek, Monster's Inc, ToyStory, Appleseed Ex-Machina, Titan AE, The Iron Giant, Ice Age 1&2, The Rescuers Down Under, An American tale, The Spirits Within...and more.

....causes one to forget everything

"Woman...Thus the gods fashioned her, delicate and ethereal as the mists of a summer’s night and yet plump like a ripened fruit, light as a bird in spite of the fact that she carried a world of craving, light because the play of forces is unified at the invisible center of a negative relationship in which she is related to herself, slim of stature, designed with definite proportions and yet to the eye seeming to swell with the wavelines of beauty, complete and yet as if only now she were finished, cooling, delicious, refreshing as new-fallen snow, blushing with serene transparency, happy as a jest which causes one to forget everything, tranquilizing as the goal whereunto desire tends, satisfying by being herself the incitement of desire."
-Soren Kierkegaard

This has got to be one of my most favorite pieces written on the mystery and beauty of a woman.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bleeding or cauterized...?

To play without passion is inexcusable. -Beethoven

I see the effects of passionless living all around me. It's petrification is evident in faces, voices, choices and relationships all around us. People living without purpose, without fire. They teeter on the tightrope of ambivalence...not daring to unleash the true sinner or saint that wrestles within them. They steer for safer waters, avoiding true communication, depth of feeling, expression of thought in all its truthfulness. They avoid conflict at the cost of their souls. They suffer in silence as they eek out an existence living obediently under the castrating gazes of some mythic authority figure that daily haunts them.

They produce half hearted attempts at almost everything. They are just getting by, not making waves, not rising higher, not being held accountable for never realizing the full potential of whatever they put their hands upon..be it relationships, jobs, bodies, minds, talents...or their inner lives.

They are hazy lifers...never gathering up all their energies to strike at some piece of life like a lightening bolt sent from heaven. Too afraid to try, to stretch, to dream. They won't own the commitment, the challenge, the possibility of life. the closest they come to resembling the reality they are skirting is when they act like promiscuous teenage boys. They sleep with everything but raise no children. They know how to feverishly lust but they don't know the molten fires of a God given, sacrificial love. They know how to be teased by the flames of the furnace but have no guts or faith to step into its belly.

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. -1 Cor. 10:31

Whatever you do, work at it wholeheartedly as though you were doing it for the Lord and not merely for people. -Col 3:23

Jesus laid out how to live, when He warned of spitting out of His mouth, all those whose lives were like tepid water. (Rev 3:15-16). Jesus calls us to live hot or cold...but flee the spiritual atherosclerosis that is running rampant in the dying around us. Throw off your timidity, the trepidation that paralyzes you from committing to whatever it is that you know is calling you to become more than a perma-couch cushion. Dare to bleed again on the knife of chance...don't settle for a cauterized existance...spill some blood, pour out your heart...try again...love until you hate...hate until you love...or go buy a coffin and lay it next to your tv...to remind you that you already died.

I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say "he feels deeply, he feels tenderly"
-Vincent Van Gogh

You do know that....You are dying.

Have you yet...truly lived?


Our defintition of art is the breaking open of the breastbone, for sure. Just open-heart surgery.
I wish there was an easier way. But in the end, people want blood, and I am one of them.
-Bono, U2 frontman.

Sex...how equipped are you?

"God makes it clear that there is nothing wrong, and everything right, about sex in marriage. Satan’s great strategy, when it comes to sex, is to do everything he can to encourage sex outside of marriage, and to discourage sex within marriage. It is an equal victory for Satan if he accomplishes either plan!"

I am teaching/preaching through 1 Corinthians and I read this quote above, in David Guzik's commentary on chapter 7. According to this article, almost half of all women have sexual problems. Do you think that as a woman or man, you are adequately equipped (in all ways) to be the best lover you can be?

Where do you think an honest individual, struggling to be the most loving and serving of mates, should learn about this stuff?
Do you think the church should be involved in this day and age?
Do you think you were prepared to enter adulthood by your parents?
Do you think the internet is the best teacher?
Would you ever attend a "seminar or class" on such subjects?
Do you think Passion Parties have a place in the instructive role of equipping married people for healthy sexual lives?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oh I wish...I wish...I wish...

I wish I could see this: "The Screwtape Letters" but I would take these to tide me over until I can get to Chicago to see the play.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Visitor...

In a world of six billion people, it only takes one to change your life. In actor and filmmaker Tom McCarthy’s follow-up to his award winning directorial debut The Station Agent, Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under) stars as Walter Vale, a disillusioned Connecticut economics professor whose life is transformed by a chance encounter in New York City. Through new found connections with virtual strangers, Walter is awakened to a new world and a new life.

I really enjoyed this drama about work, music, people, immigration, love. It's the story about the awakening of a man from just existing to being alive.
Good stuff.

UFC 91: Brock Lesnar Vs Randy Couture


Saturday at 7PM,
Spokane Gentleman's Society has been invited to crash the UFC event hosted by the manly men of Kaleo Church, UFC 91 will be on the big screen!
They are located at:
Kaleo
4904 N. Harvard Rd. #4
Otis Orchards, WA 99027
Email Justin Bryeans (justinbryeans@gmail.com) for GPS coordinates, singlets, wrestling cups, teeth guards or to ask anymore questions.

Pizza will be consumed.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Suburban reborn...

Here is my new rig...a 2000 Suburban, 2 years newer than my last and thanks to my wife's OCD shopping powers and wheeling and dealing numbers and my friend Jim Carney's auto mechanic skills and the downturned economy...we were able to upgrade. It's amazing how bad things can be turned to your favor sometimes. I'm a happy camper...literally. :)
If you are looking for a great deal on some good vehicles go to New Deal Used Cars and ask for Sean.

The real reason Obama won...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Good sign

I hope this is a sign of more to come.

Brilliant...

What the world is saying about Obama...

Look here to see what the world is saying about Obama.

Good bye to a bromance...

Well, you wouldn't think by the looks of this damage from my recent accident...but the insurance company determined my Suburban to be "totaled". So basically my rig and I parted ways today in a sad ceremony in a cold parking lot. Me standing there mourning and yet remembering when my manhood was returned, the day I handed over the keys of our maroon minivan to the dealership and stepped into this beauty.

Oh the memories...no more pretending to drive like a man in the woods...now I have 4x4 power. No more shame, no more wondering if it snows if I can get out and drive. Yes, that was a good day indeed. Yes, there's nothing like pulling jet skiis, or driving with a canoe on top of your roof, or hauling stuff to the dump in a rig. Throwing your dog in the back and hauling about 40 kids with your elbow out the window and the country music playing...ah the good Inland Northwest life.

It was slightly shocking when they drove her out of the shop to allow me the chance to unload my stuff and say goodbye.But there she stood...her front end, topless. Her grill all torn open and her exposed lights sagging.. I felt like I was dropping her off at the pound.

Here I stand...


"Whatever is not from faith is sin."
- Romans 14:23

The reason I voted Third Party was the result of hours and hours of work; a reflection of chasing an inner butterfly, a voice, a dream...conscience. It's the result of a convergence of issues of christian mission, political frustration, eschatology and love . I am coming to new conclusions that influence and direct me towards places and positions that have been deep in me but not fully formulated or formed. The church and this nation are in deep need of fresh chrysalis. These voting Issues have unearthed matters of conscience and conviction that have been under the surface. These subconscious tensions have been rubbing against my heart until I finally started owning them.

This has been no trivial work to me. It's work that originates in my pursuit to live and walk as Jesus walked:

"The one who says that he abides in him must live the same way he himself lived." -1 John 2:6

I feel I have seriously, carefully and honestly laid out that struggle here, not with sound bites and video alone, which unfortunately, I feel is the limit of most peoples interest. Rarely do we take time to examine the girth of the iceberg below the surface of the water...but don't be mislead to the size of the matter by the mere tip that protrudes from the surface.

My posts hopefully hint at the direction one must search for themselves to hammer out the issues if they desire. I know that not everyone cares or is concerned and that many are already convinced of these various matters. But for some, like me, these are broad and serious matters that require more thought, prayer, study and mental work to be done.

I knew that I had serious conscience conflict with war, interventionism, a bully foreign policy stance, preemptive acts of war, constitutional side stepping, Big government fiscal policies, lack of real change in regards to the growing poverty gap, issues surrounding the pro-life positions on killing, the growing powers or worship of the executive office vs the constitutionally designed legislative counterbalance established by the founding Fathers. In this political season I thought Obama spoke to some of the issues better than Mcain did...but Mcain spoke to other issues better than Obama. For me, matters of conscience were divided along party lines...I couldn't put both of my feet on one platform for the first time in my life.

I struggled with what to do until the day I voted and in the end...I felt conscience and sincerity required me to vote according to principle and conscience. For me to do otherwise would be, as the above scripture says...."sin".

"Each of us at various periods of life is confronted with certain moral questions that need to be solved. It takes a great deal of effort to attend to them and to seek answers. In every labor, especially at the beginning, there is a time when the work is painfully difficult, when we are tempted to give up. Physical work is painful at first, mental work still more. As Lessing says: "People are inclined to cease to think at the point at which thought begins to be difficult; but it is just there, I would add, that thinking begins to be fruitful."
-Leo Tolstoy

I think many of the issues I wrestled with are at the roots of why Mcain lost. It's a shame when the voice of new creation, opportunity, vision, hope, peace, new dreams, restoration, industry, faith, empowerment is nolonger found in the mouth of the church. I think it's a cop out for the church to disdainfully point a pessimistic, judgemental finger at sincere people wanting a better future for themselves and their families. To our shame, most of these pontifications are fired off from our self indulgent, palaces of praise built off the devoured houses of widows (see Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 20:45-47 and 21:1-4 vs. II Corinthians 8:5-15)

I hear the beleaguered droning of the Christians saying: "It's the churches role to serve the poor not the governments role" Really? How well are we practically doing that? How are our churches really working for justice? I think the church in general, stands naked in her uproar and the people are simply looking for real answers and leadership.


If you were in real financial need who is going to help you? The local spiritual moose lodge?

We desperately need to reclaim a right to speak.

The reason most people ignored all the christian warnings is because until we move from condemnation of gays, murderers, and money spenders...we sound hollow. We need more actions to back our moral authority. The religious right looks silly stomping her feet in anger and pouting. Maybe if she spoke less and did more, people would follow her and not opt out by the droves week by week.

I see all of this as a great time of challenge the church will proactively seize or lazily condemn.


Photo by Troy Thompson

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Setting free Angels...

Five hundred years ago, when asked the motivation for a particular sculpture, Michelangelo replied, "I saw an angel in the stone and carved to set it free.This is part of doing ministry in urban neighborhoods...the signs of lives yet redeemed. The signs are all around us in this community...when I walked out of my house to take Micah to school, there was a firetruck with its lights on at the cop shop across the street. When I came out later to go to the church, there were a bunch of police on our block and down the street two cop cars with their lights on and police officers roaming around that block. Part of my work today around the block involved painting over the recent graffiti and replace the bulb they broke in the above light. Nothing big...just part of life around here.

"Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell. Isaiah 58:12
One of the beauties of doing ministry in a rougher neighborhood is the multitude of opportunities to serve, repair, build up, restore and beautify. Being the people of God in a local area should mean that everyone around is blessed to have you present as neighbors and as participants in the church body that gathers on the block your facilities are at. I love how the prophet Ezekiel saw this living water of life flowing out of the temple and rising like a flood bringing its healing into barren and polluted places (Ez 47).

All of that is so true spiritually, the reviving of dead men and women through the life resurrecting work of the gospel; through the Spirit of God in us, preaching, teaching, and engaging in community restoring work. Making familes, raising children, mowing lawns, picking up trash. Caring for the community by building healthy, nurturing relationships, loving the unlovable and our skeptical enemies until they surrender to the healing ethic of life that makes more sense than the brokenness and chaos around us. But it also is good news for the land, the neighborhood, the buildings, the parks, the wildlife, the gardens, the nutrition, the hunger and thirst...the health or as Jeremiah put it the "welfare of the city" (Jeremiah 29:4-7). Unlike the devouring nature of sinful humanity...God's kingdom, when it comes...even makes little pieces of land...better. Homes improve, creation moans a little less, streets get safer, drugs dry up, sirens come less often, blood spills less, devils search for homes elsewhere. It really is good news when the Kingdom of God has come...We are currently putting in new carpet in our Nursery, classrooms and Children's ministry area. This is just a small reflection of the overall goodness that comes to town when Jesus shows up through His people. Now the little ones can crawl around and mommies wont worry what they might get from that old, nasty carpet that was clinging on for dear life.

It's a good thing, carving out angels from the cold stone of our communities...sometimes its nothing spectacular...just paint, carpet, a wave of the hand, raking up some leaves...just life lived purposefully.

Real change...begins with us.


Dear Mr. President-elect Obama:

I want personally to offer you my prayers as you embark on the enormous challenge of leading our country in a time of great crisis and crossroads. While our ultimate hope is our faith in God, we also have high hopes for your administration.

I am one member of a growing movement of Christians and people of faith who support a broad moral agenda that includes a deep concern for poverty, peacemaking, a consistent ethic of life, and care for creation. During the campaign, you said that, if elected, you would face powerful special interests trying to block change. You said you would need a citizen movement to support and push you.

Today, I am pledging to be part of that movement. It will be a movement that will both pray for you and hold you accountable to the things you promised. So I urge you to give high priority to:

Overcome poverty, both here in our rich nation and globally. Your efforts to resolve the economic crisis must include those at the bottom, the poorest among us. You pledged during the campaign to mobilize the nation to cut domestic poverty in half in ten years and to implement the Millennium Development Goals to cut extreme global poverty in half.

Find better ways than war to resolve the inevitable conflicts in the world. It is time to end the war in Iraq and emphasize diplomacy over military action in resolving problems in Iran and Afghanistan. We need better and smarter foreign policy that is more consistent with our best national values.

Promote a consistent ethic of life that addresses all threats to life and dignity. We must end genocide in Darfur, the use of torture, and the death penalty. I urge you to pursue common ground policies which can dramatically reduce abortions in America, and help bring us together on this divisive issue.

Reverse the effects of climate change on God’s creation. We must learn a new way of living in America to end our dangerous dependence on Middle East oil. We need a spiritual commitment to stewardship and national policies that promote safe, clean, and renewable energy. You spoke of job creation and economic renewal with a new “green economy.”

We need your presidential leadership for this type of societal transformation, but I promise also to do my part.

I will pray for you as you assume the awesome responsibility of leading our nation. To be the best president you can be, you will need both the support and the push of the faith community. I pledge to help build the movement that will keep your administration accountable and faithful.

Blessings,
Eric Blauer

Go and sign the prayer and pledge herehttp://go.sojo.net/campaign/nv_prayerandpledg

If casting a vote is all we do for change...than we are hypocrites. The real work is lived day in and day out...365 days a year.
I can easily rejoice in the historic nature of electing a hard working, intelligent, family loving, inspiring, country serving, God professing Christian and America's first African-America president. Even though I didn't vote for either of them, I voted for a Third Party candidate, I am part of this country and will pray and work for Change...that I CAN BELIEVE in. On many points we will agree and on many we wont but I will still pray for the President Elect and his family...there will be many challenges ahead.

I also pray those who are angry, disappointed or feel a creeping ambivalence will compost that stuff and turn it into the real change they want to see. Change doesn't have to wait until 2012. Jesus is transforming lives, churches and communities from the inside out...that's something a politician can never do.

But even still I'm no party pooper...I think its a milestone for our Country in amazing ways. I pray that it will lead to a more active populace, an awake and serving church and a return to the humble and more noble America that we have known in the past.

God bless America and the World.

And always remember...Jesus is still King of kings...and Lord of lords.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The reasoning behind my decision...

I will answer this sincere statement and question...after the election: ;)

"I don't want to oversimplify the vote, but can we just simply vote for the persons we think will do a better job of president and vice president? Voting for a candidate that has no chance of winning may be a political statement, but seems a bit of a cop out to me. But better than not voting I suppose."

Monday, November 03, 2008

Our Candy Carnival...

Here are some pictures from our churches Candy Carnival that we put on every Halloween. Thanks to the leaders hard work, planning and amazing volunteers we saw over 200 people come to the event.

Vote my conscience...?

“To go against conscience is neither right nor safe. I cannot, and I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me.” -Martin Luther

Here is an article by singer Derek Webb that deals with the issue of what to do with your conscience in voting? Some people are choosing this route, some are not...the choice is yours. And here is one of his albums' he is giving away during this political season...enjoy!

W.O.W reveals who will win the VOTE

A christian vote...should be consistently pro-life.

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." - John Quincy Adams

So many commentators and reporters brush off the idea of an eventual, viable, Third Party Candidate by saying it's not realistic or feasible. I thought Ralph Nader's response was so true:

"It's not feasible, when people keep saying its not feasible." -Ralph Nader

I didn't vote for Nader but the brilliance of the above video is that it shows the truth that your choice for either is more and more becoming a choice for both. The bold and visionary stance for an alternative to the present two party only system is in my view far more advantageous for the future generations than more of the same.

I love how Howard Zinn said earlier in the campaign "Vote against McCain, vote for Obama. Even though Obama does not represent any fundamental change, he creates an opening for a possibility of change. Obama will not fulfill that potential for change, unless he is enveloped by a social movement, which is angry enough, powerful enough, insistent enough, that he fills his abstract phrases about change with some content. We need direct action, because only that kind of indignation is going to have some affect on the people in Washington....Yeah. Well, you know, I'm very skeptical about the American political process, which only gives voters a very limited multiple choice test. You know, A or B? Or A and A-prime? The Republicans or the Democrats? And almost always the Republicans and the Democrats are so close to one another in policy, I mean, not identical, but fairly close in policy, so that the person who wants bold changes in the way our society is going is not going to find them represented by either the Democratic or Republican candidates, and that's still true with Obama and McCain...We've gone through an insufferable eight years with the Bush administration, probably the worst administration in history, and, I mean, two wars in one presidency, and a total disregard of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and a shattering of the economy. And in this situation, we are desperate for change. So even though Obama doesn't represent any fundamental change, he creates an opening for the possibility of change. That's why I'm voting for him; that's why I suggest to people that they vote for him. But I also suggest that Obama will not fulfill that potential for change unless he is enveloped by a social movement which is angry enough, powerful enough, insistent enough that he fill his abstract phrases about change, fill them with some real, solid content."

Zinn has recently revealed that he changed his mind and voted for Nader. But his insight is still extremely valid for the long haul.

My frustration with so much of the political discussion among Christians be it the Obama or Mcain supporters is the ambivilance or the rolling over in regards to major issues they hold as matters of conscience.

I couldn't do that...for me, I had to vote consistent with my values, faith and political commitment to Founding Father ideals and present day realities. Some of the loudest religious voices against Obama are for Mcain? Christians who adhere to the One who preached the sermon on the mount; have no problem with killing as long as its not in the womb, economic injustice, corporate coddling, the profound gap between the CEO's and the Workers, Wall Street bailouts, Trillions of dollars being spent on a National war machine that has 700 military bases in over 130 nations of the world...all of this belies the profundity of their supposed political positions.

I couldn't support Obama in the end because of the extent of his pro-abortion voting record which in my opinion undercut his public persona and attempts as presenting himself as one who would aim to "reduce the numbers of abortions"...the fact of his record and words trump these hazy campaigning emanations. This video exposes that, even though again...in my opinion, Mcain isnt the savior of the pro-life voter...He voted for two of the present Supreme Court judges that stand in the way of overturning RoeVWade.

Obama...man...?

If there is one article I could get every thinking person (Democrat, Republican or Independent) out there to read...it would be this one: The Cult of the Presidency

Please for the sake of a generation that desperatly needs some schooling in poltical science and history...read the whole article. It will take you less time than watching Heroes...and it will hopefully help derail the madness that is turing the masses into sheep.

Here is one of main amazing thoughts from the article:

"The constitutional office they designed gave the president an important role, but he’d have “no particle of spiritual jurisdiction,” the 69th essay of The Federalist Papers tells us. In Federalist No. 48, James Madison assured Americans that under the proposed Constitution the “executive magistracy is carefully limited, both in the extent and the duration of its powers.” Indeed, the very pseudonym the Federalist’s authors chose, “Publius,” says something about how hostile Founding-generation Americans were to the idea of one-man rule. Publius Valerius Poplicola, a hero of the Roman revolution in the 5th century B.C., was famous in part for passing a law providing that anyone suspected of seeking kingship could be summarily executed."

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Blood, Bread, the Angel of Death...and church

Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. -1 Cor. 5:7-8

Today was one of those challenging days of teaching through a book of the Bible. I knew that Chapter 5 of 1 Corinthians would be a tough one. Any passage that contains Incest, casting a unrepentant sinner out of the church and into Satan's clutches, tackling a over tolerant church and purging sin from your life...is going to get touchy with folks these days. I teetered on the idea of preaching something less controversial but in the end my inner commitment to allow the scriptures to speak for themselves vs me speaking about the scriptures won out. I determined when this church was planted to commit to being a body that stays rooted in the navigational compass of "learn not to exceed what is written." 1 Cor. 4:6.

But when you pastor a very diverse group of pre-christians, becoming christians, growing christians, rebellious and sinning christians and sincere mature christians...applying the texts can be a dance of applicability that is quite challenging.

But the soberness of this chapter gripped me. Paul uses Passover imagery...A lamb slain, blood on the doorposts, cleaning out all the leaven from inside the house and a fallen angel roaming about outside the sphere of a faith community is quite dramatic.

The fact that our faith embodies the passover imagery is deep stuff...Christ is our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7). To know that I am saved from Satan through the blood of the Lamb of God is critical to experiencing the freedom, joy and celebration of the Christian life. But understanding the just as there was an act of salvation on the outside of the house...there has to be an act of sanctification on the inside of the house too! Blood on the door posts of the house...removing of all the leaven(sin) on the inside of the house. Many people want to hear only one side of that dual handed work of Grace...God calls us to embrace both.

Approaching the most challenging part of the passage, was like doing heart surgery...not done haphazardly or with frivolity...these are the very souls Christ died for:

"I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. -1 Cor. 5:5

Being on the outside of the house with blood was an invitation for the ANGEL OF DEATH to visit you. According to Paul being expelled from the believing community for unrepentant chronic sin is...potentially as dangerous.

It's always to be restorative in purpose but jeepers!...this is intense dialogue going on here; and it worries me when I hear people say in an almost cavalier way, that they don't go to church, need the body of Christ or care about it. They profess to be part of some universal church body; but that pretty much sinks the practicality of this chapter from ever being reality in their lives. It's pretty near impossible to be kicked out of something you never commit too!

These passages are extremely mysterious and produce a holy fear of God in me. I dont ever take the subject matter lightly and pray to God that fellow believers will allow the message in them to spurn them on to godliness and heartfelt obedience.