Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Honoring or dishonoring MLK JR....?


Change is not accomplished by peeling off superficial layers when the causes are rooted deeply in the heart of the organism.-MLK JR

Marching in honor of a man and a movement that changed the course of history in America is noble and should be supported.
Listening to speeches about change is needed, being inspired by a rousing rendition of a iconoclastic speech was moving. Hearing politicians and community leaders talk about change and reminisce about the path of bigotry, racial disharmony and segregation was appropriate in an era when we are forgetting too often, what was and pretending what is.

But...I must make one observation that almost cancels out all the above.

Standing together and marching or doing anything publicly before the eyes and ears of the city; that isn't being lived out day to day privately from the heart, in our neighborhoods...is pure hypocrisy.

If we don't have the guts to do the work to discover and expose and then cross the lines that daily divide us...I think we are dishonoring the very spirit behind the holiday. In fact, we are liars...who deceive ourselves. We have become those who are good at hearing but suck at doing.

We like to talk the talk but when it comes down to walking the walk...we really are not moving. Come on let's get real around here in Spokane. It is easy proclaim the need for racial unity loudly but not live it as loud...right here...right now. Once a year is great but the walls won't come down in our neighborhood, once a year. They are daily built with neglect, prejudice and racial segregation that is going on in our community and relationships. Disadvantaged economic issues, ambivalent politics, impotent church traditions and leaders...all contribute to a pathetic testimony to our poverty of unity in this region. And as the scriptures say...judgment begins in the house of God.

So...lets get off the stage, out from behind our segregated pulpits and on our knees...together.
Then we can maybe start preaching a gospel that is really being lived.

New Animated Teddies Trailer

My 15 year old son Christian, has recently purchased some animation software to tackle his latest artistic project: a animated retelling of his live version film: Teddies! Here is his latest trailer for it. He never ceases to amaze me.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hope in her eyes...

Eric Unplugged
I posted a new spontaneous song that took place during my personal worship the other day. You can listen to it here:Hope in her eyes, I decided to use it in a slideshow dedicated to the Burma struggle for freedom and justice. My guitar playing is rough but its an offering nonetheless.

Another cold one...

We have been having a lot of snow falling around here, yesterday we hit a record, (for around here) 13 inches in one day. With all this snow, I think I will put it to use like dude who took the picture above...always the optimist!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heirs of the kingdom...

"Didn't God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom...? (James 2:5)

One of the discoveries I am finding the longer I minister in the places Jesus said we would find an open door for the gospel (Matt. 25:31-46); is that it is usually the average or often overlooked people in our culture that are faithfully doing the works of Jesus. Most people today are too busy, too over scheduled. They have been blessed with looks and money and jobs and stuff...and all that seems to require almost everything. But there are many who are not pretty, don't have a lot of cash, are not that smart, don't have a social calendar that has many dates on it, are not at the gym, or playing golf or out shopping. They are overlooked because they don't look good enough...but God sees them.

They pour soups in rickety homeless shelters, clean up after meals when everyone else is off to their own world, cut out flyers with cheap scissors, change diapers in overworked nurseries, they deliver meals to people that won't ever really get to come to church. They don't pastor churches with fancy pulpits but preach the word in jail cells on their own time. They don't get the praise of big crowds, offices or copper name tags on their door. They don't smell the best, dress in the latest fashions, or have the sweet rides. They might not know what Infralapsarianism is or be able to lead an inductive bible study but they can make a dying elderly person smile in a neglected nursing home. They show up. They want to be with people. They help out. When other's can't or won't...they do.

They truly have "bridled the tongue and let their lives speak of their faith.

I am humbled by their godliness.

Who hasn't said this...

Sorry, I thought it was funny.

3:10 to Yuma

Ok...I know I am going to get it for this, but...I didn't really think Yuma was as great as it has been praised. I did think it was a "good" movie but not "great". It just didn't satisfy me or convince me. On a number of issues. Wade's posse missing almost every shot..I started thinking Jackie Chan was going to be in the movie at some point. And I didn't buy the ending. Wade killing all his dudes...come on. It just didn't convince me, I didn't buy it, it was cheap...after all the investment of the movie. The son bought his dad's act at the end, but it was just that...an act. He didn't get Wade to the train, Wade beat him down in the house...soooo, it was all fake in the end. Sure he tried but it just didn't do it for me. Wade whistling for his horse after he turns himself in...ok...the good guy but not really, I get it...but it still didn't satisfy me. In fact...on reflection, I just didn't like Dan. That's it...I thought his whinny, sorry for me, tough but not really guy thing was tiring. So there you go...I was bummed I didn't like it more. I still have not seen "Unforgiven" maybe I will like that one better.

MLK JR Rewind...the positive.

Ever since I returned from St. Louis and the Christian Community Development Association's conference, I have been pushing for practical ways to move our church and my life towards "reconciliation" which is one of the 3 "R"'s of the CCDA's path towards community development. So this year, we did a few new things on the MLK weekend.

I will list these not to pat us on the back, but to show and stimulate others to look for ways to put the gospel into action. The very gospel that according to Eph 2:14 says: "He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall." Our gospel should literally manifest this spiritual truth among our relationships and in our communities. A breaking down of the walls that divide us. An emerging "peace" where there was previously: indifference, hostility, misunderstanding, hate, unforgiveness, bitterness, racism, discrimination and all forms of injustice. People should be able to see the "Kingdom of God" among us...a kingdom where: "There is neither Jew nor greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal. 3:28).

So like a good christian...I made a T-shirt, because I was a believer in the 80's and all of us from that era know, that T-shirts communicate truth better than anything...right? LOL! I couldn't find one in Spokane, so I had friend of mine who owns a novelty store downtown, make me one. He did a fantastic job. Block Party chicken
Then I preached a message Sunday morning on the gentile woman who pushed through all the closed doors, the rejection and being called a "dog" in order to get her miracle. And correlated that with the struggle of MLK and others to press through all the barriers that seem to confront us in the work of justice.

We then took up an offering for the construction of the national MLK JR memorial in Washington DC. (www.mlkmemorial.org).

After the service we invited our congregation to attend Mt. Zion Holiness Church's service which is a predominately black church that is 3 blocks down the street. Robert Jackson (pictured above) is pastor of that church and I meet with him weekly in our Monday neighborhood prayer group. We had 22 people from our church attend. Then on Monday, I attended the Spokane MLK JR rally and walk, downtown. You can see a short video of the event and see me walking walking in the crowd in this video:MLK JR Rally
(If you can't see the link, just roll you mouse over the link, its there)

For the most part it was a great weekend. I do have some more thoughts though on the challenge of moving beyond mere words to really working for justice in our cities, our neighborhoods, relationships and most importantly in our churches. But I will post that later.

Friday, January 18, 2008

iM Geeked 4 You...


Have you given up on finding eharmony in the love universe?
Do you want to find a date without having to talk to someone?
Do you long for more companionship than WOW can provide?
Do you cringe at mere body measurements and want to find out the IQ of the potential partner?
Than iGeek is the hook up spot for you.
iMGeeked4You

Be filled with the Spirit...

Unless you have experienced this reality, it's really hard to pass on. There is a joy in the Spirit, a dance, a movement of life that can only come from above. An awakening of the soul, a rebirth, a dawn. There are these moments when the finite and the infinite kiss, that has a measure of resurrection in it. It's like being filled up with something from outside but also inside. Like rain that comes down but it also opens up the deeps. An overflowing, a bubbling, a spilling out from some gusher that seems to fall down on you. Mysterious but contagious.

A reality that is easily shared, passed on, talked about, welcomed and passed along. A change that empowers one to cross the barriers of society and puts an urgency in the blood. Not out of duty but like someone who wants the world to know they have fallen in love. Calvary needs Pentecost...they go together....and like a marriage they can combust into a life giving rush of evangelistic fervor that spreads like a wildfire. Together they produce a deeply wonderful experience for the soul and just like the union of lovers...lots of new life should be the natural result. It's the wonder of Jerusalem's 3000 births in one day...miraculous indeed.

"And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." -Luke 24:49

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Crumbs from Your table

crumbs from your table,
not from your hand,
find what I'm able,
scrounge what I can.

love has shut the door,
doesn't want to be found,
I know you hear me knocking,
waiting there inside,
but I'm desperate enough to stay here,
my need won't be denied.

all the dogs are outside barking,
your ears they hear the call,
mercy can't stay sitting,
grace has to open to all.

you can call me what you will,
ignore me when I cry,
faith will crawl under the table,
steal mercies as they fall.

crumbs from your table,
not from your hand,
find what Im able,
scrounge what I can.

Eric Blauer, pic & poem, 1.17.08
Mark 7:24-30

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Get over it...



What other church is there besides institutional? There’s nobody who doesn’t have problems with the church, because there’s sin in the church. But there’s no other place to be a Christian except the church. There’s sin in the local bank. There’s sin in the grocery stores. I really don’t understand this na├»ve criticism of the institution. I really don’t get it. Frederick von Hugel said the institution of the church is like the bark on the tree. There’s no life in the bark. It’s dead wood. But it protects the life of the tree within. And the tree grows and grows. If you take the bark off, it’s prone to disease, dehydration, death. So, yes, the church is dead but it protects something alive. And when you try to have a church without bark, it doesn’t last long. It disappears, gets sick, and it’s prone to all kinds of disease, heresy, and narcissism. -Eugene Peterson

You can't have a healthy relationship with a body that has no head...or a head that has no body. Jesus and church are united...like head and body, moon and sun, bark and tree...Snickers and wrapper. Yes, sometimes the wrapper is cold, lifeless and tough to get through to find the good stuff inside but you don't get one without the other. God designed life to begin in a home, a family and all the "stuff" that goes on in families...goes on in the church too.

People are, well...difficult. We are picky, self centered, flesh focused, slow to love, judgmental, tend to our own gardens more than others, sensitive to everything, hard to get to know, rude, we smell, we talk too much, we don't talk enough, we are stingy, overly religious or spiritually dry as a stump of wood. We are fake, we act like we are glad to see you and then bitch about you behind your back. We look spiritual with hands raised but inside our hearts we are nurturing a big attitude.

We are divisive...we gather in cliques, we remember for way too long and then use those memories to limit or sabotage potential relationships. We love to complain, moan, grumble, fuss, whine, curse, gossip, pick at, pick apart, tear down and gnaw on issues until they are stripped to the bone. We make small stuff a big issue and forget the big issues all together. We stay away from too many people because we don't like having to deal with people or have people deal with us. Or we are in everyones business and can't disentangle ourselves from being front and center in everything...we are drama queens and pushy kings. We think our ideas, opinions, likes and dislikes should be preeminent in everyones minds. We want consulted, talked too, called, written and generally relationally massaged at every turn.

We are sinful, angry, addicted, imbalanced, unhealthy, angry, bitter, wounded, abused and abusive. We come from backgrounds that make us near impossible to get along with or from such good backgrounds that people don't know how to be around us. We like to fight, to make waves, cause trouble then act like we are surprised about all the negative energy that is coming our way...because we love to be the victim, the poor soul, the hurt puppy, the kicked dog, the cat with its tail stepped on. We love to be doodled over, tended too, cup of souped, and yet...we act like we are so put out if someone else calls us for something.

Oh, God have mercy...it's a wonder any church survives.

But that is just the darkside of the moon.
There is a wonderful beauty that can only be found in relationship with another human being.
But sometimes you will wonder if the highs make up for the lows...but in the end...it is God's way.
I know that sounds depressing but it is all true..in part.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Redemption...


Yes, a massive sigh of relief is heard over Spokane. This Scfi-Twig's anxious fears of another cheesy rip off tv show were eased because part 2 of "The Sarah Conner Chronicles" premiere redeemed itself. A completely different experience last night than Sunday night. It's like they had a DO-OVER...and boy did it hit the mark. The new Terminators were better, the plot got interesting, the fight scenes were creative, the humor "Please remain calm" was actually funny. HELLO!!!! Did the writers return from their strike or something? Did the part one writers get canned because everyone rose up in a giant cyborg loving rebellion and crush them and their pathetic scripting? I couldn't even believe it was the same show...and yes, that is a little tear of gratitude slipping down the cheek of this scfi loving geek. Selah...

Monday, January 14, 2008

For all you working in an office...

The dumbing down of play...


I know all the evangelical D&D hoogaballoo out there but can I make a few observations? A few elements were part of our "adventure" that seem to be absent from a lot of the video game scene today. Like...Imagination. We spent hours weaving tales, reading storylines, listening to a storyteller, preparing, writing, drawing, mapping, using pencils and erasers and real paper...graph-paper...do kids today even know what that is? We used dice...not to conjure demons but to count...which means we used math. Imagine that, a game that encourages and uses mathematics in its core play!

We played our games with a group of real people, face to face...not alone in front of a computer. Our togetherness meant friendships were also developed. We hung out, joked, talked, eat together, went to each others houses, met parents and other people. We read magazines to learn more stuff. We learned about mythology and history, other cultures and all kinds of information about artifacts and basic principles about time, space, archeology and biology. Sure there was the occult stuff that was part of that era too, I am not sure it was more engrossing or a door way than a 500 page Potter book; but it was a part of it. A part that I now shun but I can still recognize elements of play that seem to be getting jettisoned for a controller or a keyboard era. I think that's a shame.

As a parent...I think today's kids are getting ripped off..not just cash wise HELLO! Have you seen the price of these games and systems; but imagination and socially too...oh I remember the days of just paying for a couple books (that you could use forever), some dice and a pencil and paper...oh and using your brian to make it all happen.

Crappy Chronicles...


Booooo...part one of the premiere stunk. I will hold out for part two tonight but I am not hopeful.
First of all they didn't give us anything new...same story line but on tv. Come on, isnt there anyone out there that could write something orgional for the first look at the show? The male Terminator was a joke...his trying to look scary and tough face...was comical. His herky-jerky movements were like bad break dancers trying to pop and lock in my JR days. Sarah's not bad, John will work, and the new Terminette...not sure yet...she sure was getting thrown around like a little toy poodle. You would think they would of sent some chick like one of the American Gladiators. I hope this show doesn't end up like The Bionic Woman, which was my last mercy-viewing...I tanked that after about 3 episodes. Besides "Battlestar" is there any good tv Scfi out there???

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Crash


In preparation for a few messages that will coincide with Martin Luther King Jr day and Black History month; I watched the film, CRASH yesterday. It's a movie that I have wanted to see for awhile but finally found the right context to view it. I thought this was a really, really good movie about a complex issue that affects us all in one way or another. It's a mature film for adults who really want to look at the issue of race and racial interaction, sin and redemption. I will try to see how to fit this in to the overall teaching.

I have a lot I want to discuss concerning the issue after moving and living in a racially diverse part of our city from the mostly white suburbs. The challenges of working with refugees and growing a purposefully multi-racial church and coming face to face with racism both from whites to colors and from colors to whites. There is a lot of talk about unity in the community and all that but, when it comes down to actual relationships with diverse cultures..our reality is far from our words. I have been surprised by the presence of racism in our city...its an issue that is overlooked, shied away from, tolerated and encouraged. The church is often the most segregated institution and on closer examination...or personal lives are very centered around our own races.

One of the values that I dug out of John 4 in planting this church was the racial interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well...two cultures coming together, both thirsty, both breaking cultural norms, both discussing truth and God was found in the midst of unlikely people learning to talk and share life.

I hope to help propel us towards a more radical living out of the "Wall Demolishing" nature of the gospel, in the days to come.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More snow falling...

Lots of snow fell last night.

Happy Birthday Love!!!

I wanted to wish my wife, a very happy birthday today. She deserves so much more than I can give her....wonderful woman of faith, wife, mother, friend, pastor's wife, singer, musician, photographer, employee and sweet and sour chicken maker. We love you.

Karen Journey slideshow


I have set aside this month for some special prayer and highlighting of the Burma situation. As a part of that I've put together a short slideshow of their journey of resettlement here is Spokane. With the help of World Relief, we began assisting them in everything related to resettlement in American life. They started arriving in our neighborhood in September 2006.
The Karen Journey

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Ask the poor, they will tell you who the Christians are. - Gandhi

Monday, January 07, 2008

Terminator Chronicles Premiere


What: The Terminator Chronicles
When: Sunday January 13th 8PM & Monday January 14th 9PM
Where: My house

Saint SourPuss Lecture #2: Doomed from the Womb...?

Ah....the blessed rest of Monday morning when all the sermonic cannons have been fired with all their reverberating consequences both eternal and temporal. Ye old generals sit back, half resting after the bombardment, but still one hand on their rapier. They watch as the ministerial smoke clears and observe who is slain on the pastoral battlefield and who is charging up the great hill of opinion to run them through with their finely sharpened issues. Oh...it's so glorious.

I am currently wrestling through the theological briar patches of Romans 9-11 and boy can they get prickly. But for me personally, the study has not led to a melancholy decent into the typical hyper-Calvinistic tar pit of election, predestination issues or better put... the morbid mutations of of hyper-supralapsarianism.

I think the unfortunate proectory ends up being a narrowing discussion of who is in and who is out. Insted of, what I discover in the text; being the good news that God's choice is to include more than "natural" Israel by calling the gentiles into the "people of promise". The whole flow of the chapters before are opening us up more and more to the amazing grace of God. We are seeing the horizon clear and the light of His work is revealing a spiritual inheritance that is wider, deeper and more eternal than we have ever known. But instead of this chapter opening up our spiritual vision to a God who is at work in ways that are far more redemptive...we get ramroded into a debate about a God who supposedly is dooming people from the womb. So "Saint Sourpuss" of the hyper-calvinism pulpit, ends up pronouncing a fatalistic gospel that keeps people in their coffins; instead of a faithful and rightly divided gospel that opens the spiritually dead person's grave.

This distinction is discussed in the conversation linked to below, where the hyper-calvinist says: "The message of the Gospel is that God saves those who are His own and damns those who are not." Thus the good news about Christ's death and resurrection is supplanted by a message about election and reprobation—usually with an inordinate stress on reprobation."
You can read more here:
A Primer on Hyper-Calvinism
http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/hypercal.htm

Of course there are many a "Saint Sourpuss" on the other side of the theological table as well. They brush aside any discussion about the subject with pithy statements that are more bumper sticker responses than serious studied conclusions. They get emotionally charged on the subject and have more heat than light concerning the matter. They are sure of their positions, not based on biblical work, but religious up-brining. They fire off emotional responses based on experience instead of an honest comprehensive examination of the issues from both sides. I would hope that anyone who wants to "debate" an issue would do the work of first "understanding" the issue. Doesn't that make sense?

Being a theological thinker as a Christian doesn't mean you get to forget to be biblical in how you present your case and how you deal with the person you are engaging. Remember Paul's guiding words in 2 Timothy 2:23-25 "But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition."

So let's not be a Saint Sourpuss but honestly engage the texts and prayerfully and graciously move towards a greater understanding of the gospel of God...God willing.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Romans 9


As I teach through the book of Romans, I want to point you towards some resources that will help expand and engage you in some of the theological issues raised or touched on. Obviously I cant address all the questions raised by various scriptures in the depth that they deserve, during a single message. This is the case in Romans 9, particularly concerning the issue of "Election". So I have posted some audio and written resources for further study for those who desire to dig deeper.

You can find them here:
http://www.jacobswellspokane.com/Site/Words.html

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Live Free...Die Hard


I have never really enjoyed any of the past flicks in this series but really enjoyed this movie.
So much that I could even watch it again...tonight. It's rare to find yourself smiling in a movie, not because of the humor, and there was that, but from the original action. There was a number of actions sequences that I just thought ROCKED!
Yes, some were way over the top...but come on, this is DieHard. The end provided a way out of the problem that I had never seen in an action film...thats got to amount to something too. Great ride, if you are looking for a action escape....not too great on a post migraine brain but I endured.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Migraine...


I have not had a migraine in awhile, at least not like the beasts I have suffered from in the past. I have had migraines since elementary school. Not a headache. There is a BIG difference. It frustrates me when I see people out and about, complaing they have a migraine. Listen bucko, if you really had a migraine you wouldn't be doing anything but struggling in some dark room or shower pleading for life.

You see a real migraine is like this: first there's the ghostly swiggles of the wind demons that invade your pupils, swirling around in small whirlpools of nauseating shimmering...a prophetic sign of the head splitting mayhem about to descend upon you. Then as pastor pain puts his malaise into your bloodstream and you run for the bathroom, you will find yourself hugging the toilet, puking the last remains of yesterdays breakfast out of your lower intestine. Meanwhile the fire devil has his spiked talon planted deep into the baby soft tissue of your cranium and has set your internal wound on fire with bolts of continuos lightening straight from Thor's hammer. You will be gasping for air as you choke on the remains of the last thing you ate and those pills you popped in hopes to stay off the oncoming mental locomotive. You would be rubbing one side of your face with an odd sense of horror because it feels like your skin is slowly melting off your skull in a scattered fizz of numbing nerves. There you will lay...no lights on...no sound...grasping your head or banging it with your fists, rubbing on and on as you try to unplug whatever seems clogged in your throbbing brian. You will then try to lay down and sleep, only to be sent scambling for the can as yet another wave of stomach bile decides it just cant stay in your gut anymore...thanks yet again to the jackhammer trying to break out of your head from the inside out.

So what does that leave you feeling like...well here I am on day three, still feeling the lethargic, slightly nauseous, hangoverish aftermath of this monsoon of pain called so politely a migraine. So please don't ever tell me you have had one, unless you can testify to this trauma.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Big Bang Theory


This show makes me laugh hard...it's my new favorite comedy for sure. I have hung out in the "Nerd Herd" a lot in my life....a strange mix of Scfi twigs and metal maniacs, weird how both those groups sometimes were blended.

The Dark Knight cometh...


http://atasteforthetheatrical.com/deathtrap/default.htm

The Great NW...shark

shark 2.jpg
This shark was recently caught not far from where we just vacationed on the coast. These beasts of the sea have to be THE most scariest creatures on the planet. The thought of seeing one in the water has to rank on my top 5 list of moments from hell.
shark first.jpg