Sunday, October 21, 2007

Who Is Tom Hanks

Was flipping through old wall posts and noticed
Q: Not a Tom Hanks fan, then??
A: I always liked the everyman.

My question for Tom, if I could superpoke at his soul, what message (gospel?) do you follow.

I wonder why the ending of Castaway , the ending of Saving Private Ryan, seem to state/preach of life as randomness and without meaning (ala, Huxley's A Brave New World)

What do Apollo 13, Catch Me If You Can, That Thing You Do, Joe Versus the Volcano mean if not life is mostly just kind of there? Did I mention Forrest Forrest Gump? There's an everyman movie if there ever was one, but the message? Schtuff Happens... Have a Nice Day.

P.S. You thought I was going to say, "Life is like a box of chocolates..."

Friday, October 19, 2007

Hillary on Faith (sent)

I am very grateful that I had a grounding in faith that gave me the
courage and the strength to do what I thought was right,
<i>regardless of what the world thought</i>.

Friday, October 05, 2007


It's grandparents day at my son's school today. They will be putting on a cute program I am sure. But now, the New York Times Well blog, Tara Parker gives us this, "Are grandmothers an evolutionary necessity?" The blogpost highlights the evolutionary anomaly that human females live well beyond their reproductive years, and contribute significantly to their societies rather than being a burden. Researchers are proposing that work performed by grandmothers while younger women are caring for infants acts as a significant balancing factor for societies and human evolution as a whole.
Contrast this with what the Church has taught the value of older women since the time of St. Paul.
Don't be harsh or impatient with an older man. Talk to him as you would your own father, and to the younger men as your brothers. Reverently honor an older woman as you would your mother, and the younger women as sisters.
Take care of widows who are destitute. If a widow has family members to take care of her, let them learn that religion begins at their own doorstep and that they should pay back with gratitude some of what they have received. This pleases God immensely. You can tell a legitimate widow by the way she has put all her hope in God, praying to him constantly for the needs of others as well as her own. But a widow who exploits people's emotions and pocketbooks—well, there's nothing to her. Tell these things to the people so that they will do the right thing in their extended family. Anyone who neglects to care for family members in need repudiates the faith. That's worse than refusing to believe in the first place.
1 Timothy 5:1-8, the Message
Although the theories are speculative but interesting, we should value our grandmothers for more reasons than their ability to allow the gene pool to advance.
  • Grandmothers have value beyond what they contribute economically, genetically, or socially. They have a long history of spiritual formation of their grandchildren.
  • Grandmothers (persons) have worth just for the simple fact that God chosen to created them and never for what they contribute.
  • While the grandmother in an evolutionary world view may be only of worth in how she contributes to the survival of her offspring, the Bible gives all person an innate value to God, who does not anyone's "line" to die out. This grandmother hypothesis may explain why humans were able to "take over the planet" but it fails to account for the often selfless, sacrificial, overflowing desire for humans and most often grandmothers to give of themselves for the sake of another.

    Friday, August 10, 2007

    Wesley Quote

    Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.

    This is usually attributed to John Wesley, however Wesley also writes this:
    As to the nature of enthusiasm, it is ,undoubtedly a disorder of the mind; and such a disorder as greatly hinders the exercise of reason. Nay, sometimes it wholly sets it aside: it not only dims but shuts the eyes of the understanding. It may, therefore, well be accounted a species of madness; of madness rather than of folly: seeing a fool is properly one who draws wrong conclusions from right premisses; whereas a madman draws right conclusions, but from wrong premisses. And so does an enthusiast suppose his premisses true, and his conclusions would necessarily follow. But here lies his mistake: his premisses are false. He imagines himself to be what he is not: and therefore, setting out wrong, the farther he goes, the more he wanders out of the way.
    Beware you are not a fiery, persecuting enthusiast... Never dream of forcing men into the ways of God. Think yourself, and let think. Use no constraint in matters of religion. Even those who are farthest out of the way never compel to come in by any other means than reason, truth, and love.
    Sermon 37, The Nature of Enthusiasm, 1872

    My guess is he never said that enthusiasm was anything worthy of the Christian. Preferring reason, truth and love to reconcile persons to God.

    Friday, August 03, 2007

    A Prayer for Friday

    You, O Lord, are truly the pure and eternal source of goodness.
    You have justly turned your face from us, and in loving-kindness you have had mercy upon us.
    You hated and reconciled;
    You have cursed, and have blessed;
    We have been banished from Paradise by You, and you have remembered us;
    You strip off our shoddy fig-leaves, and clothe us with a costly garment;
    You have opened the prison doors and have released the condemned;
    You have sprinkled us with clean water, and washed away our filthiness.
    No longer will Adam hide from You when called, convicted by conscience, cowering in the brush.
    No longer will the flaming sword flash before Paradise, making entrance inaccessible when we draw near;
    All has been turned to joy for we who were once the heirs of sin:
    Man can walk into Paradise and Heaven:
    Creation, world below and world above, once separated from itself, has been knit together in friendship:
    Man is made to join with the angels’ song, offering praise in worship to their God.
    For all these things, let us sing for joy to God
    Let us sing with lips touched by the Spirit long ago.
    Let my soul be joyful in the Lord: for He has clothed me with a garment of salvation, and hath put upon me a robe of gladness: as on a bridegroom He hath set a mitre upon me, and as a bride hath He adorned me with fair array-Isaiah 61:10
    The One who adorns the bride with splendor is Christ, Who is, and was, and shall be, blessed now and for evermore. Amen.

    -Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335-c.394)
    On the Baptism of Christ

    Thursday, July 19, 2007

    Eternal Life

    I'm listening to Chuck Swindoll today. Good message on Death. (It has an English accent when spoken aloud.)
    Always excellent teaching but today I couldn't get past this one thing. In his message he repeated this oft-repeated Evangelicalism:
    There is a sense in which everybody has eternal life because everybody is going to spend eternity somewhere. Those who have accepted Jesus Christ will spend eternity in Heaven and those who have not accepted Him are going to spend eternity in Hell.

    But John 3:16 (also an oft-repeated Evangelicalism) indicates that eternal life, zoe aionios, is something in God through the Son that we have. We don't have eternal life and then we gain eternal life through believing in the Son. In fact John goes on to day that those who don't believe live in death.
    I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. -Jesus the Christ, John 5:24-26

    Where do we go with this?

    • In what sense is it "eternal life" for those in Hell?
    • Is it the fact that it is LIFE or that it is ETERNAL matter more?
    • Does the "crossing over from death to life" have a present sense? How?

    Maybe we should stop quickly repeating things we hear on the radio.


    Does this say two things at once? I think this says two things at once.
    What exactly will destroy America?

    Friday, July 06, 2007

    Preaching in a Dry World

    There is a saying in Japan, the nail that sticks out will be hammered down. In America we value independence and freedom. We celebrate it every Fourth of July, but sellers of satisfaction claim that independence and freedom can be, must be, bought and sold. Someone must pay a price. We are told when we purchase the right product we free ourselves. Against this culture the Church undergoes great risk in their proclamation. We proclaim a price has been paid. We proclaim that paying any other price, buying and selling anything for independence does not bring freedom but bondage. It is a risk to be noticed and stick out in a dry world that insists on a price being paid for freedom. It is a risk but this is what attracts God's mercy and forgiveness. Chaos can result when we proclaim no other way but God's the more obvious the dryness, perhaps only in dryness, the more God's freedom satiates.

    Friday, June 15, 2007

    Becoming the Kind of Person who Reads

    I once read a quote from Stanley Hauerwas that his job as theologian involved reading for three hours a day. That is attractive.

    Rich and Poor

    The rich are different than you and me.
    -F. Scott Fitzgerald

    There's only one thing left to do: Sell everything you own and give it away to the poor. You will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me.
    -Jesus of Nazareth

    How much do we talk-complain-pay attention to the rich? How much did Jesus pay attention to the poor? Granted he walked in the circles of the elite as well (Nicodemus, Synagoge Rulers, Centurions, etc.), and his conversations with them were just as "other-worldly" as they were with the poor. But to the poor he offered something tangible. A healing touch, a compassionate word, freedom from bondage, forgiveness. The rich? It always seemed just beyond their reach, a reflection perhaps.

    In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again-born from above."
    -Jesus of Nazareth

    Wednesday, May 30, 2007


    Right there in the middle of the movie Glory is a great biblical reference.
    That's right, Hines. Ain't no dream. We runaway slaves but we come back fightin' men. Go tell your folks how kingdom come in the year of jubilee!

    In the Old Testament, year of jubilee was a year of liberation: of servants, property, the land, debts and crops. All property sold as payment to relieve poverty, was to be returned to the original owners without restoration of the original amount advanced. The Old Testament describes the land as God's inheritance, given to all Israel
    The land cannot be sold permanently because the land is mine and you are foreigners—you're my tenants. You must provide for the right of redemption for any of the land that you own. Leviticus 25); See also Ezekiel 33
    In the New Testament, Jesus extends the jubilee by proclaiming a year of good news to the poor, release for captives, sight to the blind, and liberation to the oppressed. He taught his disciples to pray for the forgiveness of debts (as we forgive our debtors). Pentecost was characterized by the voluntary sharing of possessions, so that there was not a needy person among them. Acts 3:34, cf. Deuteronomy 15:40
    Christian disciples of the American South understood freedom in this way. Freedom granted by God as an establishment of His kingdom. Freedom has always been a key element in the Kingdom of God. Christian men and women are free to serve because they are holy and set apart; they are not bound to the kingdom of this world. They are bound together, spiritually and courageously, to the One who has granted their freedom.
    Good morning gentlemen, I am Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. I am your commanding officer. It is a great pleasure to see you all here today. It is my hope that the same courage, spirit, and honor, which has brought us together, will one day restore this Union. May God bless us all.

    Friday, May 25, 2007

    The Russians

    Was 9/11 the last uniting event in America or just the latest?
    I don't watch The Daily Show with John Stewart, meaning I don't make it a point to watch it, but I was flipping channels yesterday and came across this quote...
    I gotta tell you, over the last few months as we've seen Russia commit political assassinations, suppress its media, and rig elections, I can't help but think, "They're back baby." Do you think they'd want to get in the cold war with us , because that war was awesome, so much better than this one. You know, I remember when we were at war with Russia for like 50 years, and what was the worst thing that happened? We ended up missing an Olympics... I tell you, having Russia as our enemy again, I would totally trade [Osama Bin Laden] for [Yakov Smirnov]. What a country indeed.
    Full clip here.
    Does America need an "enemy" to bring us together? The Cold War, the "War on Terror", the "War on Poverty", Vietnam... If Americans believe that Governments are instituted among Men to secure rights then it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off oppressive Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Maybe because we are a nation that was formed by "throwing off," we are constantly on the look out for new Oppressors. The great Russian authors seem to see it differently. War does not hinder death and oppression, only love can do that.
    Love? What is love? . . . Love hinders death. Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source. —Leo Tolstoy
    God is love. Love may be all a man might need to know.

    Friday, May 11, 2007

    Uncaptive Mission

    Is it safe to go out today? The crosses on the outside of our church sould shout, "No!" No, it is not safe "out there" in the world. The travellers on the Emmaus road make this abundantly clear.
    Jesus' response to trouble is also clear. "So thick headed!" And Jesus goes on to explain life and scripture and how all things make sense because of him. I love how Eugene Peterson puts it, It's in Christ we find out who we are and what we are living for.
    Those who know who they are,
    Who know who they're living for
    Who know why they are alive!
    They are the ones that go.

    Thursday, April 26, 2007

    Leading from the Inside

    Do we really need leaders? Do we need Christians to walk at a faster pace than the rest? To run to the front? The great missions movements of the 19th century began with shoemaker/botanist/baptist/missionary William Carey's, "Expect great things; attempt great things." Carey used this phrase in a 1792 sermon to urge his Baptist colleagues to enter the missionary enterprise. Many other movements withing Christendom have followed suit. Run to the front lines and see if God will meet you there. What he did not say was "Expect great things for God; attempt great things for God." Maybe I should take a second look at William Carey.

    At the end of last year Wesley Autry jumped off a train platform to save a stranger who had fallen on to the tracks. This heroic act has been turned in to a good salvation metaphor. I like it. Christ jumps off the tracks, runs to the battle, walks deliberately toward the cross--all to save us.

    But the logic is flawed. I agree with the thought that "we must do more to reach lost people for Christ." In and of itself you can't argue with working everyday, every moment toward a life that gives all for the Lord so that never an opportunity is lost to share and witness and help other to encounter the Risen One. But... for William Carey, he was so focused, so far out in front, so "into" his goal that many were appalled at the neglect with which Carey looked after his four boys and his wife. Carey simply ignored them. Is it possible to want to "reach lost people for Christ" to the point that we ignore those who have fallen on to the tracks around us?

    This is where the story of William Carey and Wesley Autry intersect. Maybe William Carey's dream of a mission to India became an idol? Maybe running to the front is not the example Christians leaders are to portray. "I'm still saying I'm not a hero ... 'cause I believe all New Yorkers should get into that type of mode," Wesley Autry said on CBS' The Early Show. "You should do the right thing...I was like, 'Maybe I was in the right place at the right time, and a good thing happened for good people.'" A leader is not a heroic explorer, because a leader wants everyone to get into the type of mode their in. And if they are in the right type of mode then they can say follow me as I follow Christ.

    Godly leaders don't always need to run to the front. Maybe a godly leader is always in the right place. For godly leaders maybe it is always the right time. I believe a godly leader will be driven, not by something outside themselves, visible in time and place, but by a fire in our heart that can't be held back no matter how hard we try. Our passion, our dream, our fire should not be "ours" alone.

    From another Wesley...
    Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.
    John Wesley

    Keep jumping

    Friday, April 13, 2007

    Easter Sunday

    During Holy Week I had the privilege of burying a Christian man with a strong witness to the steady hand of God. It was very appropriate that during the week on which we buried him we as Christians were looking forward to the celebration of the resurrection the following Sunday.

    Jesus of Nazareth lives outwardly, a life that looks beyond himself toward the needs of others. "He came to love, heal, and forgive" is how the Gaither's describe it. But the mission Christ the Messiah was always an other-worldly focus. He was passionate and committed to doing His Father's will and only his fathers will. Good Friday's "not my will, but yours, be done." Luke 22:42 reminds us of this.

    Praise God that His mission is to create for himself a people, not just persons. And Praise God that Christ was willing to form that people by his own body and blood.

    "When we embrace faith—when God embraces us—we become new creatures constituted and called to be part of the people of God. We are invited into the story of God's engagement with humanity"—Miroslav Volf

    One half of God's mission involves calling a people to himself. When we heal, love and forgive we take part in this half. But the second half of God's mission involves centering that people, establishing that people, "constituting" that people in and around Himself. When we risk, when we give, when we ask for forgiveness, when we fall on our knees before God and say "not my will, but yours, be done." We take part in the second half.

    The "Free Hugs" campaign is a nice idea, but it seem a little ways off from a faith that both embraces and is embraced by God.

    Thursday, March 08, 2007


    In his reply to Faustus the Manichaen, St. Augustine writes...
    the Church is for the glory of Christ, that her beauty may bring honor to her husband

  • Full Quote Here

  • The ways in which a church can be beautiful are then, supposedly as many as the ways in which a woman is beautiful. Or as a friend (I think it was Perry Mayforth) from college once put it, "Every woman is beautiful, but as I get to know her she then becomes more or less beautiful."

    From Zion, perfect in beauty,
    God shines forth.
  • Psalm 50:2