Sunday, December 25, 2005

...and to all a good night!

Just wanted to take advantage of this lull in the activity to say Merry Christmas to everybody checking out blogs today. The amazing gift of love, of life, of happiness, of health, of forgiveness, of freedom, of friendship with God is yours because Jesus was born, lived and died for you. All you hve to do is unwrap it with your heart.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Anger Managed

Okay, so the prayer worked. Go figure. The situation that set me off yesterday was resolved. The underlying issues are still there, but steps in the right direction have already been taken. I still prefer my ICBM/Post-It Note plan, but if God wants to do things His way I'm cool with that, too.

Thank you, God. You were right...again. Love you,

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Anger Management

What is it about us that makes Satan's lies so attractive? He's not really subtle about the fact that he hates us. He's usually not subtle about the fact that he's lying. And, a lot of the time, the lies that we cling to make us feel like crap. It's really pissing me off.

I suppose what's upsetting me most is the feeling of powerlessness. I'm mad and there's very little I can do about it. I know I can pray, but I'm almost too mad to be clear-headed enough to accept that the battle is spiritual and will have to be fought with spiritual weapons. I'm at DEFCON 5, and I just want to drop an ICBM into hell. And I want to attach a post-it note that says: LEAVE ME, MY FRIENDS, AND MY FAMILY THE F#$% ALONE.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Diff'rent strokes to save the world

Ever since I learned of their existence, I've been checking out a couple of blogs - Raiders of the Lost Church and The Old Truth - whose basic premise seems to be that traditional churches and sermons are the only suitable form of Christian worship and education. Furthermore, any attempt to make Christianity relevant to today's society is a compromise and a sin.

I disagree with these sites. In part because that's ludicrous, and in part because I attend one of the churches that is most often maligned by the sites. My church, National Community Church, is a young church with a young pastor, a young congregation, and two locations (both intentionally placed in movie theaters on subway lines). Its approach is notably high-tech (e-sermons, online devotionals, blogs, podcasts, video podcasts, and preloaded Ipods), and the message themes are notably contemporary ("The Chronicles of Narnia", "The Game of Life", "God at the Box Office", "God on the Billboards"). All of this makes it a prime destination for the young and tech-savvy, and a prime target for the writers of Raiders and OldTruth.

The trap that these sites fall into is disregarding the fact that we are all on the same team. They also polarize churches into innovative and traditional, when there is a full spectrum of approaches and types. There are many "innovative" churches (like mine) with traditional theologies. There are many "traditional" churches with innovative ministries.

I'm a realist. I understand that both innovative and traditional approaches, and every combination thereof, have their costs, their benefits, and their place. But, right now, the more innovative approach is what's jibing with what God's up to in my life. I don't mean to suggest that I advocate novelty for novelty's sake. I'm a creature of habit and have been known to run screaming from change. However, taking a risk and making a compromise are in no way synonymous. So, it is dangerous to reject innovation, outright. Even by modern standards, Jesus was an innovator and a rebel. So to call any deviation from the Liturgical norm a sin is to call the founder and namesake of the Christian Church a sinner. Nobody in His day was hanging out with thieves and prostitutes with the aim of winning them to salvation, and such behavior would still be frowned upon today. Nobody in His day was talking about salvation for Gentiles, and modern day churches who gear their ministries toward the unsaved and unchurched are still the object of ridicule and judgment.

It is naive and dangerous to believe that, at any point in the history of the Christian Church, we corrected all the mistakes of the Old Testament Church or overcame our own. Nor can any model we have established be considered henceforth and forever more the only way to go. To me suggesting that one style of church and preaching can capture the complexities of an infinite God and convey them to an infinite number of completely different individuals seems a little sacrilegious. But that's just me.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Every once in a while, I'll go through something and I try to convince God and myself that He doesn't know how bad I'm feeling. Of course I know He does, but I just like to say it. It makes me feel better. Why? Because I know He loves me. It's hard for me to reconcile God's love for me with His willingness to let me hurt for my own good. I feel like if the God who I know loves me more than life itself had any idea that the stuff I was going through felt as crappy as it does, He would instantly rescue me. Meanwhile, God is sitting there thinking, if he had a clue as to how insignificant this moment of suffering is compared to the amazing things that I'm preparing him for and preparing for him, he would beg for more(Romans 8:18). I'll just have to take His word for the whole begging for more thing, but I do take some comfort in knowing that He loves me and would never allow me to suffer needlessly. So, there is a point and purpose to all of this.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Line, The Which & The Ward's Robe

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is a must-see. I haven't read the book and I haven't been a big fantasy fan since middle school, but this was still one of my favorite movies of the year and one that I could see again, right now...even though the closing credits are still fresh enough in my mind that I can vaguely recall the name of the key grip. Apparently the movie remained very faithful to the book, which bodes well given that the source material was written by brilliant theological mind and wordsmith, C.S. Lewis. To be honest, seeing the movie doesn't make me want to read the book, but it does have me anxiously awaiting the next installment.

The movie was visually and narratively arresting, with landscapes that were beyond amazing and a well-written and -executed storyline. The actors' perfomances ranged from the competent (e.g., the three oldest children and the bit players) to the noteworthy (e.g., Georgie Henley who channeled E.T.'s Drew Barrymore as the youngest sister, Lucy) to the outstanding (e.g., Tilda Swinton who channeled Beelzebub as the dredlocked White Witch).

There were plenty of wink wink moments for Christians and Bible knowers, and other more subtle elements that may require a more keen perception and leap of interpretation. Taken at face value, however, the lore remains credible and concrete.

Long story short: SEE IT!

Monday, December 05, 2005

He loves me not...He loves me...

We work so hard to seduce God, as if He were the object of our unrequited love. We can't seem to accept that He doesn't fall in love with us, He just loves us and He always has. It is we who must fall in love with Him, we must accept His advances and requite His love. We must allow Him to seduce us.