October 26, 2006

Fortune Cookie Wisdom

I've always though fortune cookies were a little out there. This one takes the "most out there" prize. There should be a place where one can email, write, or even return the fortune cookie for something better.

October 24, 2006

The Servant of Economics

I've been reading through a book called If God Is Love by James Mulholland and Philip Gulley. While I don't agree with their universalist theology, I believe they say some things that the church really needs to listen to and chew on. One is the following:

Unfortunately, when religion becomes the servant of economics, religious institutions become brotherls, soliciting customers with powder and blush, selling our wares to the highest bidder. When churches are funded by Bingo nights or lure poeple with coffee and gift shops, they appeal to selishness and self-indulgence. When we Christians donate a pittance to God and lavish the remainder on ourselves, we become spiritual embezzlers. Rather than redeeming wealth, we are corrupted by it.

These are strong words that I believe can be expanded even farther out into other areas like worship/music. We as the church really need to stop and think about what we are and what we are trying to be, and more importantly, what God is calling us to be.

October 23, 2006

Cold, Bats, and Expectation

It is cold in our house today. Actually, it has been cold in our house for about 2 or 3 days now. Our furnace, which is older than me, decided to only run when I light the pilot for it. Luckily it is not too cold outside. Unlucky for me, it takes constant babysitting to get it to run for a full cycle. I'm glad I'm not afraid of the basement.

In trying to close off some of the cold from the outside, I removed the air conditioner from our bedroom window on Thursday. In the process, I found a bat snuggled into the space between our window sill and air conditioner. All through the summer, Steph would hear something in the air conditioner every once in awhile at night. Now we know it wasn't in the air conditioner, but under it. Needless to say, she was a little creeped out when I showed her the bat. Luckily it was cold inside and out that day because the bat didn't want to fly. He just sat on the sill and hissed with his big scary teeth. I flipped him out the window with one of the boards we put under the air conditioner. It took him awhile to fly off--long enough that I could get some pictures (click on the pic to get the full effect of the teeth!).

I've been expecting the furnace to die. It's been getting worse year after year. Though, I didn't think I would have to light it every time I wanted heat. I had not planned on finding a bat in the window. I normally expect them in the basement or in the attic. But like everything else, the unexpected comes without invitation.

I must say that I haven't enjoyed the unexpected the last few months. Maybe that's because the unexpected haven't been pleasant surprises like finding 10 dollars in your pocket. Rather, the unexpecteds for me have been broken heaters, hiding bats, and the like, for some reason put in my path so I have to deal with them, even when I don't want to.

On days like today, it would be very easy to give up and throw in the proverbial towel. I am certain I could go home, crawl back into the cold bed in our cold house and sleep till tomorrow. It would make me feel good for a day, I guess. But, the unexpected would still be there for me to deal with when I got up.

So, I push forward, doing the best to deal with what has been placed before me, doing my best to control my attitude, and allowing God to make what has happened unexpectedly become in some way a blessing for Him.

Mark 9:14-29

October 11, 2006


Its a little past 2:00am right now. I should be in bed sleeping so I can get up tomorrow and finish my lecture. I actually did some work tonight before meandering in here. I don't feel too bad that its so late, though I'm going to hate myself in the morning.

So much time has passed since my post. Much has happened in those few short weeks. I've said goodbye to one of my co-workers who moved to a different Sr. ministry. Our church has had 3 funerals, 2 special services, and one bonfire. Thats in addition to the normal church stuff like Sunday AM services and Wednesday night programming, and Thursday night rehearsals. Oh, I guess I could throw in Monday night prayer meetings and a monthly elder's meeting.

I'm tired. I'm weary. I'm a bit anxious about the next 4 or 5 months as I help lead South in the absence of a Sr. minister. I'm excited about what is to come, about the possibilities that lie in front of us, though. I simply don't want to go through the time between now and then.

Why is it that we as humans always want something, but yet don't want to go through the work to get there. We want to lose weight, but we are too lazy to really work at it. We know we should eat better, but we lack the disipline to do so. We really should save our money to buy that shiny new laptop, but we "need" it too badly. We need to address these things with so and so, and the hope is that when all is said and done, life won't fall apart. Even greater, we need to ask forgivness from so and so, but we are too prideful and ashamed. So we sit there and act like nothing has happened. We are driven by greed, pride, lust, laziness, and a whole bunch of selfishness. When will it ever stop?

I wish I could say that the church has made itself immune to these things. I wish, but I can't. What really draws the line between church people and the world? I believe its the willingness to get up on Sunday and go to church. Does that really mark church people differently? I don't believe it does. The church is still filled with messed up people who are too sick to want to change and get "healthy" and the church is too neutered to challenge them to get well or help them get well for that matter. Some may think that because they darken the door they are ok. Others might go because they feel guilty about the previous 6 days of life and they feel obligated to go be "spiritual".

Are we ready for a change? What would that change look like? Can we overcome the previous neutering and live with moxie again? Can we actually step away from the mirror and know who we are? Can we live the kingdom lives God has called us too without grumbling and moaning about what I want or need?

I guess I am at a point where I'm ready to live driven by hope and love. I want those things to shape and grow my faith, even when having faith and sticking my neck out is a dangerous thing. I want to put God in a place where he has to move. I don't want to be held back by what we've already done and by fear. In my life right now, fear is the one thing that grips me the most, closely followed by insecurity. (At least those are things that will keep me humble!)

My question to you is this: Are you ready to stop talking and live? Are you ready to stop waiting for what is yet to come without any drive for the now? Let's get busy and live.