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Showing posts from June, 2009

We Owe All of Our Devotion to Michael Jackson

I'm sad for his family; I really am. The sudden loss of a family member or close friend is traumatic and will cause much anxiety. I have prayed that God will comfort them in the coming grieving process.

But for the rest of those flooding his Neverland Ranch . . . what in the world is wrong with you?! This guy was not some hero or world leader. "Beat It" and "Thriller" do not transform people. Michael Jackson was an "icon" (which for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, is already a bad word) for Pop music, of course. But does this mean that we should be forced to hear about it for the next week on the news?

Michael Jackson was an entertainer. . . an entertainer. All this attention in the media is expected by Americans since we worship entertainers. American "royalty" are actors, actresses, and musicians. Entertainers. We worship them because they make us happy. And when they don't make us happy, we discard them. We vitiate and vilify them. We l…

Fake Cigarettes

My family was walking through the zoo known as "the mall" yesterday. I saw a kiosk that was soliciting something I'd never heard of: e-cigarettes. Yes, "electronic cigarettes." The sign for the product really struck me:

"It looks like a real cigarette . . . it tastes like a real cigarette . . . it feels like a real cigarette . . . but it's not a real cigarette. E-cigaratte."

These electronic straws allow a battery-powered device to shove nicotine down your throat without having all that pesky smoke. While it's legal in most places, supposedly it's still illegal in Australia and Hong Kong.

I was both humored (as I am now, in fact) and amazed by it. I thought the sign should read, "E-cigarette. It's the cleaner way to kill yourself."

Then I was struck by the sales sign. As you might imagine, I had a theological reflection. My reflection made my smile go away, unfortunately, as I thought about how many Christians could fit that desc…

Negotiating with God

Exodus 3:12 He said, "I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain" (NRS).

When God was negotiating with Moses about Moses bringing God's people out of slavery, Moses gives every trick in the book. It starts out with (and I paraphrase), "Um . . . and which god are you? Who do I say sent me?" God answers something. Moses says, "Cool, cool. Um . . . how in the world would I be able to do this? Do you have any idea how much I am unimportant in Egpyt right now?" God says two things: "(1) I will be with you, and (2) you will know I have been with you when you get back here and look back."

There are several stories in the Bible with which I can relate the most. This is one of them. Moses continues to tell God why he can't do it; God continues to negotiate. I'm struck by how God does not make Moses do anything. He does no…

Why Don't I Feel Like God is There?

There's a Reba McEntire song called, "What Do You Say?" that has a line that is repeated several times: "Just close your eyes and let your heart lead the way." She's talking about knowing what to say in difficult situations, but that line really stood out to me. It reminded of nearly every Christian I've met in my life.

Part of the major attractions of Post-modernism is that fact that deconstructionalism (i.e., the attempt to dismantle any sense of "absolutes" in reality, truth, etc.) attempts to make everything relative. Therefore, if truth is not the standard, but a preference, then I get to decide what I consider truth to be. Isn't this great? We no longer have to say things like, "we all know that's wrong or right," or "that's not fair." We can only say, "that does not keep the societal preferences." Now, this blog is not about how silly and inadequate this notion of ethics is; this blog is only …

"Since we are surrounded . . ."

My wife competed in her very first triathlon last weekend. It was a great event. To see 2500 women of various body sizes and ages wandering the landscape with multi-colored rubber hats on their heads was an intriguing sight. I was so proud of my wife. She looked just like the veterans (well, like the younger veterans).

It was a beautiful morning. The sun was barely breaking over the clouds when the event began. Her group was one of the last to begin. When she got into her group of purple-headed women to wade into the water, we all awaited for the announcer to commence the count-down. I teared-up several times: that was my wife; she was a bit scared; would she be safe? "Ready women?! 5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . Go!" Off she went like a minnow into the murky lake.

I cheered her on as she came out of the water, video camera in hand. “Yeah Elaine! You did it! You just swam over a half-mile! Wow! Keep going! Don’t stop!” I still fought back the tears. Up the hill she we…