Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas just ain't Christmas without...

Actually, this isn't about Christmas, but I was just thinking about that old O'Jays song. Gerald Levert just passed away a few weeks ago; Eddie Levert of the O'Jays is his father. Gerald was starting to sing Gospel songs and recently appeared on Bobby Jones' Gospel. I'm sure that his eulogy had him in the presence of the Lord (I'm not being sarcastic).

When I was younger, I was certain about what was Christian, and what was not. As I've grown older, my walls have gotten lower. I have become more accepting. Still, there are some things that I am not cool with.

I still think that being a Christian should at least make you want to have a relationship with a bible that consists of more than a weekly visit over the pastor's text. I still believe that holiness is the goal, and that while we may stumble, we do not fall. I still believe that Jesus is THE WAY, not one of many. I still believe that to "do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God" are the marks of someone who has been born again.

I now accept the possibility that there are people who vote D and love Jesus (not that I was a Republican per se), I think that Barack is entitled to a God speed, and so is Sam. I'm still not sure about Sean Hannity though; maybe he needs to go back to the altar....

Must Christians always sound like we need Jesus when we get on TV? I would like to see a Christian other than Joel Osteen smile while on TV. Heaven is a nice place to go to; we ought to look like we are on the way, you know, joyful? Sean always looks like he just found out that he is got a first class ticket to hell. Come to think of it, so does Michelle, and the Sean's blond buddy, Ann Coulter. The only time they look happy is if they have a liberal in their crosshairs.

Now Allan Combs, he looks like a happy man;I might have to start wearing more blue.

For all you college students out there, after you have finished your finals, relax and get ready for next month.

Have a blessed Christmas!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

When I think of home...

The significance of home is that it is the place where we feel safe. When we come home, we have expectations; expectations of love, of acceptance, of support. As I meditate upon the fact that Jesus experienced the sting of rejection at home, I am not trying to see what it means for me, for that seems selfish. Why does everything have to mean something for me? Does that mean that if I find no self meaning, then the Word has no value? Can’t the word be valuable for itself, regardless of what benefit that I may take from it?

When we approach the Bible looking for a self-application, are we not saying, with the citizens of Nazareth, “the things which we heard…do also here”? Is that not just another form of treating God like a Cosmic Slave? What gave us the idea that the only reason the Word of God exists is for our self improvement, and if a particular passage does not lead to that result, we may discard its relevance to us?

I awoke this morning with the rejection by Jesus in His home-town on my mind. I did not know why, and at first, I thought that it was significant that it was not mentioned in John’s Gospel. Then I read John 1:11, and wondered if this could not be a reference by John to this same event? For was not Nazareth especially “His own home”? The people of Nazareth emphatically “received Him not.” I then thought about the feeding of the five thousand, and of the fact that this is acknowledged to be found in all of the Gospels. Other than the crucifixion itself, this is the only incident that is mentioned in all four Gospels, according to everyone that I have ever read. Yet I wonder if in a certain discrete way, Jesus’ rejection in Nazareth is not being referred to in John 1:11?

At the same time, it is natural to look at something in the Bible and think, “How do I apply this to myself.” Like the people who came to Jesus during His earthly ministry, we come out of our own sense of need. Otherwise, sometimes we don’t bother to come. Often it seems like the bible conferences that we go to seem to feed upon this tendency. I listened to a woman talk about her experience at Megafest last year basically as a communal self-release. she did not say that the conference motivated her to "take up her cross and follow...."

Some might think that I'm being perhaps too harsh. If so, I'm not trying to be, except perhaps upon myself. When I started this blog, we were running a ministry that was intended to be an evangelistic ministry to people who had not heard of Christ. That ministry folded, and we now feel purposeless, other than what we are doing for our family. That is fine for some, but Theresa and I really want to do more. Right now, though, when I ask for direction, I can't hear a thing.

Perhaps someone who stops by and reads this might have a suggestoin, a testimony, or a word of encouragement. Any or all of the above would be greatly appreciated!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

When did Religious Studies morphe into Irreligious Studies? I am studying at a CA state run university, and I have heard as much teaching which denigrates Christianity as supports it. I guess I really was out of the loop in my comfy little church-world, where everybody believes in the Bible.

The class atmosphere is interesting, and sometimes I even get to comment at a little length. I look forward to completing the degree (Religious Studies), and I hope to ultimately land a teaching post at the university. In the meantime, I wonder, do I uphold what I believe, or do I give the teacher what he wants?

What would you do?