Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I think it should stand for "National Felony League." On the field, it's been a good year for the NFL. New England, Dallas and Green Bay are all having stellar seasons. HOWEVER, for every feel good story, there are 5 bad news stories. Mike Vick and dog fighting, PacMan Jones and guns, Tank Johnson and jail time... and now the Sean Taylor tragedy. Yesterday the 24 year-old football player was shot during a home invasion, and passed away today. Earlier this year a Denver Broncos player was shot outside a club, while another died after crashing his jet ski under the influence of drugs. I don't know what's going on, but this is kinda disturbing. Can you blame the league? I don't think so. Maybe it is the fact these kids are making so much money, and don't know how to deal with it? Maybe Biggie was on to something when he rhymed about "Mo Money, Mo Problems." Whatever the issue is, it doesn't look like it's going to get better anytime soon.
Pray for the Taylor family, these next couple of days are sure to be pretty tough, and they could probably use some heavenly help.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Do you ever think of doing something absolutely foolish? Like packing up all your gear and moving out to California to become a surf bum? Sometimes I feel like that. There's something about surfing and the surf culture that stirs up emotion within me. I've never surfed, (I don't even know if I'd be any good), but there is something about surfing that calls to me. Maybe it's out being on the water. Maybe it's the sheer power and majesty of the ocean. I don't know what it is, but one day I will try to surf, and I will answer that call.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Ruth opened up the show, (they are a relatively new band), and played a couple of unfamiliar songs. No real reaction from the crowd, but that's the life of an opening act. Next Relient K took the stage and put on a GREAT show. Matt Thiessen is always on point, except he looked kinda odd... Something was different. Upon further examination it appeared that he had grown a moustache.The new found hair above his upper lip didn't throw off his singing ability though. He was great! He had 2 mics on each mic stand, one regular mic, and one "old school" mic that had no bass on it so it sounded like it was coming through an old radio. The guy sang his own backup vocals! Amazing.Relient K even managed to sneak in some of their Christmas songs, and topped it off by making it snow. I'm not talking paper snow, I'm talking real wet snow! (I actually think it was more like foam than snow, but it was wet!) Crystal tried to catch some on her tongue. It was a solid set by the guys from Canton, Ohio.Switchfoot took the stage next, opening with the super-popular "This Is Your Life." They put on a good show too, very different from Relient K, but still very good. Jon Foreman went into the crowd a couple times, singing amongst his adoring fans.Jon did this one cool thing where he'd sing into the guitar pickups, making this really weird noise. I can't even try to explain it, but it sounded pretty sweet.Overall, a solid show with 2 solid bands. Definitely worth a couple late nights and long drives. (It's not often you get to see 2 A-level bands in one show.) After the Appetite For Construction Tour neither band moved (up or down) in my standings, but they did impress me.
I took over 200 pictures, the above are just some hilites. More can be found on my Facebook page.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Junky is in for me on Monday. I'll give you a full recap on Tuesday!
Thursday, November 8, 2007
- A prominent Christian leader calimed that events like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina are God's judgement on homosexuals.
- Christians protest gays in politics. (What makes them any less qualified?)
- Christians use derogatory terms for homosexuals.
- Christians have protested hiring of homosexual teachers in schools
- (In their study) 42% of Christians would leave a church where the pastor has an addiction to pornography, and 89% of Christians would leave a church where the pastor struggles with homosexuality.
Don't get me wrong, I believe it's a sin, but all sin is the same to God. I think that the church sees the homosexual community as modern day lepers. People who we wouldn't want to go near, for fear of catching their disease. The scary thing is, how are these people ever going to experience Jesus? They probably will never set foot in a church for fear of judgement. Christians? Those are the people that protest any events the gay community puts on. Where are they going to experience Jesus? I think it's sad that the Christian sub-culture has turned them into animals, rather than people. If I had a choice of 2 political candidates, (one being gay, one being born-again) would I pick the Christian one? Not necessarily. I'd pick the one who is better suited to lead. We shouldn't let someone's orientation blur our vision.
Maybe it's time we started changing how we view those outside of the church... Started seeing the world through God's eyes. At least that's my prayer tonight.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
GENTLE JESUS, MEEK AND MILD
The closest thing evangelical Christians have to an icon—in the “sacred picture” sense of the word—is the celebrated oil painting, Head of Christ (pictured below sixth from the left), by Warner Sallman. First published in 1940, it’s now been printed more than 500 million times, making it the most popular religious image in the world. People carry it in their wallets. It hangs in every Sunday school room from here to Jerusalem. And no matter how old you are, this painting probably comes to mind when you think of Jesus. (This and, perhaps, a bloody Jim Caviezel.)
Unfortunately, the image is probably wrong. I’m not a trained anthropologist, but Sallman’s Jesus—with His shiny brushed hair, neatly trimmed beard, limpid upturned eyes, plucked eyebrows, delicate nose and fine Anglo cheekbones—doesn’t strike me as very authentic. Jewish carpenters just weren’t that pretty.
Don’t let the manly beard fool you: Sallman turned Jesus into a woman.
Head of Christ is the capstone in a long history of sentimental feminine approaches to Christ, beginning in the Victorian era. Back then, women dominated the Church scene and were believed to be morally and spiritually superior to men. Religious education occurred in the home, and guess who ruled the roost? The prevailing view of Jesus trickled down into the culture from these pious and pure moms. The Sermon on the Mount was a frequent text, and they emphasized the stuff about sacrifice and submission. Their Jesus became a tender, lamb-carrying Good Shepherd.
Want proof? Check out the major Protestant hymns composed during this time: “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” by Joseph Scriven; “Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling,” by William L. Thompson; and “Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild,” by Charles Wesley.
Good: There is great value in servanthood and humility, and it’s appropriate to associate those divine qualities with Jesus.
Bad: Proper hair care is not a divine quality. And good luck getting this meek and mild patsy to whip moneychangers out of the temple or to endure the blood and guts of the cross.
Jesus wasn’t always into politics, aside from the occasional “render unto Caesar” teaching. Then, in 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that state-mandated prayer in schools violated the First Amendment. A decade later, Roe v. Wade invaded the culture wars. That’s when Jesus became a Republican.
Or, to be more accurate, that’s when evangelicals started paying attention to politics. Gradually, the Democratic party lost its white, middle-class, Southern power base. People who had been voting along economic lines started thinking more about social issues and family values. Union allegiance gave way to church allegiance. Ronald Reagan was pro-Israel and vaguely apocalyptic and earned the evangelical vote in 1980. The Moral Majority laid a solid foundation, and the Christian Coalition built upon it. Republicans took note and began treating religious people and their ideas with a lot more respect than the Democrats seemed to. Soon, evangelicals and Republicans were indistinguishable. The GOP evolved into the party of traditional values. The Republican platform became the biblical one.
Which would be a good fit for Jesus, if He spent large chunks of the Gospels worrying about abortion and gay marriage. Or, for that matter, exhorting James and J ohn on the need to support American foreign policy.
Good: Christians need to bring Jesus into politics, because the more Christlike people in Washington, the better ...
Bad: ... but not just along one side of the congressional aisle. Abortion’s one thing, but seriously, folks, does anyone honestly think Jesus had an official stance on Social Security? That the Prince of Peace would have been uncritically pro-war? Or really interested in easing the financial burdens of the rich? Sweet sassy molassey, does anyone think Jesus would ever not come down on the side of the poor?
Jesus taught about peace and love. Jesus rolled with the rejects and accepted the outcasts. He was itinerant, misunderstood and lived in community with other misfits. For crying out loud, the dude sported long hair, a beard and sandals.
Jesus was the ultimate hippie. Wrap Him in a tie-dyed robe and He’s practically a cliché. The youthful American counterculture captured the world’s attention 35 years ago. These “hippies” did a lot of drugs, made a bunch of free love and—this may be a surprise—really, really liked Jesus. Significant numbers of them began moving from drugs and alienation to faith in Christ. In 1970, Time did a feature on “Jesus Freaks” (no, not dc Talk). Rolling Stone, Newsweek, Life and U.S. News & World Report soon caught the “Jesus People” buzz. T-shirts with “Jesus is better than hash” designs began showing up. And Jesus Freaks—with their ocean baptisms, rock shows and fervent evangelism—became the talk of the country.
Later that year, two major rock musicals opened: Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell, both of which painted Christ as a hippie opposed to the religious establishment. These two shows did more than anything to cement Jesus as an icon of the era. Time ranked the “Jesus Revolution” as the third biggest story of the year in 1971. Christian Century proclaimed 1971 “The Year of Jesus.” Hippies had become a nationwide phenomenon, and the Son of God was their spiritual guru.
Good: Folks grooved off Jesus’ trippy teachings and revolutionary social agenda, emphasizing Christ’s humanity and a relationship with Him over the institutional church. America hit a spiritual high.
Bad: Unfortunately, that “spiritual high” gave birth to even bigger religious institutions. Christian retailing, Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) and seeker-sensitive megachurches are all rooted in the Jesus movement. Gosh. Thanks, hippies.
ROMANTICIZED BOYFRIEND JESUS
Contemporary worship music has done a lot of good things for the Church over the last 30 years, not the least of which is e nlivening the worship experience for a generation that had trouble relating to centuries-old hymns and might-as-well-be-that-old Gaither choruses. However, the modern worship movement brought with it an unfortunate by-product: the extreme to which we’ve taken the “Bride of Christ” metaphor. Song of Solomon was one thing. John Donne and Teresa of Avila took it a step further. The classic hymnster Issac Watts even threw his hat into the ring with “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.”
But us? We’ve driven the Love Truck over the edge. You won’t get far in contemporary worship music without running into achingly intense expressions of desire for the Son of God. Critics have called it the “Jesus Is My Boyfriend” syndrome, in which the Bridegroom has become the object of our romanticism. Oh, how we love Jesus. We long to be with Him. We want to touch Him. We want to see His face.
Sing it with me now, and be sure to scrunch your eyes up with emotion: “Jesus, I am so in love with You.”
Good: God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, and believers are instructed to love Him back with all their hearts, minds, souls and strength. Magnifying God through worshipful music is a good place to start.
Bad: But it’s the magnifying God part we often forget about. Because when we sing songs about how much we looooove Jesus, the main focus isn’t on Jesus; it’s about us. About our love for the Son of God. Next Sunday, count the number of self-congratulatory songs that talk about what we, the worshippers, will do. We will worship. We will lift up our hands. We will shout, stand, sing, clap, etc. The majesty, holiness and glory of God? The Savior who rescued us from sin and death? Not so much the focus there.
THE WILD-HEARTED JESUS
If you’re a Christian male, you’ve no doubt read John Eldredge’s book Wild at Heart or know someone who has. Since being published in 2001, it’s sold upward of 1 million copies. Eldredge hit a nerve among men who longed for adventure and were dissatisfied with the meek and mild Jesus described before.
He replaced that sissified Christ with a more masculine one, modeled after Braveheart’s William Wallace and Russell Crowe’s gladiator, Maximus. According to Eldredge, Wild at Heart men hate their desk jobs and long to be cowboys, mechanics or river rafters. They’re all looking for a battle to fight, an adventure to live and a beauty to rescue (the Eldredge mantra). Therefore, Jesus must have a similar strain of wild maleness. The wild-hearted Jesus is definitely a non-wimp. He’s a tough guy, a risk-taker, an adventure-seeker.
Good: Yeah, the unpredictable, undomesticated Jesus is a lot more appealing than the Breck Girl Jesus of “tender shepherd” fame. You can definitely see Him clearing the temple in a wild fit of adventurous rage.
Bad: But was the moneychangers thing really the action of a wild, marauding renegade? Or was it, perhaps, a display of passionate obedience to the Father? The Christ of the Gospels always appeared in control of His actions and emotions and submissive to His Father’s will. Connections to Mel Gibson aside, the Suffering Servant was no William Wallace.
JESUS IS MY HOMEBOY
In 2002, a small company called Teenage Millionaire unveiled simple, silkscreened “Jesus Is My Homeboy” T-shirts. In Jesus Christ, they found a figure who appealed to everyone—the devout and the ironic, the red and blue states, the Church and Hollywood, Southern Baptist deacons and East Village hipsters. And before you could say Kabbalah, these shirts had become a celebrity fashion fave. Jesus was Ben Affleck, Pamela Anderson and Ashton Kutcher’s homeboy, and the homeboy of lots of other people more famous than the rest of us. Not to be outdone, genuinely religious people—consumers who honestly cared about the figure on their T-shirts and what He represented—also snatched up the design.
Can you identify with any of those? I think I can identify with just about all of them. Interesting huh? So who do YOU think he is?