Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Today, I began reading a book that I've been intrigued with for quite some time, Slaves Women & Homosexual: Exoploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis, and I feel so invigorated, having just read the first 1/3 of the book.
(Hermeneutics is the branch of theology that deals with principles of interpreting Scripture, which is to say why we interpret the way we do.)
Anyway, there was a quotation in the forward by Darrell Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary that really fired me up (yes, I'm one of the bookish nerds that actually reads "forwards" and "acknowledgements"):
"[This book] is designed to make you consider why you apply Scipture the way you do -- no matter what position you take...this is serious fare for those willing to examine their beliefs, both theological and cultural, in these controversial areas."
- the degree to which the people were to strive for purity and the punishments for violating the standards God set were much higher than the emphasis we put on purity today...but at the same time the will of God was much clearer to them...when the cloud moved, they moved...God resided in the tabernacle...Moses talked to God like he talked to any other person in the tent of meeting. I wonder if there's a correlation
- the "holy dice" thing has always intrigued me. I wonder if sometimes I put too much stock in my own reasoning when it comes to decision-making instead...In Acts, they chose Judas' replacement by "casting lots"... I've never heard of a contemporary church making a decision by throwing dice or casting lots, or anything even close!
- after the golden calf, God wants wipe out everyone and basically start over with Moses, (whom God calls his "friend" by the way)...and then Moses begs on behalf of the people. What do the anti-openness people say to that? Was God being disingenuous? Did Moses' pleading on their behalf really change God's mind? Do my prayers for people really matter?
Monday, February 12, 2007
It's become a tradition the last couple of years, that I make a meal for my birthday, and usually just invite my mom & dad over for dinner. So last night I revived the chocolate New York style cheesecake that we made for New Years except that I made a chocolate whipped cream topping. I made just a simple bruschetta (tomatoes, basil, salt & pepper) and then for the main course, I made penne alla vodka, a delicious red cream cream sauce with a little bit of spice. I'll make it again for sure!
For the second straight year, I got perhaps the best gift ever. Some good friends of ours, as a birthday gift for me (and for Jennifer also) give us one night out a month for a year, while they watch the kids! Okay...it's Chris and Bethany! (they deserve credit...especially w/ #4 coming this year!)
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Anyway...on the occasion of my 33rd birthday, I offer 33 things that bring joy and feelings of being more blessed by God than I could ever deserve -- they're not necessarily in any particular order as I kept editing and condensing!
2. My boys!
3. mom & dad, Adam & Andrea, Shana & Josh (& of course nieces & nephews)
4. Working on my house/Cory's house/any building project w/ "the guys"
5. Chinese Food
6. all people I "do life" with on Tuesday nights and the children we keep having (#10 in August!)
7. Finding someone to play tennis with that we're well-matched
8. my gym membership
9. all the laughter in my life
10. my ipod
11. Jubilee State Park
12. that I'm healthy
13. good coffee on cold mornings
14. my church -- particularly the people I work with.
16. cooking with Hite
17. planting stuff in the yard
19. Pool Volleyball
20. the smell and look of my yard, just after it's mowed!
21. mountain biking
23. hazelnut lattes
24. Catalyst 2006 -- couldn't have gone with a better group of guys!
25. A2 Conference -- best church conference I've ever been to!
26. swimming with the boys
27. late-night movies
28. Civilization IV
30. my blog readers
31. dark chocolate
33. driving to work watching the sunrise
Friday, February 09, 2007
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Anyway...one of the things that I've worked hard on the last couple of months, with varying degrees of success is to kind of plant my foot about some things -- that I just won't give up -- even if stuff at the church suffers for it.
- I won't give up time with my family. I'll come in at 6:00am if I have to...but I'm striving to be home about 4:30. That gives my about two hours or so with my boys before they go to bed.
- I won't give up time at the gym. I feel 100% better about myself for the hour I try to spend in the gym each day.
- I won't give up reading -- I have to feed myself, if I'm going to have anything to give. That being said -- this is probably the area that's suffering a little bit right now.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Anyway, I want to start my post by saying clearly, that I love my church. However, it often lives in the backwaters of technology, and when I read a post like this, I struggle hard with jealousy.
So here's a leadership question -- how do you "lead up" when it comes to technology? Technology always comes with a price tag, and if the people who make the money decisions aren't "techy" -- it's a long hill to climb -- they never can quite understand why you need the tools you do.
edited: got the name of the guy right now!
Friday, February 02, 2007
- Which are you -- wader or cannonballer?
- How do you know when to do which?
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
- If I criticize more than I praise, what does that say about me?
- What does it say about the state of my soul?
- Why is it, that often, not always, but often, the people who are the most critical are the least capable of facing criticism?
- Here's another way of saying it, why are the most-opinionated, the least capable of dealing with criticism.
- Is criticism just "low-hanging fruit"? What I mean is that often, what I see done in the name of criticism, is just an attempt to appear intellectual or superior, but the truth is, most well-reasoned criticism are from people who write books and published articles, where people pay $$ to hear what they think. Usually, they don't write blog posts.
- If I just blast someone or something in a post, how is it beneficial? (I know I've been guilty of this in the past, but I'm wrestling with the idea.) What does it really accomplish?
- Is there a difference between being critical and "constructive engagement," with an idea you may totally disagree with?
- Does how I respond to people who disagree with me say something about the state of my soul? Or is it just a maturity thing? Or is it neither?
- What if they're mean and unfair?
- Rob Bell likes to talk about "binding and loosing." Isn't disagreeing with his book really the semi-ugly process of binding and loosing? I know that Rob is really offended by the ad hominem criticism, as he should be, but the real criticisms, are valid and good, even if you don't ultimately agree.
- If I can't handle criticism -- if it bothers me to the core and I can't let it go -- then maybe I shouldn't post things or write things or speak publicly -- because honestly, once it's out there -- people will respond, like it or not, and frankly, you willingly put it out there.
- I guess the real question I have had to ask myself in the past is, "where does my self-perception and awareness come from?" -- my critics, or my Creator?
I have some answers, at least ones I can live with for most of these...but it would be a much-too-long post (it's already a little too long)!
Yes...the title of this post is from a U2 song -- Van Diemen's Land -- off of Rattle and Hum
We call it a desert day.
One of the perks of Northwoods is that we get one day a month to get out of the office, pray, read, think, slow down a little. (Other churches give Sabbaticals once every five-seven years...I think this way is better...just my opinion, although if there were Sabbaticals to take, I take one!)
Here's some of what I did today...I was a bit abbreviated because I had a meeting tonight at church that I needed to prep for and attend...but anyway.
- I completed my January Bible readings in Genesis, Acts, Psalms & Matthew. So far, so good this year.
- I started reading Chazown by Craig Groeschel. I'm really excited to take this book slowly -- doing the journalling excercises and sucking the marrow out of this book.
- I listened to a Rob Bell message.
- I prayed.
- I read Flashbang: How I Got Over Myself. I read the whole book. It took just over four hours or so. We're basing our Nexus teaching and the house group discussions for February on this book so I wanted to get it into my head again. I read it in 2005, and it cracked me up, but at the same time challenged me...it was probably better the second time, because I've gotten older, more mature, and I think I have a greater awareness of my infatuation with myself.
- I moved slowly...drank a lot of coffee...paused when I read something good...listened to Charlie Hall...then Counting Crows.
yes, this Desert Life was an album title for the Counting Crows...I'm apparently lacking in blog title originality these days.
Friday, January 26, 2007
But over the last couple of years, as I try to understand more and more about the kingdom of God is and try to live out the Lord's prayer ("your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven"), there's been a growing sense that as Christian I should be lending my voice to issues of justice.
Recently, as I've been pastoring at LifeBridge, I've grown more connected to Carl Cannon, a local community activist. Anyway, yesterday, in Peoria, the third apparent homicide of the year was committed (pjstar article here). Therefore, on Tuesday night at 6:00, Carl has organized another community prayer vigil to say "enough," to the criminals of Peoria. The vigil will be at Taft Homes -- very close to where 16-year old Domonique Alexander lived.
You may ask, why is rural boy that lives in Brimfield, and works at the large, white church at the north end of town going to be standing in the freezing cold at Taft Homes on a Tuesday night. The answer, is that I have a growing sense that wherever I feel led, I must lend my voice to issues of justice.
Anyone want to join me?