Thursday, July 22, 2010

Be Back Next Week

Just when I had redeveloped a rhythm of blogging regularly, life happened! I'm busy finishing up all my papers from this summer term, so I have barely had time to breathe, let along blog, this week. Just to give you a little perspective...I've got 4100 words due tomorrow at 5pm. I've got about 3000 down, but still have a ways to go tonight and tomorrow to finish by the deadline. Wish me luck. Talk to you soon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The American Lifestyle

This basically sums up most Americans...unfortunately. Here's to living simply!

HT:  Naked Pastor

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Helpful Documentary

The following is a short documentary on the prosperity gospel and how it is taking root in Africa in an unhealthy way.

HT: Christian Nightmares

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thought I'd Let You Know

Found out these important dates today, so looks like we have about 9 months to get our things in order and ensure we don't get 'left behind.'

HT:  Christian Nightmares

I Fear This Is Us

Evangelism is such a tough arena to navigate for me. I still believe in it. I still see it as important. I still believe that we have a story worth telling. But I've seen evangelism hurt people. I've seen it be done to make the evangelizer feel better about themselves. I've see it done for selfish purposes. 

So what does evangelism look like as I try to be a person who loves instead of judges, who cares instead of critiques? I'm still trying to figure this question out, but I know it can't be the way its always been.

HT:  Naked Pastor

Monday, July 12, 2010

LeBron as a "Runaway Slave"?

Often when Rev. Jesse Jackson makes a public statement it simply seems like he has an axe to grind, but his thoughts on LeBron James have me intrigued. In the wake of James' decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and join the Miami Heat, the owner of the Cavaliers, Dan Gilbert, lashed out at LeBron verbally, calling his decision "cowardly" and saying that everyone was finally seeing "who he really is." I was shocked when I heard Gilbert's words as he was incredibly mean and judgmental of LeBron for his decision.

Rev. Jackson has an interesting take on Gilbert's reaction. He says that Gilbert's words were "mean, arrogant, and presumptuous" and that he is treating LeBron like a "runaway slave."
"He speaks as an owner of LeBron and not the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. His feelings of betrayal personify a slave master mentality. He sees LeBron as a runaway slave. This is an owner employee relationship -- between business partners -- and LeBron honored his contract." - Rev. Jesse Jackson
While I have not given theses words ample time to soak in, I think I initially agree with Jackson. We suffer from a high sense of entitlement here in America, and I feel like this is what is happening here. LeBron was a free agent and had faithfully fulfilled his duties as a Cavaliers employee, so I don't see why he wouldn't be free to make whatever decision he wants. For some reason, though, Gilbert thinks that LeBron owes him some sort of extended loyalty, even though Gilbert recently fired his general manager and head coach. Where is his loyalty?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Craziness of the City

I love living in the city. I love that there is always something going on. I love how diverse your life can be. With Mandy out of town this week, I found myself a little bored on a Friday night and decided to walk to a hamburger stand nearby us to get a milkshake. I had no idea how the next few hours would unfold. Here's how it went:
  1. Passed 2 or 3 transvestites on the way to my milkshake.
  2. Had a car pull up to me seemingly needing directions, only to have the girl say "We're looking for Uranus (you should hear 'your anus')...are we going the right way?"
  3. Watched a massive dodge-ball game at a park near our home--probably 20-25 people on each team, with many of the players wearing head bands and knee pads...super intense.
  4. Played basketball with some 'questionable' fellows until about 11:30pm.
  5. Had the game interrupted at one point because someone across the street had thrown a huge glass bottle full of blood...yes, blood...against the wall.
  6. Won the game and made my way home.
So that was my night. Completely random. Completely unpredictable. Completely spontaneous. And it was great. I love living in the city!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Big Mariner Trade

Today was a big day for the Seattle Mariners as we traded our Cy Young pitcher Cliff Lee to the Texas Ranger for Justin Smoak and 3 other prospects. While I am sad to see Lee traded because he has been so good for us and a true joy to watch pitch every five days, this was something that simply needed to be done.

The Mariners traded to get Lee this past December, thinking it had a shot at the American League West title. These hopes and dreams have sadly passed in the this first half of the season as we are currently sitting at 16 games back in the division...that's right, 16!! On paper, the Mariners should have been good, but the players have simply not played up to either their potential or their career averages. Part of the plan in getting Lee in the offseason was the awareness that if the season was going awry prior to the trade deadline, we could always get a bunch back in return for trading him away.

I think that happened today. Justin Smoak is a 23-year-old, power-hitting first baseman who is suppose to be a stud for years to come. The other 3 prospects are all lighting it up for the Rangers AAA club, so hopefully they will all make a difference for the Mariners in the near future. While I really hope this trade pans out, regardless of whether it does, it is still fun to be cheering for a team who takes some risks and actually appears to want to win. As a die-hard Denver Bronco fan, the Broncos could take some tips from the Mariners in what it looks like to be aggressive in trying to improve your team. I think the Mariners have succeeded in that quest today. Go Ms!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Trump Card

"And because Christians find the ultimate disclosure of God in a person and not in a book, Jesus is more central than the Bible. Jesus trumps the Bible; when they disagree, Jesus wins."
- Marcus Borg, The Heart of Christianity

Enjoying the Sun

Living in Seattle, you learn to appreciate the sun. With so much rain throughout the winter months, the summer here brings a new-found excitement throughout the city, with everyone clambering to parks and beaches to soak in the good weather.

I'm no different. This last week's weather appears to have brought the official beginning of summer and I have been taking advantage of the sun. Yesterday I spent the day disc golfing and rock climbing, tonight I am going to watch the Mariners play the Yankees, and Saturday I am going out rock climbing again. Life is good here in the summer!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Don't Join Them, Lebron

I don't write much about sports on here, but I am an avid sports fan and simply could not avoid writing about the recent NBA news. This offseason has been incredibly hyped for over two years because there are an immense amount of highly talented free agents on the market, including Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, Carlos Boozer, Amare Stoudemire, and many many more. NBA teams have been clearing room in their salaries for over a year now just to be able to sign some of these players. Some teams even traded away their own talented player last offseason (basically forfeiting any chance of being good this last year) in order to be able to sign one or more of these mega-stars this year.

And now the much-anticipated 2010 free agency period has begun with a bang. Amare Stoudemire signed with the New York Knicks yesterday in a deal that makes the Knicks much better immediately. The biggest story so far, though, came this morning when Dwayne Wade decided to re-sign with his previous team, the Miami Heat, and Chris Bosh decided to join Wade in South Beach. This decision, I believe, instantly makes Miami the favorite in the Eastern Conference to make it to the NBA Finals this next year.

But the Heat might not be done making moves. Wade, Bosh, and Lebron James are all close friends and have said from the onset of this free agency conversation that they would love to all play together on the same team (and were even willing to take pay cuts to do so). Now with Wade and Bosh in Miami, I fear that James will decide to join them, making Miami an unstoppable force in the NBA and a sure-thing for multiple championships over the coming 5 years.

I sincerely hope he doesn't join them, for my sake and for his own. I think this will make the NBA boring, as one team will have a monopoly on three of the best players in the league. I also think that Lebron will regret this decision later. He cares a lot about being the best player ever in NBA history, as he has been drawing comparisons to Michael Jordan since he was a freshman in high school. If he wins a bunch of titles in Miami, I fear people will always say that he needed Wade and Bosh to win them, not being able to win on his own. I really think this move will tarnish his ultimate reputation in NBA history. Don't do it Lebron. Go play somewhere else and beat these guys. Don't manipulate the system in order to win your rings, because everyone will see through that and not give you the respect you deserve. Don't resort to that way of winning.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Essential-ing the Non-Essentials

I was just reading a blog discussion/debate on creation vs. evolution and came across the following quote in the comment section of the blog. Bear in mind that the blogger's entire point of his post was to say that this issue is not really essential to the Christian faith and that it is easy to get bogged down in the non-essentials of Scripture and fail to fall in love with the God in which the text refers.
"I wanted to say even though it may seem like I am making a big deal about not believing in evolution or an earth billions of years old, I personally think that God can save a person that does believe these things or is maybe not sure or decided about these issues.

But I am also certain once a person is indeed truly saved, the Bible will truly become that persons authority and not man’s word, and since a true believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit who is the spirit of truth will show that person that Genesis is indeed true and that God did create everything in six days and that it was only about 6,000 years ago.

This leads me to believe people that believe in evolution still have a “dead engine” in them and need God to have mercy on them and give them spiritual life, to give them spiritual birth or they will remain dead in their sins and continue to believe man’s word (evolution) instead of God’s word (creationism)." -blog commenter
I can barely believe that there are still people who would make this sort of claim. If you want to hold to a certain belief, fine, but please try not to throw millions of Christians for thousands of years under the proverbial bus so casually. Please try to not sentence millions of people to eternal damnation in one, hap-hazardous just looks silly, judgmental, ignorant, and unthoughtful. And most of all, it looks incredibly unloving, which is the entire point of the biblical text.

*You can find the original conversation by clicking HERE

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Bible as Sacred Scripture

Often postmodern Christians (whatever that really means anyway) get accused of not taking the Bible seriously, as sacred. I would strongly disagree though. My experience with the emerging church movement has been one of intense love and respect for the biblical text, just not for the traditional biblical inerrancy that is prevalent in modern Christianity. Marcus Borg says it this way:
"...the emerging paradigm sees the Bible's status as sacred, as "Holy Bible," as the result of a historical process, not as the consequence of its divine origin. The process is known as canonization. The documents that now make up the Bible were not sacred when they were written, but over time were declared to be sacred by ancient Israel and early Christianity...By declaring these writings to be sacred, our spiritual ancestors declared them to be the most important documents they knew" (Borg, The Heart of Christianity, 47). 
After reading Borg's thoughts, this seemed so obvious. If the sacred-ness of a text does not from the communal affirmation of it through canonization, then any other 'gospel' or writing would need to be seen as sacred too, including the Gnostic Gospels and anything else someone has said "came from God" or "came from the Spirit." This communal affirmation of a text's importance seems to give it much more credence and respect.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Ambivalence About the Weekend

I get to see my family this weekend. This rarely it should be good...and it is...and it isn't. It will be great to spend the 4th of July weekend with my parents, my sister, and my niece in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho. I have not seen my niece, Abby, since Christmas and she is at an age where she will be completely different now than she was fun!

But the reason we are all congregating for this holiday is to visit my grandmother, my dad's mom, perhaps for the last time. She has been relatively unhealthy for years but has taken a turn for the worse in the past week and no one really knows how much longer she can continue to fight this illness and pain. A few days ago my aunt was not even sure she would make it through the night. It will be great to be able to see her this weekend and to possibly say goodbye. Closure is always bitter sweet.

Death is new to me. One of my best friends died in a car accident when I was 16, which was incredibly tragic and terribly difficult to handle as a teenager. Other than that, however, I really have not had to deal much with death. I'm beginning to realize as I age, though, that my family will not always be around. I'm learning to treasure them while they are here. I look forward to time with my grandparents over the coming years because I believe I will savor that time more than I ever have before. That said, I pray this is a wonderful weekend with my nuclear and extended family, and that my time with grandma is a blessing to both me and to her.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Too Busy To See

As I said in my recent post on the importance of blogging, I fully intend to work my way back into a regular rhythm of blogging throughout this summer and coming school year. I love blogging. I began this online journal a few years back assuming it would be a fad, not something that would last. Blogging, however, quickly became a highly spiritual activity for me, and one that I am not ready to let dissipate into non-existence.

The primary importance of blogging for me comes in its ability to craft my vision, allowing me to see the world differently. When I am actively blogging, the world becomes a potential post. Songs I hear preach, movies I watch teach, people I meet transform me. I am a better person. Over the past year, however, my life has become increasingly hectic and busy and blogging has been one thing that has gone by the wayside. This has affected me as a person. I've become too busy to see.

I have noticed this lack of vision lately in my hurried pace and inability to enjoy the journey. I truly believe that life is more about the process than the destination, but I have not lived this out well over the past year. I have been more impatient than ever. My road-rage is worse than ever. I struggle to just 'be,' instead, needing to always be doing something. While this change in my character is disheartening, I am optimistic that I can reclaim what was once important to me. I am optimistic that I can once again walk the streets of Seattle and interact with my city and its people. I am optimistic that I can see again. Lord help me.