Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Word of the Democrats

Brian McLaren has long-been one of my favorite Christian authors. His book A New Kind of Christian radically altered my theological perspective and imagination and set me on a course that has taken me to a new city, a new seminary, and a new denomination. I am eternally grateful for his profound thoughtfulness and powerful writing.

His newest literary endeavor has taken him into the new and exciting world of e-books. In our current technological world, with print material taking a backseat to electronic media, e-books have begun to emerge as a creative alternative. There is no publishing needed and the promotion and marketing process can be much different, since the author does not need to deal with traditional book stores. With a presidential election on the horizon, McLaren has written three short e-books as a part of his The Word of the Lord series. One is directed to Democrats, another to Republicans, and the third to Evangelicals. He has written them all as fiction, much like his original and popular trilogy. I just finished his book directed at Democrats, a quick little read that probably only took a few hours to finish, and I look forward to reading the other two. While this was by no means a classic McLaren piece, it is well worth your time.

SPOILER ALERT: here is the money quote at the end. If you plan on reading this book soon, perhaps you will just want to skip reading this quote.
"A new day is dawning, and that new day presents a new possibility. We must leave behind the stale, standard politics of partisan candidates who seek victories for themselves and defeat for their opponents. That's yesterday, but the times are a'changing, my friends. This new day calls us to employ the creative power of movements, movements that build unexpected alliances among previously disconnected communities, movements that seek a good far more precious and far less common than victories. What is that uncommon good? It is the common good."

Friday, May 25, 2012

Playing the Waiting Game

Well, we have officially passed 38 weeks and are now within 2 weeks of our due date. But still no baby. Its not that we actually expected the baby to come by this time, or really anytime soon, but our lives have definitely slowed to a grinding pace as we anxiously await the coming of our first child. It is strange not knowing when she will arrive. There is no other big event in life (other than death) that you can't plan ahead of time and generally know what to expect. But with this...we have no idea. We don't know what day she will come...or what time she will come...or how big she will be...or how difficult labor will be...or that she will even be a she (let's hope the ultrasound tech wasn't wrong or our boy will have a lot of pink outfits!!).

We have done all we can to ready ourselves for parenthood, but now we get to sit and wait. We've read the books, taken the classes, had the showers, bought the stuff, decorated the room, cleaned the house, and packed the birth bag, but I'm sure nothing would ever truly prepare us for the blessed and welcomed responsibility of caring for a fragile, little life.

On another note, this weekend marks the first time that having a child (or being close) has forced us to say no to an activity that we wish we could do. This will be the first Memorial Day Weekend of our marriage that we are not traveling out of town for some sort of camping trip or vacation. Many of our friends are heading to Whistler, British Columbia for a weekend of fun and mountain biking, but we had to decline their invitation since we are so close to delivery. I must admit that, while I am immensely excited to be a dad, this change does not come without a great sense of loss and grief in the transition between one way of living and another. I liked my life. I liked being able to take off for the mountains on a beautiful Saturday without a care in the world. I liked the spontaneity of hurrying off to our favorite restaurant just before happy hours ends. I liked being in control of my own schedule. I liked my freedom.

I hesitate in writing what I just did for fear of looking like a terrible parent, but I am positive I am simply naming aloud the thoughts and feelings of most expectant parents. I am sure I will quickly settle into a new, amazing routine and rhythm with my child, but I first just need to acknowledge the loss and pain that this new transition has brought with it. It's not easy. It's not always going to be fun. There are going to be times I will wish I could just go back to the way it was before. But there are of course going to be a million magical moments that I wouldn't trade for the world. And those are the moments I am currently longing for. Enough of this waiting. I want my little girl to be here!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

God at Gunpoint

I haven't posted a cartoon from Naked Pastor or ASBO Jesus lately, but this one was too good to not share. While I am an adamant supporter of the Bible, we do often hide behind it, using it as a shield from actually knowing and encountering God. Scripture is definitely a great way to experience God (maybe the best), but it is not the ONLY way, and should never be used as a weapon to hold God hostage and support our own theologies and ideologies.

HT: Naked Pastor

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Integrative Project Presentation

The official conclusion of my seminary experience was marked a few weeks ago with the presentation of my master's thesis, my Integrative Project. Here is a video of the presentation I delivered. Enjoy!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Violence of Football

Let's get this out of the way upfront: I LOVE FOOTBALL! I grew up watching and playing football and have loved it ever since. Each Fall I find myself completely and fanatically devoted to my beloved Denver Broncos and my own fantasy football team. But, having said this, I would prefer that my sons (if I ever have sons) never actually play the game of football. I have been thinking about this for the past few years, as my wife and I have been nearing parenthood, and it has only been confirmed within me with the latest concussion issues and 'Bounty-Gate' in the NFL.

Football is an inherently violent sport, both physically and mentally. To truly be excellent, players must psych themselves up into a frenzy and be willing to literally and figuratively destroy the opponent. They must be mean. It's kill or be killed out there between the lines, and I want none of that mentality in my family. I'm not interested in my sons dominating and destroying others, or being dominated or destroyed by another. No thanks.

Of course, if my sons really want to play football I will undoubtedly allow them, but this will not come without conversation about the difference between competition and war, between aggressiveness and violence, and between passion and anger. There are plenty of other sports where my kids could experience teamwork, competition, and fun, (i.e. soccer, basketball, baseball), without succumbing to the inherent violence and danger of football. Two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner echoed my thoughts perfectly in his most recent statement on violence in football:
"I am constantly concerned about my kids and the violence of the game of football. I worry about them suffering head trauma and developing any long-term issues as a result of that injury,” Warner writes. “So yes, I love this game and all the things that it taught me and afforded me along the way, but regardless of all that I have a responsibility to my kids. I cannot be oblivious to the risks of the game of football simply because it was good to me. . . . I love the X’s and O’s of the game. I love the strategy of the game of football. I love the competitiveness of playing the greatest team sport in the world, where 11 guys must come together at the same time for the team to have success. I love the chess match within each game, the moves and countermoves and the pressure filled responses that dictate who will be the victor. I love the discipline and hard work that is required to succeed in any sport, especially the game of football. Yet, at the same time I am fully aware of the one aspect that I do not love: the violence."
HT: ProFootballTalk