Praying for a younger friend
December 31, 2007, 1:34 pm
Filed under: friends, prayer

I’ve spent the past 48 hours praying a lot and sleeping poorly, over one of my Seattle inter::mission team members. She called on Saturday with the news her teenage brother had died in an auto accident. Horrible. It makes Resurrection hope seem both tantalizing and desperately far away at the same time.


Merry Christmas (I think)
December 19, 2007, 7:20 am
Filed under: Christendom, Christmas, culture, family, friends, theology

Can’t say where this came from, but I’ve been walking through this whole Christmas season with a bit of an edge. People have heard me say cranky little quips, and even the occasional mini-rant. In part, it’s the consumerism of the season that a lot of people are cautious of. There are good efforts out there already to combat that mentality, and to make something better. For the most part, though, I’ve had a more theological sort of thing going.

I’m more concerned about the gross imbalance that exists between the time, money, effort, and overall attention that Christians and churches give to Christmas vs. Resurrection Sunday. Hear me now – I’m a grateful believer in celebrating the Incarnation, and the amazing story that it is. I do think it’s good and right for us to make a big deal of that.

But let me ask this question – How many Christians do you know that redecorate their whole house to celebrate the Resurrection? Not talking about Easter bunnies here, either. I’m talking about clearing the coffee table so we can set up a little ceramic scene of a big rock mountain with a cave cut out of it, and a stone that’s been rolled away from the entrance. You’ve got your ceramic angels hanging out at the tomb, ceramic Mary looking confused while talking to that strange ceramic gardener dude, ceramic Peter and ceramic John sucking air from having just finished their foot race. Everyone except for the angels, and the aforementioned gardener have that expression of “Wha??” on their faces. O.k., so I got a little out of control there . . . all that might be a little creepy.

How many Christians do you know that use even 20% of the money they’d spend at Christmas to give it away to Christian missionaries or causes?

Almost all churches make a big deal about their Good Friday/Easter Sunday services. Celebrative gatherings, sunrise services, special musical presentations. Many new church plants hold their public “launches” on Easter (a thing I’ve got a whole different set of misgivings about). I don’t want to be completely unfair here – there is special emphasis on the Resurrection. I’m just wondering if it’s equivalent to Christmas.

All of this, when in two of our four gospels, the narrative of the birth of Jesus isn’t even mentioned! Do I need to bother asking the counter-question of how many gospels have the Passion narrative?

With all that said, let me rescue myself from this scrooge-y corner I’m in. I DO LIKE CHRISTMAS. Michelle and I will be traveling great distances to be with family and friends for celebrations. I LIKE GIVING GIFTS TO PEOPLE, and think that Christmas represents a beautiful time for us to honor those that God has placed in our lives. I DO LIKE SOME CHRISTMAS MUSIC – this is good stuff (but this and this make me want to hurt people). I LIKE CHRISTMAS COOKIES. Oh, and I LIKE SEEING LITTLE CHILDREN GET GIDDY ON CHRISTMAS MORNING. I’ve got no beefs with Santa – he’s always been better to me than I’ve been to him. In the interest of full disclosure, let me also say that I LIKE RECEIVING GIFTS – especially those that show that someone really thought about me and wanted to express their love.

My main thing here is to put things in perspective. Thank you God for the Incarnation. Indeed. But thank you, thank you, thank you Jesus for inaugurating an everlasting Kingdom by your words, your deeds, your sacrifice, and your Resurrection!

With all that said, let me wish all of my readers out there (I could name the four of you, but I wouldn’t want to embarrass you) a great Christmas. I do hope this holiday season is a wonderful celebration. Just remember, when you open your Bible to Luke 2, feel free to follow it up with some time in Luke 24.


Jesus Manifesto
December 12, 2007, 8:55 am
Filed under: blogging

Just thought I’d drop some linkage love here . . .

I’ve been enjoying Jesus Manifesto, the blog of Mark Van Steenwyk, for a while now. He recently invited others to contribute, and they just re-launched the site – looking good.

A little Jesus anarchy anyone?

U.S. Media
December 12, 2007, 7:25 am
Filed under: culture, media

Just in case you were wondering, I’d recommend NOT trusting everything you see and hear in mainstream American media. I’ve come across two different stories this week that illustrate that the news-as-business machine gets very sloppy, very lazy, very biased, even as it sells it as “investigative,” “straight talk,” and “everything you need to know.”

One of the stories has to do with the referendum in Venezuela recently. The media told the story as a corrupt, power hungry president, trying to become a “dictator for life,” but getting defeated in the election. I smelled something a little fishy, given that if Hugo Chavez was truly a dictator, he’d have won the election easily. Anyway, this morning, I came across this video analysis of the news coverage, so I thought I’d share.

This is just one example about a story most Americans don’t really care about. But it makes you wonder what else we “learn” from our media sources.

This is why I get most of my news via Google Reader, and read stories from the BBC and Al Jazeera as much as stories from the New York Times.

Time for a breather . . . o.k., good, now back to work!
December 10, 2007, 9:46 pm
Filed under: school

As of about ten minutes ago, when I sent off the last of four assignments/projects due by midnight tonight, I’m done with this semester. I’m numb. I’m literally leaned back in my chair with my eyes closed right now, just willing myself to type these words. This has been an intense past few months. Definitely the most challenging academic semester I’ve ever faced.

But now I can breathe . . . at least for a couple of days. Then I’m going to dive into a class I need to take “on the side” in order to qualify for the program I’ve spent the past year and a half in. I shan’t complain, though, especially given that one of the assigned books for the class is N.T. Wright’s excellent masterwork, Jesus and the Victory of God. Hopefully I can knock that class out in about a month or so, because by then I’ll be headlong into the next semester. Joy!!

For now, it is time for me to re-acquaint myself with my pillow and my wife. Nighty-night.

Merry Christmas, from a blogger you weren’t really expecting
December 10, 2007, 5:25 pm
Filed under: uncategorized

Merry Christmas to everyone!

My sincere congratulations to everyone for the Glorious and Auspicious Birthday of Divine Prophet – confirmed and authenticated by Gabriel, the angel of Divine revelation – the Obedient of Almighty God,

Jesus Christ, the Messiah (peace be upon Him)

This is your warm Christmas greeting, straight from the blog of . . . Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


The most intriguing story I didn’t have time to read this week
December 8, 2007, 6:54 am
Filed under: uncategorized

No time to read “other” stuff this week. Truth is, I don’t have time to be blogging now. But when I do have more time, I’m going to chase this story:

For Earth’s Sake, Don’t Divorce . . . Study: Single Households Consume Lots More Per Capita Than Married Ones

A quick scan of “Christian” headlines I track reveals not a blip on the radar . . . perhaps we’re too busy fighting homosexual marriage and denying global warming to actually care about heterosexual divorce and the environment. Perhaps I’ll get to this story next week.