Monday, January 24, 2005

I once was lost...

This week I was reminded of an incident that took place my junior year at college. It was January, and I was home for the month instead of going to the January-term session. Twice that month I did have to go to Jackson (an hour from where we lived) for a Singers’ (our choir) rehearsal.

One Monday night I went to Jackson for a rehearsal. The rehearsal ended, and I headed back to Munford (where my parents lived). I got home late, and opted not to pull my mom’s car into the garage. Instead, I just left it parked in the driveway. I immediately headed upstairs to my room, accidently forgetting to turn off the light downstairs (do you see where this story is headed?).

Somewhere between 3:00 and 4:00 that morning, my mom got up and noticed that the hall light was on. She then went to the garage and saw that her car was not parked there. She woke up my step-dad, who reassured her that I had probably just stayed in Jackson for the night. They called a friend of the family, Mrs. Pat, to see if I had gone to her house. She then suggested that they call my roommates.

First they called David, a current roommate. He didn’t think things were too urgent, and went back to bed. They then called Dax, another current roommate. He told my mom that he would get in his car and head towards Munford (the town where we lived). He would look in ditches for her car. Finally she called J.J., a former roommate who was also in Singers. He did the only thing he knew to do in a crisis such as this – Pray. And pray he did, for the next three hours.

An hour or so later, Dax arrived at my parent’s house, not having seen my mom’s car in a ditch (also not having noticed her car in the driveway). He came in the house to see if there had been any news. Around the same time my step-dad went outside to get the newspaper. It was at this moment that he saw the car. He came in to tell my mom that the car was parked outside. She went upstairs to find me sleeping quite soundly in my bed. Of course she then proceeded to wake me up, saying, “Robert, wake up. Dax is here. We’ve been looking for you all night.” My response: “What?”

I went downstairs to hear this unbelievable story. I apologized to my parents for not leaving the car in the garage and forgetting to turn off the light. I thanked Dax for driving to Munford. I called J.J. to tell him to stop praying. I called David to tell him ok. (He knew I would be), and then told him to go back to bed.

I learned through this ordeal that I had some pretty good friends – people who cared that I was alive. That’s a good thing. A funny thing at times, but a good thing!

Saturday, January 15, 2005

A Generous Orthodoxy

I've been reading Brian McLaren's last book, A Generous Orthodoxy. Over the next few weeks I'm going to include some notes from the book. So far it's been a pretty good read, though it is very controversial. It seems that McLaren continues to get a little more radical with each book. I haven't finished the book, so I'll leave opinions out until after I've finished.

Bearing in mind the old saying, “Those who win the battles write the history,” it’s easy to see the danger of describing orthodoxy by looking in the rearview mirror. Where there has been diversityh of opinion in the past, the winners label previous divergences as heretical and unorthodox and unchristian, leaving the impression for their descendants that everyone everywhere under the banner of orthodoxy has always agreed with them. In that light orthodoxy might seem to follow those who fight the hardest and perhaps the dirtiest. Not a pleasant thought (29).

When I reached my teenage years, though, I lost that Jesus as one loses a friend in a crushing, noisy, rushing crowd. The crowd included arguments about evolution (which seemed elegant, patient, logical, and actually quite wonderful to me, more wonderful even than a literal six-day creation blitz), arguments about the Vietnam War (which made no sense to me – even if communism was as bad as everyone said, were people better off bombed and napalmed to death?), arguments about ethical issues like civil rights and desegregation and a hundred other things. I wondered if women were really supposed to be submissive to men and if rock ‘n’ roll was really of the devil. Were Catholics really going to burn in hell forever unless they revised their beliefs and practices to be biblical like us (44)?

Friday, January 14, 2005

Coach Carter

Sometime over the last year I heard the term, "Kingdom: Now and Not Yet." I thought about that while I watched this movie. Here's the jist of the Kingdom message...

God created the world - and it was GOOD
Sin entered the world and screwed things up
Christ came
One day, when we're in heaven, things will be as they were meant to be once again


The Kingdom is now as well. We don't have to wait until heaven. Christ's Kingdom here on earth is one of hope, peace, love, goodness, grace, restoration, etc. The Kingdom is not fully restored, but it is here. We see it everyday.

Coach Carter tells what could be a bleak story. These are not always happy stories. There's not always a lot of hope. Yet here's a man who risked a lot to do what he felt was right - and lives were changed as a result.

Work in the Kingdom can be hard. I often want to give up. I sometimes lose hope pretty easily. One day things will be as they were meant to be. But until then, I am grateful for the work that Christ did, and continues to do, in this world. Sin will continue to destroy lives, but Christ will continue to redeem lives.

May we be reminded of Christ's power. May we not-so-easily lose hope. May we press on in the Kingdom work

Thursday, January 13, 2005

My dog Jack

Posted by Hello

Jack is our (almost) 2-year old bichon. He's a very good dog. This week he didn't something that I thought was blog-worthy (whatever that means). Last year we found out that he had a lot of allergies, and he had to wear a collar (looked a lot like a little bonnet). One day he was going to run up the steps that lead from the garage to the kitchen. I guess his cone (yet another word for the collar) hit the bottom of the first step, and it scared him. Ever since that time he has been scared of climbing those steps. He hasn't been wearing his cone for awhile; still scared. He also will climb any other set of stairs. Crazy, huh!

Well...things changed this week. For some strange reason, he all of a sudden decided that he could go up the steps. And so that's what he does now. That's pretty wierd to me, but as I have thought about it, I wonder how much like this dog we are. Think about it.

Way to go, Jack!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The Romanov Prophecy

I read a good book over the holidays: The Romanov Prophecy, by Steve Berry. Get it. It's good!

Monday, January 03, 2005

Talk radio

I stumbled across this radio station a few weeks ago. The Quake (960 on your AM dial) is described on its website as Talk Radio from the Left. I first tuned in to a program called The Majority Report, hosted by Janeane Garofalo (SNL, Reality Bites). I found it very interesting.

Yesterday Mandy and I listened to this program on our way home from Marin. They had this chump from an organization that is devoted to saving Christmas. He ended up saying that the Jews, who have been stealing his Christmas decorations from his yard, are the ones behind the conspiracy to steal this blessed holiday. He said that they are jealous, and he slipped in the important fact that they are lost because they have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. He also said something to the effect of the Jews making their point by stealing Christmas decorations is the same as Muslims making their point by blowing things up. He finally got hung up on.

Here’s what irritates me. This guy is their picture of Christianity. He makes no sense to them. Now I know that this is not a proper representation of Jesus, but they don’t. Mandy made the point that they actually want to talk to boneheads like this guy, rather than someone like me. They are reacting to an extreme, and though I don’t like that they too have taken it to their own extremes, I don’t really blame them.

I’ve been thinking for awhile that terms like “Christian” and “church” really get in the way of what we’re trying to do here (entering into the Kingdom life that Jesus grants us). Think about the definitions we have for these terms:

Christian: a person who, upon realizing that because of their sin they are separated from God, has, after also realizing that God has provided a way out from this predicament, asked Jesus to come into their hearts and become their Lord and Savior (that was a really long sentence; sorry).

Church: the place we go, normally on Sundays, to worship, hear a message from the Bible, and fellowship with our Christian (see definition above) friends.

Now, before we go any farther, know up front that I’m not going to replace these definitions with new ones. That would be too easy. It’s something that we all need to do some thinking and dreaming about. I will ask some questions, though?

What was Jesus like? Describe him to me.
What does a follower of Jesus look like?
What does a community of Christ-followers look like?
What does that community do? How do they live? How are they looked upon by their neighbors, friends, family, etc?

What does all of this have to do with a radio program? This radio program helped me see once again the importance of wrestling with these questions. I am becoming more cynical about the church and the state of Christianity, especially in this country? I don’t want to be cynical. I believe that God is still around, that He is “up to something.” I don’t believe He is up in heaven fretting about this predicament. I’d like to think He’s pretty chilled out at the moment.

I, on the other hand, am not always “chilled out” over our present conditions. The world is changing, and I am not sure how prepared the church is for this change. Are we going to continue fighting to try to keep America a Christian nation? (That’s another good question worth pondering, by the way).

To end today’s posting, I am very happy that I have friends to work this out with. If I had to do it alone, I think I’d get tired pretty soon and settle with being cynical. Thankfully, I know that’s not my only option.

More to come…