It’s nice to know we can take care of our planet without giving up our ability to cause massive chaos, destruction, and loss of life.
Sitting on the couch with my son Josiah the other day, we had the following conversation:
Me: “I think you’re about the funniest kid I know.”
Siah: “So you won’t ever throw me away?”
Me: “No, I would never throw you away!”
Siah: “What about Kota?”
Me: “Nope, I’d never throw him away either.”
Me: “No way.”
Siah, after a long pause: “I was just testing you, dad.”
Then he gave me a big 4-year-old hug – I guess I passed.
Eugene Peterson talks about Jonah going into Nineveh and becoming
“a pastor in this place – not to improve their religion and not to serve their religious needs but to subvert their religion, insinuate doubts into its validity, and then help them to deal in faith with a living God. ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.’ He didn’t accuse them of being evil. He didn’t denounce their sin and wickedness. He called into question their future. He introduced eschatology into their now-oriented religion, their security-obsessed present.”
- Meeting religious need
- Improving religious experience
- Identifying evil
- Denouncing sin and wickedness
At first glance, this list doesn’t seem all that insidious. Most pastors I know would affirm the validity of all of these practices in their own ministries. But a shallow, fickle flock is their end. There are veins we must explore that run deeper in the pastoral role than these. Tasks that sound much less ‘pastoral’ to today’s churches. In youth ministry, they sound flat out scary:
- Subverting religion
- Insinuating doubts
- Questioning the future
- Re-orienting without an emphasis on ‘now’
- Embracing a dangerous way into the future
The first set of phrases is the most commonly embraced, but can lead to a brand of religious consumerism that is strangling many churches today… “We shouldn’t sing this or that song.” “Just keep faithful(ly doing the same thing we’ve been doing the last twenty years).” “What needs can we meet with our ministries (to each other)?”
The second set of phrases seems pretty shaky, but forces us to really think about what we believe and why we do the things we do. I want to develop a band of believers that isn’t afraid to be questioned, who see beyond today’s issues and struggles and will walk the difficult path into a better tomorrow. A people who are not merely coloring between the lines set before us, but who are creatively molding the colors and shapes into dynamic portrayals of God’s faith, hope, and love for the world around us.
If you’re a pastor, don’t pander to the spirit of religious consumerism and job security. If you know me, help me keep out of that mentality, too. May we clearly see the face of the God we seek, and undeniably display Him wherever we are.
I really couldn’t care less who is revealed soon as the next American Idol winner. I haven’t ever really gotten into the show, but apparently it’s come down to a couple guys named David. Every time I turn on the radio in my truck, they’re talking about it. Every commercial break on whatever station the show is on includes a plug. It seems that somehow, the outcome of the contest is important to our nation – maybe even to the world. But I doubt that it is important at all and really don’t care who wins.
What I want to know is, who actually votes? What kind of people actually don’t have anything better to do than vote for another pop star? Thousands of people spend their time and money to cast their electronic ballot in this meaningless election. I heard one lady lamenting the fact that she just couldn’t decide which David to vote for, so she split her votes between them equally, so that she’d helped to choose the winner! By that logic, I guess I contributed as much to tipping the scales one way or another as she did.
I don’t know. Maybe I just don’t get the hype. Maybe I’m hopelessly out of touch with all that is pop. It just seems a great waste to me.
Why do we spend so much time and money on things that don’t matter?
I’m not much of a golfer. I consider it a moral victory if I find more golf balls than I lose. Yesterday, I went golfing for the first time in about a year – not expecting great results. My scores were well above par (mostly above double-bogey), but I didn’t lose a single ball in the water. I didn’t lose a single ball in the weeds, or one in the trees. I did, however, lose one in a goose!
I teed up – picked out a lofty 4 wood to make sure to go high up and over the pond between me and the green. Stepped up to the ball. Drove said ball right into a herd of geese standing at the edge of the tee box. Feathers flew. Geese squawked (that is an oddly spelled word, isn’t it!) and scurried (I don’t know if geese actually scurry as much as they kind of flounder about in aimless confusion, but whatever…). And one little goose traded his entrails for my Titlist.
A moment of silence for the recently departed member of our feather gallery…
Our talent show to raise money for Compassion’s BiteBack program went pretty well last night. We raised just over $600. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t have more of an audience, but this is the first time we’ve done anything like this. Maybe word will get out about how good it was and next time, we’ll have more interest. The students did a really good job.
We had everything from pole vaulting to “A Whole New World” to a “Popular” song/skit to dance to train building (which was a favorite of the kids in the crowd) to video editing & several piano solos… We even had a McDonald’s drive through for a few minutes! The two students who had the most stage time ended up leading the “vote count” with Teresa (dance, rap, piano, & vocals) just edging out Sam (piano, jokes, & MC). Thanks to every student who shared a talent and to those in the audience who generously “voted”.
I was stressed with a number of last minute switches and glitches on the computer, but in the end, over 60 kids will soon be protected from malaria, so it was well worth it. We made a difference. And that was the point.
On a personal level, if you’d like to make even more of a difference to one child in particular, check out the link in my sidebar to sponsor a child through Compassion’s child sponsorship.