Thursday, October 28, 2010

Marketing Conspiracy Theory

*Disclaimer* - This post is of absolutely no spiritual import.

I've seen a ton of infomercials recently that are pushing the new mini-blender called the Ninja.

I immediately loved the name, it actually kind of made me want one, even though we would never use it.

As I thought about it, I realized that it's biggest competitor is the Magic Bullet. 

In case you are in the dark, one of the greatest questions among my generation is this:

who would win in a fight, a pirate or a ninja? 

Don't believe me, google pirate vs. ninja.  There's even games like Pirate vs. Ninja dodgeball for the Xbox 360.  The question is for real. 

I wonder if it's just a coincidence that the inventors of the Ninja named it the ninja.  It could be a conspiracy. 

I wonder if the inventors of the Ninja named it as such to show once and for all that a Ninja would dominate a Pirate.  Afterall, a pirate uses bullets and the Magic Bullet once ruled the all important mini-blender market. 

Maybe the inventors of the Ninja mini-blender are a secret society of Ninjas who are convinced that the question of the pirate vs. ninja has far more implications than just fantastical curiosity?

Could it be that the question of our generation will come down to the sales of mini-blenders?

*Disclaimer* - Like I said, this post is of no spiritual import.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Billy Graham and Martin Luther King Jr.

Among Christians and Christian leaders, there's a tendency to lean towards one of two approaches to the gospel.

The Billy Graham approach is about: salvation

The Martin Luther King Jr. approach is about: social justice

I just wonder why so many people are split between the two when the Bible so clearly teaches that both are essential to God's mission in the world.

Ephesians 2:8-9 is a scripture verse that many people love, especially those who tend towards the salvaiton side of the spectrum.  Paul says that we are saved by faith through God's gift of grace in those verses. 

Most people stop there, Paul didn't. 

The very next thing he says sounds a lot like social justice.  Paul says "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

The whole reason God gave us the gift of salvation is so that (in Paul's words "for we are") we do things to make this world a better place to live.  Why?  Because it's not ours, it's God's and He created us and re-created us to take care of it. 

May we be the kind of people that pursue both.

Monday, October 18, 2010


When I'm with other Christians who tend to be more fundamental in their theology, I find myself feeling more liberal. 

Then when I'm among Christians who are more liberal in their theology, I find myself feeling more fundamental. 

Is it because I want to rebel against whatever the situational theological norm is in the context in which I find myself at that moment?

Is it because I can see value in both theological perspectives?

Is it because I'm uncertain of my own theological beliefs?

Is it because I'm not bold enough to take a position and claim it for myself?
Is it because I'm a conflict avoider and just want everyone to get along?

Is it because I'm actually open minded?

It's probably a little of all of the above.

I feel torn because I believe most Christians genuinely have good motives. 

I guess I don't have to choose sides, I can simply follow the leading of the Spirit.

Two verses come to mind that seem to work complimentary when such a situation arises:
Mark 12:31 "Love your neighbor as yourself..."
1 Peter 3:15 "...Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with genteness and respect..."

May you love people you disagree with enough to have a prepared answer for the hope you have in Christ and may you offer that answer out of gentleness and respect.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Personal Tension

I recently read a quote that created quite a bit of tension in me.  Maybe you'll see why:

"An Atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An atheist believes that deed must be done instead of prayer said. An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanished, war eliminated."

Substitue "Christian" for "Atheist" and see if it creates tension for you, it would look like this:

"A Christian believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. A Christian believes that deed must be done instead of prayer said. A Christian strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanished, war eliminated."

It raises the question for me: "Where have Christians gotten it wrong?"

I'm not advocating atheism or not praying or not building church's, but I am advocating honestly reflecting on what the priorities should be for a Christian.

I hope it sparks some thinking of your own and I would love to hear your comments.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The last two days

So over the last two days I attended a conference at Duke.  It was amazing.  I met two of my heroes: N.T. Wright and Rob Bell.  If you are not familiar with either of them, google them now.  Better yet, go to Amazon and order Wright's book Surprised by Hope and Bell's Velvet Elvis.

I also met Richard Hays and Ben Witherington. 

I'm still on a high, it was an amazing weekend. 

I feel renergized and ready to change the world!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Secular becomes Sacred

God is good at redemption.  I don't limit His skills to just our souls.  He's good at redeeming anything and everything. 

I've been listening to the new Linkin Park album.  Musically, it's quite unique.   

I don't know the band's intentions behind some of the songs, but I often find myself connecting with God through some of their music.

That's what I mean by God redeeming it.  Some of the songs have colorful language and there's definitely unresolved anger that comes through.  However, I believe God is big enough to use this music for his purposes, whether the band meant for that to happen or not. 

Here's a few sets of lines that come to mind:

The Messenger
"When you've suffered enough, and your spirit is breaking

You're growing desperate from the fight
Remember you're loved, and you always will be
This melody will bring you right back home

When life leaves us blind
Love keeps us kind"

"Do you feel cold and lost in desperation

you build up hope, but failure's all you've known

Remember all the sadness and frustration
and let it go, let it go."

The Catalyst
"God save us everyone,

Will we burn inside the fires of a thousand suns?

For the sins of our hand
The sins of our tongue

The sins of our father
The sins of our young"

Be on the lookout for where God can redeem things of this world for His purposes.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Story of the Bible

This Sunday we looked at how the overarching story of the Bible is one of people running and hiding and God chasing and finding.  We also talked about the makeup of the Bible.  The books of law and history record the events just as a photo album does.  The books of poetry, prophets and letters are the journal: the story behind the events.  The illustration of photo album and journal can really help you understand what's going on as you read a particular passage of scripture. 

Many of you shared that the light bulb went off for you and I'm so glad for it (you can listen or download the message here).  My purpose for this series is that people would read their Bibles.  My hope is that the teaching would help you do just that.

As you read, you will have questions.  Please submit them.  I will keep your name anonymous and starting on Sunday, October 24th, I will answer to the best of my ability.

Also, on Sunday, November 7th, I'm bringing in reinforcements for those questions that I may struggle with answering.  My friend and self proclaimed Bible nerd James-Michael Smith will be teaching.  You can find his work here and here.
It's going to be a good month of teaching!