Monday, February 13, 2006

Ten Things I Think I Think

1) Caused a minor stir last week with a blog reader who likes the Rolling Stones, and can't stand Michael Stipe (lead singer for R.E.M.). Has reached the point where today, the disgruntled reader has sent me a recording of The Stones live and in-concert (made by someone on their cell phone) to convince me, I'm assuming, that the age of the members of the band hasn't diminished their ability to play live. The disgruntled blogger is also dismayed with Mr. Stipe because he has little or no appreciation for The Beatles, a band the said blogger appreciates greatly.

The lesson in all of this, for those of you who wish to go into the ministry, is that it is rarely an issue of theology or biblical interpretation that gets you into trouble with your congregation. More likely, you, as a pastor, will be taken to task for something you did, or said, or wrote that has nothing to do with anything remotely connected to the Christian faith. You'll use a piece of slang or say something meant to be funny in conversation, or in a sermon, that someone finds offensive. You'll use an illustration from a movie, and get a letter because that movie was rated "R", or starred an actor that made a controversial political statement (fill in the blank) years ago. You'll wear the wrong tie, the wrong shirt, or an "improper robe" (a comment made when someone found out that I had bought my robe at a used clothing store called "The Velvet Elvis" for $25). It just comes with the territory. Just learn to take it in stride.

Fortunately I've virtually not encountered this kind of trouble at Shawnee. Either the folks here are exceptionally grace-filled, I'm finally getting smarter, or both.

2) Speak of "velvet elvi", I'm reading a good book right now entitled "Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith", by Rob Bell, pastor at Mars Hill Community Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Here's an excerpt..

If there is a divine being who made everything, including us, what would our experiences with this being look like? The moment God is figured out with nice neat lines and definitions, we are no longer dealing with God. We are dealing with somebody we made up. And if we made him up, then we are in control. And so in passage after passage, we find God reminding people that he is beyond and bigger and more.

Here's another...

I was reading last year in one of the national newsmagazines about a gathering of the leaders of a massive Christian denomination (literally millions of members worldwide). The reason their annual gathering was in the news was that they had voted to reaffirm their view of the importance of the verse that says a wife's role is to submit to her husband. This is a big deal to them. This is what made news. This is what they are known for.

What about the verse before that verse? What about the verse after it? What about the verse that talks about women having authority over their husbands (I Cor 7:4)? What about all of the marriages in which this verse has been used to oppress and mistreat women?

If you're curious, and would like to read more, get Rob's book here:

3) I wish I could say that I were "into" the Winter Olympics this year, but I'm not. I just don't care for NBC's coverage of the events. Too much "fluff" to make us care about the athletes. Too many edits so that the requisite number of commercials are shown. In 1998, I watched the Winter Olympics on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and was shocked to find out that they spend their time broadcasting the athletes competing. Not just Canadian athletes, or the events the Canadians have a chance of winning a medal in, but just all the athletes and events, in general, at the time they are being shown. Spent a lot of hours in the middle of the night watching live, uncut, unedited curling that year, and I've been dissatisfied ever since. I wish NBC would just show the events.

4) Did you ever expect that you'd see the headline, "Vice-President Shoots Friend While Quail Hunting" in your life?

5) I talked a little about evil yesterday. About how evil can take something good, like bread, and twist it in a way that can divide us and destroy us. I told a story about how my wife and I wanted to get married, but spent more time worrying about the wedding than the marriage, and how when the honeymoon ended, we really had no idea how to live together. So we fought about stupid stuff ("where the hairbrush was going to be stored" should be the leading vote getter for most stupid thing to argue about in the history of marital arguments), and in the process, a beautiful thing (our relationship with one another) was slowly being eroded. To the point where after only four months of marriage, we were talking about a divorce. We stayed married (fifteen years, and counting), but we had to, and still must, become vigilant about not letting evil, which is the elimination of love, get a foothold in our relationship together. To not let petty things add up, and turn into huge things that would have cost us much (our three boys, for starters). And to try and break the ongoing grip that evil can have as it gets passed down, sometimes generation to generation, by countering it with going good (which is the "right thing" to do).

Easier said than done, I know, but a whole lot easier as we mutually encourage one another toward righteous living in an attitude of grace. For on this is next week's post.

6) A big "thank you" to Kelli Raines, a blog reader who recommended the movie "Crash" to me. Haven't rented it yet, but I will do so this weekend.

7) This just out of Haiti about the election: With 90% of the vote in, the leader in votes is a member of the same political party as ousted former president Aristide. The same political enemies of Aristide are already claiming widespread election fraud and manipulation, and the Aristide-ites are claiming that ballots are missing for their man (the leader, Rene Preval), so that a runoff election will have to take place in March (if nobody gets 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters run again, and Preval is at about 48%). How is this not going to end badly? You can read about it here:

8) Xavier had a meltdown at pre-school today over some issue involving marshmallows. He's really an easy-going boy, but for whatever reason, the marshmallows issue just set him off. It took him almost an hour to settle down, and in the end he fell asleep in my arms. I've never seen such passion over marshmallows in my life. Chocolate maybe, but never marshmallows.

9) Max is turning seven this week, and my wife has agreed to let him have an overnight party for he and seven of his buddies (including Xavie) this Sunday (the kids get President's Day off). She has determined that she gets the "day duty", and I get the "night duty". Please say a little prayer for this poor dad who'll be trying to get eight little boys to go to sleep.

10) And finally, here's a big "thumbs up" to the OSU basketball team. I don't watch much college basketball (except for the NCAA tourney), but in a year where the big story in Columbus has been the players (i.e. Greg Oden) who are coming to play for the Buckeyes next year, you gotta love a team that's scrapped its way to an 18-3 record. Kudos to Thad Motta for the coaching job he's done this season.

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