Head First

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hiatus

I am hesitant to do this, because the minute I do, a mad flurry of ideas will overtake me and I'll be putting up posts left and right. However, I think I'm done for a while. We just lost another dear friend to cancer, and to be honest, it's taken some of the wind out of my sails. On top of that, I have a very busy summer ahead, and what leisure time I have, I want to spend fishing, on the bike, in the Jeep, with my family, and brewing high-quality ales. As you know, I've been back in church for several months, but I still don't see a place for myself there, except for the opportunities it affords to be in relationship. My wife and daughter will go to Guatemala again in a few weeks to work with the poor there, so keep them in your thoughts and prayers (better yet, send money. heh). I'll be around, and you can always find me on facebook. Still, keep your RSS feeds on.

Peace. I love you.

Monday, May 26, 2008

No greater love

(This post is based on a very apt message I heard yesterday. I thought it might be worth sharing.)

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." 1 John 3:16)

Milton L. Olive III was born in 1946 in Chicago. There is almost no information available about his life, except for a single heroic act that he performed in Vietnam. In October, 1965, while Olive was moving with his unit through the jungle near Phu Cuong, he was the first to see a live enemy grenade drop into the middle of their formation. Instantly, Pfc. Olive scooped up the grenade, pulled it to his midsection, and fell on top of it. He absorbed the full impact of the blast and prevented further death and injury to the rest of his platoon. The entire incident began and ended in fewer than five seconds.

What you think of the Vietnam War is irrelevant. Olive's act was not about politics nor mission. He sacrificed himself for the people he cared about. Few would argue that, by any standard, Private (First Class) Milton Lee Olive III fully lived up to the highest ideals of service and sacrifice.

And I tell myself I'm acting like Jesus by coming off ten bucks for a homeless guy. [/clueless]

Still, look at the verses that follow:
"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us." (vv. 17-20)

You and I are not likely to cross paths with a live grenade this week. But I can almost guarantee that I'll be confronted with someone's real need. If you're paying attention, you probably will be, too. If you're not, then click on one of the links in my sidebar.

Today is a day of remembrance. Let us choose to remember that service and sacrifice are not limited to a battlefield. Service is an opportunity to sacrifice. Every day. In every situation. In every life.

This is how we know what love is.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Open Letter to the AARP.

Dear Sirs/Madames,

For the love of God, please, please, please stop sending me membership information.

Thank you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A post of its own.

My intent in the last post was not so much a discussion of communion as it was the idea of how our perceptions limit God. But the thread turned to the Lord's supper and a very good conversation ensued. Still, I don't want to get away from the God-in-a-box idea. My friend, sandytrif, made a comment that got to the heart of what I was thinking:

"What really matters is why do we put the maker of the universe in a box we make? Why do we who are so small and finite think we can contain the creator of all things?"

I think this idea is really at the root of my problem with most theology (western theology, at least--I'm thinking the Greek Orthodox are on to something, besides wicked cool hats). For all of Christendom's hermeneutical machinations, it still amounts to, "We serve an infinite God... and this is exactly what He looks like."

Friday, March 07, 2008

Random...

As we took communion Sunday, my 9 year old whispered, "Daddy, Jesus' body tastes like cardboard."

"I know, honey," I thought, "He must've picked up the taste of the box we keep him in."

Monday, March 03, 2008

Worship...

is not:
-raising my hands.
-singing a song.
-coached nor manipulated.
-able to be observed as such.

is:
-understanding and acknowledging that God is the source of everything.
-putting the needs of others ahead of mine.
-sacrificing myself in service to the Jesus I see in people.
-best exemplified in what James calls "pure and undefiled" religion (helping the helpless).

I say these things as a musician and as a former "worship leader" (I really dislike that term). I spent a number of years operating under some very well-meaning, but wrong-headed assumptions about what is pleasing to God. As I now stand, I find the things I once sought to achieve and to encourage in others are the very least part of what it means to worship.

Not that there's anything wrong with singing or making music. I love music (well, good music, anyway). I just don't want to get back to the place where I can work up a shiver and call it touching God. More and more, I'm learning to perceive the nearness of God in the everyday and ordinary stuff of life... in my marriage, in my kids, in my friends...

...and in those things, I taste the wonder of it all.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Great American Novel

Larry Norman recorded this song in 1972. It's amazing how relevant it sounds 36 years later. I guess nothing ever really changes, does it? People will keep being people, no matter what happens or who's in charge.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Only visiting this planet...


Arguably the first Christian rocker ever, Larry Norman died Sunday of heart failure at the age of 60. Say what you want about Christian music, that dude was for real. I'm officially sad.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Meanwhile...

Lots to say, no time to say it. To tell the truth, I'm debating whether to shut the blog down altogether.

So watch this while I make up my mind...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

This cracked me up...

I adore jonbirch. He can say a thousand and one words with one image. Go check him out.


A couple more of my favorites are here and here.

My absolute all-time favorite is here.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Reason #5 why 2008 will be better than 2007

UPDATE, 1/23/07 - Just saw it with Jefe. Awesome. Get yourself to an IMAX quick.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Impending papal smackdown sends strong warning to Satan


"Thanks be to God, we have a Pope who has decided to fight the Devil head-on," says Father Gabriele Amorth, on Pope Benedict XVI's recent order to bishops to drastically increase the number of qualified exorcists in dioceses worldwide.

Apparently, God is still busy breaking up the row between the priests in Bethlehem, so the vicar of Christ will pick up the slack by keeping that pesky Beelzebub at bay with roving "exorcism squads." So I guess that's good. Still, as I read this story and the accompanying photos, I couldn't help but think...








Who would I rather meet in a dark alley? One who comes as an angel of light? Or a snarling german on a throne waving a dangling dead Jesus-on-a-stick?

I dunno, man...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas is over. Business as usual.

[cue music]...peace on earth, good will toward men. 

Aaaa-meeeeeen.[/stop music]



Earlier today, inside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (not Pennsylvania, the REAL one), Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests broke into a real live fistfight while photographers documented the event. Seven people were injured in the flurry of fists, brooms and iron bars (yes, iron bars), including two Palestinian police. 

Apparently, various Christian sects control different areas of the church, and during the post-holiday cleanup, someone's ladder crossed into enemy territory in what can only be described as the religious rendition of "Daaad, he's touching me! Tell him to stay on his side!!"

God was reportedly heard to say, "If I stop this car, somebody's gonna be sorry!"


Full story here.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

When I was thirsty...


video

Go here for more information on the Advent Conspiracy

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Straight, No Chaser

It was the name of the group that first caught my eye. ; )


I've been emailed this clip from four people, and, judging from the number of hits on YouTube, you've likely seen it by now, but I'm putting it up anyway. It's from a concert in 1998. I just love this: