Wednesday, January 31, 2007
So, I'm trying to find another car. I miss my 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport terribly, but we must bury the past in the past and move on, right?
So, I'm looking for a car.
And it's the same story with every car dealer I've visited.
"Hello!!! Are we looking for a car today?!!!" Mr. Salesperson asks.
No, we aren't looking for anything. I am looking for an new auto. I say to myself.
"Well, today's your lucky day."
No, it really isn't. I was my lucky day at the last three car dealers I visited. And so, it's not my lucky day here because, well, I just never get that lucky.
"We're running a special today on that very car you've been looking at."
No, you're not.
"I'll make you a really good deal on the price!!!"
No, you won't. You need to make a buck, and I need a new car, so lets just cut the mustard and get down to business. You won't make me a deal on anything. So, just quit trying to sucker me and let's talk hard numbers.
But see, that's the problem, very few car dealers want to talk about a definite asking price upfront. Most want me to test drive, and fall in love with a car and go to the wedding before even finding out the last name, metaphorically speaking of course.
They want me to get all happy about the car and then "go inside to do the paperwork" and everything before I even get a definite price on what I'd be paying. Seriously. I'm not stupid. I'm not going to buy a car without knowing how much it costs beforehand.
But this is the story I get at dealer after dealer.
I've got a headache.
I'm test driving at least two cars tomorrow; I did three today.
Maybe I should just buy a bright red sportcoat and go up to the salesmen and freak them out. It'd be like the time I went through a haunted house and ran up to and yelled at the goblins before they could come up and scare me. I freaked them out pretty bad. I thought it was funny.
NOTE: If you are a used car salesmen, Jonathan does not mean to defame you, your name, or your business. Unless you were among those who were trying to sucker him into paying a highly inflated price for a car that will break in a week, in which case Jonathan meant every word. Otherwise, give Jonathan a call... 'cause he still needs a car. Jonathan also reserves the right to speak in the third person.
Monday, January 29, 2007
After my accident last Saturday, I've begun to rethink many things in my life. First is love. Love is powerful. Love is rare, true love. Love is such an amazing thing. I do not believe that love is an emotion, although it is partly that. Instead, love is something we do, and something that happens. "There's never a rational explanation for falling in love." was the sentence that was just said on the TV as I'm typing this (strange, huh??).
I have begun to see relationships in my life that are bound solidly by love. And I have begun to acknowledge and voice my love for others. I verbally express my love for friends and family while I'm alive and have the chance.
The Sunday after the accident, I walked into church with my guitar to lead worship. I had to; I had no choice but to worship. I plugged in my guitar and we sang. I don't worship like I did a week and a half ago. I have so much more respect, reverence, and fear. We sang, "I Will Lift My Eyes."
God, my God, I cry out
Your beloved needs you now
God be near, calm my fear
Your kindness is what pulls me up
Your love is all that draws me in
I will lift my eyes
to the maker of the mountains I can't climb
I will lift my eyes
to the calmer of the oceans raging wild
I will lift my eyes
to the healer of the hurt I hold inside
I will lift my eyes, lift my eyes
I had planned to go this song for worship the past several weeks, but for one reason or another, we never did (one week we had to cancel services because of the weather). So, the day after my accident, I found myself singing a song that meant more to me than it had ever meant before.
The first time we sang this song in worship was beautiful. It has come to mean more to me since then...
See, I have a problem with pride; I'm seeing that more everyday. I have a hard time accepting service from others. But I'm a sinner, and I'm not perfect. I have issues. While, I've never believed that I had it all panned out, I have begun to see that crying out for help to others and to God is the picture of humility. I'm so used to serving and offering counsel, I find myself struggling to cry out for help.
But now I cry to God. I will lift my eyes to the hills, where my help comes from. God has always rescued. He always saves - even, and maybe especially, a sinner like me.
I find myself struggling with reconciling the emotions I feel about someone leaving me for dead on a roadway with the love of enemies and the pacifism I preach and espouse so passionately on this blog, and what I believe is the New Testament's picture of witness and forgiveness.
I struggle. I sin. I'm trying to just figure this Christianity thing out.
But I am not there yet. So, I lift my eyes to the hills, where God will come, providing me with all the grace and mercy I need, and then some.
God runs to his children. It's like the story of the Prodigal Son, or more accurately, the Willing -to-be-humiliated-by-running Father. God, the all-powerful creator of the universe, is willing to run to me, to pick me up and hold my in his arms. To love me, even with all my issues.
I have nothing to fear, my running to God. I have nothing to fear, by crying to him and crawling in his arms. He will not reject or turn me away. Instead he will cherish it. Because, though I am a sinner, I want to me with and near him.
But my help is coming. And he is love, grace, and mercy.
Amen and amen.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Jesus lives in each of us. And this was made obvious and apparent to me tonight.
I saw Jesus tonight in the love, prayers, and gifts of my church family. I got so many wonderful hugs and kisses from so many great people. And I cherish every one of them.
This love is who Jesus is and was. And when the body of Christ loves like Jesus; we become a picture of Jesus on earth - a clear, real picture that others see.
I did not have insurance on my car (only liability as required by Texas law), which means that because the other guy was not caught, I am not reimbursed the value of my car. So, I'm pretty much without any wheels.
My church family, or better simply: my family, has found this out and several people tonight graciously and lovingly slipped me some checks. Several people in the Church have taken it onto themselves to help me financially in getting another car.
I can't even begin to express my gratitude. I was told tonight by a man I greatly respect to accept any and all help I was offered and that otherwise I'd be robbing others of a blessing. I realized the truth he had spoken. Pride can get in the way of receiving a blessing just as much as it can get in the way of giving one. So, I've swallowed my pride, and I've been so incredibly thankful to have so many people love and care for me.
I saw Jesus tonight in the love, prayers, and gifts of people in the Church. And it was beautiful and amazing.
God is good... all the time. Amen and amen.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
The accident was a hit-and-run. The person who sent my SUV rolling on a bridge, and presumably left me for dead was never found. He or she didn't stop.
Ironically, I don't think I'd be as calm about this if I knew who it was. If I knew who it was, I'd be very angry, as opposed to just angry. Because then I could point a finger (I won't say which one) at the face of someone who didn't care if I lived or died. I could understand exactly what inebriated the driver of the other vehicle and I could ask why was the other driver so wreckless against me. And why they didn't stop???!!!
I've struggled with the idea that someone would see my car roll several times, and leave me for dead, as there was no way of anticipating my survival from such an accident.
But I can deal more easily with this amorphous figure of 'somone' as opposed to someone specific. And I'm still angry.
But we bless those who hurt us and love those who curse us. We don't respond in violence or even anger, but in submission and humility. We forgive. I'm not quite there yet; but I'm desperately working on it.
And honestly, I'm so thankful to be alive, it really has overshadowed what negative feelings I'm experiencing about the accident.
But that's just a part of being human - and alive, I suppose.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
My car landed right-side up. My door was jammed, so I crawled out of what used to be the passenger's side window. I was the only thing not ejected from the vehicle. I wore my seatbelt. My car's battery was ejected from its place from underneath the hood.
As soon as I got out of my Jeep, the first car to pass on the bridge was a sheriff's deputy. He backed up and ran lights to stop traffic. The ambulance came and took me to the hospital.
I saw my SUV last night before I left in the ambulance. It was unbelievably jacked up. The roof was caved in and most of the windows were gone. I talked to the wrecker service today. The guy said that He could not believe that I was not seriously injured, much less able to walk away unharmed. He said it was one of the worse wrecks he's seen.
Aside from some glass still inside of me and some cuts and bruises, I am fine.
You see, there is no such thing as luck in Christianity, only miracles. God took care of me in the most unexplainable of ways. I prayed with all my soul; and I immediately knew that it wasn't my time to be with Jesus. But the miracle was not just life, but the fact that I literally walked away from my now-totaled SUV.
But it still scared the crap out of me.
Life is a gift we take for granted; but the truth is, life is fragile and fleeting. It is precious. And so is love. Don't hesitate to tell the people you care for how much you love them. We take love way too lightly, including our love for God.
This love should spill out of our worship.
Because, we worship not only because of who He is... but because of who we're not.
Because the fact of it all is, He alone is the reason II am able to write his post today.
Friday, January 19, 2007
In Psalms, God says "even if I were hungry, I would not tell you."
God is so much bigger than we are.
We worship because of who He is, and because of who we're not.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
This discussion is currently heating up in the ranks of Baptistdom in America. Baptist have always been big on the Priesthood of the Believer. Part of this doctrine is that every person, individually, has the Holy Spirit given power to understand and interpret scripture.
But is this the best way to for ministers to pastor congregations? It seems to me that education is extremely important in the understanding of scripture. We need some other source many times if we are to get the full message of a particular Biblical passage.
A point in case would be Women in Ministry. Without a historical and literary background, it would seem that Paul believes that women should not be ministers in a church. However, when the background of this passage (in 1 Timothy) is revealed, it becomes apparent that Paul's teachings are not against women as ministers, but rather against heretical teachings.
I'm not saying that education is absolutely necessary to understand scripture; only that we are tremendously hindered without it. Therefore, I feel that it is the duty of the pastors (including all ministers) to be as educated as they can possibly be, and to impart their knowledge on others.
But then, of course this takes away from the individualist approach to the traditional Priesthood of the Believer that Baptists are so fond of. But is this such a bad thing?
Stanley Hauerwas has a book called Unleashing the Scripture: Freeing the Bible from Captivity to America that I've been reading through. In it, Hauerwas argues that we interpret scripture based on our own American individualistic presuppositions. And in doing so, we degrade the role of Community in understanding the scriptures.
So, the debate wages on... where do we draw the line? I don't believe it's either one of the other - individualism or communism - that should determine the interpretation of scripture. Rather it should be a balance.
Thursday , January 18, 2007
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — A woman who disappeared in the jungles of northeastern Cambodia as a child has apparently been found after living in the wild for 19 years, police said Thursday.
The woman — believed to be Rochom P'ngieng, now 27 years old — cannot speak any intelligible language, so details of her saga have been difficult to confirm.
"She is like half-human and half-animal," said Mao San, police chief of Oyadao district in Rattanakiri province. "She's weird. She sleeps during the day and stays up at night."
The father of Rochom P'ngieng, a member of the Pnong ethnic minority, said he recognized his daughter by a scar on her back and her facial features, according to Mao San. The father is a village policeman named Sal Lou.
Rochom P'ngieng, then 8 years old, disappeared one day in 1988 when she was herding buffalo in a remote northeastern jungle area, said Chea Bunthoeun, a deputy provincial police chief.
She was discovered this month after a villager noticed that food disappeared from a lunch box he left at a site near his farm.
"He decided to stake out the area and then spotted a naked human being, who looked like a jungle person, sneaking in to steal his rice," said Chea Bunthoeun.
The villager gathered some friends and the group managed to catch the woman on Jan. 13.
"Her parents had already lost hope of finding her since she went missing for so many years. The father cried and hugged her when he met his daughter," Chea Bunthoeun said.
Since being found, the woman has had difficulty adjusting to normal life, apparently because of her long stay in the wild, said Mao San.
Authorities want medical experts to take DNA samples from the parents and the woman to see if they match. The woman's parents have given verbal consent for such a test, he said.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
I didn't think this description sounded like me, so I took a different quiz; these are the results:
Congratulations, You are 87% MetroSexual
"Congratulations, you are a metrosexual. Your the trendy guy in the nightclub that all the women will flock to. Most of them will think you are gay however but you can use that to your advantage:)"
If you're a man who enjoys shoe shopping, pedicures and perfecting your recipe for crème brûlèe, you may be a metrosexual kind of guy.
Metrosexual is sort of a catch-all phrase for straight, urban men who like embracing activities usually associated with women — like shopping, pedicures and buying shoes — lots of shoes.
I don't know what to make of this.... I've never had a pedicure.
But now that I think about it, I do have a ton of shoes.
And I like Broadway.
Lively debate ensured as to whether one is happier or not if he or she has more stuff... until I interjected that happiness is not something that is quantifiable and to assume someone with less stuff than you is any less happier is arrogant and obtuse - not to mention self-absorbed.
But then this girl who was sitting next to me began to go off on who people on welfare, although they don't have stuff, because they are given everything and then they don't have to work for it... instead they can just 'get drunk.'
I typed what she said in class:
How about people on welfare? They don’t want to be self-sufficient. They just want to you to feed and clothe them, and then they can just get drunk. If they didn’t have to work, they’re happy. If they could make money by sleeping, yes they’d be happier.This really disturbed me. Unfortunately this is a mindset that is very popular in expensive upper-middle class universities. The idea that people on welfare are lazy and don't want to work, is an indoctrination from wealthy homes.
I am not from a wealthy home, but I did have this same mindset when I first came to Baylor. But that changed.
I think that this idea about people on welfare comes from people who genuinely believe that the world is a fair place. Because of circumstances, monetary or otherwise, they have never had the chance to experience first-hand an unfair world. I did. And it changed by view of life.
I stayed in a homeless shelter for a week my sophomore year of college. I fixed meals with the residents, I helped them paint the roof. I played the piano for their worship services. I stayed at the shelter and stayed up late at night playing darts with a guy's whose are was in a cast (and I still lost!). These people were not lazy; they were needy. And in them, I saw how rich and poor I was.
I am not advocating the US government to take on the full responsibility for our society's downtrodden; I am advocating the Church do so.
This world is not fair; and there's nothing we can do about it - except help those who have fallen. Give willingly and openly. The biggest question I get on this, when I'm talking about it is: But what about those who take advantage of us. My answer: so be it. The numbers of those taking advantage of such situations are far less than those who honestly need such services, so if we get burned by a few helping the many - SO BE IT!!!
It scares me to think that I am just a few paychecks away from those conditions myself - and so are you. It by faith we live - faith in a God who gives and takes away.
So we are called to help others; not kick them when they're down. We must remember that we are Christians (literally, Little Christs). And when money gets in the way of Kingdom Work, we have forfeited our honor of the title People of God.
ACCORDING TO YOUR ANSWERS,
The political description that
fits you best is...
LIBERTARIANS support maximum liberty in both personal and
economic matters. They advocate a much smaller government; one
that is limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence.
Libertarians tend to embrace individual responsibility, oppose
government bureaucracy and taxes, promote private charity, tolerate
diverse lifestyles, support the free market, and defend civil liberties.
The RED DOT on the Chart shows where you fit on the political map.
Monday, January 15, 2007
He got into some 'hot water' last year for being honest on his blog about the SBC. Good stuff. We need more Christians who will call each other out, when we've stopped being biblical and start being baptists.
"I have consistently maintained that a growing problem within our convention is the removal from leadership and service those who do not conform to specific interpretations of the Bible. We Southern Baptists have already fought the battle for the Bible, but I sense that the new battle that must be waged is for the freedom of Baptists to disagree on interpretations of difficult texts in the Bible, and to always remain in fellowship and cooperation with each other in our mission."
Sunday, January 14, 2007
I want to stay inside, but I might just have to go do some shopping; I need new clothes; mine don't fit anymore (too big).
Also, after a year, I'm cutting my hair. Don't freak out. It's not going to be that short. I'm not buzzing it or anything; just trimming.
Just some random ramblings from my laptop on the couch on a Sunday afternoon.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Stanley Hauerwas has been the most influencial theologian in my life, so far. I picked up Resident Aliens my sophomore year in college after Shaun recommened it to me late one night in the bellows of UBC here in Waco.
He told me just to read it. I did. It changed the way I think about God, Christianity, and society.
The theologain Hauerwas outlines in Resident Aliens is unashamed and uncensored. Hauerwas believes whole-heartly what he preaches. He doesn't care how it's received; he care only about truth.
Funny thing too: Hauerwas curses like a sailor. Every other word. He's also been known to drop the F-Bomb several times in his lectures. He's been asked several times to tame his vernacular, but to no avail.
"If Stanley is not offending someone, or if half the room is not walking out in anger after his lecture, then [he] thinks he has said something unfaithful. Stanley is embarrassed that so many people read [Resident Aliens] and agreed with it," says William Willimon, colleague and co-author of Resident Aliens with Hauerwas.
Hauerwas' stir began in the area of biblical academics and was dragged out onto the stage of lay Christianity in 1989 with the help of Dr. Willimon. Mainstream Christianity got a view of Christian Ethics that most had t even stopped to ponder.
I became a pacifist after reading Hauerwas. Over the past few years I read different works by Dr. Hauerwas and I have to say I'm still challenged by a view of Christianity that puts Christ first, above all else.
The sucky thing about that is... I'm not athletic!! I'm clumsy!!! I have no athletic talent or skill whatsoever. I've just got myself into a somewhat decent physical condition.
Oh, well. But I have to say I'm proud of that 9'16" mile. Being healthy is fun!!!
You feel good about yourself.
Funny thing about talking about physical health, etc... I'm sitting right now at the pizza hut waiting on dinner... it was free - what can I say.
P.S. If you run the mile in say 7 minutes or so, just don't talk to me!
Funny thing about college, every semester you have two (2) first day's of school every semester.
But the good thing is that the profs usually don't keep you long. Today, I was in class for a total of 25 minutes. Yay me!
My first days where pretty much the norm. I listened to the 'easy' professors try to make their classes sound hard, and I heard the 'hard' professors try to make their classes sound easier than they'll actually be. This used to frighten me. But after the seasoning of four years, I think I've got the profs' games figured out.
Now, I go into the classes, knowing whether it'll be easy or hard, despite what impression the instructor may seek to portray on the first day.
One funny thing did happen, though. I went into my lab-science class and listened to the professor explain how he grades, etc. Then he asked, "How many of you are freshman?" Almost everyone in the class raised their hands. Hmm. So, I asked the girl next to me what class was this, as the professor had never actually made that clear.
"This is Intro to Psychology." she replied.
"Oh, crap!" was my response. I [in]discreetly slipped out... and I was 25 minutes late to my GEOLOGY class because I was in the wrong room!
Sad thing, though.... the girl sitting next to me in 'psychology' was kinda cute.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
It's funny how we like to play God. We like to pretend like we are in charge of this world and of our lives; we like to pretend that we are the only thing that matters in this world. There's no God; there are no other people. We are the center of our universe.
Or so we think.
But we cannot even control if we live or when we die. We are impotent. We are feeble. We are weak. And we fool ourselves into thinking we are powerful.
We are taught by our society that we are powerful. What we think matters. 'Have it your way!' is a popular fast-food slogan. We like to feel important; but not just important as people, rather we like to feel the people-should-pay-attention-to-me important.
But this is not the picture that Jesus had in mind for the Kingdom of God. In Matthew's gospel, Jesus compares his followers to children. The Kingdom of Heaven is composed of those who are humble. Humility can be hard to us to grasp. Jesus' Beatitude for 'humility' is, "Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth." Meek means recognizing our position in relation to God. It is recognizing His sovereignty and submitting ourselves to His will.
Humility is also recognizing our position in relation to others. We are to be servants thinking about others instead of ourselves.
God is God; we are not. Simple.
If we are to be a part of the Kingdom of Heaven, both present and future, we are to be humble, meek. We put God in His place, and we stay in our own.
Monday, January 08, 2007
GET YOUR JESUS ACTION FIGURE HERE TODAY! (I'm getting the bobblehead for my desk in the office.)
Saturday, January 06, 2007
On the other hand, I'm super-duperly anxious and excited to begin as it is my final full semester in college. I"m ready to get that diploma! I've just recently come to the realization that I'm getting a college degree in 6 months. Woot! Woot!
So, I'm ready; more so now than when I began writing this post.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
But this is what is portrays itself to be: a 'Christian' corporate institution. So, how then can it be a political one?
Christian have often blurred the line between politics and religion. A common notion is that America is a Christian nation; it was founded on Christian principles and is under the rule and authority of the Bible. Many of these Christians believe that the Bible should serve as a moral compass for the United States. While historically this has some backing, this does not mean that is was a good idea in the first place and should not be changed now. The Puritans saw the United States as being under Christian control and ran their society accordingly. This does not make it right or a good idea.
Constantinian Christianity is still a popular system among those who believe the nation should be governed based on Christian principles. And in doing so, it is not only acceptable but necessary for Christians to be involved in politics. And many Christians have run and have been elected on this platform.
But it is becoming more popular for people to run on such platforms and compromise their Christian integrity, continuing to get support from Christians in America all the while. Many are pro-life, but pro-war at the same time. Many believe that government aid programs should be eliminated. Many believe that the accumulation of wealth is the greatest possible dream for humanity.
Stanley Hauerwas said, I'm fine with having Christians in politics as long as they remain Christians. Christians who are politicians often compromise their faith for a political statement or creed. Christianity does not have a right to rule a nation; it was not God's intention for his people to rule an earthly kingdom. But if Christians are to involve themselves in politics, they have an obligation to remain Christian.
And when Christians involve themselves in politics, their backing by other Christians should not be based on their 'personal faith' but their continued commitment to Christianity and its teachings. It is simply a matter of Christians living as Christians no matter what our jobs are.
Now, back to the cardboard standup of GW in our bookstore. This was a promotion for the 'faith' of President Bush, thereby ingraciating himself to the Christian vote. But such displays or support should not be handed out based on one's declared faith. When this happens, Christians have forfeited our witness in favor of political gain for ourselves. And we've knocked God out of our desires in exchange for power.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
I like it here.
Sorry for the sporadic blogging... I've spent the past weekending gathering thoughts.
I'll post more later.
Thanks for all yalls prayers.