Monday, March 29, 2010

In Like a Lion...

...Out like a lamb.

Or maybe it's the other way least as far as my March blogging goes. Since Mike is taking a short break from blogging, I thought maybe I would take a break from...taking a break.

Part of the silence has been that I've stayed out of the whole healthcare reform debate. For one thing, it's really been about health insurance reform--not healthcare reform. Shifting the who pays doesn't really address the problem of affordable health care, only the problem of affordable insurance. For another thing, as inexplicable as it seems, there are people that don't feel that everybody deserves decent health care. This makes the whole issue very polarizing and I'm trying not to be antagonistic toward a large portion of the population.

Don't get the idea that I'm afraid of a little controversy, it's just that I see a greater purpose for this blog than to get on my political rants and tick off a bunch of people that I would like to continue reading when I'm on more meaningful topics.

From the personal file: Aaron is engaged! He and Jenny will be getting married in August. As an added bonus, they have asked me to officiate the ceremony!

I've only done two previous weddings (both couples are still married) and I am thrilled to get to do this one. I'm certain that they will be very busy between now and then with school, summer work, wedding plans, new housing arrangements, etc. More on that as August 7th draws nearer.

From the ministry file: spring and summer are shaping up. I haven't kept up on the "coming events" section but have a few upcoming events, none the less. Church at Hopedale continues to grow with new families joining the church and new believers coming to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. If you follow along on Facebook, you already know that our choir is awesome and always does a fantastic job with leading the congregation in worship. This past Sunday was a great time of musical worship!
The evening service was a concert by singer/songwriter Chuck Day. He is best known for the song Midnight Cry. Overall, the cowboy/country style is not really my kind of music (love Midnight Cry, just not the other stuff) and I could have done without the whole God and Country rant about government, politics, blah, blah, blah. Again, don't get me wrong about this--I love my country. But I don't worship my country. And I go to church to worship my God--and only my God. There seemed to be a bit of idolatry going on as the people forgot what we were there for and got wrapped up in the moment of patriotic praise.

I do have a couple of posts that are still just in the "I need to blog about this" stage of the thought process. I'll be getting on those soon.

So bring on april and let the blogging at Out of My Hat resume!


Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Most Eligible Bachelor

Well it would appear that the most recent season of "The Bachelor" has come to an end. I don't know if I should be happy about the year's bachelor's choice or not...I didn't watch a single episode. As a matter of fact, I was very surprised at some of the reactions posted by some people and surprised by some of the people that were actually watching the show!

Maybe I don't understand the idea behind the show. It appears to be a bunch of beautiful women competing for the affections of a well-to-do, handsome bachelor in the hopes of being the ONE that he chooses to pursue a relationship with. On the TV they are called contestants. In real life we have other names for people that seek out relationships based on material things, beauty, sex, power or influence. They are not flattering names.

Most of us would hope that our sons and daughters would seek out relationships based on more personal qualities; maybe even relationships that are built on love...on loving and on being loved. While money, means and muscles are certainly an attraction, they will seldom stand the test of time and usually fail to bring real comfort in times of personal distress. How many of us are encouraging our kids to seek out mates based solely on what they can provide for them--a big house, exclusive neighborhood, fancy car, fine jewelry, etc., etc.

Certainly this kind of thing happens often enough, but rarely are these long-lasting, happy marriages.

I bring this up because it occurs to me that this is the "pitch" we evangelicals have been using for decades to peddle our "God" to a lost world:

"If you want a nice home in an exclusive celestial neighborhood (heaven), you're going to need to know Jesus. I can fix you up--kind of a blind date except that He already know all about you."

Or how about this:

(cue the music) da da dat dat da da da...
Announcer: "Welcome to the Celestial Dating Game.
"Tonight's Bachelor number one is...Mohammad ibn Abdullah! Mohammad is a 6th Century Prophet born in Mecca. Followers around the world seek out infidels to persecute and prosecute and are hopeful of receiving a plethora of virgins upon their death for the cause.

"Bachelor number two is Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was born around the time the calendars were revised (somewhere around 0!) and claims to be the Son of God...and He has the miracles to prove it! His followers believe that the reward of heaven is exclusively for those that profess Jesus as Savior.

Bachelor number 3 is Siddhartha Gautama (also known as Buddha). Buddha's birth predates Jesus by about 500 years. Buddha is "the Enlightened One" and teaches a life free from self indulgence. His followers seek out the supreme state of nirvana."


Too often our presentation of Jesus sounds like our God is competing against the other gods or religions of the world for some kind of prize.

Our God isn't competing for a prize.

Why is it that "love" seems to be absent from our story of God. Even when we mention "love"--we talk about God's love for us. Our need to love Him seems to be absent in our relationship. It's as if we only want to be the bride for the big house and powerful influence. We throw back our shoulders, puff out our chest and proudly proclaim that we are Christians--like a little name dropping is going to get us into heaven. We don't follow His teachings (but quickly point out how nobody else is either) and we say that we love Him but we seldom show it--not to Him or to others that may be watching us (or maybe only when others are watching us).

I believe that God truly loves His creation (that's us) and that He truly desires for us to love Him.
I believe that He has gone to great extremes to insure that we might spend eternity together.
I believe that His grace is the only thing that allows us into His Holy Presence.
I believe that we must know Him through His Son, Jesus.
And I believe that to know Jesus is to love Him.

I want for you to know my Jesus.
I want for you to love my Jesus.
I want for Him to be your Jesus, too.