Archive for the ‘Opinions’ Category

I recently went on a journey of putting the dewey decimal system into action on my library consisting of 730 books. Yes, the dewey decimal system. SOme might say, what a nerd, this would not be too far from true at many leverls. Others might say, Why? Others, might just be in utter dumbfoundedness at the randomness of it all. Yet, I have to tell you that this is the nature of the beast. However, none of the responses are really behind the Why? of the dewey decimal system. You see, I finally got tired of the constant search for books that I was looking for. I honestly could care less if I loaned a book and it has not been returned or if I gave it away. The problem is that I am looking for it and though it is probably right under my nose, I just can’t find it. Well now thanks to the good old dewey decimal system and a great software Delicious Library I can add, delete and check out books that were in my library thus knowing exactly where it is. For a guy who uses about 35% of his books regularly and the rest depending on mood and my own self paced further education, this helps tremendously.

OK, I write this to set myself up. I wonder when too much knowledge is too much. I wonder at what point we find the truth of scripture “knowledge puffs up” begins to be the status quo of those of us who read pretty much non-stop. It is true that I have read so much that I could argue with myself for days about any given theological topic and still never really speak the truth I believe deep down is true. It seems that in this day and age this is a reaction to something. What, I don’t know exactly. Specifically regarding theology and religion, I think we have reacted to the once closely held truth of scripture that was so heavy handedly used to beat people down, to convert one brand of church to another brand. I believe that the science of multiple truths began to wain our confidence in the one true Word of God. I wonder if my books are little more than a tool to manage (as if this is possible) my Father –a new mode of mastering the Master– that hinders me from truly ever experiencing the fullness of His truth as revealed in Scripture and submission to Christ as head of we His body.

What I am afraid of is that the dewey decimal system justified by the size of my library, is nothing more than a reflection of my own insecurity OR connection to the Holy Spirit who promises to reveal God’s Word through discernment and communication that is two way, not just one way. Lord grant that we may know you  more, trust you more and discern the work of the Spirit in our midst once again. Father, may your Spirit rest upon your people as the tongues of fire burned upon the apostles. God be with us.

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I sit typing this blog entry while watching this amazing and historical day online. I am filled with a sense of excitement as I await the innaugural address to the nation. Now, for those of you who know me wel, know that I am no fan of American politics. In fact, while I did vote, my vote did not count as Jesus Christ was not on the ticket OR the write in candidates (can you believe it?). But deep down I was excited about the wind of change that has come in the form of a black family being brought into the oval office. This is amazing because just over 142 years ago the 13th Ammendment was ratified and ended legal slavery in the United States. While this may seem a long time ago, the effects of slavery and oppression of blacks in America has yet to see its end.

Today, God is seemingly making great strides in our world. Merely, 55 years since Rosa Parks sat her ground on that bus in Montgomery, AL, 44 years since Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, 28 years after the “last lynching” (though many would argue this), just 17 years after the brutal treatment of Rodney King by those protectors of our streets, today, marks the fruits of progress that so many have died for, lost fathers and mothers for. Today, we find ourselves hopeful. Today, as you watch the innaggural address, notice how the color of one’s skin is lost in the zooming out of camera’s and how together we stand in unity. It is a glimpse into what the kingdom of heaven may be like. While God and Christ will be mentioned today I look forward to the day when Christ draws a crowd larger than what we see this historical day.

May we all, find this unifying moment a glimpse into what is to come when Christ our true President of presidents, our King of kings and the true and only Prince of Peace. Oh Lord, bless the Bush’s as they move into a new chapter of their lives, bless the Obama’s as they begin to lead this country as you have ordained, bless our government as they seek to guide our country in these tough financial and spiritual times, bless our citizens with humility and contentment in times of great distress, bless our world in this time of war and lack of peace. Lord we truly desire that Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Lord come! Amen.

Funding Fears

From: Worldmag.com, “Obama,” November 15, 2008

Will the nation’s economic storm zap U.S. charities? While the data won’t be in until well after the holiday giving season, the nation’s nonprofits are already bracing for a blow.

World Vision’s Phillipe Guiton, for example, said his group plans to trim hiring, a move that will likely affect the delivery of overseas aid. “What we are going to do now is to issue an order to reduce spending, to delay recruitment, delay purchases of capital assets, etc., until we can see clearer how much our income has dropped,” Guiton said

Other groups, such as Catholic Relief Services and CARE International, say they’re watching to see whether major donors will recover from portfolio shock in time to continue year-end giving at previous levels

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As I read this the words that came to mind were from the Kingdom Prayer (aka. The Lord’s Prayer). “Give us this day our daily bread.” We pray this prayer out of the surplus of our lives. Granted we spend on borrowed money, we often partake in bread bought at a high interest rate but we also play hard and collect toys that are so far superfluous. Though spending may go down this holiday, it is highly unlikely that we will stop to consider if God’s provision really intended we buy the Nintendo Wii go along with our PS3, or to replace our 2006 model Chevy pickup truck with a 2009 because of all the good deals (Here’s a shout out to all my car dealer brothers and sisters in Christ who readily demystify these bogus incentives), or a new doll to sit next to the other five dolls that sit in our daughter’s closet. At the risk of an overgeneralization, it is difficult to imagine that out of the great generosity of God that we operate in this American culture, that we could even consider giving up our contributions that go to aid the poor, the hungry, the widow, the prisoner, etc. OR hold back on our giving in order to protect our own skin as though we have ever had control over this in the history of the world.

In Acts, one of the most challenging stories for us “New Testament Christians” (whatever that means) is the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. The story goes like this. This is after Pentecost and the outpouring of Spirit, over 3000 people were saved and daily people were selling everything they had and giving to those who had need. To be sure, radical at best. Enter Ananias and Sapphira. (more…)

WARNING! All tangents, rants and meaningless opinions (which this is) are barely edited and typically thrown out there without a concern for correct spelling, punctuation or grammar.

Perhaps you are concerned that I would even ask such a question. However, I felt compelled to ask this today because I am amazed how fearful of times we live in. We are quite frankly seemingly afraid of our own shadow. Then again, perhaps it is just me. Perhaps, I am the only one who wants God to make things simplistic for me. I try to define him, to control him, to excuse him, to defend him, to protect him, to make him sound big (as opposed to realizing he is big) and the list could go on. So I ask you, how big is your God?

Well, I must admit for sometime there is another closely connected idea that has been troubling me. It is the idea that people love God but hate religion OR that they love Christ but hate the church. Now, these words at first may bite us a bit, if not make us cringe but let’s really listen to what people are saying when they make such claims. As such, there must be a realization that, while we would rightly say that as the bible defines the church that one cannot possibly hate it and love Christ. Yet, this is not necessarily what I think people are saying. It is my own humble opinion that what they are really saying is that they love what Christ stands for but are extremely questionable about how distinctly different the church (Christ’s body) lives that out. Hence, you hear things like the church is full of a bunch of hypocrites. What I have found this to mean is, they say that we are to be Christlike and yet instead of being sent ones “like sheep among wolves,” they have built bigger and more expensive sheep pens to keep the wolves out. (more…)

So I want to begin a discussion on what is radical living. However, the word radical is not in the Bible and I think we must deal with the reality of this first and foremost. There are many synonyms for radical that I think might give insight to what we mean by radical but for the sake of discussion I will merely list a few and then tell you what I believe is the root of this radical life. Some synonyms are…basal, basic, foundational, fundamental, original, primary, underlying, drastic, extreme, fundamental, heretical, heterodox, original, primitive, revolutionary, thorough-going, unconventional, unorthodox, conservative, derivative, moderate, slight and trifling. However, words such as extreme, drastic, revolutionary are not words used in the Bible but at best are merely alluded to in notions of extreme love, faith, hope, care and ideologies compared to the context of Judaism and Roman ideals. So my argument is that it is virtually impossible to live a radical life in and of itself but that radical can only be the adjective describing something done radically. So what is it in light of scripture. Well, I dare not take the space to prove it now, time does not permit. But, at first glance, one might consider faith, hope and love but the greatest of these is love. So in light of a Savior who dies on a cross and has the last words offered to our Father of “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” The question I pose is, What is radical love look like in the following arenas?

1. Christmas

2. Service

3. Discipleship

4. Work

5. Giving

6. Equality

7. Community

8. Other

Well I meant to write about a recent trip I had to the Carmelite Retreat Center. However, it’s been a long while since I took that retreat. But even so, the effects are still evident and this time with my new friends at the retreat center and found myself engulfed in a Catholic world that felt so familiar. It was like visiting a family member that you have been out of touch with for sometime. You come together and remember all the wonderful things we have in common as family. I know, many in the church of Christ heritage might disagree with me for even going on a retreat let alone consorting with the “enemy.” I must say, I could not disagree more. God was present and working in powerful ways through two friars, my brothers in Christ, Father Stephen and Father Jerome. I have NEVER come to discern the Way more fully than during my time with these brothers of mine. Late nights with Father Stephen, talking theology and life, turned into one of the most meaningful moments and transitionary times of my life. It reminds me of Peter’s proclamation of Christ as Lord, Son of the Living God. The awareness was evident and yet, even now, I am only partially able to understand the full magnitude of the mission of Jesus. There are many days where I imagine Jesus looking at my struggle with the Way and saying, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

Yet, it cannot be taken away from me that Jesus, the Son of the Living God is more predominantly the Lord of my Life. Father’s love stand as the precipice of my delight and joy. His love, daily reaches deep into my unworthy heart and touches the core of my life. Often, I find myself joyfully tearful and unable to speak. Yes, for me that is quite the feat.

The truth is, I am not wanting to share the deepest moments of my journey with the Carmelite order. Rather, what I hope is that someon reading this might be encouraged to begin seeking this love and joy that I speak of mor fully. To remember that life is not about serving the system of religiosity and doctrinal demands. For God loves us the same no matter what path we choose and Christ’s blood is still spilled for all who claim him as their Lord and Savior. The point is seeking God. It is to see David’s quest as our own.

Psalms 27
Of David.

The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.

One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.

Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, LORD, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
O God my Savior.
Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.
Teach me your way, O LORD;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing out violence.

I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

(emphasis mine)

For more information about the Carmelite Order I highly recommend checking out these sites…

New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia:  Carmelite Order

Carmelite Website

Mount Carmel Retreat Center

Curious

Posted: Aug 6, 2008 in Opinions

Now, this blog may seem a bit wanting of attention but really it is not. I would love some feedback about my blog. Yes, the oh so dangerous questions I have could lead to humiliation of whopping magnitudes, good thing that my blog title is pointlesblog, right? So here are the questions I would love answers to.

1. Why do you dedicated readers keep coming back

2. What keeps you from leaving feedback?

a) Fear that others might think I am stupid

b) Not really interested in the topics

c) The topics are over my head

d) Some other reason: _____________________________

3. What is helpful? What is not helpful about this blog?

4. What topics if any would you like to see some rants or on

Now I cannot promise that I will get to all of the requests but then again, not many usually respond to my blogs. So perhaps it will be easier than I think. That said, please know that this is a safe place to open up. You can always leave an anonymous post as well. I want this to be a place of mutual learning and exploration. If you, like me long for the greener grasses of the new kingdom of God, then let’s spit it out and  begin talking with excitement about kingdom things. God bless and I really hope to hear from you all.