Jesus


~News Flash~

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was switched at the home of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) below the Franco-Swiss border this morning and it indeed has proved the existence of the god particle.  The elusive and historically invisible has been made visible and know.  God does exist.

~Reporting live, now back to you…~

So what would change? The existence of God is proven.  God not is the opium of the masses, God is not the crutch for the weak minded, God is not the fanciful imaginations of religious and fanatical people.  God is real.  God is proven.  Science, modern thought finally has indisputable proof that rings out in the face of all faithlessness, skepticism and doubt.

In the midst of this proven reality what would we do?  Would we abandoned the perfect pursuit of our Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte and give the money to the homeless man who stares all day into the corporate windows of the affluent and well off.  Would we abandon our still born jobs that fill our time with complaint, grief and worry and abandon ourselves to the reckless passions of our youth?  What does the science of God existing change?  Would we have increased passion and desire to mend broken relationships, not to speak of a broken world?

In all reality, when, if, the God particle existence is ever proven.  If there comes a time where existence of God is an indisputable truth.  We will just find other ways to ignore the truth.  New pills to put us to sleep from the insomnia of God’s beauty declared; in the birth of a new friendship, to the mist crawling over a mountain range that imposes a sense of reverence and awe.

So, while the world waits with baited breath to the discovery of the God particle to prove something that they will in the end ultimately refute.  I recognize that me proving or disproving God’s existence does not change God in the least.  For He just is. And He has chosen to be elusive and hidden and yet calls us to seek and find.  And with that pursuit I am ok.

More news at 11.

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Walls.  They are all around us.  Some famous, some not.  Some of the more famous are the Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall.  Some of the less famous walls are my backyard fence.  But all walls do the same thing.  Keep people out. Keep people at a distance.  But in the end walls keep me safe.

The Christian landscape is filled with walls.  Some are decorative thorn filled hedges called theology.  Some are a little more obvious like the brick walls of denominationalism.  But the truly flesh ripping coiled barbed wire wall of when someone leaves us.  Leaves our support group because they fell in love(even though we know they need more healing), leaves the tight knit group of office comrades to pursue a different job because of bigger dreams and goals(even though we know he will be disappointed with his new job), or leaves our church.

When someone leaves us, the first human reaction is to protect.  To protect ourselves and those around us.  The most obvious way to protect is to build a wall.  Walls of isolation and disconnection.

Jesus speaks about walls I believe in his discussion with Nicodemus.  Nicodemus is dumbfounded at the teaching of Jesus that one would have to be reborn.  Reborn?  Come on Nicodemus would retort.  Impossible!  Not even close to reality.  You can’t fit a grown man into the womb again.  It is simply preposterous talk.

Yet Jesus does not back away from his statement.  He then brings the picture of the wind and says “You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that.  You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next.”

We along with Nicodemus, start with the visible and try to move to the invisible.  Jesus asks us to start with the invisible and have the invisible move us to the visible.

When we start with the visible, things just don’t make sense.  The folks that have just left the church have hurt us and damaged my feelings.  My work companion has just abandoned me to pursue his dreams.  So the walls of resentment, abandonment and hopelessness get erected.  And we, just like Nicodemus say, we don’t get it, we don’t understand.  And to understand the circumstances in any other way is impossible.

Then tucked in and fortified behind our newly constructed emotional walls of defense we feel something against our face.  It is the wind.  The breeze grazes our skin in a way of refreshment and hope.  In the breeze there is the aroma of love and mercy.  So we are compelled to find its source. To search for the invisible source of life.  So we stumble from our crumpled state and take a brick or two from the wall.  We see nothing.  But the wind is getting stronger.  So we remove some more bricks.  By now we clearly see that the breeze has turned into a wind and has turned from coming over the wall to now almost pushing the wall over.  And as the invisible source of power and my visible hands work together in a heaven and earth symphony, my wall comes tumbling down.

What do I see?  I see my friends who just left the church.  Their faces look wind whipped and red as well.  They stand before a rubble of wall as well, but the rubble is from their wall and not mine.  We both stumble across the strewn emotional wreckage of rock, brick and stone looking for the source of the wind.  It is there in the midst of fallen walls and broken dreams, where their wall and mine are so intermixed that to set clear lines is now impossible.

The unseen wind has moved us from the invisible to the visible.

Clearly set walls and lines, clearly crumbled.

The wind moves freely in whatever way He wants.

And there, somehow, to bring togetherness; amidst ruin, chaos,and…

Wait, the gentle breeze is rising again…

A modern tale of two cities…

New York and Seattle.

First let’s start with the New York Yankees.  Likely one of the prestigious sport franchises in the world.  You either love the Yankees or you hate the Yankees.  But one thing the Yankees do is evoke emotion.  Yankee stadium has come to be known by various nicknames.

The House That Ruth Built,

The Stadium,

The Big Ballpark in the Bronx,

The Cathedral of Baseball.

Now, I have never been to Yankee stadium, but if the ghost of Babe Ruth is to be believed, it is a place where magic happens.  That is why everyone is trying to get a piece of the magic.  Who wouldn’t want an actual piece of Yankee stadium.  Whether it be a bleacher, home plate, or even a plain piece of Yankee stadium concrete, it would represent something, something of history, something that can never be recreated.

Yet in the midst of all of the magic and the memories, there are plans to tear it down.  Because secular society gets something.

In spite of the memories, to create new memories, the old place must be torn down.

A new space must be recreated for new memories, for new magic.

Now we have Seattle, to be specific the Seattle Super Sonics.  Now by no means do the SuperSonics have the history, the memories or the magic of the Yankees, but if you know anything of the current events of the only basketball franchise the greater Seattle area, is that the franchise is moving Oklahoma City.  The Seattle SuperSonics will be no more, no more chances for memories or any potential magic, cause they are gone.

All because they did not want to build a new stadium.  Let’s call it the Seattle Syndrome.  But the franchise cannot succeed in the city without a new stadium, without a new structure.

The franchise will collapse if a new stadium is not created.

Call it whatever you want, formal Christianity, organized religion or just they way humans are wired.  We tend to want to hold onto the structures where our memories were formed.  If Christianity were the Yankee Stadium we do every possible renovation and recreation to the original stadium to make things work.  But we would never tear it down.

Some would argue, “If we torn down the structures and systems of our past what would hold up the life of future?”

But we forget one very important thing.  Structures and systems only exist to hold life. Life is what matters! The stadium only is the container for baseball.  No one goes to an empty stadium.  We go to a stadium to watch baseball!

And that is what corporate America gets that we as Christians tend to forget.

Structures only exist as they increase life.  There are times when those structure impede life and actually bring death.

Next season the Yankees will be playing and the Seattle Super Sonics won’t be.  Both places had things torn down; one had the shell torn down to continue life, one had the life torn down because they did not want a new shell.

Go Yankees!

I just travelled through the Canadian Rockies and I forgot how majestic and magnificient they are.  They truly are a reminder to the glory and goodness of God.

Just before the trip I shared a campfire with Peter Illyn, from Restoring Eden, and he shared his passion of God’s good earth.  Peter is a rugged, funny and  a straight shooter.  He shared his simple love and care for God’s good earth.  I was astounded at the care he had for God’s creation.  His sharing was simple.

God’s creation is a good creation.

We are stewards of a good creation.

We should be good stewards, not ignorant ones.

The above cartoon makes light of many evangelical views of creation and environmentalism.  Funny thing is that one of God’s first commandments to Adam was to take care of the earth.  After my trip to Banff and Lake Louise, I am reminded of the goodness of God’s creation and the wonder of the creator.

(and yes my eyes are closed, but I could not pass up the great picture)

This is my 3rd installation of my internal discussion of absolute truth and relativism. See part 1 here.

I was listening to NPR the other day. There was a story that they were discussing about the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and how the attack affected the structure and function of the Pentagon. They commentators were discussing the various safety features that have been added to the Pentagon in preparation for other such incidents.

One of these safety features was to install the FIRE EXIT signs near the floor. The reason is obvious. When there is a fire both heat and smoke rise. The problem is that the FIRE EXIT signs were obscured. No one could see them because of the fire and smoke! No one knew where the exits were!

Now how does this relate to truth, absolutes and relativism you ask?  In part 1, I ended with many questions of how absolute truth and relativism are balanced?  These are some questions that pop into my head.   How does the tension between absolute truth and relativism be held in a manner of Love?  Has relativism (the believing of whatever is right to you is your truth) surpassed any absolute truth in this postmodern, do as you want age?  I know I need to learn to listen and dialogue and discuss, yet aren’t there things and ways that are just wrong?

This is what I have thought of so far in light of the Pentagon fire story…

1.  Life is not clear.  I live more in midst of fire and smoke than in peace and clarity.  This makes me realize one thing.  I need to approach the living of life much akin to a desperate man struggling to find an exit in a smoke filled room.  This makes me fall on my knees, struggling for my next breath, grappling with the questions and circumstances the best way I know how. Struggling not for answers, but for LIFE.

2. I relate any ‘answers’ or ‘exits’ as only they relate to life.  In my state of constant desperation and unsurety I am in desperate need for life.  Answers or exits only exist to propel me to life.

3. My exit or answer, does not preclude that there are not other exits or answers out there.  It just means that this exit is the one I have found and hope to alert all others too.  Using our present analogy, imagine if in the midst of a burning building I would proclaim that all the people in the building must exit through the exit I had found.  That would be audacious to the say the least and likely disastrous to those that would heed my direction.  The reality of many exits does not mean that I would not be yelling ‘FIRE’ and urging all I know to leave.  The method of escape is relative to each’s position, but the reality of the fire is absolute.

4. There are paths which I go down that are not exits, but dead ends.  Dead ends that led to death, isolation and away from life.  It would be irresponsible of me not to declare those paths of death as being death.  For example, war is not better than peace, hate is not better than love.  There are better ways.  How I communicate these things is as important or maybe more important than what I am communicating.

5. True love is not abandoning people when they chose dead end exits.  Knowing that whatever path you choose I will always be calling your name.  I will wait for you, even though it may cost me my very life.  This may even require me to come after you.  Requiring me to walk into dark, dead end spaces myself to bring LIFE.

6.  I can never, ever, ever forget that I exist in this smoke filled room.  It is hard to breath, never mind live.  Every moment is a struggle for survival.  This means I will falter and fail and I will stumble down dead end corridors.  When this happens, the last thing I need is for my friends to be yelling down the hall “I told you so”.  Life is critical enough, let’s not add to it’s chorus.

7. Much of theology is based on the non-reality that we can see clearly.  Theology says that the exits and answers are clearly seen, marked and locatable.  Problem is that just like the fire exit signs in the Pentagon, theology speaks too high, over people’s heads and not into the reality of where people are.  Which is on their knees, struggling to find breath in this confusing and difficult world. This is where I feel we have a need for a Prophetic Theology. (this post is way too long already and I will tackle this some later time)

I apologize if I have taken this analogy to it’s utter limits.  Pictures speak loudly for me.  Please add any other thoughts or pictures that you have seen that help describe the tension between absolutism and relativism.  This is a continuing journey and I believe a very important discussion in our current age.

Struggling for breath, on my knees, together…

I think a little satire always makes some of the greatest points.

This illustration comes from comedian Emo Philips talking about two men on a bridge, one of which is contemplating suicide…

I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew or a Hindu or what?”
He said, “A Christian.”
I said, “Small world! Me too. Protestant or Catholic or Greek Orthodox?”
He said, “Protestant.”
I said, “Me too! What franchise?”
He said, “Baptist.”
I said, “Me too!” Norther Baptist or Southern Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Baptist.”
I said, “Me too! Norther Conservative Baptist or Norther Liberal Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”
I said, “Me too! Northern Conservative Fundamentalists Baptist, Great Lakes Region, or Norther Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Eastern Region?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region.”
I said, “Me too! Norther Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”
He said, “Norther Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist, Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”
I SCREAMED, “Die, heretic!” and pushed him over.

So I wonder… who will I allow to stand on the bridge with me? Only people who are exactly like me? And for those who are not like me, will I push them off?

But sometimes standing on a bridge all alone gets pretty lonely…

Hello, my name is Kevin, and I am an ex-Sith Lord.

A little background… I have been watching the Star Wars series with my eight year old son as he is a Star Wars fanactic. I myself have never watched Star Wars before. Yes, I know that is weird. But I haven’t watched ET or Titanic either. Not that I don’t watch movies, cause I do, just never got to see these.

Anyways… I have come to the realization that I am a recovering Sith Lord. There is a fabulous scene in the Revenge of the Sith where Obi-Wan Kenobi is fighting with Anakin Skywaker (aka future Darth Vader). Future Darth Vader bellows, “If you’re not with me, then you’re my enemy.” Obi-Wan Kenobi responds by saying, “Only a Sith Lord deals in absolutes.”

Wow, cut me with a light saber! Only a Sith Lord deals in absolutes. Absolutes, right and wrong clearly these are things to be valued, cherished and extoled. I went to 4 years of Bible School and Theological training to equip me with what is the right view on everything. I had an absolute and right view on everything. You name it. I had an answer. And of course my answer was the right answers, absolutely! I realize now that I had graduated, not a heart of love and grace, but with a mind that measured everything. I had traded in my cap and gown for a measuring stick, a ruler.

Instead of the Word of God becoming a beautiful story that depicts a story of a lover after a beautiful bride, it became the measuring stick of how I measured everything and everyone.

Not to mention that walking through life while carrying a measuring stick is just plain difficult. (I realized that my tool for measurement had become a cane, to beat those who did not agree with the ‘right and abosolute’ into complete and absolute submission.

Crazy thing with measuring sticks or beating canes (whatever vernacular you want to use). They are extremely productive. Trouble is that when you begin to use the tool of absolutism and ‘being right’ you end up beating up a lot of innocent people.

I had become a dark Sith Lord, only dealing with absolutes. Dialogue, discussion, hearing, listening and reasoning… why stand on that defenseless ground.

My past experiences, which I wish could be just chalked up to a bad dream, are littered with statements of “If you are not with me you are against me.” And of course I knew that god was on my side. So you are not only against me, but you are against God. Deal with that!

So this is what I see. I see a past of bruised and battered people. People who held different positions and thoughts than I did. Most of these people were honest, God loving and God fearing people who were struggling with their faith and trying to articulate in the best way they knew how.

So I need to say, I am sorry. Sorry to all of those who I haven’t agreed with. I chose disagreement over relationship, I chose being right with being love, I chose speaking over hearing.

I chose my things over the things of God.

Now I hear all the screaming but…, “if we don’t have absolutes what will stop relativism to sweep over us and force us to accept whatever each of us want to believe.” I wish to talk about this more in Part 2.

Kevin, an ex-Sith Lord

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