Kingdom Living


A hardline Hindu organisation, known for its opposition to “corrupting” Western food imports, is planning to launch a new soft drink made from cow’s urine, often seen as sacred in parts of India.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), or National Volunteer Corps, said the bovine beverage is undergoing laboratory tests for the next 2 to 3 months but did not give a specific date for its commercial release.

The flavour is not yet known, but the RSS said the liquid produced by Hinduism’s revered holy cows is being mixed with products such as aloe vera and gooseberry to fight diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

Hmmm, and what flavors will they come out with?  Dr. Hayer, Cow Zero, Utters-Up, Bovine Dew?

But really is this just another disguised attempt at using fundamentalist and religious fervor to conceal the true motive of capitalism?  Never mind throwing in the health benefits angle.  Who ever these guys are they are brilliant.  Combining hate for the West, religious idealism and health consciousness.  Wow, now that is a recipe for instant success.  One just has to get past the part about drinking cow urine…

We may scoff at such products.  But are our Jesus dolls, scripture mints(at least they are sugar free) and the latest Purpose Driven Life for Your Grandchildren installment any different.  We package things that sell.  What really is the difference between cow urine soda or the talking Jesus doll?  Don’t both use our religious sentiments to sell a products.  

And this is the one reason why christianity and capitalism should always walk away from each other and not beside each other, holding hands, walking into the sunset.  For if christianity and capitalism walk embracingly into the sunset, I fear that the darkness will be a night that we may not survive.  At least as we know it.  And maybe that is a good thing…

christiandollarstore_2040_153239173

For the last two days I have attended a conference put on by John Perkins and Paul Metzger called Drum Majors for Love, Truth and Justice.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from John Perkins…

“To take care of yourself is an addiction, there is more than yourself.”

“We have to lower our hate voice.  We have to come up with a language for love.”

“The reason why you don’t relocate?  You love yourself more than your neighbor.”

“We need a culture of love.”

“Go… live, love, learn, build on what they have.  At the end, you want the people to say they have done it themselves.”

“We must move from charity to development.”

There was much more, but these are the things that are challenging me and my current thought-actions.

The below is from an intriguing article discussing the future picture of what a “great depression” may look like in our day. 

And above all, a depression circa 2009 might be a less visible and more isolating experience. With the diminishing price of televisions and the proliferation of channels, it’s getting easier and easier to kill time alone, and free time is one thing a 21st-century depression would create in abundance. Instead of dusty farm families, the icon of a modern-day depression might be something as subtle as the flickering glow of millions of televisions glimpsed through living room windows, as the nation’s unemployed sit at home filling their days with the cheapest form of distraction available.

 Interesting, that the icon of a great depression would be the television.  The television being the tool to help us forget.  It would make a lot of sense that in the midst of current trends of emotional depression, hopelessness and despair that these feelings would only increase and be magnifide by the loss of security as spurred on by a financial depression.  I could forecast that emotional trauma would multiply, with hopelessness and despair being the typical emotional outlook.  Instead of facing these feelings of emptiness the TV would become, not only a great time filler, but an escape.  An escape from the helplessness of the noise around them.  The TV storylines of family, safety, security will transcend their own stories.  I imagine that the TV story lines will revert back the happy and secure plots of the 80’s Cosby show and the 70’s Partridge family.  

The TV would become the form of distraction from the unsettledness of life around me.  The cheap and accessible drug to lull the pain.  The 30 minute escape, into the fake life of imaginary charcters.  And as with all successful TV shows I become more connected to the fictional characters than I do my own neighbours. Their happy families, nice jobs, nice houses and neatly managed lives would be the soothing images that would help shield the “real-life” story of those around me who houses are being lost to foreclosure, the family friend who lost his job and the general messiness of life.

What a place for the story of the church.  People who are not only caring about the needs of others, but in tangible, real life ways providing for the needs of those around them, both physical and emotional.  It is time for us as the church, to begin preparation for such times.  Not only in terms of stocking away our 5 gallon buckets of dehydrated lentil soup, but in terms of the heart, spirit and mission of the church.  To become a place, a central place, maybe even the central place, where those who are at the end of their rope, financially, spiritually and emotionally will find an answer.  The reincarnation of the faux-ideal life of the Cosby family is not what we need, but a tangible church living out the life of Jesus that impacts real sorrows, hurts and pains and walks with and alongside those pains.  That is a story that the world may want to tune into.  

family

Did you see Barack Obama’s infomercial last night?  What did you think?  Was it on the level of selling the perfect set of ginsu knives promising the impossible?  Or did it provide you with some hope. Some sense that things could be different.  

Maybe cynicism has creeped in for some of you.  Thoughts of why try… why when we know that politics is a mire of muddy pigs dressed up in fancy suits. To be honest, I don’t know if the next president, whoever it may be, can bring true reform and change.  But one thing that Obama’s hopefulmercial gave me back again was a sense of hope in relation to the Church. 

Hope, is the possibility of seeing what God sees and having God’s thoughts, feelings and actions infiltrate into the core of my being.  

The question is, do I have hope that things can be different?  Can there be communities who reflect the image and character of God?  Will there be people who stand for radical love, inclusive hospitality and social reconciliation.  

Has middle classness, individual consumerism, safety and security so inoculated the christian church that we have become blind to the calling and dream of God in this world.  Maybe.  My resposnse out of fear is… why even try.  “Give in to the dark side, Luke”.  Just stay on automatic pilot in my individual world where safety and security are the throne and scepter of my life.  

But then Barack Obama’s pirated the network airwaves to spread his message of “What if…”.  And this is the reason I feel that Obama will win.  There are enough Americans who are willing to let a relatively unexperienced person be president because we want some with enough resonance and vision to dream “What if”.  But i digress onto my political soapbox.

“What if…” there were a people who took the words of Jesus seriously and practiced with their lives…

-RADICAL HOSPITALITY

-INCLUSIVE LOVE

-PEACE AND LOOKING FOR GOD’S JUSTICE IN THIS WORLD OF INJUSTICE

-REDEEMING RECONCILIATION

-DOWNWARD MOBILITY

Hope says, God sees all of these things and today I want to see my world and my culture as He sees it.

Hope says, that God has called out a people to live out this radical and subversive life as a light to all the world of what God’s Life looks like in a world of flesh and blood, suffering and pain, failures and disappointments.

Hope speaks.  What is Hope saying to you today?

I have decided that I need some structure to this wet noodle of a blog.  So today is officially coined Mantra Monday.  Radio stations have the quippy Free Song Friday’s, Drive at 5, so now I will have Mantra Monday.

Now mantra may scare some.  Let’s go to the good ole Websters to see what mantra means.

1.A sacred verbal formula repeated in prayer, meditation, or incantation, such as an invocation of a god, a magic spell, or a syllable or portion of scripture containing mystical potentialities.

2. A commonly repeated word or phrase:

Well, the first definition sounds like it comes straight out of a Harry Potter novel or Lord of the Rings.  I can see Saurmon with eyes rolled in the back of his head, his slender tenderals of fingers gliding over the Palantir (crystal ball for those non-LOTR fans) and repeating some mantra of sorts to bring all sorts of evil and vice into the world of the Fellowship of the Ring.  I think this magical view of mantra is what may cause some to take pause.  Thus I would like to move to the 2nd definition to help to provide a better working definition of mantra.

My view of mantra is likely more of the 2nd definition.  A commonly repeated word or phrase.  Something repeated until it is stamped into my pysche.  Repeat it until you get it.  Not get it in my mind, but get it deep within me.  So deep that it becomes part of me.  Part of who I am, part of why I act.

So with that…

Here is today’s.  It comes from John Dominic Crossan’s book The Essential Jesus.

“Enter the Kingdom

Become a Child


Become a Child

Enter the Kingdom”

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)

Soothing melodic sounds interrupt my zen like sleep.

My eyes open, I curl over and struggle to find the snooze button.  PRESS HERE, to sleep for 8 more minutes…

I just need a little more sleep.  Then I will be ready for the day…

7:06, 7:07, 7:08 then again… smooth melodies ring out.

My mind justifies, ‘Just 8 more minutes…’  Instinctually, I reach out, PRESS HERE, ahhh quiet, peace and rest again.  My mind is quiet, my body is at rest, I am still…

Again, and again my robotic hand that retreats from the reality of time reaches out to PRESS HERE, to snooze, to rest, to ignore.

So I PRESS HERE to hide from the realities of what not yet is today.

The homeless man I see standing on the same corner again…  I PRESS HERE and snooze and escape from reality that the home I go to he does not even dream of, cause all he dreams of is a full stomach.

The single mother who tries to be everything she needs to be; provider, care giver, homemaker.  Who cries herself to sleep every night from the loneliness she feels from sleeping in an empty bed each night.  PRESS HERE says she can make it, life is hard but through hard work and persistence she can make right choices.

So what makes this morning different?

Today I will be AWAKE!

I will engage the full realities of the falleness of man.

I will be AWAKE,

to the creation that groans from abuse of consumption culture.

I will be AWAKE,

to the divisions that liter our families, churches and government.

I will be AWAKE,

to the reality of suffering, death, loneliness and depression.

I WILL BE ALIVE TODAY!

I will not PRESS HERE and sleep in the false notions of peace and quiet, amid non-reality, false truths and convenient excuses.

And that makes today different.

So when the alarm of life goes off around me today, I will choose wake up and engage.

Romans 13:11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

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

“I simply argue that the cross be raised again, a the center of the market place as well as on the steeple of the church. I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles: but on a cross between two thieves; on a town garbage heap; at a crossroad of politics so cosmopolitan that they had to write His title in Hebrew and in Latin and in Greek, and at this kind of place where cynics talk smart, and thieves curse and soldiers gamble. Because that is where He died, and that is what He died about and that is where Christ’s men out to be and what church people ought to be about.”

George McLeod

This past week before Mother’s Day I was listening to the radioand I heard a local jewerly company’s radio ad. The announcer in a great, booming radio voice projects accross the airwaves… “And this Mother’s Day give her what she has always wanted, give her a Rolex.” A Rolex. Really? Now unless my mother is related to Snoop Dog, (which I can clearly attest that she isn’t), I don’t think a Rolex is really the gift for her.

I want to understand who the advertising execs were who crafted this fine Mother’s day slogan. Now advertising folks are no dummies. They know what sells. And I guess today Rolex for Mother’s day sells. Gone are the days of Mother’s wanting flowers, cards and breakfast in bed.

What does this scream about our culture? About our materialism? About our greed? When my mother is being tempted by a Rolex for her special day, what material tempation is knocking at my front door? What package will this world system take today to induce me into slumber?

Remember, today, there are children and people who are trapped alive in China. As I sit here in my comfortable coffee shop. There are people, real, actual people who are in rubble, dying, bleeding…

I know one thing… that they are not thinking of Rolex’s, they are thinking about living or dying.

Lord, help those people and help me to see the living and dying happening all around me.

Next Page »