Michael

May 262015
 

1426163_10152538970789156_1955504315_aToday, like every Wednesday, we will remember Saeed Abedini.

We do more than just remember, however…we stand with him by using our social media to advocate for his release.

We ask that you change your Facebook profile picture to his and that you “like”  the “Free Saeed” Facebook page and participate in some of the activities that promote his cause.

We ask…that you remember him and his family in prayer…and that you refuse to give up on efforts to secure his release.

You can follow Naghmeh Abedini for the latest news on her Facebook page…

May 262015
 

article-1379342-0BBA24E000000578-567_468x355McDonalds is having a midlife crisis.

They just aren’t sure who they are anymore.

To me, the Golden Arches represent Big Mac’s, Egg McMuffins, Quarter Pounders, and decent fries.

If you’re feeling exotic, they have a “filet o’ fish”.

Worked for me…and millions of others, for a long time.

It evidently isn’t working for them, as they change the menu almost monthly.

For a while, it was all about bacon.

Bacon on everything.

That is kind of a natural fast food thing, so it didn’t bother me much.

Then, it was jalepenos.

Jalepenos on everything…with bacon too, if you want.

I hate jalepenos, but if you like them, good on you.

Now, it’s all about guacamole.

Guacamole on everything…with bacon and jalepenos if you want.

I loathe avocados…I’m convinced that they are some form of snot that when hardened, becomes tofu.

I digress.

My point is that this business seems to have completely forgotten what made them successful in the first place.

I think they read Facebook every week to see what food is being talked about and they immediately add it to the menu.

I’m concerned that the next item you can order with your bacon jalepeno guacamole burger will be a “cleansing flush”.

Those seem real popular these days…

I can solve all of Mickey D’s problems.

Dump all this nonsense and go back to the old menu while offering breakfast all day.

You knew I had to bring this around to the church…

The church keeps throwing things up against the wall hoping something will stick and sell.

It looks ridiculous in doing so.

We need to do what we have always been called to do…while offering the grace of God all day.

The old path is still the best path…

 

May 262015
 

timthumb.phpThe Internet Monk and Matt Redmond look at the situation with Matt Chandler and the Village Church…

Sarah on fireflies and struggles…

The United Methodists affirm homosexuality…

The pattern among fallen pastors…

Three reasons for Christians to engage in science…

What your body knows about God…

The Pope gets it sometimes…

Was the Holy Spirit present before Pentecost?

Is vice more interesting than virtue?

Can we lose our justification?

Getting over embarrassment over the supernatural…

How to talk about homosexuality…

Calling for total transparency for churches…

Repainting hell…

On infant baptism…

Wheres my pile of stones?

Is God really, good? Did He create hell? An Orthodox perspective.

May 252015
 

countrychurch-2““None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.””

(Romans 3:10–18 ESV)

I have made my name in this world by speaking loudly and often of others mens sins.

This is the spiritual equivalent of making your name walking the high wire over Niagra after a few drinks.

Eventually, you’re going to fall.

When you fall those brothers in arms who have cheered you on will turn those arms upon you and it will be next man up for the wire.

We speak of the evil that men do while offering little insight to our own…there are few mirrors in my home.

There is none righteous…

The ones spoken of want forgiveness without repentance, we prefer judgment without grace.

No, not one…

I feel my foot slipping.

I have not told the whole story…

The board in the foyer tells us that last weeks attendance was 53 and the offering was $104.00.

This week will be about the same.

The pastor stands at the door and acknowledges his flock as they leave…if they were walking the other way it would look more like lunch time in a rest home than a church.

He preached again with passion and that passion was lost on people who gave passion up many years before.

He spoke of being a soul winner though any souls that have been won have apparently gone elsewhere for a new home.

His wife taught Sunday School as she does every week, though the only children there are her own.

Both wife and children look like they could use a break from each other.

They will not get one.

The pastor watches the last car leave the gravel driveway, locks the door, and hurries home for lunch.

He  has to work the swing shift at the Wal Mart tonight.

This is how it goes week after week, year after year.

That is the life of the average American pastor.

He has no money, no retirement plan, no hope for earthly ease in this life.

His special messages are for funerals, not conferences,… and it won’t be many more funerals until the church is closed.

He chooses to stay and do the funerals anyway.

He is blamed for the sins of men he’s never met and never will.

Those guys don’t do funerals.

They don’t shop at Wal Mart.

This is the only story that will ever be written about him and I can’t remember his name.

I’ll get back on the wire when I do…

 

May 252015
 

images1. One more change in our national identity is showing in how we celebrate Memorial Day. Younger (under 50) people don’t have the heroic wars of early in this century as a reference…they have wars of debatable cause and worth as their historic referent.

 

Whatever we think of those wars we should fully support the men and women who fought and died in them as service to their country.

2. I had no idea what a “Duggar” was before last week… I could have profitably gone longer without that knowledge.

3. In the internet age there is no longer anything close to a “local” or “private” dispute. My guess is that we will all suffer from that fact more than we profit from it.

4. The meme that the church is dying is load of happy horsestuff. The church is not dying, it’s changing… and those changes are (for the most part) for the better. In an institution that’s a couple of millennia old, spring cleaning can take some time.

5. If your God doesn’t care about justice and righteousness, your God is the devil.

6. It is interesting to me that we are living in an era when we’re redefining both our national identity and that of the church. What troubles me is that we seem to be doing so while ignoring all but one demographic of both…thus depriving ourselves of the wisdom and history to make excellent decisions.

7. I used to think that having “official” membership in churches was one answer to some of the abuse issues in the church. Matt Chandler and the Village Church are chopping up that notion pretty well..

8. I think patriotism is becoming a relic of former generations… and I’m not sure how to think about that.

9. If you really believed that we were in the last days of the last days…what would you change?

10. Stay safe and celebrate responsibly… :-)

May 232015
 

thumbnail.aspx_“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

We hear the story of the wind at Pentecost,

Holy wind that dismantles what was,

Holy wind that evokes what is to be,

Holy wind that overrides barriers and causes communication,

Holy wind that signals your rule even among us.

We are dazzled, but then – reverting to type –

We wonder how to harness the wind,

how to manage the wind by our technology,

how to turn the wind to our usefulness,

how to make ourselves managers of the wind

Partly we do not believe such as odd tale

because we are not religious freaks;

Partly we resist such a story,

because it surges beyond our categories;

Partly we had imagined you to be more ordered

and reliable than that.

So we listen, depart, and return to our ordered existence:

we depart with only a little curiosity

But not yielding;

we return to how it was before,

unconvinced but wistful, slightly praying for wind,

craving for newness,

wishing to have it all available to us.

We pray toward the wind and wait, unconvinced but wistful.

Walter Brueggemann Prayers for a Privileged People

May 222015
 

261021_Budweiser_Beer_Can_006.jpg3be6f326-3a86-4ac6-bdd1-f3cae467c782LargeShe was standing outside the convenience store when I pulled in to get some lemon juice for my evening libation.

I would, as I always have, do everything humanly possible to avoid her.

She’s an older woman in her fifties or sixties or something like that.

One cannot guess with much certainty as the street adds years without them being lived.

She is homeless and has been for a long time.

She also stinks to high heaven because there are not restrooms everywhere she stays and she has taken to relieving herself as she walks.

She refuses to stay in shelters because she prefers her own company and that of convenience store clerks who don’t always share in her desire for companionship.

She is loud and crass and bold and I cringe when I see her and pray that something distracts her before she spots me.

She spotted me.

“HEY!!!!!!!” “YOU!!!!!”

People within a block and a half turned around…

She asked if I had a buck so she could buy a beer…I ignored her and slipped inside the store.

As I was waiting to pay for my faux lemon, I heard one of the people in front of me say “she just needs Jesus”.

Of course…that’s it.

She just needs Jesus.

That would solve the problem …the problem in reality being good folks like us having to pass a homeless person to buy our own beer.

She just needs Jesus…

Jesus would make her act like us, think like us, and live like us, and spare us having to duck her when we go to the store.

Of course He would…except…

Any damn fool could see she needed a bath, another bath, and then a shower.

She needed clean clothes.

She needed a place to stay and some warm food.

She probably needed medication.

She needed a beer.

I got out of line and got her one.

My exit plan was to toss it at her and run to the truck…but I took a deep breath and handed her the bag.

“I liked your book”.

“Huh?”

“I said I liked your goddam book…Amy used to read parts of it to me”.

Amy used to work at the store… and indeed I had given all the employees who wanted one a copy of my book.

“Yea, I liked it…you can’t survive out here without God”.

I thanked her and slid into my truck.

She already had Jesus.

She needed a beer.

Make your own application…

 

May 212015
 

thevillage1This story is a bombshell.

A woman is being disciplined by her church (the 11th largest in the country) for exposing her former husband as an alleged pedophile and consumer of child pornography.

“It would be hard to believe that the events of the past five months had happened had I not experienced them myself. The discovery of Jordan’s pedophilia and use of child pornography was an indescribable shock and triggered a thorough upheaval of every aspect of my life. While I have been upheld by the grace of God every step of the way, I have wondered many times whether it is possible to fully recover from something like what has happened to me. And during these months, what has become even more troubling than the issues that have come to light in Jordan’s life has been the consistent refusal of the pastors and elders of The Village Church to respond in a way that takes into account the seriousness of the situation at hand.”

We will wait and see what Matt Chandlers response is to this incredibly well documented and well written expose…

%d bloggers like this: