Saturday, November 23, 2013

Self Preservation

I see nothing in the life of Christ or in the New Testament that celebrates the concept of self preservation.

picture: detail from the fresco 'The Martyrdom of Saint Stephen', Bernardo Daddi, 1324, Santa Croce, Florence, Italy

Friday, November 22, 2013

50 Years

Fifty years. We drove by Dealey Plaza today on a school field trip. Still is an eerie place.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Being Intentional

Being intentional about serving Christ can be challenging. Sometimes you just can't wait for opportunities to present themselves. Often you must be proactive in finding avenues to live out your life for Christ. We also shouldn't look for particular types of service. We should be open to the needs around us. God has given us opportunities to serve others right where we are. Sometimes we have to be creative. Sometimes we have to sit and think for a moment and use our God-created brains to figure out how we can live for others. The Kingdom of God is not far away. The Kingdom of God is near. It is here. It is all around us. We just need to look around and engage.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New Monasticism

I like this...

From The Simple Way website.

12 Marks of New Monasticism

1) Relocation to the abandoned places of Empire.

2) Sharing economic resources with fellow community members and the needy among us.

3) Hospitality to the stranger

4) Lament for racial divisions within the church and our communities combined with the active pursuit of a just reconciliation.

5) Humble submission to Christ’s body, the church.

6) Intentional formation in the way of Christ and the rule of the community along the lines of the old novitiate.

7) Nurturing common life among members of intentional community.

8) Support for celibate singles alongside monogamous married couples and their children.

9) Geographical proximity to community members who share a common rule of life.

10) Care for the plot of God’s earth given to us along with support of our local economies.

11) Peacemaking in the midst of violence and conflict resolution within communities along the lines of Matthew 18.

12) Commitment to a disciplined contemplative life.

Monday, November 18, 2013

What is your purpose?

This week I have committed to asking myself the question, 

What is my purpose?

I wrote this question on the white board by my computer. I wrote it at the top of my to do list on my phone. I am beginning each day asking this question, what is my purpose?

The answer: to reflect Christ. 

I desire to reflect Christ to everyone I meet or encounter. I desire to reflect Christ to myself. 

I fail at this too often. But this is my goal. This is my purpose. I desire to reflect Christ. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Burn it all Down

I was stunned to hear the announcement that the Atlanta Braves are abandoning Turner Field for the suburbs and a new $650 million stadium.

I have no emotional attachment to Turner Field. I have never seen it in person. But I find the idea of bailing on a state-of-the-art stadium, that is only 17 years old, unbelievable. Not only is it a fairly new stadium it was once an Olympic Stadium. The city of Atlanta has announced they plan on tearing down the structure as soon as the Braves vacate.

This is wrong on so many levels.

First, this is a perfect example of the greed that runs rampant in our culture. The Braves are making this move to make a lot of money. They are completely ignoring the historical import of an Olympic Stadium and a stadium that has hosted countless baseball playoff runs. The Braves have no sense of civic responsibility in helping maintain and cultivate an urban core.

This move is also indicative of our throwaway culture. We have no respect for permanence. We have no interest in building things that last. This is a complete waste of resources and man power. Environmentally it is almost a criminal waste of material. We don't like something, we throw it away.

This move also shows a complete disrespect for the people. Once again we have rich billionaires demanding the public pick up a large portion of the tab for the building of a new Braves stadium. Turner Field was built using public funds and now is being abandoned and destroyed. How about a refund to the tax payers who helped build it in the first place?

Of course not. The same hypocrites who criticize the welfare system for giving out handouts turn a blind eye toward the rich who are asking for even greater handouts. The billionaire does not demand money for food for their children or unemployment assistance. The billionaire is demanding money for a place to play sports and to make themselves even richer.

This is not just a sports issue. This is a social issue. This announcement is simply a mirror of our contemporary culture. I dream of a day when somebody somewhere says no, we will not allow you take advantage of the public. Probably a pipe dream. Maybe Thomas Hobbes was right.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Goodbye Blockbuster...

I don't usually have sympathy for multinational corporations. But I must admit I was a little sad to hear that Blockbuster was closing the last of their brick and mortar stores. I haven't seen an open Blockbuster in years and the last video store in my town (Video and Tan) closed a couple of years ago. I miss the video store.

I miss going into the video store on a Friday evening and browsing the hundreds of VHS tapes then DVDs. I miss the internal debate about which movie to rent. I don't miss the lines or the late fees or the hassle of having to actually go to the store to return the movie. I miss the late night college runs to the video store to rent a marathon's worth of movies.

Today I am one of the dwindling few who continue to use Netflix's DVD mail service. Soon that will go by the wayside. Digital streaming is very convenient but there is still something missing in the process of physically going to the video store. Part of my nostalgia is due to the fact that I'm old enough to remember when movies were not so accessible. It wasn't until I was ten or eleven when most people could actually afford a VCR. It was a stunning concept that you could watch movies any time you wanted if the movie was available at the video store. You no longer had to wait until the movie played on television. I remember that transition that so many take for granted today.

So goodbye Blockbuster. It was fun...

Friday, November 08, 2013


 I know I know. Today is Friday. But we are celebrating it as THORsday. We are going to see the new THOR sequel with great enthusiasm.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Football Guilt

I grew up a football fan. I am still a football fan. I have invested a lot of ridiculous emotion in rooting for the Oklahoma Sooners and the Kansas City Chiefs. I have been thrilled by the Chief's 9-0 start to this season. But the past year or so I have been conflicted by football. For years the big money and the corruption in athletics have disgusted me. But I always kind of swept those feelings under the rug as I continued to spend a lot of time and money watching and attending football games. Just last week I attended with great enthusiasm the SMU Homecoming game. I have been rooting for SMU since I began attending graduate school there a couple of years ago. However, if there's one school that represents corruption in college athletics it's SMU due to the excesses of the early 1980's. SMU still can't avoid being linked to events that happened thirty years ago.

But what is more troubling about football is the concussion issue. The constant trauma to the brain in the game has resulted in great tragedy for thousands of former football players. Player after player has come forth with stories about suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Just yesterday it was Tony Dorsett. Last week it was Brett Favre. Sure these guys made millions off the game, but what is the brain worth? And what about elementary kids, high school players and college kids?

I'm having trouble reconciling my enjoyment of the game with the knowledge of the toll football is having on the lives of young men. I am a hypocrite. I will be keeping tabs on tonight's Sooner game against Baylor. I will be watching November 17th when the Chiefs play the Broncos in primetime. But I am conflicted.

Here is an article by ESPN columnist Rick Reilly that summarizes my views exactly. I don't always agree with Reilly but I'm with him on this one: