Archive | January 2013

The Importance of Unnoticed Work

This past Saturday, I spent all day, over twelve hours, working with two other guys on some much-needed projects at the church. We were busy hammering, sawing, painting, and cleaning. We fueled ourselves with Taco Bell and Starbucks Coffee—not a good combination—and worked late into the night.

The following morning when we joined the rest of the congregation for worship, not one person mentioned our contribution. No one said “Thank you,” or “We love what you’ve done with the place.” Nothing. How rude, right?

Not really. It’s not that we go to church with a bunch of self-absorbed jerks, though I’m sure there are a few in the fold. After all, what family doesn’t have issues? But, that wasn’t it.

No one recognized our efforts because they were hidden beneath the floor and tucked inside a breaker box. We spent the day fixing electrical issues and building wooden boxes for the cold air return vents.

Had we spent our time applying fresh coats of vibrant colored paint or remodeling our classrooms, someone would have taken notice. They would have commented on the work, even if only to express distaste for our color choices.

But what we did made no visual impact. It did nothing for the aesthetic quality of the space. Read More…

Abortion. I know. It’s a tough topic.

I’m surprised you even clicked the link. Abortion is one of the most polarizing topics in history. Whether you call it murder or mother’s choice, you are generally advised to keep it to yourself. Take your issue to the ballot box, but keep it off the table. Right?

Well, since this blog is committed to hanging out at the intersection of theology and culture, and since this past Tuesday was the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, here goes nothing.

I have attached a 30 minute audio clip of a sermon by Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor at The Village Church in Dallas, Texas. Wherever you sit in the debate, I think you will find this talk thought provoking. I hope you’ll take the time to listen.

Life (Matt Chandler)

Since I know many of you will choose not to listen, I am including some highlights from his sermon below.

He opened up discussing the tragedies at Sandy Hook and Penn State. It is important to note that he was by no means minimizing the events.

“I contend to this day that we would have been shocked, but we would not have nearly been as undone if he had simply shot the adults.”

“We really dug in because, for us, the soft spot in American culture is our children. Don’t touch our kids. We’ll change the laws about it. We’ll relook at how we’re handling health about it. You can’t do it. It’s the one thing that really brings us together and makes us collectively have a desire for justice.”

“… to see our absolute outcry over thirty children who were abused (Penn State) or murdered (Sandy Hook) and the lackadaisical, non plugged in, non concern about 53,000,000 abortions that have occurred since Roe v. Wade in 1973.”

On arguments in favor of abortion: Read More…

What Martin Luther King wanted someone to say

Today is the late Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday (MLK Day). This is a day of reflection and celebration for anybody who cares about equality, justice, and peace. I’m guessing that includes you, so take a few moments and read the words of one of our world’s greatest leaders.

If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. Every now and then I wonder what I want them to say…I’d like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody. I want you to say that day, that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say, on that day, that I did try, in my life, to visit those who were in prison. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.

“The Drum Major Instinct” (1968)

What do you want them to say at your funeral? Read More…

3 inspirational quotes that are actually ridiculous

1. Failure is not fatal.

Unless, of course, it is. For anyone who has messed up royally—That would be me!—this is like sweet lemonade on a hot summer day.

However, you probably won’t hear this little pick-me-up in med school. I doubt flight instructors include it in their Powerpoint presentations. That’s probably because, in many instances, failure is actually fatal.

Now, I know the intent behind this phrase is to remind people that there is life after mistake, that your failure doesn’t have to define your future. Thank God for that. But we toss it around too freely. Just ask a divorce attorney if failure is fatal. It certainly kills enough marriages.

2. When God closes a door He always opens a window.

I’m not even sure what this means. Is God pulling pranks?

“Hey, Peter, come watch this dude try to fit through this window. The poor fool doesn’t even know he’s two stories up.”

The only story that comes to mind about God closing doors is Noah and the ark. God slammed the ark door shut, but He made sure the windows were closed too. And then He flooded the earth. Read More…

149 Less Slaves

I recently shared a documentary on [theo]culture about the mission to rescue more than 27 million men, women, and children from a life of slavery.

That’s right. Slavery.

It isn’t just a dark era is history past. Today, in this country and abroad, people are purchased and sold like animals.

Most of us are oblivious. We’re too busy checking Facebook. And the major news outlets, with the exception of CNN, would rather talk about Lindsay Lohan’s latest bender than bring attention to this modern-day tragedy.

Thankfully, there are organizations on the ground actually making a difference. International Justice Mission, one of the organizations behind the documentary, released some encouraging news this weekend.

With the help of affiliate human rights group, Jana Jagriti Kendra, 149 men, women, and children were released from captivity in Hyderabad, India. You can read the full article here.

The men and women shared how they had been physically beaten and forced to work 18 to 22 hours a day – sleeping for an hour or two and then resuming their back-breaking work in the brick kiln. A pregnant woman told how she had pleaded for rest when she was pregnant; instead, she was kicked by her manager. One man had raw wounds so deep that the bone showed through. Read More…

What if we are the problem?

As much as I love the networking and information exchange that social media provides, it doesn’t come without a price.

You have to wade through advertisements, complaints, and images that say, “Like this if you think pit bulls get a bad wrap,” as if somewhere Roscoe the pit bull is scrolling through his News Feed in search of restitution—”Finally, somebody gets it.”

I truly wish a “like” button could cure cancer, end child abuse, and put a stop to animal cruelty. Unfortunately it can’t, but that sure doesn’t stop my friends from trying.

There are, however, bright spots in the social media universe. I came across this on Instagram a few weeks ago and I immediately saved it to my phone.

It’s short, simple and uplifting, everything you could want from an image. In a sea of coffee mug shots and shameless bathroom mirror pics, this is like Tiger Balm for the soul.

%22There's nothing wrong with you%22

The only problem I have with it is the fact that it’s utter nonsense. Read More…

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