Thursday, March 29, 2012

You were born to take the greatest flight

When the night comes,
and you don't know which way to go
Through the shadowlands,
and forgotten paths,
you will find a road

Like an owl you must fly by moonlight with an open eye,
And use your instinct as your guide, to navigate the ways that lays before you,
You were born to take the greatest flight

Like a serpent and a dove, you will have wisdom born of love
and carry visions from above into the places no man dares to follow
Every hollow in the dark of night
Waiting for the light
Take the flame tonight

Indie artist Josh Garrels has a song called "White Owl" from which the lyrics above derive. (My blogger friend Troy has posted about this before). The song and video (below) is about a journey through the night, searching for what one was born to do. I love the lyric "You were born to take the greatest flight."

You were born to take the greatest flight.

I was born to take the greatest flight.

We were born to take the greatest flight.

My heart is stirring. The kind of stirring that tells me that God is up to something. I mean, do I truly believe that lyric above? If I was born to take the greatest flight then what do I have to show for it?

Taking flight means taking risks. and I feel as though I've been playing it safe. a little too comfortable. and you know what happens when you get comfortable... numbness sets in. who wants to look back at life showing atrophied wings?

if we can't take risks with our faith then what's the point? God calls us to take flight... but we wait on the runway with all the others, talking about how great it would be to fly - but we never take off. we seldom do what we were designed to do.

there is a light that never goes out... but you have to risk it all to fully experience its warmth...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Book Review: The Boombox Project

The Boombox Project: The Machines, the Music, and the Urban UndergroundThe Boombox Project: The Machines, the Music, and the Urban Underground by Lyle Owerko

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

an historic icon of my childhood, the boombox was more than a status symbol. it was more than a means to an ends. it was a statement. I didn't grow up in the inner city - the closest city to my hometown was an hour away - but even in my small, rural, farming crossroads of a town, the boom box was a symbol of power - and like every kid, i wanted one.

my first one was a cheap one, a KOSS brand, i think. dual cassette. cheap plastic. but it brought me so much joy. i can vividly remember making my first mix tapes - waiting by the radio - hoping they'd play the songs i'd want to record. later on i'd stay up late on Saturday nights to listen to and record Power 108's commercial free jam of the greatest hip hop of 1988.

As i got older, i'd blare cassette-singles from that boom box, mostly rap and hip hop - the music designed to be played loud. Public Enemy. EPMD. LL Cool J. 3rd Bass. BDP. and of course RUN DMC. played loud and proud.

The Boombox Project by Lyle Owerko brought back all of those memories, and more. It's a little more than a coffee table book, in that it evokes emotions long forgotten. the creativity of the project and the ability of Owerko to find something beautiful and intricate out of something so ordinary and forgotten, i.e. the Boombox. it makes me realize how often we 'miss' things. as someone who aspires to create, my eyes don't 'see' enough... to often i think i allow myself to gloss over the artistic sides of life.

the Boombox was an artistic side of our culture that should be remembered.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Book Review: Building a Youth Ministry that Builds Disciples

Building a Youth Ministry that Builds Disciples: A Small BookBuilding a Youth Ministry that Builds Disciples: A Small Book by Duffy Robbins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Building a Youth Ministry that Builds Disciples Duffy Robbins clearly guides any youth leader towards a practical approach to youth discipleship. Making disciples is what Jesus called his followers to do - yet it becomes strangely left out of many youth ministries. The emphasis on programs over relationships, large over small, and fun over study is sadly the expectation of most youth leaders. Ou faulty blueprints generally lead us in the wrong direction with unpredictable expectations.

In the book, Duffy provides key elements that need not be neglected and while giving answers to help leaders get students to go from the 'Pool of Humanity' as he states it, through the come and grow states and then towards the disciple, develop and multiplier stages.

I took pages of notes on this book. I know feel excited to start the process of preparing and equipping my adult leaders and developing my students to become disciple makers. I also feel empowered to lead those who want to get something more our of life and faith.

Building a Youth Ministry that Builds Disciples is a good book that any youth leader should read.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

St. Patrick's Breastplate

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spic├Ęd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

when right is wrong (or when wrong is right) [a rant, no less]

let me cut to the chase. i grew up in a Republican household and I've been forever connected to an evangelical church. But I've got to be honest, by and large, I couldn't, at this very moment, feel more disconnected from either group.

Here's why:

Pat Robertson Blames Tornado Victims for Carnage

"God didn't send the tornadoes... God set up a world in which certain currents interfere and interact with other currents. If enough people were praying, He would intervene." ~ Pat Robertson

Those poor people should have just prayed harder.

But at least Robertson doesn't think that God caused these tornadoes as some form of punishment upon the American people. Unlike John Piper. Piper wrote that the recent tornadoes from March 2 & 3, 2012 were God's Fingerprints.

"Why would God reach down his hand and drag his fierce fingers across rural America killing at least 38 people with 90 tornadoes in 12 states, and leaving some small towns with scarcely a building standing, including churches?

If God has a quarrel with America, wouldn’t Washington, D.C., or Las Vegas, or Minneapolis, or Hollywood be a more likely place to show his displeasure?" ~ John Piper

Why not, John? Why not? How pompous to think God would be more concerned about those cities... even more pompous to assume God should strike down and punish them.

Piper, whom many look to as a leader among all leaders, pulls scriptures from anywhere and everywhere to prove his point. Matthew Paul Turner has eloquently written about this on his blog: John Piper's Twister Theology.

To assume that any natural disaster, in this day and age, is God punishing us for our sins, is an awful big assumption. But you know what they say about people who assume, eh?

But Piper is not the first one to correlate disasters to God's punishment. Heck, a few years ago Piper blamed a tornado that ripped through Minneapolis on the Lutherans where convening and discussing (gasp) homosexuality. Robertson equated the Haiti earthquake to God's punishment upon them because Haiti made deal with the devil.

No wonder Christians are so easily mocked.

Many others (including Robertson) said Hurricane Katrina was also God punishing America. Jerry Fallwell said 9/11 was God's punishment upon us. Is that all God is? the puppet master? pulling all the strings up in heaven? And why is He so overly concerned with America? What about the rest of the world? I suppose he punished Japan last year with an earthquake and tsunami because of their self-absorption with Hello Kitty and Karaoke.

But maybe these tornadoes happened because a warm front and a cold front collided. Isn't that how tornadoes happen? Maybe Hurricane Katrina happened because of whatever it is that causes hurricanes.

On a side note: Rick Warren actually had to defend himself for sharing a meal and building relationships with (gasp) non-Christians! [RICK WARREN ON MUSLIMS, EVANGELISM and MISSIONS] Really? Sounds a lot like how the Pharisees shamed Jesus for making nice with tax collectors and sinners and the like.

Next up: Kirk Cameron. Last Friday (March 2, 2012) on Piers Morgan Tonight he said:
"homosexuality is "unnatural," "detrimental," and "ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization..."
support him, his views or not, he had a right to say what he did. i'm not attacking that. his honesty has definitely brought support. But I'd say this: many things have been destructive to the foundations of civilization. Why do evangelicals bump homosexuality to the top of that list? What about society's general neglect for the poor, or greed, or pride or parents not being parents or divorce or our fascination with war and weapons and guns or selfishness? Many things have been destructive. Maybe if the anti-homosexuality crusaders put as much effort into seeing to it that the Greatest Commandments are lived out we'd really see change. It seems like evangelicals generally are quick to speak out against things... i guess i'd prefer us to be known more for what we stand for, not stand against. and perhaps these other concerns should be bumped to the top of evangelical talking points.

I'm not meaning to suggest that Cameron is a crusader against homosexuality. At least he handles himself with tact. But many are, including some of the current Presidential candidates.

It's one thing to have your morals, your faith-based standards, to live those out for the glory of God and to share why you live that way with anyone who'd listen. It's another thing to impose your set beliefs (no matter how right they might be) on others unwillingly. This is what many evangelical Republicans want to do. I don't see that as being the way of Jesus.

Lastly, Franklin Graham questioned President Obama's profession of Christian faith, calling him a (gasp) Muslim. Graham later backtracked and apologized. My struggle with how Obama is treated by Evangelicals is this: fairness. Shouldn't we, as Christians, above all else, be fair? It doesn't matter what you think of Obama or his policies. You don't have to like him - but you should be fair to him. And I don't see enough of that by evangelicals.

Frankly, that's the issue I have with all of these issues above. Evangelicals speaking for God - as if they are God and as if anyone has an opposing view point he will be labeled and defamed (apparently unworthy to be loved.)

I see this played out in the media and i see so many Christians taking the bait, hook, line and sinker. I'm sick of it. I don't know how so many Christians can support the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity... gentlemen who spew hate-speech... nothing short of hate speech. This should appall any and all evangelical Christians who give them the time of day.

What about the love?

The un-Christ-like behavior has got to stop. People need to put God before politics. Plain and simple. People need to read the Word. Plain and simple. Not just pick and choose the passages that work for them.

Lastly, if people want to see change in the world, they should do it by loving God and neighbor and by discipleship so that God might work through them and compel them to bring about change - not through the government - but through the heart.

some of the aforementioned talking points and similar stories like them have been the stick in my craw for some time now. writing this out was in many ways a complete waste of time and yet therapeutic. I think maybe i can move beyond this now. i realize that i am not exclusively correct with my perceptions... i may be way off base. you can be the judge. i am open to be wrong or to being proved wrong... but i think at this point i've always realized that it's not always about being right or wrong... it's about listening... i strive to listen more and to act more and to believe more and to imagine more and to live out the life God has given me, striving to honor Him and glorify Him.

I aim to post more God-moments, God-reflections, God-interactions... that needs to be my focus.

Sunday, March 04, 2012