Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Jesus He Knows Me

After 16 years, Phil Colins satire is still right on track. This makes me feel quite sad about the TBN crowd.

Monday, July 30, 2007

My Simpsons Avatar

A good friend sent me this - my Simpsons Avatar. I love the t-shirt, and minimal hair. Thank goodness there is no significant spare tire.

I am so touched......

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Becoming Agnostic

Doubt can be an overpowering force. It can also be attention getting. In my prior post I discussed my initial reactions to the article of William Lobdell of the LA Times.

As it turns out, Mr. Lobdell is getting lots of media attention, and feedback from readers. Today he was interviewed on NPR's Day to Day. Have a listen.

The LA Times had an interactive chat on his article here. Noted below are excerpts from the chat containing comments by Mr. Lobdell.

It turns our that Mr. Lobdell is a "long-time fan" of Christopher Hitchins. My friend Mark Roberts has
much to say about Christopher Hitchins, having debated him on radio recently.

Mr. Lobdell has, what seems to be to be understandable indignation about the Catholic church. He states, "One of the biggest disappointments for me was the incredibly few number of priests and bishops who reported child molesters they knew were in their midst without first being contacted by attorneys, the media or authorities. It's the exact opposite of what the Gospel -- and our secular laws -- say to do." Amen to that.

When asked about his feelings about loosing his faith, Mr. Lobdell replies, "A) Sad B) Angry C) Liberated D) Confused E) Uneasy". This to me is fascinating. I would love to learn more about these feelings.

When asked about home churches, which the LA Times also recently covered, Mr. Lobdell offers, "The younger generation really insists on a real faith and not something contained in buildings. Though it has some drawbacks, I think it would eliminate some of the problems inherent in an unchecked power structure." I agree; this is Missional Church at its best!

Another observation worthy of merit: "Very generally, the churches that seemed to work the best -- that, at least in my opinion -- carried out the Gospel the best were small, poor churches, both Catholic and Protestant." Again, a thoughtful response.

And finally, this: "I've covered a lot of non-religious stories, but I traditionally never got more vicious hate mail than from people of the faith -- probably because they believe so much is at stake. This is a phenomenon attested to by religion writers across the country. But for whatever reason, this story provoked a different response. It was almost entirely loving and caring and gentle, whether from Christians, Jews, Muslims, agnostics or atheists."

This comment about mean spirited people of faith made me think about another recent event in my own life.

I think that if Bill Lobdell lived across the fence from me, we might spent a lot of time hanging out together. I so appreciate his honesty, his willingness to be truthful. He has not shut the door to things of faith, but he has admitted his struggles. I would not want to make him my project, or make him think like me. I would like to be his friend, no strings attached.

Bill Lobdell, I wish you well on your journey. May it find you, someday, again following Christ, but in a way that for you feels real, and honest, and redemptive.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Doubt, Fear, and Faith

There was a remarkable article in the Los Angeles Times today about matters of faith. It does not end happily, and that is ok.

But it is a completely honest assessment of things of faith, and a stirring indictment of the failure of both certain Catholics and Protestant Evangelicals to deliver on the real message of the Christ they purport to follow.

William Lobdell is a writer for the Times who found faith in Christ in 1989, and began a journey, first of mission to right the wrongs of the mainstream media in covering the errors of the church, and later a painful season spent reporting on both the sins of evangelicals and Catholics. Mr. Lobdell spent much of the early parts of this decade reporting on the ongoing sexual abuse scandal of the Catholic church, and witnessed up close the pain of the victims, along with the complicity of the leadership of the Catholic church. He also reported on the inner workings of the Trinity Broadcasting network, including the work of
Benny Hinn, a televangelist faith healer.

Over time, the emotional weight of his reporting created a crisis of faith for Mr. Lobdell, as he describes in the article:

"My soul, for lack of a better term, had lost faith long ago - probably around the time I stopped going to church. My brain, which had been in denial, had finally caught up. Clearly, I saw now that belief in God, no matter how grounded, requires at some point a leap of faith. Either you have the gift of faith or you don't. Its not a choice. It can't be willed into existence. And there's no faking it if you're honest about the state of your soul."
As it turns out, all the reporting and interaction with the ugly underbelly of the church resulted in Mr. Lobdell's abandonment of his faith.

I have been thinking about this article all day. Wondering about William Lobdell, about the church he was a part of, but then decided to stop attending. Did anyone call him when he missed a few Sundays? I thought about his family, and how they are doing. I wondered if he was a part of any form of genuine Christian community, a place where he could ask hard questions, and be loved in the midst of his struggle and doubt. And not be judged for his doubt. This might have helped, but also might not have made the difference in his abandonment of faith. Not much is for sure.

And then I thought about the primary moving force in all the dysfunction that Mr. Lobdell witness in Christendom. Fear. Catholic leaderships' fear of exposure, of humiliation, of shame, and admitting that much of the leadership structure of the church suffers from severe problems. I pray that through the unbearable pain, that God is somehow at work in this, cleansing His church. I thought of the fear of the leadership at TBN, and Benny Hinn, again, fear of exposure, fear of failure, fear that not everyone will get healed. Or maybe fear that the whole "healing and miracles" thing will be exposed for the sham that it just might be.

And I have been thinking about Mr. Lobdell's comments about faith. The gift of faith. This is something that has been discussed and debated for centuries, and still, no one really has the final answer. Its a mystery, but one I have chosen, and still choose daily, to participate in. I still believe in Jesus, and try to follow him.

Its the church that makes me nuts, and that I still love so much. Just like a drunk uncle, or father, for that matter.

My guess is this. Its the church that messed up Mr. Lobdell's faith, not Jesus. From the very beginning of his faith journey, he may have been sold a Divine Bill of Goods, if you will excuse me. I hope to say more about this soon, if life does not get in the way.

The article by William Lobdell can be found

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007

Chosen, Blessed, Broken, Food for the World

From Henri Nouwen:

"When Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, he summarized in these gestures his own life. Jesus is chosen from all eternity, blessed at his baptism in the Jordan River, broken on the cross, and given as bread to the world. Being chosen, blessed, broken, and given is the sacred journey of the Son of God, Jesus the Christ.

When we take bread, bless it, break it, and give it with the words "This is the Body of Christ," we express our commitment to make our lives conform to the life of Christ. We too want to live as people chosen, blessed, and broken, and thus become food for the world."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Simple Way, The Fire, and Hope

On June 20th, my birthday, while we ate cake and celebrated my 49th year on this planet in Southern California, a tragic event occured in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Philadelphia, the City of Alleged Brotherly Love.

A devastating fire occurred in the neighborhood of The Simple Way, a community of Christian folk, who have chosen to live out their faith by following Jesus as found in John 1. I think these idealistic folk may have a lot of very good ideas about building communities of faith, even though they style their hair slightly differently than I do (like if I had any hair to be styling!).

To support the effort to rebuild this community of hope, go here. To find our more about the Simple Way and its ideas, go listen to this. You will need an hour, but it is worth it. Watch the video of the fire and aftermath below. Your heart will be happy you did.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

787 Dreamliner Debute

I have always loved to fly. Perhaps its because I grew up hearing storied of flight from my Dad, who was a B17 pilot in World War II.

Today was the debute of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Its looks completely unique, from the curved wingspan, to the open cabin, to the cutoff engine cowlings. I am psyched!

And check out this about the interior:

And oh my gosh, check out the flight deck:

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A Day of Celebration, A Miracle, and a Responsibility

Day off work. A parade through the center of town. Red, white, and blue bunting. A barbecue. Fireworks.

But so much more.
Its the 4th of July. Two hundred and 31 years ago, the Declaration of Independence finished with this paragraph:

"We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

To me, the formation and sustaining of this nation for all these years is at once a miracle and a responsibility. May I do my part to maintain the responsibility.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Pastor KC, A Journey Filled With Hope

When I wonder if God really can change people's lives, I have one direction I can point to with great confidence. Northwest. That is the point on the compass from my house to where Pastor KC Wahe lives.

Some 20 years ago, I met KC, who at that time, was one of the high school kids at my church. I did not meet his family, in fact, I never did. That is because his family was struggling with many issues, including alcohol and drugs. KC told me recently that he was recently overwhelmed when one of his boys, after an otherwise ordinary trip to the supermarket, told him that the family refrigerator was too full to hold any more food. KC then related how he, as a boy of his son's age, mostly remembered opening his own fridge as a child, and finding only an old jar of mustard, and lots of beer.

And now, he is a Princeton Seminary grad, and is pastoring a
wonderful church in Little Rock, near Palmdale, amidst the rocks and cactus of the southern California high desert. This is not an American journey from rags to riches, but it is a journey from hopelessness to a place and time filled with hope. This is not a mega church in terms of numbers, but it is mega in terms of love, grace, mercy, and Christian community. I have been there, and I like those people!

What made the difference for KC? Why not more beer, a little apartment in Hollywood, and a downward spiral of life, just like others in his family? I think I might know why; I watched it happen. Relationships. Love. Involvement. People being there for KC. Christian community. Matter of fact, just like what God might be building in Little Rock.

I am thankful for
my old friend KC today.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...