Thursday, November 30, 2006

Early Christmas For Me

All I need/have to say is that I bought Sufjan Stevens new Christmas CD.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ready, Set, Action!

So I went to my first book club this morning, and I really enjoyed it even though I didn't say a word during the conversation. To be honest I feel somewhat intimidated by the brains that are in that circle. But I really enjoyed it and I really am going to try to make this a weekly event, if work will allow this. So they're reading through the book Simply Christian by N.T. Wright and its my first Wright book and I really like what he has to say.

Just a few quoates from the book that really got me thinking.

"Not all Jews of this period believed in or wanted a coming Messiah. But those who did, an they were many, cherished a frequently repeated set of expectations as to what the anointed one would do when he arrived. He would fight the battle against Israel's enemies-specifically, the Romans. He would rebuild, or at least cleanse and restore, the Temple (a task that, as noted earlier, the Herod family had undertaken, to press their claim to be the true royal house)."

"Nobody was expecting anyone, least of all al Messiah, to rise from the dead. A crucified Messiah was a failed Messiah."

"Nothing in Jewish literature or imagination had prepared people for a portrait like this. If the gospel writers had something up to fit a preconceived notion the one thing they would certainly had done is describe the risen Jesus shining like a star. Accoding to Daniel 12:3 (a very influential passage in Jewish thought at the time), this was how the righteous would appear at the resurrection. But Jesus didn't."

"The death of Jesus of Nazareth as the king of the Jews, the bearer of Israel's destiny, the fulfillment of God's promises to his people of old, is either the most stupid, senseless wast and misunderstanding the world has ever seen, or it is the fulcrum around which world history turns."

"The music he wrote must now be performed. The early disciples saw this, and got on with it."

The last two quotes are the two that really got me thinking and the feeling I got from reading this last chapter is that its time to stop talking about Jesus and talking about the church and talking about how we are Christians and it's time to start living that out,it's time to stop doing church and start being the church, it's time to we allow Jesus to effect us in day to day life, in our every thought, every action.

It's time we the musicians start to play this music that has been written for us.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Marriage vs. Dating

So as most of you know, the wedding day is approaching, not super fast but June 30th will be here before you know. So I've been thinking about wedding and the bond of marriage and I get excited about it and wanting to be that person for Courtney. But I've also been thinking about the difference it will be between dating and marriage and how much more of a commitment it is and how much deeper everything runs. Divorce is not an option in a marriage situation, not in my case at least and most of my friends. You don't just break up with each other in a marriage.

Marriage is one of the main metaphors God used to describe our relationship to Him. He uses this on an individual level and a corporate level, a husband and wife, Christ and the church and Christ obviously as the groom and we as his bride.

Well I've been thinking about the marriage vs dating situation and how much deeper everything goes. When you date someone, you do things so that the other person will think you're awesome and if they don't think your awesome then you usually take your show and go somewhere else and see if someone else likes it better. But if you are convinced that the other one likes you, and you don't want to take your show somewhere else, you then start to perform less and less and settle into something more like loving and serving that person and thats usually where marriage comes into play.

However when I think about the church, we tend to be more partial to dating, we still like to put on the show and we still like to do things that make us feel better and make us happy and make us comfortable and make us feel safe and so we have gotten to the point to where we have settled for simply talking about the Kingdom rather than actively living it out.

Think about this marriage metaphor, the people in attendance that day can obviously see that the husband and wife are in love. The minister asks the groom, "Do you take this woman to be your bride?" and with strength in his voice he says, "I do" and then he turns to the bride and asks, "Do you take this man to be your husband?" and as the bride, we say, "I want to" and we really do mean it and we really do want to be his bride, but we just can't say I do. Why is this?

You see, it seems to me that somewhere along this road we've been traveling on, we as the church and we as individuals have decided we'd rather just date.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Im Gonna Lay Down My Burdens

So I realize that its been years it seems like since I last blogged, so I do apologize to all 3 of you that actually read this. No need to make excuses for my laziness in blogging, but I do finally feel like things are starting to fall into place.

Im going to be trying to blog at least once a week to at least give a bit of an update on how the week is going and my thoughts at the time, but hopefully I'll blog more than that.

A friend of mine from this summer recommended that I read the book The Kingdom of Couches by Will Walker. Up to this point of reading it, I would recommend it, nothing that just makes your jaw drop, but still a good book and a very good book on the importance of community, so with that said, Id say yeah, give it a look.

He poses a very intersting question to some of his students at the University of Texas, he's on staff at Texas with Campus Crusade for Christ, he asks, "If I could choose when to go to heaven, would I rather die and go right away or keep living and go later?" To sum up his answer to why he would rather stay here on earth, he quotes Paul from Philippians1:23-25 where Paul realizes that of course it would be better to go to Heaven, but also recognizes that it would be better for the Philippians that he stay for their "progress and joy in the faith." He realizes that the Philippians need him.

Where am I going with all of this you ask, well here is where Im trying to go. Paul would rather stay here and edure this place just a little bit longer for the sake of the Philippians. He realized that this life is not about him, he gave up his status of being someone important and in a powerful position to follow Christ and submit to his authority.

I too often see in myself and in other Christians where we are still way too concerned about ourselves and even though we say we are not about ourselves and selfless, deep down, the reason we do the things we do is to make ourselves look just a little bit better, even if its just a little bit better. Will Walker says that we don't have to die to ourselves, all we have to do is "spiritualize my pursuit of being important."

Jesus' hope for us a followers is that we may be brought "to complete unity to let the world know that [God] sent [Jesus] and has loved us even as He has loved Jesus." It is still more than just a community, but rather a missional community as Walker puts it. "People infused with the love of God, overflowing to everyone around them." People who instead of striving to be important, rather strive to be significant. If we as a community and not just as a community here in Knoxville or whatever city you may be in, but on the bigger scale, a community of Christ followers are taking the Gospel to the people around us and those around us don't see a community then it seems fake or irrelevant, but if they see a community and don't hear the gospel, then it comes across as being exclusive and some type of club to be in or even worse, judgmental.

Will we decide to settle for the good life of being important, making enough money, being part of a church, looking good to everyone else, or will we strive to significant and strive to become one so that the world around us will know that Jesus is who he says he is.

Read Hebrews 11:13-16

May God not be ashamed to be called our God