Monday, July 7, 2008

Patriotic Service

This past Sunday, my church did what I suspect 95% of churches also did that morning- have a patriotic 4th of July type service. We began by standing, and pledging allegiance to the US flag and then the Christian flag, and lastly the Bible. After singing the national anthem, we sang several other patriotic songs like "My Country Tis of Thee," etc.

I am very uncomfortable with this. Historically, God has called His people to reject the ways of the Empire and to take part in His counter-cultural movement. Not necessarily to be anti-empire or anti-American, but definitely to place our allegiance in a movement contrary to their values.

Yet, here we are literally singing praise songs to America in the House of God.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

random awesomeness

On the first friday of every month, the downtown stores here in my town stay open later into the evenings and serve refreshments to whoever comes in. "First Fridays" is one of those little things that make living in such a small town bearable. (The upcoming Blueberry Festival is another one).

Last night the wife and I were killing another Friday by walking around and visiting the downtown stores (most of which are antique stores) when I came across what I consider to be a gem. You may have to bear with me, because not everyone seems to be as excited about this as I do.

Lying in the old book stack in one of the stores was a first edition printing of "Wholly Sanctified," by J.O. McClurkan. This book was printed in 1895, and it certainly shows. Due to the aging, the book looks like it was printed on brown paper bags as opposed to white paper.

For those of you that may not be aware, McClurkan was the founder of Trevecca Nazarene University- as well as one of the major players in the Holiness Movement at the turn of the century that led to our denomination. He also served many years as pastor at Nashville First at the beginning of the 20th century. This guy definitely makes the Nazarene Hall of Fame whenever they decide to create such a group- surely there is room in our fancy new headquarters, right?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Are All Welcome?

A 6 ft, 225 pound "child" with autism has made a habit of spitting and urinating during church AND often requires cloth restraints to keep him from hurting others.

As a leader of the church, what is the appropriate response? Asking the parents to step in and then filing a restraining order?

After reading the story, is there something the priest should have done instead? What would your move have been?

Monday, April 7, 2008

My philosophy of ministry

I really think that I only have one responsibility as a youth pastor, and that is to hand out this shirt to every teenager I meet.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hope I'm Worth It....

Maybe you've heard this story before:

The father's name was John Griffith. He had lost all he had in the stock market crash. He moved to Mississippi where he took a job as bridge operator for a railroad trestle. In 1937 he was involved in a horrible accident. One day his 8 year-old son, Greg, spent the day with his Dad at work. The boy poked around the office and asked dozens of questions - just like little boys do. The bridge was over a river and when-ever a ship came John had to open the bridge to allow the ships to pass. The day the boy was there with his father a ship was coming so John opened up the draw bridge. After a moment or two he realized his son wasn't in the office and as he looked around, to his horror, John saw his son climbing around on the gears of the draw bridge. He hurried outside to rescue his son but just then he heard a fast approaching passenger train, the Memphis Express, filled with 400 people. He yelled to his son, but the noise of the now clearing ship and the oncoming train made it impossible for the boy to hear him. All of a sudden John Griffith realized his horrible dilemma. If he took the time to rescue his son the train would crash killing all aboard, but if he closed the bridge, the boy would be crushed in the gears. John would sacrifice his son. He made the horrible decision, pulled the lever and closed the bridge. It is said, as the train went by John could see the faces of the passengers, some reading, some even waving, all of them oblivious to the sacrifice that had just been made for them

The father had to be absolutely heartbroken about the sacrifice of his son. If I found out that my life had been spared because of this father's sacrifice, I would do everything in my power to make sure that my life was worth it. I would be a great person, try to cure cancer, anything to show the father that he might have made the right decision.

In this Easter season, my mind often goes to the sacrifice that the Father made- watching as His Son was ridiculed, spit on, beaten, and murdered. And more than anything else, this realization makes me want to live my life so that the Father doesn't think he made a mistake by paying such a high price so that I may one day live.

Easter should be a celebration, but I can't help but think that it should also serve to keep us accountable for our actions.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm a boring and slightly bottled man

Right now I am reading the autobiography of Eric Clapton. It's not exactly heavy reading, but I do enjoy a good biography from time to time. What strikes me the most about him (and other artists) is the way music became a soothing medication for the sicknesses in his life. When he was brokenhearted by tragedy, he churned out "Tears in Heaven." When he was hopelessly in love with the wife of one of his best friends (George Harrison of the Beatles), he created many tracks, including "Layla."

I want that. Well, not that exactly. I want to have some sort of outlet where I can take what is swimming around on the inside and make it something constructive on the outside. When I get upset, I'm just upset until it passes. I think I need a hobby.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Im outta here

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'll be back in my home state for about a week- so expect to hear from me later!

While I'm out- spend your hours looking at If you can't enjoy yourself here, then you're just not alive.