Thursday, June 29, 2006

"The Crazy Eddie of Eternity"

I'm a youth minister and it's summer, so I'm insanely busy. When things slow down, I do plan on writing my own stuff on here again. Even so, I wanted to share with you this beautiful illustration of Grace from Robert Farrar Capon's book "Kingdom, Grace and judgment". (Note: Capon's stuff is over the top and not for the faint of heart).

Capon has spent the chapter discussing the parable of the King's Son's Wedding (Matthew 22:1-14). He then goes into the following illustration:

"What then do I make of, 'Many are called but few are chosen'? Just this. The sad truth of our fallen condition is that we don't want anything to do with a system of salvation that works by grace through faith. We want our merits, sleazy though they may be, rewarded--and we want everyone else's obviously raunchy behavior punished. We are like pitiful little bargain-hunters going to a used-car lot with $265 worth of hard-earned cash in our pockets and looking for the ultimate transport of delight. But just as we are about to give up and go away, the salesman comes up to us with a smile on his face. 'You really want a car?' he whispers in our ear. 'Come around to the back of the lot. Have I got a deal for you!' And back there, gleaming in the sun is a brand-new Porsche. 'It's yours for free,' he says. 'The boss just likes you; here are the keys.'
Many are called: there is no one in the whole world, good, bad, or indifferent, who isn't walked around to the back of the lot by the divine Salesman and offered heaven for nothing. But few are chosen: because you know what most of us do? First thing--before we so much as let ourselves sink into the leather upholstery or listen to the engine purr--we get suspicious. We walk around the car and kick the tires. We slam the doors. We jump up and down on the bumpers to test the shocks. And then, even if we do decide to take it, we start right in worrying about the warranty, fussing about the cost of insuring a sports car, and even--God help us--fuming about whether, if our no-good neighbor came in here, he might be offered a Roles Royce Silver Cloud. But God doesn't help us--at least not with all that tough-customer routine. He just sits up there in the front office and remains Mr. Giveaway, the Mad Dog Tyson of Parousia Motors, the Crazy Eddie of Eternity whose prices are insane. He gives heaven to absolutely everybody: nothing down, no interest, no payments. And he makes hell absolutely unnecessary for anybody. The only catch is, you have to be as crazy as God to take the deal, because your every instinct will be to distrust such a cockamamy arrangement. You have to be willing to believe in an operation that would put any respectable God out of the deity business.
Which, nicely enough, lands us right back at the parable: a king who throws parties any other king would be ashamed of, representing a God who refuses to act like one; and a hell only for idiots who insist on being serious."

May you delight in the Grace of God that frees you to live in His reality rather than your own.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

It's called satire...

My friend David Fraze used this clip at our workcamp this week to illustrate the negative image of Jesus that many people have (even many christians).

P.S. Click Here to see all 4 videos in the series.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Lost Message & The Four Most Important Things In The World

This past weekend I finished Steve Chalke's excellent book The Lost Message of Jesus. In it, Chalke recounts the experience of a friend who attended an Easter service at a large church. During the service, the church's children's minister explained that every child who entered the doors of that particular church learned the "4 most important things in the world". He then called an 8 year old girl to the stage to tell the congregation what exactly those 4 things were. The girl listed them as:
  1. God created me.
  2. I am a sinner.
  3. Jesus came to die for me.
  4. Until I accept him as Lord and savior I cannot recieve the abundant life God has for me.
Chalke says that his friend was stunned by the list. She was especially surprised by #2. She wondered if "I am a sinner" is really one of the 4 most important things for an 8 year old to know. Chalke wonders if there might be a better list for children to learn, such as:
  1. Jesus explained that God loves them unconditionally.
  2. God longs for them to be a part of his plan for creation.
  3. Jesus teaches that no-one can keep them from this destiny except their own decision.
  4. Jesus' death and his resurrection from the dead prove that he was telling the truth so we can trust him.
That second list is what I want my daughter to know, or better yet, to believe. That second list is what I want the people I work with to understand. That second list is a great thumbnail sketch of what drives me. That list could change the world.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Thursday, June 08, 2006

More Stream of Consciousness Observations

Busy week. Lots of stuff going on. We'd appriciate your prayers.
All I have time for this week is a list of stream of consciousness observations on life in general:

  • I think my daughter grows and inch taller, her hair gets an inch longer, and she gets a lot smarter every time I blink. (I'm trying to blink less)
  • Every day I become more and more aware of how "out of my league" my wife is, and every day I thank God that she doesn't seem to be aware of this obvious fact.
  • I wonder if it's a bad thing that lately I've been getting most of my news from the Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Relevant Magazine's Slices.
  • The fact that Derek Webb doesn't get more airplay on Christian radio speaks volumes about the Christian subculture.
  • Why do I even have a home phone number anymore?
  • Isn't it amazing that so many preachers on T.V. can somehow make the message of Jesus, the homeless Son of God who wouldn't stop talking about how God was with the poor, into a message of how you can be healthy, wealthy, and popular?
  • What would happen if the church stopped worrying so much about making sure that people know that we're "right", and started pouring our energy into being good to the world we've alienated?
  • Would Jesus be allowed to speak at your church? Would he be invited back?
  • Does everyone have trouble finding the time to mow their grass?
  • What do they put in diet drinks that makes them so addictive? I mean tastes terrible, but I crave the stuff.
  • One day I hope my daughter looks back and remembers that her Dad loved Jesus, her Dad loved her Mom, and her Dad loved her...that he always tried to keep his word to her...and that he gave every part of his life to something he believed in.