Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I turned 34-years-old today. It feels oddly significant to me, though I'm not totally sure why. It may be because I got confused last year and thought I was turning 34 then, and was pleasantly surprised when I figured out my mistake. It may be because, as my friend Matthew Paul Turner reminded me this morning, I'm older than Jesus was at the time of his crucifixion. It may just be because I realize that if I live 34 more years, I'll be 68. Who knows? Maybe I'm just feeling particularly narcissistic and self-important today :)

At any rate, today I'm thinking about my life. All in all, the first 34 years have been fantastic, full of wonder, love and adventure. The most amazing person I've ever met married me and agreed to spend the rest of her life with me. We became parents of 2 wonderful little girls who teach me, make me laugh, and leave me awestruck every day. I worked for 10 years in youth ministry and then transitioned into preaching. I earned a Master's Degree in Theological Studies from Lipscomb. I've taught at the university level. I've found a church home that legitimately feels like family. It's been a good 34 years.

Additionally, I've also been thinking about what I'd like to do in the next 34 years:
  • I want to become as compassionate and loving as my wife.
  • I want my daughters to know beyond a shadow of a doubt how much I love them and how much I believe in them.
  • I want to continuously communicate to my wife how much I love, respect, admire, and appreciate her.
  • I want to write a good book and become a published author.
  • I want to make sure I communicate to my parents how much I appreciate who they are, and how thankful I am for the love and support they've given me.
  • I want to make sure my sister knows I'm proud of her.
  • I want to really learn how to play the guitar well.
  • I'd like to cultivate new friendships with people I haven't even met yet, while retaining and continuing to cultivate those friendships that have breathed life into me.
  • I want to pray and mediate more.
  • I want to continue to grow and learn every day for the rest of my life
  • I want to spend more time with people who make me laugh.
  • I want to be there more for people who cry.
  • I want to live a life full of shared moments that my wife and children will remember for the rest of my life...the kind of moments that will make them smile, even after I'm gone.
  • I want take better care of myself by eating better and exercising more.
  • I want to be an agent of hope, peace, love, and reconciliation
  • I want to be someone worthy of respect.
  • I want to care less who's watching
  • I want to reflect the characteristics of the God I see revealed in Jesus.
  • I want to listen more.
  • I want to learn to see each moment with a sense of wonder.
  • I want to make sure that my heart never becomes callous to the suffering of others.
  • I want to live a life worthy of the blessings I've been given.
Grace and Peace,

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A few words regarding Tiger Woods...

Several months ago, I was troubled by the almost gleeful judgment and condemnation that was heaped onto Michael Jackson upon his death...often by people who claim to follow Jesus. Now, in the wake of the Tiger woods scandal, I am experiencing a sense of deja vu. Woods' actions were certainly immoral and he violated both his marriage vows and his wife's trust. This is between him and his family...not us. The truth is, he is a fallible human being, just like the rest of us...who seems to be struggling to put his life and maybe even his family back together. The second we can no longer feel sympathy for him, his wife, and his children as human beings, is the second we stop being human ourselves. Followers of Jesus are to be people of grace. We have received grace, and we are to embody it. Grace. Healing. Redemption. Reconciliation. Shouldn't people who have received (and are receiving) such things be the first to reflect it back to those who need it most?

Sorry if I'm rambling, but it really bothers me. I'm reminded of a passage from David Dark's book The Sacredness of Questioning Everything:
"Pervert is a verb, and we do it all the time. To pervert is to degrade, to cut down to size – and we do it to people in our minds. We devalue them. We reduce them to the limitations of our appetites, of our sense of what might prove useful to us, of our sense of what strikes us as appropriate. We often only file them away – these living and breathing human beings – into separate files of crazy-making issues-talk. When we think of a person primarily as a problem, a potential buyer, a VIP, a celebrity, or an undocumented worker, we’re reducing them to the tiny sphere of our stunted attention span. This is how perversion works. Perversion is a failure of the imagination, a failure to pay adequate attention.
While perversion appears to be the modus operandi of governments and the transnational corporations they serve – and the language both speak in their broadcasts – the reductionism implicit in perversion doesn’t ultimately work. It doesn’t do justice to the fullness of what we are. We, the people, are always more than our use value. Like the God in whose image people are made, people are irreducible. There’s always more to a person – more stories, more life, more complexities – than we know. The human person, when viewed properly, is unfathomable, incalculable, and dear. Perversion always says otherwise. Perversion is a way of managing, getting down to business, getting a handle on people as if they were things. A person reduced to a thing has been, in the mind of the perverter, dispensed with, taken care of, filed away. Perversion is pigeonholing…
I tried to share some of this with my high school students, and a fellow who’s always quick with an encouraging, conspiratorial smile walked up after class (always a rewarding experience) and said, “So we’re all perverts then.”
“Yep,” I said. “But we aren’t only perverts. We certainly underestimate each other, misperceiving and misrepresenting other people from one moment to the next. But we also get it right sometimes. We aren’t just perverts. In fact, if we say of someone that he or she is a pervert and nothing but a pervert, we’re being perverts speaking perversely as perverts do.” Here I had to pause to take a breath. “Like calling someone a fool or an idiot. It’s one of those things Jesus tells us to never ever do. Calling someone a pervert without acknowledging our own inner pervert might lead to the destruction – or at least the perversion – of our own soul. We become perverts in our determination to catch a pervert.”

Grace and Peace,