Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Idolatry Challenge

Before I go to bed at night, I like to have a bowl of cereal and watch a television program. Even if I am uber sleepy, I'll stay up and complete the same routine. Tonight however I thought about giving that time to God instead, but kept sitting in my chair. I got annoyed with having to change my routine, with changing something for God. I had to stop myself and consider how dependent I was becoming upon these superficial things to give me security and make me happy. In the 10 Commandments God commands us to have no other Idols before him. We often think of idols as extremes in our life, things we literally bow down to or allow to control us. But how often do we consider the little things that perhaps we consider routine or for our enjoyment? When I thought about it, I found myself hating the idea of having to give the little things I love throughout the week. I had created mini-idols in these things, and wanted to choose them over God. So I decided to challenge myself to eliminate them for a week, and then maybe a month if necessary. I can give the extra time back to God instead, and be fruitful. So my challenge to all of us is to give up something this week, besides a necessity, that we have found we can't live without. Let's see what happens.


Sometimes we like to plan our days and weeks. We pray about them, and tell ourselves that we are letting God have control. But nothing disproves that we are really giving up control like a disruption in our plans. Yesterday I had planned to get up and study, and then make it to school to sell my books before the book store closed at 3pm. I thought that I needed to do something extra in order ensure my financial stability. But God had other plans. When I went to start my car, nothing happened, and my car alarm was freaking out a little bit. So I had to wait for a tow-truck, and not only did I not make it to school by 3pm, but I missed out on an hour and a half of study time. I was fairly annoyed that this had disrupted my plan, but stopped myself to think about God's plan. I was concentrating on what I thought God stopped me from doing, instead of what he may have saved me from. The battery in my car had not actually died, there ended up being a problem with the computer that the repair man was able to fix. A problem which could have seriously disrupted my first day at work, which was today. So God saved me from a far greater mishap, one that could have affected my entire work experience. I was also humbled by this disruption, because it forced me to rely on God. It forced me to say, Ok God - I get it. And a day later I'm still here, I still have food to eat, I still have time to study. So if you are reading this, let God disrupt your plans. Even better don't make your own in the first place. Praise him for the disruptions He has caused in your life, they just might have saved it.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Crazy Love

Occasionally we have to remind ourselves of why we are here on earth. It's relatively easy to go about our days, focus on ourselves, and lose sight of why we are even able to those things. Thankfully I have been reminded about where our focus needs to be by a great little book called Crazy Love. Even though I live for God, and try to serve him righteously each day, I often do it for selfish reasons. Sometimes we do it out of guilt or fear, or just plain routine. But how often do we serve him, run to him, and seek him out of sheer love? And more importantly how often do we put ourselves and our wants aside completely, and serve him without seeking something in return? This book has reminded me that first of all, this is God's show, and we are tiny specs. We are here to glorify Him, we are here to carry out his plans for us. Nothing else we do really matters, and nothing else will hold up through the fire. Secondly, it gave me a new perspective of God's Love. The author, Francis Chan, described the feeling he gets when his daughter runs up to him when he returns home from work; and I realized that this is how God feels about us to. He is waiting for us to joyfully run to him, and learn about him, and talk to him about anything. And we also should be like that little girl running to her father. Our love needs to be that deep for God, that we run out in our bare feet, maybe barely dressed just to embrace him.

Anyone reading this might be wondering why I am writing this. It is not to exhibit anything about myself, but to make you want to run to God in the way I want to run to God right now. It is because I don't want anyone to die without knowing His love, and without being saved by it. Crazy Love was a tool God used to open my eyes, and I recommend it. But most of all, please find a way to feel God's love. It is real and deep, allow yourself to be enveloped by it. Don't hesitate before it's too late.

Friday, February 6, 2009

People You should know about

So I often run across people I think the world or at least a portion of it should know about, so in this segment I will share them.

Alexandra Burke

Most in the UK should know her name, she was the winner of X-Factor (UK's American Idol); but she is fairly unknown in the states. She's got an amazing voice and may follow in the footsteps of fellow X-Factor winner Leona Lewis. (Just an aside, I did pick Alexandra to win!) Check out some link below or just you-tube her.

Paul Stephens

I saw Paul last week at a Salvation Army event. He was simply amazing. He had everyone in the room asking "who is this guy??". I picked up his album as many others did, and have been listening ever since. Great songs, great voice, great message. What more can I say, well probably a lot but I'll stop there.


Cory Booker

A few years ago my roommate had me watch a documentary about some unknown politician named Cory Booker who was running for mayor in one of America's most troubled cities, Newark, New Jersey. He lost his first run, but sealed the deal the 2nd time around while living in the projects of Newark the whole time. He has great, new ideas for how to revolutionize a city and is starting to make some waves. He's one to watch.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Oh you dog, you

Today I read yet another article about the European community wanting to prosecute former President George W. Bush and his high officials for war crimes and crimes against humanity for the torture that took place during his administration. Torture which his administration has yet to call torture. Torture which was rationalized by his administration as well as other scholars as not actually being torture. I have read letters and essays that grossly distort and rationalize things which if mentioned over the dinner table would take away even the meanest of appetites. Letters which make tying a man up to a board and pouring water over his face legal in the face of International law which strongly says otherwise. Whether or not he will be prosecuted is one concern I have, but more importantly I wonder how one wakes up in the morning and decides that torture is not really torture perse. How one wakes up and decides to buck standards our country has followed for years. How one wakes up and rationalizes actions for himself that he has condemned for others. How so many have in essence just said, "oh, you dog, you" chuckled a little and walked away.

The biggest rationale that has been offered is the "greater good" theory. That in this time of war where every American is at risk a every moment, waterboarding one man in order to save millions is justified. That in this time of war, in this new kind of war; this is the only way we will get information. My problem with this however is where do we stop with this rationale? How do we judge whether someone is evil enough or has enough information to justify torture? And if we begin justifying torture on non-Americans to serve the greater good, what will stop us from committing such aborations on Americans?? Now that may sound a bit far fetched especially in light of the fact that each of us have certain fundamental rights; but when you open yourself up to the idea of torture, the idea that you are actually doing something good and that its not even really torture, where do you stop? In my eyes this is exacerbated by the fact that even though those that have been detained or tortured are on the wrong side of justice, they were purposely placed where they would have no rights at all. I definitely don't propose that they have nearly the amount of rights Americans enjoy, but there are basic human rights that everyone should be entitled to. They were purposely placed out of the scope of any zone of justice so that anything could be carried out without consequence. This to me and to many is unconsciounable. Moreover most reports have show that such methods are not effective.

I think we have gotten over the fact that much of what is going on is not really in the name of 9/11 so I'll just skip over that piece. But I will just note that I was there, I was frightened, I am still nervous to watch any plane fly over any building; but I still oppose this method of "finding" information.

Secondly while I didn't find that John McCain was the right person to be President, and don't always agree with him; he is the perfect example of what comes of turture. We have all heard his story, we have witnessed the lasting wounds. Most of us at heart would consider him a good and honerable man in light of some of his politics. So, how many John McCain's are we or have we tortured? Many will say this is hardly a good example because McCain was fighting for the honerable ideals of America and not for radical Jihadists. But at the heart of it did McCain have any information? Was what was done to him humane in any way? Did those who were torturing him think they were fighting for their country's greater good. Those who we are fighting against may not be fighting for something good, they might be evil; but that doesn't give us the right to change our ideals because of who we are fighting against. We cannot change what torture is based upon who it is being tortured. When an act is wrong it is wrong for all. And when we as a country give ourselves authority to bend the rules based upon who we are fighting, it opens the door for us to bend and get rid of the rules whenver they do not suit us. And that is a beginning to an end.

Lastly, as a Christian I am tought to love and to forgive. That doesn't mean that I can't fight for myself or for others, but it does mean we still adhere to righteous principles. It does mean that we are to be salt and light to the world. That when people look at us they will hopefully see the God in us. Many of the positions the Right and many Republicans are supposedly based upon Christian principles. I won't comment on those now - but I will say that torture is not light. It is not making us appealing as a nation, it is doing the exact opposite. I don't think it shows the God in anyone, or that it could be attached to Christ in any way. I know as professionals that we sometimes have to set aside some of our ethics for the roles we play, but do we set them aside enough to allow torture? And of all things how does one say that God has called them to do this?

Well that was a lot for a first post, hopefully they won't all be so serious. I know that we are moving away from this standard, from this expansion of power; but there are still many who are proponants and I hope they consider the effects of their actions.