Someone Has a Sense of Humor…

I had a pretty funny experience last night. We were given tickets to a concert with “Big Daddy Weave” and “Mark Schultz,” two Christian artists, along with a group of other people from Central. It was at the Celebrity Theater; which if you’re not from AZ is a venue with a rotating stage.

I had never heard of either of these two groups and I knew that they were not really my style of music but I was looking forward to spending time with the group. After dinner with everyone, we went to the concert. It had already begun so we tried to find our seats in the dark when I realized that our seats were in the second row! I could literally have leaned over and touched the band as they spun around in front of me.

We were so close that the band members were making eye contact with me and I found myself smiling back. We had a great time and I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of it all.

Vanity on the Rise

A recent study has found that today’s college students are more narcissistic (characteristic of those having an inflated idea of their own importance) than previous generations. They attribute it to things like MySpace and YouTube.

It raises an interesting thought. Does our current cultural love of things like personal web sites (MySpace), shows about our peers and possibly us (reality tv), and websites where we can be famous for our own home videos (YouTube) foster an attitude of narcissism? Even as you read this you are reading off of my personal blog webpage! Maybe we are just fully tapping into the “American Dream,” the idea that anyone can make it big if they work at it enough. Or maybe we are heading a direction that few of us realize.

With technology always on the rise I fear that we may become more about ourselves and less about true community. Many people thought that technology would bring us together but it seems to be doing the opposite. How do we have an attitude like that of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:3-5) and humbly put others before ourselves when it gets easier and easier to focus on us? Take it even further…why waste time with other people when we can be truly self sufficient? I believe that the Church (as it should be, not necessarily how it currently is) has to be on the forefront of helping people get back into true community with one another and with our Creator. Then maybe people would realize the value of fellowship again and see the beauty of God’s creation coming together in all of its diversity.

“It”

As per request and continuing with my poetry theme, I decided to post a poem I recently used in a sermon.

“They laugh and smile and talk and embrace and I do too. But sometimes my smile covers a tear. And no one knows. Right now my tear is from an ‘it’. I’m sorry, so very sorry I did ‘it’. I feel like a broken record and the skip is the ‘it’ that never completely goes away. What would they think if they knew my ‘it’? Would the laughs vanish? The smiles disappear? Would the talk be hurled at me? The embrace taken back? Do they have an ‘it’? What do they do with ‘it’? Why do we act for each other when there is no play? There is only life. And that life includes a lot of ‘it’. The point is not to celebrate ‘it’. But only to admit to ‘it’. I am told Jesus knows everything which means he knows about ‘it’. And yet, He whispers in words too good to be true … I died for you. ‘It’ is dealt with. Don’t worry about ‘it’.” –Chip Heim

Boxes

I was moved by a great poem in Brian McLaren’s book, The Last Word and the Word After That.

Boxes

We like things boxed. Cereal,

Candy, soap, gifts, and corpses.

They seem safe when boxed, as are

We. As is God and other

Potential dangers. So we

Sleep in a box, awake in

A box, shower in a box,

Refrigerate food, store knives,

Drive to work, work for hours, where

We stare each day at boxes,

In boxed lives. Boxed-in we live.

Through boxed windows we look out, in.

God, once boxed, broke out, broke free.

But we keep pushing God back,

Our Jack, popping out on cue,

To music, though it’s not fair.

Nests have birds. Dens have foxes.

God will have none of our small

Boxes. God is free, and we

Are too.

Hypocrisy at its Finest

Finally, someone calls it like it is and points out the obvious reality that nobody seems willing to admit.

Check this out.

A New Look at Preaching

A verse in 1 Corinthians stood out to me today and I admit that I’m a bit perplexed by it. The verse is 1:17:

“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”

When I think of good preaching, wisdom and eloquence fit nicely within my view. They seem to me to be two great aspects of an effective sermon. However, Paul seems to think that using them (to what extent?) has the potential to empty the cross of its power. That is a pretty in-your-face statement. Wisdom and eloquence could have the potential to cause people to focus on the preacher instead of the God being preached about but it seems like even then those are the people who change my view of God. Andy Stanley comes to mind. He has some of the most insightful thoughts on Scripture that I would naturally classify as wisdom but I’m not sure that Paul would. As of now, I guess I’ll put this in the category of Christ being made powerful in our weakness although I admit that I’m trying to wrap my mind around this concept.