Saturday, September 22, 2007

Church, etc...

Recently I have avoided much theological talk so as to avoid the opposition to my thoughts. Some, though well intended, are all I need to ruin a perfectly beautiful day. So, call me a glutton for punishment, here I go again...

As I too often feel I need to do, I think I need to remind people of my point of view concerning Christianity and the Church at large. I don't ever try to discuss these topics as a "them" thing. Its always "us," "me," or "we." Never "them" or "you all." I find myself as part of a group that has a lot of problems. And I don't mind pointing that out. Call it raising awareness. There are lots of things wrong with our world and with Christianity. That's all there is to it. Pain and suffering and ignorance and hypocrisy and and beauty and love and hate all intertwined for some reason. Good is there, but bad is there as well. WE need to acknowledge that. That's what I try to do, I think. And I know it gets taken as criticism, and it is to some degree. But I don't care. I feel like a lot of Christians are like the kid who broke his mom's flower vase. It wasn't mom or dad, and he was the only other one there. But he flatly denies it when confronted by his parents. People CHOOSE to ignore problems. And I won't be counted in that number.

The Bible says that true religion is taking care of widows and orphans. This was huge to Hebrews. And there's so much emphasis throughout the Bible, particularly by Jesus and the first century church, on taking care of the poor. I don't feel like church is church unless these things are a priority. Jesus specifically went to the marginalized and oppressed. Though we try to portray American evangelical Christianity as the minority, we most certainly aren't beaten down or outcast anymore. We need to be about the things our God cares about. Jesus's first message in the temple begins with "I've come to preach the good news to the poor... to free the oppressed..." The famous Sermon on the Mount begins with Jesus saying "blessed are the poor." It is obvious that Christianity needs to focus on ending extreme poverty. It is a basic principle of our faith.

That phrase ("ending extreme poverty") seems to open a whole can of worms for some people. Few things make me as angry as Christians who object when this is brought up. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "Well John David, Jesus says that the poor will always be with us." And that's so sad to use that as a defensive comment to say that physical and material needs aren't as important as someone's "salvation."

First of all, a lil background on the situation. In this text, the disciples are all chillin with Jesus when a woman comes in, breaks open a bottle of expensive perfume and pours it on Jesus. Its a special thing. Very personal, symbolic act of sacrifice and annointing. But then Judas gets all pissed and says (probably very pieously) that they could have sold the perfume and given the money to the poor. Jesus replies that "you will always have the poor among you. You will not always have me."

Okay now, let's talk. Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy here. In context, it says there will always be poor, so be generous and help them out (Deut chpt 15). Also, he's talking about that moment in time when someone does something personal and intimate with him. And, HE NEVER SAYS WE CAN'T END EXTREME POVERTY!!!

Extreme poverty is the lack of basic needs for survival: medicine, water, food, shelter, clothing... The basics just to live. 1.2 billion people are in this state right now. At this very moment. 50,000 people die daily from lack of basic needs right now. Fifty thousand. There are books being written, organizations rising up, people raising their voice on how we can end this right now. Literally. Its possible, because of the massive amounts of wealth in the Western World (, to practically end extreme poverty right now. We, as a church, need to be at the forefront of this movement. We need to be the ones giving our money. Getting our hands dirty. Befriending the homeless. Making sure people can feed their kids. Pushing for legislation for the US government to put our tax dollars towards this cause. We should be the driving force behind it all.

Instead, I hear skepticism. I hear people quoting Jesus as to why we can't do it. I hear lies.

You may not agree with me on everything. Fine. To quote Rhett Butler from Gone With The Wind: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." I think there are more important things to worry about than splitting hairs on theological issues. At the end of the day, our concern needs to come to down to loving this world. Both the people on it and the planet itself. The world is crying for social justice. I just think we should be the ones coming to help.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Not just another day...

Lots of things happened today.
Lots of things.

We bought bedside tables finally.

I had pizza.

Brittany wrecked my car (slightly, but not totally).

I figured out that I really do love Band of Horses. Their CD simply pales in comparison to their live show when the music is turned up to eleven. Still good. Just not as good.

I remembered that I miss Spacehog. What a great Brit pop band.

Tim invited me over to watch Saturday's big UFC fight. Four words: Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell

And I wrote out a new blog while driving home from BFE Kentucky. It'll take a while to type it all out. Tomorrow perhaps. And yes, I'm sure it'll be everything that you hope it will be.

So, until next time...
Holler back.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The long and short of it all...

A few things I'd like to point out. Bunch of lil quick things I'd like to say.

I have been thinking about ways to save money as a country. Things we could do to use our budget to the benefit of the world. I know it won't ever happen. But I can have an opinion anyway. I would shut down most of NASA. Space flights? No more. Research missions? Nope. I'd stop all that right now. Granted, I understand the reasoning behind it all. Trying to learn more about our universe and all. Trying to find viable options for our future. I get all that. But if we don't do something about our world now, who cares about the future??? We have things to solve. And they need solving quickly. Sorry if you are one of those who believe we actually walked on the moon. I think its ludacris. NASA admits we don't have the technology currently to put a man on the moon. I think its silly to believe we did back in the 60's. Call me a conspiracy theorist if you like. I won't apologize for not believing everything I see on TV, hear in the news, or that the government tells me. I question. Anyway, the Space program currently is a huge money pit. End it. Put the money elsewhere.

Did you know that if our government would keep taxes where they are and only raise the budget 1 to 2 percent, we could eliminate half of our national debt in a matter of years if the economy stays on the path its on? Its crazy to think how much money our government wastes on crap we don't know about. I get angry thinking about it. I'd like to see a real list of where all our taxes go. I'm sure it would sicken the American public to know the truth.

Athlete has a new album coming out. David Crowder Band has a new album coming out. Halo 3 is coming out. Wa Woo Wee Wah. I am excited. September 25th is going to be one McSweet day!

Clove=calm euphoria

I'm trying to decide on what tattoo work I'd like to have done next. Its important. Its kind of permanent. I want it to look good. I also want it to express what I am. Its a heavy thing.

I have developed a severe distaste for all things pop music. Hate is not a fitting word. I loathe pop music. I abhor it. There is so little musical and lyrical integrity anymore. If I hear "Hey There Delilah" or "Umbrella" one more time, I'm gonna go insane. Thank God for people like Bright Eyes and Lucero and Justin Timberlake and Ryan Adams and Wilco and Jack Johnson and David Crowder Band and Charlie Hall and Athlete... they help me not kill my radio. They actually are forward thinking artists. I wish there were more of them in the world.

I still think doubting can be a good thing. Many people have expressed their opinion that doubting is a lack of faith. I disagree. Doubting is natural for some. Others don't doubt so much. Some of us are inquisitive and like to question and dissect things. I am one of those people. I like to ask questions and get to the root of things. I don't believe in "blind faith." I don't take spiritual matters lightly. I certainly don't take my spirituality lightly. And I'm human. I'm not perfect. I don't know everything. The Bible doesn't answer every question I have. The church is in a state of disarray across the world. Christendom can hardly agree on anything. Millions of people are so poor they don't have basic needs like food and water and medicine. The president has fund raising parties charging a thousand dollars a plate while children sleep on the streets blocks away. Genocide is happening right now in Africa. So much crap. So much wrong. So much...

So I don't take things lightly. My heart is heavy and it hurts. I have hope for change. I have hope for a better world. I like talking with people about things we can do to help make that possible. Little things. Big things. Anything. And the older I get, the less I know. The more I feel the need to ask questions. The more I feel the need to voice these doubts I have inside. To get them out into the open. Hoping I'm not the only weird thinking some of these things I do. Its not a lack of faith in Christ. Its a desire to understand my world.

My opinions on reformed theology and Calvanism haven't changed. Just in case you wanted to know.

Thanks for reading along. I turned commenting back on. Please don't start throwing me under the bus again or writing ignorantly--I'll be forced to turn it back off.

Holler back.

"A perfect faith is nowhere to be found, so it follows that all of us are partly unbelievers."- John Calvin