Saturday, May 30, 2009

Somebody's closer...

Yeah, I'm that guy.

I Google my name occasionally.

Tonight, I Googled it and discovered that I've finally cracked the top 10. In fact, my blog is number 6.

When I make it into the top 5, I'll throw a party. You're all invited.

Well... most of you.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

If you're not pissed off...'re not paying attention.

**NOTE** If swearing bothers you, don't read this. Please, don't read this. Its not because I swear, but because I link to others who do swear in this post. So if you find swearing offensive, please don't read this. And if you choose to anyway, don't be mad at me. I'll delete your comments on here and won't listen to it in person if they pertain to your being offended at this post. Come back in a day or two and read my posts on Spain. But for today, I find this post necessary.

With that being said:

If you're not pissed off, you're not paying attention.

I believe that... wholeheartedly. I watch documentaries, listen to the news, and read online all the time. I keep myself immersed in politics, religion and world issues. Why? Not because I want to stay angry, but because I want to know what's going on. Does it cause me to be angry often? Yes. (My wife is a special woman to be able to live with me and love me day after day.) There are some days when I'm mad at the world. There are some days when I don't get why others don't understand. There are some days where I cry occasionally because the current state of the world is so sad.

If you've ever read "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" by Carson McCullers, you would remember Jake Blount. Jake goes around trying to get others to understand what's wrong with the world, and finds himself unable to get anyone to truly understand his message. To him, there are very few others who understand. I feel like that at times. Not that people don't listen to me--because my wife and friends and family do listen. Then too, there's all you who read this blog. I guess its that I don't think enough people are pissed off. There's too much wrong and bad and evil and pain and suffering and injustice in the world to not be pissed off about it. Shielding one's self from the dirty, gritty side of life doesn't lead to a fuller life--its just leads to a life lived in ignorance and vanity.

I've been thinking about it a lot lately. Then Eugene Cho goes and hits it on the head.

Go read his post here.

(If his use of the word f**k bothers you, or you think its gratuitous, I'm linking some recent blogging about swearing. Jonathan Brink discusses it as a dad and Christian here. Angela Harms writes about it from a mom's perspective here.)

Christians need to be angrier. People in general need to be angrier. We need to do something about this state we're in. I don't have all the answers to those problems, but I do know two things: 1, we can do something about the world's problems together; 2, action starts with emotion. So I think if you'll get angry, too, then we can do something about it.

In the 1976 film "Network," there's a great monologue. I keep going back to it today. Running the final lines over and over in my head. It is as follows:

"I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's no one anywhere that seems to know what to do with us.

Now into it: We know the air is unfit to breathe, our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had 15 homicides and 63 violent crimes as if that's the way it's supposed to be.

We know things are bad. Worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything, everywhere is going crazy so we don't go out anymore. We sit in a house as slowly the world we're living in is getting smaller and all we say is, "Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster, and TV, and my steel belted radials and I won't say anything." Well I'm not going to leave you alone.

I want you to get mad. I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot. I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crying in the streets. All I know is first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, "I'm a human being. Goddammit, my life has value."

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" I want you to get up right now. Get up. Go to your windows, open your windows, and stick your head out, and yell, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

Things have got to change my friends. You've got to get mad. You've got to say, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open your window, stick your head out and yell, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

This world is not going to change unless we do something about it. I don't have all the answers. I don't know how to approach these huge changes that are necessary. But we've got to start somewhere. We've got to do something. Like Eugene Cho says, because we are aware of the issues and have been changed by love ("transformed by Christ"), we need to act. Love and anger. Together. Acting out.

These three quotes are on my lips today:

"I am a human being. G******it, my life has value!"

"I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

"Love your neighbor as yourself."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Who wants to pre-order one?

Its the American Patriot's Bible! Woo wee! Just what we've all been waiting for!

My favorite part has got to be: "I think that most of our hard-working citizens have a belief in their hearts that the Bible certainly has influenced may of our founding documents - documents such as the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and numbers of others. But they really can't put their hands on any valid proof of concrete facts concerning what they believe in their hearts about the Bible, about God, and about America. This is what The American Patriot's Bible will provide."

Thank you, Thomas Nelson Publishers. I needed a laugh today.

UPDATE: A couple of blogs I read have pointed me to Greg Boyd's blog, where he discusses the issues of such a terrible Bible as the American Patriot's edition. He writes about it on his personal blog (here) and on the Out of Ur blog (here). The general editor of the American Patriot's bible is supposed to respond to Boyd on the Out of Ur blog soon. Check the links out.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Been outta the country. Finally made that trip to Spain with the wife. It was amazing. I'll tell you all about soon as I get the time... and get over this jet lag.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Wow. Its been two years.
The day I married you was the happiest day of my life.

This just keeps getting better.
There's no other way I'd rather be doing this than with you.

You certainly are my better half.

I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you.

Brittany Marie, I love you more than you'll ever know.
You're my sunshine.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Friends helping friends--its how we roll.

I always appreciate someone using their talents and gifts to help someone else out. There's a family (part of the Broadway community) who have a very sick little girl. Now another family has stepped up to begin fund-raising to assist with medical bills. Check out the story and plan here.

Hope all you other people from Broadway that blog can post this, too.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Problem of Evil (part 4)

Finally. Many apologies, my friends. Here it is:

So far, in just three posts, we waded through some deep theological waters. A summation: evil is real and very present; how can there be a loving, merciful God and evil/pain/suffering still be so prevalent?; God either can't do anything about evil or won't do anything about evil; its easily to logically follow an argument that God is love and therefore wants to do something about evil; if that's true, then God can't do anything about evil--but why?; humans have the power of self-determination/free will; foreknowledge is not a necessary attribute of God; if God does not have foreknowledge of our choices, then she cannot prevent what she doesn't know will happen; the idea of creation ex nihilo is not (necessarily) a Biblical concept; if we read Genesis at face value, then God created the universe out of the already existing chaos; if God created the universe/world/humans out of the chaotic matter, then there is still chaos present within all of us; the higher capacity a being has for choosing good, the higher its capacity of choosing bad; God, therefore, is certainly not blameworthy for the current state of the world. (PS-if you haven't read my earlier posts, I would recommend reading them before reading this. Post 1 here. Post 2 here. Post 3 here.)

Whew. More or less, that's the best way to sum up the past 3 posts on the subject at hand. This is (probably) the last post on the Problem of Evil.

I wanted to carry out the thought that foreknowledge isn't (necessarily) an attribute of God. I won't rule it out completely simply because I admit that I, in my limited knowledge, could be entirely wrong. I will, however, say that I think that the existence of evil, the actions of God, and the ideas of Scripture make much more sense if the concept of God having foreknowledge is thrown out the window.

I think God changes his mind. (I know God isn't a "he" and doesn't have a "mind" in the same sense that we would use those words to describe a human. So forgive my inadequate vocabulary, and hang with me here.) There are a ton of verses in the Bible that clearly talk about God changing his mind, going back on what he said he'd do, and even being persuaded by a human to take different action.

Look at Exodus 32. Moses is up on the mountain with God, getting the 10 commandments. God sees all the Israelites dancing around a golden calf statue that they have created and dubbed their new god. Needless to say, God is pissed. He tells Moses to quote "leave him alone" so he can destroy them. Wow. When God reacts, he doesn't play around. But then Moses basically tells God that he'll ruin his own reputation if he chooses to kill them all. So, in Exodus 32:14, God relents and decides not to kill everyone.

God changes his mind. And, in this case, after the intercession of a human.

Why would God change his mind if already knew what was going to happen and how he would react? The point is, he didn't know what would happen and didn't know how he would react. What we have throughout the Bible is God's honest reactions to the choices of humans. If God already knew everything that was going to happen, how could he have an honest reaction to anything? He couldn't. So, when God cries (Jeremiah 14:17), loves (all over the place, like Malachi 1:2 or John 16:27), grieves (Genesis 6:6), or repents (Deuteronomy 32:36, 1st Samuel 15:11, Jeremiah 18:8, etc), then we are seeing a God who experiences the realities of the world with us. A God who is here and now--not distant and uncaring.

Listen, I'm not saying God is like us. I still hold that God is holy (totally unique) in her existence. I also understand the use of metaphor to better explain certain things. But process theology would say that as "God takes the world's evils into the divine experience, the way is opened to redeem them, because God can see possibilities that are hidden from us." (from "How Are God and Evil Related?" by David Ray Griffin) God can redeem humanity because God experiences what humanity experiences. God, through the resurrection in the person of Jesus, has offered humanity hope and a better way--this would not be possible if God did not suffer with us.

Which gets me back to the point: if God had foreknowledge of all human decisions, then he could never repent, grieve, cry, etc., and it be genuine. It would be a contrived expression--and that makes no sense.

A side note: I realize there are a few verses where it says that God does not repent. (re: Numbers 23:19, 1st Samuel 15:29, Ezekiel 24:14) In light of there being a multitude of verses saying God does repent, I think we should read those verses in their context and see that God is saying he will not repent for those specific decisions. The text isn't saying that God won't ever repent--just that God won't repent for those decisions. I don't find those verses to be universally applicable since other verses clearly say God does repent.

There you have it. This final post was just an extension of the thought that foreknowledge isn't an attribute of God. If someone maintains the ideas that God has foreknowledge and created the world ex nihilo, then I think there are some insoluble problems when talking about evil. I think the only way you can explain that God is loving and maintain those two thoughts are by using intellectual cop-outs. (re: "God's ways are higher than ours." I discussed this idea in an earlier post.)

I'd love to hear your thoughts now that I'm done with posting on the matter. What are the weaknesses in this 4 post argument? What are the strengths? How does this line of thinking offer a better Biblical perspective? Does it offer a bad Biblical perspective? Are some parts easier to take in than others? If you disagree, which parts are the hardest to deal with it? Am I as crazy as Gary Busey?

Thanks for reading along.