Monday, April 21, 2014

Breaking News...

Who determines the worth of a news report?

Last week (April 13-19, 2014) we learned of two heinous events; one was an unfortunate accident, the other was a planned act of terrorism. Both included hundreds of human lives; but for the sake of this post let's not call them human, let's call them what they are, "God-image-bearers."

This first tragedy is the well known and horribly sad tale of the ferry accident that happened in South Korean waters. Over 200 God-image-bearers are feared to be dead, at this point. Parents were shown grieving and mourning as they looked at the overturned boat turned casket that, more than likely, held the bodies of their beloved children. 

I learned of this when the shining bright red and bold words, "BREAKING NEWS," flashed across my TV screen. 

The second tragedy is not well known. A school in Nigeria (the place of my birth) was a target of terrorism. Over 200 female God-image-bearers were kidnapped. It is assumed that they will be forced into slavery, brutally raped, then either killed or released. 

I learned of this horrific event when I received a text message from my wife. When I got home and checked for a story it wasn't breaking news it was just another item on the news ticker. 

I say again, the news that over 200 female God-image-bearing children were kidnapped was only news ticker worthy. The same one that carries the score to baseball games and the weekly forecast. 

Why was the 1st incident worthy of BREAKING NEWS and the other unworthy? How is that decision made? Who makes it? 

Why doesn't hearing the name "Boko Haram" elicit anger like "Nazi, Ku Klux Klan, or Westboro Baptist Church?" This group has killed over 3000 God-image-bearers in the first quarter of this year. But most of you haven't even heard of them. Why is that? 

Is it because they are Africans? Is it because we have labeled Nigeria as corrupt, and thus unworthy? Is it because they are black? Is it because there is so much unfiltered violence in the motherland that we regard it as just another bad day? 

I wonder. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Great News on Easter!!!

Jesus is alive!!!

Isn't that great news? Oh, the implications that accompany this news. What will this mean for the way we live, move, and have our being? This changes everything!

I wish. 

Nothing reveals America's great missing-the-point-of-the-resurrection than this stat.
2.26 billion dollars will be made off the purchase of peeps this year. 

2.26 billion. BILLION. B-I-L-L-I-O-N. 


This number doesn't even include other candies that will be consumed. 

Think about that for just one second. We come out of lent, a season in which people abstain from candy, only to go hard core and make up for it on the day we celebrate Christ rising from the dead. 

This is not a diatribe against peeps. It's just a reminder to celebrate appropriately. Our celebration should be appropriate to the event, right?

So, Christ is alive! Let the 2.26 number be attached to an act which befits Christ. Not personal consumption, for goodness sake. 

Lenten Blogging: The End

Today's Post: Why do you blog?

I set out at the very beginning of Lent to become more disciplined in posting on my blog. So I choose a book that offered questions (some thoughtful, some ridiculous) to stir the mind and ultimately turn into a blog post. 

Well, I did most of the days; to be honest, sometimes I got so busy that I forgot to do it until bedtime, and at that point I just said forget about it. 

The exercise did do one thing for me, it got me thinking as a writer again. Throughout most days I would say something like, "that'd make an interesting post." I've also learned to begin a post as soon as idea comes. Most times they end up as drafts that get canned, but that's ok. 

Today will be my last Lenten post, and I think the question is appropriate; "Why do you blog?"

I feel as if my blog is simply a glorified FaceBook wall, but one you (the reader) have to specifically seek out. So in that way it is less intrusive; but that's not why I blog. 

Just the other day I was speaking with a colleague about becoming more focused in my blogging. The post's I've written that consistently get the most hits are my reflections on a certain passage of scripture; so I thought, "Maybe just do a scripture blog." But no, that would get too tedious, and who am I to suggest some knowledge of scripture? In fact, when I first began posting I signed all my posts with "God's Court Jester." I did that so people wouldn't think me too serious, and would not read my words as authority, but simply an honest reflection, from a foolish doer. So for that, and many more, I don't just bible blog. 

I actually hope that my balanced posts will show any reader that I'm just a guy; just some dude who loves God, finds humor in everything (sometimes when I shouldn't), sees things through a weird lens, and fails at life regularly. 

But the reason I blog is not really for you, it's for me. It's to help myself become more thoughtful, and more considerate of my beliefs, and too face my own fears. I say "face my own fears" because one realizes what they are afraid of when pressing the "submit" button. Indeed, I've pressed it and then hurriedly deleted posts. Why? Because I'm afraid of what people will think of me. I'm afraid I can't defend a position well enough. I'm afraid my articulation was pathetic and not worth reading. So I face my fears when writing. 

So I blog to help myself talk out my thoughts. It is my way of applying the "say it out loud" rule. Something makes sense in your head, but when you say it out loud it might sound nonsensical. Like the idea I had of making my own clothes out the deer that roam the neighborhood.  It was supposed to help save money on clothes and food; but then I said it out loud. 

So blogging, for me, is saying it out loud. Sometimes I write and delete. Other times I write and disagree with myself, and sometimes I just wanna tell a story. 

If you read it regularly I'd like to say thank you and sorry. 

I will not be blogging daily, but you can expect something from me a few times a week. 

God's Court Jester

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lenten Blogging: Day Forty-Two

Tomorrow's Post: Who doesn't love a list? So write one! 
I've been thinking of what to write all day, so I've settled on the top five words (at least this week)

5. Eschew - deliberately avoid using; abstain from. 
4. Vouchsafe - give or grant (something) to (someone) in a gracious or condescending manner. 
3. Vitiate - spoil or impair the quality or efficiency of.
2. Impassible - incapable of suffering or feeling pain. Most people have a view of God as being impassible. The God of the Bible is not. 
1. Indomitable - impossible to subdue or defeat. 

Tomorrow's Post: Write a piece of fiction describing the incident that gave rise to the phrase, "third time's the charm."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lenten Blogging: Day Forty-One

Today's Post: Pause whatever you're doing, and ask the person nearest you what they're thinking about. Write a post about it.

I asked my daughter what she was thinking about. Her answer? 

"The dirt tunnel."

You had to have been there to understand... And you'd have to know my daughter to make sense of it. 

Tomorrow's Post: Who doesn't love a list? So write one! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Jesus In Your Place

My wife sent me an article about a statue of a homeless Jesus that was causing a stir in an affluent community.

The statue (in the picture on the right) is of Jesus, as a homeless person, sleeping on a park bench. You can tell it is Jesus by the holes in his feet.

Apparently it has caused a bit of an uproar. One lady, thinking an actual homeless person was in her neck of the woods, called 911 to send a cruiser out to deal with the vagrant. Other people simply think it's creepy. At any rate, regardless of whether it is liked or disliked, it sends a strong message. But I'm not exactly sure what the message is. It could simply be a reminder that Jesus has a heart for the marginalized, and so should we. The message could also be a warning against materialism. Who knows?

But what if the message is actually found in our response to the statue? In this neighborhood many were outraged and confused over the possibility of a homeless person (or even the appearance of one) in their neighborhood. Some where shocked, others thought it was tasteless, and "demeaned the neighborhood."

Shameful rich people, right? How pathetic are you to be so reactive to something like this and reveal how wicked you are on the inside. That was my initial reaction. But then I wondered what would happen if this statue was placed in a less affluent neighborhood. What about a neighborhood with actual homeless people, or downtown where it is common to see a homeless person sleeping outside?

I'm sure people wouldn't be outraged in those places; nah, their reaction would be little to no action at all. Why? Because they are where they "belong." We are used to seeing them there. Indeed, many wouldn't even notice there was a statue of Jesus. Someone would say, "Did you see the cool Jesus statue?" The response would be, "What statue?"

Different location.

Different reaction.

Same challenge.

I think this statue challenges us to see Christ in the place we are. Not just by happening to glance, but hide and seek looking, a search, a "where is Jesus today" type of looking. Because we often forget that in Christ we can learn to see all as image bearers. And we can respond to them as we would the risen Lord.

Everyone has a reaction to Jesus when they see him. 2000 years ago they tortured and crucified him; in our modern day we just wish he'd go elsewhere, or we ignore him. Then there are those who see him with a "real seeing," and they bow down and worship him.

I don't think the message of this statue is meant to shame people. It's placement in an affluent neighborhood might induce feelings of shame, but those who are ashamed or angered need to ask themselves why those emotions arose. The predominant message, I think, is a reminder that we need to learn to see Jesus in our place. Whether that place is palatial or hood, we have to look to see where the risen Lord is; and after seeing him, act.

Lenten Blogging: Day Forty

Today's Post: You've inherited $5 million, with instructions that you must give it all away - but you can choose any organizations you would like to be the beneficiaries. Where does the money go?
First of all only 10% of the money will go to an organization; that is, whichever church I am a part of at that time. The rest of it would be given away personally.

I appreciate all these organizations that do good and necessary work from the donations they receive, but I do not like the fact that people are missing out on an opportunity to good good themselves. We miss out on the personal transformation when we always send a check, or drop the money in the bucket. It is far better to give your time and your money than just either/or.

I'm not sure who would get the money, but I do have a lot of dreams, and there are many people in need. It would certainly be a fun activity.

But I have a beef. Questions like this bother me. Without saying so the question suggests that one would need millions of dollars to help people, and until then we can just live for ourselves. The more interesting question is, "You have $5 that you must spend on others, what do you do?" This question brings it down to the place where life is lived. $5 million, for most of us, is a pipe dream; $5 is not. So how can I be helpful with what I have now? That is the question that I need to consider regularly.

Tomorrow's Post: Pause whatever you're doing, and ask the person nearest you what they're thinking about. Write a post about it.