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.

Lenten Blogging: Day Thirty-Nine

Today's Post: How are you more likely to make an important decision - by reasoning through it or going with your gut?  
It depends on what is being decided upon. If it is dinner I usually go with my gut... Now that I think about it, this is probably why my gut grows, it's been given too much say-so...

I admire people who are always thoughtful and reasonable. There are people I know who often pause when asked even a simple question; then, having given legitimate consideration, they speak. I want to be more like that. I am more prone to speak quickly, but I am not a quick thinker.

My goal for the remainder of this lenten period is to slow down, even if it creates discomfort, and be reasonable.

Tomorrow's Post: You've inherited $5 million, with instructions that you must give it all away - but you can choose any organization you like to be the beneficiaries. Where does the money go?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Lenten Blogging: Day Thirty-Eight

Today's Post: Give some love to three blogs you've read and loved in the past week, and tell us why they're worth reading. 
I honestly haven't read any blogs, that I can recall, in the last week. I have been reading Moby Dick and Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places by Eugene Peterson. Peterson has a way about his work that encourages me. I really enjoy reading him; he is almost like Advil for pastors. 
Tomorrow's Post: How are you more likely to make an important decision - by reasoning through it or going with your gut?  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lenten Blogging: Day Thirty-Seven

Today's Post: Imperfections - in things, in people, in places - add character to life. Tell us about an imperfection you cherish.

Eloquent, passionate, energetic, and inspiring. Those are all words that do not describe Meshach Kanyion, yet I enjoy standing in front of people and preaching to them. 

I speak in a boring monotone of a voice, I do not enunciate very well, I open my mouth minimally, and I'm not very excitable, but I love standing in front of people to speak!

I got an A in public speaking in college, but was told it wasn't necessarily a strength of mine. But I love preaching!

That being said, my ability to speak publicly is clearly a limitation of mine; I'd even go as far as saying it is a weakness. But this is a weakness I cherish. If it was any other area that involved public speech (news anchor, motivational speaker, whatever) I would have quit. But when it comes to being used by God weakness is actually a strength. 

When I preach and somebody gets something, anything!, out of it, I get this humble realization that God used my words to impact somebody. Because it certainly isn't my droning voice that captivated them, and it's not my lifeless stance either. So it must be God that does it. 

So like Paul, "I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)

Tomorrow's Post: Give some love to three blogs you've read and loved in the past week, and tell us why they're worth reading.