Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How far?

I was asked this question the other day...

Joel? Do you ever wonder how far off we are from the "Christianity" that Jesus wanted?
My answer was...  Yes, for several years now.  I am also not the only one that has been asking these questions.

The version of being a Christian that I see, even in the "best" churches, at least here in America departs quite a bit from the version I see in Acts.  I am even willing to forgive the cultural and political differences between 2000 years ago and now and still have a lot of questions.

Why should we care? Because, in many respects, theology (our thinking about God) does shift the further out from the source we get.  Even when we have a standard like the Bible, that is true.

An analogy here is a laser level.   If you set up a laser level slightly off, close to the center, you won't see much problem, in fact, it could be less than a nail point of difference.  Move several feet down the line and the standard shows 1".  Move further down and the level shows more difference.

The last reformation happened 4-5 centuries ago although it started earlier than that.  It was a reaction to abuses of power and theology of the Catholic Church.  

I have heard rumblings, however of a new reformation, a neo-reformation.  This being a reaction to the blatant Americanization of Christianity.   Maybe it is time?  

That does, however, raise a lot more questions...

Paul wrote to the Galatians...

6 I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News 7 but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.

 8 Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. 9 I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Jesus is my friend

When I first saw this, I found it a little scary.

Now, the more I think about it, in "it's day", this video by "SonSeed" was probably pretty progressive

On her "Crazy Christian Clips" blog, Joanna posted David Crowder doing the same song...

Friday, October 17, 2008

More Reading

I have started a rather challenging book.... In fact, the name is "The Challenge of Jesus" by N. T. Wright.

It is quite good.  The source for the material is a series of lectures given at an InterVarsity conference in 1999.  The purpose of the book is to have you, the reader, realize the historical context that you read in the Bible.

I'll let you know more about it when it is finished.

The next one in the queue, however, has arrived.  I pre-ordered it as I have been reading the authors blog for some time.

The title, "The Blue Parakeet" sound like a mystery novel or something.  I read a bit of the first paragraph in the first chapter and he immediately had me hooked.  Why?  
When I was in High School, I went to a Christian camp in Muscatine, Iowa....
Why did that have me hooked?  I went to that camp, Spring Valley Bible Camp.

I did read a few more pages and it looks good.  Again, I'll let you know more as I finish reading.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Car Report

The part shown here is the cause of the belt coming off on Sunday.  The spring broke, causing the pulley to go out of alignment, pulling the belt off.

No, it wasn't terribly expensive.  Replacing the belt at the same time may save some expense later on...

At least we are a two car family again.  This isn't something I'd normally brag about as I normally take other commuter options but because the little truck has limited room, it's nice to be able to take the family on the road.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Car problems....

Last week, the tires, this week, the accessory drive belt.  It comes with the territory though, the van has over 178,000 miles.

What makes this worth blogging about is the circumstances.

Last week, after church, we got home after Marj made a comment about the front right tire looking low.  I fired up the air-compressor and filled it up, then blew out the sprinkler system (a good decision in hindsight).  The next morning, I was on my way back into the house with the paper before leaving for work and noticed the van sitting with a downhill tilt.  To make a long story short, we found that the last tire we purchased was the wrong size for the rim and ended up damaged -- it was, however, the only tire on the car that size.

Today, I took Rocky to the dog park before church.  On the way home, the car got hard to steer and just as I pulled into the development, started to overheat.  I stepped into the house and on the way back out, noticed the belt hanging on the ground.  I tried to put it back on but I needed some equipment I didn't have access to so we canceled our plans.

Why mention this?  Because we both feel that God took care of us.  We could have been on the road when either incident happened.  We could have been miles away from home.  It could have been a "blow-out" incident.

Yes, it is an inconvenience but close to home, it is manageable and while not cheap, when you are in an emergency, things seem to get expensive really fast.

We dropped the car at the car care center down the street and hope they can get to it tomorrow..

I don't think I told about the blow-out incident last year.

On a Saturday last summer, I was headed down I-25 at about 75mph (legal speed in that area).  Ahead of me I see smoke, a car head left, into the crash rail, then bounce across the interstate, stopping on the shoulder.  The only car damaged in the pack that this occurred in was the car with the blown tire.

I pulled over to see if I could help.  The driver gets out of the car, distressed because she is late for work.  The front of the car is crumpled.  I called 911, then stayed on the shoulder with the damaged car with my flashers blinking.

When the Westminster police officer arrived, he stopped to see what happened with me... When I told him, a look of amazement crossed his face.  He dismissed me and I headed off to my destination.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bass Player Face

Stuff Christians Like #419 mentions "Bass Player Face"... Wonder if I qualify.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Derek Webb song for the next two months...

From Derek Webb's cd "The Ringing Bell"

A Savior on Capital Hill (you can listen to it here on Last.FM)

I’m so tired of these mortal men

with their hands on their wallets and their hearts full of sin

scared of their enemies, scared of their friends

and always running for re-election

so come to DC if it be thy will

because we’ve never had a savior on Capitol Hill

you can always trust the devil or a politician

to be the devil or a politician

but beyond that friends you’d best beware

‘cause at the Pentagon bar they’re an inseparable pair

and as long as the lobbyists are paying their bills

we’ll never have a savior on Capitol Hill


all of our problems gonna disappear

when we can whisper right in that President’s ear

he could walk right across the reflection pool

in his combat boots and ten thousand dollar suit

you can render unto Caesar everything that’s his

you can trust in his power to come to your defense

it’s the way of the world, the way of the gun

it’s the trading of an evil for a lesser one

so don’t hold your breath or your vote until

you think you’ve finally found a savior up on Capitol Hill

I made the news....

Well, not me directly but the project I have been working on for the last few years has officially been announced and released.

See this for the official press release.  A short clip from the article reads...

Through the qHome online portal, customers can see who's calling their home phone, listen to voicemail, forward messages, manage their contacts and place a phone call with a click of a mouse. When qHome customers are away from home, they can log into the qHome portal from most computers, remotely view and manage their home phone activity and receive instant message pop-ups of incoming home phone calls with Windows Live Messenger. 
You can see a short demo here.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


A few posts ago, I mentioned the YouVersion: iPhone Edition (which also works on the iPod Touch).

As nice as it is, you should bookmark (and register to use) regular YouVersion.  Why?  I'm glad you asked.

YouVersion is a FREE offering from Lifechurch.tv and offers
  • A daily reading plan.
  • A Bible reader with many different versions in several languages.
  • Ways to add comments to the passages you read.
  • A way to take and store notes
Their description is

Welcome to YouVersion

A revolutionary online Bible that enables community and collaboration like never before.

Organize - YouVersion empowers you to organize the content that's important to you! Share - Simply share meaningful content with anyone, anytime, anywhere. Community - YouVersion makes it easy to connect and collaborate with others. Contribute - With YouVersion you have the power to share your content with your closest friends, family, or anyone online!

Friday, October 03, 2008

re: Where is our hope?

This was posted on Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed blog:
Somewhere between 6pm and 8pm, Central Time, on November 4th, 2008, the eschatology of American evangelicals will become clear. If John McCain wins and the evangelical becomes delirious or confident that the Golden Days are about to arrive, that evangelical has an eschatology of politics. Or, alternatively, if Barack Obama wins and the evangelical becomes delirious or confident that the Golden Days are about to arrive, that evangelical too has an eschatology of politics. Or, we could turn each around, if a more Democrat oriented evangelical becomes depressed and hopeless because McCain wins, or if a Republican oriented evangelical becomes depressed or hopeless because Obama wins, those evangelicals are caught in an empire-shaped eschatology of politics.

Where is our hope? To be sure, I hope our country solves its international conflicts and I hope we resolve poverty and dissolve our educational problems and racism. But where does my hope turn when I think of war or poverty or education or racism? Does it focus on November 4? Does it gain its energy from thinking that if we get the right candidate elected our problems will be dissolved? If so, I submit that our eschatology has become empire-shaped, Constantinian, and political. And it doesn’t matter to me if it is a right-wing evangelical wringing her fingers in hope that a Republican wins, or a left-wing evangelical wringing her fingers in hope that a Democrat wins. Each has a misguided eschatology.
You can read the whole post here.

The question is... Where is our hope?

Thursday, October 02, 2008


This month is Ramadan, a time when believers in Islam are fasting all day. This has caused some controversy in the NFL where several players are fasting.

As a Christ-follower, I have heard several different ways fasts are to be done as well as several different purposes.

The other day, however, I was listening to the Daily Audio Bible (I still recommend this by the way) and heard Isaiah 58 and God's perspective on Israel's practices of fasting.  From "The Message":
1-3 "Shout! A full-throated shout! Hold nothing back—a trumpet-blast shout!
Tell my people what's wrong with their lives, 
   face my family Jacob with their sins!
They're busy, busy, busy at worship, 
   and love studying all about me.
To all appearances they're a nation of right-living people— 
   law-abiding, God-honoring.
They ask me, 'What's the right thing to do?' 
   and love having me on their side.
But they also complain, 
   'Why do we fast and you don't look our way? 
   Why do we humble ourselves and you don't even notice?' 

 3-5"Well, here's why:

   "The bottom line on your 'fast days' is profit. 
   You drive your employees much too hard.
You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight. 
   You fast, but you swing a mean fist.
The kind of fasting you do 
   won't get your prayers off the ground.
Do you think this is the kind of fast day I'm after: 
   a day to show off humility?
To put on a pious long face 
   and parade around solemnly in black?
Do you call that fasting, 
   a fast day that I, God, would like?

 6-9"This is the kind of fast day I'm after: 
   to break the chains of injustice, 
   get rid of exploitation in the workplace, 
   free the oppressed, 
   cancel debts.
What I'm interested in seeing you do is: 
   sharing your food with the hungry, 
   inviting the homeless poor into your homes, 
   putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, 
   being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on, 
   and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way. 
   The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer. 
   You'll call out for help and I'll say, 'Here I am.'

I don't know if this is the only answer to what a fast is to be like. I don't think so.  I do believe that the purpose of fasting is to "get something" from God for yourself, although, that may be a result.