Monthly Archives: May 2009

Memorial Day

Many people use the term Bible-believing as code for conservative, evangelical Christian.  I do not consider myself to be conservative.  I believe that the term evangelical Christian should be redundant (not a political affiliation), and I believe in the Bible.

That is why on this day, as I think about those that have lost their life in wars, I turn to the Bible.  A woman at church on Sunday told me that Memorial Day is a tough day for her, because she had seven brothers and uncles that went away to World War II, and “not all of them came back.”  My heart breaks for this 92 year-old woman who, after all these years, still feels the pain of war.

This morning when I hung my flag out in memory of those that have died, those that have given up more than I have dared risk, those men and women of every creed, race, and background, I said a simple prayer: “No more.”  It is a prayer that will not be answered today.

We live in a broken world.  We live in a world where the ambitions and greed of a few can cost the lives of thousands.  We live in a world where sons and daughters leave home to defend their loved ones, and often do not return.

Still, I believe.  I believe not in the Bible as an idol that can be used to swat away ideas and new ways of thinking.  I believe in the words of the Bible, powerful words like these:

He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more

(Isaiah 2:4)

The world will be healed.  It might not happen in my lifetime, but I believe in the words of the Bible, and I believe in the power of God to heal all things.  Until then, I hang my flag with pride.  Not because we live in a country that is perfect, but because we live in a country full of brave men and women that want to do and be better.  Until it is healed, I hang my head.  Not out of sorrow or despair, but in humility and prayer to a God that keeps promises.

I believe in the Bible.  I believe in this country.  I believe in humanity that was created in the image of God.

To those that have served, I humbly thank you.

I close with this small prayer, “No more.”

Another post about Memorial Day called “Sometimes ‘Thank you’ seems inadequate.”

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Go into the world

People say that words can’t change things.  I disagree.  Words can inspire.  Words can unite.  Words can make someone stop and think, and sometimes that can change the world.  I believe that the words of Minor Myers Jr. have changed me.  It is graduation season, and every year at this time I think of the words that he shared at my graduation.

Minor Myers was the President of Illinois Wesleyan University.  He was the heart of the university, the classic Renaissance Man, and the example of what a liberal arts education is all about.  His two most distinctive features were his hair and his eyes.  The former always appeared to have recently emerged from a wind tunnel and the latter looked like he was about to wink at you with a shared secret joke.  As the President of the University, he gave the final address at graduation.  The conclusion of his remarks each year were the same.  He would look out at the graduating class and wonder.  I paraphrase: Who will startup the first successful company?  Who will discover a new medical procedure?  Who will write the first best selling book or win the first arts award?  As he looked out at the 500 or so young people that were ready to go out into the world, he would close with these words:

Go into the world and do well.  But more importantly, go into the world and do good.” (Dr. Minor Myers, Jr.)

His words captured me the first time I heard them, and I have thought of those words at every graduation I have been to since.  In fact, I have thought of those words many times in my life.  It’s hard to say if those words changed my life.  I probably would have ended up a pastor, trying with all my heart to do good, even if it weren’t for his words.  But maybe not.

As I sat in the quad in my deep green robe, I was wondering the same thing he was wondering.  The world was open to me, and I was going out into it.  I was hoping to do well.  I’m not sure if I was thinking about doing good.  Here I am, ten years later (has it really been ten years?) and his words have stayed with me.  I don’t know if his words changed me, but they certainly helped form me, and when I shared them in my sermon this morning, I hope they formed someone else too.

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It is time to rename this blog.  I started out shocked by the fact that I tipped the scales at 305, and dubbed myself the “Fat Pastor.”  Today, on my third trip to the gym since Christmas, I took everything out of my pockets, got back on that scale, held my breath and found out that I now weigh 315.  It is ridiculous.  I am now “The Fatter Pastor.”

For the last five months I have had an abundance of excuses for not exercising.  Some of them have been valid, some not so much.  The bottom line is, today I am just under six foot two inches tall and I weigh 315 pounds.  My resting heartrate was 80 beats a minute today, and after doing three sets of 135 on the bench press, I was wiped.  All the progress I made six months ago is gone.  I would say that I am starting from scratch, but I think its actually worse.

None of my clothes fit – not even my wedding ring.  I carry my daughter upstairs to put her in bed, and I have to stop to catch my breath to say “good night.”

I’m disappointed with myself.  I’m frustrated.  And after a workout that six months ago I would have considered “light,” I am dead tired.  I have to go to bed, I’m not looking forward to heading up the stairs, and that is pathetic.

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Things that annoy me about Adam and Gokey

  1. In every song, Adam ends up screetching.
  2. Adam messed up the words to “One”
  3. In his interview Gokey said, “This is an amazing experience.  Its unlike no other.” (So, it is like other experiences?)
  4. During his second song on Tues., Adam was overpowered by his backup singers.
  5. While throwing out the first pitch at a Brewers game, Gokey took a crow-hop.

I’m just glad Gokey is gone.  But like I said before – he is going to make a LOT of money as a Christian artist, where he can sell his story all he wants, and Christian radio will eat it up.

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American Idol Final 3

I haven’t posted in about a month, and my first time back is about American Idol?  I know, its so superficial – but I don’t care.  I like this show.  I have watched almost every episode since the Underwood-Bice season.  This year, we have watched every episode with a careful and critical eye.

This is the first season I have really paid attention to how much the producers try to push their favorites.  I am sure it has gone on in the past, but the way they have pushed for Danny and Adam since the tryouts has been shameless.   It is so obvious that Adam is going to win it all, but here is my take on the final three:

  1. Adam Lambert:  He is the most seasoned performer.  He could be a star on broadway.  He would be great in some Andrew Lloyd Weber rock opera.  When he performed the Led Zeppelin song, he was great.  I have come to realize though, that he does a lot of screeching.  I hated the way he absolutely butchered “One.”  He changed the melody too much.  He screamed and screetched.  He changed a lyric.  It was awful.  But he will win.
  2. Kris Allen.  He is the most talented musician of the three, but he will probably be the least commercially successful.  He showed his versatility by playing both his piano and guitar on the show last night.  His second song was the best of the night.  What I like the most about him is that he has survived despite getting almost no pimping from the producers.  He was completely unknown and irrelevant at the beginning of the season.  He has emerged from his good-looks and talent.  He is my favorite.
  3. Danny Gokey.  The producers of the show pimped his story so ferociously that there was a little bit of backlash.  To me, he is smug and annoying and a decent singer.  He will make a lot of money and sell a LOT of albums as a Contemporary Christian atist.  If he doesn’t win the show, his first album will win many Dove awards.    

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