Archive for January, 2008

the election year car wreck

Ah, presidential elections. =)

Nothing like the stump speeches, media hoopla and baby-kissing to get everyone all riled up about the next leader of the Free World. It’s exhausting, really.

And yet it’s like a horrible accident on the highway: you can’t look away. It’s so easy to let the candidates’ brilliant smiles and convincing words woo me into thinking they hold in their hearts the power to do the things in America that are important to me.

But unless I go through a life-altering ideological shift between now and November, I won’t be at the polls on November 2.

It’s a combination of a) a deepening acknowledgment of our need for only one King; and b) a belief that, as I heard recently, the office of the president defines the person much more than the person defines the office. Good intentions and sparkling character means very little, in my opinion, when a man (or woman) is faced with the expectations of running the United States of America — economic welfare, national security, and broadening world influence.

Greg Boyd — megachurch pastor and author of Myth of a Christian Nation — had a good post on Wednesday about Christians and government. He reflects on God’s view of human government. I’d highly recommend reading the whole thing, but here’s a good nugget:

This is why it’s appropriate to refer to the Kingdom’s view of government as “Christian Anarchy” (an [without] archy [authority]). Because we trust God and have pledged our sole allegiance to God, we are to have no trust in any of the the “archys” that are premised on not trusting God.

He’s more likely, as a trusted Evangelical voice in America, to convince Christians to think deeply about their investment in human governments, including voting. The Jesus Radicals are perhaps more extreme and less well-known, but they provide a wonderful venue to learn about and contribute to the discussion surrounding Christian anarchism. Their message boards, where you’ll find a thread about Boyd as well as Christians and voting, are a great place to start.

Think about it.

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buylesslivemore

The Methodist Church of England is suggesting its members give up more than just chocolate for Lent this year. This credit-card-sized cutout is available for download online and wraps around your plastic. That way, when you reach for the AmEx to make that impulse buy in the days leading up to Easter (or whenever, I suppose), you can think twice.

Interesting how more faith groups are addressing personal finances as issues of Christian ethics these days. Whether it be how we celebrate the holidays, the wealth gap between the rich and poor, or the “Buy Less, Live More” campaign by the Methodists.

Makes me think there might be a connection between following Jesus and what we do with our money.

(HT)

planet earth

Has anyone else caught the Planet Earth series, either on BBC or the Discovery Channel? (I think it’s currently airing on the DC every Sunday night at 8 pm EST) We’re working our way through the 14-part series on DVD (from the library), and after watching the first two installments, I have to echo the critics in saying that this series is truly monumental and beautiful. You’ll see and appreciate the Earth in ways you never thought possible, thanks to 40 cameramen with never-before-used technology in over 200 locations around the world. This is as close to a “God’s-eye view” of the planet as we’ve ever had. You’ll marvel at his handiwork.

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Yesterday, we cracked open for the first time an anonymous gift we got this past Holiday season: The Bible Experience. It’s a complete mp3 audio Bible read by African-American clergy, musicians, and actors — including Denzel, Cuba, Samuel L., LL, Forest, Angela Bassett, and more — and backed up by a Hollywood-produced soundtrack. This is anything but the cheesy Bible-on-CDs you’ve heard in the past … the producers and readers took special care to make sure this was a project from the heart, and after listening to the first 7 chapters of Matthew last night, I can say that this is an achievement of monumental proportions and will be a valuable aid to many people’s devotional lives.

Where else can you hear Cuba Gooding Jr. as Jonah AND Judas? (gives new meaning to “show me the money!”) Or Samuel L. “Snakes on a Plane” Jackson reading the voice of God in the New Testament? Sinbad as an Angel in the Book of Daniel? Judge Mathis as Solomon? (seriously!) Blair Underwood reading Jesus’ lines? LaVar Burton as John? Kirk Franklin as Paul? Denzel Washington and his wife, Pauletta, reading Song of Solomon?

Yeah, it’s good stuff. =)

Ben Witherington had a good review of TBE back in December, which is worth a read.  You can listen to sample passages by clicking on the link above.

(and if our anonymous giver is reading this, thanks!)

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big news

No, not that news. We’re on the five-year plan, and the five years seems to keep sliding forward… =)

This exciting news is regarding our life here in Boston. We haven’t written much lately about our “lives” — jobs, home, hobbies, etc. Here’s why I think that is: With each new day, we see ourselves less and less as outside missionaries to a foreign land, but as citizens of that land. Neighbors. Co-workers. Friends. Not to say that we’ve adopted the vices of our host culture, but our understanding of the nature of the gospel and what it means to live that out in our culture leads us to “pitch our tent” among the culture we’re serving (and vice versa).

In short, Boston is our home.

As much as we loved our two weeks in Tanzania in September, our Thanksgiving in Austin, and our Christmas/New Years in Memphis, we’re with Dorothy on this one: “There’s just no place like home.” I guess you could say we “love that dirty water.”

With that, we have a very special announcement: We’re buying a house.

It’s a condo/townhouse, really, and it’s perfect for us. It’s still in East Boston, just a few blocks from our current location. Our mortgage payments will be comparable to what we currently pay in rent, and the square footage will be twice as much (for better hospitality). There’s a big finished basement, so consider this your open invitation to come see us in Boston. It’s also a few FEET from some amazing parks and greenways. Oh, and did I mention we can see the harbor and city skyline from our kitchen, living room, and front porch?

We’ve been mulling over the decision to transition from renting to buying for about a year now, and as we’ve prayed and gone to open houses, we’ve been confident that the Lord would lead us to the right place (or not!) at the right time. We’re now confident that He has done just that. We’ll get photos up as soon as we possibly can.
[NOTE to BOSTON FOLKS: We’re currently trying to sublet our current townhouse through the end of our lease, which is September. If you know of anyone seeking a place to rent in the very near future, have them e-mail smh00a [at] gmail [dot] com.]

I’ve been listing a bunch of my dad’s books on Amazon while I’m home for the holidays.  I just ran across Watchman Nee’s Love Not The World, flipped it open to the middle, and saw the following underlined passage:

A baptism into the death of Christ ends my relation with this world, but a baptism into Christ Jesus as a living Person, Head of a new race, opens up for me a new world of things altogether.