Great Mercy

So, As you can see from the previous post “elect exiles” I am reading 1 Peter this morning… thanks to my new computer’s wifi, I can noe post my thoughts on my morning meditations without leaving the comfort of Starbucks…

Anyway, as I continued to read on in First Peter, I was overwhelmed by, what Peter calls God’s “great mercy.” In verses 1-6a of chapter 1, Peter expounds on the greatness of this mercy. As I read this scripture I am overcome by the reality that I do not deserve the grace of God. The sin that stained my very soul caused an immeasurably great chasam between me and God. However, through the greatest act of mercy, HE caused us (I being part of us) to be born again… not only that, but we are born again to a living hope. I don’t know if this does anything for you, but there is a fire in my heart that burns stronger when I think about the reality of this verse. Then I continue and see that our inheritence in Jesus is “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.” WOW that is good stuff. Then it is toped off by saying that all this is being guarded by God’s power… Truley, God’s mercy is great beyond what I deserve or, at times, can truly comprehend.

Elect Exiles

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion… according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…” ~ 1 Peter 1:1-2

So, the question is, “are they elect and exiles” or are they “elected to be exiles.” Do you even see the subtle difference? I would surely lean toward the latter. However, while Peter’s audience is surely suffering as natural exiles in the dispersion, in fact, aren’t we (Christians) all essentially elect exiles. We have all come from a world and are now, strangely, strangers within it. Gently walking in the tension of the already and the not yet.

Just thinking bout it this a.m.

Grey Hair and a Postmodern Simpsons

I’ve been sitting on this post for a while now. The main reason is that this week is crazy as I am trying to cram two months of seminary classwork into 1 week… while I’ll probably blog about that later, let us focus our attention on two very important recent events.

The first event is the discovery of a grey hair on the right side of my head, about one inch above my ear. While jennifer has informed on several occasions that she has found grey hairs on the back of my head, this was the first one that I found for myself. I guess I kind of had the “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” mentality. It jsut seemed so sureal to look in the mirror and see this silver hair glistening amongst all his dark brothers (is hair male or female???). While I am not opposed to grey hair in general, I jsut feel like 27 is a bit young for it to begin to creep in… oh well, I guess time will tell how serious the situation is.

The second event was the uber-postmodern Simpsons episode last sunday. Normally I miss out on new Simpson episodes because of church, but this week I was able to catch it. The main gist was that Bart told a lie that got Milhouse’s dad arrested and Chief Wiggim promoted. Lisa and Principal Skinner began to try and search out the truth and ultimatly discovered the lie. ONe of the characters (can’t remeber which) basically said, “well everyone is happier because of the lie, so why expose it?” then the show ended. Jennifer and i both looked at each other and said, “did it just end like that?” There was no resolution or and “to be continued”… it just ended. I’m sure that there was a lot more to make mention of, but I’d have to watch it again… maybe I’ll catch the re-run some day… it’d certainly be worth watching again.

Drywall is Lame

I guess it isn’t so much drywall that is lame in and of itself… It is more the process of hanging and mudding drywall that is lame. I’ll be pretty happy when my basement is finished. We’ll probably throw a party if it ever happens. You’ll be invited I’m sure.

Pete & Repete

It seems like every time I want to post something to my blog, I am in starbucks… this has led me to believe that I need an Apple G4 Powerbook. I know this might seem like a quantum leap in logic, but, hey, whatever it takes to justify me getting a Powerbook seems logical enough… Like, “it is cold outside, I need a Powerbook” or “I sure do breath a lot, I need a powerbook.”

Anyway, in order to post something of some value to someone somewhere, I shall reign in my vain Powerbook prabblings and try oand focus on useful thoughts… mmmmmm… ok.

So, I’ve been reading 2 Peter for the past couple days and I must say that it has been quite rewarding. I would say, up to this point I considered myself a 1 Peter kind-of-guy, but this 2 Peter stuff is fla-vo-riffic. I will keep today’s observations to one speciffic point that I really enjoyed, and that is chapter 1 verses 12-14

Therefore I intended always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. (italics mine)

The thing that I like about this is that Peter is saying, “hey, I know I always say the same thing… I know that you know it…. I know that you understand… but I am going to repete it again. ” I think that, often, Christians think that once they hear or learn something that is all there is to it. However, I have found that, for me, I am most encouraged and challanged when I sit in on a class that teaches the foundations of the faith… Is it because I do not know the foundations or that I do not have them established in my life? No. It is that I need to coninually remind myself what it is that I believe so that I might be able to take them to others.

May I (and others) never get to a place where we believe that we are in a place of maturity that, when we hear something we have heard before, we tune it out because, “oh, I already know about that.” Truly this scripture nails home the importance of repetetion and the need we have for it.

Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport

So I just finished this book last night. Honestly, the title alone sold me on the purchase. It is written by Richard Mouw who is the current president of Fuller Theological Seminary. As a Calvinist, Mouw, seeks not to defend or define Calvinism, but instead he seeks to speak to those who carry that particular name. His main goal is to encourage Calvinist to make their theology “travel well.” He begins by discussing a scene in a movie where a prostitute is talking to a Calvinist preacher in the (you guessed it) Las Vegas airport. When their discussion turns to spiritual matters, the preacher explains his faith using the common TULIP formula. Obviously, the prostitute doesn’t think to highly of this presentation and the conversation dissolves. With this as his launching pad, Mouw begins to encourage Calvinists to realize that, while the 5 points are great, they are really not the best way to express the Christian faith to someone on “the outside.” He backs this point up by looking at the first question from two catechisms of the Reformed faith (the Westminster Catechism and the Heidelberg Catechism). Mouw argues that, while both questions present the same essential truth, it is the Heidelberg confession that people can really understand and hold on to. While the premise of the book is excellent, I found that the content seemed to wander and at some point I had no idea where he was coming from or going. If you can get past the points where you say, “huh?” and dig down for the heart of the book, it would be worth the read (especially for you hardcore 5 point preachers). If you are one who gets caught up in every little detail, this one might drive you crazy.

The Simpsons Strike Again

So, the truth must be known… I love the Simpsons (and King of the Hill). I find that both these shows present some of the best social commentaries available anywhere. That being said, last nights Super Bowl Simpsons episode was amazing!!! Below is a synopsis of the show (thanks to simpsoncrazy.com) After that I have added some clarifying points and close with why I liked it so much:

The family goes to run down Springfield Park, where a carnival is being held to save it. Homer performs a wild crowd-pleasing dance at a local carnival, after beating Bart’s performance in a game. Ned Flanders has captured the performance on videotape and Comic Book Guy (Jeff Albertson) puts it up on the Internet. The video gets worldwide attention, much to Homer’s embarrassment but his tune changes then a football player wants to buy the rights to use his dance as his own end zone celebration. Homer turns the opportunity into a new lucrative occupation, which prospers as other athletes come to learn from him. Meanwhile Ned looks to create his own wholesome entertainment by creating his own versions of bible stories, which get the backing of Mr. Burns. Marge doesn’t like his approach, which eliminates the good aspects of the stories, and only concentrates on the violence. She threatens a boycott, which gets Burns to remove his financial backing, leaving Ned with no creative outlet. The commissioner of football (and all the owners) want to talk to Homer, his teaching of crazy antics to their players have increased their ratings. They want him to choreograph the Superbowl half-time show. Homer struggles for a show idea and on the night before the big show he still doesn’t have one. Homer looks for inspiration at the church, but instead finds Flanders, who is looking for an outlet for his ideas. Together they bring the story of Noah to the half-time show, but everyone boos as no one wanted to see such a “blatant display of
religion and decency.”

OK, so here is what was left out of the above synopsis. The professional athletes who hired homer were not simply hiring him to teach them how to dance, but it is actually a school where he teaches them to be self-absorbed athletes with no regard for anything above themselves. In his first lesson with his ‘students’ he says, “OK, first, take your ball and throw it at the closest authority figure.” (of course they all throw them at him)… but this underscores what the lessons are that he is teaching. There is then a montage of the different athletes celebrating in prideful and distasteful (aka. funny) ways. When the owners approach Homer about doing the show they are essentially saying that people enjoy watching selfish athletes parade around the field with excessive celebration and prideful arrogance. Because Homer taught this to the athletes, the owners want Homer to do the halftime show. As stated above the halftime show was ultimately Ned’s idea and it was a reenactment of Noah and the flood. The show depicted the events and concluded with Ned reading God’s promise to never flood the world again from the bible (reading from the bible on the SIMPSONS). The crowd erupted with BOOO’s. The quote at the end of the above synopsis was given by a mother with two children in a tv interview with Kent Brochman. The mother was appalled and said that no one wanted to see a “blatant display of religion and decency” Her son then pulls on her arm and says, “mommy, why haven’t I been water baptized.” Her reply to the camera was to the extent of, “see what you’ve done.”

The commentary is that it seems that America loves to see self serving pride and arrogance over and above “religion and decency.” WOW!!! Go SIMPSONS! I keep getting stuck on the decency part… that is amazing. We as a culture really do not like things that are decent… wow.

…and don’t even get me started on how the little boy who saw the story of Noah asked about water baptism (this is so subtle that I am certain there is a Christian writing for the simpsons… I mean, I would waager that hardely anyone caught that one…)

Any way, keep your eye out for the re-run… it is well worth the watch…