Saturday, March 29, 2008

Humphrey Bogart

My mom and Atlanta Ben (as he’ll now be referred to in order to distinguish him from Lincoln Ben) have very rightly turned me onto Humphrey Bogart movies. Casablanca is probably the best movie I’ve ever seen. Everything you should want from a movie is there. The Big Sleep, which I watched last night, was grittier and wittier than 99% of movies that come out nowadays.

There’s this vague notion of progress which suggests that contemporary people know better than the people who came before them. I’m pretty sure it’s the opposite, and these movies are strong evidence.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

As much as I like the guy, I don't think I can vote for Obama.

Two primary reasons: 1) it's wrong to abandon our efforts in Iraq at this point; 2) abortion is a categorical evil, and Obama supports it.

I even donated $30 to his campaign, but as I go along, I just don't see how I can punch the ticket for him.

I guess one other thing is that his billing as a truth teller is starting to seem to me somewhat overstated.


On Abortion

Evangelicals no longer report that abortion is their number one political issue; instead that spot is reserved for poverty. Paying attention to poverty must be a good thing.

But it’s a bad thing to forget about abortion:

“In 2005, 1.21 million abortions were performed, down from 1.31 million in 2000. From 1973 through 2005, more than 45 million legal abortions occurred.”

This is speculation, and I may be wrong. But I have a somewhat half-cynical view about the shift in Christian’s political priorities. The non-cynical half is represented by what I said at first.

Concern for the poor is absolutely good.


I also suspect there is a spirit of acquiescence, accommodation, and appeasement to this shift. Or in other words, cowardice. Christians, like everyone, want to be widely accepted. We all love to be popular; we all hate to be unpopular. Christians know that their popularity will not suffer, and will probably be improved, by paying attention solely to the poor (unless they get extremely zealous about it to a point not yet reached or even approached; I'm talking universal housing or something nutty). And they also know their popularity will suffer if they are vocal about opposing abortion—it puts them back in that 90s, Jerry Falwell camp that they’ve tried so hard to get away from.

We have feet of clay, and everything we do is a mixed effort of both good and bad. Our current shifting political priorities will be not be unique in this regard. I’m not unsympathetic to the conversations we had in the 1990s and early 2000s along the lines of ‘aren’t we supposed to care for the poor, and don’t the Democrats do that better?’ But, for all of the progressive thinking that may be good for the Church, and for all the rightly acknowledged nuance there is to the issues, here’s all I’m saying:

45 million abortions since 1973 is an outrageous categorical evil. Low taxes on the rich are not.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The unique loneliness of Christ on the Cross

Jesus isn’t the only person to have ever been martyred, but unlike other martyrs, as he faced his persecutors, He could not inwardly turn to God for strength because God had turned away from Him.
“In 2005, 1.21 million abortions were performed, down from 1.31 million in 2000. From 1973 through 2005, more than 45 million legal abortions occurred.”

Monday, March 17, 2008

But he answered, ‘It is written, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’ (Matt. 4:4)

In what way does man live by the word of God?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Prayer to become an Evangelist

You might remember that a few weeks ago I was soliciting prayer to become an Evangelist. An interesting thing has happened: as I’ve prayed for the gift of evangelism, my desire for it has decreased. I wonder if this is one of two things. Either it’s me losing focus and just going with the inertia of a non-evangelistic life or it’s God saying ‘no that’s not for you right now.’

I’d be interested in your thoughts.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Job in Reno

For those of you in the Reno area, I’ve been offered a job which I plan to take. I’ll be starting on October 1 of this year. So, I’ll see you then!

I’m really excited about this, as it’s been a long-term desire on my part to get back to Reno. It’s taken quite a bit longer than I’d envisioned, and I haven’t lived in Reno full-time for six years. So, I’m really happy to be heading home.

However, I also want to recognize that my wife is making a huge sacrifice by accompanying me. She’s not from Reno, and for the past year we’ve been living in her hometown, where she’s been able to be with her family and also at her ideal job. So, I’m deeply thankful to her for sacrificing all of this.

It’s kind of a bitter-sweet thing because of this.

Nevertheless, I can’t wait to get back to seeing all you Reno-ites soon.
Sixth Week of Lent - March 9 – March 15

It is finished (John 19:30).

Our salvation is finished on the cross. Our actions can’t add to or subtract from what Jesus did there. Because of this, we have peace with God. And we can experience this peace by really believing that our salvation is a finished work.

There is a beautiful double meaning to these words because they could have been words of defeat, with Jesus at the end of his ministry, on the brink of death. “He’s finished,” is often a term used to describe a person vanquished. But this is the way of Christ, that apparent defeat is actually victory, that weakness is actually strength. At the moment when Jesus was “finished” here on earth, a crucified criminal, an apparently failed revolutionary, in fact, He was overthrowing the kingdom of darkness in an action of unspeakable power.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

"Mr. Bush’s greatest single accomplishment is that his AIDS program in Africa is saving millions of lives."

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Blogging Lent:

I thirst (John 19:28).

The context of this is interesting, because the passage notes that once Jesus knew that everything was accomplished, he said “I thirst.” It’s the cruciform equivalent of a cold drink after a hard day’s work, and in this it reminds me of the Creation account: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” (Genesis 2).

In the creation account, God worked to create the heavens and the earth. In the Gospels, Jesus worked to redeem human beings.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

30 Hour Famine

I just completed doing the 30 Hour Famine with the church youth group. At the outset, I scoffed at something the youth director said, and I knew God was going to convict me about it. The guy said ‘as we fast, we let God be our strength and sustenance because we know we can’t fast for 30 hours alone.’ I laughed in my head, thinking ‘of course I can fast on my own for 30 hours.’ I really didn’t mean to have that thought, but there it was, and I just knew somehow God wasn’t going to let me slide on that one.

Well, about 13 hours later, I’m asleep, and it’s about 1 or 2 a.m., and suddenly I was just seized with unbelievable hunger pain, to the point I was just going to sneak to the refrigerator and eat because I didn’t even care about the fast. But then, half-asleep, I remembered the youth director’s admonition to turn to God and ask Him to satisfy me when I got hungry, and so I did, confessing to God that, in fact, I couldn’t do this fast on my own and that I needed his strength to do it. And then the hunger pains went away, and I made it through the rest of my fast, knowing once again that God’s main message to me at this point is that “apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15)