You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2008.

Something has recently come to my attention and I just thought I would make a blanket apology about my writing. If you read my blogs, it may seem that I don’t proof-read (this is 100% true) and that sometimes my poor grammar and sentence structure can be distracting form the point I’m trying to express. It is true, my blogging is more like a conversation and so I don’t put the effort I should into making sure I don’t look like a dumb kid who hasn’t taken a grammar class in his life, when in actuality, I majored in English at a place where it is darn tough to do that. Anyway, consider this my apology about that and consider it my personal commitment to do a better job at writing clean, more polished blogs that should be easier to read.

I go to the local High School for a lunch-time bible club.  The club is jointly put on by three of us youth minister guys, one from youth for Christ, one from a four-square church in Kailua, and me, and sometimes our intern Kenji.  Today was the last club if the year and the three of us each took about ten minutes to share with these teens.

I shared about how ridiculous and absurd Jesus’ birth is and how crazy it is that this is how God chose to enter out world and save it.  The my friend Dan, the YFC guy gets up and shares a couple stories.  I love Dan and feel like he has such a heart for lost teens and wants to do anything to reach them.  But one of my favorite things about Dan is his honesty.  He shares real struggles he has that most Christians don’t want to share for fear of looking like a bad Christian heathen or something.

Well, toward the end of his time Dan tells the kids, “I have a confession to make to you guys.  I can no longer call myself a Christian,”.  At this point everyone, myself included, stops dead in their tracks as we wait for Dan to go on.  And he did.  He went on to explain that he still believes everything that a Christian believes and that he is still trying to live the life Christ calls him to in scripture.

The reason, Dan said, that he doesn’t feel comfortable calling himself a Christian anymore is because he feels like his life doesn’t reflect  what Christ calls us to.  He said, “I don’t take care of the poor, naked and hungry, I don’t spend time with widows or prisoners.  I don’t feel like I love my neighbor as myself, and until I feel like I do that, I don’t feel like I can call myself a Christian,”

Dan doesn’t question his salvation at all, he knows he is saved by grace and faith in Christ.  But Dan seriously questions what we allow to pass for Christianity.  The modern, western  Christian Church is probably so far from the things that Christ called us to, that he would have trouble recognizing us as his followers.  So Dan is taking a step, and he is starting with himself.  We had lunch afterward and he shared more of his heart on it, but he doesn’t doubt who he is in Christ or is even discrediting Christianity.  He infact is elevating Christianity by reminding himself and the rest of us the high calling we have accepted.

Christ’s way changes lives. He calls us to love God with everything we are and have, and to love our neighbors like we would want to be loved.  Those are two high callings.  Jesus told his disciples that they will be known by their love.  If you are a Christian and are reading this, you should be seriously examining your life right now, because truthfully, I don’t measure up.  I don’t need to measure up because Christi does that for me but honestly, I don’t think people know me by my love.  But I want to change that.  I have seen a God who is all about mercy, love, peace, and kindness and I love that.  I am making steps so that my life better reflects he who took the fall for me, and who changed the world with Love.

Dan closed with this Mother Teresa quote that has been a bit of a mantra to me these last few weeks, “We can do no great things; only small things with great love”. I hope to.

Well, I have been thinking about some things lately and I also have been pretty busy and so have been pretty MIA from the site, I apologize, and here ya go.

I have been reading a couple of Shane Claiborne’s books lately and my world is being rocked.  I feel like I’m being encouraged  to go deeper and further in my Christianity and also feel like he pretty clearly articulates some things I have been thinking and wrestling with for a while.  He talks alot about our wealth as Americans and the hindrance that is to entering The Kingdom of God, and I am being rocked.  He mentions the passage in James Chapeter 5 where James warns

1Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 2Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.

Shane uses this passage to springboard to different issues where this applies to us, rich western consumers.  He talks about how Christians should be against buying and wearing clothes made in sweatshops, especially where children are involved (and specifically mentions Nike and other brands ).  I was cut to the core to realize my vanity desires these companies’ products even though they sin against God by desecrating people.  God created people as sacred, reflections of Godself and holy; literally images of The Creator.  I thought of how my purchasing cheap products feeds the greedy cycle that sucks these impoverished in.

He also mentions the tomato pickers who are unfairly paid for their work.  This is specifically and literally what James is talking about! I think about my time at UCLA when Taco Bell was kicked off campus because they are part of the people who pay these tomato pickers so poorly.  I remember the big debates it caused and how we as rich, spoiled students were upset to lose our Taco Bell.  I think of how ridiculous our response was and I pray that my sins in these ares may be forgiven.

Anyway, I am scared.  I don’t know that I am weeping and wailing but I am scared to my core.  No matter how good we think we are, when we contribute to these companies that are everywhere, we are going against God’s design and plan.  We sin for a 99 cent taco, or an 8 dollar t-shirt.  We desecrate humans so that we may be in style or have cheap, tasty food.  The wages we fail to pay these workers are crying out against us and I am terrified.  I pray that God would have mercy on me for my greed and I pray that God would give me wisdom to change, and strength to fight against the global, consumer empire that I live in.

Today was quite a Friday.  I was sick for a while last week and, of course, ended up getting Annie sick.  This last year and a half of living in Hawaii has been ridiculous for me in terms of my health.  I would confidently say that I have been sick more in this year and a half of living in Hawaii, than in the previous eight years living in California and Oregon, maybe even my entire life otherwise.
Part of the reason for Hawaii’s intense “cold season” is that being a worldwide travel destination; we get people and diseases from all over the world.  We get the cold season when it hits the mainland, Europe, Japan, the Southern Hemisphere, you name it, everywhere there are colds going around, visitors come here form there.  So it is pretty much cold season year round here in the Aloha state.
Back to this Friday, Annie has been sick for the last couple days and was again sick today.  I know this because I woke up early in the morning to her hacking up a lung next to me in bed.  Please understand I love my wife so much and cannot imaging the stress of being pregnant, let alone being pregnant with a cold.  But the fact is, usually I am grumpy when I miss out on sleep, so the only things I can think this morning are, “really, is she couching this much and shaking the bed?  I mean there aren’t more than thirty seconds in between coughs!  How long can this go on?”
So again, I love my wife and can’t imagine what she’s going through, and also I am pretty much a jerk for thinking these things but this is the story.  Anyway, I finally realize that I’m being a jerk and it would be best for me to go sleep on the couch, rather than stew in bed and be bitter at my pour, ill wife.  So I head to the couch with my pillows and cell phone (it’s my alarm) and reset the alarm for a little later than normal.
Well, apparently I did a poor job of setting the alarm because I woke up at ten-thirty in the morning because it was getting hot.  So I went into the room and woke up my sweet sick wife and we spent the morning watching some friends and eating breakfast, since the morning was shot.  Went to work at noon and spent the afternoon getting my youth ministry on.  I am super blessed by my work situation, and those around me.  So, that was my Crazy Friday morning.  Thankfully when I told my boss, he just laughed and remarked about how I should be rested then.

Well, I decided  need to step up my blog game.  Blogger was nice, but I’m ready for something more and my wife, Annie has been telling me it’s time to get a big boy blog.  I plan to still feed into my blogger, but here is The Window‘s new home, at wordpress.  more to come from ol J to tha D

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