Monday, March 08, 2010


My family attended their first Purim a couple of weeks ago. I'm still reflecting on it with a certain level of interest, clicking through articles on various blogs and Jewish websites.

The lowdown is that everything happens for a reason. If we choose not to risk ourselves for righteousness in whatever circumstance we're placed into then the end result will still happen, but to our own demise. Our choices both define who we are and are ascertained from our predefined disposition.

The holiday also has several theologically formulated side plots: Good versus Evil, What goes around comes around - specifically that those who live by the sword die by the sword, There is such a thing as universal beauty, Humble obedience to God is often mistaken for human arrogance - but only to those already saturated with arrogance, and Laws can't be broken but may be trumped by higher laws.

There are so many nuggets of wisdom that come from this holiday that it's ironic to consider it a fool's holiday. Shrouded in costumes, groggers, silly pranks, cookies, candy, plays, goofy songs and lots of wine, this holiday is really a beautiful message in masquerade.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mainstream Media

Interesting how recent bipartisan attention about the lap-dog behavior of the mainstream media has recently erupted. In high school of all places, one of my instructors, quoting someone I can't remember, stated that in the near future more people will realize that true news isn't from newspapers, television, radio, books or schoolrooms. Instead, newsworthy truths will be shared but over podiums in the churches, benches in the locker rooms, cup dispensers near the water coolers and seats in the bars.

People have been boiling over the lies in the main stream media for decades, but have remained quiet. So why the sudden change, now? Perhaps it is because people were promised change, foolishly believed it, ignorantly voted for it, and received a series of events that included politicians gleefully raising tax burdens of the common man to pay for the millionaire bailouts instead ... and you can't tell this same public that our highly intelligent president knew nothing about how the money would be spent. Perhaps it's because, acting like a good American, we do what we're told day after day to wake up one day realizing we're a slave to a national debt that had been building up and hidden - swept away - while the media continued to feed out lies about how great the economy was because we were doing what Americans do (whatever that means).

So it turns out that people are waking up and realizing that main stream media is a lap-dog to the feds, a fat-cat to their advertisers and a circus monkey to the government that sits between the two. The real stories are often ignored from the press while a distracting story is burnished and reprinted with the same degree of accuracy, conjecture and falsehood as a high-school crack dealer trying to convince a jury of his innocence. It makes for a great show, but it makes you sick when you step back and realize how much time and money is wasted over the endeavor.

It's refreshing to see a generation that was called crazy conspiracy theorists finally get proper exposure - baptist preachers being beaten by executive officers for standing up for his constitutional rights, bloggers being imprisoned for videotaping a police state gone wild, celebrities being called crazy and mocked for telling people that their fears from the pharmaceutical megaliths don't make them crazy despite what the government and main stream media says publicly.

As taught in grade school political science, any institution given all three of the legislative, executive and judicial power becomes a disease to the world. Even the Bible forbade anyone other than God Himself of being all three, though it was often called by the seats that enacted these powers: priest, king and prophet. I mention this because one country after another has turned into this monsterous disease - it's a political pandemic. The very media that was supposed to expose these problems failed the public and went so far left that any of their "repentant" attitudes in moving to the right are laughible at best and effigy worthy at least (and how many of us haven't burned a paper at least once in our life - the only type of "book" burning that is not only common but humanitarian).

Rogue online papers, bloggers and videos are means of information, but every road of information quickly becomes saturated with misinformation so that only those who saw the events unfold personally can determine the truth. These people are fervently preaching, tirelessly running, actively working or jaded and drinking.

Excuse me while I look for the nearest bar...

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Friday, June 20, 2008


I recently watched a show called "Trick or Treat", hosted by Derren Brown. For those who don't know who Derren Brown is, he's the most famous psychology magician in the UK and arguably in the world (other than Benny Hinn). In the last episode of the second season he talks about superstition and it's curious ties with human reasoning.

He showed strong evidence that we are so self-absorbed that we naturally believe that random events in this world are in response to our involvement - no matter how detached.

I had to think about this and the book of Job came to mind. Here is a righteous man being tortured by Satan and his friends are picking on him, accusing him of doing wrong things that he never even thought of doing.

So I think there are Biblical applications here. In religion, we try to build a relationship between man-kind and the unexplainable. In a relationship with God, we often find that the best miracles happen when we do nothing other than sit and wait. So again, religion does not equate to relationship. Nevertheless, I want to suggest that there is an overall result of our behavior. If we do evil, God allows evil to fall on us with more severity and recourse to ultimate destruction. If we do righteous, then our prayers have merit and God will offer some graces and blessings where there would otherwise be none. But it appears to stop there.

Like my children, if they behave then after a while if they ask something special from me I'm more willing to give it to them - but they're still getting fed, clothed, sheltered and educated regardless. If they continually misbehave and rebel, then I step back and watch them fall. Sometimes I lecture them afterwords and sometimes I don't. Again, they're still going to be provided for regardless.

There's a proverb that it rains on everyone - the righteous and the wicked alike. From that proverb I agree with Derren Brown. Most of life occurs and it's what we choose to do with that occurrence that demonstrates who we are, but our ability in tomorrow's ball game is not dependent on our unwashed lucky socks.

So I've been rethinking some of the traditions and rituals I go through in life. Is it because I believe something will happen from it or because I think it's the right thing to do? That puts a new perspective spin on life.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007


I used to lead worship for our church's children regularly for about 8 years. During that time I found it necessary to ask kids if they knew what they were singing about.

I recall reading some humorous notes from school teachers where a class had been required to write out the pledge of allegiance (to the flag...).

From that, and through some of the college classes regarding music instruction to grade-schoolers, I understood that children don't necessarily know what's going on with the song so you have to ask some basic questions.

So we were singing "Peter and John" also known as "Silver and Gold Have I None":

Peter and John went to pray
They met a lame man on the way
He asked for alms and held out his palms
and this is what Peter did say:

"Silver and gold have I none,
But such as I have give I thee.
In the name of Jesus Christ
of Nazereth rise up and walk."

He went walking and leaping and praising God,
Walking and leaping and praising God,

"In the name of Jesus Christ
of Nazereth rise up and walk."

Noticing the look of blank seven-year old faces in the crowd I stopped and asked some questions. I could understand the younger kids not understanding the content, but by seven I expect them to understand the gist of the song.

Me: "Does anyone know what lame means?"
only one boy held up his hand - he was about 7 or 8.
Boy: "Boring!"

(Insert snickering from the present teachers)

I know he only understood "lame" in today's slang context ... as in "That movie was lame." But there is a hidden allegation that children's worship is also "lame."

One of the frustrations felt as a worship leader is that the children expected to be entertained. Their short attention span could only be held by a laser-light smoke-machine strobe-light pounding hard-core show ... or at least some puppets.

Our overabundance of TV watching and video games are designed to under-sensitize children. If you laden their little brains with flashy videos and fast music then you can grab their attention more than your competitors... which means your sponsors are happy.

Those children from homes without much TV - or any TV tend to be more responsive to their environments and definitely hold longer attention spans ... and who knows ... they might even know, by looking at the social behavior of their peers, the real meaning of "lame."

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

"Nothing Better to Do"

Several days ago my youngest daughter, three, started learning about Jesus' crucifixion. We've spoken to her about it before, but this was the first time she actually understood it to some extent.

M to Mommy in an excited voice: "Is it true? Is Jesus Really Coming Back?"
Mommy: "Yes. He's coming back someday."
M: "Yay!" (Spins around in circles as fast as she can.)

A few days later my wife took the children to a thrift store where the little girl saw a cross...

M to Mommy: "Look, Mom. A cross."
Mommy: "Do you know what happened there?"
M: "Jesus died."
Mommy: "Yes. Do you know why He died?"
M: "Because He had nothing better to do!"

Children can be so funny at times. Neither my wife nor I could figure out where that response came from. On "Jeapordy" she would have lost hundreds of dollars on that response. Looking deeper at the meaning, though ... she's right!

Matthew 26:50-54 brings this to light in Jesus' own words when Peter sliced off the ear of the high priest's servant at the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus warns Peter about what violence brings then says something we hadn't heard before: " you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?"

Jesus knew He had a way out of being crucified. It wasn't steel and strong wooden beams that held Him to the cross. At any moment He could have cried out to God and Jesus could have ruled in might and power - but then He wouldn't have fulfilled His word.

John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Jesus had nothing better to do than to save the world from sin and death ... than to bail us out of the eternal prison we walked into when Adam sinned at the beginning.

He had nothing better to do than to die on the cross.

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