What’s been happening…

Money got really tight for us around Christmas time. We put a few gift purchases on our credit cards, and fully expected that when our tax refund came, we would pay down our credit card bills and put a little money in the bank, and start with a positive financial momentum in 2008.
Trouble was, we came up owing almost $1,000 on our taxes. I re-did the numbers twice, and yet Turbo Tax was insistent: we owed the IRS money we didn’t have.
So much for a positive momentum…
But then it got worse.

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What’s your brand?

I came across this today.

I like the idea of it, because we often wear our faith as a brand — as if we’re in the ‘christian fish ‘ club, and that makes us better than people in the ‘Buddha’ club or the ‘Rainbow’ club or the ‘Liberal’ club…

And what’s heartbreaking about that is that many of us wear that ‘christian’ brand as the extent of our faith… it doesn’t go any farther than a bumper sticker and a trip to church every week (the club meeting) — and when that’s the case, it usually leads to the judgmental attitude that christians are often known for.


I do choose to wear a brand. I am branded by Jesus. He is my Creator, my Author, my Artist. He created me and branded me with His name. Then He pursued me, ransomed me, and signed me with His blood. His brand on me means that I am the least of the least in this world. I am nothing. I am called to be a fool. I am called to love to a degree that is impossible in human power. I am called to be compassionate, and to look up to everyone — from my knees — because I’ve seen the cross, and I know Who is was that gave His life there… and I know He did it because of my junk.

The Jesus brand means that I am adopted as a child of the Most High.

It means that I am not home yet.

It means that YOU are my neighbor, and I am responsible for your well-being.

It means that I have a purpose.

Am I in the small-c ‘christian’ club? Not the way most people think of it.

But I gladly wear a brand: Jesus Christ

“Jesus Made Me Puke”

I came across an article by this title this week (I found it here). If the title doesn’t get you, it will once you learn that the article is in Rolling Stone magazine.

When I first clicked the link, I realized that the article is 8 pages long, so I’ve been waiting for a chance to read the whole thing at once, which I did this morning.

The story in a nutshell is that the reporter went ‘undercover’ as a member of a neo-fundamentalist mega-church in Texas. He attended services for several months, and then went on a weekend retreat, which is meat of most of the article.

As you might expect, he completely rips what he believes to be modern christianity to pieces, and his criticism is just. I don’t really disagree with anything he says in the article. The major catch is that the church he chose to scope out is WAY out in left field. He gives a play-by-play of the whole retreat and “Jesus” only comes up one time, when someone is casting the ‘demon of homosexuality’ out of someone. The Gospel doesn’t appear anywhere in the article, and neither does the heart of God. And unfortunately, I think that’s a reflection of the church body that the reporter became a part of.

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“Belief” by John Mayer

I love listening to music while I work. I find that what usually happens is that, even though there are like 15gb of music on my work computer, I get in the mood for something particular, and I’ll listen to one artist or album for a good chunk of time, rather than just shuffling through everything.

One album that I’ve listened to a LOT lately is John Mayer’s newest album, Continuum. One particular song on the album is absolute genius. It might be the best secular song writing I’ve heard from my own generation. The song is called ‘Belief’ (iTunes link). 

The heart of the song seems focussed on war vs peace and finding common ground. But what really strikes me about the song is how it applies to faith. Part of the chorus says, “Everyone believes. From emptiness to everything.” The idea seems closely tied to the reality that everyone worships something, though not necessary the one true God.

Have a look at the lyrics and let me know what you think:

Is there anyone who
Ever remembers changing there mind from
The paint on a sign?
Is there anyone who really recalls
Ever breaking rank at all
For something someone yelled real loud one time Continue reading

Mike Huckabee is not as weak as you think he is

How many times have you heard someone on TV or the radio or a blog make this argument:

Mike Huckabee is only popular among evangelical christians, and he might win the primary in states that have a lot of evangelicals, but he’ll never get elected.” ?

Justin Taylor points at this article, in which Michael Medved makes a really important argument:

Those who insist, over and over again, that the Iowa Caucuses reflected “Christian identity politics” or a “tidal wave of Evangelical support” are basing their analysis on feelings, not facts; on vapors, not voters. It’s dishonest to say that a guy who just won a crushing state-wide victory, without even winning the majority of his own religious group, displayed a one dimension appeal to Christian zealots only.

This endlessly repeated story line is not only tired, it’s a lie. (emphasis mine)

Your thoughts?