- Thanks to my friend Andy for tipping me off on this great project: Zamboanga the movie.
- Bryson shares some great thoughts on trying vs. training.
- Michael does some similar reflecting about how going to the gym is not the same as working out.
- Ben at Performing the Faith writes a great post about Intervention, one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums of 2007.
- Bart Campolo, via the God’s Politics blog, calls himself an idiot and brings to mind my personal mantra – God loves us exactly the way we are, but doesn’t want us to stay that way.
- Finally, a great parody that made me laugh out loud!
I just finished A.J. Jacobs’ The Year of Living Biblically. It is a book that received a lot of press when it was released late in 2007 and I received it as a Christmas present from my mom. It was a fun read and actually ended up having more depth to it than I first thought it might.
As he sets up the premise of the book Jacobs introduces himself as a Jew and then adds some clarification – he is “Jewish in the same way the Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant. Which is to say; not very.” But, as an experiment, he decides to spend 12 months following all of the laws in the Bible literally (and wrestles through the process with what that means).
As he wraps up the project in the closing days Jacobs reflects:
There’s a phrase called “Cafeteria Christianity.” It’s a derisive term used by fundamentalist Christians to describe moderate Christians. The idea is that the moderates pick and choose the parts of the Bible they want to follow. They take a nice helping of mercy and compassion, But the ban on homosexuality? They leave that on the countertop.
Fundamentalist Jews don’t use the phrase “Cafeteria Judaism,” but they have the same critique. You must follow all of the Torah, not just the parts that are palatable.
Their point is, the religious moderates are inconsistent. They’re just making the Bible conform to their own values.
The year showed me beyond a doubt that everyone practices cafeteria religion. It’s not just moderates. Fundamentalists do it too. They can’t heap everything on their plate. Otherwise they’d kick women ouf of the church for saying hello (“the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak…” – 1 Corinthians 14:34) and boot out men for talking about the “Tennessee Titans” (“make no mention of the names of other gods…” – Exodus 23:13).
But the more important lesson was this: there’s nothing wrong with choosing. Cafeterias aren’t bad per se. I’ve had some great meals at cafeterias. I’ve also had some turkey tetrazzini that gave me the dry heaves for sixteen hours. The key is in choosing the right dishes. You need to pick the nuruting ones (compassion), the healthy ones (love thy neighbor), not the bitter ones. Religious leaders don’t know everything about every food, but maybe the good ones can guide you to what is fresh.
That seems a noble goal to me; to seek to guide others to the foods of faith that are fresh, that are healthy, and that provide nourishment.
I’m working with one of the youth at Ridge Church to lead a program tonight about the Genocide in Darfur. I must admit that I did not know many of the details of this tragedy before this week. After the research I’ve done I don’t know what is more startling, the tragedy that exists or the apathy with which so much of the world is responding. The youth helping me with the program found this great video. We’ll be using it tonight.
Take the time to watch it, it will be well worth your time.
Lent begins today. Many people often give up something during Lent (popcorn, chocolate, caffeine, or even facebook); it is typically something that is near and dear to them.
Over the last couple of years I have chosen to adopt a new discipline for Lent rather than to let something go. This year I’m going to be recommitting myself to a couple of things:
1.) I’m going to recommit to a disciplined exercise regimen – cardio at least three times a week and weight work at least twice. I’ve let this slide a little in ’08.
2.) I’m going to be more intentional about spending time in devotion and study each day. I hit a pretty good stride in the fall and was doing this well, but haven’t as much the last month or so. I’ll be continuing to read through the psalms, as well as through the Gospel of Mark. I’ll also be using a Lenten devotional that Ridge Church has made available.
Feel free to ask me how I’m doing with these disciplines. Will you be giving up or taking on anything for Lent?
A big time thank you to Steve and Michele Anderson for hosting the Ridge Youth at their place last night. The Super Bowl party was a great time!
A couple of observations/questions
1.) What was Lew Perkins (KU’s Athletic Director) doing in the same suite/skybox as Peyton Manning. One fan theorizes this on a KU discussion board, “Ken Kremer and Tom Condon represent both Manning’s. Kremer has a wife that went to KU and was a cheerleader, he also has a daughter who currently attends. So based on this, I would have to say that Perkins got a hold of Kremer and was able to sit in the CAA box.” Can anyond confirm or deny this? Does anyone have other theories. It doesn’t really matter, I just find myself oddly interested.
2.) Superbowl commercials were ok this year, not fantastic, but ok. I was particularly intrigued by the enthusiasm that my youth group had for Bud Light ads, even before a single one aired. They were excited about them, chatting about ones from year’s past, and doing random imitations of the accents from some of the past spots. Honestly it was a little discouraging to me that Bud Light has already gotten their name and image so well ingrained in the minds of these 11-18 year olds. I’m going to worry/wonder about that one for awhile now.
3.) I learned last night that one of our youth, Robby, is a blogger. I’ve enjoyed catching up on his posts today. Any other Ridge Youth blogging out there?
I’ve posted several times about Britney Spears in the last several months. I’m not necessarily proud of it, but I have.
It started with some reflections about Britney and her sister when her sister’s pregnancy was announced.
I then posted a letter I wrote to Britney.
Then, most recently, I shared my plans to be praying for Britney and her family.
In response to one of those posts I was asked a great question by a parent of someone in the youth group, do we really want Britney serving as a role model? The easy out is to say no, we don’t. Unfortunately, whether we want her to or not, she is. The Britney economy as it was recently coined is alive and well. This mornings local paper even contains an article on Britney. Check out some of these staggering facts…
- Putting Britney on the cover of a tabloid increases sales by 33 percent.
- Between January of ’06 and July of ’07 (78 weeks) she was featured on tabloid covers 175 times.
- Britney has topped the annual list of Yahoo search rankings six of the last seven years.
- One agency, Portfolio, estimates that Britney accounts for 30 percent of paparazzi business.
I still haven’t heard back from the letter I wrote and don’t anticipate that I really ever will. However, I still wonder, what it would look like for Britney to straighten out her life, use her influence for good, and begin to deflect some of the attention aimed at her toward causes much more worthy of our time and energy as a culture. I am hopeful that in these next fourteen days Britney will get some of the help that she needs and that maybe she’ll emerge a changed person. And if that doesn’t happen, I’ll continue to pray for her and her family as well as for all of the young people who look to Britney and others like her.
This morning (Youth Sunday 2008) was absolutely crazy, but ended up going really well. The logistics of worship at Ridge are kind of nuts; we have three services, with three very different cultures, held in two different locations. We had 20+ youth helping with worship this morning and with getting them all to the church early enough, getting them where they needed to be, when they needed to be there, doing what they needed to be doing, I was plenty anxious about the morning.
Our preachers did a great job, all of the worship leaders did wonderfully, our communion drama was great, the people helping with music were splendid, the ushers and greeters and communion servers all did fantastically as well. In fact, if I had it all to do over again; I think the only change I’d make would be to wear a blazer…
Seriously though, thank you to everyone who helped make this morning so great. John and Buddy and Heather were great logistical coordinators and Michael and Christopher and Michelle and Heather were musical gifts!
Heather and I shared a birthday lunch afterward, got some things for the Youth Super Bowl Party this afternoon, and are home relaxing now (I think a little Guitar Hero III is next). In the coming days I’ll post the sermons as well as the communion drama for your perusal.