Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Shack, Jesus for President, and other et ceteras

First of all, thank you to everyone who touched base after my last blog post. I definitely felt the e-love. Just to prevent any wild speculations, I'm healthy, everyone in my family is healthy, I didn't lose my job, or anything like that. I'm simply suffering from an "I need a break" style broken heart. I'm definitely in a better place than when I last posted, but heartache is still heartache. So, anyway, don't fret too much on my behalf.

Second, I recently finished reading Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne. It's a great book that addresses some of the premises on which much of our nationalism, materialism, capitalism, patriotism, and even modern western Christianity are based. He lifts up "biblical values" like Jubilee, Justice, Non-Violence, Sharing, and Enemy Love, just to name a few. Claiborne has a way of convicting me of my own failures in living out that pesky Sermon on the Mount, without making me feel hopeless about my condition. I may get in to some specific stuff when I have the book in front of me, and more time and brain cells. I do struggle, though, with how to apply some of Claiborne's practices in my context. While I admire his choice to move to an urban area and practice intentional community in search for justice, I wonder how I, a pastor in suburban, affluent, homogeneous, Williamson County, America am called to proclaim justice, jubilee, enemy love, and a radical realignment of the social order. Simply standing in the pulpit and proclaiming these values doesn't seem very fair to those who don't have the chance to respond, except for the brief moments on the way out the door (that whole ritual is worth another blog post).

OK, this post is getting long, but I'm also reading The Shack by William P. Young. It's basically a story of how an encounter with God helps a man get free from many of the things that keep him from living a joyful, grateful life of relationship with God. The book has been getting some press, and I'm eager to hear what other folks are thinking about it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Today I'm thankful for good know, the ones who will respond to your bad news by saying, "Let's get together...tonight...we mean it."

The kind of friends who will listen if you want to talk about it, but can also tell when you don't really want to talk about it and just want to be in the company of people whose lives of joy can draw you, if only briefly, out of the gloomy cloud in which you sit.

Friends who know that you love Fat Tire and 1554 and offer to share the big bottle with you because they know that you're a slow drinker and the beer would probably get warm before you finish it.

Friends who offer to split as many appetizers as it takes for you to not be hungry because you went for a run and didn't have time to eat, and because there's a pit in your stomach the size of Cleveland.

Friends who will still give you a hard time and treat you like a real person, even though they know that you're feeling fragile and hurt and confused and overwhelmed.

Friends who invite you to come over and watch movies so you don't have to be alone with your thoughts.

Yeah, I'm thankful for friends like that today.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

I can be such a hypocrite

On numerous occasions, I've gone on tirades about the lack of quality public transportation and/or bike paths in the city of Nashville and surrounding areas. I go on and on about how I would use such facilities if they existed. Well, on Thursday, after work, I had to return something to Radio Shack, buy something at Best Buy, and then run by a music store to buy a book to help me learn how to play the mandolin that I bought the other day. Anyway, at each stop along the way, I was confronted with a Franklin Transit Authority Trolley Stop sign. Yes, I could have reached each destination along the way on the trolley, and with minimal walking from the stop to the store, I might add. In addition, that morning, when I went to breakfast at one of my favorite local haunts, I could totally have ridden my bike the 2 miles, but did I? No, I hopped in my car and was half way there before I even thought anything of it. For all of my talk about environmentalism, I can be a total hypocrite sometimes. I've decided that, from now on, unless time is a major factor, as in, I totally forgot to go get something and I need it in 10 minutes, I'm going to do my best to use the minimal public transportation in the Franklin/Brentwood/Cool Springs area. From what I hear, I may be the only one on the trolley, but at least that'll be one less car wasting a gallon of gas to go and feed the consumerist beast inside of me.