Friday, July 27, 2007

Reconnection Week!

Isn't it great when you can go through a week in your life when you just seem to reconnect with a lot of people from way-back-when? I've loved it. First, Jon Swain a friend of mine who I met through his now wife Emily who knows Julia from sunday school days at Federated. Emily and Jon were also awesome help when we were doing youth ministry together at Federated. I've always really apperciated their help but when you don't connect with someone for a while it makes the heart grow fonder.

Second, I've been trading emails with JC Trombley who is one of those people that I will always have a special place for in my heart. He, Brian, and I used to do literally everything together. Who I am today has so much to do with my relationship with JC over the years. Any sense of self-confidence that I've ever had in my life comes from knowing that no matter what happens or what I do, JC and Brian will always be there for me. Always. JC and I have had a lot harder time staying in touch (no real reason just busyness) so now I've tried to make the extra effort after getting to see JC, Sara, and Luke when I was home for Hannah's wedding it's been cool to regularly trade emails this week.

Third, happened today when I got an IM from Josh McDowell. Who I worked with at Krannert and is a good friend of JC's. He's been working at 3rd Floor Video for Purdue and he does really good work. Josh has always been the guy as far as I'm concerned with the eye for design. Josh's work always impresses me, from the subtle fades and ghosting to bold use of color. Josh and I got a chance to really catch up. It was really nice to catch up and see what he's up to these days. I still can't believe I saw him and his now wife on the letterman show. :)

3 people from the past all in the same week. God is good!

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Joy's of 17 in Worship

So this past week at MBCC we had only 17 adults in worship (SF AIDS walk week) and while we could have probably all just drag ourselves over to AIDS walk (which raised a record $4.5 mil btw). I got a pleasant surprise which is when there are only 17 of you in worship you get a chance to talk to pretty much everyone of them (and much more at length than an average Sunday).

So I wanted to post something about this because my conversation with Ray, Hannah, Phil, Jee, and Joe about how prophecy came to be and what my own teaching perspective is around the least well known books of the bible (we're currently doing a series on that at MBCC). They encouraged me to write without pulling any punches about how we came to get a lot of the stuff that we have in the OT (and really the NT for that matter too). So I'm writing on the evolutionary themes of prophecy in the OT based out of Amos (a lot of my ideas come straight out of Bob Coote's brilliant book "Amos among the Prophets").

Anyways. That is what most of my thinking has been based around this week and it's really interesting to see how God drops all sorts of supporting evidence and stories in my lap when I get to teach. A friend of mine (Don who I still can't believe just turned 40) and I were out to lunch when we got to talking about this idea. He mentioned to me that Einstein wrote on similar subject around the problem of what space is made out of. He said that Einstein used to have to argue over what the density of space was and if it was made out of ether or a vacuum (I have to warn you I don't know much about science).

Basically the story goes that he got so tired of arguing over which it was made out of he just choose one. He then set about using it (I believe he choose vacuum) to do his other research. When he started to present findings he was met with questions about how he had made an assumption. So he showed how he did the math to include either ether or a vacuum, and he discovered that it ultimately didn't matter, which is really wonderful. He discovered that it didn't matter. He did all his calculations over and over again (using both) and discovered that mathematically speaking it was such an insignificant difference that it didn't really matter (yet remember that many at that time were fixated on it). I think this is what I'm going to close my teaching with on Sunday. That we have all of this textual evidence and can see the process of prophecy (I think that might be better than evolving?) and we are left to decipher what we think is right. That we can spend our days arguing over it or we can raise these sorts of questions and observations and see how they can lead us further down the path.

So many people in religious circles are so focused on which is right that they miss that maybe we can see that their is a step in faith beyond this deconstruction that can take us to new territory of changing the world. All of that to basically say that I think that while all this stuff around the development of scripture over the course of human history is interesting and needs to be taught in church, it is also important not to lose sight of where all of it is pointing. Just look at the book of Amos. Amos A (the oldest part) is about condemnation and inevitable catastrophe, which then progresses into Amos B (the first redaction) becomes more f a warning to do justice or else while Amos C (the last redaction -- although it's probably not a simple 3 times) is about a reversal and justice as hope. But after all this deconstruction of the book of Amos, I'm struck with the simplicity of Einstein which is that it doesn't really matter what was intended, that if Amos was indeed written by one guy one day speaking out a specific moment in time that ultimately it's not as important as being able to move past the details and just start doing calculations.

So all that to say. I loved it that my entire sermon shifted gears based on a short conversation I had with the handful of people who came to worship with us on Sunday. Here's hoping God can use my teaching to speak to the lives of people just as 17 in worship spoke to me.

Monday, July 09, 2007


The real Nick and Julia Larson.

For your own creative fun go make yourself...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Minutes to Midnight

I don't normally think to do this but I have to say that I've been impressed with Linkin Park's new Album "Minutes to Midnight." It's rhythmic drumming and poignant lyrics have really caught my attention and I can't seem to drive anywhere without flipping over to listen to this verbal anthem. So I thought I would post the lyrics and I invite you to go pick up the CD or run over to itunes to get it (a word of warning there is a bit of cussing).

Turn my mic up louder, I got to say something
Lightweights steppin' aside when we come in
Feel it in your chest, the syllables get pumping
People on the street then panic and start running
Words on loose leaf sheet, complete coming
I jump in my mind, I summon the rhyme I'm dumping
Healing the blind, I promise to let the sun in
Sick of the dark ways we march to the drumming
Jump when they tell us that they wanna see jumping
F*** that, I wanna see some fists pumping
List something, take back what's yours
Say something that you know they might attack you for
'Cause I'm sick of being treated like I had before
Like it's stupid standing for what I'm standing for
Like this war's really just a different brand of war
Like it doesn't cater to rich and abandon poor
Like they understand you, in the back of their jet
When you can't put gas in your tank, these f*****s
Are laughing their way to the bank, and cashing their check
Asking you to have the passion and have some respect
For a leader so nervous in an obvious way
Stuttering and mumbling for nightly news to replay
And the rest of the world watching at the end of the day
In the living room, laughing like, "What did he say?"


In my living room watching it, I am not laughing
'Cause when it gets tense, I know what might happen
The world is cold, the bold men take action
Have to react to get blown into fractions
At 10 years old, it's something to see
Another kid my age drugged under a Jeep
Taken and bound and found later under a tree
I wonder if he had thought 'the next one could be me'
Do you see the soldiers that are out today?
They brush the dust from bulletproof vests away
It's ironic, at times like this you'd pray
But a bomb blew the mosque up yesterday
There's bombs on the buses, bikes, roads
Inside your market, your shops, and your clothes
My dad, he's got a lot of fear, I know
But enough pride inside not to let that show
My brother had a book he would hold with pride
A little red cover with a broken spine on the back
He hand-wrote a quote inside,
"When the rich wage war, it's the poor who die"
Meanwhile, the leader just talks away
Stuttering and mumbling for nightly news to replay
The rest of the world watching at the end of the day
Both scared and angry, like "What did he say?"


With hands held high into a sky so blue
As the ocean opens up to swallow you.

The only place I found it at length online is on utube (here's one with subtitles). I love the second verse especially, taking on the perspective of a 10 year old who's trying to live out life in the middle of all of this chaos, searching for answers. This song is also just a taste of the album as a whole. It's still got a bit of that classic LP vibe but this is really a step out for them. It's about complex issues and is dealing with a lot of anger and frustration in the world.

Think...but also enjoy.