Friday, February 27, 2004

The Passion of the Christ

Last night my wife, a friend and I went down town to see the movie. We got there early enough to catch a showing about forty minutes earlier than we thought. What are my reactions? Well, first off, I bawled like a baby for most of the movie. There were times when Jesus would just look at the screen as if to say to me, "I know what I am doing. I did this for you." I don't want to spoil anything for those who haven't seen the movie yet. I am sure there are things that got me that you won't identify with. The languages weren't a problem. I found that I became completely engrossed in the film. The art was spectacular. In all, I feel that I have a deeper love for the Lord and for His sacrifice.

Genesis 3
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, ...
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring [1] and hers;
he will crush [2] your head,
and you will strike his heel."

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Oh, I also went to a Catholic Mass for Ash Wednesday this morning. I sat next toa youth pastor friend of mine. It was a good service. At the end of it my friend said, "It was nice worshipping with you." I said, "You, too." And I meant it. I have come to appreciate the continuity between Christians of other traditions and those of mine. Christ is so much bigger than my preconceived notions of Him. He is much more glorious than the Bible church movement.

I don't know what I am giving up for Lent. Anyone got any suggestions?

The Passion

So I was just listening on the radio a review of the movie from a regular, non-Christian radio station. The reviewer made a great point. Why is it that Christians praise this movie as the best movie of all time and yet will denounce the evil horrors of movie violence in such films as "Kill Bill"? I know that The Passion is history and Kill Bill is not. But it raises the issue of how Christians are being seen by non-Christians because of our shameless promotion of this movie. I do think this story needs to be told. I do believe that the story is the most powerful story ever, but I wonder if this movie is really for the Christians and not "the greatest evangelism tool ever made" as some have said. It will be interesting as to how non-Christians will react. My hope is that we will see this movie a bridge to open dialogue with other people. My fear is that non-Christians will in large part not be as affected as we Christians are anticipating. This is not because the Gospel is less powerful than we make it out to be, but because we will have substituted this movie for building loving relationships with non-Christians. I will see this movie and I anticipate being moved deeply, but I imagine this movie causing more Christians to kindle afresh the joy of knowing Jesus who is Lord and Christ rather than non-Christians coming to faith.

I could be wrong (Lord, knows I have many times before) and I pray I am. My hope is in the Holy Spirit and in the love of the saints and the power of Jesus Christ. These things will be the means of salvation for all people who will believe.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Monkey Island
My wife and I got a new game for PS2 called Escape from Monkey Island. You're a pirate trying to save your wife's mansion and get her re-elected as governor of Melee Island. The game is extremely funny and extremely challenging. Where else would you have to figure out how to use prosthetic skin on a manhole as a trampoline or use a duck to scare a noseless pirate. It's great. Kara and I spent a good 15 hours playing it this weekend.

We also had our volunteer appreciation banquet this weekend. Once again my comedic skills were required. I got to play in a baby swimming pool on stage, dress up like a woman, and be a really horrible ventriloquist. Let's just say that I make a less than stunning female. In all there were lots of laughs.

American Idol: Asian Style
William Hung: A Real American Idol! The Online Tribute to Will Hung a.k.a. Hong Kong Ricky Martin

This is the funniest I've seen in a while. I only wish I had the skills of this guy.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Back Home
Well, I am finally back in town. It was a good trip. It has been a while since all of the OG family clan (brother, sister, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins) got together. Thanks for your prayers. I learned some cool things about my grandma. First, she once took a 270 mile hike all by herself. She was just that type of woman. I also learned that she was in the service during WW2 (and got kicked out..I don't know why). She was an adventurous woman.

All of the grandkids were pallbearers. It is hard carrying a coffin when you know that any false move could send your dead grandmother flying into the dirt.

For those of you who are wondering about how I was able to minister to my dad there is some good news. During the service I was sitting next to him. I looked over and I could see him crying (Something I have only seen once in my life). Doing what I could, I reached over and held his hand. This was probably the most intimate moment I have had with my father. Me holding his hand as he was grieving the loss of his mother. During that I time I knew that I was giving the best comfort I could. I know that he felt it too. Thank God for moments like those. I won't ever forget it.

In all I am doing quite well. I was able to grieve myself for the loss of a woman I never really knew. She was sick most of my life. One cool thing is that I was able to get a couple of my grandmothers paintings. She was an awesome artist and had a room abover their garage where she painted many wonderful nature scenes. Having these painting will help her memory live on in our home.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Utah Bound
I leave for Utah this afternoon. I don't know what these next few days are going to be like. I know my dad's family doesn't get a long. My dad hates his dad and sisters. They never talk. Me, my brother, sister and parents are going to be together for the first time in a while. All this and I am supposed to grieve for my grandmother...I am not even done grieving for Trevor yet. I still see him in my dreams every once in a while. I guess what bothers me the most is that I really longingly want to comfort and minister to my family. I want them to feel the love of Christ. That's not preaching, but honest to goodness Christ comforting.

Oh, Lord I feel so insignificant, so feeble. I am no good at helping my family see you. Every time I try I see them back away. Father, bring my family into your family. My heart aches to see that my parents have no hope, not only for the future life, but for the life of today.

Kara read me something from our Celtic Prayer book the other day that talked about the sin of the world being unbelief. If that is the case then I am a sinner on par with the Stalins and Pol Pots of this world. I don't believe God will save my family. That is my sin, that is my unbelief. I long for times when I can go to my dad and say, "Isn't God good?" It's more than seeing my earthly father in heaven. It's about feeling close to him now. But frankly my hope is waning. I'm not the most consistent of prayers with regard to this, but I keep coming back to it. With all these funeral I realize that my time with my parents is slowly drawing to a close. I want these last years to be the best they can be, but I fear they will not.

"Lord, I believe, but help me in my unbelief."

Saturday, February 14, 2004

What Next God?

I just found out that my grandma in Utah died. I will be making the trip for her funeral this week. All I can say is...Ahhhhh! I guess I will write more as I have time to process. The rest of tonight will be spent with the wifey trying to make a good Valentine's Day. Thanks again for more prayers.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

I am doing better

Thanks to all who have been praying for my wife and me. I can really feel God's comfort. This week has been better. One cool thing is that we are finally starting to replenish some of the people we lost in our student ministry staff. I feel so good having people around in the office again. I am the type of person who thrives in a working environment where there are a lot of people. I like doing my lessons with three or four people around that I can bounce ideas around with. So, I am very encouraged by the people who have joined our team. Yesterday we did some filming and we got propositioned to be in a gay porn film by an older man. Ugh!!!!!!! But at least I didn't get kissed by said pervert (my boss did)! Ahhh, good laughs were had by all.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

No Sleep

The funeral went really well. It was a catholic mass and it brought back a lot of memories from growing up in Catholic School. Amazingly I felt some comfort from the Catholic faith I once deemed as boring and ritualistically. I guess now that I am older and can understand the deep theological meaning behind the prayers I felt the comfort of God in that church.

This morning I had a test at 7:45, but I couldn't sleep. I kept having dreams where Trevor was there. I don't think I have even begun to mourn the loss of this friend. Hatred still burns inside of me because I know he could have called any number of people. I am still angry at myself for neglecting our friendship and making fun of Trevor's quirks. I still see him in my mind. New movie reels of T-Bone memories flood my brain at random times. This weekend I heard how Trevor's faith in Christ was instrumental in his father accepting Christ. I am extremely humbled because I wonder if my father gets inspired by my faith, most likely not. I see myself as a pretty together guy and I definitely saw Trevor as someone who needed help. I sometimes saw myself as doing a favor by loving him (how sinful I really am). All the while a broken, bi-polar, socially awkward person can have a lasting impact on his family where my impact on my family is less evident. I wish I could tell Trevor how proud I was of him.

Friday, February 06, 2004

On a lighter note

Here are the states I've been to.

create your own visited states map

My map is more red than loneaggie's (Matt)

Thursday, February 05, 2004

For Trevor

Dear Trevor,
I am sorry for so many things. I knew to some extent the demons you fought in your mind, yet I was too busy for you more times than I could count. I am sorry for making fun of your lack of social skills behind your back. I am sorry for not showing you love. If attention is what you needed, you didn't find it in me. If Christ's compassion and tenderness is what you craved, you couldn't get it from me. If loneliness was your constant companion, I didn't take its place. Although I could say that I wasn't the friend you needed, I still wanted to make you feel good. You were so quiet at times that I fear I had no memories of you. It angered me last night that I could hardly remember that you lived with me. But those memories are flowing now. I called you "T-Bone" and I knew you smiled every time I said it. I remember playing catch with you outside our apartment. I remember listening to you spout off the scripture you'd been memorizing. I remember going to Beach Reach, lake Texoma, and Pine Cove. I remember late night relationship talks. I remember that you were always there at College Crew and the times we discussed the book of Ruth. Oh God, how I am thankful that I remember. I am thankful that I can see your smile in my mind. I wish you could have seen that smile for yourself.

I don't know why you took your life. I can't understand your pain. I know Christ, though angered by your selfish act, has welcomed you into His arms. Your soul is fully complete now. Your demons are taken away. One day we will meet again, but of us fully formed and I will be able to see you as you were truly meant to be. I loved you T-Bone...I loved you T-Bone.


Last night I found out that a friend from college committed suicide this past weekend. As you can imagine this is quite a shock for both Kara and I. We spent a lot of time with Trevor over the years. He was a tortured soul, constantly battling depression and loneliness for many years. At times I showed great love for him. Other times I made fun of him behind his back. During this past 14 hours I have been reminded of my own selfishness and cruelty and have been angered by these sins in my own life. Please pray for his family who are catholic and may very well hold that the sin of suicide is unpardonable by God. While I believe otherwise, this must be excrutiating for them.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Hello, my name is Kevin...and I am Postmodern
Today I went to a conference on Postmodernism and the church. The speaker was one of my favorite authors named Brian McClaren. He is one of the leading thinkers of the Postmodernism in the church. While I can't give justice to what all was said today I can give you a taste. I believe this world is in a process of change. I believe that the church must rethink itself in order to stay relevant and effective in ministry. This change may entail us Christians letting go of some of our sacred cows. We will have to embrace one another, our social duty in the world, and the history (both good and bad) of the church. If you want to know more I would love to dialogue.

The conference was great because I came away feeling encouraged to see Christians of different views honestly and openly discuss issues. I was encouraged because sometimes I feel like no one understands the way I see God and Christ and the church.

Here are some thoughts in my head:
1. Is the Gospel much more than getting one's butt into heaven? It is about a holistic change of the person in which they see their life as one of bringing about God's kingdom here on earth.
2. In order to gain credibility, we must be willing to express our past mistakes (as a church) to non-Christians.
3. We must be willing to ask more questions in our teaching than dispensing pre-packaged truth.
4. We must break from the cycle of consumerism in America (especially in the church).
5. We can no longer simply share Christ with people and neglect living like Christians (I.E. serving the poor).
6. Postmodernism is not a synonym for moral relativism.

What are some other ways in which the Church must rethink Christianity? I am still journeying in this mindset and don't know where I will end up. I know I will probably admit to some heresies along the way, but I believe that Christ is calling me to be who I am. He is calling the church to be light in this world. He will accomplish His desire for all the world to one day bow at His feet and I am willing to follow Him where He leads me.