I’m a pretty crappy planner

Just when you think things are under control, they blow up all over the place. That’s usually the way things work. If you make plans, they change. If you get comfortable, something makes you uncomfortable. The crazy thing is excepting that as part of life and as part of a greater plan. As confusing and frustrating as change can be, it’s so comforting to know that I’m not in control. Because I’m a pretty crappy planner.

Predictions

I’d like to make a couple predictions. You can take them or leave them, but if you take them and make a profit, I’d like to claim a cut some day. If you take them and come to ruin, I’d like to deny responsibility.

Prediction #1: In the next 5-10 years it’s going to be very popular for males who are succumbing to baldness to embrace the inevitable and shave their heads. There will be a number of thirty-something guys who will forever leave behind the comb over, the bald spot, the large forehead, and just shave it to stubble. They may also try to compensate for the lack of hair on the top of their heads by growing hair on the bottom of their heads. Facial hair will often accompany the embracing of baldness.

Analysis: While it seems like a great way to avoid the embarrassment of going bald, the problem comes when you have a room full of thirty-something guys and you can’t tell anyone apart.

Prediction #2: In the next 5-10 years merchandise related to toys from the 1980s will become extremely popular. We’re talking Transformers, G.I. Joe, He-Man, My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Brite, Thundercats, Voltron, Cabbage Patch Kids, Garbage Pail Kids — you get the idea. By now the children of the 1980s are graduating from college and moving into the real world. They’re getting expendable incomes and they remember their childhood and seek to revel in some of the joys of that time. Watch for a return of some of the actual toys, but more likely watch for T-shirts, posters, and the like.

Analysis: Rock on. I love playing with some of my old toys again. Of course there is the downside of living in the past and buying a bunch of crap you don’t need, but who can argue with nostalgia?

The antithesis of Jesus

I’m back. Did you miss me?

Nothing irritates me more than when Christians completely miss an obvious application of the scripture. Jesus hung out with the rejects of society. Samaritans, tax collectors, lepers. He loved them. Yet what do Christians do? Unfortunately, many of us would be the antithesis of what Jesus taught. We cross the street to avoid people who are different from us. We’re scared of the “inner-city” or the “ghetto.” We segregate ourselves by race, class, social standing or even health, and then avoid each other like the plague. That guy’s poor and dirty, I better not make eye contact. Isn’t that a bad part of town? I don’t want to go there.

Yet that’s where Jesus went.

Mmm… Krispy Kreme

Last weekend I experienced the decadence that is Krispy Kreme donuts. If you’ve never had a Krispy Kreme donut, you’re missing out. What you’re missing out on is a mixed bag, but I’m getting to that. We walked into the place and it wasn’t your ordinary donut shop. You could see the whole donut-making process, from the vat of oil to the fountain of glaze. When you reached the counter, they had a tray of free samples, donuts hot off the line. Nothing matched that first gooey bite.


After the initial shock wears off, you realize you’re sitting in a fast food joint full of fatties. According to Time magazine, Krispy Kreme’s quarterly profits rose 65%. There are also 798,000 new cases of diabetes diagnosed each year. If this is the American breakfast and snack food of the future, our waistlines are in trouble.

The Patriotic Church

Why does the church in America always seem to feel responsible for promoting patriotism? When America is at its least patriotic, you can still find a good 4th of July service in most churches. And when America goes to war, it is the church that first in line to salute Uncle Sam and pat the brave soldiers on the back.

And in some ways, that’s good. The soldiers do need a pat on the back, and we should respect our country and the freedom we’re given. But Jesus said to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. It seems like churches in America give a lot more to Caesar than what is really his. Didn’t Jesus also tell us to love our enemies? I don’t remember churches lining up with love offerings for the people of Iraq. I don’t exactly see churches lining up to help the people of Afghanistan either.

Patriotism is one thing, but it feels like American Christianity has forgotten that we are not of this world. Our allegiance is to heaven, and we should be concerned about a more important war.

We are a Global Faith

God Bless America. In God We Trust. One nation under God. With all these mentions of God, you’d think we were a Christian nation. It seems that America likes to claim Christianity as much as Christianity likes to claim America. Churches love an excuse to promote patriotism and remind us of religious freedoms.

Forgive my lack of patriotism, but I didn’t know democracy was the official political system of Christianity. You might think that from the typical attitude of many American Christians. But Jesus didn’t come to promote any political systems. He came to promote a faith that transcends politics and government. So why do we constantly tie Christianity with democracy?

It may be true that freedom of religion allows us to talk about Christianity and to preach to the world without fear of imprisonment. But has that freedom resulted in an entire nation of dedicated and vibrant Christians? Not even close. That freedom has resulted in a lazy church. Throughout the world, where Christianity exists within other political systems, life isn’t always so easy. The result is Christianity that must survive under pressure, a faith that is tested and refined. The result is a persecuted church that asks for prayer not for an end to persecution, but so that they may endure the persecution.

The American church needs to realize that we are a global faith. America may be the land of freedom, but it is also the land of safety, security and comfort–something Jesus never promised us.

The Media and Anthrax

Anthrax, boo! Do you feel like the media’s blowing the anthrax story way out of proportion? Anthrax this, anthrax that. Anthrax isn’t a contagious disease, so while an envelope full of it is dangerous, it won’t infect an entire town. As a weapon of mass destruction, anthrax relies on panic. And it looks like whoever is behind the attack counted on that. They hit the big three news networks, a company that owns tabloids like the National Enquirer, and a few senators to stir things up.

The media latches onto images of haz-mat teams suiting up and you’ve got panic across the nation at every spilled packet of Sweet ‘n Low. The aim of terrorism is to inflict fear, and the news media is helping.