Lark News Fun

Sexiest Man Alive in ChristLark News is holding a “Sexiest Man Alive in Christ” poll (bottom of the page, left column). So far “That Blond Guy from DC Talk” (Kevin Max) is really cleaning up, with Michael W. Smith in second. But I think the current third place candidate is really the man for the title: Franklin Graham.
(thanks to Knightopia for the link)

Other quality Lark News articles include:

Pastor’s wife sends body double to sit pleasantly on front pew:
Unbeknownst to her husband or congregation, Trudy Smith has been avoiding church for two years, sending a look-alike in her place.

Teen seeks missions assignment where women don’t wear clothes:
He adds that if teen boys could work in a place where they were surrounded by “tons and tons of boobs” the ranks of missionaries would swell.

Church halts nursery expansion, opts for condoms:
The condoms are supplied by Holy Sheath, Inc., a Christian condom company based in Blacksburg, Va. Each condom is printed with a verse, such as, “May her breasts satisfy you always – Proverbs 5:19.”

And from the homefronts…

Accountability groups classified as gangs in Detroit:
“On Monday morning, the guys in my group were waiting for me in the parking lot at my workplace with brass knuckles and family-edition Bibles. They worked me over pretty good, and said they’d pray for me.”

Students start ministry to men with ponytails:
“We consider them a distinct unreached people group,” says Bart Nkomo, 23, from St. Paul Bible College. “That ponytail is really a cry for help.”



My role as Jesus has now officially come to an end. Sadly, I was never really able to grow in a full beard. It was spotty at best. But it feels good to be back to normal.

Though if it’s any consolation, one of the junior highers said he planned to grow his own beard for next year so he could play Jesus. That was just before some of the junior high guys were arguing over who had more chest hair. Not much of an argument when “chest hair” is in the singular sense.

Where’s Jesus?

So much for the best laid plans. The play went off well and everyone said we did a good job (does anyone ever tell a youth group they did a bad job in a play?).

Of course I had a slight problem. I had to be at the church at 8:30. The alarm went off around 7:15, and it was probably 7:40 before I actually got up. Then Abby poked her head in the bathroom and reminded me it was Daylight Savings. It was actually 9:01. The first service had already started and I went on in 19 minutes. Quite a shock when you’re still in the shower.

I made it to church with one song left before we went on, and I was in costume and in position a full 30 seconds before we started. Whew.

Nothing like a crucifixion early in the morning.

Playing Jesus

Tomorrow I reprise my role as Jesus. Of course I didn’t have time to watch any of the movies I thought about, but the whole thing prompts plenty of reflection.

My role as Jesus is pretty physical. I have only four or five lines, and much of the time I’m just silent. A lot of the role is stumbling, falling down, looking like I’m in pain. I’m not much of actor, but it’s fairly easy to do pain. Well, it’s hard work, but it doesn’t require much skill.

What really gets me in the role is when I think about what’s going on. As I first walk in I’m being taken before the chief priests and I scan the audience. I walk up the center aisle and look down the rows. In rehearsal they’ve been empty pews, but tomorrow they’ll be full of people. I’m going to connect with as many pairs of eyes as possible, and that’s the piercing part.

Since a lot of my role requires me to stand there and take what’s dished out, I do a lot of staring. I stare back at the kids in the youth group as they hurl insults, and I try to imagine what Jesus was going through. Part of me wants to act all smug and sarcastic. Part of me wants to haul off and punch somebody. But I know Jesus looked at them with loving eyes, despite the fact that they were selling him out.

As I stand before Herod he gets frustrated when I refuse to perform a miracle, and says I’m just like my cousin. It’s full of spite and hatred, and it’s entirely designed to get a reaction out of Jesus. But his eyes are full of love and pity.

The most brutal part of the play is when the crowd yells Crucify. The congregation is shocked to see their children, their teens crying out for the blood of Jesus. It’s jaring. But I can imagine Jesus crumple inside as he realizes this is it. He knew it was going to happen but he wanted a way out. He hoped in the garden that the cup would be taken away, but as that crowd yells crucify he knows the cup is his. These people that he loves more than anything in the world want him dead, and it begins. The taunts, the kicks, the spitting, I fall at the front of the church, just before the altar, and the iniquity of us all is laid bare.

My sins yell crucify, louder than the mob that day
My sins yell crucify louder than any crowd
(“Louder than the Mob” by the Supertones)

And the cross. The cross is brutal. I obviously can’t measure up to any movie renactment, but I think seeing it before you live is a different sort of experience. As I stumble down the aisle I want to reach out to a pew to pull myself to my feet and meet another set of eyes. Those connections are freaky and jaring. You never quite know how the person will react.

As I climb the steps to the choir loft and stretch my arms to the horizon, the pain increases. Of course my arms get tired and sore, but the simple act of stretching and breathing is work. I look down on the congregation and the teens, the chief priests and crowd members yell up at me. They hurl insults on the dying, and somehow Jesus manages to shout, to choke out the words of forgiveness. How amazing. He feels love up there in all that pain, love shining down on the very people killing him. The words sound so loud and echoey when they come off my lips, from so high up in the church. I cry to the Father and my words seem to go through the ceiling.

Then I give up the last breath and all goes limp. The lights go dark, the solider walks off, and I’m left there alone. Dead. Silent.

And just last week the people were praising him with hosannas. Just last week is tomorrow. The cross is raised before we’ve lowered our palm branches.

Christian Republicans vs. Christian Democrats

A friend’s blog is getting into a pretty heady spiritual-political discussion, and it’s making me think.

Republicans and Democrats are so weird when it comes to Christianity.

Republicans want to legislate moral issues, government imposed restrictions on abortion or gay marriage. The Bible says it’s wrong, so we make it illegal. Democrats, on the other hand, want to leave those moral choices to the people.

Democrats want to legislate social justice issues, government imposed help for the poor and the oppressed. The Bible says to help the poor, so we make a welfare system. Republicans, on the other hand, want to leave helping the poor up to the people.

Is it just me, or are those two stances really contradictory and just plain odd? Maybe I should have just gone to bed a long time ago.

Update: More than four years after writing this post I wrote another post about disagreeing well. That post linked to a survey that asks you questions and tells you where you stand politically. I think taking that test and understanding where you and those you disagree with stand can go along way towards disagreeing well. For me, it helps explain the differences between Republicans and Democrats.

It’s Been a Bad Day

Yesterday was not a good day. Abby stayed home sick. I had a lot of work to do. I basically had one day to write my business plan (so I procrastinated a little), which had to be ready to present today. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I’m not trying to convince bankers. I also had church last night, which meant a good chunk of the evening was gone.

It meant for a busy day, but not too bad. Then I had lunch.

Continue reading It’s Been a Bad Day