Category Archives: God, Church & Stuff

My Challenge

Who says Jesus Christ and Christianity aren’t real? The life-transforming power of Jesus Christ is so intense as to cause a man to cut a check to Dayton’s for the cost (plus interest!) of 8-tracks stolen as a teenager. That is amazing. Since taking a Christian Theology class this past semester, the truth of Christianity has become that much more apparent to me. When taken as a whole, all the intricacies of the faith fit together in a kind of giant puzzle of faith. It’s like the extremely complex plot of a novel, the plot of religion so to speak. But with Christianity all the pieces fit. Everything makes sense. I really question if any other religion out there can offer such a complete puzzle. A plot that works so well and doesn’t contradict. What other religion uses the death of its founder as its saving grace? What other religious founder claimed he would rise from the dead, and did? And if you don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead, where’s the proof that he didn’t? Historically it’s the only option (I’m not going to go into it here, but I would gladly explain it to anyone). Christianity works so well, and what I love is that it is NOT a religion. It is so much more. It’s a relationship with the God of the universe. What other worldview offers so much and makes so much sense?

I’ll make my challenge here. I claim that my God is the one true God and that Jesus Christ is the one true way to salvation.

The Uniqueness of Humanity

In my Christian Theology class, we’ve been studying a lot of worldviews and that kind of thing. It’s always seemed strange to me that someone would suggest there is no divine creator behind this world. If you look around, things seem so well ordered that it couldn’t have just happened by chance. If you look at humans, it seems so much more obvious. We humans are pretty unique. For example:

  • Only humans are designed to walk on two legs, and have both hands and feet.
  • Only humans have faces which vary so greatly in appearance that we can identify one another by looking at our faces.
  • Only humans can blush, showing embarrassment.
  • Only humans make love face to face. (I find that rather significant)
  • Only humans have a brain with a speech center. (A Faith For All Seasons by Ted M. Dorman, page125)

I don’t understand how anyone could say all that happened without some kind of divine creator. It makes even more sense to say that divine creator has to have some sort of personal interest in its creation. Everything just seems designed this way.

I’ll admit that at times this concept of God seems very distant to me, but at the same time, it makes so much sense. I can’t accept that the complexity of human life is the result of a crap shoot or an impersonal, unloving god.

Snow, Canceled Church & Bill Murray

Snow. Ah the beautiful white fluff that covers everything and turns driving into the hobby for the desperate. We got the first big snow of the year today. Well, it’s probably the biggest snow storm we’ve had in a while. I love snow. Yeah, it’s cold. Yeah, it’s wet. Yeah, it makes the roads really slick so I can’t go see my girlfriend–but I still love it. I think tomorrow I’m gonna build me a snowman.

The only thing I don’t understand about the snow, is people’s panic. My church canceled all services tomorrow because of the weather. Who cancels church? You don’t cancel church. You can’t cancel church. You know people are going to show up at 10:30 tomorrow morning, wanting to worship God. But the doors will be locked, and we’ll all be snug in our nice warm homes. Cancel church? I thought church was like Meijer’s and 711–they never close.

Oh well. Just for kicks, I have to mention this: Tonight I watched one of the coolest movies ever. It hasn’t received much acclaim, and I think it probably got slammed at the Oscars. But that’s okay, all the good movies do. The Man Who Knew Too Little with Bill Murray. It has to be one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t seen it, go rent it now. You can’t write a better comic premise. Adam Sandler and the late Chris Farley can have their misplaced anger, profanity, and sex jokes–but they’ll never have anything as funny as the comic possibilities presented in “The Man Who Knew Too Little.” It’s even too cool to try and explain. Go watch it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a snowman to build.

Jesus and Event Horizon

I have just witnessed one of the most frightening things in my life. My heart is racing, my skin is clammy, my muscles are tense with fear.


So there I was, enjoying my Christmas vacation. It was just another Sunday, nothing special. I spent the evening relaxing with my girlfriend. I got home ready to drift off to a nice quiet sleep. As usual, I had a snack, and flipped through some channels on the TV before going to bed. I suppose that was mistake number one.


Continue reading Jesus and Event Horizon

Tuck in Your Shirt and Comb Your Hair

Ever feel really out of place? Just feel like you don’t fit in at all? Hanging out with some high schoolers has given me that feeling recently. I went to a concert the other night, one of these local, underground punk things. It only cost $3 to get in. I was wearing the same thing I wore to church that morning–which isn’t as bad as it sounds–my Mother did frown at me when we walked out the door. My faded jeans, year and a half old sneakers, and a nice sweater that made it church-acceptable. Of course that’s not exactly standard dress at a punk show.

I stood there near the back of the crowd, just looking around. Baggy jeans, wallet chains, piercings everywhere imaginable, a few tattoos, either punk rock or ancient thrift shop T-shirts, purple hair, skater shoes, and the like. Nothing I haven’t seen before, but of the entire crowd, I was the lone minority. Makes you think a little bit. I couldn’t help but wonder how many conservative church leading Christians would frown and scoff at this room full of “Christian punks.”

We tell the world that Jesus is for everyone, slave or free, Jew or Gentile, etc. But do we really accept everyone into the house of God? Or do we demand that certain people tuck in their shirts and comb their hair?

Leave Left Behind Behind

This is only serving as a study break today. Yeah, I admit I just had a half hour pizza break, but since then I’ve been grappling with a printer situation that has left me all but happy. So it’s 11:40 and I haven’t started studying for a major final tomorrow. No big deal (Oh wait, my parents read this sometimes!)—after all, I just need to review. Yeah, that’s it. Review.

You know what burns me? Marketing. I suppose it’s one of many things. But I feel like going off on a tirade, and that’s my victim tonight. Yesterday while surfin’ the web I came across the Left Behind web site. For those of you who haven’t heard of these too-popular books, they’re a series of end times fiction. Basically your Christian version of a John Grisham series. If he wrote a series. Fast paced plot, characters worthy of Tom Cruise, and absolutely no literary value. That’s basically what the Left Behind books are. I think God has called us to something greater. Not only that, but they vehemently support a pre-tribulation view of rapture, ignoring the idea that we’re only humans and don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. Sure, we have the Bible, but it doesn’t exactly spell it out for us. Sure, it talks about the future, and gives us some great clues. But to say this is exactly how it’s going to happen is foolish. The main point of argument here is between what’s called pre-trib, mid-trib and post-trib, all beliefs that only vary on when the rapture occurs in relation to the tribulation (I know I’m getting a little theological on ya, but bare with me). My basic point is that these books are endorsing one of these beliefs as solid truth—these beliefs aren’t worth basing your faith on. Heck, the idea of pre-tribulation rapture is only a few hundred years old.

It just shocks me that some people want to take this book series and turn into a major movie production and try to show Hollywood that Christian films can succeed. Now I have no problem with good, moral movies, but I do have a problem with a movie that is trying to represent Christianity with a belief that is anything but universal. Not only that, but let’s just scare everyone into accepting Jesus with visions of Armageddon.

But what I find worse than all this is the marketing. Not only is this a seven book series, but they’ve already spun off a ‘teen fiction’ version of the books. And on the ‘Left Behind: The Movie’ web site, you’ll find these two phrases, “Will you be ready for the moment of truth? TO ORDER, CALL 1-800-XXX-XXXX.” Yep, they’re right next to one another. Is that implying that in order to know the truth of Christ you have to buy a T-shirt?

Sometimes I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m in the same category as some of these people. And we wonder why people laugh at Christianity.

(Hey, over Christmas break I may be just bored enough to devote an entire web page to the ramblings above! So stay tuned.)

Mis-Marketing, the Simpsons & a Crying Coach

To start things off on a less philosophical note, today in my P.O. I received something inviting me to attend Minnehaha Academy—a Christian pre-school through 12th grade school. Needless to say, I’m just a little confused. Secondly, I just finished watching an episode of the Simpsons that proves once again the value of the show. Sure, my mother still frowns at it, but this episode made a glaring statement about the violence in sports (hockey was the example) and the mixed statements we send to our children by condoning such violence. Now to get philosophical on ya…

My eyes opened today, and I tried not to groan. It helped a little. Then came something I never expected to see at chapel. The football coach was speaking, and he cried. Not once, but several times. A football coach getting emotional? Hmmm… He was talking about having an ‘attitude of gratitude.’ It amazed me the way he tried to find the good in everything. It was oddly similar to what L’Engle said yesterday. Hmmm…

Another quote stuck out at me today after reading an article by Mark McCutcheon. Mark was talking about living the Christian life as a relationship with God, not a mere religion. L’Engle said:

“Live in such away that your life would not make sense if God didn’t exist.” (Walking on Water, 31)

It’s becoming more and more clear what this life is all about. And at the same time it gets cloudier and cloudier. Do I live my life in the way L’Engle describes? Rarely. Is my Christian life just a religion? (Is there a distinction between my ‘life’ and my ‘Christian life’?) I hope not, but at times I think it stoops to that. The connection isn’t clear yet, but somehow I think my cheery pants from yesterday and the attitude of gratitude mix together with the religion vs. relationship to say something to me. It’s days like these that life becomes a little less muddled, and I can see.