Monday, June 28, 2010

Left Behind

Sorry I left all of you behind last week with no blog. It's been a busy two weeks. In honor of leaving you behind, here's a clip from Left Behind: The Movie. I was quite surprised that it was one of the few actual clips (not trailers) I could find on YouTube...I thought the movie was a classic! Still I think the clip does a great job illustrating how lame the movie is.

Seriously, did anyone actually enjoy Left Behind?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Why White Evangelicals Should Not Rap

Exhibit A: The Christian Side Hug Rap

Exhibit B: The Tithing Rap

Exhibit C: Ed Young Jr.

Any questions?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Misused Bible Verses: Matthew 26:11

Whenever I hear some one quote Matthew 26:11--"You will always have the poor among you . . . "--it's usually when some one doesn't want to talk about fighting poverty. If Jesus said we would always have poor people among us, then why try to fight poverty? Why not just write a check to a charity?

Is this what Jesus really meant? Let's look at the text in context:

"Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had leprosy. During supper, a woman came in with a beautiful jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head. The disciples were indignant when they saw this. 'What a waste of money,' they said. 'She could have sold it for a fortune and given the money to the poor.'

But Jesus replied, 'Why berate her for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, but I will not be here with you much longer. She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. I assure you, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman's deed will be talked about in her memory.'"--Matthew 26:11

So Jesus and His followers are dining at Simon the ex-leper's house, when out of the blue this strange woman comes up and starts pouring top-quality perfume over Jesus' head. The disciples, once again, don't understand what's going on, so they say she could have sold the perfume and given that money to the poor. And that's when Jesus says, "You will always have the poor among you, but I will not be here with you much longer."

Jesus isn't rebuking the disciples for wanting to help the poor, but because they didn't understand that Jesus was about to die.

As the book of Ecclesiastes says, there is a time and place for everything. And I think this passages in Matthew 26 is trying to say there is a time to go out and serve the poor, and then there's a time to spend it with Jesus--especially at that particular moment when He was about to be arrested.

It's interesting to note that this isn't the first place the Bible says we will always have poor people. According to Deuteronomy 15:11, "There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land." So perhaps Jesus was referring to this verse when he told the disciples, "You will always have the poor among you."

So there you have it: Jesus isn't saying, "Don't bother fighting for poverty." He's saying, "There's a time for charity and social justice, but right now it's not that time." Got it?

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Lego Bible

If you don't know it yet, I love Legos. A few years ago, I read an interesting article in the Wittenberg Door about Brendan Smith, a man retelling the entire Bible through Legos. You can read that article here.

He's still at it, and if your looking for a way to kill time, head over to his website and look through some of his work. Some might call it strange...I call it a modern work of art!

He also has some books you can order on Amazon.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Joshua Tree

I take great pride in being a hipster Christian. On any given Saturday you can always find me sitting at my favorite coffee shop reading Thomas Merton and listening to Sufjan Stevens on my MacBook. I'm such a hipster snob, last year I called U2, one of Christianity's favorite secular bands, the most overrated band in the world. You gotta have some major guts to dis Bono!

The other day, however, I borrowed The Joshua Tree from the local library, and now I'm starting to think that maybe I was wrong. While I still don't consider U2 one of my all-time favorite bands (Mindy Smith is still my main squeeze), I can't deny that The Joshua Tree is full of great melodies and beautiful lyrics.
First, there's "Where the Streets Have No Name." What a lot of people don't realize is this song is about how in Belfast, every one knows your income level based on what street you live on. So in this song, Bono desires to see the Kingdom of God, where it doesn't matter what street you live on, where everyone is equal.

Then there's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For:"

I believe in the Kingdom Come
Then all the colours will bleed into one
But yes I'm still running
You broke the obnds
You loosed the chains
You carried the cross
And my shame
And my shame
You know I believe it
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for

For self-identified emerging Christians like myself, this verse perfectly resonates with us. We believe, and yet we're still searching.

My favorite track, though, is the last one, "Mothers of the Disappeared." They wrote this song after meeting mothers of children who either were killed or "disappeared" during the Salvadoran Civil War.

Midnight, our sons and daughers
Were cut down and taken from us
Heart their heartbeat
We hear their heartbeat
In the wind
We hear their laughter
In the rain
We see their tears

After taking the time to actually listen to The Joshua Tree, I take back what I said about U2.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Legos Go Christian?

I was at the Lego store yesterday, and thought this was a joke. It was not...

You can read about it on Amazon here.

Friday, June 4, 2010

James Manning: Craziest Preacher in the World

If you look up "crazy" in the dictionary, chances are you'll see this guy's picture.

(WARNING: The following video contains ethnic slurs, extreme right-winged propaganda, and African-Americans being sent back hundreds of years)