Archive for January, 2009

Opinions please – Worship

If a person has a habit, a character flaw if you will, of gossip and/or mockery and/or slander, does God accept that person’s worship?

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I was at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Monday and I went to the Beauty and the Beast show. My friends’ kids picked it and I figured it would be a quality show but, because I had seen the animated film, I figured I wasn’t going to hear anything new. The parallel in the story for the Christ-follower is obvious: We were the beast, cursed because of sin (in this case, self-centeredness, haughtiness and rejection of someone in need). But love came. We first thought it was an intrusion and we were angry because that presence made us remember how beastly we were. Then we saw love that saw through our ugliness. We received the love and we were changed.

I also realized her name, "Belle," is symbolic of who she is and what she does. She is a "bell" that brings attention. A bell is special. It calls us to change class. Church bells remind people to come to worship. The Liberty Bell symbolizes the cry for freedom and independence from what has always been the status quo. A bell wakes people up. Everybody who hears a bell focuses their attention on that sound and tries to figure out where it is coming from and why it is ringing. The bell I heard during this show stood out because of what God has been trying to teach me lately.

He is reminding me that I tend to feel insignificant, but he has a different idea of what matters (By the way, notice that the only positive thing said about her in the song centers on her looks. However, the phrase which immediately follows, "but beyond that fair facade…" exposes their assumption that true beauty is found on the outside and that a beautiful woman should act a certain way.). Almost anything can bring up the insecure feelings that I try to bury. So, when I heard the song (key lyrics below), the words rang loud and clear. I knew God was sending me another reminder that what and who "normal" people consider "odd," God may indeed use in ways he won’t (can’t) use "normal" things and people. He almost always used and uses outcasts and fringe folk. He uses the foolish to shame the wise. He uses the weak to shame the strong.

I still don’t feel comfortable in my skin. God created me a certain way and it is that which he wants to use. I am convinced that most of us church goers are influenced more by the American Dream than by Scripture. I am convinced that most of us church goers are influenced more by visions of meaning and success which are far removed from Scripture, than by Scripture itself. I know Beauty and the Beast is only a story, but I relate to Belle. I feel weird the way God made me and the way he is re-making me. I’m quiet, enjoy being by myself and I like to think about big ideas. I don’t want to be part of "normal."

Townsfolk: Look there she goes that girl is strange, no question Dazed and distracted, can’t you tell? Woman: Never part of any crowd. Man: ‘Cause her head’s up on some cloud. No denying she’s a funny girl that Belle.

Townsfolk: Look there she goes that girl is so peculiar. I wonder if she’s feeling well. With a dreamy, far-off look, and her nose stuck in a book, what a puzzle to the rest of us is Belle. Woman: Now it’s no wonder that her name means "Beauty" – her looks have got no parallel. Shopkeeper: But behind that fair facade, I’m afraid she’s rather odd. Man: Very diff’rent from the rest of us. Townsfolk: She’s nothing like the rest of us, yes, diff’rent from the rest of us is Belle!

Townsfolk: Look there she goes the girl is strange but special, a most peculiar mad’moiselle! Women: It’s a pity and a sin, Men: She doesn’t quite fit in. Townsfolk: ‘Cause she really is a funny girl, a beauty but a funny girl. She really is a funny girl, that Belle!

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One Solitary Life

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.

He grew up in another obscure village where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty.

He then became an itinerant preacher for three years.

He never owned a home.

He never wrote a book.

He never held an office.

He never went to college.

He never visited a big city.

He never travelled more than two hundred miles from the place where he was born.

He did none of the things usually associated with greatness.

He had no credentials but himself.

When he was 33, the tide of popular opinion turned against him.

His friends ran away. One of them denied him, another betrayed him.

He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial.

He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.

While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth.

When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen centuries have come and gone and today Jesus is the central figure of the human race and the leader of mankind’s progress. All the armies that have ever marched, all the navies that have ever sailed, all the parliaments that have ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned put together, have not affected the life of mankind on earth as powerfully as that one solitary life.

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Christmas Eve Service – How God used and still uses what we consider insignificant (A baby in a manger with no fanfare for example). Just Like Jesus reading – Greenhouse Voice of the Martyrs thank you letter

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I know it is not about TV. TV is amoral. It is the subject matter I struggle with. It seems like there is sex everywhere. Actual or inuendo. Even commercials during sporting events. I can’t even watch a nature show without hearing scientists gush over, and cameramen zoom in on, the mating behavior of animals. I am watching less and less TV, but it just would be nice, when I do watch, to have a show be sex free.

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