Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Did you know that Beyonce is the most beautiful woman in the world? It's true. I saw it on the morning news today; People magazine has named her the most beautiful woman in the world. Did you get that? In the world! I want to give kuddos to the staff of People magazine for this work. Can you imagine it? Sifting through the pictures of every woman in the world! How long does that take? Millions and millions of pictures to cull through. After this arduous process the team must then begin trimming down the list until finally arriving upon what? A top ten? A final four? I'm glad that I don't have to figure out who the world's most beautiful or "sexy" woman is for the calendar year 2012; the work must be "all consuming". If you serve on this team of experts then I suppose you have to be sequestered for some length of time because you only have a few months to complete your assignment. I remember just recently that another publication picked the most beautiful woman ever! Like, starting with Eve and working down to Jennifer Anniston! I would not want this job!
I wonder what criteria they are using here. Maybe I'll Google it and find out. Hair color might be a factor along with the number of visible blemishes. Judging from the list, it would also appear that some level of fame/fortune is necessary as well. Movie stars, recording artists, and swimsuit models dominate the field so it stands to reason that this makes the culling much easier...just throw out the women who aren't rich, famous, or otherwise worthy of big time notoriety and I guess it eliminates about 3/4 of the women in the world. You have to start somewhere right? I've also noticed that your wardrobe helps. If you typically show up in public places with the kind of outfit that leaves very little to the imagination then you are going to move to the top of the list. After all, since the judges can see most everything it gives them a much better impression as to how beautiful you really are. Kate Upton? Top of the list! Angelina Joile? A shoe in after that dress she had on the other night! Lady Gaga? Obviously trying to get the votes!
So, I salute the folks at People Magazine for their work. I must say that if you decide to have a "most beautiful woman in the world" award that you are setting yourself up for quite a task. I just have to stay this to you though. Based on the obvious criteria, there will be a few women that get tossed out year after year. They will not get past the first cut. Maybe you could consider them please?
Elizabeth Edwards (deceased, yet worthy of consideration)
Susan G. Komen
Ellen Besson (my wife)
Carol Young (my mother)
Start with those. If you don't know the names then you can look them up. Call me if you need further info in regards to the last 2 on the list. You'll need to block out some time if you choose to contact me about them because they're beauty goes far beyond what you'll see on the outside.
From a grateful reader...
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Well, this one certainly caught my eye. "Forget the Church". I'm not sure what possessed me to read an article whose title I so adamantly disagree with but I figured, what could it hurt? I mean, the Bible on my desk clearly identifies the "church" as the "Body of Christ" so the separation of the two seems to be a stretch...what could this guy "Andrew" be getting at? So out of curiosity I read it. The article began by saying that "if you go to the second floor of the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., you'll find a room containing an 18th century Bible whose pages are full of holes. They are carefully razor-cut empty spaces, so this was not an act of vandalism". Sullivan is referring to the infamous "Jefferson Bible", a project that the 4th President of the United States began to undertake when he was around 77 years old. He literally took a razor and removed the passages that "he thought reflected the actual teachings of Jesus of Nazareth". He cut and pasted his way through until he had created a "slimmer, different New Testament". His criteria for removal, according to Sullivan, was anything that Jefferson believed represented the "very words of Jesus", leaving behind the "misconceptions of Jesus' followers" that were expressed "unintelligibly". The snippets of the "real Jesus" were described as "diamonds" in a "dunghill" that was fraught full of "the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man". Jefferson apparently determined that the Incarnation, Resurrection, and "various miracles" were "dung" because they hit the chopping block right away. The "message was the miracle".
So, out of curiosity, I looked at the "Jefferson Bible"; here's a sampling of what Jefferson thought to be "dung":
Luke's description of the angelic visit to Mary.
Jesus turning water into wine.
John the Baptist's words to the Pharisees (you brood of vipers).
Jesus' encounter with Nicodemus.
John 3:16 (for God so loved the world).
I could go on. You can look it all up for yourself. I'll save you the trouble. Jefferson took out the hard stuff. You know, the really challenging stuff, the stuff that makes us uneasy and calls us to have some semblance of faith. No man could raise the dead, right? No man could be the Son of God, right? No man could perform a miracle that defies the laws of nature...right? Resurrection? No way. The Son of God in pain? Forget it. If we can't explain it, reason it, or prove it with science and logic and reason then it's "dung" (the excrement of animals). Cut it out like a cancer before it affects the whole. Keep the nice, easy to understand stuff that doesn't challenge us on every level. Keep the stuff that requires little or no faith. If we can't reason it out then it can't be true. That's what the Pharisees thought so they killed the messenger in order to kill the message. Funny thing happened, the message remained intact and believed by billions of people for 2012 years by my last count.
I hesitate to say this. Maybe I shouldn't, lest it trouble the person who took the time to read the words of my blog. I wouldn't want anyone to decide that I am a fundamentalist, ultra conservative, believer in the inerrant and infallible Bible. I really am none of those things. So maybe now that I've got that out of the way I can go ahead and say it. Christianity is not easy. Following Jesus isn't all roses, mostly because we don't dictate the terms and we apparently have to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the needs of others (difficult when the ol' portfolio drops a couple of points, no?). I often ponder what would happen if we (notice I am saying we) were to take it upon ourselves to live into some of the hard teachings (dung) of Christ? I wonder what the world might look like if we loved neighbor as self? I wonder what might happen if we made every attempt to live into the precepts of the Gospels? I wonder how different things might be if we modeled our very lives after the sacrificial life that Jesus led? Well, for those of you not quite so familiar with the Bible, I can tell you to read through the book of Acts to see what can happen when ordinary, flawed, uncertain human beings decided to do just that. You will note healing. You will note transformation. You will note peace. You will note a brief time when poverty was nonexistent. And yes, you will note the miracles. I must warn you though, don't read it in the "Jefferson Bible" because the above mentioned events were probably cut out.
One other thing. If we really do believe in a God that created everything from nothing; if we proclaim a belief in this all powerful, all knowing God that holds the balance of the universe in his "hands"; if we believe that the God that we worship has created some sort of order out of the chaos and some level of good in the midst of evil, then is it that big of a stretch to say that the remote possibility exists that he could turn a jug of water into something comparable to a nice, Willamette Valley Pinot? I hope so, because I'm staking my life on the far greater miracle that apparently leads me to life eternal.
Jefferson should have stuck to the politics. Just sayin...
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
I should be happy. I'm not so sure that I am. I am. And then I'm not. Tonight at 6:00 my wife and I will take our son to the school that he'll begin attending in the fall. A full fledged kindergartner. The boy is growing up. This brings me joy. And it makes me sad. See, this whole situation is exacerbated by the fact that for the past year and a half my son has been attending the pre-k at the church that I serve. I can eat lunch with him whenever I want. I take him home every day. I watch him play on the playground through the kitchen window and I can sneak into chapel and watch him worship. When the weather gets really bad, which it has been doing quite frequently these days, I can keep a close eye on him and I can rest in the knowledge that if the tornado warning turns out to be more than a warning that I can crouch somewhere in the corner of the building with my son held tightly in my arms. Even though I know that this will show that I have some level of codependency I am going to say it anyway. It brings me comfort and peace just knowing that he's in my building. The other day I did something I shouldn't have. I said, "Lorenzo, would you rather stay another year at our school because if you do then you will be in the classroom right next to my office...or would you rather go off to kindergarten and leave me here all alone? He looked at me and said, "I want to go with my friends dada". I felt like I had a knife in my heart. "You sure", I asked? "Yes dada". "You're going to make dada cry", I said, half joking. "Sorry". Sorry?? That's all he's got? The boy is growing up.
Being a dad has caused me to do something else that I really shouldn't do. I have tried to "fast forward" time, which I always regret in hindsight. I used to say things like "I can't wait until this boy is potty trained...I can't wait"!! When he was potty trained I said, "It wasn't so bad I suppose". Then this, "I can't wait until he can feed himself". When he finally could I said, "I wish I could still feed him every once in awhile". When he stopped coming down to my bedroom at 3:00am every night because he "needed me" I was a little relieved and a little sad at the same time. One day he'll stop sitting in my lap. That will be the day that I start the anti-depressants. This growing up stuff is not sitting very well with me. I like the fact that my son depends on me. He really needs me for stuff. Now I'm registering him for the "big boy school". It won't be long before I'm handing him the keys to my Cherokee. Then off to college. A wife and kids. Then no more phone calls. Then he'll put me in a nursing home. Good gosh, I have so much to look forward to.
Sometimes I think we resist the idea of "growing up" in another area of our lives. When it comes to our relationship with God, we can very easily fall into neutral. It's easy to take it for granted isn't it? God is always there right? We can pray without ceasing or we can give it 30 seconds before falling asleep. We can read the Bible daily or just wait until we hear it read in church. We can worship as often as we can or we can show up when there's nothing else to do that day. No matter what, God is going to be there. God is going to show up. God can be at the top of our list of priorities or he can be at the very bottom. He's there. No matter what.
I once heard someone say that there are only 3 places that we can ever be in our relationship with God. Forward, neutral, or reverse. One is really good. The other two are not. I think that part of it is fear. We fear growth in this relationship because if we grow then something will be asked of us. Life might change. Routines might get shuffled just a bit. We may have to begin making decisions between the myriad of Sunday options and worship. Someone might ask us to work the church garage sale or to consider serving as an usher which would then require a commitment of some sort. Look out if you express any interest at all in working with kids...you'll be on the "volunteer list" so fast your head will spin. We resist growth because we resist change. I wonder what our biblical story would look like if Mary had resisted her call or if Paul had just keep on killing Christians? What if Moses decided to remain a shepherd? What about Peter, James, and John? I suppose we would have never known their names.
If you're resisting growth then don't. God is there even if you deny him for awhile. He's not going anywhere. As soon as you turn to him then the "host of heaven" will dance. Continue to seek and you will find. Don't stay home on Sunday. Worship. Sing. Pray. Listen. Meet people who struggle like you. Find God and be open to change. God won't do it for you, but he will show you the map. He'll be you're GPS. You need God. Apparently he needs you. Otherwise, why would he take the time to seek you?
I remember that I wept at the front door when I visited Graceland for the first time. I fear a repeat performance when I get to the school tonight. The boy is growing up. Not neutral or reverse. Forward. I am grateful.
On a totally unrelated note...I have a good friend that has launched an amazing website for folks who are addicted to tennis like I am. Check it out: