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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Four Years Ago

Recently I have been watching the countdown of the best plays in the Weis era at Notre Dame. The top few as they reach number one at the start of camp for the 2009 season have come from 2005. Namely Oct 15th, 2005 against USC. This was one of the greatest games in Notre Dame history even thought they did get hosed in the end.

What this countdown has done has made me think back to what I was doing in the fall of 2005 and how much things have changed.

1) I was a freshman in college at Randolph-Macon.
2) I was in the FYE In God's Good Time
3) I was playing football for the school.
4) I was a WR lol, thanks for screwing up the tapes student workers who sorted them out, what a story, ask and I will tell it.
5) I was 18.
6) In particular on Oct 15th we got our first win of the season 27-3 over Emory and Henry.
7) We were young, and time never mattered.
8) Life was easy. Class, football, goof off.

What were you guys doing in the Fall of 2005?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Why Do We Hide? The Follow Up.

In my last post, I was just highlighting some of the things I noticed about church life, in that many of us hide. From a friends comment comes this post because he simply asked, so why do we hide. In this post I hope to talk about some of my reasons why I think as Christians we find it so necessary to hide from others what we really are. To make this somewhat lighter there are a few joke ideas. But then there are some more serious ideas that I feel if we as a "Church" addressed would create a dynamic change in one, our own lives, and two the socio-economic factors that burden so many of us and three, would be so revolutionary some church folks would be irritated but would shock our culture and draw people back to Jesus.

- Our church friends might find out that we like secular music.
- We all know that we love our Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, or Michael Jackson but to show that we listen to music that is not solely about praising God to some might sound like we are on the wrong side of the war, and that we are giving into too many temptations. By this I am in no way attacking the Christian music industry. Yes, some of it is very played out and over played however there are some really awesome bands coming onto the scene like Destroy the Runner, I AM Terrified, and The Beautiful Republic that talk about real life, in a less than Sunday morning worship format and its refreshing to hear music that grapples with the challenges we face.

- Our church might realize that we have been angry before.
- How many times do we come to church and walk in the door right after being a part of a huge disagreement with someone close, yet as soon as we meet the greeters and ushers at the door we become our "Praise the Lord, it's good to see you Hal" selves. In the process we don't only come before the altar with a grudge against our brother or sister we stifle a disagreement that will become worse later, and hide ourselves from others while in the process taking on more of a burden than we need. Remember Jesus told us to settle our disputes before coming to His altar, then we can worship and learn freely. So if you have a dispute, come in late for once, and stop acting like you are living a perfect life.

- Our church might realize our family isn't perfect.
- Everyone has the image in their head that every church family is composed of great parents, who live in a nice house with the white fence and dog. They always pay their bills on time, they are always together at meals and they are always at each others events. We never let people realize how hard it is to work and love, and how sometimes our families get mad and argue with each other. How much more awesome would it be if as families we shared burdens and struggles? We could become a community, that in cases helped with excess bills, mortgages and accidents so that parents didn't have to stress and that could work to better each others lives. How awesome would it be to come before the church and ask for a little help, and then to help someone else out when the food is running low, or the electric may be switched off. This would be such a better use of tithe than to maintain a new parking lot fund, or a build a mega church sanctuary fund. Think of how awesome it would be to build a family that was like don't worry we know times our rough and we want to help instead of preaching bring your tithe so we can have movie theater seating. Sit in a pew and get to know someone!

- Our church would know that we are spiritually weak.
- When at church we hide that we may not know a lot about a given prophet, or a given book. We even hide that we may not know where the book is. But remember we our still children to the most high God, the more we seek to learn and the more questions we ask how much more will we learn? We also may hide that we have our own personal struggles, because we will be attacked, or blamed in the Church. How many times have our churches kicked someone out because he admitted a problem and yet we never sought to help. That is not our community, that is not the body. How I pray that the Church would return to the love of Jesus and pray with the soul that struggles, and would allow him to admit his own shortcomings. How many times have we been the city that kicked out the demon-ridden man Legion and heaped chains upon him to keep him out (Mark 5:1-20). We have made so many outcasts and run so many away because they are unclean, please let us look to Jesus and his love and his prayers for others.

- Our church would know we are sinners.
- It's true we act like we are the saints. We talk about those we know and their shortcomings. As Jesus said, we look to remove our brother's speck while ignoring the log sticking out of our own eye. Remember, none have achieved the glory God requires other than Jesus, and we will never do it on our own. We are like the prostitute caught in adultery, we are the tax collector, we are the demon possessed, we are the betrayers, we are the ones who cried crucify him. It was our sins that scarred him, but his resurrections offers salvation. When in church we must realize that we are the sick Jesus came for, and not the righteous. If the church would remember that we would then again be able to heal and move on, there would be less hurt. A great quote I would like to put with this comes from C.S Lewis writing in the Chronicles of Narnia. As Edmund was saved and the other children saw him with Aslan, Aslan told them your brother is safe, and there is no need to discuss the past. Admit sin, and move on. Jesus did not condemn the prostitute, he told her go and sin no more. We have been freed, but we need to realize that and preach that. Otherwise we stay stuck because we have no one to talk to, and no one who can love us out of it. Therefore, we never realize that we are already free before it began and just need to cling to our Jesus.

In closing, these are some of the reasons I feel we hide. The Church today has not allowed us to be free, and until it truly return to its roots people I believe will still have to hide. But this is not a blog to simply state irritations, it is a proclamation to work for revolution. We need to return to the revolutionary message of Christ Jesus and seeks its implementation. We need to bring healing to the sick, and by that we need to let the sick come. Mother Theresea said we worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore him on Monday. That's not following Jesus.

We can no longer wall ourselves off as righteous because even then we will not be allowed to enter the churches. We need to take the church to the people. We are the church not the sanctuary. As we seek to open up, let us prayerfully consider how to, and how we can also include others. As Christians we are hypocrites, we have done so much wrong but on Sunday's we act so right. That is how we have chained so many to their sins because they feel they can not come. I am part of the Church of Christ, let us break bread with other sinners like us. Our God is the God of the unclean, and savior to the hopeless. Let's start the Church of the Sinners, and celebrate the Patron Saint of Lost Causes, cause Lord you know that's what we are.