Sunday, August 31, 2008

Forget Miller, give me Dr. Hale

Great and awesome God, as we gather in this place from all across the length and breadth of this nation, we pause to acknowledge you as the one in whom we live and move and have our being. You, oh God, created us in your image and likeness and invited us to partner with you in the stewardship of your world. We are called to be faithful over the earth, its people and resources.
On this day as we gather to renew America's promise, we are keenly aware of the challenges American families are facing. God, people are being hit hard by the economic downturn, the energy crisis and rising food costs, the mortgage mayhem, as well as the absence of affordable housing and healthcare. Parents desire and deserve to be able to give their children quality and affordable education from pre-school through college.
Times are tough; people are struggling; some have lost hope. We know, God, that this is not your perfect will for any of your people. It is your desire that all people have these basic human needs met. It is your desire that all would prosper and be in good health. It is your desire that everyone would be treated with dignity and respect.
As a nation and as a party, we are at a crucial time. We have an opportunity to not only make history, but to bring about change we can all believe in and restore hope to the hearts of women and men. Unite us as a party, oh God. Let us be one in this common purpose, to renew our promise so that we might live out our creed to be one nation under god, with liberty and justice for all.
In your strong and mighty name, we pray. Amen.

I have had the joy of sharing table with Dr. Hale and having heard bring me a good word through her preaching. Now, she is a VP candidate to me. Planted a church (executive experience), worked in a correctional facility (meaning she could be president of the Senate), and I think she could play a mean game of hoops. She has a deep spirituality as well.

Oh well, all the candidates have dance partners.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

LPGA requirements

The LPGA yesterday created a rule where only English would be spoken on the tour by its players to improve communication among sponsors, players, and fans. If one peruses the weekend paper and happens to look at the LPGA boxscore. The names will be Oh, Kim, Cho, Park in the lead. Michelle Wie will not be there. The LPGA is being overrun by Korean players like baseball was overrun by Dominicans in the 90's.

This is a bad move by the LPGA, because it cuts at the psyche of Korean nationalism. I noted previously in January 2006 while in Seoul, I came across the Emperor Ahn (An) museum on Namsan mountain. Ahn believed that learning another language enslaved a person to the language. This is the national story that could be playing in the heads of those Korean athletes and what does it say.

However, there is also this realization that the LPGA needs its players to be able to communicate on the green after a victory coming from the Korean players. If the Korean players are willing to invest energy in learning the language I think the tour will be dominated by the Korean players even more so. Perhaps, the LPGA sees this already at work that the US players are on the decline.

If the Korean players are truly not concerned about learning English then I really can't object. It they see learning English as a means of enlarging the sport then great. My feathers ruffle a bit with language requirements, but perhaps they understand more as an outsider than I do as insider.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Donald Miller's Prayer

Donald Miller gave the closing benediction Monday night at the DNC.

Here is the text and it is pretty good.

I’m honored to deliver the closing prayer at the DNC. Evangelical voices have been scarce within this party, perhaps since the Carter administration. But as strides are being made on key issues of sanctity of life and social justice, as well as peaceful solutions to world conflicts, more and more evangelicals are taking a closer look at options the Democratic Party are beginning to deliver. There is a long way to go, but sending a message to Washington that no single party has the Christian community in their pocket, thus causing each party to carefully consider the issues most important to us, is, in my opinion, a positive evolution. I am glad that, for the most part, the dialogue has been constructive and positive. Will you join me in keeping the conversation thoughtful and not reactionary?
That said, I am honored to speak to, and especially pray with and for, the DNC. Here is the full text of the prayer:
Please join me for the next few moments in our Benediction.
"Father God,
This week, as the world looks on, help the leaders in this room create a civil dialogue about our future.
We need you, God, as individuals and also as a nation.
We need you to protect us from our enemies, but also from ourselves, because we are easily tempted toward apathy.
Give us a passion to advance opportunities for the least of these, for widows and orphans, for single moms and children whose fathers have left.
Give us the eyes to see them, and the ears to hear them, and hands willing to serve them.
Help us serve people, not just causes. And stand up to specific injustices rather than vague notions.
Give those in this room who have power, along with those who will meet next week, the courage to work together to finally provide health care to those who don’t have any, and a living wage so families can thrive rather than struggle.
Hep us figure out how to pay teachers what they deserve and give children an equal opportunity to get a college education.
Help us figure out the balance between economic opportunity and corporate gluttony.
We have tried to solve these problems ourselves but they are still there. We need your help.
Father, will you restore our moral standing in the world.
A lot of people don’t like us but that’s because they don’t know the heart of the average American.
Will you give us favor and forgiveness, along with our allies around the world.
Help us be an example of humility and strength once again.
Lastly, father, unify us.
Even in our diversity help us see how much we have in common.
And unify us not just in our ideas and in our sentiments—but in our actions, as we look around and figure out something we can do to help create an America even greater than the one we have come to cherish.
God we know that you are good.
Thank you for blessing us in so many ways as Americans.
I make these requests in the name of your son, Jesus, who gave his own life against the forces of injustice.
Let Him be our example.

Not exactly a benediction, but he is a writer not a liturgical scholar. Good work.

Fearless Joy,

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What the hell?

There was weeping and gnashing of teeth as Doc Patton screwed up the handoff.
A TCU boy did it. I looked at that from every angle thinking, he had to let go of it or they would have been out of the zone. Nope. They still had room and they would have easily came in second. Oiy!!!

I think we were better when were we doping? Don't you think?

Bill Tenney-Brittain had this video and I found it pretty good to talk about the church and our lives. I find myself eating the same food. It is Thursday night, pasta. In the church, the order of worship is the same. The music is the same. How do we innovate and invite new expressions of faith. How do we get beyond the glass jar that we have created?

I think it is what Steven Covey talks about 'sharpening the saw.' Always striving to improve what we do. Then scrapping what we do to do something new. It is dangerous to do those things, but i think it is important. It is this grand tension. Sometimes we try to keep things in a state of homeostasis and fail to realize that Jesus calls us to a life of infinite abundance and possiblity. Do we trust that there is more?

Friday, August 15, 2008

To be Francis

On Tuesday, Amy and I had to endure a sales seminar by Wyndham for a time share vacation package. They made our stay in San Diego very cheap, so that was good. But, the price was a two sales presentation.

As we headed into the presentation our goal was to endure the sales presentation. It was bearable, but we left frustrated from enduring. I ponder today three days later what would have happened if we would have sought to see where God was at work in that room. Could we have been Christ to Casey the sales guy.

To be a Christian and to live it out is really difficult. As I was reading a prayer this moring in my devotional it read, "we have to our souls reawakened numerous times during the day." The path of Christ is a journey, a progression, and it is never about perfection. It is a movement towards God and like Hebrews in the desert, God is always a little further up the road. (Allusion to a Vigilantes of Love song.)

May your heart be awakened when it moves to a slumbering mode throughout this day.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"For each of us comes a moment that defining instant in our lives. When we are changed forever. When you stop wondering to believing."

Just got finished with Seaworld today and at the Shamu "Believe" store. They had shot glasses with believe. I chuckled at that and bought one, because of the irony of that marketing scheme. When I got some chills on my legs thinking about the powerfulness of the show...the thought how to encapsulate this moment...oh yeah...a freakin' shotglass.

So, I began imagining. "For each of us comes a moment that defining moment in our lives. When we are changed forever. When you stop wondering and and start believing. Hey bartender, Jack straight up!!!"

Marketing does suck.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Sermon on the Mount in Starbucks

Yesterday, I was sitting drinking a coffee when a pastor in town walked in as well. He was having an out of the office meeting with somebody. I was writing many 'thank you' notes. This pastor is one of the folks leading the charge against all things emergent. My anxiety level did not heighten nor did I want to confront him, I was rather ambivalent. Our circles of influence and movement rarely cross.

I finished my 'thank you' notes and felt compelled to bless this man. So, I wrote out a prayer and put it in an envelope with a biz card. The prayer was a general prayer of blessing. I thought about that this morning what was my motivation. It was not to show him anything, but it was to build a relationship. Then the line came across my mind, "Pray for those who persecute you." Here is a pastor who preaches against emergent theology as heresy and my first instinct to pray for him. The words of the sermon on the mount are so entrenched into my life that I do not have to think...they just come out. This is not to brag, but I thought to myself...I would hope that my faith gets to be that way in more phases. That I do not have to think and work out the rationality of it all, but that it just emotes from me.

Then I thought in my missional mindset...why don't I bless the workers in the Starbucks the same way. Is it vanity that lead me to write that note..., so for the next few days I am going to pray how I can pray for the workers in my Starbucks in a bold way like I did with a pastor. Now, the faith gets hard and uncomfortable. I have to get my motives clear. I will pray, because I love these folks. Faith always pushes us to grow, we never fully have it.

Fearless joy,

Monday, August 04, 2008

God's testing

Yesterday, I made a bold proclamation that "our community will accept children even when children get a little rambunctious."
At that moment, the kids ran out of the room hollering, my son was crying, and another child had a meltdown. I stood and preached while this was happening, sort of like being waist deep in snow. You just keep going, because you only have one choice.
My sermon was on God testing the Hebrews in the desert and what that meant. Well, I could not escape the irony of the situation. We make our faith claim and boom we get a test. I chuckled and said, "God you humor sucks."