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Everything Changes

The more messed up this world gets, the more God makes sense.

Reflection

Monday, January 30, 2006
There's this guy that rides the bus. I see him all the time. He is about 6' 3" - 275lbs. I saw him today. It is obvious that he has an emotional disorder. Usually wearing the same clothes. Talks to himself. When he got on the bus he sat down a few rows in front of me. The right side of his hair is so matted one would assume that it hasn't been washed in years.

What would Jesus do?! No, really.

Sometimes I wonder. Would he ask the guy if he wants to be saved? Humanly speaking it is impossible for him to be saved. Would Jesus wash his hair? Give him a gift certificate for spa treatment? Perhaps Jesus would be afraid of this very large and seemingly disturbed man. You know, like everybody else is. Especially when he starts twitching and contorting his face due to lack of medication.

It probably didn't help that I went to the theater [alone] to watch a reflective art movie. The kind of movie that has so much going for it - including intelligent performances that mesh beautifully, and a keen understanding of how seemingly small moments can rattle the foundations of families - that you walk away from it feeling it should add up to more. You know. An art film. The kind that wins awards. The kind that Christians don't go see. [Which is why I went alone.]

I wonder if Jesus would have gone with me? No, really.

Growing up in a Christian home I wasn't allowed to go to movies. Just in case Jesus returned while I was in the theater. Really.

It was a rather surreal night. Very still. Everything was wet from an earlier rain and the unusually warm winter temps seemed to bring people outside. There was a gang of BMX bikers riding wheelies down the middle of the street without caution. University students streaming out of a night class, making their way to various residences. Fast cars cruising the downtown core.

I was waiting for the bus. Again. Watching life around me. And reflecting.
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

[1 Corinthians 13:12 | New International Version]

Emerging

Saturday, January 28, 2006
I have so many things on my mind today: thoughts inspired by either an email I received, a book I'm reading, a recently discovered website or something I read in God's Word.

There are many links in this blog. I encourage you to take time to check them out. Read what people are saying. And see what God is saying. You, too, may be inspired.

Or not.

It started last week when I watched a video clip from ABC's Nightline: a report from their Faith Matters Series on how new churches are reaching out to young Christians.

And while reading Matthew this week, verses that I have read countless times seemed new. Verses like Matthew 19:23-26:

Then Jesus remarked to his disciples, "Believe me, a rich man will find it very difficult to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Yes, I repeat, a camel could more easily squeeze through the eye of a needle than a rich man get into the kingdom of God!"

The disciples were simply amazed to hear this, and said, "Then who can possibly be saved?"

Jesus looked steadily at them and replied, "Humanly speaking it is impossible; but with God anything is possible!"
[Humanly speaking it is impossible to be saved.]

As a worship leader I was interested in a prophetic word I read by Hector Torres:

The Church will need to begin to build altars of worship - a new dimension of prophetic worship and warfare worship, inspired by the Spirit, where voices and instruments will flow into the Holy of Holies and to the very presence of the Living God.

Right now, instrumentalists and Psalmists are being prepared, many of them in the least expected places, that will begin to flow with an unprecedented anointing which will bring down the SHEKINAH and will open the heavens and release warfare authority to pull down territorial strongholds in cities, regions, and nations. Worship vigils, worship services, and worship events will unleash angelical armies to do warfare, as in the times of Daniel the prophet, against principalities and powers in heavenly places.


He also said that a new dimension of social evangelism will begin to take its place of importance in the outreach of souls as the Church will focus on meeting the needs of the poor, the victims of injustice, the prisoners, the widows, and the orphans.

I'm fascinating with The Emerging Church and Emergent Villages that are springing up around the world.
many ancient practices of faith and ways of being communal are being re:booted and morphed for the needs of the future church. as leonard sweet writes, "our faith is ancient. our faith is future. we're old-fashioned. we're new-fangled. we're orthodox. we're innovators. we're postmodern christians."
(Ĭ-mûrjing) adj. Newly formed or just coming into prominence; emergent.

Francis Fukuyama believes there is a Great Disruption going on:
...civilization is in the midst of a revolution on a par with hunter-gatherers learning how to farm or agricultural societies turning industrial. [Francis] finds much to celebrate in this cultural, economic, and technological transformation, but "with all the blessings that flow from a more complex, information-based economy, certain bad things also happened to our social and moral life." Individualism, for example, fuels innovation and prosperity, but has also "corroded virtually all forms of authority and weakened the bonds holding families, neighborhoods, and nations together." Yet [he] is not pessimistic: "Social order, once disrupted, tends to get remade again" because humans are built for life in a civil society governed by moral rules.
And I've been thinking about these things.

Jesus of the Week

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

When I was a teen I subscribed to Contemporary Christian Music magazine. CCM for short. I'll never forget seeing an advertisement in the back of the magazine for a "print" called Jesus The Surfer. You could actually purchase one by sending "x" amount of dollars to "someone" and they would send you your very own Jesus The Surfer picture - right to your door!

I'm sad to report to you today that I found him again. At Jesus of the Week.

I also found Kanye pretending to be Jesus.

"It has become a cliche to call Kanye West arrogant. Whether discussing his music or his style of dress, his intellect or his production prowess, he has absolutely no qualms about patting himself on the back."

"If you're going to believe all the stuff about positive thinking and self-actualization, that we affect our environment by the way we think about ourselves, do you want a better example than Kanye West?"
[Rolling Stone]

Well, maybe.

But this isn't about Kanye. Or Jesus The Surfer. This is about Jesus, the Christ.

When Jesus arrived in the villages of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?"

They replied, "Some think he is John the Baptizer, some say Elijah, some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets."

He pressed them, "And how about you? Who do you say I am?"

Simon Peter said, "You're the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God."

[Matthew 16:13-16 | The Message]

And what about you. Who do you say that He is?

Regionalisms

Friday, January 20, 2006
The company I work for produces audio and video projects - everything from TV and radio commercials, music CDs, feature films, documentaries and corporate training DVDs. Often a script requires a language translation and a voice talent [or voice actor] needs to be hired to record the VO [or voice over].

Today a client requested a VO session quote for a 30 minute training DVD in both French and Spanish. The French version needs to be read with a Quebecois [/kebe'kwa/] dialect and we weren't given direction for the Spanish.

That's probably because Spanish is spoken by 300 million people worldwide and that means there are many differences. Regionalisms. Much like Quebecois French.

If it's Mexico then a Mexican accent is preferable, ditto for Argentina and Spain. Other Latin countries are not as exacting, provided you never give them a Mexican voice outside of Mexico! What is considered to be a "standard Latin American accent" [one that minimizes regionalisms] is acceptable to all south and Central American countries and is a safe way to go if you don't know the final destination of the product, or if it is aimed at the entire South American market.

We had regionalisms in the States too. When I lived outside of New York City we called soft drinks soda. Growing up we called it pop. Some areas in the southern U.S. call it coke - even if it's NOT!

"What kinda coke you want? Sprite, Dr. Pepper, Pepsi?"

[It's true.]

When you relocate to a different area, or if you move to another country [like I have twice], you have to be very careful how you use your regionalisms. For example, I said schmuck [once] in front of a roomful of Long Island youth, only to hear GASPS of horror that I had used the word! I had just moved to Long Island from Upstate New York where that word was commonly used to describe someone who did something stupid. Well ya, it DOES mean that! But Long Island's predominantly Jewish community had influenced the usage of the original YIDDISH meaning of the word. [You'll have to look it up, cuz I ain't telling you what it means.]

Or the time I said bugger in front on someone Canadian - just shortly after I moved to the Great White North. Ya know, like "hey, ya little bugger!" Apparently the INTRANSITIVE VERB means something VERRRRRY different. Oh my gosh!

[What the heck is an intransitive verb anyhow?! Is it, like, something insensitive?]

I don't use those words anymore.

And I'm glad God's not hung up on regionalisms. But I think He knew that WE would be. I think that's why the Bible says stuff like:
If what I eat is going to make another Christian sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live - for I don't want to make another Christian stumble.

[1 Corinthians 8:13 | New Living Translation]

and
Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ...

[Colossians 3:11 | The Message]

...not by their regionalisms.

Are you a POMO?

Thursday, January 19, 2006
[Okay - Jon started it.]

I wonder if you can be a postmodern traditionalist. Or is that an oxymoron? After all, 20 years from now the POMO's of today will BE the traditionalists. Most likely. I mean, that's just how it goes.

Think about it. 20 years before I was a teen "Christians" didn't think it was right for boys and girls to swim in the same pool. Let alone allowing the girls to wear "sinful" bikinis that showed their stomachs! God forbid! But in MY generation that kind of thinking became "traditional" - old school. Outdated. My generation broke those rules.

The way things are progressing, "Christian" girls will be allowed to swim topless 20 years from now. And it will be considered the norm. Progressive even. Some of you may think it's CRAZY to think that, but that's the way things seem to be headed. I mean, think about it. There was actually a time when it was considered wrong for the Christian GUYS to go topless!

[Selah.]

For now, I will continue to be who I am. I will let God show me new things. And I will try not to "box" God in. I think the POMO's out there would want that.

It's the best thing to do.

AND I'll also have to work on that generation gap thing that seems to be widening around me. Man, can THAT get uncomfortable.

I digress...

Thursday, January 12, 2006
Okay, I stumbled upon this blog today while searching for a local Christian musician, believe it or not... one of the funniest things I've seen online in a long time. Check out The Dormitory Boys.

Disclaimer: I have only viewed the above video and do not endorse or support the views, comments and/or additional content on The Dormitory Boys blog - although I think it's very funny. View at your own risk.

The Postmodern World

Tuesday, January 10, 2006
I think I may have blogged about this before. I can't remember, and frankly, I didn't feel like looking through the 84 posts on this blog to find out. Either way, I am very interested in understanding the postmodern mindset so I can better communicate with people around me - especially youth and young adults. I told my friend last week that it's the first time in my life that I feel old. Like I can't relate to the way some young people think. In many ways that frightens me. Not because I AM old, but because I always thought I'd be relevant.

On the bus tonight I listened to three young moms chat about abortion. One of them was due to have one [she said she was eight weeks pregnant] and another was describing her most recent abortion to prepare the first mom for what she may experience. The third mom chimed in at one point about an abortion she had too. She made a comment that gave the first mom the impression that "everyone has abortions" - and maybe they do!

Which is why I can't relate.

No, not just because I'm a man, incapable of having an abortion, but because HAVING an abortion [in my mind] was never an everyday matter-of-fact occurrence. [Not to mention, speaking about it in front of the children you decided to keep.]

But maybe it is.

Ah yes, I remember now. I did sort of write about this topic last year. Sort of. About the postmodern world - an age in which all principles are questioned, all opinions and beliefs are proclaimed equally valid - if not equally true - and everything is considered relative. I think I WANTED to write more about it but I just wasn't sure what, exactly, I was feeling about the whole subject. But maybe that's because I don't really understand postmodernism. And neither does anyone else, really...
"...postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person."
"A worldview that emphasizes the existence of different worldviews and concepts of reality, rather than one 'correct or true' one."
"...postmodernism is a variety of cultural positions which reject major features of... modern thought."
Some would explain that, to the postmodernist, "truth" is whatever point of view the individual prefers. And that under postmodernism, one virtue rises above all others: tolerance. After all, if truth is merely a matter of personal opinion, who are we to imagine that our belief system is superior to any other?

I must admit, it freaks me out to hear children be tolerant of things like alternate lifestyles - which is just one example of this new mindset. My intention in bringing this example up is not to discuss the topic of alternate lifestyles, but instead to make a point about the way younger people think these days. A couple of years ago I worked for a popular clothing retailer. I was caught off guard one day when a young co-worker asked me if I had a girlfriend or boyfriend. As if it was okay either way. That was new for me. I had never been asked that before.

Just like I had never heard three young moms casually chat about their abortions before - in public - for all to hear.

HTML

Monday, January 09, 2006
Hypertext Markup Language. "HTML" is the authoring software language used on the Internet's World Wide Web to create web pages. Nowadays there are newer ways to create a web page (Flash, PHP) but I'm just getting around to learning some of the most basic HTML.

Last week I learned some really cool HTML that I thought I'd share with my blogger friends: target="_new"

You know how you can add a link to a word or phrase when you are creating a new post on your blog? Doing that makes it possible for people to view the web page connected to the link that you have inserted. The thing I hated about that though, especially when reading other blogs, is that the linked web page always directed me AWAY from the blog I was enjoying!

No longer! I found out how to get the link to open in a new window! [And I thought I MUST spread the word!] So, to all those programmers and graphic artists out there, forgive me for sharing this very basic HTML lesson for the general blog public.

Here's what you do: simply add target="_new" into the link that you have inserted in your post. For example, if you inserted the link for Google, your "insert link" Blogger HTML would look like this:

< a href="http://www.google.com/">Google < /a >

NOTE: I had to add spaces before the first "a" and aound the "/a" because it wouldn't have showed up in plain text otherwise - it would have showed up as a link, just like it does when you add one to your post.

So, simply insert target="_new" into the link that Blogger automatically adds to your post like this:

< a href="http://www.google.com" target="_new">Google < /a >

NOTE #2: For some reason [or so it seems] you have to keep a space between the .com" and target="_new".

[Okay, so maybe this ISN'T that basic! Sheesh! I'm challenged just trying to explain it!]

Done. Try it. Experiment. See if it works for you. And hopefully the next time I'm reading your blog I won't be directed elsewhere by one of your linked words.

[Class dismissed.]

Beyond The Walls

Saturday, January 07, 2006
Something cool is happening at EXFOLIATIONS next month. Who would have thought people would be meeting with other people from around the world, through a thing called the Internet, to study God's Word? Makes me reflect on three new books I just purchased:
Revolution | Finding Vibrant Faith Beyond the Walls of the Sanctuary by George Barna
Velvet Elvis | Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell
The Younger Evangelicals | Facing the Challenges of the New World by Robert Webber
Good thing I'm a transit rider. Gives me lots of time to read. You should try it!

Brazilian Amigos

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Breno, Me & MarcioPosted by Picasa

New Day | New Year

Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Every once in awhile I get an itch for change. This doesn't usually occur at the beginning of a new year for me - it usually happens in the spring! [Then again, our winter has felt more like spring this past week, so maybe my biorhythms are confused.]

And maybe it's not a "change" I'm itching for, but something fresh - something adventurous! A change of scenery, perhaps. Three years ago I sold everything I owned and moved to Brazil for six months. THAT sort of thing!

Okay, there is more to the Brazil story than just me wanting to be adventurous. But I'd have to write a lot to explain. So, let's just say that God decided he wanted to get my full attention and that He used a six month trip to Brazil - make that, a life changing six month trip to Brazil. I went there to work with a developing assembly, as their worship pastor, but I received far more from the people and their culture than I could have ever dreamed.

Sometimes I still long for Brazil. I intended to stay for a year [minimum] but had to return because my visa expired. Maybe one day I'll finish my trip.

Maybe NEXT WEEK! [Okay, maybe not. But that's just sort of the mood I'm in!]