Wednesday, August 27, 2008

American Dream Pizza

As you can see, this is a picture of me in front of American Dream Pizza in Corvallis Oregon.

As I was eating a slice of American Dream Pizza, I couldn't help observing the throngs of drooling customers waiting in line for their own slice. After finishing my piece, I sat back and wondered what was the draw. The upper crust was obscene, the toppings were excessive, and it never truly satisfied.

Disclaimer: I know a lot of people are very fond of American Dream Pizza. I have eaten it myself, and found it enjoyable. I hope you understand it's all for the sake of a little social satire.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Blessings, Signs, and Miracles

The significance of blessings, signs, and miracles in the Christian life has been a massive blip on my radar the last few months. It has been a fruitful struggle, but in particular, I can't get over how futile this trio was for the Israelites of the Old Testament in producing a prolific and lasting faith. Despite this overbearing presence of God, His people were still unfaithful.

I now am baffled by the overt preaching from the Old Testament as evidence by people who demand such blessings, signs, and miracles of God today. Unfortunately, rarely do you hear of the constant unfaithfulness of God's people despite such blessings, signs, and miracles.

I find this type of reflection on the Old Testament beautiful because it so loudly proclaims God's crazy love and relentless pursuit for humanity. That is the God I gladly surrender my life to daily!

I'm no Old Testament scholar, but I think I got that one right.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Turn to The Original

I re-cracked The Four Loves open in hopes that it would provide direction in my struggle for a right definition of earthly directed love and Godly directed love. I knew C.S. Lewis would not fail me. The final chapter Charity really helped me sort things out. I will leave you with one last quote that really stood out to me.

In the final chapter Lewis explores and establishes the need to have a right relationship with our Heavenly Beloved over our earthly beloved. After doing so he then directs his thoughts to how earthly love will translate in Heaven.
"In Heaven there will be no anguish and no duty of turning away from our earthly Beloveds. First, because we shall have turned already; from the portraits to the Original, from the rivulets to the Fountain, from the creatures He made lovable to Love Himself. But secondly, because we shall find them all in Him. By loving Him more than them we shall love them more than we now do"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Juno

I saw a showing of Juno in one of the many beautiful parks of Portland. I know I'm a little late on the Juno bandwagon, but I was waiting for the right moment - it was free.

I understand the content matter of the movie is not kosher for Christians. That being said, it is PG-13 and is no where near envelope pushing. But it is exactly because the movies concerns sexuality that I thought the movie was so interesting. Not because it was sexually lustful (in fact lust was nearly absent in the whole movie), but rather because it consisted of a dialog about sexuality in present day American society. A dialog that is almost completely absent from the public circles, much less within Christian circles. So in a way, the movie feels edgy, but only because it is raw in issues that we prefer to sweep under the pew.

A discussion of sexuality has been absent from Christian circles until late. This was only brought to my attention because of the couragous guys over at XXXChurch and an awesome book aptly titled "Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is)" by Joshua Harris.

It is important to understand the message that is being preached to American society, and to our youth. In a society that is increasingly anti-religious, the sermon that most American's hear on a regular basis are preached from the silver screen of theaters.

Juno's character was most intriguing to me. Not because of her spunky personality, but because of her utter transparency. She was genuine and honest in a way that would put most Christians to shame. Imagine the impact and effectiveness of the Gospel if Christians were more transparent about their questions, failures, and sins. How much more powerful of a testimony would that be of God's grace in our lives!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Big Brother Was an Amateur

Things that make you wonder:
"In his fantastic new book, Reinventing Collapse, Dmitry Orlov observes that the US overclass now enjoys "an arrangement over which Soviet central planners would surely have salivated profusely."

Consider Quividi, the new marketing service that is placing video cameras inside the proliferating legion of video-screen being deployed to beam corporate advertising into stores, airports, bus stations, restaurants, etc., etc. etc." (The Consumer Trap)
Observe Quividi in action

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

But As For Me and My Household...

Joshua 24:14 is a common verse to be hung in different shapes and forms in homes all across America. It is most common to see the NIV or NKJV translations. Personally, I find it much more appropriate to use The Modern American Interpretation. I am hoping to get a custom made wood engraving to hang in my apartment (hint hint: if anyone is looking for a gift idea).
Joshua 24:15 "...But as for me and my household, and whatever time we have left over, we will serve the Lord" (TMAI)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Highway Stagnation

I'm sure many would laud these examples as "acts of highway sustainability", I prefer "acts of highway stagnation". I find the following unfortunate because they reaffirm America's inherently inefficient mode of transportation instead of reinvesting in rail systems and restructuring our social structure to be more accommodating of the more (socially and environmentally)healthy mass transit to truly be for the masses, instead of just the poor.

Observe the following intriguing, though frustrating, acts of ingenuity in hopes to retain status quo:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Running4Water

If you are wondering what a God glorifying and Kingdom building hobby looks like, Running4Water is one of my favorite examples. In his own words:
"I am running for water. I am going to be participating in a number of races this summer, and I am asking people to consider joining me as a runner or supporter. My intention is to raise money to drill wells through Living Water International, as well as to raise awareness to a very serious, yet very fixable problem."
His latest challenge is especially intriguing.
"So I have decided to institute a little challenge. For every $10,000 dollars raised through Running4Water I am going to carry 1 gallon of water throughout the Portland Marathon. Currently we have raised $2,826.10, so we need $7173.90 for the first gallon. I think this will help highlight that in addition to the health concerns of bad water, small children carry water (8lbs per gallon) very long distance. This takes up the time they could be spending receiving education as well as heavily taxes an often malnourished frame. Lets spread the word, the Portland Marathon is Oct 5th."
Spread the word! Maybe we could get this guy some media coverage leading up to the Portland Marathon.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Galactic Explosion"

Speaking of galactic explosions, there's a new one in the blogosphere:

Everyone give Elena a warm welcome. Check the blog, leave comments, plug it into your RSS reader (ex. Google Reader), tell your friends...http://galacticexplosion.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Slow Food USA

I was waiting for my iced Americano at Stumptown and was browsing the magazine rack. One journal on the culture of food aptly titled "Gastronomics" caught my eye. Even more intriguing was an advertisement for a non-profit called Slow Food USA. I find great enjoyment in analyzing mission statements. Read on:
"Slow Food USA envisions a future food system that is based on the principles of high quality and taste, environmental sustainability, and social justice – in essence, a food system that is good, clean and fair. We seek to catalyze a broad cultural shift away from the destructive effects of an industrial food system and fast life; toward the regenerative cultural, social and economic benefits of a sustainable food system, regional food traditions, the pleasures of the table, and a slower and more harmonious rhythm of life."
Last night was a beautiful evening on the shore of the Columbia River. Elena and I went out to Rooster Rock to watch the Perseid meteor shower. Before catching a glimpse of the "galactic explosion" overhead we enjoyed a picnic on the boardwalk, soaked up the beautiful sunset, absorbed the greatness of God's creation, hiked the shoreline, studied Scripture, and finally layed out underneath the great expanse of stars.

Now I'm embarking on another stretch of mission trips. Only two week this time, and they will be much more manageable then the previous three, so hopefully I will still be able to check in on the blog.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

No Safe Investment in Love

More from C.S. Lewis' The Four Loves:
"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least ot the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

I believe that the most lawless and inordinate loves are less contrary to God's will than a self-invited and self-protective lovelessness. It is like hiding the talent in a napkin and for much the same reason. "I knew thee that thou wert a hard man." Christ did not teach and suffer that we might become, even in the natural loves, more careful of our own happiness. If a man is not uncalculating towards the earthly beloveds whom he has seen, he is none the more likely to be so towards God whom he has not. We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armor. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it." (Pg 169)
WOW.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

What's Your Opinion?: Olympics

Do the Olympics bring about global unity through a common shared activity or division by reaffirming borders and nationalism?

But don't feel limited by my black and white question. You are welcome to unpack, discuss, and share you opinion.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Compassion Clinic News Special

I posted my reflections on Compassion Rockwood 2008 a couple days ago, but there are many other satellite clinics occurring around Portland for the first time this year. One in particular has received quite a bit of media attention. Here is an awesome segment KATU did on Compassion Southeast:

Biblical Headship

I read C.S. Lewis' The Four Loves a couple years ago, but I just picked it back up to skim through it and it's as if I am reading the book with new eyes!

Here is an excellent excerpt from the chapter on Eros as Lewis pursues a Biblical view of headship in marriage.
"Christian writers (notably Milton) have sometimes spoken of the husband's headship with a complacency to make the blood run cold. We must go back to our Bibles. The husband is the head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church. He is to love her as Christ loved the Church - read on - and give his life for her (Eph 5:25). This headship, then, is most fully embodied not in the husband we should all wish to be but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion; who wife receives most and gives least, is most unworthy of him, is - in her own mere nature - least lovable. For the Church has no beauty but what the Bridegroom giver her; he does not find, but makes her, lovely. The chrism of this terrible coronation is to be seen not in the joys of any man's marriage but in its sorrows, in the sickness and sufferings of a good wife or the faults of a bad one, in his unwearying (never paraded) care or his inexhaustible forgiveness: forgiveness, not acquiescence. As Christ sees in the flawed, proud, fanatical or lukewarm Church on earth that Bride who will one day be without spot or wrinkle, and labours to produce the latter, so the husband whose headship is Christ-like (and he is allowed no other sort) never despairs." (Pg. 148)
It is so easy to understand the feminist movement when husbands (even Christian husbands) live with a warped view of headship apart from Christ.

Monday, August 04, 2008

A Glimpse

This is my first post over on the reflection blog at the shiny brand spanking new Compassion Connect website. I encourage you to peruse the website. For the foreseeable future you will be hearing much more of words such as "Compassion Connect", "Milan", "Apartment Complex Initiative", and as you may have already seen, "Elena".

The following are reflections on my first time serving at the Compassion Rockwood Free Clinic (and make sure you catch the video at the end):

A Glimpse

The anxious discussion, the chirping 2 way radios, the happy smiles and warm introductions set the rhythm for the first time I served at a Compassion Clinic (Compassion Rockwood 2008). I had heard much through word of mouth, but I was anticipating the first hand experience of what the local churches could pull together to bless their community with a demonstration of Jesus love.

Working in the triage center I got a first contact perspective on the impact being made in the lives of those being served. Volunteers worked patiently to help fill out medical forms, translators bustled back and forth only stopping to sit along side those who need extra help, and the hospitality team made frequent stops with smiles bigger then the pastries they were serving to those waiting.

I am taken back by the reality of so much joy being experienced and poured out. I think of the many hospital visits in my life with barely smile and the occasional half effort joke to relieve the impatient tension. Yet all of this was occurring with a purpose far greater then a financial exchange for services provided. It was even a purpose greater then duty to fellow human beings. It was being done out of a thankful outpouring of worship to the God that loved them first.

I was time and time again overwhelmed by the power and impact of a people who share a common purpose, a common joy, and a common love. I encountered individuals who broke down in tears out of thankfulness for everything that had been done for them. This is the type of service that can transform the most broken suffering parts of the world. If there is any movement I have experienced that can effectively address and reconcile this brokenness of humanity it is happening on the grassroots level of the local churches walking outside the doors of their church in unity to demonstrate the love of Jesus that is preached.

Being a part of something like Compassion Rockwood is an encouraging and inspiring glimpse into what The Church can be.

Friday, August 01, 2008

P.E.A.C.E Plan

Anyone heard of it yet?

http://www.thepeaceplan.com/


I think I can really get behind the basic framework of the "problem", "solution", and "plan".

Make sure you check out "it is time" on the video page.

I am reminded of the segment in Lord Save Us From Your Followers that discusses Rick Warren first being invited to Rwanda by the president after reading Purpose Driven Life. So cool to see the continued work being done in such a strife filled region of the world.