Monday, August 27, 2012

Fight Night

Here is some new spoken word. 

I start fights online late at night
Because I think that I’m right
But if I’m fighting with the wrong heart
I’m not in the right
So I’m writing songs
It’s my way of righting wrongs
Spreading light into the dark night
Only Christ can be our white knight
In shining armor
And I mean to alarm Her

Because the Church is the Bride
In a bona fide mess
A damsel in distress
Look for a blessing
But we do most the cursing
It's disturbing and
Here is the worst thing
Jesus isn’t our first thing
When did we stop thirsting?

Now we’re second guessing
So where is the blessing?
Why are we stressing?
Are we dressed in a white dress
Pure as snow, welcomed as a guest
Into the eternal heavenly rest?
Or just a hypocritical critic, a pest?
The body is malnourished
We’re starving to death

Skin and dry bones
We need to be fed
Only the bread of life
Can resurrect the dead
Grow up into Christ the head
We choose uniformity over unity
This divisiveness is lunacy
And it’s brutally clear to me
Jesus is saying “just draw near to me”

He didn’t say “go into culture and take over”
He said “go into the world and be my witnesses”
He didn’t say “legislate a morality makeover”
He said “go and make disciples”
If you are putting your hope in DC
Instead of helping the guy on the street
Loving the gal that you meet
Maybe you’re just shuffling your feet
Going through the motions
Evoking the  right emotions
But you’re empty and you’re broken

Maybe we should focus more on reconciliation
Have less debates and more conversations
Get off the internet and go into all nations
And I don’t mean to take a vacation
Have you read the great commission?
It reads like the orders for a rescue mission

I know it seems like a strange thing
But if we’re gonna change things
We gotta love our neighbors,
And loving our neighbors
Is gonna mean loving some strangers
It may come with some dangers
But God loves everyone
Regardless of backgrounds and behaviors
Suburban teenagers and gang bangers
Can receive the same savior
Jesus Christ was born in the manger
Threats came at him his whole life
Till it ended as he died on the cross
It’s good if you wanna count the cost
But are you gonna tell HIM about danger?

He started the Church movement with some orders
He said “Go and make disciples”
Don’t worry about borders
I don’t know if it matters where you go
But one thing I do know
He didn’t say “stay in your comfort zone and make disciples”
So we gotta get going
Follow the Holy Spirit
Like the wind that is blowing
Because our river of life is flowing
The Glory of God is our light
It should be showing showing?
If the Church is alive
She should be growing

So get your heart right
And fight, fight, fight
With all your might
Day and night
For what’s right

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Temptation, Sin, and Death (Allegories)

"But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers." 
-James 1:14-16

These verses are the inspiration for two stories I wrote about sin and how it affects our lives.

So, you are at the club in your little town called Life, and you’re sitting at a table. It’s well lit, your friends and family are with you, supporting you. Temptation comes up to you. She says, “Hey, I love this song. Wanna dance?”. And you know her reputation, what she’s like. You look her over, her dress is skimpy, but not the most immodest thing ever. You think to yourself, “I can handle just one dance.” She leans in closer, “I won’t make you do anything you don’t want to.”

So you take Temptation by the hand, and lead her to the dance floor. Just as you get there, the song ends, and a slower one comes on. The lights dim way down. You still think you can handle it. You hold her close, and move to the music. She whispers in your ear, “You are so great. I know we’ve had our differences, but I am glad we can finally be friends.”
The song ends. You tell her, “I am gonna stay for one more song.” And one turns into 2, 2 into 3, and soon the club closes, and you all have to leave.

Your friends and family are gone. As you and Temptation leave, she invites you to her place. You are having fun, and you are strong. So you say, “Of course, I’d love to. But I should warn you, we are just going to talk. If you try anything, I’m out of there.”
She says, “Don’t worry, you’ll be safe. I have really changed.”

Soon, you are in her apartment watching a movie on the couch. You are talking and snuggling, but it’s just to stay warm. She massages your sore muscles and strokes your ego. She tells you everything you want to hear.

All of the sudden you wake up, and you are filled with regret. Because it is morning, and you know what you’ve done. Later you find out she is pregnant. The child’s name is Sin. So you feel responsible. You have to take care of this baby, provide for and nurture Sin. You raise Sin as something you love, but also as a secret because you are ashamed. Well, Sin grows up and eventually, she also has a child. It’s name is Death.

Now you have to take care of all three of them. They are draining you of everything good. Your time, your energy, your love. Your family and friends can tell something is wrong, but they can’t help you. The only way to survive, is to put them out.


You are a new Christian. Jesus has just moved into your heart. You give him the best  furniture, and all these lamps. It is bright and clean, except for one little place. It is your doghouse, in the back corner. You have a pet sin. You feed it and take care of it, but you keep it in the darkness of the doghouse. You tell Jesus the house is His, but that He can have it all as long as the pet can stay. So you instruct the sin to stay in the doghouse, and mostly he does, but sometimes he comes out and he poops on the carpet. And Jesus sees all this and says, “What is this doing here?”
And you tell Him, “Nothing, I will chain him up in there. He won’t do this again.” Jesus wants you to kick the sin out of your heart and close the door. But you feel confident that you can keep it bound up in the dark. Jesus has the majority of your heart in the light. Shouldn’t that be enough. You’ve had this pet for so long, it would be unthinkable to put him out. So you chain him up in the doghouse. And he stays there, maybe for a day, maybe a month, or a year. But eventually he breaks out and comes into the living room and poops on the carpet. There is only one way to deal with your pet sin. Destroy the doghouse, illuminate that darkness in your heart with Jesus’ light and throw the sin out of your heart and lock the door.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Living on the lifeboat: part 2

This is the conclusion to a 2 part series I started a while back. If you missed part 1, here it is:

“The fear of the Lord leads to life:
   Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” Proverbs 19:21

How incredible that we must fear God to find life. But when we fear God, there is nothing left to fear: not man, not sin, and not death. When we see the glory of God, we do not die; we finally live.

No matter what we get, it does not take us long to become complacent and entitled. I had a new phone, and for 2 days I took incredible care of it. I knew where it was. But it became part of my unconscious self. As though it was intrinsic to living, even though I did not have it most of my life. And soon thereafter I felt it was obsolete. It needed to be upgraded. I couldn't live without the new one.
This our generation. Consumers trained to accept nothing less than instant gratification and temporary pleasures. Nothing is built to last, it can all be replaced. Toys, tools and our relationships too. Like a morning mist or a flash in the pan, it all goes away.

To sustain and form Christian community, we must focus not on the community, but on the Gospel Word.. Human activity cannot create life which endures; we can never attain community by working for it. It is not something we can "do" but rather something we must "be"  something we receive through Christ's gift of grace. Only the Word of God can create an enduring community of life and love.

What if you ate only one meal a week but still went about your daily work? You would eventually grow weak and wither and die. The Church does this by allowing themselves to believe 2 hours on Sunday morning is enough spiritual nourishment to energize their week. This is foolish, un-biblical and ultimately a futile effort.

I am quite sure God wants some Christians to be Republican. And some to be Democrats. But not because he wants them to place their hope in politics. Rather he wants his people to be "all things to all people so that by all means some might be saved". To Republicans we can be Republicans. To Democrats we can be Democrats. As fellow Christians the only identity we should look for in each other is "Christ, and him crucified."

Theology is more romance than science. We do not study God just to know about him. The Bible is no mere textbook. We study him like a husband learns the minutia about his wife that wouldn't interest anyone but him. The Bible is a love letter, stories that God recorded throughout time to reflect his larger Story of grace. When we focus on the boiled down, bullet point Bible- not to say systematic theology has no merit- we miss out on the beautiful poetry, the artistry and love of the Story God is trying to tell us. The Gospel is not an intellectual proposition; it is an invitation to a very real relationship with a very real God.
We just run the danger of losing the essence of Scripture when we boil it down. If it can be effectively shared as bullet points or formulae, why did God take so much time with so many people to share His heart of love through stories, poetry, letters, dreams, songs, and other media? But it is at the very least both/and not either/or. I think theology is a great tool, as long as we do not become too busy studying God to love Him.

If we look and sound like the world, how can we offer an alternative? We are just more of the same. We can't remove ourselves from culture, but we can't compromise scripture for culture. We can't take over culture, and we can't ignore culture, but we can go into culture with all the tools we've got to bring light right into the dark world.