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number 7[9]I was always told that what made Abraham in the Bible so interesting was that he was the first monotheist, the first to believe in one God.  I’m not convinced he was the first to believe in one God, but the first to worship only one God.

 

I guess being a Christian, most days I only worship one God.  But I do have to make a confession.  I’ve been guilty of worshiping other gods, a lot of them.  I just want to share a few…

 

7 gods I’ve worshiped:

 

#7.  things and stuff

Every good American likes things and stuff.  Its the American dream to grow up and make stuff so you can buy lots of things.  And its not just things and stuff, its really big things and lots of stuff.  I’ve even read that the poorest American has like 100 times the stuff as people in poorer nations.  Being surrounded by all our stuff we fail to realize is the degree to which we are in love with our stuff…and our things.

 

As a Christian and I even tried spiritualize my love for things and stuff.  I would say, “Well, Jesus wants me to be happy”, which really meant, “He wants me to have lots of stuff and nice things.”  At least that’s what I learned from Christian TV and 12-step self-help books.  

 

That was until I read a story about a guy who had so much stuff that he had to build bigger things to put his stuff in (Luke 12:16-21).  He had more things and more stuff than he could ever need.  In the end God ended up killing the guy because he was in love with his stuff…and his things.

 

I like to think I’ve learned my lesson, and I no longer worship things and stuff.  But sometimes this god finds its way back into my life.  And that’s just one of the gods I’ve worshiped.  

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Hey guys, sorry I haven’t posted in a while.  Its not because I’m short on things to say.  School starting, new job, and church planting are keeping us busy.  I have some (in my opinion) very interesting posts for the near future.  But in the  mean time enjoy this video by a childhood friend, Ryan Edgar.  

Ryan leads worship at Gateway Community Church in Dallas, TX and has been a backup for Israel Houghton.  He’s an amazing vocalist.  Find him on iTunes and support him if you like what you hear.

Peace,

TJ

***WARNING: This blog may contain spoilers to The Dark Knight***

Ok, so that’s my official warning.

One of my favorite moments in The Dark Knight comes in the last 5 minutes.  Batman and Lieutenant Gordon conclude that Gotham needs not only a hero but also a fall guy – a dark knight.  The city needs someone to take the blame for the people so that a hero can emerge and give them hope.  Batman says to Gordon, “I am whatever Gotham needs me to be.”  By saying this Batman volunteers to be be the scapegoat.

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The word scapegoat has an interesting origin.  There was a tradition in the Old Testament where a priest would take a perfectly innocent goat and during a ritualistic ceremony place his hands on the goat’s head.  Symbolicaly he passed the sins and failures of the people onto the goat.  The goat was then sent out into the desert, into isolation, never to be seen again.  

From that point on, anyone who assumed the blame for something of which they were not guilty was called the scapegoat.

So, you’ve heard this story before?  Innocent guy meets sinful people.  People need to be saved but can only be saved if someone takes the blame for what they’ve done.  Innocent guy willingly takes the blame for the people’s failures.  

Jesus was the scapegoat.  Jesus is our Dark Knight.

Ok, so this is a preview to a Theology and Film small group I plan to start in the Spring after we launch The Net.

I never could’ve made comparisons between Batman and Jesus using the old Batman movie series.  But starting with Batman Begins new director, Christopher Nolan, has created a whole new Batman.

One thing Nolan did was create a more realistic Batman.  A Batman that struggles.  A hero that gets beat up.  Yes, Batman ultimately ‘wins’, but not without a price.  There are dark moments when we’re not even sure whether Batman is going to make it.  He hurts.  He  suffers.

batman1 And the weird thing is… we like this Batman better than previous ones.  We like our heros to be both hero and human.

The post-Christian generation is desperate for a hero that doesn’t just ‘rule the universe’ but is also a friend of the outcast.  He suffers with the hurting.  He feels pain.  And yes, he wins, but not without a struggle.

So, what does this mean for the Church?  We need to present Jesus in a more realistic light.  We need to show our world that, yes, Jesus did win, but not without a price.  He suffered.  He felt pain, and still does.  That for two whole days everyone close to him thought he was dead and gave up on him.  Perhaps they need to see Jesus through Isaiah’s eyes:

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows 

and acquainted with the deepest grief.  We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.

He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.

He was beaten so we could be whole.

He was whipped so we could be healed.

– Isaiah 53:3&5

To be continued…

Whopper Virgins…

That’s an attention-grabbing title…now seriously, stop snickering and listen for a minute.

Yesterday I was riding in my car, listening to the radio when I heard about Burger King’s new add campaign called ‘Whopper Virgins‘.

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The idea was that they would take a Whopper and a BigMac to remote villages all over the world that had never tasted a hamburger before – some didn’t even have a word for hamburger – and they would perform the ultimate taste test. They wanted completely objective opinions of hamburgers.

That go me thinking, There are very few Church-Virgins out there.

Everyone we come in contact with, especially in America, has had some encounter with a church.  Some good.  Some bad.  Some weird. Some scary. But it’d be hard to find a true church-virgin in America.

The people that walk into our churches have preconceived ideas of what churches are.  For some church is a place of hope.  But for a lot of them church is a placed to be embarrassed, hurt, judged, mistreated, abused.

For this reason I want to help make their next experience a good one.  I want them to feel relaxed, refreshed and I want the service to be relevant to the issues they are facing.  I want to make their next first experience one they will never forget…in a good way.

What, not Why

John 9:2 – Jesus and his crew walk by a blind guy.  The guys ask Jesus whose sin it was that caused the man to be born blind.

I’m not sure how these guys knew he was blind from birth.  They just assumed it.  1553

Then they asked one of the dumbest questions I’ve ever heard – Whose sin caused this?  His or his parents?  Imagine that, a man who sins prior to being born and it causes him to be born blind.  Crazy.

One thing is for sure, Jesus’ crew was more interested in WHY the man was blind rather than WHAT they cold do to help it.

We do this a lot don’t we?  ‘Why is that guy homeless?  Is he lazy?  Does he drink every dollar he gets?  Does he have a drug problem?’ or ‘How did she get pregnant?  Where’s the father?  What does she plan to do with the baby?’

Rabbi Kushner said God is more interested in our response to pain than giving us an explanation for our pain.  We always want an explanation.  WHY?  But Jesus is saying, WHAT?  WHAT are you going to do?  WHAT can you do to fix it?  Religious people are interested in WHY.  Christians are interested in WHAT.  Its WHAT, not WHY.

You guys know how much I love intelligent humor.  I just recently discovered Nick Thune and from what I can tell he’s a genius.  If you grew up during the Instant Messaging craze then this will deffinitely make you laugh.  Plug in your head phones and reminisque 🙂