Monthly Archives: January 2006

113868283147661300

Hey Christians. Yeah, I’m talking to you. Protestants and Catholics. Traditional and Contemporary. Calvinists and Evangelical. I’m taking to all of you. I’ve got a question that I think deserves some serious consideration. One for the scholars and neophytes alike. Wait, don’t go get your Bible. You won’t really need it for this. What I want to ask is simple; what are you afraid of? Sure, we live in a world that is sometimes hostile to Christianity, we live in a world where our traditional morals seem to have gone down the drain. I understand. I go to a public university, so I’ve seem it first hand. But I’ve got to ask myself. Is this militant “values” campaign really what our country needs? Is it imperative that we tell gays they can’t marry? You may argue that the Bible condemns homosexuality (though I’d like to have a conversation with you, but thats a different topic) so the government shouldn’t allow it, but are you really willing to hold to that argument? Christian America, are you ready to outlaw divorce? Cause that would be the logical next step from where we are now. In all actuality, it would have been a logical first step seeing as Jesus is pretty explicit on how he views divorce, while being strikingly silent about Homosexuality. What are you afraid of?
The NBC affiliate in Nashville recently pulled a television show off the air after an aggressive letter writing campaign by the religious right. I watched the show the only night that it actually aired, and I enjoyed it, thought later, after further consideration, I have decided that the show was a bit melodramatic and probably did not exhibit the qualities of popular television. Regardless, this show was not pulled from the air because of excessive language, nudity, or extreme violence. The Christian Right threatened a boycott of the network because they were afraid of Jesus.
This might sound funny, but its the only explanation at which my feeble mind can arrive. Something about a Jesus who didn’t smite a minister who struggled with an addiction to painkillers, or command an exorcism of the Reverend’s gay son scares the hell out of them (pun intended). This show brought Jesus to network television surrounded by shows completely absent of him. Right in the middles of shows that portray the hopelessness of a life without faith, and shows that demean humanity with body builders, big boobs, and beetles, appears a show about a tough life that is only meaningful because of faith, and that’s the one we pull from the air. What are you afraid of?
You know, I’m not saying you should be forced to watch television you disagree with, or that television should be able to show whatever they want. What I am saying is that there are bigger battles to fight than what’s on TV and there are bigger social problems to deal with than whether or not two guys can get married, like world poverty, or the violence and drug addiction that plague our inner cities. Not many people would consider the Roman Empire a particularly moral one, yet the early church did not start a letter writing campaign to Nero because he allowed (and practiced) Homosexuality. They went out and lived the love of Christ, and it transformed the world. They realized that forcing morality will never create good people, but changing hearts will. So, on the issue of gay marriage, if you do not agree with it, go out and love people. Go to the gay bars and form relationships, without judging, just showing the love of Christ and what he has done. Blatant discrimination against homosexuals has not changed them over the last millennium; its just created a group who live lives searching for acceptance because they cannot get it from those who should be the most accepting. What are you afraid of?
There is plenty wrong with television today and I bet most people would agree, but how about instead of killing any mention of Jesus you do not like, either turn off the TV or use it as a tool to reach those that are seeking.

Advertisements

113667641201599518

Last night I was excited to be able to watch the new, “controversial” television show “The Book of Daniel”. Let me tell you that it is probably one of my new favorite shows this year. Definitely favorite drama, but I don’t know that it can surpass “My Name is Earl” (though it is awfully close).

The premise of this show is an episcopalian priest who’s family is well… typical. They have the same kind of problems that other families have… maybe a little exaggerated. Daughter is selling drugs (but not using them), one son is gay, another son (who is adopted) is involved with a wealthy parishioners daughter. Daniel’s mother has alzheimers, his dad may be having an affair, his sister in law is a lesbian and may have killed her husband in order to get 3 million dollars Daniel’s church had raised for a new episicopal school. The mom has an alcohol problem and Daniel is struggling with an addiction to painkillers after back surgery.

Ok, well, its probably a little exaggerated, but still.

Jesus shows up and talks to Daniel throughout the show. I heard one lady from some conservative christian group (who had not seen the show) remark that the jesus portrayed in the show will not be the Jesus she worships. I don’t know if Jesus is talking to her too and telling her that, but the Jesus that was portrayed in TBOD is probably the best portrayal of Christ I’ve seen in a while (and that includes the 700 club, and trinity broadcasting network). Jesus encourages Daniel to do the right thing, gives him advice, and listens to what he has to say. He’s not uber judgemental like the Jesus that the far right displays, but he’s not all tolerant like those on the left would think. He lets Daniel know subtlely that his painkiller problem isn’t a good thing, but he doesn’t get enraged. He is gentle and a friend, willing to listen.

I thought the show was great, and I think everyone shoudl watch it. We live in a world that has not been completely transformed. People sin, people struggle, and Jesus isn’t sitting there with a book checking off what you do and don’t. He wants you to make the right decisions, but he doesn’t blow a gasket when you don’t. This show tries to portray Jesus as caring, nurturing, and Daniel as a guy with a good heart who tries to do the right thing, but, like us, isn’t always successful.

113666512312201794

Tis time. Tis time. I’ve been putting off my year in review post, but now, as I sit in my empty apartment, trying desperately to find something to, I will succomb to updating the LJ.

2005 was a pivotal year in my life. Its definitely a year that I look back at who I was just twelve months ago and barely recognize myself. I began the year in a new place, in an uncomfortable place. I kinda have a love/hate relationship with change, so leaving Lipscomb and starting at MTSU was both thrilling and frightening. While I hadn’t quite plugged in with a group at Lipscomb, I was comfortable there. I knew my place. I knew some people, though I wasn’t close with any of them, I had gotten on good terms with the administration. Most notably, I’d perfected the “jesus” face. Inside, I was scared to death that my religion didn’t make sense, but outside I had it all together. What would I do at MTSU?

Spring semester of last year brought a ton of new people into my life. People that genuinely cared about me and enjoyed my company. Moving in at the Bellwood mansion was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. I learned a lot about myself, especially the first two months. I paid rent, bought my own food, cooked my own food, moved furniture 300 miles in a UHaul, experienced alcohol, among many other things. Most notably, I realized how awesome my parents are, and how they care about me so much that they will force me to make tough decisions and figure things out on my own when I need to.

Summer was just unreal. Working 30 hours a week, at ten bucks an hour. Getting off at 1:30 every day, eating chick fil a with my mom, golfing by myself, or with one or more members of my family. Singing at workcamp and meeting a girl, who, though we are not together anymore, really changed my life. Helped me to be adventurous, taught me how to laugh, how to take risks, and how to be in a relationship that makes you happy without being happy solely because of the relationship. I think I learned a ton about myself from Picayune to Panama City Beach, and I’m forever grateful for that week of my life.

Hurricane Katrina didn’t directly affect me but it changed my life and my faith. My misunderstanding of God and my desire to have everything figured out came to an abrupt head a couple days after the hurricane. When you start asking WHY questions, especially after being raised in a modern faith (I use modern as a time period not as in now. We live in a post modern society now) that is totally rooted in rationalism and how if we look hard enough we can understand things, it can be detrimental to your faith. I looked at the gulf coast and I said “Why… why would you allow this to happen?” And I searched and searched and picked my brain and I couldn’t come up with anything. This just didn’t make any sense to me. Lunch with Brandon Scott Thomas couldn’t have been more helpful. The main thought is that… there are things we aren’t ever gonna know, we aren’t ever gonna figure out. The problem is, we’ve thought for so long that we’ve figured God out, and we understand him and then certain things happen and they don’t gel with our ideas of God. What do we do then? He referred me to Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo and I also started reading Donald Miller and I’ve realized how much I’ve missed the point of CHristianity. I’ve realized how much of my faith was based, not on God, but on my own understanding, and how when put under a microscope, my understanding will inevitably deconstruct. Human wisdom is foolishness to God. That doesn’t mean that we just accept bad theology… it means sometimes you’re just not gonna get it, and its freeing sometimes to say “I dont’ know.” Claire, inadvertantly, you helped me rediscover my love for God. I am so thankful for that.

School started back far too soon, and I moved into an apartment with guys that I knew, but not well. Apartments are much closer quarters than houses, and I became close with these guys pretty immediately. Got a job, initially, so as to free up my weekends to go home to see one girl, and ended up finding a new one because of it. Kinda strange how that works out. Kinda strange how I wasn’t looking and it just happened. Kinda strange how big a part of my life Carrie’s become since August. Wow.

Classes were a drag this semester. They pretty much sucked and my grades reflected my interest in class. 3 B’s, a C+ and a C. Less than stellar. Though, something important did happen. I figured out my major. History with a minor in secondary education. Maybe I’ll teach for a while and if I don’t like it, I can find something else to do. My classes this semester rock and I’m pumped about them.

Basically, this year has been everything I could imagine. Good and bad. Easy and Hard. Thought proking and chilled. Its been wonderful. I’m excited about this next year to come. I think big things could be on the horizon.