Tuesday, June 27, 2006

What I've been reading..














I love to read. I love to watch movies too. I also love to find spiritual themes in all forms of art, whether it's movies, books, or music. In art, just like life, if you stop and take a deeper look past what your eyes can see, you'll find there's something deeper going on. Could God use Hollywood to speak to us on the deeper issues of life? The people at Hollywood Jesus think so. They have 2 books out that contain their reviews for years 2003 - 2004, and 2004 - 2005. But wait! These aren't just stupid movie reviews that you get from the newspaper or on TV. They look deeper into the film and write about spiritual themes found in the movie, whether intentionally put there or not. If you read these, be prepared to be challenged to think "out of the box". I found these to be great books to engage the culture we live in, and to make movie watching more than just killing a few hours. Maybe you'll even notice Jesus is in the theaters too.

Please note. If you're really uptight and think Hollywood is an evil machine that should be avoided at all costs, then these books are not for you. But if you like to be challenged to see things outside of your comfort zone, then check these out.


Hollywood Jesus Reviews 2003-2004
Hollywood Jesus Reviews 2004-2005

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Cheap grace?








Would someone please explain to me where the hell we got the phrase "cheap grace" or "watered down gospel"??? The vomit is at my throat and about to spew out if I hear those phrases again.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Jesus Christ

Does that sound "watered down" to you? Too easy? If so, maybe we need to spend less time with the god of religion, and more with the God who offers His rest, unconditionally.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Holiness



"Laughter is carbonated holiness..." Anne Lamott

Been thinking about the word holy. Something in me gets uncomfortable when that word gets thrown around. You hear it all the time. There's even "holiness movements" where you can imagine a bunch of people gathered together renouncing any type of "wickedness" from their lives by depriving themselves of any human desire. You get my point.

For some reason, the word "holy" seems to equate to being narrow minded, uptight, boring, extremely serious, and angry all the time. I remember talking with a guy, and I mentioned how "God is love", and the guy responded, "Yes, but He is holy too." And I thought to myself, "Well, DUH!" So I was thinking, "Is God's love and His holiness totally separate? When we say "God is love" and "God is holy" are we really saying "God is love, and He is really ticked off!"??

Yesterday was Father's Day and I saw reminders of holiness throughout the day. I remember going outside and seeing my wife Mica park the car and carry grocery bags to our house for a get together she planned for me on Father's Day. Man that totally warmed me inside. I thought, "Man, that is a holy act of kindness. Wow, she really thought of me." Then my mind was flooded with images of other holy acts.

My son giving me a handmade Father's Day card that almost brought me to tears.
My grandmother making me a shrimp salad without celery, because I hate eating celery.
Giving love to someone who (in your mind) doesn't deserve it.
Hugging a homeless person who's breath smells like whiskey, and clothes smell like piss.
The list can go on....

I'm not saying the people that do these are holy themselves, because we're all broken. But the actions sure give me a reminder of what's holy. Take those examples of kindness, multipy it an infinite number of times, and there's a glimpse of Jesus.

Holy, He's holy indeed.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Wisdom Of Tenderness

Having read The Ragamuffin Gospel, and loving every bit of that book, I wasn’t sure what else could be covered in this book that Brennan Manning didn’t already do in Ragamuffin Gospel. Well, just as Ragamuffin helped give me a fresh perspective on the unlimited grace of God, The Wisdom of Tenderness gave me a fresh perspective on the tenderness of God. Tenderness, such a sappy word, don’t you think? No, we’re not talking about that kind of tenderness. To quote Manning in the book, he says about this:

The gentle Spirit dwelling within us is the deepest expression of tenderness-indeed, the Spirit-filled Christian is one whose heart is overflowing with tenderness- and it represents the full healing of our pain through his coming to us. What is the true meaning of tenderness? One must be careful here: we corrupt our sense of reality by sentimentalizing the concept. When such excess erupts, the soul is poisoned by romantic emotions and tenderness degenerates into mawkishness.

If you struggle with the concept of God loving you as you are, flaws and all, then read this book. With brutal honesty about his own sin and brokenness, Manning isn’t afraid to go into detail about himself. And in that, you feel like you’re chatting with a close friend, someone who won’t judge you for who you are. Maybe if we all learned to share that kind of honesty with each other, and to accept each other the same, we’d have another reformation.

The point of the book can be summarized when Manning writes:

The crux of this little book can be stated briefly and succinctly. In a moment of naked honesty, ask yourself, “Do I wholeheartedly trust that God likes me?” (Not loves me, because theologically God can’t do otherwise.) “And do I trust that God likes me, not after I clean up my act and eliminate every trace of sin, selfishness, dishonesty, and degraded love; not after I develop a disciplined prayer life and spend ten years in Calcutta with Mother Teresa’s missionaries; but in this moment, right now, right here, with all my faults and weaknesses?” If you answer without hesitation, “Oh yes, God does like me; in fact; he’s very fond of me,” you’re living in the wisdom of accepted tenderness.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Some of the "Why's" that go through my head...












Why do they always put the toys at the bottom of cereal boxes, making them so damn hard to get to?
Why is there traffic when you're in a rush to get somewhere?
Why has it been raining so much lately?
Why am I writing this?
Why don't I give more money to the poor?
Why do I fall asleep in meetings at work?
Why is it easy for me love the "rejects" of society, but extremely hard to love self-righteous people?
Why do I have a hard time remembering people's birthdays?
Why do people in NYC always cross the street in front of you while you're driving?
Why did I wait so long to take college classes to finish my degree?
Why do I always have a hard time getting people to understand what I'm saying?
Why do I always blast my music at extreme volumes when I'm listening?
Why is Urban Outfitters so expensive?
Why was I allowed to get out of the wreckless life I lived in "Get High" School, but some friends got stuck in?
Why does 80's music always put me in a good mood?
Why does watching Jennifer Aniston, Freddie Prinze Jr, and Ben Affleck trying to act in movies make me queasy?
Why do I procrastinate?
Why do I say "dude" a lot?
Why am I so damn stubborn sometimes?
Why do my childhood issues still affect me sometimes?
Why don't I get up earlier so I'm not always rushing?
Why do people say, "You haven't called me in a while", when they haven't called YOU in a while?
Why is shopping at Target so much fun?
Why do I feel guilty when I have to tell someone "No"?
Why is Jimmy Eat World's "A Praise Chorus" so groovy?
Why does pizza taste better when it's eaten as a leftover?


Why don't you put some of your "Why's" in the comments? Let's keep it going....

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Beautiful Letdown


I think Jon Foreman from Switchfoot sang in the song "The Beautiful Letdown", what this blog (Society's Elite) is all about.



"We are a beautiful letdown
Painfully uncool
The church of the dropouts
The losers, the sinners, the failures, and the fools
What a beautiful letdown
Are we salt in the wound?
Hey, let us sing one true tune"