Monthly Archives: November 2008

Thanksgiving Musings

Frying the turkey is all the rage these days.  I was told that the History Channel had a show about the dangers of turkey frying. If you put a frozen turkey into a vet of scalding oil you get a turkey bomb.  If you forget to turn off the burner after you take the turkey out of the oil you get the equivalent of a flame thrower. Under certain controlled conditions I can see that this would be very cool.

 

My parents have been frying turkeys on Thanksgiving for about ten years.  This is my first Thanksgiving to get to taste one because I’ve been away for about ten years.  It was very good.  Turkey is down the list of my favorite meats.  But picking the meat off of a turkey just out of the oil is really quite delicious.  So delicious that our family has gone to what is called the “pre-bird.”  This is a separate turkey cooked only for the purpose of picking so that the “main-bird” is in a pristine condition for carving.  The problem is that after consuming the “pre-bird” one is really too full to consume the main meal.  Other highlights from the main meal included sweet potato casserole and cheesy hash brown casserole.  For dessert there was a rum cake and coffee.

 

Full and tired after a day of food and family Erika and I settled in front of a DVD after the kids went to bed.  We watched “You’ve Got Mail.”  I know it’s a chick flick but we just wanted something light.  The whole AOL thing seems really dated. It’s funny to watch them use dial-up and anxiously await the words, “You’ve got mail.” My connection was never that good.  The line about the bouquet of sharpened pencils in the fall is classic and Parker Posey really steals her scenes as one of the most self-absorbed characters in all of filmdom.

 

As for yesterday, while many were out being trampled to death at Wal-mart I was at home reading McClain’s The Greatness of the Kingdom thus finding more and more reason to be enthusiastic about my premillenialism and my dispensationalism.  In the Kingdom we will be frying turkeys free from danger.

 


Thanking God for Puggles

puggles1“Puggles” is the AWANA program at our church for 2-3 year olds.  Lucy can’t believe the greatness.  Last night we had Tuesday on Wednesday because of Thanksgiving so puggles came a night early.  She was out of her mind.

I am so thankful for the ladies who prepare every week for puggles.  I can’t imagine what it must be like to prepare for 90 minutes with a room full of 2 year olds.  But every week Lucy comes home thrilled.

We’ve been working on teaching Lucy to pray.  Her prayers are very simple and mostly filled with thanksgiving.  Last night while we were sitting by the fire getting jammies on she prayed thusly:

Thank you God for Mommy and Daddy

Thank you God for Jake and Elipuggles-tshirt

Thank you God that I can be a puggle

Thank you God that Christian could wear his puggles shirt tonight

Thank you God for Harry

Thank you God for Kim that she can be in Hungary

Thank you God that I can obey and Aaaaaaaamen. (Every night the A gets drawn out a little longer.)  I can’t believe how much I love to hear that little voice thanking God so sincerely.


24 and the Orphan Crisis

24 Redemption along with other movies like Hotel Rwanda and Blood Diamond have been helpful to open my eyes to the atrocities being committed upon children around the world.  Young boys are being trained as murderers in Africa and little girls are being sold into prostitution as young as age 5.  We live very distant from these “disgustingly wicked” acts in “far off” places while in our own land unborn babies are murdered in the privacy of a doctor’s office.

I’m becoming restless to be a part of the solution.  Erika and I would very much love to adopt a child from Africa and Asia.  Last night in my dreams I found myself trying to adopt a boy much like the ones I saw in the show.  Funds are short right now and we’re still trying to understand how best to care for Harry’s medical needs.  We hope to contribute in other ways.  I hope that should God allow us to plant a new church here in Savannah that we will start out with adoption and the orphan care crisis on our minds.  We need to find a way among Christians to help those who have the energy to adopt have the money to adopt.  Adoption is very expensive, especially overseas adoption, and many in the church who are young and willing to adopt just don’t have the funds.  On the other hand many Christians who have enough money aren’t really in the time of life to be adopting.  It seems to me that there ought to be some better ways of bridging this gap. 

 We’ve come across some terrific resources since we went to Together for AdoptionWorld Orphansis an organization committed to helping orphans by establishing church based homes. The failure of institutional orphanages and the fact that there aren’t enough families seeking foster care and adoption  have led them to this creative solution.  Because they are church based they provide better accountability as well as better care and ministry.


24 Redemption

Erika and I came late to the “24” experience.  We started watching Season 1 sometime last spring and we were hooked.  Last night we watched the two hour 24 special.  I’ll make a couple of observations about the show.  First, it was great to see Jack Bauer somewhere other than CTU Los Angeles.  He’s really a great character and it seems like the writers have done a good thing by moving him out of LA.  How many times can a government agency be infiltrated? 

Second, I know I’m not bringing anything new to the table here but it’s good to see that someone is still producing something where there are clear good guys and bad guys.  The people who bring us 24 aren’t looking to provide us with a sympathetic portrait of these guys who are turning children into cold-blooded killers.  I’m tired of watching movies with the theme, “Who is really the bad guy in the story?” If there is a guy blowing up buses or holding hostages in an elementary school he’s bad even if he got his feelings hurt in the 4th grade.

Point number three will be my next post.  It seems bigger than what I’ve said here.


Movies

I like movies…or at least I used to.  I graduated from high school and entered college, somewhat unadvisedly, as a film major.  I soon moved on to a different focus for education but I had just enough classes to learn to appreciate film.  I’ve followed film through the years and have definitely enjoyed the movie going experience.  I have tended to read reviews, even of films I’ve never seen.  I would say that there were many times when I could say that I had seen a majority of the movies listed on the marquee above the ticket window.  Those days are gone.

 

The last time Erika and I had an opportunity to see a movie we actually made it all the way up to the ticket window before decided there was nothing worth spending $10 on and going home.  The last time I walked through the aisles of a video store I spent way too long trying to find something worth renting and eventually decided on an older movie that I had meant to see for some time.  Nothing in the new releases seemed the least bit interesting.

 

I read the other day that 70% of movies these days get mediocre to bad reviews.  Of the 30% that are reviewed favorably I find most to be either too political or too prurient to be of interest.  I don’t think I’m more sophisticated.  I still prefer a good action movie to a drama. Some of my favorite movies of the last few years have been animated.  My appreciation for The Incredibles has not been a secret. I’ve seen all 10 of the top 10 grossing movies of 1997 and 8 of them in the theater. Of the top ten grossing movies for 2007 I’ve seen 4 and only two of those did I see in a theater.  I have no intention of seeing the other 6.

 

There are a couple of movies I’ve enjoyed on DVD lately.  I liked Akeelah and the Bee.  I also liked Son of Rambow.  I didn’t like Journey to the Center of the Earth.  This pick was entirely my fault and Erika is not to be blamed.  For what it’s worth she warned me. I don’t even want to talk about Nim’s Island.

 

I hope to enjoy a good movie going experience again soon.  I’ve got my eye on a couple of Christmas films. 

 

 


Honesty Without Truth

In I Samuel we see King Saul spiraling downward into sin that begins with s ingle suspicious thought about David in 18:9.  From there his sin moves from a thought to secret plotting about how he can end David’s life without anyone knowing he was responsible.  He actually uses the old “send the boy to the front lines” approach made famous by David himself a few decades later. Finally, in 19:1 Saul speaks of his desire to murder David.  Sin has so deceived him that he can speak openly about it and not feel any sense of shame.

 

Phil Johnson has a post this morning at Pyromaniacs titled “Honesty Without Truth?”.  After I looked up “querulousness” I understood Phil’s point that the internet has become a place where Christians gather to tell there deepest and darkest secrets in the name of being honest.  Phil says:

 

To the postmodern mind, “honesty” has come to mean the uninhibited venting of every egocentric feeling, every nagging doubt, every petty complaint, every subversive thought, and every negative passion. Maturity and discretion used to keep people from indiscriminately expressing certain potentially-destructive thoughts aloud, much less broadcasting them to the world.

 

This willingness to broadcast the worst about ourselves is tied among Christians today to the idea of confession.  In a world where seminary students gather in circles to learn how to emote it shouldn’t surprise us that churches are filled with “accountability groups” where men and women can share all of their hurts and struggles in a “safe” place.  The key word here is of course “safe” because we get to wallow in our honesty and no one had better take issue with anything we say.  Just like Saul we have the ability to speak openly about sin without any sense of shame.

 

J. Budziszewski in his book, What We Can’t Not Know, says that our conscience functions as teacher, judge or executioner.  The teacher mode is cautionary in that it alerts us to sin.  The judge mode is accusatory in that it indicts us for sin we have committed.  Finally, the executioner mode is avenging because “it punishes the soul who refuses to read the indictment.” Budziszewski places this need to “be honest” within the avenging mode of the conscience.  The soul that has refused to hear the conscience is seeking relief through false confession.  He writes:

 

In its broadcast mode, it is the staple of talk shows like “Jerry Springer,” which has featured guests with such edifying disclosures as “I married a horse.”  But the tell-all never tells all; such confessions are always more or less dishonest.  We may admit every detail of what we have done, except that it was wrong.

 

Saul’s sin was like a snowball gathering size and speed as it rolled down hill.  Having allowed hate and jealousy to become the controlling thought in his mind he couldn’t help but speak of it.  This is true of anyone.  At some point, sin will consume their hearts to the point that they just can’t keep it in.  Jesus said so in Luke 6:45:

 

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”

 

Today, these internet sites and “safe” accountability groups where everyone enages in honesty are simply granting a place where the heart can speak of its “evil treasure” without shame and without fear that there might be some confrontation with truth. 


Busy Week

I’m really thankful to say that I haven’t been blogging this week because I’ve been busy.  When you’ve moved to a new place and you’re trying to get established busy is a good thing.  Today I’m preaching both services at our church.  It was great to be back in a pulpit.  I’m preaching a survey of the life of King Saul called, “Sin Makes You Stupid.”

I actually have a lot to write.  I want to say some more about adoption and I may even get around to posting some of the points from “Sin Makes You Stupid.”   I was going to post some links that have been interesting to me lately but there aren’t any. Once again…busy is a good thing.