Archive for June, 2015

Jun 28 2015

On Gay Marriage and What Makes God Angry and Sad

Published by under Life

Right this moment, Saturday night in the U.S., there are millions and millions of straight people in cities all over our country getting stoned, drunk, and high. They’re having sex with people they barely know and redefining new boundaries of debauchery. No Christian posts about that in my Facebook newsfeed.

Right this moment, there are more than a billion people (greater than 3x the population of the U.S.) living each day on less than $1.25 – the cost of a soda. So few Christians in my Facebook newsfeed ever protesting THIS grave injustice. And, those who do, with nothing near the disgust I see now.

Christians are angry because the White House is lit up with a rainbow but I don’t see many Christians in my Facebook newsfeed angry that our inner city communities are lit up with violence and that black men are dying and incarcerated at ghastly, inhumane levels.

The bible explicitly forbids divorce except in cases of abuse and abandonment. It calls re-marriage adultery. Period. Don’t see any of us Christians up in arms about that.

Make no mistake about it. God is mourning and sad. Because SO MUCH IS WHACK. Let’s not hyper-focus on gay marriage! The bible mentions homosexuality a grand total of seven times. It talks of justice more than 200 times. It speaks of the poor more than 300.

If we really cared about God, we’d care about these things with the passion being displayed against gay marriage. Let’s not drag God into this. The truth: most of us have had our personal sensibilities offended. We just think it’s gross for two people of the same sex to kiss, much less get married. We show by our words, energy, and action that we care very little about what God cares about. Myself included. Knowing facts doesn’t make me any less guilty.

Perhaps our great sin is that we don’t know God very well. We don’t know what cuts him up. So we make God in our image and say he’s crushed by gay marriage. Maybe he is. But I’m CERTAIN he’s crushed by the debauchery and sin and poverty and injustice of our world. He tells us over and over and over again in the bible. But we rarely read our bibles anymore so how would we know that?

Brothers and sisters! Brothers and sisters…. The problem is not “out there.” It’s “in here.” In all our hearts. WE’RE WHACK!! We don’t know God well. We barely know our own selves.

OH GOD! Have mercy on us – sinners. Let us walk humbly with you. Let us do justice. Make us like you. Please, Lord!

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Jun 17 2015

The American Platform

Published by under Life

Kenyan distance runners have been some of the best in the world for 50 years. But why? It’s true that they often jog back and forth to school approximately 3.5 miles a day. Many live in high-altitude villages where oxygen levels are lower than at sea level (which means when they race at sea level, they’re receiving more oxygen which is an advantage), and they rarely eat any kind of junk food – which is important for a number of reasons, but one main reason… Kenyan runners have extremely low body mass index (BMI) measures.

A couple years ago, a study was done where it was shown that Kenyan students with a low BMI also had a high VO2 max score (a measure of how much oxygen fits in your lungs – which correlates to your ability to perform well in endurance sports).

Taken together, kids born in Kenya have numerous environmental factors that automatically make them good distance runners. With some training, these kids can become phenoms!

The life of middle- to upper-class people in the United States is similar in a different way. Many of us are born with significant nutritional, social, and educational advantages. But because we constantly compare ourselves to other Americans who may be better educated or naturally more talented, we feel we have nothing to offer. It just isn’t true.

If you’re reading this right now, chances are that you’re a human being with elite status – on a platform with huge levels of potential – just like the Kenyan students.

But just as a Kenyan student can’t become a champion without training (read: hard work and suffering), we’ll never become real world-changers without hard work and suffering.

I see so many parents and adults today conferring the title of “world-changer” on the kids close to them. They’re not world changers any more than a Kenyan student is a marathon champion. I understand the intent (and the possible accusation that this is just semantics), but the distinction is important.

An untrained Kenyan student is an athlete who COULD be champion. An untrained American student is a privileged student who COULD change the world. Until we’ve won a title or really changed the world, we’re apprentices. AND THAT’S OK!!

But, sadly, as it is, so many of us train to make money. NO!! Let it not be so! May we train ourselves to use our best gifts for the maximum benefit of humanity! If we pray to God to show us how, he’ll answer us if our desire is to love! He will! We’ll still have to suffer through the training of becoming excellent, but it’ll be well worth the price.

Of course, I paint with broad strokes. There are obese Kenyans and very fast American runners. There are brilliant Kenyan students and American dolts. But the truth: by and large, we’ve been given a MASSIVE platform by God from which to do good in this world. The question is: will we train to make our potential something actual? It’s a hard road. Oh, may God help us focus and give us the strength!

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Jun 16 2015

This Is Gonna Hurt

Published by under Life

Dream big, they say. Work hard, they say. What most people don’t tell us about life is that it’s often hard. Extremely hard. Life can be happy. But most days are a struggle – even for us privileged Americans.

All things in the universe move toward disorder. More positively, we might say things resist order. Overcoming this requires an ability to suffer.

We must suffer emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically to varying degrees each day.

I’ve taken up a new slogan to prepare myself for the pain. When starting a piece of work I don’t really want to do, I tell myself simply, “This is gonna hurt.”

If we must suffer, let us suffer in doing the most good we possibly can. There are broken people in our cities. There are an estimated 50 million refugees around the world. There are more than one billion living in abject poverty. Injustices, small and large, are widespread in every corner of the globe. Educating ourselves about these things and taking action is hard. Extremely hard.

This is gonna hurt. This phrase is often said at the doctor’s office just before something wrong with our body is made right. We must suffer. Dream big. Work hard. Suffer pain.

May we push ourselves today further into the realms of love. Let us prepare for the pain and consciously have the expectation of it before we begin. Let us right the wrong things and bring order to the disorder. Let us whisper to ourself, “This is gonna hurt.” And then let us put our hand to the plow!

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Jun 15 2015

Walking the Best Life

Published by under Life

Suppose someone gave you $25,000. Imagine you spent it all on hamburgers for yourself. People might think that strange. But imagine you bought the hamburgers for the homeless. People would think that good. Now imagine you spend the $25,000 on the homeless but this time focused it on four homeless people in order to get them out of poverty for good. This would be even better.

When we think about our lives, there are two major choices we all make. First, what will we aim for?

And second, how will we accomplish that aim?

For example, suppose we aim to get the homeless people out of poverty for good. Great aim. We could teach them only philosophy but give no job training. Our aim would be good but our execution would be lacking. Now suppose we teach them philosophy, get them counseling, AND a specific job skill like being an x-ray technician. It’s easy to see the difference. Much better.

Many of us feel tension in our lives because either our aim is off or our execution plan is off. It’s why many of us dislike our jobs. Because our aim is so whack. We instinctively know we’re gonna die and we know we have the POSSIBILITY of doing so much good in this life.

My question: Is my life I’m living right now… Is YOUR life you’re living right now… Is what we’re aiming for WORTHY of the days we live? And is the way we’re trying to accomplish that aim the BEST way? May God help us walk the best way!

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