Random Thoughts at the Beginning of the Week

1) I hope God enjoys watching me enjoy something the way I enjoy watching my kids enjoy something.

2) I don’t believe the rumors of the demise of the music industry. First, those who say it are comparing it’s state to the year 2000 while ignoring the year 1900. Second, all industries change. Get off my lawn. Third, who would have guessed 10 years ago that vinyl would be so big. No one knows what’s coming.

3) My wife has beauty, talent and wisdom. She said the other day, “People only think what was popular is cool. But not what is popular now.”

4) The evangelical Christian ghetto cannot answer the relationship between grief and rage.

5) I would like a vocation that is a destination.

6) It is no easy task, unburdening yourself with those whose problems you’d gladly exchange for.

7) Hope is exhausting. Maybe it’s supposed to be.

8) Last week I went to an Anglican funeral. It was probably the best worship service I’ve ever attended. And most likely the most help I’ve gotten in grief.

9) There are two types of problems/struggles people have. Those remedied by time and/or money. And those only remedied by the making of all things new. Wisdom recognizes the difference between the two.

10) There is a holiness in unreserved laughter among friends.

Random Thoughts on the Music that Helped Me Make Sense of the World

1) Of all my thoughts about the new U2 album, the one I keep thinking the most is how much these songs remind me of all the emotions and ideas that drew me in at the age of 16. I keep hearing all those old albums in this one even though this album sounds like none of the old albums.

2) I can understand people not liking their music. A little. But the abject violence with which U2 and Bono particularly are spoken of, is bizarre.

3) Lyrically, this is one of the best albums they’ve done in a long time. This is not to discredit the others. Achtung Baby is the standard for me, not just for U2 but for most bands. And I have to go back to it, to find one with lyrics this good.

4) In those first few years after discovering them, I would scrounge up whatever money I could find. Go without lunch. Lunge at coins left on the ground. I cleaned toilets and even watched kids at church so I could drive my 1979 Chevette over to Century Plaza mall to buy whatever U2 album or EP or single I did not have. So, it’s kinda hard for me to sympathize with those who are upset about how they were given a free album.

5) Nothing will ever sound as good as War on cassette (complete album on both sides) coming through those 100 watt Sony speakers sitting in the corners of my black vinyl backset.

6) If someone broke into my house and downloaded a new U2 album onto my computer, I’d be OK with that.

7) When Rattle & Hum was released I skipped school to wait outside the music store at the mall to be the first one to get it. And then saw the movie in the theater 3 times in the first 8 days it was out. I still love that film with all my heart.

8) U2 was a large part of my growth as a Christian in High School and College. Bono was the only Christian I knew that used bad language and drank alcohol. That was hard for a Southern Baptist pastor’s kid to get. But I began to see the kingdom was bigger than I thought and many of the laws enacted were peculiar to my own cultural context. I also saw a largeness and openheartedness to others and their thoughts and ideas and dreams. Bono didn’t cause me to doubt but it sure was nice to know I was not alone in the doubts I had.

9) I’ve posted a lot on social media about U2 in the past week because the release of a new U2 album is an event we should be orienting our lives around. You know, kinda like Christmas. There should be parties and festivities. Games. A day off, even. The only person who could disagree is the one who has never seen them live.

10) I remember exactly where I was at the age of 16 when the songs broke through. The corner of Esplanade and Mountain Drive. My friend Scott Smith let me borrow War. I had just dropped him off a few minutes before and Sunday Bloody Sunday is what did it on that sunny Summer Alabama day. Still does.

The Otherness of Jesus We Reject

There is an *otherness* to Jesus we reject. Maybe unwittingly. But still, we do so.

We rightly like the otherness of Jesus when it comes to his justifying work on the cross. We need that otherness since he is the only One Who can save us from our sins. He is the only one who is without sin. He alone is truly holy.

But his otherness when it come to our sanctification is rejected. If sanctification is the process by which we are made holy. And Jesus is the holiest one who ever lived, we should look at his life and learn some holiness. But his otherness – his being altogether outside of our expectations is rejected. We want well-adjusted, respectable, starched shirt leaders. And we want to be that. If that otherness ever manifests itself in our leaders or loved ones, such behavior is rejected.

Random Thoughts for the Weekend

1. Following Jesus does not appear to me to be a life of “never do this.” Sex is permitted, adultery is forbidden. Drink is permitted, drunkenness is not . Jesus told the disciples to get a sword and pursue peace. Lying is clearly wrong unless you are Rahab protecting the spies. We want clean and neat categories (and leaders). But the Scriptures will not allow it.

2. The beach is basically people lying around in very colorful underwear.

3. Criticizing Joel Osteen is the theological equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel. I assume this is part of the reason why there are so many high-profile pastors going after him. There is no risk. He is outside of their theological camp. The risk comes when you don’t just step away from men like Driscoll but publicly rebuke just as you promoted.

4. I’ve been listening to The Avett Brothers this week. I’d never really given them much of a chance but they kept showing up in a Pandora station and their songs kinda stay with you throughout the day till you have to listen to them again. I was afraid their being likable in their music was gonna leave me disappointed once I got to “know” through interviews, etc. But really, they are as likable as any group of musicians I’ve ever been exposed to.

5. We went to the beach over the weekend and all that time with Bethany makes it hard to go back to work. Not just because of vocational frustration but because of the time away.

6. The world is round. And so is pizza. This is a profound truth worth thinking on for a season.

7. It is hard to believe in a calling to the pastorate if one does not receive a call from a church. If you never make it past the initial phone conversation repeatedly, maybe, just maybe, the calling does not exist. It’s not proof, but it’s a word that should be listened to.

8. If you believe that porn objectifies women and turns them into sexual objects, what do you believe about action movies and video games full of violence? Are any of these helping anyone to love their enemy?

9. Compliments used to make criticism more palatable are darkness disguised as light.

10. There is an otherness to Jesus we have rejected.