stream of consciousness

I didn’t think I’d have to write this blog post this morning due to the Mayan apocalypse (just kidding). But, here we go. Here are some things on my mind this Friday morning:

  • I’ve reserved comment about the Newtown tragedy and will continue to do so. I understand, but regret the actions of, many Christian leaders who feel the need to explain not only the tragedy itself, but what they believe are “Christian” or “justice” solutions to the tragedy. This started within minutes of the report. We’ll all have clearer thoughts and better solutions when the intense pain of all of this isn’t as immediate. When we make decisions, write blogs and newspaper editorials when everyone is mourning and anxious, we tend to overreact and pass over the opportunity for better ministry in the present—the kind that simply provides pastoral care and presence with the grieving. I’m not saying there isn’t a time for tough questions about our society. However, ideology is a poor surrogate for presence in times like these.
  • Pastoring during a national tragedy is difficult. I’ve been in the pulpit through 9/11, Katrina, Newtown, and others. It’s extremely difficult to avoid processing the tragedy on the church by airing one’s own biases and frustrations. In the case of 9/11, it was months before I could really spend some time thinking through what I personally thought ought to be done. However, I had to preach that very night.
  • Larry Osborne’s Accidental Pharisees is a must read for anyone who grew up in the church or a fellowship or a denomination that grapples with legalism (nearly all of them). It’s a simple, and tremendous book.
  • One sign of church health and spiritual depth in a church is when the mentality shifts at Christmas and Easter from, “No one wants to come out on Christmas Eve for a service…it interferes with family time,” to “We can’t wait for Christmas Eve, it’s a centerpiece of how/why we celebrate Christmas as a family.”
  • And then, there are those who still think both Christmas and Easter aren’t about incarnation and resurrection, they are about pagan ritual. Sigh.
  • New Vintage Church is helping feed the homeless in January. Why not at Christmas? Because there was a line of churches wanting to help at Christmas time. The shelter asked us if we would be willing to feed in January because no one wants to help in January. That’s so interesting to me.
  • My Anna Banana turns 10 on Christmas Eve. It’s yet another thing that makes Christmas Eve special to me.
  • I’m still pulling for Josh Hamilton. He’s a tortured soul, but one who is trying his best to follow Jesus through a maze of personal struggles. Even if he doesn’t earn his 5 years, 125 million, he’s a success in my book if he can help young people in Southern California see Christ’s importance to a person’s life. I know I have a lot of Rangers fans who read this blog…and hope they can cheer for him in that respect, even as he now plays for a hated rival.
  • The Lakers are going to come around.
  • We live, increasingly, in a society of blaming rather than personal responsibility these days. This sad metamorphosis is more responsible for injustice than anything else. Whenever it’s the law, the Republicans, the Democrats, the Senate, the government, the fiscal cliff, etc., it’s not me, and it’s not the result of any mistakes anyone made. We think if we go over the “fiscal cliff” it’s the fault of whoever doesn’t absolve us of the mistakes we’ve made to put us in the position we’re in. The question we should be asking isn’t, “Who is going to rescue us from the fiscal cliff?” It’s, “How did we get here? And, how do we make sure we never get here again.” We should answer those questions with utmost integrity and honesty about our role in it.
  • It’s a Wonderful Life is still the greatest Christmas movie ever and one of my favorites of all time.
  • I’m at about the 30 day mark since making the transition from all-Apple to all-Windows 8. I’m a bit starved for apps, but I like everything else better. Yes, Mac-fan. I know you just threw up in your mouth a little bit. There is one clear winner in Appleland: The iPad is still better than the Surface…at least until some of the bugs are worked out.
  • Microsoft Office 2013 is so much better than the Pages, Keynote combo, it’s pathetic.
  • Thanks for indulging that nerd moment.
  • A nice Christmas gift for a preacher or pastor you know–if they own an iOS device (iPhone or iPad) is “Breaking Through Imaginative Gridlock.” It’s the best five bucks you’ll ever spend to invest in their continued growth. Click here for more info.
  • This has been a really big year for the blog, and as we end the year, I want to say, “Thank you,” to all of you for reading, commenting, linking to, retweeting, sharing, etc., this blog’s content. I don’t take that for granted, and you make it worth doing this. Thank you, so much.

What’s on your mind this Friday? Any thoughts on anything I mention above? Let’s talk.