Showing posts from January, 2008

Interpretations of Jesus: A reflection on Matthew 16:13-20

We are connoisseurs of Saturday. There are plenty of things that make for a putrid Saturday, i.e. yard work, house work, work, the flu. But there are a few ingredients that make for a fine Saturday. For me, the first ingredient is what I would call “second sleep.” Second sleep is when everyone wakes up at around 7:00 a.m., my daughters crash the bed, injure their father, drag their mother away as a spoil of battle, and there is calm after the storm. Second sleep comes during that calm. I am not a good sleeper, but for some reason in that second set of Saturday morning sleep I am almost comatose. That is second sleep, a Saturday morning coma that occurs between 7 and 9 a.m., and if I am lucky can last as long as 10. And then there is breakfast. You cannot have a great Saturday without a great breakfast. Through the week we start the day with cereal, yogurt, pop-tarts, a stick of wood, a jar of glue – anything that has any decent nutritional value that can be consumed in about three sec

Audio: Interpretations of Jesus

There are plenty of interpretations of Jesus. There is the atheist’s interpretation, the post-modern interpretation, and the religious interpretation of the meaning of Jesus. What is yours? The answer to this question is the most critical question you will answer; if you are wrong, the consequences are severe. So who is Jesus, what are the options? The means by which you come to a conclusion may be most surprising and totally inspiring. Topics discussed: Madonna’s crucifixion Video Art The Catholic Christ Where can you go to get a great breakfast in Birmingham, AL? Listen to audio of Interpretations of Jesus.

I Can Only Imagine

Cab ride – a thirty dollar near death experience with a stranger badly in need of a ticket in a car badly in need of disinfectant. A cab ride is in the same class as another poorly chosen and equally dangerous ride, the bull ride. Whether it be a cab or a bull you have chosen to ride something that smells, moves fast, and makes you nervous because you get the feeling that the one steering does not want you there. Bulls and cabs will give you a ride, but as soon as possible, they want to end your ride. I exited the plane and told a lady in a booth near the dungeon of the airport where I wanted to go. She strapped me to a bull headed for downtown New Orleans. It was an Astrovan that was not even cool in the ‘80’s and had not been cleaned in at least that long. Once Fernando closed the door and pushed the pedal the bull began to vent his rage. I had taken an early flight so the streets of the Big Easy were packed with slow moving rush hour traffic. Every other car on I-10 was at a crawl

Interpretation of Meaning: A Reflection on Genesis 40

Read previous post in this series. Life needs interpretation. Interpretation is needed when things don’t make sense. Life does not make sense. We crave meaning. We want to know that our lives are meaningful. Depending on the way a person is treated, they interpret their meaning. If someone is loved, that is meaningful to them. If someone is respected, wanted, listened to, invited, talked to; those things mean something to a person. If someone is abused, neglected, ignored, forgotten; those things also mean something to a person. Depending on the way a person is treated, they interpret their meaning. Joseph has been sold into slavery at a cheap price. He has been tempted by an aggressive woman, and he did the right thing, he did the thing he felt like God wanted him to do, refuse her. So he did and she accused him of rape. Now Joseph is in prison for doing the right thing – as a convicted rapist. In the end of Genesis 40 Joseph will be forgotten by a man he helped. He will be forgo

Sermon: Bringing God into Focus

The things you believed about God and the day you just had do not match. You believe that God is love, that He is Holy, that He can do anything, that He is good, that He wants good to overcome evil; and you went through a divorce, your church split, someone you respected as a spiritual mentor morally failed, you lost a job, or something you have been praying for continuously over a long period of time . . .nothing is happening. When the things we believe about God contradict the experiences of our life it brings us to a crisis of faith and begins to cloud the most basic tenants of our faith – namely the very things we though were true about God. Moses is at that place. He struggled to believe, and then he did. He struggled with the call, but he still went. And now everything God told him to do has made life much worse and so Moses asks the question we would all love answered – WHY? God gives Moses three incredible answers that will deepen our faith and give us hope in our faith

Sermon: The Same Old New Year Again

There are those people who will determine to lose weight in ’08, become more beautiful, more magnificent, more disciplined . . . and by the end of January they will be lighter, more beautiful, more magnificent, disciplined people. The rest of us, the other 99% of the world, we hate those people. We hate those people because change for us is an outright chore. By January 5th we will realize we have only gained more weight, what beauty we had is quickly fading, our magnificence is missing, and we are too disorganized to become disciplined. Why can’t we change, because deep within us, where it matters most, we don’t want to change. We want to patch the problems, preserve our traditions, and we refuse to forsake our preferences. And so we list our resolutions, but all in all, in a few days we will realize it is the same old New Year again. Jesus addressed a group of people who practiced forms of faith but were entirely disconnected with God. Why? They were disconnected because the