The Temple

Ash Wednesday and Lent

I am not a holiday fan.

I know, grinch-ish.  Nonetheless, they tend to move people in the opposite direction of their intention.  Valentine’s day causes men to believe that the only day they need to buy flowers for their wife is Feb. 14.

“What more do you want from me?”

Burial of the Sardine

So Ash Wednesday and Lent birth Mardi Gras and the false asceticism of lent practices.  Mardi Gras brings out the worst in human behavior, all before we have to get better for lent.  Then we purge for forty days prior to Holy celebrations of Easter only to revert back to “normal” after it is all over.

This is not healthy Christianity.

Here are some of the things we are “giving up” for lent (from Twitter):

Facebook
Texting
Beef
Caffeine
Ben & Jerry’s
Despair
Fast food
Peanut butter
Negative Thinking
Extraneous spending
Alcohol

So the assumption behind the “giving up” for lent is that when it is over we can revert to unhealthy, petty, insignificant, destructive behaviors and restore a “normal” life.  Holidays should not discourage us from maturity, but spur us on to “holi”ness.  So don’t give up a thing for lent. Instead, add a good habit that will begin in the forty days and stick beyond Easter, and because of Easter, which is a celebration of life.  Lent , like all holidays, should be a time of exaggerated living, that is, people trying to increase good behavior.  Give more, pray more, love more, help more, make an extra effort at positive holiness.

We demean the celebration by highlighting our negative behavior, appeasing  our conscience by refraining from them for a season when they should not be a part of our life or an issue at all.  Giving up texting is an unnecessary and trivial exercise.  Texting?  We use these issues as excuses to ignore  the root of the matter.  Instead of giving up texting, do what you are supposed to do when you are texting.  If you are feeling guilty about texting, is it because it is keeping you from…working???  So get to work.  You should probably give up fast food forever, it will kill you early.  Why give it up for lent?  Why not regard your body with the respect it deserves as a precious gift from God and care for it, all year.  Are you seriously going to go back to “negative thinking” after Easter?  Stop using holidays as an excuse for mediocre living.

The Battle between Carnival and Lent

"The Battle between Carnival and Lent"

Maybe I am overreacting, but I for one find this cyclical pattern harmful to my overall progress in Christ.  Make this Holy Season a time to celebrate Christ in a superior fashion.

Christian growth is attempted in one of two ways:  The first attempts the giving up of certain practices.  “Stop doing that!” is the mantra of this camp.

The second, and superior way, attempts to add healthy and positive behaviors to life, and like bermuda grass, the strength and tenacity of health chokes out unhealthy and destructive behavior.

The first way only has limited success and results in legalism and arrogance.  The second way is rewarding and helps us to get to the goal: Christlikeness.

Ash Wednesday, Lent, Easter, Christmas should reflect ongoing values and behaviors, affirming and celebrating the upward journey.  Fix your eyes on Jesus.

February 25, 2009 Posted by | Christian Living, Christianity, Church, Culture - Values | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Praying at the Property

Nuevo Community Church is purchasing 17 acres of land in Nuevo for future development.  Last weekend was our Vision Weekend and we asked those who wanted to go to the property after services for prayer.  Pray for us, escrow is closing soon (hopefully) and we are excited at the blessing.  Great piece of property!!

February 12, 2009 Posted by | Church | , | 2 Comments

Evangelical Textual Criticism

Here is a blog link for all of you intellectuals out there interested in textual criticism.

Evangelical Textual Criticism.

February 11, 2009 Posted by | Bible, Bible Study Links, Links, Theological | , | Leave a comment

Penn Says: A Gift of a Bible

Penn Jillette has a lot to say about religion, he is an atheist, but here is a provocative video where he tells of someone who gave him a Bible. He says some interesting things that Christians should remember when talking to unbelievers:

  • He was complimentary
  • He said nice stuff
  • He gave me…
  • He looked me in the eye
  • He made it personal (Penn says: “He said I wrote in the front of it, wanted you to have it)
  • He was not defensive
  • He was truly complimentary, kind, nice, sane, looked me in the eye
  • He cared enough about me to talk to me

Here are some other things he said about the encounter and evangelism (proselytizing):

  • It was really wonderful
  • I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize
  • How much do you have to hate people to not proselytize, if you really believe heaven and hell is at stake?
  • He cared enough about me to talk to me

Not all atheists and unbelievers are interested in being evangelized, but everyone is interested when you care about them. Evangelism must be driven by unadulterated love for the person you are speaking to. It is not a debate or an argument, it is an expression of care and concern.

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February 5, 2009 Posted by | Atheism, Christian Living, Christianity, Philosophy, Uncategorized | , , , , | 3 Comments

Why Does the Wedding Ring go on 4th Finger?

Fun video, irritating audio, but worthwhile anyway…

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February 5, 2009 Posted by | Culture - Values, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Great Story: Jason McElwain

This kid played basketball in Rochester New York, my kind of hero. Sports needs more stories like this one.

January 28, 2009 Posted by | Culture - Values, Sports | 4 Comments

7 Habits for Free

Download the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People for free from audible.com.  This classic productivity handbook has great content.  If you haven’t read it before, here is a chance to get it in audio format for free, I recommend it all the time.

HT:  Lifehacker

January 24, 2009 Posted by | Books, Links | , , | Leave a comment

Get a Human

Here is a great resource website if you are tired of talking to machines when you call different companies, a list of numbers and instructions to Get a Human!

January 24, 2009 Posted by | Links, Technology | 3 Comments

Levi to Tanzania

There goes Levi down the walkway at LAX.  This photo was taken by Kristin because when your kids grow up their girlfriends drive them to the airport instead of you.  At least I didn’t have to get up at 4 and drive through LA traffic in the rain to get him there, thanks Kristin.

Brings back memories of my trip to Israel my senior year at Westmont.  Levi is a junior at Westmont and is spending this Spring Semester abroad in Tanzania with a group of students from the Christian College Consortium.  Most of the students accompanying him are from Houghton College.

His flight yesterday started at LAX in the morning, he flew to Minneapolis then Amsterdam and finally to Dar Es Salaam, hopefully arriving there at around noon today.

The joys of parenting…

January 23, 2009 Posted by | Personal | , , , , | 4 Comments

Quotes

Thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative.

– Kurt Vonnegut

Maybe this world is another planet’s hell.

– Aldous Huxley

January 6, 2009 Posted by | Quotes, Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment