Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Well, I don't mind agreeing to disagree. It's how the world works and goes on. Unless you are one of those people who disagrees even with your agreeing...maybe that's how we end up with worldwide wars. I don't know.

I don't mean to brag, but Lauren and I were at church last night setting up for the week's activities and watched American Idol on the big screen with the projector and huge surround sound. It's a completely different show at that level!

We were a little stunned that the show was only an hour. I guess I didn't read my TV guide close enough to see that it was supposed to get done at 8:00. We watched Adam, but I don't know...I like him and think he will win, but I didn't think last night was my favorite. I like it when he does crazy stuff, like "The Ring of Fire." I know that everyone knew that was funny and kind of a blow off performance, but I like to look at the arrangements. I think it's great when the singers do them themselves (even tho I know Ring of Fire wasn't Adam's arrangement).

We like Kris Allen too. He is just too nice to get past Adam though. Not that Adam doesn't seem likeable, but Kris is more like someone I would talk to, rather than someone who is already a pop star like Adam.

Allison is growing on me. I don't think she'll go much further, but I really didn't like her at the beginning, but last night's performance was really good...the Bonnie Rait song. We missed Danny Gokey (who's wife died) but his recap clip didn't sound too impressive. And Lauren and I both are ready for Blind Scott to be gone! Sheesh!! He's made it too far already.

That's all I remember from last night. Are you coming up for my Easter cantata? I had the first orchestra rehearsal last week. I'm super stressed about the whole thing, but the rehearsal was really good so that makes it a little bit easier to tolerate.

I'm not really sure if I would do such a big production again (even though in the grand scheme of things, this really isn't THAT big of a production, but since I do everything myself, it seems a little bigger than normal).

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I appreciate your comments. That's why I write. I like to see what other people are thinking, but, not to toot my own horn, because it's not a huge following, I do have people on Facebook comment about my blog, they just aren't "Followers." I was surprised by that, since they didn't "follow" me so I didn't know who was reading it, but apparently some people are. Mostly church people.

I guess the biggest thing that I want to say, is that, no, this wasn't directed at you personally. I commented on the book because I'm reading it. If I wanted to direct it at you, then I would have said it. I try not to be underhanded, although I know that the underhandedness is another one of those "ingrained" things.

I'm, in fact, glad that you recommended this book. Like I said, that one paragraph threw me off a little because the rest of it is pretty good. I agree with most of it and I'm glad I'm reading it.
What I say about being saved I still stick by. I had been questioning that for a while. I'm sure that's nothing new. I've learned here at this church - whether called a cult or delusional groups of people led by our free-wheelin' liberal pastor - I do believe that the Bible, although a beautifully written tool isn't something to be taken completely literally.

If I say that I'm divinely inspired to write another chapter to the Bible, could that be taken literally? That may be blasphemy to some as I say that, but that's exactly why we believe it...people that lived who knows when were "divinely inspired."

This is a lot of what the book "The Heart of Christianity" by Marcus Borg talks about. No, you won't agree with a lot of it (or most of it), and there are parts I don't agree with, nor understand. Such as the season coming up: Easter.

If we aren't to take the Bible literally, then how are we to believe that our religion, which is founded on the sole belief that Christ rose again from the dead to "save" us all, then how are supposed to believe in the religion at all?

That's one of the questions that I'm willing to ask, and maybe it was my bad writing skills and possibly confusing wording that led you to think that I was saying NOT to question. I think we should question. Like you said, it leads you deeper into your faith, whatever that may be.
And as for the Muslims, and, yes, I'll include the Jews too, I don't get why we are to demonize them. They believe in the same God as we do. Perhaps they don't believe in Jesus as the Christ, but they believe in God through a different path and are on a different journey. Why is that wrong?

The Bible may say that the only way to get to God is through Jesus, and if they don't believe in Jesus, then they can't get to God, but that's exactly why I agree with the Borg book and the theology taught here at this church that the Bible isn't to be taken literally. Are we to demonized Hindus and Buddhists and Taoists and Wickens and any other religion that doesn't agree with us? I think that's why there are "extremists" and holy wars. Where has that gotten us?
And the Moromons...I really don't know anything about them, only that I remember one thing from my friend Chris Gillett at Truman, while trying to defend Mormonism said that they too believe in Jesus and God, but as I understand it, again, through a different path and on a different journey.

Finally, you can't lecture me for assuming such things about what you think or believe in if you are going to assume such things of me. I try not to assume, but I know what I've lived with for 26 years: you and Mom. Although you probably don't see it this way, but I feel that "religion" was crammed down my throat. I don't feel guilty about not attending church for most of my college career, unless I was taking a pay check. I needed a break to question and look inside myself to find whatever it is I'm supposed to find. Maybe it's Jesus...maybe it's God. Maybe it's Buddha or whats-his-name Smith looking into a hat. But whatever I'm supposed to find is for me to find.

And no, I know we don't talk about faith or religion ever because it's "hot button" but I do enjoy talking about this. Like questioning, I think it can make a deep impact on your's and my faiths. (that is a terribly, grammatically wrong sentence, but I'm sure you get the gist.)

Monday, April 6, 2009


I don't know what makes a person sleep better one night and then not the next. I will be the first to admit that I'm not smart enough to know anything about the brain. I guess you could say that you wouldn't want me to be wielding a knife as you slip into a drug induced sleep as you prepare for brain surgery. But, I still wonder why this is.

Yesterday, after church and after snarfing down a quick lunch from Arby's and after setting up the Celebration Center and after getting mad at my wife, then getting over it, then directing an hour and a half orchestra rehearsal, then after striking all of the stuff that I had just set up, then wielding questions from the orchestra members, then going home, then eating dinner, then watching TV I had a good night's sleep. Maybe I was just exhausted.

My wife had a migraine, which she says she hasn't had one like this since she was in middle school, so we went to bed at 9:00. I read for a bit, of course. I am reading "The Kingdom Focused Church." I'm not sure about the book. It was recommended to me. I read a paragraph that I can only paraphrase because I don't have the book in front of me. It said: we have to tell people that Christ died for them so that they don't get sucked into New Age religion or Islam or Mormonism or other false religions. What?!

First of all, how do you define "false religion?" Although I do believe in Christianity, I also believe that there is merit in questioning your faith. After all, if you don't question, how do you learn? Secondly, who ever said that Mormonism and Islam are two "false" religions. I don't know much about either, but I do believe that Mormons still believe in God and Jesus, just through a different pathway. How is that false?

Second...well, as I sit and think, I don't have a second point. I was taken off guard by this statement in the book. Can't people believe in what they want? I know that part of the Christian faith is evangelizing. I think it says that many times in the Acts and the letters of Paul. But when did it ever come to the point that we should evangelize because we believe that all other people who aren't Christians will "fall away from the the fold" if we don't strike them over the head with holy water and pronounce them "saved?"

I don't believe in being saved. What are you being saved from? The big, black, dark pit of despair that God will send you to after you've done wrong? I don't believe that God created such a pit, since God is all about love and compassion. God IS love. God is good. Plus, how is that supposed to change you? you believe in a God, so life is great and peachy. Here's your certificate of savedness.

A history (not a philosophy or religion) teacher I had in college said, "God is wanting you to love him. God is wanting you to follow the 11th commandment that Jesus laid down at the last supper: Love one another." I'm not sure, but I don't think it says anywhere that we are supposed to toil and, because of working for God, hit rock bottom just to get into Heaven.

I digress, of course, because I'm talking about renewal. The pastor at my church has been doing a sermon series all through Lent using the word "new:" New Name when speaking about Abraham and Sarah (Abram and Sarai), New Covenant when talking about the promises God has made through Noah and the flood, etc. He has been saying that Lent is a time of renewal...a time to quiet our "insides" and be with God. A time to follow the journey of Lent and end up with Jesus on the cross, being killed by Rome so that he could rise again and we can have renewed life.

Iowa, yes the state, is entering a period of renewal. The Supreme Court just passed a law stating that same sex couples can be married in Iowa. I read about it on the internet since I wasn't around a TV to watch it. I did watch the news when I got home. There were people crying because they had waited a long time to get married and have the same rights as straight people and there were people crying because it is against the laws of God to have same sex couples.

This makes me ill, to watch people use the name of God to say that others are bad for living the lives that they were born to live. Disagree with me if you must, but I don't understand how a pastor, on the television, on the news, where thousands of people can see him can say that God will strike the people down responsible for this travesty. I don't understand.

But it seems that in this state, we are renewing our laws and definitions of what marriage is. I applaud the state for being so bold. I applaud the state for giving same sex couples who love each other the option to have the same rights as straight couples. I think it's a renewed day in the state of Iowa.

I like having a period of renewal, whether it's because of a good night's sleep or because of the decisions of other people affecting your life. Renewal refreshes us and leads us to clearer thinking and working. I hope that you all find renewal soon.