Friday, June 30, 2006
TOP TEN LEAST POPULAR CHURCH-SPONSORED FIREWORKS DISPLAYS
10. Disciple sparklers
9. Janitor Bob's burning of pile of flammable, secular cleaning supplies
8. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in that old sparking electric furnace, stored in church garage
7. Youth group shoots bottle rockets at floundering Noah's Ark
6. David slays Goliath by telling him to light fuse and not get away
5. Book of Romans Candles
4. Exploding M-80 causes donkey to bolt during triumphal entrance into Jerusalem
3. Moses loses a finger lighting Spinning Burning Bush
2. Finale has Lazarus shooting out of tomb on an exploding shell
1. Joseph and the Amazingly Flammable Dreamcoat
Copyright 2006 Dave Tippett (djtippHA@yahoo.com). Permission is granted to send this to others, with attribution, but not for commercial purposes.
One moment of shear annoyance took place during one of the main sessions I attended. I'm not sure the attendance - I would guess approx. 8,000 - 10,000. Wayne Smith, a popular retired preacher who is a treat to hear, was introducing Ernie Fletcher, his friend and the governor of Kentucky. He started by saying that "Ernie Fletcher is the first Republican governor of Kentucky in 50 years." And then it happend...people applauded. Some 9,000 Christians all packed into a room, sharing their joy that finally the great state of Kentucky was being led by God's chosen party - the Republicans.
I've got nothing against Fletcher - he read scripture & prayed and seemed like a good guy. And all Smith did was point out the fact that there hasn't been a Republican in that office in KY in a good long while. What irks me is this on-demand triggered response from the crowd. As though somehow there was now hope for Kentucky, since the God-party was in power!
How did the church of Jesus become only about two causes: abortion & homosexuality? I agree, those are issues that should concern us. (I contend a lot more is being done by Biblical "one-anothering" than by legislation, but I know there is much debate here...) But the poor & disenfranchised, the environment, and a host of other problems in our country and in our world are important issues as well, and those are issues that "we Republicans" tend to avoid. Funny, Jesus had a lot more to say about those issues than he did about the "pet" issues the Republicans have used to get the evangelical Christian vote. Just a question...has anything changed??
(The image above is a bumper sticker...you can get it here)
Thursday, June 22, 2006
But I've decided to join in on the fun. Someone sent me the "Church Sign Generator," which enables me to put whatever I want on a church sign (there are also links there to make George Bush, Chuck Norris, etc. say or think whatever you want them to say or think!) Anyway, its kinda fun. Here's my own attempt at a generated church sign, with a phrase that I heard a guy years ago use every time he got in front of a microphone. He had the uncanny ability to use this quote in any sermon.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Here's an interesting contest of sorts. You can send in pics of religious-themed places and perhaps win. I think you can win...maybe its just a bunch of pics. Anyway, here is a link to a few. Some and interesting; others just make you want to say "hmmmmm." You can draw your own conclusions. Click on the "Take the Trip" and see some examples. Here is the world's largest 10 Commandments in Murphy, NC. You can also see the World's Largest New Testament there, too.
Monday, June 19, 2006
"Confessions of a Reformission Rev." by Mark Driscoll
Wow, this book was incredible. I couldn't put it down. It's the story of Mars Hill church in Seattle (www.marshillchurch.org), and is one of those books I can't stop recommending to everyone I know. Including you. This is church-on-purpose like none other. Not only that, but Driscoll is just flat out hilarious at times. I had a couple of those laugh-so-hard-you-can't-tell-anyone-why-you're-laughing kind of things. My kids actually asked me if I was OK. An oxygen tank would have been nice, I think. All in all, its a story of how a church happened. It wasn't/isn't easy, and Driscoll makes sure we know that. He's certainly not afraid to barbeque a sacred cow or two. Which is one of the reasons I liked it so much. His previous book, The Radical Reformission, is also a terrific book.
"The DaVinci Code" by Dan Brown
Frankly, I enjoyed the book. And managed to escape with my faith in tact! Come on, its fiction. I couldn't wait to see what would happen next! Funny how a few weeks after the movie premiered, is anyone still ranting and raving about it? I found it to be a fun yarn, and wasn't at all offended or threatened by what to me was obviously fiction. Plus, I like to use the word "yarn."
"The Irresistible Revolution" by Shane Claiborne
Along with a few other radicals, (subtitle of the book is "Living as an Ordinary Radical), Claiborne and friends founded The Simple Way, a community in the inner city of Philadelphia. Claiborne spent some time with Mother Theresa, and is one of those who went to 'find his own Calcutta,' so to speak. So they're doing it, its radical, and its extremely interesting and attractive. This was a different read, but well worth it. Oh, and he also went to Iraq and just went around ministering to people. God is definitely working through these folks, and you'll be challenged if you read the book. I can recommend it (not sure I can recommend just getting on a plane and going to Iraq!)
"Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith" by Rob Bell
I'm not one to call a book an "important" book, but I feel like this one is. It's actually my second time through it, this time with a highlighter. He makes me think, as he has many others who have commented about the book. It's just full of thought-provoking stuff that helps me see things a little differently than my conservative, evangelical, fundamental upbringing. Many things to quote, and some might lose emphasis if out of context, but here is one section...
"I think that the way of Jesus is the best possible way to live. This isn't irrational or primitive or blind faith. It is merely being honest that we all are living a "way."
- I'm convinced being generous is a better way to live.
- I'm convinced forgiving people and not carrying around bitterness is a better way to live.
- I'm convinced having compassion is a better way to live.
- I'm convinced pursuing peace in every situation is a better way to live.
- I'm convinced listening to the wisdom of others is a better way to live.
- I'm convinced being honest with people is a better way to live.
Anyway, its a read that I think is important - too much worth quoting. His point above is that we all are following a "way." The way of Jesus is just a better way. Period (uh, not necessarily the way of Jesus that's described by many on the fundamental right-wing...)
Thursday, June 08, 2006
I'm a proud descendant of the Pac-Man generation. Someone sent me this, and I found it insightful. It never occured to me that Mr. or Mrs. Pac was actually frightened from the colorful blobs that chased them around. I wonder how Mario felt about those barrels being thrown by that large monkey??
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Turns out, these guys were rather serious about their comedy. Triple Espresso has been a long-running show in both Minneapolis and San Diego, and has begun to travel to other cities.
Sunday night, we took a group of friends to Indianapolis to see the show, and we were not disappointed! Though not the original cast (I guess those 3 creators just sit back and cash the checks...), these guys were very good. They have around 30 or so actors that they have trained to perform Triple Espresso, which makes it possible to have it running simultaneously around the world.
I'm a big proponent of Christians flavoring our culture (OK, I stole the whole thing from Jesus!) We need Christians who write, act, sing, paint, whatever. Problem is, most Christians who do these things only do so for other Christians! And we wonder where the "salt & light" influences in our culture have gone. Mostly, they're holed up in an obscure Christian bookstore that only a small segment of our society would ever enter in the first place. But one of the things I like most about Triple Espresso, (which is not some sort of Christian event at all), is that its good art - written and produced and directed and acted (for the most part) by Christians. Roaring Lambs, serving the most creative being in the universe, using their God-inspired creativity. Not to mention that you'll laugh a lot!
The Indianapolis run has been extended due to popular demand! It runs through June 25th at the Indianapolis Repertory Theatre, located downtown, almost next door to Circle Center. Well worth your time and money (not exactly cheap, but a terrific night out...if you're one of my baker's dozen of people who actually read this, I have coupons for $5 off if you're interested...)
Check out Triple Espresso at their site for clips, comments, etc.
Monday, June 05, 2006
Recently, I've been at 3 different school program-type events at the aforementioned Taj Mahal school. Just for the 2nd & 3rd grade program, the new, large gymanasium was packed, standing room only. Wall to wall people.
The principal steps up to the mic and says "Isn't this a great problem to have?"
Well, frankly, no, its not a good problem to have. Somebody please explain to me how this problem is good. Granted, every school program that I ever attended at our quaint old school that was shut down last year was also crowded. But many of those had the entire school and their parents shoved into the gym (one that was much smaller). Not to mention smaller classrooms, etc.
So after this first year in the Taj Mahal, our school system has decided to move some 150 or so kids to a couple of other schools. On the surface, this seems like a good idea to aleviate some overcrowding. I suppose it would be if they chose to use that decrease in number to ease the classroom numbers per teacher. But in their wisdom, that isn't happening. In fact, instead of making the classes smaller, they will stay the same. The result of moving kids out will actually leave empty classrooms.
I guess there are mysteries in life that are hard to explain. I'm not sure which leadership group I'm least impressed with...my local school system, or that guy who somehow got re-elected as mayor of New Orleans. (names withheld to protect the guilty).