Monday Morning Musings for 07.11.16

  1. The collective weight of national and world events have left us feeling as if the world has come unhinged. How can we possibly fix what has gone so terribly, horribly wrong? As I considered that question and others like it posed to me, I landed on Psalm 50:21 as a critical point. God judges Israel saying, "You thought I was like you." We need to reclaim our understanding of who God is – matchless in nature, holy, righteous, just, gracious, forgiving and loving i.e. NOTHING like us, and yet, over time, that is precisely what we have done. We have fashioned God into our image, removing how He has revealed Himself to us through Scripture and in Christ, and replacing His revelation with our own thoughts and ideas. As such, God becomes like us. We are essentially worshipping an image of ourselves. If God always corresponds to what you think – if He has no power to contradict you or disagree with you - then you don't have a relationship with God - you have a god of your own making who simply affirms whatever it is you want. For our culture to change, we must reclaim the wonder – the grandeur – the majesty – of God who sits enthroned in heaven and rules sovereignly in the affairs of humanity. Through God, we can rekindle our common love for all people – the bonds of our humanity – the inherent value of all life – and find the peace and security we currently lack in a world gone mad.
  2. I have observed a number of conversations in which people have wondered why reactions to violence in one city were not the same as reactions to violence in other cities. I do not want to oversimplify any explanation, but no human being can bear the weight of the collective grief that has occurred. At some point, our emotional systems become numb as a means of protection. Yes, we grieve more deeply with those we know or relate to i.e. Orlando (or Dallas for me). Even then, we cannot react deeply and passionately to Paris, Brussels, Istanbul, Bangladesh, Baghdad, Orlando, Charleston, Newtown, Aurora, Dallas and on and on. For that reason, we have now reached a point where the very notion of terrorism or racial violence is commonplace. That is what we must guard against. We need not beat ourselves up if we can't conjure deep feelings over every atrocity, but we must never allow them to be commonplace. We must work and serve to make a difference where we live and work. We must fight the injustice while engaging others with love and compassion.
  3. I was thrilled by our first Genesis service in the sanctuary yesterday at 9:45! My sincere thanks to Wil Brown, Rick Moore, Daniel Sharp and our entire tech crew who worked to make it all happen so smoothly. The good news: we now have space for more to come to worship at 9:45 – join us for Genesis in the sanctuary!
  4. Forgive me, but the commercials for Wimbledon tennis coverage on ESPN with an all-white clad choir singing in the stands were about as ridiculous as they come...
  5. Leigh and I just returned from a ten-day car trek of 1800 miles to Auburn, Oxford, Memphis and Chattanooga. We loved our time with many friends and family. While hiking near Signal Mountain, however, we realized something about our lives: they are full of noise with little green space. As we hiked, the quiet became deafening. We could not hear ANY other noise besides a dog barking in the distance or a bird chirping - and as far as we could see were trees and grass and flowers and NOT A SINGLE HOME OR BUILDING. We have constructed a life we love, but never are we without the sound of traffic, planes overhead, car horns, leaf blowers, television and the like – and we are surrounded by concrete and structures. Leigh turned and said, "How do we find some space in our lives for this kind of quiet?"
  6. We should be sounding the alarm on the growing suicide rate in our armed forces. It has increased 35% since 2001, but even more disturbing, it is up 85% among females.
  7. I love that my son John David is now married and under the influence of a woman. He lives in a place that looks and smells better than any place he has ever lived. Period.
  8. MEN NEED FRIENDS: A recent study showed what we have known for quite some time – men are not as good at making friends with men in the same way that women can make friends with other women. Deep friendship is a tremendously important thing in life that adds to its richness, not to mention the value of support and community. Sadly, the study showed that men believe that sharing their problems or feelings is a sign of weakness. Baloney. Men, our wives are not able to be the sole provider of all we need in life. We need strong friendships. Sharing your weaknesses or problems is only a sign of your humanity. Vulnerability is tough, but it starts with you. And men with meaningful friendships? Their life expectancy is 22% higher.
  9. EURO2016: I tried. I really did. I wanted to enjoy the game and learn a bit, but I could not stand the way so many games unfolded: one team scores, then they fall back into prevent the rest of the game. If both score, they both do it, resulting in utter boredom and a game decided on PK's. That's like deciding the NBA Finals by shooting free throws.