Monday Morning Musings for 08.08.16

  1. As you think about the way in which you spend your time and your money, what is it that you are giving your life for? The reality is that we are all giving our lives for something – for family, work, wealth, fame, recognition, self, others, faith – but the question is the same: will that thing we are giving our lives for actually deliver what we think it will? Or, maybe this is the question: is there something actually worth giving our lives for? Paul writes in Colossians 1:28–29, "He is the one we proclaim… so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me." Paul has found that one thing – and it's that One who changes all things. He "strenuously contends" for God's Kingdom everyday. Regardless of what we "do" in life, may we, too, contend for God's purposes with all the strength we can muster. You see, when we give our lives for Him, He turns around and gives them right back, but now they're redeemed.
  2. THE RAINBOW: Over the past few years, the LGBTQ community has used the symbol of the rainbow as a sign of their community and their struggle for acceptance. The rainbow is a powerful symbol, and I certainly understand why it was chosen. The symbol of the rainbow can be used to represent many things, but it's creation actually goes back to Genesis 9 when God established a new covenant with His people through Noah. The rainbow was a sign of God's promise, love and fidelity. Genesis 9:12, "God said 'This is a sign of the covenant I am making between me and you… a covenant for all generations to come. I have set my rainbow in the clouds and it will be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures." Having judged the evil of the world through the flood, God promises HIs everlasting faithfulness to His people – and ultimately the redemption of the entire created order. Thus, as we look to the skies and see the beauty of a rainbow, may we remember the One who put it there and His faithfulness in keeping His promise to us through the sacrificial love of Christ. 
  3. LOVE UNITED will air tonight at 7 and 11 pm on TV45 and again at those times on Thursday. You can also find it at tv45.org if you are not in the local area. Three black and three white local pastors, of which I was one, present what I hope is an honest, heartfelt examination of the problem, including profiling, white privilege, reconciliation, and a few thoughts on where we are following the PULSE shootings. I hope you'll take time to see it!
  4. CARGO SHORTS FAIL: I was deeply disturbed to see the WSJ article regarding the demise of cargo shorts as an acceptable item for men. Apparently, shorts have trended shorter, revealing what? More pale, hairy legs that I really don't want to see! Why and how did this happen? Plus, how can we live without all those pockets for our many male accessories? I refuse. I'm still wearing 'em. (Submitted this to the paper as my weekly editorial, and they ran it! Never thought that would happen…)
  5. BOB, GORDON AND LUIS ARE SAVED! Yes, the power of public backlash can indeed effect cultural change. When Sesame Street was hit with the enormous blowback following their firing of the three beloved original cast members, HBO announced they would bring back the three to discuss how their talents can be used in the new format. Once again, we can get to Sesame Street!
  6. I have a "library" in my office that contains roughly 1100 volumes. I am so grateful to Cyndi Tabor Hayes for her faithfulness in keeping it organized and useable. As we have worked on cutting it down in recent months, I wondered, "What do my books say about me?" If people looked at what was on your shelf, what would they learn about you? Someone once said to me, "Reading is a choice. A choice to read one thing is a choice NOT to read another." We can't read it all, so I try to be careful in what choices I make. Sadly, reading complete books is losing popularity in light of the "instant information" we now get online. Stop it. Read a book. And get your kids to read one, too. My latest two: Gilead, a novel by Marilynne Robinson that won the Pulitzer Prize. A dying pastor writes a memoir back to a son he had very late in life. Marvelous. And The Black Widow, by Daniel Silva. It's a spy novel about ISIS and worldwide terrorism - eery in how it predicted many of the ISIS movements and attacks that have happened, Paris in particular.
  7. I love the Olympics, but they absolutely blew it in not banning Russia. How in the world, given the proven systematic doping of their athletes, can you allow them to compete? It violates the very thing the Olympic games are supposed to be about.
  8. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: I was pleased to learn this week that Jason Bourne is coming in to run for President – and his running mate is Jack Bauer!
  9. It would seem to me common sense that if you ask for financial help because you have no money and are unable to pay your bills, that following the receipt of said help, you would not publish photos of yourself on exotic vacations or playing with new, expensive toys. Go ahead – have a blast – but leave the photos out of it.