Thursday, May 12, 2005

Pray for us

From May 14-22 I will be leading a Jesus Film Ministry Team trip to the Xela region of Guatemala. The Church of the Nazarene has partnered with the Jesus Film and pledged to show the Jesus film to 100 million people during this decade. So far, it has been shown to more than 33 million people and nearly 4 million have made a decision for Christ.

Pray for our team of 10. We will be in Quetzaltenango, Momostenango, San Juan, Antigua and Guatemala City during our trip. Pray for the people we will minister to. Pray that they will be open to the gospel message. Pray for our safety and that we will represent Christ well while we are there.

I'll try to post an update while we are there.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Here we go again

What is it with the national media that everytime an attractive white woman goes missing, it is a national news story. I understand the tragedy of those who have died - Laci Peterson, Lori Hacking - and many others that have slipped my mind. Add to that the recent Runaway Bride story from Georgia, and you have a media feeding frenzy. The national media is all a-twitter about her motives for running, her method, her fiance blah blah blah. Read Keith Olberman's inane nattering on this subject. For the life of me I cannot understand why this is national news.

The cynic in me wants to believe it is because they are attractive and white. Women of color go missing every day and it is often several days before their local news picks up the case. But it seems that every young, attractive white woman in the US who does not return from her errands suddenly is more important than the shenanigans in Washington, D.C., the war on terror (body count has dropped and so has media interest), the problems securing our borders etc.

The more forgiving me wants to believe that the media believes their scrutiny will aid in the investigation and ultimately help return these women alive, or sadly, dead in some cases.

This is an imperfect society and I am fully aware of that, But it does seem a bit odd to me that the only women who go missing and received national attention are white and under 40. The media that prides itself on fairness and progressivity needs to examine it's editorial decision making policy, in my humble opinion.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Eyes that see

WARNING - Seriously cheesy movie about to be discussed.

With that out of the way, I'd like to discuss a movie that I really like despite the high cheese factor and the presence of Kevin Costner. Field of Dreams is a movie that grows on me each time I watch it. Not because I didn't get to play catch with my dad (he was never interested in that) but on a more spiritual level.

There is a scene near the end of the movie where Annie's brother Mark is trying to get Ray to sell the farm and field to him and his investors. If Ray doesn't, they will foreclose on the mortgage. Mark cannot see the players on the field, he only sees an empty baseball diamond. Then Ray and Annie's daughter falls off the bleachers and begins choking. One of the players on the diamond has to decide whether to rescue the little girl (he's a doctor) and give up his ability to play baseball or keep playing. When he saves the girl Mark exclaims "where did all of these baseball players come from?"

It was as if the scales were lifted from his eyes and he was able to see. Just minutes before he had been haranguing Ray and Annie about their stupidity, and suddenly he could see what was right in front of him. When his eyes were opened, he was amazed at what he saw. Deuteronomy 29:4 talks about a time when Israel suffered from this affliction "Yet to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear. "

There was a moment in my life when God lifted the scales from my eyes. I began to see not what was apparent, but what was going on behind the scenes. I began to see people's actions in light of their personality and history, not just for what they appeared to be. But most magnificently, God began to show me what could be, instead of what is. That is both a blessing and a curse. Because there are a lot of Marks in the world. They see only what is there, and they berate, chastise, harangue, curse, oppose and (insert term of your choice) anyone who differs from them.

I find this true in the modern church. Seeing things differently, asking "what if we tried this?," and generally having big dreams makes one an enemy of the status quo ante. People like this threaten the established order and must be stopped, at whatever the cost. It is as if traditions and the "way we have always done things" have become more important than reaching the lost. The form has superceded the function, and that is almost always a bad thing for any organization, especially the church. Read this post from The OOZE on how some churches have lost sight of their mission to become refuges from the culture rather than change agents for the culture.

My fervent prayer is for the leaders who don't see to try to open their eyes, rather than shooting the messenger. And when they come across members of their flock who are shooting the messenger, they lovingly work with them to change their behavior toward others who may have a different take on things. The game is before us, but we cannot play what we cannot see.