Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?

Archive for November 2006

Challenging Reads

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I thought it might be fun to make a short list of those books I’ve tried to read and have yet to finish…

A Wrinkle in Time – The sad part about this is that it’s a good read.  It’s well written, it’s charming, and for some reason I just can’t bring myself to pick the silly thing up to finish it. 

Endurance – I actually have two different accounts of Shackleton’s epic trek across Antarctica. I can see the book mark sticking out of one of them from where I sit now…

Mere Christianity – Again, another great read.  I think this one has more to do with the thin pages and the small print.  I don’t like having to squint to read, and cramming 38 lines of text into a 4 ¼ X 7 inch page is just off putting.  (and yes, I actually took the time to measure the page)

Right now I’m making my way through Eragon.  The jury’s still out on whether it’ll find its way onto the list or not. 

Written by taj

November 28, 2006 at 9:59 pm

Posted in Books, For to Be a Geek

Happy Thanksgiving

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One day late.  One of my wife’s cousins lives at a fire fighting academy about two hours away.  They like to keep him busy, and he couldn’t get away for the holiday until today.  So, in mere hours, we shall feast. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  In about a month, we’ll celebrate Christmas.  And in case anyone’s keeping score, I already have my tree up. 

Written by taj

November 24, 2006 at 2:29 pm

Posted in General

I’m Still Here…

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…just been devoted to other things for the time being. Be back with more shortly. 

Written by taj

November 22, 2006 at 12:10 pm

Posted in General

On Haggard and Hypocrisy

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This time last week, all anyone could talk about was John Kerry’s (botched) joke.  Now, his problem with pronouns is all but ignored (locally, anyway) by the fall of Ted Haggard.  Ah, hypocrisy, some will say, thy name is Christian. 
And you know what?  There is some truth to that.  For instance, I find swear words foul and feel that their use constitutes a strained ignorance on the part of their users.  But one made itself quite useful when I tripped over the cat last night.  Hypocritical?  You bet. 
See, despite the law or even the Bible, religious affiliation or no, we all have a small behavioral checklist we like to keep in our pocket.  Some of us enjoy keeping score more than others, and still others delight in pointing out the unchecked portions of their neighbor’s list.  But dwelling there threatens to stray from the point.  We can argue the merit of Mike Jones’s effort to expose Haggard from now until rapture and it won’t change anyone’s mind.  What we need to remember here is that while we all may have a stone ready to throw at someone, there’s a crowd waiting somewhere to return the volley. 
Hypocrisy, if anyone bothers to have a good look around, happens every day.  We Christians like to say that sin is sin, be it a little white lie or an act of high treason.  If this is so, then we have to paint hypocrisy with same monotonic brush.  The truth is, we apply degrees to sin and corrupt morals because of the varying degrees of hurt they can inflict.  I know I have said words that have meant no harm and have still inflicted deep wounds. At the end of the day, no one has met the demands of their checklist.  
Remember Saving Private Ryan?  More than any other film, I think it portrays the brutality of even the most important of wars with hard honesty.  World War II altered the fate of the entire planet, and I think we’d be hard pressed to find anyone willing to hedge the opinion that we should have just left Hitler alone.  But I am drifting again, I apologize.  The film tells the story of nine men sent to return Private James Francis Ryan back home after his brothers are killed in combat.  The effort to save this man’s family line results in the deaths of all but two of those sent to rescue him.  As Tom Hanks’s character lies wounded on the ground just after the climactic battle, he grasps Private Ryan by the shoulder.  “Earn this,” he whispers.  “Earn it.” 
Those words clung to my ears and left the theater with me.  How do you earn something like that?  How can you possibly earn back your life after so much blood was spilled to save it?  The answer’s simple: you can’t.  You can try to live a good life, but your checklist will never be filled—its thirst can never be quenched.  Suddenly, a benign effort of goodness has become a horrible taskmaster bent on your submission. 
This, perhaps above all reasons, is why believers cling to grace.  Sure, you can knock it if you want to.  But if you’ve come with me this far, bear with me for one or two more paragraphs—I promise they’ll be short. 
We believe that God entered the world in the person of Jesus Christ to accomplish two things: fulfill the checklist, and receive punishment as though he had not.   His resurrection allows us to take his mantle, and walk into paradise free from the requirement of having to earn something we cannot possibly attain unless we too were God. 
Pastor Ted Haggard has fallen.  While it may not be the most prudent logic, people will judge other Christians by his fall.  Were he the head of the church, this might deal a crushing blow to our faith.  The leader of our church, however, is Jesus Christ.  Compared to him, there is no measure—we are all hypocrites. God have mercy, we are all hypocrites.  

Written by taj

November 8, 2006 at 1:01 pm

Posted in Evangelism

Doing My Part

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Well, I exercised my rights and performed my civic duty in one fell swoop this morning.  I voted.

It felt like being back in school, reading lots of big words strung together in run on sentences that would have earned me an F had I tried to slide one past the teacher in middle school.   I read the directions, filled in the bubble, and turned my sheet into the proctor.  Success!

Results are starting to come in as I write this.  Perhaps it’s just my own ineptitude with the internet, but I was hoping to find something that would give me real time results.  So far, the TV is more rewarding.  Score one for archaic technology.

At any rate, I have no clue how it’s going.  So, I am going to go check the status and pray that the space-time continuum maintains cohesion should the Democrats regain the House and/or the Senate.

See you all later (if the sun rises, that is).

Written by taj

November 7, 2006 at 11:14 pm

Posted in General, Politics