Thursday, March 31, 2005

Are we proud of our messiness?

Milton Stanley points us to Robin Lee Hatcher with some observations that I find very timely and important...

"Are we proud of our messiness? Robin Lee Hatcher offers some trenchant observations about 'messy' Christians:


I'm distressed by what seems to be a trend of Christian believers reveling in their messiness, in their imperfections, holding them up as a sort of badge of honor or something. Almost enjoying the fact that they are so much like those who don't know God. What's with that? What's with picking and choosing what we will accept out of the Bible, as if our freedom in Christ gives us the right to say to God, 'That doesn't fit into my politics (or whatever) so I'm going to ignore it'?

My Bible tells me that as Christ's disciple I am to become more and more conformed to the image of God's Son. I'm told I'm being changed from glory to glory. I'm told that I'm not yet what I should be but, thank God, I'm not what I used to be. The New Testament is pretty clear about a lot of things a child of God should/must do and another list of things a child of God shouldn't/mustn't do. Most of those things aren't subject to interpretation. They're quite clear. So when we read them and know we aren't doing what we should do and/or that we are doing what we shouldn't do, shouldn't we be on our knees, asking God to change us?


I think we should."

Bloglines

John at some strange ideas gives a good introduction to bloglines. For those of you who are enjoying reading blogs and would like to see more bloglines is an excellent choice. John writes...

I know that a number of readers of this blog are fairly new to following blogs, so here’s some useful info for you. The easiest way to follow blogs (and many other websites these days) is not by visiting each site.

Many sites, and almost all blogs, produce something called an RSS feed. You can use an RSS reader to automatically give you updates when any of those sites are updated. Rather than visiting each site, you can go to your news reader, and it will consolidate the new posts of all of your subscribed feeds in one place.

There are some feed readers that you can download and install on your computer. My feed reader of choice, however, is a website called bloglines. Because it is a website, I can follow all of the blogs I read by visiting bloglines from any computer. Once you sign up for an account, you can add a bookmark to your favorites to easily subscribe to any site with an RSS feed.

Go sign up and give it a try…and don’t say I never offered anything useful here…



If you sign up with bloglines you can add a subscription to my blog by clicking on the "subscribe with bloglines" button in the upper right hand corner. You can also see the blogs I follow on the right sidebar under "Blogs I read".

Happy reading.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Only Hope for Good Friday...

From Christianity Today, via Jesus Politics -

"Around the office over the last few months, we've been talking about the supposed triumph of the evangelical movement. Evangelicalism is now the dominant face of American Christianity. Evangelical activist groups are credited as being the major power brokers in Washington. Newsweek's cover story speaks with an overwhelmingly orthodox voice supporting the doctrine of the Resurrection. If you believe New York Times columnists Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich, 'We really are in a theocracy.' And yet our country's courts are supporting an adulterer to starve and dehydrate his wife to death while she lies helpless...

On Good Friday, things looked awfully bleak. The culture of death had triumphed. With Terri Schiavo, Jesus cried, "I thirst."

That, of course, is not the end of the Story. But it is the Story. And on Good Friday, there was nothing that anyone could do to turn back the culture of death. Not the disciples. Not Mary. Not Pilate. Not Herod.

The only One who could make a difference during the original Holy Week is the only One who can make a difference this Holy Week.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Forgive us, for we know not what we do. Come, Lord Jesus. Raise the dead to new life. Raise us all."


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The distance Grace covered...

Thanks to Jordon for the Quote

"The Left mocks the Right. The Right knows it's right. Two ugly traits. How far should we go to understand each other's point of view? Maybe the distance grace covered on the cross is a clue."
-Bono, lead singer of U2"

Link

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Children's bible Stories...

John from Some Strange Ideas comments on a topic that I've often wondered about. It's interesting what we read to our children. He talks of reading to his daughter from her new story Bible and covering such topics as...

- a couple of naked people frolicking in a garden who disobeyed by doing the one thing God had asked them not to do
- a young man who killed his brother in a jealous rage
- an old man who tied his son down on top of an altar and raised his knife to kill him as a sacrifice
- a younger brother who deceived his own dad to steal his older brother's blessing
- a father who deceived a young man into marrying his older, uglier daughter rather than the younger prettier one he hoped for
- a man who had two wives and loved one of them a whole lot more than the other
- a father who loved his youngest son the most and showed favoritism by giving him a dandy jacket

If these were TV specials I'd never let my kids watch them. Interesting, isn't it.

Link

Sunday, March 20, 2005

"It will enlighten them all..."

Historical moments will change,
but God’s design will ever be the same:
to save human beings in history.
Therefore, the church,
entrusted with carrying out God’s design,
cannot be identified with any historical design.
The church could not be the ally of the Roman Empire
or of Herod
or of any king on earth
or of any political system
or of any human political strategy.
It will enlighten them all
but it will always remain authentically
the one that proclaims salvation history,
God’s design.

–Oscar Romero December 9, 1979

Friday, March 18, 2005

On a lighter note...

In re-reading some of my recent posts I've decided to lighten things up by listing some of my favorite Steven Wright quotes...

All those who believe in psychokinesis raise my hand.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met.

OK, so what's the speed of dark?

How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?

Borrow money from pessimists-they don't expect it back.

Half the people you know are below average.

99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

If you tell a joke in the forest, but nobody laughs, was it a joke?

In school, every period ends with a bell. Every sentence ends with a period. Every crime ends with a sentence.

I took a course in speed reading. Then I got Reader's Digest on microfilm. By the time I got the machine set up, I was done.

I went to San Francisco. I found someone's heart.

I had some eyeglasses. I was walking down the street when suddenly the prescription ran out.

I was in a job interview and I opened a book and started reading. Then I said to the guy, "Let me ask you a question. If you are in a spaceship that is traveling at the speed of light, and you turn on the headlights, does anything happen?" He said, "I don't know." I said, "I don't want your job."

Sponges grow in the ocean. That just kills me. I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be if that didn't happen.

I put instant coffee in a microwave oven and almost went back in time.

I wrote a song, but I can't read music so I don't know what it it. Every once in a while I'll be listening to the radio and I say, "I think I might have written that."

A friend of mine once sent me a post card with a picture of the entire planet Earth taken from space. On the back it said, "Wish you were here."

It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to have to paint it.

I saw a bank that said "24 Hour Banking", but I don't have that much time.

I love to go shopping. I love to freak out salespeople. They ask me if they can help me, and I say, "Have you got anything I'd like?" Then they ask me what size I need, and I say, "Extra medium."

I bought my brother some gift-wrap for Christmas. I took it to the Gift Wrap department and told them to wrap it, but in a different print so he would know when to stop unwrapping.

In my house there's this light switch that doesn't do anything. Every so often I would flick it on and off just to check. Yesterday, I got a call from a woman in Germany. She said, "Cut it out."

Winny and I lived in a house that ran on static electricity...If you wanted to run the blender, you had to rub balloons on your head. If you wanted to cook, you had to pull off a sweater real quick.

My house is made out of balsa wood, so when I want to scare the neighborhood kids I lift it over my head and tell them to get out of my yard or I'll throw it at them.

I have an answering machine in my car. It says, "I'm home now. But leave a message and I'll call when I'm out."

I was going 70 miles an hour and got stopped by a cop who said, "Do you know the speed limit is 55 miles per hour?" "Yes, officer, but I wasn't going to be out that long..."

I hate it when my foot falls asleep during the day because that means it's going to be up all night.

When I woke up this morning my girlfriend asked me, "Did you sleep good?" I said, "No, I made a few mistakes."

I got up one morning and couldn't find my socks, so I called Information. She said, "Hello, Information." I said, "I can't find my socks." She said, "They're behind the couch." And they were!

I went into this bar and sat down next to a pretty girl. She looked at me and said, "Hey, you have two different colored socks on." I said, "Yeah, I know, but to me they're the same because I go by thickness."

I bought a self learning record to learn Spanish. I turned it on and went to sleep; the record got stuck. The next day I could only stutter in Spanish.

I bought a dog the other day...I named him Stay. It's fun to call him... "Come here, Stay! Come here, Stay!" He went insane. Now he just ignores me and keeps typing.

I put contact lenses in my dog's eyes. They had little pictures of cats on them. Then I took one out and he ran around in circles.

I spilled spot remover on my dog. He's gone now.

They say we're 98% water. We're that close to drowning...[picks up his glass of water from the stool]...I like to live on the edge...

I bought some powdered water, but I don't know what to add to it.

I was born by Caesarian section...but not so you'd notice. It's just that when I leave a house, I go out through the window.

Admiring the truth, instead of following it.

I've been preaching through the book of Isaiah for the past couple of months. One of the overwhelming themes that I am seeing there is that the path to following Jesus is a path of suffering. I don't really know why it surprises me so much, epecially in light of scriptures like Phil. 1:29 ("For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,”) and I Peter 2:21 (“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”). Philippians 2:5-11 makes it clear that Christ's pathway to exaltation was though his descent to an obedient servant's death.

It's just that thinking like this brings to the surface some pretty sticky questions. The main one being, "If following Jesus is all about suffering then why do we suffer so little in North America as opposed to other places in the world?" Then there's always, "Should we go out of our ways to look for suffering, becoming some kind of spiritual masochists?"

I'm not really sure, and I'm beginning to think that those questions are just rabbit trails instead of paths to the truth. What seems more important to me is the willingness to allow following Jesus to consume all of our energy and focus. It's a call to live our lives with the singular purpose of building His kingdom, even if it means sacrifice and difficulty.

We've become a culture that is in love with the idea of Jesus. That's incredibly dangerous. This was brought home to me once again through another moving quote via Bruderhof, this time from Kierkegaard...

"If you have any knowledge at all of human nature, you know that those who only admire the truth will, when danger appears, become traitors. The admirer is infatuated with the false security of greatness; but if there is any inconvenience or trouble, he pulls back. Admiring the truth, instead of following it, is just as dubious a fire as the fire of erotic love, which at the turn of the hand can be changed into exactly the opposite, to hate, jealousy, and revenge. Christ, however, never asked for admirers, worshippers, or adherents. He consistently spoke of 'followers' and 'disciples.'"

Kierkegaard also wrote

"O Lord Jesus Christ,...Thou wast the way and the truth—
and it was followers only Thou didst demand.
Arouse us therefore if we have dozed away into this delusion,
save us from the error of wishing to admire Thee
instead of being willing to follow Thee and to resemble Thee."


Will we resemble and follow a Christ who surrenders to the Father's will even if it leads to suffering and sacrifice?

"...The Burden and Bitterness of Christ's Way..."

Here's an incredible quote from Annemarie W├Ąchter Arnold that came from Bruderhof...

What I am looking for is a life lived in the spirit of the kingdom of God. And that kingdom is not a vague, faraway ideal; it must be lived and fulfilled now, today... There will never be social justice as long as we merely give up a small part of our possessions and keep the greater share for ourselves. Doesn’t every person have the right to such a life? Is there not in every one a longing for light, for God, however hidden?

Obviously it will demand a struggle against one’s selfish human nature; against the comforts of self-satisfied tranquility. Such a life requires the readiness for sacrifice, privation, and even martyrdom. Christ died on a cross, and his death did not relieve us of the necessity of going the same way. It was an example for us to follow.

I am so tired of today's sweetly gushing Christianity; of false enthusiasm and empty phrases! But I am also thankful to have found a knowledge of the burden and bitterness of Christ’s way. It is a way of conviction and faith and therefore of action, and that is what makes all the difference.



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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

If you're American you need to look at this...

Not sure if you're aware of the situation in Darfur, Sudan. If you want more info check it out here.

If you want to send a message to "W", then click the link below.

Proverbs 24:11-12 - "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?"

Ask President Bush to Help End Genocide in Darfur

Exulting in Monotony...

My good friend Erv passed on this G.K. Chesterton quote to me.

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

"The warrior is dancing..."

One of my long-time friends, Andrew Lakin, has suffered the loss of his mother. She was an incredible lady. He sent me the words that he read at a "Celebration of Her Life". I was so impacted by them that I asked him if I could post them here. Prepare yourself to be moved...

Pen in hand
Poised at the paper
How to start
What to say
There aren’t enough pages or pens or days
To cover her brief years
Dear God
My Mother is gone
How can this be?
I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of grief
With just moments when I can kick to the surface
For a quick breath
My Joanne just met her
My children will never know her
How will they get by?
Grow up?
Without a tea party with their Nana

“Stop all the clocks”

Memories flood
Riding waves of emotion
The joy of the memories
Seized by the thought
That there aren’t going to be . . .
Any more

I remember as a child coming home from playing
With tears streaming down my face
Some neighborhood kids had been cruel to me
As I relayed my tale of woe to her
I remember she suddenly pulled out a pitcher
I asked what she was doing
“I’m making a pitcher of lemonade so we can take it over to those kids.”
What I thought, but did not say, was
“Like hell I am.”
What I said was,
“What? Haven’t you been listening to what I was just telling you? What they did to me and the names they called me?”
She started telling me about some dumb Bible verse about praying for your enemies, blessing them and not cursing them, blah - blah - blah, and how doing good is like pouring hot coals on their head, blah - blah - blah.
Then, standing at their stupid door, seeing their stupid, confused faces, as Mother cheerfully gave them the pitcher of ice-cold lemonade. I stood beside her with my arms folded as I “prayed” for my enemies – I prayed that God would actually show me the hot coals pouring out of heaven on their stupid heads.

I didn’t like it, but I never forgot it
That’s just one of many lessons I learned
From a woman who was not a teacher
She was my Mother
She was not the perfect mother
But she was perfect for us
A very imperfect family
She taught by not teaching
She was just living

The times she prayed for the cashier lady at the grocery store
With a line up of people behind us
A bag of apples in her one hand
And the lady’s hand in her other, bewildered and awestruck
She wasn’t doing it to teach Andrew something
She was just living
Just following

That’s how she lived
It was her actions
That made any words unnecessary

She knew she was going home
She stuck around long enough to make sure I was taken care of
She knew Joanne was my wife before I did
She was cocky about it
“I know,” she said, “because I’ve been praying for her since before you were born.”

“What can I pray for?”
Was probably Mother’s most uttered sentence;
Next in line would be “That needs some flowers.”

She was a lover and a warrior
A prayer warrior so formidable that the enemy tried to shut her up with depression for twelve years
And when God chose to free her from that,
Then they attacked her body
But they never succeeded in shutting her up
She was a juggernaut of prayer
And now…
Now they really have to look out
Cause now she’s free

Now the warrior is dancing
The music is loud
Her sword is sharp
Her leaps are high
And there is no stopping her now.

Friday, March 11, 2005

I'm so sorry, I didn't realize

It's a new evilfinder on the net. Thanks to Jay Vorhees for the link.

Here's a sample of what you get when you type in my name.

**** THE PROOF THAT Jeff Kuhn IS EVIL ****

J E F F K U H N
10 5 6 6 11 21 8 14 - as numbers
1 5 6 6 2 3 8 5 - digits added
\_____/ \_____/ \_____/ \_____/
6 3 5 4 - digits added

Thus, 'Jeff Kuhn' is 6354.


Add 1939, the year WW II started - the result is 8293.
Subtract 1957, the year Ford introduced the Edsel. The result will be 6336.
Add 17, the symbol of domination - the result is 6353.
Add 83 to it - this is the symbol of slavery, written backwards - you will get 6436.
Turn the number backwards, and add 445 - the year Attila the Hun attacked western Europe. The number is now 6791.
This number, read from right to left, is 1976, or the year George Harrison performed the lumberjack song with Monty Python - if you have seen it, you should understand.
No further questions. QED. "

I really never imagined.

Are you evil? Check it out.

The Peaceable Kingdom

Thanks to Jordon for the quote...

In The Peaceable Kingdom, Stanley Hauerwas writes:

"The functional character of contemporary religious convictions is perhaps nowhere better revealed than in the upsurge of religious conservatism. While appearing to be a resurgence of `traditional' religious conviction, some of these movements in fact give evidence of the loss of religious substance in our culture and in ourselves. Christianity is defended not so much because it is true, but because it reinforces the `American way of life.' Such movements are thus unable to contemplate that there might be irresolvable tensions between being Christian and being `a good American.'"

Link

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Wow...

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt

Living like we have a living hope…

Sometimes I wonder if we wouldn’t have a better grasp what it means to be a Christian if it was more risky. The radical claims of Jesus are often muted as they reach us and our North American ears. Would the truth be more clear if we were asked to give our lives for it?

In I Peter, Peter writes to a people who are risking their very lives by following Jesus. Nero is one the throne, and he wants to be honored as Lord. He is very willing to destroy anyone who places Jesus above Nero. These Christians watched as their spiritual brothers and sisters were humiliated, tortured, and torn to pieces by lions because of their devotion to Jesus. As they watch those who share their Hope die, Peter reminds them that “…in His (God’s) great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade – kept in heaven for you.” (I Peter 1:3-4)

His point is that our hope is anchored beyond the circumstances. And if that’s the case, this living hope should shape the way we face the challenges of life today.

In a recent article in Christianity Today, Phillip Yancey writes,

“In a German prison camp in World War II, unbeknownst to the guards, the Americans built a makeshift radio. One day news came that the German high command had surrendered, ending the war—a fact that, because of a communications breakdown, the German guards did not yet know. As word spread, a loud celebration broke out.

For three days, the prisoners were hardly recognizable. They sang, waved at guards, laughed at the German shepherd dogs, and shared jokes over meals. On the fourth day, they awoke to find that all the Germans had fled, leaving the gates unlocked. The time of waiting had come to an end.

And here is the question I ask myself: As we Christians face contemporary crises, why do we respond with such fear and anxiety? Why don't we, like the Allied prisoners, act on the Good News we say we believe? What is faith, after all, but believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse?”


A living hope – “…believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse…” This would radically change the way we lived – the things we value – the relationships that we develop. Clarity of the truth comes only when all that we hold dear loses its grip on us. In the words of the old hymn – Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. What is our “hope”? And to what will we give ourselves?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A 200,000+ Death Toll Every Week!

Ron Sider writes

"The wrenching news about the ghastly devastation caused by the Asian tsunami rolled in day after day as I was finishing the revisions for the fifth edition of my Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. 20,000 dead . . . then 50,000, 100,000, 175,000. The final count could easily reach 200,000 lives suddenly snuffed out by the raging ocean.

People of the world rightly recoiled in horror and then swiftly launched a massive global effort to save those whom the sea had spared.

200,000 deaths in one terrifying tsunami is truly awful. But far more than that number of people die unnecessarily every week-this week, next week and every week for years.

Why? Because of poverty the rich world chooses largely to ignore. Every day 30,000 children die of starvation and diseases we know how to prevent. That is 210,000 children every week, not counting adults. That means that fifty-two times as many children die unnecessarily from poverty every year as everyone who perished in the year-end tsunami.

According to the World Bank, 1.2 billion people struggle to survive on just one dollar a day. Another 1.6 billion live on less than two dollars a day.

That kind of poverty brings inadequate food, lack of clean water and sanitation, inadequate or no medical care, and therefore unnecessary disease, brain damage, and illiteracy. In 2004, the World Bank reported that one billion people lack access to safe water, and 2.5 billion have no access to improved sanitation. (The World Health Organization estimates that 6000 children die every day from these two causes alone.) About 950 million poor people cannot read. The World Health Organization reports that 13 million people die each year from diseases like diarrhea, malaria and tuberculosis that we know how to prevent or cure."

According to the World Health Organization, it would only take about $3 billion more invested each year in preventive care in poorer nations to save 5 million people. Can Americans who spend $30-$50 billion each year on diets to reduce their calorie intake not give one-tenth of that to save 5 million people a year?"

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