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#GoodFriday

March 29, 2013 Leave a comment

I am grateful for the sacrifice of Christ.

That must be said.

What must also be said is that Christ’s death on the cross, while of infinite importance, is not the reason he came to earth—if of course you believe in this whole thing we call Christianity at all.

I don’t mean to promote non-belief in Christ, but I must acknowledge the truth of scripture. I Corinthians 1:18 calls “the message of the cross foolishness” to those who do not believe it. This is not a commentary or judgment on non-believers, but a wake-up call to Christians: Don’t go around trying to convert people; realize that it sounds like crazy talk to people until they’re ready to accept it (#Calvinists, please ignore that last sentence).

But if the cross (i.e. His death) isn’t the reason Jesus came, then what is? And what then is the message of the cross if not to tell people about it?

Jesus came not to die, but to live. If He came to die then He could have been a miscarriage and been done with it. Mary wouldn’t have had to go through labor, nor she and Joseph through raising the Child. Jesus came to preach the #Gospel. I don’t think that is a controversial thing to say; pretty standard. He even commissioned us to do the same.

But how many people have you mistakenly heard say that the gospel is “the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.” That’s all well and good, but that is hardly the gospel. How is it good news that some guy died a couple thousand years ago? Even if he did come back, so what? Besides, how could Jesus then preach the gospel (which Matthew 4:23 clearly says he did), if the gospel was his death? Imagine that:

“Hear ye, hear ye, I’m gonna die! Don’t you wanna be my friend now?!” –Jesus

No one’s going to follow that guy; no one wants to be “that guy!” So then what’s the gospel? That Jesus came to live. That’s what he preached and that’s what we should proclaim! The Lord and creator came to live, because He wants you to live; He created you to live. That is pretty good news!

So then, what is the message of the cross? All over time we tell people to look back to Calvary NOT because He came to die, but because He came to truly live and then gave it all up! When we look at the death of Christ in terms of the life of Christ the meaning is all the more crucial!

All over space and time (forgive me, I am a #DoctorWho fan), let it be said and truly believed that Jesus came to live and boy did He live. He laughed, cried, felt pain, learned, loved; He experienced the human condition!

So this #GoodFriday, take the time to look back 2,000 years on a Savior who came to live for you, and live with you! When you put it that way, this Friday IS pretty good!

#SentFromMyiPad

October 7, 2011 4 comments

Steve Jobs was just one man. He was not “a god amongst men.” He was a hard-working son-of-a-gun. He was intelligent. He was innovative; and by God he was a dreamer. I do not by any stretch intend to make Steve Jobs out to be a saint or a Messiah figure, but as a human being and a dreamer I hold nothing but a high respect and honor for the man. He could not heal the sick or raise the dead, but he could innovate technology and place an indelible imprint on a generation of young people. As I use my iPad to produce this episode of #Hashtagfairytales in its entirety—the very same device I mocked for its name that is reminiscent of a feminine hygiene product—I can only hope that my dreams can leave half as great an impression on even a fraction of the people as Steve Jobs.

Did Jobs invent the computer, mp3 player, phone, or tablet? Certainly not, but life as we know it—I believe—would be different without him. I personally would say that had he not pushed his staff and company it would not have pressed the industry to move as quickly. Would we have the tablet computer and the touch screen phone? Of course, but would we have the technology at this particular time? Perhaps not. Would not Bill Gates still innovate if not for Steve Jobs? He sure would, but a good bit of competition pushes people, and I would say that Bill Gates—while an immensely brilliant mind in his own right—would not have had a reason to push for advances in the field if he had no competition. Think of it as a veritable WCW/WWF(E) rivalry (#MondayNightWars). Would #Hashtagfairytales still exist if Jobs had not invented and innovated? I would hope so, but I doubt it would be as easy to publish, promote, and read. Would the Kardashians be as annoying? Yes.

#Hashheads, this week a handful of family, close friends, and colleagues were saddened by the loss of a great man, but a generation or two of people were forced to reflect on the impact of this same man. Let us not dramatize and thus belittle the loss of this man by saying that we all shed a tear or that all Apple users ought to buy the iPhone 4S if only to honor this great man, that is no way to honor him. Did any of us learn of the lightbulb and then cry when we found out Edison was dead? (#rhetoricalquestion) Did anybody learn of Henry Ford in their high school and then when they got to his death decide that they absolutely needed a Mustang? How about Michelangelo or Da Vinci? The Wright brothers? Marie Curie? Johannes Gutenberg? Vince MacMahon Sr.? Wolfgang Mozart? Jim Cornette? Susan B. Anthony? Paul Newman? Karl Marx? Isaac Newton? Harriet Tubman? Charles Spurgeon? John Locke? Dolores Huerta? These people contributed greatly to where we are today; some culturally, some technologically, some philosophically. I urge you my friends, to find an aspect of life not influenced by one of these individuals.

Steve Jobs ought to not be worshipped, he ought to be looked at as an inspiration. One thing that drove Jobs—according to his own admission—was the knowledge of his mortality. He knew he was going to die, and this is part of what fueled him toward success. “It is man’s destiny to die.” That’s in the Biblical book of Hebrews and all over Ecclesiastes. We can mope and mourn because of it, we can marvel over the life of another, or we can take inspiration from those who have come before us. If you are going to be moved by Steve Jobs, be moved by his life, not his death.

Friends, let us take inspiration from the life of this great and intelligent man. In his commencement address to the #StanfordUniversity class of 2005, Steve Jobs highlighted his mortality and inspired all in the same speech, let us take note. He said,

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. … Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

I am hungry! I am as foolish as they come. There is nothing to lose my friends. Life is short, do what you love, follow your heart, live your dreams. I wish no less for you and I expect no less from myself. Take risks. Live in full knowledge that you will die. Live using great men and women for inspiration. The next Steve Jobs is among us. The next Steve Jobs may be reading this. Use the great brilliance of great people to drive what you do daily. When you do, remember to say #ThankYouSteve.

#SentFromMyiPad

(Look for great people to look up to and remember: “Accomplishment comes from within.”)

Btw, if you are using an #Apple device to access this, if you don’t mind, go on and leave a comment…also, leave a comment if you aren’t using an #Apple device.

#blamethemuslims

July 29, 2011 Leave a comment

This is the last #Hashtagfairytales post of the month, and you all know what that means: July’s #TweetoftheMonth! But July has been a HUGE month with lots of events. July 29th, for instance—the day of this posting—is my mother’s birthday; Happy Burfday mom! (Your birthday gift is the honour of being mentioned on #HTFT [and you know its honourable because the honor has a “u” in it]! You’re welcome) This month has been chock full of goodness and fun! Pr. @MarcoAmbriz is finally entering Narnia; the American Women’s Soccer team made it to the World Cup, and what’s more the Japanese team—who has endured much loss and pain—ended up winning. Even in that loss is a feel-good and inspirational story! Also, this month had some good movies, Captain America was really fun, Smurfs and Cowboys and Aliens are out today, and all of the #Pottheads—not to be confused with #hashheads—really turned out to the newest and final Harry Potter movie, (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2) which shattered records worldwide!

But July was not just a month of #crazygonuts fun, there were some painful things that happened. I don’t mean to say that this is has been an all bad month, but this month has brought a great deal of pain, and I’m not just talking about the premiere of “E! True Hollywood Story: Snooki,” I mean a different pain, you know the kind that has some theological implications. Friends, please come on this journey with me as I get a few things #offmychest! There will be very sensitive issues dealt with here, and I hope you’ll stay with me.

July 2011:

#letjusticerolldown– Some of you will recognize this as a #hashtag (formerly spacious quote) from Dr. John Perkins, others will recognize this as a quote from the prophet Amos. To be frank, this quote was the first that I thought of when I heard the verdict for the Casey Anthony Trial. Let me say first that I believe in this, the country of my birth, and I believe in its justice system, but there are wrong judgments at times and that is because humans are not perfect. Anthony was being tried for the murder of her daughter and though there was a substantial case built against her, she was found not guilty. I cannot say that she is guilty—she would need to say that—but I can say that justice was not served. A child is dead and no one has been held accountable. It causes pain in my heart to know that this girl could be alive today, and is not because of the action—or lack thereof—of another person, and that person walks free. I wish and pray for no harm to befall Casey Anthony, but I also pray that justice rolls down.

#Utoyattacks– In Norway, were two vicious attacks. One was a bombing in Oslo, and moments later, a shooting in Utoya. The death count is up to 76. The shooter at Utoya (by the way the “o” in Utoya has a trendy Ikea-esque slash through it, but my keyboard doesn’t have that) was said to be a Christian, and even wrote a Christ-centered hate-fueled manifesto. This pains me as a Christian, to know that in the name of my Lord who self-proclaimedly (Don’t think that’s a word, but it sounds super cool!) loves the world, a man killed people. Now I am not new here, I know of the crusades, but just because it has happened on a large scale before doesn’t mean we ought to be ok with it.

Also, I understand that many attacks like this happen all of the time, there are a handful of people who kill in the name of God and call themselves justified, but allow me to name-drop and quote my good friend Paul (the author formerly known as Saul) when I say, “It is God who justifies.” God does not bless needless killing, He does not embrace the religious terrorist. This may come as common knowledge to most, but I don’t think that the deep implications are explicit enough. These religious terrorists are in the minority, Allah does not condone these actions from Muslim extremists either, and devout Muslims are just as disgusted by these Cretans (no offense to anyone from the beautiful isle of Crete)! I know, I know, I am a Christian who was born and raised Fox-fundamentalist, I am supposed to #blamethemuslims for everything (terrorism, the debt crisis, Kirstie Alley on Dancing with the Stars in spite of an overwhelming lack of talent), but this is wrong, this is pain, the Qur’an does not teach pain, but peace. Now, does that mean I am Muslim? No, I don’t agree with tons of things; they believe in genies for crying out loud! Am I a sympathizer for “evil-doers and terrorists?” Certainly not, I just realize that while the religion has some far out tenets, I cannot say that the religion condones such actions in the same way that Chistianity does not condone them. A handful of extremists do not a religious base make.

#norehab– “They tried to make me go to rehab and I said ‘No, No, No!’” This was the first line in the chorus for a hit song by the very talented late Amy Winehouse who passed away this past week from (allegedly) drug related issues. Let me say this in keeping with the post #whysoserious, and in an effort to be candid, I get the irony. The irony does not stop there, Amy Winehuse who wrote that she wasn’t going to go to rehab died of a drug overdose just two weeks after Betty Ford who is famous for having overcome addiction and assisting others to do the same. The irony isn’t lost on me. But this is hardly anything to joke about, the death is still painful. There are two parents who are still in mourning. The world lost another young talented human being.

On the Tweetters the day Winehouse was found dead, someone tweeted, “Yeah, I get it, Amy Winehouse died, but there are dozens dead in Norway.” This wrenched my heart. Just because her death is possibly drug-related it matters less? Or is it because she’s famous and famous people die all the time? Or maybe it is that she is only one person. But let’s not fool ourselves, read the following sentence, and read it without a clichéd tone: If Amy Winehouse were the only person on earth—WITH all of her flaws and addictions—Christ would have died for her. I understand that this is a bit overused; its corny, but its true. There is a family “sittin’ shiva” because of this young lady’s passing. God cares about each one of us individually. Does He hurt more for the people in Norway because there’s more? Nope. Is His concern more with the Winehouse family because she was famous AND Jewish? That’d be a no! God hurts for each one individually and uniquely, because He cares for each one individually and uniquely!

This month was full of pain. Friends, look the pain in the eye and say, #thatsnotgoodenough! When you have a chance to love, or be just, or comfort, or share in pain, or listen to someone or to simply cause something that is wrong—that is painful—to be right, give pain a scowl, run to your window and yell, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”

(Sorry for all of the parentheses [they can get a bit annoying]. Also, sorry for the fakeout, it began kinda cute and fun, but then got heavy like Kirstie Alley!)

(New target?)