Wednesday, October 31, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Homosexual warlocks should be boycotted!

I just read this article from the Christian Post. It talks about renewed calls for Christians to boycott the Harry Potter book series. (Yeah, I know it's a little late.) The reason? The author, J.K. Rowling, recently said that one of the characters was gay. This revelation has caused some believers to join the boycott bandwagon, which started when the first book came out several years ago.

To be honest, I haven't read any of the books. (I have seen a couple of the movies. Books take so long. Plus, there's reading involved.) But I understand that the whole witchcraft thing really bothers some Christians. Although it didn't seem to bother Christians who loved Lord of the Rings. But that's another story.

This gay thing baffles me though. From the article I read, it seems that nobody knew about this character's sexual orientation. So why is it an issue now? There's still nothing in the books that promotes homosexuality. So why the change in attitude? And, why are some Christians more concerned about the unrevealed homosexuality of a character than they are about the overt witchcraft? It's very confusing to me.

The larger question is, why do Christians regard homosexuals as the worst kind of sinners? There are all kinds of sins we let slide, or we accept people who struggle with these things: gossip, gluttony, idolatry, to name a few. But let someone come out that he is struggling with being gay. Then it gets awkward. He's a pariah.

I remember when Magic Johnson went public with his HIV diagnosis. The reaction from a large percentage of the Christians I knew then? HIV is what you get when you're that kind of person. No sympathy. No empathy.

I suggested at a Bible study I was teaching at the time that we treat people who get heart disease because they eat too much red meat the same way we treat people with HIV. After all, both are diseases caused by lifestyle. Needless to say, it didn't go over well.

I wonder why I don't church there any longer...

Monday, October 29, 2007

You've got to see this...

Children's malnutrition is such an overwhelming problem worldwide, it seems unsolvable. Could it be that the answer is this simple?

Watch this...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A new addition to the family!

As many of you probably know, the Mighty Mrs. J and I have gone through the special journey that is adoption 3 times. Well, we've taken the plunge again. This is a really big step for us, and I hope we are ready. Our new baby is very cute. He has big, bright eyes, and a head full of hair. Now, for the first time anywhere, is our new bundle of joy:

No, it;s not Little McGyver (he's already ours!). No, it's the guinea pig he's holding. The pig's name is Piglet. (Pretty creative, huh?) The kids, and the Mighty Mrs. J, are really happy about the new addition. Me? I get the feeling that as soon as the newness wears off, I'm going to end up taking care of the giant rat.

Anyway, welcome to the family, Piglet! I hope you have a good time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My son picks the best music...

Little McGyver came into my office today while I was looking for a song on the computer. He says he wants to pick some music too. What does he want? The Wiggles? Maybe Backyardigans? Not for this boy. He wants the "cowboy song." What's the cowboy song, you may ask? This sweet, adorable children's classic:

Doesn't it just leave a warm feeling deep in your heart? But he wasn't done picking out songs he wanted to hear. We were combing through more Johnny Cash songs. That's when he found another song he loved. Another children's classic:

For those of you not initiated, the second video is Social Distortion's cover of the old Cash song, "Ring of Fire." Again, typical children's music.

I think I'll have to draw the line when he says, "Daddy can I listen to some Snoop Dogg while I go to sleep?"

Monday, October 22, 2007

I'm doin' some readin'!

I know it will come as a surprise to many of you, but I am not only able to read, I actually enjoy it. Now usually my reading is at this level, but I do occasionally get to read something a little deeper. Right now, I'm reading this book by Dr. J.P. Moreland. So far it's a great look at how Christians have lost contact with culture, and how we might regain the kind of impact the church had in its early years. I'm not through with it yet, so I can't give you a full review yet. But here's a quote I thought was powerful:
"...the life of self-denial is, indeed, the 'easy yoke.' In contrast to the path of self-absorption, the path of self-denial for Jesus corresponds to the way we were made to function and to reality itself as God created it. The really hard life is the one lived in opposition to Jesus' path. All you need to do is to look at how hard life is for folks who cannot forgive others, who desperately need to be the focus of attention, who have to be in control of everything, who are driven to succeed to prove they are significant. This is the life of self-denial, not the life of self-denial. As one gets good at self-denial for the Kingdom, life gets progressively easier."
Isn't that true? It's the life that's lived outside the call of God that's hard. Maybe that's the reason the Psalms tell us not to envy evil people. Whatever the reason, a quote like this makes me realize that the life God calls me to live is the life He created me to live. And that life isn't terrible. God wouldn't do that to me. He loves me too much...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

NFTW Episode 4--A New Hope...

That's a pretty clever title. Unfortunately I didn't think about it until it was too late. That means the podcast has a very catchy title: NFTW #004. I know, I know, how do I keep coming up with these gems? It's a mystery to me too. I guess it's hard to contain genius when it's working.

Anyway, I think this one is actually pretty decent. It might be thought-provoking. Read more about what's in it here. Click on this link to get the actual podcast.

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

They're growing up way too fast...

This has been an exciting several days. My computer monitor died, so I commandeered the Mighty Mrs. J's monitor so I can get some work (and some blogging) done. The new monitor comes today, and it should solve all my problems. (I know some of you are thinking that a team of Harvard-trained psychologists couldn't solve all my problems, but in this case, I'm just talking about my computer.)

But the most exciting happening this week has been Potty Training Frenzy. DisneyGirl has really shown that she's ready to make the leap. We knew she would, when it was time. Well, it's time. That means lots of parades through the house, singing the old favorite, "DisneyGirl went pee-pee, pee-pee in the potty!" We sing and dance until one of us, usually me, passes out from exhaustion.

I think the best part, aside from not having to clean up dirty diapers, is seeing how happy and proud she is of herself. She sees herself as a real big girl. To me, of course, she's still the little 4 pound baby I could hold in the palm of my hand. So I feel happy and sad all at once. I want her to do all the normal , growing-up kinds of things. But I always want her to be my little girl.

I hope that in some way, she always will be...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I probably should mention the new Notes episode...

I've spent the last week trying to keep my monitor from dying. But, sadly, it passed away a couple of days ago. So, I haven't had time to announce the posting of the brand new Notes from the Way podcast. It's available at the blog, or you can get it right here.

I gotta say, I slapped together about 22 minutes of quality podcasting. Highlights? I have a review of a great book exploring better ways to the minister to the poor. There's a news story about how some Christians are going overboard in their attempts to evangelize military personnel. Also, I wonder out loud why we don't always want to jump into the work God is doing in and around us.

Check it out. Let me know what you think...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I have a very ambitious son...

You can't start too early deciding what you're going to do with your life. Little McGyver, age 5, has it pretty well figured out. He's going to be:
  1. a fireman,
  2. a policeman,
  3. a doctor,
  4. a professional football player, and
  5. a professional basketball player.
I hope he gets scholarships for football and basketball. Med school is kinda expensive...

Now that kids control my brain...

I'm not sure what this means, but it can't be good. A couple of days ago, I was leaving to go run some errands. Anytime I leave, the kids want me to pray for them. Which I always do.

I always pray for the same things: blessings on the kid and their mom, that the kid will listen to their mom, and that they'll have fun while I'm gone. But when I was done, I finished up with "Good night!" instead of "Amen."

Good night?!? What does that mean? I won't go into deep theological analysis here. I think it's just further proof that being a parent is eating away at my brain...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My kids do amazing things!

I haven't written a lot about the kids lately. But they are doing great. I'm amazed at the things they are able to do. More than that, I am amazed at the things they are eager to try. You see, I grew up afraid. Afraid of trying new things. Afraid of being hurt. Just afraid. (I think the Mighty Mrs. J had the same kind of feelings growing up.)

I'm sure most of that fear came from my mom. She was really protective of me. After she and my father divorced, I was all she had. And I know she was scared something would happen to me, then she would have nothing.

For a long time, I believed I was afraid of a lot of things. As I've gotten older, I realized I was carrying a lot of the fears my mother had. It's been quite liberating to leave some of those fears behind. (I still carry some that I need to lose.) The Mighty Mrs. J and I have tried hard not to pass along our fears and weirdness to the kids. So far, I think we're doing OK.

Here's Little McGyver riding his skateboard, with Dsiney Girl bringing up the rear on the tricycle:

And here they are climbing up the tree in the back yard:

They all seem to have the adventure gene. That adds a lot of fun to their lives! And some gray hairs for the Mighty Mrs. J and me...

(In case you wondered, this was, of course, another chance to show off pics of my cute kids!)

2 blog posts you need to read...

The best thing I've read so far this week is right here. What a testimony! (Take a minute to read their story. It's sad but totally worth it!)

The second best thing is here. I wish Jesus' life was that real to me!

Take care!

Real truth from an old song...

I live in southern California, where singing the old Christian hymns went out of fashion about the same time as 8-track stereos. But I grew up on the old songs, and I still love to sing them. Fortunately, I church with a group that still sings the "golden oldies" sometimes.

I was thinking of a line from one of my favorite hymns this morning, and the truth of it struck me in a new way. It was "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing." This is the verse that got me thinking:
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
The lines, "Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee," really resonated because I see now that God's goodness is really the only thing that binds us to Him. And all the things we use to try to bring us closer to Him are pointless at best, harmful at worst.

How many things have I used to try to build my relationship with God? Well, let's see, there's Bible reading, prayer, fasting, church work, Sunday School teaching, pastoring.and on, and on, and on.

There's nothing wrong with any of those activities, but so much of it was just me trying to gain favor with God with my own effort. Really it is God's goodness, ALONE, that draws me to Him. All those things can take the place of the Holy Spirit's work of growing us to be like Jesus.

In fact, I wonder how many programs int he church have grown and developed over the years for 2 bad reasons: we don't trust the Holy Spirit enough to do His work His way, and we have a lot of people attending services who don't demonstrate the Spirit's transforming power because He's not in them? Both of those possibilities frighten me.

More on this later...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Podcast, Episode #2...

I thought I probably should mention that the second episode of my award-winning podcast is available by clicking here. The blog that gives you all the juicy details is right here.

Basically, this week I talk about the marital troubles some popular Christian leaders are having. I'm also wondering about the things we put between ourselves and God.

BTW, the award the podcast won? It was voted "Best Podcast Produced in our House Last Thursday and Friday." Very small award, but quite prestigious...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I'm not changing a thing!

Take a minute to go to the post entitled, "World's Sweetest Toddler No Longer." I changed some of the words in the post because it showed up on some searches that perverts ran for naked kid pics. Hopefully with the word changes, it won't show up on those kinds of searches any more.

I also included a note to the pervs themselves, urging them to turn to Jesus for forgiveness and healing. I was thinking about stopping my posts about the kids. But I'm not going to do it. This is a forum for me to talk about my life: my faith, my kids, my marriage, whatever. And I love the community aspect of it.

Why should I allow a couple of sick people ruin something that's of value to me? I won't do it. We spend too much time in society catering to the dregs of society. This blog won't be part of it. I will continue to be the leading internet source for rumor and innuendo. I'd like to be the internet leader for lies, distortions, and half-truths, but I'm a distant third behind these jokers and these nitwits...