Thursday, September 2, 2010

Gavin James

I read James today. I am preparing to tell my son, why James was such a powerful name in scripture. I never thought I would be one with biblical names, but as I grew older I felt like it is a beautiful way to communicate scripture to them. Jacob was easy. He is one of my favorite characters in the Bible. Mindy said will you tell him about Jacob in scripture and why it is your favorite story? I have of course agreed, but in naming my second son I saw the challenges. I picked my favorite guy in scripture for Jacob, but now what will I do with my second son. Names were tossed around, but G James Hanke was what we liked the most. I loved Gideon feeling like that would be a great story to tell. Mindy liked Gabriel, but that seemed like a harder story to tell. Gavin was the name we came up with. There is not scriptural base with that one, yet we held to our idea of using the grandpa's first names, as middle names. This was great to have James. With Gavin not being in scripture, James became the way to talk about the bible.

James seemed to alleviate my problem about worrying about picking my favorite character for Jacob. James was a book I held dear in college. I still won't forget the Supertones song that talked about reading the book of James and praying for a wife. I did that several times. James is full of controversy. James speaks about one of the major issues in my life. The battle between law and Gospel is very vivid in this book. As a father I look at the potential to share so much with my son about my trials. James, being the brother of Jesus may have felt the challenges of a perfect brother. Although James spending so much time with Jesus, created doubt, but then greater belief. This book is showing his strong convictions towards Jesus and the Gospel.

Gavin will be faced with many challenges with a father who spends so much time with Jesus. We have seen the PK issues in the past. I pray his name will give us the very chance to discuss some of these very challenging situations.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Last night I came home after a Wednesday in Lent. Sometimes it seems a little tiring I worked a full day went and grabbed Jacob and we ate at church and went to church.

I am not sure which takes more energy to get ready to preach and then preach or to take care of 1 year old while someone else is preaching. Regardless I came home and was a little tired and only found that so was Jacob. Except when he is tired he fights it and tries to battle me with everything. He finally agreed to fall asleep. I think we saw eye to eye.

Anyway I sat down since I had been up late the last couple nights and just turned the channels to find a show. I turned it to Fight Club I haven't seen that movie in awhile. As a person who loves twists my eyes were even more focused on how they did the camera work to make sure they could never be seen as 2 characters at the end. It is amazing the lines they put in their like, "For some reason this reminded me of the first time I fought Tyler," and so on. They were making sure at the end you knew they were the same people. I am amazed as I looked so closely this time for flaws and it is amazing how they made sure there weren't any.

I finally agreed to fall asleep and closed my eyes. I awoke to my wife coming out to the living room and saying, "What are you doing?"

When you fall asleep to a movie like the wake up can be odd. I woke up wondering what was I doing and who am I? It was like I had my fight club moment for a second and wondered what am I doing? I finally reoriented and realized I was just on the couch and had fallen asleep to fight club so I must have had some weird dream about double personalities.

I finally went to bed until I woke up to my washing machine started acting like a jet engine...a little 4:30 am clothes washing for Mindy. But that is a story for another time.

I think we struggle with how can a person have 2 sides. How can Ed Norton be both characters in fight club. They look and act completely different. Brad Pitt is all cut and looks super cool but yet many of his actions are questionable. Yet I woke up feeling like I was a different person...

Falling alseep on that made me think is that really that far off? Maybe I am intrigued because it is more possible than I think. Are there times I act way different from who people think I am? Sure I can have 2 sides. No doubt.

Yet I don't like it. It bothers me well not completely. At first it is nice to put it neatly in the Sinner and Saint model (for those that don't know we are born sinners but Christ made us saints basically we were messed up and he fixed us but both sides still show). The problem with the sinner and saint model is it is too clean for this kind of thinking. We all have things we wish we were better at that we just aren't. I guess you could trace it back to the fall of man and our sin but their are just some ways we are created different.

Some of Brad Pitt character was just things Ed wanted to more like. He wanted to be cooler and more relaxed about life. If you remember he was going to all these group sessions because he was constantly in pain. There are several scenes where Brad talks about his dad and while he had a hard life he was just able to talk about it. Ed wanted to be more like that. Was that a bad thing?

There is something to be said about being happy with who we are but wanting to change things and work on things is not bad. Yet this can over take our minds. And before we know it we let the devil in and win. He is the one beating us up, and we believe his lies. I hate the devil, but we must continue to fight in this life. Keep fighting the good fight.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Saving Tigers...Penance to Repentance and everything else.

Related to my last post but not directly related I have found sadness lately in watching the downfall of many. The world stopped to watch Tiger apologize. The view they had once had of Tiger was altered by a new found reality, he is a sinful human being. He allowed fame and riches to make him think he could do whatever he wanted and acted on it in a very inappropriate way. He hurt his wife and children and also let so many down who held him up as a hero.

I found it sad driving home the other day that my image of Tiger is altered. I thought I will never think of him again as a great guy who is a model husband and a sports star who does not let fame go to his head. No I am forever altered and I was saddened by that. That made me think about all the debates people have had lately. The huge debate of whether he is truly sorry or not.

Here is what I really think. People wanted the image they had of Tiger to come back. They wanted someone to wake us up and say it was all a nightmare. They wanted someone to tell us go back to sleep it is 1985...not 1955. Whether we knew it or not, we pretended like it didn't happen until he got up and confessed it. It's like OJ, as long as he said he didn't do it there was a chance he didn't. Sadly last week we had to accept that our image of the Tiger we once knew was gone.

Some of you skeptics might say who cares. I never watched golf or cared about the sport. I don't care about how Tiger is portrayed or who is. But by the fact that the stock market stopped during his speech means we cared. Tiger changed the game of golf and made more people care about the sport. He brought this clean cut well mannered nature to the game. He truly altered the game and I think gave some of us hope that good celebs were out there. Then he had his Joshua 7 moment, where he was revealed with all of his hidden sins. I cannot even imagine how Tiger felt that day.

I recently had people argue about how he shouldn't have a second chance and in a way he should suffer. I also had people who know I like John Mayer challenge me on his latest interview. Mayer spoke inappropriately about different races and about ex-girlfriends. I know Mayer speaks without using his head all the time. He admitted it on VH1 storytellers. I realize it doesn't make it right but just shows me that all these people we respect and maybe even look up to let us down.

This is a sad tough reality to deal with. As children we grow up with super heroes, who never let us down. They start out being our fathers, until at one point or another they let us down. We move on to fictional characters and then to non-fictional pop stars or well known people. Until...yes, until they let us down. When this moment happens what do we expect??

Do we want penance or repentance? Penance is the act of doing something or suffering for our act of sin. Repentance is remorse and the turning from our sin. What I believe one of the most misunderstood pieces of theology is, after teaching teenagers, God looks at all sins the same. This is true in his true essence but often we have added our own thoughts onto it. Meaning because all sin is forgivable, except denying the Holy Spirit which is truly denying God anyway, that since it is all forgivable all consequences are the same.

This is not the case God specifically talks through Paul how he set-up the government over us. The laws have implications on our lives and Jesus even talks about the only reason to divorce is because of infidelity. The consequence for that kind of act of unfaithfulness could potentially be divorce.

We want to force penance on these stars. Is it our job to decide their punishment like we will never forgive them again? Naturally each of us lost respect for Tiger by his actions (a natural consequence) but do we punish him also? Do we cross our arms and say I will never forgive him and he should never play golf again? Does Tiger feel enough pain from Elin and his mother and of course his kids? Clinton cheated, Nixon lied, Jordan gambled, J. Williams killed people, R. Williams did drugs, that guy from Oregon punched somebody, Tiger cheated 17 times, and Milli Vanilli lip sung (?).

If so I should never be forgiven also. Matthew 5 makes it clear I fail when it comes to the law and that's why I have Jesus. I need him to fulfill the law for me. Sure many people in my life have made major mistakes naturally altering the image I had of them. Thankfully even though there are consequences on earth, God looks at sin all the same in the fact it is all forgivable. He made one way for all of us to make it to heaven no matter what earthly consequences we have faced.

I am saddened that Tiger was not more faithful and that Mayer spoke without thinking but neither of them have Jesus. I spend so much time in guilt or analyzing how I can be a better man, to have someone else push penance on me is such a painful thing. To have someone encourage me or challenge me or keep me accountable is a beautiful thing. I pray God continues to provide each of you with accountability partners and forgivers in your life to challenge and encourage. His love for ALL of us is so great...He knows how to love those who have been hurt by sin at the same time He is loving those who committed the sin. Now that is an awesome God.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Saving Cats like it's my job

Recently I have fallen in love with a book called "A million miles in a thousand years." Donald Miller is absolutely one of my favorite writers. I remember the first time my friend tried to get me to read his book "Blue Like Jazz." I resisted at first probably because I hate reading. Yeah you heard me right I hate it. I struggled reading early on and sometimes it's a chore.

It is actually frustrating because I want to read. I make every attempt to be a reader. Actually I only allow myself to read books that are about God or of course the Bible. I made this decision because I said if I am going to struggle with this I will not waste time not reading things not related to my spiritual walk. It is funny how Donald Miller was God's way of making something I struggle with awesome.

Donald Miller is not afraid to say things that normal people would be afraid to say. His openness is incredible. I am sure it has gotten him into trouble a time or two. I am sure people treat him like they know him just because he is so open. But that is what makes him so incredible is that his openness allows us to see a true human. Not some writer trying to make every word perfect but one willing to show his weakness and speak about it. Most of his books seem to be documentaries of what is going on in his life right now. This book is no different he is talking about living his life like it is his story.

See after he wrote "Blue like Jazz," it blew up and then he got a big head. He actually says that in the book but when they wanted to make a move about the book he truly got humbled by all the ways they wanted to change it. And the problem with change a book that is all about your life is that you take it personal. I mean I would take it personal if someone did that to me. This goes to show us that we all get stuck in our world and sometimes forget to reflect on where we have come from or what we have done.

Meaning we all too often get sucked into whatever is going on right now and miss out on things or don't appreciate things enough. Now this is going to happen but it is nice to step back out of that and remember why we are here, who made us and why this life can be great.

With all that being said Miller has some great quotes in this book about life.

"I've wondered, though, if one of the reasons we fail to acknowledge the brilliance of life is because we don't want the responsibility inherent in the acknowledgment. We don't want to be characters in a story because characters have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage. And if life isn't remarkable, then we don't have to do any of that; we can be unwilling victims rather than grateful participants."

"If the point of life is the same as the point of a story, the point of life is character transformation."

After both of these amazing quotes he goes on to talk about saving cats. Honestly I struggle with cats one time I picked up a cat who dug it's claws deep into back and that was enough to not appreciate them. My son likes them but I am not so fond of them. Anyway I tell you that just because cats are not the point. The point is all these quotes above and how we get to appreciate life and invest in life.

Miller explains that the beginning of Rocky is full of things like Rocky helping kids and widows and much more. When you make a movie you want the watchers to love the character that is the only way they care what will happen to them. Think about this in a more practical way. Whatever show or movie you love is probably because you connected with a character. Either you appreciate the characteristics they have or find some way you relate with that character. The easiest way for this to happen is by doing nice things. More specifically living your life as a Christian and caring for people.

You probably dislike shows with people that just do mean stuff or are completely selfish. It truly is the whole problem with movie stars. We see them in a movie and think they are great and then we hear about their real life and we are shocked they are so selfish. Miller's point about saving cats is that we invest in people who do nice things in life. The reason you care about some dude like Rocky beating up a bunch of other dudes is you have invested in his character.

Life is not much different we invest in people's stories we care about. Yet all too often we become selfish and forget about saving cats. We forget about caring for people because we get wrapped up in our own stuff. So if we invest in stories of people who take care of other people why don't we save cats? Why don't we spend our lives serving and helping others? It is obvious as people we appreciate others who do it but what causes us to not do it?

I don't have answers and yet I do. Sin side tracks us and we are selfish but it would seem to me that after awhile we would reflect on our selfishness and pull of out it. So my new year was started off with less pity pour me(s) and more saving cats. Because maybe if I do less pity pour me(s)...maybe just maybe I will see more cats.