Supper on the Moon

I realized this morning I wrote this a while back and forgot to publish it

I was sitting on the couch reading a book a few months ago when my wife told me Neil Armstrong died. I can’t say that it affected me emotionally, because I clearly didn’t know him. I was one year old when he and Buzz Aldrin touched down on the moon’s powdery surface.

I took to the interwebs to find more info, and I saw a link from Eric Metaxas (the author of Bonhoeffer and Amazing Grace) on Twitter about the lunar landing, and it caught my interest because it wasn’t about the typical “One small step for man…” speech.

What I found out was Armstrong took communion on the moon, and that blew my mind. As Metaxas pointed out, some of the first words spoken on the moon were the words of Jesus Christ.

They weren’t broadcast over the radio, though Armstrong was prepared to. At the last minute he was told not to do it because of the legal battle NASA was already fighting over some scripture the Apollo 8 crew read from Genesis.

Yet Armstrong nonetheless took communion, and read from the scripture. On the surface of the moon, before they stepped out of the lander. That’s pretty amazing.

You can read Eric’s excellent blog here

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Casual Blasphemy

I figured something out today.

The President is not the anti-christ. He’s not the savior, either. He’s just a man. He gets up in the morning, and he goes to bed at night. By all accounts he loves his family in the same way you love yours. He eats, drinks, and goes to the bathroom.

He’s a man.

I think that’s part of the problem. The President is so beloved by the largely liberally slanted media and the Hollywood “lobby” that he’s been almost deified, in a sense. He was elected because his promises appealed to more people than the other guy. Twice. This is the way of elections. President Obama won fair and square both times. Move on.

When I saw this clip on YouTube:

of Jamie Foxx calling the President “our Lord and savior,” I wasn’t particularly offended as a believer because I recognized the statement for what it was: a clearly misspoken and probably taken out of context remark that was likely meant with at least some irony by mssr Foxx. At least I hope so. It’s difficult to imagine anyone actually believing President Obama is anyone’s savior. Yet I do think Foxx’s words, spoken casually, are symptomatic of a larger problem.

This morning I saw a representation of this painting online, called “The Truth.”

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The artist, Michael D’Antuono, has said his intent with the painting was to provoke political dialogue and that he meant to display the painting in a mock voting booth.

I can only speak for myself, of course, but to me this isn’t so much about the artist having the constitutional right to say whatever he wants: he has that right. I think he knew exactly the kind of reaction a painting of this nature would provoke in the “religious right,” and painted it with that in mind. He got the reaction he wanted, along with a large bowl of controversy. I’d imagine he probably sold a few tickets to art exhibits as well.

Back to my original point: President Obama is a man. He’s not the savior. He’d certainly acknowledge that himself. He’s not a hero, either. Most people aren’t. His election (both times) was certainly ground-breaking and showed how far our country has come.

Yet as I mentioned earlier, The President was elected based on what he said he would do. He was also elected based on who he was and what he represented.

The media and Hollywood has created this…cult of personality around him. We allowed that to happen. We encouraged it. We still do.

He’s a man, people. A smart and gifted one, but he can’t fly or lift cars over his head. He can’t save anyone, maybe not even the country. Salvation (and deliverance) lies elsewhere, and we as a people have to be careful of the burdens and expectations we place on our public servants.

Still, I look at the crown of thorns in D’Antuono’s painting and what I feel is not so much outrage as sorrow. He clearly does not understand what it represents. I wonder if he truly understands what his painting represents?

It’s not just oil and pigment. If there are actually people out there who believe the President to be something he is not (such as a savior), they are worshipping at an altar they want no real part of.

Just because the constitution gives people the right to say (and paint) stupid things does not mean they should. Casual blasphemy is still blasphemy, and whether or not you believe it does not matter. Think of the outrage if Muhammed had been mocked depicted instead of Jesus.

Then again, no one really thinks twice about offending Christians.

John 15:18 says, “remember if the world hates you that it hated me first.”

I read this commentary about the above verse, and I thought it was interesting:

If the world hates you – As the followers of Christ were to be exposed to the hatred of the world, it was no small consolation to them to know that that hatred would be only in proportion to their faith and holiness; and that, consequently, instead of being troubled at the prospect of persecution, they should rejoice, because that should always be a proof to them that they were in the very path in which Jesus himself had trod. Dr. Lardner thinks that πρωτον is a substantive, or at least an adjective used substantively, and this clause of the text should be translated thus: If the world hate you, know that it hated me, your Chief. It is no wonder that the world should hate you, when it hated me, your Lord and Master, whose lips were without guile, and whose conduct was irreproachable….

I think we need to expect mockery, and much worse. I think the world is changing, and quite obviously turning away from God.

It makes me sad, but also resolved. There is much work to do, and we as believers have much responsibility.

Politics and the rhetoric that comes with them really don’t matter in the end.

Jesus does, and what we do with Him.

I Would Do Anything

I can’t think of anything worse than when the kids are sick. Not because it’s typically messy, or gross, or I don’t like cleaning up their puke or their snot or their (literal) crap. Not because of what it does to me.

Because of what it does to them.

Their playfulness becomes helplessness in the face of whatever is making them sick. Their joy is replaced with fever, or coughing, or whatever their symptoms are. It sucks worse than just about anything.

When the boys were sick last weekend there was a point where David had just gotten done throwing up in pretty much every room of the house and John was coughing like crazy. Jen was in the bedroom dealing with her own flu and I had just gotten the boys chilled out and resting.

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I remember thinking I would gladly bear their illnesses if it were only possible. I would do anything to assuage their suffering.

I thought that again just now, at 0644, on the day before thanksgiving. I’m holding John as he sleeps and praying the antibiotics do their thing and we don’t need to take any more drastic measures, like the hospital.

I would take his pneumonia in a heartbeat and I would bear it gladly.

The conviction that just slammed into me is that’s how God feels about us. Ultimately, he didn’t just cure our illness (which was terminal). He gladly bore it for us, and he experienced everything on our behalf. He bore all, and suffered all, and he died.

God died.

For me. For my sons.

I can feel the baby breathing against my chest as I thumb type this, and I’m thinking about how much God loved the world.

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I think about how much I love my kids, and that I would stop at no length to protect them from anything. I would be sickened, or beaten, or humiliated, even killed. I would literally do anything for them.

That’s what Jesus did.

Stop. Heyyyy, Macagangnam Style

I watched the above video through once, and I’m not sure I could do it again without spiraling down into a nightmare world where everyone wears weird pants that don’t fit and does a little dance that’s like the bastard love child of the Macarena

Hammertime

And the African Anteater Ritual

All of which makes sense, all things considered. Gangnam Style is without question the Macarena of this era, which was U Can’t Touch This of the one before. Undoubtedly, Psy’s ode to sexy ladies will usurp one or both of the other two aforementioned songs as the one all the champagne-sodden parents hit the floor for at their kids weddings.

God help us all.

Clearly I’m not the first one to get the connection, either, what with the mashup in the first video. MC Hammer may have been relegated to background dancer, but he still killed it.

Now I’m gonna go lay down in front of a tank.

Critical Thinking

I did a testimony before the FCC Youth Group and College Group Sunday night, and I’ve been picking it apart in my mind ever since. I guess it’s like everyone says–we’re our own worst critics.

What I’ve been thinking about is that I spent so much time focusing on my…brokenness and what I felt were the reasons for it that I didn’t spend enough time on what God had actually changed in my life. I focused on what at the time was hopelessness rather than hope.

I think that’s historically been my tendency. The interesting part is that as much stuff was messed up or tragic in my life, the blessings Jesus brought to my life once I let him were a hundredfold. More, even.

Yes, my parents died far too young and I grew up (mostly) without them. I still had my sisters, and they were and are incredible women who love me even when I’m a giant a-hole.

I experienced a lot of death in my life, but I experienced even more life. Before I had my own family, I got to watch my nieces and nephews grow up. And after I got together with my wife, I became part of her family as well. They accepted me immediately, as I was. And I got to watch my older son grow from just out of his toddler years to the strong and vibrant 8 year old he is this very day. Then I got to witness my younger boy literally enter the world. Amazing doesn’t cover it.

I spent many long years alone, and trying so many things to fill the voids in my heart and life. Those voids are filled (though my desire for God has only been stoked. It grows exponentially. The more I get, the more I want…). My wife is not just someone I sleep next to who shares my name. She’s my partner in all things. She’s with me literally in sickness and health, for better and worse. She’s seen me at my worst and at my best. She is extraordinary, and I love that even if the part of life we share here is brief, there is more.

There is more.

There is so much more.

I need to stop thinking so much about what made me the way I was, and focus on who made me the way I am. And I need to be ready to share that with people.

I Know What The Bible Says About Worrying. Get Off My Jock

The guy I voted for didn’t win the Presidency. That’s ok. I survived the previous 4 years, and I’ll survive the next 4 as well. I may not approve of (or like) much of what President Obama proposes for the country in the coming years, but he is still the President, and like it or not will remain so until 2016.

As President, we have to hope that as a collective whole, Obama has our best interests at heart. That may actually be so, but in my opinion only if they line up with his proposed agenda. In January, the LA Times featured an article saying:

The president has been blunt in arguing that the nation’s fiscal problems can’t be solved unless military spending is reduced. To that end, he has imposed a cut of $487 billion in the core defense budget over the next 10 years, and threatened to cut more if needed.

That’s the thing that worries me, a little. I imagine R & D will be one of the deeper cuts to be made, and that’s where I work. Certainly, I would want peace for the world. I think any good person does.

I also want my country to remain strong; the strongest country in the world. Hopefully neither beholden nor indebted to any foreign countries. With that in mind, I fear that we as a country have made the wrong choice in this election.

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Those two young men are my priority. Taking care of them is what I care about. The President may not deliberately be trying to undermine that, but it may yet happen. In trying to locate funding for his many promises, cuts do have to be made.

I wonder if the President has considered that the sweeping cuts he proposes will come at a cost? Cutting the defense budget by his proposed amount will mean many, many losses in jobs in defense manufacturing, defense engineering, soldiering, and in my case, defense testing.

It’s unavoidable. It’s a great and unfortunate irony that in finding money to create jobs and balance the budget the President will end many jobs and cause more people to resort to unemployment. It’s a tough and unenviable position.

But so is coming to work every day and hoping you get to keep doing it. Everyone who works out here is constantly wondering and speculating when it will be their heads on the chopping block. Morale is low and I wonder if the President thinks of that?

I guess it’s good I’m finishing my degree. I will probably need to update my resume in the not-so-distant future.

I will have to depend on God more and my country and President less, I suppose. That’s probably a good thing.

Go To Hell

Last week, someone I’m friends with thanks to my wife and social networking had a posting I thought was really interesting. They were quoting an extremely popular atheist apologist who said something to the effect that it was a form of “mental child abuse” to tell a child they were going to hell for “not being good.”

My friend went on to say if anyone told her kids they were going to hell because of some “sky bully,” she would more or less go all “mama bear” on them. I get that instinct, I do.

The thing is, I don’t know a single Christian that would tell someone they’ll go to hell for not being good. I am of the opinion that not a single person would come to Christ from the scared straight approach. I do not believe telling people what will eventually happen if they don’t come to faith in Christ is an effective way to witness.

Clobbering someone with words does. Not. Show. Them. Jesus.

Rather, we should tell them what can happen if they do choose Jesus. We do this by telling them what his presence has done in our lives, and the changes the Holy Spirit has wrought in us.

It’s very true that people can argue all the livelong day about whether or not Jesus is real, or about doctrinal issues. But your story is your story. It happened to you, and if you’re honest with people about what your faith has done in your life, I believe people are more likely to respond to it than if they’re threatened with hell.

It just seems like a better way to spread the Good News.