Monday, October 27, 2008
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
3.21.2008: Good Friday.
Amy and I are stopped at a light in Jeffersonville, IN with 7-8 cars in front of us.
A lady driving behind us looks down and slams into the back of our 8 month old Kia Spectra.
Being propelled at a rate of speed of approximately 40 mph, our car slams into a van in front of us.
We realize it was not a terrorist attack, but that we were hit by a driver behind us. Thankfully, no one involved was seriously hurt. Aside from chiropractic visits, everyone should be fine.
As the reality of what happened sets in, we think about how fragile and fleeting life truly is. One second I'm talking to my wife. The next: the only thing keeping me from being thrown around the car like a Rag Doll is a seat belt. Within one second, our lives could have been cut short or at least seriously impeded.
Our lives truly are fragile. We run around all the time thinking how invincible we are (admit it: you do it, too!) and that tomorrow will be here. Even if we don't believe that, we live that way. We put things off until tomorrow. We do not enjoy the present as much as we should. Many times we are wishing for the past or gazing towards the future. The present slips past in our utter temporal confusion.
Things like death, car wrecks, etc. have a way of putting things into a different perspective. They [help] us see what is truly important in life: God, family, friends, love.... The big screen plasma HDTV is nice, but it is not important. The biggest, nicest house is good, but it's about to be repossessed due to those stupid sub-prime mortgages. The jag is sweet, but is it worth the bleeding from my ears everytime someone scratches it?
Life is full of experiences that majorly stink. They are an inconvenience at best and make us feel like our heart and soul is being ripped apart at worst. They remind us how fragile our lives truly are. Being reminded of frailty makes us question our lives...which isn't such a bad thing.
Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." -James 4:13-15
Monday, March 24, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I think that part of the conservative push toward a neo-isolationism is a fear that America won't be on top of the world anymore. We will no longer be THE Superpower or even (perish the thought) A Superpower. As Americans, we are the only culture superior enough to unilaterally rule the world. Although this fear does not translate into Americans wanting to pay higher prices on goods instead of financially supporting India and China, two of the nation's biggest competitors for natural resources today. Ironic, eh? We want continued cheap labor, but we don't want the money to be used to better those who work for pennies a day. History does repeat.
Don't think this cultural nepotism is only a conservative problem, though. Liberal Americans also suffer from their own issues in this area. Some of the most closed-minded people I know profess to have the most open. Amidst the double speak of tolerance and internationalism, they still retain a paternalistic attitude toward the developing world and those of a different socio-economic class (i.e. welfare, nationalized healthcare, etc.). Giving people money may make us feel good, but it doesn't really solve the problem of poverty.
This "cultural superiority" unfortunately spills over into Christian missions, also. I think there are two ways this happens: cultural transplantation and cultural separation. The first is where the church brings the American Gospel overseas. The planted church seeks to have a building, wear suit and ties, and could look perfectly at rest dying with the majority of U.S. churches. The second is where we think missiological principles, such as house churches, are okay for internationals, but are not "biblical" enough for America (this is almost a direct quote from a couple of people I know at seminary). That's another word that gets thrown around a lot to support one's own views, but that's a post for another time.
That being said let me introduce the piece I heard on NPR. It is the freakin' incredible cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, speaking of the blend of cultures he himself has created for himself. It is an awesome piece that you can read or listen to here.
DISCLAIMER: The previous post does contain some generalizations about differing points of view. Please understand I am not trying to formulate an argument against these views at this time and thereby create straw-men with this post. It is an attempt to talk about the issue and the fuller implications of the views held.