culture

What's the big deal about the movie Noah?

   

noah-poster2

 

First a little disclaimer: I have not seen the movie, so this is not a review of the the movie itself, but more of an observation of how some Christians react when the things we think we own seem to be under attack.

I am sure the movie is great and I am sure the movie isn't biblically accurate. It's a Hollywood produced movie after all.

The reason for this blog post about the movie Noah...

I sat in a local business the other day and overheard a conversation between three people, all of whom were not Christians and one of them who didn't believe in God at all.

Two of the three people were buying goodies to eat before they went to the movie theater to see the movie Noah (Don't tell Pine Theaters that they brought in their own snacks.).

When they told the salesperson why they were getting snacks, the salesperson said they heard the movie was good, but heard that Christians were condemning the movie because it wasn't accurate to the Bible story—the two young adults who were buying the snacks acknowledge they had heard this as well. The sales person said that she didn't really know the story of Noah or the Bible for that matter and the two other people said so as well.

What one of them said next caused me to pause and think... She said, and I quote...

"It seems everywhere I look, Christians are bickering—bickering about society and culture, bickering about their rights, bickering with other religions, bickering about politics, bickering about homosexuality and gay marriage, bickering with people who don't give a shit about what they believe, bickering with each other, and now bickering about movies... When will they ever stop! If this is an example of who or what they believe in then I don't want to have any part of that—the world is already angry and they just add to the anger... I have yet to meet a Christian who is happy."

 

The two young people agreed with her and added that they thought Christians were suppose to love people and forgive, but the only Christians they knew liked to argue and bully people to believe what they believe in...

 

Can I bicker for a second...

I would've apologized on behalf of Christendom, but I'm sure I would have caused some bickering over the apology... I sat in my corner and kept my mouth shut. I'm not sure if I should have spoken up, but I was too embarrassed to say anything—Yeah, I am sure I have bickered in the past over things like this.

What I don't get is how we (Christians) react sometimes like we own the stories in the Bible. I don't get how we take to social media and berate and belittle people who aren't Christians (Or even with other Christians for that matter), who use stories or "things" that we claim as ours; especially when we think their depiction is inaccurate. It seems as if we somehow feel the need to protect and defend the integity of God and the Bible.

This whole incident made me think about what I want to be known for and what we as Christians should be know for.

We should not be known by how much of the Bible we know or how accurate we can tell a Bible story, but we should be known by our radical love for people because of Jesus.

Don't get me wrong, there is a time to stand up for truth, but we must check the motives of our heart. Are we defending biblical truth because we want to help move someone closer to Jesus or are we doing it so that we can prove we are right and the other person is wrong.

Somehow and in some way, we're forgeting about the command of Jesus to love God and love our neighbors. I think many of us have forgotten that we are ambassadors of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21).

What is more important—to be right or to love?

 

Grace and Peace, Joe

Happy National Coffee Day

National Coffee Day

I must first apologize. I haven't written a blog post in sometime. If you didn't know, the area in Northern Colorado where I live was hit hard by flood waters about two weeks ago... The church I am on staff at took a huge role of serving as an evacuation center and now we are in full recovery mode, and I have been fully involved in helping lead some of the work being done.

In saying all this, I really haven't had any time to blog.

My hope is to write a post about all we are experiencing and learning as we served our community as an evacuation center and now as a leader in the recovery phase of the natural disaster, to which the National Weather Service called, "a flood of biblical proportions..."

And now to the reason for this blog post and something dear to my heart...

It's National Coffee Day!

I am not a coffee expert, but I love coffee. I love strong black coffee. No cream. No sugar. No foo-foo stuff. In fact I do not consider foo-foo coffee to be coffee at all. Sorry, but it is not coffee. They have other names for it; like Latte, Mocha, and etc.

What I consider coffee is something that is brewed, poured over, dripped, French pressed, Chemex Brewed, expresso, Moka Pot, and I'm sure there is a couple of other ways that I am not mentioning. One of my favorite ways is to brew it over an open fire.

My favorite coffee shop in Astoria, OR.

I just want to take a blog post and share some of my favorite coffee beans with you as we celebrate a gift from God.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Peet's Gaia Organic Blend - A bounteous world blend of certified organic coffees from Africa, Indonesia, and the Americas.

Flavor Notes: Naturally complex — vibrant, earthy, and juicy, with blossom and cacao notes.

This is my favorite bean! I really like the way it leaves a chocolate coding at the back of your tongue.

Peet's Major Dickason's Blend - Conceived by one of the first Peetniks, a loyal customer of their original Berkeley store, retired army officer Key Dickason brought the idea to Mr. Peet in 1969. Mr. Peet refined it and this premier blend is one of their all-time bestseller.

Flavor Notes: Rich, smooth, and complex, with a very full body and multi-layered character.

This coffee bean is a staple in my house. It is my default bean when I run out of the Gaia Organic blend and can't make it to Peet's for more beans.

Starbucks PIKE PLACE ROAST - In 2008 Starbuck's master blenders and roasters created a blend so consistent and harmonious that no single characteristic dominates—or disappears.

Flavor Notes: A smooth, well-rounded medium blend of Latin American coffees with subtly rich flavors of cocoa and toasted nuts.

When I go to Starbuck's this is what I get. On occasion I might get an Americano, but Pike Place is my coffee of choice, in a mug not in a paper cup.

gaia coffee beanThere are other beans that I enjoy. Some are obscure that you probably never heard. One is the bean that my friend Mike Packer and I used to roast, well he did the roasting and I did the drinking and talking...

I hope you have an amazing day of drinking coffee.

Happy National Coffee Day!

Image is everything...

Image is everything web logo1I've been kind of dwelling on this "image is everything" thing this past week. I had a conversation with a friend the other day where we talked about things that really matter to God. What we both came to an agreement on was the fact that churches and "we" Christians sometimes put more value into causes, programs, movements, pioneering, and innovation rather than dwelling with HIM. I think this is because all of these things whether good or bad give us a better image or appear to entice excitement and mass numbers. In many ways in the church we have bought into the lie that "image is everything."

Being a disciple of Jesus is not about writing books, teaching at conferences, creating causes so people will be excited about church or Jesus. It's not about pioneering or starting movements through our innovation. DON'T get me wrong I know these things can help the mission of Jesus. It's just that sometimes these things take the place of what we are really suppose to be about. It's about abiding in Jesus and going where he is already at. We are then to be obedient to what the Holy Spirit is moving us to do, which is to love God with all that we have, and loving our neighbor they way God loves us, which is sacrificially through grace and forgiveness. Jesus wants us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

Ed Stetzer aptly stated, "Too often we pull our cultural values into our grid for measuring church success..." While his context for this statement is talking about church size, I think it could be equally said for how some in the church value appearances or image over people and relationships. Read the whole article here: Rethinking Small Churches by Ed Stetzer

The culture values outward appearances. Success can be only ankle deep as long as it looks and tastes good. That's probably why we are a fast-food nation and why many of us can't wait for the release of the Twinkie next week.

I am not saying that image and outward appearances are all bad. These can be the very things that get a person interested or coming back to find out more about Jesus. In some ways we need to pay attention to image and outward appearances.

What I am saying is that when these things become the measurement of success for the church and for Christians, then we have a huge problem. When we critique a preacher on the delivery of their sermon instead of if they mentioned Jesus at all in their message and preached the gospel. Or if we become so Type-A about whether we kept our people in service too long or the flow of the worship service didn't go right or as we had planned. When these things become the standard bearer for success then we have stopped dwelling in Jesus. If you want to know the end result of this way then read John 15:1-8... Good gospel preaching, causes, programs, movements, pioneering, and innovation should move you to the neighborhood.

I like how Eugene Peterson said about Jesus in The Message, "The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood..." - John 1:14

People > causes, programs, movements, pioneering, innovation, sermon delivery, tight rock concert worship services... The church's mission is people and sometimes people get messy, life gets messy and all we really have in the end is LOVE. Causes, movements, and programs will never take the place of a life spent abiding with Jesus. We must reveal to people a life that is dwelling with Jesus not our latest shiny new ministry toy.

Honestly "image is NOT everything." The heart of the matter is "what image are you displaying to people..."