religion

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

Just read the gospels more...

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How often do we think about the last advice or the last words we would mouth to the people we love? To be honest, I don't really think about it that much. On the occasion when I do think about it, I have a tendency to think about the words I would speak to my wife, my kids, their spouses, and grandkids if it was appropriate to assume my kids had them.

So much should be said—like our last "I love you's" or admonishes about the wiles of this world. Maybe I would want to share with them my favorite things about each of them; the shape and color of their eyes, their scent, their dimples when they smile, the contagious sound of their laugh, or maybe some favorite moment we shared together.

While I am sure I would have some talk of these things with them, I feel there would need to be more...

Look At Jesus

These words are the words I would want to utter and recite to my family and friends if I had the opportunity to share with them if I were on my death bed.

Look At Jesus

N.T. Wright, when asked the question about what he'd say to his children on his death bed—commented that he would tell them to read the gospels more, "to look at Jesus."

I find it fascinating when I read the gospels, I find this drive and passion in Jesus to make sure we see that he and the Father are one—there is this completeness, a wholeness between them. The clarity and power in their unity is what drives, transforms, restores, and secures all things.

Jesus said,

"My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." - John 10:29-30

In essence, Jesus is saying his dad is the biggest, baddest (Used in the American colloquialism—meaning good), and toughest dad in the neighborhood. Yet, he is also saying "my" dad is the most loving, caring, forgiving, and rescuing dad in the neighborhood.

You want to see God, look at Jesus—he is God who came to earth in the form of a man to reveal and demonstrate all the aspects of the Godhead to us. God loves, He cares, He forgives, and He rescues.

I would want my family and friends to know these things about Jesus.

I would tell them to read the gospels more, to look at Jesus, trust him, and then go do what he does.

A Tribute to Brennan Manning

brennanOne of the people who have heavily shaped and influenced my life and Christian walk passed away yesterday. Brennan Manning showed me that the God of the universe was more than some distant authoritarian being, but a Father who wanted me to call Him Abba which distinguishes me as His child, a part of His family. Now you got to understand I never met Brennan Manning. I never heard him speak at a conference or sat in a lecture by him, and I never attempted to meet him. His influence on me was through his writing. I first started reading his books while I was in Bible college. One of my professors made a couple of Brennan’s books required reading, and once I cracked open the pages of his books, it was no longer required reading for me... Brennan Manning also taught me to depend on God’s grace day by day and moment by moment. He purposed me to live a life defined by having an awareness that I am deeply loved by Jesus. My true identity is found in Jesus and that it was a gift, not anything I deserved or could buy, but it was offered to me for free - The Father’s grace...

Brennan Manning’s influence profoundly molded my view the reconciliation of my old life to the new life I have in Jesus. Even to this day when I struggle with the demons of my past, I reflect on not only the words of Jesus, but also on thoughts written by Manning, such as...

“My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.” - Brennan Manning, Ragamuffin Gospel

“To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God's grace means.” - Brennan Manning

Becoming aware of my need for redemption from the dark shadows of my life, one that is given not earned, reminds me that it is through this painful life that we find love and acceptance from Abba, Father. In turn, Manning spoke of this grace being something that is not selfishly kept, but desperately shared. In his book The Wisdom of Tenderness, Manning speaks of the true measure of our love for God is seen in our love for our neighbor. Our understanding of God’s love for us is when we seek to have our heart broken and concerned for the things that God cares about. Grace is something to be shared not something to keep. Manning wrote that The Father’s grace is for the hurting and not for the well. Manning states in his book Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging, “Our hearts of stone become hearts of flesh when we learn where the outcast weeps.”  May we all have a heart like The Father’s and take life moment by moment like Brennan Manning.

Thank you Brennan Manning you have shaped my life through your writing! You have shown me I am loved by my Abba, Father and the need to live gracefully.