Thursday, December 30, 2021

Jesus Rarely Lives Up to Expectations


Having just spent a month focused on the first coming of Jesus, I've started thinking about the second one that is yet to take place.

I wonder what kind of similarities to the first coming it will have?

The political leaders of the time were upset at the news of Jesus' arrival...not only in Bethlehem but 30 years later in Jerusalem as well.

There were a few religious experts who knew where to look for the Messiah's birthplace, but the rank and file were probably clueless. And as for 30 years later...Jesus was NOT what they were expecting. Everyone was certain the Messiah would violently get rid of the oppressing outsiders and restore the Jewish nation as dominant owners of The Promised Land. Who would have thought that the Son of God came not to condemn the world, but to save it?

And today?

  • As always, political leaders are most concerned about retaining their seats of power.
  • Religious experts delight in arguing eschatological viewpoints, each differing view being held in absolute certainty with underlined Bible verses and best-selling books.

When folks start talking about the Bible like it's some kind of clear roadmap of the future ("Well, this verse is obviously referring to..."), I am reminded of the following quote from Rich Mullins:

"The Bible is not a book for the faint of heart -- it is a book full of all the greed and glory and violence and tenderness and sex and betrayal that befits mankind. It is not the collection of pretty little anecdotes mouthed by pious little church mice -- it does not so much nibble at our shoe leather as it cuts to the heart and splits the marrow from the bone. It does not give us answers fitted to our small-minded questions, but truth that goes beyond what we even know to ask."

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Truth is...I think most people will be as surprised at the second coming of Jesus as the Pharisees and Sanhedrin were at the first coming.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

The Prosification of "Angels from the Realms of Glory"


Heavenly angels, spread yourselves throughout the world. Once you sang about the creation, but now you're going to tell everyone about the promised Messiah being born. Here's what you should sing: "Come and worship! Come and worship! Worship Christ, the newborn king!"

Hey, you shepherds out in the pasture, watching your sheep on the night shift! God is now living with us! See the baby's holy glow over there?

Hey, you wise men! Forget all your deep thinking. There are better things for you to see if you do some traveling. You need to seek the person that all people everywhere are longing for. I mean, you've seen his special birth-star, so hop to it!

And you believers, praying and fearfully watching and hopefully waiting...the Lord is going to come down, bringing his place of worship to earth; suddenly and without warning.

So sure, we see him as a baby now, but later, he'll be rightfully sitting on God's throne, bringing together people of every nation, tribe, and tongue as they all submissively worship him.

Come and worship! Come and worship! Worship Christ, the newborn king!

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Truth is...The story of the birth of Jesus is wonderful, but the end of the tale will be beyond words.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Calvin & Hobbes Find Treasure


Today, we discover intrepid explorer Calvin on an epic adventure.

Hobbes asks for a report on his preliminary findings.

And now, the O. Henryesque twist ending...

Truth is...It doesn't matter whether the glass is half full or half empty as long as you find joy in whatever's in it.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

The Oz Is Strong in This One


The young farmboy from Tatooine got off a lucky shot at an exhaust port and now he thinks it's his destiny to become a mighty Jedi..."like [his] father".

He travels to a steamy swamp of a planet. (Why do we assume the whole planet is like the small part of it we see at any one moment of the story?) He searches for and finds the Jedi master, Yoda, and convinces the small, green creature to train him in the ways of the Force.

The farmboy, Luke Skywalker, eagerly drinks in the instruction of the...well...the puppet.

Yes, the future mighty Jedi who will bring down the evil galactic empire is getting his understanding of the "energy field created by all living things" from a piece of foam and latex.

If it weren't for Frank Oz, the Muppet performer behind Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Bert, Grover, and countless other personalities, Yoda would be nothing more than a lifeless prop.

In the same way, without the Holy Spirit empowering us to be Christ's ambassadors, we would have no spiritual vitality whatsoever. We would be of no use to anyone seeking after Truth.

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Truth is...When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! - Colossians 2:13 (The Message)

Thursday, December 2, 2021

The Black Hole of Greed


One of the things I like about science fiction is its ability to make a strong, moral statement with very few words.

And in this words at all.

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Truth may have seen the ending coming from a mile away. We're good at that when it comes to other people. Lord, help us to monitor ourselves with as much foresight.