Thursday, August 2, 2007
I believe, deep in the purest recesses of my heart, that we should solve every problem, dispute, and international issue through break dance fighting. I believe that with the fire of a thousand suns.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
"Christ comes to the world as the Example, constantly enjoining: Imitate Me. We humans prefer to adore Him instead."
"When we see someone holding an axe wrong and chopping in such a way that he hits everything but the block of firewood, we do not say, 'What a wrong way to go about it,' but we say, 'That man is not a woodcutter.'
Now for the application. When we see thousands and thousands and millions of Christians whose lives do not resemble in the remotest way what--and this is decisive--the New Testament calls a Christian, is it not tampering with the meaning to talk as one does in no other situation and say, 'What a mediocre way, what a thoroughly inexpressive way these Christians have.' In any other situation would one not say, 'These people are not Christians.' Now be earnest and say: We are not Christians. Let this become ordinary language usage and you will have a world-transformation."
"Christianity is not the doctrine of denying oneself. Christianity is to deny oneself."
"It is a proud thing to dive into danger, and it is a proud thing to battle with untold horrors, but it is also wretched to have an abundance of intentions and a poverty of action, to be rich in truths and poor in virtues."
"It is hard to bear the world's persecution, it is harder still to bear the responsibility for not having acted, to stand ashamed in eternity because you did not win the bold confidence that transforms shame into honor."
"Oh God, teach me so deeply to understand myself that I may understand how utterly impossible it is to be satisfied with the mere fact that I am master of my own destiny, and that there is no satisfaction and joy and happiness for a person except in obedience."
"I will work on with energy and not waste time looking back, not like the man who was caught in quicksand and began calculating how far down he had already sunk, forgetting all the while he was sinking still deeper. I will hurry along the path I have discovered, not looking back as did Lot's wife, but remembering that it is a hill up which we have to struggle."
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I got a phone call today from Anthony, a roommate from college, who told me that a telemarketer had been calling his home number looking for me!! Now, Anthony was my roommate in college for only one year. During that time, his name was not on any of the bills, the lease, or any of that. The aforementioned home number is a number that he doesn't give out to anyone. He only has a home phone in order to get the internet. And someone is calling him, in Dallas, Texas looking for me!! I have not taken out any loans in Anthony's name, I have never put Anthony on any forms as a reference, and even if I had, I don't have Anthony's home phone number. I call his cell phone because no one knows his home number. They don't need to.
But there is someone who knows the number: THE ROBOTS. That is the only reasonable explanation for this situation. The robots are clearly tracking me. They haven't found me yet, but they are getting closer. They've located a friend who lives 500 miles away, with what was, no doubt, a long and tedious search. Don't take this lightly. The robots are "correcting" our "mistakes", and now I have the first evidence of a tracking system. There are other things if one simply looks around, that are blatant tools of the robots. A list might include, but is not limited to, the following:
1. The Transformers movie: a great movie, as long as you watch it with one mantra in mind: "There are NO friendly robots."
2. The i Phone: Everybody seems to want one. I do not. Paying $600 for a phone only supports the robot regime. And when your i Phone i Lasers your i Brain, then i Knew iT!!
3. New cars: Cars are now being made that can park themselves, be tracked at all times, can be started from around the world via computer, and whose wipers detect rain and start themselves. If you own one of these cars, abandon it immediately and go buy a 1985 Ford Thunderbird. The T-Bird is invulnerable to robot control.
4. Simon: You remember the "game." Red, yellow, blue, green. Repeat the sounds and flashing lights. That was the beginning. Thanks Milton Bradley...thanks a lot!!
5. Starbucks Coffee Inc.: There are many reasons why this is clearly a robot-run establishment, but I give you three words: Tall, Grande, Venti. Small, medium, and large are NEVER good enough for the multi-lingual memory banks of a robot. That is clearly robot-speak. And again: overhead cost of a cup of coffee: $.61. Price of a cup of coffee: $6.00. Profit to the robot regime: $5.49. Touche, robots, touche.
You can feel free to add to this list as you see evidence of the robots taking over/ destroying the world. But know that they are trying. We must fight...either now...voluntarily...or later. Remember the mantra.
I will put two spaces between sentences until I'm dead...and I'll tell you why:
People who use one space between sentences are the same people who kick puppies. They're the same people who laugh when a little girl wearing a bonnet drops her ice cream cone goodness-side down onto an ant pile. They laugh at the girl; they laugh at the bonnet; they laugh at the ants. For that, I will never forgive the one spacers, or their one-spacing computers. The one-spacers have allowed the computers to take what is correct, and automatically make it incorrect. And one day, when one little "correct error" turns into robots taking over the world...well, then I knew it!! One-spacers, your life is moving too fast. Take time to stop and appreciate an extra space, give your battered puppies some kibble, and buy the little bonnet girl another scoop of Rocky Road. And next time you're typing, and habit tells you to continue being a single-spacer, just think...would you rather fight the wretched habit of single-spacing your sentences, or would you rather fight the robots?
As for me and my house, we will double-space after sentence-concluding punctuation.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Monday, July 9, 2007
Fortunately, a woman saw it happen from down the hall, ran down to my desk, and shocked my heart back to life with 2 pie pans and a GameBoy. So…I thought I would use my newfound lease on life to think of a few quirks that I may have. Here is a list of 9 quirks that I enjoy living out from day-to-day. This list is exhaustive. Beyond these 9 things, everything I do is considered normal by everyone around me.
1. Most everyone who would read this probably knows me, but as an overview, I am 26 years old, I have a college degree. I have a job. I have a car. I pay my bills. I weigh over 200 pounds. I’m a grown man. But right now, as I write this, I have Batman sheets on my bed. Right now. Those sheets—they see as much action as any other set of bedding in the linen closet. They aren’t always on the bed, but they’re in the cycle with the more reputable, albeit less awesome sheets in the hamper. I find it very funny to go into my room full of grown-up furniture and books and clothes, only to see my bed adorned with frickin’ Batman! I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bring me immeasurable joy! So it’s a little weird, but take my advice: To be a hero, you’ve got to sleep on a hero.**
**Many thanks to Micah and Patty for the gift!!
2. These quirks are very revealing, for as children relate to the joy of Quirk #1, women know the joy of Quirk #2, which is this: I have over 25 pairs of shoes. As I mentioned before, I’m at work, so I cannot give you the exact number, but I can assure you, x=shoes, and x > 25. I am slightly embarrassed by this quirk—only because of the money involved in purchasing this many shoes, but let me ask you this: Could Batman save lives if he were barefoot? Think about it…
3. I rarely brush my teeth in the bathroom. There—I said it. I enjoy brushing my teeth outside, and I don’t care who knows it!! And if I don’t brush them outside, I walk around the house and brush them while I do other things. I don’t know why. My dental hygiene cannot be contained by a single room. I have this quirk. But, ‘you know what I’ve never had?? A cavity. Coincidence?! I think not.
4. So after I sleep on my badass Batman sheets, then choose a sweet pair of shoes to wear out on the deck while I brush my teeth, let’s say it’s lunch time and I want to enjoy an American culinary favorite—the PB&J. I pull out a brand new jar of peanut butter, unscrew the lid, tear of the foil seal that is there ‘For My Protection’, and there it is—the smooth surface of an unopened jar of peanut butter. Since I was a kid I have carried out a tradition wherein I get the first taste of a new jar of peanut butter by sticking my finger in it. I don’t know why I do it, but to my recollection, I have never opened a new jar of peanut butter and not done that. I’d say that peanut butter is a lot like a person, in that it would rather be touched by an adoring hand than a blade of steel…or a spoon.
5. Again, most who would read this already know me, and would know that I am one of the most laid-back people God ever put on the earth. Which is why most people who first see my closet gasp with a sense of wonderment that usually only comes upon the sight of doves taking flight. This closet, which is home to most of the aforementioned shoes, is one of the only areas of my life that is meticulously organized. The sheer number of clothes is enough to make a parachute for my apartment building if you, for some reason, wanted to throw it out of a plane. But it’s the order that is, perhaps, my quirk. All of the hangers are black and identical. On the rod from left-to-right are sections: overcoats, suits, vests, dress shirts, hanging trousers, sweater vests, sweaters, short-sleeved polos, long-sleeved polos, long-sleeved t-shirts, jackets, then jerseys—all of which are subdivided by weight, color, and pattern. Above the rod are neatly folded stacks from left-to-right: shorts, two stacks of t-shirts, khaki and brown pants, jeans, blue pants and others. Each of these stacks is two feet tall at full strength. And you’ll take my word that the 2 dressers are equally full and organized. It borders on maniacal, but it is a thing of beauty. Again, would Batman be a hero if he couldn’t find the Batsuit among all his other non-bulletproof millionaire clothes? I must be AT LEAST as prepared as Batman. I’ve always said that.
6. Another “quirk” of John Summitt is found in the fact that I get nearly as excited about the NCAA basketball tournament as I do about Christmas. If March Madness were in December, I’d have to wear a huge diaper for the entirety of the month just to contain my ‘excitement’. More about this will be written as March approaches.
7. The 7th quirk is multi-tiered, but I will only list two tiers. Both begin with this phrase: “I generally want to physically and ferociously attack…”
“…people who wear black shoes with brown pants or vica-versa.”
“…people who don’t thoroughly enjoy, or have not seen Top Gun.”
** [I lied. There are 3 tiers.]
“…other ninjas who oppose me.” **
8. Quirk #8 is similar to Quirk #5 in that it deals with meticulous organization so outstanding that an obsessive/compulsive person would click their heels in a moment of joy that, for them, usually only comes after washing their hands precisely 43 times with as many bars of soap. It is our DVD collection, and my roommate, Micah, shares this quirk. We have a fairly large collection of movies, considering I watch them for money. One night from about 1-3 AM, when Micah was supposed to be writing a paper for seminary, we instead organized the DVDs thematically. There are too many categories for me to list them, but the beauty is not only found in the major and minor categories, but also in the transitions from one to the next. One example among many: The movie, A Time to Kill, with Matthew McConaughey bridges the gap between the racially charged dramas section—with movies like, American History X and Mississippi Burning into romantic dramas, to romantic comedies, to slapstick, and so-on. The factor that allows us to move from love to hate so seamlessly?? Matthew McConaughey, and the cinematic FACT that he is a dreamboat. Don’t try to dispute it—it’s SCIENCE. There are many other ingenious transitions, but you’ll have to visit our home to see that whole package. I know I’ve mentioned things like Matthew McConaughey, romantic comedies, and dreamboats that may give you the idea that there is some masculinity at stake here. Well the “Badass Man-movie” section of the shelves begs to differ!! And, as mentioned, I can’t change science.
9. After every shower I take, I sing, “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone…” so that shaving is more pleasant. That one’s not true, but the other 8 are good, and my time here at work is almost over. I’ve got to get home, brush my teeth god-knows-where, and hit the hero sheets.
I’ve been thinking about our call, as Christians, to holiness. We are all called to be holy. We are called to live a life according to the commands and expectations of our Father. The Word says that we are equipped with all we need to live a life that is holy and pleasing to Him. It also is clear in giving us a guideline in the Word, and an example in Christ.
But there are a couple sins that are so plaguing to me; that I can’t seem to shake off. And everyone seems to have those sins—the ones that have been around on-and-off for a long time. We fight with them often, but have somewhat resigned that they will be with us—a thorn in the flesh, if you like. The Lord has truly shown me a valuable lesson in the pursuit of holiness: 'The focus cannot be on the defeat of sin, but on the Father. If I constantly am in touch with, and seeking the heart of Christ, then sin is a far poorer option, and perhaps isn’t an option at all.’ But my focus on His face is sometimes not very focused. And temptation still comes. So sometimes it comes down to persistence and devotion to a battle with sin.
There was a key line in the movie, The Usual Suspects: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” Well, in the Guy Ritchie movie, Revolver, which I mentioned in the aforementioned June 19th post, one of the key lines is: “The greatest trick he ever pulled was convincing you that he is you.” It made me think about some of the language we use with regard to sin. Things like: “I’m not alone in this. Everyone I know struggles with this same sin,” or “I just can’t seem to shake this one off.” I just said that one. But could it be that Satan disguises thoughts like, “Everyone struggles with this…” so that I will think it and believe that the thought is true because “I” thought it. So I get a slight bit of justification for what I’m doing because lots of other Christians struggle with the same sin. Is that a thought that goes along with the imitation of Christ? It is not, but I don’t stop and think that perhaps that thought should not be allowed credit. Perhaps the King of Deception might want me to think such things?? And it is true, we all struggle with sin. And we are people—we will sin. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. We have to sin in order to need grace. My sin shows me that grace. But here’s where the questions start to brew…
If everything in the second paragraph is true, then can we choose not to sin? As we gain a close walk with the Lord, can we make choices moment-to-moment to NOT SIN? With most sin that I can think of, there is a temptation, an instant of choice, and then an action. Can I, then, make moment-to-moment choices to “merely” NOT DO actions that are sinful?
Clive Staples says, "Indeed if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that the Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us. Like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased."
And Marianne Williamson said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, fabulous, talented? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”
I know from the stories of the Bible, that sometimes God calls us to fight some battles with strength that He has given us. And if I am tempted once and deny sin, does that not mean that I can do the same the next time, and the next—one at a time? It seems that I should be able to do that if I just lived in His strength. He has called us to be strong. Are we, as Christians, infinitely stronger than we give ourselves credit for?
Should we be expecting more from ourselves with regard to sin?
If you've read all the way to here, I thank you. Tell me what you think…take a few minutes, and mull it over. I really want to see what y'all think. Wisdom….BRING IT!!
Sunday, July 8, 2007
I watched a Guy Ritchie (Snatch) movie this week called 'Revolver', and one of the characters says:
"If you change the rules on what controls you, you will change the rules on what you can control. How radical are you prepared to be?"
This, among other things, really challenged me to be who I say I want to be. I have been seeing that when I want to take things out of my life that do not reflect the Savior, I needn't focus on the fact that I need to get them out. I have to focus on Him....on who I know Him to be. Because the more I know about Him, the more I want my life to please Him....because of who He is and what He has given for me. I am continually encouraged by Hebrews 11:6 "Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." I pray that I would daily renew my faith in Him--that I can have the Life that He has promised all who believe in Him. There is so much more.....
I am so grateful for those of you reading this who have talked with me the past few weeks and have helped to challenge and encourage me!!
Today, my friend Justin and I went to a church up north of KC, and the most ridiculous thing happened--definitely the craziest thing I've seen in a while!! It was amazing...we decided we were gonna check out some churches around here to see if there would be one in the area that we could get involved with. So we went to this church up north that was a fine church. It was really laid-back, and seemed to be friendly and family oriented. So we're doing a little worship with the crowd there, when the time for the offering came around. So, the music minister, a guy in his late 30s / early 40s gets up there and proceeds to sing.....are you ready for this?! "HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW" by Toby Keith!! We almost lost our minds!! Justin and I looked at each other, and I have a HUGE grin on my face--so I'm looking around to see if anyone else thinks this is the craziest thing to ever happen under a church roof. Nope--people are nodding their heads and/or singing along..."How do you like me now...now that I'm on my way?!" I couldn't stop the amazement, but I knew I had to stop smiling so big or these folks may think that the visitor is mocking their church. So I squashed it back, but it was, possibly, the hardest thing I've ever done!! So we're thinking--well, maybe the pastor's gonna tie this into SOMETHING. But how could this song possibly be linked to Jesus...the Savior of the world?! Well, it CAN'T!! The sermon was on the characteristics of a leader, and there was no mention of Toby Keith...or his bar & grill. But seriously, it was amazing, and I couldn't believe it was happening in real life....RIGHT THEN!! It happened and we got to see it!! I was so glad that we went to that church on this glorious day!! And I want to get settled into a church, but that made me want to visit every church in Kansas City just to see if there was crazy stuff going on in other churches that I would never expect. And we've decided that this may not be the church that we will call our home, but we will be calling the church office every week to find out which country song will be the "offeratory hymn." AMAZING!! I just had to share that with y'all...just think about it. HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW!!
"The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light." --LUKE 16
"No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other." --LUKE 16
"Indeed if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that the Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us. Like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased." --C.S. LEWIS
"You're all a bunch of F*&^ing A%&*oles. 'You know why? 'Cause you don't have the guts to be who you want to be." --Tony Montana [Scarface]
I sat @ our dining room table with a friend on Saturday night and into Sunday morning talking about how "I'm not where I want to be." As I talk to my Christian brothers and sisters, and hear about their walks with the Lord, and we talk about others who are walking the same walk, it always seems as though the walk has a hitch in it. It seems like my walk, as well as that of many others seems weak--with occasional bursts of strength. Saturday night we talked for hours, saying things like: "I know where I want to be, I'm just not there." or "I know I should be closer to the Lord..." or "I remember when I was closer..." The list goes on and on along those lines, but the gist of it seems to be that we aren't where we want to be, and so many Christians are in the same boat. And it became apparent as we talked, that we KNOW what we need to do to get where we want to be. And adversely, we know what we need to STOP doing. But we don't take action in doing the things that we know would bring us to the joy of our Father. And we sit precariously in the things that keep us from it.
It seems so simple: I know that there are things that bring me closer to a God that loves me beyond my comprehension. I know that walking with Him daily is what I was created to do. It makes life more enjoyable, and helps me love. The list is of immeasurable blessings that can be mine is enormous. These things are promised to me--and I have seen them--I know this to be TRUE. YET, I don't do these things. Instead, I settle for things that are mediocre and temporary at best. I do mediocre, temporary things knowing they are worldly, ridiculous things that are not even close to the character of Christ. But you know, I've been doing these things or not doing other things for so long that it seems normal. And coincidentally, during all this time where mediocrity seems normal is where I'm not where I want to be.
And we want to say, "Well, it's not that easy." But with any sacrifice, the struggle seems to be directly proportionate to the devotion to, or the urgency of--the ends. Like when someone who smokes tries to give up cigarettes 8 different times, to no avail, but then his best friend dies of lung cancer, and he quits the next day and never smokes again. The sacrifice is, all of the sudden, worth the ends.
So as Christians, we are "followers of Christ." We say that we believe that Jesus died for us because He loves us infinitely more than all the loves we've ever known. We say we believe that we were created by God, Himself, for the sole purpose of loving and worshipping Him--because He embodies Love, Righteousness, Holiness, and Perfection. We say we believe these things, but apparently we don't believe them enough that our lives would be changed--enough to pursue holiness or a life even close to that which Christ modeled.
So, we know where we are, and where we want to be. We know the steps to get there. We know it won't be easy or effortless, but that the ends are more-than worth the effort. And we genuinely WANT to love the Lord with all our hearts, minds, and bodies--and have that love be reflected in all that we do. Why, then, do most of my friends & family, and most of their friends & family seem to relate to all this? Why are we constantly torn?
At about 3:30AM last Sunday, my friend and I came up with the same answer almost simultaneously:
Sometimes I'm a little pansy.
And we laughed because we thought of the same thing at the same time, and it was ridiculous, but then--REALLY. How could all these conditions exist, and leave us still whining, making excuses, and wondering, "Why?" The answer: Because I'm not fighting for it. I'm not going after it even as hard as I pursue things that matter much less. This is the most important thing in my life, and I approach it weakly--as if there is anything else that even comes close to the love of Christ and Life in Him.
People of the world give their whole selves to making money, playing sports, learning a profession, the stock market, etc. They go after them with everything they've got and fight to achieve and end--because that is most important to them. And it takes drive, courage, and persistence, to achieve those ends. They show dedication to what is important to them. Why, then, should they pay mind to Christians who don't fight for what is important in their lives?
We can be more. We were created to enjoy. We were created TO BE the image of God. We need to do what we know we can. We need to live what we say we believe. And I need to stop being a little pansy.