Welcome to Carnivorous Caribou

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Can't See Me, But I'm Here

This is the week we move into our new church building. Almost all of my office is in boxes and the internet has left the building (our old rental building, that is). For some odd reason, I can receive emails but can't send them consistently right now. Therefore, I'll be on some, but probably not regularly.

However, in the meantime, please think of us in the following ways:

1. Still waiting to hear about Mom's test results. The biopsies were successful, however, the doctor went on vacation, so we are still waiting to hear the results. Doctor thought things looked good though.
2. We may be making some offers on a couple houses soon. We love our current house, but have outgrown it a bit. We just want to use what we've got to His glory and don't want to get greedy. Pray for contentment for us, regardless of the outcome.
3. Speaking of buildings. With Greenville Grace moving into our new building this Sunday, we could use your prayers...
a) That the building is completed. It's going to be close, but I think they'll get it done in time.
b) People honor God with their attitudes. Our building team has done an amazing job. However, some people seem to love to prove to others how much they know by pointing out critiques. Pray that people don't and that if they do, the building team will respond properly.
c) Grace is changed for the better. When we entered the building process, I used to pray that the new building wouldn't change us as a Body. First, that prayer is flawed because it assumes change is a bad thing. Second, the prayer is flawed because we can't avoid change when you change residence. Pray instead, that the building will simply be a tool God uses for His honor and glory.


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Dare We Challenge the Wise?

I've listened to an NT Wright sermon I found on veritas. He was speaking to a group of students at Yale in 1995. Like any NT Wright work, I've listened to it 4 times already, and still don't totally understand what he's saying. But here's my initial thoughts so far:

From his insights about the era, he gives two great responses about the resurrection:

1. Judaism typically reveres the place of burial for a hero. We read nothing of the apostles or other followers returning to the tomb to pay homage to Jesus. Not only do His most devout followers neglect the tomb, but even the casually interested don't take a pilgrimage to the tomb. Why not? There really is no explanation unless the tomb is empty.
2. Messiahship was typically passed on through the family. When people would rally around someone as their messiah, and he was killed by the government, people would annoint a close relative as successor. James clearly plays a prominent role in the early church, yet no one proclaims him as messiah. Why not? The only explanation is that the church considered the crucified Jesus as their Messiah. Perplexing decision, unless the church knew Jesus to be resurrected.

...but what concerned me:

1. "Jesus believed He was" This phrase is uttered a lot. I know I'm going to drop the ball describing this, but in it's context, it seems to distinguish between reality and Jesus' imagination. Almost as if Wright were saying, "Whether true or not, it appears that Jesus believed it to be true." That just makes me uncomfortable.
2. Jesus compared to false messiahs. Sure, several different men claimed to be the messiah around the time of Jesus. Many even had a pretty solid following. The agenda of these "would-be-messiahs" helps us see what agenda resonated with people, and even the way a person gathered a following, but it doesn't mean Jesus followed the same format. Jesus' agenda was totally different and everything He said doesn't need to match the actions of "pseudo-messiahs."

...and the big issue that consistently troubling about NT:

In an effort to reconstruct, he often deconstructs too much. Much of Wright's work is very valuable to the understanding of first century Judaism. His research allows us to understand some things in light of the original context rather than reading the 21st century backwards into the Biblical texts. However, he seems to get carried away at times. In effort to explain his understanding of a passage in Luke, he readily throws out information from church fathers in the second century. He doesn't even seem to blush at the notion that he knows better than those only 50 years removed from the incident.

Contrast this with an interview on Talk the Walk with Todd Friel. He interviews Michael Medved who explains why Jews accept the rabbinic teachings. They believe they are following oral teaching they have received from their instructor. Medved explained that a rabbi from 1,000 years ago is "one thousand years closer to Sinai," therefore he must consider his credibility.

Wright seems to be a nice enough guy, but this kind of mindset seems to escape him. His perspective on Paul and justification suggests he believes the reformers got it totally wrong (as well as other church fathers: see Augustine). He questions the authenticity of some books of the Bible (or at least does not defend the Cannon). He's even willing to redefine the words of Jesus, or how his followers interpreted it.

I would never want to wrestle words with NT Wright, he is far too intelligent. And I appreciate his desire to question things. But I worry that sometimes the "destruct-reconstruct" method requires a bit of arrogance to assume we can know more than people of past generations. Are we really wise if we think we are more wise than others?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Creativity

What would you do if you had this kind of talent and creativity?

You probably wouldn't check my blog. Oh wait. He does sometimes. Huh.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Origins of MarFin

Marissa offers her explanation for the the moniker Marfin. Honestly, I feel that in an effort to be politically correct, she chose to white-wash the entire issue and ignore the real facts.

Here is the real story.


from the latin "marsupium" and "finitimus."

Most do not realize that Marissa is quite the fan of marsupials. She has been overheard as to saying she considers them the final order in the status of the food chain, even believing they may be superior in intelligence to humans (though not in the image of God, as she attests only humans are).

Don't believe me? Just check. Nearly everytime she is wearing pants, they will have pockets on them...a tribute to marsupials.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Me and NBC's "The Book of Daniel"

In the last couple days, I have received several forwarded emails originating from David Wildmon of the American Family Association. The email is titled: NBC Demeans Christian Faith. It goes on to say that NBC is doing this through its release of the show "The Book of Daniel"

I happen to like some NBC shows, so I've seen the commercials for "Daniel" more than once. The issues of offense appear to be:

the father is a drug addicted episcopal priest.
his wife loves her mid-day martini
their 23 year old son is gay
their daughter sells drugs
their youngest son is having sex with the bishop's daughter
the father speaks face to face with a white robed-bearded Jesus

David Wildmon wants me to write the executives at NBC. Before I would, I need to sort through some emotions:

1. Apathy. I just don't see this show lasting long. Lost, 24, and Prison Break work with complex characters. It doesn't seem that comedies do. Comedic characters need to be kept simple and easy to follow. I had to check the email three times to make sure I got the details to the show. (And this doesn't cover it all. For example, the priest's secretary is also sleeping with his sister-in-law.) It seems the show will be so abstract that it just won't connect with people.
2. Confusion. I'm not sure what this says. Is this supposed to be an accurate portrayal of "Christian life," or, since this is a comedy, is the humor supposed to be found in the fact that it is ridiculous. I've wondered the same about Ned Flanders. Is he supposed to be a representative of how the world sees Christians, or is he supposed to make you laugh because no Christian is truly that absurd? I honestly don't know if I should be offended or not.
3. Sorrow. It may be a comedy, and there may not be a person that is dealing with all these issues in reality, but there are people all over the place that are dealing with at least one or two of these issues...Christians included. Who isn't disfunctional? The show may be a comedy and will have fun with these issues, but these problems severely damage people all around us. My heart should break.
4. Expectation. Aslan isn't the only thing decaffeinated. It's representative of the direction culture has seen Jesus. He is now weak, clueless and insecure in the world's eyes. We are probably at least partly to blame for that.
5. Relief. This is not Christianity as I know it. They seem to be talking about something of religion, rather than a relationship with Christ. Their Jesus is weak. They are dependant on Jesus speaking to them in a garden, rather than through His Word. They don't seem to have their life and their faith intersect. I really don't know that it is stepping on my toes too much.

At this point, I don't think I know a lot about the show. Commericials and a few soundbytes don't often represent accurately. At this point, I don't know how people will react to the show. At this point, I don't know if boycotts, petitions and letters to the network are only going to bring them more attention.

Maybe I'll end up joining your effort, Mr. Wildmon, but I'm not sure I can just yet.

Please Pray for my Mom

She's got a lot of important tests and procedures in the next couple of days. Please pray for doctors' wisdom and peace of mine for my mom, and wisdom or us to see how to glorify God in the midst of the process.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

David the Relevant

Because he probably won't tell anybody, I'm letting you know that my friend David has an article on relevantmagazine.com. You should check it out.

I love the infant analogy. I wish David would have shared that with me before I preached the Grace Anatomy Series!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Guest Post: Charity Wright

I've been telling my wife for quite some time that she needs to start writing a blog. She told me she would wait until she found something truly worth writing about...

That topic has finally arrived.

Yuletide Acne

It was a magical evening. Our little family drove through the wintry twilight to take in the lights, the elves and reindeer, the nativity scenes and the softly falling snow, as Christmas sang in our hearts to the tune of Mariah Carey’s Christmas album. It’s a tradition we hope to continue for years to come. Rachel & Zeke shouted excitedly from the back seat every time they saw "Frosty the Snowman." Danny & I held hands in the front and just took in the joy of the season, while Kari made contented sleeping noises from her infant seat.

But suddenly, the magic ended as our starry eyes fell on a hideous sight. The front bushes on an otherwise respectable-looking house were covered with a garish little grid – rows and rows of neon pink, blue, green and yellow lights. This monstrosity covered the front part of the bushes, and ended abruptly in a perfect line about halfway across the last bush. It was then that I realized: Net lights are a zit on the face of Christmas: an angry red blemish marring the beautiful face of the greatest holiday known to man. As early as October I begin counting the days until Christmas – for this?? I am convinced that every time another net of neon nastiness is thrown onto a poor, unsuspecting bush, an angel actually loses his wings.

The charm of Christmas lights lies in their imperfections; somehow when they wink at you in uneven rows around an evergreen they seem more friendly, more inviting. Not so with net lights, which have all the personality of a giant waffle. Don’t get me wrong – at times, when done well, white net lights can be tolerable. But the colored ones are just downright offensive. I understand the need to save time, but I have to say that generally I would rather see no lights at all than those of the net variety. Let’s start taking some pride in the way we decorate for Christmas!

My personal favorite is net lighting draped on fences, or stretched out and hung from the eaves (After all, what could be more charming than little diagonal rows of neon icicles?). We’ve even seen it marring an entire rooftop. What will they think of next? Net lights for Christmas trees? Net ribbon to grace wreaths and garlands? How about nets full of cherubs? People, the insanity must stop!

We need to form a united front against tacky Christmas decorations if we want our children to have any chance of growing up in a world where Christmas is once again a thing of beauty and grace. Together we can pop this zit!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Links Stink

Unlike my desk, I decided it's time to rearrange some things on the blog. I'm keeping the OSU color scheme (and will til we stomp ND in the Fiesta Bowl). I'm also keeping me as the author (though I'm working on a guest blog coming from a much better writer than I). But I did decide to change around the links section.

Because I love lists, I thought I'd use one to explain my changes...

1. I'd love to get rid of links but...I wouldn't have found many blogs I love if others hadn't linked to them on their sites. I think there are real gems here that I hope you check out. Just don't forget who told you to check them out!
2. Some links needed to be added. I couldn't believe that some places I have bookmarked and check daily still weren't on my links. Scan the list. If you see something you didn't see before, check it out. I do.
3. Some needed to be removed. Not over any major issues. Most were removed simply because they aren't updated often enough. One or two may have been removed due to content. But even those, I still check out. I just couldn't justify being a pastor and steering some of my students there. Some were removed for another reason...
4. What to do with "Community Links?" I don't really like the layout of Xanga, but I do have to admit, they really seem to have a community thing going. I'd love to highlight the blogs of students and former students in the youth group, but I feel at times that I am intruding. If you are in SHAKE, or have been in SHAKE, and would like your link listed...I'd love to put it in my links (seriously, some of your are incredibly thought provoking, and I'm really hoping you give me permission to list you). But if you don't let me know, I leave it off, in respect of your privacy.
5. The format needed changed. The old form seemed to be more about the person than the website. I decided to switch my links to let you know where I usually cruise. Again, it's not everywhere I go, but many of the places.

In the end, I'm sure this format won't last. Is it wrong to cry out "semper reformanda" when referring to a blog?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Contemplating Clive

Like most issues in Christianity, the popularity of CS Lewis is securely duct taped to a pendulum. Obviously, with the release of "Narnia," he will be back on the rise.

While I am not diminishing the fine work that the "Chronicles" are, I do wonder one thing:

What would we allow CS Lewis to do in our church?

Many would willingly turn the pulpit, sunday school, or the very least, their small group over to Lewis' control. There are good reasons for this:

1) Amazing Intellect--The man covered so many topics in a variety of genres. He could definitely make the group think.
2) Power of Allegory--But he would not lose people in lofty, intellectual jargin (unless he chose to). There is a practical side to his work that keeps it out of the clouds and is real and applicable.
3) Logic and Reasoning--His appeals were often made from logic and reasoning. He exposed the errors of differing worldviews by "taking them to their very end." He could make a person respect what he believed even if they weren't ready to accept it or willing to believe the Bible as true. If you have not used the classic "Liar, Lunatic, Lord" platform in a discussion, what are you waiting for?
4) Quick Witted--The man made some great and profound comments on the spot. My favorite: "I don't pray to change God. I pray to change me."

But before we slap on a WW"CSL"D bracelet, or start referring to him as "Jack" (as if we have a congenial relationship with him), let's consider some other things:

1) He believed (incidently, I doubt he still does) in Purgatory. My concern is not geographic (whether one exists or not) but more pragmatic (why does it need to exist). If, after my death, I still need a cleansing from sin, and my being disciplined for a time will accomplish said cleansing, what does that say of the work of the atonement?
2) He was really an inclusivist. This comes out in the "Chronicles," though not in the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe." He wasn't a universalist, but I think he saw the road to heaven as a bit wider than Scripture describes.
3) There tends to be a de-emphasis of Scripture. Scriptural quotes are infrequent. Even less frequent is any form of Scriptural exegesis. Granted, this often was due to his purpose in writing. While I am all for using logic, I really appreciate arguments that make there way back to "logos." I think you can do both, and just feel at times, he neglected the one.

Again, I'm not disqualifying "LLW" or "Screwtape Letters" or even "Mere Christianity" as good literary works. I even see that they have benefit to the Body of Christ. But I just wonder, what would you allow him to do if CS Lewis were still alive and chose to make your church his home? What wouldn't you let him do?

Life with a G4 is Gr8

My G4 arrived a couple of days ago. I'm still in the process of transferring files, but will get back to blogging very soon.

(Thank you to the surprising number of you who wondered why I hadn't been posting and were willing to lie and tell me you missed my blog just to make me feel better.)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Half-year from a Halfwit

I've been on the blogging scene for a little over six months now. I thought I'd list some things I've learned from the process. (For if I'm at least learning, it justifies the mediocre product some...doesn't it?)

10. Be careful, Rick Warren has some very loyal fans. Depending on who's reading the posts, it's an easy way to rile up the crowd. You don't have to say a lot. You don't have to say anything negative, even. All you have to do is decline when the PDL Koolaide is passed around and you must not care about evangelism.
9. I'm a very little man. Blogs prove that anyone can have an opinion, and voice their opinion publicly. Still though, there was a ridiculous race of adrenaline when I headed to ProBasketballNews.com and saw my articles on Racism in the NBA and The Pain of Being Traded. Then I realized I was thrilled because of an internet article. I'm a very little man, indeed.
8. I'm not a good writer. That's one reason I felt so little. It's not like I actually communicate well in written word. Consider Exibit A:

On David Nilsen's blog, he gives this account:

"I walked back there a little while ago. I put on a pair of hand-me-down jeans from my father-in-law, tied the laces on my ripped up Adidas shell toes, and stepped outside into the cool humidity. It downpoured this morning when we were still in bed. As I stepped out the back door of the garage...I weaved between the apple trees that produce no edible fruit, ducking under the overhanging branches where they cross the path, and back to the grass clearing between the trees and the field. I walked by the piles of wood I've been chopping all summer, stepping between our brutal poison ivy and sumac plants, and stopped right at the edge of the field."

My extent of writing:

"I walked outside, through the damp grass and passed the apple trees."

I thought I painted a word picture by calling them "apple" trees. I've got a long way to go.

7. I have to be careful who may be reading. After reviewing a book by Dan Kimball, he actually resonded to my post. (I'm just glad I liked the book.) Then a little while later, I instant message my mother who tells me, "Leave me alone. I'm learning how to pray for pornstars." Not a quote I ever thought I'd hear from my mother.
6. There is no six. It's a stupid joke, but we think it's funny.
5. Anonymous stories must be vague. That's not exactly a newsflash. But as I've talked through experiences before, I've at times given too much detail. That detail fails to "protect the innocent." Whether others could figure out the situation, of if even the reader felt embarrassed that I talked about them, I don't know. But if it's happened, I'm truly sorry. I'm trying to do better. I'm just not that sharp.
4. I predict sports outcomes about as well as radio hosts. Which is to say, I'm terrible at it. I don't think I've gotten one right on this blog yet. But hey, I'll keep at it, and maybe some day I'll get paid six figures on the side just to be wrong. After all, in predictions, it's not about the content, but your confidence in presenting it, right?
3. Give things that upset you time. If negative emotions are racing through your veins about a topic, leave the topic alone for a while. Counting to ten before you speak is a great practice in the blogosphere too.
2. Don't write for comments. It's futile anyway. It seems that some of the posts that I sought feedback received none, and some of the posts I thought were so boring the internet may refuse them started a huge dialogue. There's no telling what you may say (or not say) that will get people going.
1. How little I offer. Seriously, the blogging process has humbled me. What expertise do I have? What should anyone care about my opinion? I've seen how I lack to bring God glory in situations He richly deserves. I've seen that I'm too small minded to understand how to declare His glory in issues I see as mundane. I'm too ignorant to truly give Him glory. I'm still far too sinful for my example to give Him glory. But alas, it's not me that does anything. God has used this blogging process to remind me that it is He who creates His glory. He is amazing enough to use my blunders, my blabbering, my ignorance, my impatience, and even my sin, to His glory. I pray He is refining me as I put my thoughts into cyberspace.

If you've been reading during these six months, thanks. If you continue to read, I pray that you won't just read better posts, but that you'll be reading better posts from an author who is yeilding to God and becoming a better man.

MP3's are up

I'm waiting for my tutorial in webdesign from the designer, so it's not totally up to date...but some of the MP3's are up.

Take a listen and tell me what you think.

Don't be a Hosehead

If you live anywhere near Ohio, or will be near Ohio, January 27-28...you need to go to Revolution. Heck, even if you aren't anywhere near Ohio, check the dates of other cities and get there.

These guys will help you glorify God through evangelism.

There's no reason for you not to go...unless you're a hosehead.