Monday, September 29, 2008

Random notes

Lutherans like to talk about the fruit of the Spirit, whereas Pentecostals like to spend time talking about Spiritual gifts. Reading about Rick Warren's 'Purpose Driven Church' a few years ago, it occurred to me that Christians need both to be effective. Gifts without fruit are downright dangerous, fruit without gifts are nice, but passive. Of course, as you'll notice from the diagram here, Jesus is really the center, the fulcrum - His direction is what makes the Spirit's fruit and gifts make a real difference.

About this Blog

Short Version

Jeremiah 20:9

But if I say, "I will not mention him
or speak any more in his name,"
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot.

Ahoy, me Hearties!

I once taught History and Art in a Lutheran school and for years struggled with whether or not to become a pastor. I served as a church youth group counselor for a while and continue to teach a high school Bible study group. Now I teach Art in a public school and needed an outlet for talking about faith, so I started this prayer blog.

But God forgive me, this blog has been contaminated because as Thomas Jefferson once said, "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just." I feel like Christianity has been Shanghaied by people who say they love Jesus, but act more like disciples of Machiavelli.

So, like Luther posted his 95 Theses on the church door in order to incite critical thinking and provoke discussion and debate about the hypocrisies of the church in his time- I started posting things here that may challenge Christians to question their motivations and positions on things in our society and politics.


I don't mean to undermine anyone's faith or to promote heresy, but when I read Jesus' Words, especially in Matthew 5 and Luke 6, I see something radically different than what televangelists, radio prophets and Republican politicians espousing. Scurvy, bilge-sucking, sons of biscuit-eaters!

This all makes me feel like a mutant, a freak, and an outcast. Conservative Christians fear for my eternal salvation whereas secular liberals see me as part of the problem and not the solution. So in the so-called "culture wars" I'm caught in the cross-fire because I think that both sides are wrong and neither side wants to hear it. Sometimes it feels like I'm constantly getting Keelhauled.


Jesus is our prophet, our priest and our king- and calls us to be the same , representing God to the world, interceding for others to Him, and leading by example. But when you're a bit of a rouge, you've got little choice but to weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen without the benefit of letters of Marque as a corsair, don't ya?!

I try to be salt and light, but I understand that some of ye landlubbers may not have a taste for the brine- so click on the
View only High School Bible Study link and avoid all my caustic commentary on politics.

Me ka pule,
Ted

Friday, September 26, 2008

Good point


It's extraordinary to me that the United States can find $700 billion to save Wall Street and the entire G8 can't find $25 billion dollars to saved 25,000 children who die every day from preventable diseases.

- Bono

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Christian Cartoon



For a while now I've been thinking that I should create a venue for religious commentary. My column says it's about "sex, politics, and religion," but it never deals with sex and only rarely deals with religion. I do have this religious blog, which as you may have noticed, often ends up dealing with politics a lot. But not in cartoon form. I have a cartoon blog, but not that necessarily ever deals with issues of faith.

So, here's an attempt. Just like with Mal•Adjusted, I can't promise anything, but I'd like to try to start drawing at least one a week. Look for them on Mondays (since Sunday is the day I'm most likely to be inspired either by the Lord, or the loony hypocrites who claim to follow Him.

These first two are pretty political in fact, being a donkey and an elephant. I'm afraid that you'll also find "h in wolves's Clothing" a little esoteric, that's because I want to encourage readers to think- and in the case of these first two, to look up a verse in Scripture. Because the best thing that any teacher or minister can say to you is "don't take my word for it, look it up!"

Here, I'll help you out THIS time- Ecc. 5: 10-15 is a great admonition for shallow, materialistic, upwardly mobile, day traders with a penchant for mortgage backed securities!

Whereas Ecc. 6:11 is something someone on the Straight Talk Express might say to someone more nuanced to let them know that they're not someone they'd like to have a beer with while watching hockey or NAASCAR.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pirate Phrases

In honor of International 'Talk Like a Pirate Day' (Sept. 19)

Avast ye - stop and check this out or pay attention

Aye - yes

Batten down the hatches - put everything away on the ship and tie everything down because a storm is brewing

Bilge-sucking - insult

Blimey! - exhortation of surprise

Blow me down! - expression of shock of disbelief akin to "Holy Crap!"

Blow the man down - command to kill someone

Booty - treasure

Buccaneer - a pirate

Bucko - a buccaneer

Cat O'Nine Tails - a whip with nine strands

Corsair - pirates in the Mediterranean Sea

Crow's nest - small platform atop the mast where the lookout stands

Cutlass - short heavy curved bladed sword used by pirates

Davy Jones' Locker - fabled, mythical place at the bottom of the ocean where the evil spirit of Davy Jones brings sailor and pirates to die

Dead men tell no tales - phrase indicating to leave no survivors

Doubloons - other coins or found in pirate hoards and stashes

Feed the fish - will soon die

Hang 'im from the yardarm - punishment of those captured in battle

Head - the pirate ship's toilet

Heave Ho - give it some muscle and push it

Hempen Halter - a noose for hanging

Hornswaggle - to defraud or cheat out of money or belongings

Jacob's Ladder - the rope ladder one uses to climb aboard a sloop

Jolly Roger - pirate's flag including white skull and crossbones over a black field

Keelhaul - punishment in which a person where dragged underneath the pirate ship from side to side and was lacerated by the barnacles on the vessel

Lad, lass, lassie - a younger person

Landlubber - big, slow clumsy person who doesn't know how to sail

Letters of Marque - letters issue from governments during wartime to privateers endorsing the piracy of another vessel

Man-O-War - pirate's ship outfitted for battle

Me - my

Mizzen - third mast from the bow of the ship on ships that have three or more masts

Old Salt - an experienced sailor

Pieces of eight - coins or found in pirate stashes

Pillage - rob, sack or plunder

Poop deck - the part of the ship farthest to the back, which is usually above the captain's quarters. This is not the bathroom.

Privateer - government-sponsored pirates

Rum - pirate's traditional alcoholic beverage

Run a shot across the bow - warning shot to another vessel's captain

Savvy? - do you understand and do you agree?

Scallywag - mild insult akin to rapscallion or rogue

Scurvy dog - the pirate is talking directly to you with mild insult

Scuttle - to sink a ship

Seadog - old pirate or sailor

Shark bait - will soon join Davy Jones' Locker

Shipshape - cleaned up and under control

Shiver me timbers! - comparable to "Holy Crap!"

Son of a Biscuit Eater - insult directed towards someone you don't like

Thar she blows! - Whale sighting

Three sheets to the wind - someone who is very drunk. One sheet is mildly drunk and four sheets is passed out.

Walk the plank - punishment in which person walks off a board jutting over the side of the ship while at sea. The consequence is drowning and a visit to Davy Jones' Locker.

Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen! - pull up the anchor and the sail and let's get going

Ye - you

Yo Ho Ho - cheerful exhortation to demand attention

Aaaarrrrgggghhhh! - exhortation of discontent or disgust

Ahoy! - Hello!

Ahoy, Matey - Hello, my friend!

Ahoy, me Hearties! - the same as saying "Hello, my friends!"

All hand hoay! - comparable to all hands on deck

Learn more Pirate Slang at "The Pirate's Realm"

The Pius Pirate

"Lefty" here, took Jesus maybe a wee bit too literal.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

spiritual Habits

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you"
~James 4:8a (Amer Stand Version)

This week we started off the Fall High School Bible Study class at St. John by talking about habits.
They say that it takes just 21 days to make or break a habit, so whether it's bad habits like chewing your nails and picking your nose or good habits like walking for exercise or flossing after meals, stick with it for at least 3 weeks and it should become second-nature.

The first of six good habits we want to adopt is Hang time, specifically hanging out with God. H for HABITS, H for Hang time. How do you start this habit? Simple, by spending some TWAG!

TAWG stands for Time Alone With God. Can you spare 15 minutes a day? If you do, God will use that time to grow you. Less anxiety, deeper, stronger faith, feeling closer to God and little by little your character will become more like His- love, peace patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-controlled (Galatians 5:22-23). Who wouldn't want that?

There's lots of ways to spend TAWG, everybody has their own style. Here are just a few ideas.
  • Take Jesus for a walk, instead of listening to your ipod, use exercise time for prayer.
  • Portals of Prayer The official LCMS devotion booklet
  • Or other devotion books or magazines like Our Daily Bread or New Wineskins.
  • Reading the Bible, You coul djust read any part you like, as much or as little as you can read in the 10 minutes or half hour or whatever you decide to spend. You could follow a plan like the onw provided by the International Bible Society, or buy a Daily Bible or one that you can read through in a year. If you're too intimidated by a KJV, RSV, or even NIV, try a paraphrase like the Living Bible or the Message.
  • Pray- just talk to God, no special format or training required.
  • Journal- instead of writing to your diary, write in your diary TO God. Some people just record whatever their prayer requests were for that day.
  • Sing- challenge yourself, how many praise songs or hymns do you know the lyrics to?
  • Listen to music together- Can't sing? There is a TON of great Christian music out there, rock , rap, pop, blues, country, and of course "Gospel." Listen for at least 15 minutes a day everyday and see if it doesn't make a difference in your moods and attitudes.
  • Meditate or "peace-out." I don't mean to sit in the lotus position chanting "ohm," but DO try to find quiet time when you either clear your mind or at least focus your mind on Jesus or some Bible passage. (in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:7).
Next week we'll talk about the big A-

PLEASE COME! 9AM in the Church Basement. The more people who come, the more fun.

Me ka pule,
Ted

Bank of bad habits

By Jimmy Buffett (Barometer Soup, 1995)

The rumors and the stories of my past I can't deny
I'm no Saint Ignatius but again I'm no barfly
The wrong thing is the right thing until you lose control
I've got this bank of bad habits in a corner of my soul

Bank of bad habits
The price of vice fortold
One by one they'll do you in
They're bound to take their toll
The wrong thing is the right thing until you lose control
I've got this bank of bad habits in a corner of my soul

Last night I said goodbye to a dear old friend of mine
Just a throw back shell beach party, nothin' really asinine
Rum and cooked animals and bullshit by the ton
That party lasted way too long and I had too much fun

Bank of bad habits
The price of vice fortold
One by one they'll do you in
They're bound to take their toll
The wrong thing is the right thing until you lose control
I've got this bank of bad habits in a corner of my soul
That bank of bad habits is worth its weight in gold

Time for you to spend that dough
You're the only one you owe
So put away those alibis
You can't fool that Banker in the sky

(Spoken)
Now let me tell you about the 7 Deadly Sins:
1. Pride...Thou shalt not have pride in thy neighbor.
2. Coveting...Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.
3. Lust...Thou shalt not lust after his neighbor's wife.
4. Anger...Do not be angry with your neighbor's wife.
5. Gluttony...Do not eat thy neighbor's wife's ........popcorn.
6. Envy...Do not envy your neighbor's wife.
7. Sloth...Do not be a slob.
And the eighth deadly sin is............PIZZA!

A picture's worth a thousand words just ask a cameraman
And it's no sin to stop and look, I do it when I can
But you have to purge that urge to merge
You have to keep your head
Or trouble is what you will find inside some stranger's bed

Bank of bad habits
The price of vice foretold
One by one they'll do you in
They're bound to take their toll
The wrong thing is the right thing until you lose control
I've got this bank of bad habits
It's worth it's weight in gold

(Spoken)
Yeah, we're talkin' Krugerands......dubloons
I was wonderin', um, do you think they have an ATM machine for bad habits?
Hmm.
I think I'll apply for that card.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pray for Peace and healing



8:46:26 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 11 impacts the north side of the North Tower (1 World Trade Center) of the WTC between the 94th and 98th floors. American Airlines Flight 11 was flying at a speed of 490 miles per hour (MPH).

When American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower, "it set up vibrations which were transmitted through the building, through its foundation, and into the ground," says Lerner-Lam. Those vibrations, as indicated by seismographs at Lamont-Doherty and other locations, were the equivalent of a magnitude 0.9 earthquake, one too small to be felt.

Where were you by Alan Jackson
Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry

Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below

Did you burst out in pride
For the red white and blue
The heroes who died just doing what they do
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself to what really matters

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Driving down some cold interstate
Did you feel guilty cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her
Did you dust off that bible at home
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Speak with some stranger on the street
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger
Stand in line and give your own blood
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

The greatest is love
The greatest is love (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day

Sunday, September 07, 2008

"Sunday School House" Dedicated



Our old Lutheran School Building is pretty dilapidated, so to tide us over while we have a study done and eventually perhaps a building project, we purchased the neighbor's house so that our kids are safe and warm. They won't even have to cross the street anymore!

High School Bible Study will be in the church basement at 8:45! Feel free to bring your own breakfast!