If you’ve been around us long enough you’ve no doubt heard me mention the classic faith and culture quote from theologian Karl Barth: “Every Christian should start their day with the Bible in one hand, and the newspaper in the other.” The order is essential. I believe that if I’m diligent about the first, truth will course through my veins, so to speak. Then, with eyes open on the world, discernment will take place. My prayer is always that I would remain faithful to the one true God by loving His Word, and faithful to His calling by knowing how that Word speaks to the world. I think this kind of thinking gradually becomes second-nature. . . a lifestyle.
Embracing that lifestyle over the weekend left me with several cultural encounters that have sparked thoughts on who we are and who we’re supposed to be.
Friday night. . . a high school basketball game. I went with my 22-year-old son who is a coach. He was scouting the game. We sat in the top row of the bleachers where we could see the entire court. . . and everything happening in the bleachers below. I came away reminded that tweens, early adolescents, and middle schoolers are some of the most insecure people alive. They are changing, growing, wandering, wondering, trying to find their place. One of these days I’m going to film and narrate a documentary on kids this age. It will be like Wild Kingdom. . . “The male members of the species surround the females, who display their plumage in a strange ritual that includes laughter, chewing gum, incessant texting, and constant trading of places. Hormones flow and scream as the group slowly divides and reorganizes, over and over again. . . a process that begins now and will not end for several years. . .” I walked out of the gym reminded of the importance of what it is we do here at CPYU.
Saturday. . . visiting an Amish market. I’ve lived near these folks for years now. I still can’t figure certain things out. Cars are not permitted. . . unless someone else is driving. They use cellphones, cash registers, packaging machines, etc. There’s no electricity in their homes. But when it comes to running a business, electricity is everywhere. One Amish store sold entertainment centers! That’s like me selling marijuana! I’m an outsider looking in, trying to figure it all out. It seems like hypocrisy. I’m sure lots and lots of people look in on those of us living in the Kingdom and see the same. “Lord, lead me to focus on me, expose my hypocrisy, and lead me to live an integrated life.”
Sunday. . . worship. . . . the Lord’s Supper. Sin has burst into every nook and cranny of our world and lives. It’s a hopeless situation. There’s nothing we can do about it. Then, God comes bursting into His world to undo what we’ve done. . . .all at great cost. The drama of the bread and the cup is played out once again, reminding me of the drama into which I’ve been invited and placed. It doesn’t make sense. All I can do is say “thank you,” and then somehow live a life of gratitude that’s salty and bright.
Sunday. . . Super Bowl. . . worship. I love sports. I cheer for my teams. I just don’t want to get it all out of order. While we must play and cheer redemptively, we must never think that it will ever redeem. Millions of Americans went to church on Sunday morning. And millions of Americans went to church on Sunday night at 6:28pm. It doesn’t matter what sport or what team. . . we all get into this way too much.
Sunday. . . Michael Phelps. . . again. He’s the poster boy for our kids. He not only serves as one telling them who to be, but he offers deep insight into who they are.
Sunday. . . most significant cultural moment in the Super Bowl. . . James Harrison. The Defensive Player of the Year, someone to emulate and look up to. His actions are caught in high-def slow motion as he pounds away at a fallen opponent. Another poster boy for our kids. He not only serves as one telling them who to be, but he offers deep insight into who they are.
Sunday. . . Super Bowl commericials. . . the economy isn’t the only thing hurting. I guess we’ve lost our creativity as well. . . . unless of course you’re a plastic surgeon “creating” cast members for GoDaddy.com commercials. If this is what we have to stoop to in order to sell things. . . shame on us.
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – Jesus (John 8:31&32).
All that said, I think this one was the most creative. . .