Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Luca era Gay-Italian singer tells a side of homosexuality..

I received an email concerning an Italian song named, "Luca was gay" by Giuseppe Povia. He wrote this song according to his own experiences in the gay lifestyle and also from friends. It portrays a young man that was disconnected to men and "manliness" that was looking for a father. In the end he was healed by a woman that he became engaged too.

This song is in the midst of a European hub of liberalism and acceptance of the gay lifestyle. Povia received death threats, hate mail, and much criticism for his song. It brought to light the true thoughts of the gay agenda and how unloving the other side can be. As Christians, we need to make sure our hearts are in the right place when dealing with those who accept homosexuality. Not to proclaim hatred, but love and care.

There is much we can do in the church that the Lord is leading us towards. check out the video of this powerful song.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Baptismal life and stewardship

The dreaded time is coming for many congregations throughout the country, "Stewardship Sunday." Why is it so dreaded? Money. The word that we talk about all the time when discussing our home value, retirement accounts, and savings at a store, we tense up when our churches present that money might be part of our Christian life. On top of that, the congregation brings up next year's budget. Man, what a disaster. The common response is to NEVER do an annual pledge again and the congregation goes deeper and deeper into financial worries that consumes the congregation and proclamation is lost.

So what are we to do? Keep it simple. Remind everyone of one simple fact, "Everything comes from God." Focus on Bible study, saved by grace, and giving by the heart and not budgets. Our giving in essence proves our faith, if we do not grow in the grace of giving, what does that say about our faith. Not to say it gives faith or salvation, but we have faith why would we not give?

This month our congregation begins our Consecrated Stewards emphasis from LCEF. We were greatly blessed last year. Our prayer is that people grow in the grace of giving and the faithful Gospel ministry continues. May we all repent of our focus of ourselves and look to our Lord.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Renewal for Life...Ya in?

Our congregation recently joined Renewal for Life as part of Lutherans for Life (LFL). Renewal for life is an initiative to place the responsiblities of LFL away from "grass root" to the pastor and an advocate. The focus is simple: Each congregation is involved with the pastor being the main proclaimer and they also have an advocate who would be the researcher/go to person. E.g. Heath Care Reform. The pastor doesn't really have time to do major research, but an advocate looks up all the information. Then gives the information to the pastor, who proclaims faithfully to the Word. The headquarters of LFL still functions the same: Bringing resources on life to the congregations. Yet, the chapters, meetings, federations, etc, will kind of go by the wayside. It is the local congregation doing ministry and being on the front lines.
Funny, would be this a good idea for our Synod and our view of the districts and headquarters? Are the congregations on the frontlines? Who should do the research and programming? Should we look for more control from up top? Or more congregational based work? Then the district and headquarters would be more about ecclesiastical supervision and support? Something to think about.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Distinctively Lutheran Blog that I read...Drowning myself wheever I can.

To receive good theology along with some good laughs check out the blog, "Drowning myself whenever I can." This particular post is hilarious, along with calling to the table the recent stuff of the ELCA.

Aug. 31st, 2009 @ 01:43 pm Breaking News from the Sacred Sandwich!!!
Denomination Votes to Allow Drunken Clergy
Posted on 31 August 2009
Hot on the heels of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s decision to allow the appointment of non-celibate gays to the clergy, another prominent Christian denomination has decided this week to allow practicing drunkards in the pulpit.
Meeting in Las Vegas, leaders of the Evangelical Lukewarm Christians in Apostasy (ELCA-Not the Lutherans) voted in favor of giving their local congregations the authority to choose ministers or lay leaders who may be in “lifelong, monogamous relationships with alcohol.”
Said the denomination’s president, Ben Halifax, “Since the Lutheran ELCA has courageously decided to ignore the condemnation of homosexuals in 1st Corinthians 6:9-10, we figured it was time for our own denomination to ignore the verses’ reference to drunkards and immediately loosen our outdated and unloving restrictions on boozehounds.”
A motion to also include the acceptance of clerical fornicators, adulterers, idolators, thieves, revilers, and swindlers was tabled until next year’s meeting.
The surprise decision to liberalize the church’s drunkard policy came at the perfect time for the denomination’s small branch in Torrance, California, where popular pastor, Glen Morehouse, had been barred from ministry last year due to his open and committed relationship with Johnnie Walker. With the historic vote, Morehouse can now officially stagger back to the pulpit and still maintain his alternative lifestyle.
His eyes reddened by tears of joy and 80 proof Scotch, Pastor Morehouse commended the ELCA (Not the Lutherans) leadership for allowing him to continue in his Kingdom work. “I jes wanna shay, it was sush a prooouu moam comin’ ta shee thish inna histacle vent… Ya no whaa um sayin’? Uh-oh… I thin’ um gonna thro up…”
Martha Wackenhut, Torrance church member and designated driver, also commended the decision, but was much more articulate. “We’re thrilled that the national leadership has finally recognized Pastor Glen’s value as a non-sober man of God,” she said on behalf of the congregation. “Whenever we’ve needed his pastoral advice and leadership, he’s always been there for us on his favorite barstool down at O’Malley’s. Quite frankly, if this vote hadn’t gone through, we’re pretty sure we would’ve lost Pastor Glen to the Presbyterians.”
Advocates of change in the ELCA (Not the Lutherans) rejoiced after the vote and were later found at the Hard Rock Cafe celebrating their victory with mojitos and Jagermeister shots. “We’re toasting to greater fairness tonight,” explained Pete Lutowski, executive director of Bottoms Up, a drunk rights advocacy group within the church. “Drunken clergy are now free to be who they are and enjoy the love and companionship of their alcoholic buzz.”
“Bottom line, this is a heart issue,” added Lutowski. “Okay, it’s a liver issue, too, but it’s mostly a heart issue. It’s time to quit acting like pharisaical tee-totalers who are hung up on judgmental prooftexts and start showing some Christian love to our drunken brethren who want nothing more than to give out sloppy back slaps and shout, ‘I love you, man!’ to an unsaved stranger. If getting sloshed is so wrong, how come Jesus changed water into wine and jump-started the first Christian drinking party two thousand years ago?”
“A-mehn, bruther!” shouted Pastor Morehouse from the floor.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Does anyone read this?

Hey, I write every day (almost). I enjoy my writing and the times I actually have some theological point, however, I am wondering, "Is anyone out there?" I haven't received a comment for a couple of weeks. I will keep writing, but at least show me you read this. Vote in the poll!

God Bless you all and blessings as you receive God's gifts tomorrow in worship.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Distinctively Lutheran Blog that I read...Live Life Together

When reading many blogs, I have a deep appreciation for professors, professionals, and other academics for their perspective on ministry, the Christian life, and views of the world.
However, as a parish pastor and one that works in the lives of people day to day, I fully appreciate a parish pastor perspective. Especially with pastors as they look upon mission from a Lutheran confessional view.
This is why I often read the blog, Live Life Together, by Rev. Jeff Meyer from Christ Memorial in Ficthburg, WI. He writes with a pastoral heart and a deep desire to reach out to the community that surrounds their church. The congregation has been successful in addressing the post-church culture through service and engagement within the culture, while keeping strong with Scripture and the Gospel. Check it out.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Distinctively Lutheran Blog that I read...Cranach, the blog of Veith

Desire information concerning up-to-date topics that affect our culture, life, and faith from a solidly Chrisitian viewpoint? I would highly suggest looking to Cranach: the blog of Veith.

Dr. Gene Edward Veith is a professor (formerly of Concorida-Mequon) that speaks from a lay Christian perspective on the world. He understands confessional Lutheran theology and as one who came to faith later in life, has a refreshing view on many things, than most of us lifelong Lutherans.

I check this blog out daily and highly suggest it to those who want to engage our culture from a Lutheran vocational view.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fecal Eclair and the modern Christian life

There is no better taste in the world. You wake up, your wife has boughten you a rich, chocolate frosting, custard filled elcair. You bite into it and it feels like you could eat it ALL day. By the time you finish this exquisite delicacy, you are left wanting more. But what if this was not filled with custard, but fecal matter. Many of us might eat half of it before we realize it. The outside is lucious and tasty, but inside we are basically poisoning ourselves and will not stop until it is too late. We are sick and probably need some extra help (physically and mentally).

In 2 Timothy 3, Paul reminds Timothy that there will be a day that people will be lover of pleasure rather than God. What really is happening is that people are seeing the pleasures of life as a beautiful, lucious eclair. An example is a young couple who decides to begin dating. They date for a while, then they decide to live together for "convenience" sake, become one flesh. Then they get married. Sound great right? However, what it really is going on is a worldly eclair with fecal matter within. Inside in the eclair is the darkness of a sin against God. Future problems, insecurities, higher rate of divorce, more problems, and more than likely, eventual divorce. This is an example that can also be used with universalist thoughts of salvation, drug use, divorce, and lower the role of men in society and church. They all seem like the "new thing" in our world, but we are devouring the fecal matter and do not realize the problem until it is too late. We have higher rates of divorce, more depression, addictions, damnation to hell, and laxity in our world.

May we look to the Word as our guide. Inwardly digesting what He demands, encourages, and ultimately His grace. All the while showing those who have eaten or eating of the fecal matter, receive the precious word of forgiveness and the true substance of salvation through Christ alone.

Distinctive Lutheran blogs...and then me

Since the beginning of the blogosphere, many people have tried to get their thoughts, beliefs, and concerns out into the public in a quicker more effective manner than ever before. Many have tried to start a blog. Most have fallen away. Others have tried to be all things for all people. My issue has been trying to be everything for everyone. A little confessions, a little practice, a few book promotions, sports analogies (more than I should), and little rants.

As I look through the blogosphere, I realize the best blogs are ones that are focused and you have an idea of what you will get each day. This is why I will spend the next week highlighting blogs that I read that are sucessful due to their focus.

The blog I highlight today is one that I read everyday. It is called, "Weedon's Blog" written by Rev. Wil Weedon from St. Paul Lutheran Church in Hamel, IL. What makes his blog distinctive is his ability to reflect on the daily commemoration of saints and highlighting many Lutheran prayers, quotes, and also quotes from the church fathers. If you have a desire to see a distinctively Lutheran blog that does not sacrifice their theology, check out "Weedon's Blog."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Trust when Dark my road...a must read.

I just got done reading the book, "I trust when dark my road" by Rev. Todd Pepperkorn. What a gem. I admit that I have gone through similar anxiety that he describes and sees the implications of depression in our congregation and other brothers in the ministry. The foolish thing that we think in our society concerning depression is two fold: 1) Just snap out of it, or 2) We can totally prevent it (exercise, sleep, nutrition, etc). Pastor Pepperkorn brought to light depression and the realization that it will be dark in the future, but as a theologian of the cross, the light will always be there at the same time.

Lord have mercy.

Download it, read it, and think about ways of helping your spiritual leaders and friends.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Who is God? Love.

Tonight at confirmation we started with a simple subject, "Who is God?" I asked all the kids, 'If someone came up to you and ask you, "Who is God?" What would you say? Most kids had a completely confused look on their faces. The unfortunate thing was that the kids who are usually in worship had no idea what to say. Even worse, I would not had said anything because I never said anything in confirmation!

After looking at simple verses of God being omniscent, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal, holy, and a spirit. It all came down to one great and wonderful thing, God is LOVE. Love that goes beyond our love, love that first came to us through the cross, and a love that will be there through all things.

Who is God? Love!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Killing and making alive or obedience?

I was reading a confession and absolution rite from another Lutheran church. We all make mistakes and I realize that some of my statements are probably not always orthodox, so I say this with my own sinfulness on the table. But their confession statement said something along these lines, "our prayer life is not what it should be, we could do better, and want to do better."

The issue is not that we deny any sinfulness, but the problem arises when we do not say words that indicate a disease of sin. Words like, unclean, miserable sinner, etc, exemplify this kind of original sin that we can free ourselves from.

The worst part was the absolution piece. They said this, "On the cross Jesus died for us and He will help us prayer better." Hmmmm...not sure if this is killing and making alive (Romans 6) or trying to get us to obedience. The problem with obedience is that we will never pray enough, we need that full killing and full rising.

I say this not to rip on others, but to make sure that if we write parts of the liturgy (which does not need to be often), we MUST make sure that there is a killing aspect and a full forgiveness. That is hard work. This would be why using the older liturgies might not always be that bad. But if one does, they have a HUGE task in front of them.

Another one bits the dust...

Today we had yet another person faint in church. This makes at least 6 since I have arrived at St. John. What does this mean? I am becoming a little self conscious :-).

The person is fine and I thank God that we have wonderful EMT people in the church and also in our community.

Any advice on how to lower the number?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fairs, Harvest Festivals, and service

This weekend begins a festival for our little village called, "Harvest Fest." It started a few years ago to unite a village that in many ways had lost cohesiveness and identity. They put on a great fair/festival, the marine corp band has come the last 3 years, good fair rides, bouncy things for kids, and a good parade on Sunday after church.

One struggle that we have had as a church is how to best be involved in the weekend. We have done such things as having a float in the parade, passing out water, and hosting our own booth, however, are these things edifying spiritually or are they just advertising? Do people look at a float and say, "Boy, I want to be at that church!" Do they see a booth and think, "That church really preaches Christ and Him Crucified?" Or do they see us set up next to a palm reader and figure we are the same as them? I struggle with these distinctions and how to best serve and be a part of the community during a festival meant to bring all people together.

This year we had an opportunity to serve in a small way and I feel is a decent way to be part of the community. After a big benefit for one of our members, people donated tons of water and soda. We had around 12 cases of water left. I talked to the village coordinator if we could donate water to the Harvest Fest and she said, "But don't you need it for something?" I said, "Not really, we can always buy it and if it is needed, why not." She was taken back and kind of asked, "Do you guys want something for it?" We were able to donate it without any questions asked.

Have we always been demanding of our communities to have that kind of reaction? Does our community see us as a service entity or a drainer of funds and precious tax money? I do not have the answers, but the idea of just giving things to the community for no reason whatsoever sounds like a good start.

Lord God, may we serve without looking for new members, more money, or more advertising but out of the hope that your blood has given to us. AMEN.

"Chief of sinner though I be, Jesus shed His blood for me!"

Connecting to the Word...let's get everyone in the Word at home

Starting this Sunday, September 20 until May 16, we are beginning a Bible reading emphasis to get people in the Word at home. It is a four year program, begins in September and ends in May each year. As I was bored at the District Convention the head elder and myself talked about some things that were needed at our congregation. One idea we had was an in-home Bible emphasis due to many people never warming the chair in our numerous Bible studies. So from that we are attempting to get everyone build up their meditation on God's Word.

The plan is simple. Members sign up to be part of the emphasis, they receive a binder that gives a reading plan, questions over each section to read, and they are assigned a mentor that will call occasionally to see if they can help. Mainly, it is done AT HOME (what a crazy thought!).

The four year plan goes as follows:

Year 1-52 very important chapters of the Bible.
Year 2-New Testament
Year 3-Old Testament
Year 4-Whole Bible

We pray that God will guide us in this emphasis and the Holy Spirit will work in the lives of His people.

How the ELCA left Christian tradition...

Robert Benne, an ELCA Lutheran, writes on how the ELCA left the Christian tradition. Check it out.

Think about the convention and the answers that were given. Where is the authority? What does it mean to have bound consciences?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

International House of Prayer and the Lutheran Church?

Alright, I just listened to Issues, Etc concerning the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO ( IHOP has had an active prayer room for over 10 years (24/7). People come in and pray at all hours of the day and their hope is that they will usher in the 2nd coming of Christ due to this prayer. In essence we can gang up on God to make things happen! We do not agree with this view of prayer or the second coming.

Yet, I just heard Dr. John Kleinig discuss prayer in Wisconsin. His presentation was titled, The Gift of Prayer. Using Luke 11, he described how each one of us are ambassadors for God to bring people in need to the feet of Jesus. He presents us with people in need, but doesn't say "you take care of them", but says in prayer He provides for the needs of others and also gives us the Holy Spirit (v.13). What a great presentation and it has led me to much repentance due to my sometimes low view of prayer. I have never thought that prayer didn't matter, but I also never heard a Lutheran really talk about it extensively. So all my info was from guys like Mike Bickel and IHOP. Hard to see prayer as real Lutheran after that!

Here is a proposal that I will engage for a few days. What if a Lutheran church were to have a prayer room 24/7? It would not be for the sake of ushering in a new kingdom, not as a form of "spiritual" renewal, or a Baptism of the Holy Spirit, it would simply be to bring people to the feet of Jesus due to needs, lack of belief, separation from the church, etc. Maybe 24 hours straight of compline, matins, evening prayer, vespers, or morning prayer. Once again, not for the sake of ganging up on God, but for the sake of bringing people and needs to the feet of Jesus.

Just a thought for the day. Let me know if you have any information on prayer rooms in the Lutheran church. Especially ones that are not crazy! :-)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Compline service for FAll Pastor's Conference

I am in the middle of planning a Compline service for the SWD Fall Pastor's conference. We want to incorporate many different people and I am currently being mentored by my friend, Dr. Leonard Payton. I'm excited because I don't have a lot of experience with Compline. Maybe a number of guys doing the Scripture readings, prayers, and a very intimate experience. Dr. Payton will be the liturgist so it will be a great experience.

God has gifts to give.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Gospel in The Tale of Despereaux

I love it when I hear a great gospel message in a cartoon. In the very good cartoon, Tale of Despereaux the gospel was made crystal clear. To make it short, the comment was made that the "rat" had discovered the most power emotion-Despair. Specifically, despair over the losing a loved one. Despair can cause us to do many terrible things (kill, abuse, hurt). Then later in the movie the rat discovered an even stronger emotion-"forgiveness." The rat forgave the princess that had done something evil to him and forgiveness prevails.

This is totally what the Law and Gospel does. The Law causes despair when actually see what we are. The Gospel, however, is a stronger emotion because that is what brings forgiveness. It releases the pain of burden and despair. And brings a comfort that nothing else does. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ.

I love seeing God at work through secular TV!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Connection Sunday a huge success

Each year on the 2nd Sunday of September we at St. John Lutheran Church celebrate our connection to God through Christ and to one another with "Connection Sunday." This year was another blast. We have one service instead of two. The Gospel is preached, people sing praises like crazy, the Lord's Supper is administered, food is served, missions are supported, and people get to know each other. We welcomed 26 new people into our fellowship. What a day.
The Lord has led us through a lot this past year, and I am looking forward to what He has in store for the future.
Lord have mercy.

The Friends gospel and THE GOSPEL

The past week I have evaluated the "gospel" according to the hit sitcom, Friends. I must admit, I have been quite harsh on each character and the overall message of the show. The show, although promoting anti-Christian values and ideas, was much better than most of what we see today. It was symbolic of the Generation X generation that focuses on small group relationships and stick by each other throughout anything. That is not a bad thing.
The ironic thing about this week is that I focused on the gospels of each charactter, however, none of them had the Gospel right. All of their gospels were man-centered. What they did to receive joy or feelings of contentment. This is how most of our society defines gospel (good news). What I do in order to receive joy (thank you Joel Osteen). Also known as LAW!
Yet, the Christian Gospel is much different. It is the good news that someone else does the work for us to have joy. Not in a new age value system, but in a death and resurrection. Depending on God to do the work, not our imperfect "Friends", but our perfect God hanging on the cross. May that be our Gospel as we face the "gospels" that intervene in our daily vocations.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Gospel according to Phoebe.

"I don't eat anything with a face. I believe that whatever people want to believe in is o.k. I'm a flake!" These are all quotes from the free spirit of the Friends group, Phoebe Buffay. She was many things throughout her life, mugger, aspiring guitarist, animal rights activist, bike rider, massage therapist, believer in many gods, environmentalist, and surrogate mother for her brother. Overall, she was all things for all people. Does this mean she is a mini-Paul for the sake of the Gospel? Probably not.

Phoebe's gospel is summed up very simply...whatever you do or believe in is o.k. She was notorious for believing in crazy things. Like her mother's spirit was in her cat, she was possessed by the spirit of an 82 year old woman, and she was open to any and every lifestyle under the sun.

Phoebe symbolized a big trend in our society and was an obvious influence on young people. The person who accepts the most things, as long as people are happy, is the most open minded, loving person. However, she was obviously against any kind of conservative feelings towards anything (even though none of them had any conservative thoughts whatsoever). What was most interesting is that while people who are so-called open minded hear of someone who is "conservative", they instantly become close minded and do not accept that view.

Phoebe was funny, exciting, and at the very least admitted that she was flaky. However, her "anything goes" mentality unfortunately has fed our culture to accept anything just as long as people feel good. Otherwise known as "Gnosticism."

This ends our analysis of each friends character and their gospel. Tomorrow we will cover the overall Gospel of friends and the true Gospel of the Christian faith. I am open to any comments or analysis on this series and maybe future topics.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Gospel according to Monica

"I organize my towels in 11 sections. Every day towels, fancy towels, guest towels, colored towels and I label my dishes" This was Monica describing how she is very organized in ALL parts of life. Monica was known to be the mother hen of all friends. Most of the show was pictured in her apartment and she always had some kind of food ready to be served. She helped Rachel go from a spoiled daddy's girl to an independant person, she organized many gatherings for the "Friends" on important holidays, and was a prominent cook in New York City.

The gospel according to Monica was simple...the more organized the better the life. She was known to be a nazi on many things (organizing, cleaning, ways of dressing, etc). However, not everything seems to be as good as one would think. In one show, her new husband Chandler opened the door to a room that had never been opened and inside was a "disorganized mess." She was crushed that people knew and everyone was comforted because of her coming back to earth. Perhaps we all have a closet that reveals our sinfulness that brings us back to earth and shows our need for something more!

Monica's biggest impact on our culture has nothing to do with her gospel or her mother men mentality. Her impact was in the first five minutes of the show. The show had her going out of her bedroom and trying to figure out ways to get the guy she had just slept with out of the apartment ASAP. This was a huge change in modern television. To that point, it had only been men who tried to leave the room after a one night stand, but now women had the chance to do it also. This increased the idea that sex was a fun activity that one can do with someone without any consequences (no diseases, no mental anguish, no pregnancy, no problems at all).

Once again, this has changed our young people and we have a long uphill road to effectively unteach was TV has taught us.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Gospel according to Rachel.

The snobby daddy's girl from Long Island was best known for her good looks. Throughout the shows lifetime, the culture basically changed their hair according to the new haircut of Rachel/Jennifer Aniston. The character of Rachel is actually kind of difficult to analyze. At first, she was the snobby, self-centered daddy's girl that had never worked a day in her life. However, as the show progressed, she had good jobs with Ralph Lauren and Gucci, she appeared to be relatively stable, and didn't sleep around like many others (although she had the only out of wedlock child of the show).

The Gospel according to Rachel is difficult, but I would argue it was...wanting everyone to like you. In one episode told Rachel that she was a pushover. She basically did whatever everyone else wanted to do and really did not have her own identity. This was especially true around her friend Monica who needed everyone to do what she wanted. The side effect was that nobody really knew what she valued, desired, or loved. She went with the flow and did not rock the boat. At the end of the day she will always be remembered as the prettiest one of the show, but know little more about her.

Rachel's gospel has increased our cultures value of not really believing in anything. If you believe in something and other do not like it, then you better not say anything. One better not disagree with someone or present a differing view or else they are a "bigot." Just look pretty, get the newest haircut, and don't rock the boat. This has big implications concerning ones faith convictions. If you have a differing view concerning faith or values, it does not mean that you have to be beligerant, but it does mean that you should bring up your thoughts and be bold in your beliefs (especially when it is concerning your Christian faith).

Perhaps, a close second would be her infactuation with looks, but this was not nearly as evident as her desire to be liked.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Gospel according to Ross.

"You study dinosaurs or something" Joey told Ross, "No, I study paleontology" Ross exclaimed. Ross Gellar was probably the smartest dumb person of the show. He earned a Ph.D in dinos and was a professor at NYU. Pretty serious stuff. However, when he interacted in every show, he was lost for words, had a blank stare on his face, and a joke was always ready to be made about him (especially his three marriages).
The gospel according to Ross was simple...find love (although always in the wrong places). He was known to be the only one that got married, even if it was three times. He married Rachel while drunk in Las Vegas, married Carol that end up being a lesbian, and Emily when he said "Rachel" during the wedding service. He also dated every girl under the sun, even one of his students at NYU (whose dad was Bruce Willis!). He always desired to be with his Rachel Green, his high school crush. He did end up having a child with Rachel (Emma), yet, they did not officially get together in any formal way.
Ross' character had an impact on our society by almost encouraging a emotional, undirected pursuit of love. When Ross would try to find a mate there were no discussions on morals, interests, or faith, but focused on his inner feelings. We see this in society where people simply search for love based on what is inside and not the reality of the moment. This is what I would call the Ross affect.
He also increased the downplaying of men. He was the smartest one of the whole Friends show, however, his identity was on the same line as Joey (village idiot). In our society, men are to be the funny ones, not intelligent. If they are, they better not look like they have it together. They better not be will be a stable force for women and (gasp)! the head of the family.
I just admit that I liked Ross more than all of the characters, but he was by no means good for us and others.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Gospel according to Chandler.

"Could this be any more...?" Chandler Bing would always quote before any given humorous line while living in apartment #19 in New York City. Chandler was known to be the successful business man, struggling to connect with women, and the only one of the Friends characters that seemed to have some morals (no children out of wedlock, no divorces, wasn't oversexed, adopted two children, and was the voice of reason among the group).
Chandler's gospel was also simple..."be funny." One episode his wife Monica told Chandler of a funny guy at her work and that he was the "funniest" guy she had ever met. This crushed Chandler to the point of despair and a desperate attempt of proving himself as the funniest man in Monica's world. He always tried to have famous one liners and most of the time he was funny. However, he will be known not for his success in business, his love for his wife and children, or the voice of reason, but as the "funny man."
I would argue that Chandler's affect on culture points to men being good for nothing unless they are funny. It does not matter if they provide, have morals, or love their wives, what matters if humor. Thus, men go on a rampage trying to prove their humor and dismiss other important aspects of manhood. Chandler was the best role model for men on Friends, yet he is a far cry from God's calling for all men (Ephesians 5:22-33).
Tomorrow we hear of Ross' gospel of love in all the wrong places.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Gospel According to Joey..

"How you doing?" Joey Tribbiani would recite each time he saw a good looking gal on the hit show "Friends." Joey had a unique role in the show as an aspiring actor, womanizer, indulger of all foods, and the village idiot. He was quoted as being the typical actor: oversexed, undereducated, and constantly looking for work.

Joey's Gospel was simple: The more women you meet and sleep with each week the better. One show he got done eating with a smokin' hot woman and said, "You want to come to my place?" She said, "I will if you remember my name?" He replied, "Have a good night!" He didn't need to know their name, he didn't need to remember anything about them, he just needed to get the deed done and look for the next job. At the same time, he was the village idiot, resembling a male version of a "ditz." He did not take the role of being a man serious. More less, he was a child with chest hair.

How did this help shape our culture? It increased the idea of sexuality being about personal pleasure and not a gift to share with ones spouse. His behavior desentitized our culture to see sex outside of marriage to be not that bad. Also, it continued the spiral of making men into idiots. Men are told that they do not need to love women as Christ loves the church and to treat each one as a precious gift from God. This show has shaped many men in our culture to be idiots, low on work, and oversexed. We have much to do to prove otherwise. I believe that Joey was the most beloved of the Friends males, however, probably the worst for today's men.

Lord have mercy as we recover from the Joey effect.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Lutheran Study Bible-Awesome.

Just got my TLSB and I JUST LOVE IT. The maps, footnotes, and ESV translation make it more than amazing to dig into. Watch Rev. Matt Harrison talk about it.

The Gospel according to Friends?

I have had a theory for the last 10 years or so concerning the old TV show, Friends. In my opinion, Friends has shaped young people (25-40) in the realm of ethics more than any other entity throughout the end of the 20th century and early 21st century time period. Each day I will write about each individual on the show and their addition to our society and what their Gospel was. Hold tight and be ready. Cause I'll be there for you!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

If someone asks you to run a half-marathon and you threw shotput in college...say no way!

Today I finished a half-marthon. Did I walk more than I care to say? Yes. Did I finish? Yes. Does my body hurt more than my high school football days? Yes. Will I do it again? Yes. As long as I lose weight, run more, and have a goal (e.g. running for a church fundraiser, home for women and babies, or maybe even in appreciation for Brett Favre being a Viking!). Oh, and by the way. My wife basted me. She finished around 8 minutes before me. Well, now that I am more humbled than when I said breast at a Christmas party, best I get to bed.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Need a reminder from the 5th commandment?

As we traveled through Illinois for SMP training at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis I was struck by a construction sign that read, "$10,000 fine for hitting workers."
I am struck by this for a number of reasons: 1) It is kind of humorous. If someone is driving down the rode will they honestly be thinking to themselves, "I better not hit workers because I can't afford that kind of money." 2) I would hope that we care enough about other people to not hit others without thinking about monetary chargest. 3) We obviously need a renewal of the 5th commandment if we need to have more fines placed on hurting and killing one another.
May we care about the well being of our neighbors as Christ cares for us.