Monday, November 30, 2009

Creation Education Center presentation...awesome

Last evening I attended a lecture by a man by the name of Jay Seegert, Presdident of the Creation Education Center centered in Waukesha, WI. It was an outstanding presentation on the truths of God's Word, the truths of science that lines up with God's Word, and the lies of evolution. I HIGHLY suggest having Jay present at your congregation. He does not charge, but obviously would love to have you buy LOTS of his DVD's and such. He will definately be a presenter at ours very soon.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Adam Sandler the family man in "Click"

An exciting trend has occurred in the life of Adam Sandler. I remember Sandler as the adult child on Saturday Night Live, Billy Madison, and Happy Gilmore. He was hilarious. But he learned from Beastie Boys that one will not be popular as the unresponsible guy into his 40's. Over the last eight years his movies have transformed from solely comedy into an uplifting of family and the ups and downs of marriage.

This is most apparent in the movie, "Click, that came out in 2006. Adam Sandler plays an architect named Michael Newman. He on the fringe of making it big in his company (under David Hasselhoff of all people) and works LONG hours. His wife, Donna (played by Kate Beckinsale) and two children are almost forgotten in the mean time. The kids don't know their dad, his wife is frustrated and always argues with him and there is potential danger of divorce.

In an effort to "speed" up his life he goes to Bed Bath and Beyond to find a universal remote, ends up in a dream buying a "life remote" that could speed up his life or slow it down. As any good American, he speeds up the time in traffic, complaining with his wife, making love, etc. In the meantime he misses prominent moments in his marriage, fatherhood, and even in his job. Ending with him being divorced, not knowing his kids, and his children making the same mistakes.

As he woke up from his dream it was made apparent that the premise of the movie was to spend quanity of time with your family because you only get one shot, that's it.

This is important for us as men to see. We can easily get caught up in our jobs and let our families go by the wayside. We think that if I get that next promotion or spend those few weeks with long hours at work, it will get better. When in all reality we need to think about our families first, especially our wives, and spend so much time with them that they almost can no longer stand us. In those quanity moments, opportunities abound and an opportunity to be the head of the family arise.

Thank you Adam Sandler.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Adam Sandler Week...

I have been noticing a very nice trend in the Adam Sandler era. When he started in movies such as "Billy Madison" and "Happy Gilmore" he played more of a young, stupid boy. However, in the last number of years his movies have promoted family, integrity, and even some "Godly" headship of men. Hmmmmm....does he now believe in the New Testament?

This is why I will be highlighting a number of modern Adam Sandler movies and how it relates to Godly men.

50 First dates a model of Godly men in a relationship?

This afternoon after the kids were in bed, I watched a portion of the movie "50 First dates" starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. The show is very funny and brings to light diseases that deal with memory loss. It was a typical modern Adam Sandler movie that promotes some kind of virtuous way in the midst of much dark humor.

The basic premise portrays Drew Barrymore as the young lady whose memory only lasted a day. When she was riding with her father, on his birthday, they hit a tree and the brain damage caused her to not remember anything beyond that time. At a random meeting while eating breakfast at a restaurant, Adam Sandler's goal is to show his love for "Lucy" even though she can only remember the past and never anything new.

What I thoroughly enjoyed about this movie was its uplifting of the unending love of a husband for his wife. Each day Adam Sandler would have to remind his wife about their history or else she would forget it all. Each day he had to recommitt his love to her and tell the story again. Each day he proved to her his great love for her.

I think this is a symbol of what all women want from their husband: A deeply committed love. A love that doesn't end in words, but is a daily recommitment to one another. This is deeply rooted in Ephesians 5, where all men are to love their wives as Christ loves the church (a.k.a. die for her).

Take advice from Adam Sandler on this account

A little sexist? Maybe, but there is a bigger issue at hand.

I recently received a message from "Megan" concerning a recent post I had at the conclusion of my "Godly men" on TV week. Here is what she said,

" I think that your point was a little misconstrued by the slightly offensive and chauvinistic tones to your argument. Inferring that all women do is sit around, make crafts, and bake casseroles is a huge generalization and also quite sexist. If you want your audience to include only single males, then by all means, continue."

I appreciate her comments because without honesty, how can I really reflect about my blog and what I am saying. My main purpose with these articles was for one purpose to motivate men and at the same time encourage women to allow our men to be men, especially in the life of the church.

When one looks at the typical church in today's society, they are typically set up in a few ways. 1) Sing very floaty, feministic songs (a.k.a. Beautiful Savior). 2) All gathering include potlucks (cooking), and 3) One of the biggest ways that the church does mission is through quilting, bake sales, and crafts. This by no means says that all women do this, BUT one must admit that all of these things encourage more feministic ideals than manly. The bigger issue is not "sexism", but men not being included in anything but as the ones to clean up the grounds and move chairs.

If my audience is only men, then that is fine because men in our world need a kick in the pants. Megan, pleasae keep on reading and let me know your continued thoughts. I would appreciate a little more opportunity for dialogue so my writing can hit home for a larger audience.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving and the Manhattan Declaration

The day is here. Turkey, football, relaxation, and of course pie. One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is one of the only days in America throughout the year that people do not expect anyone to do anything. Cars are at relatives, food is being eaten, football is on, and the best example today is that I have been playing all morning with my girls with my pajamas on. What a Sabbath.

One thing on the mind today that I have a desire to promote/analyze is what is called "The Manhattan Decarlaration." On Tuesday, Bishop Harry Jackson described this document that promotes amoung Christians to be bold on Biblical issues (life, marriage, and religious liberty). Their goal is to have over 1,000,000 people sign this document.

Something that is interesting about this declaration is that it doesn't promote us trying to force Gap, Wal-Mart, or Target to say, "Merry Christmas" or picketing a courthouse that takes out the 10 commandments. This declaration, started by Chuck Colson, points everyone to the important Biblical truths that every Christian should take seriously. It is a timely document as many of these truths are not agreed upon within Mainline Protestantism. Once again showing why it is important to confess our dogma in a world that confesses a lot of nothing.

Check out the website and also the show on Issues Etc-

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tonight we are seeing New Moon...what should we look for?

After church tonight my wife and I will have a night out to watch the Vampire hit movie, "New Moon." I enjoy movies for their entertainment value, but even more so to see what tickles the fancy of our generations. What makes New Moon sooo popular for young people and how does this affect our ministries?

This show from Issues highlights how a Christian should watch New Moon and also what it means from a Christian worldview?

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

John and Kate plus eight over...way too late

Last night my wife and I watched the series finale of John and Kate. It was bittersweet. I was glad to see the show end after their marriage was destroyed, but also very sad to see the relationship surely end.

I think the most disheartening thing was both John and Kate constantly saying: "I'm going to do everything for my kids." This has danger written all over it. In Scripture God gives us many references on how to love our wives and husbands, but little on how to raise children. And many studies have found that when parents love each other and are willing to say, "I am going to do anything to love my spouse, love automatically outflows to the children.

And to think, my wife and I were almost looking for advice from the show. What a mistake. Here is a simple way to have a strong family: love your spouse unconditionally (Christ loves the church and the church submits to Christ). Start there and let the Lord lead you.

God's blessings to John and Kate, but I do hope there is much repentance on both ends. I repent for my own failings on this regard.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Idiotic men on TV, now what is the modern man to do?

I think it is well established that TV does not uplift a man to be "all that he can be." The total number of "good" examples on TV is so sparse that there is only way thing to do: not watch it. It is truly that simple. We typically try to "reform" our surroundings by forcing Hollywood, TV, and other secular worlds to change their ways. The usual response is of outright denial. And in the meantime we have forgotten our families and been Godly men.

What we can control is our congregation. No more singing Beautiful Savior every other Sunday, no more watering down God's Word, not so much "crying" in a sermon, and STRONG Law/Gospel sermons. IF you looked around our congregations, it tickles the fancy of many women. Activities that encourage sitting, crafts, and casseroles. Where is the kick-butt activity of the disciples? Where is the bold proclamation? Where is the hymns that are so powerful that basically only men can really pull it off? Talk to your pastor about making the worship service more "powerful", get men involved in powerful things, and strongly proclaim the truths of God's Word!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Godly men in "The Cosby Show?"

One show that probably influenced me the most as a chid was the big, connected, upper-middle class, jazz loving, show "The Cosby Show." It was great. The whole family stuck together. Both mom and dad had it all. She was a lawyer, he was a OBGYN, the kids had tons of fun, he loved jazz, and to top it all of they were an African american family that didn't make it a race issue. Boy, was it funny.
Bill Cosby, "Cliff Huxtable", was the center of the show. In many ways, he was the head of the household. He provided wisdom to his children, obviously provided as a doctor, and loved his wife in ways that put all modern TV shows to shame. Clair Huxtable was the loving wife and mother of FOUR kids (not seen often on TV). It seemed as if she really didn't do much lawyer stuff as she was mostly nurturing and criticizing the family all at the same time (especially Cliff). It was funny, whitty, and a breathe of fresh air for the modern day TV citcom.
In essence there is little wrong with this show. However, I would argue that the problem isn't what the show did, but what it lead to in the future. The Cosby Show was a beginning of the father being the comedian of the family. When there needed to be comic relief he was able to combine humor in the middle of wisdom. This portrayal of the man/father/husband lead to many other shows that wanted the same humor, but forgot wisdom (Simpsons, Drew Carey Show, Seinfeld, and Roseanne). The reminders are there that when we give an inch, others will take a mile.
Go ahead and watch this wonderful show. But be reminded, to be a good husband/father/man, does not require you to be "funny" all the time, but takes commitment, seriousness, and most of all love.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Godly men in "Everyone loves Raymond?"

"Oh C'mon, Debra, I didn't know!" Raymond Barone commonly would try to explain to his wife after doing something he should not have. It was a regular occurrence. The typical day was a battle of Raymond not wanting to offend his mother who lived next door and trying to keep his wife loving him. Unfortunately, he would often side with his mother.

Everyone loves Raymond was a unique show. It portrayed a younger family with a husband as the bread winner who worked as a sports writer in New York City. Debra was a stay at home mom and they lived next door to his parents. How much more "traditional" or family oriented can you get? If one were to stop there, one would think it uplifted family, especially men.

However, the moment you see the family dynamics, things change quickly. First of all, it is hard to determine how Raymond was a BIG TIME writer for a sports page in New York City. If he had that job first of all, he would be a stud and would know quite a bit. Yet, the moment he entered the home he couldn't figure out what shoe to put on what foot. Debra was always mad, his parents treated him like a 5 year old, and he was always looking for ways to get out of family time. On top of that, his dad was a bumbling idiot, his brother had no confidence, and the women appeared to hold it together (if that is what you would call it).

So what's the problem? Well, two fold. Raymond has been voted as the #1 dad in TV history. If this is true, a successful dad is one that is naive, a denier of family time, and has little respect from his wife and children. He was even more critical of faith. There was no prayer time, discussion of much faith, and attendance of worship was only for the sake of pleasing Debra.

My wife and I loved this show. However, it has affected our marriage and my view of fatherhood (good or bad). We are still looking for a strong man in the TV world, that is a model for all young boys into the future.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Godly men in "Home Improvement?"

"Ugh, Ugh, Ugh" I'm not sure of how to make a grunting noise of a man who has just started his power car. The grunting noise symbolized what it meant to be a man in the show, "Home Improvement" with Tim Allen.
Home Improvement portrayed a "handy man", Tim Taylor, who is married to a pretty wife, Jill, and has three strapping young sons. He had his own TV show called, "Tool Time." His side kick, Al was very handy and kind of stiff in the ways of the world.
What made Home Improvement so attractive was its ability to humorize the normal family life and the ability of a man to joke his way out of anything. Tim would receive wisdom from his neighbor (whom we never saw his face) and often mis-apply it to his family life. At the same time, he was accident prone and always trying to make up for his mistakes. His biggest issue was trying to figure out his wife, he showed his love for her, he attempted to protect her, however, he was consistently seen as the "village idiot."
The overall view of men in this show was FAR better than the destruction from "Married with Children." Tim loves his kids, he loves his wife, he provides for his family, and appreciates people. However, it was good at glossing over the main issue. The woman was the only one that held things togehter and the man was basically worthless unless he is telling a joke. Ever seen this play out in your home life?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Godly men in "Married with children?"

"Love and marriage, Love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage...." These were the words that introduced the film that made Fox famous in the late 80's. You saw Al Bundy with his hands in his pants and ignoring his family for the joy of TV. Everytime this introduction appeared on TV, my parents made me change the channel. But like any good young boy, I still found a way to watch it!

We will evaluate the great, Al Bundy. The man who had a bright future to play college football, but impregnated his girlfriend (Peg Bundy), married her, and ended up working at Gary's shoe store selling women's shoes.

Now would Al Bundy be consider a "manly man?" Well, you might think he is a good 21st century male. He watches football, loves beer, and complains about women. It is the standard joke about men in our culture. What' wrong? a young boy might ask these days.

First off, he is constantly ripping into his wife (even though she has her own problems). He definately doesn't treat her like Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5) and also downgrades his own daughter as stupid and a ditz.

Secondly, he has no responsibility as a leader of the home. He works a dead beat job, has no money, and doesn't seem to want anything more but to complain, scratch, and drink.

What implications does this have? In all honesty, it was funny. It brought to light some struggles we all have in marriage and raising children. Brought some reality to people who had dreams, but were shattered. Yet, it basically gave no hope for men stepping up in trial. It presented troubled teens as a glorious way of life. And the idea of discipline was nowhere to be seen.

I would argue that Married with children started a horrible trend of the downgrading of men. Men as the "village idiot" and taking no responsibility for his family. Especially, uplifting his wife and children. The Al Bundy affect will be with us for some time, but by God's grace, things will improve.

Lord have mercy

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fatherhood in the 21st century

What has happened? When watching TV, there is not ONE father/man who seems to have it together. You attempt to watch any TV series today (According to Jim, Everyone loves Raymond, King of Queens, etc), current or reruns and you see absolutely no Father/Man figure to try to emulate.

It is a far cry from 1949 when "Father knows best" was on TV, followed by Andy Griffith, Leave it to Beaver, and the Brady Bunch. Fathers were someone to look up too. The father would possess wisdom, a respect from his wife, and prominent name in the community. I realize that these shows did not indicate complete realtiy of those days. Yet, does portraying ALL men as village idiots portray accurately a father in today's world?

What does Scripture tell us of Fatherhood? It tells us much about fatherhood, but it probably boils down to three main ideas:

1) A father must first be a good husband (Ephesians 5:25-33). First and foremost, he must love his wife as Christ loves the church. If love is seen for his wife, the children will know he is a man of integrity.

2) A father must be the head of his home (Ephesians 5:23). He must take an active leadership in the goings on in the house. It is not for his benefit, but for the WHOLE family.

3) A father must be a provider for his home (1 Timothy 5:8). A father who does not provide according to Scripture is no better than an infidel. He is not to sit at home and do nothing, but provide (physically, financially, and spiritually).

How many guys on TV do this? Not many. This week I will cover a variety of shows and show how the portrayal of men is very degrading and also what we can do about it.

Lord have mercy

Sunday, November 15, 2009

How have/do shows portray men in our culture?

This week will be known as "put down the man" week. I will evaluate prominent shows from the past 15-20 years that have lowered the viewpoint of men and what implications it has had on the church and also the world. I am kind of on a rampage lately as I have seen SO many men have wives leave them, men who have been idiots, and men who have NO clue of what it means to love his wife. Can we blame TV? Wait and see

Friday, November 13, 2009

Favorite religious practice?

This morning while working out on the elliptical at the YMCA, I heard a gentleman standing next to me describing his most exciting weekend of his life. He went on to describe drinking 13 shots of tequila, a 6-pack of beer, and a martini all in one night. The bragging continued with his hangover in the morning and the adirmation of his fellow "manly men."

What religious beliefs kicked in? Was it my Luheran disposition to call for repentance and pronounce forgiveness? Was it to gently ask if that was real smart? Or even to repent of my own failings of "drinking too much" in my past? Nope, my favorite religious practice kicked in: Thinking like a Pharisee.

I thought to myself, "That's real mature!" and "Thank goodness I don't do those kinds of things, especially as he is almost 60 years old."

When I stand at the throne of God and he judges me, I will probably stand next to this guy and what will I say? Well, I might have gotten drunk in my past, but I gave it up and it was when I was young. Do I think that God will say, "Oh, thankyou Brady, how good of a Christian you are." Probably not. I need the same forgiveness as this guy, I need to repent just as much as him, and we all need the same Christ crucified for our forgiveness of our many sins.

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Flu Shots and Baptism

Yesterday two of my children received a H1N1 flu shot. In many ways it was a relief to know that there is an ounce of protection of an illness that has many questions. A feeling of tension is now lowered due to something that our pediatrician suggested for all of his clients. Can my children still get the flu? Maybe. Do I feel better? Yes. I probably won't be as adament of washing hands (although I should) and will not freak out over TV ads as often.

In many ways, I think young families think the same way of Baptism. Parents become worried that the child will not have God in their lives, they run to a local church which they are not connected with and beg for Baptism. The Baptism occurs. The parents feel better, the child has a better chance of going to heaven, and they become compacent in faith. "After all, she is baptized."

The implications can be dire and baptism does so much more than a flu shot. A flu shot works for one simple illness and may or may not work. However, in Baptism, God changes the whole body and soul. He basically digs out, kills the muck inside and creates a new person. not only that, it works every day in the sinner (Romans 6). Killing, rising, and resurrecting a dead soul, EVERY DAY!

Our nervousness will continue concerning the swine flu, even after a shot. Yet, we have the assurance of salvation, life, and forgivness through our children's Baptisms. But that is not a get out of jail free card, we continue to instruct, call for repentance, and forgive as we live in the grace of our Lord.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Two options, life or death

While I attended my grandmother's funeral and hearing the baptismal promise proclaimed by the priest, the words of Paul from Philippians clanged in my head like cymbals: "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account"

In the human flesh, we have two options: Life or Death. In the world, life is the best option. To live is to make money, have children, buy homes, travel, etc. But death means I can not do any of those "very important luxuries."

As ones in the baptismal life, both options are nothing to fear. In life we have Jesus, living in us, forgiving us, and loving us. In death, our spirit is at rest with Jesus. Not a bad deal either. While we live, our bodies are to be living sacrifices that Christ may be known and in death may Christ be glorified.

May we live life not fearing death, but serving in our vocations for the proclamation of Christ. And I cling to the hope of my grandmother resting with her Lord and the future life where death is no longer an option!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Busy week...put Baptismal life in a stroller?

It has been a very busy week. Pastor's conference in Appleton, WI. Participated as the celebrant in the worship service, organized the compline service, proved once again that I do not know it all, repented, was forgiven, discussed theology over a few beers, and traveled home on Wednesday. Refreshed and excited to be reunited with the family.

As I left the parking lot I received a phone call concerning my grandma Finnern who passed away from cancer in Wamego, KS. Donna married my grandfather 13 years ago after the both lost their spouses and she has been a God send to all of us. A devout Catholic, a loving mother, and grandmother battled cancer for the third time and within two weeks of feeling sick, she is resting with her Lord. She will be missed.

We are currently in Kansas and I have spent all week in hotels and no home cooking (not good for the beltline). In all reality, we are all very tired and weary.

Today, as we arrived in Wamego after 600 miles with the kids, I had one of those "baptismal pick-ups." My almost one year old son was crawling across the long hallway in the hotel when he grabbed his stroller, grasped onto the handles, and began to walk a long distance down the hall. First time I saw this in him. As he walked he fell down once the stroller hit the wall, but he got right back up again and continued to stumble down the hall the whole time with a smile on his face. What a joy to see.

I feel like my son right now. I know for a fact that I can't walk on my own. And when I began to walk, depening on unsteady objects, I fall. Especially when brought to my knees with the death of my grandmother. However, through that "death" by the Spirit and the resurrection through forgiveness. I am lifted up once again to stumble through life, hopefully with a smile on my face, not because it is always a joy, but because the ride is all in His hands.

Thank God for strollers, stumbling boys, and a Lord who picks us up. Pray for the witness of the priest tomorrow to be bold and points us to the cross.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What does it mean to be Lutheran? What verse/verses?

Reading through my Lutheran Study Bible (TLSB) I thought of something that would be helpful for all lay people when describing our Lutheran heritage. Often people ask a simple question with a terribly complex answer, but expect it to be quick and understandable. The simple question usually goes like this, "So what does it mean to be Lutheran?" or "What do Lutherans believe?"

So what would our answer be? What verse(s) would be the best to explain it in a minute or two?

Instead of the typical John 3:16, what would you use? My thought was two unique passages for people to think about:1) John 20:30-31. The Scriptures are written that people may believe in Christ. Since our theology is all about Christ at the center that would start thing right. or 2) John 16:13-14. When speaking of the Holy Spirit, Jesus tells us that the HS is not here to uplift itself, but Christ and His redemptive work. That is our goal as Lutherans also.

What do you think?