Interactive Sermon

"Those who have the disease called Jesus will never be cured" ~Old Russian Proverb

Thursday, April 12, 2007

What's On My Mind?

Uh Oh! ~ Seems the 'Jesus Tomb' story is losing credibility about as fast as Titanic took on water. Give this article a glance.

Imus-sed Up ~ Let me get a handful of Imus thoughts off my chest. First, I think the comments Don Imus made were incomprehensible and I think he should expect to be suspended, or perhaps fired, possibly fined or sued, and at the very least lose a number of his sponsors and listeners. Second, while I do see a double standard - the fact that black rap artists like 50 Cent use the very same words that Don Imus used, and that is considered freedom of speech and artistic liberty - I think Imus' comments are different, because he applied them to a specific group of girls, whereas rap artists, for the most part, speak in general terms of "the ho' on the dance flo'" and so on. Third, I am continually surprised by the voices that come out on these kinds of stories. I think they should look in the mirror. Two of the loudest voices in the wake of Imus' comments are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. When will Jesse Jackson apologize for referring to New York as 'Heimytown' or Al Sharpton apologize for his characterization of the Duke Lacrosse players as racists? Lastly, I wonder what value a genuine apology has anymore. I'm not an Imus fan. But, I have read and seen his apologies, and I think he appears genuine in his remorse. If he is, will it matter to society? I'd love to see the Rev's Al and Jesse give society a lesson in applying mercy and grace.

More snow coming... Chicago worst since 1957... North Dakota since 1945... Global warming... Global whining... Has anyone seen my copy of Al Gore's book?

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Stop Global Whining!

Oops! Ran across this on Snopes today. Very interesting. Wasn't it the former Vice President who just won an Academy Award for a film calling on us all to live more enviro-friendly lives? Seems the present President is doing his part.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Pirate Looks At 40 (but it's blurry)

It started with a few nights of watching the words blur during my late-night reading. 'Just over-tired', I figured. Then it progressed to watching the words blur almost all the time, but magically clear as I moved the book six inches further from my face. 'It's nothing', I assured myself. "What did you expect? You're turning 40 this year!" the eye doctor scoffed. 'Smart-&%$', I thought to myself! The verdict is: I need glasses.

John Lennon, for instance. Would I look cool with the perfectly round lenses? They apparently helped John to see while he wrote some of the most lasting classics in rock-n-roll. But, they didn't help him with the ladies. (Yep, that's a Yoko dig!) And, I don't guess they helped his peripheral vision on that fateful December night in 1980.

What about the Rick Nielsen look? Cool with the checkerboard pattern thing going on. Matching glasses with the rest of my wardrobe might be the way to go. You can't see it so well in this small version of the picture, but even his in-ear monitor is dressed in checkerboard. Way cool. 'Mama's alright, Daddy's alright, they just seem a little weird..."

How about a Buddy Holly look? He made the 'wood-shop safety glasses' look cool. Hmmm. Sharp objects? Better not.

Some Bono's? His specs help him see the needy of the world with great compassion. They also help him see that talk is cheap, and action costs dearly. There's something to be said for those lenses!

'Sir-Eltons'! These frames are fit for a Knight. Elton said that he wore crazy glasses as a young performer to mask his stage fright. Then he hit 40. Now he wears them to mask his aging eyesight. I wonder if it's the glasses that have magnified that huge cross on his chest? Elton: Got Jesus?

Then there's Elvis. Elvis Costello, that is. Elvis makes the frames look cool, doesn't he? Veronica liked them.

Now, these are some glasses! They are BB's. B.B. King's lenses allow him to sing the blues, but always to have an infectious smile and a laughter about him. I think more people ought to get some of these glasses. I want to see the world this way.

Michael once sang, "I'm looking at the man in the mirror". Apparently his glasses are of the wrong prescription.

Bob Dylan went with the most affordable frames.

Maybe I could go 'Super Freak' like the late Rick James. Problems with these lenses though included his mistaking his wife for a punching bag, his dog for a soccer ball, and amphetamines for vitamins.

A good pair of David Crowder glasses could work. His lenses allow him to see God and then paint beautiful pictures in song to help the rest of us see God. Then again, David Crowder could make any pair of glasses look good, eh?

A good pair of glassed like Pete Townshend wears might be cool. I found out last week that he is a serious blogger. Check his blog here. Hmmm. Perhaps if I went with lenses like Pete my blog would get more daily hits? The glasses also also give him a 'kinder-gentler-Pete' kind of look. Does this look like a man who became famous smashing guitars at the end of shows?

Alas! I've decided to go with a pair of glasses similar to the Ken Block (of Sister Hazel) model. Ken sees the world like a poet and puts it to song for the rest of us. His lenses let him see the world in shades of 'sunrise to indigo' and back again.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Now They've Found Jesus' Underwear!

First the tomb, now His shorts! This blogger made me smile this morning. I especially liked the James Cameron 'quotes'. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Preachin' Politics pt. 3

Several weeks ago I began a rather light-hearted jaunt through the growing list of political candidates who are vying to be our next President. It is not my intention to endorse any candidate or party (I'll try to be an equal opportunity critic), but rather to dialogue a bit on politics - not as Pastor Darin, but as Citizen Darin.

Hillary Rodham-Clinton. Hillary Clinton. Hillary. You have some serious name recognition when people everywhere recognize you by three names, two names, or just one. Hillary (she prefers to use the one) doesn't care what you call her, as long as the prefix President comes before it! Have you not heard? She's "in it to win it" where the race for the White House in 2008 is concerned.

Not everyone is so thrilled with her fancy to be known by the brief moniker. Poking around her website (going by the two names there) I found this comment left by a potential voter:

by Karing
2/23/2007 9:44:48 AM So I got in a discussion yesterday with a few of my girlfriends, and they were really upset by the way Hillary was using her first name and not her last name. They thought it was to girly and unprofessional. I said it didn't bother me, but how do you respond to this? When people voice their feelings ('I think its not professional', you can't say 'you're wrong it is professional'. You can't tell people what they think is wrong. Any ideas?

Karing... I'd advise your friends to be careful for characterizing someone who uses their first name as 'girly'. Perhaps they've heard of California's Governor, 'Ahhhnold'?

Back to Hillary... I mean Hillary Clinton. At her website you do find some information about where she stands on issues. I find that admirable in a day when so many politicians are waiting for polls to tell them what they should think. It's in the bio section there where she describes her Christian faith as 'faith in action'. She speaks of the spiritual influence of her mother and a youth minister in her formative years.

There are some parting shots I would take at Hillary for President. First, by now everyone has heard about the war of words launched by David Geffin where the Clintons and honesty are concerned. Rather than ignoring the statements, Hillary responded by dragging Barrack Obama into the melee. I feel like where Hillary is concerned, everything is a conspiracy. That would worry me. I'd love to see her disagree with someone without branding them 'an enemy' along the way. Additionally, it seems that in a handful of questionable settings over the years, Hillary has been eager to portray herself as having been 'duped' - the Whitewater scandal and the war in Iraq for instance. Rather than owning any possible mistake on her part, she has implies that others pulled the wool over her eyes, and she was totally oblivious. My concern? If a bunch of her business partners and George W. Bush can trick her, what awaits her with the likes of Hugo Chavez, Mahmaud Ahmadinejad and Osama bin Laden? Questions I'm waiting to see her answer.

By the way, I am so hip - I don't care whether she goes by one, two, or a hyphenated 3 names!

Next up: The Republican known by one name... Rudy.

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What's On My Mind?

DaVinci Deja vu ~ James Cameron, the man who brought us to Titanic on the bottom of the ocean, claims to be ready to give us a look at the coffins of Jesus and his family, including what Cameron says are his wife Mary Magdalene and their son Judah. Wow! Sounds like a great movie, James. Jesus sells!

Pastoral Attrition ~ I'm working on my Pastor's Annual Report for 2006. I've composed one every year that I've been at Christ's Church in February - marking the anniversary of my arrival. This year I thought I might like to change the look of my report, so I did a google search for pastor's annual reports to see what other pastor's reports looked like. A number of the reports I found on the internet were more than a year old, some as many as four or five years old. Where I could, I moved from the old report to the church's current website to see what progress I could discover. What I found was an alarming number (more than half in my informal survey) of the pastors are no longer at the same church. Discouraging to me.

Vacation Week ~ Our girls are off from school and dance schedules this week. I'm really hoping to have some meaningful family time. Have you ever noticed how the week looks long and filled with opportunity one day... and then it's in the rear-view mirror the next and you're asking 'What happened to all that time we had?' I don't want to be there.

The Book Cellar ~ Al and Kit Deu's bookstore over on 101-A. You may recall that I won a $50 gift-certificate for their store at the Super Bowl Party. I've been visiting the store searching out the best ways to use the gift. Last night I came home with a stack of great books! There are some great deals there - tables full of bargains. If you're a book-a-holic like me, this place is worth many a pilgrimage.

What's on your mind this week?

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Amazing Grace Friday!

Join me for the show!

It's on! Regal Cinema (Hoyts) in Manchester, 1279 South Willow Street, at 8pm Friday night.

A few of us are planning to meet to see the movie Amazing Grace and then, as many as desire may head out for a cup of coffee to talk about the film and to enjoy each other's company.

So, you up for a movie?

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Amazing Grace Party

The film 'Amazing Grace' is set to be released next week, February 23rd. The film is based on the true story of William Wilberforce's struggle to end slavery in 18th Century England. It is for this movie that Chris Tomlin was asked to compose a new chorus for the hymn Amazing Grace. Check out the movie's website here, and catch the theatre preview.

I am thinking a movie night party is in order. Anybody up for a trip to the theatre with me next week?

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Valentines

Last reminder. I hope you remembered your Valentine!

There's one more on my list of Valentines. She's the original. Mom!
She's going to absolutely love the fact that I've put this picture of her on the internet for all to see - celebrating her 75th birthday last year complete with a bow for her hair made of napkins by our waiter!
I owe Mom a great debt of love and gratitude, after all, she loved me through many challenges, and loves me still. Go figure! That's what Moms do. Mine does it better than them all.
She lost her Valentine years ago, but taught us one of life's most valuable lessons - the show must go on. She allowed God to turn her grief into a ministry of bringing others joy, using her creativity to gather friends often and 'discover' hidden talents that would lead to variety shows, loving roasts and toasts, and good old entertainment. She even had a troupe of her entertainers crash my wedding reception dressed as birds, singing 'We Are Family!' That's Mom. I am proud of her.
I love ya, Ma! Will you be my Valentine? (Oh, and by the way... bet none of your other kids declared their love for you across the World Wide Web! Lots of love... your FAVORITE child.)

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My Valentines

Since the very first time I saw her 24 years ago, I knew that Shari was my lifelong Valentine! After only a couple years of my stalking her, I convinced her that we were meant to be.
Our first date was a Bruce Springsteen concert. Fitting. She started dating the kid described in 'Growing Up'; we struggled to beat odds stacked against us as depicted in 'Prove It All Night'; and our life together have has been a retelling of 'Born To Run' - "One day, girl, I don't know when, we're gonna get to that place we really wanted to go, and we'll walk in the sun... but 'til then tramps like us..."
So, I'm living my fairy tale with the girl of my dreams. One day these other Valentines of ours (as you've met in earlier posts) will all be out on their own. That's when I look forward to Shari and I writing some new choruses together... more like Barry White than Bruce Springsteen.
Shari, 'I love you with all the madness in my soul'. Will you be my Valentine?

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My Valentines

Happy Valentines Day. Have you remembered your Valentines?

Her arrival changed my world. In an instant I went from being a relative nobody to having the most important title in the world - Dad. I remember being absolutely scared to death when the nurse said to me, "Okay, you can take your family home now." I thought to myself, "Don't I get an owners manual or something?"

Amanda is our oldest. I'm very proud of her. She makes wise choices in choosing friends, and she gets the real important things where life is concerned. She will hate that I've chosen this picture that is more than 2 years old, but it's one of my favorites, taken in an orphan school in Namibia.

Amanda loves to dance. She's been assisting younger dance classes for a couple years and talks about a future as a dance instructor. I'm certain that whatever she sets her mind to do, she will succeed. Just don't ask her to eat a sandwich. She likes the bread, meat, lettuce, tomato and cheese - but put them all together in one bite and she's convinced it's the work of the devil.

Amanda, I love you. Will you be my Valentine?

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My Valentines

Have you remembered your Valentines?

This picture says a lot about Katie. She's got one hand firmly anchored on the handle, and the other free to wave! Katie balances a very mature hold on the things that are important in life with a free and fun-loving spirit.

A fine dancer herself, this year Katie began assisting dance classes for the young children at the dance studio, and with her older sister formed their own dance classes for children at the church. Working with the young children brings her great joy. And they love her!

Katie is our family's resident artist. Her creativity with pencils, charcoals, crayons and markers as well as her talents with crochet hooks have caught the attention of many.

Of all of her talents and traits, Katie's genuine care and concern for others is what I've come to be most proud of. She has a gentle spirit and a servant's heart, and a Christ like love for others. I love you Katie, and I'm proud of you.

Will you be Dad's Valentine?

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Monday, February 12, 2007

My Valentines

Continuing reminders - Remember your loved ones this Valentines Day!

Rebecca is my nearly 10 year old Valentine! I love you, Beck!

Becky's nickname has been 'Crash' since she was very young - she's the fearless daughter of the bunch. She learned how to swim by throwing herself in the water. She learned to tube by aiming herself over a waterfall. She looks at life with a reckless enthusiasm that makes us all wish we were more like her.

Becky's latest passion is basketball, and she's thrown herself into it just as you would expect, learning the skills and applying them to her game. One of my highlights as a Dad these days is going to her practices and her games.

I'm most proud of Becky for her spirit. She has the confidence to wear a Yankees hat in New England. She has her own fashion sense and style. She makes friends wherever she goes. She's hip. She's cool.

Yo Beck! What up? Valentine? Peace.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

My Valentines

Another reminder to any and all - Valentines Day is less than a week away. Have you remembered your Valentine?

Every guy should be as fortunate as me - surrounded by beautiful girls!

This is my youngest daughter Emily. She makes us all smile with her wonderful sense of humor and her mischievous spirit. She's just about filled my den with wonderful pictures and crafts that she's made - she has quite an artistic flair. She loves to dance and entertains us all with impromptu dances around the house, some of which are destined to become blackmail material when she's old enough to be embarrassed by them. Like her Daddy, she loves good old rock-n-roll. Perhaps you've seen Emily's Bon Jovi imitation in our family video (click to view the Shaw Family World Premier in the right panel). Yep, I'm a proud Papa!

Emily... I love you! Will you be Daddy's Valentine?

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Faith & Football

This article on Colts Coach Tony Dungy and a number of his players mentioning their faith in Christ in connection with their football season is worth a read. The conversation that was certain to be all about race - this Super Bowl featured the first two African American Head Coaches to reach the game - has moved more so the direction of faith. Both Coaches and many of their players are devout Christians.

A few thoughts came to mind as I read the article: (1) Concerning the comment at the end of the article "These people were hired to coach, not promote their private religious values" - I don't hear anyone telling Oprah Winfrey that... or Bono... or Sean Penn... etc. (2) I wonder: Should one separate their personal values from their career? I believe the Irsay family hired Tony Dungy, in large part, for his personal values. (3) I am really thankful for the last few paragraphs of the article. You see, for many the first encounter they've had with Tony Dungy is his post game words about his faith. I am among the many, however, who have seen his faith on display since he became the Buccaneers coach in 1996. I've seen his faith in the midst of the good, the bad and the tragic. That's what's telling to me.

So, what do you think? Is it right for these believers to speak out about their faith? Is Dungy crossing a line? Were you offended?

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The Old '419 Scam'

Good news! Someone wants to give me millions of dollars! Let's see... I want a new Mustang... a football (you know, an OFFICIAL NFL football)... a G.I. Joe... Oh yea, and I'm going to tithe on the money - you know, give a little to the Lord!

Here's a clip of the email I received this morning:

Dearest In Christ,
I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ our Lord, I am Mrs Savannah Jahab from Kuwait. I am married to Mr Alex Jahab who worked with Kuwait embassy in Ivory Coast for nine years before he died in the year 2004.We were married for eleven years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days.Before his death we were both born again Christian.
Since his death I decided not to remarry or get a child outside my matrimonial home which the Bible is against.When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of US$2.500million dollars in a Bank in Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire.Presently, this money is still in bank.Recently, my Doctor told me that I would not last for the next Eight months due to cancer problem.

Gee, I'm sure glad she doesn't intend to remarry of have a child out of her matrimonial home. A good Christian, she is!

And, yep, you guessed it. This poor, dying, good Christian widow wants me to have her millions! And so she gives me a way to respond. If I do, she will soon tell me that the way to claim her millions is for me to first wire her thousands - to establish the bank account needed to transfer such a large sum of money, or some such rubbish. I decided to run our poor widow and her story through an internet search. I found the very same letter on file as the basis for what they call a '419 Scam' on a number of consumer protection websites, only the names and locations were changed. Seems there are a number of very wealthy widows wanting to give their money away because they were told they only have a year to live!

It must be about once a month that I receive some form of this scam to my email address. My question is: Who is dumb enough to fall for it, so as to keep these con artists running the game? Somebody out there must be wiring away thousands in the hopes of cashing in big-time. I remember my Dad telling me once: "If it sounds too good to be true... it probably is."

So, what Spams/Scams are littering your in-box these days?

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Valentines Day Approaches

Always desiring to help, I figured a few articles between here and Valentines Day to help people remember to mark the occasion would be a good thing.

Check this article. A couple who have been entangled in a romantic embrace some 5000 years were unearthed in Italy. They took that 'until death do us part' line seriously, eh? Now that's romantic!

Just a thought... some hugs like this one while you're still alive would be really cool too.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Way We Communicate The Gospel

This morning I ran across an article at Christianity Today's 'Out of Ur' site that caught my attention. The article itself really is nothing more than an advertisement for an upcoming Pastor's Conference that CT offers. But, it was the headline (and the premise behind this year's conference) that caught my eye: "Preaching The Word In An Image-Oriented Culture".

For many, all talk about the distinctions between Modern and Post-Modern era, with regard to church and ministry, has become fatiguing. I recently heard someone say, "I am post-Post-Modern... in other words, I'm over it!" This article title, I think, offers something interesting to think about. Follow me.

The Modern era is widely understood to have dawned with the advent of the Printing Press. The era prior to that, scholars (and other annoying people who converse on this) identify as Pre-Modernity. Think on this: the way the gospel was shared and Christianity was communicated changed at that threshold - Pre-Modern to Modern era. Before there was the ability to produce copies of the Scriptures and get them into people's hands; before there was the ability to print theological books and Christian literature in quantities; before there was the ability to hand people gospel tracts, the message was communicated almost exclusively through the arts. In other words, the world was image-oriented. Great works of fine arts, story telling and drama, symbols and icons - you get the picture (no pun intended).

Then, modernity dawns and the world moves into a print-oriented age. Through the modern era the gospel became a message primarily communicated through literary content. Christendom developed systematic theologies and apologetics - and summarily began to dismiss the arts as idolatry. With me so far?

Now, we find ourselves in what those scholars (and boring people) refer to as Post-Modernity. Many associate the threshold from Modern to Post-Modern with the advent of the global community (the internet and other technologies that make the far reaches of the globe a simple mouse-click away). One thing that has happened in culture as this new technology has dawned, I'd suggest, is that we have moved, largely, from a print-oriented to an image-oriented world once again. Not sure about that?

Have you noticed that all your favorite television networks now display their logo in the bottom corner of the screen, and usually interrupt your viewing with visual communiques as you watch your favorite programs? Have you noticed how every news story on the evening news now has its own artwork? "The War On Terror", for instance. Have you noticed that while you watch one news story, three others cross the screen on ticker tapes? Ah, text! No. Images, cleverly disguised as text.

The point of my rambling is this: we really need to consider the manner in which we display (intentionally chosen word) our faith in this image-based age. People today, who do not know the Lord, are not going to be as open to our print as they are to what they see. More important than a tract to clearly articulate the Ontological Argument, they are looking to see if my life and yours articulates that message. More than they will be impressed by Four Spiritual Laws in print, they will be caught by seeing the law of God's grace written upon our hearts and lubricating our interactions. And the arts are back in communicating Christ. The church needs to, once again, look to the fine artists, performing artists and literary artists (yes, that's print, but in an image form - see the word 'artists'?) recognizing their gifts in communicating God's story.

The simple truth is that we live in a different time than when many of us came to faith in Christ. The message of the gospel has not changed, truth has not faded, but the manner through which people are most likely to hear, see or come to appreciate the gospel has.

What do you think?

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