Friday, September 11, 2009

This September 11

Eight years ago I was a freshman in high school. On September 11, like every other day, I went to my first period class. Then, about 8:50 or so I walked to my 2nd period class, which happened to be English. I got there just in time to see my worldview come crashing down along with thousands of American lives.

The President at the time decided that this couldn't happen again, and took action, with the support of Congress and politicians from both sides of the aisle. And for a while, the nation was with him. But then it got difficult, and started taking too long, and suddenly it was a terrible idea. Suddenly, it seemed like the nation turned against the President and it was now time to bash him and his decisions.

Respect was lost for the President, and hating him became the "thing to do", and he was continually blasted over every decision that he made. The media made sure every misspeak, every hesitation during a speech, every slight error he made was blown out of proportion and the public knew he was completely inept and unsuited for this job.

Now, do I think everything he did was right? Was every decision he made the best? No. I disagreed with several things he did, especially toward the end of his presidency. But to blast him? To berate him? I like to make jokes, and poke fun at things. But blatantly disrespecting someone like the President? Especially during such a critical time in American history? What happened to the unity we experienced after 9/11? The leader of our country deserves a certain amount of respect. Especially one elected twice. Apparantly, he did something right, at least during the first four years. The outpouring of downright hatred for our President was unpatriotic, unAmerican, and downright disturbing.

Now you're saying, "But that's over now! So what?" Well, my point is, it wasn't cool then, it ain't cool now. I am not a fan of Barack Obama. I think nationalized healthcare is a bad idea. I don't particularly like his stance on abortion, or his overturning of funding for embryonic stem cell research. Nor do I much like his foreign policy, and for that matter most aspects of his domestic. But he is my President, the leader of this country, and should get the respect he deserves. Disagree with him, dislike him, but don't disrespect him.

But neither should you idolize him. He's just a man, and men make mistakes. Just because he comes up with a policy doesn't mean it's gonna be great. Just as the media hung on to all of Bush's mistakes, they've glazed over Obama's. A politician is only as good as the media makes him. The media has turned Obama into a savior, who will lead America out of the depths of Bush's failures. But one man can't save an entire country, just as one man can't destroy one. It's time we stopped looking for the one person who can change things, and start looking to help change things ourselves. Maybe we should be trying to get back the unity we had as a country 8 years ago. That'd be a big enough change for now.

But what do I know. I don't even like politics.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Bridge: What I'd like to see

"Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things which one may edify one another."
Romans 14:19

Well, it has definitely been a pretty dang good while since I've updated this thing...but as I begin a new chapter in my life, I thought now would be a good time. I also decided it would be good to update it with why it's starting in the first place: The Bridge. There are plenty of things I could write about, like the whole huge broiling controversy that's going on right now over this thing. I could also try to reach out and tell everyone about how we're going to do things and invite people and be all evangelistic. I could even write about why I think that God has moved me here and why I decided to destabilize the first and only time I've ever been moderately stable in my life.

But I'm not.

I've kind of had this on my mind for a good while now, with no way to really articulate it, so I'm going to try my best to do it here. The following is a list of things that I would like to see The Bridge become/do.

  • First of all, I would like to see The Bridge become a place where the church meets, instead of becoming a "church". During the past year, I've learned quite a bit about what the church really is, and how we can practice it in our daily lives and not just in theory. Anyone with a bit of biblical knowledge can tell you that the Bible says we are the body of Christ, and that we are His church. But if you ask those same people about their church, they'll almost definitely give you the rundown of their buildings, their programs, their "worship times" (which I'll get into later), etc. I think it's about time that the church stops being the building and becomes the people again.
  • Secondly, I would like to see The Bridge begin to correct a skewed view of worship. "Worship" nowadays mainly involves getting together one morning a week so we can "worship" while we're singing, and then sit back and listen to somebody talk about God for a while, and then maybe "worship" one more time during the invitation, and then go about our lives the rest of the week in preparation for the next time we "worship". This is not right. Our entire lives are supposed to be lived as worship to God, our thoughts and our actions. While music is definitely a part of this, it is only a very small part. Sunday mornings make up only a tiny fraction of our lives. How are we worshiping God the rest of the time? I would like to see The Bridge focus on the many other aspects of true worship, such as exhorting and encouraging one another, spending time with God one on one, serving other people (which I'll get to later) and being mindful of how your actions are representing Christ.
  • Next, I'd like to see The Bridge focusing on making disciples. Not making discipleship classes, but actual disciples. Here is an excerpt from my friend Alan's blog, The Assembling of the Church ( “All of those things can be included in discipleship, but none of those things are discipleship. When I say that we should ‘make disciples’, I mean that we should spend time with other brothers and sisters in Christ and help them do the things that Jesus did. We help them serve others and teach others. While classes can be part of this, primarily discipleship happen when we live our lives among one another. It happens in our homes and at restaurants, in parks and stores. We disciples when we drive somewhere together, work together, eat together, anytime we spend time together. And, in order to make disciples, we must spend alot of time with the people that we discipling – and most of the time should be outside of the classroom.” Now, the rest of the post tells how this quote was the answer to a question he asked after the professor had already moved on from the topic of discipleship. I encourage you to go here and read the rest of his post. Anyway, the modern church seems to have lost the art of discipleship, relying on afternoon classes on Sundays, rather than Jesus' example of simply saying, "Follow Me."
  • Finally, I would like to see The Bridge serve. Simply serve. Placing other people ahead of ourselves. I'd like to get away from "mission projects" and the kind of "evangelism" that seems to only involve an invite to church instead of an invite to Christ. People don't need to go to church. People need to know Jesus Christ. Meeting people's needs, showing the love of Christ should be at the forefront of our evangelism. "Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. " Acts 2:44-45. There are people all around us who need to be shown love and caring. They need financial help, or manual labor, or just someone to listen to them. And it's our responsibility to do it. It's never easy, not usually fun, and extremely hard work to invest in people's lives, but it's what God has called us to do.

There are many more things I could list, but these are going to be hard enough. Will The Bridge do these things? I don't know. I don't even know if anyone else there agrees with me. But I do know that as I've studied and prayed, these are the things that have stuck out to me, and I believe they are what we need in this community. The trick, of course, is putting this into practice instead of theory. As usual, I welcome any comments, rebuttals, or snide remarks anyone may have.

Til next time,