Saturday, July 14, 2012

One generation to another

I came across a picture on Facebook today...I think it has some interesting implications, of which I don't feel the need to explain:

I'd give credit where it's due, but I have know idea who took it.
Welcome to the internet...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bezalel, Oholiab, and Flobots

I have recently found myself admiring the people most who have not forgotten who they are...what makes them "tick."  I will never understand it, but my current boss at Papa John's loves his job.  That may seem random to anyone who is reading this, but I say that because, of all the people I have ever met in management positions at that place (including myself), he is the only one I have ever met who genuinely wants to be there--and could be other places if he wanted.  Why then is everyone else there?  I was once a manager there to make more money.  I took the position to escape things that were happening outside of that job because I knew that it would take up a lot of my time, and it was a lot easier taking care of other people's pizza problems than it was dealing with my own.

Recently I posted a quote on Facebook that said,
"The creative adult is the child who survived." 
There is some truth to that--creativity in adults is many times attributed to a lingering curiosity from childhood that often times gets squished by "the real world."  I have begun listening to a band called Flobots again while on Marta.  I don't 100% agree with all that is said but I appreciate them deeply for 2 things: 1) taking a genre of music that is unfortunately deeply saturated with shallow lyrics and utilizing the style to say something meaningful and 2) allowing themselves to use their art as a means of communication.  For instance, Stand Up:
(heads up, it may contain some bad language...)

My intention with this blog post wasn't to get too personal as I have only just created the blog, but it appears it is going to happen anyway...  Considering I will begin Candler in the fall and I have just put my name in to begin the candidacy process (the first steps towards becoming ordained in the Methodist church), it feels like the path ahead of me is rapidly becoming set in place.  Where in the world does a degree in art fit in with that--lots of papers and history and theology?  I am trusting in God and am faithfully stepping where I feel I am supposed to be...but God will remember me, right?  In his plan somewhere, are my interests included?  And by that, I mean beyond beyond photoshopping our organist into the church directory:

The season of Pentecost is not too far behind us on the calendar.  Remember this text, or something like it?
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. -Acts 2:1-4
That is what I imagine when I think of the Holy Spirit coming down and making its presence known to people.  We who are spirit filled are born again and when God calls down the Holy Spirit for a specific purpose, sparks are going to fly.  Almost literally, it appeared to Moses in a bush on fire and he was made to take his sandals off.

The interesting thing is that when I was doing my devotion a few days ago titled "Skills for Work," a passage from Exodus came up.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you: the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant law with the atonement cover on it, and all the other furnishings of the tent—the table and its articles, the pure gold lampstand and all its accessories, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, the basin with its stand—and also the woven garments, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests, and the anointing oil and fragrant incense for the Holy Place. They are to make them just as I commanded you.” Exodus 31:1-10
Wait, wait...the "Spirit of God" came down with wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and all kinds of skills, why?  To make artistic designs...  Where is the speaking in tongues?  The prophets?  In chapter 36 of Exodus, it goes on to say that Bezalel and Oholiab were overwhelmed with help from everyone in the community because of all the skills and abilities they had to offer--not stuff.  So, will God be sensitive to everything that makes me who I am when showing me the calling that he has put on my life, as he does with everyone?  Playing sports, art, teaching, mission work, flipping pizzas... I do not know, but he did it with Bezalel and Oholiab.

Over the next few months, a lot is going to change, but I know that God is going to remain consistent.  I never would have guessed that I would be creating scriptural lessons based on elements of pop culture ranging from Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants to Call of Duty to The Avengers to Phineas and Ferb, yet here I am...moonlighting Bible studies...taking a moment to get back on the blog train.  We all lose sight of it, who we are, where we are going, which way is forward, or backwards...caught in the ever consistent spokes of time.  But, the interesting thing about serving a God who was before time, whose spirit hovered above the waters before when the Earth was formless and empty, is that there is nothing he cannot do, and nothing he won't do to show his love for us.  He is love. 

A well respected art professor of mine told me simply when I let him peak in at my fear of the future, "do what you love."  Maybe my boss at Papa John's has that figured out.  Maybe God is not limited by my fear.  And maybe, just maybe, the God, whose image I have been created in--the same God that orchestrated the creation of the universe--knows exactly who I am and what I want and need, and I just have to keep an ear out for it.  The worst kind of story is the one where everything always goes right.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Katy Perry and neighbors to love.

This pianist has some great music to listen to during a quiet time.  No matter the artist, she finds a way to make excellent compositions on the piano.  Definitely worth a listen in my book.

Sunny Choi – (Tribute to Katy Perry)

“You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor[f] and hate your enemy.   But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you   so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.   If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same?   And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same?  Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete. -Matthew 5:43-48

I find that working part time as a youth pastor and part time as a pizza guys lands each of my feet in two completely different worlds...yet in many ways, whether they should or shouldn't, they parallel each other, but that's another thought for another post.  It comes up at Papa John's occasionally that I work at a church--generally because someone will ask "so how did you make your way up to Atl?"  For whatever reason it came up again tonight with a coworker, and it somehow made its way to me saying, "yeah, I'll tell you what though.  What shocks me most about many Christians, who are supposed to be all about some love, is how full of hatred they are."

He proceeded to say, "yeah...actually the Last time I ever remember going to church the pastor walked up to my brother and I talking about how we were both going to Hell because we weren't tithing enough."  And, rhetorically, he went on to say, "What ever happened to a God that loves us no matter what?"

The conversation pretty much ended around there when I told him the God I serve's love is deeper than that, and he agreed by saying "yeah, I think so, too.  I don't know who he was serving, but I don't want to be a part of that."  Pizzas flashed on the screen to be made and our minds split into other directions from there and nothing more was spoken of anything.  I'm not sure how much hatred was in that pastor's heart as much as greed (from the way it was told to me), but for whatever reason my coworker still remembers that moment and it was enough to push him away from the church.  How sad.

I'm not always one for fluffy clouds, sunshine, unicorns pooping rainbows, and fluttering butterflies but what Jesus has to say about loving your enemies is a revolutionary thought, if we would just embrace it.  How do we lovingly correct someone?  I'm not 100 percent sure, but I know it all begins with love.  And I knew this--in fact, just the other day I found myself telling the youth "Love God and love your neighbor and you'll be alright"--but I find myself reverting back to an eye for an eye mentality anyway.  It's a work in progress I guess... I challenge you to read those verses closely again and let them sink into your lifestyle.  I promise you will feel more free if you let go of any hatred stored up inside of you.  We weren't made to hate.

I have begun reading through Matthew on my way to and from work at PJ's while I'm on Marta.  It's amazing how a little of the Word before work can make your day run more smoothly.