Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Resurrection Reading

We celebrated Easter by integrating some original Resurrection Readings from the LGBC body. One man from our church encouraged me to put my reading on this blog. I wrote it at the height of the DaVinci Code controversy. As all such controversies go, the minority voice hit its high note for a verse and chorus, only to be silenced by the constant melody of the Resurrection.

The DaVinci tide has crested and fallen to the shore of irrelevance; Jesus remains risen. Enjoy:

Da Vinciists and Iscariots have nothing to celebrate today. They’ve decoded their conspiracy and uncovered their truth: Jesus is dead, but his lineage lives on. They will toast his ancestry in the templar; they will honor his heritage in the masonry. They will hunt for eggs and celebrate nothing.

All they have is fiction.

Historians have become bored. History is not modern enough. Not mainstream enough. They’ve taken pen to the parchment to rewrite it. But in the process, they’ve changed genres. They’ve moved from gospel to gnosticism; they’ve shifted from faith to fiction. And in every line, they’ve undercut the credibility of our beloved Creed.

So they have nothing to celebrate today, except for eggs and sugar, family and spiral cut hams.

And yet, today marks the most mysterious of days. The day the grave lost its martyr. The day the Romans lost their victim. The day the Enemy lost his battle. The day of Resurrection.

There is a power in the resurrection that is alien to Hollywood and Random House. Thrillers and blockbusters, regardless of their packaging, cannot strip from our Story the miracle of a risen Savior. It is the power that moves mountains and heals wounds, that transforms nations and calms hearts; it is the power that dwells within us.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Compliment

Faces are fairly easy to read while I preach. They're Large Print versions of first grade phonics. Nods, smiles, bright eyes, closed eyes, furrowed brows, and yawns all tell me something. This is boring. This is confusing. This is comforting. This is true.

On Sunday I noticed a face that said, "I need this." Every time I looked at that face, the line was the same. "I need this. I need this. I need this."

A sermon is not what the face needed; it gets one every week. It need food. It needed water. It needed strength for the soul. Unfortunately, sermons aren't always prepared like family dinners, and appetites are too often ruined by thoughtless grazing.

But one appetite was ready. "Thanks, pastor, that hit the spot."

I think this is what Jesus meant when he asked Peter to feed His sheep.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Convenience

I bought a package of Hostess' Lucky Puffs on Thursday and hit an all-time low. Eleven out of twelve months in a given year, I can walk past the Hostess aisle, with nary a thought or glance at the coconut-covered marshmallow treats--when they're called Snowballs, they have no appeal. However, dye the coconut green, adorn the package with a leprechaun, call it Lucky, and Hostess has found itself a consumer.

Hostess is not the only company that has made a fool of me. I buy every permutation of Reese's Peanut Butter cups. If M&M's put nougat, caramel, or egg nog in their center, I would try them. Twix could market a new individual stick, change nothing but the name (Diet Twix), and my candy addiction would take over.

But I assure you, it is not the sugar that lures me, it is the packaging.

Junk food makers have mastered the art of changing colors, swapping ingredients, and celebrating holidays (e.g. Hershey's Mr. Good 'Friday' Bar) to dupe eager buyers. In actuality, distributors are fooling no one; the consumer fools himself. If he can come up with an excuse, any excuse ("Oh, what's this? The Authentic Snickers? I haven't heard of that one. Hmm. Wrapper says, 'Tastes more like a Snickers than ever before.' I guess I'll have to try it."), then his conscience is appeased.

What confuses me, though, with this phenomenon--given our Postmodern culture in which we deplore labels--is why we embrace wrappers. Isn't this hypocritical? "Don't call me evangelical, emergent, conservative, grace brethren, mosaic, polyphonic... but would you please hand me that bowl of Resurrection Skittles."

Some might argue this is different: "Wrappers delineate, they don't discriminate." But aren't these functional equivalents? In either case, the Bubble Yum is separated from the Tic Tac, and the Twinkie segregated from the Oatmeal Cream Pie.

So why do we allow it?

Simple. In an economy built for convenience, some discrimination is necessary. And I can accept this, especially if it means my Lucky Puffs will stay fresh.


Author's Note: I threw the second Lucky Puff away, after leaving it unclothed on the desk Thursday night. This blog represents the fifth stage of grief, thus I almost entitled it "Acceptance."

Monday, March 3, 2008

Dirty Sink Water

Claire dipped her feet into dirty sink water yesterday. I'd set her on the kitchen counter to prepare her a snack. The post-nap snack is one of a few ways that Liz and I appease Claire when she wakes up; we can count the number of times she's come out of a nap in a good mood on one hand. Typically she whines for a half hour.

So we offer her a snack. And we set her on the counter while we get it. And we make her chocolate milk. And we turn on a DVD for her. And we teach her to cope with food and entertainment and desperately pray that we haven't sown seeds for eating and/or dissociative disorders.

Yesterday was no exception. She woke up crying. I carried her downstairs, crying. I set her on the counter; crying. I offered her pizza. Crying. I put the pizza in the microwave... Splash.

I turned. The crying had stopped, replaced by laugher and splashes. Claire had pulled her socks off and dipped her toes in the sink. The water had been sitting for two hours; pizza grease and tomato bits were moving over its surface. I'd forgotten to unplug the drain.

Now I'm not much for dirty water and greasy feet, but there was something divine about that scene: A child will play in muddied waters. I think of the germs and the smell and the laundry; my daughter considers the texture. (Filth is unfashionable to adults, but the child delights in being muddy.) I think of the aftermath and obligations; my daughter thinks of the moment. That is why she cries, laughs, and splashes.

Father in heaven, teach us to play.