if you really want to do comparative religion, get together a bunch of serious believers from different religions- and get them drunk.
“But our citizenship is in heaven…” - Philippians 3:20
I’ve lived overseas now about a third of my life. For the first four years I was not only a foreign passport holder - I was a diplomat because my father worked for the embassy. Being a diplomat gives a wonderful sense of not only “I don’t belong here,” but also a “No one here can hurt me, I’m invincible and my home country is WAY better.”
Now I’m just Joe blue passport holder (American diplomatic passports are black) and my life is a lot different. I’m still not a citizen of this country but now I try to fit in, to love the people and the culture. I plan on being here for the long term and so I try to become like the people. I try to like the food, to speak the language, and to understand things like what’s funny in this culture.
But no matter what I do, I don’t look right. I’m way to white. It doesn’t matter how well I speak the language I’m still way to white to be a local - and people know it. No matter how much I grow to like the food there are always odd things I cant get used to. I love these people, but the way they drive drives me nuts.
And now that I’ve been overseas for so much of my mature life there are even things about America I just cant relate to. People call this being a third culture kid (or old guy as the case may be for me).
But the point is, none of these places are my home. Even America isn’t. And not just because I’ve been gone for a while, but because my citizenship is in heaven. And we have diplomatic passports. Because God has made us awesome by His blood - and as such we have an immunity to the laws of this world.
Now I don’t mean we can break any law we want to - a diplomat wouldn’t last long with that kind of a mindset. I do mean that even if we’re convicted wrongly of something in this world or even accused correctly of serving something greater than the worldly authority - we will only be rewarded when we get home. When return to our real home.
Our heavenly home.
p.s. I just found the rest of these here. And they’re pretty amusing.
“Holding fast to the word of life” - Philippians 2:16
I’m happy I’ve made a change to a new blogging system. But I want to restate my commitment to writing about the word. This is what I want from the blogging world - to offer something. I don’t always feel like I have much time to spend on other people’s blogs these days. I do enjoy reading other folks stuff when I get the chance but thats less and less these days.
Anyhow. I’m still enjoying blogging about the word. It’s the reason I got into blogging - although I’ve often been confused about that. So keep on reading. Let me know what you think. And let me know if I bomb.
And join me in holding fast to the word. Keep me posted on what you’re learning. I’d really like to find some other tumblr folks out there who are bibliobloggers… tumblr makes it so easy.
So I’ve made the switch to tumblr. I hate to say that I’ve left a google service because I think so highly of google. Everything they touch turns to gold (seemingly) the exception that I see as most obvious is blogger. It’s been years since a worthwile update and my other wordpress blog has been updated several times.
I’ve still got some changes I want to make to this but I like the minimalist theme I chose and I like the control tumblr gives me (again the reason I didn’t go with wordpress). So let me know what you think, the old site can still be reached at old.theologer.com (or should be soon if the DNS hasn’t updated yet).
Also I’ve always wanted a tumble blog (tumble log?) even though my blog content might not particularly well work with it.
I’m a little fearful I’ll lose my google pagerank over this change which is one of the only sources I’ve had of traffic…
Let me know what you think eh - (the comments system is still the same as my old blog, so you can still login).
I used this great tool.
Today I was talking with my wife about the next kid on the way and how big of a change it will be from one to two. We have lots of friends who have recently had a second child and the change from one kid to two is visibly astronomical. Apparently when you have one kid you can still sort of live like you don't have kids, but when number two comes along your life is pretty much over until they're old enough to take care of themselves at least a little bit (even longer if you go for 3 or 11).
Sometimes I think about how much more free I felt in college. I have this distinct memory of feeling like I didn't need to go home, it didn't matter when I went home, and no one would know if I decided not to go home. I don't know what I thought of it at the time, though I sometimes do imagine it would be nice to just be free like that. But then I think about the sacrifice of freedom I've made to be married - where I'm basically always responsible for telling my wife when I'll be home. I can't drink as much as I want or just not come home. But man is it worth it.
We took a trip this week to another city about an hour away by plane (28+ hours by train because of the terrain) and on the flight back I had to change my daughters diaper in the airplane lavatory. She was exhausted and put up with it better than she normally does because she was too tired to complain about the hard surface. When I was done I picked her up and looked in the mirror in the bathroom at my daughters face and was overwhelmed with how much more of a blessing she is than a burden.
I think regularly about my freedom and what it means. I think about how it could be abused and how by being willing to tell my wife where I'm going - or even ask permission, I'm loving my wife. I think about how wonderful of a blessing my wife is and how wonderful of a blessing my daughter is. I know I have no idea how hard it will be to have another child, but I do know it will be worth it. Serving my children now is an unbelievable blessing no matter how they turn out.
Thank you Lord for your great freedom. Thank you for the freedom we have in your Son and the joy it brings. Thank you that you've given us the opportunity, the freedom, to marry whom we love and have children we cannot help but be overwhelmed by.
"While God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will." - Hebrews 2:4
"But earnestly desire the higher gifts." - 1 Corinthians 12:31
Now as for those who are hesitant to understand gifts I would like to share two stories. I wish these could be first person stories (or at least one of them) but unfortunately I cant offer such a thing. The best I can do is for two friends of mine who have had their minds changed. Now don't get me wrong - for every person who was a skeptic and believed you can probably find me 20 people who were skeptics and are still skeptics... but these are my stories.
The first is a missionary couple who were friends of ours in the Middle East. For ease I'll just call her Linda (it's easy and I don't want to use her real name). Linda's husband had prayed in tongues for years but she had always been uncomfortable with the idea given her upbringing. He was wise about how he shared with his wife and she was willing to let him practice it privately as long as she didn't push her.
One day they were at a conference in England - and as I understand it most of the people in attendance lived in England - not out of the country. Anyhow at the end of the worship a lady in front of Linda starts praying out loud is Arabic and Linda is shocked and impressed as the lady is white. Finally when the session was over she leaned forward and said "Excuse me mam, I just wanted to say that your Arabic is beautiful. I've studied Arabic for years and I can speak pretty well but nothing like you. You can praise the Lord beautifully."
The lady turned around and told her she was praying in tongues. Didn't know a lick of Arabic.
Now I don't know how the story ends. In fact I don't know if she ever prayed in tongues herself or even desired to, but after that she was certain there was something to it.
Example 2 is a lot different. This is a friend of mine with whom I'm in ministry here. He comes from a presbyterian background and was a very hardcore cessationist. About four months ago he took a class that worked through the new testament and specifically 1 Corinthians. The teacher was a reformed guy who was probably a cessationist himself. But he did a good job of presenting both sides of the arguments about the gifts and he argued that there was something about this chapter 12 verse 31 (see above). He said whatever you believe you have to sort through this verse for yourself.
So this friend of mine went home and got on his knees and prayed, "Lord I don't know what to do with this verse. I don't believe this stuff is still around but if it is your will for me to desire the gifts - if they're even still around today then I would like to desire them." I cant remember from his story if it was the first time he prayed this or if he did so several times - but at some point he said he couldn't hold it back and he burst into praying in tongues.
He crawled into the bathroom and was sort of freaked out about what was going on but kept doing it. His son (only a year and half old or so at the time) came walking into the bedroom looking for him and he was yelling back, "Go downstairs and play, daddy's busy."
It freaked him out enough he came to me to ask some questions about what happened to him. I was surprised at all the questions he had and how much of a right theology he had developed from this experience about this particular gift. He was so concerned about the theological implication it took him almost three months to tell his wife - who prayed the same prayer but didn't have a similar experience (she says much to her relief).
Anyhow he is still trying to sort out what he thinks about it. He no longer believes the gifts have ceased but he doesn't know what this means for the future of his walk with the Lord.
So these are my two stories. I don't know if they give much by way of encouragement or challenge whatever you believe - but its a start. If you wonder about gifts - be it tongues or something else - I would encourage you to really think about these two verses. Does the first really only apply until the canon was closed? Have you wrestled with this second verse? Have you told God that if they gifts are for today you want to experience them?
Just some things to think about. I am curious to see in my own life what is to come of prophecy and I'm sorry I don't have as many stories about this. I do have a few and intend to share them eventually.
Okay if you ever read this blog you know I'm a ginormous fan of beer. So today I was meeting a friend of mine and we were talking about Ephesians and when we got to this verse I had to think about it for a second. It occurred to me that I wasn't sure I liked this verse - I like alcohol a lot and while I know being drunk is wrong I was wondering if I really preferred the Holy Spirit over the affects of alcohol.
Thankfully I was quick to the conclusion that yes I actually do prefer the Holy Spirit. And this is my reasoning. Alcohol can be a wonderful thing (if enjoyed appropriately in moderation), however it can also be a horrible thing (if enjoyed inappropriately in excess). The Holy Spirit is a wonderful thing from beginning to end in both small and great amounts. We had just gotten done talking about the Holy Spirit being the down payment of the rest of the promise to come (see 1:14).
It occurred to me in processing this that when my life is about the Lord and not about myself I experience the Holy Spirit in fantastic ways. It comforts me, encourages me, strengthens me, gives me hope, satisfaction, and a near bliss of a buzz so much more fantastic than alcohol they aren't even comparable.
But like the people of Israel of the Old Testament I constantly forget and turn elsewhere for a satisfaction embarrassingly small when compared with God.
God tells us not to get drunk with wine because alcohol is a gift from Him - not to be abused. He tells us to be filled with the Spirit because He is our creator - He knows what is best for us because He created us. He knows how we should live because He is the author of life. And He knows what brings satisfaction because He invented satisfaction. He knows the affects of money, fame, alcohol, sex, etc... but He also knows those things wont last. He tells us to be filled with the Holy Spirit because this is his unbelievable gift to us.
Don't settle for wine.
And I would like to argue that it's not throwing our hands up in the air and yelling "Jesus take the wheel." Now what I'm not saying is that you should never depend on the Lord. You should ALWAYS depend on the Lord. But you should also ALWAYS have your hands on the wheel. Because the nature of this physical world the Lord has made is that if you take your hands off the wheel of a car you will crash.
I actually remember a story of a friend of mine in High School. She came to school and was dying to tell someone about her little brother. He was 8 or so at the time and had been riding his bike through his neighborhood (now keep in mind that I grew up in Colorado and this girl lived in the mountains), and apparently he decided to see how long he could ride with his eyes closed. An impressively brave little dude he managed a number of seconds before plummeting into a tree and receiving shockingly little by way of bruises and scrapes.
Anyhow I'm saying this in reference to the many many people I know who believe that using birth control is taking control away from God. In my opinion it is the exact same thing as taking your hands off a car's wheel or a bike's handlebars - if you take your hands off you will crash. Period. And if you stop using birth control you will have babies. That's the way it works. It's a physical world. The Lord governed this world with science and you cannot lay in bed in the morning and say "If it's the Lord's will I'll get to work today." Because you have to move your legs. God has the power to get you there, but will probably not do it.
Don't be foolish. And when you know the will of the Lord don't sit on your hands and wait for the Lord to work. Sometimes we need to be patient on the Lord but sometimes waiting is foolish and in understanding the Lord's will we need to act on our own will in this physical world.
On another note did I mention my wife is pregnant with kiddo number 2? Due sometime in October (and despite the discussion in this post earlier yes this was very planned).
I've been annoyingly busy. Turns out grad school in another language is every bit as intimidating as you would think it is. I'm struggling just to keep up in class - epecially the classes where I have to give a speech for a half an hour. It's a lot easier to listen than it is to talk, because if you miss a word it doens't affect a whole lot.
So today I was processing taking another class I'll probably be required to take but don't really have the energy for. I was thinking about how someday when I'm done with this degree (keep in mind I've been in class 2 weeks) I'll finally have time to spend just doing my ministry and how easy would that be? How much more relaxing would it be to not have to do homework.
And then I'm reminded of my calling. And how pursuing this degree is one of the only ways I have hope of achieving what I think I'm called to do. So really, this is part of my ministry. It's an amazing opportunity and I keep going back and forth between being super excited about it and then being completely overwhelmed by it. But the days will go on... and if I can keep my head together for even a year and half things will mostly have fallen in place.
It's hard to make best use of my time. It's hard to be wise in the way I walk. Often the wise way is the opposite of the comfortable way - even in our ministry. Annoyingly the wise way is the painful way for a while, or the hard work way.
God give us patience and wisdom to go where you'd have us and succeed at what you call us to. Your will be done in our lives, in our time.
Anyhow, I'm excited about something the Lord may have been calling me to do and confused about whether its actually something He wants or something I want to do to make my kingdom bigger instead of His Kingdom. To this question I still take comfort in the thoughts of my father - that sometimes the Lord uses our bad motives to further his Kingdom. That doesn't mean we should seek our bad motives, but that we shouldn't shy away from what we think we should do just because we're unsure of the motives - God is big enough to sort through it.
Everyone - I've had this thought lately and I want to address it (elephant on the blog) I set out about a year ago to write about bible verses. To blog a verse a day and I have fallen sadly short in the last few months. Part of that is work. Part of that is my getting but butt whooped in graduate school in a language other than my mother tongue (which is English... yea I know it's not always obvious). But lately this blog has had to be more than just my thoughts on scripture. My thoughts have been to incoherent. I don't know if this is good or bad, but for some reason I see value in a Christian just writing and letting people know that things don't always proceed as we plan or hope.
So much of what is in front of me is exciting that I have a hard time holding back my excitement. I might get to move from the city of eternal gloom to the city of eternal sunshine in a year and half, and I know thats a long way off but it offers a leadership position and a team I get to build myself. Stuff I'm all excited about - but might yet fail to work out. The Lord is good and has blessed me with every stinkin' desire of my heart - so much that I have this horrible fear of when He'll stop blessing me sooooo much. And then worrying that I worry so much that I'm not enjoying the blessing now.
Anyhow. This is a weird post and I apologize. I'm gonna go pray - hit the sack and hope to sleep. I pray the Lord keeps you up late at night once in a while and makes you re-think what matters. A few lost hours of sleep may keep you from running in the morning - but wont keep you from Him.
Praise the Lord - our amazing savior. Awesome in power, glory, grace, and the giver of good gifts. In whom I consistently find overwhelming satisfaction, hope, grace, thanksgiving, and joy. Today I came home and my daughter crawled around the whole living room, rounding the couch to see me and crawl all the all the way up to my leg and stand up just so I could hold her. I almost burst into tears on the spot - thats the kind of God I serve - awesome and powerful a God who gives us beautiful daughters who love us when we're just sinful folk.
Thank you Lord.
However, if in a battle you're wondering what kind of contribution you can make (being it actually fighting, or supporting the troops from home - whatever), then you're concerned that you accomplish something for the greater good of your side in the fight. So the issue then seems to me to be that we not be building a name for ourselves but rather that we be making a real impact on the battle.
That is, if 50 years from now people say, "That Roger, he was a fantastic guy," that doesn't do the Kingdom much good at all. But if they say, "Look at how (insert societal structure here) was changed!" and I had something to do with it, then I've left my legacy.
Just a thought.
But a book on grammar based completely around potty humor probably isn't great for the kingdom - as much as it might make a name for me...
Alright, its time to do the obligatory post on twitter. You all know I've been busy lately and have commented a lot about how much time I've wasted on seeking worthless internet fame.
Well almost all that time went to Fake Kevin Rose, or @fakr. A personality I managed to build from new to over a thousand followers in about 3 weeks. I don't know why I decided to pass on the information that made my life so boring but here it is.
Keep in mind that this method is nearly flawless in terms of the sheer numbers you'll gain, but depressing in terms of building followers who actually care about anything you have to say. That is to say, it works, but it's basically just twitter spam, and I don't endorse it - hence giving up my account.
That said lets dive in.
1. Pick a web celebrity to impersonate (optional)
This is what I started with but certainly not where you have to start. If you choose Fake Steve Jobs you're likely to have some people fascinated with the moron that would be willing to impersonate Steve Jobs - and then even more fascinated because Fake Steve is already on twitter.
The following steps will work to build a following for yourself no matter who you choose to be on twitter - even if that's yourself. And even if yourself means @Bad_Acne_Dude.
2. Hit Twitterholic
You need to look anywhere where you can find a list of tweeple with their number of folks they follow and how many followers they have. If you can discern these two numbers you can have a pretty good idea of who follows back all those who follow them. For example, on Twitterholic's list of people with the top followers (they have 1000) you see that @BarackObamahas (at the time of writing) 352,917 followers and 335,585 friends. This means he follows almost the same amount of people who follow him.
This gives you a pretty good idea that if you follow him he has some sort of mechanism in place to auto follow you back, and within just a few days he'll be following. I blame this on SocialToo - which makes this possible, but really their service is just good PR and people who follow those using it like I did are basically turning it into spam fuel. Now if you could find an exhaustive list of people who use SocialToo (which allows autofollowing of followers) then you would pretty much hit a gold mine by just following everyone on it.
Twitterholic is just one site of many that does this, but if you sort through the top 1000 people on there and follow every single person who has about as many followers as they have friends, you'll have 700 followers in no time. And then if you find other sites with the same sort of thing it'll only help. With this method you'll have close to an 80% follow back rate.
3. Follow Active People - they're likely to follow back
If you're looking for a quick way to follow boatloads of people look no further than the real Kevin Rose (@kevinrose). He has about 20 new followers/minute at least. If you go to his twitter page and then click followers you'll have a list of the most recent people to follow him. Twitter has made it easy to click follow, follow, follow, follow, etc... 10 pages in and you've followed 200 people. I would argue you'll get close to a 40% follow back rate - still impressive by twitter means.
4. You've hit twitter follow limits, now what?
So you're following 2,000 people and an email to support does you no good. Good. They know you're a spammer. But...
This is where the twitter API comes in handy. People have created a slew of programs to help you manage your account. The one I found most useful is Twitter Karma. Punch in your name and you instantly have at your fingertips the option to unfollow every single person who chose not to follow you back. Then head back to step 2 and repeat.
I would like restate the beginning of this article where I mentioned that I did this with @fakr, which has since been passed off to someone else because of the absurd amount of time I spent on it. I would like to remind you that just because you have 1,000+ twitter followers doesn't mean anyone actually likes you, wants to kiss you, or even go to Burger King with you.
Finally, I would like to state that if you're interested in this method then you need to get down on it because who knows how long it will be until twitter makes it even more difficult than it is.
And finally finally. I assume at least someone will leave a hateful comment about how spammesque this is. You're right, it is spammy. But if you call it spam and then go off and do it yourself you're just being hypocritical. So think twice before you blast.
In the meantime, I maintain my embarrassing 160 followers at @rogermugs, 5% of whom actually read my tweets.
Anyhow, just curious if anyone would care or if I should just let it die? The forums had a good run while I had the time, but I just don't anymore.
Theologer - a theology forum
5. Internet fame - or even just Biblioblog fame which I gave up on a long time ago... but sort of miss the striving.
4. Coin - $ in general is an easy goal. then I look at my salary and laugh.
3. Women - something about kids makes this very sobering.
2. Beer - delicious nectar of the gods. God Himself is probably more of a wine guy, but once I introduce him to a few belgium brews i think i can change that.
1. Pride - lets face it, when you ARE actually better than everyone else this is a struggle.