The Magnificent Defeat

Here is an excerpt from the closing of a message by Frederick Buechner entitled “The Magnificent Defeat”. The message is based on the story of Jacob’s fight by the river Jabbok found in Genesis 32:22-31.

Power, success, happiness, as the world knows them, are his who will fight for them hard enough; but peace, love, joy, are only from God. And God is the enemy whom Jacob fought there by the river, of course, and whom in one way or another we all of us fight-God, the beloved enemy. Our enemy because, before giving us everything, he demands of us everything; before giving us life, he demands our lives-our selves, our wills, our treasure.

Will we give them, you and I? I do not know. Only remember the last glimpse that we have of Jacob, limping home against the great conflagration of the dawn. Remember Jesus of Nazareth, staggering on broken feet out of the tomb toward the Resurrection, bearing on his body the proud insignia of the defeat which is victory, the magnificent defeat of the human soul at the hands of God.

Desperately Seeking Something

Josh and I, inspired by the guys over at the Starving Jesus experience, will be taking some time starting now and throughout this weekend to focus our minds, bodies, souls and spirits on things outside of ourselves. Over the next few days we are not sure what will happen, exactly what we are looking for or expecting… but we know that we both need something fresh to occur in our lives…. something that can’t occur unless we take some time away and seek it.

There’s a saying that goes, “If you keep doing what you are doing, you’ll keep getting what you are getting.”

I have told Josh that I am tired of doing and getting the same things in my life. He has expressed the same thing to me.

If we feel anything worthwhile comes out of our experience, we will let you know. If nothing happens, we will probably let you know that too.

Personally, this is something I need to do for me… irregardless if anyone else finds what I discover meaningful. I am just sharing it here because, well, that is what I do.

If you are the type of person that prays, we don’t mind if you throw one our direction (whether it makes any difference, I don’t know – but what the heck, right?). If you want to know more about some of the things that caused me to bring this whole concept up for Josh and I, go to the Starving Jesus website and read what Craig and JR are trying to accomplish.

I have shut down the comments, because I don’t need or want them right now. Have a good weekend everyone.

Don’t Shoot the Messenger

Ok party people….

Number One…I am just reporting the info on this one. I didn’t create it. So let’s start there.

Number Two… this is NOT the SCP website official view on prayer. My feelings and opinions on prayer (not what I know, because I know very little) will come later in another post.

Number Three… this is just meant to stimulate discussion. Let’s play nice with each other, because I know we are all over the board with this one.

This short ten minute video was brought to my attention by Edge of Faith. I know many of you frequent there, but some of you may not, so I thought I would steal their post (I hope that’s OK guys). If you want an in-depth theological or scientific debate on the subject, I would head over there because the heady stuff is talked about there.

If you start getting deep or writing really long posts full of scriptures here, I am just gonna tune you out. If you want to point to scripture, that’s fine, but please don’t post it for us. Give us the reference and we will read it for ourselves.

Primarily, just give us your gut reactions to the video here and then head over to the Edge of Faith guys for the debate if you like. Enjoy the video (or don’t enjoy it)… but remember, don’t shoot the messenger.

From Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?

Stupid Church People Church

By Jeff Marshall

In my opinion, stupidchurchpeople IS a church… SCPC???

I know… I know… no one wants to hear such a thing, but it’s true.

This is the place that the disenfranchised come to “forsake not the assembling of themselves together”. We sit around, drinking gay coffee, discussing Pastor Steve’s last sermon, and wondering how he lives in that nice house with the great view, drives a BMW and vacations in Maui, even though he never receives an offering!!!

Some services, youth-Pastor Josh speaks. These are usually the funnier, more lighthearted sermons. We always get a good laugh! And if they DID receive offerings, we’d give more on those days, because he uses more colorful language in expressing his beliefs.

Of course, if anyone gets out of hand, we have a special treat for them… the High Priestess over La Iglesia Del Burrito Santo also serves as head-usher at SCPC. She and her husband, who oddly wears a gymbag for a hat, will chew your ass if you’re just here to start trouble.

Of course, dissenters are welcome and are always engaged in lively, and sometimes life-threatening debate. Ministers like Dorsey and Zeke are always willing to assist in the pointing out of stupidity among the stupid. We find this is healthy for church growth.

One of the highlights of the year is communion. Where all the church members gather around, listen to a podcast, eat burritos and drink from the beer-fountain of life. Although these podcast/communion moments do not happen as often as usual, they are always looked forward to.

Recently, SCPC has undergone tremendous growth. An insurgent group of REALLY stupid followers have frequented the facility. As a result, much like Jabez, the Lord has enlarged our borders and with a couple of 100+ comment-posts on the site, made SCPC the worlds first mega-blog-church.

With this new growth comes a new and improved coffee bar, a mini-mall, and a non-christian bookstore, all run by our Director of Public Relations, JimmyBob.

Come grow with us!

[doxology]
We’re stupid and we all drink beer…
We love all people straight or queer…
Feel free to cuss here, without fear…
You need relief? Come worship here…
Aaaaaaaa-mennnnnnn.

Stupid Spreads to Maui

This week I find myself in Hawaii on a quick vacation to the wonderful island of Maui. My oldest son and I have been enjoying ourselves just relaxing on the beach, cruising the one-lane roads and frolicking (yeah, I said frolicking) in the ocean. It’s been a a blast to just do absolutely nothing… with one exception.

In a never ending search for Stupid Church People everywhere, we discovered the following sign not far from our getaway spot. It was depressing to know that Stupid Church People have found their way to this beautiful place, for I am certain that it is a mainlander, not a native that has brought this viral infection to paradise.

How much stupid can you find in this picture. (Click to enlarge)

To the trained SCP observer, this picture paints a million words. I have so much I could write on this photo, but I have been enjoying everyone’s contributions so much, I don’t want to steal anyone’s thunder. So have it and let it fly… and remember, the pastor may have been hit on the head by a coconut, been exposed to too much sun or just seen one too many bikinis to be thinking straight.

My Words Are Powerless

Words upon words upon words.

Blah, blah, blah…

Preacher types think that they are pretty damn important. What is it about pastors that cause them to think that their words can move people to action? Why do they think anything they say can cause someone to change? For years this misguided notion has been ingrained into my head. As a communicator, if I phrased my words, weighted them just so and infused them with either a certain amount of energy or a calculated amount of emotion… I could see people respond in amazing ways.

Each and every Sunday in pulpits around America, pastors will stand and proclaim their version of the truth. It’s not ultimate truth, it’s not “gospel truth”… not to say that there isn’t truth in their words… but what power do their words really hold? And as an aside, does talking for 30-45 minutes about the truth you want to proclaim make it any more influential. Pastors, catch a clue… the more you talk, the less we listen. It’s human nature!

It’s no different here in the blog world… life imitating life. We write because we feel what we have to say is important. We write because we are clever and can twist our words in such a way as to utlimately get our point across to the reader. We write to influence, change, expose, challenge, criticize, inspire… whatever our reasons, we write.

And everyday here in this section of the blog world… bloggers line up to give their version of the truth. They write, they shock, they implore, they proclaim… but what power do their words really hold. And as an aside, does writing 1,000 word posts and comments make the truth you wish to proclaim any more influential? Oh I have been guilty of it at times too… sometimes I just can’t shutup.

Blah, blah, blah….

After years of making a living speaking hundreds of thousands of words to others as a way of leading and guiding them to deeper truths, I am left wondering if I wasn’t just talking to hear myself talk. What difference did I really make? And now as a blogger and podcaster, I am asking myself the same questions. I enjoy it, and no matter how much you beg, I won’t stop. But if I believe my words are powerless, then why do I feel the need to communicate. Do I think my words can truly change a person’s heart?

This concept hits me again this evening as I face the blank screen, completely ready to share my heart once again. As I sat down to write my thoughts on a completely different subject, and address something personal to someone close to me, I realize how little difference my words will make to the situation. And it leaves me wondering if my words have ever made a difference… really…

Then why do I talk so much, and write so much. Is it just to hear myself talk? Probably.

My words are powerless.