Haiti Water Project: Please Give $10

I don’t usually use my site as support raising (though I might do it more then most, who knows), but today I wanted to make a special request.

My good friends, Beth and Curt, are doing some awesome work in Haiti helping raise support to build wells for clean drinking water. It’s great stuff.

And today, in the next five hours, they are trying to get as many individual donors as they can through the Facebook Causes and thus win an extra $1000 for their cause.

So, be a pal and go to the Haiti Water Project and donate $10.

Oh to Be like Francis of Assisi

Connie sent me this great quote by G.K. Chesterton about Francis of Assisi. It says:

“it is utterly useless to study a great thing like the Franciscan movement while remaining in the modern mood that murmurs against gloomy asceticism. The whole point about St. Francis of Assisi is that he certainly was ascetical and he certainly was not gloomy…there was nothing negative about it; it was not a regimen or a stoical simplicity of life. It was not self-denial merely in the sense of self-control. It was as positive as a passion; it had all the air of being as positive as a pleasure. He devoured fasting as a man devours food. He plunged after poverty as men have dug madly for gold. And it is precisely the positive and passionate quality of this part of his personality that is a challenge to the modern mind in the whole problem of the pursuit of pleasure.”

I’ve been trying to figure out this whole thing. Trying to explain to myself and to others why I would be choosing the type of lifestyle for myself and my family that I’m trying to choose.

I’m definitely far from the ascetic that Assisi was, but I do desire to have the same passionate pursuit for the things of God that he had.

Churches Should Teach Imitating Christ (Non-Violence)

(Meant to post this Sunday, oh well)

“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” -1 Corinthians 11:1

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children” -Ephesians 5:1

“You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 1:6

A new reader, Jamie, mentioned teaching non-violence in church and it got me thinking. There is a definite alternative to this idea of placing armed guards in churches, and that is for a church to instead advocate, teach and promote an attitude of non-violence. I believe this is a deeply biblical and deeply spiritual issue and I figured I’d write a devotional thought regarding it.

I think there might be varying opinions on what the goal, motive or vision for a church should be, but everyone would have to agree it has something to do with teaching and modeling following Christ (being ‘Christian’). And, considering the vast majority of people that attend church regularly profess to already be ‘Christian’ and followers, it would seem we would take the verses above seriously.

If we are to imitate Christ in all that we do, how we respond to violence is one of those areas; and it is one we have a very clear example in. We as individual Christians and as collective church bodies should serve as an example to others, including would be perpetrators that we will not return evil with evil, “but overcome evil with good.”

You know how buildings sometimes have those signs at the front that say: “Weapons banned on premise” or something similar? What if churches had signs out front that said: “We practice non-violence.” They could have pamphlets about it inside for everyone to be informed, and they could even preach on it from the pulpit. There are plenty of Biblical examples.

Not only does Jesus preach on non-violence (love your enemy, etc), he exemplifies it in his death. The early church is full of examples of non-violence as well. Jesus, I think, makes it explicitly clear to us how to respond to the sort of violence we see in our society:

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
-Matthew 10:28

YWAM, Churches with Guns and Rhetoric

Not sure if you’ve heard about the shootings in Colorado that happened at a YWAM base and a church, resulting in five deaths including the attacker. I didn’t know anyone involved, but I did attend that very same YWAM base in the fall of 2000, so a number of people have been asking how I’m doing as a result.
I’m doing fine. Like I said, I didn’t know anyone involved so it seems as disconnected as any other of these types of shootings that I hear about. At the same time, the fact that it happened within the context of a program I have been a part of has given me a chance to ponder a little deeper about the incident. Two things about it concern me.

You can read about the incident on your own, but one thing I want to discuss is how it ended. The gunman shot two people at a large church and then when he walked into the church an armed security guard shot and killed him. I read a few articles discussing church security and it appears a number of large churches do in fact have armed security in the church. This is only my personal opinion, but I don’t think I could attend or be a part of a church that uses guns as a means of ‘security.’ I strongly believe in non-violence and I think there is a large precedent for non-violence in what we see of Jesus and the gospels as well as the early church. I don’t believe guns and churches are a good match.

Secondly, I was alarmed by the comment of the pastor of the church concerning the security guard. Given the context, I understand the pastor and others applauding her as a ‘hero’ and the press that she received, however, and this is probably just rhetoric, some of his words alarmed me. The pastor at New Life Church, Brady Boyd, said the guard “probably saved over 100 lives,” when she shot and killed the gunman. Here’s my concern: When a pastor talks about ‘saving lives’ I would think he would not depart from his religious beliefs. As Christians, we believe that our lives are more then just the physical one we sustain on this earth and we believe that being saved has a lot more to do with are spiritual life rather then simply the prolonging of this physical one. According to the Bible, it is only by Jesus that we are saved. Jesus saved humanity by violently dying a criminals death not by killing others.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those involved.