Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Discussions on baptism

i was having a discussion with scott tonight about baptism and it got me thinking about some things that i haven't thought about for a while...

the other day i wrote about the division we have as family...and the fallout over those differences of opinion. one of the topics that believers disagree on...sometimes the theology of baptism.

i can remember my days in bible college and seminary and the endless debates (er, discussions) we had over the form, meaning and purpose of baptism. it was always such a favorite. we got very good at articulating our position and undermining those who were obviously inferior theologically. we talked sprinkling, pouring,and immersing. we talked age of accountability. we talked the sovereignty of God and how predestination and baptism were related. we talked infant baptism, believers baptism, holy spirit baptism, fire baptism, Jesus' baptism, membership baptism, catholic baptism, baptist baptism, ethiopian baptism, household baptism, and the ever-popular water regeneration. we talked...a lot.

we asked questions that made us feel smart and overly spiritual. "do you have to be baptized to be saved?" "how young is too young to be baptized?" "is it ok to be re-baptized?" "what are the right words to say when you're baptized?" "can women baptize?" "is there more than one kind of baptism?" "does your baptism come with any guarantees?" "can a person be baptized the wrong way?" "who says?" "is baptism just a symbol or does something actually happen to us during our baptism?" "is our baptism the moment we are saved?" "do you have to repent before you get baptized?" "how much?" may brain is getting tired just remembering...

what questions do you have?

Monday, October 23, 2006

So much for being perfect

according to a "think tank" at the university of texas...

--22,000 checks will be deducted from the wrong bank accounts in the next 60 minutes.
--1,314 phone calls will be misplaced by telecommunication services every minute…
--12 babies will be given to the wrong parents each day.
--268,500 defective tires will be shipped this year.
--14,208 defective personal computers will be shipped this year.
--103,260 incoming tax returns will be processed incorrectly this year.
--2,488,200 books will be shipped in the next 12 months with the wrong cover.
--5,517,200 cases of soft drinks produced in the next 12 months will be flatter than a bad tire.
--Two plane landings daily at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago will be unsafe.
--3,056 copies of tomorrow's Wall Street Journal will be missing one of the three sections.
--18,322 pieces of mail will be mishandled in the next hour.
--291 pacemaker operations will be performed incorrectly this year.
--880,000 credit cards in circulation will turn out to have incorrect cardholder information on their magnetic strips.
--$9,690 will be spent today, tomorrow, next Thursday, and every day in the future on defective, often unsafe sporting equipment.
--55 malfunctioning automatic teller machines will be installed in the next 12 months.
--20,000 incorrect drug prescriptions will be written in the next 12 months.
--114,500 mismatched pairs of shoes will be shipped this year.
--$761,900 will be spent in the next 12 months on tapes and compact discs that won't play.
--107 incorrect medical procedures will be performed by the end of the day today.
--315 entries in Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language will turn out to be misspelled.

any thoughts?

Monday, October 16, 2006


mondays are a big reading day for me. local news. national and international news. some of my favorite weblogs. early reading for sermon prep. monday morning insights from pastors, authors and organizations. even a look or two at how my beloved chargers did...

while doing some reading yesterday, i had an interesting thought about differences of opinion. people in our country are divided in their support of the president and our government. divided over war. divided over the economy. divided over issues of race and poverty and education. there is hostility. people on opposite sides of the divisions look at their opponents with smug superiority. "you'd have to be a complete idiot to think that...", they say.

it saddens me, but christians are no different. in spite of what Jesus commanded (and modeled), we struggle at unity. we are divided. divided over politics and war and race and education and the economy. we are also divided over denominations. divided over issues. divided over theology. divided over lifestyle. believers on opposite sides of the divisions look at their opponents with smug superiority. "you'd have to be a complete idiot to believe that...", they say.

could it be that none of us are as smart as we think we are? maybe we don't have a "deed of ownership" on the truth. maybe...just maybe...there are people who have totally different positions...totally different interpretations...totally different opinions than we do...and they are using their brains also!

maybe instead of shaking our heads in pitiful judgment, we could listen with compassionate understanding and respect. i'm not suggesting that there is no truth, but i am suggesting that none of us is as bright as we want to believe we are. seeking truth is a lifelong process. God's revealed word is our only concrete guide. i just think we need to walk the path without undermining the intellectual dignity of our fellow-travelers.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A flashback

i had an interesting thought tonight...

i went to a high school football game. i love going to games and watching kids. all of them...they fascinate me. i knew kids on the teams (congrats to fm!). i knew kids in the band. i knew kids in the drill team. i bumped into kids that i knew who were just walking around, oblivious to the game. they were just there to hang out with each other. i knew kids who were sitting with their parents. i knew kids who were avoiding their parents.

i knew kids who had graduated. i knew kids that had graduated, but never moved on. i knew kids who were "stars" when they were in high school. i knew kids that were "nobodies". i really do like going to games and watching kids.

while i was there tonight, i had a major flashback. we were sitting behind a row of ten kids...five "couples" to be exact. they were 14 or 15 years old. they were giving us quite a show in the fine art of young high school romance. they weren't obnoxious. they were just enjoying their independence and the freedom they had to grow up, express themselves, and experience the thrill of teenage hormonal excitement. to say they they were oblivious to the game would be an understatement! but they were certainly aware of what hung on their arms and played with their hair...

back to the flashback. 37 years ago, that was wanda and me. they looked so young tonight. we were that young then. who would have ever imagined that two fifteen year olds could have made a decision that would last a lifetime? who would have ever thought that those two kids, caught in the wonder of adolescent love, would make history together...not just a moment or a season...but a timeline that would span all the future days of our lives? who would have thought?

it was kind of fun watching them.

Friday, October 06, 2006

About brotherhood

this past week i spent six days with a bunch of guys up in the mountains. we didn't take our shirts off and beat drums and get in touch with our inner child. but we did spend a lot of time trying to be honest.

i led a group of men who had been married for years, been in youth ministry for years, and been around the block for years. it was a group full of wisdom, spiritual maturity, life experience, and huge vision. it was also a group of men fully aware that their lives and marriages and ministries were not everything they needed to be. that's not the unusual part.

what was amazing was their willingness to talk about it. honesty. transparency. candid openness about lives that constantly fall short. frank discussion about trying to live by our own power instead of living by the power of the holy spirit. wrestling with our calling. running headlong into temptation, lonliness, independence, disappointment, failure, judgment, comparison, rejection, emptiness...and swimming back to the surface again for the breath of life.

men are pretty notorious for putting up walls, existing at arms distance from other men, living with secret sins, communicating that we really don't need other men in our lives for deep friendship and real brotherhood. we struggle with camaraderie that goes below the surface and deals openly with conflict, difference of opinion, and forgiveness. for most of us, it is much easier to move away than it is to move closer.

i'm glad i got a week with some guys who reminded me that real brotherhood is a good thing. are you a brother? do you want one? ...then be one.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Where's the love?

back from the mountains of colorado...

much can be said about love. love is a commitment that we make to go through it all...good and bad...thick and and downs...last and first. first?

how about those padres? is there any more love out there? come on.