Tuesday, April 03, 2007

"There's something wrong with this yogurt."

Happy Tuesday, friends and lovers. I trust the weekend treated you well. As for myself, I'm currently being abused by what was once thought to be stress headaches, but what I now realize is in fact a sinus infection, and a mean one at that. I'm currently trying to get in touch with my doctor to get some meds STAT.

And now with that bit of TMI is out of the way, let's get to business.

1) I'm a little late on this one, but it's worth mentioning. You've probably heard about the case of the "flying imams"--Muslim ministers who were escorted off an airplane because other passengers thought they were acting in a highly suspicious manner. In response, they have sued the airline, and now are trying to sue the anonymous passengers who alerted the flight crew to their behavior. This case against the "John Doe"s is taking on a life of its own. However, some commentators like Michelle Malkin are taking up the side of the John Doe's. Malkin wrote a John Doe manifesto, defending the position of anyone who feels the need to report suspicious activity.

While I am concerned with the possible "Chicken Little" effect that fear may produce in some folks, I have a little faith in the judgment of airline passengers to only speak out if there is a legitimate concern. Otherwise, we'd be hearing about this stuff happening every day on every flight. But I wholeheartedly oppose the silencing of the concerned for the sake of protecting the delicate sensibilities of the few. If I see something suspicious, I'm going to report it. I'm not going to take the law into my own hands and go all "Jack Bauer" on someone; that's not what's being advocated here. But we can't be so afraid to offend that we refuse to be vigilant.

So I'm going on record: I am John Doe. Sue me.

2) Tragically, it's stopped being surprising to hear when a high-profile minister gets caught up in an extramarital affair. Pastors all over the church are struggling with this issue, some successfully, others not. But the latest news I've heard hit a bit closer to home. He is an evangelist that I've recommended before, one whose teaching was an encouragement to me. He came to our church and spoke on a few different occasions while we were still looking for a new pastor. Some of the allegations are that the last time he met with his mistress was during the week he was speaking at my church here in town. As Wade Burleson notes, during one of the sermons, the evangelist talks about the anointing of God and the sin nature of man, and you could almost see a little into the struggle he was having inside himself.

I have to confess, when I heard that this happened while he was speaking at my church, my first feeling was one of betrayal. How could such a man, so guilty and deceitful, stand before my church family on that platform and hold the Word of God before us? But I caught myself in that thought. I remembered that I am that guilty and deceitful man. So are you. So is my new pastor. So was my old one. The names are different, the crimes may be different, but the sin and the deceit is the same. [Remember Matthew 5? Based on the words of Jesus, I'm an adulterer, too.]

As believers, we tend to subconsciously classify sins as being "really bad and ugly" and "sort of embarrassing and less ugly." Sexual sin, on the bad list. Jealousy, gossip, gluttony, on the not-so-bad list. We need to ditch our lists, church. All sin is all bad. It's all really ugly. Sin of all stripes should break our hearts in repentance and drive us closer to the God of grace and truth.

As for this evangelist, he needs prayer. He broke faith with his wife and those who trusted him to be a man of integrity. He has a long journey of hard restoration, if he chooses to be restored. (Some don't.) And if he repents of this sin, I think we have a duty to encourage him and help him return to fellowship. (I bolded those two statements, because forgiveness isn't cheap. It may be free, but it's not cheap. He must choose to walk in the light, which means turning his back on this pattern of deceit and betrayal. So don't get confused and say I'm giving him a free pass. I'm not; frankly, it's not my job to give any kind of passes.)

And in the meantime, I'm praying for self-understanding, so that when I see a brother broken and repentant of his sin and calling out for forgiveness, I can say not "There, but for the grace of God...", but simply, "There go I."

3) Well, that was pretty heavy. How about some quick hits from the world of pop culture? [h-t: pretty much assume anything not otherwise marked is from Pop Candy.]
  • I think this is freaking cool. Too bad there are few 7-11's anywhere near me. (Really, too bad in general--I'm a Slurpee FIEND.)
  • Manders sent me this. The title pretty much says it all.
  • I have to tell you, I'm pretty excited about Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd. It should be opening in December/January.
  • When I first heard this news, my immediate reaction was, "Ohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease!"
  • Have I mentioned I'm excited about this film also?

4) Currently reading: "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" by Susanna Clarke--Very good. I'm little more than a fifth of the way into it (it's roughly 1,000 pages), but I'm enjoying it immensely.
Just read: "Sex God" by Rob Bell--Interesting. I may post on this later. It's not what you'd expect.
Currently Watching: Last week's episodes of "The Black Donnellys" (very keen) and "October Road" (less keen but still fun).
Recently Watched: "Stephen King's Nightmares and Dreamscapes." Expect a post on this too.
Currently Listening: Muse, "Absolution."
Recently Listened to: Mark Driscoll's excellent sermon on March 20 called "Pain and Progress," out of Nehemiah chapter 4.
Currently Eating: Lunch.
Recently Eaten: Blueberry yogurt. (Thus the post title.)

[And if you can guess the movie the title is from, AND give me the next two lines, you win a blog-prize (to be determined later).]

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