Thursday, May 14, 2009

Powerful Video: No, Mr. President

The video below is somewhat related to my previous post Messages for Obama. So here is another message. It comes from a fantastic website Desiring God and is the voice of John Piper.  You can find the transcript of the video here.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Yes Wii Can!

Joy has already come to the world, and it is the American Dream. What joy this Jesus may give as an interior, mystical so-called “warm-fuzzy feeling” is all fine and well. But this absurd notion that the caroler’s feeble myth can commit any more joy upon the brotherhood of man than is available to the inner person through any other religious path must be exposed for the foolishness it is! The thinking, contemplative person sees immediately that it is democracy, technology, and consumer capitalism that bring joy to the world. Nintendos, not dead Rabbis, repeat such sounding joys as our youth can make. Carolers insisting that this rogue sovereign brings joy to even the fields would deny that great rallying cry of our entertainment-driven way of life, “Yes Wii can!”

- from a satirical piece via Jesus Manifesto suggesting the prohibition of Christmas carols

So if you go caroling this Christmas please remember the gospel message that you are proclaiming.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Messages for Obama

Below is a collection of photos that contain messages to President-Elect Barack Obama. The themes of the messages include concern, inspiration, challenge, excitement, expectation, enthusiasm, and hope. The messages are not opinions of mine, but represent just a few of the many. As the weeks and months progress the eyes of billions across the United States and the world will be watching. I think it is great that he has inspired so many people. I hope he continues to inspire. Whether you voted for him or not, he deserves our respect and support as the future leader of this nation.

So here is my message to Mr. Obama:

I am praying for you and will continue to do so.

All photos are found via flickr search for "message for obama" at:

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thoughts on Situation in Burma

According to the BBC, General Than Shwe, the military leader of Burma (Myanmar) is finally agreed to "let all foreign aid workers into the country for relief work in cyclone-hit areas." UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has met with the general today to discuss disaster relief. Personally, I think it is an answer to the prayers of the many Christians who consider the hesitation of Burmese leaders to be saddening at the least and at the most a crime against humanity. When you compare the post-cyclone situation to the Chinese post-earthquake situation at least the Chinese government is readily helping its own people without hesitation. So today is a step in the right direction for the families affected in Burma. Now maybe the world will wake up the horrible situation that ethnic and religious minority populations (especially women) have had in Burma under the leadership of General Than Shwe. For more information on Burmese womens' situation see the report by the Karen Women's Organization in February 2007.

photo from christabelle @ flickr

Sunday, May 04, 2008

on the northern lights

photo from dave brosha @ flickr
The night sky shimmers with greens and whites and pinks -- the northern lights. Sometimes the northern lights billow up, and they flare and shine across the sky from north to south, from horizon to horizon. The northern lights happen in complete silence. It is as if some wonderful celebration is occurring in a faraway place where you can't hear it or see what's really happening, but you can be happy just knowing about it.
--Richard Preston, The Wild Trees (2007) p. 66-67

I have not experienced the northern lights, but this sure makes an amazing case for them. I hope to see them someday.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

On the direction of education

As an alum of Dordt College I remember when a group of students published a manifesto that began to question direction that the college was headed toward. Wendell Berry offers a thought that is very similar to the theme of the manifesto.
Now we seem to have replaced the ideas of responsible community membership, of cultural survival, and even usefulness, with the idea of professionalism. Professional education proceeds according to ideas of professional competence and according to professional standards, and this explains the decline in education from ideals of service and good work, citizenship and membership, to mere "job training" or "career preparation." --Wendell Berry, Life is a Miracle

Having recently watched the movie Into the Wild, I recall a scene where Chris McCandless says to his friend Ron:
"Ron, I think careers are a 20th century invention and I don't want one."

The same idea comes from both of these quotes. Does our work life, family life, community life, and church life have much crossing or blending? It should. We aren't called to live parallel stories. We have a holistic calling. Let's try not to forget that.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday listening

A song/poem to think about:

Oh God, hold me now
Oh Lord, hold me now
There's no other man who could raise the dead
So do what you can to anoint my head

Oh God, where are you now?
Oh Lord, say somehow
The devil is hard on my face again
The world is a hundred to one again

Would the righteous still remain?
Would my body stay the same?

Oh God, hold me now
Oh God, touch me now
There's no other man who could save the dead
There's no other God to place our head

Would the righteous still remain?
Would my body stay the same?

There's no other man who could raise the dead
So do what you can to anoint my head

Oh God, hold me now
Oh Lord, touch me now
-Sufjan Stevens, "Oh, God Where are You Now?"

Let's not forget his sacrifice on this Good Friday.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Is there truth in this?

Thanks to Luke's Commonplace for this photo. He entitles it "United We Sit."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Shoutout to Huxley

I have just finished reading Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman and he presents the case that television has dramatically changed our way of communicating since its conception. We are a society very much driven by images. This view on society is really undeniable if you think about it: billboards, quick news clips, magazines, commercials, etc. Our attention spans - as it seems to me - are shorter than ever before. (Think about the sitcom that begins and ends a whole story in about 20 minutes. Or I especially like the example of Fox New's "Around the World in 80 seconds" segment.) Anway, Postman goes on to explain that the Huxleyan (Brave New World) account is more true today than the Orewellian account (1984):
"What Huxley teaches is that in the age of advanced technology, spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than one from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate. In the Huxleyan prophecy, Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. ... When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a become an audience and there public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility." (pp. 156-7)
and again:
"For in the end, he [Huxley] was trying to tell us that what afflicted the people in Brave New World was not that they were laughing instead of thinking, but that they did not know what they were laughing about and why they had stopping thinking." (p. 163)
The book is a great book to start your mind turning. Is television similar to the "soma" found in Brave New World? If so, what are the implications for us?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

On an old concessions trailer

For all those who enjoy Coca-Cola and who also enjoy Iowa: