Sunday, May 30, 2010

So I find this law at work, when I want to do good, evil is right there with me.

So I find this law at work, when I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law, but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work in my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ! Rom. 7, 21-25

This verse is encouraging to me. Here we have the Apostle Paul, the greatest evangelist of all time admitting that he has the same struggle with sin that I do. What a wretched man that I am..! Mind boggling...

There's a Van Morrison song called "Oh I'm tired Joey boy" that describes a lot of what I feel as a musician with high mountaintops one year, and deep dark valleys the next..

"Ambition will take you

Ride you too far

Conservatism bring you

To boredom once more"

This little verse caught my ear the first time I heard it because it says exactly what my life as a musician has been for decades. Following my ambition to be someone, to make my mark, and let people see my God given talent and when I follow that to an extreme it sometimes has gotten me into trouble. And then I begin to go to the other extreme by going conservative, shutting off the "Me" as it were, completely to the point that I pretty much lost my identity as a musician and as a person.

When I look at the life of Jesus it's different than my own experience. I want to be like Christ, the teacher, the wise master, the miracle worker, the compassionate healer. And also the courageous Christ. The Righteous fiery Jesus that threw out the money changers, the Jesus that confronted the self righteous Pharisees and healed on the Sabbath. Here's the only human in history that lived a perfect sinless life. No self ambition, always able to set the perfect example. Always saying and doing the exact right thing. But I don't come anywhere near what Jesus was like.

I've had a lot of loss the last year. Lost my grandma, lost relationships, lost my job of 12 years, and I almost lost my life in a car accident and I'm still recovering from that. I'm not saying these things because I want sympathy but because at the same time I've seen God work in some amazing ways. My two boys were recently baptized and confessed Jesus as their Lord and savior. I've been praying for that for years. And the fact that I'm writing this right now is a testament of God's grace and power.

Maybe you've been going through a loss year as well, maybe you've made some mistakes and maybe bad things have happened to you that you had nothing to do with. And yet we can be confident that in this body of flesh that carries with it sin and death Jesus is working through us. Thanks be to God through his Son Jesus Christ!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Gospel According to Comedy Central

The Gospel According to Comedy Central

Last week Comedy central, the Network that regularly depicts Jesus as a "Regular Guy" decided to censor an episode of South Park because it showed the Islamic Prophet Muhammed in a bear suit.
The creators of South Park were none too happy according to reports on media outlets but have to toe the line if they want to keep their jobs (and maybe their heads).
Comedy central decided to censor the show because of threats and intimidation from Islamic groups
deciding perhaps it's better to be PC than deal with people that like to intimidate anyone that does not bow to their way of thinking.
This sets a dangerous precedent in "The Land of the free, and home of the Brave" because if a national cable television cartoon network can be intimidated into censoring a cartoon what does that mean for average Americans that might speak their minds on Islam or anything else so controversial like you and me?
I would have some sympathy for Comedy Central except for a couple of shows they produce like "South Park" that regularly depict Jesus, whom the majority of Americans believe is their God, as a joke or in the case of a brand new show CC is contemplating producing called "JC" that will depict Jesus as a father who lives under the shadow of his father's giant reputation and sits around all day playing video games ignoring his son.
I don't hear any church going american Christians ranting angrily, protesting Comedy Central for blaspheming their prophet, and in fact many of my believing friends watch these shows, (some in secret). And here is the point of this whole meandering mass of media is that if you make fun of Jesus in a cartoon show, some Christians might get irritated, maybe even write a blog about it. But if you make a funny, satirical show depicting Muhammed in a bear suit making fun of sacred cows, you will get censored by your network, and if you're not careful. you might get your head cut off. Just ask Theo Van Gogh.
Believers of Christianity have to decide if we will bow to pressure like Comedy Central just did, or stand up and speak up while we still have the opportunity to do so.
Remember, I'm just the sax player.