Category Archives: world events

Fog of War

Seems like everyday someone famous is dying.  It’s really too bad that a great man like Robert McNamara who died this week at age 93 isn’t being talked about because of America’s need to worship the King of Pop.  McNamara, who defined the role of Secretary of Defense in the US and played a huge role in involvement in the Vietnam War. 

Like so many people do when they reach their later years, McNamara deeply struggled with how he lived his life. His particular struggle was over his beliefs and participation in war.  It was about year ago that my close friend, Ian shared with me a documentary called, “Fog of War”.  Both of us had spent a lot of time discussing the tension of what exactly is patriotism and where does it fit in the life of a Christ-follower.  It’s not that we didn’t want to love our country…but how do we love our country and reject some of the many things that seem to define patriotism?

I went home that afternoon and rented “Fog of War”.  It’s a chilling, honest, and heart-wrenching documentary on the life and career of Robert McNamara.  My eyes were opened to how our military system works, the kind of power the Sec. of  Defense has, and just how easy it is to make a mess of this world.

But why the film remains one of the most important I’ve ever seen, is because of how McNamara looks into the lens of the camera and pours out every emotion and struggle that he was left to live with.  Questions…regrets…shame…

Have you seen it?  What were some of your thoughts from it?  Did it change any of your beliefs about war?

Love and Peace.

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When rocks and fists matter…

If world history isn’t evident enough, the current events in Iran should prove to us that there are two essentials to humanity: Freedom and Voice…

In following the history-making protests that occupy our global media this week, I have found myself reminded of one thing, while wondering about another.

I’ve been reminded that the human spirit can’t live in fear or oppression forever.  All of humanity are created to be free!  Iran is a perfect example of this as hundreds of thousands are running to the streets in protest of the current election results. 

stone

While I can’t exactly support rock throwing, or any form of violence…I love the fact that freedom in Iran is being talked about more than nuclear weapons, which not only fuels fear in the minds or the people of Iran, but here in the U.S.! 

While I’ve been reminded of freedom, I’m also wondering why America has become so quiet.  Why is it that the democratic nations are often the most quiet and last to protest? What has happened to our voice?  What might we learn from the people of Iran as they raise their fists and speak their voice?

voice

I find myself both confused by what’s happening in Iran, and yet challenged by it…

Love and Peace.

Sometimes life makes no sense…

We all know by now the tragic story of the Air France flight going down in the Atlantic killing all 228 aboard. 

Yesterday the story of a woman who was supposed to be on that flight, but missed it, began to spread.  For all the efforts given by man to make sense of our world, this is one of those stories that makes me shake my head and just ask God to help me trust that He’s working behind the scenes in the lives of her friends and family.

My friend over at The Last Astronaut wrote a thoughtful post about her story and on the idea of being “found and lost”.  You can read it here.

Sometimes life makes no sense, but there is comfort in having Faith…Hope…and Love.

Love and Peace.

While we wait for the movie, let’s talk poverty

Most of us know by know about the US container ship that was attacked by Somali pirates and the captain being held captive.  Piracy off the shores of Somalia have been going on for quite some time now and only getting worse.  Most of world was fairly ignorant to these actions, until a US ship was attacked.  In fact, one french leader said that this was one of the best things to happen as any kind of attack on the US gains the attention of the world.  He was right…

A few days later, Navy SEALS shot and killed the pirates as they held our captain hostage.  The story unfolds like a movies script!  In fact, I was amazed at how many people I heard talking about the possibility of a movie coming out, telling the story of modern-day pirates battling the very cool Navy SEALS!  Admit it…this has blockbuster written all over it!

While we wait for the movie, it’s important to talk about the underlying issues of Somalia and its pirates.  Somalia has no government.  It dissolved several years ago leaving the people of this coastal African country to fend for themselves.  The result has been terrible violence, hunger and poverty,a nd it’s for this reason that Somalia has pirates.  This is what can happen to humanity when deep poverty begins to take over a people.  This kind of evil and violence has occurred for centuries whenever there has been inequality. 

When people feel forgotten…things get ugly.

The other night, I watched a news story on Somalia and it’s social / economic problems.  I couldn’t help but think about the Old Testament (books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus) and God’s instructions to Israel about Jubilee.  Jubilee was God’s plan for economic and civil equality.  The plan was that every 50 years, all debts were forgiven…land became available to occupy…food was free to everyone…and slaves were freed.  It was God’s way of protecting the wealthy from greed and over-consumption, while rescuing the poor and hungry from their demise…no matter how or why they found themselves in their poverty.

For God, Jubilee wasn’t about living nice and making things fair.  It was always about protecting peoples hearts.  When hearts are broken by poverty or decieved by wealth, God often gets left out of the picture.  The stories coming our of Somalia serve as a reminder of how God seeks to have our hearts.  Yes, the stories of modern day pirates make for exciting reading and story-lines, but it should also remind us that there’s something much deeper…much more evil at work here.  It’s incredibly an sad story…

Love and Peace.

Just another three day weekend?

This coming Monday and Tuesday are simply huge!  Monday we honor the life and work of Martin Luther King, while Tuesday we watch with the rest of the world as Barack Obama is sworn in as the President of the United States of America.  Amazing!

I have to be honest and say that it’s disconcerting to me when I hear so many people play this weekend off as just another three day weekend.  I’m all for taking extra days off from work, but this particular holiday weekend is special.  It’s humanity’s chance to honor a great man by honestly reflecting on his message of equality and then ask ourselves how we might live in a way that keeps his dream alive. 

One mistake many people make is to assume that MLK stood for racial equality only.  No, this isn’t a weekend to honor the rights of African-Americans only.  This is about all people.  Color, gender, economic status, and religion.  It was for all of us that MLK dreamed and ultimately gave his life. 

Each year, I take time to get by myself on Martin Luther King day and go to MLK Online and download one or two of his speeches.  They’re not only brilliant, but challenging.  I really encourage you to take some time and listen to his words of hope and then reflect a bit on why this still matters greatly today and how you might be an agent of change in bringing hope, justice, and equality.  Maybe you’ll listen and realize how deep your hurts go, if you’ve been treated in ways that say you’re the wrong race or gender.  May MLK’s words help lead you on a path of God’s healing and liberation. 

“Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.” -Martin Luther King

Love and Peace.

change we really should beleive in

I’m getting very excited for Tuesday the 20th!  It’s Inauguration Day and history will be made as the world watches the first African-american President sworn into the White House.  Whether you voted for President-elect Obama or not, we all must realize the importance and impact of this day.

Obama’s thing has been change.  He has spent the better part of the last 2 years working to convince Americans that his leadership, wisdom, character and integrity will provide “change we can believe in”.  I’m hopeful, and so far I’ve been fairly impressed with most of the people he’s chosen to bring around him.  But there’s something deeper happening than faces who fill cabinet spaces or government positions.  There’s more than a changing of the guard…there’s a change in words.  Big change!

Yesterday I was watching the news and catching up on the events leading to next Tuesday, when I heard Senator Clinton speaking before a committee as she shared her vision for being Secretary of State.  She spoke very clearly about engaging with Iran.  Not in war terms, but in conversation terms.  This is one change for sure as our new President honestly believes we can respectfully converse with world leaders, while still maintaining a strong defense against world terrorism. 

But the biggest change we’re seeing is the words they are choosing to use.  Yesterday Iran and other threatening nations were called “rigorous adversaries”.  That should catch our attention!  They weren’t referred to as the “axis of evil”, “the enemy”, “those people”, or “the others”. 

The words that are being used show us that they are being thoughtful about the use of our words and how they impact the world.  They aren’t being wimpy or weak…but respectful and intelligent. 

As a Christ-follower this matters to me and I for one believe in that kind of change.  It doesn’t change the fact that there is evil at work, but it will help the world see how much fear we live with and have been convinced of by our poor use of words.  We are a great nation and if we’re to model greatness, it should not be done with threats or by casting fear, but with respect and a humble confidence!

Love and Peace.

Devotion? Or just plain crazy?

Happy New Year everyone!  I feel I have to say that since I’ve been in hiding for quite some time now, spending time with family and friends.  I love blogging, but it’s one of the things I choose to set aside when I need to focus on more important things.  The last couple weeks have been spent with my family,  unplugging  a bit in order to focus on leading our church into the new year.  I recently became the new lead pastor at Redwood Hills and we’ve been spending all our time crafting our vision and seeking God’s direction for our faith community.  Needless to say…I’ve been very busy!

The past few day I’ve been studying the Scriptures as I begin to take a few weeks to teach on what spiritual formation is and should be for a 21st century church.  To be blunt, I think too many Christians have been convinced that discipleship is about some kind of process like  reading the Bible in a year…memorizing verses…taking a class…joining a small group…you get the point.  The reality is…discipleship is never about a process.  It’s a way of life where we are continually learning to see God in every aspect of life and discover our role in it. 

Discipleship can’t be formulated…it’s far too mysterious and difficult for that!

Currently, in different parts of the world, Shiite Muslims are celebrating the martyrdom of Imam Hussein… the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.  Each year they honor this man’s death by beating themselves with chains which are attached to knife blades.  They do this until they bleed…and bleed…and bleed.  

Most people when seeing this will immediately turn to the next story and disregard these people as crazy extremist who would probably bomb America if they had the chance.  But maybe there’s something to learn from these human and passionate beings.  Who by the way…probably don’t have bombing at the front of their minds!

Pakistan Muharram

When I saw this, I immediately thought of Jesus’ words as he told his followers that if they were to be real and genuine in their faith…they would  have to pick up their cross and follow.  In their times, any mention of a cross brought nothing but bloody and violent images to their minds.  Surely Jesus didn’t mean that they too must be crucified in order to follow Him, but what He most certainly did mean is that they must be willing to throw off all entitlement.  Entitlement to comfort, easy faith, and unwillingness to discipline themselves to being people of a different world.

These men who discipline themselves enough to follow what their faith says they must follow may be extreme, but should be acknowledged nonetheless for their devotion.  They should also force us to look at our Christian living and examine our devotion to Christ and His way of life. 

How much real discipline is being given to our faith right now?

This is something I’ve been giving a lot of thought to lately.  Discipleship is all too often used in such trite and ridiculous ways…it’s no wonder our churches are full of people, but our world wonders where the church is! 

I’m realizing more than ever before that true formation will mean that my life will be lived in this world in ways that I never imagined or dreamed of.  I guess that’s what Jesus meant when he told His disciples that “a light on a hill cannot be hidden”. 

While I’m not going out any time soon to pick up chains and knives…My hope is that I can have enough courage to pick up more of Christ’s cross and carry it with devotion to my Saviour. 

Love and Peace.