Your Own Personal Jesus

Reach Personal Jesusout and touch faith
Your own Personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who cares
Your own Personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who’s there

Depeche Mode (1989)

I saw a write up for a new book recently. It was one of the many books about Christianity that seem to flood out of the keyboards of young and exuberant authors. They all seem to have so much passion and self-described success.

What struck me about this book was that the authors (two brothers) were promoting a version of Christianity that they describe as “firsthand”. I didn’t read the book. I was struck by the premise and didn’t move past it. They seem to be trying to sell readers on the idea that to possess “authentic” Christian faith it must be of your own making. Anything else was “secondhand” and therefore not worth having. Remember that in this new world of ours, “everything is made to be broken” – nothing lasts and surely isn’t worth passing down…

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Home, Sweet Home

Fern_Cottage

“How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”
― William Faulkner

My family tells me that I don’t travel well. For me the best part of any trip is coming home. I think I’ve gotten worse as I’ve aged. I used to be a happy camper. Something must have happened to me along the way.

Historically, America has valued the home and made great efforts to be sure that more of her citizens were homeowners. Owning a home has tremendous economic, political and social benefits for everyone (even those who don’t). The higher the rate of home ownership, the better it is for our society. Currently, home ownership in America is at an 18 year low. Our economic misfortunes are still defeating us, especially at home.

Home is a physical location where we hang our hat and rest our head. But it is more than that. It is a physical place that serves as ground zero for the formation of our most basic human relationships. It is the physical environment in which we construct the most intimate and essential experiences of our lives. Home is a refuge where we escape and find solace from the chaos and corruption that is outside.

Recently we had a water leak in our home. The damage caused us to have to undertake major repairs. Two things happened that reminded me how important home is and all the ways that I take it for granted. You’ve probably had similar experiences. Continue reading

Cowboys, Indians and White Guilt

Don’t get me started on The Lone Ranger (better title: Tonto and the Dude)

Surely you’ve heard the latest social problem that really needs our immediate attention. The NFL Washington   Redskins are basking in some well-deserved glory because of their exceptional accomplishments on the field of  play. They’ve got a superstar quarterback both on and off the field. I’m very much biased and like many Baylor alums have become an instant Redskins fan. Let’s see what the Texans can do this year.

I’ve read a number of sports media critics who have decided that in order for all of us to feel better, the owner of the Washington Redskins needs to change the name of the team. “Redskins” is too degrading to Native Americans and should no longer be used as it perpetuates harmful and inaccurate stereotypes. You’ll remember similar efforts with high school, college and professional teams over the past decade or so.

The owner of the Redskins, Dan Snyder, said that they would NEVER change the name. The NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, responded to these detractors from the media and even some members of Congress (who of course love to get on the latest bandwagon) with an open letter explaining how the name should be rightly interpreted in a positive light. Continue reading

Edith Bunker RIP

archie-and-edith-bunker1“Man cannot become attached to higher aims and submit to a rule if he sees nothing above him to which he belongs. To free him from all social pressure is to abandon him to himself and demoralize him.”   – Émile Durkheim

Actually Edith (Mrs. Archie Bunker) faded away with the end of All in the Family in 1979. The actor who played her, Jean Stapleton passed away May 31, 2013 – she was 90 years old!  Edith Bunker reminds me of people from my own family. She has become a cultural archetype that at the time we made fun of, but now so many of us yearn for with deep regret. She represents marriage and family in so many ways. Today we look around us and wonder how we have drifted so far. Continue reading