Friday, October 10, 2008

Presidential Election '08

I am a single issue voter in this election as I always have been and will remain until this issue is resolved. If this issue is not resolved in my lifetime, I will not relent except through my death. You see, this is a life or death issue for millions of people. In fact, this has been a life or death issue for over 35 million people since 1972. Abortion. What price will you put on a human life? I have all my life believed (as taught in my biology book) that as soon as an egg is fertilized it contains the complete set of DNA (1/2 from the sperm, 1/2 from the egg) that will grow that egg into the unique individual blueprinted into that DNA, and that that is when the life of a new individual person begins. The sperm and egg are both alive, as is the fertilized egg, hence the newly fertilized egg is a living individual at that point.

I will not rehash the stages of growth etc. because as I have already reasoned, this individual is already a unique, living, entity.

Here is my dilemma. There is an alarming number of people who consider themselves pro-life who are seriously considering voting for a candidate who's party is decidedly pro-choice. The biggest argument is that the abortion laws won't be repealed by one election, and we need to change many of the ways our government is doing things, so we might as well vote for change, then we can work to repeal the abortion laws later.

I believe that stance is a cop-out. Abortion is not an issue on which you can hold a neutral position. You either hold that human life is more sacred than anything else on earth, or you do not. As a christian, you either believe man is created in God's image, and is therefore the apex of God's creation, or you do not. If both candidates held the same position on this issue, I would be free to vote on other considerations. I am not a perfect person, in fact when my wife got pregnant before we were married, we talked about abortion as a viable option. The good news is, we got over the shock of the situation and were able to hang onto our core beliefs in spite facing parenthood somewhat prematurely. (By the way, I thank God for his faithfulnees in that situation.) But again I ask, what price will you put on a human life? Less taxes? Troops back from a war? A better economy? To vote against a pro-life platform gives tacit approval to the pro-choice platform and whether anyone likes that truth or not is irrelevent. Remember the truism: "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"? I cannot relent, I will not relent, until this issue is resolved.


The Jesus Movement

One of the coolest things the Lord has allowed me to do is to co-host a musician's jam every second Tuesday evening at the home of one of the Jesus movement's biggest musical "superstars". One evening, after everyone had left, this person said they had recieved a phone call from a young man in his 20's who had seen the video "First Love" which talked about those days, and had footage, as well as current interviews with most of the major "names" in christian music from that time. (BTW, if you have a chance to buy this, is will be a HUGE blessing for you whether you were born yet or not!) This young man related that he wished he had been around during that time, and that he wished the current generation could experience the same thing. He said he feels they are somehow sort of "missing out" on a blessing.
Gotta tell ya, he's right. Today's culture is SOOOO sophisticated and high tech, it would be very difficult to break through to the simplicity of those days. Difficult, but NOT impossible.

First, we need only go back to scripture in Matthew 16:24 " Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."
When was the last time we denied ourselves anything? Our culture is so affluent, and geared towards acquiring stuff, that we don't, or maybe we can"t even appreciate how much we have. And the more we have, the more we see what we don't have. An example: I played the same guitar for over 20 years before I even thought about wanting or needing another. Now, Guitar Center has EVERYTHING you want, CHEAPER than it used to be, and acquring new gear has become more important to many young players than learning to play better. No, that's not fair, it has become the way to sound better, whether you actually are or not. Greed and avarice used to be words reserved for ruthless and miserly people who had this obvious character weakness. Now they are so integrated into the culture in millions of small ways that they go unnoticed. Why do we as christians need more stuff? Or would we be willing to deny ourselves to see Jesus more clearly? Remember the rich young ruler who lived a good life, was religious, and tried to walk according to the commandments? Jesus told him to sell his "stuff" and follow him. Why? Is stuff so bad? No, but this young man was too attached to his, and Jesus knew it. How attached are you to yours?

Second, as in the second part of that scripture, we need to die to ourselves. How? Well, I believe we need to stop trying to be in control of our lives, and let Jesus "take the wheel". What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his soul in the process? As christians, our lives should be saying "Lord here am I, what would you have me do?", and too often we find ourselves saying," Lord I love you, please bless what I am about to do." I am not saying don't make plans, plans are scriptural. I am saying, if you are His, your life is no longer your own. This life no longer matters. The ONLY thing that should matter is pleasing Jesus in everything we do.

During the days of the Jesus Movement life was much simpler, technology was much simpler, but there were still distractions. Building careers, making more money so you could afford the luxuries like Air conditioning, stereo music and radio gadgets, car 8-track players so you could take your music with you, long hair and leather vests were a sign of coolness. Newer and better autos (including the new "imports"). AM radio was the center of teen music, and everyone waited for the next issuance from their favorite artists. BUT, todays culture is much more materialistic, and I think that this is part of the problem. I believe that if we, the followers of Jesus want to really see God move again as he did in those days, we must disentangle ourselves from the things of this world. We need to see, once again, that we are not of this world, and that our home is not here, but in heaven. We must really become dissatisfied with what the world has to offer, and this gets harder every day. The Jesus Movement was really a "counterculture" which spread quickly like the early church, due to it's honesty, and simplicity, and mostly it's unabashed love of and willingness to serve Jesus. I believe we could have that once more if we would be willing to scale back our lives to have only what we need, turn off the TV, and turn on to Jesus once again.

I'm Back!

I'm back!
I told you I am a reluctant blogger.

I am 53, and still working to fulfill the full flower of my call. God has allowed me to to do some really cool things musically, and serve in a variety of situations, but "IT" is still in front of me, yet to be done. (And if the Lord has decided that "IT" is already done, or where I am now, I'm totally cool with that. I will just keep going forward with whatever the Lord gives me to do, and grow into whatever I get to do next.)
I don't understand the pre-occupation with youth in these things. If I were 20, I would have everyone saying "follow your call", (and I do have a growing network of people encouraging me to do this now) but I think more people should be willing to support and encourage artists over 40 who have lived awhile and have life experience to draw from, as well as more years of practice and musicianship. It seems that people who have some life experience should be leading and mentoring (scriptures call it discipling) the younger group instead of waiting for them to catch the "new things God is doing" and share them with us. We need to be sharing what God has done, showing forth his faithfulness and mercy in what he has done in our lives in order for younger believers to gain a better understanding of our Lord. Perhaps that is why younger people are leaving our churches in large numbers--WE are not showing them who or how God really is, Jesus is what they want inside, we are maybe just giving them our denominational perspectives on how to live.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

a reluctant blogger

Well, I have finally taken the plunge and set up a blog. I resisted as long as possible, as it seems too much like another paperwork generator, (I hate paperwork!!) and another committment to keep up with, then feel like a loser when I don't. But in order to do the things I have dreamed of doing, I need to have a blog and (shudder) yes, a website. The website will be coming next, after I have gathered things to put on it. You see, I am a musician and, by temperament, a non paperwork, non Franklin Planner type of person. I would rather PLAY than organize my material, I would rather let someone else take care of THAT. I believe the Lord is trying to teach me something here.....taking care of the details is what I need to learn to do, and love. SO, here we go!

The dream of my heart is to be engaged in full time ministry using the medium of music to further the Kingdom of God. At times that means evangelistically, at other times as comfort to the Body of Christ, at other times as exhortation to both. I have been involved with advising / mentoring 2 small church worship teams, and see that as a need within the local church. I believe God has a specific plan for the worship ministry of each body, no matter how small or large, and am willing to work with individual groups to assist them in finding that plan.

Hopefully, this blog will be a useful tool to reach out to and be reached by others in order to facilitate the growth and development of those groups and / or individuals.