The Resurrection Really Matters

I just read an article over at Albert Mohler’s blog called Rabbi Gellman Gets It — The Resurrection Really Matters. It’s a truly excellent article, and I’d strongly suggest you read it, even if you’re not a Christian.

This article gets to something that is at the very heart of Christianity, something I’ve tried unsuccessfully to express in the past. And in this case, Rabbi Marc Gellman understands something perfectly clearly about Christianity that many Christians don’t even grasp: namely, without the resurrection of Jesus, Christianity is completely meaningless. Gellman’s article, quoted by Mohler, states that, “Some Christian respondents to [the movie ‘The Jesus Family Tomb’] have said that even discovering the bones of Jesus would not seriously undermine their faith.” That confuses and frustrates me to no end. What he’s saying is completely true, but I wish it weren’t. It’s just an indication of how watered-down Christianity has become.

Christianity is not about a set of behavioral guidelines. It’s about belief in a supernatural, transcendent event, and the meaning of that event.

Cargo Cults

I recently heard the term “cargo cult”, looked it up on Wikipedia, and found it to be a really fascinating read. Reminiscent of The Gods Must Be Crazy, only real. Read the article, and ponder.

(Loosely-related fact: I originally got the idea to put a “!” after my name from The Gods Must Be Crazy’s cast list. I liked the idea that such an unpronounceable character in our language could be tucked into a name like that.)

The Vine and the Branches. Ow.

I was reading the book of John this morning, and I came across John 15:1-2. I’ve read this before, but something about it struck me more distinctly this time. These are the words of Jesus:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the nature of pain in life. I’m one of many people who get hung up on the idealistic thought that life should/could/would (if…) be pain-free, at least relatively. And yet day after day, week after week, there’s something that pains me, something that makes me get upset or emotional, some crap that tears me down.

Then, when I read that passage, I see that Jesus says we’ve got two paths in life:

  1. Get cut off
  2. Get pruned

There is no third choice. Does that strike anyone? It sure strikes me. I keep having to relearn this over and over and over again, but the message is basically this: No matter what happens, everywhere you go and everything you do will bring you pain. That pain is either going to be the clipping shears cutting you off from the Vine, or pruning you down.

I should pray for pruning. He’ll do it, and it’ll hurt, but it’s a lot better than what happens in verse 6. And something tells me that eventually, the pruning is seen more as a gift and less as the painful, regrettable thing it might initially sound like. I mean, hey, I’ll be bearing juicy, succulent, beautiful fruit! What do I care if I’m missing a few leaves?

Servants of the Most-high God

My folks were out here visiting Steph and I between March 14th and March 22nd, and I haven’t had the chance to blog about it yet.

Let me begin by saying that my parents are amazing servants. They came out here as a vacation, and since Stephanie and I happened to also be moving to Cupertino that week, they spent the vast majority of their vacation working like dogs to help us get everything situated. I’m guessing they probably each put in 45- or 50-hour weeks for us. My dad spent countless hours fixing the old ’87 Volkswagen Jetta that I have, which I hadn’t driven since January when something happened to the electrical ground and some mechanics told me that it also had bad tie rods and suggested I not drive it if I didn’t want to put more money into it.

They helped us pack and unpack, they went to our old storage facility and brought boxes home from there, and they even went grocery shopping for us. Yes, grocery shopping. It was awesome. And it made me realize that, as a servant, I suck. I knew that before, but seeing their attitudes really drove it home.

But that’s not the point.

Continue reading “Servants of the Most-high God”

Bruce Almighty

Steph and I went to see Bruce Almighty tonight. Going in, I figured the film had tremendous offensive potential for a Christian, or even a “religious” person, whatever that is. But with the exception of a few short scenes I was wrong. They actually avoided offending me entirely, outside of one sexual scene.

The way they portray God is interesting. He is benevolent and wise. God is intimately connected to each individual human. He cares about us. Wants relationships with us. Wants us to pray. Won’t force us to love Him, but wants us to. Some of the things they portrayed might cause real thinking theologians to shift in their seat (the assumption of free will, for instance) but it certainly wasn’t a massacre of God’s character by any means.

I think the thing that boosted it for me was one scene where Bruce uses his powers to humiliate someone, and it’s really well done if you’re in a wacky mood. Overall, I give it a 70% (50% meaning it was exactly average, and 100% meaning it was the best movie I’ve ever seen) and Steph gives it a 55%.