Friday, May 30, 2008

I've Been Banned

I was just informed that this web-site has recently been restricted by the University of Wisconsin filters because it says it contains language of "hate". I'm sure it is an automated filter and just caught some word it does not like because I can't find the "hate" language but I think it is pretty cool to be banned. Other than 5th grade music class and Shelly D.'s house in 7th grade, I don't think I have ever been banned from somewhere.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Clarity of Scripture

I don't have much to say today so I thought I would invite you to join me in a research project I am working on. If anyone can offer any intelligent remarks based on the following passage of scripture, I might even cite you in an upcoming paper.

The passage is Joshua 5:13-15. For those who do not feel like looking it up on their own I have included it here:
ויהי בהיות יהושע ביריחו
וישא עיניו וירא והנה־איש עמד לנגדו
וחרבו שלופה בידו 
וילך יהושע אליו ויאמר לו׃
             הלנו אתה אם־לצרינו
ויאמר׃ לא כי אני שר־צבא־יהוה
עתה באתי
ויפל יהושע אל־פניו ארצה 
וישתחו ויאמר לו׃
מה אדני מדבר אל־עברו
ויאמר שר־צבא יהוה אל־יהושע׃
של נעלך מעל רגלך
כי המקום אשר אתה עמד עליו קדש הוא
ויעש יהושע כן׃

Pretty clear huh?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Why Soccer is not American

Last night I stayed up to watch the European League "Football" Championship game which is essentially the Superbowl of European soccer. I was happy to watch it and enjoyed the game but was reminded why "football" will never be popular in America.
1. Football is already the most popular sport. Just the fact that we call football, "soccer" and we call American Football, "football" shows that Americans are unwilling to accept the alternative. For the sake of this post I will now call soccer, soccer so that we are not confused.

2. Soccer players are whimps. Granted they are in better shape than the rest of the people on earth and their talents are absolutely amazing. But, if they get bumped, they fall to the ground, cover their face, and wince in hopes of getting a foul called. Americans want to see real violence and hits that are hard enough to actually knock a person out. You can compare the "hard" fouls of the NBA vs the "soft" fouls of International Basketball. Last night there were a few fouls that drew blood and one fight so that is a positive for soccer.

3. There is not enough scoring in soccer. It may not be right, but Americans would rather see a 10-9 soccer game than a 1-0 match. Of course the fact that last night's game was decided after 6 penalty kicks was exciting.. it just took 120 minutes of game time to get there. Some may argue that Baseball is also boring but I will offer the international alternative of "Cricket" as the counter-argument to that. They have matches that last 3-4 days and the fans eagerly await the outcome which would never be acceptable in the USA.

4. Mullets are still acceptable in soccer. Nothing to say here.

5. The fans are willing to sing, fight, and stand for the entire game. This is actually a criticism of Americans. We don't have enough fun watching our sports games (except for college sports in which the crowds are greatly aided through the work of "mixer-man". Soccer fans sing for the entire game, they fight fans of the opposite team, and they stand in the rain and snow without a break (of course they too are influenced by "mixer-man"). Some exceptions exist such as Red Sox -Yankees games, Game 7 of NBA finals, and during the commercials of the NFL Superbowl.

I am glad that MLS is surviving in the USA and that many children play the sport but please do not think we will ever embrace this sport like the rest of the world. When the World Cup comes around in 2010 I plan on staying awake along with Scott C to watch the games but it will never capture my heart.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Shaping of the Church

"Over a two-thousand-year period, but especially in the last two hundred years, we have jerked and tugged the Christian faith out of its original soil, its life-giving source, which is an honest relationship with God through Jesus the Christ. After uprooting the faith, we have entombed it in a declaration of adherence to a set of beliefs. The shift has left us with casual doctrinal assent that exists independent of a changed life. We have made the Cross into a crossword puzzle, spending our time diagramming byzantine theories of atonement. How did the beauty of Jesus’ atoning work get isolated from the wonder of restoring an authentic relationship between God and humanity?"

Western Christianity is largely belief based and church focused. It is concerned with landing on the right theology and doctrine and making sure everyone else toes the line. The Jesus trimtab, in contrast, is relationship based and world focused. It is concerned not so much with what you believe as with whom you are following. It is less invested in maintaining and growing an institution and more invested in Jesus’ passion for saving the world. - Leonard Sweet

So what do you think about this quote? Is this a dangerous position or a good position that pushes Christianity forward?

btw- I do not know what trimtab is but it is in the quote so I left it there.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Independence or Catastrophe?

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the day Israel officially became a nation. For the Israeli's they celebrate their independence but for the Palestinians living here they call this day "Catastrophe Day" when they remember the 750,000 Palestinians that were displaced 60 years ago.
Obviously this situation is quite complex and not easily solved but I can tell you that living here and being friends with people on both sides of the situation only makes matters worse. I know many Christians interpret certain scriptures that talk of Israel possessing land to be pre-requisites to the Messiah's return. This week I even heard one say that we (Christians) will stand behind Israel and help them possess their land so that we can help usher in the Messiah.
Putting all interpretation aside, I want to question anyone who feels that he or she can help usher in the Messiah. Do I support Israel's right to exist as a nation and believe that they have a role in God's plan? Yes. Do I support Palestinians and their right to fair treatment? Yes. All I want to question at this point is the mindset that says God needs us to politically maneuver in order to help His plans come to fruition. He is God and He will have his way so our job is to live our lives modeling the life and values of Jesus with everyone.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

40 Days

This is a somewhat random post that will only make sense to a few but it is certainly open for all to know.
Almost 40 days ago some people to pray with us regarding future decisions. The time is up on May 19th so hopefully in the next couple of weeks we can clarify some thoughts as to what will happen with our family next year. What is almost certain is that we will not be living in Jerusalem or Arkansas.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day

Here are a few quotes in honor of Mother's Day.

My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.

- Mark Twain

An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.
-GK Chesterton

One of life's greatest mysteries is how the boy who wasn't good enough to marry your daughter can be the father of the smartest grandchild in the world.
-Jewish proverb

Friday, May 09, 2008

מבהן אמצע

A long time ago I said I would ocassionally post some of my school work but lets be honest, who really wants to read college papers? But since my modern Hebrew has crossed a plateau from saying "I like cake" to basic conversations, I thought I would post my mid term essay from class. If you read Hebrew you will quickly find that this is well done for an 11 year old which is somewhere around the level of my written Hebrew.

אני הושב חשוב שללמוד באוניברסיטה ולטייל בעולם. חשוּב ללמוד באוּניברסיטה כי אי אפשר לעבוד בעבודה טובה בלי תואר. אבל אני הושב שאפשר ללמוד כשמטיילים. כשאני מטייל אני לומד גאוגרפיה ואני רואה את המקומות החשובים בהיסטוריה. כשאני מטייל אני גם לומד תרבויות אחרות. בעבר, טיילתי בהרבה מקומות ופגשתי אנשים מעניינים שאף פעם לא למדתי עליהם באוּניברסיטה. הבעיה שבלי כסף, אי אפשר לטייל ובלי עבודה אין כסף. אני הושב שאנשים צריכים ללמוד באוניברסיטה, לעבוד, ואז לטייל כשיש להם כסף. אז אפשר ללמוד הרבה דברים

Monday, May 05, 2008

What We Love

Tonight my family hosted 4 college aged students for a little Cinco De Mayo (Jerusalem Style) dinner. 2 students live here in Israel and understand the ups and downs of Jerusalem and the other 2 recently graduated from college and have been living and working in Uganda. They appreciated familiar food and a comfortable home. As always my boys were happy to entertain the guests, my wife was happy to host and make them feel comfortable, and I simply enjoyed the conversation and the opportunity to give these 4 people a break from the norms of their lives.
It is nights like these when we are reminded of our joy in serving people and helping them to rest and rejuvenate. I may be scrubbing toilets to earn money to support the family next year but I know that I will also have to be involved in teaching and encouraging other people in their personal journeys of faith. We can't wait to see what that will look like.