Sunday, April 26, 2009

Love Muffins

My wife recently posted an entry on her blog which made me laugh even though it was steeped in language and allusions meant for a female audience.
At one point she discusses the trials of removing "muffin tops" which, to a male, was a sentence lost in translation. She later informed me that "muffin tops" are the female word for "love handles".
What a great example of the power of perspective. To most women, the excess weight that forms around the waist (and then apparently spills over the pants forming a "muffin top") is seen as a blight worthy of only a pedestrian description that is best when completely eliminated. To men, this excess weight bears the inspiring title of "love handles".
The difference between the two is vast. On one hand we have a title that is descriptive but ambiguous to the outsiders (men), and on the other we have a title that transcends description and that even becomes on object of affection. For men, we tend to have a more fatalistic approach to our bodies and appearances and, perhaps as a defense mechanism, we try to make our imperfections into strengths.
Consider the fact that somehow we have convinced the world that "bald is beautiful" and that fat bellies are just "beer bellies" that can be heralded as badges of honor and pride. Our wrinkles are signs of wisdom, our gray hair is sophisticated and sexy, our fat around the waist are "love handles", and our dysfunctional limbs are acceptable deficiencies coming as a result of "old sports injuries".
Perhaps this is another injustice as it relates to the view of men and women but it is more likely a result of the differences between genders. Women are kind enough to care what men think so they try to look their best. Men care, but are lazy enough (or wise enough) to change that which we want to change and embrace the things we don't want to change. Therefore, our "muffin tops" are "love handles" that are meant to be clutched by those we love and the hair growing on our backs is so that our beloved women can run their fingers through our hair that no longer grows on our heads.
So where does this leave us? Do we want women to take on this same approach as men and they can start calling their muffin tops, "love muffins". Perhaps they can convince us that gray is beautiful, hairy legs aren't so bad, and sagging body parts are to be revered. The truth is that, as men, we could be convinced that those things are okay but something tells me that women could never quite get on board with this ideology.

Friday, April 17, 2009

For Reinhold

This video is for my friend who lives and works in Sarajevo. This video has nothing to do with him (except that he is German), but I thought it would be a good segue to simply thank him for what he does.

On my first of many trips to Bosnia after the war I was driving through Sarajevo with Reinhold when all of the sudden he turned to me and said, "Where I am?" Meaning "I'm (we are) lost". It is now a phrase I often use when I am not sure "where I am".

He is an amazing person who has given up much of his life to serve the Roma people in Bosnia.
He is a picture of Jesus... but this video is not.

Click Here for your viewing pleasure

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is Risen

Last year we celebrated Easter Morning with our friends in Jerusalem Israel and as we sang about Jesus I couldn't help but to think what that city would have been like nearly 2000 years ago when they found His tomb empty. For some it must have brought shear terror, for some confusion, and for many it brought hope and then joy. For each response there is a story behind it. Some thought they could use their power to suppress the message of Jesus. Some thought their hate would motivate others to steer clear of this Messiah. Still others liked the teaching but loved their life too much to live it for others.
Whatever the stories were and whatever they are today, this is a day that reminds us that things like hate, oppression, power-wielding, deceitfulness, and bitterness do not win.
Love wins. It won on that day and it wins today!. I think the first verse of this song are appropriate for today.

The greatest day in history,
Death is beaten, you have rescued me,
Sing it out, Jesus is alive!
The empty cross, the empty grave,
Life eternal, you have won the day,
Shout it out, Jesus is alive!
He's alive!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Ghosts (Angels) from the Past

This past week I had the privilege of officiating a wedding for two people from my church. At this event were many people from the church that I worked at before moving to Israel, most of whom I have not seen since returning to California last Fall. At one point during the reception, I was able to sit and talk with about 10 of the students from this church and just catch up with their lives and to joke around like old times.
It felt so natural to be with them and in some ways it felt as if we were never apart. I still love the people from that church and was completely blessed to reconnect with parents and students that I spent so many years walking with through all cycles of life. I am thankful for that brief moment to remember the great years I had in that church and to see all of those amazing students growing older and hopefully wiser. Small reminders of why we do what we do are always a blessing.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Trendy Faith?

I was surprised to learn that Time Magazine and ABC News both noticed a trend that my wife and I have been pondering lately. Last week, both major news sources dealt with the surprising increase of Christians who are adopting Calvanism (or Neo-Calvanism) as their theological position. One source went as far as to say that this is one of the top trends that will influence thinking in the years to come.
I have seen many friends become more and more convinced of this "reformed" theology but to this point I have not found the need to join in. I am happy to see people taking matters of the faith seriously and I love that many young people want to have a firm grip on their beliefs but I believe history proves that those who come to some opposite conclusions in regards to some "reformed" positions are just as passionate and in love with Christ.
Rather than sharing all of my thoughts, I will direct you HERE for a great post in regards to this issue with equally valuable follow up comments.