Obesity is epidemic in America, and First Lady Michelle Obama has launched a campaign to fight against it. Critics of the Obama administration have criticized her, calling it "liberal overreaching," but a terrific essay by Dr. Mark Hyman demonstrates that obesity is a result of addiction, and can't be resolved with a simple "just say no" approach.Read More
Merry Christmas*. Tonight, we had our Christmas concert at church. There were some scripture readings, which was nice. When the congregation read Luke 2 together, I was struck by one verse in particular:
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
- Luke 2:14, KJV
My initial response was to post something snarky on Twitter about how the RepubliChristians no longer offer good will toward all men - only to those with whom they agree. But as the service continued, and I spent a good hour or so thinking about Jesus, and the season, and what He came to earth to accomplish, I realized that I can be as ill-willed toward my conservative brothers and sisters as I accuse them of being towards our secular friends.
I don't want to do that.
Merry Christmas. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. I offer that to everyone. My wish this holiday season is that everyone can spend some quality time with friends and family, finding the joy of the season and the blessings of God in your lives.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
*If you don't observe Christmas, then I offer to you Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings with all grace and love.
I was talking with my wife the other day, and her brother has never been in an airplane. She has, and her parents have, but my brother-in-law has never flown. I was thinking about that today, and I remembered a story that I read in Time Magazine awhile ago about a new twist on air tourism for the poorest citizens in New Delhi, India. For $4.00, these faux-travelers can cram into a 120-passenger plane, run through the emergency procedures, try on their life vests, drink a soda and eat peanuts, and sit for two hours ... all while they go nowhere.
The plane doesn't fly. But the price of a ticket is too high for many of the poor residents in the area, so they go through the motions of flying. For some, it is the experience of a lifetime and as close to flying as they will ever get., and for others, it is a crash course in airplane etiquette for when they eventually do fly. No matter what, however, the fact remains - this doesn't count as flying.
I've been in churches that lack altitude. You're there, and you go through the motions, and everything is just like it is supposed to be ... but there's no altitude. Nothing that lifts you higher, that takes you beyond where you are right now. The same songs, the same traditions, the same ... everything. But there's no real lift. It's hollow and empty and insincere. A church - a real, spiritual church - should soar. In a church service, where there is a real move of God, the people there should be caught up. You should never leave a church service in the same place you started. It doesn't count as church if you haven't flown.
This isn't about emotionalism - it's about transformation. It's not enough to have a church experience if the experience doesn't change the participant. Going through motions doesn't change anyone. An encouraging sermon of goodwill doesn't change anyone. Singing songs heard on the radio doesn't change anyone. The Spirit changes people. The Spirit gives altitude.
A plane that doesn't fly isn't really worth anything. Neither is a church with no altitude.
(if you want to read the story in Time - http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1684522,00.html)