Thursday, September 11, 2008

I remember

Did the red seem a little more vibrant, the blue a little more precious, and the stars somehow more majestic on the US flag today?

They did for me, as I passed by the flag at Carbondale park flying at half mast this morning, and I admit it – tears formed in my eyes – it is a beautiful flag. I love my country so much, and as I reflected on the September 11th that tragically unfolded seven years ago… I realized it still hurts a little, and I am still a little upset over the whole thing… and still a little angry.

I am moved at the Twin Towers, on our soil, burning in the New York skyline, the people leaping from burning structures, on our soil, our US brothers and sisters, jumping to their death, and others who gave their lives in the hopes of saving some: fireman, policemen and ambulatory services succumbing to death all at the means of terrorists, and on our soil.

  • I have not forgotten them
  • I have not forgotten the killers who sinned against them, and us.
  • I have not forgotten the images of destruction, death and ruin.
  • I have not forgotten the threats, and cheers of Muslim extremists.
  • I have not forgotten the tears I cried on that day.
  • I have not forgotten the stories of those who lost family, those who survived, and the lives of children who lost their parents.
  • I have not forgotten the messages on answering machines of those who stated their last goodbyes
  • I have not forgotten the plane in the pentagon
  • I have not forgotten the plane in the field
  • I have not forgotten 9/11 and I hope I NEVER do.

I hope time does not dull the senses, time does not dull the resolve, time does not dull the memory of transgressors murdering innocent Americans… I hope time does not dull the feeling of my honored citizenship on that day when we as a country where one, we where honored, we where proud and patriotic! I hope time does not dull the reality of evil that exists in this world, and resolve that good must persevere!

I contend that 9/11 is the most significant event to occur in my life time… and perhaps the history of this nation, and though life continues, business is usual, and the world turns – I am today emotional; emotional over the date, emotional over the memory and emotional over the event… and today I remember! To the victims, the hero’s to dead, and to terrorists – I REMEMBER YOU!

September 11, 2001 ever ingrained in my spirit; I remember where I was, the station that was playing, and the spot in the road. I remember the scenes from the television, the call home and the days that followed…

Today take a moment to look at the flag, today take a moment to say a prayer for the fatherless, the widowed and the hurting, today take a moment to pray for our leaders… today take a moment to remember

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Review of "The Shack"

Okay – well here goes my spin on the book "The Shack". There has been a lot of buzz about the book. Some good some bad, some fair and some just down right rude!
The Shack is a novel by William P. Young, and the book has made quite a few waves in Christian circles. It has been on the New York Times best sellers list and at the time of this opine it is among the top ten at Amazon .com as well!

So what’s the deal - a whole host of reviewers have labeled the book as poorly written, while others have even called it “heresy” to the opposite extreme the highly respected Eugene Peterson, who is responsible for the Message Bible, stated:

"When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of The Shack. This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress did for his. It’s that good!"
Eugene Peterson, Professor Emeritus Of Spiritual Theology,
Regent College, Vancouver, B.C.

Other churches claim to be giving the book away by the box loads, because it is so good… So who is right?
What do I think?

Well I read the book in a weekend and I loved it! I laughed and, admittedly, I cried, and felt the presence of God. I think the book is absolutely fantastic! It is the most unconventional, weird and outside the box Christian book I have ever read, and it made a profound impact on me! I cannot recommend it enough! READ THIS BOOK!

Now that being said is it the most theologically sound book on the market? No it is not, nor is that the intention of the author. The author’s intention is to show the love of God, and those who criticize the book based on its theological stumblings didn’t "get it" to begin with…

The book is not a discourse of doctrine; it is instead a journey through the soul of a broken man, who experiences the love of God. It is unconventional to be certain… but it is a beautiful exchange that shows a God who is not impressed, nor desires, for humanity to live in guilt, condemnation, and shame… With the constant nagging of "I’m not doing enough" Well: Hip Hip Hooray! It explores on an emotional level the acceptance of completion in Christ – a main theme of the apostle Paul by the way – which in a world of witch trials, seed- faith (sowing seeds for miracles) and other barterings with God – I further applaud- again "Hip Hip Hooray!"

For certain there are some portions of the book that are not absolutely 100% concrete correct, but the book challenges the Pharisee resident in all of us, it challenges us to instead of simply seeing, and abiding by the rules of the bible the book pushes us to the spirit of the law, instead of the regulations we are pushed to relationship – The relationship between God and man, and man and man… (one more time now all together "HIP HIP HOORAY")

Once again- I never said the book was perfect nor am I ready to trade in the ole KJV and inquire about the leather bound – gold leaf version of "The Shack" to astutly stuff under my arm on a Sunday morning! But my goodness I will contend my heart was enlightened, my spirit was lifted and my soul did rejoice!

Few books make a profound impact on me, in fact it is rare that I finish one, this one I finished, and it has left its mark. If you’re looking for the next series of Doctrinal Discourses on the Trinity, or The Finite Understandings of the Symbolism on the book of Revelation Accurately Explained – the book is certain to disappoint – if however you can open your mind and let your heart take a ride with a God who possibly loves us so much more than we imagined – I think you’ll enjoy the book (gee just for old times sake “HIP HIP HOORAY”)

A few concerns
To be fair in the latter chapters a discourse gives ever so slightly the appearance of universalism and the discerning eye will raise its brow– it does later however talk of the need for repentance and relationship with Jesus Christ…

The Trinity aspect is sometimes unique – and not always consistent – but lets say this word out loud together "FICTION"

Finally the subject recently came up in our discussion on Wednesday evening about God first appearing to Mack (the main character) as an overweight black woman, and how odd that was… to which came the quick rebuttal “But you don’t mind Him as a talking burning bush?”

God Bless you and I hope you enjoy the read!