Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
This film (Once) looks brilliant and I want to see it. If anyone has seen it, let me know what you thought. I post this website because it has a free download on it (right below the music player) of the song off of the movie that I am in love with. Check it out, download it, enjoy, and dont ever say I never gave you anything :) Much love
Friday, December 28, 2007
This may disappoint some of you, but I occasionally smoke a pipe. It started when I bought my first pipe in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was this really cool, ornately carved pipe and I always thought smoking a pipe was kind of classy, in an old man sort of way. And one of my heroes from when I was a little kid smokes a pipe occasionally, so I bought one so I could occasionally smoke with him. When I say occasionally, I mean maybe once a month I will smoke. Anyway, long story short, I now own a pipe from Russia, Macedonia and Italy. Any country I have lived in for longer than two weeks.
What is the point of this story, you ask? Well I am getting there. Because I occasionally smoke, I enjoy looking at pipe stores here in Rome. I had yet to find a good one here in Rome until last night. Matt had noticed some cool pipes in a Tabacchi store window near the Pantheon and so we decided to go check it out. We found the shop and entered and I asked (our entire encounter was in Italian), I think, "Do y'all have pipe's here?"
The lady behind the counter asked me to follow her into the next room and pointed downstairs and said wait and disappeared behind another counter, saying something about a key. I was confused. Matt was confused. Amos was confused. Did she want us to go downstairs? She reappeared and motioned for us to follow her downstairs. We went down into this room with a bunch of locked doors, one of which she unlocked and we followed her in. And my jaw hit the floor.
The room was full of pipes. And when I say full, I mean quite literally, the room was full of pipe and pipe accessories. I was in awe. The price range went from 40 Euro to over 175. I found long stem Gandalf-esque pipes; there were classic pipes, Sherlock Holmes pipes, fold-up pipes, glass pipes, wood, leather... something for everyone, I guess. We felt like celebrities, being allowed in the secret, locked, room full of 1000's of Euro worth of pipes. And that it all I got. Just wanted to share that story and the accompanying picture with you. I will post about how Christmas and Pisa and Florence were later. Hope you enjoy and can appreciate the amazingness of this room with me.
Monday, December 24, 2007
The Autumn Film - 4 song EP for Free
So this isnt really my thoughts on Christmas or Christmas Eve but it is Christmas Eve here in Rome right now (12:46 as I begin this). For todays freebee, check out this video on you tube http://youtube.com/watch?v=4Z2ljWwIaHs. You may not enjoy it but I thought it was beautiful and thought the idea was really cool, like the music was a journey through memory.
In other news, here is something I wrote a little while ago. I didnt post it when I wrote it because I was still hoping to hear from RelevantMagazine.com and see if they would post it (they still havent told me yes or no, just that they would read it and get back to me). So here it is for you, my few faithful. Much Love. Merry Christmas. Christ is born.
God Loves That Guy
“God loves that guy.”
These four simple words have been hitting me with all the subtlety of a baseball bat to the head for the last twenty-four hours.
“God loves that guy.” The chorus to a song off a new CD by Andy Gullahorn was the catalyst to something that had been bothering for a couple days. Let me explain by starting from the beginning.
It usually takes me a while to pick up when God is speaking to me, so it often takes a couple swings for his truth to sink in. The first swing was a book I am reading, “The Divine Conspiracy” by Dallas Willard, which is rocking my boat on some assumptions I have had for quite some time about living the Christian life. There are no new truths revealed in the book, just old truths told in a new way. In a part I recently read, he says
“In Paul’s first letter to the church in
If I, as a recovering sinner myself, accept Jesus’ good news, I can go to the mass murderer and say, “You can be blessed in the kingdom of the heavens. There is forgiveness that knows no limits. To the pederast and the perpetrator of incest. To the worshiper of Satan. To those who rob the aged and weak. To the cheat and the liar, the bloodsucker and the vengeful: Blessed! Blessed! Blessed! As they flee into the arms of The Kingdom Among Us.”
This didn’t really sink in on me. I guess it is “Christian theology” that I have always heard, that everyone can be forgiven. So I read it, thought “cool” and kept reading. Granted, this blessing comes with the condition to “flee into the arms of The Kingdom Among Us,” but of course it is available for all who turn from their own ways. That is what I have always been taught.
The second swing was the recent shooting in a church in
It upset me. I thought, “How can he not forgive this guy if Jesus offered forgiveness to the very men who nailed him to the cross.” So I sat in my own self-righteous tower and stewed over how to best respond to my friend, how to “correct him.” I am sure the part of me that I usually keep hidden was saying, “If only my friend could learn the true meaning of God’s love. If only he could learn to forgive as Christ forgave, like I have learned.”
Then I listened to the song by Andy Gullahorn. And he wrote about a suicide bomber. The family deserter. And followed each story by “God loves that guy.” Simple words yet I couldn’t shake them.
And it became personal. What if that suicide bomber killed my brothers, my parents? What if that guy that deserted his family was my dad? What if that shooter had been in my church, killed my best friends? I stopped all the theorizing about “God loves the rapist and the murderer” and made it personal. Would I still want God to love that guy?
And the sad truth was, I probably wouldn’t. I talked to a friend who doesn’t believe in God earlier this week about forgiveness and boldly told him, “I would try to forgive anyone for anything.” Later, I talked with my Christian friends about how I would punch a guy in the face for trying to inappropriately touch a friend of mine on the bus. No, God doesn’t ever condone sin, yet God offers forgiveness to the sinner if they will turn.
“God loves that guy.”
I still can’t shake it. And my bastion of self-righteousness is beginning to crumble. God loves that guy. And I… well I have a hard loving people. Yet I am called to do that. If I call myself a Christian, a follower of Jesus, then I am forced to pay attention when he says, “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matt )”
If I refuse to forgive, I refuse to acknowledge my need for forgiveness. My common need for a savior. Because according to the standards set by Jesus, I am “that guy.” I am a liar, a thief (stole from my sister in elementary school), a cheat (tests in high school), an adulterer (Matt doesn’t let me off the hook easy), a murderer (Matt -22). How can I refuse forgiveness when I myself am in desperate need?
Forgiveness isn’t natural. Yet it is to what we are called (Ephesians ).
“God loves that guy.” God loves me. Simple, childlike though it may be, there is probably more profound truth to the old song “Yes, Jesus Loves Me” than I will ever know. I want to learn to love like that.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
"And what brings me back are a few simple truth's that rings me like a bell still. While the Buddha suggests that we empty ourselves from all love, thereby freeing ourself from all that can cause pain, subsequently finding rest, this baby in the barn grows up and argues that we should love everybody, including ourselves, our neighbors and yes, even our enemies, and the ensuing pain will work on us in the same manner as a sculptors chisel on marble. And perhaps, ultimately, the answer to every moral and ethical question can be found in the simple mysterious words of the baby in the barn who grew to be a man: Love the creator of the universe with everything you can muster, and your neighbor as yourself. "
I would love to copy the entire essay for you because it is absolutely brilliant writing but just check it out on his website... thanks. More to come later. Merry Christmas.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
1. All I Want for Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey
2. Winter Wonderland/White Christmas - Mercy Me
3. Angels We Have Heard on High - Relient K
4. Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
5. Silent Night - MercyMe
6. Christmastime - Michael W. Smith
7. I Celebrate the Day - Relient K
8. Emmanuel - Amy Grant
9. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear - MercyMe
10. Christmas Canon Rock - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
11. All Is Well - Michael W. Smith
12. Labor of Love - Andrew Peterson
13. Rocking Around the Christmas Tree - MercyMe
14. O Holy Night - David Phelps (amazing version, trust me)
15. Behold the Lamb of God - Andrew Peterson
16. Theme of My Song - Andrew Peterson (the two go together)
17. I Heard the Bells - MercyMe
18. Silent Night (duet) - Over The Rhine
19. The Night Before Christmas - Amy Grant
20. Mary Did You Know - Clay Aiken
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Prayerfully, quite soon I will have internet in my apartment. And when I do, you are in for a treat, dear reader. Because I have a lot of ideas and stories to tell. But for now, I was asked this question in an email by a dear, trusted mentor of mine. "Why is marriage (or some kind of relationship with the opposite sex) the main theme of music , literature , and movies, yet so little Scripture focuses on this....Scripture talks about what we need to give instead of utopian dreams of what we are going to get. What is it that Scripture does talk more about ? What should our priorities really be??" ... So this is my response to this... enjoy and respond with your own ideas.
I have had the chance to think (very briefly and writing this blog is a way of me processing through this) about marriage, priorities, and what the Bible says about all this. I think that music, literature, and movies all hit on this theme of marriage because a lost (and found) world is looking for love. The closest example that we can come up with of love (and don't tell me Jesus didn't talk A LOT about love) is marriage or sacrifice. If a movie doesn't hit on marriage (or often the case, simply sex and "commitment"), it often has the main character make a sacrifice.
Scripture is a story of redemptive love, of a God redeeming us from our fallen state and uniting in a relationship with us… perhaps there is something redemptive about marriage. About taking two individuals whose first care is themselves and having them make a commitment to caring about someone else more than themselves. A little redemption is often found in self-sacrifice. Perhaps this is part of the reason Christ refers to the church as his bride. He showed the ultimate in love of putting us above himself… "for the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many."
As a single guy, all too often I hope that love will be found in a relationship with a girl/marriage. I think there is some truth to the cliché saying that "you will find her when you least expect it, when you stop looking." If I stop looking for love in the arms of a girl and start finding the love I need where it can only be found, in the arms of Jesus, then I can begin to understand true love. Instead of a love that is a roller coaster ride because we humans are fallible, I can find a constant love in a constant God.
Do I think that scripture talks more about what we need to give instead of utopian dreams of what we are going to get? Yes. But for Mr. A and other married couples, they probably understand that marriage and love is about what we can give, not what we get. Yes, getting figures into the equation and we are always excited to get, probably more often than we are to serve. But the more that we learn about serving and the more like Christ we become, the more of a joy it is to give. Our priorities should be in learning to love like Christ… I think that marriage is often a byproduct of learning to love… and through marriage we often learn to love more.