Inauguration Composite

This was composited by a photographer at the inauguration. You can zoom in and out to see snipers on rooftops, peoples faces, TV camera tents, and some unbelievable detail. You’ll find a few people who have double heads (since it was a composite). Note the white camera tower. Follow the isle just in front of it going toward the podium. Several people are standing. One in a gray cap is Denzel Washington!

THE BIBLE ILLUMINATED: Blasphemy or Beauty?

N.T. Wright was once asked, after one of his lectures, about having collaborated with British Bible Society on a spread in British Vogue called “The Prodigal Daughter Returns.” It was a photo essay based loosely on Luke 15:11-32, with various pictures of a model in different urban settings, each with a snippet from the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The questioner asked why he did it, was he not concerned that some people might misunderstand, etc. I don’t remember the exact words of his response, but it was something to the effect that he would gladly and dutifully take the risk of being misunderstood by some in order to get the gospel message into others’ heads. Which brings me to Bible Illuminated: The Book: New Testament. With its pop culture depictions of the New Testament, it’s one of many recent attempts to present the Scriptures in an innovative light. “Well-known figures among the more than 200 photographs are Andy Warhol in drag in the Book of John, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, cult leader Jim Jones, Bill Gates and John Lennon,” according to columnist Byron Crawford in The Courier-Journal. “Muhammad Ali, Angelina Jolie, Al Gore, Princess Diana and Bono” are also portrayed as characters from the Bible. Read the full article here

Grandma: Octuplets Mom Obsessed With Having Kids

This would be a good discussion-starter on the ethics of in vitro fertilization as well as un-wed pregnancy.

The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey

I just finished reading The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey. In typical Yancey fashion, he approaches his exploration of Jesus not as a theologian, but as an investigative journalist. Focusing specifically on the portrayal of Jesus through the accounts of His life as recorded in the four Gospels, Yancey engages in a thorough, inductive investigation, assuming nothing and asking many questions – questions which too many people avoid asking, assuming that they know the answers to them because of what they have been taught either directly or indirectly through tradition. While I personally enjoyed another of Yancey’s books What’s So Amazing About Grace a bit more (most probably because of where I am at on my own spiritual pilgrimage), this book is nonetheless an excellent book, and I highly recommend it as a read for anyone – Christian or not.

Thinking Critically (& Biblically) About Super Bowl Commercials

CPYU (The Center for Parent & Youth Understanding) has just released their 2009 Super Bowl Commercial Discussion Guide which fosters redemptive conversations about the infamous Super Bowl commercials. You can download it by following this link:

Still Witnessing to High School Peers

I had an interesting encounter tonight on Facebook. I was reading some messages when suddenly a guy from high school popped up in the chat window asking if I still had contact with someone. I vaguely recognized him, so I went to his page to try to get a visual. Recognizing him we began catching up. At one point he began sharing about some things in life that have been troubling him lately. I could sense that in some way he was attempting to reach out to me. I asked him some questions and prodded him to try and discover what God might be trying to say to him through what he is going through. After several minutes he had to go, but said he would like to continue talking and even invited me to visit him at his home down south.

This was the most recent of a string of interactions I have had with former high school peers. Interestingly, hardly any of them were close friends during our high school years. Never in a million years would I imagine that we would be engaging in meaningful conversations after all these years (16). Yet, I am realizing that while the way I lived my life during my high school days may not have born fruit in terms of lots of kids coming to Jesus back then, it could certainly be accurately described as faithfully letting my light shine and sowing seeds. I don’t know what that led to for most people, but I do know that now, with the advent of social networking and reconnection with former peers, many are recalling that I had something real, and some people, in their times of question, crisis, or confusion, are reaching out to me for a sense of direction, or hope, or encouragement. God is faithful! It’s great to know that when we are likewise faithful to Him, He might just allow us little glimpses of the mosaic He is creating.

Surprising Benefit of Bad Weather & Mid-terms

Today was really gross outside. It snowed during the night and then it turned to rain during the day, so it was a very wet and slushy outside producing lots of puddles and flooding on roads and in yards. Schools were closed due to the weather, and it’s mid-term week, both of which lead to low attendance at youth group. At first the feeling is a bit discouraging. Then kids drift in, adjustments are made, and things seem to improve. But perhaps the light at the end of the tunnel on a night like this is the opportunity to connect with students that I might not be able to connect with when so many kids are present. There’s that feeling after youth group that everyone just want to hang out and laugh. I was at the church later than usual this Wednesday night doing just that with several students and leaders. The cup is half-full!

Two Revelations from a Survey …

Over the past couple of months I have been assisting someone with their doctoral research. As a part of his study, I have been participating in many different surveys. I completed two surveys last week, and through both of them two themes from my responses emerged in glaring fashion: I am highly relational and highly missional in terms of my philosophy of ministry as well as practice. Neither of these things were a surprise to me, rather confirmational. The thing that caught my attention was just how much I value these two as compared to other, more traditional forms of impartation and ministry. I am a teacher by gifting, and I love standing in front of a group and giving a challenging talk. However, as youth ministry has confirmed over and over again, I find my most fruitful times of impartation are when I am spending time with someone one-on-one, or with a small group, and when we are atively engaging in doing the work of ministry.

Family Healing Up

Just a quick update to say that my 3 lovely ladies are on the mend. They should all be good to go to school tomorrow God willing. Thank You Lord for Your healing touch!