Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Saturday, November 10, 2012
I do not believe that it was a coincidence that Luke follows up this story about the Good Samaritan with one about Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42).
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012
One man may not kill. If he kills a fellow-creature, he is a murderer. If two, ten, a hundred men do so, they, too, are murderers. But a government or a nation may kill as many men as it chooses, and that will not be murder, but a great and noble action. Only gather the people together on a large scale, and a battle of ten thousand men becomes an innocent action. But precisely how many people must there be to make it so? — that is the question. One man cannot plunder and pillage, but a whole nation can. But precisely how many are needed to make it permissible? Why is it that one man, ten, a hundred, may not break the law of God, but a great number may?
- Adin Ballou
(American pacifist, socialist and abolitionist)
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Monday, July 16, 2012
I'm doing this next weekend. 3.6 miles, 12 obstacles including "Deadman's Drop," "Road Rage" where we will crawl over old cars and "Warrior Roast" which is jumping over flaming trenches of fire.
After repetitively telling my brother "No, I don't want to pay money to throw up" he offered to pay (for my birthday).
If you know my brother, it wouldn't sound odd that he wants to run it in costumes. Here is what we settled on:
Tobias Funke - Blue Man with Nevernudes.
Should be fun.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Monday, May 28, 2012
Monday, April 30, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
However, I am not a mechanic, so I found a local guy named Mike who does engine swaps with Vanagons (Subarus, TDI, etc.). It is obviously a specialized trade (swapping a gasoline engine for a diesel). The actual vegetable oil conversion will be done at Mike's shop, but only with his guidance :)
I have thought about this conversion a lot lately (I do my best thinking at 3am right after Luci wakes me up, and in the shower), there is a lot to think about: tank placement, heat exchangers, waste coolant heat, 3-way solenoids, injection line heaters, etc.
“The use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today. But such oils may become in course of time as important as petroleum and the coal tar products of the present time.” - Rudolph Diesel (1912)
Here are some pictures of Mike and I as we dropped the old engine out of Wolfy. The 1.9 turbodiesel engine should be installed this week or next and then we can get to work on the VO system.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
It helps now and then, to step back and take the long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us. No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the church's mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about: We plant seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capability.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Much of our decision to shift away from giving to our local church was based off of writings such as:
EMBEZZLEMENT: THE CORPORATE SIN OF CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIANITY?: An Examination of How Local Congregations in the Early Church Spent Their Money and the Implications for Us Today by Ray Mayhew
It is a 26 page PDF, so it will take some time, but I highly recommend this biblical overview of tithing and the early church.
We have also chosen to use a portion of our tithing money to meet the immediate needs of those who we are in relationship with. We call it "relational tithe." It is a blessing and a joy to be able to meet some of the needs of those around us.
Lastly, and this isn't anything new, it was discussed by Ron Sider in his 1970s Christian classic Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger, the graduated tithe is a very simple system to follow that allows for us to live at a basic level and increase our giving based on our increased salary / income. Here is a quick overview:
1. You set a starting amount or a base salary. The amount is often your current salary. The assumption is that if you are currently living on your income, you should be able to give away a larger amount of any increase you receive.
Just a few thoughts.
2. Commit to increasing the percentage of your giving each time you get an increase in your salary. The easiest way to do this is to increase your giving for every $1,000 you earn beyond your base salary. Again, for simplicity, you can give an extra 5% per $1,000 you make above your base salary. Per $1,000 annual increase, you increase your tithe by 5%, then 10%, then 15%, then 20% …
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Monday, February 20, 2012
Now this concept of economics being "in-house," makes the early church of Acts (specifically discussed in Acts 2:44-46; Acts 4:32-35) sound much less radical. Having family, specifically family that contributes economically, was vital to survival in First Century Palestine, it was simply a way of life. If Jesus called his disciples to "come and follow him," then they were asked to cut economic ties, and most of the time relational ties as well, with their immediate family and enter into the family of God. This new family was now their economic family. Looking out for their family's economic needs was part of life, for peasants and fisherman alike, it was essential to life. How many of us view our sisters and brothers as actual sisters and brothers. With our time, or relationship and essential to all, our economics? "There were no needy ones among them" takes on a new meaning when we look at Jesus followers as brothers and sisters, not just neighbors.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
I had been trained to think that Jesus' words were in the Bible from one end to the other, that the whole book from the first page to the last contained God's words on law and order. Clarence just put his arm around me and said, 'Joe, you don't know how to read the Bible.' And then he took me home and showed me.Clarence Jordan had only one cause, his singular desire was to enter deeper into God's Kingdom. We have visited several churches over the past few years, and we have attended several conferences. In many instances, opportunities are presented for people to get involved with different "causes." The opportunity to support those digging wells in impoverished nations, or the chance to work with those involved in distributing the Gospel to communist nations. While I whole-heatedly support the efforts of these organizations and individuals who are tangibly loving their neighbors, I also know first hand that when we become about a cause we can quickly get burnt out. One week our hearts are impacted by a video we watched and so we give a little to help build a well in India. The next week we hear about a friend who is helping an organization to end human trafficking. Drawn into the heart-wrenching stories, we try to get more involved. We wonder how we can become involved in so many different "causes," and with the typical American's busy life, the only solution is to give financially. That subdues our conscience -- for a while. The well has been dug, people in the village now have water . . . . what's next? Homelessness? Hunger? Orphans?
He showed me where some of the Bible is just history, where some of it is just telling how so-and-so applied what Jesus said, and how some of it just sets the stage for what Jesus did or said. he told me there is only one place where Jesus starts giving orders and that was in Matthew five, six and seven. He showed me how Jesus didn't talk about community or how to be a Christian -- he talked about love, and mercy, and humbleness -- and Clarence said if you have these, you have community automatically. Clarence said you can argue about the rest of the Bible if you want to, but there is no argument about Matthew five, six, and seven.
Once again, many founders, workers and donors to these causes are centered in the middle of God's Kingdom, but many times it feels like some Christian circles can become a trendy social justice À la carte. Our faith becomes schizophrenic, scattering our time, energy and finances over logo ladened t-shirts, bumper stickers and self-righteous pats on the back.
Jordan advocated for Jesus followers to give. He quoted Augustine in his letter to supporters in 1968:
"'He who possesses a surplus possesses the goods of others.' That's a polite way of saying that anybody who has too much is a thief. If you are a 'thief,' perhaps you should set a reasonable living standard for your family and restore the 'stolen goods' to humanity."But the giving wasn't sparked by a cause, it was sparked by the Kingdom. Jordan didn't try to convince others to live communally, fight racism, or become pacifists, in other words, he wasn't looking for a cause to fight. Instead, he was trying to convince folks that we must enter into God's Kingdom. Furthermore, Jordan believed that the Sermon on the Mount was the summary of Jesus' teaching about the Kingdom. By putting the ideals laid out in the Sermon on the Mount into action in our daily lives, justice, which is God's "cause," will naturally (and supernaturally), become our "cause."