Friday, August 29, 2008

An Amazing Poem

By one of my favorite Poets: Kevin Max Smith

Jesus in the Arena

Johnny Cash
on a Billy Graham Stage
Inner City Buses pulled up on the pavement
it doesn't run like that at all these days
there's no more funk in the soul cages
representing the Nazarene
with a Jesus Freak tee
and some ripped up jeans
but deep inside
those holes aren't dreams
but empty eyes
with a list of schemes
from the record company and the Church board
they learned to take the song from the source
turn them into banners
and anthems for the worst
type of narrowminded gimps
that limp about on borrowed verses
so give them back independence
give them back some reverence
historical precedence
coinage for some relevance
to put in their pockets
and use for the future
instead of being used up, sutured
like a monster
robotic, and devoid of real posture...
Jesus in The Arena
Give us Freedom.

My thoughts exactly.

Monday, August 25, 2008


So, as I've been getting ready for the adult class I am teaching this fall (Jesus, the Jewish Theologian), I have been reading a new book by Brad Young called Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation. There is a brilliant section talking about the parable of the Fair Employer in Matthew 20:1-16 (the one where the employer gets people in the morning and throughout the day, but pays them the same).

He talks about how this parable is a perfect example of the Jewish theology of reward for obedience not performance. This theological concept is based on Jer. 15:1 that talks about how Moses and Samuel both stood before the Lord. The rabbis point out that though Moses served for 120 years and Samuel only 52 years, they are both rewarded the same.

I love that. I mean, that is a huge shift! It helps free us of our enslavement to being the best. When I begin to focus on being obedient instead of efficient, talented, polished, knowledgeable, or well-respected, I move my focus from myself to God. Instead of pursuing perfection, I can pursue God (I think Mike Yacconelli said that).

Man, That Jesus guy was really tuned in.