Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Good thoughts from Brian McLaren:

It's no surprise that in this fragmented world, community becomes a higher value, even though it is so darned hard to achieve and sustain. It's no surprise that interest in house churches increases in these times, where the shared life of a few is so important that even bothering with public worship is optional.

Throwing a small-groups program at this hunger for community is like feeding an elephant Cheerios, one by one. What's needed is a profound reorganization of our way of life, not a squeeze-another-hour-for-"community" into the week.

Of course, maybe a little programmed community is better than nothing, but I expect that this thirst for community will lead to a lot of experimentation in the years ahead. Perhaps many of our churches will become more like Catholic churches in the past, where the ideal parish had a few households where monks or nuns lived in community, practicing radical hospitality that would overflow to the community at large...

... I was once talking with Dallas Willard about Islam. He dropped this little thought virus: "Remember, Brian, in a pluralistic world, a religion is valued by the benefits it brings to its non-adherents." The virus has taken hold in my thinking, bringing to mind sayings of our Lord, like "the birds of the air" nesting in the branches of the kingdom of God, people seeing the light of our good deeds and "glorifying your Father in heaven," "by their fruits you will know them."

How different is this missional approach to the "rhetoric of exclusion" that worked so well in modernity: "There are blessings to being on the inside. You're on the outside and so can't enjoy them. Want to be a blessed insider like us?"

In contrast, missional Christianity says, "God is expressing his love to all outsiders through our acts of kindness and service. You're invited to leave your life of accumulation and competition and self-centeredness to join us in this mission of love, blessing, and peace. Want to join in the mission?"

Monday, August 23, 2004

Man. Didn't I read about this in a science fiction novel in high school? Freaky.

Human chips more than skin-deep

Advocates of technologies like radio frequency identification tags say their potentially life-saving benefits far outweigh any Orwellian concerns about privacy. RFID tags sewn into clothing or even embedded under people's skin could curb identity theft, help identify disaster victims and improve medical care, they say.

Critics, however, say such technologies would make it easier for government agencies to track a person's every movement and allow widespread invasion of privacy. Abuse could take countless other forms, including corporations surreptitiously identifying shoppers for relentless sales pitches. Critics also speculate about a day when people's possessions will be tagged--allowing nosy subway riders with the right technology to examine the contents of nearby purses and backpacks.

Great language story (from blog I just randomly found...):

A Japanese friend of mine took her mother to Paris one year. Everywhere they went they heard the phrase"Qu`est-ce que c`est?" (what is that). To a Japanese person, unfamiliar with the French language, that phrase sounds very close to "Ketsu kusei," which in Japanese slang means "the ass stinks." My friend's mother, who did not understand French asked her, "why are these people saying my ass stinks?" Poor woman!

Another Japanese story - I went to a boarding school with students from all over the world. Fun part of the experience was to share food, culture, music from our countries. The Spanish kids were trying to make friends with the Japanese kids by offering them gum. They would stretch their open palms (offering the gum) and ask, "un chiclet?"(brand of gum). Now, that phrase in Japanese sounds like "unchi kuray" or "give me poop." Here's what the whole scene looks like from a Japanese perspective - a guy is stretching his hand out to you and asking a question... ok so he wants something from me... thenhe hear the Spanish guy saying, "give me (your) poop."Of course, "un chiclet" became a great insider joke between the Spanish and Japanese kids!
Oh oh oh. What has happened to my interest in blogging? I remember when love was young. Me and Sony had so much fun. Posting life-bits and findin' links. Never lacked a topic or cared what anyone thinks...

But now I don't even check for comments, and when I sit here and try to think of something to post, there is nothing that intrigues me. Might be because I am not reading much these days. Or surfing the net. Just studying kanji. Everyday. Drawing little pictographs, and then drawing them again. Coming home on the train - kanji. Few extra minutes at the doctor's office - kanji.

It really is a good thing though. I feel so productive. And I wonder what goes on in my own head when for two years I can hardly motivate myself to lift a finger for study, and suddenly, it is what I do with every spare moment. At this rate, I might possibly be fluent at this language one day.

Oh I know. I hve really been wanting to do a post about the whole weight loss thing I have been on to in the last year, and how that has so radically impacted my life in the area of self-discipline. But I don't even have jam for that right now. Instead, I will just post my before and after pictures, in case you are interested:

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

A great quote Graham found by Kirkegaard:

It is well known that Christ consistently used the expression "follower." He never asks for admirers, worshippers, or adherents. No, he calls disciples. It is not adherents of a teaching but followers of a life Christ is looking for.

What then, is the difference between an admirer and a follower? A follower is or strives to be what he admires. An admirer, however, keeps himself personally detached. He fails to see that what is admired involves a claim upon him, and thus he fails to be or strive to be what he admires.

The difference between an admirer and a follower still remains, no matter where you are. The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays it safe. Though in words, phrases, songs, he is inexhaustible about how highly he prizes Christ, he renounces nothing, gives up nothing, will not reconstruct his life, will not be what he admires, and will not let his life express what it is he supposedly admires. Not so for the follower. No, no.

The follower aspires with all his strength, with all his will to be what he admires. And then, remarkably enough, even though he is living amongst a "Christian people," the same danger results for him as was once the case when it was dangerous to openly confess Christ...