This morning I am going to see The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson as part of a special showing for area church leaders. My thoughts going in to it:

I never like going into anything who’s sole purpose is to emotionally manipulate me, unless it’s a sporting event where you don’t know the outcome. From what I’ve heard this movie gets you. I’m sure it will, when I read the story it gets me. Not to mention that Forest Gump “got me.”

The hubbub by the Christian community bugs me a bit. I’m not sure why we get so excited about things like this. I’m sure the movie will help some people but a bit of calmness, an attitude like we’re victorious rather than ravenously desperate for a break would be nice I think.

What also bugs me is how Christians are supposed to like this movie when a majority of Christians, including me, have not seen it. Why should I like it just because it’s about Jesus? What if I don’t agree with the recent trend to turn biblical stories into popular stories presented like any other fiction story? Why do we enjoy judging each other’s spirituality based on things that aren’t necessarily spiritual?

Anyway, these are my thoughts going in to it, we’ll see what they are going out of it.

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This morning I was working on the monthly church newsletter which brings me to the monthly battle with my stupid computer. I don’t know what it is, but when I try to get this thing to print envelopes it just goes weird on me. That’s why usually I’ll just hand write them. When i press the icon that says it will print my envelope, silly me, I expect it to print the envelope.

It really bugs me when things say they’re going to do something and then they don’t. It bugs me when people do that too. Christianity Today has a test you can take to see if you are a person of your word or if you just say things and forget. Something I think Christians should particularly be mindful of seeing as how we represent Jesus–The Way, the Truth and the Life. I think many in the world mistrust God because they can’t trust any of His followers.

Psalm 18 is a fun little Psalm. It’s all about revenge and nailing your enemies. David, in the translation I read, says “hand over my enemies so I can pound them.” Oh yeah! That’s the stuff!

What’s funny about David is that he is very emotional in his outbursts to God–both posiitive and negative. But when you look at his life he doesn’t seem to be that emotional, he seems like a military guy out doing his job. There are exceptions of course, when he came dancing home and his wife ripped on him.

But I think the thing that kept David emotionally sound was that he would pour himself out to God and not to the whole world. Reading the Psalms is like getting a glimpse into David’s head, seeing things going on between him and his God. Intriguing stuff and a great example for us.

When God shows up and talks to Job He lays into him pretty good. He uses rhetorical questions which Job can’t answer, so Job doesn’t, which was a good move. Job repents instead of discussing further and God is good with that. Job’s friends, however, have another thing coming.

I have often wondered about God’s comments to Job, why was He so mad at Job? Didn’t Job do well? But God’s response seems a bit harsh.

I think one of the problems is that Job’s friends are saying that Job must have messed up. Job maintains his righteousness. Perhaps Job was a bit too righteous sounding for his own good. Maybe he relied on his own righteousness, not admitting that God sees all men as unrighteous and we all deserve bad stuff.

Seems as if God’s point is that all the creatures of creation do there thing and they don’t wonder why it happens, they just keep going. They do their thing and do exactly what God made them to do. They don’t worry about getting harpoons in their head or not being able to fly, they just deal with it.

Seems like the message of Job is–Oh would you all just shut up and deal with it!

As the people of Israel were leaving Egypt they were supposed to keep their eyes on the cloud which was God’s presence. Instead, their eyes wandered and they got to looking at the horrible land they were going through and then they saw the Egyptians coming and they got skeered. Their faith was determined by their experience.

Job knew he was a righteous man but he couldn’t make sense of what was happening to him. His faith and his experience were not lining up.

Noah was a righteous man and God asked him to do some crazy things–make a boat with no water because it was going to rain, which had never happened before. Noah’s faith did not have experience to back it up, but Noah went ahead anyway.

Faith is believing the opposite of your experience. Which is ironic in this day when we love books about experiencing God and encourage people to have experiences. I fear for many believers that their faith is no faith at all. What is your faith in–God’s Word or your experience?

You were wondering where the good news was in relation to the flu striking birds? Well, here it is–cat’s are getting it! However, I suppose dogs will get it next because the dogs will eat the cats and then coyotes will get it next because they eat dogs and then bears will get it and then people will get it and then it will all be over. But, hey, it got some cats.

You know who I think gets a bum rap in the Bible? Job’s friends.

First of all, they sit with Job for seven days just being there for their pal. When was the last time you went to be with a friend for seven days when they were in pain and loss?

Second of all, the stuff they were saying to Job, although maybe not the most encouraging stuff, was fairly accurate in regards to what they knew about God. They were going by experience and experience showed that God nails people who disobey. I think we forget that they didn’t have a Bible when they said this stuff. All they could go on was what they knew and what they said was what they knew.

Third of all, when God finally shows up to talk He has just as much trouble with what Job said as He does with what the friends say. Seems to me the lesson is–don’t be so sure of yourself when you’re defending God! God doesn’t need any defense anyway!