Search Results for: Mel gibson

Don’t Hate Mel Gibson … And Buy Your Gas From BP – Part2

Similar to yesterday’s point of society giving us permission to “hate” someone like Mel Gibson, we are also given license to hate companies and positions. The obvious would be BP. During our mission trip to New Orleans, we filled up several times at a BP station. One instance, the students booed and suggested we fill up at the one across the street. In full youth pastor mode, I explained that of course we are to be grieved by the oil spill, it did not make sense to boycott the entire company, especially the local gas station workers who are trying to make an honest living. At a couple of stops, I talked to one of the owners who expressed that he was completely stressed out.

This led to some excellent group discussion in the vans for some of us that expanded from the gas station worker to the corporate workers of places like BP. It very easily could be one of their/my parents who was fortunate enough to have a decent job and now with public backlash, be at risk of being laid off. Even further, many have agreed that it may be in our collective best interest to keep BP in business so they can afford to clean up the mess and pay for all the damages.

Last year’s BP were companies like Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, AIG (this link is literally entitled Cavuto: Go Ahead, Hate AIG), Wall Streeters, Bernie Madoff and maybe even all capitalists in general. Again my point is not to defend subprime loan lenders, bailouts, convicted and/or alleged thieves, or even capitalists in general, but to maintain the position that we can not justify this blind loathing towards others, even if they are companies.

Living in North Jersey, we have people in our church and local community who work for some of the aforementioned companies. Some are mid-level accountants, tech specialists and administrative assistants and such. Though I have been wrong before, I cannot imagine they are the conspirators and swindlers that have left thousands in ruin. One person expressed his personal frustration with the public backlash but expressed that he has made similar judgments upon others too. And that’s what makes this so complicated.

When we blindly punish companies with boycotts and criticism, we also hurt many sincere, hard-working people as well. Our disgust may be directed to people like Tony Hayward, his golfing pals and to those that failed to provide a safe working environment for their employees and took liberties with our waters but we need to make sure we channel our frustration in appropriate and even merciful ways.

Don’t hate BP, buy your gas from there. Maybe even speak to the attendants and try to encourage the local owner – It’s a rough time for many.

Don’t Hate Mel Gibson & … Part 1

Context – I don’t watch TMZ or E!. I don’t actively follow celebrity culture. I make it a point to not read the tabloids in the grocery store line because one of the best parts of my day is when we someone asks, “Can you believe that Angelina and Brad have broken up???” and I say, “I have no idea what you are talking about.” I read Rolling Stone and Paste magazine, click through Huffington Post, Christianity Today, a host of blogs and most of my news comes from Google.  Oh and I listen to the Relevant Magazine podcast (that’s how I heard that Ice-T got arrested and has a frog that’s getting knee surgery. Yep you read that right. We’ve come a long way since Cop-Killer. And frankly, that’s good for society.)

The thing is, I am aware that “Brangelina” are still together. It’s actually difficult to remain oblivious to a lot of celebrity culture – it finds you. For instance, on our mission trip we listened to a bit of the radio on our 20 hour van ride (thanks in part to our failing Belkin iPod FM Transmitter – lame!). In between the constant rotation between Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Train, there was a DJ talking about Mel Gibson’s latest recorded rant. We opted not to listen which got me thinking – Why are FM radio stations playing Mel Gibson’s temper tantrums to begin with?

I’ll be the first to admit that I am losing touch with certain aspects of culture. For some of it, it’s a shame, but for another aspect of it, it’s a welcomed relief. But back to the point, Why is Mel Gibson’s latest angry recording being played over public airwaves? The most common answer is the vague, “It’s entertainment.”  But why is that it?  I submit that it’s because every so often, “society” gives us license to hate someone.  The last few months it was Tiger Woods and now it’s Mel Gibson.

Believe me when I tell you that I am not interested in defending Mel Gibson. Of course I loved Braveheart, enjoyed Lethal Weapon movies and even thought Payback was pretty entertaining.   And though the Passion of the Christ was a pretty important moment in the last decade, there were a couple of things that bothered me (like a barely there, pretty anti-climatic resurrection scene. Seemed more like Caviezel rolled out of bed after a night partying with the Romans or something. I mean if you are going through the trouble of conquering death and coming back to life, let’s make it more convincing but that’s just me … and I Corinthians 15).

Regardless of who you are, you don’t have the right to hate Mel Gibson the person. Like all people (myself very much included), he has issues.  Thus, Christians should be praying for him. And not just for him, but for his girlfriend (Oksana), his children, and his family.

These scenes should remind us of the many homes throughout our world that are filled with verbal, emotional and even physical abuse. Recordings of Gibson ranting for the radio listener’s enjoyment is a mockery of their pain and also the countless homes that I have just described as abusive. So I urge, every time someone in media or in person brings up Gibson’s rage, resist the urge to pour on the disdain but instead pray for him and for the many who are controlled by the hurt and anger that is ruining lives.

“So How Was QLA 2013?”

Q LA was a few weeks ago and every so often someone asks me about it.  I was pretty excited heading into and  loved my time there. I’m still processing but here’s a sarcastic and somewhat serious summary until I can post something legitimate.

If you don’t know, Q is a gathering of Christian leaders (and some non-Christian) from different sectors of culture focusing on four themes Culture, Future, Faith and Gospel. The 7 that Q identified are: Media, Business, Arts & Entertainment, Education, Government, Social Sector and the Church. You can read more about Q here.

Upon entering the very cool Nokia Theater in downtown LA, my first question was where was Andy Crouch? [Read more…]

What The Super Bowl Power Outage Really Meant – Watch Out Goodell!

The power outage of the Super Bowl was one of the highlights for me. My friends and I shared a few good laughs and it’s these moments that justify the craziness of the social media world:

“Beyonce literally shut it down.”
“I’ve kicked the Playstation cord out of the wall before, too. Well played Jim Harbaugh.”
“The intensity of Ray Lewis’ feelings KNOCKED THE POWER OUT.”
“Finally, America cares about the infrastructure in NOLA.”
and my favorite
“Over 100 NFL players without power in New Orleans right now. Please help. Every donation counts. #SuperBowl”

Now, how in the world, does a major city like New Orleans who have a power outage during the Super Bowl? [Read more…]

Reflecting on the Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day A Week Later – Post 1

I took some time off last week, hung out with my family and decided to cut back on my social media intake and blogging. I know I’m late in posting on this but like with many things, I want to add to the conversation and be counted for whatever it is I am for/against. These thoughts have been brewing for a little while now and though I thought twice about posting on the Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day, I am getting a handle on my words now.

I had the privilege of given the sermon last week; it was on the imprecatory Psalms, specifically Ps. 109 and was called, “A Song to My Enemy.” Toward the end, I tried to make the point that Christians can not simultaneously build the Kingdom of God and fight a culture war. They are mutually exclusive and simply put, Jesus calls us to seek first the Kingdom of God.

I also tried to make the point that “others” are not our enemies and that includes “liberal ‘whatevers’, ultra-conservative (insert [Read more…]

A Youth Pastor Watches His First Season of The Jersey Shore Part 4 – We Watch Because We Are Bored

Yesterday’s post focused on the idea that if Jesus had not been raised from the dead, then the Jersey Shore life is a good option because in the words of the Apostle Paul himself we might as well, “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” Today, I want to start with the simple question, “Why do we actually watch?”

Now, a few things to be clear. I am not calling for any type of a boycott of the Jersey Shore shore. If it fulfills your need of entertainment, great. And as the second post already mentioned, I do think it’s important that we take inventory of the messages we receive in our media, but I am not suggesting that the JS is the worst thing on tv  (but let’s agree that it’s not good quality television).  Today, I want to make the point that we will always have a Jersey Shore type of phenomena, Brittany, a Mel Gibson or Charlie Sheen, or some type of other pop-culture hype, controversy, or outrage. It’s not just money, it’s because as a society, we are bored.

The reason we are bored is because we struggle to find identity, meaning or purpose. As a result we pinball our way through the rat race of life. We bounce off of events into tragedies into triumphs into droughts of mundaneness that are interrupted by moments of transcendence. We search for hope, truth, and goodness and when they elude us, we look to escape the pain and emptiness by finding ways to escape.

And that’s what things like the Jersey Shore really are. I doubt most people actually want to be like one of them. People may envy their fame, money and newly acquired lifestyles but I doubt strongly that are a lot of guys out there who really want to be Mike “the Situation” or Snooki. This does not mean that they are terrible people but most people watch the show to be entertained by the mess or as others have put it, “to watch the trainwreck“.

No one wants to watch a show where people are reading, playing with their children and where their spouse is grateful when the dishes are done -even 80’s sitcoms were more entertaining.  Sadly, people want to see a girl barely 5 feet tall get punched in the face in a bar in Seaside.   But as the cruelties of life will show us, one day we’ll be laying on the dirty floor realizing that we are wasting our days with such meaningless things.

The resurrection of Jesus offers the abundant life, now and forever with the Lord. A life that desires to serve the world, the community, the home. A life that offers meaning instead of escape, hope in the face of evil, purpose in the vast emptiness, and salvation from death itself. And the good news is that it’s for every cast member, every tough guy, every sweetheart, everyone. May we continue to discover and enjoy the life that Jesus offers.

Reflecting on Pentecost Sunday Part 3 – Flying Apostles versus Speaking in Tongues

In this last installment of Pentecost Sunday, I want to discuss this whole “speaking in tongues incident”. It’s probably one of my least favorite subjects because of all the baggage associated with it.  Case in point is the scene in Bill Maher’s Religulous where televangelist, Robert Tilton, is babbling on for several minutes and then wraps it up by saying, “I love you” and flashes his Crest white smile.  Regardless of how I feel about the rest of the movie, I laugh every time and then I want to cry when I realize he is connected to my faith. It’s not tongues, I know a few people who take the gift of tongues very seriously, they either have it, been used by it, have witnessed it, etc., they would not support that nonsense.  That’s not the type of “tongues” Acts 2 is describing.

On the day of Pentecost, the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke in different languages, ones they did not know. I tried to explain this to my Senior High Sunday School class a while back. For today’s audience, speaking in different languages isn’t that impressive, in fact, most people already know a few. Some local schools are teaching their students Spanish in third grade. And of course, there’s that adorable Dora. Yep, even cartoons are bilingual – not much of a miracle.

While we can assume that many of our beloved disciples knew parts of several languages (Aramaic, Greek, Hebrew), what was incredible was that they were speaking languages that they did not know. And everyone knew that they should not know them, that’s why it created a scene. (This is why Luke goes through the trouble of mentioning all the different ethinicites that were gathered for the conclusion of Passover, the Feast of Weeks). Oh and all of them were speaking them at the same time.  Oh, and one more thing, they started preaching that Jesus had risen from the dead and He was Lord.

It is pretty incredible but for years, I admit, I sort of missed the point. Pardon my arrogance, but here’s another instance, where if I was God, I would have done things a bit differently. I would have sent the Spirit and made them do something really spectacular, like fly around Jerusalem or make the Temple disappear and then bring it back but some place else or empower them with super-human strength and round up all the Romans and crucify them and then give Peter a moment with Pilate, “You asked earlier what truth is? It’s … (some really, really cool line – in a different tongue!)”. You might make the mistake and think that I have quite the imagination but I’m really just repeating a variety of Mel Gibson movies.

I know that’s ridiculous – that’s completely absurd (sigh). But why is it absurd? I mean a few pages back, Jesus walks on water, feeds the 5000, then 4000, heals some people, casts out some demons and raises a guy back to life, all before He is resurrected. Flying apostles would seem to fit right in. So again why not?  I’ll try to keep this part short but it has a lot to do with motive. Jesus never performed this miracles to create publicity or cause a spectacle.

It’s necessary to understand that the miracles are always done to serve people. (I know there’s a reformed brother/sister reading that just shouted at the screen “AND to bring glory to God.” I know, I know, but when everything gives glory to God, it seems the miracles had a more special role). And that’s an important aspect of Pentecost, the disciples are empowered by the Holy Spirit to preach the good news of the risen Jesus to the whole world. What better miracle then the one God performs?

That’s the part I had been missing.  This was a Gospel for all people of all nations and tribes and what better miracle than to have masses of people from all over the world to hear the message in their own language.  Consistent with the idea of Incarnation (where God comes near), the Word comes near – through the disciples empowered by the Holy Spirit.

What is among the many lessons in all of this?  For me, it is when faithful believers allow the Spirit to fill them, the hope, truth, and love of Jesus is proclaimed.