Archive for June, 2009

Coming to earth - in a theatre near you

Coming to earth - in a theatre near you

Last year, you may remember the fair warning to have your pets spayed or neutered in commemoration of the Mayan triune barnyard animal, Quetzalcoatl, who is a third snake, third bird and with some man parts sprinkled in there somewhere.

Brief history lesson: The Mayans had this quirky calendar back in 10 B.C. that ends December 21, 2012. I don’t know why?!

Maybe someone back then knew the economy would blow, the GOP couldn’t filibuster in Congress and “America’s Got Talent” would be on for another season. Woof!

Anywhoo, it seems 2012 is so far away, so the Q-Dog (and please know, being a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc., that pains me to write :)) has decided to make a special guest appearance to our fare burgh.

And darn nice of him too considering he is going to kill us all in a few years for his “Age of Transition.”

In case you haven’t been to the movies lately, it seems Quetzalcoatl’s transition will slither a few years early, just in time to come to a theater near you. So, starring as bird-snake-guy would be John Cusack?!

Okay, a few issues with that thrilling score and fireball-laden preview:

1. Mankind’s earliest civilization was indeed not the Mayans, which neared due north of Anno Domini line. That distinction has historically gone to the Sumer, which hailed from the Fertile Cresent near that Garden of Eden thingy. Oh, and that more than 9,000 years before for those doing the math at home.

2. The preview – I presume the Q Dog’s warning to us all – speaks of this year. And of course, O Cristo Rendentor (the noted Jesus statue in Brazil) is the first sacrosanct thing to get pummeled in the wake of the Mayan bird-snake-guy. Figures.

3. The Vatican is second on the dog doo list. Classy. Haven’t seen a synagogue or a mosque yet, but eh, I’m sure that’s just a co-winky-dink.

4. A large isthmus is hurled in the ocean. Yeah, I think hydroelectricity may save California’s energy crisis too. [Idea credited to Al Gore or somesuch. Carry on.]

5. We are asked to “find out the truth.” Well, unless I see 2012 in my Bible somewhere, I don’t think I’m going to find it helping your Web traffic and marketing efforts. Oh, sorry, that’s what you wanted me to do… drat.

Lastly, I would like to opine about this teaser that has been airing in theatres for about a year-and-a-half, which means the Q Dog is really trying to us non-Mayans’ attention.

So, we have this monk running for the hills to ring a bell. Who will hear that tribal gong? Well, don’t worry about that right now.

What’s important is there is a flood a’coming. Question is, says who? Anyone in production… er, ancient Maya heard of Noah?

I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life (Genesis 9:14 NIV)

If this is the case, then why is that monsoon hanging ten over the Himalayas?!

Answer: That’s Hollywood.

However, it also preying on the lost and the scared. People are apocalyptic by nature. Those who have no hope stored up for heaven think hell is just a rain drop away. And they will look anywhere for a sign of impending doom, from eerie books of faith to ancient civilization to astrologers’ conferences discussing the coming of “what’s his name”.

It’s called faith, and we need to use it – not only to believe Jesus is coming back when he wants, but also to use and tell others of that glorious day.

Regardless if you are Dispensationalist Premillennialists, A-mills, Post-mills or even Historic Mills… it doesn’t erase the Bible… and I don’t need a movie for this headline:

Our Lord Jesus told us that when he comes, we won’t go up to meet him ahead of his followers who have already died. With a loud command and with the shout of the chief angel and a blast of God’s trumpet, the Lord will return from heaven. Then those who had faith in Christ before they died will be raised to life. Next, all of us who are still alive will be taken up into the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the sky. From that time on we will all be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)

It’s going to happen, and whether you believe in Jesus or not, one thing I can tell you is there is no bird-snake-dude named Quetzalcotal coming to “transition” you into anything but a movie ticket, a bag of popcorn and about two hours of sweet thrills.

No one can say 2012 is doomsday or the Apocalypse, but I would rather wait upon the sound of a trump as validated through more than 2,000 of proven history than a mythological being that no one has ever documented in reality.

Anyone care to search for that truth? Just read a Bible… or I’m sure you can go to Blockbuster. I think there should be some copies of that Mel Gibson flick to rent. You know, if you like that sort of thing.

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First, it was Ed McMahon. Then, Farrah Fawcett. Now, Michael Jackson.

If I hear Darth Vader and the guy who invented Members Only jackets are gone, and the 80s will officially be over. And for some people, it already is with the passing of the self-entitled “King of Pop.”

Michael Jackson was many things to many people. There wasn’t a single person alive with the ability to speak who didn’t have an opinion on this man. And who was the last person that could say that?

Even Michael looked like this from time to time

Even Michael looked like this from time to time

His music was always there – and so were the harrowing stories – and then in a flash, all we had was his music because the man was gone. But despite the rumor mill spinning like a wheel in the middle of the Daytona 500, let me ask you something:

In the words of the hallowed Maximus Dedimus Meridius, “Were you not entertained?”

When Google crashed – yeah, Google – as a result of people trolling for insight on Michael Jackson’s death, one of quickest things that happened was downloading his music.

Why now?

Folk weren’t searching for latest on pedophilia, homosexuality or really bad outfits looking like Captain Crunch.

No, it was the music, because after the source is gone, what’s left is the legacy.

If you didn’t like “Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough” or “Working Day and Night” while he was alive (and this reporter SHO’ NUFF did), why rush to the Net and flush Amazon.com out of stock now?

It’s because people don’t really appreciate and cherish items while they are in front of their face.

Jesus people, we can learn something from this mayhem. Much was the case with Jesus and if Ridley Scott was around in Gethsemane, perhaps Christ’s words would have been echoed in a gladiatorial coliseum.

Consider the miracles. The feats of mercy. The love shown despite circumstances. Followers of Christ, “Were you not entertained?”

Why wait until it’s too late to appreciate what we have? Why wait until folk can’t discuss different ideas and ruminate opposing views to simply talk facts? Remove said things and that’s when the memories are beholden to those who had them – whether about Jesus or, in this case only, Michael Jackson.

But, as a body of Christ, we understand we are not here to live for self, but for God. We don’t worry about tomorrow, but today. We exist to serve Jesus, not man.

Probably looking for Jesus there too

Probably looking for Jesus there too

And so, to give closure to the countless millions in the Church who still adored Michael Jackson despite the terrible stories, I’ll ask the question out loud that you’re afraid to ask at this week’s Bible study, “Was he a Christian?”

Without question, Jackson was on a quest of “spirituality.” But where did it lead him?

He had a knowledge of the Bible. Listen to the “Man in the Mirror“, read James 1:22-25 and you tell me. But was it a full understanding that Jesus is Lord?

Thanks to Another Brick in the Wall, Get Religion, we read a gripping article about that very thing and Michael’s troubled soul who traipsed through a Kingdom’s Hall and ended up (allegedly) in a Mosque.

And now, thanks to his brother Jermaine, that’s possibly his lasting legacy on the religious map:

If “Allah is with him always,” the King of Pop may have more issues than the debt he left behind.

Late last year, reports were viral and contagious as it was said Michael Jackson took the shahada and was now known as “Mikaeel.”

He would be seen wearing a face-covering burga – for some, it was religious practice and for others, it was plastic surgery run-a-muck.

And all the while, no one seemed to care about his soul… just keep cranking out that legendary music, Michael… or however you are spelling it now.

Some consider a person’s doxology should be as private as his vote, but if you are saved, that commitment should be as public as what color you are. [Yes, there’s a joke there considering the topic, but I’ll reserve that at this time :)]

However, it was painfully obvious to those of us who considered ourselves “fans” that Jackson was not comfortable in his own skin.

Yeah, there’s the vicious self-altering “Before and After” pictures, but that struggle goes to deeper depths than just debates about melanin.

Again, you don’t go from the Watchtower, tour the Bible and end up on a Musallah and not have plaguing questions about God, Jesus and your eternal demise.

Jackson clearly was riddled with those questions, and he like so many before him, had a public life of good works to help him sleep well at night. From “We are the World” to the amazing benefits he did for children with life-threatening disease, but he didn’t take those with him.

Sure, we all talk about them now, but works aren’t enough, as Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Who was there to tell him that? Jesse? Al? A day late and a dollar short.

He was 8 years old singing with his brothers on national TV. He lived his life on stage, in front of cameras and under the eye of speculation.

And in a life of zoo animals, little children and corny dogs (otherwise known as Neverland), it’s no surprise there wasn’t someone of a Christ-like mindset to tell him about the Lord.

Back to TMatt and the “Get Religion” piece:

So what does this add up to, in a tragic life that begins with — Jackson said — years of physical abuse as a child, followed by years under the knife of doctors, lawyers, psychologists and paparazzi? There is a religion ghost here, or two. But does that mean that there is a religion thread throughout this troubled life, other than yearning and confusion?

To be seen soon in St. Peter's Basilica?!

To be seen soon in St. Peter's Basilica?!

Candlelight vigils. 24/7 Michael music on local radio. Outstanding tributes on national TV (Shout out to the BET Awards. Very nice). All are necessary for this pop music legend, but it’s not enough if that decision for Christ wasn’t made.

Heck, even the Vatican’s newspaper has dubbed Jackson the “Black Elvis”. Well, not really, but they did call him “IMMORTAL!” The Vatican! Seriously?!

But will he really be dead? It wouldn’t be surprising if, in a few years, he was spotted in a gas station in Memphis, perhaps with his former father-in-law Elvis Presley, another of those myths – like Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix or John Lennon – that never die in the imagination of their fans. And Michael Jackson, who died yesterday at the age of fifty, is definitely a pop music legend.”

But the eternal question is “What was the King of Pop to the Prince of Peace and the King of Kings?”

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27 NKJV).

Ah well, who knows? But, as you can see to the original opine, he was many things to many people.

And if those aforementioned, his friends or even his own parents didn’t care enough to ask about his relationship with Jesus Christ, I suppose the only question they’re left asking is, “Were they not entertained?”

Until the eternal answer is confirmed – and it won’t be this side of heaven – we will all have his remarkable music and continue to be entertained by the music behind the man… not the other way around.

Fresh on the heels of reading about people “drifting away from God,” this week in video evangelism will teach a stirring message.

Fair warning: I cried when I first heard this not because of guilt or fear, but due to the lives roaming the earth who have no clue a Savior is coming, a truth is here and a decision needs to be made.

2 John 1:9 reads, “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”

Everyone – whether they know it or not – are on a quest for destiny. The advantage children of God have is we understand what the heck we are doing standing aimlessly at the starting line.

For all those who would like to know, “I have so much but feel so empty inside. Why?” My earnest recommendation is invest five minutes in your life and peep this video. It’s more than a few minutes; it’s a message that will change your life.

Peace.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Cross Eyed: Run for Your Life“, posted with vodpod
Yeah. It's been awhile since they walked with God.

Yeah. It's been awhile since they walked with God.

Recently, WOW News’ The Pew Forum released a gripping study entitled “Faith in Flux” that is certain to make you scratch your head and wonder just what people have been doing while “walking with God.”

And don’t worry, this is equal-opportunity sequestering. So, first, I would like to get all those who consider themselves “Catholic” to huddle up close to the warmth of your monitor as you see what has been uncovered of your ilk.

Of those surveyed raised Catholic and are now unaffiliated, why?

  • 71% just “gradually drifted away”. Hrm. If only all that Latin and liturgy was more entertaining. It’s not a movie people, it’s God!
  • 56% were not happy with the church’s abortion teachings. Liberalism in the church? Anyone? So the news and Hollywood has more sway than God. Nice.
  • 43% said their spiritual needs were not met. Yeah, that happens when the youth group goes suddenly vacant. (Giggle).
  • 27% advised it was the clergy sexual abuse scandal. And who could blame them?!

What about those Catholics who decided to flip and go Protestant?

  • 70% found a “religion” they liked more. Well, unless they went to Buddha or Mohammed, they didn’t find a religion people. It was more like a denomination shift change during study hall. Oy! Oh, there’s another one!
  • 32% were dissatisfied with the atmosphere at worship services. Um, were you expecting the Pope to break out with the “Top 10 Feng Shui tips to attract more parishioners”?
  • 21% were unhappy with the rule that priests couldn’t marry. Yeah, 100 percent of those results were from priests.

Protestants. Yeah, I’m talking to you, heathens. So, why are you now unaffiliated with the Church?

  • 71% just drifted away from religion. Anyone seeing a trend here? More on that in a minute.
  • 50% stopped believing in the religion’s teachings. And I’ll bet 100% of my rent that it was because of WHO was doing the teaching.
  • 25% were dissatisfied with the clergy over the congregation. So, I guess the other half were asked the question within hearing range of their former pastor. Just a thought.

What about the reasons you joined another faith within the Protestant Reformation… er, another church?

  • 85% enjoy the newer services and style of worship. Anyone still going to argue with Joel, Bill, Ed and the boys? Bueller?
  • 50% were called by God. Hrm. Wonder what happened with the other 50% who didn’t answer the phone?
  • 36% were attracted by a particular minister. See above at 85%.

Now time for the rant:

1. What is with all this “just drifting away”? Do you mean to tell me Jesus went to the cross for people to wake up one day and tell the Lord, “We can just be friends”?! Um, not so much. Regardless if I am one of those once-saved, always-saved folk (and I am… NOTE: John 3:15-18, John 10:28-30 and Jude 24), but I question whether those drifters were ever serious about their relationship with God in the first place.

Scrub your heavenly flubs. Amen.

Scrub your heavenly flubs. Amen.

If you personally discover what it means to be saved, to be redeemed, why on earth would you try something else? Are chill bumps that addictive? Does God really bless you in the club? Wherever they find themselves, the most miserable person in the world is a truly backslidden Christian.

Drifted. That’s a load. The only thing these wayfaring, lukewarm toadstools drifted from is the regimen of being a Christian. Yes, Jesus welcomes you just as you are. But it’s his house now.

Brother… Sister… you gonna’ take a bath to wash off that muck and mire before you step foot in his crib. (NOTE: The slick advertisement in the picture). Think you won’t? Well, um, there’s another place that is a bit more balmy where you can get your ashy feet anywhere you want. But don’t say you weren’t warned.

2. Who are we walking with anyway? Last I checked the noted poem in small churches across the country, “Footprints in the Sand,” the only time we aren’t walking with God is when he is carrying us! Jesus isn’t that interested in people who can’t commit. With all that “spew you out of my mouth” stuff, I figure massaging his tonsils is not where I would be crazy about hanging. Perhaps these knobby-kneed folk didn’t get that far in their personal journey through the Bible?

Whatever the case, if you want to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, look up… not down. Keep your eyes on the ground and you could bump into something that will slam your face hard. You know, like an Episcopal church that says it embraces everyone, only to discover that embrace is a skosh more intense among same-sex groups. Now, now, Jesus loves all people. And there is nothing wrong with a person who says he or she is swinging that way… except for the way you are heading if no one has the temerity to tell you what is really up.

Aside from the analogy, if you are walking with the King of Kings, ask a brother for his sandals. If your feet are hurting that bad and you don’t feel like walking any more, maybe you just need to walk a mile in his shoes.

3. There’s something afoot among Protestants. Now, this is purely subjective because I am one, but what up with those statistics. It’s almost trendy to shop for churches like clothes. “Well, that preacher just doesn’t fit what I need.” Or, “The youth group wasn’t as exciting as an arcade. Let’s go to Dave N’ Busters.” How about, “How come everyone is in these fancy suits? I like my jeans. I’m out.” And then there’s, “Gurl. Look at that heifer in the choir. You know they just keep her in the middle to make the choir look bigger.”

Where are the people? The A/C was too cold.

Where are the people? The A/C was too cold.

Whatever the case, people are transient with their theology more and more every day. Whatever happened with all the biblical analogies comparing us as trees?! If you are going to make a difference in any church, you must set your roots deep. Because lets be honest, churches would be perfect if it weren’t for all those people who walk in there and set down their blessed assurance wherever they feel.

Stay awhile. You will get offended. And if you do… so what? Who are you there to worship? God Almighty or some huckster in a fancy suit?

Listen, here’s where all this walking leads us:

God doesn’t tempt us to sin (James 1:13). He doesn’t even lead us into temptation (Matthew 6:9-13). He leads us through love and grace. If you end up somewhere you shouldn’t be, guess whose brillance you have to blame?

Your apathy brought you there. Your discontent kept you there. Your billigerence prevents you from being welcomed anywhere else.

All that is outside of God. Remember him? Your walking buddy?

Deuteronomy 8:6 tells us to “observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and revering him.”

People can observe. You know, if it’s from the cheap seats. They can even walk, providing they are permitting potty breaks every 10 minutes. But the “reverence” thing. Tsk. Folk have issues with that. Why? We let them.

So I’ll end not with a verse but with a maxim:

Walking with a friend in the dark is far better than walking alone in the light. ~Helen Keller

I… well… you know, I got nothing. That says it all. Happy walking, Church.

Ah. Father’s Day.

Times of playing ball, going to the Zoo or having the kids sent off to the grandparents are typically conjured up for dear ol’ Dad. I did all three with my lil’ Wall Watchers. What about you?

Well, while you think about that, consider a different Father’s Day story from Santa Ana, Calif.

It seems this “dad” – 76-year-old Richard Cunningham – thought it be a good idea to take his 52-year-old son to church… and steal $3.1 million from it!

Kinda’ makes the tears just well up, don’t it?

Oh, did I mention both of these dolts were pastors?! Yeah, thought that would add a little pizzazz to the story.

Over five years, prosecutors say the Cunninghams stole from Calvary Baptist Yorba Linda Church and School bank accounts, and used the money to buy time shares in Hawaii and Palm Springs, golf club memberships and a Cadillac.

FathersDay_VaderI suppose being pastors helped, conviction and all, as they have both plead guilty for felony grand theft and fraud charges, as well as paid the total sum in restitution back to the church.

Amazing. In this economy, this dimwitted tandem decides to get nice and keep classy for a pimped-0ut Cadillac and some time shares. Nice.

Funny how it all comes to an end around Father’s Day because these two will be spending much more quality time together with three hots and a cot in the pokey.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the church Web site has been changed. Gotta’ love that technology. It even has a “financial manager.” For the church’s sake, I hope that’s a new hire. If not, homeboy needs to find a new line of work.

Just sayin’. Happy Father’s Day.