family vs. work

i'm really not a guy who rants all the time. i'm actually a very light-hearted kind of guy. but something bothers me, and i'm going to get it off my chest.

if i see one more TV show or movie that shows a character feeling guilty about not spending time with their kids/spouse only to receive a phone call bringing them back to the office, i'm gonna yell.

not that it would do any good.

they always have these bleeding-heart stories of a working man or a woman who is in serious internal conflict over missing their kid's game or not picking them up from school, but their cell phone goes off, and they say, "Daddy's got to go to work now."

come on! you don't have to go back to work. i don't care if you're spiderman! take a night off to spend with your spouse and kids! take a vacation. let the world spiral towards destruction for one evening. it'll still be full of crime tomorrow.

i have seen way too many pastors and/or ministers spend no time with their families. you know what they say about preachers' kids. they're the worst. well, i wonder why? they have to compete for their parents' attention! no child should have to do that.

here's my solution. quit talking about spending time with your family. say no to your job for one measly minute; it'll be there tomorrow. we (ministers) always talk about how our families are supposed to be number two on the priority list, right behind our personal relationship to God. well, talk is cheap. spell love to your family by the letters T-I-M-E.

there i said it. now it's off my chest, and i can go back to being happy again.

and kiss my baby on the forehead.


change vs. ritual

so, i have a bone to pick. are those always-emotional, shock-your-sock-off, make-you-quiver-in-your-boots type of dramas -- the ones that depict teenage kids dying and going to hell -- good for conversions? let me ask it this way. if so many people walk the aisle after those things, why do i feel as if they are going about it the wrong way? and why are they often not at church in a month's time?

i don't believe that Jesus is simply fire insurance. for one thing, if you walked an aisle just to keep from getting into hell, then you selfishly asked God to give you something that you weren't willing to give anything up for. what did it cost you? if it cost you nothing, then there was no transaction (and salvation is a transaction -- but more on that later).

these are the same concepts seen in the cost of discipleship by bonhoeffer. the transaction for following God is simple: you owe a debt you cannot pay, and if you'll give the driver's seat of your life over to the One who can be trusted to drive it better than you can, then He'll take care of that debt and the rest of your life.

but when we "scare the hell" out of someone, they go through a ritual (i.e., walking an aisle and repeating a prayer after someone) that they believe will magically rescue them from eternal fire. there is something about that that rings untrue.

maybe it's just me.