Rode Hard And Put Away Wet

my God, where do these days go?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Ok – we’re back from the third world. Whenever I go anywhere like the Dominican Republic, I feel a constant tension.

Now, we stayed in a very lovely resort, replete with gorgeous beaches, swimming pools, and topless women. We had a very relaxing time with our good friends. The resort also, conveniently enough, came equipped with enormous walls surrounding the perimeter.

On our way in and on our way back out, the neighboring poverty was evident. Seemingly complete destitution in an area that contained 50-plus all-inclusive resorts for fat cats (like me).

The last time I ventured to the DR, the question that we asked ourselves repeatedly was, “What does the story of the rich young ruler mean for us in America?” You remember that one – it’s the one from Luke 18 where the rich young man goes to Jesus and says basically, what do I have to do to get into heaven? Jesus says to sell everything you have and give the money to the poor, because it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven.

I’ve tried to look at that story from every angle I could think of, and I just can’t wrap my head around it. I’ve become a fan of Dave Ramsey these last few months, but I’m finding it harder and harder to jibe his philosophies of saving money with the Luke 18 story. Is accumulating money a sin? What about retirement accounts? College savings accounts? 401ks?

Then, to add another wrinkle to it, is it irresponsible to spend so much money going to a place where poverty is rampant, for no other reason than that they have a nice beach? I mean, I can justify it by saying that tourism is a huge pillar of the local economy, and while that’s true, it seems a bit weak. Is it being a bad steward (to use a truly churchy word) of what God has given me? Is it sin?

Well, am I making too much out of this? Is it much ado about nothing? Your thoughts?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sorry for being AWOL lately, kids. At the moment, we´re chillin´ in the Dominican Republic. Here´s a pic to make you sufficiently jealous:

Monday, June 12, 2006

How's this for a prince and a princess?

you ask me why i love Him? He gave riches to the poor.

Just for the hamster (or anybody else who wants to hear a truly life-altering song of epic proportions):

Doublecure - Live at the North Star Bar by the man himself, Bill Mallonee

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Seems like a strange guy to have as a hero, huh?

I recently finished "Fear No Evil," the autobiographical story of this fellow - Natan Sharansky. His is a story of faith and sacrifice, persecution and brutality. He is a Russian Jew and I wish to God that I was more like him.

Sharansky was thrown into the Russian Gulag under Brezhnev in 1977. His crime? Telling the world about the KGB's persecution of Jews in his homeland. He'd spend the next nine years in and out of work camps, punishment cells, and maximum security prisons. He underwent countless hunger strikes and mental battles with the KGB, all the while understanding that there was no actual evidence that he'd committed any crime.

It seems like men like this, like Jim Elliot and his friends, are the last of their breed. Why are the most famous Christians dickheads (see Robertson, Pat; Falwell, Jerry)? Does it require martyrdom for someone to rise above that? Yes, I know, Billy Graham is a stud, but he's long since out of our daily parlance.

Why don't we have any more heroes? Sure, there are Christians all over the world that are doing amazing things for the cause of Christ, that are sacrificing themselves every day in the name of our Father. I wish their names were on our tongues, rather than Falwell and his ilk.

This may be crude, but does martyrdom have its place? I mean, is it necessary? Nathan from Reformation Theology says:

The famous observation of Tertullian that, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church,” has a depth of insight which is all too often lost on believers today. We have no trouble thinking of persecution and martyrdom as a great obstacle to the spread of the gospel which will not, however, be successful in hindering Church growth. We would have no problem affirming that the blood of the martyrs is a hurdle which, by God’s grace, can be overcome. But to say that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church is an altogether different concept. If martyrdom is a surmountable obstacle to the growth of the Church, then the Church might advance just as well, even better, without it. But if the blood of the martyrs truly is the seed of the Church, then without it, the Church does not grow.

Men like Polycarp aspired to martyrdom. They considered it the ultimate blessing.

I know this post is all over the place, and for that I apologize. But I get so worked up about this stuff. I started a Church History class at our church last night, and martyrdom was one of the main topics of conversation.

Yes, Sharansky was a Jew, not a Christian. And yes, he wasn't actually martyred. But had it come to that, he would have considered it an honor. He spent nine years with the threat of rasstrel, or a firing squad, hanging over his head. It was always a reality. He may not have been actually shot, but he certainly was willing, and he certainly suffered.

Let me tell you about June 2006 for the Barbers.

1. We've bought a house! We settle on the 26th - pay attention to these dates...

2. My lovely and talented wife started a new job this week. She's the new assistant to the pastor at our church. She has her own email address and everything.

3. Sam had Cub Scout camp all week. Today, for example, he got a bullseye with a BB gun! I'm really not supposed to say anything, but let's just say that a certain armed force was going to let him drop a certain piece of armament on a certain notable fellow (let's just call him al-Zarqawi Doe), but Sam had Cub Scout camp. So they made other plans.

4. In two weeks, Janna and I are going here: The Majestic Colonial. We've had this trip planned for 6 months and I CAN"T WAIT!

Of course, we get back from the Dominican Republic on the 24th, then have to settle on the house 2 days later.

It's a crazy month around here...