Derek Johnson Muses

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A moment never seems as happy until it has past. When it passes, you remember it ten times as fondly as it ever was when it happened, even you can remember thinking to yourself at the time you were sad or angry or unhappy. 

New (Old) Car

Two weeks ago, I bought a car. Nothing fancy, just a 1992 Chevy Geo Prizm. I’m not always the nostalgic type, but I like how 90’s-chic it feels. It’s been well-kept, and somehow only has 60,000. Here’s to hoping it lasts another eight years because the insurance on it is really cheap.

Other things I learned during my recent car hunting trip:

Daewoo autos are not reliable. The small Daewoo car I drove felt feather-light, as if it could be smashed into a single aluminum sheet if it were to be blindsided. I went and talked to my mechanics about it, and they warned that any repairs would be expensive, as the parts for Daewoo cars are rare. Daewoo, who normally makes cheap electronics, stopped making autos ten years ago.

For the money I wanted to spend, I would not have found a Toyota or Honda with less than 100,000 miles. There were a lot out there with about 130,000 miles though.

There is some modest risk to buying a car as old as mine with as few miles as mine. I was a bit more comfortable because I bought it from a mechanic who had just put in a new battery and some other new equipment. It’s just money in the end.

I’m probably never going to spend a lot of money on cars. My goal is to, by the time I’m sixty, have used ten or fewer cars. Right now, I’m on my third, so I’m winning on that front.


Stuff upon Stuff: What’s at the Bottom of that Blue Tote

The Mess is Beautiful as It Is.

The Mess is Beautiful as It Is.

One of the practical reason for me to marry is that I need someone to organize and throw out my old stuff. I hate organizing -my brain just doesn’t get the point of going through boxes of random things, putting it into files or in carefully labeled boxes, and throwing stuff I don’t need out. If I think about de-cluttering too long, my mind will go on pins and needs, and I will get angry and have to do something else. Seriously, I hate organizing.

But I still have to write this blog, and I figured going throw one of the blue totes I have stuff in would make a interesting post/writing exercise. Here’s some of what was in some of it:

A blue folder that has a sticker on the top that reads “Seminary Application Packet.” I’m surprised it doesn’t have more wear on it, because I must have had it for eight or nine years.

Husker ticket stubs and schedule cards, more than I care to count. I have saved all of these with the hope of selling them as memorabilia years from now. (When Ndamukong Suh was a senior, I grabbed a ton of his cards.)

An old popcorn tin from the Scouts. I have put all ticket stubs and schedule cards mentioned above in it. Now I have to figure out how to decorate it.

Fifty-some postcards from my last two art receptions, last October and back in February.

The Invitations and a Ticket from the 2005-1006 Nebraska-Oklahoma Basketball game

The Invitations and a Ticket from the 2005-1006 Nebraska-Oklahoma Basketball game

My good screw driver. This needs to be someplace where I can use it, which is why I need to build cabinets in the utility room.

A traveler’s wallet I bought at Eddie Bauer a few years ago before I realized that it was completely impractical for every day use. It has a shoulder strap, and you can put a pen in it. Debating whether or not I should start using it again, maybe I will take on a trip next month. In it I found a business card for the Chief of Interpretation of De Soto National Memorial (went to the Tampa area for a conference in February 2009), a punch card of Cici’s Pizza in Lincoln, a page from a Huskers’ day calendar in 2009, and a receipt from the Kennedy Space Center.

A cup warmer I got on a trip my dad and I took to the 2011 Husker-Minnesota game. It was from a Velveeta demonstration where I got a great cheese and fiesta chip sample.

A free game program from the 2009 Nebraska-Iowa State game that is 50% advertising. Interesting quote inside: “See you in two weeks! Oklahoma comes to town Nov. 7 to renew one of the most storied rivalries in all of college football. It’ll be the Sooners’ last visit to Lincoln until November 2, 2013.” Instead, Nebraska will be hosting Northwestern on that date. That was the last Nebraska-Oklahoma conference game in Lincoln.

The Blackshirts did do well on this day

The Blackshirts did do well on this day

A box of invitation envelopes. Hope I can use these.

A recent receipt from the Dollar Store. I don’t buy most of my groceries there, but the chips and crackers are cheap.

A brochure for the Associate of Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Churches (ACELC).

I remember this

I remember this

An outlet expander with six plug-ins. Praise the Lord I didn’t already buy one for my TV/DVD corner.

A small case for an USB cable. I don’t know why anyone would need a case for a USB cable.

This deserves to waste away at the bottom of a box.

This deserves to waste away at the bottom of a box.

Binoculars. Need to remember to take these on my upcoming trip to Idaho, and loan them to my mother when we go to sporting events.

A whistle I bought in Death Valley in 2010, which also has a small light, thermometer, compass, magnifying glass, and small storage compartment. After attending a presentation on hiking in the desert, I figured I had better have an usable signal in case I was bitten by a rattlesnake, since I have a tendency to ward off on my own.

A 2011 calendar with photos from that trip to Death Valley.

Great Memories...

Great Memories…

A 2009 calendar with watercolors that I bought in California.

And the relic of the collection, camera that actually uses film and its case. It’s so shiny, and I likely have taken no more that two or three rolls of film. Wonder if they even make the film it uses anymore.

I put away may of those things were I could use them or find them, but the bottom ten percent of the box I just dumped on another box stuff. I’ll get to that when I feel like it…or when I need something else to write.

My Fall Photo Show at the Seward Civic Center: Rails and Rural Stuff

I’ve been mentioning it for a while now, but finally, here’s a post on my show at the Civic Center. Big thanks to Clark Kolterman, Pat, Wayne, and everyone else there for allowing me this great opportunity. In addition to the video, there are a lot of barn, silos, old buildings in small towns, a buffalo, and a boat in a field of grass. (I’m not kidding.)

The reception is going to be Saturday, October 6 from 1-3. RSVP on Facebook and hope to see you there!


Issues Etc. Vidcasts: Liturgy and American Revivalism

Driving across Wisconsin and Iowa, while exhausting and tiring, was a great time to get caught up on some Issues, Etc. podcasts that had been piling up. Issues, Etc. works great on the road espescially when you have series, which thanks to Pastor Will Weedon, I did.

I’d referenced this before, but I wanted to mention again how great Dr. Larry Rast’s podcast on American Revivalism is. It goes a long way to showing how dangerous emotion-driven Christianity and the idea of “new measures” are. Dr. Rast, I hope you write a book on this.

Acts 2 has to be the most-abused chapter in all of Scripture. The feminists use it to justify woman pastors, the non-dems use it to justify throwing out the liturgy, and the real extremists use it to justify universal redemption.

My Husker Game Day: Part 3

(This is the the third post in a piece I wrote a few years ago about my experience going to Husker games: Part 1 and Part 2)

Washington 2011-Big Picture

Tunnel Walk is where the game starts for me. Highlights from the previous years, mingled in with a few highlights from this year, or last years game against a common opponent. It has been a bit sad in recent years; looking at the glory from the 1990’s which seems a million miles away. But times in college football have changed, and Nebraska’s had a rough patch. At least now, we’re a program that the state can be proud of.

As I watch the memories, some of which I can recall as I kid and many I can’t, my blood starts to rush as I begin to think about the five year stretch between 1993 and 1997 when Nebraska won sixty of sixty-three games and three national championships. And I wonder if, in spite of the tougher conferences and the nemesis that is the state of Texas, that kind of dominance could still be possible. It is usually about this team that I see the team exit the locker room and start toward the field. And as I see the players pup themselves up with high fives from the fans, I feel the rush again, the ownership that whole state has in this team. And then they hit the field, and I know inside that anything is possible.

All games are different, depending on the opponent and the stakes. I don’t go to insignificant non-conference games anymore . The only two notable non-conference game for me were Bo Pelini’s first game against competent mid-major Western Michigan, and the 2007 season opener against Nevada, where I was lucky enough to find a $50 ticket four rows up on the forty yard line.

Then there are the average conference games, against the Baylors, Iowa States, Kansases, and, since the conference switch, Minnesota. These games are nice wins, and occasionally, a very embarrassing loss. (See Iowa State 2009). These are the majority of games that I go to. Occasionally, bigger stakes make the games more important (the K-State game in 2009 for the conference title), but most of the time there’s little tangible drama. These teams may have good enough players or a good enough coach to hang with the Huskers for a while, but ultimately, the crowd takes over.

Since 2010, I only go to the significant games. That year, I only home games I went to were Texas (ugh) and Missouri, and this past year, Washington (family in town) and Ohio State (my soggy story of the night) . I trimmed back how many games because, in my memory, the tougher games are the ones that stand out: the 2006 games against Texas was the most memorable game I attended at Memorial Stadium, win or loose (read the experience here). It’s so much work to go to a game, it’s almost not worth it to go in the stadium and watch anyone but Oklahoma, Texas, or Ohio State and Michigan now.

The game, I get lost in. After the kickoff, I rarely take photos of the action, shameful I know. But for the three-and-a-half hours in the stands, it’s just me and my team, as I’ve been abandoned in uniformity. Game day is really the only time that Lincoln becomes a crowd like a crowd you would find in a major city like San Francisco or Chicago, where you can just be anonymous and no one looks at you. It’s strangely freeing.

Attending a live games pull me in ways that are almost inexplicable. Unlike when I’m at home, I have to fight the urge to curse, and I can’t just go get up and walk into another room when it gets frustrating. Everything’s out there in front of me. The turmoil within always comes from the fact that this game will stay fixed in my mind for the better part of the next couple of years, and even though I’ll watch the highlights on YouTube, the nuances from the stadium will stick with me. The views of the players on the sidelines, the demeanor of the people around me. My brain will process everything.

During halftime, I usually get up and walk. When I was younger, I liked to walk around the stadium as much as I could, but not as much now that I’m familiar with all the nooks and crannies. Often times now, I’ll just find an empty space and sit against the wall with my legs stretched out and periodically check my radio for updates on other games. But I like to take the earbuds out and sit there distant from all the senses that I’m taken in, almost as if I’m napping.

But then I go back to my seat and watch the game. If Nebraska ends up winning, I’m on a high whose high by is determined how big the win is. It’s just a buoyancy that propels the rest of my day. If it’s a loss, I feel as if I’m trapped in a painting that I can’t get out of. Losses feel more like subtractions to me, little non-events and omissions where something I can’t define has left me.

Washington 2011-Little Moment

When I leave the game, and usually I stay to the end or near end (longer than I have to), I’ll take a round-about way to get to the one of the west gates, if I’m not sitting in the south stadium, which is closed off. Leaving is always a rush for me, and I like picking my way through crowds. I feel unnoticed even though I’m with people, and once, when I was going back down through a crowd of people who were trying to head up to their seats, someone tapped me on the shoulder from behind and noted how good I was at doing so.

I have a bad habit of cutting across streets when I’m not supposed to. I’ll do it a lot at the end of the I-180 bridge at 9th street, where occasionally there will be enough breaks in traffic (no one heads into downtown at the end of a Husker game), and dart back into the Haymarket, reversing my way back through the tailgaters who are still grilling and watching games as I go back to my car. On the way, I often stop at Jack’s for a drink (they’re less crowded) or grab a tea from Scooter’s or The Mill.

When I get to my car, I’m exhilarated. I hit the streets, and try to calculate the best way to get Highway 6. Usually, it involves going down to A via minor streets, then cutting back on Coddington to get on Highway 77 North to go back to Highway 6. This helps me bypass most of the heavier traffic, and once I pass the entrances from Highway 6 to the Interstate, I’m home free.

When I get home, I usually try to go to bed if it’s a night game, but I’ll check the scores quick on my computer. If not, I crash on the couch, grab on easy dinner if I don’t get something on the way, and watch other college football games, waiting for the perspective from the game highlights. By now, I’m very content, and while working on Monday has usually started to loom, I couldn’t be happier for the experience. Except if it was a loss, of course.

Coconut Cookies

I like having cookies around, but eventually, making cookies ends up boring me. So I googled “coconut cookies” and this was the first recipe that came up. Of course I brought my own twists to it, subbing half of the butter out for peanut butter, and adding chocolate chips.

The Dough

Thankfully, the dough formed into smooth balls which wasn’t so messy.

The Dough on the Pan

The finished product was some light and fluffy delights that united peanut oil and coconut oil, and cleanses the palate.

Cookies anyone?

Trade Up…Down…Does it Really Matter? Belichick, and 31 Other Mad Organizations Vying to be Right

There were two events that made trading down in the NFL draft popular. First, there was Jimmy Johnson’s trade of Hershel Walker for a bevy of picks that rebuilt the Cowboys in a hurry, and Bill Belichick’s winning Super Bowls with lesser round players shot the practice. The latter’s mastery probably helped increase the popularity of the whole draft, but when Belichick started to started to pile up late-round picks while the talent on his team dwindled, it calls into question the real value of trading down.

Darth Hoodman

Whether or not a team should trade up or not depends on how good their roster is. Last year, Atlanta could afford to move up and take Julio Jones because they had a good quarterback and had drafted well for three years. Belichick may have scolded his former understudy, Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff for throwing his draft at a receiver, and granted, Atlanta might have been better off taking a pass rusher. But Dimitroff’s move has good precedent: in 2007, San Diego GM AJ Smith traded four picks to get safety Eric Weddle high in the second round, because he knew Weddle could make their team coming off a 14-2 season. The best player that the Bears got with those picks was running back Garrett Wolfe, who provided four average seasons before exiting for the UFL.

Belichick’s drafting is even stranger when you see why he’s loosing Super Bowls. The teams that beat him, the Giants, do so because they are getting raw, athletic pass rushers at the top of the draft, and where even once labeled as having the worst draft in 2006 when they took Matthias Kiwanuka when they already had two good pass rushing ends, Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora. But Belichick goes out and continues to draft defensive backs high in the draft, and with all those defensive backs, he still had to have a wide receiver (Julian Edelman) play corner in the playoffs last year. Sure everyone plays the spread, but the Giants showed Belichick personally that if you can sack the quarterback, your back seven fills itself out.

See Bill?

The Giants, in fact, of why you want to trade up: getting a player (and fore-mostly, a quarterback) who changes your future. And ironically, the Chargers had to trade Eli Manning to the Giants but still got a franchise quarterback (Phillip Rivers), a good kicker (Nate Kaeding), and an outstanding pass rusher for the length of a contract (Shawn Merriman). So at times, trading back has it upside. The Brown wish they could say the same when they trade out of the Mark Sanchez pick, Alex Mack, an All-Pro center, is the only player from that trade on the Browns roster. However, two of the experienced players, safety Abram Elam and defensive end Kenyon Coleman, were serviceable starters who became expandable when the Browns changed coaches and switched from a 3-4 to a 4-3.

There is another paradox I’ve noticed in such mega-draft choices, and that is the blossoming of players acquire with seemingly insignificant draft choices traded with two super-stars. Peter King wrote about this when he reviewed the 2008 Jared Allen trade from Kansas City to Minnesota a year after the trade. The Chiefs netted a first-round pick, two thirds, and a sixth. King speculated at the time that Brad Sullivan, a player the Vikings took with a sixth round pick the Chiefs threw in, would be as good as anyone of the players that the Chiefs had picked. Ultimately, the two players the Chiefs drafted with those picks worked out: left tackle Brandon Albert and running back Jamaal Charles, but clearly, the Vikings didn’t lose any sleep. Similarily, Josh McDaniels handed the Bears a fifth round pick in the Jay Cutler trade that would yield John Knox, a reliable forty-catches-a-year, downfield threat. Obviously, it helped both Knox and Sullivan that they came onto teams that had few draft choices and thus more opportunity to make the roster.

Not bad results

A team’s draft is merely a reflection of how good their front office is. The Lions picked at the top of the draft for years and came up with nothing, while the Colts kept picking pro bowlers at the end of the first round. Pray your organization hires a good GM and coach, and drafts a good quarterback. As long as you hit a first-rounder every year for about four or five years, hit seventy-five percent in rounds two and three, you just need one year where you get a couple of solid players in the later rounds, which is exactly the kind of year the giants had last year. And then hope your great coach doesn’t turn senile.

Mild Nebraska January: What we’re in for

Calling this winter in Nebraska mild is an understatement: today I is the third day this year I have worn shorts outside, and a friend on  Facebook posted photos of himself grilling. We’re officially having Indian Summer here in January, and it couldn’t be more perfect.This is what it must be like to live in California or Texas.

What I love about this the most is not the great weather now, although that is great. This momentum should carry into the rest of the year, spring and summer. I keep Gatorade on hand during the winter to power through my work in the garage, but I have barely needed any of it. It takes so much energy to get through winter-shoveling snow, using more gas because you have to drive slower and with the heater on. Now I can put that energy elsewhere, and plus, my outlook on life is so much better.

This morning, I took a long, 2+ mile walk on the trail, and contemplated all that has been going on in my life. I’m working on a Bible study project (which hopefully you’ll read more about soon) and writing this blog, and getting new ideas for it every. I’ve been humbled by all of the view, and I wanted to thank all of you who have been reading this. Today, I have already shatter my record for view on a single day, with a piece I barely promoted. Thank you, and I hope I can keep finding topics that pull you in.



Here is a shot of the aforementioned Seward trail, albeit from last November.


Chuck’s Final Moments (Spoiler Alert): Poingnant or Arrogant?

Now that I’m a little further away from the Chuck finale, I wanted to delve a little deeper into the issues raised by show’s partially open ending. To recap: I was not completely put off by it, although I don’t think that the show had to do it. Judging by fan reaction on twitter and other blog comments, I would say that most fans don’t feel cheated, although hard-core Chuck fans are easy to please. I have seem some comments disowning the ending in the show and comparing it to Lost, but they are the minority. So the ending is generally acceptable.

In this post, I want to address two points: one, the growing number of open-endings in popular television and film, and whether or not an open-ending was appropriate for Chuck.

The Sopranos sparked high controversy with their cut-to-black, and Lost left many of their devoted fans with on the hook with their final scene, compounded by many aspects of their series finale. Inception, the best original movie I had seen in ten years, had to end with attention-grabbing moment. It is as if these writers and show creators have to sit off the side and say, “What ending is going to rile up the most people?”

Now, I don’t think that it necessarily wrong for some shows to end with unresolved issues. I never watched The Sopranos, but I have seen their ending scene several times. Judging the scene on its own, I think it’s great scene of drama, and if the point of the episode was to say, Tony Soprano will always be facing some challenge, the show accomplished that. 24 didn’t have to leave Jack Bauer in a place where he was safe with his family; he could go on the lamb because that was what he’d done throughout the series. And Lost…let’s just say if you were watching that show for answers, you were watching the wrong show. But I don’t know if that is the ending every show should go for. Most comedies and family shows probably give more closure to their emotional relationship, as Friends did with Ross and Rachel (although their reunion should have happened well before the series finale).

That is problem of the series finale: how do you leave fans wanting more, while completing the full story you set out to tell. In the era of twitter and long TV afterlives on cable and the internet, showrunners seem to gun harder than ever for the open-ending. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse even ended their hit show long before they had to because they wanted to control that moment so desperately. But do audiences need to left wanting that much more?

My conclusion: an open ending can be a great way to leave fans, for the right show. But misused, an open ending can really leave a show with yoke on its face.

So take Chuck for example. Should Chuck have an open ending, and should the open ending concern the show’s central relationship? Here’s the dilemma: Chuck is both an action show and a comedy and has as much in common with One Tree Hill as it does Prison Break. Of the fifty-four episodes in the first three seasons, half of them ended on some kind of significant action or emotional cliffhanger. So there isn’t any precedent in the show to say which way it should go. Although if I had to make a judgment, it might have been better to have an ended the show on an action cliffhanger (Chuck and Sarah on the run, sacrificing their freedom to protect their loved ones) then to have an emotional cliffhanger.

But there is a reason to think that the emotional issue was resolved enough. Doug Liman said in his commentary on Mr. and Mrs. Smith that, for him, the moment he realizes that the Smiths will stay together forever is when the couple is hiding beneath a sewer vent from their pursuers and discussing their options for leaving, about ten minutes from the actual end of the movie. All that is really done in those ten minutes is John and Jane learning how to work together. Take that and look at Chuck’s ending: Chuck comes to the beach and tells Sarah he will put her ahead of himself. And Sarah does the hard things for her, which is to accept Chuck’s help. When I see that ending, that to me is the moment that I believe that Chuck and Sarah are never going to split up, and whatever challenges, amnesia, bullets, super-enemies, they will stay together and have each other’s back.

But would it really have been that hard for Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak to shot another five seconds, where Chuck and Sarah pull away from their kiss and she says, “I remember”? How can withholding that information help the viewer? They’d spent a whole hour being sentimental, why not five more seconds? While sometimes brevity is a gift, but in this spot, aren’t Schwartz and Fedak being a bit condescending.

Looking back on the fourth season finale, I would have been happier if the show had ended there. Outside of outrage from the diehard Chucksters who would have demanded closure, really there was no reason for the show to come back. The major arcs that had been set-up in the shows beginning had come to fruition: Chuck and Sarah had married, Chuck and Ellie found out about why their family had fallen apart and made peace with both of their parents. Chuck had gotten his opportunity and was now starting his own private spy business with the people he cared about. Other than Morgan getting the intersect (which turned out to be a flat arc in and of itself), there was nothing new for the show to address. That would have been a fun final moment with less controversy than the final moment we did get, all the more reason that showrunners shouldn’t be allowed to say when their shows end.

But this ranting is futile, and there is no solid conclusion about whether or not Chuck and Sarah’s kiss was the right ending for the show. Ultimately, my writing is giving Schwartz and Fedak what they want: debate about their show.

Here’s how I will choose to remember the final moment of Chuck: in the pilot, there was a chaotic case of boy meets girl. The arc of Chuck and Sarah in the pilot were two people who were thrust together who had to figure out a way to work together, in life and death situations. At the end of the show, Chuck and Sarah needed that bond they had forged more than ever, to keep their relationship together. At least what we saw was them moving toward that future, and that is enough for me to say that the show stayed true enough to its tone. When I watched the kiss again, I looked at very closely to see if Sarah initiated any contact with Chuck, and toward the end, I think she did reciprocate a little bit. That in and of it itself is hopeful. And as I said in my previous post (where you can find the video of the show’s ending), when the screen cut to black with the show logo, I didn’t want it to end. Like that.

Luther on Preparing for Death: How Did You Use Your Life?

A few weeks ago, this following quote from Dr. Martin Luther served as the writing for my devotions in the Treasury of Daily Prayer (thanks, CPH). The words stuck in my mind as very harsh, and it made it a point to put them into this blog. (Of course, that was three weeks ago, but better late than never.

“First, one must admonish the people to attend church and listen to the sermon so that they learn through God’s word how to live and how to die. It must be noted that those who are so uncouth and wicked as to despise God’s word while they are in good health should be left unattended when they are sick unless they demonstrate their remorse and repentance with great earnestness, tears, and lamentations…”

Those words hit me like a load of brinks. Refuse spiritual care to the dying? Granted, that doesn’t that the pastor shouldn’t go in and proclaim God’s forgiveness to those who are willing to hear it. But walk out if they aren’t earnest enough?

I watch a lot of TV shows where death is a common theme-action shows like 24 and Prison Break, Lost when it was really good. But death on TV  is a plot contrivance, and the writers can indulge, even revel in it. When we watch death on TV and it looks easy, the temptation can be, “Listen, everyone dies. You will too. Get as much fun, however you can define it, out of this world. Then fall on your sword.” That was what Luther was talking about.

I am a twenty-eight year-old single guy, no girlfriend. There are a lot of things that vie for my attention-ESPN Radio, new books on the shelf at Barnes and Nobles, new TV on the networks every night, Netflix DVD’s in the mail. I could spend six hours in a row watching Damages episodes if I wanted to.

It is tempting to look out at the world and wonder, what am I going to do? Most people live until they are in their eighties, and I’m not even thirty. I know they say it goes fast, but who am I? I have only lived away from home during the three years of college. The only real work I have done has been in our family business. How do I fill the next forty to fifty years? It is this spirit that tells me that my time doesn’t matter.

I used to buy into it. I would lock myself in my home and play video games all day. I would tell myself I’d earned the break, given how well I had done in college. But after I ended up back at St. John, I was started to be confronted with what was going on in my life. I took on some volunteer projects to fill my time, in the process of which, I found out there were people who were off in worse straights than I was. I realized that God had given me some gifts, and I told myself that I had to use them to serve those around me.

This does sound eerily like works-righteous, or the evangelical mid-set “Once you are saved, jump in the volunteer program”. Anyone who wants to criticize me for that can have at; the relationship between faith and good works has always been an ambiguous one anyway. But God told Ezekiel to warn to the wicked, or else when God struck the wicked, the guilt would be on Ezekiel’s head (Ezekiel 3:18). Weren’t there times when Ezekiel preached primarily out of fear of what would happen to him? Of course, if Israel had fear what God was going to do them in the first place, they might not have gotten themselves into the whole exile-mess. But I diverge.

Back to my point: God calls us to use our gifts when we have the time. He gives them to us as we are, unworthy servants. We use them, because we know that we are saved, and that He will be there with us in the dying moments in this life. For us Christians, those moments don’t have to be the end. They are merely the leaving this time of grace, into His Kingdom of Glory. Amen, and Amen.

Hate Religion Love Jesus: Trying to Survive in the Wilderness on Cheeseburgers.

A week ago, I watched the hate religion-love Jesus video as soon as “hate religion” started trending on twitter. (Dom Cobb theorized that positive emotion took hold more readily than negative emotion, but this was an instance where he was wrong.) so I watched the hate religion video:

My major problem with it was it assumed that everyone knew what exactly religion was, and what exactly  Jesus meant. It makes Jesus for the modern audience-take out the institution of the church, and just worship Jesus on your own, just like what Micah was trying to do in Judges 18. What this gentlemen’s most inaccurate portrayal of Jesus was that he disdained the church of his day-not true. Jesus criticizes the behavior of the Pharisees, but he tells the disciples to respect him. (Matthew 23.) He also very observant of the temple law.

If we use the word “religion” as sociological term, there would be no reason to find it offensive. But because our culture looks inward to find the meaning of life, any outward turning toward a higher power is frowned upon.

LCMS pastor Jonathan Fisk made a very nuanced, informed response to hate religion-love Jesus video, reflecting on the false dichotomy:

And, while I haven’t listened to it yet, hear Pastor Fisk’s interview on Issues Etc.:


Judge it for yourself.



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Peruse and Muse

One Author in Search of an Audience

St. Matthew Lutheran Church

Bonne Terre, Missouri

Tips On Travelling

Learn how to travel Further. Longer. Cheaper.

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