Sunday, May 20, 2007

Pay the duck!

In Spanish, they say "pagar el pato," which means "Pay the Duck!" It's an idiom for "to take responsibility." The closest English idiom is "pay the piper." Another friend suggested the phrase, "bite the bullet." Either way, the phrase is very funny and has become one of my favorites. So, don't be surprised if you hear me say, "It's time to pay the duck!"

The picture above was taken by Donncha O Caoimh, a photographer in Chicago. I found it on Google. I don't know him, but his blog has some impressive pictures. You can find them here:

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Comfortable affection with Jesus

I lead worship yesterday for a chapel service. I was emotional during it, remembering my Dad (who died last June). We sang a song that says, “I want to sit at your feet, drink from the cup in your hand, lay back against you and breath, feel your heartbeat.” I thought of how awkward it would feel to put may head against the chest of another man. Then I thought about missing my dad and how I long to lay my head on his chest. I’d love to do that again. I want that kind of intimacy in my relationship with Jesus. When he comes again in the clouds, I want to be at ease with him. That's a desire that I will feed in my heart and mind--a longing to be as comfortable and affectionate with Jesus as the Apostle John was when he laid his head against Jesus' chest. My destiny is not this world. My destiny and the goal I'm living for is the day when I can lay my head upon his chest and feel his heartbeat.

Above is a picture (from 2005) of Abi on Lena's chest. Neither Abi nor Lena are bothered by the intimacy. That's what I'm talking about!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Spiderman 3 & a confession

I have a confession to make--one for which I'd appreciate your prayers. It is that I've been wrestling against anger lately. I've been taking it to the Lord; but once it gets its hooks into your heart, it's not easy to get rid of. What I'm currently experiencing is powerfully displayed in the commercials splashed across the TV screen for the new Spiderman movie--Spiderman 3. The commercials give me a pretty good idea of what the movie is about, since I spent the first 20 years of my life addicted to Spiderman comic books. So, even though I haven't seen the movie (and possibly never will), I'm familiar with the characters.

One of the villains in Spiderman 3 is an alien named Venom. It's the comic book version of demonic possession--where it entices Spiderman with more power, then slowly destroys him by making him addicted to anger and revenge. I never liked the character in the comic books because it was too evil and too real. While the character gives me the creeps, (from a literary standpoint) it allows the movie to discuss three biblical themes:

1) Anger (and the desire for revenge that it produces) is addictive and destructive. If I understand the commercials, Aunt Mae tells Peter Parker (a. k. a. Spiderman) that the desire for revenge is a poison. The first Spiderman movie gave us the excellent proverb, "With great power comes great responsibility." This movie gives us another proverb, saying in essence that anger is a poison that must be gotten rid of. Eph 4:31--"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice."

2) Forgiveness is the solution to this naturally occurring poison within us. The movie doesn't mention Christ, but I don't think that matters much. The poisonous power of anger and the healing power of forgiveness are biblical principals. They are laws of God's creation, like gravity, that apply to all of us equally. Eph 4:32--"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

3) The concept of a person's character as clothing you can put on and take off. Venom presents itself to Spiderman as a suit that Spiderman can put on or take off. The problem is (much like the "ring of power" in the Lord of the Rings trilogy), wearing the suit is both addictive and destructive. The Apostle Paul writes (Col 3:8-14): "But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator … Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. "

Please pray with me for the Spirit's power to willingly change the clothing of my heart.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

My favorite receipt

This is a receipt from a public bathroom. It didn't surprise me that we'd have to pay to use the bathroom, what surprised me was the receptionist who, in very official fashion, tabulated our payment in a log-book then handed me a receipt. Apparently 53,254 people have used that bathroom before us--which might explain why it lacked an apparatus for flushing. Willy left some very flushable materials. So, I had to explain, in my broken Spanish, that there was no way to flush the toilet. The attractive attended smiled and said she'd take care of it. I'd say that she earned her 25 cents.