There Lays the Vase

There lays the vase, broken into pieces.

Edges worn, rounded off where they once were neatly seated.

One another, side by side, but crumbles in between them.

Rejecting the heat and the meld that they at once never needed.

 

What does one do, draw again from the dirt which we came,

Spark a flame as a cure to the mold which we tame?

Do we make anew the thing which already seems so strange,

or wipe off the surface which already settles blame?

 

Who are we? Are we the hand that mold the shapes

The pressure that fragments, folds and breaks,

the color that bold and drapes,

Or just the reflection that spoils the vase.

“Harry’s a pothead and the Sorcerer’s Stoned”

Interesting title you might ask? Have you ever heard someone who is a Christian down books and movies such as Harry potter because they include magic, witchcraft, and other things “of the devil” as Bobby Boucher’s mama would say?

I remember when I was in high school, this phrase was one of the quips I used to make funny of the famous Harry Potter series. Honestly, I never really cared for the books, although I have never read them so I might be surprised. Nonetheless, this funny phrase came to my mind the other day because I have been reading a similar series of books like Harry Potter. This series is deemed The Dresden Files and it follows protagonist Harry Dresden as he fights crime with magic and wizardry in the streets of Chicago. Most people describe this series as the “grown up Harry Potter, ” and I have to say these books are the best modern fiction I have ever read. But honestly, I know of about 10 people right now that would say that you should not read those kinds of books because they influence you in ways that are demonic.

Demonic. Really?

First, I know about 1,000 kids who have read and loved Harry Potter and I have yet to have to break out the holy water and the crucifix for a good ole’ exorcism. Having said that though, I am pretty sure I have seen a few of those same kids’ heads spin around, but that’s caffeine, not Satan. Secondly, I understand what the Bible states about witchcraft and sorcery, but lets continue being honest-those same scriptures talk about bloodless meat and abstaining from impure things that we today call normal. We tend to point out what we are afraid of– demons, devils, and spirits– but no one has been complaining or throwing up scriptures about a rare steak at outback (yummy). Thirdly, I have done some research for my World Religions class at Mount Olive on the Wiccan faith, and turns out, they are pretty laid back people who are concerned about the environment and don’t use magic.

Having said all of this, I am afraid that all of this rift-raft about Harry Potter and such is a little mislead. It seems that our culture today is one of the most creative and innovative cultures. But the “Christian” culture that I claim heritage under has the least imagination of any other group. I have a very good friend, James Wiggins, who had taught me this lesson and who never ceases to amaze me with his rich and elaborate playground of a mind. It is people like James and C.S. Lewis who take Christianity and transplant it into new world with new vocabulary. It is minds like their that allow humanity to see the Christ-character in more than just the Bible or the latest book by Max Lucado.

My advice is to explore this world full of imagination. Is that not what we do when we think of Noah’s ark and the Jesus story. I have come to realize that Jesus is not always inside the “good ole’ book;” Jesus is sometimes flying around on a broom at Hogwarts or solving crime in Chicago. The Christ-figure is everywhere, unless we are blind to it.

Clarence Jordan Symposium

If you have ever read the Cotton Patch Gospels, or studied the civil rights movement in the south, Clarence Jordan’s name has become a staple in your thinking. This amazing Greek scholar and more impressive man started the famous Koinonia Farm in Americus Georgia and has inspired some of the most noted writers in Christianity today.

In September, 2012 Georgia SouthWestern University will be hold a 100th year Birthday celebration for the late Clarence Jordan and it will include many amazing speakers such as Shane Claiborne, Johnathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and President Jimmy Carter. Hope you will consider going, because I know I will be attending.

For more information on the symposium, click here.

Vestibule Liars

Last night I had an encounter that truly made me rethink what it means to “preach” the Gospel. As I was over at a friend’s house, My fiance and I were talking with a young lady that attended a Local University. She was speaking of her classes when she brought up their chapel program and the credits that one gets when they attend services on campus.

My fiance asked her why she seemed to not like the services, and the young lady answered, “Well the first semester we really had worship. You know, music and singing and good preaching. But the last semester they just had people in there talking about stuff like homeless people and giving up our comfortable lives.”  She continued to say that those kind of speakers make her feel bad and that they call for too much.

Anyone that knows me and has heard me speak knows that this young lady might as well have been talking about me, because that is exactly the kind of subject I speak on. Sometimes I am nervous about my sermons because they hit you in the face a little too hard, but nonetheless I preach them. Our conversation with the young lady made me feel a little odd. I was left thinking to myself, “Am I like that preacher? Do people think that about me while I challenge them to do more for the one’s who will inherit the Kingdom of God?”

One of my favorite things to do after I preach is walk the aisle during the benediction and stand at the door as people leave the church, greeting them and thanking them for joining me in worship. Let’s be honest–every speaker/preacher loves to be told that they did a good job and that the people enjoyed it.  I know we are supposed to be humble, but you want to move people and you want your listeners to be satisfied. But after speaking to this young lady last night, it makes me wonder how many people lie to me in the vestibule? As they walk by and shake my hand, what are they really thinking?

I wonder if I ask too much from my listeners. I cant help but worry that  I do. Havent said this, I know that I preach the Gospel, and I also know that the Gospel has asked so much from me. It has made me reconsider my entire life and re-access what it means to live in this confusing world. The Gospel is greedy–greedy for love and jealous if you spend you time your lesser humanity– but it is truth.

So as I (hopefully) speak the truth in the pulpit, I am ok with a few liars in the vestibule. Honestly, I probably do not want to know the truth of what people are really thinking when they shake my hand.