Saturday, February 25, 2017

Tour of Amazing Tabletop Gaming Shop in Brazil

The boys and I love tabletop games, and during our stay here in Belo Horizonte we've found a veritable tabletop paradise on earth. The shop itself has a fantastic selection, but the space is way more than a shop. And when I call it a space, I mean space. It's huge! Take the tour with me if you like.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Corn Husk Cigarettes Are A Thing

Corn husk cigarettes are a thing, which you may have known, but did you know they're still produced industrially? I went out with my cousin for a couple of beers, and had the chance to try some. I expected the flavor to be harsh and acrid, but it wasn't at all. Enjoy the video.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Loving One Another Like Jesus

Most Christians are familiar with this commandment of Jesus, given in John 13:34, 35 to his disciples as he prepared them for his coming departure:

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”"

As I have loved you, you also are to love one another. We know how God loves us. Generously. Bountifully. Mercifully. But most of all, faithfully. Steadfastly. His loving kindness endures forever, his faithfulness to all generations.

But what did that love look like for Jesus, who was fully man? He was telling his disciples to love one another as he had loved them during his life; he was preparing them for his death. The answer is in the first verse of chapter 13. (Interestingly, what lies between his commandment and that first verse is the washing of feet, the Supper, and the announcement that one would betray; what follows the commandment is the foretelling of Peter's denial.)

"Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end."

He loved them to the end. And for those of you who were wondering, yes, to the very telos. Jesus, because he was a man who would die, had an end. When the steadfast and faithful love of God is incarnate, it has an end. And it goes to that end. The steadfast love of God is supposed to be incarnate in us.

This is difficult. It is easy to feel affection for a time. What is God-like is loving to the end of your time. And, as Jesus on his throne testifies, beyond, to new time.

This means that you love your wife until the end. You love your children until the end. You love your friends until the end. You love the people of God until the end. They may break faith, but you will love them to the end. It is not only by the show of love that they will know we are his disciples. It is by the end.

Have mercy upon us, O Lord.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Yes, I Want Abortions To Be In Back Alleys

Recently the lovely (I say lovely because being lovely is a virtue, like being honest or wise) Michal Crum wrote about the distraction tactics of those who are for the murder of little babies. "You say you're pro-life, but you don't even love ___________ (e.g. immigrants, the poor, prisoners, etc.)." As much as there might be divergence or confusion about other issues that truly do have to do with life, we all know that abortion is murder. Abortion is murder. So we work against it in the name of the Lord of Life.

The answer to the evildoers (and the confused Christians, for that matter) who make this challenge should simply be: abortion is murder. Shall I say it again? Abortion is murder.

One of the distraction tactics often used is to say that we care nothing for women. Women are going to get abortions anyway, and if we got what we wanted, women would end up dying in droves in the dirty back alleys we'd driven them to by making abortion illegal. Is that really what we want?


Friday, February 17, 2017

How Do I Honor The King? How Do I Honor Trump?

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
1 Peter 2:17

It can be difficult to obey the Lord's instructions regarding kings when our king changes every four or eight years. And it can be difficult because one could argue that our true kings are the Supreme Court judges, or maybe, if you feel like really stretching a point, the Senate. It's difficult to know what it means to be subject to every ordinance of man, whether the king or governors sent by him, but not that difficult. After all, nobody is dipping us in paraffin and lighting us to burn all night. So we're supposed to obey the civil authorities. We know that. But we're also supposed to honor them.

What does it mean to honor the king?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Great Clarification Is Coming

John is the Gospel of Light.

There are pretty philosophical words that orbit around the idea of light. Clear. Illuminating. Lucid. Epiphany. Enlightenment, even. Clarification. I'd like some clarification on this issue, please. John is the Gospel of Clarification, and Jesus is the Great Clarifier.

The Anglo-Saxon for clear is bright. I used to think that clear and its romance language versions meant transparent. Am I being clear? In Spanish claro for of course, clara for the white of the egg. Germans saying klar for obviously. Clarity to me was the absence of obscuration. To say clear as day would be to say that I could see in the day because nothing obscured. But that makes no sense. When I studied Latin in college I was amazed to learn that clarus meant bright, famous, illustrious. This is still true of clear in English. The first definition at Merriam-Webster is  bright, luminous. Things that are luminous, y'all, emit light. To say clear as day is to say that the day and the eye are illuminated, made bright. This is perhaps obvious (klar) to you. It was not to me; the scales fell off my eyes on this one.

Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days. Jesus said to her, Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?

Monday, February 13, 2017

How To Make Yourself At Home At A New Church

Don't leave it up to a church you're visiting to make you feel at home. Make yourself at home as much as possible. You are a Christian; the Church is your home.

The real title of this post is How To Make Yourself At Home At A New Church or Your Current Church For That Matter. And yes, I'm the sort to capitalize every word in a title. A fig for your style manuals.

This post started as I was meditating on a philosophy of moving. As in, moving houses. I'm in the middle of a move now. Making yourself at home in a new place isn't easy; depending on several factors, it can be impossible, but the more traction such an effort gains, the more at home you'll feel. It occurred to me during my ruminations that much of it could be helpful when thinking of making a move to a new church. But I think these can also serve to make you feel more at home in your own hometown and in the church of your youth.

Learn the history of the local church. By this I mean, not to learn the history of churches in your town, but learn the history of the local church you're moving into. Although the former would certainly only do you good as well, and provide context for the latter. When was the church founded, and why? Was it a split or a plant? Or a little of both? Are any original members around? Chat with them. Why was the church founded? What was so important back in 2004/1986/1961/1847? Was there a theological issue? An empty spot on the map that needed filling?