It means "writings." I write things.

12:15 PM

This guy could be our President

Posted by Brad Polley |

John McCain told a reporter on his campaign bus today, "I hate the gooks.  I will hate them as long as I live."  My first reaction to reading that was, "Did he just say that?"  I am absolutely staggered by that kind of bigotry.  

Most people know that McCain spent five years in a Vietnamese prison camp, so his remarks have some history.  But seriously, how can a guy say something like that and even be considered as Presidential material?  Given these remarks, is there any doubt about his campaign strategy against Obama?  I'm guessing all we'll hear from him in the next 7 months is "Obama sounds kinda like Osama," "You know, his middle name is Hussein," and "I'm pretty sure he's a Muslim." Everyone keeps questioning Obama's beliefs, and yet McCain claims to be a Christian and then he uses disparaging remarks against an entire race of people, and no one questions his faith.  I don't get it.    

3:44 PM

Part of the family

Posted by Brad Polley |

Have you ever heard the phrase, "Every family has one, and he's ours."  Right now, you're probably thinking about the "one" in your family.  We always say this, meaning that every family has a black sheep, someone who is a mess and has so many problems.  

I recently did a teaching on Jesus' family tree at the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew.  It's a completely inane and boring section of Scripture ("So and so the son of so and so, etc.) if I'm honest.  It isn't exactly a cliffhanger.  However, Jews, who wrote Bible, never put anything in there by accident, or just for the heck of it.  There is something in the middle of this genealogy that is astounding.  Tradition tells us that Jesus never sinned; this means that he was perfect.  To be honest, one would expect that someone who is perfect (who also happens to be the Messiah) to come from a fairly pure line of people.  Not so with Jesus.  

Here's a quick run-down of just a few of the train-wrecks who are part of his family tree:
David - Adulterer, murderer, swindler
Tamar - Disguised herself as a prostitute and slept with her father-in-law
Rahab - Prostitute
Ruth - Slept with Boaz before they were married and while he was hammered 
Solomon - 300 wives, 700 concubines (not exactly as pure as the driven snow)  

Those are just a few of the highlights.  I think there are numerous implications to all of this, one of which is this; if you sin, and you're a total mess of a person (which we all do/and are), then you're just part of Jesus' family.

If you look at Jesus' life, the people he spent the most time with, and was seemingly drawn to, were the outcasts, the messiest people in his society.  There's a story of Jesus eating at the home of a tax collector (read: most hated people on the planet).  To eat at someone's home was to say to them that you accepted them as an equal and a friend.  The religious leaders come by and they ask a disciple of Jesus, "Why does your rabbi eat with tax collectors and sinners" (some things never change do they)?  The text says that Jesus hears them and says this, "It isn't the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I came, not to call the righteous, but sinners."  

Their question was essentially, "Why is he eating with those people?"  His response is this, "I'm here because of those people, you don't even need me, because you don't think you need any help."  The reality is that we are all a mess.  Every single one of is "sick," we all need a little bit of help.  In other words, we're all part of Jesus' family.  

The people that Jesus had the hardest time dealing with were the people who claimed (or at least looked like) they had it all together.  Jesus came to offer help.  He offered a way of life that was full of God, a way that would lead to wholeness and peace.  If we don't ever admit that we're a bunch of screw-ups, then there is no room for him.  

Let's stop putting on the mask that everything is fine, even when it isn't.  We're all in this together, we're all part of the family.  Does your family have "one."  Jesus' has billions.

10:27 AM

Sappy moment of the day

Posted by Brad Polley |

My kid has been saying "dada" forever.  I love hearing it, I'm not going to lie.  But last night my wife said, "Ezra, say 'daddy'."  "Daaaddy" was his reply, with a big gap-tooth Spongebob smile on his face.

I about lost it.  I don't cry much, with the exception of getting kicked in the groin or eating something so hot that my throat starts to close up, but I almost cried.  I can't tell you what it feels like to have your son look at you and say, "daddy" with a big goofy grin on his face.  It's something that you will just have to experience one of these days.  Top five moment in my entire life.  

On a less sappy note, my kid tried to put his hand down the shirts of two girls in my youth group Sunday night.  I said, "Ezra, no-no buddy."  His response?  "Booboos."  My response to that?  "I know buddy, but you can't do that."  

I swear, I'm going to have to home school that little pervert.

1:11 PM

Preaching at its finest

Posted by Brad Polley |

Did you know that the problem with America is that too many men pee sitting down?  I didn't either until I watched this wonderful sermon.

That's so bad, I can't even muster the strength to say something sarcastic about it.

1:08 PM

Life just isn't fair sometimes

Posted by Brad Polley |

Why do bad things happen to good people?  

Why do evil people seem to prosper, when there are so many good people who struggle? 

Have you ever asked those questions?  Probably.  I know I have.  I used to ask that question a lot in high school, but it went something like this: "Why do all of the jerk guys get all of the hot girls, and the nice guys like me can't get a date?"  I've since made peace with that issue (it seems that the market for stick-like Screech look-a-likes is rather small), but I still, from time to time, ask a similar question.

I'm always struck, when I read so many of the stories in the Bible, how often good people seem to get completely shafted.  What that tells me is that this isn't a new phenomenon.  I was reading the story of Joseph (of Egyptian fame, not father of Jesus fame), and it was a perfect example of an apparently good guy repeatedly getting the short end of the stick.

Here's the basic summary of Joseph.  He was sold into slavery to a bunch of nomads by his brothers (he didn't really deserve it); the nomads them sell him to a wealthy official of the Egyptian Pharaoh.  While in this guy's house, he gets put in charge of everything because he was trustworthy.  The guy's wife wants Joseph's body, he declines her various offers.  She then lies to her husband and tells him that Joseph tried to sleep with her.  Joseph gets thrown in jail.  

While in jail, he gets put in charge of all of the prisoners.  The Pharaoh's vintner and baker get thrown in jail (apparently from making crappy wine and pastries).  These two guys have dreams and Joseph interprets them, telling the vintner that he will be restored to his position in three days, and telling the baker that in three days he'll have his head lopped off and his flesh fed to the birds (talk about a bad day, that guy's bread must have really sucked).  He tells the vintner to remember him when he is restored...he doesn't.

Eventually Joseph is made head of all Egypt by the Pharaoh and everything is fantastic, but, seriously, he endured a lot of crap for doing the right thing.  The thing I find fascinating is that he never blames anyone for his misfortune.  It's almost like he understands something about life that we don't; sometimes like sucks, it doesn't mean that we necessarily did anything to cause it.  

One of the coolest things about the story is how God imparts little snippets of grace in the midst of the ashes of Joseph's life.  Jesus has these words to say, "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."  In other words, we're all equal with God.  When we do good things, God doesn't owe us anything, he doesn't owe us a life free of pain.  When we do bad things, sometimes we have to soak in our own juices because of it, but God still loves us and is good to us.  

For what it's worth, this is why I don't agree with the idea of karma.  I know too many good people who get shafted, and too many bad people who seem to have everything go right for them.  I think people invented the idea of karma to make themselves feel better.  "They'll get theirs, karma will come back to get them."  It just isn't true.  I think we should strive to do good, not for a reward, but to make the world a better place and to be a better human being. 

We need to face the fact that sometimes life just isn't fair.  God didn't create it that way, but being the bunch of screw-ups that we are, we've made it that way.  Just know that, whatever it may look like, God is always faithful.  He came down here in the form of a man 2000 years so that he could experience just how not fair this place can be.  And we obliged by showing him in a pretty violent way. 

10:41 AM

Need proof that God is just?

Posted by Brad Polley |

Giants 17 - Patriots 14

Update: Read the articles in the Boston Globe concerning the game.  Not once does it mention the Giants outplaying the Patriots.  All of the articles blame the loss on pressure to go 19-0, choking, etc.  At least they lose well, huh?