Category Archives: quotes

Ash Wednesday

“In many cultures there is an ancient custom of giving a tenth of each year’s income to some holy use. For Christians, to observe forty days of Lent is to do the same thing with roughly a tenth of each year’s days. After being baptized by John in the River Jordan, Jesus went off alone into the wilderness where he spent forty days asking himself the question what it meant to be Jesus. During Lent, Christians are supposed to ask one way or another what it means to be themselves.

If you had to bet everything you have on whether there is a God or whether there isn’t, which side would get your money and why?

When you look at your face in the mirror, what do you see in it that you most like and what do you see in it that you most deplore?

If you had only one last message to leave to the handful of people who are most important to you, what would it be in twenty-five words or less?

Of all the things you have done in your life, which is the one you would most like to undo? Which is the one that makes you happiest to remember?

Is there any person in the world, or any cause, that, if circumstances called for it, you would be willing to die for?

If this were your last day of your life, what would you do with it?

To hear yourself try to answer questions like these is to begin to hear something not only of who you are but of both what you are becoming and what you are failing to become. It can be a pretty depressing business all in all, but if sackcloth and ashes are at the start of it, something like Easter may be at the end.”

— Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark: An ABC Theologized


Strippers Protest Church…

Oh wow. A church has been protesting a strip bar. Now the strip bar is protesting the church.

I think there’s a lot to be said about the situation.

Here’s the deal. I’m a Christian, so my comment has to be directed to the church, not to the strippers. I have never had to make the decision of how to feed my kids. If I didn’t have a job and my kids were hungry, I would do anything in my power to give them what they need. I would hope I could find other work, but if not…who knows.

What bothered me about this story was the tactics of the people from the church: Every weekend for the last four years, Dunfee and members of his ministry have stood watch over George’s joint, taking up residence in the right of way with signs, video cameras and bullhorns in hand. They videotape customers’ license plates and post them online, and they try to save the souls of anyone who comes and goes.

Bullhorns? Videotaping license plates?

Somehow I’m really desperately trying to find the grace and mercy in this story.

In the piece, the pastor said that they have offered to pay the bills of the strippers to stop them from working there. Which is great, but not if you’re offering it with a bullhorn. Not if you’re tracking their license numbers. Not if you’re passing judgment and not leading with love.

I beg the people of the New Beginnings Church to look at their name. You say you’re about “new beginnings” but without love, without mercy, without grace, why would anyone be interested in the new beginnings that you’re offering?

I am thankful to the one church member, Stan Braxton, who actually went out and talked to and prayed with a protester.

It’s easy to attack people who are living on the fringe. Who are living a lifestyle that, I doubt many would question, as being not the most moral. But here’s the deal – all of us are sinners. All of us have struggles. I’m sure there are people in that congregation that struggle with lust, with porn, with food, with adultry, with pride… maybe instead of bullhorns, a better idea might be to admit their trials, and their own struggles and hurts, but suggest that there might be a better way.

It’s funny. In my life, I’ve always had much more luck with a soft spoken conversation, where I actually get to share my life’s story with someone else.

So New Beginnings Church, I offer you an idea. How about you throw a BBQ in the parking lot of the Foxhole, instead of the girls BBQing at your church. And instead of videotaping the patrons, offer them a hamburger. Instead of learning license numbers, why don’t you learn names. Instead of yelling into bullhorns, how about sitting down, share a cup of coffee and listen to the lives of these women, these patrons. That’s how Jesus interacted with tax collectors, prostitutes, thieves, saints and sinners. Somehow I think that could have a much better effect on your community.

“No one ever converted to Christianity because they lost the argument.” – Phillip Yancey. Rumors of Another World.

Thought for Today

we are what we repeatedly do. excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit – aristotle