Thank God for Jim Wallis

I just want to say that this Pat Robertson garbage has been so played out. All the outrage and energy towards this whole thing makes me just want to scream at the top of my lungs, “WHAT DID YOU EXPECT!!!!” Anything Pat Roberston does or says should be completely ignored and his comments about assassinating another human being should come as no suprise whatsoever. The most bizare thing that has come out of all this isn’t even Robertson’s comment. It’s the fact that there are “leaders” from a more “centrist” “evangelical” perspective going on t.v. and giving Robertson a complete free pass. In some cases, they defend Robertson’s right to voice his opinion on the matter of assassinating the elected leader of a democratic nation.

In moments like this, I thank God for Jim Wallis and his willingness to actually call out other Christian leaders when defending such evil ideas. It’s great that Wallis, who is a fairly well-known Christian leader in America, can be a voice of accountability for the pharisees like Robertson, Dobson, Falwell, who all tend to dominate the area of religous “headlines” in this country. I would encourage anyone who reads this blog to not post on their blogs about how repulsive Pat Roberston is. If your readers don’t know that by now, they’re probably writing a check to 700 Club or they’re on the plane to Venezuala to pull the trigger themselves. Instead, post link to Jim Wallis’ attempt to bring a voice of much needed accountability to this issue. The more we can prop someone like Wallis up in this conversation, the better chance we have of drowning out the heresy of those like Robertson love to propogate.

You can read Jim Wallis’ plea to the Christian community here at the website. Thanks to Mike for the heads up on this article. Continue reading

Way to go Dad!

[[image:230200.jpg::right:0]]Last night my father, Jack Lind, won the 600th game of his career as a minor league manager. He’s been in professional baseball ever since he left Arizona State University early when he was drafted by the Houston Astros. He spent a majority of his years in baseball in the minor leagues, both as a player and a manager. I’m really proud of my Dad. His passion for teaching young players how to care about the game and how to be great teammates is something I try to take with me in the experience of my own life. Good going Dad!

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[[image:plans.jpg::right:0]]I’ve known about the band Death Cab For Cutie for a long time but never really started listening to them until the last few years or so. I used to see their name around and actually played a few shows with them, one I remember clearly at the Fireside Bowl in Chicago. At that show that we played with them, I remember them selling pillow cases as merchandise items with their band name on them and I thought that it was really cheesy. For some reason, because of that very stupid and silly judgement, I never really paid attention to their music. I actually remember liking their show that night, but never really pursued getting to know their music any better.

Now, D.C.F.C is one of the bands I most often listen too. I picked up their last album, Transatlanticism, because I loved the artwork and decided to give it a shot. I loved it. It really stirred me. I listened to it more than any other record over the last year. Because of it, I went back to their older records and found even more amazing music that just connected with me in a big way. I’ve found it to be some of the most inspiring, thought-provoking music I know.

I think back to that show in Chicago as a moment I’ve really come to deeply regret. My ugliness towards others ended up hurting me more than anyone else. If I would have looked past the pillow cases and allowed myself to listen with any kind of openness, I would have been able to be inspired and moved by this music much earlier in my life rather than a lot later on. All that wasted time because of a heartless judgement about something that was as trivial as it gets. How can pathetic can it get? All this to say I’m very glad that I am now a huge fan of this band and my life is better because of it.

Death Cab For Cutie has a new album called “Plans” coming out August 30th which I’ve heard and it is amazing. I would encourage anyone who reads this blog to join me in purchasing it then for our immediate listening pleasure. Continue reading

A Good-Bye Letter

[[image:sixfeet.jpg::right:0]]Over the last few years of my life I’ve begun to start looking at this world in a much different way. It’s been the first time where I have been able to hold the truths of the world around me AND my spirituality in the same hand. Much of my life there has been a partition between what was my every day life full of real moments and this other vision of what a religious life should look like. Growing up I waited for this religious picture to clear up but after sixteen years or so, it never did. This is not to say that I deserved and clear picture or that there even IS a “clear” picture for any of us to truly see. But I was told that it’s out there. I should expect it. I should be seeing it. “Where is it?” I would be asking myself. I would hear language like “chosen ones” or “elect” and I was beginning to sense that they weren’t talking about me. Then there was this last straw of being in the junior high group at my church where they proceeded to show us a video called “Hells Bells: The Dangers of Rock and Roll”. If you haven’t seen this, you should. It’s really funny. Imagine for the Daily Show fans out there, that the whole thing is just one long “moment of Zen.” It basically chronicled the evils of the whole music world ranging from Whitney Houston to Bruce Springsteen to XTC to Phil Collins and all the obviously “satanic” people like Twisted Sister, AC/DC… get the picture right? The most outrageous commentary was that Bruce Springsteen’s amazing song “I’m On Fire” was about pedophilia because there was a line that read “Hey little girl, is your daddy home?” I mean, I was in junior high, still drinking a fair amount of the conservative Baptist flavored “Kool-Aid” and even I knew that it was all total bullshit. It felt wrong. Something inside me said, “That’s just not right. What’s the point of all this?” I didn’t know it at the time, but it really was a tipping point. On that day, my radar was switched on. I began to realize that this world just isn’t black and white. We can no longer run from the black. It’s here, now, a part of us whether we like it or not. Even with the MTV and local rock radio station turned off and the rated “R” movies unseen, it was still there, like it’s here today. We can’t escape it. What was the need to point out the “evil” in a Whitney Houston song? The real evil would be how damn cheesy it is but not because of any deeper, theological reason. It all came from just assuming the worst of somebody. If a lyric could in any way be stretched to mean something that falls outside this narrow theological view of life, then that artist was “evil’ and “dangerous” for me to be exposed to. This video fed an incredibly damaging idea to us that if someone has communicated evil, then they were not worthy of being appreciated in any way, shape or form. It’s so damaging because deep down, all of us know we communicate evil on a daily basis. So by the logic of this video, we are just alone, trying to figure life out without the help of others. It makes no sense. Later on, by the time I was Sixteen, I had officially taken down the partition between the “real” and “fake” compartments of my life. At the time I really didn’t know what it meant to do so. It just had to be done. It wasn’t easy or fun, but it was necessary.

Not until a few years ago did I start processing how to view the “truth” in the world around me. I was exposed to this idea that all truth is God’s truth. Anything we can identify as “true” was from God. If it was true, God was in it. No matter where it was found and no matter how small, this truth was of God. If it was found in an R rated movie or a rock song, it was still God’s truth. Now, I am no longer conflicted about taking ownership of truth outside of where it is to be “expected”. This isn’t to say that I have this accurate “truth” radar where I can discern all “real truth”. I just mean to say that I am open to seeing a possible truth God may be revealing to me in an unexpected place. Test everything and hold on to what is good. (where have I read that before?) And to respond to my friend John: Yes you can find truth in the Hells Bells video, but it’s still more funny than true.

One television show that I’ve come to love dearly over the last few years is Six Feet Under. If you are not familiar with this show, I guess I could say that it’s not exactly a Focus on the Family “favorite” to show the kids after dinner. It’s dirty, messy, heartbreaking, beautiful, dysfunctional, maddening, surreal, profane, spiritual and, best of all, full of both darkness and light. The show is based on a family that runs funeral home. It deals heavily with death and inevitably with the hardest questions one could ask about the human experience. The answers are never clear-cut or easy and that’s the beauty of the show. It may not pass the Focus on the Family “decency” standard, but in my eyes, it’s the most spiritually deep show on television. It doesn’t put on a fake smile like everything is ok and easy. It dives deep into issues that we are so afraid to look in the face. It reminds us that at any point, we can just keel over and die. It reminds us that everything is not what it seems. It reminds us that we are all complex, hurting people who are trying to find healing. This may sound really weird, but it’s moved me closer to an understanding of how God has created me. It honors life by exposing its fragility. It nudges it’s viewers to really deal with those issues that are eating away at a life peacefully lived. My favorite exchange of the whole series is when a woman has lost her husband and asks the funeral director, “Why do people have to die?” and he answers, “To make life important.”

The last episode of Six Feet Under airs Saturday night and it will be sad to see it go. Although I could watch it for many more seasons, it seems to be the right time for the story of this family to come to an end. So I guess this is my good-bye letter to this show. RIP. You will be missed. Continue reading

Interview with Rob Bell

I was in Chicago last night and had the chance to hang out with Rob, his wife Kristen, and their friends Tom and Brenda Rinks (Tom is the head of Flannel, the non-profit media company that is responsible for the Nooma films that Rob is featured on). We had a great time hanging out and catching up on what’s going on. I sat down with Rob for a half-hour interview to discuss his newly released first book, Velvet Elvis. We also talked about his history and how it’s led to where he is today, the founding pastor of Mars Hill, in Grand Rapids, MI. Please forgive me regarding the audio. It’s not the greatest quality but it was all I could come up with at the time. Click here to listen to the mp3 of our discussion.

A big “thanks” to John Chandler at Some Strange Ideas for hosting the interview on Quikblogs. Continue reading

On The Road Again….

I’d have to say this is a pretty dark day for me. I leave tomorrow and will be gone for two months. I will be back for a day in September for Ava’s birthday, but then I leave again and will finally be home again in the second week of October. It’s always hard when you try to make the best of the last few days, but the impending departure just ultimately chokes any real happiness away. Holly is in the 10th week of her pregnancy and feeling very sick like she normally does when pregnant. So far this pregnancy has been so much better than the last one, and that’s a huge relief, but it still will make it very hard for the girls when I leave. I have been doing my best impersonation of Michael Keaton in Mister Mom over the past three weeks. Holly and Ava will more than likely not be able to make it out to visit me at all. If that’s the case, it will be the longest time I’ve been away. Hopefully we can figure something out.

In the good news department, I will be hooking up on Wednesday with my friend Rob Bell in Chicago. Rob has just released his first book called Velvet Elvis this month, which I would recommend. It will be great to catch up and see if he’ll still hang out with me since he is now a published author (Me and Joel Osteen used to play hoops all the time, but then he got a book deal and now he only calls when he needs a recommendation for some wholesome secular music. He really loves the boybands.) I asked Rob if I could interview him for this blog and he agreed, so I will be doing an informal, hangin’ out kind of interview with Rob and hopefully we’ll have some fun. If there is a question that comes to your mind that I should ask, leave it in the comments section.

I’ve been reading Velvet Elvis over the past few days and there’s so much that has caught my eye. Here are a few things that really jumped out at me:

“The very nature of orhodox Christian faith is that we never come to the end. It begs for more. More discussion, more inquiry, more debate, more questions. It’s not so much that the Christian faith HAS a lot of paradoxes. It’s that it IS a lot of paradoxes. And we cannot resolve a paradox. We have to let it be what it is. Being a Christian then is more about celebrating mystery than conquering it.”

He also quotes Sean Penn in the book saying “When everything gets answered, it’s fake. The mystery IS the truth”. I like that. Continue reading

My new best friend…..

[[image:newsnare.jpg::center:0]]…is a drum. I am in the process of getting a new drum-set this week. Three of the four drums arrived today and I think it could be the start of something truly beautiful. I love drums. It’s what I do. Getting new drums is for me like when a carpenter gets a brand new set of tools. For some reason, I just have this weird connection with the drums. The woodwork, the chrome, the personality, the sound, the buzz….it all hypnotizes me.

Drums are very complex instruments. They aren’t easy to get sounding right. You can’t just throw on new drum heads and expect to hear a beautiful tone. It takes a certain intimacy (yes, i said intimacy) and connection with the drum in order to find out what it likes. You have to work to find the drum’s voice. You have to allow it to sing. You can’t take a drum and simply make it sound the way YOU want it to. In order for you get the greatest sound you can out of the drum, you have to simply allow the drum to show you where it’s greatest tone resides. Getting to the point where one is able to do this doesn’t come from reading books or even copying others, but only by spending time with the drums and an fair amount of trial and error.

Today, as I opened the box to my new snare drum, it was the beginning of this “connection” process. I didn’t want to start striking it right away. I wanted to simply look at it, figure out it’s personality. I double checked for any common flaws or signs of mishandling. I gently tapped the drum with my index finger to get a general sense of it’s initial tone. So far so good I must say. It’s a beautiful snare drum and I would have to say it’s already one of my best wood snares, but it’s early. Only time can tell I guess. We’ll see how it does “at the office”.

Last night at bible study, Jamie told us a story of some pastors that came into the coffee shop where she works. One of Jamie’s coworkers is not a Christian nor had any interest at this point in her life in exploring what it means to be one. She was working the counter when the pastors, who were also complete strangers, were placing their order. After ordering they asked her “Do you know that Jesus loves you?” She replies uncomfortably, “Uh, I have Jesus’ phone number blocked on my caller I.D. so I wouldn’t know.”

It’s pretty clear as human beings we have an amazing capacity to show interest in things. For me it’s really easy to be interested in all things “drums”. It’s so much a part of my life, I can’t escape it. What’s sad is that the hardest things for us to be truly interested in is other people. Maybe it’s because showing real interest in others could lead to being inconvenienced. Maybe it’s just the regular social fear that we share to a certain extent. But if you really think about it, if an individual felt like there were others in their life that were genuinely interested in them, they could catch a glimpse of how full of love this world could be. Not just their moms and dads and close friends, but from those who they would least expect it. And not just a self serving interest, but an agenda-free, relational foundation type of interest.

I would file “Do you know Jesus loves you?” as a sentence that is full of agenda and that comes from a selfish posture. It may not seem so on the surface, especially coming from a pastor who is reading his bible in the corner at a coffee shop. But sadly, it’s what we’ve come to expect. It’s unfair really to rip this pastor because he’s an easy target. Take myself for example, I do the exact same thing. Maybe I don’t creep people out as badly in the process but my lack of agenda-free interest in others is just as ugly. I pray that God can show me ways to stop and show interest. Even if it’s just a brief encounter or the kind of interest that throws a wrench in your daily schedule. I pray that our bumper sticker evangelism and our unwillingness to be genuinely interested in others be exposed as the brittle shells of real faith and love that they truly are. Continue reading