The reason I call myself a Christian……

“The reason I call myself a Christian is not because I manage to subscribe, at any given moment, to all the truths that the hierarchy of my church insists I believe in; let alone because I am a good person or a “good Catholic.” I call myself a Christian because I believe that, in a way I cannot fully understand, the force behind everything decided to prove itself benign by becoming us, and being with us. And as soon as people grasped what had happened, what was happening, the world changed for ever. The Gospels – all of them, including those that were rejected by the early Church – are mere sketches of a life actually lived, and an experience that can never be reduced to words or texts or doctrines. And the world as it was – as it still is – was unable to tolerate this immense occasion; and so Jesus was executed and the life more in touch with divinity than any other life was ended abruptly, when it was still achingly young. The existence of such a life was both so wondrous that it changed everything; and also so terrifying it had to be snuffed out.

The point of this incarnation was surely not to construct a litany of offenses by which we are to judge our own lives at any moment, to force us to thrash and writhe in a constant ordeal of self-criticism and guilt. The point was merely to be with us; and by being with us, to show us better how to be human, how better to embrace our lives by accepting the divine around us and inside us. By letting go, we become. By giving up, we gain. And we learn how to live – now, which is the only time that matters.”

Andrew Sullivan, The Conservative Soul

I couldn’t have said it better myself. As always, Andrew swishes the three.

Movies in 2008

There are a good amount movies that I wasn’t able to get to this year due to added baby wrangling duties, so there are some very obvious choices of great movies this year not on my list (didn’t see The Wrestler, Benjamin Button, Snow Angels, Man on Wire, Milk, Doubt). So with that said, here were my favorites, in no particular order:

Role Models
Dark Knight
In Bruges
Burn After Reading
Then She Found Me

Happy New Year!

Things Hidden

It is not about becoming spiritual beings nearly as much as about becoming human beings. The biblical revelation is saying that we are already spiritual beings; we just don’t know it yet. The Bible tries to let you in on the secret, by revealing God in the ordinary. That’s why so much of the text seems so mundane, practical, specific and, frankly, unspiritual!

We have created a terrible kind of dualism between the spiritual and the so-called non-spiritual. This dualism precisely is what Jesus came to reveal as a lie. The principle of Incarnation proclaims that matter and spirit have never been separate. Jesus came to tell us that these two seemingly different worlds are and always have been one. We just couldn’t see it until God put them together in his one body (see Ephesians 2:11-20).

Richard Rohr, Things Hidden

I feel like a book looter.

Some very generous barnes and noble gift cards have brought forth much goodness:

Salt – Mark Kurlansky
The Hour I First Believed – Wally Lamb
The Varieties of Religious Experience – William James
The Ayatollah Begs to Differ – Hooman Majd

…..and I still have $16 left with which I’ll probably pick up either the Top Chef cookbook or Merton’s Mystics and Zen Masters. You know you’re officially a nerd when the barnes and noble gift card becomes the default gift choice from your friends and family. But I’m not complaining.

Ted Haggard Documentary

The Huffington Post has an article on an upcoming HBO documentary on Ted Haggard’s rise and fall.

This Haggard quote really jumped out:

“The reason I kept my personal struggle a secret is because I feared that my friends would reject me, abandon me and kick me out, and the church would exile and excommunicate me. And that happened and more.”

The truth is, and there’s YouTube evidence to back this up, that Ted Haggard rejected himself, abandoned himself and helped create a culture that would send anyone like him into exile. The saddest part of this whole thing is that Ted Haggard has not been free to be who he is. His wife has suffered, his kids, his church. When we are not free to be who God has made us and we are shamed by our culture for what drives us sexually, our sexuality becomes a pathology. Our sexuality is exiled into the dark shadows of our lives, and the beautiful gift of sex and intimacy withers and dies. This is why promoting monogamy in either homosexual or heterosexual relationships is so important. To make room in the tent for monogamous, same-sex relationships will help to prevent these kinds of familial tragedies from happening. Instead of doing meth and hiring a prostitute, Haggard’s sexuality, if allowed by his cultural surrounding, could have been communicated in the way of committed, faithful relationship.

The true hero in this story is Gayle Haggard who has accepted her husband for who he is and remains faithful despite their difficult predicament. I pray that the Haggards will know grace and peace and that somehow Ted Haggard can break free from his fundamentalist cocoon in order to reconcile his sexuality and spirituality. Yes, it’s true, they can live side by side in harmony.

Pastor Rick gets the gig

Not that anyone gives a rip what I think about this, but I have no problem with Obama’s choice to have Warren give the invocation at his inauguration. If both the right and left are pissed off, Obama’s on the right track. The thing thats really got me is why so many evangelicals find Warren so authoritative.