Monthly Archives: October 2013

Nicholas Cage in a movie about the Rapture?

left behindI haven’t heard much about Nicholas Cage since his money troubles were rolled out in the media last year. And now, this: starring in the reboot of the 2000 film Left Behind. What does God want me to do about this? Pray. This could end up being a very interesting conversation starter about what Christians believe, especially about the return of Christ. On IMDb one person responded to this film: “Is the rapture just an evangelical American thing?” Another interesting casting choice: Lea Thompson, best known for her role as Marty McFly’s mom Lorraine in the Back to the Future films, but also for her current role as Kathryn Kennish on the ABC Family series Switched at BirthPray with me about how God might want Christians to use this film to discuss Jesus and who He really is. The original producer, Paul Lalonde, is still involved, so hopefully the story stays true to the heart of the books. One last note: the director is Vic Alexander, who has assistant director credits for Thor (2011) and The Amazing Spider Man (2012). This is his directorial debut.

Narrow way or awkward way?

A1c“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (NASB, Matthew 7:14)

I suppose I’ve always sensed, at least since I really got into my faith about 1985 or so, that I needed to be there as much as possible for my wife, children, parents, friends and anyone else Jesus wanted me to hang with.

Because that’s been the big factor of my life, I’m a work-at-home dad and ministry guy. I wish I could say I’m always quick to tell people that. But I don’t usually say this. Am I ashamed of the life I’m confident Jesus has led me to? I don’t think so, but then sometimes I’m sucked into the manly game of “I am what I do” and I’m not sure my way of life will go down real well with certain people.

At a recent conference my default setting was “I’m a writer and editor.” That’s why I was there; a client of mine was rolling out a book I had helped her write. So it made sense. Plus I was networking, hoping to plant seeds that might bloom into future business. “I’m a work-at-home dad and ministry guy” just didn’t seem like the best intro for a let-me-help-you-write-your-next-book pitch.

Just the other day, as I was shopping for carpet shampoo (OK, all respect you may have had is out the window now), the shop owner asked me what I did. I said I was an English teacher at a local community college. This is also true. So sometimes my answer is just a function of who I’m with and what the goal of the conversation is.

I get funny looks from people sometimes when I do share about working part-time, or working at home. People won’t say it out loud, but I pick up from the furrowed forehead or the slightly raised eyebrow that they’re suspicious. Now, what they’re suspicious of I’m not sure. Maybe they think I play Mafia Wars or FarmVille all day.

B21d1I have to tell you, the hardest part about this odd arrangement of working, ministry and family life is the feeling that I’m a slacker. Wouldn’t a real man have a full time job and devote the majority of his productive hours at an office? I know that being a “real man” has nothing to do with holding a full-time job, but more with being a hard worker whatever I do, leading my family to know and follow the Lord, and loving those who can’t love back or won’t love back. Even still, it gets me sometimes.

And now’s the time for the “but I’m loved by Jesus” spiel. Which is absolutely true. And I’ll toss in Psalm 139 while I’m at it: yes, I am fearfully and wonderfully made; all God’s works are wonderful. That means me. And you too. All accurate and very proper to ponder. But the fact is, trying to live a life where you’re mainly available for God and the people He brings in your life can be weird. You’re constantly shaking out your work life, family life, hobbies and free time through the sifter question, “Is this a direction that will make me more available to follow Jesus or not?”

Not that I have any doubts about running major and minor life matters through the grid of that question. I’m just saying it can be odd. Other times, and really most of the time, it’s awesome because I have to dig more deeply into what God’s Word says, rather than what my feelings say or society thinks. It’s amazing that I’m a work-at-home dad and ministry guy.

The Holy Spirit will lift me too, and remind me this life is not what it’s about. This existence is prelude to the life that is really life, as Paul notes in 1 Timothy 6:19. So if I’m orienting myself today around the priorities of the next life — which has to do with Jesus and relating to other people— that will be awkward at times. It should be. And that’s OK. Better awkward now than awkward later.

 

Boy Meets God

boy-meets-world-movie-poster-1993-1010718957When I wandered into the kitchen this afternoon,  my daughter was watching an old episode of Boy Meets World. For those in the 20-to-30-something generation, Boy Meets World holds the same nostalgic value as The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family holds for those in my generation. Wholesome family situation comedy, corny but sincere, and a nice show to watch with the rest of the family on a Friday night.

As I popped a couple pieces of bread in the toaster I noticed the episode centered on a character named Shawn, who was the best friend of the main character Corey. Shawn came from a broken family and different people rally around him during the course of the show. In this episode Shawn had been tempted to join a cult, but one of his teachers, Mr. Turner, was talking to him about the dangers of such a move. At the end of the episode the teacher is in an accident. Shawn slips into Mr. Turner’s  hospital room, and begins a conversation with God, which starts at about 19:35 on the video and ends about 20:35. It’s worth a watch so it’s included here.

“God, I don’t want to be empty inside anymore.” Hearing that was like a shotgun blast in a canyon. It was the most theologically correct thing I’d heard on TV in years. We are empty, till we find ourselves filled by God. And that’s why Jesus told the very empty Samaritan woman he met,

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. (John 4:13-14, NIV)

And apparently the writers of the show realized this classic human problem too. And even though I saw this episode 16 years after it first appeared, I was still encouraged to see it on ABC Family today. Because today, 16 years ago, or 100 years in the future, the ultimate need of man has been and always will be for living water that will never run out. Maybe some kid, hanging out after school watching the tube, caught that message too. I can only hope.