Congress, Commonsense and Apple [RANT]

TaxI honestly try and stay away from politics on this forum, but this has got me baffled…

Ok, so… Apple has created 600 US jobs and pays THIRTY percent of their domestic income to US taxes. That’s 30 percent or almost 1/3 of every dollar in US Taxes so that the US can put it toward such important things as the development of a robotic squirrel….

According to news sources, Apple pays more taxes than any other company in the US.

John McCain and the Senate’s response? Apple is guilt of tax evasion by also being successful outside of the US and should be paying taxes on global gains.

When is enough; enough? If I were Tim Cook, I’d pack up my Apple company and move it to the Bahamas were you’d pay no taxes and have a much more beautiful window view. Oh…and all the people in the US who have iPhones would still buy your iPhones.

What I really get out of this story is that instead of doing the hard work of actually making common sense adjustments to the tax code and spending, Congress chooses to make political theater with successful companies. Typical. And we keep paying these politicians more money than we do God (not an exaggeration) to continue to do nothing.

Why is Good Friday Considered Good?

This is a great explanation!

That’s My King!

I know I’ve posted this before, but it’s timeless and amazing!

Grace Church of Fredericksburg’s 2012 Service-Service

On December 2, 2012 Grace Church of Fredericksburg modified their regular service to obey our calling and serve our community. After a brief worship service, we were given Angel Tree slips and left to gather a gift or two or three, bring them back and wrap them as a congregation. Then we all shared lunch together. It was one of the best church services I’ve ever been too!

For more information visit Video by J.P. Sieck.

The Limitations Of Pro-Choice?

I’m honestly indifferent to most social issues…  The termination of a child is not one of those issues that I chose to show indfference.  I honestly cannot understand the desire of so many to see the light of a child extinguished.  It’s barbaric.

I fully appreciate and understand the fear and lack of control of a girl who is pregnant and doesn’t know what to do.  I don’t stand in judgement of the mom…  What I don’t understand is the people who push these scared young girl into decisions that sacrifice their health and willfully end a young life before it’s had a chance to see the world.

I watched a portion of the DNC and all I heard was angry, bitter women yelling about the rights of women.  What about the rights of the women who are not yet born?  What about the right of the father?  These things baffle and sadden me all at the same time.

This video is an interesting insight into the clear contradiction of those who claim to be “pro-choice”.  These self-same people who are largely anti-death penalty.  Go figure – destroy the baby, but save the serial-killer…

Neil Gaiman’s Graduation Address

I’ve heard countless presentations on being creative, but none so sincere and well said as Neil Gaiman’s. This is well worth the listen…

Neil Gaiman Addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012 from The University of the Arts (Phl) on Vimeo.

The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life; who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spake by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. AMEN.

John 3:16 – That’s a Lot Of People Football Commercial from Focus On the Family

Rock on…. This is really well done.  Cute, simple and to the point.  …wow…

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

I saw this tonight while watching the Bronco versus Patriots Post Season game.

I’m sure this had nothing to do with Tim Tebow :)

Look What He Created

Just in case you haven’t seen this amazing video from Space Station already, I thought I’d add it here.


For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. Isaiah 45:18

Shooting locations in order of appearance:

1. Aurora Borealis Pass over the United States at Night
2. Aurora Borealis and eastern United States at Night
3. Aurora Australis from Madagascar to southwest of Australia
4. Aurora Australis south of Australia
5. Northwest coast of United States to Central South America at Night
6. Aurora Australis from the Southern to the Northern Pacific Ocean
7. Halfway around the World
8. Night Pass over Central Africa and the Middle East
9. Evening Pass over the Sahara Desert and the Middle East
10. Pass over Canada and Central United States at Night
11. Pass over Southern California to Hudson Bay
12. Islands in the Philippine Sea at Night
13. Pass over Eastern Asia to Philippine Sea and Guam
14. Views of the Mideast at Night
15. Night Pass over Mediterranean Sea
16. Aurora Borealis and the United States at Night
17. Aurora Australis over Indian Ocean
18. Eastern Europe to Southeastern Asia at Night

As The Missiological Church Becomes Mythological


Romans 12:2

2 And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Identifying Ourselves

As I peruse the various Christian Blogs and websites I find opportunity to ponder what really separates and identifies Christians from the rest of the world.  According to the Pew Report 78.4% of American’s claim to be Christian.  However, the church continue to identify ourselves by using the phrase “true believers” or ‘the true church”, etc…  Even within the church there are Calvinist, Catholics, Emergent Church, Armenian and the list goes on and on.  Just trying to find out what a church actually believes is trying at best, and that’s for the people who regularly attend.

What We Once Were

It seems to me that once upon a time, the culture knew what the church was and what we stood for.  Neighbors congregated and life revolved around the area worship center.  Children attended Sunday School, people consulted their pastor with life issues and we sang songs about faith, hope and living with God for eternity.  Once upon a time you were frowned upon if you didn’t say the Pledge of Allegiance or if you questioned God’s existence and now that tendency has reversed.  For all our “progress” in life, I sometimes envy times before my generation.  Times when teen parents, disrespect and ignorance wasn’t something that was idolized.  Now, it seems that television, music and the media consider those who take a stand against immorality as judgmental and closed minded.  Those who aren’t accepting of the decline in morality are labeled as “intolerant”.  Worse; some people labeled as church leadership seem to embrace this disdain for intolerance as an edict to change our own values.

The media relishes in the fact that the church gives them so much ammunition each day.  Just yesterday I was reading two articles in the same day; one about a local female youth pastor who had an affair with a male youth and another about an 80 year old ex-pastor who had inappropriate pictures of youth on his computer.   A few months ago there was a story of a pastor arrested for driving on a suspended license – had it been a construction worker no one would have cared about the article.  We live in a world that is constantly trying to destroy the mission and the purpose of the Church.

What We’re Becoming

Recently I was reading one of my favorite Christian blogs and the title had a vulgar word in it, as did the content of the post. (I’m not linking to it, because I don’t wish to give it any more attention than it already has)  The point of the post was about church’s hiring staff as Social Media Directors.  Interestingly the comment stream about the post was a mash-up of opinions about the validity of cursing in Christendom.  Not overwhelming, but ever present none-the-less was a majority voice that said that cursing was fine.  It was a byproduct of the culture and one commenter went as far as to say that Jesus used words that weren’t appropriate for His time.  I’m not sure from which part of Holy Scripture this knuckle-head derived that our Savior cursed like a sailor, but I’m hard-pressed to see it.  Now… I do see Christ as a man who easily put others in their place and was edgy at times.  A matter of fact it was that “Jesus” (the one in Mark) that I most identified with.  However the flow of the comments in that post proves a point, in and of itself.  The people reading concentrated more on the language used than the actual message.

I see no need to delve into a dissertation about if it’s a sin for Christians to curse.  My desire to reflect well on the Father pushes me to try and watch the garbage that can so easily flow from my mouth.  I have struggled with the words I use for years and in the past 10 years or so become good at monitoring which words I use.  If for no other reason than that outsiders of the Christian faith see it as one more hypocritical element of the Church – a people who are suppose to be set apart.

I ramble about this point ad nauseam because I think it’s one small piece of evidence of a Church trying too hard to become more worldly and do so at the every expense of those we should be trying to reach.

The Barna Group posted information from a recent round of surveys and it was re-printed in a book called Unchristian (which I highly recommend).  Here’s just part of their findings:

Now, however, nearly two out of every five young outsiders (38 percent) claim to have a “bad impression of present-day Christianity.” One-third of young outsiders said that Christianity represents a negative image with which they would not want to be associated. One out of every six young outsiders (17 percent) indicates that he or she maintains “very bad” perceptions of the Christian faith. This group is at least three times larger than it was just a decade ago. (Pg 24)

The point is that I think the Church is loosing the people that we’re trying so desperately to fit in with.  In some cases the American Church is dimming as the lighthouse on the shore.  Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am struggling with feelings as I write this post.  I desperately want to engage people where they are – but that doesn’t mean I need to succumb to  the depths of the American Culture in order to reach people.  I’ve become convinced that we’re loosing our children because they see little difference in us, than they do in the world, but the world offers less guilt.

Regaining Our Mission

1 Peter 2:9

9 But ye are a elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

We are a people set apart, a people who were never directed to be chameleons.  I believe that we are called to honor the Father with what we do.  We instructed to minister to the sick, the wounded, the widows and orphans.  And many, many times it’s hard. I enjoy my times in Uruguay and Haiti being with other Christians and people who truly dedicate themselves to their church.  A people who are dying for the Words of Christ.  It’s… easy to minister there.

Here, at home its far more of a challenge and I want to  to join with other Christians and try and reach my generation and the one following, even though the barriers are far greater.  It’s far too easy to loose the attention of an ADD generation.  A generation of iPod and video games – so we continue to reach out use podcasts on the iPod and Facebook and the rest, but we do so without loosing our greatest reason for being here – to Glorify the Son.

It’s so easy to slip into the ease of traditional church services, with the mantra of “build it and they will come”.  Well here’s the truth – they aren’t coming.  They are leaving.  Your children and mine are at risk and we need to join together to pray for direction and grace as we try to minister where they physically are, but not  were they are anthropologically.

Where the church of yesteryear was standing at street corners handling out tracts, the street corners are now on Facebook and Twitter.  That doesn’t mean we neglect the power of a united church.  We cannot.  The social tools of today are opportunities to reach people where they are, and use that portal to engage them into a relationship with a church family.

I do not see one type of engagement exclusive to all others.  The real power that Christ has granted the church is that we are parts of the Body and therefore have the ability to contribute in different ways.

Let’s stand together and believe that Christ is bigger than any cultural barriers and that we’ll find a way to use the mass-media to engage the culture, as well as the power of authentic relationships.