Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Stand Up for Change

How long did you spend picking your outfit this morning?

How much time did you spend doing your hair, your make-up?

How often do you do something just to fit in?

How often do you not do something because you are afraid of what others might think?

How often do we hide who we really are…because we feel that we have to fit in?

Many times I feel that we focus too much of our lives on doing what we think is right, or cool, or what we think others want us to do…but we spend very little time doing things that are really good for ourselves.

Why are we like this?

Why do we try so hard for something that sounds so easy…

Why is it so difficult to just fit in?

Simply and honestly, I don’t know.  In this case I will go ahead and premise this reflection calling myself out as a hypocrite. 

When we read a magazine, or watch a movie or anything on TV for that matter…we are constantly shown these images of what beauty looks like.  In my opinion, the standards set of what the ideal image is not what you see on television. 

I think this holds true for both men and women. 

There has been a movement building for sometime that is trying to counter this growing problem.

One that I have come across is called The Representation Project.  I encourage you to look them up and watch some of their stuff.

The Representation Project is a movement that uses film and media content to expose injustices created by gender stereotypes and to shift people’s consciousness towards change.

I will also say that there is some language that may not be suitable for younger children, so please use your discretion if you are to watch these trailors.

This issue is something that has reached a wide audience, mostly for the injustices when it comes to women.

This group just released a trailer for their new video entitled “The Mask You Live In”.  This video is geared towards guys and this screwed perspective of what it means to be a “man”.

They also have one for woman entitled “Miss Representation”.

It is your choice if you want to check either of these videos out but here is my thought.

A few years back, the WWJD fad was huge and everyone had to have the coolest bracelet.  While these may not have been the best theology because your parents may not appreciate if you walked into a mall and started flipping tables and yelling at everyone for trying to make money.

But one thing that is true is that Jesus did not always do what was seen as socially acceptable.

He spent his time with the lepers and the sick and the unclean…the ones that you were not suppose to even talk to!

Then comes along this guy who said, nope, I am going to change everything.

Why do we need Jesus to come back to create a change in our society.  Why can’t we be Jesus to our neighbors and work together to make a change for the better.

During Lent we all give up things to remind us of the time that Jesus spent fasting in the desert. 

Well my Lenten challenge for you today is this…

Stop accepting what you see on the television as the way things should be.

Give that up.

Instead take on change.

Stand up for change and be Christ to others by opening your mind to this problem and let’s all work together to make a difference.

Just out flying a kite after school @steven_quach

via Instagram http://ift.tt/1gyLYQd

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What does it mean to wash another's feet?

Over the years I have done many things for Lent.   I have given up a wide variety of things over the years, such as food, soda, candy, alcohol, etc.  I have taken on many things like working out and running.  My goal was always to better myself.  I could be a better person by being a healthier person.

Well, this year I decided to do something different.  I decided to not just focus on bettering myself  physically but spiritual.

Wow…what a brand new concept for Lent, right!?

So this year I decided to follow a Lenten daily devotional called With Jesus in the Upper Room by David Winter.

Yesterday was covered one of my favorite and, to me, one of the most powerful stories in the Bible.

It is John 13.  When Jesus washes the feet of the disciples.

You may hear a lot of times how grand of a gesture this was but do you fully understand what that means?

So the other day I went to the Lenten preaching series at Calvary Episcopal Church in downtown Memphis.  Marcus Borg, an American new Testament scholar, theologian and author, spoke last week breaking down part of the scripture from Matthew.  He said that when reading and comprehending scripture, there are three words that you must always remember.  “Context, Context, Context!”

So the other day when I came across this scripture in my devotional, it really broke it down into the context.

Who do you think washed their feet at that time?

Servants?  Well yes…but not just any servant.

What kind of servant was expected to do such a menial task?  Normally a child or a woman servant, for this task was seen as too demeaning for a male slave.

So, as the disciples enter the room to celebrate Passover, the custom is to have their feet washed.  So as this group of disciples walks in, the same group that has just finished arguing over who was the greatest disciple and who would sit at the right hand of Jesus in the Kingdom of Heaven, they look around to see where the servant is that will wash their feet…but there is no one.

There is not even a Gentile, the next on the list of servants that would be forced to the task. 

So as the disciples look around, it is Jesus, the Son of God, who puts on the apron and takes the basin, and kneels down before them to wash their feet.

The question that I leave with you today, is the question left in my book.

What would it mean in your setting- in the life of work, home or church- for me to ‘wash another’s feet? And in what ways could the Church be seen to follow its Master’s example?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What does it mean to be Christian?

So today is the last day before we enter the season of Lent.  It is a time of personal and spiritual reflection.  A time where we repent for our sins.  A time that began as a time when people would prepare to be Christians. 

During Lent you may hear a lot of people give up sodas or sweets.  A lot of people may even take on something such as working out or eating healthier.  These are all things that people may do to make themselves a better person.

You may also hear some people say that they are going be a better Christian by going to church more. 

But my question for you is to ask, is that how you become a better Christian?

Does going to church make you a better Christian?

Does sitting in a garage make you a car?

While I am not trying to diminish the value of going to church.  It is an important aspect of Christianity.  However, I feel that there is much more to it as well.

When we are going up, many times we hear or are told that to be a good Christian you must behave and be a good person or else you will go to Hell.

Is that really all that it means to be a Christian?  Be good or go to Hell?

I would like to think that there is a lot more to it than that.  That there is much more to Christianity than a moral code.  This view seems to state that being a good person goes hand in hand with being a Christian.

Well, I have a few friends that are very nice people but are also atheist.  So I know that these two things are not mutually exclusive.

So my question for you today is a simple one that may have a thousand different answers.

What does it mean to be a Christian to you?

And as we move through the season of Lent, how can you use this time to make yourself a better Christian?

When you think about it, you may find that the answer to this question is a lot deeper than merely saying, I’ll go to church more.