Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Monday, November 22, 2004

My Name Is...

I must say, I love my name. Clark David Christian. It is quite unique. Kudos to my parents for naming me Clark. You don't meet a lot of people named Clark these days. Throughout my 25 years on this great earth, I have been called many things, some good and some bad. But one thing I've noticed, not many people can remember my name worth a flip. I know that I'm in this illustrious category of forgetting people's names as well. With that being said, I wanted to give you a small list of the many names I have been called. Enjoy.

Christian (last name so understandable)
Michael (uncle's name)
Larry (dad's name)

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Christian Social Agenda

Interesting news from NPR yesterday morning:

Several Christian groups announced Friday that they would conduct a "pray-in" to protest the possible appointment of Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Arlen Specter to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) is expected to decide who will succeed Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) as head of the panel. Specter faces growing opposition from conservatives determined to keep him from ascending to chairmanship of the committee that would handle any new nominations President Bush makes to the U.S. Supreme Court, because Specter supports abortion rights.

"We urge people to contact Senator Frist and let him know that the president needs a loyal man at the helm of the Judiciary Committee, and that man is not Senator Specter," Rev. Pat Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, said in a statement. In an interview with CNSNews.com, Mahoney said Evangelicals, pro-family and pro-life groups are not comfortable with Specter chairing the Judiciary because the confirmation of judges is a key component to the Christian social agenda. Mahoney also told CNSNews.com that outside of abortion and family issues, the number three issue Christians are concerned with is activist judges, even though the press hasn't picked up on it. On Wednesday, following the reelection of President Bush, Specter warned President Bush against choosing future Supreme Court nominees who would seek to overturn abortion laws or would be too conservative to be confirmed. Dr. James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, also expressed opposition to Specter. In a statement issued Thursday regarding Specter's first set of comments, Dobson accused Specter of "political bullying" and "arrogant grandstanding."

There are several things about this story that rustle my feathers. One is the "Christian social agenda" that Mahoney continues to discuss. When did Jesus petition for a "Christian social agenda"? Did the early disciples ask the Roman government about pushing their own Christian agendas? Wasn't Jesus concerned with serving others and doing so in a sacrifical way? Mahoney doesn't seem to care because he wants to Christians to gain power and control the world with their style of democracy and legislation. What was it that Paul said, something about the wisdom of God is foolishness in the world's eyes? God's wisdom is the power a cross, not the nationalist power you're looking for Mahoney! Second, who appointed Dobson as Pope? Seriously, I have read a few James Dobson's books and have listened to his programs several times in the past, so I think he is really trying to his best to save what he feels is being demolished in America. The problem I have with Dobson is his take on the issues of gay marriage and abortion. I won't get into gay marriage on this post, but the abortion issue for Dobson is another "Christian social agenda" (I think my view on abortion would resemble my ideas on gay marriage) Maybe Bush will get conservative judges that want to overturn Roe V. Wade. Maybe he won't. Either way, I really don't think passing legislation in our country is going to solve the problem. It seems like this is an easy solution to a hard situation, which is actually loving people that make mistakes and don't belief the same things Christians do.

I view a fetus as a life. I view myself as pro-life, but I am also pro-women. I must ask myself which is the greater power: Passing legislation to make abortion illegal and creating prohibition all over again, or creating a social network for those wanting an abortion or who can't afford to have (much less raise) a child and provide women for the special workplace leniency for children? Should we be raising our voices to prohibit killing a baby and demoralizing the mother, or raising our voices to love the baby, as well as the mother, no matter what?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Ebay....People are Good? Or Just Plain Weird?

If you are an Ebay user, you might be interested in this item. Mmmmmmmmm....I'm kind of hungry.

Stones River Church Basketball: 0-1.
We lost our first church league game last night due to the fact that we are all out of shape. By halftime, we were even with our opponents, but by the end of the night we couldn't grab a rebound and didn't have enough energy to come from behind. We had no offensive strategy either, while the other team was calling plays like "Mirror" or "Carolina." They definitely took it way too seriously. I saw a coach from another team enter into the gym with a clipboard and a briefcase. Are you serious? The next thing you know, a church will hire Phil Jackson to coach their team, minus all the Zen stuff. HELLO, this is church league people, not the Final Four. I didn't shoot the ball or start, but had 4 fouls, 3 of which I didn't foul the guy, but who really cares. I had fun and so did our team. The game plan for the rest of the season: Don't wash our jersey's and don't shower. We'll call it the Stink Factor.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Reality of Pluralism

Where is North America's oldest Islamic mosque? Not in New York or Chicago, but in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In the middle of middle America, in a part of the county where baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, Mother and other things quintessential American remain as important as ever, Muslim immigrants in 1934 built their first North American place of worship. Fewer than sixty years after the first was built, there are six hundred mosques in the U.S. As one of those Muslims Iowens, Mohammad Kahn, understates the matter, "It shows there here in a small place in Iowa, in a place practically nobody knows about, we have made a lot of progress, and that this nation has changed in a few years." Let's embrace this diversity and not call ourselves a "Christian nation." The only "Christian nation" is the Kingdom of God and last I checked its not placed within geographical boundaries.

In other related news, David Lee Roth is training to save lives in New York City. I wonder if the roadies have to set up the defibulator machine before he uses it. "Check. Check. Check one. Sivalance. Sivalance."

Thursday, November 11, 2004


Please rent the movie Saved! I tell you this after my wife and I watched it last night. It is a hilarious depiction of "over-the-top" mainline Protestant Christianity. As the movie ended, I understood a little better at what it means to love like Jesus. While the Passion of the Christ movie convicted me of the death of Jesus, Saved! showed me the Kingdom of God at work. It witnessed how radical the love of God really is and how no one really completely fits in. For me this movie rather than the Passion told of how Jesus Again I'll try and not ruin it for you, but I must reemphasize that you should not look at how this movie makes fun of Christians. We should be able to laugh at how silly we can act from time to time and remind ourselves to not take ourselves so seriously.

I thought it was quite interesting to see that R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe co-produced/directed the movie. He comes from a long line of Baptist ministers, such as his grandfather, but performs in a "liberal" rock band who campaigned for the Kerry/Edwards party and has been long been rumored to be homosexual. I don't know what your personal opinion of Stipe is, or Mandy Moore (the lead actress) for that matter, but I would ask that when you do watch it, put aside your stereotypes and learn from this piece of art. Oh yeah, plus they cover (not great, but not bad) one of my all time favorite songs, "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys. So do yourself a favor and rent this movie sometime in the near future. You'll be glad you did, at least that's my hope.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Can you be pro-life and be pro-war at the same time?

Monday, November 08, 2004

An Ugly Messiah

I have one more chapter left in Donald Miller's new book Searching for God Know What. I wanted to share a couple of quotes from the chapter of Religion: A Public Relations Campaign for God.

"Rather than Scripture serving as the text that explains God, it becomes a puzzle by which we test our knowledge against our friends', and the views by which we distinguish superiors from inferiors. It is as though we believe when we die, Alex Trebeck will be standing at the gates of heaven to lead us in a mad round of religious Jeopardy: 'I'll take Calvinism for a seat next to Christ, Alex.'"

In another section of this chapter, he wonders if our most passionate missionary endeavors are more concerned with redeeming our identity as Christians within our society than with presenting Jesus to a world looking for a God. He performs an experiment where he asks his friend to find an ugly musician on the cover of a CD at their local record store. Sure enough, his friend comes across one right off the bat. (The pop world is run by image but back when you had bands like The Ramones, Twisted Sister, and Smashing Pumpkins, you could still be ugly and make millions) Then Donald and his pal travel to a Christian bookstore and perform the exact experiment. The result: after 20 minutes of searching, not one artist was found that slightly passed for ugly. Miller begins to ask himself, "Are Christians more obsessed with whether or not they appear cool to the world? If this is so, then the matra seems to scream "Trust in Jesus! He will redeem you to the world." Ouch! How many times have I tried to be cool with my image and seek my identity in the eyes of the popular crowd? Too many. Isn't that called vanity, and have you ever heard a sermon on this? Wasn't Jesus homeless and had dirty feet? Didn't Isaiah say something about his appearance wasn't something that helped his following?

"If religion helps in our relationship with God, and it does, that's great, but if it is how we check stuff off a to-do list, or if it is the identity we defend in our society, or if our idea of evangelism is redeeming the image of Christianity, and not displaying the economy of the kingdom on earth, then it is worthless. I don't have any reservations about saying that."

Friday, November 05, 2004

Tribute to Dorothy Day

If you don't like reading, don't take a class by Lee Camp. I enjoy reading, therefore I enjoy Camp's class. He usually assigns us either a book per week or approximately 200 pages from a photocopied book/handouts. Camp decided to bring us to a closer understanding of ecclesiology through a historical timeline. As the saying goes, "the road to the future runs through the past." We started with St. Benedict around the medieval time period followed by early reformist John Huss. Afterwards we moved on to the Protestant Reformation with Martin Luther, then studied the Anabaptists and continued further with John Wesley. The Restoration movement (which is my heritage) came next with a study from David Lipscomb, who started the college I now attend. From there we journey into the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer as well as the Confessing Church. This past week my readings have focused on a lady named Dorothy Day. I won't go into great detail about her (too much to write about), but I will say that this has been my favorite person to read. All of the other 9 books have included discussions about reforming the body of Christ. Every person we have read has challenged us in our own discipleship towards a man they called Jesus of Nazareth. Dorothy Day's writings never really included reforming the church or methods in discipleship to form a community. In all actuality, she wrote essays for a Catholic journal and served the poor. She was around the time of my grandparents (Great Depression era) and died when I was very young.

What her writing has taught me was following this man Jesus is not easy. She surrounded herself with the poor, the disenfranchised, the people on the edge of society. Yet in the midst of such poverty and pain and ugliness of life, she saw beauty. She said that the only way she could live this out was by seeing Christ in those people. Not only seeing Christ in them, but saying that they ARE Christ. She valued others and understood what it meant to be created in the image of God. She taught me what it meant to be holy, but not holier than thou. For Dorothy Day it became a choice: either give it all up and follow Jesus, or become a status quo cultural Christian. To be quite honest, I currently don't think I'm choosing the former. Why? Maybe I'm too comfortable with the luxuries of life. Maybe my stupidity says truly following Jesus is for those who are monks and living in areas that are foreign to the message of Christ. Maybe I think America is too comfortable and I should be put in a place where I'm in danger of persecution.

So what does Jesus mean by "carry your cross and follow me"? I think I know, but then there are days like today where I have no idea what it means. Am I truly putting my life on that path of being Jesus' apprentice? What must I give up? Should I live in poverty? Should I leave the country? What in my life is not like my Teacher?

In stead of leaving my thoughts with questions this morning, maybe I should listen to one who I should follow. "Love God with all your heart, you soul, you mind and your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself."

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Taking Responsibility

I read an article yesterday from Christianity today. If you don't have time to read it, basically a woman decided not to get an abortion, but after witnessing several closed-minded fundamentalist in her Christian ethics class, she felt for those that decide to get an abortion and the grief they must go through. Her and her husband decided to stop in at a local abortion clinic and apologize for Christians who are mean, judgmental and hateful toward the people that work there and those that are patients. As Dorothy Day says, "Love is not the starving of whole populations. Love is not bombardment of open cities. Love is not killing, it is the laying down of one's life for one's friends." Again she states that "we must all admit our guilt, our participation in the social order which has resulted in this monstrous crime of war."

Listen to Father Zossima (monk) on this matter. "When he realizes that he is not only worse than others, but that he is responsible to all men for all and everything, for all human sins, national and individual, only then the aim of our seclusion is attainted. For know, dear ones, that every one of us is undoubtedly responsible for all men and everything on earth, not merely through the general sinfulness of creation, but each one personally for all mankind and every individual man. For monks are not a special sort of man, but only what all men ought to be. Only through that knowledge, our heart grows soft with infinite, universal, inexhaustible love. Then every one of you will have the power to win over the whole world by love and to wash away the sins of the world with your tears. Each of you keep watch over your heart and confess your sins to yourself unceasingly. Hate not the atheists, the teachers of evil, the materialists, and I mean not only the good ones. Remember them in your prayers thus: Save, O Lord, all those who have none to pray for them; save all those who will not pray. And add it is not in pride that I make this prayer, O Lord for I am lower than all men."

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Vote 2004

Thank goodness it is election day! Finally!! I was getting tired of all these ads for Tennessee legislature and all the "personal" messages these candidates left on my answering machine asking for my vote. Because of my residency issues (switching from Texas to Tennessee) I am not registered to vote. I was excited about voting but it is hard to really listen to what others are saying because of all the biased information in our media and politics. Is bi-partisan politics the answer? Is Kerry telling the truth? Was Bush wrong in going to war? And what about Ralph Nader? Is he still running for President? How do we know that any of these guys will do what they say? So I guess my vote goes to......no one. Whatever happens tonight, I'll still be the same person tomorrow. I just hope we can stop all this killing in Iraq and seek peace, not only in Iraq and Africa, but in our own country as well. If war is going to end, we must find the underlining reason for poverty, economic crisis, hatred and start to heal these wounds first. War maybe be inevitable, but it's not the answer. Healing other countries will take an effort of peace and humanitarian aid. Remember, the Kingdom of God will not come with the sword, but with love.