Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Little Note of Clarification

Someone asked me after hungry sunday night if I was a communist... so I thought I better clarify something I said.

This was in the context of talking about cultural barriers to true community and describing our world as a broken world, with the manifestation of that brokenness coming in the form of selfishness. I said that our economic and political systems in America depend on people being broken. Capitalism depends on people being selfish and most concerned about their own interests. Properly regulated, the system tends to bring out the best of people's work ethic and creativity because they are given the opportunity to satisfy their needs and desires. Nothing wrong with the system, it's a really smart idea and the guys that founded our country took God at His Word when He said we are inherently broken and selfish. They set up a system that plays to it and keeps it in check at the same time.

I believe communism fails because, in my limited understanding of it, it depends on people being good. It depends on individual sacrifice in favor of the community. It depends on consolidated power not being abused. And we as a people aren't good, we're broken.

In the context of the message, capitalism doesn't do much to foster community, however. In fact, it probably feeds our selfishness and inhibits us from experiencing real community. We're trained to focus on our own needs/desires. We're bombarded with messages that distort the meaning of the word 'need'. There a disincentive to materially help the people around us because it takes away from our own accumulation of stuff. The American Dream is to have more and better than the generation before. It's our birthright as Americans.

But it doesn't say anything about sacrificing stuff we 'desire' so that our neighbor can have stuff they need, and that's part of community. And it contributes to the epidemics of busyness, superficiality (is that a word?), individuality, and the desire for instant gratification that effect us all more than we probably realize. I believe this gives the church the chance to be truly counter-culture if we could live out the form of community that God designed us for.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

Ok, if you know me, you know how much I love my boys and I love the fact that when Bobbi-Jo works I get to stay home with them, but they're driving me up one wall and down the other today. Since they got up they've either been whining, fighting, or doing something I've asked them not to do (except that Michael actually pooped on the poddy... but even then he clogged it up). It's been a pretty frustrating day.

I have a tendency to over-spiritualize stuff on my blog, but I really do wonder if God gets as frustrated with me as I do with my kids. I have trouble resolving God's wrath in Scripture. It seems like He loses it sometimes and I don't envision God like that. Maybe I have trouble understanding His anger because I have trouble expressing my own. Who knows.

On a brighter side, I have a really sweet beard (my family hasn't seen my beard yet). And I had a kickin' omellete for lunch. Chopped up and sauteed some beer-boiled bratwurst from last night along with some onions (until they were carmelized), and threw that in an omellete with some shredded cheddar/monterey jack. Dang! For someone from Wisconsin it doesn't get better than beer, bratwurst and cheese.

Monday, March 13, 2006

My dream home...

Hot and cold running beer...

OSLO (Reuters) - A woman thought she was in heaven when beer instead of water flowed from the taps in her apartment in west Norway.

"I turned on the tap to clean some knives and forks and beer came out," Haldis Gundersen told Reuters from her home in Kristiansund, west Norway. "We thought we were in heaven."

Beer in Norway is among the most expensive in the world with a 0.4 liter (0.7 pint) costing about 50 crowns ($7.48) in a bar.

Gundersen said she tried the beer but that it tasted a bit odd and was not fizzy.

It turned out that a worker in a bar two floors below had mixed up the pipes on Saturday evening, wrongly connecting a new barrel to a water pipe leading to Gundersen's flat. The bar got water in its beer taps.

"If it happens again I'm going to order Baileys (coffee liqueur)," she said.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

My Trip to the Dentist

Why do I feel guilty every time I go to the dentist? My mouth is full of fillings I got when I was a teenager and I still feel like it somehow marks me as a bad person, like I didn't brush my teeth enough. My mom didn't even let us eat sugar cereals growing up. Jason's wife said she went to the dentist today too and got her second cavity ever, and she felt like there was something wrong with her.

I probably had a reason to feel guilty today... I haven't been to a dentist in 3 years. But that's because the last time I went the lady told me I needed 4 crowns that would cost about $3200 and I had no idea how much my insurance would cover but I knew I didn't have what I needed to pay the rest and I would get a second opinion on anything before spending that much money on it anyway. It just took me 3 years to find another dentist and get a second opinion. Turns out I was right. This guy today told me my back fillings would probably hold out for years before I needed crowns.

It probably comes down to flossing. We feel guilty because there are like 8 people in the world who actually floss all the time. I don't floss because it doesn't seem like the problem is where the floss goes. I mean, my fillings are on the top of my teeth, not where I floss. So what's the big deal about flossing? I have a theory that the people who actually floss are the same people that are really good at praying (confession: I'm not good at praying, either). I think that because it takes faith to do either because it doesn't feel like either is doing much good at the time you're doing them. If you read this, I'd like to know if you actually floss... and what your prayer life is like. My own little research study.

I read once that dentists have one of the highest suicide rates of any occupation. That makes sense. If somehow just going to the dentist can induce all these incoherent and irrational thoughts in me, it must screw up someone even more to be on the receiving end of them every day.