Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What's in a name?

Just had one of those wow discoveries today. I was reading Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw's "Jesus For President" for the second time, and came across their overview of the Exodus story. I am assuming you all know about this one. Both the old Ten Commandments movie staring Charlton Heston, and the Disney movie Prince of Egypt try and tell the story.

But as I was reading I discovered something I have never seen before:

Pharaoh's name is never given. Pharaoh is not a name, its a title. In the story we meet Moses, Aaron, Miriam but we never really meet the real Pharaoh, all he is, is a title.

So what does that have to do with anything? Well, if I told you this story, about the oppressive nation, and the leader of this nation that continued to hold a large majority of the nation in slavery, and poverty. But never named the guy, what does that do to the story? If I said the president, then did this, the president then did that, a very common response would be which president. Since this was not written as a newspaper article, but as religious history, a name would be expected.

But when we read this story, we find that a nation, and the nations highest office, is the hands that hold Israel in slavery. It is not an individual, but a corporate identity and its high office. And who opposses this nameless face of the corporate evil? An elderly shepherd, and fugitive from justice, who was dispossessed by the same corporate evil as a child. This is not a battle with an individual, but as the bible says later in Ephesians, but with principalities, and powers, and the rulers of darkness.

God delivers from the oppressive system, headed by an office that has been corrupted by the very power that was given him. In one of his essays, Noam Chomski says something like, "the problem with power, is that once you have it, you are forced to defend it" Pharaoh was not just a man, with a family, but the power of all of Egypt, and could not let that be compromised. He even loses his family in the process.

Hope that made some small amount of sense, makes lots of sense in my head.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My own worst enemy

A few days ago someone told me that I am my own worst enemy. Not sure exactly what was meant by that in this particular case but it got me thinking...

Am I my own worst enemy?

Well, yeah I am. My ego, my insecurities, my own sense of entitlement they all conspire against me being more, being the change I want to see in the world. My anger, that only today flared up at a man who caused me to take an entire five seconds longer to cross an intersection. My own desires, my own greed, my own aspirations are all keeping me from being who I was made to be.

And if we go further, (without delving too far into the nature vs nurture thing), my hard default thinking that might makes right, the trust in redemptive violence, and oppression. It is at war with the creative intent of God, and the example and path of Jesus. Isn't this what Paul meant when he said in Romans Chapter 7:

21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

In the end I think we are all our own worst enemies. Maybe our own harshest critics, as well. Luckily, there is a Father, that delights in us, even in our frailties, failures and falling.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My old neighborhood

even the grocery stores are hard.



the gun shop

So a very good friend of mine likes to shoot paper targets, and even competes doing so. So when we were in the neighborhood, of one of his favorite shops, he wanted to stop by. So rather than wait in the car I went in with him. Now, it was actually pretty comical at first. There were three chevy trucks in the parking lot. Two of the guys in the store were older, fat, long bearded rednecks, and another was a cholo gangster looking guy.

But as I looked around, and saw all of the weapons, I got more and more upset. There were only a small handful of hunting rifles, it was all handguns and assault rifles. Everything in there was designed to kill people. And everyone was walking around like kids in a candy store. I just couldn't stand it anymore, I walked out and waited outside.

I said a prayer, and worried about the world. Violence is king. Luckily, I belong to a different kingdom, one of peace.


Saturday, August 02, 2008

From Nazarite to lex luther (a facial evolution)

I will write more about my experience in the future but I just thought I would post the pictures of my process. This is after three months of not shaving or cutting the hair.

this was me after the vow

this is me with my head shaved but a full beard, like the antagonist in Ironman.

But I like to call it the white Kimbo Slice

this is prison John, not for the feint of heart

This one is a special one for my aussie friends, it is called simply the

and last but not least,

this one is called bow chicka bow wow

and ode to a kinder and gentler time

I will post the clean shaven pictures later today.