About Me

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I LOVE God, I have been married for 5 years to a wonderful woman, I am a recent college graduate of Lakeland college with a degree in Religious Studies,I have currently foregone going to Seminary, but feel called to work with teens and young adults and do so at my local church, Vineyard CC, in Grafton, WI.

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Is Harry Potter a Magical Telling of Jesus' Story?

            Saviors, superheroes, synonyms for which humanity seems obsessed with. When you search through our lore, ancient and modern, you can see them throughout, but why? The answer is not cut and dry because it depends on the perspective you take. For some it might be a call for humanity to rise above itself and become something greater then it is, like in Hindu, Buddhism, or humanism; insomuch as these three ideas/religions call for humanity to do the work for themselves with little intervention on God’s part or even the idea that there is no God. However, I am none of these, as you know, I am a Christian and when I see these images I see God calling out to humanity who is calling out to God.

                These Images become a circular conversation between humanity and the divine. They remind humanity of the superhuman power that exist around us in God’s presence and for me, God is everywhere, working with us and through us, lifting us up, walking with us through this life. When I see these images I am reminded of the true superhero, Jesus, and what his story means for our lives. In the story of Jesus we find the perfect merger of the divine and humanity, reconciling all of humanity to the power and wonder of the divine.

                This obsession with understanding our relationship with the divine has most recently been explored in the lore of Harry Potter.  One could argue that a magical wizard could never be used to parallel the story of Jesus, but that is where we get short sighted.  There is nothing evil about Harry Potter and his story is very similar to Jesus’, as most superheroes’ are.

                I would like to make this very clear before I continue. This is not the pagans Jesus. The fact that magic is used does not negate the reality of the parallels and make them less valid. Furthermore, the use of magic does not mean that the parallels drawn were made to make a mockery of Jesus’ story. I would pose that unbeknownst to Rowling, whom I have never spoken to and cannot not quote in any manner of truly feeling this way, wrote this story as an exercise of demonstrating that the good in this world will always conquer the evil, which is in of itself a parallel to the story of Jesus. God works everywhere and in every way, even if we do not know that God is working through us.

                Let us start our exploration with the fact that the story of Harry Potter is an expose for all ages on, how the good in this world will always conquer evil. In every quest Harry defeated the evil in his way. Isn’t that what Jesus has done for us in real life? From the overall theme we can move to more specific examples of Jesus story.

                Probably the most telling is the resurrection of Harry in final book and movie. While Harry had to use magic to pull off this resurrection, Jesus only needed his Godliness to conquer death. Beyond the resurrection is the defeating of the bringer of death, in Harry’s case his name is Voldermort. I would also point out that what we call miracles can be considered magic. Jesus turning water into wine sounds like transfiguration to me.

                My point in all of this is to show you that God continues to work and continues to talk to us. We should never count something out merely because of the medium it uses to tell. If the message is bad, by all means avoid it, negativity breads negativity, but magic and wonder are all around us and are tools of YHWH. I challenge you and will continue to do so always to find new ways that God is talking to you.

As always Peace and many blessings

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lessons learned from a Matisyahu concert

Its been a little longer since my last blog then I would have liked, but I have actually gotten some enjoyment out of the summer in the last couple of weeks. I quiet enjoy being busy, at least being a good kind of busy. In my semi-adventures I had the opportunity to see Matisyahu with some new friends at a musical festival called summerfest. This is a huge festival in Milwaukee, WI with free stages, or as far as free goes when you have to pay to get into the festival, but that is neither here nor there. At the concert I had the pleasure of making my way to the front of the stage in hopes of getting a good view of Matisyahu's performance. What follows are the lessons I learned in the crowd of the Matisyahu concert.

Lesson 1: Follow the Leader. This lesson was learned in our effort to find a place to watch the concert. We designated Kat to lead, since she had been having good luck getting through the heavy crowds throughout the night. I followed her, being equally talented at getting through crowds, being short and wily. Behind me was Kat's husband Adam and another couple with us ( I do not remember their order). As we made our way through KAt and I kept our eyes forward assuming that the rest of our party was right behind us, which they were, that is, until they were sent on a detour by a party of concert goers rolling a joint. It was not until we were too far ahead that we could not see them behind us that we looked back to see if they were behind us. Upon this discovery we both asked each other what we should do and determined that we should press on and find a place to watch the concert.

While we were leading the pack, we did not do a good job of it. Good leaders make sure that everyone stays together and that you all arrive at your destination on time as planned. While we did not have a specific idea of the place that we wanted to stand, other then as close as we could get, we should have made sure that everyone got there. Our motives were purely based on how much fun we were having and not on the actual leading which we were tasked with.

Our leadership should have looked more like following the directions of the ones behind us. Now for those of us who are nonconformists might be scratching our heads as to how this is a lesson because we prefer to be leaders, forging forward, blazing new trails, instead of following one, or asking others input into where we are going, but the truth is following is as much a part of leadership as any other trait you can think of. In Jesus' teachings he often talked of the reversal of roles, where the weak are truly the strong, or how the meek will inherit the kingdom of Heaven. It is in Jesus teaching where we find plenty of encouragement for us to follow as well as lead. If you need direct verses, give the Beatitudes a closer look.

Lesson 2: Become undignified before the Lord, not inhospitable. In 2 Samuel 6:21 - 23 King David speaks to his wife about how his celebration, although undignified for a man of his position, is exactly the kind of celebration that pleases not only God, but also the peasants around him. In other words, King David was not afraid to get down and show God how he appreciated everything God had given him and how he enjoyed all of God's creation. In a crowd, such behavior has a fine line between the celebration that is a pleasing display of God's love and hurtful inhospitality that is not.
Story time. See, in an over exuberant crowd if you make it down in front and find some breathing room you are lucky. Finding a spot such as that is not the end of the story; however, you have to keep the spot and not get pushed out of the way. While we were in the thick crowd of people, Kat and I had to fend off people trying to push there way down further in the front, or people trying to find their party, constantly being jostled around. So a fight did not break out extreme amounts of hospitality had to be extended to your neighbor. You had to respect their space and be willing to give up your own to make room for someone trying to get through, either out of the crowd or deeper into it. If you are like me hospitality also meant protecting smaller people and females from getting run over by the rough current of the crowd. Unfortunately, some people did not do such things and made to ruin the time for others.

Lesson 3: Generosity. The parable of the good Samaritan gives us a good guideline for sharing the things we have with this in need. If you had been in the crowd of the concert you would have seen a many people demonstrating generosity. Puff, puff pass. Enough said.

While these are not all the lessons one could have learned from the concert and being in the thick crowd of people, but I think that is enough for right now. If you have not seen a Matisyahu concert, I suggest you do. If you don't know who I am talking about, I suggest you listen to his music because it is some of the best reggae music you have ever heard and each drop of it is dedicated to his love of YHWH.

For now Peace and God's many blessings