Area 51

Area_51Area 51

The first time I knew about ‘area 51’ was when the movie Independence Day portrayed aliens bent on the destruction of earth. These beings had visited the earth before and we met them at the secretive ‘Area 51’. They were ruthless, savage, beings who hated all things human and were bent upon the destruction of what they saw as vermin.

As members of the human race we find it difficult to understand how anyone could be so certain that there is no good in us to the point that we should be destroyed without pity. But this is how these aliens viewed us earthlings.

‘He was in the world, and the world was made through him. Yet the world did not recognize him. He came to his own creation, yet his own people did not receive him.” John 1:10-11.

“Who among you can find fault in me?”(John 8:46) Then why are you plotting to kill Me?” (John 7:19) Though Jesus was light, love and all that is good, pure, unpretentious, and self-sacrificing, He was alien to this world. It seems we felt toward Him similar to how those aliens felt toward earth’s inhabitants. “He came to His own.” Being betrayed by a friend’s kiss, abandoned by friends and family alike, He faced those of He came to save crying “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”.”We don’t want this Jesus. We would rather have this murdering Barabbas among us.” (Matthew 27:21-23) Could nails or spear pierce the heart more than these words uttered by those He loved enough to die for?
Examining my own fragile love, observing how easily I can judge another for less than I myself have done; I think I am one of a race of aliens so extraordinarily different by nature than one such as Christ as to be a member of another race. For me this explains how we could treat Him so badly, so very badly. At the heart of it, this Christ is so different from us. The members of our race seem capable of an endless, sordid list of ever worsening deeds of destruction, torment, greed and self gratification.

Watching the news, witnessing the endless stream of brutality and sordid behavior among us, it is not hard to understand how One such as He could meet such a fate. Perhaps the real surprise is not that we killed Him but that His time among us lasted as long as it did.

Wonder of wonders that He could love endlessly a worm such as me… such as you.

“Oh, love that will not let me go. I rest my weary soul in thee. I give you back the life I owe. And in your ocean depths its flow may richer, fuller be.” (Kurt Kaiser)

Can we mail a dart to Rome?

A little child shall lead them.

A little child shall lead them.

With all the changes in our nation because of Homeland Security, I am wondering if I will have trouble mailing a dart to Rome this week.
Much of the world has transfixed on the office of the Papacy in light of the retirement of Pope Benedict the XVI and subsequent conclave beginning this week to select a new Pope. With every mention of these events has come speculation about who this could be. Because so many inquiring minds want to know, the Vatican has installed a false floor in the Sistine chapel under which will be jamming equipment to shut out outside interference so that the selection process may be more an act of the Holy Spirit rather than human device.
It was this very need to take into account the weakness, subjectivity and potential for the abuse of power which caused those first disciples, including the first pope, Peter, to draw straws to determine which of two qualified candidates would replace Judas Iscariot as the 12th Apostle. In the Old Testament a similar device was employed in order to preclude human frailties in making decisions which should only be made by God Himself. This first appears in Exodus 28:30 where two devices known as Urim and Thummim were mentioned. Though we don’t really know what they were or how they were used, we believe they were used in some way to seek to determine God’s will on a particular matter.
While measures have been taken to protect the 115 Cardinals gathered in Rome from the outside world influencing or determining the selection of the Pope, this method does not protect that decision from the outside influence that resides within the mind and heart of each of these very human Cardinals.
All of us are prone to the same weaknesses and easily see the “splinter” in another’s eye while missing entirely the “log” in our own. Every organization and religious body deals with the same dynamics arising from our fallen human condition. Cardinals, pastors, Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Republicans, Democrats, Americans or Russians we are all alike on the inside.
Now back to the dart. Here is my proposal. Acquire a dart board, say 4′-6′ in diameter and place it on the wall of the Sistine chapel. Place on that dart board the pictures of each of the 115 Cardinals. After this task is completed, open the front doors and find the first child who looks old enough to hold, aim and release this dart (taking measures to protect the priceless works which might be damaged by an errant throw!). Blindfold that child and point them in the direction of the board an appropriate distance away. Whomsoever’s picture they hit becomes pope!
The problem with this approach is that it removes power, politics and human partiality from the decision making process. We want God’s will for our lives … within reason. And that is the problem. Our problem is not knowing God’s will. God earnestly wants for us to know His will, plan and purpose for our lives. God’s plan for our lives will ultimately bring the greatest possible satisfaction. Why won’t we let go of our own plan and embrace the exciting adventure into the unknown God has planned.

How do you keep a magic wand from going off?

magic-wandHow do you keep a magic wand from going off?

I have a magic wand on my desk. I have never used it and I have lost the instruction booklet that came with it. What I remember is that each person who uses it may only use it one time. I bought it six years ago at Hogwarts. Yes, Hogwarts. You may be asking yourself, “Doesn’t he know that Harry Potter is pretend?”
Yes, I do know that but nevertheless, six years ago while touring in England Betsy and I visited Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, Great Britain where filming was done for portions of the Harry Potter movies.
Now back to my dilemma. If I can only use it one time what should I wish for? Here is a list of starters: A new car, new house, money, good job, no job, perfect health, longevity, world peace, etc. But each time I think of something to wish for eventually I realize that it wouldn’t be the best thing to wish for. New cars wear out, new houses age, money gets spent, bad jobs can become good ones and good jobs can turn sour. When money comes does it automatically come with wisdom to use it wisely? When we don’t like our work, can we tell the difference between that being our problem and someone else’s problem?
This morning, speaking with several dozen four year olds in our weekly chapel service I asked them what they would wish for if they only had one wish. (Before you get upset, I explained that this was all pretend). Here is the list in part: A new car, a tractor, for Arthur to come alive, a boyfriend (boyfriend!) more than one little girl wished this. One wise four year old girl said, “For bad people to stop being bad.”. Out of the mouth of babes!
I ended our time together by saying that I wasn’t going to let them touch it because I was afraid it might go off! And anyway, God was the only one who was smart enough to know how to use the thing. I also explained that God loved us very much and that He was more than willing to listen to our requests and that if it was good for us He would be more than happy to give it to us. One of the teachers commented that I should lock it safely away under glass!
We all have a ‘want list’. With our want list let us pray, “Lord, fix my want-er because it is broken and seems to always want the wrong things.”