Jury Duty on earth

24 09 2008

Yesterday I participated in my civic duty as a Collin County resident in the state of Texas.  I had to show up to the local court house and wait to see if my name got called for one of the 2 jury panels needed for the day.  It wasn’t.  They took the first panel of 25 right away.  Then we all sat there while one woman worked with 8 or 9 different people to either postpone their service or cancel it altogether due to some affliction or another (I didn’t really understand the ones that were allowed to leave without rescheduling because the summons I received in the mail clearly spelled out every acceptable reason to get out of jury duty – all they had to do was mark the appropriate box, send it in and then just not show up).  Anyway, she finally got around to calling the second panel of potential jurors and then let everyone else go home.

So, what did I do while I sat there waiting?  I read a few pages in the book “Jesus for President” by Shane Claiborn and Chris Haw.

Consider the irony of these words that I read as I sat in a courtroom waiting to see if I would be selected on a jury to decide the fate of an accused criminal:

Some might read the popular phrase, “My kingdom is not of this world,” and mistakenly think that Jesus

meant, “My kingdom is not in this world.”  But Jesus was speaking more about essence than location.  In other words, he was talking about the “real world.”

Jesus said this while on trial for insurrection.  His kingdom had finally collided with the kingdoms of Herod and Pilate, and they wanted answers.  Since Jesus’ birth, he had been at odds with the establishment.  They wanted him dead ever since the rumors about the other King of the Jews.  Because of this Jesus had, for the most part, stayed on the fringes of public life, insisting that the kingdom he preached and represented be undetectable to the powers.  But now he had paraded into the center of power, flipped over its tables, and hosted a public and critical teach-in, creating the conditions for his arrest.  Now under government control he is questioned:

Are you the king of the Jews?”

“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

“Am I a Jew?”  Pilate replied.  “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me.  What is it you have done?”

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.  If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders.  But now my kingdom is from a different place.”

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king.  In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.  Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate…

From then on Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar.  Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out … “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews…

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

John 18:33-38; 19:12-15.

…His Kingdom is not of this world because it refuses power, pledges a different allegiance, and lives love. In a world where truth had become smothered and rulers don’t even know what it is anymore, Jesus embodies a truth that will set us free – even Pilate.

That’s the kingdom I want to be a part of.  Reading those words while sitting in a Collin County courthouse just drove home the point.

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Pro-Life / Pro-Death

24 06 2008

Pro Life

I read this article yesterday.  It’s an interesting write-up on the “young” evangelical voting group and their Shane Claiborne - The Irresistable Revolutionpotential impact on the upcoming election.  (I place the word “young” in quotations because the article ranges this group between 18-29, but I still consider myself in the young christian crowd at 31:)).  The article is interesting to me for a variety of reasons.  One reason is that it references Shane Claiborne – author of an outstanding book I read a few months ago called The Irresistable Revolution – Living as an Ordinary Radical.  (If you haven’t read this book, please buy it and read it).

But there was something else in the article that really caught my attention that I want to focus on for this post.  Speaking about this “young” evangelical group of voters, the author of the article said:

“Most favor stricter laws to protect the environment, for example, an issue not typically associated with Republican platforms, yet remain conservative on issues like opposition to abortion and support for the death penalty.”

OK, does this bother anyone else?  This is something that has perplexed me for quite a long time.  How can anyone be an opponent of abortion and a proponent of capital punishment at the same time?  How can you call yourself pro-life and yet support something called the death penalty?  These two hot-button issues seem to be completely at odds with each other.  But, it always amazes me the number of people I know who are pro-life and pro-death at the same time.

Of course, I do understand there is a fundamental difference between the life of an innocent unborn baby and that of a death-row convict.  But, is there really a difference in the value of their lives?  Does God love one more than the other?  I personally don’t think so.  I think God loves each human being the same and the value of our lives stems from that love.  So, in my pro-life way of thinking, I can’t make a distinction between the killing of unborn babies and the killing of rapists and murderers.  To me, killing is wrong no matter the target.





witticisms from a 4 year old

9 06 2008

Our 4 year has had his share of witticisms over the last few days.  Just thought I would share.

Witticism #1

A friend of our boys was playing with them at our house late last week.  They were playing some game in the playroom that required a coach, and our 4year old had designated himself as that coach.  All of a sudden, he took off running to the back of the house as fast as he could.  As he ran around the hallway corner he said, “I’m the coach, and the coach needs to go poop!”

My wife laughed at that little witticism and IM’d me so I could have a chuckle, too.  A few minutes later, he calmly walked out of the bathroom and stated, matter of factly, “The coach is done going poo-poo.”  What a guy!

Witticism #2

I was combing his hair Sunday morning in an effort to get him ready to go to church.  I said to him, “I wish I had hair like yours.”

To which, he replied, “Yea, me, too.”

I said, jokingly, “You already have hair like yours.”

He stated, exasperatedly, “No, not me!  I wish you had hair like mine, too!”

Witticism #3

On the way home from church Sunday afternoon, our boys were telling their cousins about our cabin in Minnesota .  My wife explained to them that our family is going to the cabin in a few weeks, and that our 4 year old is going to stay behind with his grandparents for several more weeks.  Our niece and nephew seemed concerned and in disbelief that we were going to leave our 4year old behind in Minnesota .  So our 4 year old simply stated, “I have to be with my grandparents because I LOVE THEM!!!!”





Boys bedtime

29 05 2008

On the nights I put my boys to bed, I pray this prayer with them:

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank you for this day.  Thank you so much for all your many many blessings.  Thank you so much for little (4yrold) and little (2yrold) and little (babydueinaugust).  We love our kids soooo much…help them to know how much we love them, Lord.  Help them to know how much you love them, Lord.  Help them to grow and meet their milestones, Lord, on time.  I pray that they would remain happy, healthy, and strong.  And, Lord, above everything else, I pray that they would learn to love you and follow you and know you as their personal Lord and Savior.  And help them to show others around them your love.  Lord, I pray that they would have a good night’s sleep tonight.  Help us to all get the rest that our bodies need.  Help our boys to know that they are safe in their beds tonight.  Amen

At some point during the prayer my 4 yr old always reminds me to pray for his uncle and for whoever else may be on his mind that day and I do that or I pause while he does it himself.  And, my 2 year old usually bows his head and prays “Jesus….food….Amen”.

When I tuck my 4 yr old in bed, I always ask him the following three questions:

Do you know I love you?

Are you going to sleep tight tonight?

Are you going to have sweet dreams?

When I tuck my 2 yr old in, I always say, “You know you got a daddy who loves you?….and, I mean, I love you biiiig time, dude”.

I don’t know why this has become our routine.  But, it has, and I think we all like it.  I know I do.





Jubilee Kids Club

17 05 2008

Jubilee Kids ClubToday my family and I along with some other friends of ours spent a couple of hours at a homeless shelter in Mckinney, TX called The Samaritan Inn.  The program that we are involved in is called Jubilee Kids Club and it is under the umbrella of an awesome non-profit organization called Retread.

The Jubilee Kids Club program is simple – show up to the shelter and play with the kids for a couple of hours.  These kids are dying for love and attention and their parents are often dying for a break.  For 2 hours one Saturday each month, we give them each what they are dying for.

The time we spend there goes by so fast and everyone has so much fun.  Today was our biggest turn out to date by far.  We had 14 kids show up and most of them were ages 4 and under.  But, I tell you, all those little personalities bring so much joy to ours lives.

I really want my kids to know what it means to show God’s love to those around them.  I think by volunteering our time for just 2 hours a month is one small way that we can do just that together as a family.  It is truly inspirational to me when my kids get home and talk about their friends at the Inn by name and they look forward to the next time they can see them.

We have made a special bond with one family in particular.  They are a single parent home with 4 kids ages 5, 3, 2, and 6mo.  My 4 year old made fast friends with their 5 year old and the same with the 2 year olds.  Last time we were there, the mom told us that we probably wouldn’t see them again because they had found a place to move into.  We were so happy for them…and yet sad that we may never see them again.  Today we showed up and were surprised to see the family still living there.  We asked about it and the mother told us that the home they had hoped to move into had fallen through.  We were happy to see them, but sad that things hadn’t worked out for them.

Here’s hoping that they aren’t there next month.

If you live in the North Texas area and would like to get involved, please leave a comment and I will put you in touch with the right people.