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.





Jesus for President

18 07 2008
Jesus 4 Prez tourbus

Jesus 4 Prez tourbus

Last night my buddy Kyle from Retread and I went to see Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw on their “Jesus for President” book tour.  It was a very unique experience.  I really enjoyed it.  They have unique political ideas that are refreshing to me.  I bought their book and started reading it when I got home.  Can’t wait to really get into it.  Here is a more complete review by my friend.

The evening was definitely something different than I have ever experienced before.  Two guys basically standing up together going through the entire human story.  All throughout, there were musical interludes by the Psalters, a very unique musical talent which is very hard for me to describe – kind of celtic or chanty and middle eastern or indian.  It was pretty special.

Check out www.jesusforpresident.org/tour to see if you can catch these guys coming to your town.





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.