Thursday, June 3, 2010

Will Your Trivial Pursuits Profit You in the End?

It came to my attention today that a co-creator of the Trivial Pursuit board game died recently at the age of 59:


Chris Haney, a former Canadian journalist whose fascination with entertaining, barely useful tidbits of information led him to co-create the bestselling board game Trivial Pursuit, died May 31 at a Toronto hospital. He was 59.
He had kidney and circulatory problems, said Scott Abbott, who created the game with Haney more than 30 years ago and watched it become a cultural phenomenon across North America and around the world.
[...]
The game's success allowed Mr. Haney to indulge his passion for golf. With Abbott, he built Devil's Pulpit and Devil's Paintbrush in Ontario; they were named the best new golf courses in 1991 and 1992, respectively, by Golf Digest magazine. Mr. Haney spent every winter in Marbella, Spain, sailing there on an ocean liner because he was averse to flying. 
I have no idea of the state of Mr. Haney's soul, but I do know he has faced the God who created Him and has judged Him in perfect righteousness. I also know you and I will one day face that same God to whom we owe perfect love and obedience.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Jesus, A Love That Waits, and the Hope of Resurrection

Reading through John 11 recently, the following passage stuck out at me (John 11:1-15):


11:1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus [1] was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
Jesus loved Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Yet rather than drop everything he was doing to rush to Lazarus or even to heal him from a distance like he did the son of the official from Capernaum (John 4:46-54), Jesus waited an additional two days before setting out for Bethany.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

'I Ain't Been Nuttin' But Bad' or Why I Need the Gospel for Christmas

I'm gettin' nuttin' for Christmas
Mommy and Daddy are mad
I'm gettin' nuttin' for Christmas
'Cuz I ain't been nuttin' but bad

So echoes the humorous chorus to a humorous song penned in the 1950s in which a bratty boy rattles off in verse his various sins of commission coupled with his refrain that "somebody snitched on me" before issuing an admonition to fellow and would-be rotten brats:
So you better be good whatever you do
'Cause if you're bad, I'm warning you,
You'll get nuttin' for Christmas.

It's a funny song, but it made me think of how it's a great springboard to discuss the Gospel.

After all, the Bible tells us about how we've been "nuttin' but bad" and how that badness is pervasive, stemming from the very core of our being and manifesting in numerous sins that are fruits thereof. Simply put, we sin because we are sinners, we do bad things because we are bad: [Romans 3:10-20;22b-23]:

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Taking Your Idol with You to the Grave

Literally.

From Sunday's Washington Post front page:

Joe Kelly won't go as far as calling Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course a burial ground.
But the 91-year-old track historian is quite sure that Willie Doyle, who rode Effendi to victory in the 1909 Preakness, isn't the only guy whose remains are mingled with the turf where the great Seabiscuit and War Admiral famously battled.

"Oh yeah, it has happened fairly often, including a couple of bettors who were very well known," Kelly says. "They figured they'd spread their money around there; may as well spread their ashes."

While Doyle's choice of Pimlico's finish line as his final resting place is among the more colorful episodes in horseracing lore, it's hardly unique. From baseball parks to football stadiums to golf courses, sporting venues regularly field requests to scatter a loved one's cremated remains at the pitcher's mound, under a goal post or on a fairway overlooking the sea -- anywhere a sports hero has trod and triumphed.
Death is the ultimate reminder of our limitations, our creature-ness, if you will. We all are headed there and all will give an account to our Creator, yet without a changed heart, we will cling tenaciously to our idol(s) of choice, even to the cold recesses of the grave.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spinning the Generalities

Today's Non Sequitur comic strip drew a chuckle from me and has a theological hook, as it were, so I thought I'd include both:


How true. Confronted with God's holy law we try to justify ourselves by narrowly defining it to such an extent that we pass the test.

Under divine inspiration, the Apostle Paul wrote about this very thing in his letter to the Romans:

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Monday, October 26, 2009

A Pitiful Answer

This past weekend I ventured with my wife up to New York City. On Saturday as she hung out with her sister who had taken the bus down from Boston, I ventured around Lower Manhattan, taking in the sites, including Trinity Church, a historic Episcopal parish on the corner of Broadway and Wall Street.

I walked around the graveyard and admired the beautiful architecture and art both inside and outside the church. I love seeing how God is glorified in the beautiful artwork that adorns sacred spaces intended for the heralding the Gospel.

But of course, the Episcopal Church USA these days is not generally -- especially in liberal urban centers -- a fearless defender or even proclaimer of the historic Christian faith, so it was a bittersweet visit, all the more confirmed by a visit this evening to the "What We Believe" Web page for Trinity.

It was the following portion from the FAQ that prompted this blog entry and its title, because anyone who believes the answer the parish provided is truly to be pitied:

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Adoption: God's Work, Our Identity

Last night as my wife and I hosted our small group for fellowship, something struck me about the passage preached on Sunday, Galatians 4:1-7. The Lord brought to my attention that the action verbs in the passage were all performed by God (see portions in bold), with the result being the blessing of our identity -- notice the verb "to be" in italics -- as adopted children of God.

The one action verb undertaken by those of us in Christ (shown in bold and italics) is that of receiving God's gift!:

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