Flights of Faith

Sunday, December 31, 2006



Prophetic Dangers

I like literary prophecy. Give me the Greek Mythology stuff. The “invincible” Macbeth. Even good ‘ol Harry. In fact, the chronicling of Potter’s prophecy has been the highlights of Rowling’s sour efforts of late. Heightened in ‘Order,’ the prophecy found in the Department of Mysteries appears to be the vehicle to take us through the next two books. Harry vs. Voldemort. No more Neville theories. Vader-like redemption is unlikely. Still, it was a bit rudimentary and did nothing for Rowling’s critics that decry the books as a mere mixture of our age’s great fairy tales, legends, and religious themes. Then in ‘Prince,’ Rowling broke the prophecy revealing that it was self-fulfilling. Voldemort is driven by pride and hatred. Of course, he will try to kill Harry at any cost. Why else did he choose Potter’s blood for the resurrection? And as Harry matures, he is going to realize peace will only come from Voldemort’s demise. For the world, possibly. But especially for himself. No more hurting scar. No more nightmares. In this case, reality and common sense trumps prophecy. I was transfixed by this. It did not matter. There are bigger things at stake.

Enter Christian prophecy. Let me state upfront. I think it is real and most has already happened. Reading Isaiah 53 gives me chills. The completed prophecy is another comfort for Christians that the prophets confirmed Jesus as our Savior. And that Christ has been working in the world since his ascension. Soothing.

But as the third prophetic sermon I’ve heard today plays in the background, I am a bit troubled.
More than a bit, actually.

Although all three sermons were labeled as ones on “prophecy,” the 300 or so that came true with Jesus’ life and death are mentioned but are not the focus. These sermons are on “end time prophecy.” Found mostly in Ezekiel and Revelations, these verses are rich with imagery and largely ambiguous. Just as generations before us have “read” the world to fill in the nations and events spoken about, I believe each age is meant to “get ready” but only one will witness see the prophecies fulfilled despite the closeness each age assumes.

Things get off track, for me, when prophecy transforms from a private hobby to something taught to a congregation. This becomes incredibly tricky since biblical prophecy can be interpreted as modern Zionism, and I do not think Christians should be spoon-fed this Zionism rhetoric without learning the whole story. In the three sermons I heard today along with my memory of messages like this, Palestine is only referred to as a problem. A tension that might bring about “wars and rumors of wars.” Where are the facts revealing suffering people live there that, at the very least, deserve our prayer? Instead, many churches just send checks to the state of Israel. Not earmarked for Christian development in the Holy Land or children’s funds or recent immigrant foundations. Just the government. I have been told a church did this with a million dollars. I think this is motivated by loose prophecy and misinterpretations of verses. A famous verse in this endeavor is Genesis 12:3. It often appears as “Blessed are those who bless Israel. Cursed are those who curse Israel.” Here is what my Bible [NIV] lists Chapter 12 as saying:

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people, and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.
2I will make unto you a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing.
3I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

Now, I don’t see it as saying the same thing. While this personally means I need to engage with the rest of the Bible and think harder, I am not so sure everyone rejects the initial offering of information to seek and pray themselves.

This is what is dangerous. A church member is instantly politicized. The church becomes intrinsically divisive. And even though all three preachers cried again and again that the headlines were from the secular media. The seers always make the prophecies or events resembling them true. Their actions always do. The preacher withholds human concerns in these regions and creates modern-day heroes and villains as if their actions will bring about Jesus. They silently ask us to support the hero and ignore or target the “enemy.”

Projected heroes. Projected villians. Present-day consequences.
To Be Continued.

Labels: , , ,

Best of the last 528,600

Everyone has their ‘Best of 2006’ lists. FoF is no different.
Great year for movies. Spectacular year for TV. Music struggles.

Top Movies
*The Fountain – Perhaps, the most beautiful film I’ve ever seen. At times, I wanted to close my eyes because I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be seeing what was onscreen. Mind-blowing.
*Dreamgirls – Despite inevitable flaws, this movie soars because its real-life journey to the stage and screen is wrapped up in the scenes and songs.
Little Miss Sunshine – Sincerity and heart can take you a long way. Brilliant performances and an honest film.
Cars - Possibly, my favorite Pixar film. Lasseter is a genius.
Superman Returns – Tackles tough issues that prove CK/Supes’ depth. Stunning visuals.
Glory Road – Had no expectations. Not only does the white coach avoid acting as a savior, but the film also promotes racial justice not just diversity.
The Pursuit of Happyness - Smith knocked it out. It was like my dad was onscreen.
*Apocalypto – Incredibly problematic film. But Gibson and the protagonist delivered cinematically.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – Better with popcorn. Everyone’s morality has been tested and no one is on solid ground. Yet, we are rooting for all of them. One of the few popular franchise where this is true. That’s why it could still be great.
Lucky # Slevin – Slick. Lucy Liu is my girl. Hartnett and Willis were solid. Underrated.

Honorable Mentions: Akeelah and the Bee – Good: An actor’s film with heart. Bad: Horrible Asian stereotyping while trying to free blacks of their own generalized bondage.
MI:III – J.J. wrote an Invisible Man joke. ‘Nuff said.

Biggest disappointments: Lady in the Water, X-Men 3, Pirates 2 (the potential!), Talledega Nights, Casino Royale (worst of 2006. I know, I’m the 4th person to hate it) Stranger Than Fiction.

Top TV Shows
*The Boondocks (Season 1) – Satire that works! Who knew? ‘Guess’ and the pilot turned me off but the rest was clever and entertaining.
30 Rock (Season 1) – The better SNL show. And one of the best on TV.
Heroes (Season 1) – X-Men revisited. Most improved. A fun ride.
Lost (Seasons 2+3) – J.J. can’t really do wrong in my book.
Six Degrees (Season 1) – Thus, his soapy ‘on hiatus’ show appears on my list.
Veronica Mars (Season 2) – Rob Thomas is a smart man. He rewrote the first season though in his second outing. His wrap up of that is why Season 3 is not listed.
Alias (Season 5) – Again, J.J. Hopefully, Garner will fine work of this caliber again.
Smallville (Season 5) – What can I say? It got good again. R.I.P. Jonathan Kent
Scrubs (Season 5) – Donald Faison deserves the nominations. Moving on.
The Office (Seasons 2+3) – Awkward turtle every two seconds? Sign me up.

Top Music (Not that much for albums these days…but)
Nelly Furtado- Loose - Yes, she changed. No, it’s not for the worst. Reverse Jewel.
Beyonce – B’Day – Most inventive album not produced by Timbaland.
John Mayer – Continuum – He’s trying to be an artist. Kudos.
Keane- Under the Iron Sea – Need to bottle that sound.
Corinne Bailey Rae – Every year deserves an unknown beautiful black starlet. 2006 is no different.
Dreamgirls Soundtrack – The Underdogs are on my radar. Music 101.

*Future entries

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Sacrificial Giving: What Are We Doing to Demonstrate Merciful Love and Justice?

"Remember, the true meaning of Christmas is in the giving."

Even when family specials try to inject social consciousness into the season they miss the central theme of Christmas: sacrifice. The nativity is always remembered as a beautiful and poignant scene. Under the innocence of first snow, we remember a child being born. Although that picturesque scene is imagined, we know that Jesus' birth is the beginning of God's most painful contract with us.

Letting Himself be mortal, His death is assured displaying His Justice.
This death allowing humans eternal life demonstrates His Mercy.

Without these two things, Christianity could not operate. God could not fully Love. God could not demand Justice.
With his life and death, they become the same thing.
Love is Justice.
We can love through justice.

It's simple.
Though the world makes it complicated.
How do we find our nativity scene and our cross?
The places that we can show love and justice.
What experiences do we have that would enable us to burn with passion in the name of both causes?

I'm beginning to find my place.
Hopefully, you will see that in my future entries.
As I wrestle with the world, it is nice and, in fact, necessary to have my nativity scene.
Friends giving warm wishes goodbye and embraces with family that collapse time apart when our hearts collide.
His Love is everywhere.

But so is injustice.
And the cross.
To simply indulge in one aspect of God's love is selfish.
In this way, maybe the nativity and the cross make the most sense.
Balancing a desire for Love with the need to spread it through Justice,
We are constantly searching for an Inspired Combination to draw from.

Happy birthday, Jesus.
And thanks.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Story of this semester.
I'll explain later.

The point of this post is to say that I'm back and that I'm sorry for the delay.
I don't believe for a second that people have been waiting for me to blog again.
Still, I dislike my absence and wish to correct it.

I have plenty to say, and you will hear a lot from me in the coming weeks.
After that, I hope to find a way to incorporate this blog into my regular college routine.

In a little throwback to the Jerusalem days, here are the entries in progress making my brain sizzle.
Which ones do you want to see first?

The List:
Gwen Stefani: Get "it", Girl! Me: Is "it" catchy music using ridiculous simples or modern day minstrel shows using Japanese women? Sorta makes a difference.
My Semester by the Numbers
Borat was a smart social commentary without any problems...NOT
The Night Elie Wiesel Disappointed Me
Forgetting History and More Lessons I Learned from Leaders of Countries
On Everything Being Equal
Black Religion
What I Wrote This Semester
Kramer, please.
Anti-Racism is the Future or Civil War in 50 odd years
Failed Arguments by Likely Racists
Weighing Disney
Racist. The New N-Word? Some think so.
What I Would Say if You Tased Me Unjustly (before and after the screams)
Classes Fall 2006: 14 Weeks into a Sentence
The Fake Multicultural Society
X Marks the Spot or A Tale of Two Marks
America Recalls the President...Christians too!

Let me know.

Back to The Underground,