How Breaking Bad Shows Us Why Obama Is Bad for America

Like many in America, I was drawn to the Breaking Bad series and watched it as it ended in bittersweet fashion last night. But what most people don’t seem to understand is how Breaking Bad can determine our politics.

First, Breaking Bad could be a win for the GOP. The Onion does an excellent job pointing out this big win for the GOP. They show how Obama is killing America and Walter White had no choice to become an insane architect of a worldwide meth empire. (I apologize for the crudeness of the last line of the video, but the overall premise should not be missed).


Story Of Small Businessman Struggling Under Obama Administration Draws To Close
However, at another glance, this could be a win for the Obama administration. As you can see from the comic strip below, Obamacare/Obamasnare would have ended the show at the first episode.

But to be frank, if Obama had his way, we would have never been privy to one of the best television series of all time. The question is, Do you want to live in a world where Breaking Bad would’ve ended on the first episode? My answer is a clear: NO!

Sorry, Obama. You lose.

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An East Coaster to the Pacific Northwest

My family and I were able to visit the Pacific Northwest last month and enjoyed it tremendously. As a native East Coaster, I heard a lot of things about the NW, and some of these things were verified when I was out there. To be fair, we spent a considerable amount of time in Portland with my Uncle Bob and his family and less time in the Seattle area for our friends’ Alison and Jarrett’s wedding. However, I think I can piece together a post with my reflections on what was overstated, properly-stated, and understated about the Pacific Northwest.

Overstated: Fitness. As not only a native East Coaster but native Philadelphian, I have been given the impression that people in the NW are trim and we are fat. Let me say, that’s not the case. I was also given the picture of workout utopia where everyone jogs for a living and drinks tall, non-fat Caramel Macchiatos, hold the Caramel. I was only given a brief, nonscientific look at the workout routines of the NW, but I saw as many people jogging there as I do here.

Properly-statedWeird. Downtown Portland was weird. There’s no way around it. From a culture of young, (intentionally?) homeless musicians to guys selling mini-kites made of wire and diamond-shaped paper, it was a weird place. I’m not saying I didn‘t enjoy it, but I enjoyed it like the zoo (not only the Portland Zoo, which was cool, but all zoos), where I like seeing what was going on but don’t feel particularly called to join in with the locals. This being said, Portlandia (although exaggerated) has the culture down.

UnderstatedScenery. I’ve heard that the Pacific Northwest was a beautiful place, but I felt it was undersold. The mountains and waterfalls are borderline “majestic” (as my wife said to me one day about Mt. Hood). If there is one reason to return (outside of family), it would be this reason. People always complain to me, “Evan, you’re not very outdoorsy, are you?” Uh, yeah, I like that stuff. I want to taste it and enjoy it. Fine, so I don’t want to be a part of it–who cares? But I like it, and I liked the scenery in the NW a lot.

I determined that I am really an East Coaster on this trip, for, while I enjoyed the NW, I was happy to be home, where people are a little more cranky but they’re my family so I love them and wouldn’t want to be without them.

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It is Finished

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30a).

The below is a poetic, responsive reading, which I wrote for the Good Friday service at The Well, reflecting on Jesus’ statement, “It is finished.”


It is finished

It is finished

To the Devil and his minions

To Caesar and his legions

To the High Priest and his oppression

It is finished.

To the compromise of the Sadducees

To the hypocrisy of Pharisees

To the vengeance of the Zealots

It is finished.

To Abraham’s distrust of God’s promise

To Moses’ trek through the wilderness

To Daniel’s struggle in Babylon

It is finished.

To Adam’s morning with the Serpent

To Job’s afternoon with his accusers

To David’s night with Bathsheba

It is finished.

To the woman caught in adultery

To the hungry five thousand

To the dead Lazarus

It is finished.

To Peter his Denier

To Judas his Betrayer

To the Twelve his Deserters

It is finished.

To coldblooded killers

To ruthless dictators

To hatred everywhere

It is finished.

To the prostitute’s pimp

To the child’s molester

To the corner’s dealer

It is finished.

To secret sins of our hearts

To our failure to love our neighbors

To the rejection of our Father

It is finished.

To those who can’t accept him

To those who won’t accept him

To those who dare to accept him

It is finished.

To deceit, anger, malice,

Racism, sexism, murder, greed,

Rape, hypocrisy, adultery;

To failure to rest in God’s grace,

Live in his image,

And accept his promises.

It is finished.

Do you believe it?

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Funny SNL Sketch: What up with that?

Who knew Kenan from Nickelodeon’s All That and Kenan N’ Kel could rise to the world of mature humor?

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Steve Colbert’s “Jesus Is a Liberal Democrat”

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jesus Is a Liberal Democrat
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> March to Keep Fear Alive

Overall, this is so funny! If you haven’t seen it, please watch it.

I hope we do catch some of the underlying things he is saying.

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Advent Booklet 2010

This year I did something adventurous. I decided to put out a guide for the Advent season that includes prayers and readings for the Advent season. I wanted the guide to be an interaction with the Church-past and to somewhat disassociate with the contemporary church to help us remove ourselves from the “mayhem” of our current holiday season.

Advent has been a liturgical season that has blessed my family for a few years now. We have an Advent wreath, light the candles, and pray together each Sunday during Advent. Since Advent has blessed me (and my family) so much, I decided to put something together for our church, Redemption Church, so that others might find the same enjoyment. Most evangelicals don’t observe Advent, I’ve found. I didn’t much when I was growing up, and I am sure many Christians (evangelical and not) are in the same boat. However, I believed such a guide would help followers of Jesus through this season.

Advent is a time of anticipation. In the biblical story, Christ has yet to come at this point. He has yet to be born, and we enter in and identify with this story. I hope this guide is as useful to you as it will be for me.

A few words about the guide:

  • The guide has an introduction to the season and instructions on how to use the guide throughout
  • It was printed and distributed as hard-copies, but here I have provided the PDF. Thus, instead of two pages adjacent to one another, you will have to go about viewing one page at a time.
  • A piece of art reflecting on the Scripture, Scripture readings, a prayer, and recitation are provided for each week of Advent. On Christmas Day, which has been included, there includes some reflection.
  • Each page of the Advent weeks are bordered with the color of the candle to light on your Advent wreath, if you have one (e.g., Week 1 – purple border for purple candle).
  • Finally, the last two pages include practical steps for the Advent season. These are given in hopes of sparking the creation of your own Advent traditions.

Overall, I hope you enjoy the guide, and I pray that God blesses you through his words and voices from the past surrounding this Advent season.

Advent Booklet 2010

God bless!

Evan

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Evan Goes to the Gulf

Graduation: My Fan Club

Graduation: My Fan Club

It was a close call, but Amanda delivered Evan IV on June 24th and, within 48 hours, both were able to attend my commencement from Biblical Seminary. It was a great moment to be able to walk with my class and join in with the graduation festivities. As I heard my name called, I walked up and received what appeared to be my diploma and took my seat. It was not until I was in the lobby afterward that I realized I did not have my physical degree. Instead, there was a note that said something to the effect: “You have not received your degree for one of the following reasons:” and the one that applied to me was incomplete work.

Thus, even though I attended commencement, there is one more requirement to fulfill before I receive my (physical) degree: the Intercultural Ministry Experience (or IME). The purpose of the IME is to develop our understanding of leadership and ministry in a globally-connected age. This involves developing my abilities in intercultural ministry and service, gaining insight into the global church, and opening up opportunities to interact with individuals despite language and cultural barriers.

The majority of my cohort visited Vietnam; however, I was not able to join them due to the (then, pending) arrival of Evan IV. Instead, another cohort member and were given approval by the seminary to do an alternate trip, where we will seek to engage in a similar experience by interacting with a fishing community of Vietnamese immigrants on the Gulf Coast in Bayou la Batre near Mobile, Alabama, from July 12-19th. Our goal will be to engage this community in order to better understand the body of Christ as it manifests itself in a different culture, to understand the journey of an immigrant people as they adjust to life within the United States, and (as the newspapers show) will be assisting these communities through this troublesome time of the BP oil spill.

I will continue to update and reflect on the trip here. I am very excited for this opportunity, and I am not trying to be distracted from my goal there. The chance I have for distraction is great since I really just want to finish so I can have my MDiv in hand, but, if I think like this, I will miss out on this wonderful opportunity God has provided.

Please pray for me and my friend, K.J., as we head out to the Gulf.

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Best commercial on television right now

If you don’t know already, I am a huge soccer fan. The World Cup is approaching (beginning on June 11), and this commercial just makes me even more excited. I think it is the best commercial on television right now.

What’s your favorite commercial on television right now? Of all time?

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Reflection on N.T. Wright, Jesus, Paul and the New Testament Conference (with notes and mp3) #wtc10

N.T. Wright

N.T. Wright

N.T. Wright’s a scholar, but he’s also a pastor. I knew he was a pastor, but it took this past weekend’s “Jesus, Paul and the New Testament: A Theological Dialogue with N.T. Wright” for this to become a reality for me. On Friday night, N.T. Wright (NTW) spoke about one of his areas of expertise–Jesus, who you may have heard about on this blog. NTW spoke about the Greek words that Jesus and Peter use for the word “love.” In John 21:15-17, after Jesus’ resurrection, he speaks to Peter, and the Gospel states,

15When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love (Greek = agape/??????) me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love (Gk. philes/????) you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love (Gk. agape love) me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love (Gk. philes love) you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love (Gk. philes love) me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love (Gk. philes love) you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

If you notice, Jesus twice asks Peter if Peter loves him with agape-love. Peter twice responds, “Lord, you know I do love you with philes love.”  Peter offers Jesus philes love, which is friend-love, but Jesus first wants agape love from Peter. Peter just cannot go that far. He can only give Jesus friend-love. What is interesting, Jesus doesn’t keep pestering Peter waiting for Peter to finally respond, “Yes! Lord! Fine! I love you with agape-love!” Peter couldn’t go that far. So what does Jesus do? He comes down to Peter’s level and meets Peter where he is. In a sense Jesus says, “Ok, Peter. You can only offer me friend-love right now. Ok, then, do you friend-love me?”

Is that awesome?! Jesus comes down to Peter’s level and accepts what Peter can give at that moment.

NTW ends this thought on a note like this, “Maybe there is someone here like Peter today. You can’t give Jesus everything, but only something. Jesus will meet you there.” If you ask me, that reveals the pastoral heart of N.T. Wright, which is what I needed to hear. I have a lot of “head knowledge” from him. I’ve read The New Testament and the People of God. I’ve listened to him talk about Paul’s view of the afterlife. But I really needed something to cut me to the core. And NTW provided that for me this past Friday night.

So, from now on, when people ask me, “Why do you like N.T. Wright so much?” I may just respond with this story.

+++++++

You can read my notes from the majority of the sessions here.

You can listen to and/or watch most of the sessions here.

+++++++

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Re-post: the new, subversive, radical act of…Sabbath?

[As I speak with many college students, I feel like many of them are going crazy because they have jam-packed schedules. And it made me think of a post I wrote November 22, 2008. I think it is extremely relevant for my own life right now, too].

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

-Exodus 20v8-11 TNIV

I think the idea of “sabbath” (or rest) has been lost on many of us, Christians (particularly, in America). We ultimately have fallen into the idea that we (the Church) need to be best, fastest, quickest, coolest, most exciting people because otherwise the world will look elsewhere. I think this is somewhat true, and there is great benefit in attempting to attract the “un-churched” (for lack of a better term). However, in our attempts to be these things, we have inevitably lost sight of the beauty of sabbath, the beauty of rest.

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