Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Pharisee In Me

I was pondering some things on the way to work today and suddenly stumbled onto this little thought - 'My inner Pharisee'. It seemed to come out of nowhere and so also seemed worthy of some extra musing. I was actually surprised at what came out of it. For a long time I have held the opinion that the modern day Pharisee is one who is zealously legalistic and incessantly judgmental. This also seems to be the view of a lot of other folks I know. Something changed for me today though as I went over it again in my head. The usual demarcation of Pharisee versus guttersnipe (harlot, drunk, tax-collector what have you) suddenly disappeared and when the dust cleared all these people were on the same side of the line. The funny thing was that there were counterparts on the other side of a new line. Not mirrors or muses, but rather former herd-mates of those on the wrong side of the line. Now this all seemed weird because I always saw the guttersnipe crowd as being the ones that Jesus was hangin' with and the Pharisees as the firewood of heaven. It amazes me how shortsighted I can be. I forgot all about Nico. The Pharisee that sat with Jesus one night and got the low down on the kingdom. It seems he was paying attention to what was said because he also was the one who helped take Jesus down from the cross. Hmmm. There were others as well who were not specifically named, but found their way onto the right side of the tracks. Of course there is also the most ferociously right winged Pharisee of them all, Saul/Paul, who also made the leap. Then there were the others on the guttersnipe side like the unrepentant thief on the cross next to Christ. He definitely was heading for a perpetual bad day. Barabbas was another one who probably looked Jesus right in the eye and decided that he preferred the way he was already heading.
All these people have a commonality. It is their ability or inability to listen. Jesus said it to the Pharisees in particular ( probably because they were so close and yet so far which can really piss ya off), that they could not receive the kingdom because they did not think they needed it. More precisely they would not listen to the words of correction Jesus lovingly lofted their way. The thief wouldn't either, and it is safe to say that not every adulterous trollop, philandering barfly or moneygrubbing auditor did.
Jesus hung out with whoever would receive His words and thereby receive Him. His heart went out to all and was received by those who would, no matter their stripe. This should help me on that next walk I take through the pews or the mall.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Time for some family stuff updates.

First up is Sammy's new smile.

He was so happy to finally reach this landmark in his life. We yanked it this morning and put it in a jar so he could add his other teeth as they come out.


The other update is on the current state of the playhouse. Some days I think I bit off more than I could chew in my off hours, but I try to never do things half way. Today we got the window in, started the cedar soffits and sided one wall. These pictures will give you an idea of where we are going with this.



Can't wait till the kids are moved in. Still have the inside to finish; bare walls ready for markers and paint. Should be great.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Love This Stuff

Hey, if you haven't already seen this, check it out here.
This is an article about a Chinese atheist and a Christian evangelist and the book they co-wrote (Riverside Talks: A Friendly Dialogue Between an Atheist and a Christian)documenting their talks about whether there is a God. One of the cool things is that this is the first time a Christian has been allowed to do a book fair and signing in China. It was in Beijing (北京)and very well attended and reported. I feel that even this acceptance is huge. If there is dialogue and openness then there can be change. I am the last person to agree with bashing someone with your faith and this candid approach absolutely tickles me. I love how Mr. Palau's joy in Christ frees him to be totally unabashed about God and yet unapologetic about the need for faith in Him.

Future Date Night Option

I found this site while I was looking through some of the restaurant guides for Shanghai and dreaming of where I will take Cris when we go back. She didn't really get to go to any of these kinds of places and I only went to one. The experience is as important as the cuisine and the cuisine is outstanding. The food there is amazing, and I did not find one restaurant where it was in the least disappointing (except Tony Roma's) (Yes he's there too).
Do yourself a favour and check the site out and look over the menu specialties, see if you wouldn't want to take your sweetie there for a super special night out.

South Beauty

South Beauty 2
This is the entrance to the restuarant on Taojiang Road.

South Beauty 3
A shot of the inside of the Taojiang restuarant.

South Beauty 4
This one is at the Super Brand Mall and has a view out over the Huang River to the lights of the Bund.

It will be so nice to treat Cris out to something like this, but I have to stop now because she said it isn't fair to her tummy to talk like this and not be able to eat like that.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What's The Point???

It seems to be so easy to get off center that sometimes I need to ask myself what is the point of it all. All the things I do and all the things I dream, all the stuff in between and all the stuff right in front of me. It is very difficult to be consistently in a space of knowing, and living, out of the knowledge of my purpose for being here. It is unclear where the fog comes from, but it always rolls in and before I can get an industrial strength fan to blow it off, it has enveloped me and all my perceptions.
It really isn't all bad though. Whenever you get into a fog or a deep dark place there is one sure reaction to it. OK, maybe two, the first being panic. After this there is the need to find a central point of familiarity from which to determine the way out of the blindness. When you are walking around the house at night and the power goes out the first thing you do is rub your shin where the coffee table got you and then start finding your bearings according to your knowledge of the layout of the place. This is the time when you discover how well you were paying attention when the lights were on.
The same thing happens in life. All the lights go out and you bleed from the bumps in the night as you seek to find your center to guide you out of it all. Pity us when we are in a place we are not familiar with, which is most often the case. Weep for us if Christ is not the center we reach for to guide us out into the light.