Thursday, February 11, 2016

Why You Probably Shouldn't Go See Deadpool...

Clearly, blogging on a regular basis is not one of my favorite things to do.  Having said that, I apologize if it only seems like I post about something that I'm fighting or standing against.  I believe it is more important to fight for things, than it is to always be fighting against something.  At the same time, I'm a youth pastor, and I don't feel like I'm doing my job, if I'm not helping parents make the best decisions possible for their middle & high school students.  So, as much as I will probably upset some of my teenagers with this post, I would rather help them challenge what they're comfortable with, than stand aside and allow the media & Hollywood to inject pure garbage into their hearts & minds.  They can be upset with me, hate that I potentially ruined their weekend plans, or be irritated that I gave their parents a good reason to care about what their watching - but for anyone that knows my heart, they know I'm not just out a "soap box crusade".  To me, this is more than just about whether or not a movie is popular, funny, or "cool", it's about whether or not we are pursuing the things that are unwholesome, unholy, and blatantly inappropriate, or pursuing the things that are worth standing up for.

While I am normally not one to post or send out direct movie reviews, I feel that this one particular movie deserves a fair warning, before it's too late.  Please understand, that it is not my intention to control or manipulate the choices that you make as parents, regarding what you allow your students to do and watch.  However, I do feel a great sense of responsibility to make you aware of the content of this particular movie, so that you can make the best possible decision for your family.

The movie in question is the Marvel Comics based film, Deadpool.  Trust me when I say, that this movie does not follow the normal formula for content & appropriateness, that the recent trend of superhero movies have in the past several years (most of which, I am a fan of).  In fact, this film is based on a character that is highly vulgar, violent, and inappropriate himself, even in the comics.  A quick look at the MPAA rating for this flick, should raise enough questions on it's own, as to whether or not this movie is right for any member of your family, especially children & teens.  The International Movie Database (IMDb) states that Deadpool is rated R for "strong violence and language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity".  From what I have read and researched regarding this film, it was nearly rated NC-17 for the high amounts of inappropriate content.  Ryan Reynolds, who both stars as the main character, and also helped produce the movie, was trying to push the content to be as vulgar, graphic, & explicit as possible.

While many might argue that the "humor" (for lack of a better term) is witty, funny, & snarky - the continued & overwhelming usage of strong language, sexual innuendos, graphic violence, and explicit sexual content & nudity should be more than enough reason to stay as far away as possible.  In case you are wondering, I have not seen any pre-screening of this film, nor do I intend to watch it at any point in the future.  Personally, I find it offensive & inappropriate for my 37 year old self, let alone any of our middle or high school students.  While I am a huge fan of comic book movies & superhero films, this one isn't even close to being on a watch list for me or anyone else in my family.

Of course, you may personally feel different about this movie, and if that is the case, I can politely agree to disagree.  Like I said before, in no way am I trying to tell you how to be a parent, or what you should/shouldn't allow your child to watch.  I only want you to be aware of what's out there, and encourage some real-life conversation between you & anyone in your family that is interested in seeing this film.  How you choose to handle this, or any similar situation, is completely up to you, and I promise that you will only get support & respect from me regardless of any outcome.

Below I have posted the links to a few different movie review sites that are all geared toward families.  I typically go to for movie content reviews, but there isn't anything available as of yet on their website. - here is a generic review covering the basic story line & content. - Here is a more detailed explanation of exact scenes & content covered throughout the movies. - here is one last, Christian review of the movie, with basic details of the explicit content.

If you are a student, wondering why it shouldn't be a big deal for you see whatever you want, please read through the reviews and content descriptions in the links, and tell me how any of that material is something worth spending time and money to watch. If you have any questions about these reviews, this post, or the movie in question, please do not hesitate to ask me directly via comment or private message.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Why I believe in equality...

Here we are again, nearly three years after the hearings on legalizing same-sex marriage began, in the middle of the same storm of arguments, debates, condemnation, judgment, anger, opinions, beliefs, & extremism that we faced the first time.  Now that a decision has been made, the line has been re-drawn, and we find ourselves being forced to choose a side.   There have already been some very good articles written/blogged so far, and my desire is not to compete with these articles, or to attempt to enter the heated debates happening all around us.  I simply believe that as a leader, it is my responsibility to attempt to explain why I believe what I believe, and help to clarify a balanced stance on the situation to those watching, listening, & following me.

On one hand, as Christians, we want to stand up for the truth of what the Bible teaches us about relationships, the institution of marriage, and this dangerous thing called sin.  At the same time, many of us find ourselves unable to reconcile the Biblical mandate to love others, with the cultural outcry of letting “love win”.  After all (according to the cultural argument), if we really believe in love the way we say we do, how can we refuse to love someone just because they are ‘different’ from us? Somehow, we have confused love (an unconditional commitment to selfless action) with an unwavering approval for every lifestyle & choice made by others.  Somehow, it has become the norm to be offended when someone who claims to “love,” will not accept our lifestyle choices or validate our feelings.  We scream “intolerance”, but it’s funny how “tolerance” is supposed to force me to conform to someone else’s beliefs, but not require any amount of understanding or sensitivity, to any of my opinions or perspectives.

As much as I am not a controversial person, and try to avoid anything that leads to an argument or debate, I also feel that as a follower of Jesus (not just as a minister of the Gospel) I am called to share, stand for, and point others to the truth in a loving & God-honoring way.  I do not believe that my stance is one of hatred, prejudice, anger, fear, pride, or a refusal to “change with the times”.  I personally see no difference between my struggles, insecurities, choices, & feelings – and those of any other human being on the planet.  All of us – regardless of race, preference, past, heritage, desires, hopes, religion, or sincere belief – are a product of relational brokenness & an inner capacity to feed our own selfish wants called sin.

I know that we have a negative reaction to that word, and many of us don’t like to be told that we are “sinners” – mostly because our pride doesn't want to have to admit that there is something wrong, or that we are inherently imperfect and in need of help & “saving”.  But the truth is that it shouldn’t take long for us to look around the world, and see that there is desperately something wrong with humanity. For all of our self-help & ‘evolutionary’ achievements, we are incredibly sick and self-destructive at the core of our being.  Whether it’s murder, adultery, lust, stealing, lying, deception, manipulation, selfishness, greed, gluttony, hatred, prejudice, slavery, molestation, or same-sex attraction – it all stems from a distorted & discolored view of all that we were originally designed & created for.

Will some people be offended at those statements? More than likely.  Will some people feel like I have completely attacked their entire identity & have ‘judged’ their entire belief system in the most non-loving way possible? Also, more than likely.  However, without knowing me personally, and knowing the actions and heart of love that go along with these words, all anyone can do is speculate at my intentions, motives, & meanings.  On a side note: this is main problem with attempting to debate, argue, & force people into agreeing with our perspectives over social media (or any means) – no matter what you type, no one can ever completely know what you’re saying, unless they can hear you say it.  All I can do is tell you that I don’t believe that anyone on the planet is evil, less of a human, or deserves to be mistreated simply because they feel they are gay, or are attracted to the same sex.  The reason that I disagree with the ruling of the SCOTUS, is not because I do not love members of the LGBT community, but because I believe in the original design, intention, & creation of marriage & humanity.  I can love, respect, & value any relationship with someone who is gay, the same way that I can with someone who has committed adultery, engaged in pre-marital sex, gotten a divorce (for the wrong reasons), or not upheld the Biblical commitment of marriage. 

Do I expect everyone to automatically see things from my perspective? No. Is it my goal to force every human to hold fast to my values & convictions?  No. Am I trying to force people into my views, and treat them differently if they refuse?  Also, no.  Do I desire everyone I know to find a relationship with the Son of God, Jesus, and follow Him with their entire being?  Absolutely.  Why?  Because I believe that the reason we all need Him, is that we were intentionally & carefully created to be in relationship with Him.  It's not my job to point out anyone’s flaws or shortcomings, or attempt to “fix” everyone I know, and make them be more like me.  Will my beliefs and convictions offend people, and often stand in opposition to their beliefs and convictions?  You bet they will.  But it won’t be because I’m trying to be a jerk & force my faith onto others – it will be because I have committed my life to following Jesus & upholding the truths & standards that I believe are His heart & intention for mankind.  That is a decision that I will never apologize for, and never be sorry for.

I hope that through all of this, you can still respect me as much as I respect you.  I hope that I have encouraged respect between you & the relationships in your life.  I hope, that as a Youth Pastor and a leader, I have shown how truth & love can co-exist, and why it’s important to value both of those things in the context of relationships.  I think it is possible to believe in the same things as you, but also believe in a deeper and greater purpose for your life, that can only be found in Jesus Christ.

I believe in equality, because we are all equally guilty of missing the mark of perfection, and being sinners separated from a holy & loving God.

I believe in love, because Jesus Christ freely laid down His life in order to redeem my sin & brokenness, and chose to embrace & love humanity – even though our choices & lifestyles were against Him.

I believe in freedom, because the sacrifice that freely made salvation available, allows me to find true liberty in the purpose, identity, & truth of God’s Word.

I believe in marriage, because the One who ordained & created the institution in the first place, had a holy & perfect purpose in creating man & woman to journey together, in finding their completion in Him alone.

I believe that my opinion, belief, & faith count just as much as yours does, and does not automatically make me a bigot, a racist, or narrow-minded.

I believe that we were never meant to find our identity in our sexuality or preferences, but in the God who created us in His image.

I believe that truth is absolute, eternal, and is an unchanging standard that we cannot update, alter, or disregard because of feeling, preference, or prejudice.

I believe that just because something is popular, legal, or socially acceptable, does not mean it is right. 

I believe that love won on the cross almost 2000 years ago, and continues to transform hearts & lives today in a way that no law or legislature can ever come close to matching.

My hope is that one day you might see why these things are important to me, and why they are worth believing in.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pausing on Equality

There's obviously a lot of buzz going on this week about the Supreme Court hearings being done regarding marriage equality & same sex marriage.  With so many different opinions, view points, articles, arguments, & conversations going on, it's challenging to know how to handle things delicately and with grace & truth.  I'm not typically about drawing lines in the sand or demanding that someone accept my beliefs (which is not what this is about) - but with all the debate & confusion, I will stand up for what I believe & not be ashamed of it. 

It's not about hate, it's not about equality, it's not about even about love - it's about truth. I'm not AGAINST any one person or any group of people, but I am FOR an institution that was set as a standard for family & our culture. There's a reason that traditional marriage has been around forever, and there's a reason why it's supposed to be important.  Other people have done a better job at explaining the intent & core reasons for it, so there's no reason for me to reiterate them myself.  (but I'm not opposed to posting the links:

This isn't about creating division or forcing an "us vs. them" scenario. I'm not trying to be louder, stronger, or more clever - I just believe that a + b = c, and that's the only equation that works. If you know me, then you know that I'm not a bigot, a hater, or intolerant. If you don't know me, then you can't judge my opinion anymore than I can judge yours. I'm not claiming that my color choice or symbolism is any more important than yours, but in a culture where it's so easy to just jump on a 'band wagon' just because it's cool - I think we need to pause, and think about what we're communicating.

A lot of people are seeing the issue just through the lens of love & hate, equal & unequal, right & wrong, fair & unfair.  Unfortunately, some arguments have only muddied the waters & have made it hard to be clear about the issue.  Standing up for marriage as one man and one woman, doesn't make me ignorant & it doesn't make me filled with hate.   Showing love to any group of people or lifestyle choice, isn't about compromising truth for the sake of compassion.  I can love & accept a person for who they are, without accepting their lifestyle or choices.  It doesn't make me argumentative or narrow minded just because I don't agree with someone. It is possible to stand for something without sacrificing love, and to voice an opposing view point without condemning the rest of the world.

The bottom line is, popular opinion doesn't make something truth, and what's true isn't always popular.  I'm not screaming, yelling, or demanding my voice to be heard over anyone else's - but this is my voice, and it's allowed to be spoken just as much as anyone else.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

So, since it's been almost 7 months since i've posted on this blog, I thought tonight was a good time to pick it up again.  And why not start with a list of my resolutions for 2012....
  1. Read all three of the Lord of the Rings books (i've already bought the Fellowship of the Ring).
  2. Blog at least once a week.
  3. Actually exercise this year and take advantage of my gym membership.... & elliptical.
  4. Stick to the Devotional Bible that I got for 2012.
  5. Make a budget & start a savings account....again.
  6. Solve world thirst....or at least make it smaller.  :)
So there ya go - my list for 2012. Feel free to check up on me and ask how it's going!

What's on your list?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Logo redo

Same logo as the post below, but with a few face-lifts.  Share some thoughts, idea, etc.  Thanks!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Logo feedback

So a friend of mine asked me to play around with some logo ideas for his middle school ministry, "submerge".  This is the first one that I've really settled on, but I wanted some feedback on what others thought.
In case it's not completely obvious, the art above the text is actually the letter "s" in a different font.  I liked the way the "s" looked, but not the font in itself.   Anyway, that's what I have for right now - so bring on the feedback. :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A quick thought about Foot Washing

Foot Washing tends to be one of those things we do around Easter to remember the servant's heart that Jesus carried into everything He did.  When He took the time to wash the disciple's feet before that last supper, I think He was doing more than just serving them.  

People didn't wear shoes back in those days that covered your whole foot - it was more like sandals.  I don't know about you, but I've walked down some dusty / muddy roads in just flip-flops or sandals, and it didn't take very long for my feet to be covered in whatever I was walking through.  I was definitely an act of servanthood for Jesus to wash off all of that dirt and mud from their feet.  But what if He was also saying something else through that act?  Perhaps He was also telling them (and us), that He would be able to wash us clean from anything we could ever walk through.  

You see, sometimes we go through some pretty nasty stuff: sin, heartache, confrontation, misunderstandings, relational tension, stress, etc.  More often than not, when we go through those things, we normally don't come out completely clean.  Sometimes we allow the small seeds of bitterness, unforgiveness, doubt, or hardheartedness to stay in out hearts.  Jesus is telling us that He can get all the mud and dirt off of our feet after we walk through something nasty, because (thankfully) He's not afraid to get His hands dirty.  

The same applies in our relationships with others.  When we go through conflict or tension or seemingly unforgivable circumstances, we need to be ready and willing to kneel down and wash the dirt off.  That is sometimes the only way to real healing & restoration.

That is what it means to be a servant.