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Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Pursuing Peace, and 3 Documentaries Worth Watching

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If you live in a America, today is the Martin Luther King Day Jr. holiday. The civil rights leader of the 50s and 60s was a complex man who did much good for equality in America. One of the things I want to instill in my kid’s as followers of Jesus, is to be peacemakers. When they see injustice from the little going ons on the playground, to bigger issues of society, they should speak up and pursue peace.

We often watch the famous MLK, I Have a Dream speech, to remind us the ideals of King are right and good, and also to remember they won’t be fully met this side of heaven. Total justice and equality won’t be realized until King Jesus, “makes all things new.” Knowing these truths keeps us humble and kills the pursuit of a utopian society. We understand the problem of racism and other evils are found at the heart level of every human, and fleshes itself out in other systemic sins of society (my take at least).

But we’ll still work toward peace, justice, and love of neighbor, wherever they are found. Jesus has no problem telling us the heart is wicked and the source of all sins (Mark 7:14-24), and simultaneously calling us to be peacemakers (Matt. 5:9).

Also, if you have a few minutes in the next couple of weeks, these documentaries are worth a watch. MLK was complex, but it’s important to remember the issues surrounding the Civil Rights Movement were complex as well.

  1. King: A Filmed Record . . . From Montgomery to Memphis, 1970, an older doc worth a watch.

  2. King in the Wilderness, 2018, saw this HBO one last year, and it was fantastic.

  3. In Remembrance of Martin, 1986, this one is from PBS, and they always do a good job.

Life Itself is Grace

Listen to your life.
All moments are key moments.

I DISCOVERED THAT IF you really keep your eye peeled to it and your ears open, if you really pay attention to it, even such a limited and limiting life as the one I was living on Rupert Mountain opened up onto extraordinary vistas. Taking your children to school and kissing your wife goodbye. Eating lunch with a friend. Trying to do a decent day's work. Hearing the rain patter against the window. There is no event so commonplace but that God is present within it, always hiddenly, always leaving you room to recognize him or not to recognize him, but all the more fascinatingly because of that, all the more compellingly and hauntingly. . . . If I were called upon to state in a few words the essence of everything I was trying to say both as a novelist and as a preacher, it would be something like this: Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.

-From Frederick Buechner Now and Then and Listening to Your Life

A little more from Buechner on grace…

Clemson QB on Faith and How to Fight the Post Holiday Blues

Freshmen quarterback Trevor Lawrence for Clemson University explains how he keeps calm in stressful situations. It’s part personality and part his faith in Christ. Lawrence nails the heart of Christian faith by finding an identity greater than football and circumstances. He knows his God and knows he’s loved regardless of the final score of the game.

Lawrence taps into something we all need to hear this time of year. Our identity shouldn’t be wrapped up in our performance or things that are temporal. 

Christmas and the holidays are coming to a close. We feel the hint of depression as the hustle and bustle of parties, gift buying/gift giving, school programs, church events, and work parties wind down. The schedule once full in December now empty in January. 

We reflect on 2018 and see the trials and everything in between. Did we lose the weight? Finish our Bible reading plan? Accomplish our financial goals? More time with real humans, and less time staring into the abyss of a screen?

How did we do? Good, bad, average…

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We look to 2019 and set new goals, move on from the past, and focus into the future. Not all bad things. But they are all based in our performance. We base our worth and value and existence on how well we achieve, perform, and find success in whatever we’re trying to accomplish. 

Lawrence is right, we need an identity greater than our accomplishments and the roles we play. We need to know the Christ who performed on our behalf and loves us despite what the scale says, or how much the kid’s liked their gifts, or whether the family got along during the holidays.

I spiral into Post-Holiday-Blues when my identity is rooted in something other than Christ. When it’s planted in the temporal or the roles I play as a husband, father, pastor, writer, friend, son, and neighbor. 

Trevor Lawrence is only 19 years old. I wish I had half the wisdom and faith he does at such a young age. 

When our identity is secure in something eternal and rock solid is doesn't negate the desire to accomplish great things. It doesn't make us passive. But when things aren’t going well, our goals aren't met, and the pass falls to the ground as the clock expires, we aren't crushed either. 

That is the beauty of the gospel. And that’s what will carry us through 2019. 

Thanks for reading in 2018,

Ryan

I Want To Be Like George

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The eulogy from George W. Bush to his father was quite moving.

When all is said and done, what do we want to be known for?

Big houses? Cars? Fame and fortune?

Or, to be known as a kind, generous, and thoughtful person, who cared about their spouse, kid’s, family, friends, neighbors, and tried to leave things better than we found them?

Bush Sr. was not a perfect man, nor a perfect President. But the testimonies of his kindness and generosity toward his family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors is inspiring.

I pray our country will have more role models like Bush in the coming generations. They’re a dime a dozen these days.

Glimpses of Grace: Pete Davidson Apologizes on SNL

Once in a while you get glimpses of grace in pop culture. Pete Davidson made a comment on Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live that caused a stir.

I know Davidson probably didn’t write the joke, and was at the mercy of his writers, yet, it still was a nice move and gesture toward Lt. Dan Crenshaw. Grace and forgiveness always wins the game of life. Lt. Dan, also took it well with a good sense of humor.