Archive for May 2006

Hollywood fairytale or Hollywood heresy

At coffe today our chief of administration loudly announced that he had seen the [[da vinci code]] yesterday and that it was an excellent movie. I don’t understand what all the fuss is about, no one in their right minds would actually believe in that stuff, he continued.

The problem is too many people do. [[Dan Brown]] starts out the book with a statement saying that while the characters are fictional it is all based on well researched facts. This means that anybody who has not taken the time to research the Bible or Jesus prior to reading the book or seeing the movie will be convinced that there in fact is truth behind the bold claims this book makes and that the bible as it stands today is the greatest heresy of all.

The real problem is not that Dan Brown has written a book that challenges Jesus authority and/or divinity or that he portrays this as researched facts. The real problem is that Christians are far to shy to come out and debunk these statements. The davinci code is not a real threat to Christianity nor a threat to anything else, it is badly researched and packed with assumptions that are not even remotely hinted at by any facts in history. The da vinci code is a mystery novel written to make a lot of money, and if you read any other book by Dan Brown (wich I recommend against since they are all built up exactly the same so if youe read on, youe read them all. If you are gonna read one I suggest Angels and Demons wich I enjoyed immensly, even tho that to is abysmal in it’s reasearch and factual background) You will see that he has made a system out of churning out books following the exact same skeleton, just changing the names of the characters and the mystery it solves.
No the davinci code is no threat, The real threat is Christians who check in their brains when they enter church and think that faith is the only active ingredient in being a christian therefore reasoning, logic, science and facts are irrelevant. We need to step up and educate ourselves in apologetics, we need to have thought through answers to the seekers questions, we need to be well prepared and well trained for the battle at hand.

Expectant faith

As me and Hanna are expecting the birth of our second child any day now I have discovered what Christian life should truly be like. As I look upon my wife I see the signs clearly she is ready to give birth and it can happen any minute. However, since we do not know the day or the hour, we must plan like nothing out of the ordinary will occur. Still every minute our bags must be packed, our affairs ready, everything in its place so that we can leave with a minutes notice.

A life in readiness, the life of a warrior on the battle field, sleeping with one eye open and the battle gear on, not knowing what the next moment will bring. Planning for a long drawn out campaign, but ready to charge at any minute should the order come. Ready to move, every piece of your equipment in the right place so you can find it in the blink of an eye.

I have a note with the phone number of our neighbor should we need a baby sitter next to the number of our midwife, the number to a cab company on speed dial, the bag packed the battery to the camera on the charger, every little piece in it’s place waiting for the moment. We are living everyday like it was a normal day, but ready every moment to rush of leave everything for the delivery of our baby.
This is Christian life! Our saviour can come back any minute, are you ready? Are your bags packed, your affairs in order? Are you planning every day like it is a completely normal day in a row of many normal days, but keeping a spring in your step ready to go at any minute should the trumpet call?

Initial contact with Schola St. George

Today I sent of a letter to start a study group under Schola St. George. With Graeme me and hopefully some other enthusiasts we will embark on the great adventure of learning longsword according to fiore.I am now looking for wooden wasters at affordable prices and as close to Latvia as possible. I am also hoping to maybe invite one of their trainers over next spring and maybe host an SCA event here in Riga.

Officers?!

This week we are filling out our applications for officers training, please pray with us as we embark on this new adventure. It has been long coming for us and even though I think we have known since our enrollment as soldiers that we where headed this way it is still a bit scary to actually sit down and fill out the application.

The attack of the fluffy bunnies

A new breed of salvationists are infiltrating our corps, a breed of Christians who want to transform the army in their likness, to become not a marching army but a circle of fluffy bunnies who cannot possibly offend anyone. (This is an offensive post, but for the record, I do love all fluffy bunnies, they are just not very warrioresque and fits snuggly into a childs bed but not on a battle field). These fluffy bunnies claim that we need to tend more our own and not be so offensive in what we teach. We need to focus more on our church than our mission. Inward focus rather than outward focus. Lets gather in a circle cuddle and sing kombaya.

What is a fluffy bunny soldier?

A fluffy bunny soldier is a soldier who no longer recognizes the authority of scripture and therefore promotes a fluffy bunny version of Christianity, it is the opposite and counterpart to no compromise and therefore is a compromised soldier, one whom has fallen in love with the world and want to make the gospel as easy as swallow as possible and therefore round off any sharp edges, removes the thorns, and leaves only the the lovey dovey message of a God of grace but not a God of truth or Justice.

One of the reasons for this is Christians growing up in Christian families who never have a clear revelation of their own sinfulness and therefore don’t have a very deep revelation of Gods love (Love being equal parts of truth, grace and justice) on a personal level. These soldiers live lives where church is a happening on sunday and tradition has replaced revelation and a personal relationship with God.
5 signs of a fluffy bunny (warning!!)

  1. You just want to cuddle them.
  2. They are turning slightly pink around the ears.
  3. When they are angry you just want cuddle them.
  4. They never offend anyone but are loved by all.
  5. They don’t wear uniform but rather pastels in pink, light blue and cuddly green

I’d die for my colors!

This was the cry of a young hispanic male in the movie “blood in blood out” making a grim portrait about gang life in LA. It is interesting to note that these young gangbangers are willing to do anything to defend the honor of their colors (wich is a gang tatoo, and a bandana of various colors depending on the gang). While we as Christians sometimes seem ashamed of even telling others that we belong to a church.

The gang culture offers a familly for kids coming from broken homes, protection for kids who are bullied, identity for kids who are lost, and confidence for kids who lack. And the symbol of all this that they cling to is their colors, the small piece of clothing or the tatoo that proves that they are indeed part of a bigger picture, that they matter to someone!

When we in our middle class corpse discuss the SA uniform it seems we are forgetting whom we are called to reach. The fatherless and the lost the ones lost without identity and self respect. These teenagers need the outward sign of the inward conviction, they need to be recognized by others as members of something larger, something better, something worth dying for and perhaps in most cases something worth living for!’

The Guardian Angel uniform (Se previous post) spoke to young people who would have joined a gang, instead they joined ours. A gang that would give them positive skills, like defusing anger, mediating conflict, self respect and self control. Are we not called as the SA to reach these young people are we not required to use every trick of the book and every tool we have to appeal to them?

The uniform will give them the mark of approval, the outward sign of their inner conviction, the identity of belonging to an army that will change the world. It will be a constant reminder that every day they are part of a bigger picture, they belong to a familly, someone cares what happens to them. It will be something to die for, Something to live for!

To dress or not to dress, is the uniform important?

So today we had a visit from our TC, Hasse Kjellgren. One of the topics that was discussed was uniform, some people got agitated because they like the uniform and some got angry because the uniform should not be a big deal and therefore, a waste of time to discuss.

The argument for the uniform is usually that it gives us visibility and therefore is a tool by wich we can reach the lost. The argument against is usually, it’s old fashioned it turns people away (especially young people).

I have a special relationship with uniforms that was fashioned during a decade of everyday uniform wearing. The guardian angel uniform (a red beret, white T-shirt or hood with logo on and BDU trousers black or camoflage) is a firld uniform and not a parade uniform like the formal uniform of the salvation army, but contrary to the field uniform issued in for example sweden and england, wich comes in many different models and colors it was a uniform uniform.

When I saw the first article i the local newspaper I thought, wow they are cool, I wan’t to look like that. I immediately applied and started the hard physical and mental training to become a Guardian Angel – Safety Patrol member or “safety” as it was called for short. The training was hard no compromise was allowed, if you even looked like you broke the rules (No weapons, no alcohol in uniform, no rasism, no violence, disobeying orders or disrespecting members, leaders or anybody at all in uniform) you where out the door. After two months of hard training that would make navy boot camp seem soft, some where given RTP status. Ready to patrol what a lovely day that was first time we got to don the beret. It was not full membership we had to wear a modified version of the “colors” (the uniform) where the words “Safety patrol” where replaced with the words “I Support”. It was surreal I was walking down the street a vortex of feelings, fear, mixed with pride, self conciousnes and many others. Everybody gawked at us as we walked down the streets, conversations died out, heads turned.

I remember our trainer saying today you will put on the uniform of the Guardian Angels, In these uniforms people have died to defend the weak and defenseless, today you will get the respect due to all the work the Angels have done all over the world, maybe one day you will deserve it.

I remember putting on the uniform with reverence (looking at pictures from back then I know I looked like an idiot, it took me at least 5 years before the uniform looked good on me, as I had become the man the uniform said I was). I saw how the body language and mindsets of my friends changed when they put the uniform on. Bullies became compassionate, scared geeks became full of confidence and strength. The uniform was more than clothes it was the symbol for justice and non violence, a symbol for all the blood sweat and tears of our training, a symbol for a better world than the one we lived in and it gave us courage and super powers. In this uniform I have seen a 16 year old girl half my height stop a hells angel dead in his tracks with a command. I have seen how teenagers have run in and covered victims of assault with their own bodies. I have seen feats of strength and courage I never thought possible, all this just because of a uniform and an ideal. Not by Faith since there is surprisingly few Christians in the Guardian Angels.

What the uniform gave these young people was identity. Identity and respect that they could never have gotten on their own. And when you are treated with respect you grow up to be respectable.

The uniform is so much more than visibility, it is so much more than just clothes. It is a very powerful tool, a tool that affirms that we are soldiers in a battle, that we belong together and that we belong to God. Every time I put my uniform on it is a profetic act, an act wher I say YES to God, I say here I am send me, use me! We need a uniform that fills all these purposes, one that is practical in battle on the streets, one that will make young people say wow, I want to look like them. But also one that will make people turn their heads when we walk down the street, and one that will remind us of the war, the casualities but most importantly the captain of the host, our saviour Jesus Christ, who made the ultimate sacrifice to secure our victory!

Lonely among many

Today is a black day, it seems that in the midst of the raging battle we are left alone to fend for ourselves. We being part of the Salvation army, but not apparently in the Salvation Army system. I am just now realizing how valuable it is to have an organisation backing you at home base.

We are fighting battles on all fronts right now and both me and Hanna are feeling the weight. It really feels like we are left alone noones got our back, noone will lift us up if we fall. God help us!

Jesus Geek meets Ubuntu freak.

Today I spent half the day upgrading my computer to the beta version of ubuntu linux. Ubuntu linux is a [[Linux distribution]] funded by a [[philantrope]] who wants a good easy to use home user operating system to be spread out to the masses, and hopefully with it the ideology of ubuntu. Ubuntu linux also includes edubuntu a special school version of linux to make computing easy and affordable for the education systems of  the world, all in the spirit of ubuntu, that is what I do for humanity will make life better for me.
I spent sometime with their homepage and I found this quote by archbishop Desmond tutu about [[ubuntu]].

…It is the essence of being human. It speaks of the fact that my humanity is caught up and is inextricably bound up in yours. I am human because I belong. It speaks about wholeness, it speaks about compassion. A person with ubuntu is welcoming, hospitable, warm and generous, willing to share. Such people are open and available to others, willing to be vulnerable, affirming of others, do not feel threatened that others are able and good, for they have a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that they belong in a greater whole. They know that they are diminished when others are humiliated, diminished when others are oppressed, diminished when others are treated as if they were less than who they are. The quality of ubuntu gives people resilience, enabling them to survive and emerge still human despite all efforts to dehumanise them. – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

“God Has A Dream” © 2004 Published by Doubleday

The idea of ubuntu is the idea that we are all in it together and only together can we get out of the mess we got us into. The idea that I am only as human as I treat my fellow humans. The ideas of sharing, openess, warmth, generosity.

A friend of mine working for the Dream center in LA, who had been to Brownsville said:

What they have at Brownsville is a wonderful thing for Christians, but it would be an error calling it revival, Revival is when crimerate drops in neighborhood, when the hungry are feed, the homeless are housed and the community is transformed. When we where at brownsville nobody one block away from the church even knew it was there.

It’s time we get ubuntu! It is time that you and I make a difference in somebody elses life in person, it is not good enough to sponsor a program we need to be in the program, we need to get our own hands dirty, because only when our humanity meets their humanity do we rise up as a community and form ubuntu.

Time for Dapper

So today I made the plunge on my main machine, I have been running dapper for a while on my laptop but I just felt it was time to upgrade my desk. So here we go, I am now running Dapper on my main computer, and provided the next week goes smooth I will be upgrading the server at the Salvation Army headquarters that is serving thin clients to the whole office.

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