Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Nativity Story

As parents, we are always trying to think of ways to make the Christmas story more real to our kids than the presents they open on Christmas morning. We read them the Christmas story from their kids-Bibles, but the cartoon images make the story seem somewhat unreal. Barie and I share why we are thankful for the coming of Jesus, but that seems somewhat subjective. We also have acted out the Christmas story with all the kids this year - which they really enjoyed. But the acting-out of the story involves more laughter than anything else - we are a goofy group. So, I was really excited to show our kids The Nativity Story movie last night, if for no other reason just to make the story come to life with real people with real emotions with real families. I had never seen the movie, so I was pleasantly surprised by how it well it grabbed the attention of our kids. They asked all kinds of questions throughout the movie - "who is that?" - "why did she do that?" and more. I was really excited by how well the movie brought us into the lives of these characters and made the story so much more real for my whole family. I highly recommend that you take the time to see it!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Noonan on Culture

I always enjoy reading Peggy Noonan's article on Saturday in the WSJ. She has some good insights into politics and the American culture. I sometimes disagree with what she writes, but always makes me think. I especially connected with her article this weekend about parents feeling exhausted by the energy it takes to guard their kids from the culture at large. I would take her argument one step further, believing that we don't need to just protect our kids from cultural influences before they are ready, but that we need to teach our kids how to think about the cultural influences they experience. It is more about training our kids to engage culture with a biblical worldview than escaping our culture, but it does make this parent of young children feel tired when I have to constantly be on guard for what might show up even in a commercial on TV. Here's Peggy's main thought about why most Americans feel shaky about our country (even more than economic reasons, she would say). She uses Adam Lambert's performance on ABC as a launching pad:

People were offended, and they complained. Mr. Lambert seemed surprised and puzzled. With an idiot's logic that was nonetheless logic, he suggested he was the focus of bigotry: They let women act perverse on TV all the time, so why can't a gay man do it? Fifteen hundred callers didn't see it as he did and complained to ABC, which was negligent but in the end responsive: They changed the West Coast feed and apparently kept Mr. Lambert off "Good Morning America."

Mr. Lambert's act left viewers feeling not just offended but assaulted. Again, "we don't care what you do in New York," but don't include us in it, don't bring it into our homes. Our children are here.

I don't mean to make too much of it. In the great scheme of things a creepy musical act doesn't matter much. But increasingly people feel at the mercy of the Adam Lamberts, who of course view themselves, when criticized, as victims of prudery and closed-mindedness. America is not prudish or closed-minded, it is exhausted. It cannot be exaggerated, how much Americans feel besieged by the culture of their own country, and to what lengths they have to go to protect their children from it.

It's things like this, every bit as much as taxes and spending, that leave people feeling jarred and dismayed, and worried about the future of their country.
Agree or disagree?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Proud Husband Alert

What an awesome weekend!

In the last few days, our church family has participated in Jingle Jam out at Round Rock Family Christmas Night on Friday, prayed for 24 hours on Saturday, and hosted the Women's Christmas Social on Sunday. All three went extremely well.

The staff and the LIVE team did a great job representing our church and Christ to our city. Many families in our city were exposed to the message of the gospel through Jingle Jam. Hat's off to the team who set up the show and braved the tough weather to pull off a great evening.

I also have to say how proud I was of my wife for the message she gave at the Women's Christmas Social. She worked hard for two weeks to prepare a message that would share the heart of God with the 230 women who came this year. I might be biased, but I thought she did a phenomenal job in sharing the story of Christ in a winsome and authentic way. I know that many great spiritual conversations were started because of that event.

Thanks to everyone in our church who participated in these events this weekend, especially those of you who prayed. I believe God is moving in such powerful ways because we continue to seek His face on a regular basis. Ultimately, I am thankful to God for His grace and His presence in all that we do. Thank you, Father, for such an awesome weekend and such an awesome wife...