Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11

My 10 year old son watched the Fox News 9/11 special report with me tonight. He wanted to know more about what happened. We would pause the program and talk through his many questions. He asked me what I was thinking when the plane hit the Pentagon. I told him that I was just worried about what would happen next. Where was the next explosion going to be? It was such a frightening time.

I talked through tears to my son about what happened on 9/11, but it felt good to know that the memories of that day still stirred up emotion inside of me. I think our country is doing its best to let the emotions of 9/11 fade. The fact that we still don't have a 9/11 memorial/museum, and that the dadgummed site in lower Manhattan still looks the same as it did in 2002 is a crying shame.  The more time goes by, the more I fear that we are forgetting all of the implications of what happened on that horrible day.  

We forget that we are united by something beyond geography, politics and personalities.  We forget that we are bound, at the most basic level, by the fact that we are free.  We forget that what makes us noble is selfless generosity.  We forget that we are vulnerable, and we are never too big, rich, proud and popular to achieve immunity from the attacks of zealous, wicked people.

Tim Keller, speaking in a sermon about observing the Lord's Supper, speaks of the value of remembrance.  He says remembering is much more than simply recalling past events.  The word "re-member", says Keller, is the opposite of the word "dis-member."  When we re-member, we unite around the truth.  Our country could stand to re-member right about now.  Unfortunately, it seems, we have chosen to dis-member.  What a tragic disservice to those who fell on 9/11.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

What do you think of this?

One of my church members came to me with a ticket to an event that he'd heard about that offered a chance to win the choice of 1 of 2 brand new vehicles. All I had to do, according to the ticket, was listen to a 3 minute story. So I looked a the ticket and went to the web site, and here's what I found. Apparently you set up a private viewing area that has these videos available for viewing. People watch the videos and fill out a card that asks them if they want to make a decision to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior. The card serves as their registration for the car give-a-way.

I don't know how I feel about this. I love the idea of using people's stories to share the truth of Jesus Christ, but I hate the idea of having to bribe them to do so. Then again, people came to Jesus all the time because they heard that he might perform some kind of miracle , or heal them of their sickness. Isn't that the same thing? At what point, though, does the car give-a-way overshadow the Savior? The idea behind this is that people will be lured in by the prospect of winning a new car, but once they enter the private viewing area, they are introduced to the unexpectedly wonderful story of Jesus. Is this a good idea, or is it just a bait and switch?

If it's ok for us to lure people in with a chance to win a new car, then would it be ok for us to offer free crack to people who will listen to a story for three minutes? At what point is it ok to use this kind of tool, and at what point is it no longer ok? I'll be real honest: I'm uncomfortable with the car give-a-way side of this, but I'm not at all uncomfortable with the fact that everyone who comes to Jesus does so out of selfish motivation. What's the difference between coming because you want a car, and coming because you want heaven instead of hell?

Anyway, check out the site and see what you think. I'd really love to get your insight on this one, so please post a response. I'd especially love to hear from those of you who aren't particularly involved in church, or who wouldn't consider yourselves Christians. How would this kind of thing hit you?

By the way, if you respond, I'll give you a free car!