Blue or Red?

Over the past couple of weeks I have been coming to grips with my own humanity. I am realizing more than ever before how capable I am of making big, not just big, but HUGE mistakes. I feel as I have become older my safety net is being pulled back and or disappearing all together. For so long I have felt that God had my back in all situations and would help me get out of tough situations. However, now that I am older and theologically educated I am realizing that yes, God still has my back, however, I am more aware of how much power and decisions God allows us to have in our lives.

I have the option to choose. To choose what I know is right. Or to choose what my flesh desires. It is in these moments I am realizing the darkest parts of myself. The parts I wish were not there. I have never been so aware of my sinful nature as I have been in the past four to six weeks.

For those evangelicals that need this part… yes, this is why I need a Savior.

But, if you are caught up on the fact that we need a Savior for us to realize those dark parts of our lives than you have missed what I am saying. I know I need to be “saved” from those dark areas and I have been; yet it does not mean they go away.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” I. Pt. 2:9

My problem with this verse is just because you have been set apart doesn’t mean your problems were set apart with you. You have been given the right as a human being, not a robot; to choose which way you want to go. It’s not easy. I mean can you imagine if you chose Jesus and all your problems went away? Everything was just set up and you had to just live life?

No thanks, that does not work for me. So I guess I’ll take the ________ pill.

p.s. If you want to debate context I’m well aware of what the passage is talking about. So do not waste your time trying to tell me Your context.


I have been reading a lot of online garbage, thats right garbage, from people who do not like Rob Bell.

If you are apart of that community who does not like Rob...


The man is doing amazing things for the advancement of the Kingdom. What are you doing?

He does not answer theological issues the way you want them answered. Guess what, a lot of people would not answer the leading question that has been asked if they knew the sinister intent that people had to exploit them. So why do you deserve an answer? Guess what, the Bible (you know the inspired Word of God) has a lot of questions we cannot answer. Paradoxes that make the mind spin! That is the beauty of it. The more we can embrace and live in the tension of those differences the sooner people will see we're not crazy after all! Hopefully, they will see that this is a "conversation" (oooh emerging buzz word which was big 4 years ago, yet some are just now finding out about.) worth having rather than getting irate and closed off from the Gospel.

Phew that was close.

Think about it.

And if you think he's a heretic... guess what, maybe your favorite theologian was considered one too at one time (Calvin, Luther, etc.)

It is no surprise to me that religion, and even Christianity are hot button issues. Early yesterday while I was at work one of my co-workers asked me what I used to do for a job. I told him that I was a Jr. High youth pastor. He was taken back and was quite surprised that I am now personal training. Am I really that much of a heathen? Nevertheless, he was sharing some of his viewpoints and personal beliefs and all the while we were talking about our views and not once did the conversation ever become hostile. It was a great conversation. I shared my views and he shared his. We provided commentary on what we thought the original text truly meant when it was written (read the Gospels or NT.) There are a lot of views on Jesus, the Gospels, Paul, and the New Testament, but just because I have a Masters degree from Fuller Theological Seminary does not mean that I have all the answers theologically or about God!

My co-worker and I do not see eye to on anything theological or even in religious views however, it did not mean I look down upon him nor do I think any less of him. If anything I think more of him because he’s wrestling. He’s thinking about what he believes and that’s great. Good for him. He does not have to believe what I do that is totally up to him. His decision.

However, it is not my responsibility to win him to Christ. I know many people that would have asked if I presented him with “the Gospel?” Since when did Jesus become a sales transaction? Does it really matter if I did or did not? We as Christians need to understand that God may not be using me to be the one who “CONVERTS” a new believer but merely, to be someone to show him that not all Christians are one way and to extend the love of Christ to him by forming a relationship with him. I would hope that my words are not the only reason why people come to know Jesus, but because of how I live my life. My life should be indicative of the God I serve.

Somehow, the Church has missed this as well. We get so caught up in arguing about how to witness (or whatever theological stance it may be) to someone that by the time they’re done arguing more people are leaving the Church rather than joining it. The sooner that the Church embraces the strengths in which it was founded upon and less on the personal discrepancies the sooner that people will start trusting “The Church” again, and hopefully walking back through the doors. So whatever denomination you affiliate yourself with or whatever theologian you adore we are all still in this thing together. The Bible is full of paradoxes and mysteries we will never be able to figure it all out, nor do I want to! If you want to good for you just don’t make me subscribe to your same convictions

In the middle of a historic time of my life I have had to make several key decisions over the past couple of weeks. Some in which, have paid immediate dividends others, well, are causing more pain then a bountiful return. Initially, these times can be hard and stressful yet, I know there is something larger going on here. A place that is building muscle, strength that is unseen. Something that goes far deeper than any musculoskeletal fiber can show through my epidermis.

My undergraduate degree is in exercise physiology. I spent a good bit of time studying the human response under physical exertion at Western Michigan University. In order to build muscle one must first break down the fibers so they may be built back up again. A little thing we like to call protein synthesis, which is the physiological break down of what goes on in ones body to see muscle become stronger and grow. I believe there is a strong correlation between the physical and spiritual in regards to this matter.

I like to call this spiritual muscle; this is something my undergraduate degree did not teach, however, come to think of it neither did my seminary. We talked plenty about spiritual formation through practice of disciplines but never about spiritual muscle. Nor did we talk about the formation of our spirituality in the face of adversity. We spent time pointing to others who dealt with it but never really stepped out and said this is how we need to handle this situation. Why is it when faced with misfortune we find ourselves giving in, rolling over and dieing? This is a tragedy, instead of standing firm and learning from what one is enduring and gaining perspective and insight, we run. Not only does this keep us from building spiritual muscle but it also keeps us from developing integrity, character, and most of all, faith!

Are we truly like Peter? Are we stepping out of the boat, walking on water and then when things get a little choppy we lose sight of where we need to be focused on? Oh, me of little faith.

So what’s next? Look behind you and see he’s had you all along. Or, look in front of you and keep walking with your eyes fixed on what God’s called us to do. Take the step, extend the muscle out so it can go through protein synthesis and rebuild after being torn down. Even if it is spiritually speaking, the growth that will come out of it will be very evident and now you will be spiritually shredded!

Well, maybe not yet.


It’s hard.

It hurts like nothing you have ever felt. I am reminded of this as I received a bit of unfortunate news from a friend in the death of his best friend. All I can seem to do right now is think of the pain, crying, and suffering that one goes through during this tumultuous season. My head moves in a downward spiral only thinking of the pain and grief that I have gone through. Losing someone never really gets any easier does it? Some merely learn how to healthily or unhealthily deal with ones’ own issues. So what makes this moment feel so bad/strange? My friend and I have not spoken in a while yet, I am hurting for him. This is peculiar for me because I am typically someone who is not affected by things that are not right in front of me (physically in the same city). Yet, I am grieving for Chris in a way that I have not touched in a very long time.

So what does this all mean, where does this all lead? I guess, for starters, I am practicing what I preach. Living a life that is fully present. I am taking a moment to spend time grieving for my friend I am not concerned with anything else right now but processing and sitting in this moment to see what God is teaching me. I have a strong compulsion to brush it off and move on, however, something is different. I didn’t even answer my phone that was ringing just now. This is important and I am becoming fully human, and fully alive again. We need to take the time to grieve, to hurt, and cry. Why? Because something happens when we do this and when we come out of it there is a new perspective and the beauty of life and the grace that surrounds it all.

So don’t shrug off the next time you hear a bit of bad news, sit with it and ask God to show you something amidst the confusion and feelings.

Upon viewing the film "Trade" (2007) by Marco Kreuzpainter, the scales have been removed from my eyes by this frightening film, which portrays the horror that goes on with in the world of sex trade. Jorge (Cesar Ramos Ceballos) is an older brother in a pursuit to rescue his kidnapped 13-year-old virgin sister Adrianna (Paulina Gaitan). During his relentless pursuit through Mexico he comes across Ray (Kevin Kline), a husband and Texas police officer who is also in search for something or someone. The alliance between the two to save Adrianna from a life of sexual slavery takes them from the underground life in Mexico to suburban New Jersey, in an attempt to find her before she can be sold through an Internet sex slave auction.

The film begins with an amazing array of colors, as the camera zooms in and out of various shots from with in Mexico City. The lighting and juxtaposition of each shot communicates the piece of art that Marco has created with in the first five minutes and prepares the viewers for what they are about to see. Although the color and cinematography are well done, the strongest part of the film lies in the content and the message, which is being communicated to the viewers. Marco does a fine job of building tension to a point in which it becomes hard to watch and then releasing the tension throughout the film. The dialogue between Jorge and Ray communicates a message about today’s youth and their lack of trust in adults however, as the film progresses their interaction is heart warming and comedic at times providing an emotional break for the viewer.

The truth that lies behind such a horrific act by perverse men and women who are engulfed in a life of sex trade is difficult for Americans to believe. For so many, including myself it is easy to believe it is happening everywhere else but America; however, there are an estimated 50,000 - 100,000 children sold each year within the United States.

There are amazing moments of hope and beauty throughout the film between Adrianna and another slave Veronika (Alicja Bachelda-Curus). Veronika’s character becomes a figure of strength in which the other slaves lean on and view her strength in standing against the henchmen who are delivering them to their destination. Hope is also communicated in which stands out between Veronika and Adrianna one morning when Adrianna roles over in bed, smiles at Veronika and says good morning amidst the pain, and evil around the two of them. The second reason for hope is conveyed by the religious tones throughout the film as a heavy Catholic emphasis is spoken of as well as the symbolism in different shots through the film. Even one of the henchmen is seen praying to the cross leaving the viewer with a mixed set of emotions on what prayers will be listened and or answered by God.

There are so many amazing moments in this film one cannot begin to bring it any justice from one review. Go see the film, dialogue with others about this topic and then look for a way to become more educated on this incredible tragedy going on with in our country and many others. For more information on sex trafficking see

p.s this film review was posted on, click on the title to see the trailer for this fil that will be released
April 13th Nationwide

I am currently at the Sundance Film Festival. I know you're jealous. So far the trip has been amazing, over the next couple of days I'm going to post some of my reviews on various films I have seen.

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