Saturday, April 28, 2007

"Won't power"

I, like many people, have a fondness for sweets. Chocolate, ice cream, southern sweet tea, cookies, and more. Over the years, I have become about 30 pounds overweight. Lately I have been thinking about that "treat your body like a temple" adage. My temple needs some work on it to look more like God intended, though handsome it will never be.

So I read with interest an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article on sugar overload this week, "Hiding in plain sight". It suggests changing a soda a day to a bottle of water a day. I detest paying for water (Evian backwards is "naive", after all), but since I'm spending money on empty soda calories maybe paying for plain water would be a better decision.

The AJC article linked to another very informative site - NutritionData (ND). It has pages listing the nutrition value of foods commonly searched for (an example is raw bananas) as well as foods from varied commercial eateries such as McDonald's and Blimpie. The nerd in me is especially intrigued by the cool data displays:

ND also has a "better choices diet" page.

So will all this great information prompt me to clean up my eating ways instead of my plate and to clean up my temple? I am a sense-oriented person, which is why I so much enjoy music (and pretty pictures ... a nod to John the Methodist) as well as food. Maybe I can replace that bottle of soda with water. And maybe a bit less of those delicious Chocolate peanut butter Treasures. I have plenty of "Will Power" ... as in "I will eat that cookie now". What it takes is "Won't Power."

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Does Religion Make You a Better Person?

The Youtube video "Does Religion Make You a Better Person?" is anti-Christian (actually, anti-religion), but Christians should watch it carefully. I can't personally verify or dispute the statistics claimed. If real, they are alarming. Please feel free to refute any of the many statistics, but provide a link to a credible source of data. No flames, please.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Will the real Methodists please stand up!

We say we're Methodists, yet we seem to shun Wesley's ways. We say we're United, yet we're fragmented, self-oriented both as congregations and as various groups within the denomination. We seek higher numbers of members, relegating spiritual growth to a lesser role.

So the question is ... are Methodism's problems a result of losing sight of the spiritual in pursuit of funding, programs, social contact, Sunday School based on best-seller books, and being sort of a religious country club? Are we so lost in trying to force our own interpretations of the Bible on each other that we fail to bring the lost home to Christ?

Have our Sunday Schools lost sight of the type of Bible study that Wesley's "Bible-Moths" would approve of? Scripture was the most important part of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, not just an equal quarter of the whole.

Andrew Thompson, author of the Gen-X Rising blog, says, "Let's decide: Are we Methodists or not?" He takes a good poke at churches that seem so ashamed to be United Methodists that they leave that part out of their publicized church name. Either be Methodists or don't, but don't be half-hearted Methodists, he seems to say.

Andrew suggests that it is a good and fruitful thing to follow Wesley:
  • Shun religious pretension
  • Practice rigorous discipleship
  • Actively pursue the way of salvation
  • Tirelessly carry the gospel to the lost and the poor

So ... how are you and your church doing? Are you truly Methodists?

The United Methodist Reporter site has picked up several other Gen-X Rising articles in 2007:

As a side note, Gen-X Rising is now linked in the "Methodist, Other blogs" section of this blog.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Passover and the Passion

Christianity and Judaism are forever linked this time of year. A Boston Globe article, "Passover and the Passion", reminds us that Holy Week is structured around Jesus' observance of the Jewish Passover.

The author points out that as new converts came from the Gentiles, those people didn't fully grasp that Jesus was a Jew. "The Jews" became a scapegoat. He suggests a reading of the Gospels that takes into account such culturally relevant factors.

Homosexuality costs some Black pastors

Black pastors are often caught between between two bad options -- ignoring the marginalized in our society or losing conservative members, often the older, bigger donors. The March 27 NY Times article, datelined from Atlanta, elaborates. Will money or love win out?

"What does it mean to have a [worship] service that welcomes all but makes an effort to target those whom society has shunned as unclean and undesirable?" asks Becky Garrison in "Easter for the Outcasts" at the God's Politics blog.