Know and Vote your values

The Denver Post recently featured an article about ‘the most important senate race in Colorado” Senate District 22.
In the article the Democrats stated they will “do everything possible to win this seat.” This is not a reflection of concern for those whom they would represent.
My father, Ken Summers, is the Republican candidate for this seat. As a man of the people, he is the embodiment of integrity and being a voice of those he represents. He is the only State Representative who dedicated his time to repeated ‘listening tours” visiting door to door, those who he represents.

William M. Boast said, “Trust is…established when words and deeds are congruent…by being willing to actively seek out, listen to, understand, and utilize other people’s perspectives.”

Warren Bennis states, “Integrity is the basis of trust, which is not so much a ingredient of leadership as it is a product. It is the one quality that cannot be acquired, but must be earned.”

So what will you choose?
The one who simply wants to “win at all costs?”
Or the one who truly Cares about you?

For me the choice is easy.
Ken Summers for Colorado Senate District 22

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Caedmon & Me

Yesterday I told Caedmon, “I love you.”

He asked, “Why?”

I said, “cause I made you.”

“No you didn’t,” he retorted, “God did!”

As I tucked him in that night I asked him what he wanted me to pray for.

He replied, “For the monsters.”  I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up.

“I wanna be like you daddy.” He responded.

 

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Christian’s Stink

Christian’s Stink…at least I hope so.

Locked in my memory is the experience of cresting a dirt & cement berm on the most northern edge of Mexico city.  It was not the site before me of trash and refuse that seemed to continue to the horizon, it was not the people wandering amongst the piles or their squatter homes built w/in those confines, but the smell that rose up and shocked my senses.  It was the smell of rot and death that exceeds imagination.  It is a smell I will never forget experiencing for the first time.

Since that time I have experienced that smell frequently in my travels.  That smell never ceases to get my attention and cause an involuntary mental reaction.

“Something is not right!  That is wrong!  How awful!”…

In a recent article I read, Michael Newdow, an atheist filed a lawsuit, claiming a violation of religion & government b/c during Barack Obama’s inauguration he added ‘so help me God’ to the end of his oath.

The Supreme Court quickly and curtly dismissed his lawsuit.  It’s fascinating that a man who has no “belief in God” is willing to invest so much in fighting something that does not exist.  But in reality something does exist, the stink of Christ fills his nostrils, and this guy can’t stand it.

It reminds me of what Paul stated regarding our faith as believers.

In 2 Cor. 2:16, in the ‘Message,’ states it like this:

“Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.”

In essence, we as Christian’s stink.  And perhaps that’s not such an awful thing.  Perhaps we should embrace the fact that we are not accepted for our faith.  Maybe, just maybe if the world is able to embrace us easily, that says something about us lacking ‘the aroma of Christ in our lives.’

Being someone who intrinsically values ‘being liked’ way to much, I struggle with this concept…how about you?

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The Moral of the Story…STM’s & their impact.

I read a really interesting blog post from one of my favorites, “Jamie the Very Worst Missionary” recently.

I don’t know how permissions and permits work in the blogosphere but I’ve included it below.  (I just cut and pasted it)

If you don’t already follow her blog you should, which you can visit and follow here.

I want to hear your thoughts and create a discussion especially because I have so many pastors, youth pastors and other areas of church ministry influence; oh and of course other missionaries.

SUNDAY, JULY 3, 2011

Are we calling this a “win-win”?

You know what I really want to do?

I want to fill a rental van marked “Tourist” with unbelievably rich people and then I want to bring them to your middle-class neighborhood to take pictures of you and your kids and your house and your cars.

I’ll act as the unofficial tour guide to their trip, walking them slowly down the street, pointing out the shocking differences between their lifestyle and yours. “This man,” I will say with a gesture of my upturned palm, “cuts his own lawn.”

“These kids share a bedroom.”

“Many of these families require two incomes… just to survive.”

I’ll tell them bluntly, “Most of these people will never ride in a helicopter, meet the president, or own a show horse.” And they will glance at each other with looks of angst and sadness, they’ll shake their heads at the injustice of it all.

And then I’ll let the details of your simple life sink in as they snap pictures of your no-thrills mid size SUV and your quarter acre lot. I’ll stand aside so they can get pictures of each other, smiling, with their arms around your kids in hand-me-downs. Ooh, and maybe they can take turns helping you cut your hedge or clean your bathroom, and then you could show some of them how to make a sandwich – That would be so great for the video they’re gonna take back to show at the Super Elite Rich People Church.

But don’t worry. There will totally be something in it for you. The rich people are going to paint all of the houses on your block. For real. They’re going to pay for it and do all the work and everything. Also? They’re gonna do a puppet show for your kids, and give them candy and crap.

It’s a win-win.

Even if you’re extremely uncomfortable while all of this is going on, in the end, you will look at your freshly painted house and it will make you feel good about what just happened. And when the rich people go home, they’ll get to tell their people about how they painted your house and learned to make a sandwich, which, of course, will make them feel good, too.

So, like I said, win-win

…. …. ….
Aaaaand…that’s as far as I got.

Sorry.

I wrote this about a week ago and it has just been sitting there on my desktop, open, waiting for a conclusion. Then, all of a sudden, my Google reader, Twitter feed, and Facebook timeline (can you say social media overkill?) were brimming with debate over the issue of “Poverty Tourism”. And I was like “Whoa! I was just thinking about that.”

So I thought I’d throw it out hereunfinished, as is – a ridiculous revamping of the modern short-term missions experience - and see what your thoughts are…

Are short-term missions teams sent to impoverished communities helpful…? or harmful…? or maybe neither…? Whadayathink?

Speak freely.

From Jamietheveryworstmissionary.com

So what do you think?  What comes to mind in light of a post like this?

Thanks for the dialogue…

 

 

 

 

 

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A Full-House

Texas Hold’m style not TGIF version, though sometimes our family could make a pretty good sitcom.

I get asked a lot of questions about our family, life with a new baby, how things are on the mission field and whether we want more kids.  I give them an emphatic, “NO!”  We’re done.  Not in a ‘what did we get ourselves into?’ but a ‘know when to hold’m, know when to fold’m, know when to walk away.’  Ok, so maybe I do spend most of my time wondering what I got myself into…

We’ve got a perfect poker hand. 3 of a kind, 2 of a kind.  3 boys, 2 girls.  A full boat.

And let’s be honest, it’s all we can handle; well I’m not sure we can actually handle what we’ve been given.  We’ve got our hands full with a full house and doing our best to play our cards right.

I’m going to post some stories and reflections in the coming weeks about what life is like in a foreign country for a family of 5, the adventures, the daily mundane details, and the quirky, aneurism inducing actions of 2 off-the-wall preschoolers who produce the perfect storm more than once a day.  And in it all what God is teaching me about myself and His love for me.

Feel free to tag along.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Eph. 6:4

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Harold Camping’s missed Prediction, aka “Rapture Day” failure

Rapture Day & Good Ol’ Harold Camping

I must admit that I, like everyone else who has some awareness of current events, smiled when 6pm Saturday came and went.  I mowed the lawn, the boys played outside, and my beautiful wife cared for our ridiculously cute newborn baby girl.  We cracked a few jokes with each other, traded text messages to ‘check in’ with our friends and otherwise carried on as usual.  And then I noticed an astounding trend on my Twitter feed.  Mockery.  People jeering Harold Camping’s, preposterous predictions that he had somehow calculated down to the hour the arrival of Christ’s return and the impending beginning of God’s judgement on the world.  But it wasn’t just from the liberal media and Bill Maher types, it was mostly from Christian’s and religious bloggers.  The Twittersphere blew up as they burned ol’ Harold in effigy.

Cyber-Bullied Religi-weirdous

Here’s the rub.  These were the same bloggers, writers, and spiritual influencers that had only a couple of weeks earlier joined an online parade to “Restore Unity”.   Championing the cause of religious diversity and theological relativism you could hear a “love wins” chant echoing through cyberspace.  And then the zit faced, pigeon-toed, fat kid showed up at recess, aka Harold Camping.  Suddenly, the all loving, all-encompassing love fest from a week earlier was replaced with the nerdy kid, getting swirlied by the cool kids after lunch.

But I’m confused.  How do we one week talk about what really matters most is “our desire to follow Christ and love others” no matter what that looks like and then the next vilify a guy who was preaching the proverbial ‘the end is near!’ mantra?  Pretty sure that sandwich board has been around a lot longer than blogs or Twitter.  Are we really that threatened by it?  Is our faith so dictated by pop culture that we’ll do whatever we can to ostracize ourselves from the weird kid who eats his boogers and drinks glue rather than show some compassion?

This seems counterintuitive.  I’m thinking that if I really believed the end of the world was this saturday I would be doing everything  I could do let people know.  Wouldn’t that be the “Christian” thing to do?

“He’s a raving heretic!” people will claim.  I suppose.  “But he was obviously wrong!” others will say.  Yes.  Deluded?  Absolutely.

But so are a lot of people’s interpretations of scripture, anyone been following the Presbyterian churches stance on ordained clergy?

What Now?

The question is, Where do we go from here?  What is the take away?

There is no question that it is less than wise to make an attempt predicting the end of the world.  But there is one thing I do not do, and that is celebrate how wrong he was.  Now I can not begin to speculate on Camping’s theology, though I visited his blog and couldn’t wrap my mind around his rationale or his interpretation of scripture.  I’m not really sure what compelled him to decide it was his place to make the bold prediction of Christ’s eminent return based on his own studied calculations.  But I do believe this; he was well-intentioned.  Wrong, but with a right heart.  Know this, he really believed what he was saying.  All the investments in billboards, bus stops and air time on radio was rooted in his desire to let people know the end was coming.  And you know what?

It is…

The fact that we don’t know is what should fuel our motivation to tell others of Christ’s amazing love for them.

Perhaps we all should be doing a little bit more “Camping” this summer.

Matthew 24:36 – 42

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. 37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”

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Techno Church: the rise of the blogger as preacher

This article spurred me into writing this latest blog regarding the new church venue.

My Take: How technology could bring down the church – CNN Belief Blog – CNN.com Blogs.

Church: Dying vs. Thriving

This article delves into some thoughts and issues I have been contemplating lately.  Particularly when it comes to those that are younger and follow the typical trends of reading blogs more than books, and spend time online and not at ‘church’.

In a recent article (sorry I don’t remember if it was Barna or something else) there was a report that mainline denomination’s have seen a constant drop in attendance, memebers, and adherants over the last  few decades, while more conservative, evangelical churches have seen growth, even exponentially, both in number of churches and in their size.

The article went on to point out that it was the traditional mainline denominations (episcopal, presbyterian, methodist, anglican) that have vacillated to compromise traditional values and respond to an ever more liberal leaning worldview; attempting to make the Bible and Christianity more easily accepted and liked.

The irony is that the continued shrinking of their influence and church size coincides with their continued slippery slope of moral compromise and relativistic interpretation of scripture.  Or is it?…

The Online Church and Blogging Preacher

As I read through various faith based blogs I was struck by a significant realization.  These bloggers are church leaders.  They write their thoughts and opinions regarding faith, scripture and theology to a following in some cases to a ‘church’ of thousands.  Their audience is primarily younger, technology driven, disenfranchised seekers who won’t darken the door of the local church but are more than willing to engage these progressive bloggers in conversation, most of which is an online equivalent of “Amen” and “Come on now, preach it!” that they would otherwise laugh at if they witnessed in a corporate setting.  The response sections of these blogs numbering in the 100′s (anyone know the typical pecentage of readers/responders?).  This tells me that these blogging preachers have churches of thousands, meeting online, more than once a week.  So is liberal Christianity shrinking as some might think based purely on weekly church attendance or is it actually growing with a venue that should not be overlooked or taken for granted?

As the article above refers to:  What happens when those who are not neccessarily university educated pastors and theologians begin to preach their own interpretation of what the Bible says?  What does this mean for the church as we know it going forward?  How will faith be shaped in the coming decade in light of technology?  Are we witnessing a new schism with the internet becoming the new Wittenburg door or is it a slippery slope to morally relativistic interpretation and application of scripture?

Two verses come to mind.

2 Tim. 4:3-5

3 “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

Ecc. 1:8-10

9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.  10 Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”?  It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.

Where do we go from here?…

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Death of a Terrorist

Social Celebration

Social media has exploded with the announcement of the killing of Osama Bin Laden.  There were sudden outpouring’s of patriotism throughout the country.  And as I scrolled through all the tweets I saw a diverse response from Christians and church leaders.  Many were celebratory, some touted justice, revenge, or ‘God bless America.  Most just expressed the overwhelming sense of relief that there could be a tear in the web of organized terrorism that has spread throughout the world.

The New Facebook Pharisee

Then there were those tweets and Facebook status’ that began to tout, in my perspective, a false piety.  Platitudes of “Bin Laden is loved and a child of God too.” & “How can we be glad when someone has died without knowing Jesus?” filled my computer screen.  Really?  There is an ironic twist that has occurred in our culture when those that rail against Pharisaic religion, they themselves become the Pharisee, touting their own righteousness by attempting to separate themselves from the average ‘Joe’ in America.  Then again, I could be wrong, these people may read the story of the ‘Exodus’ and grieve the death of Pharaoh as the Red Sea collapses over him.

A Soul In Hell

Yes, I’m fairly certain he is in Hell.  No, I haven’t read “Love Wins” yet, so perhaps Rob Bell has a different opinion regarding his end game.  Pretty sure the whole, 70 virgins things probably hasn’t panned out for him at this point; again could be wrong.  Here’s the point.  Unless your Facebook status is updated every minute stating your grief over the death of a mother in Africa from AIDS, the death of a teen in the inner city gunned down in gang violence or of a young girl in Asia killed while being exploited through the sex trade, your attempt to express your grief for this ‘lost person’ is in itself a false pretense in which you are attempting to exercise remorse that goes unrecognized when the less famous die everyday.

The Bible tells me so

As with anything else, people tend to find scripture to support their feelings, attitudes and response.  Realistically, when you isolate scripture to a singular verse you can pretty much argue anything for a particular position.  What really irks me is when the initial response is self-serving.  I read one particular blogger (you can read it Here), who is currently touting religious unity as admitting that her initial response was, “This should make Obama getting re-elected easier.”  Really?  Slightly ironic that her primary concern is politically motivated while she would be quick to argue for all inclusiveness and acceptance.  Sigh, the divide remains…

Get Real

News Flash, it is not un-Christlike to be patriotic or take pride in the nation of your birth.  It is not un-Christlike to have a sense of relief that our troops and those living abroad, are a bit safer today because Bin Laden is dead.  That it is indeed healthy for those who have experienced loss at the hands of terrorists to have relief and a glimpse of hope that the sacrifice does mean something and does make a difference.  That maybe, just maybe, his death isn’t so much about you or me, but about everyone else who suffers first hand from Al Qaeda throughout the world.

Bottom Line

Let’s not sacrifice common sense and a healthy response, in lieu of thinking that playing a compassion card regarding Bin Laden’s demise somehow plays well with those who are not yet followers of Christ.

If you want to be compassionate, empathize with those who experienced such incredible loss that their world stopped 10 years ago.  Pray for healing, peace, wholeness and redemption that only Jesus brings, and for His light to shine into the darkness.

John 1: 4 & 5

In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.


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New Baby Lessons

Here’s a heads up to anyone who has never had a baby or hasn’t for a long time but is contemplating it.  Newborn babies will wreck your world.  Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is definitely a different thing.  It is honestly an amazing thing!

I emphasize to friends and young people I know who are getting married to just enjoy being married for a couple of years before having kids.  It was the best advice my mom gave me, or at least top 5.

We just had our third child and our first girl, Eliana Marie (pronounced Elly-ana for the phonetically challenged).  She is incredible.  She is smart and athletic, and just turned 1 week old today.  She has two very proud, protective older brothers who adore her.  But she hasn’t learned how to use the potty, nor feed herself, which she does every 2 or 3 hours.  Riley, our oldest asked the other day, ‘can she walk yet?’  Which I think is a completely fair expectation.  After all, the boys are expected to put their dishes in the sink after eating, and clean their room before bedtime.  The least Eliana could do is walk. (actually gives me an awesome mental picture).

The point being that she is completely dependent upon us as her mother and father to care for her in every aspect, at all hours of the day or night.  And this last week we have literally seen every hour on the little clock in our room.  Though the we, is more her than me.  Yet in all the weariness and fatigue, love fuels our action.  We pour out all of who we are so that Eliana can thrive & grow, know love and the security of family, even when it’s at 3am.  In the midst of it all, God’s love as Father is revealed in a greater way in my own life and how His love is to be lived out through us…

1 John 5:1-3

1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,

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