Thursday, November 12, 2009

Love G-d, Love People, Nothing Else Matters

I'm going to Uganda because I want to know what poverty means.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Everyone dances the same way.

I saw a band, Why?, on Friday night in Carrboro. It was a good show. There were two other bands there as well. Serengeti and Polyphonic, an amazingly inventive hip-hop group, and Au, a group of annoyingly repetitive animal collective wannabe's.

I noticed something that I've never noticed before.

Everyone dances the same way.

I'm not even talking about everyone within one musical cult following, but everyone in the entire world. I mean, it makes sense I guess, there aren't really a whole lot of different ways to flail your arms and legs to a beat.

While I was watching, and somewhat participating in, the dancing happening at cat's cradle, I began to make ridiculous connections (as usual) between the small things like dancing and the large things, like life. I mean, we all want to dance, right? If our lives are our music, then we are all dancing.

Maybe you're dancing to hip-hop or maybe you're dancing to electronic trance or maybe you are even dancing to mainstream alternative rock.

Maybe you're struggling with addictions, family problems, depression, maybe it's just boredom. It's all just a different beat isn't it?

Everyone struggles the same way.

At cat's cradle, there was only a small group of people "completely" dancing and it was rather distracting and annoying because they weren't respecting anyone else's space. But this is how shows always are. Either everyone dances and has a wonderful time, or only a few people dance and make everyone else mad.

May we continue to learn to struggle together and dance together. It's never easy to dance by yourself.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Religion is Dead.

Religion is a product of culture. Period. Your religion is how you are raised. If you were raised in the middle east, you would be Islamic. Only when we accept this do we become tolerant.

This has been hard for me to accept. Growing up, I've always been taught that Christianity was the way to life, the only way. Now, I know that is not true. Religion is not synonymous with love. G-d is love (so say the scriptures), therefore, G-d is not religion. Religion is exclusive. Religion, in it's present day context, has become nothing more than politics. A campaign of persuasiveness.

What if I were to say that scripture calls us to be good people. What if I were to say that the gospel is an example of what a non-oppressive lifestyle looks like and that religion, of any kind, simply perverts that. As an example, the evangelical believes in showing people Jesus. However, by being so strongly convicted that you are to tell people about your culture (or religion), are you not just loving yourself? What if you just developed a genuine relationship with people. What if you cared about the things they were going through enough to not talk about your religion and simply love them. Does G-d not exist in that relationship? In that love?

This is not a call to hate religion, just to understand it.

Love G-d and love people. ALL of the law and the prophets hang on these. (Matthew 22:40)

Religion is dead. Jesus is alive.

Monday, August 3, 2009

New Things

I'm writing a short book that is called "Everything Spiritual". More on that soon.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


It doesn't take much time to realize that the way America portrays Islam is wrong.

Find out the truth about Islam.

Also, love your enemies.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Don't Celebrate the Fourth of July!

The claims I will make in this note will be bold. You will probably be offended, but I am about a life of transparency.

Over and over again we hear about how Christians are called to be "set apart". But lately, myself, as well as others, are realizing that being "set apart" holds a much deeper meaning than what we previously thought.

What does it mean to truly love our enemies? In the sermon on the mount, Jesus speaks about enemy love and he also speaks about retaliation back to back. He tells us that we shouldn't resist the evildoer and that we should love our enemies. We see several examples of this enemy love from the life of Jesus. One of the most profound examples (to me) is when Jesus is in the garden and the soldiers come to arrest him. Peter reacts by chopping one of the soldiers ear off. Jesus then picks up the soldiers ear and puts it back onto the soldier. Can you imagine this mans thoughts?!?! How do you arrest someone that just put your ear back onto your head?

[This is where things will get controversial]
Let's look at the story of the crucifixion. Jesus was hated by Caesar because, back then, the political rulers were seen as messiahs and son's of God. So naturally, when a baby was born that people were calling the messiah and son of God, there was tension. Eventually, it came down to a struggle of power. Jesus was living as a homeless man with a lifestyle that transcended the oppressive lifestyle of the empire. People begin to see that his way of life offered more (to everyone) than the empire's. As his popularity grew, Rome knew something needed to be done. This something (obviously) was death. Jesus was hung on a cross beside two criminals to die. The word used for these two men, back then, was "lestes". When this is translated it means "terrorist" or "insurrectionist". We see two acts of tremendous enemy love happen on this day. First, Jesus forgives one of the "terrorists" and tells him that today he will be with his father in heaven. Secondly, in possibly the greatest act of enemy love ever to be shown to us, Jesus, in his final breath's, begs for the forgiveness of those killing him. "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Now lets step back to the words of the prophet Isaiah and see what he says about Jesus and the crucifixion. In Isaiah 53:7 it says, "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before it's shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth".

The definition of Christian would be a lifestyle that is Christ-like. But Jesus was a homeless man that was nomadic (moved from place to place). Obviously we aren't all called to replicate the lifestyle of Jesus exactly (If you are homeless and checking your facebook, you have issues). The part we are called to, according to scripture, is taking up our cross and following him. What does this mean? Overcoming through suffering. This is what Jesus accomplished with the cross. Prior to the way many people see this historical event, it was very untriumphant. But here, Jesus showed that not even death can contain him. Martin Luther King Jr. really understood this when he said, "To our most bitter opponents we say: 'Throw us in jail and we will still love you. Bomb our houses and threaten our children and we will still love you. Beat us and leave us half dead, and we will still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.'"

Brothers and Sisters, there is no such thing as redemptive violence. It is impossible to love your enemies and kill them too. The way of the empire is oppressive. People are dying from poverty, people are dying from war, people are being enslaved everyday and our nations continue to draw lines in the sand dividing us even further from our brothers and sisters in other nations. I'm proclaiming that the life of Jesus is a very relevant one. We are commanded to love our enemies, not destroy them. To rely on war and military power to protect us is to call Jesus naive and unrealistic.

I am not celebrating the fourth of July because I realize that this holiday represents nothing but empire. I realize that I serve a God of peace and scandalous grace. Afterall, half of the bible is written by a converted terrorist (Paul). I respect the men and women who are fighting or have fought in our military, but this respect only furthers my beliefs of peace and non-violence. In 2005, 17 war veterans a day were committing suicide. Furthermore, every tragedy in our nation for the past several years that involved mass killings resulted in suicide. This is because we are created to love and be loved and when we begin to live outside of that, we lose purpose.

I am calling everyone to abandon hope in the empire and to come follow the ways of Jesus, who lived a lifestyle that was "set apart" from the nations. I am calling everyone to a lifestyle of suffering with those who are oppressed. If there are people in this world without food, may we fast until they they are fed. If there are people who are struggling financially, may we sell all that we know as wealth so that we may meet their needs (We see both of these examples in the early church of the book of Acts).

Finally, may we not only live this lifestyle on days such as the fourth of July, but may we live indifferently to the politics of this world forever. May we learn that being pro-life means more than wearing shirts proclaiming that abortion is murder. Life begins at conception, but it doesn't end at birth. May we continue to beat our swords into plowshares (or guns into gardening tools), and learn the peaceful way's of Jesus (Isaiah 2:4). May we refuse to pledge allegiance to a nation who has never exemplified Jesus but rather pledge allegiance to Jesus himself.

Long live the slaughtered lamb!

Don't celebrate the fourth of July!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Girls, seriously?

What is it with the "girls night out"? I don't understand this idea. Never in my life have I said, you know, right now, for some reason, I feel like I need to be around all guys because girls don't have what it takes to make me feel good about myself. I am offended. You know who you are.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


This article made me cry.

Tears of joy. People can be so bad, and yet so good. In the midst of this hell of a world that we live in, thousands of people sent in emails to tell of their good news. The good news that good people are still left in the world. That no matter what, love will always prevail over destruction and fear.

I met a russian guy this past weekend. We had an interesting conversation about religious views. He was into a sort of "pseudo-religion". He said it was parts of a bunch of different religions combined. He said that lately he had been experimenting with voo-doo culture. But this is what he said to me. He said that any religion that was not focused on helping other people, was no religion at all. Words of wisdom.

My heart is full of joy and compassion tonight.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Life Among the Lifeless

I am experiencing something new this year. The season of Lent is something I have never practiced or even really heard about. This is weird, I know, but church back home just doesn't celebrate this. I went to an ashe wednesday service yesterday, and before that I went to a homeless shelter and volunteered. In the service we sang praises and worshipped together as well as took communion and then took ashes and put them on our foreheads to remind us of how the scriptures tell us that we were made from dust and without God we will also return to dust. It was very traditional and very beautiful. Tyler, our pastor, talked about how Lent is a time of fasting and prayer and how we should seek out the things that take the place of God in our lives sometimes and strive to get rid of those things during this time. It was a time of honesty and self examination. Like I said earlier, prior to this service, I was at a homeless shelter in downtown serving dinner. The men of the shelter came down for dinner first and an older african american man was the first to go through the line. At the time, I wasn't doing anything and this particular man was in a wheelchair and so I decided to carry his tray to his table for him and get his drink. After he sat down and got settled I began to talk to the man. He started asking questions about me, and about what I was involved in (sports, academics, hobbies). He was a very friendly man. When I talked to him about school, he asked what my GPA was and I told him it wasn't as high as I wanted but that I was working to bring it up this semester. It was then that the night gained meaning. After this, my friend said, "let me ask you Seth, do you pray?" I said yea I sure do and he suddenly opens up and starts talking to me about how the scriptures tell us over and over that we should do everything through prayer and fasting. He told me that as long as we are doing those things that God will bless us no matter what our situation is. As I parted way's with my new friend, he asked that I pray for him and he promised to pray for me. As I left this man, I realized that the amount of life that he had experienced, from a worldly viewpoint, was way less than I will ever experience. But somehow, this man had all of the hope in the world. An old man living in a homeless shelter and in a wheelchair is happier than I am at 19 sitting in a college dorm room with luxuries all around. At this moment I realized what it was that was coming before God in my life. Everything. My life get's so cluttered sometimes with nonsense that I forget about God and about his grace and mercy. This season of Lent has already been well worth the time and focus. Praise be to God for faithful followers like my friend from the shelter. I hope I can be as fortunate as him one day.

"Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4:6-7 (NRSV)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ron Paul - What If?

I saw this video today and it reminded me of Ron Paul's awesomeness.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Dark was the night.

Good music, good cause.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


In an attempt at making peace, in 1991 Mother Teresa wrote this to George Bush and Saddam Hussein:

"I beg you with my whole heart to work for, to labor for God's peace and to be reconciled with one another. In the short term there may be winners and losers in this war that we all dread, but that never can, nor never will justify the suffering, pain, and loss of life which your weapons will cause. Please choose the way of peace. You may win the war but what will the cost be on people who are broken, disabled, and lost?"

"Many peoples shall come and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore."
-Isaiah 2:3-4 (NRSV)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Something useful...

Who wants to do some of these with me??