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Monthly Archives: August 2010

Unchurched Seattle

Seattle to continues to become more unchurched as time goes by. Or in the case of another church closing its doors, perhaps we should call it “less churched.”

This week, I learned that Emmanuel Bible Church closed its doors on July 18, 2010. The news bothered me more than other churches that have given up. I knew this church. I taught a Walk Thru the Bible seminar there some 15+ years ago. They were in a good location with a beautiful facility across the street from the Woodland Park Zoo. When they were searching for a new Senior Pastor, I offered my services but was turned down because I did not live in the area.

While I do not know any of the details that went into this decision, my guess is that a lack of leadership and vision ultimately led to them withering from within. I mourn their departure. I grieve their loss of hope. I am saddened they stopped growing. I mourn their death.

May God raise up a new body of believers who will believe the promise of Scripture, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18b). May God raise up people who will obey the great commission, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19a). May God raise up new pastors who will follow the instructions of the apostle Paul, “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2a). May God help the believers in Seattle to share the good news of the gospel, with the result, “the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47b).

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2010 in Church, Scripture, Seattle

 

Living in a dream world

Are dreams more real than reality? If we have to make a choice between the two, which world would we choose to live in, the dream world or reality? That is one of the questions posed by the movie, Inception. One scene in the movie is where people in Mumbai come to a chemist who places them in a dream state for an extended period of time. They believe their dreams are more inviting than reality.

The concept is not unique in literature or movies. George & Fred Weasley sell daydream kits in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The kit is guaranteed to produce a 30-minute daydream, though it may include vacant stares and drooling as a side effect. The crew of the Starship Enterprise regularly visited the holodeck in Star Trek: Next Generation. It was their way of escape from the pressures of life. In the episode, “Ship in a bottle,” a holodeck character takes on a life of his own. He is defeated when the crew of the enterprise traps him inside a holodeck story. Much like the characters in Inception, he becomes trapped in a story within a story.

It is one thing to dream and imagine. It is quite another to retreat into a fantasy world and block out reality. Yet, many people do that very thing each and every day. When life gets too difficult and painful, we withdraw and retreat into our own neat little worlds. Sad, but true.

We need help to break out. We need someone to tell us, “This is not true.”

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2010 in Books, Culture, Movies, TV

 

Where’s my happy ending?

Carol and I went to see Inception yesterday afternoon. (The movie is quite good and lives up to all the glowing reviews, but that is another story.) As the last scene fades to black and the credits start to roll, (no spoiler alerts here), someone down in front shouted, “NO!” Not quite the happy resolution he was hoping for. ;-}

I was reminded of  The Verdict, a 1982 movie starring Paul Newman. Newman plays a down-on-his-luck attorney who takes an unwinable medical malpractice case. Along the way, he meets, falls in love, and is later betrayed by a beautiful woman. The movie ends as the girl calls Paul Newman to apologize. The scene fades to black without showing whether or not Newman picks up the phone.

One of the friends I saw the movie with was so bothered by the unresolved tension that he made up his own ending, where Newman picks up the phone and the couple gets back together.

We do love our happy endings. We want all of our problems to be resolved in 60 minutes or less, just like on TV.

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2010 in Movies