Wednesday, March 19, 2008


No Country For Old Men got me. It got me more than any movie has gotten me for a few years now. When I say it got me I mean that I have been seeing images of the main villain in my head. One time when I was walking to the steps of my basement to go back up to the kitchen I imagined that Chigurh might be standing there waiting on me. (I know that sounds freaky…but hang with me) For some reason he didn’t have either of his trademarked weapons with him when I imagined him. I imagined asking him why he didn’t have his weapons with him. Then I realized this wasn’t a conversation I needed to be having so I put him out of my mind. I can’t remember the last time a movie got to me like that. This movie got Becki really good too but I can remember the last time a movie got her that good…movies do that to her. I can normally realize that movies are just fictional stories, especially when I know the actors in it but there was something just too mysterious about Anton Chigurh (played by Javier Bardem). I thought at first it was something about the fact that I have never seen Bardem in a movie and so his character seemed more like a real person since I didn’t know anything of that face other than the character Chigurh. After watching the bonus material I realized that a big part (probably the biggest part) of the fear that Chigurh incites comes from his mysteriousness. We don't know where he came from, exactly why he was there, or where he is going to. One of the most interesting takes on Chigurh is when someone called him a homicidal lunatic Sheriff Bell said he wouldn’t describe him as a lunatic but as a ghost. Why did he describe him as a ghost? I think It’s because Chigurh was unlike (not just unlike but way beyond) any earthly evil he had experienced before. In one of the few dialogues of the movie, an old man in a wheelchair (Ellis) asked Bell why he was quittin’ from being the sheriff. Bell's response simple. He was overmatched. Was he overmatched? There’s no doubt that Bell was overmatched. His entire staff was overmatched! There was no way they were going to catch Chigurh or stop him from doing whatever he wanted to do. Sheriff Bell...I know the feeling. The Bible makes it clear that we have an Enemy that wants to take us down and take us out (1 Peter 5:8) and that this Enemy is more than even the angels can handle (Jude 9). So to say that I'm overmatched by the devil is an understatement. I’m way in over my head. I can’t fight him on my own or even with my accountability group but that’s what I do and I get bloodied up every time. Some feel so overmatched that they may want to retire from this world because this world is no place for any men (old or young). Because you are putting your body and your soul at hazard when you say, “OK. I will be part of this world.” Alone, I know I'm overmatched. But guess what…(whispering voice)…I'm not alone (1 John 4:4)…and really…when all of the chips are pushed forward…my soul is just fine.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Free Beer For Your Story!

Last night was great! The “Men O’ Tapestry” finally put up our “free beer for your story” signs. Why did we do that? We did it because people want to tell their stories, even if it is to a stranger, and we at Tapestry want to hear their stories because we believe everybody’s smaller stories are part of God’s larger story and we want to help people see that and start living for the larger story. The first two times I said to someone, “Tell me your story”, we got into really deep stuff and I had a great opportunity to tell them about the Gospel. Of course this time I was hoping for “greater things than these.” Last night was different though. Last night we just listened. There never really was that wide open door to share the gospel but we are laying the foundation. We heard three real stories (mainly surface stuff) and one outrageous story about the time this guy got drunk at Tiki Bob’s, walked six blocks back to his car (where he passed out laying across the driver’s seat and the passenger seat with his feet hanging out of the driver’s side door), and woke up in the fetal position in the passenger seat with a homeless person driving him around Southside. From now on, as we are doing our study of Blue Like Jazz, I think we are going to have the "free beer for your story" sign up and anybody that wants to can come over and share their story at anytime. Next Tuesday, Casey and I are going to stay at Jackson’s until we close it down. Last time we did that we talked to “the couch surfer” whose real name I can’t remember right now...probably because it wasnt nearly as interesting as the fact that she surfs couches. That was the first time Sea Bass and I really teamed up in a conversation for the Gospel and it was beautiful. If you know Sea Bass you know that we pretty much only agree on one thing…Jesus…anything else is uncivilized. Oh the hopes for the future of Tapestry...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Theologians Dont Know Nothing About My Soul

Monday night Sea Bass and I went down to Mob town to see WILCO! We first heard about them in Blue Like Jazz...and let me say...TY very much Donald Miller for introducing us to them. One of my favorite Wilco songs is Theologians. Most of us at Beeson Divinity School are aspiring young theologians, to use a term I first heard eight years ago in Kosciusko Mississippi and only this year did I realize that the beloved Helmut Thielicke was the one who wrote the book Coker and I got that term from. It used to be said that the main function of the preacher was the cure of souls. Are we still in that business? Do we know anything about souls - let alone the cure of souls? Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what the Lord has prepared for those who love him.” So, obviously nobody knows anything about what God is going to do in the lives of people, so no one knows anything about the cure of souls. Wow. That sure sounds hopeless. But, look at verse 12. But. Now this is a really big but. I love that word, especially when Paul uses it. Almost every time Paul puts his big but in the middle of a sentence things turn out good. I mean, it looks like it is going to be bad, really bad, and then Paul sticks his big but in there and says, “God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.” This word search can mean to search out or to investigate. When used in the sense of animals it means to sniff out. This is probably why many have called the Spirit the hound of heaven. The hound of heaven is sniffing out your soul but the question still remains. Do we theologians know anything about people’s souls? In Revelation 2:23 in the NIV Jesus says, “I am he who searches hearts and minds.” That word the NIV translates to “minds” (and know that I'm an NIV kind of guy…so I'm not bashing on them) is only found once in the NT. In the LXX (The Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures) it is found several times, most commonly translated as “kidneys” (Ex. 29:13; cf. 29:22; Lv. 3:4, 10, 15; 4:9, Dt. 32:14). It is translated metaphorically in PS 138:13 as “inmost being”. This is not the brain that the Lord is searching but something much deeper. One writer said that the kidneys are where we filter things out and this filtering system is the part of us that the Spirit looks deeply into because it determines what stays and what leaves our bodies. We have the Spirit of Jesus living inside us, the same spirit that Paul had but what are we doing here to grow in that? Because as I see it, any class here that has the word Spirit in it is pushed to the realm (the ever shrinking and hard to get into realm) of “electives.” Electives? If the class has the word grammar, syntax, translation, exegesis, history, or theology in it, it gets pushed to the front and center and made a “requirement” and a “prerequisite.” I don’t think I want to be known mainly as a theologian because as Wilco says, “theologians don’t know nothing about my soul!” I want to be known as a curer of souls! What do you want to be known as?