January 11, 2016

It’s Monday morning and I have this craving to get on my motorcycle and take a ride (It’s looking very lonely just sitting there). Then I look at the temperature and my craving wanes . . . a lot. I thank God today for heat and warmth and for not selling my car. I hope your Monday is warm and dry and off to a good start!
Yesterday I think I lost everyone with an arcane reference that even my wife didn’t get. I apologize for that but I did promise knowledge, and hopefully understanding, if you read my blog today. I mentioned that I had changed the title of my message to “Making a Disciple” or maybe it should have been “Making a Disciple(er).” (I think Paul would have gotten it if he had been there.) OK, I’m sure you’re still lost but I was making a very subtle reference to the Netflix craze which hit over the holidays. Millions of people tuned into a documentary called “Making a Murderer.” Without giving too much away, it’s a story about a guy who was wrongly convicted of a crime and spent 18 years in prison before DNA evidence finally cleared him and he was released in 2003. Then he brings a lawsuit for wrongful imprisonment against the Sheriff’s office and in the middle of this lawsuit in 2005 there is a murder. This man quickly becomes their #1 suspect and the bulk of the documentary is the telling of that story. Everyone I know that has seen this 10 hour documentary wants to discuss it . . . endlessly . . . like I do. My wife even chided me for going on and on about it and she is either rolling her eyes right now or has stopped reading at this point. But if you have Netflix this is something that might be worth your time. I will warn you that there are some language issues but other than that it is a compelling story. I also ran across an article from a Christian perspective called “Three Reasons You Should Watch ‘Making a Murderer.’” I would suggest checking out that article as well. One key quote from it is this: “I’m a Christian, and as such believe that we’re supposed to be aware of and fight against injustice. I should stand up for what’s right. Whether that’s when the innocent are jailed, or when bad people are turned into heroes. Living second also means considering others above yourself. We should, then, wrestle with justice and injustice. We should talk about things that are uncomfortable (with grace). And we should participate in cultural conversations where those issues are being discussed.” The author also makes the point of being able to use this discussion to possibly open up discussions about other spiritual things. I believe we need to use everything at our disposal to build relationships to further the Kingdom through the gospel message. This includes being in touch with what others are watching and discussing.
We need to be “in” our culture without being “of” our culture. There is a very fine line that separates our ability to understand our culture versus being immersed in our culture. Most people tend to go one extreme or the other for fear of striking the proper balance. Some say I’m not going to watch anything or participate in anything and withdraw from culture. Others go to the opposite extreme and become so involved in culture that they lose the ability to see sin and they lose their “saltiness” for the Kingdom. Another example of understanding culture happened last night with the “Golden Globes” awards show. Jim Denison has a good article on this that you can read by clicking here. I didn’t watch and honestly I haven’t seen most of the shows/movies that were nominated but I did read who the winners were and I can have an honest discussion on the topic. I try not to withdraw from culture but I also have to be careful not to be overcome by it. I pray that God will help you in the ongoing struggle each of us faces to be “salt” and “light” right where we are each day!!
Finally, I want to wish my eldest daughter, and mother of two of my grandchildren, a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY this Wednesday!! Happy Birthday Lauran!!