Read the Red (no.1)

Read the Red (no.1)

Perhaps it is the beginning of the holiday season that has so inspired me.

And, perhaps it is the fact that having recently spent some time in one of my former teaching venues has brought an overwhelming desire to hand out homework.

Either way, I hope you find this series of blogs interesting and find yourself compelled to participate.

The Assignment

NOTE: I did this a few years back with one of my FCA groups and found the results to be rather interesting.

The idea is simple: Isolate and focus on those words and parables in the Bible that are written in red-those attributed to our Lord Jesus Christ.

New Testament vs. Old Testament

I think I remember reading somewhere something about a man not coming to abolish the law but to fulfill the law. Yet, there is invariably at one time or another (or another and another and another for the non-believer) where we doubt that the God found in the Old Testament is like-and-kind with the God that we see through the teachings of Jesus Christ.

So, where do the red words seem to contradict those found in the Old Testament? Where do they fulfill them?

Bible Times vs. Modern Times

If those words in red were said to you today-in a reference completely removed from any religious talk-then to what do you think the conversation might be pertaining?

Would your thoughts today coincide with the interpretations of the disciples?

Back in the Day vs. Youth of Today

One of the most fascinating aspects of this exercise was how the understanding of the words in red are so very generation dependent.

As an FCA Ministry Leader, I would come to an FCA meeting with my notes in hand, thoughts in mind, and ready to share share share. However, when the student-athletes would begin to exchange their research and thoughts on the words in red then I would find a great gap between their interpretation and mine.

The nice thing was that discovering that great gap proved to be a primary step towards building a bridge between their world and mine.

Now, I am not under the delusion that you are going to be able to compel your youth to do their own bible research. However, I do believe that you may find it engaging to simply ask, “Hey, what does it mean to you if I said ‘XYZ’?”

To the Task at Hand

This is a participation grade, my friends. Your questions, comments, and answers are always appreciated. But please know that for this particular set of blogs, your participation is essential.

Below you will find our first red phrase to be considered:

Luke 2:49 (NIV)
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

You can feel free to leave a comment below (and thus begin an open discussion), or you might be more comfortable sending me your thoughts and questions via the Contact page. Either way I will compile and share our collected thoughts in a follow-up post.

I will try my best to introduce items in chronological order and to combine the like phrases found in the different gospels. This initial assignment will last until Christmas and then will be followed-up with a new phrase every two weeks or so.

My oh my, it does feel good to be giving out homework again.

Semper Fidelis Est Deus Noster

Happy Birthday, Marines. Semper Fi.
Happy Birthday, Marines. Semper Fi.

Today is a special day for anyone claiming the title of United States Marine. On this date, back in 1775, the Second Continental Congress commissioned the organization of two battalions of Continental Marines. So, in a local bar known as Tun Tavern the recruiting began and the Marine Corps was born.

Over the past 2.4 centuries, November 10th has evolved (by means of intelligent design) into a day of celebration and revelry.

However, on this occasion marking the 241st birthday of our beloved Marine Corps I find myself more troubled than joyful.

A Warrior’s Full Armor

full-armor-of-godThere has been an increasing number of stories related to how our decision makers are choosing to send our servicemen and women into every clime and place without the advent of a spiritual covering.

Now, I am not looking to get into a debate over shepherding. My concern is not with whether one should be considered a shepherd or should seek out a shepherd. That argument shall be left to individuals with much more knowledge.

My dilemma is with whether those that serve are being sent into harm’s way without the comfort of knowing that they are on God’s side–that they have His protection.

Consider the following articles:

1.       A Navy Chaplain is ordered not to pray in the name of Jesus.

2.       A Marine is court martialed for refusing to remove a quote (only loosely based on scripture, mind you) from her desk.

3.       Veterans are banned from saying “God” and “Jesus” at military funerals.

I am sure most would understand how reading each article (and an increasing number of like articles) increased the amount of conflict in my mind.

The Battle is Already Won

Now consider the three versions of 1 Corinthians 11:4 below:

1.       Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. (NIV)

2.       Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. (KJV)

3.       Every man who prays or [a]prophesies with something on his head dishonors his head [and the One who is his head]. (AMP)

As I have told my students and players in the past, “I may be completely wrong.” Or, like my pastor would often say to his flock, “I might be a false prophet.” Regardless of that fact, I did find some comfort in reading this passage and would like to briefly share my thoughts as to why.

I believe that Paul was foreshadowing the much later arguments of Martin Luther in that our spiritual covering is dependent on our own unique relationship with the Almighty and not in any way dependent on the spiritual covering that may or not be provided by an earthly entity appointed over us.

That interpretation of the verse has helped ease my heart when thinking about those whom are laying it all on the line for us every single day. And being that tomorrow is Veteran’s Day, let me be sure to include all the marines, sailors, soldiers, airmen, and coastguardsmen, as well as all our first responders.

Of course, it sure would be nice if we could once again get everyone (decision maker, civilian, and service member) in agreement that God’s blessing is vital to the health of our nation. Because despite what many might like to assert (which includes the folks at the National Archives in charge of putting forth an interpretation of the first amendment), the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution-which our servicemen and women are sworn to defend-provides for freedom of religion and not freedom from religion.