You’re Right, Congress. Corporations Need More Control

In the ancient hallways of bad ideas that litter our history, SOPA/PIPA has to rank up there as one of the worst ideas since people started thinking. This expands government’s control to censor the internet and violates free speech. And since lobbyists from major corporations and industries essentially control Congress, these two bills give those with the deepest pockets the ability to control what we can or cannot see on the internet.

In a nutshell, these bills will enable corporations to effectively shut down websites that they believe are infringing their copyrights and trademarks. All they have to do is file notice (not prove to a court, but simply file notice) that their copyright has been infringed to a service provider, such as the one which registers their web address on the internet, and that entity has 5 days to take action to end service to the site.

There is plenty more information out about these two bills. Some good ones can be found hereherehere, and here. Check them out! Also, my friend Frank has a great commentary on it here.

If you want to see what the world looks like 20 years down the road if these bills get passed… read George Orwell’s 1984.

That may seem like hyperbole, and usually hyperbole is a good bet with me… but not this time.

Please, please, please contact your local representative and tell him/her that this is the exact antithesis to the 1st Amendment. The government’s goal should be to end piracy, not free speech.

That’s my rant for today. Necessary.

Also, did anyone else see that Mitt Romney called his $374,000 from speaking fees “not a lot of money”. Hope you enjoy your 1% of the vote.



Music Monday: All Are Welcome Edition


Yesterday in church we sang the hymn “All Are Welcome”. Whenever I sing this song, the last verse always sticks out to me. And with all the negative stuff being said about religion this past week, I felt like I wanted this to be my meditation this week. So I know it’s not as cool as what I was going to do this week (come by next week for the Black Keys edition)… It’s still very worthwhile. For today, let’s meditate on these words.

Let us build a house where all are named,
their songs and visions heard

and loved and treasured, taught and claimed
as words within the Word.

Built of tears and cries and laughter,
prayers of faith and songs of grace,

let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:
All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.


Spoken Word Video That Should Have Gone Viral Instead

So the video I posted yesterday has gone all over the internet and back. The more I watch it, the more I’m not sure about it. But the more I also want to put this video out there. It’s a spoken word reflection on the story from the Gospel of John of Jesus meeting the woman at the well. I don’t want to say much more about it, but just that you should really watch it.



Spoken Word on Jesus & Religion

My friend Adam showed me this video the other day (and has a great post about it here). The spirit of this video is one that I can get behind. The idea of expressing faith in new ways is something that the church needs desperately. That being said, there are certainly things that I’m not sure about in this video.

The problem with something like this is that the term “religion” is so broad. For a lot of people, religion gives some sort of structure to understanding how we can join the ministry of God in the world. Religion provides an avenue to understand God’s action throughout history to help us interpret how God is acting and moving in our lives and in the lives of our communities. Religious traditions express the deep doubts of our communities but stands united against the emptiness that threatens to overtake us.

That being said, religion can also be incredibly damaging, which is what I think this guy focuses on and hits right on the head. When “religious” people are much more concerned with what candle is lit at what certain time throughout the service than with helping people in the community, we have a problem.

I think of great speaker Tony Campolo’s opening line when speaking at a church one night. He said,

I have three things I’d like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night.

False religion is the religion that cares more about the small misbehaviors of one rather than the great amount of suffering endured by entire nations. This is the religion that he is speaking against. And I think that’s the type of religion we should all speak against.

That being said, I enjoyed the video. I think the line “it’s not a museum for good people, but a hospital for the broken” is a great line.

And if the church is going to have anything to say to the generations coming after us, we better adopt that attitude and quickly.

What did you think of the video? What stuck out as positive? What wasn’t so positive?


Shane Hipps on Rob Bell Leaving Mars Hill

Last night I saw that Shane Hipps, teaching pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, MI posted some thoughts on Rob Bell’s departure from the church. There were some thoughts that were very poignant for pastors and leaders in every profession.

He writes,

I learned when I became a pastor that it is a unique vocation.  Becoming a leader in any profession can be a lonely experience.  This isn’t always bad, in many ways it forces you to grow up fast.  In time you learn to allow the loneliness to become a divine ingredient in cultivating depth and resilience. Over the years I learned to befriend it as a teacher.  And as I’ve said here before, there is a difference between being alone, and being lonely.

It’s a really great reflection. I’d encourage everyone to read it. You can find it here.


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