John Edwards Indictment

John Edwards was indicted today on 6 felony charges of campaign finance law.  As bad as it was for him to break the law in that way, I think the bigger issue is the commission of adultery.  Frankly, I think it’s just as well that his wife, Elizabeth passed away last December from cancer.  I can’t imagine being his wife after going through the adulterous affair, and then facing criminal charges with him.

However, lest we condemn him or think “there’s no way that would happen to me,” let the words of Romans and Matthew humble our spirit:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  –Matthew 5:28

Why a Soulmate isn’t Good Enough

I ran across this article on Boundless and thought it was quite interesting.

It explores the idea of not needing a ceremony to be married as long as there’s a “spiritual covenant” between the two parties, and ultimately argues that a ceremony in one form or another is ultimately a requirement.  “It doesn’t so much matter whether one spends $40,000 or $400 on the ceremony. What matters is the couple publicly consents to be married to each other. [emphasis mine]”

I thought this was interesting, particularly for couples who co-habitate and use this logic as a rationalization.  I hadn’t thought about using that logic before, but I can definitely see how couples would draw that conclusion.

What do you think?

Home at Last!

Here is the text of the story/speech I’ll be sharing at Gung Gung’s memorial service. It’s not short, but I believe it’s worth reading to the end when you have the time.

As I mention in the text, I got much of the descriptive language from the book “Safely Home” by Randy Alcorn.  So I definitely can’t take credit for it.  There were parts I tried to re-write with my own words, but Dr. Alcorn’s words were so appropriate, so perfect, I decided to copy them as they were.  I thank God for creating a man with such skill to bring biblical truth to life.  He has such a great imagination; he’s a literary genius with the way he weaves words and ideas together.  What I’ve done is adapted his story to reflect what I believe happened to Gung Gung. 

If you’re reading this at 3:00pm Arizona time, I’ll likely be at church preparing to deliver it. 

This afternoon, I want to share a story with all of you.  It’s an adaptation of the fictional book “Safely Home” by Randy Alcorn.   My intent is not to give a non-fictional or historical account of what actually happened, but to give an account of what might have happened.  I’m sure the details aren’t exact, but I’m even more sure that the truth is exceedingly, abundantly better than anything I could imagine or capture with words on a page.  My earnest hope and prayer with this story is that it will bring comfort to those who mourn, and peace to those who are restless. 

Of course, those of us left here on earth miss him dearly, but as you’ll hear my cousin Jay talk about in a few minutes, those of us who are Christians can take solace in the fact that we will one day see Gung Gung again. 

I recognize that Heaven is not time-bound, and consequently, words that denote time such as “then,” “before,” “after,” and even verb tenses aren’t applicable.  But I’ve taken the artistic liberty of using them in this story.

This is the story of a journey.  The journey Gung Gung took in the moments after he departed from this world and was transported into the next life.

With that, I give you, “Home at Last”.

Gung Gung opened his eyes.  He found himself walking in a warm, natural light.  His first thought was, “At last, the real world!  The place I longed for all of my years on Earth.”  But his thoughts were interrupted by a voice.

“He’s coming,” shouted someone on the other side.  “Chuck Gin is coming.”

As he walked towards the commotion, he heard many voices in different languages.  He heard English, Swahili, Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, French, Persian, Spanish, and several Chinese dialects.  Inexplicably, he understood what everyone was saying.  It was amazing.  People from every tribe and tongue and nation were here, living together under one flag, one King.

And then a face appeared in the crowd.  It was a face he had last seen three months ago.  But it seemed different this time.  It was vibrant yet familiar; and the eyes were even brighter than he remembered.  They were full of a vibrancy and vitality previously unbeknownst to him on Earth.

It was Po Po.  His beloved wife of 63 years.  She ran towards him, and they embraced.

“We have much to talk about,” Po Po told him in Toisan.  “And I have much to show you.  But first, I have been granted the honor of leading you before the Audience of One, the King of all Heaven.”

Po Po pointed towards a palace.  Or was it a temple?  Gung Gung hadn’t even noticed it amidst the excitement of all the people.  He and Po Po began walking towards it.  Now he saw the rolling hills in the distance.  They were a greener green than he had ever know.  And they were dotted with amazing structures of gleaming marble and gold.

Compared to what he saw now, the world he’d come from was a world of shadows, colorless and two-dimensional.  This place was fresh and captivating, resonating with color and beauty.  He could not only see and hear it, but feel and smell and taste it.  This whole world had the feel of cool water on a blistering summer afternoon in Tucson.  But it felt like so much more than that.  It was a feeling he had never known on earth.  He was filled with awe, amazement, hope and comfort.

“This is the path that leads to the throne,” Po Po explained. “I’ll take you to the outer area, but then only you shall proceed.  I will see you at the celebration.” 

Gung Gung began to walk down the marble pathway toward the great palace.  The wooden doors must have been thirty feet high.  A great doorkeeper, taller than any man looked at Gung Gung and nodded.  He stepped aside, and the massive doors swung wide open.  At that moment, Gung Gung saw at the far end of the palace The One sitting on a throne.  He fell to his knees.

“Come in my faithful servant!”  The voice was powerful, but filled with delight.

Gung Gung arose and marveled at the long bloodred carpet.  It was over a meter wide, and embossed with gold.  About every twenty feet there was an embroidered gold crown of thorns.  The thorns seemed to actually come out of the carpet, but they did not pierce Gung Gung’s feet.

As he approached the throne, he saw that it was beautiful, but it was not as large or as majestic as he had imagined it would be.  It was a chair clearly made by the hands of a great carpenter.

He came within 10 meters, and The One on the throne arose from it like a great lion and ran down the steps to Gung Gung.  Overcome with emotion, Gung Gung fell to his knees again and wept with joy.  He breathed deeply, inhaling the wonderful fragrance, feeling the King’s thick beard, and nestling his head in it as if it were a lion’s mane.  It was simultaneously so humbling, yet so comforting.

The King pulled Gung Gung upward.  They looked at each other face-to-face.  There was a poignant pause.  Gung Gung sensed the anticipation throughout the palace, and then noticed a great cloud of witnesses had gathered.  Suddenly, the King lifted him off the ground, held him up with arms straight, and cried out in a voice that could be heard a million light years away.

“Well done, my good and faithful servant!”  His voice roared like a lion’s, and his sweet hot breath blew across Gung Gung’s cheeks.  “You were once Chuck Gin of Tucson, Arizona.  You are now Chuck Gin of Heaven, the great city, capital of the eternal country without borders.  You have been faithful over a little, and I will put you over much.  Enter into the joy of your Lord!”

While Gung Gung tried to grasp what had just happened, thunderclaps exploded.  It took a moment but then he realized it was applause.  He now saw many coming through the side doors of the palace.  The guards stepped aside, permitting them this irregularity, this violation of palace protocol, since they were the King’s own children.  They rushed toward Gung Gung and the King.  He was Home at Last!

And then Gung Gung saw something remarkable, something he had never imagined.  Gung Gung saw the King’s hands clap against each other.  The sound was so great it pushed him backward.  It was the sound above all sounds, the sound for which his ears had been made and to which his hearing was now tuned.  Never until this moment had my Gung Gung, my beloved grandfather, heard the applause of Heaven.

Praise God for Trijicon

Trijicon? Who the heck are they? I had no idea either until I read this article on Yahoo! News.

Trijicon is a US defense contractor based in Michigan. They make combat  rifle sights which can be used day or night to pinpoint the enemy.  But the unique thing about their sights is that they contain scripture references at the end of the stock number. The two specific references called out in the article are to “JN8:12” and “2COR4:6,” which of course are references to John 8:12 and II Corinthians 4:6.

The inscriptions have sparked criticism of the company and the military. Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said that his foundation has received complaints from members of the military. He sees the inscriptions as “religious favoritism within the military.”

But fortunately, the military and Trijicon are standing up to the criticism and complaints. According to the article, “A spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said the inscribed sights don’t violate the ban on proselytizing because there’s no effort to distribute the equipment beyond the U.S. troops who use them.”

So yay for Trijicon and the US military!  Praise God you’re standing up for your beliefs.

Proverbs 7

Verses 8-9:

He was going down the street near her corner,
walking along in the direction of her houseat twilight, as the day was fading,
as the dark of night set in.

Chapter 7 is another chapter dedicated to warning against adultery, just like Chapter 5. I think this is an interesting set of verses because it sets the stage for the “youth” to fall into temptation. Verse 7 calls him “a youth who lacked judgment.” I think it’s this lack of judgement that really sets him up for failure.

But verses 8 and 9 really tell the story of where he went wrong.  First of all, in verse 8, we learn that he is headed “in the direction of her house.” Bad idea number one. We know that we need to flee from temptation, not run towards it. Second, verse 9 mentions that this was at twilight, as it was getting dark. And we have to remember that “back in the day” they didn’t have electricity or nice street lamps to light the way home. And yet, he’s out and about headed towards the house of the adulteress.

This is bad news.  You’ll have to read the rest of the Proverb in order to know what happens, but I think you already know the result…

Proverbs 5

Verses 3-4:

For the lips of an adulteress drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil;but in the end she is bitter as gall,
sharp as a double-edged sword.

It’s interesting to me that there is an entire chapter dedicated to the warnings against adultery. I think all too few Christians (especially Christian men) read this passage. The temptation is to go after the sweetness of honey or the smoothness of oil, “but in the end” the result is bitter and painful.

This is totally true of all sin, though, not just adultery. It always seems pleasurable at the time (otherwise, why would we do it?) but the consequences are quite dire. Some are immediate–like guilt; others take longer to develop–like STDs or ruined familes and friendships, and even the ultimate consequence of sin: Death. But the point is that  in the end, nothing good can come from sin. In this case, nothing good comes from adultery.

Proverbs 4

Verse 7:

Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

This seems contrary to the story in Matthew 13:44 of the Parable of the Treasure. That man spent all he had on a treasure which is a metaphore for the Kingdom of Heaven. I’m not entirely sure that “wisdom is supreme” in light of this parable. It seems that the Kingdom of Heaven is supreme.

Though I have to wonder if getting wisdom would lead to finding the Kingdom of Heaven.

Proverbs 3

Verse 11:

My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,

I think it’s often difficult to discern between God’s “discipline” and the “trials and tribulations” that God allows us to go through for our benefit. Obviously, discipline is tied directly to our wrong-doing, but I think it’s still easy to confuse the two.

Regardless, it’s important for us to not despise the times of discipline that do occur in our lives. Or the times when He rebukes us, it’s important not to resent them. After all, ultimately, it’s all for our good.

Proverbs 2

Verse 6:

For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

In keeping with yesterday’s post, it seems I now know my parent’s secret.  They must’ve gotten all their wisdom from God 🙂

In all seriousness, God’s wisdom is a very powerful thing. James chapter 1 admonishes us to ask for it if we lack it.  What I’ve discovered in my own walk with God is that His “gift” of wisdom is rarely a nice, neat package that arrives in the mail which we can simply ingest and become wise. Quite often, God’s gift of wisdom is a lengthy process. It’s the process of discovering–with His direction and influence–wisdom.

Here’s a more concrete example:

Having been married just over 6 months (187 days for those keeping track), I’m still learning how to be a good husband to Charlene. I’ve prayed for wisdom on how to be a good husband, but I’ve never had a moment where the skies opened up, a bright light shone on me, and I had it all figured out. It’s been a process; a process of messing up, learning from my mistakes, and doing it better the next time. Hopefully, I’m becoming more wise each time. It’s a slow process, but I’d say I’m a wiser husband than I was when we got married. And theoretically, I’m a wiser husband today than I was as a fiancé a year ago. (You’ll have to ask Charlene for the truth, I suppose.)

In any case, we do need to ask God for wisdom. He’s the one who gives it, and He gives it freely to all who ask.