Tag - Jesus

Connection to Jesus: New Testament data visualization

IBM researchers working on social data visualization have made Many Eyes available to the public … and people have done some interesting things:

One of the most interesting things that someone has uploaded is a data visualization of name co-occurence in the New Testament. In other words, how often names are linked together.

I did a brief video on what this looks like:

The other social data visualization that I thought was interesting from a Christian perspective was this one:

When I say I am a Christian

Today in our pre-church “Finding your sweet spot” Christian living class, our facilitator Dave Stinson read this poem. I thought it deserved repeating:

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I’m not shouting “I’m clean livin’.”
I’m whispering “I was lost,
Now I’m found and forgiven.”

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I don’t speak of this with pride.
I’m confessing that I stumble
and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I’m not trying to be strong.
I’m professing that I’m weak
And need His strength to carry on.

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I’m not bragging of success.
I’m admitting I have failed
And need God to clean my mess.

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I’m not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
But, God believes I am worth it.

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say … “I am a Christian”
I’m not holier than thou,
I’m just a simple sinner
Who received God’s good grace, somehow

This is the kind of Christianity we need more of. This is the kind of Christianity that is not proud but humble. This is the kind of Christianity that is not self-righteous but loving. This is the kind of Christianity that we are called to practice. And this is the kind of Christianity that does not offend anyone but the most hateful and spiteful.

Note, this is often attributed to Maya Angelou, but actually is it based on a work by Carol Wimmer.

Thanks, Carol!

[tags] christian, maya angelou, carol wimmer, john koetsier [/tags]

I will say hi to Jesus

I put our 3-year-old Aidan to bed tonight – he’s always most talkative at night when it’s bedtime.

For some reason tonight he was thinking about death and dying – and farting, of course. Kids don’t stay on any one topic for very long, unless they’re trying to bug their parents.

“It will be sad when we die,” Aidan said. Yes, it will, I agreed. But it will be wonderful in heaven, I mentioned.

But Aidan didn’t think that would happen very soon. “There’s a long line-up to die,” he said. “A million long!”

He has a plan all ready: “When I get in heaven, I will say hi to Jesus. And I will teach them to play soccer.”

Yes you will, Aidan. Yes you will.

Colon-blow sermon

Remember that SNL colon blow skit?

Announcer: Take a guess: How many bowls of your oat bran cereal would it take to equal the fiber content of one bowl of Colon Blow?
Man: Two?
Announcer: Guess again.
Man: Three?
Announcer: A little higher.
Man: Four?
Announcer: Keep trying.
Man: Five?

The idea is, if a little fiber is good, a lot is better. Right?

We just went through a colon-blow sermon. Five points, myriads of sub-points, and thousands upon thousands of words, words, words.

I sometimes wonder why so few ministers seem to emulate Jesus. Have you ever had any difficulty understanding or remembering any of His sermons, which are recorded in the first four books of the New Testament for us? Few do, because they’re simple, straightforward, and profound. And none of them is 45 minutes long.

2-3 points
Give me 2-3 simple points. In most cases, if you can’t explain what you mean simply, you don’t sufficiently understand the subject. It’s easy to make something complicated; true genius makes things simple.

Stories & illustrations
State your points well, and provide a word picture for each: a story or illustration that makes the thought come alive. Then I’ll remember it, and I’ll likely be attentive throughout the sermon.

On the other hand, if you’re just stringing together words and more words and more words … you might as well be bleating as talking, for all your audience is listening and growing.

Less really is more
It’s just possible that the less you say, the more you communicate.

Maybe it’s Jesus

“Maybe it’s Jesus,” Aidan said.

We were in McDonalds – hardly the place for the second coming. And we had just been looking out the window at a changing billboard. I didn’t think the girl sitting on the car in the car-wash ad looked anything like a first-century prophet.

Then I saw the homeless man.

Big hair. Big beard. Surprising clean clothes, the obligatory cart with all that he had in the world piled on. He did look like Jesus … or at least what Jesus would like, if Jesus looked like all the movies and pictures portraying Him. And if He was Caucasian.

The homeless man – Chris was his name – came in and ordered a McChicken and a coffee. I went over to chat.

“My son thinks you look like Jesus,” I said. You’d get some pretty strange looks saying that to most people, but Chris didn’t bat an eye.

“Once I had a picture taken of me,” he said. I didn’t quite know where he was going with that, so I just nodded.

“In the background,” he continued, “was a blue glow. Some kids said it looked like a halo.” That started a long conversation – read, monologue – on ghosts and ethereal electrical phenomena. I couldn’t really stop Chris from talking, and I didn’t much try. Homeless people don’t get to talk to too many people.

Jesus said that whatever we do for those in need, it is as if we have done it for Him.

Maybe more people should look like Jesus.