Monday, August 21, 2006

Fully Assimilated

Look at these three pictures - all of me. The first one was taken Christmas of 1980. I was only 6 years old. My uncle Alan had just been to America, and he came home with gifts (including that flag) and stories about the promised land! From that moment all I wanted was to go to America. No, I wanted to be an American. I put American flags on everything I owned, I used American words, I memorized American maps, I spent time with Americans living in South Africa, I used American spelling in school - which drove my English teachers nuts because these were real English teachers! One teacher told me, "There's no such thing as 'American English' - it's just wrong!

The second one was taken on February 16, 1994, just one day after I arrived in the USA from South Africa. Man was I "fresh off the boat!" A friend of mine in the movie industry in LA calls this my own personal Tommy Hillfiger ad. I was a 19-year-old kid with a head full of big ideas and a heart full of dreams as high as the stars. I had a visitors visa that was only valid for 6 months and only $230 to my name. But it didn't matter - I was finally in America (well, I was in Van Horn, TX which is still technically in America). Anything was possible.

The third picture is my official "preacher pose" for the church directory, taken in 2004. Here I am fully assimilated - as American as apple pie, as I like to say. My dream came true. I am an American! Now I need to work on making that $230 grow.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Okay, a couple of weeks ago Holly and I went to the fairly new Super WalMart here in Abilene. In the parking lot we saw an old run-down car with the "Boycot Walmart" bumpersticker. We laughed and laughed and laughed. Where's a camera when you need one? Anyway it got me thinking. What we do is much more important than what we say. You can't tell others to boycot WalMart when you're inside their store buying $5 shirts! This principle applies accross the board. This morning Mike Cope reflected in his blog about a new book by Shane Claiborne: Living as an ordinary radical. This line really caught my attention: "If we were to set out to establish a religion in polar opposition to the Beatitudes Jesus taught, it would look strikingly similar to the pop Christianity that has taken over the airwaves of North America." You know - a mile wide, but only an inch deep! We better be careful that our actions don't tell the world to "boycot Jesus."