Monday, September 17, 2007

Hard Rock Cafe

I am simply fascinated by the Hard Rock Café. It’s not so much the food, although it has its tasty moments. It’s not really the cool merchandise they sell at the gift shop. It’s not even the 30+ locations all over the world that anyone can visit. Two things stand out to me above all: their theme and their slogan.

Every Hard Rock Café is completely lavished with musical décor, memorabilia, and historical treasures. How do you even put a value on the stuff in there? A typical dining experience at any of their locations would leave little doubt as to what Hard Rock Café is all about, what they stand for, what they are passionate about. The music, the lights, the walls, and the service are basically directed at you remembering your experience there.

At first glance, the slogan of the restaurant is one that seems a bit “hippie-ish,” but hear me out. “Love all, serve all” just strikes me as incredibly simple, profound, and clever. I read somewhere it is a minimalist version of an Islamic prophet’s teachings, yet it captures my attention. Maybe it’s because my love for others is limited to those I choose. Maybe it’s because I am incredibly selective and selfish with my service for Christ.

I saw a church on Louetta that displays a sign of their vision/purpose, and it’s a variation of the Hard Rock Café slogan, with some spiritual direction: “Love God, Love all.” Why does all of this get me so excited and sound so appealing? Perhaps my heart and my mouth long for a simple explanation as to what Church and being a follower of Jesus means in this day and age. With all our theologies, dynamic ministries, and super facilities, is it possible for the most basic elements of love, grace, and service to become invisible?

Just like we recognize what the Hard Rock Café by their theme, slogan, and experience, I read Jesus’ desire for us to stand out in a profound way. John 13:35 – “…all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” This plea of Christ, added alongside loving God with all that we are and a service love for humanity truly shape a vibrant Christian faith at its core. Imagine a group of believers sold out to that mission over comfort levels. Imagine a church family as such pivotal presence in the surrounding community. Imagine a campus designed, decorated, and dedicated to living like Jesus.

I don’t know about you, but what’s to stop us from turning imagination into reality? Love God, Love All, Serve All.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


A few weeks back on our family vacation, I went through a blitz of movies during our down town in the beach house. I mean, it was pretty much B-movie fest (Smokin' Aces, Underworld 2, Mr. Brooks) until I got to an interesting new Jim Carrey flick. I had missed it in the theaters, but heard mixed reviews on it.

The movie was THE NUMBER 23. I warn you, if you have not seen it, and would still like to, thus avoiding my synopsis with spiritual application, then TURN AWAY NOW.

The whole movie is based on this lowly humane society dog catcher guy (Carrey) who reads a book he received on his birthday from his wife. It sends his entire world into a frenzied state, because he thinks that the book was written about him-I mean to say, that the author based the book on him. It is a quite a disturbing piece of fiction, and Carrey is a little shocked at the graphic nature of it all.

As the movie progresses, and Carrey dives deeper into the mystery and horror of the novel, we learn that the novel wasn't just written by an author about him, HE WAS THE AUTHOR & THE BOOK IS HIM. Meaning, he actually did all the events in the story--murder, obsession, malice, insanity, etc. That was quite a weird twist, I must say, but the real kicker was the final 4 or 5 minutes. You see, now Carrey knows the evils he did (side note-a murder of a young girl where the wrong man was sent to prison for life because Carrey did it), he has a CHOICE.

He can continue on with his life, vowing to never commit the same mistakes, with no real consequences for his actions in the book, The Number 23. Better still, is the tough choice, perhaps the forgotten one amongst humans today. Carrey chooses to take responsibility for his actions. He turns himself in, he admits to the crimes, he goes to jail, the innocent man is set free.

And yet, as the movie closes, there is this brilliant and eerie reminder from the Bible. It is a warning and statement about our sins really never being that secretive. And the creepy thing is, it's found in Numbers 32:23: "...and be sure your sin will find you out." Oh, man! That's just intense.

All in all, not the greatest movie I've seen, not the best Jim Carrey I've seen, but truly a dazzling reminder of our choices. There is nothing hidden from God's sight. Even when we thing we've "gotten away with it," it's simply not the case. And it's not that God is this all-consuming evil eye of fire (see LOTR), always watching our every step to record our failures. Rather, it's more the principle of you reap what you sow. Things, choices, decisions, words, sins...have a way of cycling around to us--much like a planet on its orbit, or a boomerang returning to its thrower.

So may we learn to confess our sins sooner, seek God's grace earlier and more sincerely than when we're already in the MUCK & REPERCUSSIONS of our actions...thank you for your love and mercy, Father God. I repent of my spiritual procrastination and deception.