The Thoughts of Gunnar


Proof that God Likes You Volume III: Fruit Stix
August 18, 2008, 7:18 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So this summer, shopping at the store, I have ran into Frutstix. These products provide ample and further ammo in my blog series, “Proof that God Likes You.” Again, this series is based on the premise that with the wonderful items I talk about, they act as yet another sign that God is real, and that He likes humanity, and displays that by letting such great products be made.

So, today, I was talking with Carolyn at our group that meets on Sundays, and I confessed to her how I stinking hate ‘healthy’ desserts and what not, because they always taste like crap compared to the real deal. I mean, I HATE watered down treats. I’d rather just not eat them, and if I am gonna eat a treat, give it to me raw and real…as Def Leopard so gloriously sings, ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me.’

Frutstix are the first treats I have ever had that have natural sugar, (so, it is relatively low compared to other treats of their nature with the high fructose corn syrup and the like) and doesn’t taste AT ALL like you are getting hosed with nutrasweet or blandness or anything like that. Furthermore, only desiring the best for any readers of this blog, I have taken it upon myself to provide due diligence by thoroughly, and often times, repeatedly sampling every flavor Frutstix has in their arsenal of frozen treats on a stick. They ALL ROCK harder than AC/DC in the linked video.

Now, let’s say you are a real crazy specimen, and you say, “OK, Gunnar, great, but I only eat organic. I keep it real like that.” Fair enough…but you might want to check yourself before you wreck yourself, because Frutstix also has organic options under their belt. Oh yes, it is true.

Seriously, I DARE you to get one of their creamy banana pops, and while eating it, honestly deny that God doesn’t like you. I’m telling you, it will be incredibly challenging. Those bars are just that good. And then eat three in one sitting like I did last night when it was 100 degrees in Portland…(Yes, I don’t know how that happens…100 in Portland…) and you will be rolling around on the ground knowing you are loved by forces in the universe beyond your full comprehension.

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CNN Notes Racial Tension Within the Church
August 11, 2008, 6:08 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/wayoflife/08/04/segregated.sundays/index.html

I saw the above link on CNN the other day, and while I don’t necessarily trust CNN’s take, (and that is NOT a political statement…if I wasn’t there to see it, I don’t take ANY media report as truth, is what I am saying) the whole concept that this even could be true bums me out.

Thus, it makes me repost the following, a bit of a blog I wrote awhile back. If we can’t get over racial tensions, I certainly don’t think we are going to get over some of these others I mentioned in this past blog.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Exclusively Belonging to Segregated Christian Groups

Over the past several years, one thing that has been a strong, strong caution in my spirit, I believe, is what has too often been my practice and the practice of many others of exclusively belonging in segregated Christian groups, shutting out the other wonderful expressions of Jesus that the rest of His body has to offer.

What do I mean by that? Let me give you some examples:
Let’s say I am a 16 year old who is an absolutely devoted attendee of my youth group. Lets also submit that I am totally nuts for Jesus. The youth group has every cool bell and whistle that youth ministry has to offer….video wizardry, a big budget for big events, on fire preaching, etc. But with school, sports, family life, etc, I go to church on Sunday morning and all, but the real main time I connect is on youth group night. But because we are a ‘youth’ group…unwittingly, others are excluded. Senior citizens certainly may feel like that is not a place for them. Married couples with kids…well, they are busy…those younger than high school, well, if the insecurities of the high schoolers and or youth leaders pop up and make them feel unwelcome, they are not going to stick around. Thus, except for a few ‘leaders,’ our youth group ends up being a gathering of 14-18 year olds. There is nothing necessarily ‘wrong’ about that, but I would like to submit it is a far, far cry from the best, and that, if it is the only connection to church life a 14-18 year old sees in their week, it is actually a horrible tragedy. Nowhere in the new testament does Paul, Jesus, or any of the authors of scripture lay out trying to segregate the gathering of the saints according to age, race, economic background, or gender that I know of. (To be open, when they fed the widows in need daily, they were feeding them, not necessarily ‘having the church gathering’ so to speak.) Why did the authors not do that?

I would like to submit that they saw the importance of the full expression of Christ being crucial, and that if we do such things, we hinder that from happening. To the point that it did not cross their minds to put it in ink! Even if you have the best group of 14-18 year olds on the planet, one thing that age group will lack, which all of us who have lived through that will know, is wisdom. Wisdom can come supernaturally from God, and also, is learned over time from God. Time is not on the side of youth, in this case! Yet, if our ‘youth’ gatherings don’t have those who can share and equip with true fruit-bearing wisdom from God, isn’t that scary? Don’t our youth need to be in contact with people like that before they make major decisions like get married, pay thousands for college, move out, enlist in the service, etc?
“Yes, but it could hurt our outreach if we don’t have that really ‘young person’s feel.” I am sooo sorry to hear that. But let me ask you this: who cares more about non-Christians, you or Jesus? And if you answered Jesus, don’t you then think that a true representation of His body is in order if the lost show up? I mean, isn’t it Jesus that we need?
Another point, lets flip it if younger than high schoolers don’t show up. Man, it grates me if we as the body don’t learn to appreciate the Body…that we are not a respecter of persons, but we highly respect Jesus sharing through ANY part of His body that He deems fit at the moment…and God, forgive me, for any time I did not heed You by ignoring You through a vessel that didn’t fit my grid of being pertinent at the moment. Would we want to even take a chance that the youth of our church could develop such thoughts? Or forbid, not realizing we may be training them to have those thoughts by our actions?
Now, just to be clear, let me say this: it is soooo not wrong to belong to a men’s group, a ladies group, a youth gathering, a senior citizens group, etc. In fact, that so often can be really healthy, and good. I belong to such gatherings. But what is best is when that is not how I exclusively meet, but even as I gather with those, I belong all week to a place where different ages, sexes, and races in the body of Christ can be heard and known, sharing together, welcomed and accepted.
I think that while most of Christianity woud agree and say ‘yes’ to my last statement, the hard, hard question I think we need to ask is personally, are we exclusively in ‘categorized’ gatherings, and do my practices back up that statement, in real life.
This line of thinking can be taken to many other gatherings….for instance, churches that gather in a racially mixed area but that predominantly gather with just one race, denominations as a whole, any gatherings with age perameters, and even focus groups with great motives, such as recovery groups, when those awesome saints never get to contact parts of the body that are not recovering in that particular area. (I totally believe in meetings that have specific areas of focus…what I am getting at, to be clear, is when that is all I gather around, and thus, become ignorant of the rest of the body. I believe in focusing. But I believe in accessing the greater body, as well.)
Does anyone else out there share a hunger like me to see Christ revealed in ways I never have before through His body? Does anyone else hunger to know the intimacies of Christ that maybe a group I have never given much time to or thought have tracked and come to know? Has anyone else ever had the thought, “I have never really taken the time to reflect on what God is saying through the female sisters of Christ in my area/the Hispanic lovers of God in my community that I know/the older saints who have lived life before God and seen Him provide/the youth of my area and the dreams and aspirations God is putting in them…etc.
It takes time. It takes deliberate acts. It may very well take change in me. I signed on to know God and His body…not just the side of God that is revealed in my economic/social/racial/gender-specific/age categorized background. How about you?
As a side note, I fully recognize and happily so, that God has used such gatherings. He certainly has in my life. I thank God for that! However, I am not afraid to come to a point where I recognize what God has used, and I still ask of Him, “What is Your best, God, and what do You want to do in my life and the life of others.”



Fighting With Vs. Fighting For
August 11, 2008, 6:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I am learning right now, getting more and more real with folks as our lives intertwine, the difference between fighting with somebody, and fighting for them.

Simply put, I have most always found that when I am overly concerned with being proved right, I have lost the motive of purely fighting for someone, and have slipped into fighting with them.

Is what I have to share with a person truly, purely for their betterment alone…and not to feed my ego, desire to be right, or ‘appearance’ of wisdom?

Am I postured in my heart to be their advocate, or for me to appear to come out as superior in some way to them?

Is it really for them, or to please some other self-centered aspect of me?

For instance, if I have ever blown this multiple times with anyone, it has been my epic wife, Danielle.

I can’t count the times I have said nitpicking things to her, (I am sure, over non-sin issues,) instead of speaking faith, confidence, and inspiration into her. It may not even be an area of her weakness, but just some thing that tweaks me, and instead of fighting for her in it, I’ll just say something stupid that makes it tempting for her to feel she has fallen short. And what a lazy thing for me to do! Anyone can be critical and start a fight. It takes effort to fight for someone.

As well, I have a strong inclination in my life to be an influencer. I tend to think it is part of the fabrication God built into me, but still, I can easily choose to be overbearing with it. It has been easier for me to find out when I have crossed that line when I find myself, (even if done in a ‘civil’ manner) fighting with someone over my desire to influence them, as opposed to fighting for them.

Love is an art. An art I want to practice more and more!

Now, to be fair, I have had a few times, where, to the best of my ability, I have fought for someone, and due to their own pain, hurts, insecurity, etc, they decided to attempt to fight with me over it. But I have found that things usually go SO much more successfully when I have taken the time and effort to love well, and to aim to fight for someone.