Saturday, December 22, 2007


There has been some real excitement here on the island of Oahu since our return. The University of Hawaii Warrior Football Team won its final game, the only team in the nation with a perfect record, thus earning an invite to the Sugar Bowl. The stadium was filled to capacity, and afterwards there was a “Hallelujah Windup” in Waikiki, keeping us up half the night. If they win the Sugar Bowl, you can rest assured that their helmets will be replaced with halos.

The Honolulu Marathon took place last weekend with thousands of runners and even more revelers. Fireworks very early in the morning (to announce the start of the race), startled us out of our blissful reverie (visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads). Later on we ventured over to the finish line for the "Hallelujah Windup" which lasted deep into the night.

Look, who in their right mind would get up at 4:00 a.m. and pay $140 to run 26 miles, only to receive a crummy yellow T-shirt with the inscription, “2007 Finisher, Honolulu Marathon.” And to top it off, celebrate that insanity all night long! Needless to say, I felt very inferior, sticking out like a sore halo in that sea of yellow T-shirts, wearing my old, grubby, faded white “Jesus Saves” one.

The “Triple Crown of Surfing” is another annual December event out on Oahu’s North Shore, concluding with the Pipeline Masters – waves sometimes higher than a five-story building. And the Aussies swept it all. The Pipeline break is a wave that literally halos every surfer who passes through and under it. And thousands braved that primitive, two-lane road to watch these haloed rides, yours truly included. The “Hallelujah Windup” was celebrated, bumper-to-bumper deep into the night on the long trek home.

Last, but not least, was our four-year old granddaughter’s preschool Christmas pageant the other day. She was (is) an angel and spoke her line confidently and to perfection, making the buttons on her Tutu’s (Grandparent’s) tunics pop. The climax came, however, during the benedictory prayer when all of the precious little angels started throwing their halos at each other – the quintessential “Hallelujah Windup,” don’t you think? I may be mistaken, but I think my church did it that way once upon a time, celebrating deep into the night while tossing their “hallelujah halos” at one another. DIDN’T THEY?

By the way, her spoken line was, “PEACE ON EARTH!”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests. (Luke 2:13-14 NIV)

I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27 TLB)

God’s saints need to give their halos a hallelujah workout every once-in-a-while, DON’T YOU THINK? Why should the world have all the fun?

Note 1: “Halo Tossing” is an art form perfected by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Admittedly, sometimes the Spirit is not present in the tossing.

Note 2: “Hallelujah Windup” is Salvation Army Speak for the victory celebration that occurs following prayer meetings where seeking souls have found “peace of mind and heart!” Pictured below is a photo I took at the Pipeline Break showing the “halo wave” beginning to take shape, followed by that precious angel mentioned above (Her halo now snugly in place).

Sunday, December 9, 2007


These irreverent thoughts were formed while standing on the old picturesque Kawarau Bridge, strung out high across a deep, beautiful, majestic gorge outside Queenstown, New Zealand, where we watched crazy people jump 43 meters (141 ft) attached to a bungy cord…141 feet straight down, did you get that? This all took place in 8.5 seconds, and for a measly $140 per jump, or if you really want to get technical, $16.50 per second. I was told they average 100 jumps per day, you calculate the math.

The propaganda reads, “The world's first and most infamous of leaps is still going strong, with tens of thousands Bungying each year. At the world's best-loved Bungy site, you can choose from a number of options; topple over backwards, forwards, with another person, spin or somersault. Kawarau Bridge Bungy is also the only Bungy in Queenstown where you can choose to bob above the water, touch it, or be fully immersed.”

While watching the crazies jump, my fertile church growth imagination kicked into overdrive with this creative thought, Bungy Baptisms! Wait a minute! Before you pooh pooh the idea, hear me out. Think objectively – three for the price of one.

1. Evangelism: It will attract this emerging, risk-taking prone generation (the future).
2. Membership: The rolls will grow exponentially – by the “tens of thousands.”
3. Tithing: Calculate the math.

And there are options for every theological persuasion: Non-sacramental - bob above the water; Semi-sacramental - touch the water; Sacramental - full emersion. This might even be the beginning of an unprecedented ecumenical movement.

Think of the recruiting slogan possibilities, “Jump for Jesus,” being one. Coincidentally, there’s already a theme song written (If so inspired, email me for the details):

Jump, jump, jump for Jesus.
Jump, jump, for He is Lord.
Jump, jump, jump for Jesus.
Jump, jump, for He is Lord.
(Repeat chorus)

He is my rock, and on His Word I’ll stand.
He is my shield, and on Him I’ll depend.
The sword of the Spirit
He’s placed in my hand.
He sets my feet on a high place to stand.
(Repeat chorus 4x then repeat verse,
repeat chorus 2x)

I can read your minds, those of you out there with more fertile imaginations than mine. How about a competition between churches with the theme, 'Doing the Most Jumps,' I hear you thinking. Shame on you!

Before pressing that delete button, hear me out! Satire cannot exist apart from reality. Catherine Booth, Co-founder of The Salvation Army, puts this reality into perspective with the following excerpt from her preaching series on “Aggressive Christianity":

I want you to note that the only law laid down in the New Testament for the prosecution of this kind of aggressive warfare is the law of adaptation …That is, adapt ourselves and our measures to the social and spiritual condition of those whom we seek to benefit. It is here that I conceive that our Churches have fallen into such grievous mistakes with reference to the propagation of the Gospel in our own times. We have stood to our stereotyped forms, refusing to come down from the routine of our forefathers, although this routine has ceased to be attractive to the people, nay, in many instances, the very thing that drives them away… you must interest them. You must clothe the truth in such garb, and convey it by such mediums, as will arouse their attention and interest their minds. In short, we must come down to them…If they will not come inside our consecrated buildings, we must get at them in unconsecrated ones, or out under the canopy of heaven…He acted upon the principle of adaptation… and chose the best adapted instruments for His purpose… and sent them out into the bye-ways and hedges, the fields, the market-place, the sea-shore, and the hill-side; in short, He sent them wherever the people were to be got at.

I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.
1 Cor 9:22 NIV)

Catherine would have Bungy jumped for Jesus had the sport existed in her day, no doubt about it... sans the baptism part, me thinks.