R-J Heijmen is the Senior Assistant Rector for Education, Stewardship and Student Ministries at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, TX. Previous to that, R-J lived in New York City for 10 years, where he led one of the largest youth ministries in Manhattan and planted a church. He and his wife Jaime have two boys, Jackson, 10 and Spencer 8.
If you’re like me (and I hope you’re not), then the name Joan Rivers meant little more to you than “that horribly plastic old woman who can’t think of anything better to do than provide red carpet snark for E!”. Which is why, as news of her passing spread last week (having occurred during a “minor elective procedure”) it seemed at best trivial and at worst ironic, especially in light of other recent celebrity comic deaths.
And then I saw this video, from April 1967…
… and I had the following thoughts:
1. Joan Rivers used to look like a human being!
2. Wow. She’s really…
Recently, one of my current coworkers, whom we shall call Will, made a confession to me about his first Mockingbird Conference. A friend of mine, with whom Will worked at the time, had convinced him to come along, and so, after flying into LaGuardia, Will found himself in the backseat of my car on our way into Manhattan. Listening in on the front seat conversation between my friend and I (both Episcopal priests), which was undoubtedly, shall we say, “salty,” the following thoughts ran through Will’s head: “Who are these guys? What are they talking about? Are they even Christians?!…
Last weekend we bought my wife a new (used) car. Her old(er) one was getting a bit small for our growing boys, and was quickly approaching 100,000 miles (at which point it would become more difficult to sell), so we bit the bullet and took the plunge.
Now we have a 12 year-old, 99k-mile car to get off our hands. It’s in excellent shape, by the way. New timing belt and everything, if you happen to be in the market.
On Sunday evening I posted a for-sale ad on Craigslist. Wanting to separate myself from the herd, I spent some time crafting…
From his interview yesterday on the Diane Rehm show, starting at about the 3:30 mark:
AD3: “Frankly, I have this belief (that) if you scratch the surface of any human being, across the country, across the world, at any moment of any day, even right this moment, everybody’s in some kind of trouble. It’s normal. It’s just part of human existence. I think that in America, we freak out about that. I think we’ve been sold a bill of goods, that we think we’re supposed to be happy all the time, especially if we’re successful.”
DR: “It’s in the constitution!”
AD3: “Yeah. ‘Life, liberty…
You gotta love Jeremy Lin, and I say that not only as a recently minted Houstonian who is looking forward to some serious Harden/Howard/Parsons beatdowns. In an article posted yesterday, ESPN reports on Lin’s unusual candor before a crowd of Taiwanese (presumably) Christian youth:
Lin went as far to say that he experienced “emptiness, confusion and misery” at points last season. “The one thing I learned was how empty fame and worldly success really are. … The desire for success never stopped,” Lin said. “If the voice that you listen to the most isn’t God’s voice, then eventually you will experience that…
One of the criticisms of Gospel preaching is that it can, at times, be gloomy. “Do we have to hear about sin again?”, the complaint goes, “Do you have to be so down on humanity?”, “Can’t we talk about how great life is sometimes?”, “Can’t you give me some self-improvement tools?”
To these voices the Gospel preacher replies that life is often (perhaps mostly) hard, and that as much as we might crave a word of optimism, a little fuel for the part of us that longs to live in blissful ignorance (or denial), what we really need is not to…
From the Echo Friendly, a little tune about the bondage of the will.
During his pre-Super Bowl interview with Shannon Sharpe, in which Sharpe raised the question of Ray Lewis’ alleged involvement in a 2000 double murder, Lewis made the following, completely untrue, totally unbiblical statement:
“If (the family of the victims) knew, if they really knew, the way God works, He doesn’t use people who commit anything like that, for His glory. No way. It’s the total opposite.”
I’m sorry Ray, but Moses begs to differ. As does David, and Paul. All murderers. Praise God that this isn’t true; that God does, in fact, use sinners for His glory and His purposes. He has…
With Christmas only 2 weeks away (wait, what?!), I thought it high time to unveil my own personal top 12 list of Holiday faves. Here goes nothing:
12. Arthur Christmas
Just saw this for the first time last week and was hooked in the first five minutes by a powerful Gospel moment. An elf, delivering presents on Christmas Eve with the help of a “naughty-or-nice-o-meter”, comes across a boy who has been a bit too naughty to deserve anything. The elf frowns, promptly turns the device on himself and imputes to the boy the presents that the elf deserves. Sold!
11. Love Actually
Yesterday, while preparing for a sermon, I came across a beautiful description of both Law and Gospel in the Old Testament that I’d never noticed before. Job 33.14-28:
For God speaks in one way,
and in two, though man does not perceive it.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on men,
while they slumber on their beds,
16 then he opens the ears of men
and terrifies them with warnings,
17 that he may turn man aside from his deed
and conceal pride from a man;
18 he keeps back his soul from the pit,
his life from perishing by the sword…
26 …then man prays to God, and he accepts him;
he sees his face with a shout of…