Jason Jaggard: Clean Platers

Jason is a social innovator, writer, speaker, and activist for cultural change in Los Angeles.  He serves with Mosaic, a global NGO passionate about bringing dignity to humanity's spiritual journey and creating communities that unleash human creativity and potential.

Find out more about Mosaic HERE.

 

Clean Platers

When I was a kid my grandma used to make me eat.  A lot.  I think it was because she was a product of the Great Depression and because she had enough canned goods in her basement to stockpile Poland.  But she would always say the same thing when she gave me food:  “I want you to be a clean plater.”

Whose Footprint?

You don’t have to be hardwired for poetry to consider the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing with lyrical wonder. Space travel was then, and will always be, the fascinating collision of God and man, the chance for ordinary mortals to do something divine while the world watches on. But here’s the irony: we seem to be more enamored with the astronauts and tech-wizards who dared to press a bootprint into the lunar soil than we are the God who created the tiny ball of dust in the first place. Seems like misguided awe to me.  

Mankind has always been like that—more often impressed with itself than God. When the astronauts arrived back to earth to face TV cameras and book deals, they must have felt what Apollo 13 author Jeff Kluger called “existential whiplash.” One commander remembered attending a celebratory barbecue and asking himself “What am I doing here?” It wasn’t a literal question in the least; perhaps he knew better than the rest of us that seeing the glowing perimeter of the moon in your windshield can make you consider your teeny-weeny insignificance in powerful new ways. Would they dare tell the fawning public that what they did was really no big deal in comparison?

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Man Code

What the heck is “Man Code”? As you probably know, I am watching the Bachelorette and last night I sat in front of the screen for 2 hours tuning into grown men debate what they can and can’t do while being guided by this “man code.” Is this what chivalry has become? Watch out ladies – the leader is Dave. The same Dave who complimented her “ass” after a month on the show and reached over to cover her shirt while narrowly missing out on copping a feel.

What took me by surprise is not that a man of his caliber did this, but that it took prompting from Chris Harrison, the host, to make him understand that his actions were inappropriate. How do you watch that episode and not feel uncomfortable? Even more so, if you are that person, how big is your ego that you still think it was okay? He didn’t appear embarrassed at all.
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Paul Copan: “That’s Just Your Opinion”—Or Is It?

Paul Copan is Professor and Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University.  He has a Ph. D. in philosophy from Marquette University and is author of  several books including “When God Goes to Starbucks: A Guide to Everyday Apologetics” (Baker).  Paul is the current president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.  Find out more about Paul and his books HERE.

 

  “That’s Just Your Opinion”—Or Is It?

Have you ever tried to explain reasons for taking the Christian faith seriously, only to get shot down with the exasperating comeback, “Well, that’s just your opinion!”?  You’re left scratching your head, wondering how someone could slam the door on such eloquence and brilliance!
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Change is Hard: A Reflection on Change

I often think I like change.  In fact, I am one to push for change, and I love the idea of it, that is until it happens to me.  Recently my family and I have been undergoing massive change, causing us to question, doubt, and pretty much just feel very uncomfortable most of the time.

When I am in the midst of change, I have this feeling of being stuck in a small place, that is very constricting and uncomfortable, and yet somehow wanting to stay there because it is what I know.  It kind of reminds me of the nation of Israel talking about how they would rather be back in Egypt.  

So the other day I read this verse that illuminated my feeling and helped me to get beyond it.  I thought I would share it, and perhaps someone else can benefit as well.  Psalm 118:5 says, "In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered me by setting me free."(NIV)  The NRSV states the second part of that verse as "the LORD answered me and set me in a broad place."  

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Christmas in July

Last Fall a piece of flair was being passed around Facebook that caught my attention.  (“Flair” are fake buttons you can give your friends electronically – seriously don’t ever join Facebook.) On the little button it declared in bold print: Attention! HP fans Christmas has been moved to July! It was not talking about the latest deskjet printer, no, it was talking about “the boy who lived” – Harry Potter. Christmas had been moved to July for every hardcore Potter fan out there. With reasons unbeknownst to any of us, the sixth installment was pushed back and my friends, I’m happy to say it’s finally July. On Tuesday night a bunch of us will gather at my house for an absurdly late potluck and caffeine binge as we try to stay up way past our adult bedtimes of 10pm for a midnight showing.  I couldn’t be more excited.
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God Knew I Would Blog This

john_calvin_-_young

500 years ago today—on July 10, 1509—one of the most important theologians in Christian history was born. John Calvin.

A second-generation reformer during the Protestant Reformation, Calvin was a scholar out of the Renaissance humanist tradition and produced a striking amount of scholarly output, including commentaries on most books of the Bible and his magnum opus, Institutes of the Christian Religion–one of the most significant systematic theologies ever written.

But he’s also known for Calvinism—the theological approach (also known as Reformed) that emphasizes things like God’s sovereignty, predestination, and the inherent depravity of man. And Calvinism, strange as it may seem to some, is now more popular than ever.

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The Famine and Michael

Last night I sat in a Chinese restaurant in East Africa with a group of Californians while cable television beamed Michael Jackson's memorial service above us as we ate our Szechuan Beef.  The Tanzanian waiters were attentive, though their real focus was on the screen.  We munched our Spring Rolls as I pondered it all...

The memorial service and the entire giant "event" of Jackson's passing, felt both very close and very far.  I return to LA every 2 years and I just drove past the Staples Center less than 3 weeks ago on my way to LAX for my flight back to Africa.   I can easily imagine the buzzing helicopters overhead, the snarled freeway nightmare of traffic, the way all else seems to be on hold until LA decides to move on again.

But our group of 12 at the table was out for dinner after a day of prep for some days in the wilderness. Byron, my husband, is leading them today into a remote area of Maasai-land  on a reconnaissance trip, if you will, to visit different projects we are involved in.  The team is on a journey of discovery regarding how they might build involvement in Africa.

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When God's Die

Today was the memorial for Michael Jackson here in Los Angeles. The city was expecting about 2 million from around the world who would attend the event. The Staples Center was blocked off for about a mile radius and anyone not having a special wristband and ticket could not enter the hallowed event. News and media covered the event as if it were the last Super Bowl to ever take place. Press passes, media booths, private security, about one thousand extra officers (many pulled from other cities and from Highway Patrol), satellite links, pod casting in full effect, and thousands of onlookers made the event a grand spectacle; not to mention the thousands who came to Los Angeles from around the world just to sign his memorial poster outside the Staples Center, and the sheer celebrity onslaught which saw the likes of Beyoncé to Nas. It was quite the event to say the least. 
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What's public; What's private?

It is an amazing time to be alive.  Never before has information been so accessible or so fast.  Airplanes have internet and fuzzy ant television is now a thing of ancient history.  Changes in media culture are happening quicker and quicker.  Take the time between the inventions of radio and television… it was decades.  Now it’s a matter of months before the new gaming system or new iphone comes out.  People not only expect this, but also make their lives revolve around the latest and greatest.  The pressure to keep up with the Jones’ is pretty overwhelming.  Today will be marked in history as one of the largest audiences ever at and watching Michael Jackson’s memorial, I can’t help but think if this had happened 10 years ago, would it be the same?  Celebrity culture has always been an odd and awed phenomena, but with the advent of everything happening so quickly – it has definitely been thrust even more into the spotlight.  Fans on CNN who were hanging out at Neverland called him a “prophet.”  And the outpouring of tributes and grief are like nothing the world has seen.  I’m not even sure if Princess Diana, who likewise had an enormous outpouring of tribute and grief attributed to her death, had the massive amount of attention that I’ve heard from my friends all over the world who are struck by Michael’s impact there.  Sure in Los Angeles, it’s kind of normal, but Haiti? People received tickets to Michael Jackson’s memorial on Sunday and could fly half way around the world to be in Los Angeles by Tuesday morning and they are here.
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