Sunday, August 05, 2012

For What it's Worth...

So this whole thing about boycotting national restaurant chains has gotten me pretty bummed. I'm a pretty simple guy, and it turns out getting a sandwich and being labeled hateful has a way of really harshing my vibe.  The response to the above mentioned boycott has been equally disturbing. Mostly because people seem to be bringing religion and politics into the mix. And we all know how well those things work together.

So... if I understand things correctly (admittedly, a BIG if), this is how things have played out:

President of Restaurant is interviewed and makes some statements regarding his belief about marriage. Then someone pulls out some of his other statements about his beliefs about marriage from another interview. Statements he's said before. Somewhat out of context. And while probably ill-advised for the head of a national food chain and less than gracious, certainly not hateful or bigoted. At least not in my opinion.

Then some other people get pretty riled up about what he said and because what he said doesn't include what they think about marriage (I think?) they pull out all his financials and see what organizations he donates to, and they call his company hateful and evil and decide that everybody should boycott his restaurant. Oh yeah, and if you eat a sandwich there, you are also hateful and intolerant, and probably went to school on a short bus.

Then some people who like sandwiches said "Nuh- uh! I biked to school. And stop persecuting us!"

THEN some politicians got involved and said "Hey, Restaurant President! Don't ever open one of your hateful, intolerant restaurants in our city!"

THEN some other politicians said "Hey! No fair! We need something to rally around too! So... next week is National Sandwich Appreciation Day!"

And THEN the sandwich lovers went out and bought sandwiches and said "We love God, and we love free speech, and these sandwiches are awesome! USA! USA! USA!".  And I'm pretty sure they did a victory lap around the restaurants.

So while the above may or may not be accurate (probably not) I think that the thing that bothers me most is how the Christian reaction to all this has been highlighted.

I do think Mr Restaurant President got a bum rap in all this. I don't know him personally, but I've seen his commitment to giving back to his community and his employees, and he seems decent enough.
And while people are free to agree or disagree with his beliefs I think his vilification in the media is misplaced.

Generally speaking, I've been really disappointed by the Christian reaction to all of this. It seems to me, we are so quick to point out that are rights as Americans are being violated, that we forget we have a duty as Christ-followers to seek Him first.  Also, remembering His words might be helpful. Specifically His words "The world will hate you because of me." and "In the world you WILL HAVE tribluation." (emphasis mine) And "Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you." Nowhere in the Bible do I see the command to 1- take a stand, 2- make sure my First Amendment rights are not violated, or 3- 'like' that stupid Rosanne Barr facebook picture. Not that these things are inherently bad, but I do think they are a bit shortsighted in the context of what I understand Jesus' mission to be: Love Jesus, love your community (family, church, neighbors, co-workers, etc...), and make disciples (love non-believers).

So if somehow I get a magic wand ring to make everything like I want it... what do I do? After I get the proportionate strength and agility of a spider and my Green Lantern ring,  I make it mandatory that all the churches listen to an old Vineyard song "Break Our Hearts" by Kevin Prosch. Some excerpts below:

Teach us oh Lord what it really means,
To rend our hearts instead of outer things
And teach us oh God what we do not see
About our hearts and of your ways

And Father deal with our carnal desires

To move in your power but not live the life
And to love our neighbor
With all that we have
And keep our tongues from saying things
We have not seen

Oh break our hearts with the things that break yours

If we sow in tears we will reap in joy
That we might pass through your refining fire
Where brokeness awaits on the other side 

But there will be a day
When the nations will bow
And our Lord will be King over all the earth
And He will be the only one
And also His name will be the only one*

Raise up an army like Joel saw

Your church that is stronger
Than ever before
They do not break ranks
As they plunge through defenses
But the fear of the Lord will be their wisdom*

That we might weep as Jesus wept
A fountain of tears for the wounded and lost
Who ever heard of an army of God
That conquered the earth
By weeping and mourning and brokeness?

* I was going to leave this verse out, but they seem pertinent to the conversation

The key phrase in my mind is that last verse. As a whole I think the church would do well to do a whole lot more humble, loving, Holy Spirit-led weeping and a lot less stand-taking. Heck, I need to do tons more weeping for my family, my neighbors, and people in general who don't persecute me!

I think the church (again, as a whole) has lost an important opportunity to engage in a loving, humble dialogue with those that so desperately need to be loved in Jesus' name and for Jesus' glory. I also think the church has lost an opportunity to pray and see God work in amazing ways to see His name glorified in the midst of all this.

But there's always tomorrow...

(--Author's note: This was written while I should have been packing for vacation, so it was a little rushed. It is in no way intended to be comprehensive. Especially with regard to Jesus' mission, politicians, gay marriage, or sandwiches)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

RIP Jackson

Whew! Ever have one of those days that ends waaaaay different than you thought it would?

Our lovable little furball of will and energy is no longer with us. He was hit by a car around noon on Saturday. He was gone mere moments after impact. Less than an hour and a half later he was wrapped in his favorite blankets and buried with his favorite stuffed toy as we had a graveside memorial in our backyard. [Attn: City Officials... not really. This is all just a big metaphor.] We still kept our plans to celebrate Cindy's birthday, but there was a palpable fog in our day.

As expected, tears were shed and hugs were in great demand.

Lucas' questions and observations were wrenching:
"We should pray for him to be alive."
"Can I blow in his ear to make sure he's dead?"
"I'm all done crying now."
"Dad, today is kind of weird huh?"
And many, many more.

Then there was the indelible image of Ethan's face when he heard the news. He went from mouth-agape shock to a silent cry of (what may be the first time for him) legitimate heartbreak.

If you are the praying type, we'd sure appreciate them! If not, we'll take your good thoughts. Our heart for the boys is that in a very real and tangible way, they would experience the love and comfort of Jesus Christ. And that God would draw them to Him. We shared with them God's promise that:
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18
We believe this to be true, and that God is faithful to word.

I'm not sure this is doctrinally Biblical, but I like to think Jackson is in whatever doggie heaven all dogs who love Jesus go to and he is having a blast running around with all his new best dog friends and peeing on every tree he sees.

The Los Garcias are really going to miss him, but we are really, really grateful we got to play with him for a while.

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Happy Birthday Cindy

Dear Lord Jesus,
I want to thank You for my smokin' hot wife Cindy Garcia. Thank you for the way she continues to reflect Your kindness, grace and forgiveness. I am honored that she has let You knit our hearts together. Thanks for the way she gently reminds me that we need a date! And I really appreciate the way she faithfully loves and serves our family. She is pretty awesome Lord, thanks for making her! Please give her a great birthday!
--Sincerely, Joe Garcia

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Care package items

Here is an updated list of items that our friends have requested:

School Supplies
-Glue dots (found in craft stores)


-Q-tips cotton swabs
-deodorant (Secret invisible solid Jasmine Orient; Speedstick solid)

-Advil, Tylenol PM, Adult cough medicine (Robitussin), children's cough medicine (Robitussin)
-chewable vitamin c


-board games (Battleship, Sorry!, etc...)
-party plastic ware (dollar store forks, spoons)
-ear phones for running (the kind that have a "hook" that fits over your ear)
-any fun wholesome family tv shows, recent or old (we've watched Andy Griffith) [we have received Little House on the Prairie--Joe]
-"Bang" it's a card game we like but we don't have it in English


-carpenter jeans size 8/9?
-swim trunks for 4T and boys' 8/9?

American foods
-Starbucks decaf Verona (whole bean)
-Starbucks coffee from Costco (whole bean)

-Cheddar Jalepeño Cheetos (crunchy) <==== NEED!!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Heading west to the Far East

[The wording of this post is intentionally vague. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us! We are more than happy to answer any inquiries.]

Dear friends and family,

We are very excited to share some very exciting news. The Garcias have a great opportunity to go to Central Asia this spring. Why Central Asia you ask? Well, it’s like this:

About six years ago our very dear friends left the comforts of their life here in America for the strange new land of Central Asia. They felt called to serve an indigenous people group who happen to live under the rule of a foreign government. Our friends are living their new life in a strange land so that the people of Central Asia might live with a new hope.

And for a couple of weeks this May, the Garcias will join them in their mission. After visiting the capital city for a few days, we are going to visit our friends and their kids with the goal of serving and encouraging them. We will bring them supplies and goods. We will offer our help with their new business. We will teach a co-op class with other international kids and their families. And we will also meet with the local indigenous people and share with them a message of hope and good news.

Would you prayerfully consider supporting us as we journey to Central Asia? Here are some ways you might consider:

Prayer for our family as we journey to Central Asia and back (13 hours to Central Asia= some pretty tired Garcias). Pray that we will remain in good health as we travel. Pray for our kids (and us) to welcome new experiences and cultures with glad hearts. Pray that Jesus would work through (and in spite of?) the Garcias to share with love and humility the good news of His Gospel.

Donating supplies needed for our friends. We have been given a list of hard to get items. If you are interested in graciously providing specific requests, feel free to contact us by May 1, 2011.

Thanks for your support. God bless you heaps!

Joe, Cindy, Ethan, and Lucas Garcia


Monday, September 20, 2010

Ethan sez

The following was written to Lucas from big brother Ethan on his homemade birthday card:

"Dear Lucas,
You are the best brother enyone could ever have in his life.
You are very kind. I like the silly games you make.
Life coud not be the same without you. You are very fun.
I like you very much. I like that you beleve Jesus. Have fun turnig nine[?].

P.S. have fun with your present.
Ethan Garcia"

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mt Hermon home

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Cindy Sez

"Why is Ethan so dramatic?"

Cindy 30 minutes earlier (to Ethan):
"You will never be allowed in the front yard again! EVER!!!"

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