Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Rev. Joe Bumbulis

I’m about to tell you something that makes me angry, and I’m afraid it may ruin your day as well. For 114 years one light bulb has been burning continuously, without fail. Yes, that’s right! Can you believe it?!

The Centennial Light, located in Livermore, California has not stopped putting out light for longer than most humans have lived. It’s infuriating!

Okay, maybe this random fact is more novel and whimsical than anything, but I do get a bit crossed when I think about that single burning bulb in California for too long. I’m not angry at the Centennial Light, I’m just angry at the thirty or fifty (who keeps tracks) light bulbs I’ve already changed due to built-in obsolescence. We don’t build things to last but to fail. I can’t help but wonder what our world would look like if we were more focused on quality and craftsmanship than bottom-lines and profit margins. 

Our culture...




Unless you are older than the Centennial Light (there are a few 114+ year olds living today), like me you were born into a world where you are to buy and dispose of things, buy and dispose, buy and dispose, ad nauseam.  This is the world we live in. We swim in an excess of disposable, cheap goods and honestly, I love it. In seven years of production, I’ve owned six different models of the iPhone. I love the convenience of paper plates at large youth gatherings (no dishes!). 

As much as I enjoy all the creature comforts and ease that come along with our disposable culture, I wonder if our relationship towards things affects our relationship toward people and life in general. Why commit to one place and community when there is an excess of options? Why be vulnerable and risk getting hurt by a friend when I have 500 others on Facebook? Why inconvenience myself with someone else’s problems when I have shows/books/hobbies to catch up on? Why talk about how you hurt me when I have a thousand movies to watch and forget I ever saw.

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”- Jesus (John 10:10b)

As a recovering fundamentalist, John 10:10 has become one of my favorite passages because Jesus so clearly announces that his mission is about life here-and-now. Notice Jesus doesn’t say, “I came to die, so you can go to heaven or so you might get saved from hell.” In this passage, Jesus clearly says, “I’ve come so that you might be more alive than you knew was possible.” "I’ve come so you might have life before death." 

I sometimes allow myself to get lured into believing that our excessive, disposable culture IS somehow abundant life. I love the ease, the comfort, the stuff! But I don’t think that this excess is the abundance Jesus was talking about. I need the season of lent as a reminder that real abundant life, the life that God has for me comes at a cost. Where I’ll settle for cheap life, God calls me to costly life.

Cheap life is life without repentance or discipleship without the cross. Cheap life is life without Jesus Christ.

Costly life confronts us with a call to follow Jesus in surrendering our lives in service and love to others. It’s costly because we are to take up the yoke of Christ and follow. It’s abundant because Jesus says, “my yoke is easy and burden is light.” 

God’s life for us...




What are the costs of our culture’s excessive, disposable culture?

What is abundant living to you? Do you think your definition of abundant life is what Jesus means by abundant life? 

Do you trust that abundant life is found following Jesus? 

Rev. Joe Bumbulis is our Minister to Students and Missions.


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