Friday, April 18, 2008
Fire. Brimstone. Sulfur. Weeping. Gnashing of teeth. Etc.
All of these unfortunate, hellish concepts are mentioned vividly in the Bible, but how much attention are we to give to them? Am I advocating that we drop them from conversations with Christians and non-Christians alike?
Forgive the pun, but....Hell no!
Someone in class stated that more so than any topic in the Bible, Hell or eternally damning ideas are mentioned and proclaimed.
While it's true that it is mentioned often, and with great emotion and weight, I don't think this is necessarily true.
I believe that where one may possibly head in the afterlife is a legitimate discussion point with a non-Christian, but I would prefer to discuss with them the aspects of Christ's love, service, and sacrifice; all which save us from damnation.
I'm not about peddling "fire insurance". I'm not about fear-mongering, which is what tends to happen too often with evangelism.
I do believe that there is an element of fear, but it must be properly placed.
Hell terrifies me, but it's not what makes me love Jesus.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
We want to get the word out about this blog. We want as many people to read, write, and contribute in other fashions as possible.
To encourage that, I'm asking for your help.
We are a start up, there's no denying it. But I fully believe that we have the potential to go a long way as time progresses.
To inspire and possibly bribe you to get the word out, we are going to throw a party.
When we hit a thousand profile views, and I believe this is well within reach in the near future, Tyler and I will throw a bash to end all bashes. Or maybe just a barbecue.
Once we've hit the goal, all of you are invited, even if you've only read the blog once or twice.
So get the word out there. It's going to be awesome.
Not unlike this (Yay double negative!)...
Friday, April 11, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Culture tells us that we are the most important things in our own lives. While I gather that to some degree, we should hold ourselves to be important and of value, to go so far is contradictory to what God calls from us.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14-16) and much more valuable than the sparrows (Matthew -31), but if we focus so much on our worth, we lose sight of our brokenness and the pain that comes with that
I’ve struggled with issues of self-esteem my entire life, like almost everyone else, but I can honestly say that having exercised certain struggles to the point of being able to look beyond them, I’m able to see myself in those moments for what I really am: a beautiful creation that has gone awry.
I’m not what was originally intended. Death was not a part of the plan. Disease was not a part of the plan. Divorce was not a part of the plan. Molestation was not a part of the plan.
It just so happens though, that these things became a part of the story. My story. Each one has provided along with it’s occurrence, a blow to the gut of my esteem. My perception of not just myself, but even others has been tainted by the crud of my past.
But it’s verses like the ones stated above that remind me I am not what and who I tend to think I am. Though we are a messed up work of art, we’re still the work of an Artist.
Our society though, tends to not think along these lines. Self-esteem is seemingly wrapped up in possessions, careers, sex, body image, etc. True, all of these things are aspects of self-esteem for Christians and non-Christians alike, but they are not, and should not, be the ultimate measuring stick for who we are.
If we stripped ourselves of our fancy clothes, flashy cars, and sexy relationships, what’s left? We are left with ourselves. Unfortunately, not enough people in this world really know who they are because they are blinded by the brightness of all that surrounds them, like deer in headlights.
How then are does one respond to a culture that reminds them that the most important is me, myself and I?
It takes integrity, honesty, love, and courage. You could even mix it up with a touch of bluntness.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Perhaps that's just human nature.
So, allow me to indulge my human nature.
I firmly believe that a majority of the people at my school lack the social awareness of a fruit fly.
Sure many of them grew up in homeschooling environments or Christian high schools, so their social skills weren't always encouraged or given the best room to grow. Please understand that this is not an indictment of homeschooling or Christian education. I'm a product of the latter, and I believe that I've come out of it with moderate to decent social ability.
So there IS hope.
My issue arises when I'm walking down the sidewalk and virtually every person I'm passing the other way has their eyes planted to the ground, so as avoid eye contact, which lead to the inevitable awkward interactions and exchanges. I'm not asking that everyone look me in the eye and ask me how I'm doing.
But come on people, can we at least ACKNOWLEDGE the fact that there are other people around you on this forsaken planet?
It's not even the sidewalk exchanges. So often I see everyone either freeze up, blow up, or just give up when presented with the opportunity for interaction. It's completely mind boggling to me. I understand that I need to be loving, but consider this a case of tough love.
Grow up people. The world is bigger than you. Find out what's going on in it and you just may be inspired to act for once in your life.
I was going to apologize for any of this sounding slightly incendiary, but I could not, in clean conscience, do that. I firmly believe in everything that I've written.
I'm sure some of you are shaking your heads and wondering what the heck is going on in mine. Let me assure you, not even I know that sometimes.
With that said, how 'bout them Jayhawks?
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?
Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are flat?
Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know there is not enough?
Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?
Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?
Whose idea was it to put an "S" in the word "lisp"?
What is the speed of darkness?
Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up every two hours?
If the temperature is zero outside today and it's going to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold will it be?
Do married people live longer than single ones or does it only seem longer?
How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?
Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?
Did you ever stop and wonder......
Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, "I think I’ll squeeze these pink dangly things here, and drink whatever comes out?"
Who was the first person to say, "See that chicken there... I'm gonna eat the next thing that comes outta its bum."
Why do toasters always have a setting so high that could burn the toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?
Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer?
Why do people point to their wrist when asking for the time, but don't point to their bum when they ask where the bathroom is?
Why does your Obstetrician, Gynaecologist leave the room when you get undressed if they are going to look up there anyway?
Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!
If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?
If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, then what is baby oil made from?
If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?
Why do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?
Stop singing and read on……. Yes, it caught me too!
Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet Soup?
Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him on a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?
Does pushing the elevator button more than once make it arrive faster?
Hope you all enjoyed those. Talk to you soon.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
I want to be a lot like Van Gogh. Except of course, for that whole ear thing. (Women. Go figure.) Although, most of us know that my ears are pretty much just for decoration anyway, so maybe I can still aspire to be like him in more ways than one.
But what I mean is that before Van Gogh even had his start, he was striving to portray truth in an unapologetic, brash, and engaging way.
We could all learn a lot from this highly emotional, strung out drug addict. (Yes, that’s pretty much what he was. He was just really really really good at coloring and stuff.)
Truth should be unabashedly proclaimed. It should not be something to be skirted.
Yes, there are times when it must be dressed up in rather appropriate attire, such as love and tactfulness. But really, as long as you're proclaiming it, do it shamelessly.
For some of us, the proclamation of truth comes in the form of vocally expressing our ideas and thoughts to all who listen. To others, it can come in the mode of music, drawing, and maybe, just maybe, athletic endeavors.
For me, nothing rings more true than the laughter of good friends. It is when I'm surrounded by the billowy guffaws of those closest to me that I'm reminded of the pace of life that I should be taking. A pace that takes the time to reflect and enjoy the mundane.
Seriously, there's a lot that should just make us want to break it down and dance.
But aside from the joyous aspect of truth, there's the less-enjoyable portion of it. The portion that makes us wish that people would just lie to us. The side that makes us just lie to people. Or not give the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
In this world, there is so much to grasp and comprehend without cluttering it all up through negative means.
Famine. Disease. Cheating. Lying. Divorce. War. Death.
It's easy to lose a sunny outlook on life when there's such a promise of pain.
It's not difficult to forget that this wasn't how things were supposed to be. No, there was a Great Deception, and we are reaping the "benefits".
I do not blame God.
Sometimes, I do not even blame myself.
One of my favorite scenes from Forest Gump involves the protagonist running (literally) across the United States just because he "felt like running". Along the way, a man runs beside him and proposes the idea of a business deal to make merchandise with a special slogan. The businessman notices that Forest just ran right over a steaming pile of crap without even flinching, and brings it to his attention. When told, Forest replies, "Well, it happens." To which the businessman replies, "What? Shit?" In a moment of infinite wisdom and clarity, Forest answers, "Yep."
And not always for a reason.
Hallmark would lose out on a lot of money if people started accepting that truth.
There isn't ALWAYS a purpose. True, there are times when God intertwines Himself with time and space and intervenes in some way. In fact, my life alone is full of examples of such moments.
But...what about the pain and death? Did God ordain that? Was that a part of the predestined existence we were all created to live?
My hope is that you are able to come to what I believe to be the proper conclusion, not because what I believe is true for me, but because I firmly believe that it is true for everyone.
Unfortunately, you may not be able to come to that conclusion. You may still be blaming God for past tragedies, and perhaps are looking for more justification to pin a present one on Him.
I've been there.
And it's the easiest thing in the world to blame it on God. It really is.
The hardest thing in the world, is to accept that these things just happen. Sometimes there was an unseen force behind it all, but more often than not, it's just a reflection of what was never intended to be.
That's not what would be called a "tough pill to swallow". It's more like trying to digest a rock.
But most importantly, I don't think we should give into fatalism. I don't think it's good to tip toe the line of shoulder shrugging a bad moment and just allowing the cookie to crumble the way it may.
We are active participants in this messed up production. In fact, you could even say that, because of the Great Deception, we are the producers, but I'll digress from such a cheesy statement.
We should not sit by when injustice prevails. We should not turn our eyes at the unsightly. We should not deafen our ears to the cries of the voiceless.
We can not run FROM the chaos, rather we must run TO it.
We must run INTO it.
We have to get not just our hands dirty, but our feet, legs, backs, foreheads, etc.
Maybe getting them dirty isn't even enough. Maybe they'll have to get bloody.
But we must be WILLING in order for it to happen. We can't wrong every right, that's not our place. But we can attempt to address it.
We can't do it alone. God has given us a task that is far greater than us as individuals, and even as a collective. It is a task that is temporal, yet carries with it the weight of eternity.
Eternity starts now, not when we die.
Friday, April 4, 2008
Hopefully you see a few links that we recommend, one of course being a link to the Burnside Writer's Collective website. For some time now, I've been enjoying the articles, pictures, and videos they post, and I feel it is necessary for you to share in my joy of all things them.
Specifically though, there was an article I came across today that made me question my own political assumptions; it's a little long, but worth the read.
You can click here for more, because I have done some mega researching on how to do uber-cool things on this blog, like link a word or a phrase to a specific URL, so that all the reader has to do in order to view that URL is click on the colored word or words written into a phrase.
Give your comments and feedback in the obligatorily named "Comments" section.
Run-on sentences are fun.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Tonight I sort of had an epiphany: I'm afraid of failing.
That's not really so much of an epiphany as an admission, I suppose.
I think this fear is at the heart of my recent trial. I'm afraid that if I make this decision, or it is made for me, it could be the wrong one.
There are so many variables in life. Now, I just have to find out how to eliminate them from affecting my conclusion. At least that's my hypothesis. (A shout out to my science nerds.)
Thinking about this has got me...thinking?
What are some of your biggest fears? What keeps your from overcoming them? What are some of your favorite stories of overcoming failure, doubt, worry, etc?
Comment with your answers.
I guess there are worse things to fail at in life...
Holy crap, could I have written a worse statement than that one?!?!
Of course it's never easy, that's why it's called tough. Sometimes my stupidity never ceases to amaze me.
Anyway, I have a decision that needs to be made soon, or at least I feel a burden to make it soon. I've done the usual steps to achieve clarity: prayer, seeking wise counsel, fasting (although not so successful), Russian Roulette, etc.
So far, the only real guidance I've received has been a sympathetic nod from a friend, and a dial tone from the Big Man.
I just want a direct line Upstairs, and when I use the line, a sweet/sassy/sexy sounding voice answers and puts my call through to the Head Honcho and He hears my plight.
More importantly, I hear Him.
Anyway, I'll rarely use this forum to incur your prayers, save for the moment.