The Really Big Stuff

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There are a few things in this life that are worthy of putting everything on the line for.  I know that we can think of many things that are worthy of total selling out for, but when you really think hard and come up with a list there really is only a few things that matter.

I have in the past made an argument for a house, a car, a good job, money, mountain bike.  I now live in a small 3 bedroom rental, I have a job I love, but being a pastor will never make me rich (never thought it would), my mountain bike has not been ridden more than once this last year (so very sad).  I own a minivan (man card revoked, even if I try to call it my swagger wagon) rather than the Toyota Tundra than I wanted.  And yet I am doing fine.

I could starve tomorrow and yet these things will not be able to be taken from me.  Everything could be taken from me tomorrow and this stuff will still remain.

Love:  Not love of stuff, but relational love.  Not self serving love, sacrificial love.  Not passive love, active love.  Not uninvolved love, in-your-face love.

Hope:  Not temporary hope, permanent hope.  Not this-decision-matters hope, my life matters hope.

Faith:  Not the-chair-will-hold-me faith, There is something bigger than me faith.  Not eat, drink and be merry faith; faith in the eternal.

They are not visible, yet they are more real than the house I am sitting in, the computer I am writing on, and the coffee that I am about to drink.

Nailing Jell-o to the Wall

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Observation number one: All People Struggle

Observation number two: All People are created differently

Observation Number Three: All People have a different range of experiences (except that one identical twin study)

Observation Number Four: The likelihood of any two people reacting to the struggles in their life exactly the same is next to zero.

Observation Number Five:  Because so many of us are passive-aggressive we like to make assumptions about people in order for us to understand them and sometimes get the advantage.

How does all of this apply to the media though?  For the most part we are not allowed to be part of the lives of those that we consider celebrities.  Even if we were not passive aggressive we are still left with only one response when we see something on tv, online, on the radio.  Throw it, or throw something at it.  What is interesting about celebrity is that slander and gossip seem okay because we cannot interact with the subjects. 

In our interpersonal lives gossip and slander are devastating to relationships.  When a Kardashian stabs her sister in the back, or when the latest celebrity marriage falls apart there is no fall out to saying that “these people” are a train wreck.  The only damage that is invoked is that it reveals our character when we put these people on the judgement seat. 

I have to confess that I made all sorts of assumptions when I watched the video from the MTV awards the other night.  From the moral stand point it was an obvious atrocity that apparently had more layers that I thought.  From the personal stand point I wonder why the people that are involved in these events feel the compulsion to behave that way in public or in private.  Secular culture would tell us that they are just expressing themselves, and the person is not damaged, just eccentric. 

Who are we kidding, we are all damaged in someway; and lets face it, that damage can make us a little eccentric.  I have to confess that the damage conveyed on tv does not surprise me anymore, did we really think that entertainment would always take the high ground? 

Hope is not something that happens in an absence of pain and hurt and moral degradation.  Hope is something that helps us to see that regardless of what happens in this world, what happens to us, there is something that is at work to produce something beautiful.  There is something to look forward to, if we choose it. 

So if you are looking for the entertainment industry to give you a glimmer of hope, or the political arena, you will have a long wait.  Hope is eternal, the entertainment and politics will last as long as the jello. 

There’s no Hiding It

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I have a struggle within me, a struggle that I have operated on since I finally decided to take my faith seriously in 1993 (well I started to anyway).  When I was growing up I started to see Christianity, or at least Christians as fake, or if they weren’t fake there was something seriously wrong with them.  The struggle that I have always had is that I did not want to become one of those Christians that stood out because I was projecting an alternate persona.  If I was going to be a Christian I was going to do it my way.

As admirable as that last statement seemed to me (and maybe to some that are reading this) it was arrogant to say the least.  That does not mean that I had to come to the realization that I had to be like all the cheesy fake Christians that I saw.  There is no “doing Christianity my way”, that can only cause more damage.  There is doing it the way that God would have us do it, or go your own way.  That seems very narrow, but it is true.

I will never forget the conversation that I had with Shane the skateboarding cowboy.  Shane was a walking contradiction to me, he loved rodeo but dressed like a surfer.  I asked him about it once and he told me “that is the great thing about being a Christian, I don’t have to use any of that stuff to tell me who I am, I am a Christian, that is what defines me.  I can dress how I want to.”

There is only one way to come to Christ, but God has created us all differently and that is beautiful.  There is beauty in humbling ourselves to God’s way, that is how the beauty of his creation is seen best.  Now I don’t worry about how I project myself to the world (or at least I try not to), I want Christ to be seen in me.  Hey, I am a Pastor; you had to expect a blog like this every once in a while. 

On the Lighter Side

This is one of my favorite blogs, and hardly anyone looked at it, so I am re-posting it. My kids are funny.

Swimming in Circles

tagI am constantly amazed at the connections that children make.  I know that my children are not perfect and there may have been other children that have come before them that are more brilliant (Maybe).  I would love to take an entire blog to tell you about the funny things that my children have said but I have been told that blogs need to be relatively short in order to keep interest alive.

Now I have to make sure that anyone that reads this understands that you cannot tell my youngest son I told you this.  When he told me what I am about to tell you I laughed so hard that I embarrassed him.  I find it highly ironic that my child that consistently says the funniest things gets embarrassed when you laugh to hard at his jokes.

So when my son told me on Sunday morning that he had invented…

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Grammar Bad, Vices Good

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So I learned a great deal yesterday about those that read my blog.  Your not so concerned with grammar, but if I mention coffee, drinking, or sex, I get more readers than I have had in a month.  I decided that it is incumbent upon me to try to draw some conclusions about this.  Bear in mind that this is based on a test sample is small so the results might be a little off.

My first conclusion is that somehow the discovery channel has picked up my blog and has marketed it as “The Bootleggers Blog”.  This would explain why the poorly worded title was not a distraction.

A second conclusion I have drawn is that the gentleman that I used for my post has an attraction that I don’t understand.  “The ladies just want to be next to him, the guys just want to be him”.  In the future I will try not to use sex appeal to sell my blog, I apologize for the distraction.

I did mention yesterday that I thought intelligence needed to be put on trial and I was serious.  The qualification that intelligence research uses is the ability to think freely and without encumbrance.   While I believe that intelligence is the ability to think creatively and the ability to retain knowledge.  Intelligence is also wisdom, the ability to consider options and make the best decision.  A process that I believe requires an objective truth.

It seems wisdom is not the measure that people use to measure intelligence anymore but creativity and knowledge.

I Got Smarts Real Good

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As I listened to the radio I could not believe my ears, I can now use intelligence as a reason to drink.  The news brief told me that research has shown that people that drink more as smarter than those that don’t.  So here is the list of things that research has told me will make me smarter:

1.  Exercise – Improved circulation, improved brain power.  Makes sense.

2. Reading – More learnin, more intelligence.  I am still on board

3.  Coffee – Wide awake and thinkin’.  As a coffee drinker I support this.

4.  Sex – Whoa, really.  I want to believe it, but I remain skeptical.  (Costanza!!)

5.  Alcohol – Okay so are they telling me that smart people drink or that drinking makes people smarter, either way I think they might want to check their methodology, or at least qualify their conclusions better.

6.  No Spankin’s – The research actually states that people that are given firm boundaries are actually less intelligent because they have not been allowed to act and speak without restriction.

So to recap:  Drink heavily, exercise, live with no boundaries, have lots of sex, and read whatever you can find. 

On second thought, maybe intelligence itself needs to be put on trial, and maybe we need to evaluate why we are here. 

 

Look at My Blog, LOOK AT IT!!!

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I have learned a few things about blogs since I started.  There are other marketing techniques that I have not bothered to learn about, but the two I have learned from experience are this

1.  Many of you won’t read it unless the title is catchy

2.  Many of you won’t read it unless there is a picture tagged to it

So now I have done both of those things so I hope you will continue.  I have been tweaking how I write my blog since I started.  I love tweaking, I had starting things.  If you asked me to build a new house or fix up an old farm house I would take the farm house every time.  Not because I want to flip it like the fake reality shows on television, but because I believe that restoring something is much more beautiful than building something new.  

What is it about restoration that excites?  I don’t think it is improving on something that something else has done, I think it is because all of us inherently want to believe that nothing is a lost cause.  I also think that most of us feel like there is beauty that is not always fresh and new, but has age and character.  

As an interesting side note, Suzie and I are hoping to close on a 99 year old farm house in the next couple of months.  It looks awesome, and has a great deal of character.  I look forward to uncovering the mysteries and treasures that the house has to reveal to us.