Monday, June 13, 2016

To the anti-gun-control American, on the day after the worst mass shooting in American histroy.


  Yesterday was the worst mass shooting in American history.  And today I feel heavy from it.  I'm sure you do, too.

We are reacting differently today though, in part.

I feel baffled, frustrated, and a deep angst over our lack of gun control laws- a lack that allows a wife-beating man who had been investigated twice by the FBI, to legally buy an AR-15 and a handgun a week ago, which he used to commit this horrendous act of evil.

I cannot speak fully for how you feel- but I'm guessing it has to do with feeling threatened- threatened that your guns and rights to those guns could be taken away.  I'm guessing you also feel blamed in a round-about away.  So along those lines, I'd add that you seem to feel defensive.

And so we see that in the posts and memes defending guns and gun rights; that lash out against our president and fellow Americans that are calling for more gun control.

Well, I am one of those calling for more gun control. 

And I propose this, in love, and in hopes that this could cause some pause for our bleeding nation:

If, on the day after the worst mass shooting in American history, you are unable and unwilling to even pause and reconsider our gun control laws, then I suggest one of two things may be going on for you:  1.  You are ill-informed.    2.  Guns and the right to those guns have become an area of idolatry for you.

Before you jump to defense, I ask a favor of you- would you please, truly, be willing to hear me out (note: not just read in anger while simultaneously mentally forming your retorts) and give this some heart consideration?


1.  Maybe you are ill-informed:  

Perhaps you do not realize how loose our gun control measures are currently; and maybe when you hear "gun control" you interpret it as "take all of our guns away".  Maybe you don't understand that one of the things that is often meant by "control" is a desire to require background checks on purchasers of guns.  Maybe you didn't know it was possible to legally buy a gun WITHOUT a background check, and yet it easily is:


http://www.marketplace.org/2013/02/07/business/guns-and-dollars/background-check-what-it-really-takes-buy-gun

http://www.governing.com/gov-data/safety-justice/gun-show-firearms-bankground-checks-state-laws-map.html

http://smartgunlaws.org/background-check-procedures-policy-summary/


  Another aspect that is often meant by "gun control" is that we don't think criminals should be allowed to have guns legally.  But since you may be ill-informed, maybe you thought criminals can't have guns legally.  But, they often can.  Not to mention the criminals that can easily buy a gun without ever revealing their past- because again, background checks are easily avoided.

  Mental health would be another area that the "control" seeks to come into play more.  And while I could keep explaining all of these actual aspects of "gun control", perhaps it would benefit you to read our President's actual proposals here.

  If you've read the President's proposal, then we should be able to agree on this: unless you have something to hide, I do not know why these areas of gun control would threaten you so much.

  Another area you may be ill-informed in, is the success that other countries have had in implementing stricter gun control.  You can read in-depth about that here.  Results speak for themselves.

  Lastly, maybe you are ill-informed because you have bought into some simple, shallow quip from social media.   Sayings like:

   ~ "The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."  Actually, as we saw recently, a good guy who can tackle well can stop a bad guy with a gun.  This statement actually has several other weak points to it; and if you're a Christian you should recognize the biblical principal that there is actually no one who is a good guy (Romans 3:10).

  ~  Social media will tell you guns aren't the problem, the people (the bad guys, ISIS, etc.) are the problem.  But if it's true that people are so evil and capable of such horrors, then why wouldn't we want more restrictions in place to prevent them from being equipped to perform such evils?

  ~  Social media quips often give a false sense of safety to those who own guns.  Sayings along the lines of "being armed will make the bad guy think twice", and that assure us that carrying guns will reduce our risk of being shot.  For one, if being armed will deter such violence, then why are we the most privately armed nation, and yet have the highest cases of gun violence?  As good ol' Dr. Phil would say, how's it working for us?  Also, please remember:  if you are ever in a situation where you need to use your gun, the chances are rather high that you will be unable to.  When we are in emergency situations, our ability to think and reason go way down.  I'm trained in CPR and even also have interpreted a CPR class separately from the one I took.  I know it- well.  When my son fell and hit his head and was unconscious a few months ago, I couldn't even remember "check for breathing" as the first step.  I froze.  Which is what our brains naturally do under such stress and shock.  Police officers go through rigorous, continual training specifically on using their weapons when in duress.  Don't think just because you took one class, you can suddenly be the hero in a mass shooting.  Even if Facebook told you so. 

  ~ Other quips on social media tell us that bad guys will find other ways to kill people apart from guns if their guns are taken away.  This follows the same type of "surrender" thinking as "criminals don't follow laws anyways".  But if we are driven by that type of thinking, we could refute every law we have.  Because bad guys will be bad guys shouldn't mean we give up on restricting them or their weapons.  See more on the link below.

  ~ Going along with the above, social media can insist that with more gun laws only the good guys will be punished.  But if you're a so-called good guy, none of the proposed gun laws should restrict your gun use.  For more on this point and the one above, please read this.

  ~  "No guns, know fear; know guns, no fear" is another meme I've seen.  This one actually leads nicely to my second main point though, since it has to do with idolatry...

2.  Maybe guns and your gun rights have become an area of idolatry:

  "No guns, know fear; know guns, no fear" is a blatantly idolatrous statement.  Our hope is to be in Christ alone, and just because we don't have a specific weapon does not mean we must live in fear and doom (and of course this statement ignores the great level of RISK that is included with gun possession).

    
 But is this actually the heart issue here?  John Piper wrote about Christians and bearing arms and addressed this more deeply than I will here.  He pointed out that if our hope is so deeply connected to our guns, then our hope is not in the right place.  He made a lot of great points about our heart in this area, so I encourage you greatly to read his post.  Ironically, a lot of fellow "Christians" wrote unimaginably hateful things to him because of this article.  Newsflash:  if someone ELSE not being all pro-gun-love causes you to act in hate to that person, then your guns are an idol.

 Where is your hope?  What is your trust in?  Are you primarily motivated by fear?  Does the idea of gun control make you act hateful to others or to your government?  Do you have respect for other aspects of self-defense, or are guns "the way"?  Do you seek to "evangelize" others and get them on the gun bandwagon?  Are you offended by others who aren't gun-lovers?  Are you placing a greater value on guns then you should be?  Do guns hold more worth to you then is spiritually healthy?  Do you value and invest in your earthly weapons more than your spiritual weapons (Ephesians 6:10-18)?

 
Only you can answer these questions.  But I think these are timely questions to ask.  It is possible that guns and your rights to guns have become an area of idolatry to you; and maybe that is why the day after our largest mass shooting, you may be clinging to them tighter than ever.

 
If you've read this far, I sincerely thank you.  This isn't my full philosophy on guns by any means.  I simply am hoping to cause some pause and awareness on this area.  It's more complicated than you or I can understand.  But our heart postures should be one of humility and willingness to change if we can better protect our fellow Americans.  It starts by asking ourselves tough questions.  To be willing to open our mind in humility.  Maybe, in the end, our answers will be the same.  But there is honor in pausing and asking the questions.  At this point in American history, it would be foolish to not do so.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Mine, Mine, Mine!



  There's a book my 3-year-old has called The Mine-O-Saur about a selfish dinosaur who goes about taking everything from everyone and declaring it all "Mine!".  As the day for him goes on, exclamations of "Mine, mine, mine!" result in no friends, no fun, and eventually a changed dino.


  A cute story (though reading it a zillion times does get old... *if I have to make that whiny dino voice one more time...*), and a good lesson.  A lesson that is timely in our house as said 3-year-old and the 1-year-old are finally interacting a lot.  It's so precious when they're playing together, to hear their happy voices and see their pleasant faces enjoying their brotherhood.  But with such sweet moments inevitably come squalls of anger, fits of fighting, and shouts of "Mine!!"

  Ah, being a mom does also mean being a referee now, doesn't it :-)

  Dinos and toddlers may fit the mold of "Mine, mine, mine!" but sadly, doesn't our adulthood frequently look this way as well?

  Scroll through Facebook, and though we may not come out and say it anymore, how much of our themes are stemming from this declaration of "Mine!"?  Look at our daily lives, our interactions (or lack of), our hopes and dreams- isn't it often more tactful and hidden versions of "Mine, mine, mine!"?

  We certainly live in easy and tough times.  It's a rough combination-  the luxuries of this land and first world "problems" make us used to and expectant of high standards of comfort and ease.  The rocky terrain of our humanity, culture, and politics leaves us jarred from this comfortableness, and too often we sadly react with stomped feet and shouts of MINE!

  Our political views...  Guns- MINE!  Rights- MINE!  The constitution- MINE!  This country- MINE!  Morals- MINE! 

  And our personal lives... Jobs- MINE! Promotion- MINE!  Money- MINE!  Health- MINE!  Houses- MINE! 

  And, regretfully... I hear my own cries of mine... The kids won't nap? Free time- MINE!  The house is messed up again?  Clean house- MINE!  Up in the night with the kids for the 8 millionth time? Sleep- MINE! Not enough time in a day? To-do list- MINE!

  We are a stressed group, a selfish group, and goodness, how often they go hand in hand.

  This is what God's been teaching me lately.

  I am convinced that the more we could embrace the doctrine that all is HIS and nothing is MINE... well, peace that passes all understanding can be ours indeed.

  When everything is MINE then we always feel threatened, closing our tight fists tighter, trying to hold on in panic- mine, mine, mine!

  When everything is MINE then everyone is a threat to these possessions of ours- and so people become the enemy. 

     The government becomes the enemy because they're trying to take MY rights/values/things away.

     The husband becomes the enemy because he messed up MY clean house again.

     The children are the enemy because they're interrupting MY time again.

     The boss is the enemy because he didn't notice MY hard work again.

  When everything is mine than we live in a constant state of panic and possessiveness, acting crazy as that little dino clamoring and hoarding and defending- MINE, MINE, MINE!

  But...

  When everything is GOD'S and nothing is mine then we are freed from the burden of such sin and selfishness.  Closed-fists loosen and become God-intended open-hands.  The reaction of "Mine!" is replaced with the praise of "HIS!".  We no longer feel threatened, because we know all is God's anyway- nothing can be taken from me that wasn't mine in the first place.  And so we see ourselves in the Biblical view- being worthy of nothing but damnation.  Instead of demanding MINE, we can fall to our knees in awe at the blessings and gifts we have that we are so unworthy of.

  The understanding- true, deep, soul-understanding (we tend to have the head-knowledge down!) that everything is God's and nothing is mine will silence our shouts, nullify our nerves, and pacify our panic.

  We do not follow a faith that is easy, dear ones.  It is easy to shout "Mine!"  It is easy to close our fists and stomp our feet and make our demands!  But our faith does not call us to this.  Our faith calls us to give our coat to the one who takes our shirt (Matthew 5:40) and to take up our CROSS and follow Christ (Matthew 16:24).  And our faith promises us that if we try to save our life (mine, mine, mine!) we will surely lose it (Matthew 16:25).  Let us relinquish our imagined control over our lives and our environments and rest in the control that is God's alone (Psalm 24:1).

  And if we are to declare "Mine!" may we freely, thankfully, joyfully, claim this of our salvation and our call- and may the possessiveness of these cause us to surrender our perceived but pseudo possession of what on earth we could temporarily declare as "Mine, mine, mine!"

  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Sorry, Matt... not this time.



   So, it's been a loooong time since I blogged here, and ironically my last blog was similar as today's.  A response-type blog to another blog that was hailing conservatively-styled worship as superior to contemporary-styled worship.  So, all that to say, sorry for the redundancy ;-)  But, quite frankly, this is an area I'm pretty passionate about.  And sometimes with that passion comes a need to write.  Also, please know this blog is not a comprehensive explanation of my point of view on worship, or even my comprehensive view of the blog I'm responding to.  These are just some of my thoughts and views that are on my mind and heart, as best written as my sleep-deprived mommy-brain is capable of right now- during the kids' nap time- yeah, this definitely will not be comprehensive.  ;-)

I more often than not agree with Matt Walsh's blog posts, but there are those times I definitely don't.  His latest blog would be one of those "don'ts" for me.

To me, this blog came across as just another "curse-those-evil-contemporary-churches-that-are-to-blame-for-everything-bad" post.  Maybe it's just his style of writing that got the better of him this time?  Or maybe that really is how he would sum it up?

I mean, he does say, "I recently attended a service that might help solve the riddle of the fantastic decline of American Christianity..." as well as, "And this is the problem with Christianity in this country. Not just inside our church buildings, but everywhere."  And more bluntly, "The light of the Faith grows dimmer in this culture because of that church service I attended. Not specifically that one, but that kind of service. And not just that kind of service, but that kind of Christianity, generally." "If we want to understand why Christianity is not out winning souls and conquering the culture, look there."

Well, I guess I didn't misunderstand him then.

This "kind of service" Matt talks about was so horrible because:
1-  it was "relaxed"
2- it was "convenient"
3- it was "comfortable"
4- "the choir members dressed in shorts and flip flops"
5- "there were a bunch of acoustic guitars and drums and tambourines and a keyboard."
6- "Before the service/concert began, some guy came out to rev up the crowd."
7- it was noisy and had sounds and lights.
8- there was a "jam band for Jesus, or whatever it was" who played a song that wasn't traditional.
9- the pastor used a lot of trendy quips/metaphors/etc.
10- the specific words “truth,” “sacred,” “reverence,” “sin,” “hell,” “virtue,” “obedience,” and “duty” were not used in the sermon; but the words "friend" "help" and "tolerance" were used. "Gospel" was only used maybe only once (apparently Matt's counting abilities were hard to keep up with with all the list-making of words).
11- There wasn't "any semblance of an insight, a challenge, a truth, a call to action, or a point", according to Matt.
12- There were empty seats and disinterested yawns from the attendees.

That folks, that is the list as Matt himself says, of this church service, that apparently with one visit and this list, has made Matt discover the secret to why Christianity in America is dying.

Whoa, whoa, whoa... let's back this truck up, shall we?

The only things on this list I see as potential red flags are 10 and 11.  And quite frankly, I'd have to hear more than one sermon from this one pastor to know if he really was as shallow as I thought.  I'd also be a little hesitant to know if Matt was so totally closed-minded from the open-toed shoes that maybe this sermon wasn't as awful as he thought?

In the blog, Matt talks about how often Christians are accepting homosexuality and abortion- I TOTALLY agree that this is a problem and this is wrong. But that wasn't what happened in this God-forsaken church service.  Matt doesn't say, "Wow I went to this church service that promoted abortion and accepted homosexuality.  This is what's wrong with Christianity today."  He talks later about the dangers of the prosperity gospel and not believing in hell.  But he doesn't even say, "This church service taught there is no hell.  This church preaches the prosperity gospel."  No, he doesn't say that.

It's guitars.
It's flip-flops.
It's lights.

It's STYLE.

Look through that list again and see how much of it is style.  How much is preference.  How much is taste.

Obviously Matt has a bias against contemporary-styled services, and I get it.

I do.

Because I struggle with the same feeling of bias against conservatively-styled services.

I've seen the ugly side of suits.  I've experienced the hypocrisy of hymn-sings.  I know the terror of tradition.

Don't think I don't understand bias.  When I visit a church that's traditional, that has hymn books and dress codes and and organs, I have to check my own prejudice.  Because I know those things don't equal hypocrisy, even if in my past they often have.  I know those things don't equal holier-than-though, even if I've seen that tendency. I know that suits don't always mean secrets and dresses don't always mean proud and rules don't always mean legalism.

Even if that's the baggage I tend to carry.

I put the baggage down, and open up my mind, and work to put aside my bias, and I say to myself "This style maybe isn't for me, and yes there are hypocrites out there, but maybe this is sincere and this is worship too and I'm so glad we all worship differently and give our God glory through our eclecticism."

Matt couldn't put his baggage down.  He saw guitars and his mind went to abortion.  He saw flip-flops and thought prosperity gospel.  The sermon was lacking in his mind, so he assumed shallow.  No benefit of a doubt.  No give it another chance.  No grace.

He did worse than this though.

He wrote about it.  He publicly took his baggage and bias and handed out free samples to countless readers he has.

Matt even decides to sit in the judgment seat itself, saying "And what happens when you don’t factor these Convenientists — members of the Church of Convenience, proponents of Convenientism — into the equation at all? Are we still at 70 percent? Not hardly. What’s the real number? Forty percent? Thirty? Ten?" (These Convenientism followers are apparently anyone from someone who wears shorts to church to baby murderers, mind you).  I think this part of Matt's blog angered me and hurt me the most.  So we are to ponder who may not really make it into the Kingdom?  And Matt thinks he can figure that out?  Let me tell you, I look at the guy who wears a suit every week and goes through every motion perfectly and can be tempted to wonder the same thing.  But I stop my mind from going there, from pretending to judge someone's soul and assume to know what's really going on because of my prejudice.  Yeah, 70% Christian isn't really an accurate number; but we don't know that because someone's wearing different clothes than we like or worshiping with different music than we'd prefer.  We know that because Scripture tells us that many call him Lord but don't truly know our Father (Matt. 7:21-23).  Only God knows who really knows His name and who's simply calling him Lord.  Let's let Him alone decide who that is.

He makes another assumptive and judgmental comment when he says about the worship leader, "I got the impression that he was fishing for applause, not worshiping the Lord of the Universe."  Matt, I sure hope you went and talked to this guy if you have such a concern, as is the biblical principle (Matt. 18:15); because for you to have that kind of thought obviously showed your concern over his heart condition.  That concern better have led you to a one on one conversation with the man.  Writing that for the whole world to see is the type of gossip and criticism that we definitely do NOT need in the church today.  I know a lot of worship singers/leaders Matt would probably say the same type of comment about, and let me tell you, I know first-hand how untrue it would be.  Maybe he really was worshiping the Lord of the Universe.  How dare we judge that.

Our traditional, American church is great.  It's a wonderful option.  But guess what it isn't:  the standard.  It's not the standard of church; it's not the standard of Christianity.  It's not what was in the New Testament and it's not what's in most of the world today.  Let's get out of our bubble and realize this.  Let's stop pointing our fingers at other churches and realize the incredible danger that kind of disunity is for Kingdom work.  Yes, let's hold to our Truths- I totally agree with Matt on that.  Let's hold to our doctrine, hold to our depth, not compromising the core issues.  Let's resist the Joel Osteens and the Joyce Meyers and anyone else who spreads heresy.  But different styles does not equal heresy.

And comfortable does not equal pro-abortion and contemporary does not equal pro-gay-marriage.  How offensive of an equation.

A couple weeks ago, my church (which I adore; it's SO Christ-centered, gospel-focused, and deep in doctrine and discipleship) had an outdoor service with 14 baptisms.  Pretty much everyone was in shorts and flip-flops.  There were guitars, drums, a keyboard, etc.  It was relaxed.  It was comfortable.  It was convenient. It was noisy.  It was jammed-up.  Matt would have decided we were all pro-abortion and support gay-marriage.

That makes me sick, because that is so far from the truth.

Of the baptisms, several were women from a local recovery ministry our church works with. These women announced how long they'd been clean, explained their salvation story, and we all celebrated the power of the cross and the chains that Jesus breaks.  When the women gave their testimonies, the rest of the women with them in the crowd cheered LOUDLY and danced and cried. It was beautiful.  Far from traditional.

Matt wants us to be quieter?  The leaders shouldn't rev-up the crowd?  But he also talks about how exciting our beliefs are?  Exactly!  It is exciting!  Hence the cheering!! Hence the applause!  Hence the loud music!  Sure, maybe some churches are doing those things for show, doing them to get attention, doing them for the wrong reasons.  WE CAN'T JUDGE THAT.  Because maybe they're NOT.  Maybe they're just passionate about Jesus and serious about their faith and it looks DIFFERENT in different people!

We are so petrified of compromise that we are petrified of being different.

It is a SHAME that so many "Christians" have claimed the prosperity gospel; that they would dare support abortion; that they are pro-gay-marriage.  I get it!  That's scary!  But let's not make that more than it is!

Matt says church shouldn't be comfortable.  Well, wasn't he uncomfortable at that church service he went to? Don't shorts, flips-flops, guitars, make him uncomfortable?  C'mon.  What are we really saying here?

It's okay Matt doesn't like that style of church- that kind of dress from leaders- those kinds of instruments.  BUT LEAVE IT AT THAT, MATT.  Ok, it's not for you!  Fine!  It IS for someone else!  And that's okay!  That doesn't equal compromise!  Plently of conservative churches are full of fluff too!  We can't judge these things so simply!

Um, and empty seats and disinterested yawns?  That's one of the bad things at this church?  We shouldn't be too cool and fun and interesting, but we can't be boring either?  What is is then? I mean, empty seats and yawns describes a lot (all??) of auditoriums of all kinds.  We don't base our worship and preaching on how people will react though, right?  Right??

So I guess the contemporary church just can't win.  At least it can't win with people like Matt.  We're too cool, but too boring, too this, too that.  And so Satan has distracted us from what really matters and it's no longer Kingdom work and there's no unity and what gospel?  And we're pretty much fighting over carpet color again.

I guess according to Matt church should be uptight; inconvenient; uncomfortable; have a dress-code for the choir; have no instruments; have leaders that don't make the crowd feel excited to be there; shouldn't be noisy or have lots of lights; the pastor shouldn't make jokes or current references...

Hmm... sounds to me like that could cause a decline of Christianity in America.


"Oh, cmon... you know what he really means", you're thinking.  Yes, I do.  Do you?

Tomorrow a lot of us, as we are the Church, are going to our church buildings.  "There are still plenty of Christians who desire the true faith," Matt says.  Yes, there are.  And as we desire that, we will find ourselves tomorrow seeking and following in that faith, and we will land in different places.  Some will land in churches as casual and contemporary as the one Matt visited.  Some will land in ones as traditional and conservative as the one he hails.  I will land at one that's in the middle of the two ends of the spectrum.  And in our different places, we can all do just what Matt desires: praise the Rock; be trained for war; change our behavior.

Sure, sadly there will be some in casual clothes sitting in casual churches trying to have a casual faith; there will be some dressed up in "church clothes" and holding hymnals who are full of hypocrisy.

But there will be those in casual clothes in casual churches who are dead serious about their faith.  There will be those who dress up because that's how they want to show God respect.

And so let's not worry about "them".  Let's worry about the true false teachers.  Let's worry about the real Enemy.  But most of all, let's worry about our own selves.  

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hymnals, Screens, and Battles.

                                        http://www.theologyinworship.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Second-Baptist-Church-2010-01.jpg

So this blog has been flying through my newsfeed lately.

I hate doing that.  I hate "having to" share the link of whatever it is I obviously disagree with, because then it gets more page views, more publicity, more attention; but I'm also not going to argue something without giving it the fair chance to speak for itself here.

I digress.


I knew by the title, "15 Reasons Why We Should Still Be Using Hymnals" that there was a 99.9% chance that I would not agree with it, and a 99.9% chance that it would even raise my blood pressure.

But, curiosity got the best of me- or was it that I was even going to give it a fair shot?  A bit of open-mindedness on my end for that .1%?

Well, that was foolish of me.

I've read similar blogs before, of course, and while the conservative-picking-on-contemporary mantra always bothers me, I normally just avoid comment reading, click out, and move on.

I don't know exactly why this one got under my skin so much.

So much, of course, that I just had to blog;)

I think it's because this one, while it still made me mad, made me more sad.

While it still got my blood pressure up, it got my prayers up more.

And while it angered me, it mostly hurt me.

I mean it really hurt me.

Dramatic?  Maybe.  But let me explain.

I will later on give some points refuting some of his, and in defense of the evil-screens.  But I'm not going to go on here about my 15 or 20 or 4 or however many reasons I could give that singing to songs that are on screens is "better".  I won't go through point-by-point of all 15 of his trying to tear each one down.

Because that's the whole part of this blog that hurts me so much.  The "better-than" mentality.  The tearing down.

It's not "15 Reasons Why Hymnals are Valid Choices for Today's Church's".  It's not "15 Reasons Why I Choose to Use a Hymnal".  It's not "15 Reasons Why You Might Consider Using a Hymnal Instead of a Screen".

It's "15 Reasons WHY WE SHOULD Still Be Using Hymnals".

And that really is the point of the blog.  Why hymnals are good and screens are bad.

It always has to be a right and wrong issue, doesn't it?  It always has to be a moral area.  It always has to be a matter of one being better than, one being the right way, and one being less-than, one being the wrong way.  And of course the people that throw this black and white paint over grey areas and areas of personal preference and freedom are the ones "in the right" and "better" position.  How handy.

A few more specific points:

I'm shocked at how much of this blog, that is apparently arguing the greater worth of hymnals and the detriment of screens, focuses on things that are personal comfort/preference and tuned (no pun inteded, har har!:) ) towards the musically inclined.  I mean, again if this was a "Why I prefer Hymnals" blog or a "Some Really Neat Aspects of Hymnals" post, then swell!  That's great to point out how all the notes are visible for those who want to sing parts (and can't by ear, I'll add) or how holding a book helps you pay attention.  Super!  But again, that's not at all the point of this blog.  The point of this blog is to say why hymnals are the RIGHT choice for a church to make, the more worshipful choice, and the superior choice.  If I'm going to read an argument from someone on why their choices in worship are more godly than mine, than I would expect, as I did, to read more biblical arguments and say, maybe even discuss the glory of God once in a while.  Even under the heading "Symbolic/Theological" in which he has 8 points, there is really only one that is "theological" and that one basically says "hymnals are theological textbooks."  The rest of the points are all symbolic, and preference and/or could be done just as well on a screen (I mean really, the point that hymnals can introduce us to new songs?  Us screen-users have been getting flack for that for plenty of time;)  Don't pick on us for singing all our shallow, unfamiliar songs that are scarily new and then not give us credit for singing new songs;)).  Unless I'm missing something, I'm also seeing NO Scripture references used in his "arguments" for why hymns are so much better theologically.  Because really, he's not saying that.  He's not even trying to.

He's saying that he likes hymnals.  That it works for him, and he sees a lot of good aspects in them.  But instead of being able to just say that, and leave it at that, it has to be a "Why I worship the right way and you don't" message.

He even goes so far as to call out and criticize Second Baptist Church in Houston (as seen in the picture at the top), who after a HURRICANE had to remodel and put up screens.  He criticizes them for "not preserving the distinctively theological and sacred space" in his added comments at the end of the blog, and in the blog calls it a "visual nightmare".  He clarifies that this is indeed a "theological issue".  And I've yet to hear a theological argument explained or verse given.  But hey, let's call out a whole church anyways, no matter how much they love Jesus and are striving towards Kingdom work.  I mean, their screens are ugly, so of course it's a theological issue and they should be publicly criticized, right?

I joked before about the point of new songs- something I've heard criticized of contemporary church's a few times, yet here used against them because of their ugly screens that apparently can't portray new songs.  Another irony of his I nearly chuckled at if it weren't so sad, is #2 under "Musical", "Hymnals Set a Performance Standard".  Performance.  Again, something often criticized of contemporary churches- that they're too "performance"-like and driven.  Yet here, it is the golden standard that the hymnal provides us with.  He criticizes contemporary worship for leaving the congregation to "individual interpretation" of how to sing the song- instead of singing like a choir basically, as he goes on to explain how hymnals "fix that" showing us how the song is "supposed to go".  Give me the individual freedom to sing to God how I want any day over feeling like I'm in a choir when I'm not and have to follow the song exactly as it's notated.  Let me harmonize as I want and can.  Let me hold out a note, or cut one short as I am LOST in praising Him and not worrying about following a musical script.  Let me WORSHIP.

Just a few more points and I promise I'll wrap it up;)

Shocking as this will be (ha! Where do I get these jokes?;)) I am currently in a contemporary church that uses screens for the songs.  They have one entire screen dedicated to Scripture that corresponds to the songs.  Sort of like a theological textbook;)  Several days before the Sunday service, the church emails all the songs that will be sung with links to listen to, so that we have access and can be prepared to sing as well, (as he makes clear is important under his #2 point under Practical.  Though I would word the importance of this MUCH differently than he would.  Again, not as "choir-performance" geared, but so I can participate fully in worship.)

I prefer the songs to be on screens. May I share why?  Not why screens are better or more "right", but just why I prefer it:

~I don't like holding a hymnal.  Has anyone ever dropped a hymnal in church before?  You'll never forget it;)  Holding a hymnal for me is distracting (more than any screen is to me, contrary to his Sympbolic #3 point).
~ Hymnals do "screw things up" (contrary to his Practical #3 point): They have typos.  Sometimes, as understandably over time, the pages are just nasty.  Dirty, sneezed on once too many times, colored on even.  And yes, ripped out at times. 
~I'm a hand-raiser, and a clapper (both EXTREMELY Biblical practices), so having my hands hymnal-free to worship is a huge blessing.

I've been in a LOT of churches.  I've been in churches that use hymnals that sing their souls out praising God and are so Spirit-filled it could make the earth quake.  I've been in churches that use screens that no one seems to care, and no one's  hardly singing.  I know screens don't equal quality worship and hymnals don't equal boring.

I also know that screens don't equal shallow and hymnals don't equal correct worship.

Because these are things.  Things.  Not right and wrong.  Not doctrine.  They're tools.  They're preference.  They're really the same thing, conduits to help us bring praise and worship of song to our Almighty.  They're both great tools.  Wonderful gifts.  Some of us like screens.  Some like hymnals.

They're things.  Tools.  Not battle lines.

Can we please, please stop picking on and judging each other over modes of worship?  WORSHIP.  Have we really forgotten what it's all for?  What it's supposed to be about?

Is it too late to remember?


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mama said there'd be days like this... I just didn't know it'd be today.


 I don't even know where to begin.

I guess I'll fill you in on the picture here right now.  I'm currently sitting on the couch looking at a sea of toys scattered everwhere.

Everywhere.

That's just the toy mess in this whole hot mess right now.

My kid is in his bed screaming goodness-know-what hateful toddler tears at me.  He is SO tired.

How dare mommy put me down for a much needed nap.

I'm shoving heated up left-over casserole in my mouth while I type, because I have to type, but I haven't eaten yet, and I'm starving, but I'm starving to let this out.  So I chew and type.  And hey, at least a toddler's not pointing at every bite I eat and wanting it, so really this is like a vacation.

I'm not sure who has more blood-shot eyes today from lack of sleep and crying, me or the kid, but it's a sure close competition.

Just keeping it real.


I have a confession.

Ya know the moms who really struggle with the infant phase?  The at-a-loss lostness?  The begrudging?  The feelings of bitterness?  Of being suffocated?  The end-of-the-rope tightrope walk day after day?

That wasn't me.

I LOVED the baby stage.  Ate. It. Up.  In the hospital, after I had Silas, I nearly immediately declared that he would indeed be a big brother, I was definitely having more of this amazingness (which he will, and I will- another lil boy's due here this fall).  I remember that first year... even plus a few months... exclaiming how every day just got better and better and each stage was more and more fun.... and they did, and it was....

And then something stopped.


This is my confession.

That struggle... that begrudging... that suffocation... that end-of-the-rope... that I expected to face in those first several months....

they're hitting me like a mountain now.

Maybe I'm not cut out quite right for the toddler phase...

Maybe it's the discipline joy we get to have now....

Maybe it's the fact that we've moved 2 times in the not-quite 2 years of his lil life and moving takes such a toll and family and friendships are hours away.

Maybe it's that I'm pregnant now and I don't glow and am only running on maybe 10% between the sciatica and hormones and CAVING IN pelvic floor, and my pregnancy with Silas seems like a breeze compared to being pregnant with a toddler in tow.  And when I was pregnant with Silas I read every baby up-date and just sat and felt my belly move and now I swear if it weren't for the yucky symptoms I'm pretty sure I would forget I'm even pregnant.

Maybe it's the fact that my son is an early riser, and has never been a good napper and in the time he naps I can maybe get a shower and have a few sips of coffee, maybe.

Maybe it's the fact that we're currently living in an apartment that's filled with all our stuff from our last house, mostly still in ugly boxes, and there's not even hardly any window space we can see out of and we trip everywhere we can walk, which isn't much area, and the neighbors are SO noisy... I mean, I know we need to love our neighbors as ourselves but so help me, right now as I'm desperately wanting my kid to fall asleep I swear they are just jumping up and down above his room and I want to go up there and scream for them to SIT DOWN for the love just SIT.

Whatever it is, all I know, is that today by 11am I was standing over the sink, face in hands, bawling, SOBBING, while my kid bawled too and screamed at me and we both sobbed and then as I sobbed harder he switched to laughing, because I guess he thought it was funny, and this made me sob harder.

And the toys are everywhere, and his pee is all over the floor, and we have to change outfits AGAIN, and I've been up for almost 5 hrs and have not stopped for a stinking second and yet NOTHING is done and we are late for something AGAIN and the house that I cleaned yesterday is a mess, and we're a mess and it's one. big. mess.

When he was an infant I was prepared for these feelings and prepared for these tears and prepared for these days, but they didn't come and certainly anything close to this was rare.

And it only would FEEL like he would be yelling at me, and now... now no doubt he IS yelling at me.  And I WANT to yell at him and it takes every last little ounce that I have in me to NOT yell at him and to maintain some type of calm as I deal with him but inside I am depleted.

Utterly.  Depleted.

And then the mommy guilt comes.  And the thoughts of women with real problems come.  And I feel bad for feeling so sad and I want to do better but I just keep falling on my face.

In the back of my mind I hear the whispers of clueless women who say such genius things as...

"If I was a stay-at-home mom I would be SO bored."

"What do stay-at-home moms even do all day??"

Heaven help me.

Sheesh, what do I do all day... when nothing's done??

I dress him.  Just getting his pants on can take hours.

I take him potty.  He throws a fit because I won't read to him on the potty this time because I have to brush my teeth.

I clean up any pee that's not made it into the seat quite right since he was throwing a fit.

I re-dress him from the pee that's instead made it onto his pants around his ankles.

I feed him.  While I'm cooking, he's whining and saying and signing "EAT! EAT!" over and over and over while yanking on my pants.

I get him his food, and by the time I get mine, he's finished his and I had 3 bites and now he's relentlessly signing ALL-DONE while he whines and I just want to eat and I try making him sit there while I eat but he's losing his mind and so...

I clean up him and the disaster around him from his eating.

I re-dress him from the spilled yogurt that is all over him.

I brush his teeth while he cries for me not to.

He has to go potty again.

I read him the book while he goes.

He starts "playing", aka TEARING UP EVERYTHING, while I hurriedly eat a few more bites.

I warn him of impending disclipline as his behavior veers.

I execute such disclipline.

I clean up breakfast while he finishes bringing out every toy he can into our 5 sq ft of play space.

 And I non-stop keep him from choking/falling/breaking things and comfort him and dry the tears when boo boos still happen.

I listen to "mommy" a million times, "help" a million and one, and "mommy help" 3 trillion times in a day.

And again I feed him, and I take him potty, and I correct him, and I dress him, and I clean him up, and I do all of this over and over and over and yes it's monotony but there's no time to be bored because my kid just tripped and is sobbing and reaching out saying "mommy" and something spilled and I realize it's past time for him to go potty and I better hurry him there while I comfort him from the fall or we're gonna have to change outfits again.

I take my son to the potty a million times and yet I have to go most of the time but can't get a stinking bathroom break.  And when I do, you better believe privacy is a luxury that's not involved.

I spend so much of the day in the kitchen cooking, feeding, and cleaning and am yet hungry and forget to eat.

And then there's the errands and groceries and appointments and to-do lists and no, no I'm not bored.

And my hair is always in a pony tale that I'm starting to feel bitter against and make-up almost never happens and when it does it's in the parking lot of wherever we had to get to as I sit and throw on some mascara in the review mirror before we run in.

But thank goodness there are those sweet moments still, they're just rarer than that first year, but he does something extra cute or extra sweet and he signs "thank-you" for something and he says a new word and he smiles HUGE and hugs me... and I desperately cling to those moments like they are air and I need them like I need water.

And I laugh along with the little giggles.

And I blink back tears.

I tickle.
And I snuggle
And I kiss.

I dance.

I drown.

I play.

I panic.

I comfort.

I cry.

I sing.

I scold.

I worry and try not to.

I wonder what day it even is.

I answer a million little questions and ponder a thousand more.

I pray desperate so-help-me prayers and whisper ones of utter thanks.

I'm a cook.

I'm a day care worker.

I'm a maid.

I'm a teacher.

I'm a principal.

I'm a nurse.

I'm a mom.

I'm "not working" and I'm working all the time and 9-5 has become 5-9 and then some, and I look back and miss the days of getting to get ready for work and the days of LEAVING work till the next shift and now there's no closing time and it's all just so relentless.

All this giving and I still don't feel like enough.

And I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I wouldn't.

It's going to be the end of me but maybe that's a good thing, and it's relentless but so is my God and He won't give up and so I won't either.

And so this is this season of life and this is my mission field and I remind myself that one day I'll miss it because older women tell me so and I believe them.  And so I cling to the moments that are sweet and sometimes sob through the ones that aren't.

And I tell myself, over the lies of Satan that say contrary, that it's not something I'm doing wrong.

And it's okay.

And it's going to be okay.

And I know this isn't really a "big" deal and I'm so glad God cares about all the deals, not just the big ones.

And by the way, let me fill you in on the scene now....

Silas maybe slept, at least he was quiet, for about 15 minutes, and then as our neighbors got louder and louder he woke up screaming and sobbing and I had tried to get him back to sleep, and then I gave up...

So now, he's sitting next to me watching The Cat in the Hat on PBS and he has crackers and juice and milk...

and the toys are still everywhere and now there are crumbs everywhere too...

and these are all the things I said I would never do but mommy needs to breath...

and I've heard mommy and help and help mommy over and over again since he got up and it's Round 2 and I'm not ready, but He's ready.

And one day I'll miss this and it's okay and it's going to be okay.

It's going to be okay.




Wednesday, February 12, 2014

In Defense of MY Son: Boundaries, Balance, and Boys.

A blog post has been going around recently- which of course, one always is- but this one especially caught my eye as it was titled "In Defense of My Son".  Now, I'm always up for a good blog read.  Always, always up for a good blog read on parenting.  Add in the "son" part and yes, I will click.  I will read.

I was disappointed with the blog though, and have been rather surprised at the mass adoring of it.  And as I can't stop tossing around these pestering thoughts in my mind, I just had to blog them out myself.

To be fair: It's totally obvious that the writer wasn't probably in the best emotional place when she blogged it.  Her "friend" had gone behind her back to another "friend" and had verbally torn her son apart, right after they had had a nice, cozy play date (In defense of my son I probably would have had an uglier reaction than to write a blog post about it.)  So of course, our author is still reeling from the knife being stabbed in her back and goes a bit mommy-wars back as she has to point out that her "friend" only has one child- "ONE FEMALE child" (I think the friendship may need to be over, ladies).

To continue the fairness:  I get what the writer was saying, at its core.  I think she and I could agree at the root of her point- that generally speaking, boys are rougher than girls, rowdier, louder, sure even "wilder" than girls.  But the how of what she said, and the lack of boundaries and balance she seemed to bring to the table left me less than satisfied.

I gotta say, if you're going to write a blog called "In Defense of My Son"- I mean, the DEFENSE of your SON- maybe, just maybe you could do better than, "He's a 4-year-old BOY! Of course he's a wild, crazy a-hole!"

Really??  THAT is the defense of your son?? Of course he's an a-hole???  Wow.  Well then.

Beyond that, here are my main concerns with the blog:

I really do NOT like when in these types of issues we decide that boys=this and girls=that.  This blog makes it seem like boys= wild, crazy a-holes, and girls= Rainbow Loom for 3 hours.  Actually, the blog doesn't make it seem like that- that's pretty much exactly what she says.

Let me tell you right now,  as a little girl, I would chase my brothers with snakes through the yard.  Snakes.  Live snakes.  I would eat worms.  I LOVED the mud and a good tree-climbing challenge.  Don't assume just because someone has one female child that they play Rainbow Loom for 3 hours.   Please don't be so naive and sexist.

Also, not all boys are wild and crazy.  Yes, GENERALLY speaking boys have certain tendencies, but this is not the impression our author gives.  She even says, "It's not like he did anything different than any other pre-school boy would do."  I've worked in a pre-school, day care, and elementary school.  Boys do NOT all act the same.  Some I dare say would play Rainbow Loom for 3 hours.  Some could not stay in their seat for more than 5 minutes.  Most though, had a balance between these two.

Balance- that is my next concern with this blog.  Where is the balance??  So to be all boy means you're a wild and crazy a-hole?  Because boys are often born liking cars they are just destined to act insane??  Yes, it makes sense that as a boy at 6 months old her son liked to throw blocks at people's heads.  It also makes sense that a boundary be drawn and this behavior be taught as not acceptable.  My son loves taking a stacked tower of blocks and knocking them over to crash on the floor.  I view this as acceptable boy-ish behavior.  But if he tried to chuck a block at someone's head I'm not going to sit back and say "boys will be boys".  The author of the blog post, though she never says throwing blocks at heads IS ok, does seem to give the impression that that's just what boys do and who they are.  And she never draws the balance and boundaries between the tendencies and the behavior.  She points out that while her son didn't hit or bite his friend, "he saves that for his sister".   Again, is this supposed to be okay then?  Funny?  

We can't all just be who we are born to be and have a free ride on our tendencies.  Generally speaking, girls can have some interesting tendencies as well that we hopefully try to curtail.  

Though I don't agree with all the affirmation this blog post has gotten, I do understand why so many moms of sons have embraced it.  It's nice to know other moms are going through what you're going through.  It's nice to know your kid isn't the only one who does certain things.  It's nice to feel affirmed.  

But we cannot let that blind us to seeing that this blog post was more than just poorly, crassly written- it's a sad excuse to me of an explanation of a boy.  Of who a boy is.  Of who we should expect a boy to be.

Not wild, crazy a-holes.

You see, we're not just raising boys- we're raising men, and hopefully, gentlemen.  Yes, I want my son to be able to embrace his boyhood as honorably as he can, and be able to have fun and be loud and get rowdy, but while maintaining manners and character and decency.  Can there be a balance here?  Can we raise the expectation a bit, and cast aside the "boys will be boys" lowering of the bar?  
Because "men will be men" also, right?  Don't we use that excuse too to brush aside crass, inappropriate, downright wrong behavior in grown men?  Let's not.  Let's not do it to the male gender at any stage.  

I'm not saying our boys have to play Rainbow Loom for 3 hours.  Or can't be loud, messy, fun-loving lil guys.  All I'm asking for is balance and boundaries... greater expectations... and maybe some better choice of words to describe our sons.







Tuesday, December 18, 2012

God, Guns, and Peace on Earth

I was out Christmas and grocery shopping when I heard about the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. First, I sat in horror in my car in a parking lot, crying and praying with no words.

Then, as I finished my errands, everything I did seemed crass.  Buying presents.  Buying food.  All with a sick stomach.

The terrifying events in Newtown broke my heart, as it did all of us; but it did and continues to hit me in a special, devastatingly deep way; one, because I'm a mother; but also because I spent 3 years working in an elementary school, specifically in kindergarten and 1st grade.

I thought, specifically, on several occasions, that since I worked at an elementary school I did not need to worry about there ever being a shooting there.  Because who would... why would they... how could they...

It sickens me that that shows that shootings in schools of older children had lost a level of surprise to me.

But elementary.

First grade.

20 children.  20 babies.

In elementary school, the kids have such a sense of wonder.  It's their first tastes of education.  And they are so, so excited about it.

As I listened to the news, images of past students ran through my mind.  I saw the school's hallways and pictured these tiny, innocent ones...

Right before Christmas.

How, how could anyone do that.  Who but Satan himself could DO that.

I can't imagine.  You send your kid to 1st grade and you worry they'll fall on the playground.  Or drop their lunch.  Or maybe move their behavior chart to a straight face instead of a smile.

You don't worry they'll be gunned down in their cute little classrooms.  With their tiny desks and short chairs.  For their small selves.

It's ironic that my last blog post on here is "10 Biblical Responses to Evil".  I certainly stand by them, and must unless I want to argue the Bible (I don't).  But they sure are hard to swallow right now.


God

This tragedy doesn't make me mad at God at all.  It doesn't make me doubt Him.  It doesn't make me wonder where He was.

God was there.  God was protecting.  God was crying and mourning.

It makes me mad at Satan.  I rightfully blame him. The one who enjoyed it.  The one who takes pleasure in it.  The source of such sick, dark, evil.  Satan, walking about seeking those who he can devour (1 Peter 5:8).  Satan, the very enemy of the precious God I serve.  Praise Jesus, in the end Satan and his deceptive team will be forever cast into the Lake of Fire! (Revelation 20:10)

I've sadly seen comments such as Fischer's and Huckabee's that we shouldn't be surprised at such a tragedy in a school, because we shove God out of our schools and society, and this is what happens without God.  I find this not only false, but self-righteous and highly insensitive.  First of all, we must remember Job.  Job was walking so well with God that God bragged about him (Job 1:8).  Yet God allowed mass destruction in Job's life.  There are many other testimonies of faithful Christians who have gone through tragedies.

There may not be led prayer in schools, but I've seen plenty of students on their own praying in schools and have even seen Bible studies meeting in schools.  I'm sure there's cases where there's more prayer and Bible reading happening in the public schools then there are in some Christian homes.

Also, who knows the spiritual states of these actual families?

Mike Huckabee was specifically asked "Why would God let this happen?" and I believe, even with his follow-up comments, he utterly missed an opportunity to show compassion and grace.  In some ways I was left still wondering what exactly he meant in his comments.  If he intends to mean "bad things happen because we're bad" then that's not helpful.  If he intends to mean that it's a contradiction to want God now, when we didn't want him before, then sure, of course; but who of us isn't like that?  Who of us hasn't polished up our prayer life and devotional walk after something bad happens to us?

We should be grateful that while it may be contradictory, many now are looking for God... many are going to prayer vigils... many are asking where He was.  What great opportunities for Christians to share Christ.

The only sin to blame here is the shooter's.  If you want to talk about a lack of following God, let's talk about his.  It's not the time to point fingers at our schools and society.  It's the time to show compassion, grace, and love; it's the time to take the question "why did God let this happen?" very seriously and answer it very sensitively and carefully.  It's a question if we're honest, we all wonder at to a point.


But God was there.

Blame the devil.

Love and pray for our nation, our schools, and Newtown.


Guns

I beg you first of all, to keep an open mind.  I used to think more gun control wasn't an answer either- but after doing some careful reading and thinking after Friday's events I came to some new conclusions.  

If we do not pause now and seriously reconsider our gun laws, then what will it take?

Hear me clear: "pause and seriously reconsider".  That's all I'm asking.  I'm not saying ban all guns.  I'm saying, if some crazy 20 year old guy is legalized in having an assault rifle, goes into an elementary school, and blasts away a bunch of 1st graders, and that doesn't make us pause and reconsider our laws, then what will?? If we can't even stop and rethink it through, then I believe we are being irresponsible and arrogant.

I've heard the "guns don't kill people, people kill people" argument.  To me that's like saying cigarettes don't give cancer, people do.  Or heroin doesn't make people high; people do.  Well let's just legalize heroin and sell it at Walmart too.  Someone I know made the great point that if "guns don't kill people, people do" then guns don't protect people either, people do.  You can't claim you need a gun for protection but not recognize the part it plays in killings.

Hear me out, I know that guns are merely a tool that can be used for good or evil.  I know that people that shoot people are ultimately RESPONSIBLE, period.  But the easy accessibility to such weapons to people who want to kill people is what troubles me.  Something's wrong.  We have to ask ourselves, how's it working for us?

I also have heard the point that stricter gun laws will only keep the good guys from having guns; the bad guys will still get guns, because they don't care about laws anyways.  Should we really make laws based on that type of thinking... the-bad-guys-will-do-it-anyways-thinking?  With that thinking, a lot of things could become legalized.  Cause hey, bad guys will do it anyways, so why make the law?  Scary path, if you ask me.  The reasons for our laws are not only to try to keep people from doing certain things, but it's also to take the stand that such a thing is illegal even if it is done.  Wouldn't it be nice if when things like this happened we could say at least the bad guys weren't legally ok-ed to have such weapons?  Need I remind us this was an ASSAULT RIFLE.  Our laws MUST be re-examined because something is WRONG if someone in that mental state would get an assault rifle.  Also, the main "good guys" are our law enforcement- no one's saying they shouldn't have guns.

There are approximately 20 mass shootings a year.  Guns are just a tool... but they're being used and abused for a lot of evil; and we have the responsibility, the duty, to step up and see what laws need to be tweaked and what limits need to be put in place to try our best to lessen these occurrences.

I actually have read a few people stating that we need to arm teachers and school staff with guns.  Are you kidding me.  I am trying so hard to maintain respect here... but that to me is utterly absurd.  Let's bring a bunch of weapons in and store them around classrooms and children for the just-in-case.  Let's give everyone in the school guns.  Let's trust out teachers with guns and hope THEY aren't gonna end up being a bad guy.  Let's make a horrible situation more horrible.  A possible bloodbath more bloody in the meantime.

One other point on this:  right or wrong, I don't think it's the best time to defend our gun laws.  Shopping malls, movie theaters, elementary schools...  It just might not be the best time to defend our gun laws.  Maybe we can just agree to pause, and reconsider them.



Peace on Earth

I read an amazing article that asks the question, have we finally had enough?  He makes the point that we roll around in violence all the time, and then are horrified at such shootings.  Our entertainment is filled with misery and gore; our songs can be horror-filled; and "games" and things we "play" are often nothing but darkness.

We spend millions and millions of dollars making movies, and then spend millions and millions of dollars to watch such movies, that we would never, ever want to have actually happen.  We entertain ourselves by feeling terrified and grossed-out.

Why?  It's true that people love darkness more than light (John 3:19).  We love tasting it and toying with it.  We play with fire.

And then it burns us.

I'll be totally honest, I am seriously rethinking some of my entertainment choices.  Some things shouldn't be enjoyed, even if it's "only" an imagined story.

We say we want peace on earth; and as Christians we are commanded to seek it.  So let's seek it, in everything we watch, everything we listen to, everything we say, everything we do.

A song I can't seem to stop listening to since last Friday: