Casual Blasphemy

I figured something out today.

The President is not the anti-christ. He’s not the savior, either. He’s just a man. He gets up in the morning, and he goes to bed at night. By all accounts he loves his family in the same way you love yours. He eats, drinks, and goes to the bathroom.

He’s a man.

I think that’s part of the problem. The President is so beloved by the largely liberally slanted media and the Hollywood “lobby” that he’s been almost deified, in a sense. He was elected because his promises appealed to more people than the other guy. Twice. This is the way of elections. President Obama won fair and square both times. Move on.

When I saw this clip on YouTube:

of Jamie Foxx calling the President “our Lord and savior,” I wasn’t particularly offended as a believer because I recognized the statement for what it was: a clearly misspoken and probably taken out of context remark that was likely meant with at least some irony by mssr Foxx. At least I hope so. It’s difficult to imagine anyone actually believing President Obama is anyone’s savior. Yet I do think Foxx’s words, spoken casually, are symptomatic of a larger problem.

This morning I saw a representation of this painting online, called “The Truth.”

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The artist, Michael D’Antuono, has said his intent with the painting was to provoke political dialogue and that he meant to display the painting in a mock voting booth.

I can only speak for myself, of course, but to me this isn’t so much about the artist having the constitutional right to say whatever he wants: he has that right. I think he knew exactly the kind of reaction a painting of this nature would provoke in the “religious right,” and painted it with that in mind. He got the reaction he wanted, along with a large bowl of controversy. I’d imagine he probably sold a few tickets to art exhibits as well.

Back to my original point: President Obama is a man. He’s not the savior. He’d certainly acknowledge that himself. He’s not a hero, either. Most people aren’t. His election (both times) was certainly ground-breaking and showed how far our country has come.

Yet as I mentioned earlier, The President was elected based on what he said he would do. He was also elected based on who he was and what he represented.

The media and Hollywood has created this…cult of personality around him. We allowed that to happen. We encouraged it. We still do.

He’s a man, people. A smart and gifted one, but he can’t fly or lift cars over his head. He can’t save anyone, maybe not even the country. Salvation (and deliverance) lies elsewhere, and we as a people have to be careful of the burdens and expectations we place on our public servants.

Still, I look at the crown of thorns in D’Antuono’s painting and what I feel is not so much outrage as sorrow. He clearly does not understand what it represents. I wonder if he truly understands what his painting represents?

It’s not just oil and pigment. If there are actually people out there who believe the President to be something he is not (such as a savior), they are worshipping at an altar they want no real part of.

Just because the constitution gives people the right to say (and paint) stupid things does not mean they should. Casual blasphemy is still blasphemy, and whether or not you believe it does not matter. Think of the outrage if Muhammed had been mocked depicted instead of Jesus.

Then again, no one really thinks twice about offending Christians.

John 15:18 says, “remember if the world hates you that it hated me first.”

I read this commentary about the above verse, and I thought it was interesting:

If the world hates you – As the followers of Christ were to be exposed to the hatred of the world, it was no small consolation to them to know that that hatred would be only in proportion to their faith and holiness; and that, consequently, instead of being troubled at the prospect of persecution, they should rejoice, because that should always be a proof to them that they were in the very path in which Jesus himself had trod. Dr. Lardner thinks that πρωτον is a substantive, or at least an adjective used substantively, and this clause of the text should be translated thus: If the world hate you, know that it hated me, your Chief. It is no wonder that the world should hate you, when it hated me, your Lord and Master, whose lips were without guile, and whose conduct was irreproachable….

I think we need to expect mockery, and much worse. I think the world is changing, and quite obviously turning away from God.

It makes me sad, but also resolved. There is much work to do, and we as believers have much responsibility.

Politics and the rhetoric that comes with them really don’t matter in the end.

Jesus does, and what we do with Him.

I Would Do Anything

I can’t think of anything worse than when the kids are sick. Not because it’s typically messy, or gross, or I don’t like cleaning up their puke or their snot or their (literal) crap. Not because of what it does to me.

Because of what it does to them.

Their playfulness becomes helplessness in the face of whatever is making them sick. Their joy is replaced with fever, or coughing, or whatever their symptoms are. It sucks worse than just about anything.

When the boys were sick last weekend there was a point where David had just gotten done throwing up in pretty much every room of the house and John was coughing like crazy. Jen was in the bedroom dealing with her own flu and I had just gotten the boys chilled out and resting.

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I remember thinking I would gladly bear their illnesses if it were only possible. I would do anything to assuage their suffering.

I thought that again just now, at 0644, on the day before thanksgiving. I’m holding John as he sleeps and praying the antibiotics do their thing and we don’t need to take any more drastic measures, like the hospital.

I would take his pneumonia in a heartbeat and I would bear it gladly.

The conviction that just slammed into me is that’s how God feels about us. Ultimately, he didn’t just cure our illness (which was terminal). He gladly bore it for us, and he experienced everything on our behalf. He bore all, and suffered all, and he died.

God died.

For me. For my sons.

I can feel the baby breathing against my chest as I thumb type this, and I’m thinking about how much God loved the world.

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I think about how much I love my kids, and that I would stop at no length to protect them from anything. I would be sickened, or beaten, or humiliated, even killed. I would literally do anything for them.

That’s what Jesus did.

Stop. Heyyyy, Macagangnam Style

I watched the above video through once, and I’m not sure I could do it again without spiraling down into a nightmare world where everyone wears weird pants that don’t fit and does a little dance that’s like the bastard love child of the Macarena

Hammertime

And the African Anteater Ritual

All of which makes sense, all things considered. Gangnam Style is without question the Macarena of this era, which was U Can’t Touch This of the one before. Undoubtedly, Psy’s ode to sexy ladies will usurp one or both of the other two aforementioned songs as the one all the champagne-sodden parents hit the floor for at their kids weddings.

God help us all.

Clearly I’m not the first one to get the connection, either, what with the mashup in the first video. MC Hammer may have been relegated to background dancer, but he still killed it.

Now I’m gonna go lay down in front of a tank.

Peepoo

1445 MST

John has just awakened from a 2 hr and 15 min nap. “Dayee, peepoo.”

“Did you pee or did you poop?”

“Peepoo. Shire, bat.”

“First, we’ll change your diaper. Then take a bath.”

“Bat.”

“Right.” We adjourned to the bedroom for a diaper change only to find out there was, in fact, a 4 wipe peepoo. After a several minute cleanup and several muttered curse words, I managed to change and dress John.

“Dayee, bat.” John reminded me.

“That’s right,” I said. “I’ll get the water going and we’ll get you undressed.”

I started the bath and made sure the water wasn’t too hot. Just then I sensed motion behind me and turned around just as 29 pounds of toddler came flying into the bathroom and dove over the edge of the tub like Superman, face planting fully-clothed in a couple inches of warm water.

He sat up completely soaked and said. “Dayee, bat.”

“I guess so.” I undressed him and bath time began in earnest.

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Several minutes later, all of mama’s products decorated the bottom of the tub and a gallon or two of water pooled on the bathroom floor. I decided bat-time was over. John got a bath and daddy got a shire.

I wrapped him in a towel and sat him on the bed while I went to pick out dry clothes. I’d just gotten into his room when he called from the other room.

“Dayee, peepoo.”

The Danger of Social Networking

Yesterday I learned a valuable lesson about social networking, and that lesson is this:

Whichever social networking platform you prefer, It’s clearly an invaluable tool for getting and keeping in touch with friends and family, and useful for sharing photos and other things.

That said, social networking has an inherent danger. Like text messaging, you can’t grasp the subtleties or nuances of a conversation when you’re reading a status update, tweet, or whatever other services call it.

Also, because even though the people reading the things a person says are supposedly “friends,” they often don’t really know each other, or at least not well.

So while whatever point you’re trying to get across may be true and valid, you never know who you’re going to offend by making it. And there are clearly also some people who sometimes use social networking to say things they would never say in person.

Because of this, there are times when something that starts with a perfectly innocuous question often ends in ugliness, hurt feelings, and possibly even far reaching consequences.

Mainly, this is because you never know what’s going on (or has gone on) in a person’s life when they read your stuff.

Consequently, you also never know when they’re going to flip out on you and start puking ugliness or saying things they won’t be able to get back.

The other thing to consider is a person needs to weigh the material they’re going to share and decide if a huge and impersonal platform is appropriate.

I would also offer this: if one has a problem with something said, a simple email or private message can go a long way toward clearing things up. It can also avoid dozens of people feeling the need to attack or defend a person or point.

It’s possible to confront someone in an appropriate manner and resolve a situation without hurting feelings or having a person blow a gasket, which is what happened yesterday.

I’d also say that if you’re a person with thin skin and a hair trigger, then social networking is probably not for you. But if you do choose to use it, stay away from contentious topics.

For my part, because I have a problem with not saying what I really feel, or not calling BS BS, I will probably hereafter restrict my comments to things like “lol,” and only share things like

Perspective

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From this point of view, that can looks about a mile high. I’m sure your problem does, too. Maybe it even is.

But look what happens when you step back a little and get a different perspective.

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A little bit of distance is sometimes what you need to see things as they actually are. It gives you the ability to see there is an end to whatever giant thing is in your path.

You’ll get through it.

Due Diligence

I read an article from a few days ago on a conservative website this morning, and it kind of stirred me up a little. The article was regarding a 2 hr muslim Jumah prayer service to be held at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

That didn’t really seem fair, because that article (and a few others I read) also mentioned a Catholic Cardinal had volunteered to give a “Christian” prayer and been denied.

This may have been true 4 days ago, but upon further research this morning, I found that Donald Miller (he wrote Blue Like Jazz) was giving the benediction, and that same Cardinal whose offer of prayer had originally either been ignored or denied (depending on what you read), was now giving the closing prayer.

While not the same as a 2 hr prayer service, it is also not the complete absence of Christian prayer it initially seemed. It is perhaps also of note that the Muslim event is technically near the event (in a park), while the benediction and closing prayer are in the actual convention.

But since I’m mentioning things worthy of note, it’s also certainly possible the offer from the Cardinal was accepted only after a shitstorm of controversy was generated by what initially seemed like more liberal pandering to Muslim complaints of anti-Islam bias.

Does anti-Islam bias exist? Of course it does. Islamic and liberal activists in the media and private sector will not let you forget it.

What is seldom heard is that anti-Christian bias also exists. It exists every bit as much and is just as bad as bias against the Islamic religion.

Here’s my point. I nearly flew off the handle when I read about 2 hrs of Muslim prayer at the DNC with no Christian counterpoint. The apparent unfairness of it all was maddening.

When I looked deeper, I found out there was a lot more to it than what things originally seemed to be.

There’s much danger in blind acceptance of anything you read, especially in today’s political climate. All I’m saying is before you rush to judgment, make sure you’ve done your due diligence.

And watch out for the plank in your eye.

By the way, I deliberately did not insert links to what I read today.

Looking it up is part of your due diligence

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Satan Wants My Squeaker

I had this dog for a while who would utterly destroy all his squeak toys. It didn’t matter what they were made of, it typically only took him a few days to get at the toy’s squeaky little heart.

He would do it through small wounds, generally, and just work the toy over. He’d pull out little bits of stuffing from each tear in the material and deposit them on the living room floor as he worked to get at his ultimate goal–the messy death of the squeak toy.

When he finally got there, he’d crush the squeaker between his jaws and then just lay there and enjoy the carnage he’d created.

This morning I was thinking how much my faith is like one of those dog toys.

I’ll get wounded from time to time–small tears in my fabric. A little stuffing will come out, sometimes more than a little. Yet because my heart is still squeaking, I convince myself my wounds are only superficial. It’s only a cut or two.

I tell myself the cuts are no big deal, and since they don’t (really) threaten my life, I don’t need to worry about them.

The world–and life–are the cause of the tears in my fabric.

The world can’t get to me because of my faith, or because my wounds really aren’t that bad.

My wounds are not mortal.

And then the truth came.

1. It isn’t one singular tear in the fabric of my faith that will be my undoing.

2. It’s the collective whole of my wounds and the blame apportioned for their cause that can draw me away from God if I let them.

3. It’s separation from God that will kill me.

4. The tears in the fabric of my faith are caused by doubt, and by whispered lies from the enemy about God, and myself, and my wounds.

Another truth that came to me today is that for every lie we’re told and believe there is a corresponding truth from God.

We can fight the lies with truth, and it is that same truth that heals the tears in our fabrics–in my fabric.

It’s normal to doubt. Doubts mean you take your faith seriously, and provided you don’t allow them to overrun your faith, they can help you in the end. That is, if you seek the truth with a disciple’s heart. Doubt can only overcome you if you let it–if you do not fight.

Make no mistake, there is an enemy to fight. He prowls around like a lion (or perhaps an angry dog), looking for something to devour (1Peter 5:8).

That something is you. And me. It’s tough to hear, and even tougher to talk about. People want to hear platitudes, and that everything is good and beautiful and that they are saved from harm by faith.

That’s true, but not the only truth.

Our enemy–and I do mean Satan–can and will stop at no height or depth in his quest to separate us from God. He tears at the fabric of our faiths, and our lives. He burrows deep in our guts, attempting to get at our hearts.

He can’t unless we let him. We don’t have to.

We can fight.

We can pray the armor of God daily, and we can seek the Lord’s truth in and for our lives.

Otherwise, the world is the least of our worries. We’ll end up like this poor thing, but for eternity.

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Something Needs to Change

I really hate election time.

Maybe I’m not being realistic, but I’d hope it would be possible to hear about hear about what ails the country and how each candidate plans to fix it without this almost feral ugliness going on right now.

It seems like people are more interested in making others afraid of the uncertainties to come and who is to blame for them rather than addressing what’s going on and how to fix it.

No candidate is completely innocent of this kind of sensationalism, though supporters of the incumbent president seem to possess a little more in the way of political vitriol than the hopeful candidate’s do.

It’s easy to see by a simple search of social media.

Regardless, this behavior does continue, and in my opinion it is not just because we allow it, but we also condone and support it.

I don’t know what the solution to that is.

Do you?