Month: February 2014

Everything is Awesome: Creativity and Self-Esteem

If you haven’t seen The Lego Movie and thus don’t get the reference in the title of this blog post, here’s a trailer to give you an idea of the movie’s plot (and get a catchy song stuck in your head…sorry):

In an early scene, poor Emmet finds out that hardly any of his neighbors and coworkers even remember him. One guy shrugs him off as a nobody…and then describes, in contrast, what is remarkable about his buddies, what sets them apart.

One of them likes sausages. Another is “perky.” And another is proud of his facial hair.

Awesome.

Lego Movie (more…)

Sticks and Stones: Five Years After High School

I cannot believe I am stuck in this ridiculous class. This was my most common thought the second semester of my sophomore year of high school during health class.

Actual multiple choice test question: What is the purpose of the World Health Organization? (Answer: "advancing global health")

Actual multiple choice test question: What is the purpose of the World Health Organization? (Answer: “advancing global health”)

Most days, I spent the whole time flipping dutifully through my textbook while staring at the clock.

Except that day.

“Amy Green,” my teacher said, waving a note that had just come in from the office. I stood up to collect it, then, hopefully, to retreat to my seat as quickly as possible and resume being invisible. No such luck.

“Does anyone else here think Amy is too smart?” my teacher asked the class.

I froze.

“Come on, raise your hands.”

And I watched the hands go up, looked right at the students attached to them. The guy in the front row, someone who I happened to know had a higher GPA than me, flinched when my eyes met his and lowered his hand just a bit.

My teacher stood, handed me the note. “That’s what I thought. It was the same way when I was in high school, and I learned that I just didn’t have to take it. You know, five years from now at a class reunion, you can throw hair in Amy’s cake or something.” The teacher laughed in the awkward silence. “Just kidding. Don’t be mean to Amy.” (more…)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on What Not To Say at Funerals

As I looked for pictures for this post, I decided something: there are entirely too many pet sympathy cards.

Maybe it’s just the hard-hearted anti-animal lover in me, but I found this card (and others like it) ridiculous:

Sympathy card1I’m a terrible person for laughing at sympathy cards, especially because I know for some people, the passing of a pet into the Great Kennel Beyond is a big deal. But still. “Paw prints on your heart”?

Also, anything with angels is fair game to be looked at with a smirk.

Angel (more…)

Why I Don’t Wear Jeans to Church

The short answer is “because of a British demon.”

As amusing as it would be for me to end there, it wouldn’t be particularly helpful, so I guess I’ll give the long answer too.

But first…

Prominent and Obnoxious Disclaimer: Please, read the title of this post. Note that I didn’t title it, “Why Denim is a Sin,” “Why You Shouldn’t Wear Jeans to Church” or even “Why Not Wearing Jeans To Church Makes Me Slightly More Spiritual Than Everyone Else.” I will explain this more later on. Just wanted to get that out there right away. Please do not flood the comments section with explanations of why it’s okay to dress casually at church. I totally agree. (Or rants about how I’m a conservative, narrow-minded, Wrangler-hatin’ fundametalist trying to impose a legalistic dress code on the entire body of Christ. Please. None of that.)

I don't know of anything that conveys "evil" like this picture.

I don’t know of anything that conveys “evil” like this picture.

I was reading The Screwtape Letters a few years ago, written by C.S. Lewis from the perspective of a delightfully sarcastic demon, when I came across the following quote:

“At the very least, [humans] can be persuaded that the bodily position makes no difference to their prayers; for they constantly forget, what you must always remember, that they are animals and that whatever their bodies do affects their souls.” (more…)

Valentine’s Day Advice from Wall-E and Ariel

Somewhere on the Internet you can find a rant about how Valentine’s Day was invented by greeting card designers or a heartwarming post about how you are significant with or without a significant other.

This is not either of those posts. Sorry.

Valentine’s Day is not emotionally difficult for me like it is for many people. I’m not a hopeless romantic. The only chick flick I think I’ve ever willingly watched was The Princess Bride, and that doesn’t even count because it has giant rats and swordfights and delightfully quotable lines that I will use whenever I can conceivably slip them into everyday conversation.

But the way I see things, you can either approach Valentine’s Day like Ariel or Wall-E.

Ariel1

I have to admit, I can be a little hard on Ariel. After all, she’s sixteen years old. Plenty of time to grow and mature, although she probably won’t if all of her dumb choices are rewarded in the end.

However, let’s take a look at her defining moment of character motivation, shall we? (more…)

How Theologically Opinionated Are You?

The other day, I asked myself the following question: does the devil always need an advocate?

And my immediate answer was, “Yes, yes he does, and it needs to be me.”

Then I actually, you know, thought about it. And I realized once again that I tend toward being an arrogant show-off.

theology

Personal opinion? God finds theologically accurate things spoken out of pride to be more offensive than well-meaning people misinterpreting a passage. I need to remember that my attitude, not just my words, matters.

Serious stuff aside, I want to know how many people out there have that same urge to rush to the devil’s aid in any argument, to make everyone define their terms, to get into a heated “discussion” at nearly every Bible study. So, I bring you…

How Theologically Opinionated Are You?

An Incredibly Subjective Quiz (more…)

What Would Jesus Facebook?

I am not usually a defender of technology. In fact, I’m usually the one always going on about how Facebook is making us hopelessly narcissistic, text messages rob us of real communication, Google is planning to steal our souls, etc.

Lately, people have found it ironic that Google's motto is "Don't be evil."

Lately, people have found it ironic that Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil.”

That said, one paragraph in a really interesting article I read recently caught my attention: “Jesus was all about connecting with real people. What if he would have ‘Facebooked’ the Woman at the Well? She’d have checked her email and found: ‘Woman at the Well: Jesus has written on your wall.’ The email would say, ‘Heard you were at the well today. If you ask me, I will give you living water.’ It kind of loses its meaning.”

The author goes on to say that it was a big deal that Jesus risked being seen in person with a Samaritan woman, and I completely agree. I also agree with her statement, “Technology is a great thing, but overusing it can rob us of real relationships.”

But.

(You knew it was coming, didn’t you?)

But I disagree with the author’s statement: “We can have ‘friends’ on Facebook, email pen pals, chat room buddies, and text messaging conversations—but none of it is real communication.”

None of it? Hmm. Not so sure about that. (Says the person who is currently involved in two long and wonderful group discussions of feminism and predestination via Facebook.)

I think what the article implies—that Jesus would always connect with people in person rather than the Internet—is a bit off. (more…)