Month: February 2016

For Anyone Making Excuses for Sin

I’m reading through Exodus right now and just got to the Israelites making the golden calf, aka one of the most tragically amusing stories in the Bible.

Can you picture how this happens? Moses is up on Mount Sinai, talking to God, getting a divinely transcribed copy of all the laws the people already agreed to obey—the first and second items on the list being not worshiping idols. So he climbs down from the mountain…and he finds the people worshiping a golden calf. (Full story in Exodus 32.)

It wasn't the Wall Street one. But it could have looked like it, right?

Okay, it wasn’t the Wall Street one. But it could have looked like it, right?

“Guys, I was gone for, like, a month! Will someone please explain what happened here?”

And Aaron shuffles forward and blurts out the first thing that comes to mind: “They said to me, ‘Make us gods who shall go before us.’ So I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.” (That, my friends, is a word-for-word ESV quote. Didn’t even have to exaggerate that one.)

Awkward silence. Moses stares at his brother. Aaron starts to sweat a little. Then Moses Hulk-smashes the Ten Commandments and goes on an idol-destroying rampage that includes a plague, a Levite posse, and making the people eat the ground-up ashes of their own idol. Seriously.

Here’s what we learn from this story, guys (besides the fact that you should never tick Moses off):

Idols don’t just happen. (more…)

The Problem With Hating Nazis

Not to brag or anything, but I’m basically the queen of entertaining people on long car rides. I have a seemingly-unlimited arsenal of activities and conversation topics to keep people entertained for hours, including a storytelling game that was very popular on bus rides with the jr. high youth group I helped with.

The one rule was: no killing anyone. I hoped this would keep all of our stories from turning into random murder sprees whenever anyone couldn’t think of a creative way to solve a problem, but a few of the participants did not like this rule.

“We can’t kill anyone?” one girl protested.

“Nope.”

“Not even the bad guys?”

“Sorry, no.”

She paused, then tried again. “What if there’s a Nazi? Can’t we kill the Nazi?”

This moment is brought to you by the local jr. high Holocaust history unit, during which everything is gas chambers and Anne Frank and racism and death for a few weeks, until even a fourteen-year-old still addicted to boy bands realizes that what Hitler and Co. did was evil in its most blatant form and should never, ever be allowed to happen again.

Nazis

That is true, and that is something important to teach to kids who are becoming thinking (voting, morality-forming, decision-making) adults. In case it needs saying, I agree that the Holocaust was sickening and terrible and every negative adjective I could possibly apply to it. I don’t want to diminish that in any way.

What concerned me about this little incident, and others like it, is that this girl was placing Nazis into a different category than normal human bad guys. They were their own circle of awful, so far beyond regular villains that they might earn an exception.

And I’m not so sure that’s a good thing. In fact, I think there are some really important, really awful consequences of our highly specialized hate for Nazis. (more…)

Obligatory Single Person Post on Valentine’s Day

So, all the single people are posting that one Beyoncé song and memes about how tomorrow is the holiday when all the chocolate goes on sale, which is my cue for: let’s have a serious and difficult discussion.

My logic is stunning, I know.

Okay, but I did find this one amusing.

Okay, but I did find this one amusing.

So here’s the question of the hour: how do you approach Valentine’s Day or any other day as a single Christian woman in a community that values marriage? What do you do?

When the pastor announces a sermon series on marriage you either groan or sink down in the pew or take fervent notes in your prayer journal, so anyone—especially any single guy—who might be watching will notice that you basically define Titus 2/Proverbs 31 womanhood.

Your dreams change a little, because it’s better to have something you can actively work toward. Sure, you could “actively work toward” marriage, but that sounds like those desperate, flirts-with-any-guy-with-a-pulse sort of women, and you don’t want to be associated with that brand of crazy. So you build a career, a bucket list, a future that has the flexibility to include another person but will stand alone if he doesn’t show up. They’re good dreams, and you’re proud of them, and most of the time you don’t feel like you’re trying to compensate for something.

Most of the time.

You keep a strict budget, paying off loans and buying your clothes at thrift stores and saving every penny so that someday, you could be in a financial position to stay home with your (hypothetical future) kids. Or you don’t, spending money on movies or trips your married friends can’t afford or an entire pizza that you eat by yourself on Valentine’s Day because why not—there have to be some perks to being single.

Of course, you pray. About…something. What exactly is acceptable to ask for? Patience, for sure. Wisdom. Throw in some phrases like “waiting on God” or “guarding my heart.” If you’re feeling particularly brave, you ask others for prayer, usually in the form of a vague request for “struggling with contentment” because you don’t want to look needy.

“If” has worked its way into your talk of marriage and family, casually, subtly, so no one will notice and the tips of your ears won’t turn red. You’ll be just fine either way. Really. (more…)

Lord of the Rings Valentines

Last year, I made a series of valentines based on famous theologians (the comments section of that post is priceless). Afterward, my sister texted me and said: “Those were great…but I didn’t get half of the jokes. Next year, make Lord of the Rings valentines.”

When the twin sister requests something…she gets it.

So, here you go. Enjoy them, print them out, use them as inspiration to watch a certain movie trilogy this Valentine’s Day instead of the latest rom-com, whatever works.

TheLordoftheRingsValentines

With love,

The Monday Heretic.

Any other characters you’d like to suggest? Or some alternate captions for the ones already pictured?