Category: Culture

There will be so much more evil in the world that the love of most […] will grow cold.” (Matt 24:12)

This subject has occupied my mind for the last several years. With recent events (public and private) I finally decided I should write about it. I am loathe to begin this post with this verse, simply for the concern readers will view this topic in a religious light. That’s not my intention. In fact, the issue of cold love is so big, this verse merely serves as anchor to provide context. Usually when the verse is read, it invokes thoughts of religious ardor, cooled by worldly cares. Maybe that’s a part of it, but I hardly think that to be the true message of the text.

It’s no secret that the world around us has grown increasingly violent. I needn’t expand on the recent cases of abuse, torture, murder and mass shootings that have made national headlines. Suffice it to say that events that could not have been conceived of even 20 years ago are now constant fears in the minds of many.

What I do want to address is how this has affected us. Consider the reaction to that terrible day at Columbine High School? The national state of grief and mourning? Compared to several more recent events, our reactions pale in comparison.

It is not to say that we simply do not care. Not by a long shot. We have been toughened. Calloused. The frequency of such awful events have changed our response. Why? It is the high cost of caring, which would bankrupt us emotionally if we were to allow our hearts to bleed for one another.

The reality is that the effects come with a price. What limits our pain also limits our joy. When we cauterize ourselves to tears, we lose the ability to rejoice. If I don’t love you enough to cry with you, I cannot love you enough to enjoy all the moments that make life worth the trouble. The truth is what protects us also imprisons us, cheapening our daily lives. Unchecked, we put ourselves in danger of feeling nothing at all, which may be the deepest depravity.

I write not because I have a solution, or any wisdom on the subject, save to say that I know how easy it is to simply turn the feelings off. In light of all the terrible stuff we see and hear daily, it feels like the better option. My aim is just to encourage you, reader, not to give in to that temptation, at least not as often as it calls to you.

Aside from opposable thumbs, love is one of the few things that separate us from most other creatures on Earth. It costs us something. Don’t give it up that easily.


Matt and I are big fans of The Hard Rock Cafe. The closest one to us is 2-2.5 hours away, so needless to say, we don’t eat there often.
Aside from expecting an awesome bacon cheeseburger (real women eat cheeseburgers, thx), I have several things to look forward to.  If I were to be honest, I have greater excitement & anticipation in going there than to church most days (But don’t tell them I said that).

The truth is, there are just some things businesses (like Hard Rock) get that the Church, in general, doesn’t. Not to say that there aren’t exceptions to that statement (as it is a broad one) but these are things I have experienced.

The Hard Rock Cafe knows what people want & aims to give it to them.
HRC has found people want tasty, fun food, in a fun & unique atmosphere, enjoying great music.
Don’t give me that “what people want isn’t always what people need” thing, I understand that, but it just makes sense that when you go out to meet people’s needs, without tending to wants, people aren’t satisfied. Because at some point, wants become needs, and to avoid that reality means you avoid people. How the Church is missing the mark, is that they try to feed people (good), but they’re not feeding people palatable food (bad), and the atmosphere is dry (bad), so people may get nutrition (good), but if they don’t enjoy the experience, they won’t come back. If I didn’t enjoy HRC food and atmosphere, I’d be eating somewhere else.

The Hard Rock Cafe celebrates, & is enjoyed by the generations.
I, in my 20’s can go to the HRC and find something in the rock & roll memorabilia that I relate to and enjoy seeing. My brother, in his 30’s, can find something he relates to and enjoys seeing, and my mother, in her 50’s, can do the same.  Prophetically, the Church is still not quite on target here. There is still a disjointedness between the younger up&comers, and the older we’veseenit’s. One ministry always seems to receive more preference than the other (usually because of the pastor’s deference to one particular group), and so a bridge doesn’t seem to emerge. We must learn to appreciate the innovations & contributions of those who’ve gone before us, and to honor them; in doing so, we can’t neglect to honor the achievements and promise of the emergent generations. Hard Rock knows this, and as such, they are doing very well.

The Hard Rock Cafe Has a Great Mission Statement.
“Love All, Serve All” is the motto emblazoned on every restaurant they own. A hindu phrase, to be true, but that doesn’t nullify the understanding that comes with it. It was better conveyed by Jesus who said, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” “Do unto others as you’d have done unto yourself,” or “He who would be first, must be last.” Pick your favorite. Oftimes it seems that the message that comes from the Church (or those members who are just perhaps more vocal than the rest) is that of obligation, implying that Christ is owed obedience by the world. While true, it would seem that our words often attest more to this belief than our actions do. I’d much rather be occupied with changing the world than telling unbelievers what a disappointment they are to God (which is ludicrous) that they aren’t behaving themselves. Bottom line, the great commission states we’re to “go ye unto the world and tell the gospel.” Not “go ye unto the world and tell them how much they suck.” Trust me, in my B.C. days,  I knew I sucked. I didn’t need a reminder.

Overall, sometimes it is easier to feel more at ease and accepted inside of a restaurant than the house of God. But at both establishments, I essentially expect the same things: food, fellowship, and that I’ll give them money at the end. My only exhortation is that maybe we can learn a little bit from those who might have a slightly larger congregation than we do.

I recently finished reading the entire (printed) Twilight saga.

Feel free to laugh openly about this because, apparently, this is so outside my genre it is comical (or so I’m told by my sister).

I am pleased to say that I very much enjoyed it and that there were several parts of it that really taught me things about myself that I guess I’d never picked up elsewhere. You could also have quite a heavy discussion from the spiritual symbolism that was woven generously throughout the books:

– How priorities change when immortality is yours.
The Cullens have no mundane worries as to “where they will live or what they will wear” (except for Alice of course). They lend and give generously with what they have because they understand that things are temporal. After scores of decades on the planet, they’ve gained great perspective.

– Getting better with age.
Instead of growing bitter, inflexible, or otherwise stained by the world, they continue to improve and to grow personally. This is miraculous as even a mere 20 years on the planet is more than enough time to become jaded.

– The necessity of community to retain our humanity.
The difference between the nomads who drink the blood of humans and the Cullens who do not is that the Cullens have a family unit to keep them in touch with their humanity. The further we get out on our own, the more our survival instincts take over. This is re-inforced when we do have contact with others because we tend to see them as threats or competition to us. We in-turn begin to “devour” one-another to feed our own interests.

– Love does not need to be perfect, but genuine.

I had difficulty with Bella and Edward’s relationship in the beginning because I saw it as the perfect image of how misplaced affection places us in harm’s way: “Bella, he isn’t good for you! He’s a vampire and you are a tasty human. How is this a good match?” But then I realized that, again, we all have the opportunity to devour one another for our selfish reasons. When we choose not to, that’s love. Hence, love is not perfect, but true and genuine. This was a huge change in my outlook on this series and for relationships in general.

– The coming power shift from fear-based to love-based relationships.
Ok, so this one was incredible. At one point in the series, we see “the powers that be” in all their sinister glory, come with muscle and manipulation to divide relationships in order to then conquer the family they viewed to be a threat to their kingdom of fear. This is such a prophetic moment as we really see the shift that must come to the earth and to Christianity: we cannot continue to build our own kingdoms, and what we do build must be founded in love. Only what is built upon organic love will endure and prevail. Fear-based rule will have to turn and walk away.

This is really exciting. I’m always thrilled to find spiritual truth in “secular” media. So in some ways, I think I’m envious of secular authors. Without any promise of theology or doctrine, truth can be heard more clearly for what it is rather than how people expect it to be packaged or worded. We don’t have to believe them, so sometimes we give them a better shot at making a point.

I love the way the Publisher puts it in his blog: God’s Word is unchanging. He will not defy His Word. He does, however, defy daily what we believe His Word to mean.

Nuke the Fridge

A few months ago, I saw the newest Indiana Jones movie.

It wasn’t a terrible movie, but definitely not one I’d watch again soon.

But I recently read an article which really captured the legacy of the movie in such a way that I had to share it.

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll remember the scene in which Indy finds himself trapped with nowhere to hide in the U.S. government’s test “town” for the Atomic Bomb.  

Naturally, Indy escapes, but does so at the expense of every scrap of believability the movie had:

He jumps into a WWII-era lead refrigerator and hang on for the ride of his life. He is shot like a cannonball into the sky and lands a ways off into the desert, emerging from the unit entirely unharmed.

Hence, Spielburg inadvertently birthed a colloquialism to describe this effect of a singular movie scene robbing the rest of the film of its credibility: Nuking the Fridge.

I’ve heard people say that the lead in the fridge would save Indiana, and that could be true, but I believe only from the radiation.

The amount of heat generated from that blast would have surely raised the temperature of that lead and thus, the action hero hiding inside. I’d estimate the results to be similar to those of chicken cooked in aluminum foil…I only hope the fridge was well-stocked with aromatics to provide flavor in the cooking process.

Plus, even if he hadn’t been cooked, the refrigerator would have locked him in. That would have been a truly disappointing ending: Indiana Jones, in the desert, trapped in a refrigerator. Still, at least he would have died with his hat on. 🙂

I was watching Jeopardy this weekend and the question, or answer, really, was from the category “Character Films:”

“The main character’s parents from this 1942 film were an unnamed mother and a father referred to as “the great prince of the forest.”

Correct Answer: Bambi.
Answer Given: Citizen Kane.
Cost: $3,000.
Entertainment Value: Priceless.

Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know. And in this case, he should’ve known Bambi.  🙂

Expanding The Rickroll Franchise

or, “Of Memes and Men. Very Annoying Singing Men.”

As defined by Wikipedia, Rickrolling is an Internet Meme typically involving the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song “Never Gonna Give You Up“. The meme is a bait and switch: a person provides a Web link that he or she claims is relevant to the topic at hand, but the link actually takes the user to the Astley video. The URL can be masked or obfuscated in some manner so that the user cannot determine the true source of the link without clicking. When a person clicks on the link and is led to the web page, he or she is said to have been “Rickrolled” (also spelled Rickroll’d).

Having been recently Rickroll’d, I found myself thinking, there must be a better way to excecute this concept.

Therefore, I’ve provided a list of possibilities which would add diversity to the Rickroll franchise:

Replace desired YouTube video with that of the 90’s TV show, California Dreams, and you’ve just been California Roll’d.

Replace desired YouTube video with clip of British comedy series, Trigger Happy TV, and you’ve just been (Dom) JolyRoll’d.

Replace video with a commercial for Haas Avocados, and you’ve been AvocadoRoll’d.

Perhaps the best option for further YouTube domination is by utilizing a Smuckers television commercial, resulting in the end-user becoming JellyRoll’d.

God, the Greeks, and Hancock

At the appreciable risk of sounding lame, I’ll share with you an observation I made on the way home during this Christmas season.

What if God was like us? There’s a song about it. Lyrics here.

But going further, what if God were really like us? Selfish, defensive, corrupt, opportunistic, and immature? Yes, you’d end up with a guy named “Hancock” (In the beginning there was Hancock and he was a jerk) but besides that?

Virtually all societies, like the Greek & Roman societies, made gods in their own image: conniving, angry, paranoid and quick to punish; putting an enormous price on their favor and goodwill which only lasted a brief moment.

This is what we do. We expect from God what we expect from ourselves…And we have all of those aforementioned traits. 🙂

In contrast, we read about a God who is willing to send His Son to die for us, knowing fully well that we’ll never measure up to the Son He gave up for us in the first place. And He loves me in spite of me. That’s much better than anything I could come up with.

Plus, it’s not worth believing in a god who is no better than we are, even if he would have cool toys like lightning to play with.

Yes, it’s that time of year: chestnuts roast on open fires, visions of sugar plums dance in heads, and otherwise sane people pilfer Baby Jesuses from local mangers. 

To me, this is just very funny.

When you need a GPS system to keep track of your Lord and Savior, the culture has taken a turn. See the story below. Comments are welcome.