Archive | November 2012

Would you rather be liked or fully known?

While scrolling through Twitter, which I do far more often than I’d like to admit, I came across this quote:

“Because what’s better than being roundly liked is being fully known.”

Intrigued, I clicked the attached link and arrived at an article by Jessica Valenti, who writes on “Feminism, sexuality and social justice. With a sense of humor.”

The article dealt with the tendency for women to cling to “likability” as a gauge for self-worth, “often to their own detriment.” Valenti described how women dial down their personalities and true selves in order to be accepted in career and social circles, and in doing so, lessen their power and effectiveness.

In other words, they lose respect and identity behind the cardboard personas they assume people want to see.

This was written from a specifically feminist point of view, but I believe the issue speaks to both sexes, and the culture at large.

We tend to fear rejection so much that we create multiple versions of ourselves to cater to different audiences. This usually happens subconsciously, like an innate survival tactic working in the background.

Jokes that fly with one group may fall flat on another. Transparency may be admirable to this friend, but the new acquaintance might be put off. So we shape-shift accordingly.

I often find myself smiling and nodding in a conversation with someone I completely disagree with for fear that they may judge me if they knew my opinion. This may be an effective way to dodge conflict, but it ultimately makes authentic relationship impossible, be it personal or professional. Read More…

Santa Claus Morality

Somewhere, right now, there is a mother encouraging her son to release his brother from a sleeper hold, or to stop lighting his sister’s Barbies on fire.

“You know, Santa is watching you.”

That’s right. He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good. He’s like the CIA.

And around this time every year, parents get to use him as a tool for behavior modification—If you want toys, you have to play by the rules.

We also have Elf on the Shelf. Have you seen this? It’s a creepy little elf doll you place throughout the house—preferably in high disobedience areas—to keep an eye on the children. He’s like Santa’s whistleblower. Parents tell their kids, “You better be good. Elf on the Shelf is watching, and he tells Santa everything. EVERYTHING.”

It’s adorable manipulation. And it works. At least until the kids forget about Old Saint Nick. I’m pretty sure my parents used the same tactic with us, but Santa must have been a pushover when we were young because somehow we kept getting toys.

The strategy always wore off in the warmer months. Fortunately, someone always stepped in to give Santa the summer off. Growing up in church, I learned that Jesus was watching me too. Read More…

Marriage and Flat Tires

Today marks one year of marriage for Tanya and I, one amazing year. We have a beautiful home, food in the fridge, and a bun in the oven. By that I mean Tanya is with child. We are five months away from being parents. I am equal parts excited and terrified.

I take comfort in knowing that Tanya is going to be an incredible mother. She is loving and generous, and stubborn enough to keep a mini version of myself in line—God love her. She truly is my blessing from God.

In light of that, I thought I would repost a blog I wrote the summer before we got married. Having a little time to experience the challenges of sharing a life, I am convinced of the importance of respect and honor in a marriage.

Without further ado, I present Marriage and Flat Tires: The Movie.

Yesterday my fiancée got a flat tire as she headed out for work. Luckily, her mom was able to pick her up, and I, being the gentlemen that I am, rushed to the scene to replace the tire.

The following is an excerpt from what would be the screenplay of the story. We are already in talks with major studios for a full length feature. Think The Notebook meets The Fast and the Furious.

Read More…

How about a Stylish Adult Baptism?

I’ve seen a lot of baptisms over the years, and while I enjoy them, I often leave feeling a bit underwhelmed. I’m not saying submersion is boring, just that, on its own, it lacks a certain elegance. Pizzazz, if you will.

That’s why I thank God for Style Network and this lovely Texan. Who wouldn’t want to be baptized after watching this video? It’s like Diddy threw a White Party at a fabulous church picnic.

Gone are the days of horse troughs and ugly, blue tanks filled with ice-cold water and shivering converts. No more ill-fitting choir robes or corny church t-shirts—Just because John the Baptist dressed like a bum in the water doesn’t mean we have to.

It should be about style and atmosphere and cake. I would go back under myself if I knew it meant a slice of marble with cream cheese frosting. I get emotional just picturing it. What say we release a few doves, pour some Baptini’s, and bring the saints poolside?

Does your head hurt? My head hurts. Read More…

Rushing through a short life

People often approach me at work and ask, “What is the quickest possible way to (Fill-in-the-blank)? I’m in a hurry and this place is ridiculous.”

The tone is generally less than pleasant. They stare at me with contempt, as if I were the very source of their frustration, the evil mastermind behind the labyrinth that now holds them hostage—You’ll never escape. Muahahahaha!

The question would be fair if we were standing in, say, a gas station or a small department store, but it’s a 300,000+ sq. ft. building. I always want to ask the customer, “What were you thinking when you pulled up to the gigantic blue box with thousands of parking spaces? ‘I should be able to make it through here on my lunch break, no sweat.'”

Of course, I never ask this question because I rather enjoy employment. There’s just something about the ability to pay bills and buy food.

But I’ve noticed that many people approach life with the same hurried, frustrated tone.

“What is the quickest way to the season of life where I’ll be financially independent?”

“Where is the spouse department? I feel like I’ve been looking for years and I want to be there right now.”

“Where are the shortcuts to my dream job?”

Patience is a virtue few possess. Something happens to us at about age ten; it’s like we stop playing long enough to notice the faint ticking of the clock. Being a teenager seems much cooler than being a kid, and so it begins. Twelve-year-olds can’t wait to turn sixteen, to finally have a driver’s license. Sixteen-year-olds want to be eighteen and out of high school. From eighteen, the goal is twenty-one, official adulthood, then twenty-five and so on.

Often, we live with an if only mentality. “If only I were at this stage I would be happy.”

And so we stand, looking at the enormity of life, and assume we should be able to glide through with ease and quickly arrive at our ideal location. Read More…

Engaging Culture

I love the idea of the Christians engaging culture. Without this engagement, the church starts to look like M. Night Shyamalan’s Village, an awkward commune whose leaders spend their days warning the people of the monsters that lurk just beyond the forest.

This is hardly the light of the world picture that Jesus referred to. You can’t light a city from a hole in the ground.

I realize the push back from fellow believers. “Brother, we are not of this world.” Agreed. However, we are still in this world. Jesus didn’t stand on a rock, just before ascension, and say, “Go into all the world and start communes, hiding yourselves from all those scary sinners.”

In fact, in his last recorded prayer, Jesus requested this for Christians:

I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.
(John 17:15 ESV)

It is my belief that Christians are called to be cultural missionaries in their respective contexts. When the Apostle Paul addressed the people of Athens, he used Greek poetry—written by pagans, mind you—to frame his statements about God.

Many churches take a similar approach to this, using the hot-button topics of culture to communicate the timeless truths of scripture. I love it. Unfortunately, I think many churches are going about it the wrong way. Read More…

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