Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spiritual Superman and the Death of Print Media

I was watching Smallville last night and it was an episode that featured Aquaman, but before he was "Aquaman." Last season had one with a teenage Flash as well and, of course, the teenage Superman" worked with them to solve some problem. Even through in a JLA joke.) It got me thinking, since I always wanted superpowers and wanted to be a superhero, about what powers I have. I don't have any super powers, but maybe I have spiritual powers. Then I thought that I have the Holy Spirit in me and He has all the Power. Why should I ask for more. In Smallville, Clark goes around solving problems and saving people everyday. He does it without claiming the glory (because he's trying to protect his secret since he doesn't have the alterego of Superman to receive it yet) and rather give his own life than that of his friends. He even tries to save the lives of those fighting against him. (He doesn't always succeed.) Even when he loses his abilities, (which happens often) he still tries to save people and is willing to put himself to harm in order to save others. I think it's that mindset and lifestyle that make him a superhero. That he would lose the girlfriend to save the life of an enemy really speaks of his character. Of course, there are things that he does that soil his image in my head of someone who's good and pure, but for the most part, he does a good job. It makes me think about my life. Am I living as a superhero? I'm not out there catching cars and disarming nuclear missiles in space, but I am in church teaching kids about who Jesus is. And kids are getting saved. My special abilities may not go beyond explaining the Bible, but that's enough. Lives are being saved, and not the temporary physical ones, but the permanent spiritual ones. My life isn't completely self-less... or even mostly, but I do want to live that way. I do want to live each moment for others and not complain about it. I do want to regard my own life and desires as unimportant and disposable when there is an oppurtunity to help someone. I want to be able to develop a sense of urgency to help someone who's suffering. The Gospel gives spiritual life to the spiritual dead. The Word of God heals those who are spiritually weak, and the teaching of it opens the eyes of the spiritually blind. I can do, and have done these things. (not me, but the Lord through me.) I am, and we all are that minister the Gospel, Spiritual Superheros without the capes and fancy suits because we don't want to get the glory. That glory goes to Jesus, the real superman. The real God on earth. And He lives in us. The phyiscal powers I dream about (both asleep and awake) are just shadowy manifestations of the spiritual powers I already posess. If God is with us, who can be against us, right? So I stand by my Savior and proclaim His words. They are my powers. My greatest ability, if I can exercise it, is to stay obedient.

On a different note of the same chord, the show has characters that come and go as the show matures. Some charcters are one episode only people who end up dying or moving away by the end of the hour, and there are some characters that have been there the entire time. Clark, his parent's, Lana, Chloe, Lex... And some come in later, but there are some characters that weren't there at the beginning. They come in a couple of seasons later and become a major part of the cast. That's the way I feel at my new church. I wasn't here at the beginning, but at the beginning of the current season, I became a reoccuring character that has regular appearances. It's like being grafted into the family.

Okay, about the death of print media. I was thinking that Magazines and Newspapers are becoming obsolete and my previous desire of producing one or both is slowly waning. Everything is online and I would love to do more online, but lack the technical motivation to learn how to carry out my ideas. Blogging is a good start, and to be honest, I don't know how to make it better. I'll be thinking about it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bringing out the Beat

I had another dream... I usually have dreams, but now I'm taking the time to post them...

Last night I dreamed that I drove a van around and played drums with special needs kids. I would start out with simple beats, and the kids couldn't copy it. This disappointed their parents a lot, but when I would try something complicated, the kids would get it exactly. This would bring so much joy to their parent's that my job was over, since the parent's were so busy giving praise to the child for following, and my job was done. Then I went to see a musical with Pastor Don and his family. During one of the songs, Don ran over to dance along with the actors. They didn't seem to mind.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I dreamed of my wedding day

last night I dreamed of my wedding day. I was ready and just waiting for things to start. That's always the worst part about weddings. I've been a groomsman a couple of times and that seems to be the most stressful time for the groom. Nothing more to do. Just waiting. Pastor Tonye and Pastor Matt Dragoun were there. I think Tonye was officiating. Josh Thompson was my best man and we threw a couple frisbees around in the backroom while we waited. The flowers we had were weird. They looked more like a white bristle with smaller purple flowers around it. It looked nice, I guess... but I'm not sure I will pick it if and when I actually do get married. The wedding hall was dark and I couldn't see anyone's face other than those next to me. I opened my eyes once during the dream and saw my bedroom, the folds of the bed changed into the heads of the rows of people sitting patiently waiting for things to start. I whispered to Tonye and Josh to whisper reminders of what I was supposed to do, because although I know we practiced, I couldn't remember a thing. I think the worst part was that I woke up before the bride came out. I don't know who I was marrying. I do remember her brother, as a wedding present, gave me a cell phone that was the size of an index card and as thick as a remote control. It folded out in a few different directions and had about 6 joysticks. The only game I could get working on it was golf.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Compare my friends? No, thank you.

So it seems that I'm not the only one to have a few problems with Facebook. I found one today that made me wonder who ever thought this was a good idea. It's called "Compare your friends" This app lets you decide which one of your friends is smarter and then it tells them that someone thinks they're stupid and the only way you can find out who said so is to compare your friends. It seems like you are always complementing one of them and insulting the other. This is a gossip machine. Don't do it. It is causing you to gossip in order to find out who's gossipping about you. Ingenius if you are trying to hurt people's friendships.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Lies of Facebook

So I have joined the ranks of Facebook. This wasn't a light decision. I had been invited a few times by different people over the last few months and I always asked why. The answers I got mentioned messaging friends and seeing what they were doing. In response I asked how it was different than IM or email other than everyone else can see what you type. It wasn't until a week ago that I got an answer I couldn't refute. "To keep track of the kids." I signed up the next day. I like the ability to track what is going on with the kids in our High School Ministry. I can get a better insight to how they are feeling to know how best to pray for them. Also, I can call them out if they are saying something completely untrue. (It seems that teenagers search out a way to feel isolated and depressed becasue they found one instead of focusing on the myriad of reasons to feel included.)

I also found some friends I've lost contact with long ago. That is cool.

What I didn't like were the tricks and lies on that website. Here are the ones I've stumbled across.

1. Ads - I know that facebook has to generate revenue. I don't particularly like ads, but I canignore them. The ones that I would ban (if i were running facebook) would be the ones that lower the integrity of the site. There is an ad for getting a free MacBook Air after testing it from colormyrewards.com that is a scam. I googled the site and read up on how the scam works. Also, there are ads that try to blend into the site, telling you that you have unread messages from friends and that 4 of your friends are challenging you to take this quiz and compare the results. The quiz asks you for personal information before giving you the results. Although I now know that the quiz ad isn't part of the site, it is close enough in design that newcomers to facebook don't know if they are not paying attention to the style.

2. Facebook has invented tons of nothing to keep you on the site. There are pokes, jabs, high-fives, pillow fights, and countless more things to send to your friends, and when you do so, they get a message that they've been poked or whatever. This means nothing and is absolutely useless. It is a waste of time, and teenagers are having a hard enough time being productive as it is. Getting poked in real life isn't that much fun and getting poked on facebook is even less. It's a time thief. It's job is to keep you on the site so their numbers can go up so more companies want to advertise with them. It doesn't deepen the relationship between the friends any more than having an actual conversation would.

3. There are causes you can join. I got invited to a "Save the Animals" cause. Now I have nothing against saving animals and I think we should be kind to animals, but joining a cause on facebook (whether or not you give them money) is a lie to make you feel good about youself. (I know this sounds like a harsh opinion, and it may be, but I really see a lie in this.) The casues might be good, but as I briefly considered joining this one, the little bad voice inside my head said that if I didn't join, people are going to think I don't like animals or don't care about them and am therefore, heartless. And maybe they would be right. Maybe I would be heartless. I wouldn't have to give money. Just put my name down on the list. Boost the number up so that other people can see how important this cause it. Then you would have done something good and can be proud of it, and it didn't cost you a thing. I don't listen to that voice because I recognize it and it's not that of my Shepherd. It was a lie to try and make me do something for me, like the devil trying to get Jesus to make a stone into bread. Like the temptation David faced when offered the threshing floor to sacrifice to God. When you join these causes, you feel like you are doing something good, but you really do nothing. It doens't cost you anything. It doesn't take any time. It is a selfish good work. My good work is either going to cost me the sweat from my brow, the sleep from my eyes, or the money from my wallet, and if it's worth the effort, it will take all three. I'm going to give of myself knowing that God will provide and replenish me. Anything else would seem to be a waste of what God has gifted me with. It may seem silly to you, but I will not give to God that which costs me nothing.

(I don't hate facebook. I think most of it is cool. I just wanted to point out the traps I see instead of trying to sell an idea that isn't mine.)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

God's Love is a Shopping Cart

I was in Costco the other day (I was there today too) and I saw a mom tell her son to hold onto the shopping cart. She didn't tell him this because she was having problems controlling the cart, but because he kept getting distracted by all the wonderful things Costco has to offer. I remembered back to going shopping with my mom when I was younger. (Alas, we did not go to Costco, for it did not yet exist) I don't ever remember her telling me to hold onto the shopping cart, but she told me many times to let go. Since we weren't in Costco, and I wasn't the type to get distracted so easily, I could stay out of trouble on my own. Besides, me holding on slowed her down.

So how is the shopping cart like God's love? I think about God quite often and just try to wrap my brain around concepts like God's love and I think that when I'm teaching other people about God, it's like I'm pouring out God's love on them... or at least I think I am. I think rather that God is pouring out His love on them and I'm "helping" by holding onto the shopping cart. In other words, God can pour out His love on His own and He has me there and is using me so that I'm not off somewhere getting myself in trouble. (I do enough of that at home.) So I think I'm helping, but really, I'm just walking along not really doing anything except trying not to get distracted by all the fancy expensive stuff around me.