Monday, September 29, 2008

That State Farm ad where.....

William decided to rewrite Psalm 73 in his own words, which was a very interesting and powerful exercise. I decided to rewrite a certain ad that drives me crazy on the same day. How amazing. We obviously think alike, sort of.

I don't know if any of you have heard or seen the State Farm ad that begins, "You know the place where...." For some reason, when I heard it the first time on NPR, read by the impassive guy who reads the ads, it just sounded wrong. I've been trying to figure out why. Perhaps it's because a big insurance company is trying to make itself feel like a friend. Or like a Good Neighbor.

The NPR ad ended with "Meeting you At That Place Where questions about insurance meets an agent with answers." It just sounded funny out loud, and I had to ask how often the average person actually has burning questions about insurance. I do know something, because I used to be the person who was The Agent With Answers full time. I enjoyed it, but usually Questions About Insurance had to do with a life crisis, or a bill increase. Not the sort of thing you want to chat with a stranger about, necessarily.

Then, I began to see the ads in my Real Simple Magazine. The pattern is "You know the place where (insert abstract relational thought) meets (concrete reality statement). So I thought I'd try to make up my own ads. Maybe you can think of some too.

"You know the place where Sleeping Children Look Like Angels meets Who Wet Mommy's Bed. I'm there. Pull Ups, for those special times of sharing."

"You know the place where It's Saturday Morning! Let's Take a Drive meets A Hungry Husband With Plummeting Blood Sugar. I'm there. Cheese sticks, to keep the crisis at bay."

"You know the place between Browsing the Makeup Aisle Feeling Creative and Realizing This New Eyeshadow Makes Me Look Peaked. I'm there. Coconut Oil, for that hard to remove kind."

"You know the place where I Love My New Hermit Crab meets Where Is My New Hermit Crab. I'm there. Band-aids, for that sudden pinch in the night."

Monday, September 08, 2008

I found it kind of funny

Today while I was checking out at the grocery store, I did my usual casual glancing at the tabloids lining the checkout aisle. I like to keep slightly current via headline on the latest scandals...Brad and Angelina, Tom and Katie, George and Laura, etc. But I just had to pick up the one that had Sarah Palin holding Trig on the cover. My eye did pass over the one with Obama on the cover dropping off his girls at school, and being the perfect dad, but it wasn't quite as compelling.

You may have already heard the latest Palin scandal: Trig is not her baby. It's Bristol's. She is covering up Bristol's first pregnancy by saying she gave birth to Trig. And, Bristol might not even be pregnant right now, that might be baby weight. Of the after kind. Not the before kind. Sigh. And, not only that, but Todd had a DUI 22 years ago. That would make him....26 when it happened? Maybe? Sigh. Also, Sarah Palin made a snarky comment to a waitress in a diner when Obama got the nomination. (None of the other diners have confirmed this for the record, unfortunately.)

And the punch line is: "That's what happens when you don't believe in abortion, and your kids don't know how to use a condom, because you believe in abstinence, and you're just the first-term governor of Alaska.

The thing I found funny, however, was that as I turned to page 56 to read about the Palin scandal, I was treated to a full page spread of Michelle Obama in various Jackie-esque outfits. They had pasted all these photos of her at different events so that the reader could study her style. She looks great, of course. The funny thing to me is how hard that magazine is working to send a very strong message. Here it is: Barak and Michelle Obama are presidential material, Sarah Palin is not.

Interestingly, on NPR I heard that McCain is leading in the polls 50 to 46 right now, and the only thing they can attribute it to is Sarah Palin.

So, I'm watching with interest to see what happens. It's like a soap opera every day, with a little bit of leakage (who's really nursing????) to keep us interested. I think the plan is to make all those conservatives who like her embarrassed by the huge scandals surrounding her so that no one will vote for her.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

My comment on God as a judge

I have had a knee jerk reaction that doesn’t like the idea of God using tragedy that affects the innocent and guilty alike to judge sin. And it feels very presumptuous to ascribe natural disasters to that motive in God.

A few years ago I had to really wrestle through the problem of pain and suffering and even the existence of Hell if God is a good God. Of course that’s a huge theological/philosophical question, but in a nutshell I came to the belief that: Yes, God is ultimately sovereign and good, but there are other forces acting on this earth, ie: Satan, and sin in us. God takes the things are wrong, like natural disasters and sickness and suffering, and uses them for good for those who love Him. Remember that “good” doesn’t mean our definition of a happy American life. It means stripping us of the lies we believe, and breaking our false foundations so that He can give us truth and reality and a foundation built on Him. Those who love Him are willing to submit to His reality, and that ultimately is the thing that keeps us out of Hell. I really believe that God gives each and every person ever born an opportunity to choose between reality/truth or self-created delusion that enables pride to be what drives a life. God knows what that dividing line and choice look like in each heart.

OK, so that could be a huge blog in itself.

Both Ezekial 16:49-50 and Romans 1 are dealing with the fruit of what happens when people don’t surrender their will to God. Like Jazzgeek and Jeff pointed out, there are a lot of sins that exemplify that state. And since we all have areas that are not surrendered, we all engage in sins of various sorts. Therefore we can’t throw the first stone.

I feel, however, that there is something that makes the Southern Decadence Festival and even the flow of homosexuality different. It has to do with the way it wants to be received.

The Romans 1: 29-31 passage says: They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

When I look at this list, I feel like there is a norm in our culture today which says “these things aren’t OK,” for the most part. There are actual laws against murder and slander, and there is a cultural understanding that these other things are “bad” or undesirable. Gossip and arrogance aren’t things that people want in their friends—it causes relational problems. I do think that the things on this list are engaged in on a daily basis, but I don’t think people are doing them for their own sake.

The thing that makes the homosexual issue different is that there is an active plan to make it a lifestyle norm for our culture. The people who believe that homosexuality is “bad” or undesirable are considered bigoted and narrow minded. The idea that God would choose to judge a festival celebrating homosexual behavior feels unkind. But if you do a little more research into what they were doing at the SDF, I think it crosses the line between deluded and flagrant. You don’t see festivals celebrating murderers or child molesters, or sexually active teens. There is a cultural resistance to those things that is being purposefully assaulted by the homosexual movement.

And, as we think about God as Judge, the truth is that He is actively judging deception in us all the time. Those things that happen that show up our lies are our own personal Hurricane Katrina. We have to leave that place of comfort where we’ve been living in deception, and move somewhere else and set up a new foundation based on humility and surrender to God. I’ve experienced enough shaking in my own foundation to see that things that look bad in my life are probably the best thing that could happen to me from a spiritual/truth issues place. It is the mercy of God to allow me to lose the foundational lies now, before I build a bigger house on top of them.