Monday, June 30, 2008

Pop Culture Quote Monday

No, no, he didn't slam you, he didn't bump you, he didn't nudge you... he rubbed you. And rubbin, son, is racin'.

Meredith - if you don't know this one, we've got a little cousin that won't think you are a very good family member!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Setting it Down

I've been making my way through Season One of Joan of Arcadia on DVD, an amazing show that ran on CBS from 2003-2005. And it's cancellation is the reason I won't watch CBS anymore. (Unless Bright Eyes is on Letterman... I gave in for 10 minutes just once. I've also really come to love How I Met Your Mother, but luckily there are several Chinese websites where I can watch it.)

Anyway, Joan of Arcadia is one of the few shows I liked enough to buy the DVD set. I haven't seen the episodes since I first bought the set, so seeing them all again is just a reminder of what a great writer Barbara Hall is, and what a great cast it had - Mary Steenburgen, Amyber Tamblyn (daughter of Russ Tamblyn from West Side Story), Jason Ritter, Becky Wahlstrom.

Joan sees God. He comes to her in different forms - Lunch Lady God, Cute Boy God, Little Girl God, Goth Guy God. He asks her to do things. He never tells her why, at least not in a straight-forward manner. He just tells her what to do and sometimes tells her what she might learn from it. When she finished what she was supposed to do, she is able to see that following in the footsteps of God may not be easy, but it's always better than if she chose another option.

Tonight I watched an episode where the following was said by "Little Girl God"

Everyone has a part of themselves they don't like, Joan. You carry it around like a weight. The lucky ones realize that when it becomes too heavy, you can choose to set it down.

Sometimes I feel like we allow our lives to center around the parts of ourselves we don't like. We are constantly focusing on the things we could have done better or the parts of ourselves that are flawed that we want to make perfect.

It's almost easier to live like that, isn't it?

When we do, no one can say that we aren't trying and no one can say that we aren't self-aware. No one can judge us because we're "working on it." But I've recently come to realize that focusing on all those self-improvement projects can become a form of worship. Not the good kind - because it puts all the focus on us. And what is this life all about? Jesus. Not us.

To dwell on those negative things not only puts a giant weight on your shoulders, but it has an effect on those around you. There is nothing good about constantly seeing the bad, especially when you have to choice to do something different.

Setting down the weight of what we don't like about ourselves is an act of surrender. But even more importantly it's an act of the will. It's intentional, specific and maybe even contrary to what we think we make us happier. But setting it down really is the only thing that will help us find the heart of who we really are.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I've been a bad blogger...

I have 8... count 'em 8 posts started and haven't finished a single one. Too much going on and not enough time to write. That's frustrating! Bad blogger.

My friend Shannon convinced me to join facebook a while back and it seems like everyone and their dog is there now. A bunch of friends from college I'd lost touch with have found me right and left, which is good. And bad, in a way. Because it makes me all sentimental and weepy.

Anyway, I received a facebook message from a good friend from those college days. She was hurting, and I could tell. So I sent her a message and I got a reply tonight. In my reply, I wrote: "All the ups and down never seem to go away, do they? I thought once I become a real adult that things would be so easier to figure out."

I've experienced a lot of ups and down lately. Joy and fun with friends and family. Sad goodbyes that have started already, and I'm not even moving until the middle of August. But more than anything there's been questions. Questions wondering "Will I get this job or that job or night? Will I be able to handle seminary? Will I make friends in St. Louis? Will I miss my family so much that it will hurt? Will I...? Will I... Will I..."

I'm tired of living in the future. I'm tired of waiting for the next thing to start. I'm just ready to be. Here. Now.

I'm tired of all the "Will I's".

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pop Culture Quote Monday

Pop quiz, hotshot. There's a bomb on a bus.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

DANCE...DANce...DAnce...Dance...dance...



Two summers ago I discovered what a reality show junkie I could be when I discovered So You Think You Can Dance. (Incidentally I haven't watched American Idol in two years... so does that mean it balances out? I think it's been two years. I don't know. I stopped watching when Taylor Hicks won. And I actually kinda liked him. I know... *shame*)

The format for SYTYCD is like this: the show producers and judges choose a top 20 after auditions - 10 guys and 10 girls. Then get paired up making sure that none of the couples together specialize in the same type of dance. Each week they draw a style from a hat, then have two days to learn a dance in that style.

Many of the couples this year are really, really good. But I do have two favorite couples so far. Couple 1 is Josh and Katee (Josh specializes in hip-hop dancing and Katee is a jazz dancer.)





The second couple includes a popper and a contemporary dancer, Kherington and Twich.

I'm sorry for the Celine Dion music. My ears are typically a Celine-free zone, but despite all that the dance is really touching.




I also really loved this dance below. The choreographer said "it's what it would be like if Tim Burton got married". Awesome.


Fox tends to take these down right away, so don't be surprised if the links are broken after a few days.

Also, The Evolution of Dance from a comedic perspective:


It's hits it's stride about 3:00, but I probably only think that because that's when my era of music starts. (Ice, Ice Baby rocks my sauce.)

So this is my summer guilty pleasure and my shameful admission for the week. What can I say? I am what I am. Ooo! Pop culture quote, anyone? Who said it?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Teen Pregnancy in Gloucester, Massachusetts

Holy Crap

I would not normally used such an unrefined phrase, but I must say this calls for it.

HT: Shane

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Intimacy of Truth

I'm not usually a supporter of the repeated line in contemporary worship. It is an often over-used element in the cycle of a song, and tends to frustrate several people - in particular those who are fans of the traditional hymn, young or old in years. But there is a time when a repeat has it's place.

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?"
He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."

The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"

Jesus felt the need to ask Peter three times "Do you love me?" Did Jesus ask that question three times so he could remind Peter to feed his sheep? Perhaps. But I'd like to think he asked that question three times because it is the very center of our walk with Christ. This simple and profound question does not have a simple answer, because the answer is one that defines us. The answer is one that cannot be taken lightly, because before we answer a serious amount of self-examination must take place.

It is said that in the time of classical music when the composer stopped using words to accompany the notes and simply asked the vocalist to sing a non-word, such as "ah" or "ooo" that this moment in the song symbolized the writer was beyond words. The emotion of what they were writing overcame them to the point of near speechlessness; they could say nothing else.

I would liken this phenomena in classical music to the usefulness of repeating something over and over again. Like a question "Do you love me?" or a the line of a song "We will never be the same". Is it to let it sink in? Eh. That's simplifying it. To drive the truth home? Sure, but we are still only scratching the surface here.

After all falls apart
he repairs he repairs

Oh the Glory of it all is:
he came here
for the rescue of us all
that we may live
for the glory of it all

oh he is here
for redemption from the fall
that we may live
for the glory of it all
oh the glory of it all
the glory of it all
oh the glory of it all

After night
comes the light
dawn is here
dawn is here
it’s a new day
it’s a new day
everything will change
things will never be the same
we will never be the same

-The Glory of it All by David Crowder Band

What have I been writing about for three years? Restoration. Change. With each moment of restoration there is one thing I can always count on: that I will be drawn closer to him. And that's what the occasional repeated lyric does for me. I learn more about him, I see his heart in a new way, I become more like him. That's an emotional thing... sometimes even beyond words. And in this time of worship I become able to ask myself those difficult and intimate questions, so that when I am faced with a question such as

Do you love me?
Do you love me?
Do you love me?

...I know the answer. I know it deep within my soul. And I will forever be changed.


We will never be the same
We will never be the same
We will never be the same
We will never be the same

Pop Culture Quote Monday

You're gonna need a bigger boat.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Pop Culture Quote Monday

Answer: Friends "The One After Vegas"
______________________
"This is not a marriage -- this is the world's worst hangover!"

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Struggling

For most of my life I've struggled.

Emotionally.

I have a family who loves me and I grew up in a very happy home. I didn't struggle that way. (And I feel a little guilty for even calling what I experience every day a "struggle" when I know that struggle is simply a relative thing. I have no idea what real struggling is - I only know what struggling feels like for me.)

The reason I "struggle" all boils down to one thing: all I want to do is live my life as God wants me to. Why is that a struggle? Because it seems like that's not how I'm built. I realize what a great case this makes for not believing or trusting or following God... after all, if we were meant to follow him, it wouldn't be difficult, would it? It wouldn't go against our nature. Those are valid points, and points I will gladly address in the future if anyone wants me to, but they are not the point of my post.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. -James 1:2-4

Come on, God... what is so joyful about facing trials? NOTHING! It sucks! It breaks you down, tears you up, breaks your heart. IT HURTS.

Yeah, yeah. It makes me a better person. I get it. It still sucks.

This is what I'm talking about. The push/pull. The against nature thing. But then I realize something quite profound. I seek improvement in myself. I look for ways I'm weak and try to make that part of myself stronger. I seek it out. And it's not because I'm a masochist; it's because it's in my nature.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4


God uses the struggles of his people to strengthen them and to refresh others. God uses that struggling to produce in us holiness.


What is at the end of the journey?

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD Almighty!

My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.

Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.

Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.

Selah

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.

As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.

They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty;
listen to me, O God of Jacob.

Selah

Look upon our shield, O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.

Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.

O LORD Almighty,
blessed is the man who trusts in you.


-Psalm 84

This is a psalm filled with satisfaction. It's filled with faith that God is good, and the knowledge that when you seek after him you will be better off.

Dearest Heavenly Father,

I would rather spend one day living for you than a thousand living in the world I've concocted for myself, even if that means a struggle. It all comes down to this: You know better than me. And I have to trust that.

Amen

Thursday, June 05, 2008

More Pop Culture - Swingtown



I stopped watching CBS a few years ago (call it a boycott if you will) but I am not immune from the commercials they air on other channels. I'm a Bravo watcher through and through, and a little fanatic about Top Chef. Last night during part one of the Top Chef Season finale I saw an ad for a new CBS show, Swingtown.



All I can say is... yikes. Has it really come to this?

I'm in a pop culture mood this week...

I heard Coldplay was making a "comeback" (the quotation marks are tongue in cheek ... doesn't it seem like all albums are comebacks?). I wondered if Gwyneth was yoko-ing the group, or if there was something else was going on.

I have a love/hate relationship with Coldplay. Some of their music I dig. And I dug it before they got really big. Yellow rocks my sauce. Fix You indulges the co-dependant in me, and I looooove "The Scientist". But Clocks was overdone and Don't Panic just bugged me. The bigger they got, the more they felt pretentious. Then their music felt pretentious... so I stopped listening. Who knows if I'll start again. Here's here the point of my post:

Has anyone seen this commercial? Viva La Vida?



I'm getting this epic feeling... like they are going to hit U2 status. Which frightens me a little, because you don't mess with my U2. No one is a good as them. (Maybe it's just the commonality of the itunes endorsements). But Viva La Vida is a song I'm kinda diggin'.

But you're not U2 yet, Coldplay. Not even close. Stop messing with my head!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Pop Culture Quote MOnday

Update:
Hint: This movie has an all-star cast including Madeline Kahn and Tim Curry.
_______________________________________
[snip]... you were once a professor of psychiatry, specializing in helping paranoid and homicidal lunatics suffering from delusions of grandeur.

Yes, but now I work for the United Nations

So, your work has not changed.

Monday, June 02, 2008

If this doesn't scare you a little...

... not much will.



When the tornado is at 10 o'clock, they are approximately 6 blocks west of where I live.

Here's photo of the storm itself: