Ok so I don't actually think I am going to write about Tebow. Frankly, I am annoyed with the amount of Christian airtime that has been taken up by detailed, laborious explanations of why he sucks, why his faith is oppressive...yada, yada, point, counterpoint...blaaaaah.
AND YET if the alternative (as a cursory look around the professional sporting ranks seems to imply) is adultery, crime (mostly violent), and at the minimum rampant egoism...Tebow seems like a nice change of pace.
And that's the rub, isn't it? He has gotten so much attention because he is the only guy we've ever seen in that venue that expresses his beliefs like he does. He has changed the dialogue. It's really shaken up the dirtbag status quo.
Good for Tebow.
Soooo it is a new year, and I am again on the ol' diet. I'm not really a dieter, but every now and then I decide to go healthy and give up sugars. I inevitably feel better and also <perk> look better.
Now here is the rub: I have a 12 year old son. With a kid that age, there are ALWAYS treats around, today's addition being some delicious looking Entenmen's donuts. I like donuts. I don't feel great when I eat them, but they are TASTY and really fun to eat. Ya.
Ironically, the most reliable predicter of whether one will gain weight in the future is the simple question, have you been on a diet in the last decade? If the answer is YES, then statistically one is likely to gain weight. You read that right, being on a diet makes you MORE likely to gain weight. Not real inspiring for the health-conscious.
So as I am avoiding the donuts, even knowing that by doing so I am pretty well guarunteed to be elbow deep in them in the not to distant future, it gets me thinking about living righteously and temptation. We sure feel better when we avoid negative input (excess spending, lust, over-use of alcohol, etc.) BUT is it like dieting, where our efforts towards avoidance result in inevitable indulgence? Maybe so if we look at the meteoric rise and fall of many prominant Christians.
Is this why the Bible is so full of partying? (Dont be shocked; if you bothered to read it you'd find out it's there.)
Hmmm... conclusion: donuts = proof God wants us to have fun.
Ah well, I'm still not gonna eat one.
So lots of flap and fluff about the newest chauvenistic sex advice book for married couples from a misc. pastor. I am not surprised by the flap but thought the world needed a little slap- in- the- face style clarity on this issue.
So here it is:
Your sex issues are yours. Nobody else is responsible. If you want to look at porn, or sleep around, or stare at women/ men in the gym, you don't get to blame your wife or your husband or their hairy back or big rear end. The problem is you. You.
Free will is really a bugger. But it is real. So please don't put your fail on somebody else's shoulders. Time to own up, face the music you're playing, stop acting like a petulant child, etc etc.
But here is the good news: We all fail. It is a universal constant of humanity. We all think or act on thoughts that we should not to whatever degree. Because of us, ourselves, we are less than we had once hoped. We are less than we are capable of.
And there is Someone who can help, who can genuinely transform the way you think, the way you act, remove this blight that is cancer to your soul from within yourself. But only if you are willing to admit your inadequacy and turn your eyes and mind and heart to Him.
So stop blaming your spouse, your friends, or your parents for what you are doing today.
Decide how you want to live. Heck, it's your life, after all. You are the only one who can do a thing about it.
2012. I remember reading about THIS year in middle school a LONG time ago. I was in middle school in the 80's. Hearing the prediction that the world would end in 2012 sounded so distant, ominous, yes, and impossibly distant.
And yet, here it is.
But the rub is this; we are all in the process of ending..."sentanced to death". That was a line in a Dave Matthews Band song a decade or so ago. For whatever reason, it takes me by surprise every time I consider it. My world is going to end. And soon. Maybe tomorrow, maybe this year, maybe in 50 years. Nonetheless, it is coming. Relentlessly pounding towards the end of my world. I want to shake it off, and pretend like it won't happen to me...
The Bible describes shedding this body like a tent, like stepping out of the tent into what really exists beyond. I like that. I have always been a nervous camper, certain a bear lurked beyond my opaque tent windows waiting to eat me. Or maybe instead a wonderland...a heaven with more love than I can even envision.
So if the Mayans or whoever it was got it right, against all odds, ridiculous as it may be...
then 2012 will be the year we exit the tent. And if they are wrong, misled ancient prophets, then 2012 may still be the year we exit the tent.
Guess I better stop feeding the bears.
Well, one way to confirm it is Christmastime is that the ol' pants are begging to be released from the confines of remaining buttoned as we drive across the not-so-picturesque landscape of late-fall pre-snow Illinois.
Which has led me to finally commit to getting back into the gym.
It has also led me to reflect on the rigor of getting results from the gym. It sort of requires regular attendance, constant attention to collateral damage (like delicious foods), and a good deal of pain and the occasional inability to walk from muscle soreness.
All of this becomes fantastically worth it as the body transforms to its lean, lithe, athletic alter-ego.
But in the weeks and months of meantime, it can be hard to convince oneself the whole bit is better than sitting on the sofa eating chips.
Kinda reminds me of the keystone characteristics of Christianity: servanthood, kindness, generosity, love, non-judgement...etc, etc. They don't exactly just happen.
So for the love of the world's health & wellness, and, well, because it is Christmastime, choose to practice joy.
It won't hurt for long, I promise.
Probably one of my favorite statements from Jesus is this: "the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. But I come to give you life and to give it abundantly." (John 10:10)
This is one of the MANY (and worst) things the church of the last 2000 years has left to the wayside. Jesus' punchline, his proclamation is that he came to give us each extraordinary, cup-running over, unexpectedly good life.
Yet we operate as though the goal of Christianity is to live less fully, to chastise ourselves and others more, to become so pristine that judgement could not touch us.
But Jesus himself didn't live that way. He was a get around town and make life good kind of guy. He was joy-filled when a thief gave back more than he stole. Make no mistake, the guy didn't give away everything he owned to serve the third world poor, he just made right on his previous theft from people with a little sauce on top.
And then there was the time Jesus made sure there were 6 barrels of wine to keep a party going...no way to misconstrue it, they had already drunk ALL the wine at the party. And there was that thing about feeding droves of people until they were full just so they didn't have to go in search of food. They weren't starving or helpless...he just chose to bless them.
And there it is, just like he said. Jesus chooses to bless us. To give us life beyond our expectations. Why do we continually expect less? Why don't we, Christians, expect and then practice sharing that more?
Partake in abundance and bless somebody. Share Jesus.
If death is the ending, lonely, dark, isolating, despair-inducing, and grief-causing...
Life (especially eternal) should be
the beginning, lovely, light, relationship-filled, joy-producing, and praise-inducing.
How's that going for you?
"The thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of." John 10:10 (The Message translation)
Create something. Be silly. Have fun.
Invite people to experience some goodness. Find something delightful to promote.
Goodness knows there is enough stress-filled, somber, joy-killing messages filling the world.
Be different. He was.