That’s Not How This Works

Photo courtesy: Pinterest

There’s a funny car insurance commercial floating around where an elderly woman is proudly posting her photos “to her wall” but instead of Facebook, she’s just pinning them to her actual wall. Her friend comes in and tells her she’s doing it wrong by proclaiming “that’s not how this works… that’s not how any of this works…” to which the little old lady announces “I unfriend you!”

The other day, Pinterest “recommended” this picture to me under the category of “Bible study”. It took me a minute to understand what was happening, but basically you take a sharpie to your Bible and black out whatever words don’t “stand out” while leaving blank the words that do. What you are left with is what every college refrigerator looked like circa 1990-something with that magnetic poetry trend: random words you throw together to make a sentence.

Apparently this is a big youth group activity now, it’s artsy or edgy or something. I’m such a Debbie Downer, I know… but I have to refer back to my elderly commercial friend and say “that’s not how this works..”

Friends, we can’t turn Gods word into our own personal à la carte buffet, taking what we want and leaving the rest. It’s not easy, I admit, we all have our own lens through which we see God and our world, but it is vitally important we take the whole Bible as relevant and useful.

I get it, it’s just an encouraging exercise for teens or people less boring than myself. I sit with my Bible and I highlight like it’s going out of style, but I don’t black out to create my own truths. Big difference. There’s an odd little article over at HuffPo about how we should actually be cherry-picking from our religious texts because no way can all those things passed down from our ancestors still be relevant.

The biggest issue here is not so much in the creation of little artsy activities as much as it is in the general ignorance and disregard we have towards the Bible. We partake of the milk parts and not the meaty ones. Instead of being our daily bread and sustenance, we snack on some of it once in awhile and wonder why we are starving.

Here’s the point: if we treat Gods word as some silly play thing, we shouldn’t be surprised when confusion becomes our new normal, or even when its encouraged. His word is sufficient, it is complete, and it doesn’t need tweaking.

We are a distracted people… myself included. Good things can derail us if we aren’t careful. We get so obsessed with the doing part that we can miss the being with Jesus part entirely.

Friends, please don’t water down or limit the words He wants to speak to you. The whole book, all the verses, easy, difficult and in between. Let the hard ones drive you further into study, believe me, God can handle our questions. Don’t skew His message into something weird. If you want to make some things up, get some of those fridge magnets – if they are still trendy.

Don’t Let The Hatchimal Spoil Christmas

 

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I hadn’t heard of a Hatchimal until recently. The quirky little animal inside of an egg toy that apparently is all the rage this holiday season. They are of course, out of stock at the average store and causing families to lose their collective minds. Parents are writing fake I.O.U. letters from Santa to their children explaining the tragic situation.

My first reaction (hopefully the reaction of all rational/sane people), is to laugh at the absurdity of all this. I shudder at the silliness of our culture, running after the latest goodies that we all know by Valentines day will be discarded in someones closet, under a pile of other objects they just HAD TO HAVE.

It’s easy to poke fun at it, until I remember my ten year old self at Christmastime, ready to sell all my worldly goods to anyone who could procure me the Cabbage Patch doll with the cornsilk hair. Then there was the pink and purple ten-speed. Also the anatomically correct baby doll whose skin smelled like baby powder and came with it’s own push-buggy.

As a child, I remember so well that longing. As parents we try and fulfill those desires in our children’s hearts because there’s a part of us that remembers how it feels to be so genuinely excited about something.

We all have our ‘Hatchimals’.

I walked through someones home yesterday that was the very picture and definition of a Christmas wonderland. The decorations were professional-level gorgeous. Nothing was out of place. The entire home looked like a perfect magazine spread of holiday cheer.

Where was this woman’s laundry? Do people actually get laundry done and put away? I can’t currently see the floor of my laundry room.

How did the whole place smell like freshly baked cookies? No matter how many Febreeze evergreen candles I light, the house usually just smells like dog.

December is kind of a double-edged sword in our culture; we are surrounded by perfection and beauty but never quite able to keep up on it all. Ask anyone who has ever walked by the Pottery Barn window at the mall. Or gazed at the Williams-Sonoma demo Christmas table. Yikes.

If we are culture-driven, our desires are never fulfilled, our expectations are never met. Someone will always do it better. Someone will always have a prettier looking tree, fancier table setting or better smelling house.

Advent is a season of longing, but we have been conditioned to never feel such things. We scratch the itch. Longing makes us uncomfortable. Imperfection makes us squirm. We forget our gift is has already come and promises to come again. Part of the beauty of December for believers is that we don’t have to jump at every trend and spend every last dime in order to be fulfilled. We are created to feel this desire. Nothing in the world will ever fulfill it save for Jesus.

We celebrate a Father who knows how to give good and perfect gifts to His children. Lasting gifts of eternity. How much then should we desire to share that with our own children and friends?  Teach the kids it’s ok to want and desire things, but put those things in perspective.  Show them how to long after Jesus and actually be fulfilled.

“Ultimately, there is something profoundly Christmas-like about not having everything the way you want. The entire holiday exists because two parents could not even find a roof under which to have a baby. Consider the absurdity of the fact that, thousands of years later, people are celebrating that holiday by apologizing to children because a Hatchimal could not be procured.” Ashley E. McGuire, Acculturated Magazine