At the Right time…

April 17, 2011

For while we were still week, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
Romans 5:6

Today is Palm Sunday.  Jesus is entering God’s Holy City, Jerusalem on the back on the back of a donkey and He’s being worshipped.  Even the ground is considered unclean before Him.  The people are putting palm leaves on the ground so that even the donkey won’t have to tread on the dirt.  The people are singing “Hosannah! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”.  The word Hosannah means “save us”.  By this the people acknowledge that Jesus has the ability to save.  Interestingly enough, it takes less than one week for the glory of God to not be enough for them.  The next Friday we see the same folks crying “crucify him!”  The irony is that it will be by the crucifixion of Christ that He would save them.

Christmas is usually when we celebrate the gift of Christ, but honestly the Passion week is when God gave His greatest gift to us.  It’s when He actually gave Himself to us.  By Christ’s work on the cross we not only receive the possibility of the forgiveness of sins (mercy), but also the possibility of being adopted into the family of God (grace).

Unfortunately, we often pursue God for many reasons other than Him.  But the natural reward for any relationship is the other person, not anything that they can offer us outside of that.  In the same way, the reward for God making a relationship possible is we get a relationship with Him!  If everything else fails in our lives, if we never get a raise, if we never get married, if we never have an inclination about the future, it’s ok because we get God.  So this Friday we get to celebrate the right time in which Christ died for us ungodly people, giving the opportunity to know Him, and whatever else happens is just a sideffect, not the main result.  It’s no sacrifice to give up something of lesser value for something of greater value.

Meditation commencing…

People ≠ Commodities

April 5, 2011

So this idea of setting an expectation different than the natural result of a duty or action can and will be devastating to our own well-being and to the object of our expectation.

This idea becomes especially important when the object of our unnatural expectation is another person.  I’ve been thinking a little bit about the reasons we enter relationships, romantic or otherwise.  It seems that our culture is beginning to treat other people as goods, as commodities.  We look at how entering a relationship with another person will affect us positively.  We weigh the cost and we weigh the benefit.  Whichever one is more will determine whether or not we will buy into the relationship.  We do this with cars, televisions, computers, cellphones, and every other product, why not do it with people?  A recent article in the New York Times reported that, a group of psychologists found that the happiest marriages are the ones that individuals put their own “self-expansion” first and foremost in the relationship.

I find this extremely hard to believe!

Now I do think that being in a relationship is beneficial and necessary to a person, but the natural connection of being in a relationship is not that you get things (i.e. self-expansion) but that you get the other person!  I think that the researchers saw a side-effect of being in a meaningful relationship and then hypothesized that the person was a means to and end, with the end being positive added attributes to an individual’s personality or skills or happiness and so forth instead of an end in and of themselves.

This begs the question, then, how often am I simply using people to get things from them.  Am I doing a cost/benefit analysis each time before entering a relationship?

I think that when we begin to look at other people as, well, people, we will begin to see that our relationships are much less about what we can get from other people, but what we can give them.

Next time we’ll discuss when this goes even deeper (somehow).

Mud Pies

March 29, 2011

I never trust anyone who is more excited about success than about the thing they want to be successful at.
xkcd

I was perusing through my twitter feed a week or so ago, and I saw this quotation.  It really hit me hard.  I had been thinking about this here and there, wondering if most of my efforts in life were aimed at getting other people to notice me or to be impressed by me.  I think that it’s true that I do this even in the most basic things of my life.  I’ll give you an example.  If I come home and see that there are dirty dishes in the sink or trash overflowing the wastebasket, my inclination should be to clean the dishes or take out the trash to ensure a clean and sanitary apartment that smells nicely and is welcoming to guests.  There is some element of joy to be found in an orderly kitchen and an element of overall well-being.  For me the motivation is instead found in knowing that if I do these things my wife will be happy with me.  So the natural connection of duty to pleasure is severed because the reward I’m seeking isn’t the natural reward of the activity.  This is a problem for many reasons.  The least of which is my wife probably isn’t thinking that I’m doing these things to impress her, instead she naturally thinks that I am doing them for the natural result of doing them, which is leading a normal, healthy, orderly life.  This then leads to unmet expectations and will likely cause some sort of conflict, large or small, and will probably end with a last ditch effort to impress my wife by boasting about my thoughtfulness.  Oh the irony.   The more detrimental implications, though, are that there is something gone awry in my heart.  There is something in me that longs to please other people, which robs me of joy found in any activity.

More to come tomorrow…

Life Happens

March 28, 2011

I was inspired by Klash to pick up my old wordpress blog and write a little bit.  I think it’s a good idea to write from time to time, and I know that there aren’t that many readers, but those that have read before mean a great deal to me.  In the past year many great things have happened.  I’ll be excited to share many of those things and what God is teaching me through them via this blog.  I have another blog that I will post pictures, song lyrics, book quotations and the like.  You can find it at crawf.tumblr.com.  That’s all for now.

On Retirement

February 10, 2010

The American Dream, this is not…

I want this attitude.

Embracing Accusation

February 4, 2010

Droid Day

November 6, 2009

at the risk of sounding like every other christian person on the planet i’m going to be ironic…

today is droid day.  translation: motorola droid is being released as the so-called iphone killer.  we all know this is going to fail.  even the most optimistic person knows that down deep the droid won’t be able to compete, really.  nothing can beat the original.  trying to recreate something never really works out.  look at the zune for instance.  even if it is equally as awesome as the ipod (which, beleive me, it’s not) why would someone buy one over the ipod.  if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  the key to having a truly successful market for an item is originality.  the radio was awesome, but something was missing.  you couldn’t put a face with the voice.  the black and white television was awesome, but you couldn’t see the colors.  color television was awesome, but it’s just so bulky… you get my drift.  what the droid brings to the table doesn’t exploit what the iphone lacks.  it’s a carbon copy of the original. there are two obvious conclusions:

1) the church will never work as a copy of culture. when the church is attempting to recreate what it sees in the “real world” no one is going to bite because, well, why go for the fake when you can stick with the original.  personally i would never buy the droid, simply because it’s letting it be known that they are simply imitating the iphone.  when the church uses this method people will ultimately be turned away.  imitation is the highest form of flattery, after all.
2) the world will never work as a copy of the gospel. this is the more important of the two points.  since the first sin, man has tried to find it’s fulfillment elsewhere.  everywhere we turn someone is telling us what we need to be satisfied.  of course, if you’ve ever bought that thing that you “needed” you soon found out that you didn’t need it at all.  in fact you probably don’t even want it anymore because it’s just not fulfilling you like the new thing will.  this isn’t just for material things, of course, but for relationships, social stance, political party, etc.  the good news is this: christ’s grace is sufficient for you.

so…
as the church let’s be original, authentic – be family.  what you have is better than this world, in fact it’s what the world has always wanted to be.

disclaimer

iPhone to Verizon…

April 28, 2009

…oh I hope so.
http://tinyurl.com/dagx4w

Homeless Count

January 30, 2009

Last night I had the opportunity to participate in the 2009 Homeless Count.  It’s something that’s done every couple of years and it’s mandated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  There’s a lot that goes into the process and a lot that comes out as a result of the count.  More interestingly, though, is the look you see in someone’s eyes when they are actually telling you about their homeless situation.  Sure, this count is used in some ways to simply quantify the Homeless, but it ends up being a much different experience for the counters.
As I was talking over my experience with my supervisor this morning, she told me that no matter how long she’s been working with the homeless population, it never ceases to shake her when someone is litterally living outside. 
There is great frustration in speaking to a homeless gentleman and him telling you that he doesn’t want to participate in the count because he’s been on the street for 15 years, filled out innumerable surveys and his situation hasn’t changed in the least.  That’s terribe, but the fact remains that after talking to that guy, I went home, got in my bed, checked my email on my $200 handheld ipod touch, and fell asleep warm and comfortable.  Meanwhile, he slept in the stairwell of a parking garage less than 5 miles away.
I can’t begin to understand his frustrations.

Tax Return

January 15, 2009

I’m expecting to receive a sizible tax return this year.  I want to save part of it, but I want to buy something too.  Any suggestions?