I Once Had Geese

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A while ago, I had some baby geese and ducks. I was really excited about the whole thing and was eager to train them and teach the geese to fly, somehow. But probably not the way the girl did it in the charming film “Fly Away Home.”

I thought it would be a good idea to make bird noises so maybe they would think I was their mother. It was pretty embarrassing. I would go “chirp, chirp, CHIRP!” And what do you know? It actually worked. They would follow me wherever I went, as if under some kind of spell.

For a couple glorious days, I was on top of the world with my trained birds. I thought the possibilities were endless with my winged friends. I was  going to be a mommy!

Then they just stopped following me. It was like they couldn’t even hear my voice. I was so frustrated with them- didn’t they know that I had been feeding them?

I later figured out that in order to truly train geese, having them think you are their “mother,” you must be the first thing they see when they are born. It’s “imprinting.” My geese were born in a hatchery. The first think they saw was probably fluorescent lighting.

Considering this anecdote, that I wanted these geese to follow me, why don’t we think that God wants us to respect Him? I did not create the geese, and I am not infinitely greater than them, but God did create us, and He is infinitely greater than us! In that case, why do we think that He doesn’t want acknowledgement? Why do we fancy that people who reject Him will be spared by Him? And why wouldn’t He know what is best for us, since He created us?

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The Problem with Words

The Problem with Christianity is that its true essence cannot effectively be described in words much of the time. God was able to express Himself in the Bible, but we are not so superior like Him. When I read some parts of the Bible, I feel something, either a deep comfort or a strong conviction. But the rest of us don’t write so good. Sermons and messages often sound the same. They’re like nicely wrapped packages. The problem is that we keep using the same words, “rhetoric,” as I call it, and they can come out uninspired, boring.

How do you convince someone that they need God? How do you prove that you love your fellow man? By using that word, “love,” that in many contexts, means absolutely nothing? By trying to be courteous- saying please and thank you and excuse me? Bu trying to be a good person?

It takes something more. “More Than Words,” literally, (maybe that’s why I always liked that song by Extreme). And when we use our words we should “season them with salt” (See Collosians 4:6). I think that’s a good place to wrap it up.

-TRL

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Photo courtesy of lizspaperloft.com

So Basically… Just Be a Good Person And You’ll Go to Heaven?

“Given that — and this is the key point — God’s mercy has no limits, if you go to him with a sincere and repentant heart, the issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.”

-Pope Francis

(Quote snagged from the Huffington Post)

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Photo courtesy of automopedia.org

Okay, so look at that quote very carefully. Decide what you believe. Not that easy, right? It seems like such a wonderful, harmless philosophy. As my teacher used to say, “let’s all hold hands and sing we are the world!” Oh, it’s so true! Jesus died for everyone, every little girl and boy, every gentle Buddhist, misunderstood atheist, crazy Christian…

YES and NO!

Now you’re thinking that I’m just being a tool, proving to the skeptics that Christians are wishy washy, contradictory train wrecks. Fear not, I will come to a logical conclusion from this mess.

Jesus did die for everyone. He did give everyone a chance, no matter who you are. So YES. But it’s not like you can just do whatever your “conscience” says is okay. Everyone’s conscience is different, after all, how is that a universal standard? That sounds a lot like… relativism.

If all we need to do is be good people, then why did Jesus come to the earth and show us how it was done? Didn’t the Pharisees think they were being good people? Doesn’t almost everyone think they are being a good person?

Are we really going to start thinking that we are saved by our works? This again! Our works are like those pathetic dried up vegetables they put in instant noodle bowls. It seems like they’re better than nothing, but God does not accept them as currency!

If we believe in God, the resurrection, all of that, we must believe that there IS “absolute truth.” Otherwise we might as well burn our Bibles and party til we pickle our livers, wrapping up our meaningless lives by ODing in a public restroom.

Faith, faith is what will save us. Faith will prompt the works, but the works are meaningless without the faith. That’s not to say that anyone who doesn’t have faith now will be burned in Hell, but that ultimately, at the end of the line, we must choose what we believe, and our choice will determine our destiny.

Believe it or not, like it or not, but there, I’ve said it, and I feel much better now. So if you’re a Christian, please don’t get suckered into it. With all due respect to the Pope, well, the Pope is not God. I know, I feel bad for the people that don’t believe too, especially the little children in Africa, oh the mental image, it breaks my heart! But that’s exactly why we’re supposed to spread the word! And shouldn’t we trust that after we’ve done our best, God will know how to judge his people, the people that He CREATED?

Okay, I’m done now.

Nothing New Under the Sun?

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Is it true that things are getting worse in the world? Is this an even “wickeder” and more “perverse” generation than the one before it and the one before that? It sure seems that way sometimes.

Even though it’s before my time, I love music dated from the 60’s to the 80’s. I grew up on the Beatles, the Eagles, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Journey, and the like. It seems like music today just isn’t of the same quality. It’s quite a subjective matter I understand, and I know that there is good stuff out there today… but something about it just seems… Inferior. This probably just has a lot to do with my personal bias, and perhaps I’m a little delusional in seeing such glaring differences between music of the same century. But let’s take a step back farther and to the side, from Modern America to Europe back in the day. Is hip hop really as good as classical music, in the most objective way possible?

And then there’s the morals of society. Everyone’s favorite subject. Watch a movie from the 40s. Watch a movie from today. It’s not rocket science. People used to censor, dance around things, leave to the imagination. And now entertainment is often shameless. As we strove towards portraying gritty reality in media for the sake of believable art, we long ago crossed the boundary and entered into a realm of senseless debauchery. And in doing so, I think we are also beginning to abandon those basic truths that have given movies their magic, replacing them with raunchy details that fail to carry their weight when it comes to illustrating the true nature of the human spirit.

Yet I’m not sure if that says much about the phenomenon that supposedly exists of each generation getting worse than the last. Are people essentially any worse? I think that media has a negative effect, but there are also positive influences all around. The changes in the media are not necessarily an indication of a change in the people. No doubt that the media is more dangerous, that it has gotten more comfortable in its own skin, that it is content to take off its clothes in the living rooms, bedrooms, bus stops, and offices of this fine nation. But are people really any worse? In Ecclesiastes it says that there is nothing new under the sun. Since Adam took a bite out of that fruit, the world has been a crazy place. There has been hatred, war, violence, idolatry, greed, extra marital sex, adultery, jealousy, cursing, homosexuality, selfishness, and most importantly, indifference towards God. All through the centuries. We can’t forget that.

The good old days seem good to us, I understand that. A time when things were less complicated. Sure. The world seemed less artificial back then. We’d all like to get back. No one likes all the crazy, prophetic stuff going on in the world now that seems even crazier than anything that’s ever happened before. But was it really, truly, better, and is the future really truly going to be worse? I doubt it, but I could be wrong. It seems to me that people are just always finding new ways to sin, but isn’t sin sin no matter how you smear it in lipstick? I could be wrong. Maybe kids today are truly rotten, and it will only get worse. The end times, after all, seem pretty bleak. There will be the anti Christ and the mark of the beast, that seems like rather unprecedented evil. But there will also be more Christians (I think) and there will be signs and miracles. That’s a plus. So what’s better? I don’t know, I think I’ll just throw out the measuring cup and call it a day. The point is that people sin and people always have sinned. The point is that you’re either for or against God so it doesn’t matter how quantitatively moral you are if you don’t have God. The point is that there’s always hope and there’s always joy.