Posts Tagged ‘ christians ’

Seeking Meaning

I’ve been thinking a lot about God lately. What I believe, what’s real, what’s true, etc.

So therefore I’ve been thinking a lot about Christianity and the Christian Church.

Recently, Rick Warren’s son committed suicide. For those of you who don’t know, Rick Warren is a megachurch pastor.

It’s tragic. It’s sad. Suicide is never something that should be taken lightly.

But it’s led me to think about this habit Christians have about assigning meaning to apparently meaningless events.

His suicide certainly had a cause– chronic depression. But was there meaning in his death? Maybe. Maybe not.

We can’t know.

Last summer, I almost died. Two weeks ago, my brother almost died. He was within a millimeter of instant death. (I hyperbolize a lot over here, but that is not hyperbole; I’m being literal.)

Was there meaning in his accident? My friend asked me. He wanted to know that if God is a loving God, why did he let my brother fall off that ladder?

I don’t know.

I don’t know why I almost died last summer. I don’t know what the physical cause was, and I don’t know if there was a metaphysical purpose. I DO know that I’m a better person because of it. There’s something about a near-death experience that puts the entire rest of your life in perspective.

When I die, I’ll probably greet death like an old friend. After facing death, nothing is really scary anymore, except the prospect of losing people you love.

After my brother almost died but didn’t in a crazy inexplicable miracle, I feel like nothing can depress or stress me out anymore, because my life could almost have been so much worse.

Maybe that means that there was meaning. But was there meaning to the bombing at the Boston Marathon today? I don’t know. All I know about that is it’s a tragedy, like so many other tragedies that seem to be piling up lately.

Christians are so afraid to admit that they don’t have the answers to some things, and that is a massive problem with American Christian Culture.

Is it inconceivable to think that maybe, just maybe, God is too big, omnipotent, omnipresent, multi- and pan-dimensional for your little human brain to explain? Is it inconceivable that you cannot possibly look at an event and answer the question, why? Is it so impossible to accept that you cannot know, simply because of the biological limitations to the human mind?

Maybe there is meaning in apparently meaningless events. But due to my extreme lack of pandimensional perspective, I hesitate to assign it.

Sometimes stuff happens and there’s nothing you can do about it but deal with the consequences.

Memorial day Weekend.

This is simply a post telling you not to expect a post today. I’m heading to Central Oregon in a couple hours to see a concert tonight. The Head and the Heart, Blind Pilot, and the Shins are playing at Les Schwab Amphitheater tonight and I don’t think I can possibly express how excited I am to see this show. I don’t expect to have a computer until tomorrow.

So to entertain you over the weekend, here are some of my favorite posts, in no particular order.

Why Christians should Read Harry Potter.

How to get your Baristas to Like You.

Why Christians should Tip.

What your Coffee Says about You.

Time Travel is Impractical.

See you on Monday!

Why Christians should Read Harry Potter.

Since I grew up in the homeschool scene, I have met a lot of people who refuse to read or let their kids read Harry Potter. Most of them were Christians. Indeed, I’ve met more Christians than I think is normal or healthy who refuse to read any sort of fantasy at all.

This, to me, seems intensely bizarre and soul-crushing. It was G.K. Chesterton, famed author on Christian apologetics, who said “Fairy tales are more than true. Not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be defeated.”

If that isn’t a strong enough argument right there for you to read fairy tales, then just close this page because nothing I say will get through to you, and for that I am sorry.

But if you’re still here, perhaps it will mean something to you when I declare that reading fantasy stories and fairy tales stirs the imagination, awakens the soul, and touches the hearts of children (and adults) in a way that the historical accounts in the Bible can’t– not yet anyway.

Personally, I don’t believe I would have the imagination or moral character to still believe in Jesus if it wasn’t for my healthy diet of fantasy growing up– stories chock-full of honor and redemption.

Redemption is such an abstract concept. I still have trouble grasping its entirety sometimes. It is too profound for children to understand while they’re still thinking in concrete terms, so presenting it in a fantasy format makes it accessible.

Which brings me to Harry Potter.

The two main arguments I’ve heard against the series are that it promotes witchcraft and that it promotes rebellion because Harry is rebellious.

The first argument I honestly find to be a little ridiculous. There is no real-life witchcraft in the books. All magic is performed with a wave of a wand and a short incantation, not unlike the fairies in your Disney movies. And as for the potions and whatever, well, when bezoars become available on the market along with other fictional ingredients, then I’ll be concerned.

The magic is simply the thing that makes it fantasy, and frankly the thing that keeps it fun.

As for the second complaint, that Harry Potter is rebellious, yes. He is. But I ask you, have you ever known a teenager who didn’t have that flaw? Because it is indeed a flaw of Harry Potter’s and isn’t presented as good or admirable. Ultimately, Harry grows out of an overcomes his rebellious streak. At the end of the series, Harry is a hero in the truest sense of the word.

But that’s just one part of my point about why Christians should read Harry Potter.

One of the classes that the characters take is Defense Against the Dark Arts, which is a clear example of the distinct dividing line between Good and Evil in the series.

Remus Lupin, the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, is a werewolf. “Oh no,” you may decry, “Werewolves are so evil, he must be a bad influence.”

Lupin is a fascinating study of denying your baser/evil nature in favor of doing what is good and right, as opposed to the other werewolf character, Fenrir Grayback, who completely buys into his evil side and indeed revels in it.

But I could go on all night about character studies. I shan’t go into any more detail, but consider Arthur and Molly Weasley, who continually and repeatedly lay their lives on the line for their family, Sirius Black, whose pride eventually gets him killed, and Hagrid, whose faith and loyalty greatly outshine any of his faults.

As a last measure, some may say, “But Dumbledore is gay,” and to you I say, so what? J.K. Rowling announced that after the last book was published, and I see it as naught but a publicity stunt. Dumbledore’s sexual orientation never comes into the plot or the dialogue and has no bearing on the stories, so it’s basically as irrelevant as the color of Ron’s nosehairs.

Besides, if you refuse to read a book because one character is or might be gay, there really is no help for you.

Christians should read Harry Potter for the same reason they should read Lord of the Rings– the battle between Good and Evil, characters growing and developing, sacrifice, and Redemption.

Why Christians should Tip

As anyone in the service industry can assure you, Christians are very stingy.

Every barista dreads the days when women’s bible studies come into coffee shops, because even though they all (usually) order demanding drinks, all that you get in the tip jar is a whole lot of nothing (or maybe a gospel tract if your shirt is a little lower cut than someone thinks is okay.)

Okay, yeah, I sound a little bitter. But I feel like I have a right to be, because I’m a Jesus follower and no barista or waiter would ever guess it. Why? Because I tip really well.

Wait what.

Why is this the case? Why does this happen? Why, oh why, are women’s bible studies so annoying?

Jesus said to love others more than you love yourself. I understand being a good steward of your money and all, but a really good way to demonstrate love and appreciation to baristas and waitstaff is to tip well, especially if the service was good.

Having a condescending attitude and asking us if we know Jesus after looking pointedly down our shirts is not a good way to demonstrate love.

Let’s face it, Christians– ya’ll (we) have a pretty crappy reputation in this society, and honestly, if you (we) can’t even tip a barista when there’s a whole bunch of you ordering your drinks at once, I can’t exactly say you (we) don’t deserve it.

Repairing the crappy reputation will be a long difficult process because I’m inclined to believe it’s because our priorities are screwed up (image is more important than Jesus) but I’m not going to go into that today.

All I’m saying is that you can start a trend by tipping your baristas and waitstaff.

How about we start by letting people know that Christians are generous?

And I promise you, no one cares about how many sponsor children you have.

Start at home.

Christians, tip your baristas.

%d bloggers like this: