Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I suppose it's about time?

It's literally been three weeks since the last update. Sorry.

It occurs to me that if I wait to put anything up until I have something that strikes me as deep and profound, I probably won't update very often, and I'd hate for this to go belly up. So in between psuedo-sermons I thought maybe I'd... comment?

It seems the creators of Facing the Giants have a new movie out, apparently starring Kirk Cameron. My views on dedicated Christian media are somewhat conflicted at the moment, but Facing the Giants was, all in all, a fairly decent movie. It had moments which were profound and beautiful, as well as others that were cheesy to the point of being laughable. The writing was decent and the acting was acceptable. What I liked was that Giants was very grassroots, you know? Funded by a congregation and made by an amateur film maker. So who knows, Fireproof may be worth checking out.

I've felt a considerable amount of angst lately concerning the election and plight of our great fancy nation. I love my country as much as the next guy and the guy after him, and I'm of the opinion that, at current, it's not being run very well. I think we're all hoping that after this election, it will be, and a big(WARNING: OBVIOUS STATEMENT) part of that depends on who's elected.

I'm not going to say who I'm voting for or what I think about this issue and that issue and all the other stuff. That's beside the point.

I'm bothered by the fact that the majority of us Christian folk(the ones I know anyway, or at the very least, the vocal ones) seem motivated in their choice of candidate by a very narrow set of issues. Specifically abortion and gay marriage.

I've expressed my views on abortion before, so I won't bother going into that. Gay marriage is a topic for another day. My only point is that making a decision based on one issue, regardless of what that issue is, is dangerous. Abortion is important, nobody is denying that, but when you consider the economy, the war(s), healthcare, etc., voting based on your pro-life views alone is(again, just my opinion) moronic at best and catastrophic at worst. It's not that simple. Our current state of affairs is too complicated to pick an issue and form all of your opinions based on that.

I'm not condemning conservatives, endorsing Obama, or anything of the sort. My personal views aren't important and to be honest, I'm not sure who I'll vote for. That, again, is beside the point.


Eight years ago I was in church waiting for the sermon to end. My pastor at the time commented on the upcoming election and said the following,
"Some churches will tell you that if you're a Christian, you'll vote Republican. Other churches will tell you that if you're a Christian, you'll vote Democrat. All I'm going to tell you is this - Vote your conscience, but vote."

I agree 100%. All I'm saying is that your conscience should be informed.

I'm tossing around the idea of articles concerning Gay Marriage and Music. Can't seem to settle on one. Thoughts?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Let's try something new.

I was driving on I-90 the other day, right through the heart of downtown San Antonio. I saw a road sign which gave me pause. Not literally, because I was driving. You get the idea. I've done my best to recreate it using my rudimentary graphic artistry skills, shameful as they are.

I realize this is a poorly done, embarrassing rendition of a road sign. You'll have to forgive me. I operate at a level only slightly more advanced than a basic knowledge of MS Paint.

Littering is illegal. It has been for a long long time, and(hopefully) always will be. The fact is that it's just plain bad to throw trash on the ground. Bad for us, bad for the animals, bad for the planet. Bad all around. Most places you pay a fine if you get caught doing it, sometimes a hefty one at that.

I don't know if you've been outside lately but there's still a lot of trash lying around. People are still throwing paper cups and cigarette butts out of their car windows on the highway. Construction workers still leave cans and bottles lying around on work sites. Nobody is really all that concerned about littering. Even the people who don't litter don't really seem all that worried about it, save the folks you see every once in awhile on the side of the highway. Sure, there will always be environmentalists, but the majority of the population doesn't seem to give a flying damn where their candy wrappers end up. I know I don't.

This is a problem, because littering has the proven ability to damage the environment, and we just don't care.

So these fine people, the Texas road authority or whoever, decided to try something new. Instead of yet one more sign that says, “No littering” they innovated. They played with the font size and came up with a thing that, maybe, next time you go to drop something on the ground, you'll remember. They did something memorable.

Christianity is doing a fine job of not being memorable. We recycle the same old words and phrases and methods in our church services, our music, our way of living. A lot of these tried and true formulae are good and sincere and probably make God smile.

But I think a lot more of them make him shake his head and sigh. When did Christian music become this rehashed, recycled, reused mathematical utilitarian recipe with no originality or inspiration to it? When did our church services become predictable and bland? And why the hell aren't we doing anything about it?

Of course plenty of people have already realized or said the same thing. Take Rob Bell, whom you may or may not have heard of. His Nooma video series is both relevant and innovative, combining story telling and visual metaphors with sincere spirituality, tackling tough issues and core concerns relevant to today's society. He presents himself in a way that is interesting and innovative. He doesn't just write another book or give another sermon saying, “This is the way I think it should be.”

God gave us the ability to create and imagine and innovate. I think we slap him in the face when we fail, even refuse to exercise it. How sad it is when anti-littering propaganda makes more of an impression on me than any number of recent church services. A glimpse at a road sign, lasting perhaps half a second, is more inspiring than an hour long sermon. Wake up, Church. You're asleep at the wheel.