Coffee, Theology, and Jesus

working out our messy faith over coffee

Tag: living

A Thanksgiving Thought

 

Yes, after months of silence I have returned with a post.  My apologies for such a delay, my personal life has kept me extremely busy these past few months.  Between travel, moving into a new house, school, recording for a friends album and general life things I’ve had difficulty in finding the time to get a post up.  Not to mention that I’ve also had a difficult time thinking of what to actually post!  Not to fear, for I think I have something here.  (See what I did there?)

 

If you’ve followed the news or just keep in general touch with topics that run through the headlines, then I’m sure you’ve been hearing all about many big retail stores opening there doors for Thanksgiving for early shoppers.   Here’s my advice – Don’t go.

 

“Oh Tim, why don’t you get a grip, it’s really no big deal” you say.  But alas I think it is a very big deal.

 

 

 

There’s little to no surprise that consumers drive the holiday shopping season.  To an extent, it makes complete sense.  People buy gifts during Christmas, and black friday is a yearly tradition for some.   Now for the sake of transparency let me admit that I think black Friday is a ridiculous idea.  To see people lined up for hours to get their hands on a super cheap tv or whatever other fancy object they’ve been dying to buy I think is a complete waste of time.  Why?  Because we are talking about stuff…things…you know, items that won’t matter in a few years.  People actually rush the stores, cut in line, get into fights and argue with employees all over…..stuff.  These things don’t breathe life, they don’t actually live, they just exist for the sake of pleasing us.  So we flock to the stores like cattle all for the name of a good deal.

 
Anyway, that’s not the point of this post.  The point is to explain why I think stores opening up on Thanksgiving for shoppers is a bad idea and why as Christians we should stay out of stores and stay in with family..

 

I realize that we live in a consumer driven society.  I (like most people) am not immune to the fact that I at times, have to go out and purchase something that I want or need.  I wanted my Nintendo Wii U so I purchased one.  I needed a pair of jeans (my last pair ripped), so I went out and purchased them.  This is the way our society works.  Is it flawed? Sure, but it’s what we got, and slowly people are becoming more intentional shoppers, purchasing from companies that do things ethically, not just in the name of the lowest price (yes, I’m looking at you Wal-Mart).

I say all that so I can say this; as Christians we have a duty to be responsible consumers.  It is our responsibility to view our lives through the lens of Christ, not just hot button issues that the Christian culture pushes.  It’s a shame honestly, that the Christian culture is so willingly accepting of greed, over the top consumerism, and blindly supports massive companies that don’t treat its workers fairly.

 

When it comes to Thanksgiving, the day that Americans take time out of their work schedules, their normal schedules and gather around family, or people in their life that are equivalent to family and eat, and talk, and share a good meal.  It’s a day of rest, it’s a day of feasting, and it’s a day of remembering all that you have and how blessed we are to live in such a country.  This also goes for employees of retail stores.  They deserve the same day that most of us get.  A day around family, without worrying about going into work later to face hordes of self-centered consumers who put more value on the stuff their trying to buy than the human being God created standing right in front of them.  If anything I would like to see the Church protesting companies forcing their employees to work on Thanksgiving (For those of you who don’t think they are being forced, you’ve clearly never worked retail).

 

I’m not here to belabor my point but I’ll end by asking this; When is enough, enough as a society? When do we draw the line with the materialism and consumerism in our culture?  How many things do we need to go out and buy before we realize that you can’t buy family, people, or happiness? We might say that people are most important but when it comes to our actions we so often put stuff above them.  We get mad at the employee who is slow to check us out, we fight over the last item on the shelf, and we get mad when that guy takes our parking spot.   In many cases our beliefs do not match up with our actions and as followers of Jesus it is more important than ever that they do.

 

Spend time this Thanksgiving with people, not with stuff.   Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

-TW

 

From Princess to Queen, What the World Desperately Needs.

Before I start, I have a few disclaimers.

1. This solely just my thoughts on the subject

2. This is a deep subject and I can’t address every aspect of it in one blog post

3. I’m not a woman, therefore I don’t know exactly how accurate I am.  Nevertheless, as a man, this is how I see things.

4.  For the sake of length, I will be generalizing, take it with a grain of salt.

A couple of days ago a few buddies of mine were hanging out after hours at a local coffee shop.  My friend is the manager so he opens it up for us after it closes down so we can sit around and talk.  Especially with life being so busy for so many of my friends, I find this to be a great time of catching up in each others lives.

During the conversation a friend brought up Disney and how he thinks it’s ruining young girls impressions of what being a woman is.  We talked for about an hour about the unrealistic fantasy a lot of these children movies present (such as Snow White) regarding finding true love in another person.  We all agreed that these movies can be great examples of Christ if you view Christ as the prince, and humanity as the princess, but as a child, it’s hard to see it that way.

During the night another friend brought up a point about how it seems like a lot of culture tells girls to be princesses, but never to grow up to be queens.  He went on to say that essentially we have a lot of grown up princesses.  Girls who never grew out of the princess mentality and now want the world handed to them on a silver platter.  That the view of their prince is someone who gives them everything they want whenever they want it, and when they don’t get it they kick and scream.  Spoiled was the word he used.

After we all disbanded and I went home I started thinking about that thought.  That girls are often taught to be the princesses, but not the queen.  It’s not that culture says that women shouldn’t be queens, they just don’t explain that as girls grow up they move from a princess to a queen.

Follow me here, I’m not saying that girls being taught that they are a princess is a bad thing.  I’m saying when they don’t see themselves as queens when they get older, we run in to a major problem.  Queens co-rule the kingdom with their king.  Queens can take on responsibility that a princess cannot.  Queens are secure in their position.  I can continue but you get the idea.

The problem occurs when girls are rarely taught that as they grow up, they begin to move from a princess to a queen. There’s an emotional maturity that begins to happen, and the view of themselves begins to shift from “Am I beautiful?” to “I am beautiful”.  Both parts are necessary .  This is a big complicated issue, one I won’t go in to here.

 

The result of this is staggering, we have a culture full of girls who are stuck mentally in princess mode.  Girls who either want the world handed to them, or girls who never were told how much they are loved by the person they needed it most.  Ultimately only Jesus can answer that question.  But when culture says to get that answer from a boyfriend, or a husband it sets up things for disaster

When we let culture dictate our image we come out with a very skewed image of how exactly life works.  Life is not happily ever after.  I’m not a pessimist I’m just trying to be realistic.  Your husband (or future husband) will fail you at some time because he is human.  The world does not revolve around shopping, your hair, or you.  (Don’t worry ladies, this is part 1, part 2  I get to lay in to us guys).  Queens are busy.  Busy doing work in the kingdom with their king, not sitting at home gossiping about what the other woman was wearing or what she said. A princess expects the world to be handed to her, a queen expects to change the world around her.

This is ultimately what I’m saying.  Girls need to  mature from the mindset of princess, to the mindset of queen.  Our world is in desperate need of women who know their worth, know their value, and are determined to be the beauty this world needs. Women and their power is extremely underrated.  Women breath life in to things.  Women not only physically birth life, they have the power to bring color to a black and white world.  When a women walks in the security of who she is the world changes around her.

This is part 1.  Part 2 will be from Prince to King.

 

-TW

The Grid of Philippians – Rob

Alright.  I’ll give you fair warning.  This one, if it affects you as it affected me, will hit you square between the eyes.  If not, well you were doing better than I was haha.  So just be prepared.

I was perusing Facebook the other day when I looked at the side bar on the right.  You know, the place where you can creeperishly see what your friends are all liking.  Well something popped up that grabbed my attention.  I will use the anonymous name of “Joe Smith” for the time being.  “Joe Smith and 25 other friends like Tosh.0.”

Now, perhaps I am out of touch with reality but from what I know about Daniel Tosh (I’ve never actually seen his show) is that he isn’t exactly one that jokes while upholding “Christian Values.”  From what I understand, Daniel Tosh tends to be somewhat sacrilegious and filthy in his commentary.  I have even heard from “secular friends” that his jokes are very dirty.  Being that I heard this, I figured it best not to spend my time watching his show.

But, when I saw Joe Smith and 25 other friends liked “Tosh.0” on Facebook I was pretty curious as to who liked it, and so clicked it to find out.  “Joe Smith” is a friend of mine that at one point stood for the same Christian values that I do, which peaked my curiosity even more.  As I clicked to see who the 25 other people were I was actually very surprised.  I would say 95% were “Christian.”  Now, don’t take this as me condemning anyone else or looking down on other people’s activities.  What I took out of this was that we, as Christians, may be letting the world influence us in far too many ways.  Somewhere along the lines it became ok to sit and laugh at sin and filth, to enjoy watching sin in movies, enjoy listening to sin in music, and joke about sin in conversation.  I have caught myself thinking on occasion “well this isn’t that bad” and accepting it as OK to watch/listen to/talk about.

We have often heard it said, “If Christ was in the room with you would you still watch it?”  Well guess what?  Christ IS in the room with me every time I go to watch a movie, listen to music, have a conversation, or tell a joke.  There is no “what if” there is “what now?”  I guess seeing how many Christians were ok with subjecting themselves to taking pleasure in sin really got to me.  How much sin am I ok with being leaked into my life?

Paul wrote to the local church in Philippi in Philippians 4:8,

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

What a contrast!  Now, I’ve heard the argument, “Yeah, but I don’t want to be a weirdo and Christ and his disciples sat and ate with sinners!”  This is correct, Christ did sit and eat with sinners.  But I guarantee that he did not partake in their sin, or laugh at it.  Paul and the disciples did not sit around with the other Christians and tell off-color jokes or watch Tosh.0.  The reason they were with sinners?  To preach the gospel.  What person wants to listen to a message “that will change your life” when the person telling it is no different than they are?  Not only are we taking away from the praise that Christ is worthy of, we are erasing the impact of the gospel.  What a tragedy.  Paul lays forth a grid through which we can pass EVERYTHING we do.  My job can be something that gives Christ praise because of the type of employee I am reflects my Savior.  How are my conversations with my co-workers?  Worthy of praise? Pure? Honorable? Lovely?  How about with other Christians?  True?  Kind of sounds like a possible stab at gossip.  Am I just always looking for more dirt? Are the things commendable that I talk about?  I am reminded of James 3:10,

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.  My brothers, these things out not to be so.

How many of my recent activities have made it through the grid?  How will my planned activities make it through?  As Christians, we should always be evaluating where we are when it comes to the scripture, not the world.  Too often I have found myself saying “Ok, I will stay this far away from the world!”  Which sounds great except when I realize that the world is spiraling further and further from God.  The only distance I should be worried about is between me and God’s standard.  The world will continue to fall away and I would be wise to not fall away with it.  How much of the world am I letting into my life/mind/heart?  Usually, standing for God will make me the odd-man out.  Christ himself said in John 15:18,

If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you.

Want a good indication of you effectiveness for God?  Does the world hate you?  I am not saying that when you go to school you should immediately have things thrown at you and have no friends.  People, in general, will highly respect a Christian who is living for Christ.  They are the nicest people! But the world, the system of thought, education, knowledge, and lifestyle that goes against God, should hate the Christian.  We all know what the Bible means when it says “world.”  Romans 12:1-2 says,

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

As a whole, Christians are far too conformed to this world and allow too much of the world into our lives.  I am guilty just as much as the next person.  Tim is hard on the Church but I would say it starts with the individuals in the Church.  We are allowing the world into our lives in small and large ways.  If we are to be effective communicators of the gospel then we have all got to take a step back and re examine what we let come into our minds, across our eyes and ears, and out our mouths.