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Archive for November, 2007

In Jesus’ Name

The Scene has a story on Rocketown this week.

For those of you who have no idea what Rocketown is, the brief description is that it is a Christian club started by Michael W. Smith. The club’s aim is to reach young people who are in need of Jesus. They have workshops, a large indoor skate park and they book bands.

I’m about 25 years too old to be part of Rocketown’s demographic, and as a lifelong Christian, I’m not the person they’re trying to reach. I’m too fat, too old, too white and too churched to be the target Rocketown customer–and that’s not a bad thing. (You’d likely have to hold a gun to my head to get me into anything called a “skate park”, since even the presence of Heelys makes my blood pressure skyrocket.)

I read the Scene’s story about Rocketown today, and for the most part was pretty pleased with the fact that MWS has been able to make his vision work. (Full disclosure: one of my former bosses was somehow in on the founding of the original Rocketown in Franklin. I can’t remember specificially how, but she went to lunch with a guy who was working on it and came back with piles of things with the Rocketown logo that I had to file.)

But what I’m concerned about is the larger picture brought to mind with the show booker for the club mentioned that he books non-Christian acts for the club. One of the acts he booked does an anti-homosexual song called “Faggot”. Aware of the hate message, he booked the act anyway “because the kids wanted to [see that particular band].”

And this is where I have a problem with what we Christians do when we’re fishing for men. See, I know that oft-quoted meme of “Jesus ate with tax collectors and prostitutes”. People (including me) have been throwing that out there for decades to justify associating outside The Circle. I have non-Christian friends, non-Christian business clients and I even read non-Christian books.

But I think we need to realise that while Jesus ate with tax collectors and prostitutes He himself never extorted money from people or turned tricks. That’s why I think it’s really important to watch what we do in Jesus’ name. To me, if you’re operating a club in Jesus’ name, you ought to not hire performers whose act is blatantly anti-Christian. And to me, espousing hate for anyone is fundamentally anti-Christian. If Christ is love, then hate is not of Christ.

Do I think places like Rocketown shouldn’t hire non-Christian bands? Not necessarily. But I do think there’s a difference between “these people don’t have a faith in Christ” and “these people actively espouse tenants that are wholly contrary to the tenants espoused by Jesus.”

It may be a fine line, but I think it’s there.

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Actually, most religions believe in some type of karma-like principle.  Christians believe that “vengence is mine, saith the Lord”, and therefore that God will see ultimate justice upon those who wrong us.

Today I received an email which served as concrete proof that we (my husband and I) are being wronged by some.   (Some folks out there who dislike me will no doubt consider this as MY karmic just-desserts.)     I can’t go into details but the basic gist is that we were owed money for work performed–money that the other party is now going to deny owing us.  Of course, if we sue the court will uphold our claim because we have a written contract stating that we are owed that money.   The other party, however, is a presumed Christian, and knows that we as Christians don’t believe in suing someone else.

So here we sit, watching someone else wrong us.  My first reaction was anger.  My second reaction was frustration.

But now I’m at peace.  I’m at peace because we’re taken care of.  All of our current needs are met and all of our current life is about happiness and embracing the joy of Christ.  I refuse to be owned by the relatively paltry amount of money owed to us by unscrupulous people.   And I’ve watched the lives of those people who are doing us wrong and I’ve seen repeatedly how much grief and anxiety the constant greed has caused them.    So I’m much happier sitting here without the few thousand they owe us, but happy and whole.

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When I was 10, my Big Christmas Present was a clock radio.   I loved that thing, with its glowing green digital numbers, fake wood and light-dimming switch.   To me it represented the first real feeling of control over my personal choices.   I could listen to whatever I chose, instead of always playing along with my parents’ radio stations.   I fell asleep almost every night listening to sermons or classical music, and woke up every morning tuned to the cool-kids’ station (WMEE and Those Two Guys In The Morning.)

I’ve kept that clock radio through all of my major life transitions, and recently felt the need to pull it out of storage and hook it up again.  For the last three nights I’ve slept once again next to its glowing green light.  Although I’m now too blind to read the time without my glasses.

I’ve also been cruising eBay for old games and other fondly-remembered bits of childhood.  I wonder what’s going on with me.   I think this may be my substitute for sexy affairs and sexy cars.   If so, I’m a bigger nerd than I thought.

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In a conversation about the WGA Strike (no,this post isn’t about that…) a few days ago, Jackson Miller said that the true future of revenue in television was most likely in product placement. I’ve been re-reading that statement in my head over the last week, and I have to tell you. I think Jackson is dead-on. And I have to further tell you that I think I find product placement in my shows both entertaining and memorable. For the most part, that is.

I was watching NCIS [shut up! It’s a good show!] last night, and the Diet Coke product placement was both subtle and entertaining, but I remembered the product. Arrested Development‘s tie-ins with Burger King were hysterical and left me craving BK for a week afterward.

All of that being said, I am sick and tired of the product placement in the reality shows I watch. I’m not big on most reality TV because I just don’t find it all that entertaining, but I will cop to both Little People, Big World and Deadliest Catch. After last night, though, I’m about ready to cancel my season pass to LPBW. It’s been obvious for awhile that Matt Roloff is gaming the popularity of the show to cash in on endorsements and product placement. I started watching the show to see how someone with a unique condition faces the obstacles and challenges of daily life. I kept watching because I liked the family dynamic. But now? I can’t help but think all of the strategic product placement is ruining the show AND the kids. On the last episode there were 4 minutes devoted to watching Amy Roloff and two of the kids play with a new Wii. We even got a close-up of the box and a mention of the product name. A recent episode mentioned “Mountain Dew” about 11 times. [Don’t even get me started on all of the underwritten trips and home improvements that I initially whined about a year ago.]

I guess I don’t mind seeing products crop up in a subtle way when the show works them into the plot. But when the entire point of the show is diverted to such mindless pursuits as “watch us play with our Wiis!” then I feel like I’ve been tricked into an infomercial.

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Christmas=Good

I’m getting really tired of the War On Christmas…but not the one you are probably thinking about.

I was reminded once again of this War on Christmas by this blog. Here’s the thing. I’m a Christian, and I grew up in a Christian home. We celebrate Christmas totally differently from the way even my own cousins do, and they are also Christians who grew up in a Christian home.

Yet every year I am inundated with magazine articles, news stories and blog pieces about The Spirit Of Christmas, What Christmas Means and How To Celebrate The Holidays. Sam Davidson and Cool People Care have a slogan called “Christmas Is Not Your Birthday”, which is meant to tell people Christmas isn’t about them, I guess. I’m not quite clear on what it means, although I do know three people for whom Christmas is in fact, their birthdays. So I think the slogan misses the mark.

What’s my point? My point is that to me Christmas means one thing. To you it means something else. But everywhere you look in the Christian world (I can’t speak for other places) you read about how people are tired of the commercialism, etc.

Guess what? I love the commercialism of the holidays. Once Thanksgiving is over, I am thrilled to see little white lights twinkling in the garlands hung outside my local Kroger. I’m giddy when I see Town House Crackers shaped like trees and I laugh outright at the 12 packs of Coke with the polar bears on them. I love that the commercials on TV are devoted to gifts–even though I don’t want most of the things they’re trying to sell. (Diamond tennis bracelets? No, thank you.)

Yes, I know this is when we celebrate Christ’s birth. But you know what? I personally don’t think Jesus is too miffed about me being pleased with Christmas music in restaurants. The way I see it, Jesus wants me to have Joy and Peace. These things bring me joy and peace. Not in and of themselves, of course. I don’t put all my hope for peace in Panera’s holiday decorations, but I do like them.

I spend 11 months a year well aware of famine, murder, death, disease, destruction and the general decay of sin. I like having one month be about light and song and family. What’s wrong with that? Nothing, I don’t think. Nothing at all.

So, no, Christmas is not my birthday. But it does–for Christians–celebrate the entrance of light into the world. So what if I want to light up my world in honour of that? No harm done, I think.

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  1. The prep stuff was the most horrible thing I’ve ever had to drink.   It hurt immensely.
  2. There has not been a day that I haven’t been sick since the test a week ago.  Thanksgiving was okay until about 5pm.  Then I just gave out.
  3. I’ve thrown up more in the week since I had the test than I did in the 5 months before the test.
  4. The test shows that “everything is fine”.  Which is what the nurse said when I called her on Wednesday to ask about not feeling well.  She actually said “The test shows that everything is normal so you should feel okay.”
  5. I haven’t felt like doing any blogging for a week. I still don’t feel like doing any blogging, but I can’t stand having this page sit empty.
  6. I’m tired all the time.  Not ‘sleepy’ tired.  Pass-out-like-a-dead-man tired.
  7. Did I mention that the MoviPrep stuff is nasty?  It is.

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Well, they didn’t see Crohn’s on the colonoscopy or the endoscopy so I have to do the “fantastic voyage” test.  I have to swallow a pill that contains a camera and photographs my entire digestive system over the course of 8 hours.  Cool, huh?

Anyway, they did knock me out for those tests, and they did give me that drug which makes you announce whatever your inner feelings are.  Some people have told me they cry, other people have told me they cussed their mothers or confessed to committing a crime.

Wanna know what I said under the influence?

I begged for phenergan.

Yes, that’s right.  My fear of vomiting and my constant nausea are SO everpresent that even while under the influence of truth serum I begged for anti-nausea medication.

The trouble was that they’d already given me some in my IV and I didn’t believe them.  I imagine it was quite,er, comical.  Or sad.

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