Category Archives: Culture

Hey Church! Stop Holding Your Breath

I’ve heard stories about children who hold their breath to get what they want. Thankfully none of my kids have ever done this, so I’ve never seen it happen. But my wife has.

She used to babysit for two boys the youngest of which would cry to get what he wanted. He’d cry so much, that he wouldn’t take the time to breathe. So when he decided that what he wanted was more important than air, he would turn blue and pass out for a few seconds then wake having forgotten what he wanted.

As a dad of 4, soon to be 5, the practical side of me doesn’t think that’s a bad trade off. Let my kid pass out if it gets him through throwing a fit? Sure! But then, it’s probably not very good for his brain if he’s deprived of oxygen. As I think it through, I’m very sure his mother wouldn’t believe it’s good either.

So I officially advocate for breathing. We must breathe. Glad that’s settled.

Believers in Christ are no different. The Church, Christ’s body, must breathe. But as rule, it appears America’s model for the Church is that it inhales “Christian stuff” but exhales far less items of redemptive value.

Let me tell you what I mean.

Christian retail distribution and online sales are a 4.63 billion dollar a year business.[1] The majority of these are items are produced so that Christians can purchase and use them to learn more about God, Jesus Christ and His Church. The Church’s #2 “thing we do” next to Sunday worship, is Bible Study. These are not bad things right?

However, they are bad if all our consuming leads to nothing. No life-change, no other lives changed as a result.

Jesus’ Church is on the earth for one purpose and it isn’t to study the Bible in perpetuity, read popular theological books, enjoy Thomas Kinkade or to feel self-actualized. The Church’s purpose is to accurately represent Christ to the world and share the truth of Jesus so the world can be saved.

If all we do as Christians is receive Sunday sermons, study the Bible and buy “Christian stuff”, we are in serious danger of turning blue and passing out.

So what should we do? Exhale. And then inhale, and then exhale some more. Feels more healthy already doesn’t it?

Pour it out. Pay it forward. Give some back. Deny yourself, pick up your cross, follow Him. However you’d like to say it. Do not become a warehouse for information or stuff. But use all that God has breathed into you to breathe out to others. This doesn’t just mean Bible information or theology, but effort, comfort, peace, kindness, joy and gentleness. All of it.

If you’ve received salvation from God in Christ, then you must return that salvation to the world on behalf of the One who gave it to you. May we hold each other to this standard as we struggle onward.

If you’d like an opportunity to “breathe out”, the Schuyler County (Illinois) Ministerial Association(SCMA) has scheduled this year’s “Together for Rushville” community service workday for Saturday October 3rd. Please find the event on Facebook.

[1] Phillip J. Clements and Sharon Nolt, Christian Retail Industry Research, (New York, NY: Cathedral Publishing Group, 2008)

Advertisements

Thanks for Defending the Internet, But I’ll take the Holderness Family Any Day

Two obscure bloggers, recently launched posts grievously criticizing the Holderness Family for being, well, uh… successful on the internet?

(See the most recent blog post here, I hesitate to tag either of them because they are drivel)

The Holderness Family‘s parental unit (Penn and Kim) have enjoyed a sizable amount of views on YouTube of their videos which include parodied versions of popular hip-hop and pop hits. These are very well done “domesticated” music video versions of songs that are popular in the current stream of music drones (“All About That Bass”, check out their parody here) Or, the videos are redone songs that 90’s teens, like me, loved and now suburban parents still relate to by changing the lyrics to reflect their lives and include their children.

Each bloggers’ basic point is the defense against the sick, shameless and obvious intention of the Holderness Family in using platforms like YouTube to entertain and connect with people who click on their videos and therefore gain ad dollars and follower-ship through their other social media platforms.

Wait, wha? Why is that wrong?

The two bloggers say some specific things as to why the Holderness family is wrong and should be condemned to hell. Their points are harsh, derogatory and uneducated but that’s not why the bloggers are off-base (or “Baste” :). They claim objectification and oppression of the Holderness children and of Kim Holderness, overt goofiness, “trying too hard”, Stepford-ism, ad-money-grubbing and well… just being liked. (Apparently being liked is offensive) By the end of the posts, I guess I just don’t believe what the bloggers have to say. Something seems plastic here and it’s not the Holderness Family.

I just have one main question for the bloggers before I wrap this up. (I do have 4 kids and job, so I can’t blog all day)

Who designated bloggers as the defenders of the internet?

Really, who asked you? Will someone please help me out? Give me a membership card, a business card, (jeez, a greeting card), that indicates that we need to be helped to or away from internet content by obscure, potty-mouthed and relatively unfollowed (compared to the Holderness Family) bloggers who hitch their platforms to successful internet platforms? Let’s be real, these two blogs received more views because of the criticism of a more successful media platform. Talk about sick, shameless and obvious intention.

Lastly, I LIKE the Holderness Family! Leave them alone, and let them enjoy the same thing every worthwhile blogger and content producer enjoys on the internet; the right to produce consumable (i.e. well-done, morally good and basically positive) content through a platform which they work hard to develop. Let them do so free from the cynical, elitist, internet gestapo who just don’t understand why The Holderness Family gets more eyes on their internet content than they could ever dream.

(Apologies, the amount of linking and my ranting style in this one indicates my support of the H-Family and my anger at internet oppression-Have a Nice Day!)

Why I Grieved the Loss of Robin Williams

Tired of Robin Williams posts, tweets, tributes and honors yet? I’m not. I watch every video and read every post I come across. I thought about posting this last week, but it was too soon for me and I think for others. 

I really believe that no one should care what I think on this. But I thought I’d share this publicly anyway.

I had been struggling with Robin Williams death when I heard and I didn’t understand why until three mornings after the news broke. I didn’t know him personally, I am not related to him and I haven’t actually even physically seen him. So why did I get upset? Why did I even care?

For me, here’s why:

Funny people put out a vibe for others that everything’s gonna be alright. That’s what Robin Williams’ career did for me. I don’t remember his stand-up comedy as much as I remember his characters that meant something to me. He was a Genie who gave amusing guidance and support to a young would-be prince. He was a therapist to me in being a therapist to young Will Hunting. He was the creator of crazy worlds that only seemed to exist within a two-foot radius of himself. That was the power of his unique craft.

I always stopped to watch news about him, always saw his movies and always enjoyed the performances he gave. (His Teddy Roosevelt floored me)

Yet, it’s so very selfish for me to feel anything in regard to Robin Williams’ death. I’m not his spouse, his child or his best friend. But still I feel cheated. I feel cheated because his life’s work strived to say, “you’re alright.” He was the possibility that nothing but laughter and entertaining could fill a life and make it seem consequential to any of us. Only why didn’t he find his own life consequential while so many others did? That question will linger for a long time.

It’s true that we only see our lives in a mirror, darkly. We see only a reflection and a poor one at that. Did he not know how valued he was? Aside from his fame, money and success; did he not know how much he meant to his family? I wish I could have convinced him.

That’s why I’m selfish here, that’s why I don’t feel my opinion matters on this. I’m some distant dude writing about an ultra-famous man, more than a week after his passing, who’s significant to me because he made me laugh, cry and think. But what about his significant ones? They are allowed to feel the full plunge into grief. They have the right to endure it all and I pray for them.

Literally every other post on my Facebook feed last Monday was in regard to Robin Williams passing. Yet I didn’t post; I didn’t comment. I didn’t feel it was any of my business. His passing was sacred ground and I respected it by not attempting to present any rhetoric.

Then, I began to feel loss. A feeling that confused and therefore led me to write here what Robin Williams meant to me; ultimately someone I will never know.

 

 

%d bloggers like this: