Archive for March, 2013

Add Your Own Rim Shot

Friday, March 29th, 2013

If you read unscriptured and you’re not yet an adult… First, thanks for reading. Second, don’t read today’s post. Third, if you do read today’s post, it’s about chickens.

So I couldn’t help but notice that this week there are two different hot-button political debates raging across the media, gun control and same sex marriage. Naturally I had to ask God what he thought of the issues…

He told me that they’re actually more connected than you might think. One of them is about keeping people from going off half cocked, and the other is about keeping people from getting off double cocked.


Friday, March 22nd, 2013

I don’t dwell on the past; I live for the moment and the future. This isn’t to say that I don’t let past behaviors and outcomes, either my own or those of others, inform how I live for the moment and how I live for the future, but I don’t let myself be ruled by the past. In somewhat practical terms this also means that I don’t tend to have strong memories of things that happened long ago. Memories work best when they get reinforced and for a fair number of people that reinforcement happens when they go back in their minds, revisit those memories, and in some cases reimagine them, edit them even.

And God tells me we all do that, we all modify our pasts in our minds. Some of us do it consciously, some less so. I know I’m not immune, but I certainly try to not do it consciously.

But none of that’s what I want to talk about today. Today I want to tell you about an incident that happened when I was young, probably in my late teens, as I’m pretty sure it was while I was still in High School. God reminded me about it and told me it was worth sharing, and I suppose she’s right.

Now that I’ve given it all that build-up, let me tear it down some. This isn’t a major incident, it’s has no life changing insight; it’s just one of those little things that all add up to make us who we are.

I was walking down the street one day. I had just crossed the street, stepped up over the curb and gone a few feet further along the sidewalk. Another young man was coming from the other direction and just as we were about to pass each other, he said to me, “Smile.” It was said in a sort of commanding tone but playfully, in a way that suggested he knew he had no right to tell me what to do but that it was good advice that I should take just on face value. And he was right. I did smile. I think I smiled not so much because I was told to as because the telling me to was amusing. I smiled because someone had spoken to me with no apparent motive to get something from me; he was not looking for a handout; he was not asking for directions; he was not even trying to strike up a conversation, as he didn’t pause in passing me by.

I have no idea what my expression had been before he spoke. I had been bullied as a young child and that was (and is to some extent) reflected in my exposed persona. I do not often now, and much less then, do things to draw attention to myself. I close in, I leave my face, I think, relatively expressionless. Certainly I don’t generally grin as I walk down the street, so I find it perfectly ordinary that I wasn’t smiling.

There are many things I’ll never know about that encounter, about why that man said what he said. I don’t know if he was in the habit of saying that all the time, just to try and goad the world into being happier. Perhaps I was lost in thoughts that had left a particularly dour or gloomy expression on my face and he thought that ill-befitting of one as young as I was. Perhaps he had just had some good news and wanted everyone he passed to join in his celebratory feelings. But no matter, no matter to any of that. He succeeded in his quest, I smiled, and whether I smiled because the request amused me or if I smiled in reflexive obedience and the act of smiling caused me to be happy and in turn that amused me, I can’t say, not now nor then, but it doesn’t matter, all that matters is that for a little while I was happier than I would have been without it, and that’s a good thing just all on its own.

So give it a try: Smile!

Jenny Walks the Moon

Friday, March 15th, 2013

One of the best things that God has done for me lately was introduce me to the music of Walk the Moon. They have an album titled Walk the Moon, which you want to avoid confusing with the 1987 album Walk the Moon by a different group called Walk the Moon. But confusion aside, what the current group plays is pop, but in my opinion it’s about as perfect as pop gets. The songs are jaunty fun, with bouncy music and enough lyric repetitiveness to hook you but enough variation to keep you.

The last two times I’ve changed out CDs in my car’s player, somehow only five of the six discs have changed, Walk the Moon, just keeps getting better, so it stays.

I found out today that God had an ulterior motive in introducing me to their sound. I listen to a lot of music and even though I’ve got no voice, when I’m alone I sometimes sing along. Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest categories of songs that exist, is love songs, and most of the love songs are guys singing either to or about women. That doesn’t reflect my inner reality though, so when I sing along, I usually change the pronouns. Changing “gal” to “guy” and “she” to “he” is often all that is necessary to completely gender-flip a song. And when it isn’t? Well, those tend to be the songs that I don’t bother singing along with. But Walk the Moon’s music is too infectious for me to ignore and they have this one song, “Jenny,” that couldn’t be flipped without a major rewrite. One of the prominent, repeated, refrains is “She has a body just like an hourglass. I want to be the sand inside that hourglass.” While I suppose I could imagine a guy with a body just like an hourglass, it doesn’t matter because that isn’t what interests me.

So what I found out today was that God wanted to see what I’d do with that song. Would I refuse to sing along? Would I do major surgery on the lyrics? Well, neither. I sing along with it just like it is. I mean it’s great music, but it is just a song.

Do It Again

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Sometimes when I’m with God I play this game of trying to guess what Heaven is like. It’s not a game unique to me, as I’ve seen plenty of works of art, from movies to music to paintings, try to present a view into Heaven. I’d’ve hoped that having a chance to bounce my thoughts off of the head honcho herself would have given me some useful feedback, but she really doesn’t tell me anything.

One of the things I was lamenting recently is the “need” to always be looking for new things that make life good. We have an incredible ability to get used to things. A new song comes out and we love it but then listen to it until we’re sick of it. We get a new toy, be it car or computer or a set of rechargeable batteries and we can spend weeks talking about almost nothing else, but eventually, it’s old hat, it’s business as usual, it’s just another thing.

So my idea today is that maybe Heaven is just like life but what’s different is us. Maybe Heaven is just us changed so that we get used to the bad things, become indifferent to them, but we never get tired of the good things. The millionth taste of that new drink is just as good as the first one. The rush we get from mastering a new skill is what we feel from everything we do.

I asked God what she thought of this idea. She told me that she still remembers the first time she made a black hole. She got a kind of far away look in her eyes. Then she changed the subject.

For This We Pray

Friday, March 1st, 2013

When we work to accomplish something and we fail, we say that we have struggled in vain.

People are always saying we should not use God’s name in vain.

People often pray and have their prayers go unanswered. So those people are praying in vain. So those people, having “asked this in the name of our Lord,” have taken the Lord’s name in vain.

I asked God what he thought of my logic. He told me that it could be taken further and could show how he would be right to never answer anyone’s prayers. See, if God knows that he’s not going to answer someone’s prayer, then he knows when they are praying that they are taking his name in vain, and since that’s a sin, he’s right to not answer their prayer. It’s practically diabolical.