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Everything Changes

The more messed up this world gets, the more God makes sense.

Crossroads

Sunday, December 30, 2007
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." [ Jeremiah 29:11 ]
Happy New Year!

This Week Only!

Thursday, December 27, 2007
In sociology, counter culture is a term used to describe the values and norms of behavior of a cultural group, or subculture, that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day; a culture with lifestyles and values opposed to those of the established culture.

I think it would be safe to say that the established North American culture embraces shopping for stuff we don't need (a.k.a. materialism / consumerism) as a normal Christmas behavior. This behavior has also become "normal" at Easter, Halloween, Valentine's Day, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, baptisms, births, deaths, graduations, job promotions, retirement parties and various other special occasions throughout the year.

Don't misunderstand me - I don't have a problem giving gifts, in fact, I love to give gifts to people. I even believe God wants us to be generous givers. But does it make sense to spend thousands of dollars on Christmas gifts that go on sale the day after Christmas?

And what about Christian stores that adopt the same sales and marketing strategies as the established culture? For example - Christian retailers sell "Jesus Junk" to their born again customers for 40 - 70% above cost in the weeks leading up to Christmas, only to drastically reduce the prices a few hours AFTER Christmas so those SAME believers can spend even MORE money on stuff they don't need!

On December 24th the latest TobyMac CD your preteen wants for Christmas will cost $15.99. But on December 26th (less than 48 hours later) you could buy the same CD for $7.97! But because you don't want to disappoint your preteen you purchase the CD at the higher price. That way you can have it wrapped and under the tree for Christmas morning so that your kid won't be sad that they didn't receive the CD they asked Satan, I mean Santa, to bring them! Afterall, TobyMac is about as counter culture as you can get! Isn't he?
(No, wait. Actually, I think TobyMac is status quo when it comes to Christian pop culture. Yeah. Christian, pop, culture. Okay, I'm WAY off topic here. Now where was I.)
Oh yeah! What it means to be counter culture as a Christian. Hmmm. I may have to buy a copy of the latest Relevant Magazine to continue this chat. Surely they could help me sort this all out.

(Hopefully it's on sale!)

Christmas Offering - Paul Baloche

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sarcasm 101

Sunday, December 16, 2007
Sarcasm [derived from the word annoyance] is the sneering, sly, jesting, or mocking of a person, situation or thing. It is strongly associated with irony, with some definitions classifying it as a type of verbal irony intended to insult or wound — stating the opposite of the intended meaning, e.g. using "that's fantastic" to mean "that's awful". It is used mostly in a humorous manner, but can express annoyance or anger and is frequently referred to as the "lowest form of wit". [Wikipedia]
Generally speaking I would not consider myself to be sarcastic, although I sometimes use sarcasm in my blogs to drive home a point. When it comes to sarcasm in relationships, I just hate it. Some people love it.
Oddly enough, sarcastic remarks are often used between friends, perhaps as a somewhat perverse demonstration of the strength of the bond—only a good friend could say this without hurting the other's feelings, or at least without excessively damaging the relationship, since feelings are often hurt in spite of a close relationship. If you drop your lunch tray and a stranger says, "Well, that was really intelligent," that's sarcasm. If your girlfriend or boyfriend says it, that's love—I think. [EGHSAP Literary Terms]
In my experience, sarcasm is often connected to insecurity—people say something as a joke because they don't have the confidence to speak their mind. I've heard it said that there's an element of truth in every joke. If that's the case, I think we should learn how to joke a lot less and speak the truth (in love) a lot more.
Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic,
be loving, be compassionate, be humble.
That goes for all of you, no exceptions.
No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm.
Instead, bless—that's your job, to bless.
You'll be a blessing and also get a blessing.

Whoever wants to embrace life
and see the day fill up with good,
Here's what you do:
Say nothing evil or hurtful;
Snub evil and cultivate good;
run after peace for all you're worth.
God looks on all this with approval,
listening and responding well to what he's asked;
But he turns his back
on those who do evil things.
[1 Peter 3:8-12 | The Message]

Have Less, Live More

Friday, December 14, 2007
BuyNothingChristmas.org