Friday, January 28, 2011

I'm Taking It!

Today's Dove advice suggests "Take a moment for yourself."

Okay, then -- fair warning to you all:  I'm taking 2:31 am, Saturday, April 16th.

It's mine, and none of you can share in it.

As I am a nice person, I took mine in the wee hours on a weekend - most of you won't even notice that it is gone. 

I advise that you treat it like daylight savings, and before you go to bed on Friday, set your clocks ahead one moment.  That way you won't be off all weekend.

Just my thoughts,


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Money and Goofy Religion Part 4

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3

Before I get to the spirit of the law plus money, I want to address why we would need any kind of rules on money to begin with.

The goofy Gospel folk say that if you pray hard enough, or visualize enough, or get in on the secret enough, or please our alien forefathers enough, you’ll get so much money raining down on you that you will be gloriously and eternally happy.

Because the key to all things good is wealth, right?

To answer this, let’s go to the holy text, “The Fiddler on the Roof,” chapter one, starting with the verse, “If I Were a Rich Man.”

The number begins with Tevye kvetching to G-d about his status as a poor person, framing the question,

"Dear God, you made many, many poor people. I realize, of course, that it's no shame to be poor. But it's no great honor either! So, what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?"

And then he sings about what he would do if he had money.

First, he would stop working.  Instead he would, and I quote, “biddy biddy bum.”

Then he would pimp his crib to excess (can one pimp a crib to excess?), including a staircase that goes nowhere just for show.

And he would make sure the whole town knows how rich he is, pumping up the ego as much as possible.

So, if he were rich, he would race to sloth, greed and pride.  He gets to gluttony a little bit later.  So, four out of seven of the sins that destroy a man.

Can I just point out the brilliance of Bock, Harnick and Stein: Tevye asks G-d a question, then immediately answers it himself.

Dont’ get me wrong, I’m with Tevye on this one - would it be so awful to give me a little bit of weath?  I’d be happy to take on that burden.

But I also have to admit that if honesty came into play, I would not be immune to Tevye’s temptations -- especially as his reason for wanting the wealth comes from one of the three remaining deadly sins.

Can the rush to fulfill the itch of envy (or pride, greed, lust, wrath, sloth or gluttony) result in true health, wealth or wisdom?

Maybe not so much.

Yet the goofy Gospelians tell us to rush headlong into such stuff.  

What would the non-goofy Gospel tell us instead?

Next time.

Just my thoughts,


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Always Follow Your Liver - It's Rarely Wrong

Today’s Dove wisdom: 

“Always follow your heart – it’s never wrong.”

Gotta wonder who they were thinking of when they came up with that gem.

Romeo (either the Rosalind chaser or the Juliet chaser)?

Sampson getting a haircut from Delilah, or David scoping out Bathsheba in the tub?

Clyde thinking, “Hey, I know how I can impress that Bonnie girl”?

Cleopatra tossing in with Antony?

Robert Scott adding his friend to the expedition, even though he knew they didn’t calculate for his food? 

Or Napoleon saying, "Screw history and my tactical training, I want me a piece of Moscow!"

Okay, so here’s what I think happened at the ol’ Dove factory. 

Someone came up with this quote, and some other dude said, “Wow, that’s nowhere near accurate,” and the guy who types them up said, “Yeah, but it feels right, and it says right there that I gotta go with what feels right.”

And then it got wrapped around my piece of chocolate.

So, who do you think they were thinking of when they came up with this quote?

Just my thoughts,


Monday, January 24, 2011

Harry's on Facebook

Janet has a link to the facebook profiles of Harry, Hermione and Ron - as well as a few other online presences from Hogwarts. 

Worth a diverting trip just for Cormac McLaggen's posts on Hermione's wall...

Money and Goofy Religion Part 3

For Part One, go here.        For Part Two, go here.

Tim could have just said, “Be as generous as possible.”  That would have covered it.  But instead he felt the need to codify generosity – and don’t we all?  

(“What?! The Lord wants me to give to the church?! Well, exactly how much does he expect?”)

Our natural instinct is to want to narrowly define all general principles.  

Jesus said, “Hey, if you love God and love your neighbor, you don’t need any more rules!”  

And we said, “That’s great.  Hey, Jesus, got a quick question for ya.  Hypothetically, can I love my neighbor and still punch him in the gut every now and then?”

And Jesus said, “Seriously.  Don’t punch your neighbor in the gut, even just every now and then.”

“Oh, okay,” we replied.  “Can I still poke him in the eye?”

“No, you can’t poke him in the eye.  That’s not very loving, is it?”

“Okay, but how about this -- what if we say ‘Nyuck nyuck’ as we poke him in the eye?”

“No eye poking!  ‘Nyuck nyuck’ does not make eye poking okay!”

“Oh, I get it,” we say.  “So loving our neighbor means don’t punch him in the gut or poke him in the eye.”

“Yes!” says the Lord.

And then one of us whispers to the rest, “Good thing he didn’t say anything about stomping on his feet.”

I’m not saying that we always look to define the rules so we can get around them (although that is an inevitable result).  There are a host of reasons that we feel the need to turn a simple rule into a 3,000 page incomprehensible House bill.
For one, we need clarity. (What does that rule really mean?)
And we want to know where we stand.  (Am I going to pass the course?)

We want to make sure we aren’t doing it wrong.  (Like this, or like this?)

We don’t trust our own ability for self evaluation.  (I think I’m loving my neighbor even as I’m poking him in the eyes.  Nyuck nyuck.)

We don’t trust our neighbor to evaluate himself.  (He keeps poking me in the eye. And laughing. That isn’t very funny.)

So we clarify, and we quantify, and we specify.  And then we legalify.

We focus on the specific rules, we pay heed to the letter of the law, and we feel like good little boys and girls because we went a whole week without punching or poking.

And along the way we forgot to love our neighbor.

Same is true with money.  More on that next time.

Just my thoughts,


Friday, January 21, 2011

Money and Goofy Religion Part 2

For Part One, go here.

But even the guys that aren’t in love with money get goofy – like this guy.  

So goofy, that his main point is one that he doesn’t believe to be true.  (Or at least I don’t think he does…)

For those that don’t like to read links: Tim Smith’s church doesn’t pay writers for the material they use in church services; and he wants stuff his church develops to be free for others to use in their churches.

But then again, if his pastor writes a book, he wants his pastor to get paid for it.

So they’ve got a system – if it is used in worship, they don’t get paid; if it ends up in a book or cd, they do get paid.

Cool by me; pretty nifty, in fact.  There's a lot of really good stuff in that blog entry.

Where Tim gets goofy is when he tries to reverse engineer a theology to codify this method.

To do this, he puts creative endeavors into two categories.  First, things created for G-d’s glory:  “When we write songs for gathered worship, our primary purpose should be to glorify God and build his church.”  Those things should be free.

The rest of the stuff, like making music cd’s or writing books, by default should be stuff we primarily intend NOT to bring glory to G-d, and that stuff we should charge for.

I should point out that Tim gets paid to work at his church, and therefore acknowledges that nothing he does all day long builds Christ’s church.  And his pastor does write books, but since those books intentionally do not glorify the Lord, it’s cool that he gets paid to write them.

Of course I’m having a bit of fun at Tim’s expense: I don’t know for sure, but it seems from all I do know of him and his church, they wouldn’t dream of advising that 1 Peter 4:11 or 1 Corinthians 10:31 be ignored – especially when making a studio recording of praise songs or writing about, say, the New Testament.**

And there are a number of artists out there that don’t fit into Tim’s paradigm.  

Like my friend Chuck, who writes material for the church (and performs it for churches); he does this full time.  If he didn’t get paid for it, he would not be able to feed his wife and children.  So he often charges for the services he provides.

I think Tim would be fine with that; Tim might even encourage Chuck with a quote from Timothy or Nehemiah.

On the other hand, my friend Cory also writes for the church.  He doesn’t charge a tuppence; but then again he also has a full time job elsewhere.  I think Tim would also be fine with Cory, and might use words like “tentmaker” or cite from Thessalonians to encourage Cory.

Here’s the thing: both write to bring Glory to God, and both deliver material meant to build up the church.

So, this whole split in “make some things for G-d’s glory, and other things not so much” is not what Tim means, it’s just what he says.  So why get discombobulated and say such a thing?

Money and the need for legalism.  More on that later...

Just my thoughts,

**Let me reiterate that I don’t know this – maybe Tim does believe that anything that doesn’t happen on Sunday between 9 am and 11 am should be intentionally anti-glorious. I’m just assuming not.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Need a piece of beauty in your day?

Check out Richard Beck's poem: Amnesia.

Money and Goofy Religion

Money makes people goofy – especially when money butts up against religion.

Which should come as no surprise, as love of the stuff is the root of all kinds of evil.  

I remember listening to a radio interview with a prosperity gospel preacher, as he was making the argument that Jesus was independently wealthy.

After all, the Lord wandered around without a job for three years.  Explain that if the good shepherd wasn't loaded?

You see, in this guy’s world, Jesus would have responsibly invested the gold, frankincense and myrhh that he got for his zeroeth birthday (you agree that Jesus would be responsible, right?). 

And he used that wealth to fund his travels with the disciples (you agree that Jesus wouldn’t want to be a burden, right?). 

The water into wine and the fishes and loaves – not miracles so much as Jesus buying food and drink for friends. He had enough cash to throw down a party for a multitude!
Oh, and the whole perfume on his feet thing – another sign that Jesus wants us to be wealthy.  He was telling Judas to stop bugging him about appreciating those extravagances in life to which Jesus had grown accustomed.  

(Just like the speaker’s car and jewelry – you wouldn’t do a Judas on him about those things, would you?)

Sheesh.  The lengths one goes to in justifying a love for money.

But even the guys that aren’t in love with money get goofy – but I'll get into that next time.

Just my thoughts,


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

That Might Hurt

Today's Dove advice:

"Always put people before things."

I hope they don't mean things like moving vehicles.

Or falling rocks.

Or the cart.  Because that one is for horses.

Today I put Jason before the script shelf.  Then I couldn't get to the script I wanted.

Not sure I like today's wisdom morsel. 

Just my thoughts,


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Little Clarity With My Chocolate, Please

I base all my life decisions on Dove chocolate fortunes.  And why not?  If dark chocolate can give bad advice, I just don't want to try anymore.

But today's post-meal treat says this:

"Keep your promises to yourself and to others."

Now at first glance, it seems to say, "Hey, stop telling me your promises.  Keep them to yourself."

But then the "and to others" throws that off -- how can I keep something to myself that I also share with others?

So I thought maybe it was just saying, "Keep your promises.  For your sake, as well as for others."

But then there would be a comma after the word "promises." 

There is no comma.

Now I don't know what to do -- should I tell people my promises, or keep them to myself?  My life is spinning out of control, and I don't know where to turn for help.

So just to be safe, I'm going to keep my promises to myself.  And I will only share them with the followers of Jacob on the far side of the island.

Just my thoughts,


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Beautiful Conspiracy

Over at Letters of Note, you can see Kurt Vonnegut's witty and insightful response to a theater company's request for support.

Favorite bit is his wrap up:  "Guard yourself at all times. A lot of people believe that beauty is some kind of conspiracy -- along with friendly laughter and peace."

Head on over and check it out.

Just my thoughts,