Here’s a powerful 18 minute film. I finished reading The Help a few days ago and the Lord was gracious in bringing this to my attention as well.
Category Archives: culture
A humble brag, as I understand it, is when you brag about yourself in a way that masquerades as humility or is coupled with self-deprecation. Here are some examples:
‘Ugh. I just pocket dialed spokesperson for Pentagon.’ —Greta Van Susteren
‘If you think getting your house ready for guests is a hassle, try preparing it for HGTV cameras. I am the worst florist ever.’ —Tony Hawk
Here’s the example Justin Taylor gives:
“I remember my first months in Harvard classrooms, gob-smacked by how my contributions, however lame, were invariably treated with respect because my accent framed them.” -Andrew Sullivan
When I read the concept and the examples, my first thoughts went somewhere other than the ugliness of the humblebrag. Instead I thought of the ugliness of envy and how hard it is for us to be happy for someone else’s successes.
So what if Andrew Sullivan mentions that his school was Harvard? I often say what school I went to, it just so happens that it isn’t prestigous. Why shouldn’t Harvard attendees be able to talk about their life just like the rest of us? The fact that it bothers us that he mentions the name of his school is a reflection of insecurity in the listener, not the speaker.
When good things happen to someone else, like winning an award, or having a great job, or writing a book, or [fill in the blank], it’s better for my soul to rejoice in their success, rather than nitpick their statements looking for a hidden braggart.
Being a humble brag is a bad deal. I don’t want to be one; I don’t want my kids to be one. But, I can’t help but feel that the real issue is our inability to be happy for others. Without being able to see into people’s hearts, it’s hard to judge whether they’re bragging or simply stating what’s happening in their life at that moment. After all, I assume that Greta Van Susteran really did accidently pocket dial the Pentagon. How’s that any different than me saying, “Ugh, I just pocket-dialed the babysitter.”
I think having a problem with Greta saying that she pocket-dialed the Pentagon (which is actually pretty funny) is more about being unable to bear anyone who does better than we do. (I could go on here to relate how I think that this envy culture is a result of liberal ideology and the concept of equality of outcome, or how it flows out of our depraved and wicked hearts, but I wouldn’t want to sound too confident or self-important or controversial.)
Here are my take-home lessons: 1)Don’t brag. 2)Don’t envy. 3) Don’t be paralyzingly self-aware. Enough.
In honor of Father’s Day, for all the dads I know who wear khakis on a regular basis, drive the mini-van without shame, and have a secret love of rap, which they break into on occasion with the hopes of impressing their children and wife: jury’s out on how effective that is. Especially for the dad of my children and my own dad, who has been known to sport socks and sandals every so often.
This one’s for you, dads.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15
Here’s a chance to do both.
Here’s a book I’m looking forward to reading. It’s called Christians Get Depressed Too by David Murray. I’m hoping it expresses some of what is needed in the conversation about Christians and depression.
Dr. Wes Bredenhof reviews the book saying this:
“There is a perception out there that depression is, at its roots, a spiritual problem. According to this perception, people become depressed because they have done something sinful. A true and faithful Christian would never get depressed. Part of Murray’s burden in this book is to dismantle that perception. He does that with an open Bible, explaining how godly believers in both Testament struggled with this problem.
The author goes on to outline how complex depression is – there are no trite and easy answers. He describes the problem in a way that will be helpful for those trying to understand it. He also gives hope, comfort, and help for those who are suffering. Again, all of this is grounded in the Word of God. Yes, Murray believes that Christians can learn from medical science and he attempts to incorporate some of those insights into this book. He is also firmly convinced that medication can not only alleviate symptoms, but also address the causes of depression in many cases.”
When God provides means through common grace (via counseling or medicine) to help us in our human state for something like depression, we should accept with thanks. That is God’s grace and healing.
One thing that I’ve often heard suggested from fellow believers as a means to improve depression is a change of diet or to begin taking a particular natural supplement. Sometimes these same people are leery of what modern medicine might suggest for depressed people, like an anti-depressant. There is an irony in this. They believe it valid to change the biology of your body through a new diet or “natural” pill (with no provable tests results showing success), but consider it less valid (less holy?) to change the biology of your body through a drug, that has been tested, peer-reviewed and proven effective for severe depression.
My hope is that this book affords depressed Christians the same love the Lord affords them. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” Poor in spirit. Mourning. Meek. They are blessed. Let’s learn from depressed people instead of relegating them to “struggling” Christian and taking pot shots at prozac from the pulpit.
There is much to learn about God and ourselves from those who have walked in the dark valleys.
Bredenhoff goes on to say:
“I’ve read and reviewed several books on this subject over the years. I’ve learned that depression is a dark and ugly consequence of the fall into sin. It is no less a part of this world of dysfunction than is cancer. At the same, I’ve learned (and Murray’s book has reinforced this) that depression reminds us of how little we know about the workings of the human brain and how it relates to our non-material aspect (our soul). Finally, I’ve become convinced that God brings trials (including depression) our way so as to shape, teach, and lead us. This little book brings us back to the Word through which that all happens.”
I can’t endorse a book I haven’t read, but the review sure sounds good.
Here’s my 2 cents.
Rejecting an extension of Bush’s tax rates- Lame. We should all pay our taxes. But let that be the end of it. I’m tired of hearing people upset because someone else isn’t paying more. Face forward students. Eyes on your own paper. Let’s quit caring about what someone else is or isn’t getting or paying.
Wikileaks- “I do not think that means what you think it means.” What a bummer. But, I actually felt comforted to know that Hillary was spying on other countries. Bummer the info got out, but hey, good to know she’s in the know.
Childhood Obesity- Here is legislation to curb childhood obesity. Is obesity good? No. But neither is an inordinate emphasis on “healthy” eating. In my experience, I run into as many people obsessed with “health” as I do obese people. What’s the difference? One’s healthy (for now) and one’s (probably) not, but both can’t get their minds off of food. And one is definitely more self-congratulatory than the other.
The TSA and Santa- Wow. I mean really, wow. I don’t plan on flying anytime soon.
Metrodome Roof Collapse- Now I want to see the footage of Ziggy Wilf up there cutting holes in the fabric during the snow storm. With Favre’s scandals, Childress’s poor coaching, Percy’s migraines, and overall lousy performances, this is the best news he’s had all season. Finally a chance at a new stadium!
“..people like John Calvin and Martin Luther had a dizzying variety of responsibilities, so that they could only use their gifts in the fog of fatigue. Yet the fruits of their labor as leaders and writers still bless the church.”
-Ajith Fernando writing for CT in his article, To Serve is to Suffer
This is true even for lowly stay-home moms. With schooling at home fast approaching, sleepless nights due to an almost three year old (the newborn sleeps just fine:), and life pressing in with aching bodies and crazy schedules, my “gifts” are often, if not always, used in the fog of fatigue.
I pray there will be enough of Christ’s grace over my daily work that some of it will survive the testing fires and be useful for the church: my family, my small group, my friends, etc.
He goes one to say:
“The New Testament is clear that those who work for Christ will suffer because of their work. Tiredness, stress, and strain may be the cross God calls us to. Paul often spoke about the physical hardships his ministry brought him, including emotional strain (Gal. 4:19; 2 Cor. 11:28), anger (2 Cor. 11:29), sleepless nights and hunger (2 Cor. 6:5), affliction and perplexity (2 Cor. 4:8), and toiling—working to the point of weariness (Col. 1:29). In statements radically countercultural in today’s “body conscious” society, he said, “Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16)”
Paul’s sacrifice puts my miniscule one into perspective. I need to get up, be thankful for sleepless nights with children (it means I’m enjoying the gift of having children), put my arms to cheerful action, teach, clean, instruct, love, work, serve. Expect difficulty and persevere.
Preaching to myself this morning, folks.
“As Chrisitans, we should expect persecution for our faith. For most of us in the West, that takes the form of being ostracized and rejected in fairly minor ways (compared to being beaten or killed or imprisoned).
But I think sometimes the world rejects us not because we are like Jesus, but because we’re jerks or weirdos. If we go out of our way to remind people of our moral superiority, if we always insist that people who don’t love God should be expected to act like they do… then we deserve whatever rejection we get. They’re really not rejecting Jesus, they are rejecting us.
So I sometimes talk to my church about the “ministry of being normal”. As believers, we are necessarilly going to have a lot of distance between us and those who don’t follow Christ. We live differently, love differently, hope differently. We’re citizens of a different country.
But it might be helpful if we limit the distance between us and the world in a lot of other ways. We don’t have to flaunt our lack of a TV and be weird and preachy about grinding your own grain. That only serves to put unnecessary distance between us and the people we’re trying to reach. Instead, we should try to engage the world around us, know what our neighbors care about, and try to inhabit the same universe they do.
If they are going to persecute us, let it at least be for things that really have something to do with being a Christian.”
I mentioned a while back that I got an iphone.
I also mentioned that I was enjoying it immensely. That is still true. One benefit that I didn’t anticipate has been a spiritual one.
Every year our church encourages us to follow a schedule of reading through the Bible in a year. I’ve never been able to do it. I’ve started three times and a few months in have felt hopelessly behind.
The last two years, I’ve only read half or a quarter of the assigned reading per day and been mostly content with that. It has been a fruitful time. I don’t believe that you have to read through the Bible in a year in order to have meaningful times in the Word.
However, I still have had a desire to read it in a year, or at least close to a year. I can see that there are benefits to getting a broad look at all of Scripture and being able to make connections between Old Testament and New.
I didn’t think that the way I’d be able to do it would be because of an iphone, but it has been. I got the phone in February and Mr. TommyD downloaded an app that you tap on and it takes you to the four passages of Scripture for that day as put together by our church. You can go forward or backward in the days, in case you need to catch up. Since February, I have been able to keep up with the program!
This is a minor miracle for me. It hasn’t felt overly rushed or burdensome either. Even through Leviticus and Numbers I have found much to chew on as it has contrasted and connected with the Psalms and New Testament reading.
Here’s how the iphone has made it doable:
1) I just tap on the app and all the reading is there. I never lose my spot or forget where I am.
2) I can read it without turning a light on. I was often sleepless during the last trimester of pregnancy and I could read it without switching on the light and waking up Tom.
3) It’s small and easy to hold in one hand while reading. In other words, I can read it while nursing. I’ve always kept my Bible close by when nursing the last three, but turning pages, trying to get to another passage, and balancing the Bible has made it difficult. Not anymore.
4) It’s always with me. I always have my phone on me, so even if I only have a few minutes free, I can pull it out and immediately be in the Word.
And here’s a bonus. When I finish my Bible reading, I switch over to kindle for iphone and have been able to get through a few long books in the last couple months (all free downloads via kindle). Right now I’m reading a biography of John Newton and it is quite wonderful.
So, there’s my spiritual endorsement for the iphone. Who’d have thunk it? :)
Perhaps my next post should be all the possible spiritual pitfalls of the iphone.. that might be a bit longer though.
He is biblical through and through. His thoughts in Touchstone were particularly good.
After some comments on my post about funeral planning, I became interested in why Christians might reject cremation. Dr. Moore answers my questions and then some.
I think I may be amending my funeral plans to include a desire to be buried. There is something to the beauty of following suit with Christ (namely that we are buried like Christ and resurrected like him on the last day) that is hard to resist. It’s not that God can’t raise cremated remains. Of course He can. But when the opportunity to imitate the biblical model is presented, I think I’ll take it.