Monday, January 30, 2012


Confession: I have iPhone envy.

It's my dirty little secret. I know it's ridiculous. When I was fifteen it was Doc Martens. Now that I'm thirty, it's a phone. Same idea though. It seems like everyone I know has one and I don't. I understand that a phone won't make my life any better. Really, when I stop to think about it, I don't even want one, which brings me to my second confession: Sometimes I treat not having this phone as my cross to bear.

Have I judged you for your iPhone? Ninety-eight percent of the time, no, but I wouldn't put it past me. I do apologize for this. Sincerely.  

It's not even about the phone. So what if there's a woman who can search the web to answer any random question that my three year old may have during the day. Yes, it would be nice when Emma wants an explanation for everything, to hand her the phone and say, "I'm not sure Em, just ask Siri," but then my child would grow up as the dumb kid because Siri seems to be operating a couple fries short of a Happy Meal if you ask me.

Now Instagram, that's another story. The fact that friends near and far are always posting their sweet pics and liking and commenting on each other's makes me feel like I'm on the outs.


First world problems at their finest.

My husband has an iPhone, which is even connected to my twitter and fb, so I am essentially on Instagram. But it's his voice, not mine. He chooses the pictures and the captions. Not me. And well, he tends to overpost. I knew I had a problem when we were at Disney the other day and I found myself getting annoyed at him for Instagramming- and it wasn't a matter of him being fully present. It was that he was controlling what was presented about us to the world. 

Completely childish, indeed. I should roll my eyes at my pettiness and move on. I just want to live free though, and I don't think you can really live free until you identify the root causes of things even as silly as coveting a hunk of technology. It's times like this that make me step back and take inventory of my life and ask, "What the heck is wrong with me??"

I'm part of a generation that prides itself on being real and authentic, yet we hold so tightly to controlling how we are perceived by others. I want to connect with people in deep, meaningful relationships, which I feel like I am doing in many ways. It just takes so much time and cultivation. Sometimes it's not fun. People make things so darn complicated. Communication isn't just accepted at face value. Apart from sorting through what is said or eliminated, you have to figure out what is meant by tones and expressions.  Then when you add several people to the mix, the challenge becomes keeping all these different personalities and people with preconceived notions about each other happy. It just gets tiring. Social media makes it so easy to pull away and yet still give the illusion that you're connecting. It's so much easier for me to be content looking at my friend's kid playing with bubbles, leave a witty comment, and never call her up to hear what's going on in her life. Real life relationships are slow. And deliberate. And can't be contained in 140 characters or less.

Really, my iPhone envy is about me letting go of the desire to control the circumstances that lead to (nonexistent) perfect relationships. Whether that's controlling what others think of me based on silly things I post, or keeping up with every mundane event of a friend's Tuesday afternoon, it doesn't matter. Real relationships are formed by saying the wrong things and having to apologize for being insensitive. They're strengthened by hearing each other's laughter, not seeing their LOL. The relationships that see you as you are, not the tidy online version of yourself. The people you choose and who choose you back. A phone won't make it any easier to connect with those that I love. It'll just make me compete with my husband to make our family look hip on Instagram, which would only confuse people since we have very different definitions of cool. I'm sure the iPhone is a great tool for many. Probably not for me at this point though. So, if I'm ever frothing at the mouth staring at your phone, do me a favor and punch me in the face. I'll sure I'll thank you for it later.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, Boo.

Today my husband enters the last year of his twenties. To him, this is a big deal. To me, not so much. I've comfortably adjusted to my thirties, so as he plans out his "Thirty by Thirty," I can just sit back and watch him squirm through the last leg of a decade that I've had the privilege of walking through with him.

How things have changed since I met that nineteen year old with floppy hair and cargo pants.

It's hard to believe where life has brought us over these past ten years together. So much has happened, but I'm so glad that we've been able to do it together. I guess I've never really understood the mentality of figuring out who you are before starting your life with someone. The twenties are such tumultuous years as it is, I can't imagine trying to figure out everything alone. The fun has come through sharing life with someone who I know has my back no matter what. I love the fact that we have a lifetime together. We don't have to set ourselves up for failure by thinking our relationship has to be perfect right now. I know how far we've come, and I hope we stay on the same trajectory. We have a great marriage, but it's come from a whole lot of hard work on both sides. I love that I married a man that is willing to grow and learn with me. The reality is, we're so different in many ways. We're not one of those couples that never has anything to talk about. In fact, it's quite the opposite. We talk. A lot. We discuss. A lot. We disagree. A lot. But we love a whole lot too, and so it works. We chose each other years ago and we continue to choose each other every day.

So thank you, babe, for dancing through life with me. Thank you for loving me and the kids with your actions. You're a great man who is fun, sincere, diligent, humble, and strong. I truly enjoy being around you. Thank you for getting up before the sun so that you can come home earlier to spend time with us at night. Thank you for cultivating relationships with those around you, even when it seems there isn't any more time that can possibly be sucked from a day. People are important and I'm glad that you strive to make them a priority. Thank you for getting down on the floor with your children and chasing them around after a long day. This time is so important. Thank you for making up stories that make them laugh. You are such a great husband and dad. I'm proud of the man you are and the man you're becoming.

I love you so much and can't wait to see what's in store for your next ten years.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Advertising for Team Jesus

Let me start this by saying, I'm really not trying to be controversial, these are just things I'm thinking through. In no way am I saying I'm right and anyone that disagrees with me is wrong. So please, throw on your hater blockers, and appease me for just a minute.

During the Broncos/Patriots game, I got a text from a friend that asked what I thought about the Focus on the Family commercial that aired.

My first thought?

Oh geez.

I wasn't watching the game, so I had to go look it up on YouTube.

It was a bunch of super cute kids, reciting John 3:16. I mean, how can anyone say anything bad about that?

Except I don't think that's the case. I'm really not trying to be negative here, but it bothered me.

Yes, it was cute. I just don't know if it's appropriate to put an ad for Jesus between car and chips commercials. I don't know if it's appropriate to have commercials for Jesus, period. Advertising is a way of manipulating people into thinking that you need a product. Are we to use manipulation to share who Jesus is? While I loved the children and what they said, using kids is especially manipulative. I mean, why not throw in a puppy or a sweet little grandma in a wheelchair as well? It's reducing Jesus to a product that we need.

Something about this list just looks wrong to me:

Toilet bowl cleaner.

The quick fix. The gospel of me. Make my life better and gimme somma that eternal life too.

I know people will say that's not the message of John 3:16. And that's why I say context matters. The message gets muddled in a thirty second slot in the middle of a football games where products are advertised that everyone knows are not truly life changing. It's sending the wrong message.

It troubled me even more when I read what Focus on the Family's spokesperson, Gary Scheenberger, said,"We will hear about shoving religion down people's throats. But if it's okay to shove Doritos down people's throats, and cars and everything else, we have the right to advertise too."

Is this really how Jesus would want himself represented? Was this ad about sharing the love that Christ has for the world, or was this ad about the right to do so? Was it so Christians could give each other high fives? Because when it starts to become about our rights, then something's wrong. We relinquish our rights as followers of Jesus. The world may use any means necessary to control the culture, to get ideas across, to be heard, but we're to embody the life of Christ and resist grabbing for power. Instead of waging cultural wars, we approach those we disagree with in love and humility. Isn't this the way of Jesus?

Does any of this matter? I'd love to hear another perspective. Beyond saying God's Word does not return void because if that's all there is to it, I feel a large Testamints marketing blitz coming on. I mean, does anyone think that this was truly a good idea?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Team Jesus

As a bunch of my girlfriends were together the other night watching The Bachelor (another post in and of itself), the conversation turned to what most girls talk about when they get together. 


Ok, so maybe that's not normal except for when there's a hottie that plays for our team. There were mixed feelings about Tim Tebow, but the general consensus was that he's seemingly a good guy. I don't think anyone could argue that. When I saw a couple of the girls later in the week, we confessed to continuing to flush out our thoughts on the subject, and while we seemed to reach different conclusions, we all thought the process important. 

Yes, I can already see the eye rolls at this point, paired with, "Oh so this is what stay-at-home moms do all day. Think about Tim Tebow." 

Uhhh, that and work out. 

Totally kidding. 

This conversation is about so much more than Tim Tebow, but how I evaluate the relationship between following Jesus and our celebrity-obsessed culture. Is Jesus truly being glorified by a person thanking his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ whenever there's a camera on him? Are we supposed to use our positions, whatever they may be, as a platform for Jesus? 

While I may disagree with Tebow on these things, I don't think they're the right questions anyway. I have no control over what Tim Tebow says or doesn't say, but if I'm going to pass judgement, I should start with myself. I'm part of a culture that gives a guy that plays football for a living such an influential voice. 

I read parts of a book recently where the author was trying to convince me that Jesus was cool, and I'd be cool if I followed him. In this author's defense, he was trying to say that chasing after all the things that people get trapped by- money, fame, power- is not the "cool" way to live. I think he missed the boat though. Following Jesus is not forming a subculture that becomes the "new cool." I wonder if this is one of those blind spots in Western Christianity that the rest of the Church would look at and shake their heads. Inadvertently or not, we tend to elevate success and comfort in the American evangelical church. We genuinely want people to come to know Jesus, but do we want our comfortable, safe lives to be interrupted? We want people to believe that life is better because of Jesus, we just sometimes believe that blessings come through success, instead of what Jesus preached in the Sermon on the Mount. Celebrity Christians give us a way to show people that following Jesus is for winners because we all want to be winners. Heroes of American evangelicalism are people in the public eye that thank Jesus for their talents because if we're honest, we want a safe God that doesn't expect anything more than that from us. At least that's where I often find myself. 

We have contributed to the caricature that has been painted of Tim Tebow as the hero that glorifies God most with his acknowledging Jesus after football games. In the age of the one-liner gospel, I disagree with Rick Warren, who just tweeted this morning, "I'm for anything that gets the media talking about John 3:16." Not if it perverts the gospel and makes it into something that equates believing on Jesus with success on the football field. The context in which we talk about Jesus matters. We root for celebrities and people in power that are on "Team Jesus" as if it will increase God's credibility to those that might consider turning to Christ. As if he needs an endorsement. We want to make Jesus what's in. I mean, if Justin Bieber tatoos his calf with a picture of Jesus and says he loves God, then I will take up my cross and wear a Jesus bracelet. Until the next fad comes along. We get all excited when celebrities are vocal about their faith, but it seems to me that this isn't how Jesus would respond if he found out that some famous dude was following him. 

We tend to forget what Jesus looked like while walking this earth and what actions most glorified his Father. He wasn't born in a palace and never aspired to reign from one. He chose to spend the bulk of his time with fishermen and average people. He ate with tax collectors and prostitutes. He didn't try to make his way into influential circles. He could have aligned himself with powerful leaders, but instead rejected pairing with those in power in order to make his message known because the kingdom of God was not about the powers of this world. It was about glorifying God through weakness, not strength or status. Jesus died a criminal's death yet God's greatest triumph came through this very act. We see over and over again in the gospels as well as through the life of Paul and the apostles that the kingdom of God was subversive. The first followers of Christ didn't rise to powerful positions within culture to attractively lead people to God. Scripture repeatedly talks of the power of God made known through our weakness. It highlights His strength. Is it wrong for a Christian to be in a powerful position? No, but we are wrong as soon as we start looking at them as better because of their position or judging them for their motives in being there.

We need to stop exalting or judging Tim Tebow and start looking at how we contribute to a culture that finds it's worth in endorsements and status, instead of in values of the kingdom of God.