Monthly Archives: May 2009

First we had the X-Games, now we have X-logic?

Lately, I’ve noticed a trend in arguments. Not just with Christians, but with most people in general. Each side seems to stand on either side of the see-saw, and instead of leveling things out, the see-saw just goes up and down. Here’s an example:

Guy 1: “Maybe we shouldn’t be so strict on our office dress code.”

Guy 2: “So you think our employees should just be able to wear whatever they want? That’s so unprofessional! We have to look our best.”

Ok, do you really think that Guy 1 made that suggestion with the intent of employees “wearing whatever they want?” Most likely, Guy 1  just wanted to be able to forgo his suit coat after office arrival, or lessen the requirement to wear a tie every single day. But, as is the trend I see these days, the other arguer seems to assume the extreme.

Here’s another example:

Guy 1: “Some day, I would like to play my instrument for church. My instrument is percussion.”

Guy 2: “So you think we should just rock out for our worship services? That’s so irreverent! Church should not turn into a rock concert.”

I know, I went there. Truthfully, I don’t even like talking about worship styles because it never seems to go anywhere and there are so many more important things to tackle, but it just fit here. I myself am a percussionist, so I can relate. Now I’m not actively trying to get my drumset into the sanctuary (even though sometimes the organ does need a little foundational rhythm so we can all hit the same note at the same time!), but if I happen to be talking to someone who is against drums in church, they assume that since I play drums, I would automatically want to play super loud and be the center of attention and try to turn the worship service into a contemporary Christian concert. Personally, I would rather hide in an orchestra pit and pound out a no-frills, fundamental meter to guide other instruments (as is the primary purpose of percussion). I think every instrument should blend together to make a balanced, harmonious sound, not necessarily have one ring out over everyone else. But often times, the extreme is assumed just because of the word “drums.”

Here’s another example I heard just before the election:

Woman 1: “I think I might vote for Obama.”

Guy 1: “You would vote for someone who wants to kill babies? That’s very unlike you! Don’t you realize he’s pro-choice?”

In this conversation, Guy 1 seems to think that if you aren’t pro-life, you are pro-abortion. No, pro-choice doesn’t mean you like abortion. That seems obvious. But I’ve heard this kind of argument even before this conversation. I’ve heard this kind of “Xtreme” Logic in waaaay too many places. It drives me batty. Have we lost our common sense?

Xtreme logic seems to be infiltrating our thought processes, whether it is about politics, personal opinions, or religion. Where did this come from? Why do we tend to assume the worst, way on the other end of the spectrum, if someone disagrees with us? Why do we take things so personally? Why do we get so defensive? Why are we so paranoid?

I hope we don’t forget that our God is a God of balance. We are advised in Ecclesiastes 7:18 that “18 It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.”

We should always stand our ground on our beliefs, but let’s also try to avoid this “X-logic.”

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Filed under Challenge, Daily Normalcy, Spiritual Application, State of the world, Stress

If only they’d look a little closer…

There’s a country song that is played on the radio quite frequently, and it’s lyrics make me sad. It shows a common mentality of average joes these days. The song is Everybody Wants to go to Heaven by Kenny Chesney. Here are the lyrics:

Preacher told me last Sunday mornin’
“Son, you better start livin’ right:”
You need to quit the women and whiskey
And carrying on all night.”

Don’t you wanna hear him call your name,
When you’re standin’ at the pearly gates?
I told the preacher, “Yes I do”
But I hope they don’t call today
I ain’t ready

Everybody wants to go to heaven
Have a mansion high above the clouds
Everybody wants to go to heaven
But nobody want to go now

Said, “Preacher maybe you didn’t see me
Throw an extra twenty in the plate.
There’s one for everything I did last night,
And one to get me through today.
Here’s a ten to help you remember
Next time you got the good Lord’s ear
Say I’m comin’, but there ain’t no hurry
I’m havin’ fun down here.
Don’t you know that!

Everybody wants to go to heaven
Get their wings and fly around
Everybody want to go to heaven
But nobody want to go now

Someday I want to see those streets of gold in my halo
But I wouldn’t mind waiting at least a hundred years or so

Everybody wanna go to heaven
It beats the other place there ain’t no doubt
Everybody wanna go to heaven
But nobody wanna go now

Everybody wanna go to heaven
Hallelujah, let me hear you shout
Everybody wanna go to heaven
But nobody wanna go now
I think I speak for the crowd.

Obviously this guy hasn’t looked too closely at what it means to be a real Believer, a true Christian, following Christ. Some people like to leave it at the imagery of halos and harps, not applying the grace and guidance and Abundant Life to daily life. Really, it just makes me sad. But it alerts me to a view on Christianity that is still common in society, that I need to be prepared to reach. Now that I’ve heard this song, I better make it a personal mission and prayer request to live out what we so affectionately call the “Joy of the Lord,” praising Him when things are good and looking to Him when things are tough. Sharing the happiness and contentedness I get from putting trust in an all-knowing, all-powerful God and not worrying about “chasing after the wind” (here it is again!) or other vanities of life that distract the attention of millions. For some individuals I come in contact with, I never know if I’m the only one they might witness that is a committed Christian, experiencing the Peace that only God gives (that surpasses understanding), and the joy that comes from that Peace.

I guess some examples could be everyday conversations when I’m out and about. That’s what I need to work on. When I’m at the post office, buying vitamins at Walgreens or asking for a price check at the grocery store. Can my patience be detected? Can my love for humanity and burden for souls be picked up on, in one small way or another? When I’m with my volleyball team, when I’m performing with my country dance team, when I meet with friends that don’t belong to a church? I guess that’s my challenge for myself, and for everyone, really. Go out and connect with people. You don’t have to make friends with everybody, you don’t have to become an extrovert. But you can live out the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), the commands of Colossians 3, the mindset of Philippians 4:8, and some more of my favorites, Matthew 5:16 and 1 Peter 2:12. I’m making those my daily instructions.

Hopefully we can show people that God’s grace can’t be bought by money or “make-up good deeds,” and that Heaven and following Jesus Christ is more than just singing with a harp and getting a halo someday.

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Filed under Allegories, Challenge, Daily Normalcy, Music, Spiritual Application, State of the world, the Bible