Core Ideas of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Posts tagged ‘the Gospel’

TV Time Machine

Yes, you could call it escapism.  TNT just enjoyed the biggest cable television debut of the year with their updated version of Dallas.  Who would have thought that the oily Ewing Clan and the Southfork Ranch, vintage 1978, could reclaim their sizzle in 2012?  Two weeks ago, The Hatfields & McCoys gave the History Channel a ratings surge and heated up Google’s Search Engine.  That feud ended in 1891 but the story is suddenly in cultural currency once again.

The trend is not limited to TV.  The biggest movie of the year has been The Avengers, based on a comic strip popular in the 1960’s.  The leader of the Avengers, Captain America, operates on the values of the 1940’s.  And yesterday, I picked up my Wall Street Journal to learn that in the world of fashion, the bikini is so yesterday.  The hottest swim suits of 2012 will feature the one piece look displaying lots of fabric, no navels and little cleavage.  I’ve never actually seen an Esther Merman movie, a 1950’s phenom with curvy swimmers and water choreography, but the swim suits in the WSJ called Esther’s name to mind once again.

Speaking of water, tonight a member of the famous Wallenda Family will attempt to walk a cable across the gorge of the Niagara Falls.  The event will be televised nationally on ABC.  You can’t get much more old school than tight rope walking.

There’s no doubt we Americans still love high tech toys.  We are addicted to our smart phones.  We fixate on our giant screen HD-TV’s, and we are learning to love our I-Pads and Kindles.  Isn’t it ironic that we are using them to escape to an age when the highest technology was named Sputnik and when Bozo the Clown was a popular TV show?  We could count on Flash Gordon to save the planet.  We could trust Lucy and Desi to give us a laugh with the children without being embarrassed.  And a trip to the beach took us to a distant shore where even the sexiest swimwear left something to the imagination.

As Americans welcome the Summer of 2012, we have created a world with big questions and very little certainty. Our leaders are shrinking along with our personal wealth.  Life feels like a very hot day from 1955 when you’re still holding an old fashioned cherry bomb, and you’ve lit the fuse, but you haven’t tossed it away yet.  You can’t hold that thing one more second!  And it no longer feels like we’re all in this together.  We’re all watching different channels on our I-Phones.  We’re listening to different stations on our ear buds.  Can you hear me now?  Can you hear me now?

I’m glad God is not finished with America yet.  And I don’t think America is done with the Gospel either, no matter what the pollsters say.  Sure, we can take comfort in this new wave of nostalgia, but we always wake up the next morning to the mess we’ve made in 2012.  Suddenly, the grace of God and the lordship of Jesus Christ look really good, don’t they?  Maybe better than ever!

Lift up the Cross!

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Forget About World Peace! I’ll Take Some Peace of Mind.

The dirty little secret of psychiatry and psychology in 2012 is that talking is out and writing is in.  There’s not nearly as much lying on a sofa and sharing your deepest feelings with the doc as there used to be.  These days, your shrink or analyst is busy writing prescriptions.  Seriously, if you’ve got an emotional issue, we’ve got some sexy meds to make you feel better.  Business is booming because Americans are more willing to take pills than think deeply and reflect.

Xanax, Cymbalta and Prozac are just three of the long and growing list of antidepressants available to  this generation.  The list goes on and on…and on!  In many cases, your friends and neighbors are taking combinations of prescription meds in their battle against anxiety and depression.  Nobody can explain how these prescriptions work or why a particular drug is effective with some clients but leads to thoughts of suicide in others.  And ER physicians report that the number of Emergency Room incidents involving the abuse of antidepressants is up 30% in the last few years.

Last week I came across an article in a respected magazine which cites that half of all the people in the world being treated for depression live in the USA!  Wow! Granted, a share of those people must surely have clinical depression- the real thing.  But should we really have half of all the victims of depression in the whole world?  I tend to distrust  numbers like this, but let’s suppose the figure might be off 10% either way.   It’s still a troubling statistic when less than 5% of the world population lives here.  Why are so many Americans gulping antidepressants every morning?

I suspect that for many of us, the answer is disappointment, not depression.  We are disappointed with life.

  • We have all been taught that we are special and should feel good about ourselves, but quite often we find that others don’t seem to appreciate us, and the result is that we feel bad about ourselves.  Self Esteem has failed us.
  • We have insisted that marriage is mostly about sex, romance, and sharing some fun.  But there are many days when we’re too tired or stressed out for sex, romance or fun.  Now what?  Now I realize that “marriage material” calls for more than a smoking hot body and a sense of humor.
  • We are told endlessly that the secret to happiness is to find a job you enjoy doing, and do it every day.  But my boss doesn’t care if I feel happy or not and there’s not another job available.  Career has gone south.
  • And don’t even start me talking about college.  Sure it was fun while I was there, but now that I have my degree, I can’t find anybody except Chick Fil-A who wants to hire me.  The University was a lie.

You could say we’re suffering from disillusionment.  But that’s not a bad thing.  When I am disillusioned, it means I can finally see through an illusion- a lie– that held me hostage for years.  It was a seductive counterfeit, but it couldn’t deliver.  So now I have a choice.  I can either wallow in despair and try to self medicate using alcohol or something more medical sounding.  Or I can kick that illusion to the ground and resolve, “Okay.  Now I’ll find something that’s true.”

Good News!  That’s is where true faith always begins- at the Dead End of Self Deception.  Starting over is a good thing.  In the Church, we call it Repentance.  More next week.  In the meantime, lift up the Cross!

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