Complicated

When a friend’s Facebook profile has “It’s complicated” in the “relationships” space, that’s bad news.  Granted, being single can be complicated.  So can being married.  But in this context, “complicated” means something that the friend in question is hesitant to try to qualify with a simple word.

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Scatterposting: A new term for a new age

I raised some questions last week about the Facebook “friend” who posted a vulgarism and couldn’t (wouldn’t?) delete it.  Well, far be it from me to turn away from a custom-made bulletin article, so allow me to elaborate a bit.

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Delete

I had the opportunity to counsel a “friend” through the process of deleting a Facebook post — a process I am downright evangelistic about, by the way; I know of no other “skill” so easily acquired, so desperately needful, and so seldom practiced.  It’s basically a matter of clicking things that look like they would like to be clicked, looking for the word “delete,” then clicking that.

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"Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as though she has laid an asteroid."

There are those who accomplish great things.  And then there are those who have neither the grit, nor the talent, nor the patience to do so and yet wish to receive the same amount of credit.  I try to associate with the first group as much as possible, hoping some skill and/or wisdom may somehow rub off.  I try to avoid the second group entirely — but since their number seems to be growing every day, and since they all appear to be on social media, I am growing frustrated.

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Appearance

I think I’ve finally figured out what bugs me about selfies on social media.  It’s that attention is being drawn, almost exclusively, to the outward appearance.  Sometimes it’s our accomplishments, sometime it’s our misfortune, sometimes it’s our surroundings.  But usually it’s just our looks.  A new haircut, a cute expression — worse yet, the infamous “Which do you like better?” post, which literally begs for audience participation.  All of this is a 21st Century way of saying, “Look at me!  Look at me!”

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"Nothing incites to money-crimes like great poverty or great wealth"

Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”   I like the way the New American Standard Bible reads here — “a root” instead of “the root,” as it is translated elsewhere.  It is silly to suggest that the love of money is “the” cause of evil in this world.  But it is certainly “a” cause — and one that rears its ugly head in all sorts of circumstances. 

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Nonstick

Three eggs, scrambled, with salt and pepper, tucked into two flour tortillas.  That has been my breakfast of choice since I (1) decided to increase my protein intake and (2) heard eggs weren’t as unhealthy as I had been told.  What a beautiful day that was!

But I’ve finally given up on my skillet of choice.  I prefer nonstick cookware for reasons that speak for themselves.  But this particular surface was starting to erode, making “nonstick” a bit of a misnomer. 

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"It is wiser to find out than to suppose"

We all love the story of Naaman from 2 Kings 5.  We may even get a chuckle or two out of the great Aramean general’s assumptions about how God’s prophet would cleanse him of leprosy, and how he appeared willing to go home in a huff rather than reconsider his preconceptions.  “Behold, I thought” — it has made for many a sermon title over the years, including one or two from me.

But are we that much better than Naaman? 

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"A classic -- something that everybody wants to have read and no one wants to read"

My podcast listeners will remember I made reference recently to a collection of quotations from Mark Twain, perhaps the most beloved of all American writers.  Although he was a masterful storyteller and social critic, he is perhaps best known for his quippy one-liners and witticisms.  He knew better than most that truth gets through hard skulls better when accompanied by a bit of humor.  We all (well, most of us) instinctively are inclined to laugh at ourselves; when we give ourselves a chance, we may motivate ourselves to grow.

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Glasses

I’m pretty sure I lost my reading glasses this week while running through a parking lot in the rain.  Anyway, I had the glasses, then I ran through the rain, then at some point later I didn’t have my glasses.  Such things happen, I suppose.  And as long as I can get an article out of it, I suppose I can survive.

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The Spirit of aBsTRActioN

During a search for activities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that might not appeal to my mother-in-law (just joking, Ginny!), I stumbled across the website of the Museum for Biblical Art.  I like art, and I love the Bible.  So I figured checking it out for free might convince me to spend $15 to see it in person.  Verdict: probably, assuming Tracie can be convinced.

One part I found a bit perplexing, though, is an outdoor exhibit called “The Spirit of Abstraction.” 

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The Preacher's New Groove

My girls are obsessed — obsessed, mind you — with The Emperor’s New Groove, which by conventional standards is a mediocre (at best) film in the middle of a mediocre (at best) period in Disney history.  So I take a weird sort of delight in sharing with you information they almost certainly do not have, and do not want, about this film.

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Reply

Do you ever text or Facebook message and wait around for an hour or two for a reply?  I like to think of myself as being rather secure with myself, but I have to admit — that messes with my head.  I’m not talking about waiting for their take on the meaning of life or the status of their dad’s cancer treatment, mind you.  I’m talking about questions I have asked that require a yes/no answer.  Of course, if I just got a yes or a no, I’d probably think that was rude.  But at least I would have a reply.  That’s something.

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Stories from the Road: Twenty Years of Growth

I finally convinced Tracie to take a drive past our first house during our latest trip to Texas.  We were in the neighborhood, literally driving within a stone’s throw of it.  Just a slight detour, and we could see what had become of the place since we sold it almost 20 years ago.

I expected it to be different.  I did not expect it to be that different.

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Armadillo

Finding a dead armadillo on the side of the road is about like finding bad salsa in Florida — unfortunate, objectionable, but hardly worth extensive comment.  However, the one I saw this week was (as far as I could tell at 40 miles per hour) unmarked.  It just lay there on the shoulder of the road, four legs reaching to the sky.

This posture reveals the defensive shortcomings of this particular example of God’s creativity.

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Ice cream, walks, and personal growth

When we lived in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, we lived a short walk from a major intersection, 91st Street and Aspen Avenue.  I would often take Samson, the Brittany spaniel we owned at the time, for walks around the neighborhood, and occasionally I could convince the girls to come with me.  Yes, they loved their daddy.  Yes, they loved Samson.  But mainly, they loved ice cream.  And on the opposite corner of the intersection of 91st and Aspen, there was a Braum’s ice cream parlor.  Samson and I would cross both streets with the girls and then wait on the sidewalk and watch through the glass door as two little girls, not ten years of life between them, walked up to the counter with a $5 bill and ordered some ice cream.

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Stories from the Road: An Internet-Free Zone

I got behind in my work during my recent vacation.  That may not sound strange; getting away from work is kind of what vacation is all about.  But my “vacations” are not entirely work-free, in most instances.  I usually have a few articles and a sermon or two that need to be ready to go before I get home, plus I have my various online obligations and my regular, run-of-the-mill Bible reading.

Some of that had to take a vacation as well, though.  My parents’ internet service was basically nonfunctional. 

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