Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Great Gatsby

Hit dvd yesterday. Was purchased by yours truly last night. Was watched by yours truly last night. Will likely be watched again by yours truly, accompanied by various assortments of friends, at least once more before the week is out.
Last night was the time I got to watch it with my copy of the book in my lap, and go tearing through looking for the direct quotes and the tiny references and the, if we're being completely honest here, the things they left out (I love this movie. I still will not admit it is anything other than perfect, even for its imperfection). Last night was the night I got to fly off the couch, pause the movie, explain things to my roommate (who hasn't read the book since high school) and provide textual evidence. It was fun.
Tonight or tomorrow night will be the watching of it with everyone so that everyone can see this thing and enjoy it and love it like I do.
Also, Daisy's song is still my favorite.

On The (Sometimes) Difficulty of Accepting Grace

There's a kind of person who'll say she knows she's a sinner saved by grace, but then work her fingers to the bone in such a way that it sure as anything looks like she feels she still has to earn it.
There's a kind of person who, though she's believed in and followed and served the God of illogical forgiveness all her life, though she spends her days telling people (and legitimately believes) that no sin is so great that you are beyond the grace of the God who made them, at the end of the day, though she'll never own to it, feels like that God could love and forgive anyone but her.
There's a kind of person who, after all these years, still sometimes has a hard time accepting grace.
"You refuse forgiveness, like it's something to be earned," or so the song goes.
Sometimes, I'm this kind of person.
Good news? I'm not the only one.
There's an army of us, men and girls who can forgive anyone, extend grace to anyone, believe that God could love anyone, except for themselves. This is sin, it is doubting God's love, it is to say "the infinity of God's grace and power ends here." And there's a kind of pride in this, too, that will not be seen by the untrained eye, but that quietly sits on the heart whispering 'any sin but mine.' And it's often those of us who have been in Christ's camp the longest, who have the fewest scars from their days before salvation, who were saved out of the sins of a child, who have this difficulty hanging onto the reality of grace. It's those of us who have been the Elder Brother far more often than the Prodigal who stray into this way of thinking: not careening wildly off of the correct theological path, but slowly and by degrees until they find themselves far from home without ever having decided to leave.
The good news? There's still hope. And the grace of the God of unfathomable forgiveness has no limits, no final straw.
There's one effective weapon against lies, and it's truth. The belt of truth buckled around our waist to hold everything together and to keep us firmly in place.
Truth is the things we've known all along: You, child, are not stronger than God. You could not commit a sin so grand as to shock or push away the love that ascended Calvary. Even the quiet, creeping sins you hide cannot stand before the light of the love that conquered death. You are a child of the risen Savior, bought with blood and made right before the Father. You. Stand. Forgiven. Loved. Grace has found you and made you new. Now go and sin no more.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

On Not Always Being My Own Favorite Person (Or, Alternately, Despicable Me)

My roommate had a bit of an existential crises of self-awareness last night. Messy. Which is not the topic of this blog post.
The topic of this blog post is that, well, sometimes I'm not my own favorite person. Sometimes I'm a bit of a doormat. But really more like this doormat:
than a normal doormat. A doormat with a bad attitude. A doormat that, even though it doesn't like to have other people's dirty footprints on it, allows itself to be walked on anyway. Which is compounded by the fact that I'm a naturally implosive person: I'd sooner grumble about the dirty footprints than to ask someone to wipe their muddy feet elsewhere.
Sometimes I stand up for people who don't deserve my devotion. Sometimes I let relationships that validly could've been normal, healthy friendships deteriorate into passive aggressive, emotionally unhealthy, static-charged messes. Okay, so maybe I had a little bit of help on that front, can't take total credit for that one.
Sometimes I create problems where there aren't any. Sometimes I bring out the worst in people. Sometimes I'm anything but graceful under pressure. Sometimes I run my mouth when I shouldn't. Sometimes I'm a bit of a cynic. Sometimes I'm jealous and petty. Sometimes I want what blatantly isn't mine. Sometimes? Sometimes I don't know what I want.
And, sometimes, I can be a bit too hard on myself. I'm still learning to work on my flaws without wallowing in them or drowning under them. And, gratefully, God's not finished with me yet.
Also, we were going to watch Despicable Me at Bible study tonight. Now, we are not going to watch Despicable Me at Bible study tonight. What are we going to watch? Beats me.


Monday, August 5, 2013

On Life Imitating Art (Or, In This Case, Big Bang Theory)

So, seen this episode of Big Bang Theory? If not, or if the show's not your thing for one reason or another, just stick with me for a sec, I have a point here.
In the episode, Sheldon and the gang have traveled to a  hotel and convention center for some sort of science-ey-convention thing, to give a panel on the topic of "Science and Society." Unfortunately, the state of things deteriorates quickly as jealousies come into play, old conflicts are unearthed, and arguments break out among these not-so-professional young professionals. Most of their "panel" is spent arguing and insulting each other. (This scene from the episode is available to be viewed on youtube under the search terms "Big Bang Theory Science and Society." I elected not to link to it here for reasons of language and content; however, if you wish to catch the full drift of my meaning and are not in mixed company, feel free to watch it.)
Now, as for my point, and this is a point I've been making for a solid six months: we're people. I'm people. The folks I work with are people. Those I call my friends are people. We're allll people. Can't help it, nothing we can do about it, stuck that way. And, people? I can't tell you how often I feel like this scene in this sitcom! We've got our super-important, super-professional job to do, as super-professional people, and yet at any moment we could devolve into a handful of squabbling sixth graders. Especially where I'm at in life now, where there's always something riding on my relationships when it comes to my public testimony, I often find it impossible to set my person-hood aside long enough to do my work. And sometimes I'm scared it's all just going to come barreling through my mature-adult exterior. Sometimes, some days, some nights, it does. These are the nights I bite my tongue until I can get myself home and go to bed.
This is something I'm still struggling with, though it's something God's been working on me on for ages. How do I learn how to put my work first and my personness last. How not to let my complicated, sometimes chaotic interpersonal relationships interfere with my ability to receive and process information objectively. Am I starting to sound a little Vulcan? Not meaning to. Just trying to find the answers to something that's been on my heart a while now. Thanks for bearing with me.