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All That You Can’t Leave Behind

I’ve learned that it’s often hard to make a break with our past. This is because people don’t just keep history, they drag it along behind them. While some people have baggage that they can’t get over, others have baggage that people won’t let them get over.

When I was nine I announced to my parents that I’d never marry.  I didn’t see the need since my life revolved mostly around television, cereal, and breakfast sausage.  With the advent of the microwave oven, women no longer factored into the equation that it took to produce the results I was looking for.

My father, amused by my reasoning, asked for me to put this in writing.  My mother drafted the document.  I couldn’t sign my name to it fast enough.

Because they recognized my synchronized ignorance of thinking and stupidity of speaking, they held onto this magna carta of moronity to show my fiancée 12 years later.

Sometimes you say something so stupid that you recognize it immediately after you say it.  Mostly though, you just say something stupid and you don’t notice the people around you wince.

As a pastor, I’ve spent the majority of my adult life surrounded by Christians. This means I’ve also spent serious quantities of time wincing, not because Christians say a lot of stupid things, all humans do, but because Christians usually say stupid things with the conviction of someone who believes that they are speaking on God’s behalf…. and he’s got their back.

I’m not the only one wincing.

It used to be hard for non-Christians to eaves drop on Christian conversation, but then urban churches with building space found themselves without congregants.  The last 20 years of nondenominational, suburban, church startups have since appeared at middle schools, movie theaters, and pizza places.  With classes meeting during the week and theaters selling tickets during matinee hours, the members of these churches need places to meet regularly during weekday hours.

The solution to this problem is the ubiquitous strip mall coffee shop.  For the price of a small latte, small groups can rent space to talk about their marital/financial/sexual struggles in a public forum that feels more like a living room than a confessional.

While this is more awkward than bad (it’s unpleasant when the espresso machine suddenly stops hissing and the person shouting to be heard over it is confessing their most carnal meditations) it does mean that a person who’s just come in for a caramel macchiato is probably going to get it alongside a healthy dose of “christian opinion”.


All Of The Sudden?

Sometimes the wheels come off your life all at once and it seems like something awful came out of nowhere to ruin things for you.

While it can happen, life very rarely happens that way. Most often we ignore warning signs, hoping that problems will “just go away”.

Over time we lose a slow war of attrition with age and relationship. While we are tempted to focus on the easier, more superficial concerns of our life the larger, more pressing and dangerous issues are building towards a tipping point.

Many people wait until they are incapacitated before they see a doctor. While they have sneaking suspicions that something isn’t right, they don’t act on their concerns for fear that something really awful may be wrong with them. By the time they get to the place where they are willing to act, it’s usually way too late in the game…

You knew I was talking about the Lakers all along right?

Last week I posted about what Blazer fans could do to step up their game. It was mostly about objectivity. The objective reader tolerated it, those who lacked objectivity it hated it.

Having objectivity is hard to achieve when you are a fan of a certain team. This is because you don’t learn objectivity while your team is good, you learn it during the lean years.

May the Fourth be with you, always.

Today is Star Wars day and I’m terribly conflicted.

On one hand, I absolutely love Star Wars.  On the other, I really struggle to like Star Wars creator George Lucas.  This is because Lucas is the man responsible for both giving birth to Star Wars as a rebellion against tyranny and also crushing it in the iron fist of his imperial regime.

Star Wars was created by a twenty something nerd who had visions of what could happen when young people were given the freedom to unleash their creative powers in service to a greater vision.  Star Wars was also destroyed by a powerfully mythologized, middle aged billionaire who earned the right to do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.

This is the point where you might begin to question whether or not I’m an actual fan.

While I could tell you about the three decades I spent purchasing AND PLAYING WITH the action figures, or the summer of 1985 when I watched The Empire Strikes Back for 28 consecutive days, the most compelling piece of evidence is this:

20 minutes into my first viewing of Star Wars I was weeping.  A mournful french horn sounded the notes of John Williams’ epic score as Luke Skywalker stared into the twin suns of Tatooine from the edge of his desert homestead.  I was only 9 years old.  It would take me a decade to understand what the tears were about.


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