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What Our Response Reveals…

Regardless of where I’ve travelled in the world, I’ve found people to be self-centered and opinionated.  I find this is especially true whenever I look in the mirror.

Because of this selfishness our opinions generally begin in a place that considers our own viewpoint first and most important.

The more mature we are the more often our opinions become informed by perspectives outside our own frame of reference.

It’s quite rare that a self-centered opinion isn’t offensive, often because human beings like to be taken into consideration when opinions are being formed and expressed… even if they don’t often take others into consideration themselves.

All of this self-focus places us into circumstances where personal opinions compete for the attention of an audience of people; sometimes in just a room full of people, other times in front of an entire nation.

Because no one can perfectly share our perspective, or our self-regard, going through life without getting offended is impossible.  As Christians, our job is to have a godly response in those moments when someone says, or does, something that we don’t like or agree with.

This weekend the cast of Saturday Night live expressed their opinions about “Tebowmania” in a sketch that featured Jesus Christ making a post-game appearance to the Broncos in their locker room.  While taking credit for the Bronco victory and inferring that Bill Belicheck was the devil, Jesus took some time out to tell Tebow to “tone it down” and add “studying the playbook” to “studying the good book”.

There were plenty of funny moments.

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Foregone Conclusions

When Demi Moore announced her impending divorce from Ashton Kutcher, by way of a publicist’s statement to the Associated Press, what wasn’t surprising was that the 6-year union between a young man and the middle-aged mother of three ended; it was how revealing “the way it was announced” was.

At 49, Demi demonstrated that she is a product of the culture created by Baby Boomers when she made an announcement about her “Traditional Values” by traditional means:

“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I have decided to end my six-year marriage to Ashton. As a woman, a mother and a wife there are certain values and vows that I hold sacred, and it is in this spirit that I have chosen to move forward with my life…”

Not lost in her statement is the insinuation that the divorce is happening because “someone” didn’t share in the sacred nature of their vows.

At 33, Ashton revealed that his worldview is squarely informed by a now fading GenX paradigm. His reliance on technology to get his message out led him to Twitter:

“I will forever cherish the time I spent with Demi,” Kutcher tweeted. “Marriage is one of the most difficult things in the world and unfortunately sometimes they fail.”

Tweeting about his divorce isn’t Kutcher’s biggest problem.

At first glance, What sounds like heartfelt expression of “something” is actually a clever attempt to sidestep culpability.

Without attempting to heap abuse on an already unravelling and embarrassing situation it has to be pointed out that “marriages” never fail, people do.

Our all too human attempts to place the responsibility for our failures at the feet of organizations, institutions, and agreements reveals that we’ll go to great lengths to distance ourself from failure… even when that failure is our own.

Haven’t you ever done something like this?

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It’s Worse Than Universalism

I hate Superman.  I think he’s a terrible superhero and here are three ironclad reasons:

1.)  Superman isn’t actually super.
He’s just powerful, too powerful to be exact.  When you posses capabilities far beyond that of any of your opponents, and the only thing that can actually harm you isn’t even found on our planet, you aren’t taking any risks to do what is right.  Worse yet, your victory is never in doubt because you are never in any credible danger.  As a comic book character Superman is way too potent to actually build any dramatic tension around.

2.)  Superman isn’t actually a man.
He’s an alien.

3.)  Superman is the ultimate individualist. 
Whenever he’s around, there’s no need for anyone else.  The police, the army, and other Superheroes are a complete waste of time and effort in the presence of Superman.  He is completely self-sufficient and if you don’t think so consider this: When Superman needs to think or pout where does he go? To his Fortress of Solitude so he can be alone with his principles.

As a hero, Superman is the Narcissist’s fantasy come to life.

Do you remember the Superfriends cartoon?  It was a show centered around a “Hall of Justice” where various D.C. Comics characters sat around waiting for crimes to happen… so they could teach kids about cooperation.

The first thing that happened in every episode was that Superman had to leave right away to do something very important (away from the action) so that he could return in the nick of time to save all of the other superheroes who just failed miserably in their attempt to stop the super villain.

The Superfriends cartoon was terrible because the writers had to work around Superman to make the show exciting.  Lex Luthor and the Riddler may have been the enemies of mankind, but the enemy of the Superfriends show was Superman.

You probably didn’t notice this because you were so focused on the random bad guy that the heroes battled each week, which brings me to this;  While having a common enemy is a fantastic way to make friends and get cooperation, it’s also a great way to keep people from noticing your own flaws.

Christians wring our hands quite a lot about the spiritual threat of Universalism, the Idea that “all spiritual roads lead to the same place” and that a “Loving God” accepts us as we are.  Recently Universalism made the headlines as Christians debated the reality of a hell that no one goes to… not even Hitler, Stalin, or the secret government cabal that created the Teletubbies.

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