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Archive for the ‘Memes’ Category

Years ago, I was stopped at a redlight, reading the bumper stickers on the car in front of me. One of them read, “Honk if you love Jesus!” I happily, impulsively honked. And then observed the enthusiastically proffered middle finger of the motorist ahead of me. “Oh,” I thought, “must not be your car.”

Today I visited Lynn, who also encouraged me to honk if I love Jesus. Sorta. She offered a meme, The Jesus Meme, which is “five things I dig about Jesus.” I really like what Lynn did with it, and I decided to give it a try.

1. He speaks to people in their own language. Not Aramaic. I mean, he met people where they were. If you were a farmer, he told you stories about farming. If you were a tax collector, he used money stories. A fisherman, he told you about fishing. He exemplified my Mom’s teaching, “You treat the janitor the same as the governor.” He spoke to people who were “beneath” him. Because he knew they weren’t. And he wasn’t afraid to confront people “above” him. Because there’s no such person. He showed us how to do these things. God, I love that man.

2. He is steadfast. As a child growing up in an often chaotic environment, this knowledge was one of the things that made me decide to stick to him like glue. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). No need for anyone to wonder what kind of mood he’s in, whether he’s been drinking, whether he’s mad at me today. Steady. Like a rock.

3. He understands what we’re going through. This is especially meaningful to me as I continue to endure WTF Disease. I haven’t yet found another human who knows what all these various bizarre symptoms feel like. But the one who is both creator and human being, would know (Hebrews 2:14-18, 4:14-16). That comforts me. I’m not alone.

4. Jesus loves me, this I know. I dig that I am unconditionally loved. Humans talk about this, but I don’t believe we can pull it off. Oh, we try. And if we really do try, we can manage it a good percentage of the time. But not always. Even parental love, which probably comes closest, is sometimes qualified with the knowledge that if that little (or big) miscreant weren’t our own flesh and blood, he or she would sorely test our love ability. There’s a condition — you’re my kin. It does me immeasurable good to be loved when I am at my most unlovable. Which, frankly, is most of the time, lately.

Some people talk about Jesus dying — being beaten, spat on, crucified, as evidence of his love. All the things that were depicted in Mel Gibson’s movie (during much of which I buried my face in Jif’s shoulder; I’m not interested in seeing the violence). For some people, that is sufficient evidence of this extraordinary, supernatural kind of love. Not for me. Frankly, others have suffered, and do suffer, worse physical afflictions. Some even voluntarily, in the name of love. No, for me, what really made it sink in, what he did for me, was a sermon that I heard when I was eleven years old. I have never heard it presented in quite the same way since. But here’s the gist of it: When Christ allowed himself to be killed to pay for the sins of mankind, he took on himself, into himself, those sins. Think of the worst you can think of. Genocides, child abuse . . . the worst. He took all of that onto himself, in our place. And not only those acts. But also the shame that accompanies such acts. And all the suffering that ripples out for generations to come, from such acts. And all the pain that preceded, that set in motion, that created beings who would perpetrate such acts. He became all of that (2 Corinthians 5:21) so that we can be reconciled to a perfect, holy God. For me, it is that unimaginable psychic suffering, soul suffering, that he endured, that speaks much louder of love than any level of physical torture could speak. I choose to believe it happened the way I’ve read that it happened. And that it meant what that sermon so long ago said that it meant. Greater love has no one, before or since (John 15:12-13) .

5. He is mysterious. Years ago, when LG was in preschool, I invited the children of one of the moms I had befriended, to attend Vacation Bible School with LG. Over the years, we have invited children of various religions and none at all to attend VBS with us. But that particular year, I admit, I was making an assumption about the children we were inviting. The father had a very German name, and the mother had a very Irish name, and I assumed they were Christian. What’s more, I assumed either Lutheran or Roman Catholic. I was wrong. She declined my invitation, saying that she didn’t want her children to learn the fairy tale of God. She and her husband had decided to be, and raise their children as, atheists, and they wanted no interference with their plan. I confessed to, and apologized for, my assumption. And she allowed that actually, I was right, in terms of how they’d been raised: Lutheran and Roman Catholic. But she said that in college, her husband had done exhaustive intellectual research which led him to the absolute knowledge that God does not exist. Alrighty, then.

What I didn’t say to her, but what I will say now, is . . . that doesn’t work. I am all in favor of intellectual research. In favor of critical thinking. Of skepticism, even. But applying the powers of the intellect to matters of the soul . . . that will always fall short. To me, that is comparable to the difference between understanding the chemical composition of chocolate, and actually feeling that chocolate melt in your mouth, tasting the sweet, the bitter, the creamy. Even if you can recite the chemical composition backwards and forwards, you don’t know chocolate through the intellect. It doesn’t compute. At least, you don’t know it in its entirety. Another example: you can intellectually explore the act of jumping into a clear lake on a hot day. You can understand the physics of how you get there — the trajectory of the jump, the force required to overcome gravity on your way there . . . and you can understand the physiological, biological changes of the various anatomical systems as your body goes from hot to cool, dry to wet. That’s all good. But it’s not the same as knowing what it’s like to jump into a cool lake on a hot day. You’ve used the wrong tools, or at least, lesser tools, if you’re trying to really know that experience. God — Jesus — can be understood through the intellect. But that’s not how we’re made. God is spirit. Meant to be experienced and understood spiritually. Through faith. Faith is the method through which we best know God. Certainly we should use the other methods — intellect, emotion, whatever you choose — but you haven’t fully experienced God without doing so via your spirit. Your soul. That’s what I believe.

Perhaps this is as good (or bad) a place as any to say something that I often think when I see comments from those who don’t believe. Very, very often, since I began blogging, I’ll see people comment on the site of a “believer,” and say something like, “I wish I had faith like you do,” or “I wish I believed in something like you do…” And I think, “Just do it.” Let me explain. Some people believe in God (as a Christian, I believe in the mystery of the Trinity — God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are One) because they “came to believe.” That is, a series of life experiences, perhaps even some mystical or miraculous experiences, led them to believe. Many more people, though, choose to believe. They decide to believe. There really is no wishing required. If you want to do it, do it. It is a choice. A decision. I do believe that when people make that decision, it is as a result of the Holy Spirit inviting them. And that can happen in more ways than I can imagine. But bottom line, it’s a choice that we have the power and ability and freedom to make. Or not. If you’re wondering whether it’s for you, I would suggest a test. For a week, behave as though you do believe. See how that works for you.

I don’t feel, never have felt, compelled to try to persuade anyone else to believe what I believe. I’ve never spoken as explicitly on this blog, of (some of) what I believe, as I am speaking here today. And it’s fine by me if you don’t agree with a word of it. That’s between you and God. Or just between you and yourself.

Anyone (religious, not, whatever) is welcome to do the meme. Or leave in the comments here what, if anything, you “dig” about Jesus.

***

And with that, I’m outta here. I have an opportunity (read “invitation requiring very little $”) to visit a state I’ve never visited before, staying in a friend’s 200-year-old cottage for the coming week, so I am doing my darnedest to get me and the fam together to go and do just that. Hope to leave some time over the weekend. The place is not near any of you, to my knowledge, or I would have told you. Indeed, I don’t think I have ever seen the state represented in my sitemeter stats. So when I get back, I think I’ll post some pictures so you can guess where we were. Won’t that be FUN? (Shut up.) And the handful of you whom I’ve told where I’m going, “Shhh!”

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Guilty Pleasures

August95 tagged me with this meme. Just a silly meme, so it should be easy, but I found myself wrestling with it. List my five “guilty pleasures.” That would be five things I enjoy, but feel at least a little guilty about. Guilt is a thing I try not to do. I made that decision a long, long time ago. Not that I do nothing bad. Oh, I do plenty of bad things. But they are my choice, so I don’t allow myself the “out” of feeling guilty about them. Martin Luther’s words, β€œSin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly . . .” were the impetus for staking claim to my “I don’t do guilt” posture. If I do something wrong, I consider the consequences beforehand, and if it’s important to me to do the thing, and if I’m willing to live with the consequences, then I go for it. No guilt allowed. That’s a lot of philosophy for a little meme.

So, here are some things from which I get pleasure, but about which I may have occasional mini-regret or even embarrassment:

1. Blogging, of course. I spend a lot of time here. I weigh, almost daily, the benefit to me, and the benefit to others (as they have communicated to me). My rule is, I can take time from realworld things and stuff to do this (especially I can do it instead of TV-watching), but I can’t take time from realworld people to do it. Yea, almost daily, I look at this.

2. When I watch TV, I like me some mindless TV. How mindless? Like, “Reno 9-1-1” mindless. I like sitcoms. Lately I love “My Name is Earl,” and Britcoms, like “Keeping Up Appearances.” I like Super Nanny (she could kick Dr. Phil’s ass in a child-raising contest), and I used to enjoy “The Osbournes,” for the wisdom it added to my family therapy practice. Incidentally, while channel surfing on Saturday afternoon, I stopped on “Hogan Knows Best,” in which former wrestler Hulk Hogan and his family do their “reality” thing. I watched parts of two episodes; enough for me to conclude that Hulk Hogan makes Ozzie Osbourne look like Andy Griffith, in the dad department.

Something Mrs. Hulk said to Hulk, that I’m pretty sure I’ll never say to Jif:
“Put your boa on.”

3. There’s a whole food category. Chocolate anything and everything. And Cheetos. Mind you, I don’t purchase Cheetos. However, as most moms will admit (if they have learned to sin boldly), there is a place in this world for Cheetos. And that place is at a children’s birthday party. I will leave a child’s birthday party with some orange fingers, for sure. Indeed, if anyone reading this is considering whether or not to have children — consider the Cheeto factor. I like to eat Hillbillian foods, but in my firm commitment to never weigh more than my car, I don’t cook them often. Not at all. If I make comfort foods, though, they are the real deal. I may make mashed potatoes only . . . oh, four or five times a year . . . but they are made with real butter and cream, when I do.

Now it’s getting tougher to find things to feel guilty about . . . OK:

4. I flirt. And in the process of doing so, I may embellish the truth from time to time. You may have figured that out from visiting here. I get a lot of pleasure from this. But truthfully, not so much guilt, because it’s not THAT kind of flirting. I am an equal opportunity flirter. Men, women, children. I like to leave someone’s presence with the feeling that THEY feel better than they did before I got there. We’re just not sweet to each other the way we could be. I try to be sweet to people, compliment them, help them upgrade their sense of self, at least for a moment. And I may lie in the process. I have no problem with that. And NO, I have certainly never lied to any of you.

5. I have gone through phases of buying too many of something. Shoes, purses, cosmetics, CDs. Probably the most consistent transgression in this category is books. That is not the case at the moment, but it is likely to emerge again at any time. I am a book addict.

There you have it. These are not the worst things I do. They are some of the worst things I do, from which I get pleasure. Revealing the other worst things I do from which I get pleasure would attract a more unseemly element than the riff raff that already frequents here, so we won’t be talking about that today πŸ˜‰

I won’t tag you, but you know we want to know. So post your guilty pleasures, or spill them here πŸ™‚

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But you don’t quite know what it is? Then Google yourself! I took this highly entertaining meme from Eclectic and SoozieQ. Do a Google search on your first name plus the word “needs.” And Google will tell you just what you need. I learned that: 1)There are some seriously needy Susies; and 2)Susie is a rather popular pet name. I divided my needs into three categories (my commentary is in italics):

Questionable:
Susie needs a lightweight manual wheelchair.

Susie needs a special home with someone who can spend the time to get her through her rehab.

Susie needs constant care, supervision and support . . . Furthermore, Susie needs a very structured environment that it is impossible to create in our home.

Susie needs an assistant secretary in case she is sick.

“Susie Needs Some Assertiveness Training.” Actually, I do OK in that area, thank you.

Curious:
SUSIE NEEDS INFORMATION

Susie needs to think through her constructs of parent involvement and parenting classes.

Susie also needs mending.

Susie needs to learn that baking doesn’t always have to include baking yourself.

Susie needs Matt to supply the male support and approval she doesn’t get from Carl. Yea, Carl, what do you have to say about THAT?

Astonishingly accurate:
Susie needs lots of love.

Susie needs the support of every single one of us. What, like I’m gonna decline that?

Susie needs a lot more psychological help . . . Yea, yea, so they say . . .

Susie needs to be reimbursed. This one, I LIKE!

Susie needs more practice. At certain things, perhaps . . .

Susie needs to be contained. Just don’t fence me in, I get claustrophobic.

“Susie Needs a New Wardrobe.” I can attend to this one as soon as I get reimbursed!

Susie needs very much to be a part of the family and will thrive in a patient, loving home. Aw. This Susie is blessed, got that right here πŸ™‚

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I’m back home, and I want to write a bit about my travels. While I’m unpacking and seeing which pictures I can actually show to decent folk, and which stories I can actually tell without getting anyone arrested/disbarred/excommunicated/divorced/suspended/pissed-at-me, here’s a little something you might want to play with. I picked this up at Plum’s place a while back, and since it was “all Aaron, all the time” here last week, I thought I’d whip it out as a grand finale to the Nevilleness. (Plus, it’s fun to say, “whip it out.”) It’s sort of a “meme,” I think, but I’m a techno-dunce, so what do I know?

Copy it and post your own. You know, if you want.

Step 1) Pick a band or singer
Step 2) Answer the following questions about yourself, using only song titles from that band or singer
Step 3) Post

Band/Singer of choice: Aaron Neville

Are you male or female? “Sister Rosa”
Describe yourself: “Betcha by Golly, Wow”
How do some people feel about you? “You Never Can Tell”
How do you feel about yourself? “Try (a Little Harder)”
Describe your worst ex: “Ain’t No Way”
Describe your current significant other: “Don’t Take Away My Heaven”
Describe what you want to be: “Bridge Over Troubled Water”
Describe your current mood: “Down into Muddy Water”
Describe your friends: “These Foolish Things”
Share a few words of wisdom: “Show Some Emotion”

There you go. And I’ll give Aaron a rest now, I promise;)

Back in a bit to give the highlights and lowlights of my little trip.

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