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Random Religious Ramblings

For many, this won’t be your cup of tea, but these are some of the things I’ve been thinking about as of late.

Narcissism vs. Altruism

As awesome and helpful, not to mention powerful, as social media is, it can also be problematic. Personally, it has often encouraged narcissism in me. Granted, I’ve never humblebragged, because quite frankly, I don’t have much to humble brag about, but status updates by their nature are often, “Hey! Look what I’m doing! Read how funny I am and what a witty take I have on this recent news story! See where I’m ‘checking in’?! Look at how cute my kids/pets are!” And yes, I will share this blog post on Facebook and Twitter because I think it’s worth my follower’s time.

And as my kids grow up in a world increasingly engaged in and reliant on social media, I wonder what kind of virtues that will encourage in them. What I hope my wife and I, and the support group we surround our kids with will instill in them is altruism. My hope is that they wouldn’t find their value in how great they think they are, but in how great they are to others.

The great thing about social media is that it gives a voice to people with great ideas who might otherwise not have an avenue to share. The flip side is that it gives a platform to people who probably shouldn’t have an audience to propagate their hate and/or stupidity. I hope my kids will fall into the former, not the latter.

God’s Judgement

Speaking of hate and stupidity, it always puzzles me when Christians declare natural disasters as a sign of God’s judgement. Are earthquakes, floods, etc…a sign of God’s judgement? Maybe. But that’s for Him to decide. Unless your name is Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, or Samson, I’m pretty sure God didn’t appoint you as a Judge. What He did appoint us to do was to go and bear fruit (John 15:16) and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you (Matt 28:19-20).

And how did Jesus make disciples? Yes, He did often say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near,” but He made disciples by calling forth destiny in people, not calling down judgement. He loved His disciples; He didn’t scare them into obedience.

How to Pray

Lately, I’ve been learning what it means to be a son of God, mostly by observing my daughter.

For example, I took my daughter to Baskin Robbins a few weeks back. Unable to see what’s going on, she shouts to me to pick her up. When I do, she no longer sees things from her perspective; she sees what I see. This is the picture I now get when I sing songs or pray about being in God’s arms – He picks me up to see His perspective.

The other day, my daughter asks me for chocolate. We had to take her to the emergency room a few weeks back for dermatitis/cellulitis and getting her to take antibiotics proved difficult. So we did what any parents who want to save their sanity would do: bribe ’em. As a result, my daughter knew that we had chocolate in the house. CURSES! That’s daddy’s stash! Anywho, this was our exchange:

D1: Daddy, can I have chocolate
Me: Why should I give you chocolate?
D1: Because you love me.

Not only did she get her chocolate but she now knew the secret to getting chocolate from me every. single. time. If you could see me now, you’d see that I’m shaking my head as I type this.

But this exchange taught me something profound about prayer: to approach God as a child, not a beggar. If I really believed He was a dad that loved me, the words I say to Him would be completely different.

Enough with my ramblings. How’ve you been? I hope to be able to visit some blogs that I’ve dearly missed and catch up here shortly.

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  1. KLZ
    May 11, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I don’t have anything insightful to add here but I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks Pop.

    • Pop
      May 12, 2011 at 12:27 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, KLZ. We’ll get through May. Promise!

  2. May 11, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I think you bring up a really big concern that I had not considered – the narcissism of social media and what our kids will be like. It is something to ponder more thoroughly.

    • Pop
      May 12, 2011 at 12:29 pm

      My wife and I haven’t determined what our stance on acceptable use of social media for our kids is yet. D1 is 3, so I guess that gives us what? 2 years before she starts clamoring for a Facebook account? 😛

  3. May 11, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I love the image of you holding your child in an effort to help her “see” because you love her, because you want the best choices for her. It really is a beautiful image of God and his children. Thank-you for that.

    As for social media, who knows? Look how MTV affected our generation. HA.

    • Pop
      May 12, 2011 at 12:32 pm

      I’ve learned so much about God since becoming a parent. And LOL about MTV. I guess we turned out ok.

  4. May 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I’ve been kicking around a religious post for awhile. I make inappropriate comments about playing with my organ, but I actually take religion/spirituality quite seriously.

    This post got me thinking about it once again, and I think I need to post, if only because taking the time to organize my thoughts into something that I’m comfortable clicking “publish” for means that I’ve organized my thoughts. There are a few topics where, simply, it’s best to figure out just what you feel and rambling blogging certainly is a way to help one figure it out.

    I think your kids are going to turn out beyond well-adjusted, Pop. I’ll say this, though (realizing, fully, that I’m a parent to two who can’t even begin to tell me what they want), the trick will be telling your daughter that you won’t give her the chocolate because you love her. If you figure out how to do that without forcing a tantrum, will you let me know? Because I’m going to need that secret.

    • Pop
      May 12, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      I’m looking forward to that post, John!

      I think I’d be up for the Nobel Peace Prize or something if I could figure that out 😛

  5. May 11, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Very insightful. I’ve been worried about the effects of not only social media, but technology in general on this upcoming generation for quite a while. Technology is fantastic, but there is such a thing as too much.

    It’s really, really hard to take the narcissism out of blogging. I should put more effort into that. I love your blog.

    Finally, your thoughts on prayer are great. I loved the ice cream analogy. I just wish I could get my three year old to stop talking about video games and going pee when he prays.

    • Pop
      May 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm

      Sometimes I wonder if my concern w/ technology is much ado about nothing. Afterall, with all the videogames I played, I was supposed to end up stupid and blind, and I’m certainly not blind! But I guess the part that concerns me is how portable technology is.

  6. liz
    May 11, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Pop, you must be strong! If you are schnookered already by the kids, you’re going to be trounced come the teenage years!

    • Pop
      May 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm

      Pretty sure I was schnookered from the moment she was born. Oops.

      Actually, I’ve learned to be persistent. But so far, persistence has beaten resistance. Pray for me. 🙂

  7. May 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    “Because you love me.”

    Ah, that is the key, isn’t it?

    Loved this post. And the perspective.

    Thanks for making me think…

    • Pop
      May 12, 2011 at 12:49 pm

      She’s too smart for her own good.

  8. May 13, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    “He made disciples by calling forth destiny in people, not calling down judgement. He loved His disciples; He didn’t scare them into obedience.”

    I don’t know, sometimes I think He has to scare me into obedience, because He made me kind of stubborn. Willful. Pigheaded, even.

    I really loved this post. I look forward to sharing it with my husband later, I think he will enjoy your perspective.

    • Pop
      May 20, 2011 at 11:01 am

      LOL. I’m pretty sure my wife would nod her head in agreement if I said the same about myself.

  9. May 16, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Hi there! Well as you know I’m a different religion but all this applies. Yes, it’s true, much of this social media stuff brings out an icky side of all of us. In general I think to pretend there’s any altruism in it is the first mistake. Maybe it’s best to accept “it’s all about us.” And then focus on making the rest of our lives more altruistic. Who know!?

    • Pop
      May 20, 2011 at 11:09 am

      That’s a good point. I may as well start embracing it.

      Hello, Nina! Welcome to my blog! Where it’s all me, all the time. 🙂

  10. Kim
    May 17, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    This was a great post. I don’t have anthing to add. Just that.

  11. May 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I LOVE the idea of having a different perspective in God’s arms! So simple, but not something I’ve thought about before. Great post.

  12. May 24, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Great points, as always, dear Twin! I think social media has perpetuated an odd blend of narcissism and a lack of true social interaction. But, I think of the people I met through social media and how it helped launched me into this exciting, new professional world. There are always pros and cons… xoxo

  13. May 25, 2011 at 4:56 am

    I am really grappling hard with my faith. Mostly because of all the shitty circumstances that we’ve been through. I’m quite angry with God…and that’s an understatement.
    I used to be very religious and I always dreamed of taking my children to church. But honestly, we only go 2 times a year.

  1. May 11, 2011 at 12:34 pm

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