Category Archives: miscellany

Just Goes to Show that Not Everyone Will Get It

As you might have realized, I write a lot about the relationship of patriotism and Christianity (see here, here, here, and here).  For one of my readers the “straw that broke the camel’s back” was a post entitled “The Idolatry of Patriotism” (a summary of the issue at hand that I thought was very helpful).  This particular reader (who will remain anonymous) has been continually angered by my thoughts on nationalism, patriotism, and politics.  I, personally, feel that my opinions on these issues are centered on the gospel of Jesus and need to be heard.  There are so many causes to which we can align ourselves; I want my supreme focus to be on the gospel of Jesus Christ.

All this to be said, a few years ago my aforementioned disgruntled reader wrote me a message entitled “My Swan Song” that said:

Mark,

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another,… a decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation” (Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776).

Therefore:  It has long been a policy of mine that I will not have any magazines or similar materials enter my home that I find contrary to my core value system, as a Christian.  I am now going to apply that same rule to the only [sic] FB material that frequently not only comes into my home, but places itself on my computer desktop.

You and those who share your views are in my prayers.

Your Brother in Christ Jesus…

I felt this was worth sharing with others because it illustrates how misplaced priorities can make allies seem like enemies and vice versa.

1.  Notice that this note quotes the Declaration of Independence rather than the Bible.

2.  It is Biblically allowable and culturally helpful to familiarize yourself with things that are “contrary [to your] core value system.”  By interacting with positions that are thoughtful, though contrary to your own, you will solidify your beliefs and articulate them in a pluralistic society.  The Ostrich approach is not the Biblical approach.

3.  The gospel and the gospel alone should be the dividing line for Christians.  My views on nationalism and patriotism are wholly consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures.

4. While I appreciate the sentiment of brotherhood alluded to in the closing it appears that this “brother” sees me as more dangerous than his political allies. I think it is important to remember that the gospel which binds us is infinitely more important than the politics that might separate us.

5. Finally, it is important that we are willing to submit all of our opinions, philosophies, and beliefs to the Lordship of Christ and the teaching of the Bible. While I may be off on my analysis of history I am trying to critically evaluate the role of nationalism in the life of a Christ follower. In addition, I do not want naïvety or dishonesty to characterize my appraisal of the historical data. I am not free to make history say what I want it to say.

I hope this is helpful for those of us who continue to truthfully and lovingly discuss meaningful issues regarding what it means to be a follower of Christ. Though it is a struggle, I must always be willing to examine my life and beliefs in light of the Scriptures rather than try and mold the Scriptures to support my political and historical opinions.

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Relevant Magazine has done it again…

With the release of the Relevant Magazine tablet edition, the good folks in Orlando have proved they are on the forefront of emerging media. In my humble opinion, this is what a tablet magazine should be. It incorporates all of the features of the print magazine (e.g., creative interviews, beautiful artistry, etc.) with the possibilities of the internet (e.g., photo galleries, short movies, audio interviews, interactive advertising, social media sharing features, etc.).

It is fun to read an article and then toggle off the text to enjoy the photos. In another case you can read interview questions and listen to the interviewees response via embedded audio. The possibilities are endless! Kudos Relevant Mag team.

Just for Fun Friday: Jessica the Hippo

I posted this video on Twitter a few weeks ago. It is the adorable story of a semi-domesticated hippopotamus named “Jessica.” It’s amazing that Jessica is so docile around humans when she is, in fact, a completely wild animal. She is free to go as she chooses and is able to socialize with both humans and other hippos. I suspect this is even more impressive with how dangerous hippos are known to be. I’ve heard it said that they kill more humans in Africa each year than all other animals combined (e.g., Lions, Crocodiles, etc.). Apparently they often kill humans because they are protective of their territory. The combination of a territorial attitude, huge tusks, strong jaws, a few tons of weight, and surprising speed is a dangerous mix.

In any case, this video will overwhelm you with cuteness. Enjoy.

Social Networking Faux Paus

My social networking pet-peeves:

1. Anonymous, passive-aggressive posts.

“I wish someone would learn how to mind her business” (sometimes there is a “you know who you are” inserted). If you want to call someone out, use their name. If you are talking about a general subject then leave the personal pronouns out of it.

2. Misuse of the LOL phrase.

Using the phrase LOL after something does not necessarily make it funny or nice. I can’t just say, “Johnny is a selfish jerk, LOL” unless there is some inside joke or personal anecdote to which it refers.

3. A distinct online personality.

People who are witty, sarcastic, extroverted, and bold online but are dull, quiet, and passive in real-life exhibit tendencies of multiple personality disorder. Be who you are in real-life online (and vice-versa). Don’t say something on the internet you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Sometimes I’ll catch people tweeting something in the moment that they are too afraid to say aloud. Live in reality and use social networking for what it is. Do not use social networks as a venue for your alternate personality or to substitute for reality.

Do you have any social networking pet-peeves that you want to add to this list?

Aaron Rodgers Photobomb

Just to settle any arguments regarding the epic awesomeness of Aaron Rodgers I had to post this picture. Not only is he a Superbowl MVP Quarterback, he is a master of the photobomb (he is “sneaking” in between 73 and 36).

If you think that this might be some sort of one-time-occasion, check out this collage of him repeatedly bombing the pre-game team captains picture. He ‘bombed almost 30 pictures! Nice!

As the teenagers and adults at my church know, I enjoy a good photobomb as well: