26 July 2008

"Mature Audiences"

I did not write this article, but I heartily agree. I suppose we would rather have others think of us as mature as opposed to immature sometimes, but the word's meaning is getting rather slurred. Can we not grow up gracefully, and applaud wisdom and discretion?


For Mature Audiences Only

Keith and I have wondered out loud lately, how a word that should be a compliment, “adult,” has come to mean something bad--adult bookstores, adult movies, adult shops. If a person knew no better, and walked into one of those places what would he see that could be described as “mature” the way the scriptures use the word? It reminds me of Isaiah’s warning: Woe unto those who call evil good and good evil; who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put sweet for bitter, and bitter for sweet, 5:20.

I think there should be a new movie rating: AM. It stands for “adolescent mentality.” Any movie that uses such a meager vocabulary that most of the words have only four letters, that has no dramatic, tension building dialogue lasting longer than ninety seconds before throwing in an explosion or gunfight to get the audience’s attention again, and of course, one that attempts to satisfy the prurient interests of the hormonally-explosive adolescent would get my new rating. Then those of us who want to behave like real adults, who have larger vocabularies, who don’t need voyeurism to get our kicks, and who have an attention span longer than a minute or two can actually enjoy real adult entertainment.

The problem with having an adolescent mentality when it comes to entertainment is that it spills over into the rest of our lives. Can I sit still long enough to pray? Make yourself pray at least ten minutes today, by the clock. Can you? You see, once you get past the standard phrases, two minutes at most, you can really open up to your God, and talk to him. If you cannot sit still that long, you may have never really prayed.

Can I follow a rational argument long enough to study the first 11 chapters of Romans, arguably Paul’s greatest thesis? Can I study without being led by the hand, or do I simply rely on someone else to do it for me? Do I have the maturity to honestly examine myself and actually try to do better? Being a Christian may mean fighting some important battles, but the biggest are usually fought inside yourself and against yourself, with quiet implosions, not loud explosions.

When we start out, we are all babes in Christ, but he expects us to grow up eventually. That means some tedious work listening to sermons, attending classes, doing our own Bible study. Adults understand that not everything can be fun. It means some long, quiet moments with God. It means some painful moments of self-discovery. Are we adult enough to handle it? Our society’s brand of entertainment speaks otherwise, and unfortunately, society usually winds up worming its way into the body of Christ.

When Paul told the Corinthians to Act like men, in 1 Cor 16:13, he was bringing the epistle to its logical end. While Act like men refers to courage under fire, maybe it can mean something else as well. In chapter three he calls them “babies,” but now perhaps he is also saying, “Act like adults.” Would he say the same thing to us?

But I, brothers, could not speak to you as spiritual men, but as carnal, as babies in Christ. I fed you with milk, not with meat, for you were not able, and even now you are not able, for you are yet carnal…For everyone who partakes of milk is without experience in the word of righteousness, for he is a baby. But solid food is for full-grown men who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil…Be watchful, stand firm in the faith. Act like men, be strong. 1 Cor 3:1-3; Heb 5:13,14; 1 Cor 16:13

~ Dene Ward

25 July 2008

It's July 25th. Do you know where your "Christmas Spirit" is?

I just got to thinking about how we all felt and were acting around the 25th of December. It was all about gifting others, being thankful, being with family, making the house pretty and preparing special foods. Music was all uplifting and joyful, and we had our minds on higher things. Are we still celebrating, I wonder? Lots of busy me time and lazy summer break time. We've got to keep that Spirit stirred up in us, all the year long.

Are we thinking more of others?
Does children's laughter make us smile?
Are we thinking less of self
while serving others for a while?

Lest we forget - let us always be reminded of what God put us here to be.

At Christmas

Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)

A man is at his finest towards the finish of the year;
He is almost what he should be when the Christmas season is here;
Then he's thinking more of others than he's thought the months before,
And the laughter of his children is a joy worth toiling for.
He is less a selfish creature than at any other time;
When the Christmas spirit rules him he comes close to the sublime.

When it's Christmas man is bigger and is better in his part;
He is keener for the service that is prompted by the heart.
All the petty thoughts and narrow seem to vanish for awhile
And the true reward he's seeking is the glory of a smile.
Then for others he is toiling and somehow it seems to me
That at Christmas he is almost what God wanted him to be.

If I had to paint a picture of a man I think I'd wait
Till he'd fought his selfish battles and had put aside his hate.
I'd not catch him at his labors when his thoughts are all of self,
On the long days and the dreary when he's striving for himself.
I'd not take him when he's sneering, when he's scornful or depressed,
But I'd look for him at Christmas when he's shining at his best.

Man is ever in a struggle and he's oft misunderstood;
There are days the worst that's in him is the master of the good,
But at Christmas kindness rules him and he puts himself aside
And his petty hates are vanquished and his heart is opened wide.
Oh, I don't know how to say it, but somehow it seems to me
That at Christmas man is almost what God sent him here to be.