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Tunes for Tuesday – October 22, 2013

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Hey everyone,

I cannot believe how blessed I have been in having legit crazy awesome talented friends! I’m so proud to know these amazing guys. If you haven’t heard about Finding Chuck, today is your day! Check out their video below.

Check out their website, like their Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter!!!

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Flashback Friday – My hatred for the term “man up”

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Hey everyone,
For today’s Flashback Friday, I’ve decided to re-post something I wrote back in the day (Feb.2, 2011 to be exact). While time have passed since I first wrote it, my feelings about it remains unchanged. I still hate the term “man up” and I still think it’s meaningless.
If you are going to comment, please remember to refrain from being mean, sarcastic, condescending, and other negative attributes. If you can’t be nice, don’t post it. Please keep that in mind when you’re commenting. Thanks.
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A response to all the “There are no Christian men” blogs/posts
Introduction

While the bemoaning of the fate of Christian men (where are they?) by men and women have gone on for a very long time, I have a sense through the recent proliferation of blogs/posts by those within my social circle, that it somehow has reached some sort of tipping point. Many more people are talking about this not-so-old complaint. And so, I just wanted to add another voice, albeit probably a different one, in the conversation.

First of all, I have sincere and complete disdain about the term “man up.” While there are many societal and cultural conceptions of what man is, those things are ultimately bound up in its own cultural expressions. While I do not advocate some sort of relativization of definitions, I think it is important to realize that the concept of “man” is bound up in earthly descriptions that seek to promote its own cultural mandate for what a “man” should be.
If we truly believe that Jesus came down to earth to show us what true humanity looks like, I think it would be more appropriate to say “Jesus up.” The word “man” is bound up in too many semantical, linguistic, cultural baggage that it can sometimes be difficult to ascertain which qualities we are trying to call forth when we say the word “man up.” I would like to think that calling someone to “Jesus up” is synonymous to the call that Jesus has on both men and women to be more Christ-like.
Aside: when I see a woman who does not really exemplify a Prov. 31 woman, I don’t exactly write blogs/posts about how they need to “woman up.” If there is a challenge for men to be more like men, shouldn’t women be also challenged to be more like women?
In Christian circles, this type of thinking can lead into statements like, “real men pray” or “real men treat their wives well” or the like. While I do not disagree with such statements, what happens if I didn’t pray for a day. Is my masculinity negated by such an act? Is being a “man” a question of doing, or a question of being. Donald Miller, during an interview, probably said it best when he defined a man as “someone who has a penis.” (With recent medical changes, I would qualify that as someone who was born with a penis. I know that that definition could probably be re-visited for hermaphrodites, but I digress. Hopefully, you got the major point!)
Is there such a thing as Biblical manhood? While I have not read Piper’s book on “Recovering Biblical manhood and womanhood,” I would hazard a guess that most Christians would probably say that there is such a thing. At this point, I would say that the rules and regulations that God has given to humanity apply to both sexes. Obedience, submission, leadership are areas that God calls each and everyone of us to participate in and instill in our daily lives. While the expression of these things could potentially look different (complementarian vs. egalitarian), it does not negate the fact that no man or woman is exempt from exemplifying such attributes in their personal life.
Yes, I do believe that most XY individuals over the age of 18 yrs. old do not act in a responsible manner that traditionally such an age would call for. I also do not think that the Church has done a great job in discipling and mentoring young men to help them mature in their own Christian journey. It is a problem and it is an epidemic. We have created a generation of irresponsible, uncouth, selfish generation. (Of course, each generation have always looked down upon their youths. Egyptian artifacts would testify to this fact. So no, this is not a new problem kids.) However, instead of bemoaning and “challenging” men to be more like men, why don’t you help foster and create an atmosphere of encouragement for men to learn what it’s like to be men? Clearly, most of us have no friggin’ clue what it is to be a man. Does that mean you just keep on reminding us that we should be something that we don’t even know what it means to be what you are calling us to be? How can we be men if no one teaches us how to be one?
And this ultimately goes back to my hatred of the word “man up.” It points to no one and to nothing. The word “Jesus up” points us to be more like the Human Being that we all aspire to be.
I also think that women should be called to the same standard of being a woman as men are called to be a man.
Inconsistencies
One of the complaints being re-iterated is the fact that men are not leading and how women need/want to be led.
The passages in the Bible that most people look to for this type of thinking concerning the role of men and women are passages that advocate for male leadership within a marriage context. While I do not disagree that our cultural expectation is for the male to lead and for the female to follow, I do have problems when Christians exegete a passage improperly and not maintain logical consistency.
This is what I mean. If somehow you are going to promote an idea that a man must lead in a relationship (outside of a marriage context), then it follows that the woman must also submit to the man. Most women I know say that the idea of submission should happen within a marriage context and anything outside of it is outside the purview of those specific Biblical passages. In this, I agree with them. However, if you maintain that a man must lead in a relationship, then it must follow that you should be willing to submit to them in said relationship. You can’t have it both ways.
Secondly, each individual, either male or female, is responsible for their own personal walk with God. it is a PERSONAL relationship after all. That being said, a man or a woman, irregardless of their sex, should not expect another person to come along to lead them to Christ. That’s the Holy Spirit’s role. Yes, God gives help-mates along the way… but they should help, not initiate, a relationship with Christ.
In a romantic relationship, it is advisable and highly encouraged and recommended, to find a mate who would lead you to a better understanding of Christ and who would challenge you to be more Christ-like. Yet, when we die, we are called to take account for our own personal words and deeds, not the deeds of others, not even our spouses/lovers.
Conclusion
Men, we are called to look to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, and follow in His ways. Likewise, women, you are likewise called to the same high calling. All of us, men and women, are called to be Children of the Light. If one of us is not quite there in our Christian walk (and really, who isn’t?), let us exhort one another and encourage one another to be like Jesus, the ultimate model of what humanity should look like. We are ALL called to the same standard – and that standard is Jesus Christ.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
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Fear of happiness: the inner life of a (recovering) perfectionist

 

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Photo credit: suitesculturelles.wordpress.com

 

Hi! My name is Sid and I’m a perfectionist. There. I said it. I’m really trying hard not to be a perfectionist. But just like how some can slip from time to time, so, too, can this recovering perfectionist!

I want to be happy. I mean, who doesn’t? Happiness can feel nice and gives us the warm fuzzies. Most people, if given the choice between happiness or sorrow, would probably pick happiness. Happiness puts a jump to your step and can make you feel like you’re on cloud nine. It’s a great feeling to have.

However, for some people like me, happiness can sometimes be hard to enjoy. It’s almost as if I’m waiting for something bad to happen. I can’t enjoy the happiness thoroughly because at the back of my mind, I know that something horrible is probably going to happen to take away my happiness. I don’t like being paranoid but the rules of life dictates that the greater the happiness, the greater the sorrow that will come with it. You can’t have one without the other. And so I’m left always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It is no fun to live like that. I can never cherish my happiness because of what’s going on at the back of my head. “Don’t enjoy it too much! That way, it won’t hurt too much once it’s taken away from you. And it WILL be taken away from you!” Living life in that state of mind is horrible. It is an attitude that is life-draining rather than life-giving.

It has been very challenging for me to “live in the present” or to “live in the here and now.” To taste happiness in its fullness with no attempts to mitigate it with thoughts of future sorrow. In the process, I feel like I’m living a better life. A true life. A real life. Not a life full of “what if’s” and so concerned with the future, I accidentally forget to live the life I do have.

So I’m trying to be ok with happy. I’m trying not to run away from it. I’m trying to embrace it and hold it tightly against my chest, never wanting to let it go. I’m trying to let my body feel what happiness is and be enveloped in its cheerful embrace. I’m trying to give myself the permission to be happy. And in doing so, it has made me happy. It has made me smile. It has made me laugh. It has made me more thankful for such wonderful moments in time.

I have also realized that everything doesn’t have to be perfect before I can be happy. I have realized that sometimes, it is in the most desperate situations, that happiness rears its happy head. Perhaps, to remind me, and all of us, that you never know what is on the other side of the pit of despair. So, as the old song goes, don’t worry… be happy.

Have you ever been afraid of happiness?

 

 

Tunes for Tuesday – July 9, 2013

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Today’s Tunes for Tuesday, I get to highlight two artists whom I absolutely love! I fell in love with Emili Sandé when I heard her sing during the 2012 Olympics. And my friend Reneé Robinson has been astounding me with her gorgeous voice for more years than I would like to disclose lolz So what happens when my love for these two singers collide? This version of “Daddy” by Emeli Sandé sung by Reneé Robinson =) You can follow Reneé on Twitter and FB

Any covers of your favourite artists you think I should listen to? Let me know in the comments below. 

Shooting Their Wounded

So true!

Pastor Ted

I was intrigued by a friend’s Facebook recommendation so late last night found myself on a Documentary website watching a very personal biography on Ted Haggard, disgraced evangelical super pastor. Twenty minutes into the documentary I realized I was feeling sorry for the guy. Let me explain.

I have very little pity for self-made rich hypocrites. Like most of you I get a sick delight when I hear that Donald Trump or Conrad Black has gotten themselves into something dicey. I love listening to religious bigots like Mark Driscoll make an ass of themselves. So why do I feel sorry for Mr. Clean, Ted Haggard?

Haggard didn’t even say he was “100% heterosexual” but was held accountable for it anyway. He couldn’t find a regular job after he got canned and when he did start selling insurance door-to-door he still could not escape his notoriety. As part of his…

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Pensées on Prostitution

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Photo: Getty Images

In a recent article, an esteemed friend (Julia Beazley) wrote about the current problem we have when dealing with the issue of legalizing prostitution. In her article,  she reminds us not to ignore the real issue on prostitution. A lot of the argument about legalizing prostitution revolves around the intended “safety” that legalizing prostitution would bring to those who practice this particular “profession”. By legalizing it, we can then enforce laws that could potentially create a safer environment for women who have “chosen” to be in this field of work. Beazley reminds us that

The violence is rooted in the underlying view among the people, mostly men, that purchase them that women in prostitution are somehow fundamentally different from their mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives and daughters. This misperception justifies treatment of women as objects to be bought and sold. The very existence of prostitution requires a subclass of people who are available to be bought, sold and rented; people understood to be somehow just a little less equal than everyone else.

I know a lot of fathers who will move heaven and earth for their daughters. The moment their daughter’s little fingers wrap around theirs, even the most manliest man can be reduced to tears. They dream of a bright and lovely future for their daughter. Maybe she will become a doctor or a lawyer (especially if her parents happen to be Asians hahaha), a writer, a ballerina, a teacher, or even become the prime minister (or the president if you’re not in Canada)! I haven’t met a lot of normal fathers who ever dreamt a future of prostitution for their little girl. Probably because that would be incredibly sick and disturbing if they actually did! I would like to think that as a society, we can agree that wanting your daughter to be a prostitute when she grows up is wrong.

While I recognize that lots of things happen when a child grows up, I hope that our general views on protecting others from harm would not be something we throw out because of a change in someone’s age. The prostitute in the street is not a random piece of flesh to be bought and enjoyed like you would buy a chocolate bar from a vending machine. She is a woman created in the image of her Creator. She is someone’s child. She is someone’s sister. She is someone’s friend. She is a human being. She is not a piece of commodity to be owned and bought at someone’s convenience and pleasure.

We live in a broken, messed up world. I am not naïve enough to think that just because I think someone is wrong means that everyone will think what I think is wrong is wrong too. But, in a world of relativity and lack of absolutes in this post-modern world we inhabit in, there are general ideas that most people irregardless of their religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or political stance do agree on. In general, we are all about love, peace, joy, and general happy things. We generally want peace instead of war. We are all about protecting the weak and oppressed against the power of the strong tyrant. And maybe this is just the idealist in me, but I really hope and pray that as a society, we would rise up to protect the weak and the disenfranchised who find themselves in the prostitution trade and remind them that they are not disposable sex objects but human beings who need to be treated with love and care. But then again, maybe that’s not me just being idealistic… maybe that’s just me recognizing and respecting someone else’s humanity. Maybe that’s just me being truly human.

 

 

Comments are always welcome. It’s ok to disagree with me and/or others, but we can disagree in a nice way that doesn’t result to denigrating or being demeaning to others in the process =)

On the importance of marriage

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Last week, I had the honour and privilege of attending the wedding of two amazing individuals, Peter (Mahaffey) and Gracie (Villanueva). I have been to a lot of weddings but this wedding definitely stood out. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a wedding before where God was the underlying theme of the whole ceremony to begin with. I have been to Christian weddings before but there was something different about this one. Sometimes, I feel like God becomes a tag line in a wedding ceremony. The whole event is centered on the bride and groom and if God makes an appearance, it’s a brief cameo to bless their union. This time around, it seems that the event was built around the theme of God’s love instead of the love of the bride and groom. As a Christian, it was quite jarring and convicting. So this is what it looks like to have God be the center of a marriage, I found myself thinking.

During the speech, Gracie’s mom said something to the effect that their prayer that day was for God to be glorified during the wedding. I think I’m more used to prayers about how God should bless the couple’s lives rather than prayers that God would be honoured. It was one of those “really?!?” moments. While the sentiment expressed isn’t exactly revolutionary, I guess what surprised me was that she actually meant it. She really wanted the focus to be on God and not on the bride and groom. I think that really shocked me since I haven’t seen it before. During the numerous speeches, the one common thing was their constant reference to God’s love and God’s hand in bringing these two people together. It was so God-centered, I was quite taken aback.

I think that’s the one thing that people forget about marriage. Marriage is the most intimate picture we have of the relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church. In the Old Testament, God’s relationship to Israel was often framed within a marriage context. Marriage is a beautiful picture of the divine love God has with His people. Throughout the Scriptures, we see a God who pursues His bride relentlessly. Even when the bride strays and becomes unfaithful to Him, still God woos her back to Himself. It is a picture of constant patience, grace, mercy, compassion and love to someone who, in fact, does not deserve a single ounce of any of these attributes. Even when the Brides gives the Groom a reason to leave because of her imperfections, the Groom not only stays faithful to her, but also goes out of His way to redeem the broken relationship. What a beautiful picture of heaven on earth!

What is marriage if not another way of presenting the gospel to the world? It is a proclamation of the good news that Christ brought to our world. It brings a man and a woman together while boldly challenging our individualistic culture and loudly proclaims that they are more than ok to be seen as one in the sight of men and God. It is another visible reminder that a proper marriage must properly have God in the center. It is a tangible expression of God’s love as expressed on earth.

To Peter and Gracie, I hope and pray that you would continue to walk in the ways of the Lord your God. Continue to esteem each other better than yourselves. May you daily submit your bodies and your lives wholly and completely to the wonderful and compassionate God who created you and brought you two together in His love and grace. It was an honour to be a witness to your beautiful union.