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#GoodFriday

March 29, 2013 Leave a comment

I am grateful for the sacrifice of Christ.

That must be said.

What must also be said is that Christ’s death on the cross, while of infinite importance, is not the reason he came to earth—if of course you believe in this whole thing we call Christianity at all.

I don’t mean to promote non-belief in Christ, but I must acknowledge the truth of scripture. I Corinthians 1:18 calls “the message of the cross foolishness” to those who do not believe it. This is not a commentary or judgment on non-believers, but a wake-up call to Christians: Don’t go around trying to convert people; realize that it sounds like crazy talk to people until they’re ready to accept it (#Calvinists, please ignore that last sentence).

But if the cross (i.e. His death) isn’t the reason Jesus came, then what is? And what then is the message of the cross if not to tell people about it?

Jesus came not to die, but to live. If He came to die then He could have been a miscarriage and been done with it. Mary wouldn’t have had to go through labor, nor she and Joseph through raising the Child. Jesus came to preach the #Gospel. I don’t think that is a controversial thing to say; pretty standard. He even commissioned us to do the same.

But how many people have you mistakenly heard say that the gospel is “the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.” That’s all well and good, but that is hardly the gospel. How is it good news that some guy died a couple thousand years ago? Even if he did come back, so what? Besides, how could Jesus then preach the gospel (which Matthew 4:23 clearly says he did), if the gospel was his death? Imagine that:

“Hear ye, hear ye, I’m gonna die! Don’t you wanna be my friend now?!” –Jesus

No one’s going to follow that guy; no one wants to be “that guy!” So then what’s the gospel? That Jesus came to live. That’s what he preached and that’s what we should proclaim! The Lord and creator came to live, because He wants you to live; He created you to live. That is pretty good news!

So then, what is the message of the cross? All over time we tell people to look back to Calvary NOT because He came to die, but because He came to truly live and then gave it all up! When we look at the death of Christ in terms of the life of Christ the meaning is all the more crucial!

All over space and time (forgive me, I am a #DoctorWho fan), let it be said and truly believed that Jesus came to live and boy did He live. He laughed, cried, felt pain, learned, loved; He experienced the human condition!

So this #GoodFriday, take the time to look back 2,000 years on a Savior who came to live for you, and live with you! When you put it that way, this Friday IS pretty good!

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#thatssilly

April 6, 2012 1 comment

I want “the new iPad.” I’m sorry, I’m afraid that’s an understatement. What I mean is, I have called at least one Apple store every day for a week and checked the in-store availability online (give or take) 7 gazillion times per day (#nobigdeal). For those of you keeping track I did at one time own an iPad, which is why the #HTFT episode released on October 7, 2011 was #SentFromMyiPad. But that was a 1st generation iPad; I want the newest. I know what you’re thinking, #thatssilly. You are right, I mean one tablet is as good as another right? But the resolution of the screen is sooo cool; it has been dubbed as “Resolutionary” with 264 ppi (that’s #pixelsperinch for the #techspec lightweights)!  So I sold my old one and am in the market for the new one, but it is sold out everywhere. Now does it make sense that I’m so obsessed? No? You still say #thatssilly? So did I, that is, before I got my hands on it and decided that I needed it. Once I learned I needed it, it didn’t sound so silly.

But it isn’t just iPads.

Resurrection.

#thatssilly

I mean it is. Pure science tells you that resurrection is silly. At commencement, all things are in a state of decline. This applies to living things and non-living things. You buy the fruit and then they start going sour in the fridge. I’ll build the Ikea dresser, but it’s only a matter of time before #thingsfallapart (10 points to anyone who got the Chinua Achebe reference).  As soon as the baby is born he starts getting older and decomposing. Is this a dark outlook on life? Maybe, but it’s true. Death—we are taught—is inevitable, and once it is encountered, the story is over. Death is the end. It’s logic. It’s common sense. It’s science. It’s reasonable. It’s true. Call it what you will, it’s life.

So resurrection, #thatssilly.

I would agree. It’s obviously Easter season right now; on Easter Christians worldwide and across time have been celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But we have clearly established resurrection is silly. But Christians just keep insisting that this Jesus is what the world needs; what I need and what you need. I don’t think I need to even say it but #hashheads, that is silly.

So then why do I want to see Jesus? Why do I long to see his face? Why do I believe this crazy thing? It’s kinda dumb isn’t it? I mean I don’t know if you have ever seen it put to words, but I believe this: A Jewish religious teacher who said he was the son of God, healed people, preached love and justice, became an enemy of the state, was killed in one of the worst ways possible, came back to life, and floated away into heaven. I really do believe that. That is crazy talk! Only an idiot would believe that right? It’s pure silliness. Before you exit this page because of sacrilege and blasphemy, I am not the first to say that, the first was Paul in a letter to the church of Corinth. “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (I Corinthians 1:18)

Friends, today many mourn the death of our savior, and on Sunday (#SPOILERALERT) they will rejoice in his resurrection. I have experienced the living Christ. So this message that would be foolishness, this message that I likely should look at and say, “#thatssilly;” it is the same message that I proclaim today right here on #Hashtagfairytales: Jesus Christ, and him crucified. Jesus Christ and him arisen. Once one’s soul needs Jesus, the message doesn’t sound so silly.

This post was inspired by a tweet from @MarcoAmbriz

(Did I just compare an iPad to the resurrected Son of God?!)

(Does the comparison make me justified in stalking the Apple store? No? Thought I’d try though.)

#gracias

November 11, 2011 3 comments

(Alright #hashheads, we’re taking a break from the #illallowit series to hear from a man amongst men and an original #hashhead. It’s #GuestPost time and today we get to hear from S. M. Acedo of Iglesia Vida Life Church. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!)

So it’s been about two months of Christmas commercials, and we’re not even halfway through November.  It seems like every year we get more and more restless for Christmas to come.  This is getting out of control (excuse me while I turn down Mariah)!

I saw this drawing the other day on #thefacebook (#vintage):

 

and it made me realize: I’m all about Christmas but I haven’t really gotten excited about Thanksgiving. Why is it that Christmas always turns into this great anticipation but Thanksgiving always gets stuffed (#thatjusthappened) away in the vault of obscure holidays, right next to President’s Day and Grandparents Day? (which, by the way, it fell on 9/11 this year; you should seriously give them a call soon—your grandparents that is, not the president, you can’t do things like that anymore…because of 9/11. #fullcircle). Here are four reasons that Thanksgiving gets the short end of the candy cane?

#nogifts

The first obvious answer to why Thanksgiving gets #sandwiched (#thisisfun) between Halloween and Christmas is because of our beautiful capitalism. Other than Safeway, or your favorite grocery store (have you noticed Walgreens is the new Super Wal-Mart? #awesome), people aren’t running to the store to grab treats. The rest of the 1%ers are excited to sell us their wonderful 4G wonderlands for the Christmas season. You get candy on Halloween, chocolate eggs in baskets on Easter, gelt for Hanukkah, and gifts for Christmas, but only a meal on Thanksgiving. 

#getyourelbowsoffthetable

Everyone knows of a fun Christmas party, but when was the last time you heard of a memorable Thanksgiving festivity? You can’t even get excited about dressing up. Instead of a nice Christmas suit and dress, it’s usually a moderate cardigan or your beige Dockers. Thanksgiving is the original #lessismore. Yeah, it is the day we eat the most, especially if you’re a Pentecostal and you think that tobacco use is a sin (scroll down for context #thankyouforsmoking), but once your belt is loosened, there really isn’t much else to do for the rest of the night, other than sleep.  Thank you #tryptophan. This is the holiday you have to behave and make your mom happy, even though you don’t like her stuffing (#sorrymom), and we all become the perfect 1950’s American family. #normanrockwell #shoutout

#bettermarketing

Someone please call Donald Draper #madmen. Christmas has Santa, and Sweet Baby Jesus. Valentine’s Day has a cute stalker in a diaper, better known as Cupid, and Easter has the cute Bunny and The Resurrected Christ (#preachit), but Thanksgiving?  Have you seen a live Turkey? I would run!  Doesn’t matter how you try to draw it and make it cute, a turkey is still scarier than Halloween’s Jack (see image above). I’m glad no one listened to Benjamin Franklin when he suggested making that our national bird and symbol (stick to posing for the hundred dollar bill and #goflyakite). We all remember drawing an outline of our hand and coloring in the fingers as feathers, but it still looks like something that would be worshiped at Tom Cruise’s church.  Thanksgiving must have been late to the mascot-choosing meeting, right before Stanford had to choose a Tree.  Oh, and where’s the “It’s beginning to smell like Thanksgiving” Boyz II Men Album? Seriously, it would work.

#genocide

Where do I even begin? Just go listen to NPR for the rest of the month; you’re bound to find a good interview from a scholar who read a book about a guy who knew a guy that made the diseased blankets. What a downer. Who wants genocide as opposed to wise men? You keep your diseased blankets and I’ll have the swaddling clothes.

But is all this so bad (minus the diseased blankets of course)?

Cue the Full House piano music as Danny, Uncle Jesse, and Joey walk in to the girls’ bedroom to finish another memorable episode. #TGIF #wherearetheynow #truelifeofachildactor #saynotodrugs

I mean sure, even holidays like the 4th of July have fireworks, but we need to learn to pause and instead of making it about all the glitz, it’s about one simple word: #gracias (thank you is two words so it’s not as simple).  All the previously mentioned holidays are about receiving a gift, lover, or a Savior (even though Jesus is all of the above #comeonpreacher!) but Thanksgiving is about giving (#redundant?).  Not about the commercialism, not about the event, not even about the meal; it’s about sitting together with family and friends and pausing to say “thank you” to each other and to the Omnipotent One (#religioussentivity). 

We live in a time where sitting together as a family to eat a meal rarely happens, and it probably will happen less now that #MW3 is out! This past year has been tough for many families, but there is always something to give thanks for. #KimKardashian is giving thanks for the NBA lockout now that her 72 day marriage special was canceled; #occupywallstreet folks are thankful for warm urine during the winter months; and Greece—even with their failing economy—is still thankful for their delicious yogurt and #TinaFey.  #attitudeofgratitude

It seems as if Christmas is all about what we get, if it fits, if it works, and did He really grow up to die for me? Thanksgiving however is all about what we give each other, not just a meal, but a thankful heart. That takes more out of us than #BlackFriday takes out of our wallets. That takes more maturity and stillness in the busy world of 4G and takeovers.

What are you thankful for this November? How will you make this Thanksgiving more special than any other holiday?  Go around the table, read some Scripture together, turn off the phone (after reading the most recent episode of #Hashtagfairytales of course) and be thankful for your #Vida/Life; #blackfriday and the #JustinBieber (thankful he’s not a father) Christmas special can wait!

(JCH: A laugh AND some conviction; hopefully he’s not expecting an offering, I’m saving up for Christmas.)