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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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#goodbye

July 27, 2012 Leave a comment

You didn’t think I would leave without saying #goodbye did you? After all of the time that the #hashheads gave to this blog, I could not dream of leaving things undone. Allow this episode to stand as a series finale of sorts; not like a “House M.D.” or “Seinfeld” series finale, more like a “Harry’s Law” or “Kings” series finale (I mean #Hashtagfairytales is #epic, but it isn’t #EPIC). So my friends, allow me to make a declaration of sorts: When in the course of online events, it becomes necessary for a person to dissolve the creative bands that have connected them to a website. A decent respect to the opinions of any fans or readers that the site has gained requires that they should declare the causes which compel them to this separation.

I hold this truth to be self evident: #Hashtagfairytales has been a hell of a good time for me! I hope that it has been for you as well. But it has run its course. It is time to move on. Does that mean that the domain is leaving? No. http://hashtagfairytales.com will remain alive and well (#cheapplug). This site will remain as I am very proud of the ride that we had. The guest posts, the fun comments, the responses to the #PolloftheWeek; I would be amiss to forsake them. I will leave them to memorialize the joy, the intellect, and the suffering that was had in these pages. #Hashtagfairytales has had the opportunity to react to a few timeless or historic events.

The inception being in the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden, #HTFT has had the solemn duty of reacting to events like the passing of several individuals (Randy Savage, Whitney Huston, and Dick Clark to name a few), and tragedies such as the Norway shooting, but it has also had the pleasure of celebrating holidays (Thanksgiving [#gracias], Christmas [#istayinnarnia] and of course the premier of @CutDownPodcast), and introducing items of pop culture (#obscurereference). We experienced together the rise and fall of #TheAdministration (let me save you some time, it was a sham like Mili Vanilli’s singing voice; it was as fake as the Easter bunny or Iowa).  I guess the #bottomline is: I’ve had a good time.

You might ask: Ok then, Why? Why is this #goodbye? Why not #seeyalater? Because my friends, it is time. Everything has it’s time and everything must die. This project that is #Hashtagfairytales has run its course; it lasted longer than a Kardashian marriage (I’m looking at you Kim), but not quite as long as a Kardashian marriage (Kudos to you Khloé). Does that mean that the #hashtag is dead? No, it is still alive, although if it doesn’t watch it’s back the meme will soon take over. I simply mean that this project, this platform, this blog is done. The purpose of this whole thing was to give me a platform. Once again, it is no secret that my goal, my dream, my “rock star job” would be to be an announcer for the WWE, but I ask you, is #Hashtagfairytales going to get me there? It is tough to come to the conclusion that it isn’t.  Did it even extend my name further than my existing circles? It is difficult to face the fact that it hardly did.

One of the hardest things for a man to do is admit that he is wrong, so I face that difficulty and publish it online.

I was wrong.

Drink that in, everyone with whom I have ever had a conversation; it may not happen again.

I was wrong.

Dang, I was wrong, it DID happen again…

And again.

But you get the point. The internet is full of people projecting themselves and creating platforms, how many of them will admit they are wrong? How many will admit that they are barking up the wrong tree?

Let me clarify, I do not regret #HTFT, I simply recognize it as a project that didn’t accomplish my goal. But believe it was a great time and I had so much fun writing it. I cherish each of the readers I have had. Each reader who took their time to invest in me has a special place in my heart. I don’t just say that, I mean it. On top of that, #HTFT truly honed my skill of creative writing. Through this blog I have been able to find my writing voice, but by and large this project is in fact done.

Allow me to quote an author for whom I have the utmost respect, Jesse Rice, author of “The Church of Facebook.” In his last blog for THE CHURCH OF FACEBOOK (I’m not yelling, he just likes all caps), he said this:

“Sometimes you just need to admit you’ve failed and start over. I pretty much failed as The Church of Facebook blogger and that’s okay. I have other gifts. Namely, house plant maintenance. I was inconsistent, my branding was all over the place (as were my topics), and did not have any clear goals in mind. I sincerely apologize to my faithful subscribers who took a chance pressing the ‘submit’ button and didn’t get much in return. But admitting failure clears the road for a new beginning.”

I cannot say that I am gifted in the art of ensuring the survival and prosperity for the common ficus as Mr. Rice may well be, but I can say that I agree with his statement.  I must admit #hashheads, #HTFT was all over the place, in a bit of a quirky way, but a blog needs direct guidance. Upon his first visit to this blog, Graphic designer Nate Davis said this to me, “So. When you said ‘hashtagfairytales,’ I thought you were either going to make up stories in 140 characters, or based on hashtags that you noticed on Twitter.” That would have been a good call Mr. D, but that #Hashtagfairytales was not. But rest assured that Jacob C. Howard is not gone, you will see him again in an online capacity (possibly sooner than you think).

#Hashtagfairytales is and was a medium of entertainment. It may not be streamlined or organized in such a way as to amplify my name, but if this blog has entertained and/or taught any one person. I say, #missionaccomplished. Thank you to everyone who has dropped by. I appreciate it. I will miss #Hashtagfairytales, but I bid you all adieu, and I say with all love and respect possible; with a heart of joy for time well spent: #goodbye.

(“Insert smart ass author comment here”)

#getonthefloor

April 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Faith is not easy.

But you already knew that.

I just found out.

I haven’t had any recent struggles with faith, and I haven’t doubted God as of late, which is how I confirm my conclusion. My faith in God is strong right now—I might say as strong as it has ever been. You all saw last week’s episode of #Hashtagfairytales, #thatssilly; in that episode, I affirmed my belief and faith in resurrection, the most paramount and silly of all Christian beliefs. It is in my strength that I find my weakness.

Because my faith is at its best, I can truly see how inadequate it is.

Sure I’m good in the belief department. You throw Biblical statements and doctrine at me and I’ll believe them left and right; and I’ll tell you why I do! I say a revised version of the #ApostlesCreed daily; I know what I believe. Mind you, I do not boast in my great faith, but in my lack thereof.

The complimentary statements in Romans 8:11 fully describe my inadequacy:

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”

Dang it! I mean this same Spirit is in me; Yup! I believe that fer sure. But also give life to my mortal body? As in make my life abundant? Like not just make me alive, but make me really live? Seriously? I mean, this fella is in the business of raising people from the dead and I am supposed to believe he is also worried about giving ME a quality life? I mean I believe the words; who doesn’t? But that God cares about what job I have and what friends I hang out with seems a bit below his pay grade. It’s like asking Bill Gates to sell Microsoft Office software at Best Buy, or telling Kim Kardashian to…umm…well, she doesn’t really do much anyway, but you get the point.

Sometimes I feel like praying to God about little things like romantic relationships is a bit petty. God has a busy schedule; I saw Bruce Almighty. There are sick babies and people who have never had clean drinking water. Sometimes when I pray I am not sure I am expecting an answer. Not because HE can’t but because I think He just doesn’t care. (#transparency)

Not too long ago, I paid a visit to a friend’s apartment.  He lives on the 10th floor and given the abundance of my waistline, I typically take the elevator. As I stepped out of the elevator onto the tenth floor, I noticed something extremely dangerous.

I didn’t look down.

I just believed that the floor was there and that it would support me. Friends, I don’t feel comfortable sharing my weight, but let me say it is approximately 12 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models—or somewhere around there. I just believed that the floor would support me.

The floor doesn’t care. But God does.

The floor isn’t all powerful. But God is.

The floor doesn’t know any of my hearts desires. But God knows them all.

I wish I had as much faith in God as I have in the floor.

The philosopher commonly known by his gangsta rap name Mystikal once said, “Danger, get on the floor!” (#Y2K was a good year) I say the same thing; I need to get on God like I #getonthefloor. I mean to say, I need to just step out all undignified and just trust that He will support me. He will hold my weight. He will always be there. #getonthefloor and don’t look down! #hashheads the book of I Peter says it better than I ever could. Pete, take it away: “Cast your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” I Peter 5:7

It’s just true. I am growing my friends; I am learning. I implore you all to take heed to this.  The finals you are stressing over and are studying for are not only your concern, but the are at the heart of the creator. Very God of Very God cares about what college you pick. Your job; He cares. Your wedding venue; He cares. Your small city; He cares.Your house in foreclosure; He cares. Your bank account; He cares. Your broken relationship; He cares. You; He cares.

Question: What do you care about? He cares too.

(Did I quote Mystikal and the apostle Peter in the same paragraph? Only on #HTFT!)

#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.)

#stateofthehashtag

As head of the creative direction and a representative of The Administration of #Hashtagfairytales, I have the pleasure of saying this on behalf of The Administration: #Hashtagfairytales is in the place, and of the quality that it should be “Freshly Pressed” by the blogging site WordPress. Jacob C. Howard has been at the helm of the proverbial #HTFT ship to this point but has recently been suspended for grammatical misconduct; I say with or without him you as the reader are in a good place and #Hashtagfairytales is not going anywhere. Generally speaking we The Administration are in full support of Mr. Howard but some things must be acted upon. In his absence it seems best to us to deliver to the public—the #hashheads as you have been called—an address to clearly divulge the direction of #Hashtagfairytales. So without adieu, I give you the #stateofthehashtag.

Why is this blog here? The mission thereof is as follows: “…To consistently provide honest (often humorous; sometimes risky) high quality episodes with respect, love, sensitivity, and appreciation for the issues and most importantly the readers who choose to invest in the blog via their time; #HTFT belongs to them.” This mission is stated on the #AboutHashtagfairytales page. This blog is here to provide quality humorous content to people who may be looking for it. We are into being funny. Even in serious episodes, we are committed to humor. For instance: Why are there gates around cemeteries? You give up? Because people are dying to get in. Funny right? I also know a naughty limerick or two.

The heart of this blog is Jacob C. Howard; let us not villianize him. While planning this blog Jacob wanted to provide ten things. Each episode, guest post, #HTFTS, #PolloftheWeek, tweet, and status update posted on behalf of #Hashtagfairytales is crafted with these ten things in mind: consistency, quality, humor, investor (reader) appreciation, respect, honesty, sensitivity, humor, love, and risk. With each post Jacob—along with The Administration—continuously question how each piece of content delivers all ten of these things. Often, we knock it out of the park like the 2010 San Francisco Giants, other times, we hit a foul ball like the Oakland A’s (#ihellaloveoakland). There are days that #HTFT gets 60+ views, others that it gets 2, more where it gets 14, and a handful that it gets 0. These days contribute to the artistic direction equally. Because of the days that there are zero views each single view matters so very much. They matter to Jacob C. Howard and they matter to The Administration.

I said that the heart of this blog is Jacob C. Howard, but I also say that this blog is the heart of Jacob C. Howard. Do you want to know the thing that really gets Jacob’s blood flowing, the thing that gets him up in the morning, the very thing that pushes him to write? It is his cardio-pulmonary system and taking care of it is important…but also he really likes to write this blog. The creative direction is important and it may sustain a few changes in the coming months, but my friends, it will endure. Let this stand as an announcement directly from The Administration of #Hashtagfairytales: WordPress, you are being placed on notice; this blog is sustainable and it has a heart that will not quit. The #stateofthehashtag is strong, it is faithful, and it is unshakable.

God bless this blog, and God bless every nation on His green earth!

(I understand it is the custom to write an “afterglow” comment or question of sorts: Do you support The Administration of #Hashtagfairytales?)

#HTFTS- So long…

February 13, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ve realized that #HTFT has one big problem; it has something in common with Rapunzel. Do you know the problem with #Hashtagfairytales? I do. I think it began alright, but then it grew into something else. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m down with Rapunzel; she seems like a nice enough lady. But I have a question: where are you right now? I assume you’re on the move; we are always on the move. The problem with #HTFT: like Rapunzel’s hair, #Hashtagfarytales is so long.

Sometimes I go back and re-read them and get impatient and skip a little. You are on the move; likely you don’t have time to read some two page rant on what I feel about children’s stories. I don’t blame you! Even my most loyal fans—both of you—I’m sure grow weary as the posts grow long. So what does this mean? #HTFT will be shorter. Not #HTFTS short, but shorter than the normal. Sometimes 140 characters is not enough; but sometimes 6,100 characters is too much. Time to find a happy medium.

 Time to be honest.

 Time to make a change.

 Time, to not waste yours.

Categories: #HTFTS Tags: , , , , ,

#whereyouat

February 3, 2012 2 comments

This has been an #interesting week for me. You know when people say interesting, but they really don’t mean interesting they just use that word in a vague way? Yeah, this is one of those times. That is to say, I don’t know that my week was actually interesting, but I had a few conversations that really got me thinking. Monday, a few people from my church got together to discuss a book that we read concerning the way that people inside the church present the message of the Bible and the effect thereof on people outside the church. (For more information on the book feel free to email me.) I do not wish to belabor that topic, but it sparked some good conversation. The following evening, I had the opportunity to facilitate a discussion about religion at Patten University using that viral spoken word video “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” as a launching point. Stimulating discussion, we got a bit off track though, the group was talking about religion as a whole, but I wanted to talk about the sweet Hello Somebody watch that the guy had on—it seems he wears them in a few videos.

Nevertheless, all of this brought up an interesting point in my mind #hashheads: The church is not a comfortable place. I know this is not rocket science but as a Christian, it kind of bothers me that some people (both those familiar and unfamiliar with the church) find Christians to be—for lack of a better term—yucky! If you the reader do identify yourself as a Christian, you too should be put off by the fact that people think you’re yucky. If you do not identify yourself as a Christian, I’d love to buy you a coffee and pick your brain a little bit; for the coffee I’ll wear jeans, for the brain picking I’ll wear gloves (#brainsurgery). Seriously, I want to know why it is that church, religion and Christ are such turn-offs. I mean it could be the antiquated thinking, but there are many liberal Christians. Maybe the belief in the supernatural, but there are plenty “rationalists” in different churches. Or I suppose that the argument could be made that the hefty amount of doctrines, creeds, and beliefs could be daunting for the un-churched mind, but there are some extremely intelligent non-believers. Maybe their problem is with blogs by Christians that continuously make fun of the innocent Orange-American population (#SorrySnooki).

Let me say this, I do not want to suppose that #Hashtagfairytales will answer all questions—hell, I can’t say I’ll answer any definitively—but I do have ideas and I believe they are worth exploring. The gentleman in the video above unabashedly proclaims that he hates religion and loves Jesus, and I think he makes a ton of interesting points (none of which I can truly say are unfounded). Although I think the frame for his argument is a bit faulty. I believe that he uses phrases like “religion is the infection” and “as for religion, I resent it,” simply for the sensation that they cause in the religious world as well as the non-religious world. This can strike a chord for both Christians and non-Christians alike. He uses artistic license for which I am in full support, but I believe the correct frame for the argument is not “Religion vs. Jesus”—these two aren’t at odds—I believe what he is talking about is “Religion” vs. True religion (#notthejeans).

“Religion” is not very good. I think that it’s “religion” that people find yucky about Christians (Sorry for using technical terms like “yucky,” I guess I just use scholarly language). When I say “religion” herein, what I mean is religiousness or religiosity; that is to say being overtly pious or “holier.” Notice I did not say holy, God calls us to be holy and that we should strive for, but God never once asked us to be holier. Now some might read that and say, “Well duh!” But I mean that we are not meant to look at ourselves as holier. As part of my #FinishList, I want to lose 20 pounds. Because of this, I been hitting the gym with my boy Jocxan (do yourself a favor, don’t try to pronounce it). We went to Safeway afterwards one night and he got an item that I told him he shouldn’t get; his will won over what was best for him, but on the other hand, I didn’t get “naughty food” even though I wanted to. I did what was “right” and he did what was “wrong.” Because of this I felt good about myself, but to put it honestly, I felt better than Jocxan. “Religious” people don’t feel good about what they’re doing; they feel better than what they aren’t. Their concern is being proud of themselves that they did better. They are not concerned with feeling good because of who they’re being, they want to feel better because of who they aren’t.  Their call is not—in their minds—to be holy, but to be holier.

As for true religion (with an apparent and intentional lack of quotation marks), James 1:27 describes it better than I can: It is to look after the widows and orphans and not let one’s self be corrupted by the world. Corrupted by the world. That’s interesting. You might say, “Jacob, isnt that a call to be holier?” To you I’d say two things, first, you forgot an apostrophe, second no. Corrupted by the world; one of the world’s biggest corruption is pride, from it stems greed. My #BFF C.S. Lewis once said, pride is not concerned with having, but having more than the next guy. I say again, pride is not being holy, but being holier than the next guy. What worse corruption is there that an attempt to be holier? What say we get all radical and focus on looking after those in need. I know, too crazy to work; but a guy cam dream can’t he?

Friends, I think there is one huge thing that separates the unbeliever—or the casual believer—from connecting with God or the church or however you choose to put it: Christ is invisible. Think about it, the Bible even clearly says, the message of the cross is foolishness to unbelievers (I Corinthians 1:18). It all sounds so silly. “Let me get this straight, Some magician died 2000 years ago and he became a zombie who judges you? And you say the zombie talks to you? Well, I’m gonna go now…” of course it sounds silly, as it should. We are talking to this invisible guy. These people come to the church searching, looking for Jesus and what do they find sometimes? Nothing, an invisible guy.  They sound like an old Boost mobile Commercial and they look for Jesus saying #whereyouat?! (#vintage) But they cannot find him.

What if though He weren’t invisible? That’d be easy huh? It worked for doubting Thomas. What if—maybe they don’t see his whole body—what if they just got a glimpse? Many would probably believe wouldn’t they? We believe Christ is alive; people who are alive can be seen right? If Christ is alive then He ought to be able to be seen; He ought to show Himself! I think He’s tried, but there’s something in His way. Me. You. We are in His way. He tries to show Himself every day, but we won’t let Him. What if someone could from the corner of their eye catch a glimpse of Christ in Me? They’d believe forever. I am not trying to say that there are no Christians who allow Christ to shine through—far from it—but I am saying that if as many as carry the label also carried the Christ this world would be a different place. I do not look down my nose at anyone; what if I carried the Christ as much as I do all this talking about Him? What if I was who God is calling me to be? What if I answered the #whereyouat question and allowed the invisible Christ to be visible?

(#Interesting.)