Category Archives: Rants

Sorry honey we can’t go out tonight, we have to pay our iPhone bill

I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal recently that reported Americans are paying so much for their smartphones (iPhones, Droids, etc) that they are having to cut back in other areas, most notably in dining out. I thought to myself, this is a perfect illustration of one of the major problems in America: spending quality time with others is not highly valued in America. One of the best things that could happen to America from a relational standpoint would be for all our smartphones to cease from operating and never work again.

Some of the best times that I have had in my life from a relational (and spiritual) perspective have been on church mission trips where I had no (or very limited) access to any type of cellphone or Internet service. It wasn’t just unplugging from the Internet and the rest of the world that was beneficial, but that there was a group of people that was also unplugged from the Internet with me and we were all in the same situation. There was nothing that we could retreat into to avoid spending time with each other; it was our only option aside from sitting in the corner in silence.

I think that everybody wants close relationships with other humans, but when we spend our free time with our phones, tablets, and computers instead of those whom we want to establish close relationships with we end up shooting ourselves in the foot. If Americans are indeed more dissatisfied with life compared to other nations one of the likely causes is that apparently we would rather spend time with our phones and computers rather than our friends.

Some people believe that technology will save us, but I do not. If anything technology (in the context I have mentioned here) will drive us to isolation and loneliness and be our destruction rather than our salvation. Our problem is our heart, our internal state, not our external state or life. Jesus is our salvation, not technology.

Why ChristianMingle Makes Me Cringe

One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.
(Psalm 27:4)

There’s something about the Christian Mingle commercials that just makes me cringe every time I see one on television, the line: “Find God’s match for you.”

Wedding BandsI cannot find a biblical basis for the belief that God has a “match” for everyone. In fact, I find more evidence that God does not have a “match” for everyone (see the Apostle Paul, Elijah, Jeremiah for example). What I do find a biblical basis for however is loving God with our entire being and being transformed to be more like Christ:

  • Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27).
  • I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1).
  • For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:29).
  • Colossians 3:1-17
  • Galatians 5:16-26

The basic plot of the Bible is this: God created a world, then created humans to rule said world, then humanity disobeyed God and creation became corrupted and humanity became slaves to sin, God promised to redeem humanity from sin, God redeems humanity through Jesus. The goal of the Christian life then is to pursue Christ-likeness and no longer live as slaves to sin.

When I see the ChristianMingle commercials I see an underlying idea of: God has a wonderful plan for your life and wants to bless you with a great life; and I think this idea is one of the problems plaguing Christianity, at least in America. Furthermore this idea is blatantly false. If you don’t believe me read about the lives of the Prophets (esp. Jeremiah), the Apostles, and Jesus Christ. These people did not live wonderful, happy, blessed lives, but rather were usually on the run from enemies who wanted to kill them and were despised; not exactly a wonderful life.

Martyrdom of Paul

Martyrdom of Paul (Tapestry)

At one point in my life I believed the idea that ChristianMingle is promoting: that God has a perfect match for everyone. However, all my praying and hoping for this only served to make me more frustrated and angry at God. Eventually God showed me that this is not the attitude that I should have when following Him. I began to learn that the attitude God wanted me to have was one of concern towards furthering His kingdom, and not towards my own desires. This was not an easy thing to accept, it took many, many months in fact. Once I was able to accept this though it has been one of the most freeing things in my life. It has shifted my focus from earthly temporal things (romance) to eternal things (God’s kingdom), which is where my focus should be as a Christian, because:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:19-21).

Now just to be sure, being married and having a family is a good thing (and Lord willing I will be married and have one myself one day), but the focus of a Christian should be on pursuing Christ and furthering God’s kingdom, not on getting married and having a family. Christ needs to be the focus of the Christian life, not earthly blessings. Our attitudes should be similar to the Apostle Paul’s:

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ…(Philippians 3:8 ESV)

The pursuit of Christ (serving Him and becoming more like Him) needs to be the focus of the Christian life. This needs to be borne out in the life of the Christian and not just merely intellectually assented to, which means that our lives should be marked by hardships and trials endured for the sake of Christ, and not by our “wonderful families.” The life of a Christian should be focused on Christ and eternal things, not on earthly things, of which I believe marriage and family to be one.