It means "writings." I write things.

8:50 AM

When God Hurts

Posted by Brad Polley |

I was studying Isaiah today, which by the way is one of the best books in the Bible, and I came across a passage that seemed to jump of the page. Isaiah 63:8-9 says this:

For he said, "Surely they are my people, children who will not deal falsely." And he became their Savior. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

We talk all the time about the fact that we serve a personal God, but do we really know what that means? Are our minds capable of grasping the idea of a being big enough to create the universe, yet small enough to care about being personal with his creatures? What does it mean for God to be personal? In order to answer that last question, we have to look at what it means for us to have a personal relationship with other people. We have to spend time with them, we have to exhibit great care toward them, we have to pour our lives into them. If this is what it means for us to have a personal relationship with someone, then it follows that the same things apply to God having a relationship with his creation. However, it seems that just spending time with someone and caring about them, doesn't necessarily mean we have a personal relationship with them. So what completes a relationship with someone and moves it from being an acquaintance to a loving relationship?

I think the answer lies in the bold print of our passage. It says that in all of Israel's afflictions, God was afflicted. To love someone completely and have an intimate relationship with them means that we are afflicted when they are afflicted. The passage says that when we hurt, God hurts also. We don't serve an impersonal God who sits back and just watched stuff happen. He's actively involved with us, even to the point of taking our hurts on himself. The Bible refers to God at times as the God of Comfort, I never really understood the breadth of that statement until I understood that when I am hurting, there is a Creator that is hurting as well.

10:28 AM

Three Little Birds

Posted by Brad Polley |

"Don't worry about a thing, 'cause every little thing's gonna be alright."

I can't tell you how often I listen to this song by Bob Marley, and I can't tell you how often I need to hear it. I'm a worrier by nature and I need to hear the "three little birds" saying this to me. It seems to ring with something Jesus said once,

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

The fact is that worry leads to nothing but increased blood pressure and a massive coronary. Let Jesus' message (and Bob's) wash over you. Do you have financial problems? Understand that God is faithful. Having family problems? Don't worry about a thing, every little thing is gonna be alright. Been sold out by friends or betrayed? Don't worry about it, because God will never leave you or forsake you.

Let the three little birds and Jesus speak to your heart as you struggle for the faith to get you through your problems.

8:30 AM

Fun by the pound

Posted by Brad Polley |

So my wife and I have started a new tradition on Sunday nights. We watch C-Span. I wish I was kidding, but seriously, we watch C-Span. On Sunday nights they have a half-hour segment of the British House of Commons weekly Prime Minister grilling. If you've never seen it, believe me when I tell you that your life is woefully incomplete. It is comedy in its highest form. It's like watching a bar fight in which no punches are thrown, and where the participants use sharp language and dripping sarcasm to knock the other person to the ground.

The proceedings go something like this: any member of Parliament can get up and ask a question of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister then has to get up and answer the question posed to him. In between are random shouts of "hear-hear" if people agree and "AAhhoofdsdfksfcfksjdkflj" if they don't. The beautiful thing about it is that the questions are generally posed in a fairly sarcastic form. Last night, one of the Parliament members accused the Prime Minister of not being able to read. The Prime Minister then got up and referred to the man as "the right honorable gentleman" which in British-speak means, "gay cowboy" or something like that.

If you've never watched the House of Commons, do it. It's like watching a circus, sans midgets and other creepy carny folk. Plus, it's nice to see a government where policy makers are held accountable for the things they say.

8:26 AM

Surviving Mediocrity

Posted by Brad Polley |

In most churches, I've heard sermons preached about living life on the mountaintop and living life in the valley. What about living life somewhere in the middle? I've never seen a book written about that or a sermon preached on it. Are we just supposed to know how to live life when things aren't great, but they aren't that bad? I'm feeling mediocre right now. I'm not great, but I'm not bad either. I feel like I'm living in an earthly purgatory. I'm sort of waiting for either an ascent or a descent, and in the meantime doing nothing more than surviving through habit and routine.

How do we find God in these times of life? It's easy to find God when you're really up, and it's even fairly easy to find God when you've hit bottom, but it seems more difficult in the middle. What's the answer? Do I go skydiving or play chicken with an oncoming train to break the monotony? Do I find a mountain and sit on it while composing John Denver-ish poetry about how I see God in the trees? There are no easy answers and I'm not sure the Bible is black and white on the issue either (yes, I'm suggesting that the Bible isn't black and white). I know I should pray more and read my Bible more, I've heard those answers since I was a kid; but what about when you don't really feel like doing that? Man I wish Joel Osteen would write a book that would give me the answers. Of course, he never lives in the middle because he's constantly in God's favor.

9:18 AM

What is the Shroud of Turin doing inside my wife?

Posted by Brad Polley |

Seriously, I'm not great at reading ultrasound pictures or anything, but I can definitely see the ghostly face of my son. I've come to the conclusion that it looks similar to the Shroud of Turin. I wanted to ask the ultrasound tech, "What is the post-crucifixion, pre-resurrected Christ doing in my wife's womb?" I didn't think she would get it or find the humor in it like I do.

Everything is healthy, although I'm a little concerned about the size of his naughty bits. Seriously, you can't see them in this picture, but it took three different angles for us to see them. Let the locker room laughing begin...sorry son.

We got to see his jaw moving up and down during the ultrasound. I like to think he was saying something like, "Hey guess what, I'm trying to sleep, leave me alone." He didn't stop moving the whole time. If this is any indication of things to come, I need to start learning how to live on 30 minutes of sleep a day.

I still think he looks like my wife. We're excited that yet another homely, frumpy, Polley male is entering the world. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see him emerge from the womb looking like GrizzlyAdams with a full back and chest of hair. Ladies and Gentlemen, behold the next great musical innovator (a real musical innovator, not just someone who thinks they Kanye West).

8:49 AM

And the Oscar Goes To...Who Cares

Posted by Brad Polley |

Last night was the 78th Annual Academy Awards, or as I like to call them, the 78th Annual Crippling Boredom Awards. Holy crap this is a boring show. The only redeeming quality this year, during the 15 minutes I watched of the thing, was John Stewart, who is an absolute master of dripping sarcasm.

The Academy Awards are a time every year for a bunch of rich celebrities to get together and stroke each other's egos and have someone pat them on the back and tell them "good job," and hand them a new mantle sculpture. Apparently millions of dollars per picture doesn't stroke the ego enough anymore.

There are many things I hate about awards shows, especially this award show. First, there's the meat-market known as the red carpet where people watching on TV can live vicariously through their favorite star by yelling at the screen, "I love what Charlize is wearing this year." It's as if the stars honestly care what Betty Ann Provost from Sheboygan, Wisconsin thinks of their outfits. Along with this red-carpet fun, you get the leathery Joan Rivers and her equally leathery daughter commenting on what everyone is wearing. Thanks for your opinion ladies, here's a quarter for your next face-lift.

Then there's the acceptance speeches. It gets so old hearing everyone say the same thing. "Thank you to the Academy (whoever the crap that is), and thank you to (insert the names of everyone you have ever met in your entire life, including Ira the Deli owner, who's Pastrami on Rye was the inspiration you needed to go on when you wanted to give up hope on humanity)." "Oh, and thanks to my husband/wife/life partner for sitting at home pining away while I spent the better part of three years neglecting you and kids so that I could win this award."

Finally, you know there is something wrong with the world when Joachin Phoenix doesn't win crap for his incredible portrayal of Johnny Cash, and a band called "Three-Six Mafia" wins an award for a song about a pimp. Hey Johnny, if you're up there listening, I apologize on the part of humanity for that injustice.

The thing that kills me are the people that hang on everything that happens at these awards, as if their very existence depends on whether or not "Capote" wins an award. Aaaahhhh...I feel better.