It means "writings." I write things.

3:32 PM

And the Oscar goes to John Q. Hypocrite

Posted by Brad Polley |

I have a confession to make...I watched some of the Oscars (and by "some" I mean like 30 minutes on and off). It seems that this year the environment took center stage, what with Al Gore's documentary on Global Warming gaining so much attention. Let me state that I have no problem with environmentalism. I don't take the traditonal Christian view of the environment of, "Hey, let's destroy it, because Jesus is going to come back anyway." In fact, I'm trying to take some steps in my own life to be a bit more conscious. However, I get tired of celebrities talking a good game and then living something so seemingly different than what they profess. I find it interesting that Christians get accused of being hypocrites constantly, yet other groups of people don't.

I watched as celebrity after celebrity pranced on stage and mentioned something about the Oscar's being "green" this year (I found it odd that they never seemed to define in what way the show was "green"), and about how we should be more responsible. All of these comments gained applause from their peers. Did no one else happen to notice that pretty much everyone arrived in a giant limo? Are those eco-friendly now, did I miss the memo? I'm guessing a limo gets roughly the same gas mileage as a Sherman tank, so how can they justify it?

9:40 AM

A haunting passage

Posted by Brad Polley |

I read in the book of 2 Timothy (which, incidentally, comes right after 1 Timothy) the other day a passage that I can't get out of my head. Paul is writing a letter to a disciple of his named Timothy, hence the name of the book, and he lists off characteristics of people in what Paul calls "the last days" (by the way, I do think it's possible that Paul was speaking of something other than the second coming of Jesus when he used that phrase). Here are the characteristics of these people:
Lovers of themselves
Lovers of money
Disobedient to their parents
Without love
Without self-control
No lovers of the good
Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God

Paul then says that these people have "a form of godliness, but deny its power." Then it clicked with me, holy crap he's talking about the Church! Then I started thinking, this list characterizes many of the aspects that I see in the American Church. Paul's final phrase keeps haunting me, "having a form of godliness, but denying its power." This phrase leads to many questions in my mind. Does this mean that the believers Paul speaks of to Timothy say all the right things, they know the doctrine, but when it comes down to it, they look nothing like Jesus? Have you ever met anyone like that? Am I like that? What is the power of true godliness? What does it look like? Do I look like Jesus (not literally, I'm much fatter than he would have been) to those around me? If I don't, what can I change in my life to make sure that I do?

Paul says in the book of Galatians, "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." To my brothers and sisters in the American Church, please listen to the words of our comrade Paul. It doesn't matter what you verbally agree to. It doesn't matter what you say you believe. All that matters is whether you put in to action what you say you believe to be true. The measuring stick is love, the measuring stick is Jesus, how do you compare? How do
I compare?

9:48 AM

Another milestone in parenting

Posted by Brad Polley |

Our first real vomit, how exciting. I was feeding mini-me last night, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to do, and we decided to give him rice cereal again. He had been eating oatmeal like it's going out of style, so we thought we would change it up a bit on him and go back to rice cereal periodically. Well, apparently he's a texture freak, because he gagged on every bite I gave him. I'm not going to lie, I laugh when he gags. He makes a noise like he's throwing up his toenails, and gets a classic "I'm throwing up my toenails" look on his face.

Anyway, after about five bites, I decided that maybe the rice cereal wasn't a good idea because he was gagging relentlessly with every bite. It seems, however, that five bites was one bite too many. He proceeded to gag about four times on the last bite and then he expelled everything I had fed him to that point, including peaches and green beans. It was a technicolor bile-fest as he coated anything within two feet of him with his stomach contents. My wife and I sat there for a minute, just looking at each other and asking each other, "So...what do we do now?" We eventually got him cleaned up and all was well. We've come to a couple of possible conclusions as to the reason for his puking. 1)He hates the texture of rice cereal and showed it by gagging until he heaved. 2)He realized that his Huggies weren't fitting quite like they used to, and he thought he would give bulimia the ole' college try. Who knows.

11:03 AM

Theology of the soul

Posted by Brad Polley |

I was doing some thinking the other day (and yes, it hurt). I read the passage of Scripture where Jesus says, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose his soul? What can a man give in exchange for his soul?" I've read that passage a hundred times in my life and given my lovely fundamentalist upbringing (Yea! Let's hear it for Fundies!) I always assumed that Jesus was simply stating that if you put anything in front of him, enjoy the fires of hell because you lost your soul. Because, after all, Jesus was primarily concerned with heaven and hell right (if you didn't read that with caustic sarcasm, feel free to insert it, and then re-read the sentence)? However, this time when I read the passage a question formed in my brain. What is the soul?

Over the last couple of years, I've read some fairly mind-melting stuff, mainly written by Jewish authors. It all of sudden clicked with me that the way the Ancients defined the soul vastly differs from what I've been taught. So let me give the two contrasting views of the soul.

Modern - We seem to have what I call a Tom and Jerry view of the soul. In Tom and Jerry cartoons, very often Jerry would whack Tom across the head with something heavy and Tom would "die." He would be lying on the ground and a foggy version of him would release into the air. This is, presumably, the cartoonists way of saying that his soul has left him. This view of the soul has permeated our way of thinking. To us, the soul is nothing more than a ghost who's only purpose is to determine where we go when we die. We view the soul as something that is ultimately disconnected from who we are. It is a separate entity from our body, mind, thoughts, and emotions. When we die, this soul floats out of us and enters either heaven or hell. According to Christians, the soul can be saved by "accepting Jesus" (how's that for a foggy description?). This soul, by accepting Jesus, is made perfect and is thus "saved."

Ancient - They saw the soul as the deepest part of your being. The soul (or known also as the "heart" in ancient writings) was your life-force. It was the thing that shaped who you were as a person. It was not separate from your physical, mental, emotional body. As the soul went, so did the rest of you. Your soul was ultimately who you are.

This would have to be Jesus' view of the soul. The idea of a soul being some sort of separate entity from the rest of you was non-existant in his day. So this has gigantic implications for all of us. If your soul is the thing that makes you who you are, then Jesus' statement above takes on a whole new meaning. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet lose himself? What good is it for you to strive to gain the world, and yet sell out who you really are in the process? Jesus' statement has nothing to do with the afterlife, but has everything to do with a quality of life to be lived here and now. Our country is full of people who are striving to gain everything the world has to offer and, in the process, they are losing their entire identity. They're selling out the very core of who they are for the bottom line. I believe that God is calling a people that will stop losing the deepest part of them for a bunch of crap that isn't going to satisfy or last anyway.

May you look to Jesus to find out who you really are created to be, and may you have the courage to make the changes necessary to regain your soul.

10:09 AM

Because you're no prize

Posted by Brad Polley |

So, I saw this and thought for a second that it was a joke. Turns out that it isn't.

I'm not sure if I think it's funny or if there's something wrong with our culture when we have to have this type of effect on our cameras. This whole thing leads to a lot of questions in my head. Does this really help with our culture's image problems? Is it wrong to look at an image and state that it's "not pretty enough" and slim it? Does it lead to more laziness in people ("Why should I take care of myself, when I can fix it all on film?")? Any thoughts?