It means "writings." I write things.

9:56 AM

Why we do the things we do, part 1.

Posted by Brad Polley |

Have you ever wondered where the motivation comes from, that drives us to do the things we do? Maybe you have and maybe you haven't. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I've been looking at my life and I've realized that my life is marked by a deep-down disquiet. There's a rumbling inside of me, at the deepest part, that I'm not happy and peaceful. I think if we all take the time to look deep enough, most of us will find the same inner feeling. That's not to say that there's nothing in my life that brings me joy or happiness, I'm just saying that deep down, I'm not right. I have this nagging sense that I'm not as I should be. In the Bible, we're told that God longs for his people to be free. Maybe the sense I'm getting is that, deep down, I don't feel the freedom that God has promised me.

I'm certainly not blaming God for any of this. He's provided the way to life and peace, I'm just, frankly, not following that way to the best of my ability.

So what motivates us? I guess the best way to say it is...emptiness. Deep down, a great many of us are empty. This feeling that something isn't right within us can basically be defined as emptiness. What this emptiness leads to is lust. We always associate lust with purely sexual motivations (and rightly so a great amount of the time), but lust takes on many different forms. The Greek word for "lust" translates literally as "in the mind." So lust is anything that grips our minds and won't let go. For some of us, sex is what grips our minds, for some it's shopping, for some it's drugs, for some it's alcohol, etc. When we lust after something, we are convinced that we can't live or be content without that something. Do you see what this leads to? Affairs happen because a man/woman is convinced that they will never be happy until they have that other man/woman. Alcoholism happens because the alcoholic has a sense of disquiet, and is convinced that alcohol will make him/her content. Some of us have a deep down sense of emptiness that leads to us having to buy the next trendy item. "If I just had that iPhone..."

The problem with all of this, is that lust can't deliver on the promises it makes. It can't make you content, it can't fill the emptiness. All it can do is make you lust for more. Think about how this progression plays out in real life. Rapists and sex offenders didn't just wake up one day and decide to do what they do. It was a long process that began with a lust for sex that continued to grow and grow, and eventually morphed from a "harmless" addiction to porn, to a monstrous addiction that led to violence. Porn stars didn't just wake up one day and decide to be porn stars. It started at a young age when that girl decided that the "guy of her dreams" could fill the void inside of her. What started as an "innocent" and casual fling morphed into an addiction that she can't get out of.

The question that all of this leads to is, "How do you fill the emptiness?" More to come next week.

10:18 AM

The reality of hypocrisy

Posted by Brad Polley |

You know, if I hear one more person talk about how Christians are hypocrites, I'm going to puke. Sure I'm a hypocrite, but so are you. Outside of Jesus, no one has ever lived out their convictions perfectly 100% of the time. Here's Webster's definition of "hypocrite":

1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

Looking at that definition, that puts pretty much the entire human race into the hypocrisy game. I've heard so many people tell me that they don't follow Jesus because Christians are hypocrites. Sure, we're hypocrites, but not because we're Christians, we're hypocrites because we're human. But the thing I find interesting is they'll join an environmental group that protests big oil, and they'll drive to the protest in their car that uses said oil. They'll join a group that rails against the logging industry, but they have no problem using paper. I know these are broad-sweeping statements about these kinds of groups, but let's call it what it is, it's hypocrisy.

I'm all for environmental causes, and really any cause that improves the earth and the human race, but the point I'm trying to make is that no one is immune to the hypocrisy bug. I understand how Christians display a lack of love from time to time (some more often than others), I do this as well depending on my mood, but don't use an excuse like that to defend your unbelief. Let's all work together, everyone, Christians, Jews, atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. to better this world. Hypocrites unite!

12:11 PM

Some thoughts running through the ole' duder's head

Posted by Brad Polley |

Since Haiti, I've had an increasingly uneasy feeling about my life. I can't really explain it, suffice it to say that I feel like I'm resisting what God is calling me to do because I'm a pansy. I'm becoming more and more disenchanted with the American Church because of their lack of a spine. They say they stand for things like justice, peace, and love, but really it's all lies. What the American Church really stands for is prosperity (personal and corporate), doing just enough to get to heaven but not really change, and saving souls (read: pad heaven's stats but ignoring the here and now needs of the people that Jesus told us to help).

I know all of this comes across as grumpy, anti-American, and unevangelistic, but who cares. Sorry I guess, stop reading if you're uncomfortable. I feel like God is calling me to be an advocate for people who have no voice, which actually might be the purpose of being a minister. I'm not actually sure what form this is going to take, but frankly, I'm not excited about the task. Why am I not excited? Because it will probably cost me a lot. My job, my house, my comfort. People in America don't like when Christians, especially ministers, decide to start speaking up about injustice. It's obtrusive, caustic, and uncomfortable. If Jesus taught me anything it's that when you take up the cause of the oppressed, the religious establishment will hate you for it, and they'll crucify you to shut you up.

I saw a lot of injustice in Haiti, but I also see a lot of injustice in America and in my own communtiy. These people need a voice, I feel like I'm called to be a voice. The question is whether or not I'll accept the challenge or go on being comfortable.

10:59 AM

Fun with iTunes

Posted by Brad Polley |

Go to iTunes and hit "party shuffle" and see what comes up from your list of songs. Let me know the first ten on your playlist. Here are mine:

1. Behind Blue Eyes - The Who
2. Hold On - Tom Waits
3. Untitled 5 - Sigur Ros
4. No Earthly Good - Johnny Cash
5. Like a Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan
6. We Win! - David Crowder Band
7. Thank You - Led Zeppelin
8. Dear Lord - Joseph Arthur
9. O Holy Night - Sufjan Stevens
10. Palm Sunday - Jerry Garcia Band

What are you listening to?

9:44 AM

Haiti - Day 6

Posted by Brad Polley |

We had a much-needed day of relaxation. We took two walks to two different beaches. On the second trip, we walked about 3 miles and when we got to the ocan, we all just jumped into the water in our clothes. The Caribbean is beautiful. I've never seen water so blue. We walked the three miles back to the mission and I got chaffed in areas I didn't even know I had (Note: Never use Gold Bond with menthol on chaffed areas, I'm still screaming).

This country is so contrasted and strange. As I stood on the beach, I looked to the left and saw the ocean with a mountain behind it. I looked to the right and I saw a beautiful palm-lined coast. I looked ahead and saw blue water as far as the eye could see. Then I looked behind me and saw trash and indescribable poverty. It was a strange feeling. I've never seen a place that has so much going for it, and yet nothing going for it at the same time. That doesn't make much sense, but it just seems that since they have so much beauty in their country, that they could easily be a tourist destination, but the whole situation seems so hopeless. It was just an odd feeling to look in one direction and have a sense that everything was right in the world, and then look another direction and have the feeling that nothing was right and just in the world.