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God Wants To “Root” Your Life

To say that I’m a fan of technology is akin to saying that Captain Ahab was mildly interested in a certain white whale. Tech isn’t just my job, but my obsession.

My first smartphone was a Samsung Blackjack. It horrible battery life, a small screen, and ran Windows Mobile 6.something. I hung onto it until the iPhone 3G was out. I mean what’s the sense of upgrading from a phone with 3g to one without (the original iPhone)? Am I right?

So I waited for the 3GS.

It was, after the Samsung, a revelation. It was a pure joy to use. Until it got glitchy (between the two of us, my wife and I went through 5 3Gses–all replaced under warranty).

Then there was the iPhone 4. Sleeker, glass front and back. It was fun, but more of the same. Its limitations chafed.

So I jailbroke it.

This opened up a whole new world of themes, ringtones, hacks, tweaks, etc. My phone felt like it was mine again.

Until I updated iOS to the then-latest release. And then began the waiting. Again. For the savvy wiz kids to release a new jailbreak.

I got tired, and a little bored, with iOS. So I switched to Android. The difference was, well, like the difference between Mac and PC: dissimilar ways of doing the same things.

But, while Android gave me more flexibility–more freedom–this came at a price: the experience hasn’t been as fluid (or as stable) as iOS.

So I rooted my Droid to clear out carrier bloatware, and strip the phone down to closer to a stock Android setup. It’s certainly cleaner. More as it was designed to be.

Bear with me here, but this seems to be what God is desiring to do in our lives: He wants to root us, strip us down to what He designed us to be.

To bring us back to the purest essence of ourselves.

He wants to clear out the cruft so the purity of Christ shines through. This doesn’t mean we’ll all be Moto Xes, or HTCs, but we will be changed into His image and likeness.

Which will express itself through whichever theme He has skinned us with.

Have you let Christ root your heart?

My #OneWord for 2014 Is Actually Two

'Control' photo (c) 2010, runran - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

I’m proud.

Egotistical.

Stubborn.

Fiercely protective of my work.

Handle criticism poorly. (This gets me in no end of trouble).

While I can be at times mellow, catch me at the wrong time and I’m downright mercurial.

I come from a long line of overreactors.
My name is Chad, and I’m a recovering control freak.

My One Word© for 2014 is actually two:

Letting. Go.

How about you?

Can we “let go” together?

What’s The Story? You Decide

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Scary Mermaid

Like those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books of yore, today’s post is up to you. What is the story behind this mermaid? Is she bad, or was she just painted that way?

You decide.

You tell me yours, and I’ll tell you mine. But it won’t be pretty. ;-)

It’s Not Just Divorce

It’s Not Just Divorce

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Joe Sewell

Folks, I have the great privilege of hosting Joe Sewell today. In his own words, Joe: is a 51-year-old software geek living in West Melbourne, FL, after he and his parents bailed on the Eastern Shore of Maryland when he was 18. His lovely wife, Joy, has put up with him on more than major holidays for 20 years so far. Joe writes about Biblical stuff on his blog, Consider This, whenever he gets something to write on. Joe also participated in NaNoWriMo in 2010 and produced a weird self-published book, The Quantum Suicide of Schrödinger’s Cat, available on Amazon and CreateSpace. Joe also contributed a piece for Anne Jackson’s Permission To Speak Freely and for the Not Alone! anthology. He claims to have some other book ideas locked in his head, but cannot seem to find the key at the moment. Joe is scared of kids, but can handle his 5.3-pound Rat-Cha, Cocoa. Joe first guest posted here last year with Choosing to Forgive My Pop. You can follow Joe on Twitter @joe_sewell

—————————-

I am constantly amazed by the similarities Chad and I have. I almost wonder if we were twins separated from birth. I wouldn’t wish that on Chad, though.

Recently he talked about his parents’ divorce, and it spurred me to think again about my own story.

The executive summary is this: it’s not just divorce that can affect your child for life.

My mother left my father after 25 years of marriage. I was 24 at that time, but still living at home for no reason other than convenience. No, I wasn’t the geeky kid living in the parents’ basement, mainly because Florida homes cannot have basements (the water table’s too high).

Here’s the main point, though: I saw the divorce coming since I was 8! That makes 16 years of emotional torment as I watched my mother take … well, I wasn’t privy to exactly what she was taking at the time.

The first issue was that there was a 25-year age difference between the two of them. The generation gap was in effect even in the small town in which we lived, in an environment that was rural enough to be “inbred” in terms of emotional maturity. People did what they did because they were “supposed to.” No other reason was ever offered, so there was no point to discuss.

Pop, as I mentioned in my guest post relating to finally being able to forgive him, was stubbornly old-fashioned. Men had their place, and women had theirs. Don’t bother talking to him about it, because that was the way things were “supposed to be.” I saw no affection between them since I was probably 5 or 6, maybe 7. By the time I was 8, I got all the under-the-breath complaints Mom had against Pop. She didn’t dare talk to him about it, she says. It wouldn’t matter much anyhow, because in his eyes he was the only one who could be correct in such a discussion.

Much of my hatred for him grew during those years. Much of the emotional stress I still deal with started then. My desire to escape the torment by pulling the trigger of a probably-loaded gun came when I was 10.

They weren’t divorced, but the torture was still real for me.

The event that pushed [sic] her over the edge was the day when she told Pop that the door knob wasn’t working properly. He tried his best to fix it. She tried it again and said it still wasn’t right. He pushed her aside, into a wall. I didn’t know about that event until a few months ago, even though it happened in 1986. I did know then, though, that she “coincidentally” got a good promotion with the hardware company she worked for, but in a city that was roughly 80 miles away.

Pop knew what he had done, but was in deep denial. He kept saying it was the “change of life” that caused her to do this. The very few times she showed up back near home (also near where her own father, the only grandfather I knew, lived at the time) Pop would be in tears. He was a “man.” He wasn’t “supposed to” cry. He did.

So what did that do to me? I have been married almost 20 years now. Since I didn’t know until recently what pushed Mom over the edge, I have lived with the fear of pushing my own wife, Joy, too far without warning, with me being too stupid to know until it was too late. I have lived with the dread of having children and passing the damage on to them. That even led to a serious crisis of faith that God is still healing.

Divorce is necessary sometimes. Even Jesus allowed it under certain conditions. In our society today, though, with a lack of caring about marriage, divorce is all over the place. The only reason the numbers are so low, I suspect, is because more and more couples are living together as if they were married, but they haven’t bothered to make the real commitment that must be the foundation of every marriage. If Chad and I were so damaged by our parents’ divorces, what’s going on with today’s younger generation? For that matter, we have a generation of baby-producing semi-adults already afflicted in ways Chad and I probably cannot even imagine.

There is still hope. The damage may be done, but Christ still will clean us up, still heal us. That healing and cleaning may not be complete this side of Heaven, but His commitment to us is far more trustworthy than that of any married couple. Check out Romans 8 for a start.

We’re damaged property. Welcome to Earth.

Announcing The Giveaway Winner

Last week, I posted ridiculous riffs on Rob Bell’s book titles. I also invited you to do your worst best, and proffer your own takes on famous Christian books.

There were some very clever, creative entries, such as:

This one from Chris Morris (follow him on Twitter @cmorriswrites)
All of Joel Osteen’s books were originally titled Look at My Pearly Whites Shine Like the Sun in My $3000 Suit.

Then there was this from Larry Carter (follow him on Twitter @larrythedeuce):

Don’t Lick The Mini-Me

This from Rob Shepherd (follow him on Twitter @robshep):

Everyday A Payday (by Joel Osteen)

Kevin Haggerty (follow him on Twitter @kevinrhaggerty) brought this gem:

“Intimacy with God (and His son, and His buddy the Holy Spirit…because they’re totally different people — not one person)” by T.D. Jakes

These were all strong contenders, but as with Highlander, “there can be only one” winner. Up for grabs was a copy of Leanne Shirtliffe’s hilarious book, Don’t Lick The Minivan. In the interests of objectivity, I had my good buddy, Ricky Anderson (who because he already owned a copy, recused himself from the giveaway), pick the winner.

Which was (drum roll, please)…

Meerkat Christianity, submitted by Blake Atwood. You can follow him on Twitter @batwood, or @FVMomentum

Congratulations, Blake! A copy of Mrs. Shirtliffe’s book is on its way to you from her agent. Thanks to everyone who played!

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