Category Archives: Reflections

Words with Friends

For the record, I do still write sometimes.

Here’s my latest post—part of an ongoing collaboration with the good people at Culturemakers.
I think we’re going to be very happy together.

This time, I tackle the part of culture that stares me in the face every day. The part that gets me a paycheck. The part that sickens my stomach.

Enjoy my thoughts on Reality TV.

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Who’s Hungry?

I’ve seen The Hunger Games twice now.

I came into it plot-ignorant, only knowing that everyone was calling it “the next Twilight” and if it was anything like that sick, overblown vampire-fest (I said it–come at me, tweens!) I’d have to bow out.
I was entranced by the end of it. The whole concept was so compelling. It was Lord of the Flies…but it wasn’t. They were killing kids on the screen in front of me–but there was hope. There had to be. There had to be a winner. And it had to be a volunteer.

What got me the most was the line “They just want a good show.”

As I come up on my third month working full-time in reality TV, I wonder.
Do we have our own versions of Hunger Games?
We can justify The Bachelor because everyone signs release forms and comes in willingly. And no one dies…at least physically.

We’re so much more civilized than empires that made slaves gladiators and groomed them to die for entertainment. Now we just get people to make out in hot tubs or eat scorpions or keep up with the Kardashians. Go us.
Some teen girls have even apparently gotten pregnant in hopes of being cast on “Teen Mom 2.”
(Which, by the way, hasn’t launched many careers in showbiz. So stop conceiving. Please.)

Where’s the line? Are these shows produced just so we can be reminded “But hey, at least I’m not a pregnant 15-year-old…or obese…or a Guido”? Maybe there’s some redeeming quality to watching Hulk Hogan’s daughter get wasted.

It’s good drama if someone cries, right?

Two thousand years ago, Pontius Pilate knew that the crowd just wanted a good show. So he washed his hands and handed Jesus off to the ravenous mob. Jesus was beaten, flogged and mocked. Publicly. Because that’s what it takes to satisfy us. We have to watch it happen.

But he didn’t react. He gave them nothing to work with. Not a show, just a sacrifice.

He volunteered. He died. And he won.

 

father knows best.

Dear Dad,

I should be asleep right now.
I know that because you taught me the value of getting up at a decent hour instead of wasting my life on the Internet.

You turned 50 today.
I can say that because you never had any problem being honest about your age or tried to dye your hair or anything like that.

I sent you a card.
You probably haven’t gotten it yet because the U.S. Postal Service and I still don’t get along very well…mostly because I expect them to perform miracles and jet things across the country in the course of a day.

I made you a cake.
You can’t eat it because you’re 3000 miles away, so I did the next best thing…I brought it to my Bible study group and they ate it.

It seemed appropriate since you taught me the importance of both Bible study and “breaking bread” among Christians. Bread, cake, waffles…it works.

The hands are supposed to be "five zero" if that's not clear.

Thanks for being a reflection of my heavenly Father.

I love you. And I know you love me back. And I don’t think you’re old.

Happy Birthday.

i have read and agree to the terms of service.

It’s been said that the above sentence is the most common lie in the world.
And it’s probably true.

I don’t know of anyone who actually takes the time to scroll through all of the text before buying something online or downloading an application.
Why bother? You know the gist of it.

The problem is that I’m beginning to feel that way about everything. Skim skim skim. Three and a half years of college and I can pull a topic sentence out of almost any paragraph at light speed. No need to read closely.

We’re re-reading Plato for class and it’s become almost ridiculous to me how slowly we read it. It’s like the guy meant every word to have a purpose and value. And all I want to do is figure out which section I need to highlight.

(Kind of like you’re probably looking at this post trying to find the main point.)

It makes me think that we all too often say that we have “read and agree” to the terms of Christian service…when we’ve barely skimmed John 3:16.

Is acting on our beliefs okay when we’ve only got the gist of it?

they build buildings so tall these days.

I’d so much rather be in a situation where I get hurt than one where I have to ask for forgiveness.

In this particular situation, I lost something that belongs to a friend. And it bothers me like nobody’s business. Even though I can replace it.

Also, I’ve decided to start ending posts with those sentences that I run into from time to time that just seem to scream “story!”

This past month has been a little rough here in Las Vegas, where I attend dental school.

I will, of course, give neither context for nor analysis of any of these sentences. Because that would be no fun.

choir robes and last first days.

a visit to the philanthropist. (knowing #2)

We read the books of 1&2 Peter, James, and 1 John in class this semester, and talked a lot about whether we should give money to people on the street. After all, they could be using it to buy booze. Or non-medical marijuana.

Really what we figured out is that in that situation, we’re trying to love people without knowing them. And we need to know them in order to figure out what the most loving thing to do for them would be.

A week or so before we’d had this conversation, I was on a road trip to Vegas with some friends, and ran into a woman in the bathroom of the burger joint where we stopped on the way. She asked me for 75 cents.

I ended up buying her a burger…cause that’s the type of thing my mom did when I was a kid. I brought her over to eat with us, and she told us about how she’d been recycling cans and using her boyfriend’s truck for the last couple of months.

After eating with her, giving her a hug, and leaving, I felt so relieved to have literally seen where my money went.

And instead of that guilted-into-it awkward philanthropy-twitch I get sometimes when people hold a boot full of quarters up to my car window, I could honestly say that I cared.

What a concept, this knowing-people thing.

beginnings and endings

Well, here I am…back into the blog world after an *insert insanely high number here*-month-long hiatus.

I guess I just had this idea that I was too busy in college to be writing letters to the internet. You know, unless it was something I had a deadline for or was being graded on. [I’m not, which is why I ended that last sentence with a preposition.]

Maybe partly it was just knowing that I won’t necessarily have a fan base. I know people follow my Twitter because Twitter tells me they do, and that gives me more motivation to post–because people apparently seem interested. But it’s a lot easier to keep a person’s attention for 140 characters than an entire blog post.

And why would I write something that I don’t know if anyone (besides my mom) is going to read?

Maybe partially for practice. If I don’t write, I don’t get any better, and then all of a sudden all those super nice things my high school English teachers said about me don’t add up to my actual written portfolio. I have to have something to show for whenever someone actually does look.

Additionally, my memory isn’t the greatest, and even looking back at my silly high school blog (guitardork13.livejournal.com, oh yes), has given me some much-needed perspective during some of my crappier college days. I can only imagine what documenting some of college will do for the rest of my life.

So, this will be my version of my dad’s crazy college journals…because I only have one more year, and Facebook pictures won’t tell the whole story.