Tag Archives: maturity

“The Show About Me”…is just re-runs (part 1)

Life *seems* like a "show about you" b/c you are in every scene and every episode.

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Thanks for reading, and please leave your questions or comments, now or anytime.

Deconstructing the “Show about You”

By default our heads are filled with an odd and faulty knowledge/sense that Life is a Show about ourselves. Each person thinks he/she must be the center of the universe (think: reality lived out), until something, or someone interrupts this notion. Living outside this worldview takes practice, increased maturity, and concerted effort. Cultural norms and money makers do not encourage us to turn the channel from “The Show About Me”.

Sounds like a blanket statement, right? It sounds like I’m saying everyone is a dirty, rotten jerk, and that can’t possibly be true?

Okay, let me back it up and just start with a few questions:

Think about these 5 questions as you read them and answer truthfully (to yourself, or if you feel that sharing will help others, leave your results in the comment section).

1. When you wake up in the morning do you think about the upcoming events in your day, or focus on your feelings?

2. Do thoughts of your past, present, or future occupy your time in your day?

3. Do you endeavor to find pleasure and avoid pain?

4. Do you mentally weigh the personal benefit when making decisions and actions?

5. Do you long for people to think well of you, and you make decisions based on this factor?

Okay, maybe you skimmed those questions.

Maybe you don’t want to do a personal inventory. If you want to move on, and this is getting weird or uncomfortable, you’re headed for a rerun. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Before that happens, please, go back, for one more minute and read and consider the 5 questions. After you’re done,consider your results. If you answered “yes” or “sometimes” at all, you are fairly normal, and you are also living your life as the Main Star of your Show. You perceive reality as something that centers around, basically, _________. <—— (say your name here.)

So what? you say, doesn’t everyone? What’s the big deal?

Well, friends, it’s only a big deal if you want to feel unstuck….If watching the same re-runs of yourself meeting the same sorts of dead ends and disappoints, and having the same insatiable cravings, growing frustrations, and restricted and delayed growth wears on you, then yes, the deal is starting to head into a biggish area.

Seriously, re-runs are really what you get when the season’s over. No one is working anymore, and the networks hope more rehash won’t be too egregious and lame. After two or three times of the same stuff, we usually want something new, something better.

A whole other Reality is going on, and has been long before you, and will long after you. You may have been skimming on the surface of it, but you have to wake up and realize thoroughly that you are not the Star of the Show, and more importantly, it’s not your Show.

‘Ever seen the movie the Matrix? It’s like, but with fewer people wearing sunglasses. …. oh never mind, The Matrix explanation is WAY too long and slippery. You’ll think you’re Neo, and we’ll be back where I started.

There’s a bit more to come:

In a few days, Part II of this reflection will get down deeper. Soon, I’ll also offer mental, spiritual, and emotional (concrete) ways many people have truly shifted their view to a more healthy one. We’re just getting the engine started on this vehicle to a new perspective. Let’s stick together–Meet back here soon.

Always feel free to leave your thoughts, experiences, or comments here. (Just after the tags below this post, it’ll say Leave a Comment. Not to be too obvious, and insult you, but….You click that.)

Or answer some questions:

Any guesses who the Star of the Show is?

What do you think Reality looks like with this different worldview/perspective?

And how would it be lived out? (examples, generalities, etc.)

God as a Genie – Hoodoo Part III (moralist therapeutic deism)

Sociologist, Christian Smith and his team of researchers conducted surveys across America (and all religious preferences ) with over 3,000 youth, and got a feel for how they viewed God. (I would guess many American adults could score with similar results.)

The findings congealed into a perspective Smith terms,

“Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism consists of beliefs like these:

1. “A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.”

2. “God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.”

3. “The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.”

4. “God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.”

5. “Good people go to heaven when they die.”1

This view allows for much individual choice, values, and ethics, and nothing much in the way of a deepening relationship with the Creator.

It actually reminds me of how a child grows up. First, as a baby, the infant knows that something feeds him. After a while, he understands that certain things he does may cause certain needs or wants to be fulfilled. A little while later, the child comprehends that he has a person caring for him. Only much later does that child really respond to the parental love in any kind of reciprocal way, let alone, show much unselfish kindness to the parent. This is a good picture of the journey of spirituality, toward the heart of God.


1 R. Albert Mohler, Jr.| “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism–the New American Religion” Christian Post. Accessed November 16, 2009 from http://www.christianpost.com/article/20050418/moralistic-therapeutic-deism-the-new-american-religion/index.html 

(FULL article by R. Albert Mohler, Jr. called “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism–the New American Religion” here.)

“How Much Hoodoo / Voodoo do you do?” Self-test

This man just prayed, "God, give me sign if I should get a dog?"

This man just prayed, "God, give me sign if I should get a dog?"

(Was the cat joke too obtuse?)

Has a bit of Hoodoo, folk magic, superstition, and general hooey nuzzled its way into your theology? Probably. We all fall prey to cultural influences that don’t have a solid base in the nature of Reality, (i.e. our Creator and Redeemer) Take this self-test to know if you’re mostly hoodoo-free, or if you could use an excorcism, a bath, a dose of Reality, or just a good swift kick in the pants. Oh, and please, enjoy yourself. It’s all supposed to be fun, good-natured, and thought-provoking in a helpful sort of way.

Hoodoo Self-test

Answer true or false, and add up your answers as you go.

1. Once in a while you straddle a broomstick, and hope it will magically fly. (Or you think about doing it.)

2. Hogwarts seems like the ideal boarding school, even if there does tend to be a lack of supervision.

3. Sometimes you make plans, and then think to ask God to bless what you are doing, with a sign, if possible, to see if it’s “his will.”

4. You’ve gotten hurt or sick and thought it could be a punishment from God, (however, you hold back not officially citing it as “bad juju.”)

5. You’ve fairly certain you’ve been hexed or cursed by someone at some point in your lifetime, maybe by someone who hated you, or a band of gypsies.

6. If you don’t pray in Jesus’ name, you think your prayer could be a dud.

7. When you need to, you put out a (proverbial) fleece, much in the style of Gideon, to get confirmation from God.

8. If God seems silent on a decision you need to make, you check for “closed and open doors,” and pray more zealously about it.

9. Not getting in private devotional/Bible reading time with God can correspond to a bad day, (or an odd string of bad luck, or even a loss of mojo.)

10. You suspect demonic activity is responsible for a lot of your temptations, mistakes, and influences.

 

*Scoring: Add up true scores in a column, and then false scores in another.

1-3 True answers means that like many people you have been somewhat influenced by hoodoo folk magic and folk theology. The upcoming series will be of great benefit to you. Hold off on the exorcism-for now. But, don’t get too cocky.

3-6 True answers means that you have a bit of a problem area with hoodoo. (See my other post to learn more about hoodoo vs. voodoo. It’s oh so real.) You probably don’t realize the extent you are being witchy with God. Don’t freak out, he won’t put a bad spell on you, but I’m sure he yearns for you to get to know him, more for who he is. It could be more complicated than the voodoo doll slippery slope approach that can creep up unawares. It could be very comforting for you too, to hear a few fresh ideas. Check back soon for posts in this series.

6-10 True answers mean you have a hoodoo issue. Return any capes, magic wands, voodoo dolls, potions, or caldrons you may have purchased. They will not serve you well. It’s quite likely that you are incorporating some superstitions into your worldview, theological foundation, and everyday life. But there is always hope! God wants your liberation, and the journey to freedom, with him. It will be so restful at the end. You won’t have to keep looking over your shoulder, so that will be nice too! Check back soon for many helpful ways to rid your perspective of faulty notions of God’s nature, character, and actions; and learn of his redemptive agency in his created  world.


If you are ready to grow, be open, and BRAVE, leave your score in the comment section. If not, please post something you’ve been thinking about throughout this time. Thank you!

*(This test is mildly amusing, but not real, in any scientific way, so please don’t be upset however your score may come out. The idea behind it is to prompt thought about your beliefs and spiritual actions against the gracious, loving, true nature of our Creator and Redeemer.)

A few thoughts about needing signs, from my Savior and mentor:

“Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” John 4:48  (Said despairingly of the Jews who rejected Jesus in Nazareth.) 

Matt. 12:38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.” 39He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

This is the greatest sign and revelation that God is God, he came in the flesh, died, was buried for 3 days, and was brought to life again, which was witnessed by many. He is trustworthy.

How Christianity goes Hoodoo / voodoo part 1

 

Man divining for water with a divining rod

Man divining for water with a divining (or dowsing) rod

They don’t call it a “divining rod” for nothing. This little stick set up gives powers beyond unaided human abilities–it helps tap into the “Divine powers.” It’s woo-woo. Maybe even hoodoo. This guy used to find water underground with a diving rod in exchange for a bottle of whiskey. After he worked up to 15 bottles per day, he switched to cash.

But, people love the idea of knowing something beyond their typical capacity. With horoscopes, palm reading, psychics, crystal balls, or seances, the idea is the same: Get valuable information through supernatural means in order to get an edge, or special comfort from that knowledge.

But Christians don’t really do that, right?

BUZZ. wrong. Thanks for playing 🙂

(I got a little “Robin Williams” on you there for a second.)

Yes. Christian often try to maintain control over their world through the supernatural/divine, to use it to their benefit. It just might be a bit more subtle.

This new Series I’ll do, on “common Christian hoodoo,” I will unveil ways which we, as spiritual people, get all “witch doctory” on God, for our benefit. Ways we try to toy with him for our own advantage and comfort, most often without really realizing it. Our perspective has sort of gotten a mite warped in how we relate to the Divine. God might put up with it, (He’s gracious-that how he rolls.) but it surely stunts our spiritual growth, and intimacy with God, our loving Creator.

It’s not too much different than a average, healthy, 30 year old who expects to be fed by mommy  from a bottle, and wiped cleaned after using the potty. One can get by that way, but it’s really not so good, ya know? It’s not the best for the person. It’s not very mature, but one could get along that way.

Still, a good parent will often challenge a growing child to become stronger and more developed, which is not just better for that person, by for the community as a whole. God does the same thing, which could be part of the reason you are struggling with some tough things right now, and reading this as well. It’s challenge time for you, in some way.

If you think about it, you may have used prayer as a kind of divining rod tool a few times. Right? Have you ever prayed something like, “God, if you want me to do this, please, give me a sign.” We hope that a kind of “divining rod prayer” will show the way to or through something that seems outside our grasp, or beyond our vision. We get witchy with the supernatural to find out stuff we need to know. Be honest, you’ve done this! I sure have!

My questions/reflections…Is this just an immature attempt to get control? Is it a maneuver to manipulate the supernatural for our purposes? If not, what is it? When should it be done, if at all? Is there a better way?

More on this, in a specific way, later.                           But–Tell us your ideas!

Coming soon–The hoodoo / voodoo self-test. “How much Hoodoo do you do?”

Funny, so darn hip, and even mildly enlightening.

Leave your feedback. Do you, or anyone you know, get hocus-pocus with God?

(photo obtained here)