The Divorced Paper

I don’t recall our last paper conversation
I expect you’re the same
Melancholy, lost in yourself and a little down
It’s me that’s changed
Truth introduced itself and began courting me
We’re together now
I suppose you’re disappointed
Who will you complain to in your dreary dispositions?
Not me, I celebrate
Now that you know this you’ll move on
Slowly at first
Until you find someone new stuck in their old ways
You’ll seduce them subtly
They’ll believe they’ve found an outlet to freedom
Only to discover later they were captive
After being captivated by your drowning lust
As for me, I’ve taken to listening
Instead of expressing so much
It’s refreshing hearing someone else’s voice
Other than mine
I’m not alone now
Though I was when you were with me

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American Idolatry

Many people idolize musicians. Be it secular fans or those who love Christian music, it still happens. I’ll go more into that concept in another blog, because this one seems to be taking a different direction.

Take a look at the show American Idol, for example. The title of the show points directly at this idol issue.

Honestly, I avoided watching that show because of its title. I thought to myself, “If they are going to publicly proclaim idolatry, then I don’t really want anything to do with it.”

Years later, we’ve got Christian artists formerly on Amerian Idol making a name for themselves. Take Mandisa, Jordin Sparks and Daughtry for example.

Upon further thought, I think it’s good those people infiltrated the show. God used them to draw people to Himself.

I flip out about trivial things such as the title of American Idol and vow to avoid those trends completely. I’m very word oriented. If someone uses the wrong form of a word to describe something, there is much potential to upset me. But, I realize later that I can’t completely avoid or boycot trivial word things.

I can’t run away from the influence of the world. Instead, I need to influence the world around me.

My perceptions of Christian music and what it is and what it should be have really changed, especially since I moved to Nashville a little over a year ago.

I’ve gone through phases that saying any artist that doesn’t fully proclaim and market themselves as a Christian artist isn’t really a true Christian.

I’ve believed that just because some artist (mostly the secular artists) thank God in their acceptance speech that they must be a Christian, too.

I was wrong in both of those perceptions. Now I’m glad when I find out there’s a Christian in a band that’s being an example to the secular world. Rather than get upset that they are in the mainstream market, I become excited that they are impacting the secular world with their Christian life.

And as far as secular artists thanking God in their acceptance speech, I’ve learned to judge that by their fruit. If they thank God for a Grammy and then go sing a song about objectifying women and abusing drugs, it’s not too hard for me to see that they don’t authentically honor God in their lives.

Although the title American Idol still makes me cringe a bit, I’m glad that God has used that show to bring glory to the only person that should be worshipped. That’s Him, by the way.

And, I can’t end this blog without bringing up the song “Lose My Soul” by tobyMac, Kirk Franklin and Mandisa. In that song, Kirk starts rapping and says, “America has no more stars/now we call them idols/you sit idle/while we teach prosperity.

A few seconds later, former American Idol contestant Mandisa starts singing.

It’s just ironic, I think. I originally got upset about that song because I was still bent up about the use of the word idol in American Idol’s title.

However, as I saw Mandisa perform and learned more about her, I realized that she’s totally in it for God. Yeah, she mentions American Idol in every interview that she’s had. (And, I must say that it used to annoy me that she did that.) But now, my opinion of that has changed as well.

Just because she was on that show, more people are going to listen to her. They give her more of a platform because of the American Idol contestant label associated with her name.

And though I’m sad about the reason why more people listen to her, I’m still glad that more people do listen.

Regardless of what I think about a particular person or their music, the most important thing to me is that the Gospel is shared.

As you can guess, I also used to become upset and say I didn’t like a band because of the way they acted or some things that they said.

And, instead of me sitting here bashing on someone because I don’t agree with their approach or labels, I need to join in unified step with them to promote the Kingdom.

I concluded, “If God’s ok with them, then I’m ok with them.”

When people are united in the glorifying of God, then God draws people to Himself.

American Idol’s new season starts tonight. I sincerely hope there’s another Christian in the ranks bringing glory to God rather than participating in the sought-after idolization of themselves.

Faux Real

It’s Wednesday.  Demonly enough, I’ve felt down every Wednesday in recent memory.  It’s strange because Wednesday nights I get together with my small group at church.  We eat, fellowship, worship God with songs and then hear an encouraging word.  Typically, that combination of stuff is awesome.  It’s enjoyable.  It’s uplifting. 

So why don’t I feel encouraged?  Why am I not counting down the minutes until I leave?  Well, I’ve chalked it up to persecution from Satan.  He’s got me down.  He’s got me unexcited.  He’s put a heaviness in my spirit.  I’ve attributed it to tiredness.  I’d rather stay here and sit on the couch or watch a movie and go to bed early.  I’d rather just sulk here in isolation and pet my dog.

It’s silly how doing uneventful, community-deprived things seem more intriguing to me than spending time with acquaintances.

Wait.  Acquaintances is the problem.  Though I’ve spent multiple hours with these people and even shared a lot of my heart and self with them, I feel like we are only on an acquaintance level.  I haven’t come to a level of dependency with them.  I don’t need them to carry out my day.  They’re an add-in, not essential.

And…what’s worse…is that we’ve talked about how we need to be more than people who meet every Wednesday.  We need to dig deep with each other.  We need to spend time outside of our small group.  We need to make a sacrificial investment of time to each other.

But…we don’t.

Or…I don’t.

It appears (from the outside) that others do spend time together.  Young couples visit each other and eat meals with one another.  Some of the college-aged guys hang out, too.

But me…I’ve distanced myself from them.  I think partly because I don’t want to make their problems my problems.  I don’t want the mental burden of what they’re dealing with. 

Another part of it is I don’t like surface conversation.  I never really have.  I want deep, sincere, loving relationships.  I want people that I long to talk to and connect with.  I don’t want to talk to someone who asks me the same bland question every time they see me: “So, Lindsay…how was work today?” 

*sigh*

Although, I’m reminded that my deep relationships now used to be surface relationships.  They started at a surface level.

However, they quickly changed to meaningful.  After one day or a few conversations, we were steadfast friends.  I’ve spent months with these folks and some of them still don’t even understand what I do at work.

Spirit-led vulnerability enhances relationships.  I haven’t been vulnerable.  Well…vulnerable enough.  I value quality time.  I haven’t really given these people my quality time.  I’ve given them my obligated time.  The hours that I feel I’m required to be there in order to be considered part of the small group.  They’ve got me out of duty, not necessarily depth.

Honestly, it pains me to still be at a surface level with them.  I’m nearly in tears writing about it.  I’m not exactly sure what it will take for me to break through to the next level.  But I do know I can’t wait for them to confide in me first.  I need to be a leader.

I need to be real instead of faux real.

I need to press through the heavy, sad spirit that has fallen upon me and emerge with a light, lifely spirit instead.

I need to enhance my relationships.

In Depedence Day

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

As the 4th of July draws near and thousands of Americans venture out to buy fireworks to shoot into the sky, independence is on my mind.

However, it’s not the kind of independence that the July holiday celebrates.  Instead, I’ve been meditating on our days of dependence in Christ.

In recent days, I’ve come to notice that many Christians are ashamed to be totally dependent on Christ.   It’s interesting how ridiculously hard it is for people to come to the end of themselves.  To get to that point of the utter famine of self-reliant resources.  When they can no longer pretend they are ok in their own strength.

Why is it so hard for Christians to get to rock bottom?  Why are so many ashamed to bow their heads in personal defeat?

I think it’s because people are born independent of God.  Until the point of conversion to Christianity, a person has spent their entire life learning how to live for themselves.

When Jesus comes along He offers salvation through Himself, counsel through the Holy Spirit and a dependable, capable, loving Father.

Unfortunately, many Christians don’t make it past the point of belief.  They stumble at even really trusting God.  And if they don’t trust God, then can’t don’t depend on Him for everything.

I was just reading in 2 Kings today about the Israelites.  They knew God and at times worshiped God.  However, they also worshiped idols and served other gods at the same time.  They were the poster children (of God) for a lack of dependence.  Instead of proceeding swiftly to their Promised Land, they paused and tarried for 40 years in the wilderness in defiant independence.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend 40 years of my life wandering.  Nah, I’d rather get this dependence in Christ thing down now and be productive and fruitful.

In an attempt to tersify the point I’m making, too many Christians still live independent of God even though they are in a relationship with Him.  It’s kind of like they turn to God and say, “I love You, kinda.”

Let me assure that it’s not a shame to be dependent on Christ.  In truth, it is totally ok and biblical to rest in Christ.  I challenge you to the title of this blog: be dependent in Christ every day.

If Christians get to the point of depending on God, many do not make it past a few moments of dependence.  And maybe minutes, hours or a few days of dependence.  Sadly, however,  after they make it through their current struggle/trouble/problem, they stop totally depending on God and go back to a life of self-dependence.  Then, after the next problem causes their life to go into a downward spiral, they return back to God for more moments of dependence.  It’s a cycle.