Being a Goody Two Shoes in a Wrong-Footed World

shoes“Hey, Brandon,” she said, bouncing up to the counter – not a coworker, but the girlfriend of one, whom I didn’t know from Adam – and said, “Do you know the difference between a cheeseburger and a [sexual reference]?”

I groaned.

No. I do not know the difference between those two things, and I’ve as much desire to find out as to go dumpster-diving in full view of Main Street on rush hour. Which I suppose is not altogether unrelated.

I looked at them with what I hoped was my (increasingly common) world-weary half-grin.

“C’mon. Enough for one night,” I said.

They relented good-naturedly.

I’m trying to be gracious here. I don’t want to be THAT Christian, the one who gets all stunned and debilitated because unbelievers are acting like unbelievers. You have to let this stuff slide off your backs in environments like my second job.

Plus, I actually enjoy this particular coworker. He’s got a lot of character (other than the one-track mind), we work great together, and I do consider him a friend. Burning bridges over this stuff would not do. Not when I’m called to share Christ with the people in my life.

But this stuff does get tiring. Perhaps you relate.

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It’s About the Destination, Not the Journey

journeyIt’s one of those little fluffy kerfluffles of human philosophy, one that at least has the honesty to face the reality of we’re not home yet and try to make peace with it.

“Maybe it’s about the journey, not the destination”.

I say bogus.

I say the Christian life is about the destination.

(WARNING: Scripture ahead. I know some of you experience an instinct to kinda “check out” and skip Scripture because it’s too dense, too preposition-heavy, too hard to understand, it’s something you just plain don’t like, etc. DON’T. If you’ve honored me by clicking on this post, I urge you to fight that instinct. Read through the Scriptures. There are treasures waiting.)

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The Stocks of Virginity

stocksSo much for “her body, her choice”, it seems.

Amanda Prestigiacomo of the Daily Wire wrote an article last weekend on actress Yvonne Orji and her decision to share with PEOPLE Magazine her desire to remain sexually chaste until marriage.

You can guess what happened. The Twitter peanut gallery lost no time attacking her with all the usual talk – how her decision wasn’t “healthy”, how she was affirming harmful patriarchal constructs, bad role model, quit flaunting your faith in everyone’s face, etc.

Man alive. Is it just me, or has the left gotten just as preachy as the right in the last decade?

Some might be tempted to say that these keyboard warriors are basically the Westboro of the left and don’t truly represent their attitudes.

But I can testify that Yvonne is not experiencing an isolated incident.

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My Mole Scare and What It Taught Me

A few months ago, I noticed my skin was starting to sport moles.

No, not THAT kind.

mole1

There you go.

I read that moles tend to happen in one’s thirties and thought little of it. Perhaps that “I’m Invincible” feeling was still lingering from my teens.

But as the year wore on, one particular mole kept staring up at me from my front right torso, as if to say “I’m important.”

Further research revealed that melanoma is not something to trifle with. It would seem that skin cancer is one of the most treatable cancers if caught early and one of the least treatable if not. I spoke to a couple fortuitously placed church friends and learned that investigating the mole via a “shave biopsy” carried a benefit-to-cost ratio too high to ignore.

Biopsy.

Man. There’s a word I never wanted to be using in my thirties. Or, y’know, ever.

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Pizza Lessons #6: No More Goodbyes

boxIt seems that God had one more lesson planned in this series, one I did not originally plan.

For when our Czech Republic mission team said goodbye to our last non-Montana allies as we were preparing to head home, it was at…a pizza restaurant.

I love it when God does stuff like that.

What I don’t love is goodbyes. I get frustrated with them. I value stability, continuity, relationship. I value people. Change doesn’t sit well with me. You can shrug and go “It’s part of life, Brandon” all you like, and you would be right. But there are still those of us who don’t exactly gravitate towards change. It’s a personality thing.

That’s one hard part of a mission trip. As you leave the camp, then leave your host families and church, then leave your last allies as they drop you off by the airport, then finally leave your other teammates as they split off…well, it’s wave after wave of goodbyes. Like a long road of potholes.

That’s another reason I’m happy for the promise of heaven.

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:28-29)

Some say it is improper to teach Christians to look forward to any benefit of heaven other than the glory of God. I say let Jesus talk. If he sees fit to speak of rewards like the restoration of all our cherished human relationships, then it’s probably okay to look forward to such things. And boy do I look forward to that.

We might also say that it is to God’s glory that such relationships be restored, since he mentions it  as a feature of heaven where his glory is undimmed and unquenched. We might even add that it’s really the glory of God that will make these things perfect, improved, satisfying in every way, in a manner that our earthly shadows never could pull off. Imagine our most valued relationships with the sin, secrets, and sharp edges all removed forever. Who could argue with that?

There is a condition, though – following Jesus.

Jesus’ glorious promises in Matthew 19 come on the heels of his encounter with the rich young ruler, a man who walked away from God because he preferred the reward he had. It is an unspeakably sad story.

I, for one, want what God has to offer. The reconstruction of human relationships, everything made new, and above all, his glory and closeness. I will follow him to get it. Will you?

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5