Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Instagram Reality Check

"Could someone please tell these people that Instagram and Facebook is not real life?"

You may know exactly what that person meant by that statement. You may have had that very same thought more than once yourself. Or, in fact, you may be a tad bit guilty of participating in the charade. I know I am.

Here's the deal. I like make-believe a bit more than the average adult. (Maybe. I'm starting to wonder.) But this is also true. I know that I like make-believe. And I am usually aware of when I am participating in simulation.

When I set up that food picture for Facebook and Instagram, I arrange, I tweak -  it is not real life, folks. It's prettier.

A family photo taken in perfect lighting on that wonderful bench before the kiddos get sweaty and dirty from the afternoon of play -  that's also a just a smidgen artificial.

My buffet set with silver shining, crystal sparkling, and candles aglow is real enough, but photos are taken well before living takes place. The aftermath is not quite as glorious - the crumbs, burned out candles, and dirty dishes.

Is all of this wrong? Only if your life is solely comprised of such perfect scenarios with no sharing of the "in-between", which results in Pretense. Fooling yourself, fooling others (at least in part.) Life truly is not one vignette after another. That, my friend, is just what it is: merely one staged vignette followed by another staged vignette. Empty. Shallow. Surface deep.

So shall we "let it all hang out" for the photo? No need on my account. But for your own sake, take a reality check.

Here's a warning: Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart, Pottery Barn, and the like have already done sufficient damage. We are surrounded by "staged". In fact, people can't envision buying a home that exhibits real life anymore.It must be sterile, void of that "lived-in look." I always wonder why. Don't they intend to live real life themselves? I know, I know. A clean house is certainly preferable for buying. But we get caught thinking that they (Martha Stewart and all those folks that live in Pottery Barn settings) must live life like this and therefore we should live life like that, too.

Here's a clue: Walls needn't be scrubbed. Dinner in a pot is fine - skip the gourmet. A pile of laundry, a soiled towel. Muddy footprints from the boy who just walked in. Imperfect lighting on mismatched outfits with hair askew. It's all fine - it's real life. It happens. Let it. Clean it and get ready for it to happen again. Then let it, and clean it up once more after you've enjoyed the people, the laughter, the tears, the reality.

By all means go ahead and "play grown-up" (as I was wont to say to my girls as they would help me set the table and prepare the gourmet delights.) It was my turn for some make-believe, to create the perfect setting and sigh over the beauty. But woe to me if I forgot that I was merely playing, that real life looks both beautiful and bruised, organized and topsy-turvy, thread-bare and bountiful.

What's the big deal, you say? Well, when we live real life we discover the imperfections. And when we acknowledge the imperfections, the needs, the failures and foibles, we begin to search for help - for Him.

We must admit that vignettes are lovely but not real. Sin is. Our need is. And best of all, He is.

Friday, June 13, 2014

All You Need Is Love

The world, as in those who do not adhere to true Christian faith, likes to hold Christendom captive. And just how do they attempt this? With the term "love".

When Christians lobby a concern, judge something to be unscriptural (as if that determination is up for grabs), or declare certain actions to be sin we are quickly accused of being unloving. "Jesus wants us to love one another."

True citation; wrong interpretation.

What is Love? That is the question. Oh, my, yes. That is indeed the question.

And Christians everywhere are falling for the world's answers. Love is tolerant, warm fuzzies, sentimental, makes you feel good. Love never judges, never accuses, doesn't rock the boat. Love only seeks happiness for others, no matter what it looks like. Love "likes" instagram photos and facebook statuses. That is how you show Love, right?


Love is patient and kind. It is not jealous or conceited or proud. It has no record of wrong incurred and is not selfish. But you know what else? Love is not happy with evil, it is happy with truth.

My guess is that Love doesn't "like" a photo depicting sin. Wait - that is not a guess after all. The Bible says that Love doesn't rejoice with unrighteousness. There is no celebration of rebellion and defiance. Love is happy with truth, rejoices when the right thing prevails.

So Love is not as simple as clicking the "like" button on your computer. It is not as easy as smiling in turn when someone else is smiling in deception. No, it is a more difficult task requiring much more of us. Sorry to say, Love responds without happiness in such situations.

Now let's be honest -- who wants to rain on someone's parade? Do you like to be the party pooper? Probably not. But real Love will and does.

Above and beyond that, Love never gives up. It hopes always - it hopes for justice and truth to prevail. It maintains faith in His holy mercy.

It is true, that cute little song title; all you do need is Love. But it has to be the real deal Love. It has to begin and end with Him.