Generation ME vs. YOU

narcisists.gif I stumbled upon the article below in New York Times today that says, “Conventional wisdom, supported by academic studies using the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, maintains that today’s young people– schooled in the church of self-esteem, vying for spots on reality television, promoting themselves on YouTube– are more narcisstic than their predecessors. A study released last year by the PEW Research Center for the People and Press dubbed Americans age 18-25 as the “Look at Me” generation and reported that this group said that their top goals were fortune and fame.

This article is engaging and interesting. It has caused me to search deep within myself. I am 25 yrs. old so I guess I’ve been labeled the “Look at Me” generation. I could say easily, yes, that we are self-absorbed as young people with all our gadgets and new tech., but young people have similar struggles as their parents and our entire culture. The tension within is not merely cultural, but our own sinfulness. We are the most “marketed to” generation ever and we are told if it feels good, then buy it and do it.

Narcissism: The fascination with one-self. Self-love. Do you think it’s something my generation deals with alone? Youtube, facebook, myspace, the wii, x-box, american idol, ipod’s, and iphone’s are not bad in and of themselves, but I can see how others label my generation’s fascination with these material things as just that. The above most certainly can be the vehicle to lead a person down a narcisstic, self-absorbed path when not used with discernment or humility. We could add moderation in there as well. But yet again, narcissism is often just within our sinful nature and we must constantly fight against it- no matter how young or how old (“For above all, guard you heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” -Prov. 4:23)

What are your thoughts?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/17/fashion/17narcissism.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

From Cradle to Cross

erebus-cross1.jpg  Santa Claus. Reindeer. Christmas trees with lights. New-fallen snow. Crackling fires. Presents. Malls. Traffic. Children’s smiles. Parties. Boxes of chocolate. Fruit baskets. Advent calendars. Comforting lattes and cocoas. Friends. Family. Memories. Letters. Christmas has a way of warming my heart every year. Truly, there is no season quite like Christmas.

And in the midst of all these gifts from God, too often I forget the real meaning of the season. When I truly allow time to reflect in those moments of stillness, what astounds me the most is that God became flesh and made His dwelling on earth. He was born in a manger of all places. He came to the earth in the ultimate form of humility. He grew in wisdom and stature as a man. He experienced much of what we do; pain, happiness, hunger, and yet he had no stain of sin. He died a gruesome death on the cross to redeem this fallen world and restore what had been lost.

We celebrate the cradle and the cross this Christmas. Above all, we celebrate Love.

November Rain

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Swirls of gray and white colored the sky this weekend. Thanksgiving in Dallas was introduced this year with rain, sleet, and more rain. “Why does it have to be raining?” I asked my husband. My attitude before church wasn’t particularly a pleasant one. The weather was ruining my mood. I knew, however, that this shouldn’t be the case. Besides, it was Thanksgiving weekend- a time to give thanks.

The rain continued to patter on the church roof as I sat warm and cozy in my chair beside my husband. The message was on thankfulness. God used my pastor in a way that deeply touched the newfound bitter corners in my heart. He revealed that when we choose to have ungrateful hearts, we easily become bitter, and more vulnerable to sin which can then snowball into countless other problems. Oh but it’s no big deal to complain about this or that, is often a response I have. The truth is that I’m called to give thanks in all things even when things aren’t good or going my way. It’s my attitude and heart that matters.

To Give Thanks… To give thanks when we have to park far away from Nordstrom or Best Buy; disabled people would give anything to park far away and be able to walk. To give thanks when the alarm beeps in the morning startling us out of bed; it’s another day that we’re alive. To give thanks, frankly, when we don’t feel like it. Feelings come and go. There’s so much to be thankful for even just as Americans and we don’t even know it. 

On the way home, I didn’t even notice the windshield wipers were on. I laughed and joked with my husband. I prayed that God would give me those nudges each day to remind me of His goodness.

All Flowers Fade

Flowers fade, as does the glory of man. Within each season, brings unexpected changes, trials, and joys. It has been my prayer that I would wear, within each day, wisdom like a necklace; like a tablet written upon my heart.

Jonathan Edwards said in one of his resolutions: “Resolved, that I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die” (#17). It is appointed once that man will die. In the midst of this ever changing world in which I can barely keep up, I am resolved, like Edwards, to live as Christ would have me live my life. To live without regrets or “what ifs.” By God’s grace alone, I believe this is attainable.

When my flower fades, I long to hear the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

The Man Behind The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass, a fantasy film starring Nicole Kidman that is scheduled to be released into theaters on December 7, 2007, has been a great concern among Christians. The author, Philip Pullman, is an outspoken atheist claiming in a 2003 interview that “My books are about killing God.” (Conservative British columnist Peter Hitchens labeled Pullman “The most dangerous author in Britain,” describing him as the writer “the atheists would have been praying for, if atheists prayed.”

Other critics, however, have described Pullman’s works as anti-religion, rather than anti-Christian or anti-Catholic. One of his novel’s pagan characters says, “every church is the same: control, destroy, obliterate every good feeling.”

Whatever the case may be for Pullman, anti-God or anti-religion, perhaps his novels are a reflection of the animosity he feels towards both. Religion, in many ways, can lead one down the path of atheism- Religion in the sense that there is no real relationship with a loving God- only a list of do’s and don’ts, condemnation, control, hate, and evil. Religion masks all the treasures and joys that are found in knowing the Creator personally. Religion chains a person’s soul. When all the while, the God of the Bible says to shut religion up and follow Him. God Himself, is fed up with “religion.”

If Pullman realized that God is all loving and all powerful, his stance perhaps would be different. If he realized that God sent his son, Jesus Christ, to pay the debt he owed, perhaps his views would change. If Pullman could take hold of this Divine Love and realize there is no bondage, no religion, his world would radically change and He would believe.

This Divine love has changed my world.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/compass.asp?print=y

Hotel Zaza

I hopped in my husband’s car, anxious to know where he was taking me. We’d just gulped down our iced green teas and pita with humus from Tempest Tea, my favorite tea shop in uptown Dallas. “We have to go, your appointment’s at 7:00,” he said.

We arrived at the entrance. “Go to level two and I’ll see you in an hour,” he said. A concierge greeted me and rode with me to the second level. This was it. This was Hotel Zaza– the exquisite luxury, boutique-like hotel in Dallas. I strutted my way down the never ending hallway- assuming I was in the right direction. At last, a sign for Zaza Spa was in the distance. All my troubles seemed to fade.

Before I knew it, hot stones were infiltrating my back. So much pressure released. My burdens disappeared and I smiled for the 24 years that had just passed. Thankful for the tiny joys in life. And most of all, grateful for the moments my heavenly Father gives each new day.

Especially from my husband.

Teen Multimedia Program Set for October Debut

At Just Say YES, we are launching a new, three-screen multimedia show for teens that will impact schools and communities nationwide. Lake Highlands People newspaper in Dallas wrote an article about it today: “Local Group Advocates Abstinence in Nation’s School.”

From the scenes I have viewed recently, I am amazed at the quality, creativity, and relevance it potrays. Author and speaker, Justin Lookadoo, is a hit. Producer, Stephen Vidano and writers, Alan and Melissa Cox with Cox Creative, Inc. have gone to extreme heights. Nothing like this is currently on the market for relationship education. We are so thankful for this project.

Greek to Me

Known as the Harvard of seminaries, Dallas Theological Seminary, is what beckoned my husband and I across the country from the East Coast. We are thoroughly enjoying our time here in Dallas. There are many distractions here. It is like a concrete playground here… with endless miles of traffic, more concrete, tons of shopping, and extremely sweet people. Any and everything is within one’s reach. Most of all, we have the gift of being in community with some incredible people.

We are in our third week of seminary. My husband focuses all his hours on Greek it seems like. He sings songs in Greek along with this lady on his tutorial C.D. They sing together: “Oh come all ye pistas (faithful), joyful and triumphant.” I try not to get jealous. At least these hymns help him learn his words. I’ve enjoyed learning the Greek alphabet as well. It’s my story-time before bed each night. In the midst of these seminary days, I love watching my husband learn and grow. He is being stretched in uncomfortable ways so that means I am too. His goal is to be able to read the Bible in Greek (and Hebrew) one day in its entirety.

But I definitely know that hard days are ahead. Seminary isn’t easy on a marriage. It’s a juggling act between marriage, work, keeping in shape, quiet times, friends, church, ministry, family, date nights, and more. My strength in this season of seminary is the Lord. He is the Alpha and Omega (yes, that’s Greek too) and will carry us through to the end even if I’m kicking and screaming!

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