Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mary-Jane, Pop-Tarts, and Sex-Utopia

Q: why do we see teens running to the outside recourses of drugs, food, and sex for fulfillment? Is this a teen problem or a parent problem? Why would we sit back and enable such a lifestyle pattern to develop in the ones we love so much, namely, our children?
Inevitably, at some point in the life of a child, they will have been faced with a decision about Mary-Jane, Pop-tarts, and sex-utopia, what they choose will affect the rest of their lives.

Mary-Jane is a beautiful name if you think about it; I wonder how many Mary Jane’s there are in this world? (Forgive the momentary pause for reflection) Mary-Jane however, is the quintessential name for marijuana. Mary-Jane has affected the brain cells of millions of people world-wide. I was introduced to Mary at the age of 18 as it was being passed around in a circle amongst a group of people whom I’ve never before and never since have seen. We all have those friends that your momma warns you about, but you’re not sure why the warning was given until you see the doobie exponentially offered.
Teens that use drugs for the most apart, about 60%%, use it, specifically to shake hands with Mary-Jane. Once a teen has had their formal introduction with the Jane, a chemical called tetrahydrocannabinal commonly known as THC expels itself into the blood stream. THC is the sweet delight of the smile of Mary-Jane, yet this smile doesn’t look so kindly once it has taken effect. Symptomatically, Mary-Jane thrives itself in paranoia, anxiety, and dizziness; in fact, these are what teens would consider for themselves as deserving after a hard week of classroom study, video games, and text messaging.
I sat with students who have freshly finished a date with Mary-Jane and seen an emotional state that hit deep within, literally having life “in tune.” “Yeah man, I’ve got it all figured out, nothing can stop me…” I often wondered after hearing this type of statement what “it” means! “It” must be special, because in concentric circles of concern I’ve heard questions such as do you have the “it factor”? “It” must have something to do with Mary-Jane because “it” must be wrapped up in THC. Mary-Jane can only do so much to help one out, maybe ease the carnage of life if for a moment, relax the chaotic soul, cause deep introspection; however, Mary-Jane will never be able to fill the deep need of the spirit. The way, the truth, and the life are wrapped up in a free gift named Jesus, which does not contain THC, but life.
POP-TARTS
I chose pop tarts as the subject of my next point for the purpose that most children, teenagers, and adults can identify with food. Pop-Tarts are just good! I have a particular addiction to “S’mores” flavored Pop-Tarts with a nice Irish Crème latte. I’ve kept our local coffee shop in business with this particular order. I once new a particular set of females whom I worked with during my first summer at LFR who admitted to having that all nutritious breakfast of Mountain Dew and Pop-Tarts every morning while in college.
Pop-Tarts have no value nutritiously, in speaking of health, but if you want to smack down on some good old comfort, Pop-Tarts will do the trick. There is nothing kosher about a Pop-Tart, so you will not see a Jew or a practicing gentile of the Jewish tradition partaking of Pop-Tarts. God bless them because it would definitely be a vise for me that would consume me at first site; no will power. Pop-tarts do not provide that cover that I desperately am looking for when I give in to my flesh and try to hide like Adam and Eve did in the garden.
What do you hide behind when sin knocks at your door and you give in? We all have that addiction that grieves the inner-most being of our souls. Food proudly invades my space and is a cause for much of my malady; I’ve lived with food addiction for 16 years and there is not a day that goes by that I do not fight its calling. Adam and Eve when they sinned did not wait by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for God to show up and have a little chat over the situation at hand. No, they ran for cover, to hide and cloth themselves, to hide what was the cause of their shame. When I sin, food provides a momentary comfort that is fleeting from the time I begin to embrace it. For you, it may not be Pop-Tarts, it may be something else. Jesus by His compassion draws me from this hiding place when I try to play hide and seek from Him.
Sex-utopia
Utopia is a 15th Century word coin by Sir Thomas More, who authored the book Utopia in 1516. By definition in Websters it is described as an imaginary and indefinitely remote place, or the ideal place of perfection especially in laws, government (lol), and social conditions; an impractical scheme for social improvement. We dream in utopia dipping our fingers in and tasting the sweet savory flavor of the perfect life and then immediately interrupted by the ever antagonistic alarm. It is amazing how many of us think that utopia is not possible; have you heard of heaven? Utopia only exists in the realm that we do not find by human touch because of our lack of unbelief.
Sex-utopia is experienced widely over planet earth in front of the T.V.’s, DVD’s, movie screens, and computer screens of our lives. Look at these statistics:
In a Kinsey Institute survey, respondents were asked "Why do you use porn?"
43% - "because I can fantasize about things I would not necessarily want in real life."
* 42% of songs on ten top-selling CDs in 1999 contained sexual content, 41% of which were "very explicit" or "pretty explicit." Family News in Focus, July 2005
* 17% of all women struggle with porn addiction* 1 of 3 visitors to all adult websites are women* 9.4 million women access adult websites every month Internet Filter Review
* 38 percent of adults believe it is ‘morally acceptable’ to look at pictures of nudity or explicit sexual behaviorMorality Continues to Decay. Barna Research Group, 3 November, 2003.
“What’s this world coming to?” “Is there no self-respecting human on this planet anymore?” Why do we assume that the world is all of the sudden turned bad? Honestly, have you read the bible lately? None of these stats were present in the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, there was no extensive research done find out what was corrupting the heart of man. God knew it simply as “depravity,” in fact, before the flood while Noah was building the boat, “man’s heart was continually on evil.”
So do not be surprised that we strange creatures of this earth try to meet our sexual needs in utopia when they are not met up to our standards physically. We play the blame game so much when our sexual needs are not met; therefore, it is easier to meet them in the realm of utopia instead of the reality of a relationship through Jesus Christ. The reality is that when our physical, emotional, and mental needs are found in Christ, exploring utopia just does not satisfy. Sex in any form can only fill the void momentarily.
Final Words
Ok so Mary-Jane, Pop-Tarts, and Sex-utopia are idioms for us homo-sapiens to use in meeting that God shaped void in our lives. We can try to stuff it with Mary-Jane, but she only pacifies the pain. We can try to gorge the void with Pop-Tarts, but it only comforts and covers the glaring reality of depravity. We can try to fantasize the void by escaping to Sex-Utopia, but you will find yourself heartbroken. Is it possible that God’s purpose is to meet you at your moment of need so that you will be satisfied in Him? Or will you continue to blame God because you are not running to Him? Maybe it is time for parents to reclaim the home and strike up a conversation with their progeny and actually play a part in the lives of their children as heroes of the faith. Do you actually think that God will leave you to handle it by yourself? Youth Pastors are not your child’s mother and father…I know only a few Youth Pastors who actually get the fact that their job is not to parent but to point to Christ; heck it’s hard enough to lead students when most youth pastors are dealing with their own addictions to Mary-Jane, Pop-Tarts, and Sex-utopia
Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Declaration of the States of Steeples, Snot, and Poo

An Introductory Word

I suppose that it is not proper to stoop down to the level of the words that I'm about to use; however, I will not regret the use of them. Descriptive use of words such as steeples, snot, and poo are not the status quo when it comes to writing about life. If I were in preaching class, the only thing missing from this standard use of sermonology would be poo, simply because I did not high light the point with the S word, and I'm not talking swords.

Steeples

Under normal circumstances you do not see the steeples of the church as a part of article writing; however, I have seen many steeples. The thing you need to know about steeples is that they mark the spot on denominational preferences. Steeples are large, skinny, tall, short, stacked with bells, as big as a 3 story buildings, and some with the looks of watch towers. Steeples are not indicative of selling points, I mean when Jesus died on the cross, I'm not sure that he thought it would mark the spot for heretical worship across the globe. I heard it once said that there are 38,000 different religions in the world today, and I can't help but to think that these are 38,000 different ways we've screwed it up. Religion defined is man's way to God.
I once saw a steeple standing on the stage at our college chapel that fit perfectly from the stage to the ceiling, it served as a lightning rod for a room full of students who were forced to spend three hours a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday clinging to the superficial words of a predetermined guest. I'm not mad at steeples or disgruntled by the worship that exist underneath the standing symbolism of a horrible death; however, I'm concerned for those whose white washed American lifestyles are classified by what church they attend. For the most part, individuals in the church are deeply needy, deeply narcissistic, and deeply entrenched in tradition because it is what they learned growing up.
Have you ever sat in the Sunday school classroom and heard the same dribble over and over again? It is because that same dribble was taught to the Sunday school teachers of today and there is no distinction made outside the box because of the fear that they too might cast a shadow of doubt in someone's heart. People who lead Sunday school classes are not stupid people; in fact, some of the smartest people I know are leading small group discussions every Sunday morning in our local steepled buildings. I do believe that there are amongst those smart people ignorance produced by ignorance, produced by ignorance, and etc., there is something to say in removing filters and searching the scripture and that in them we may find the words of life and not the words of a steeple chaser.



Snot

I find it interesting that we as American’s all deal with snot, yet we would rather not display our techniques in dealing with snot to others around us. Snot is found in every corner of the world it is not prejudice to a certain class of people, race, or society. Snot drips itself through the nasal passages of Presidents, Dictators, Governors, Mayors, Pastors, Priest, Deacon's, and the Pope (whom ever he may be at the time). Snot is blown in dish rags, toilet paper, handkerchiefs, tissues, paper towels, hand towels (the rough kind you find in bathrooms that leave your nose red and chaffed), bath towels, spit cups, and empty Dr. Pepper bottles. Snot can be found in places such as pillow cases, sink drains, couch clefts, bathroom walls, sidewalks, front yards, back yards, and underneath the table when you no other spot to wipe it.
Why even the topic of snot has been brought up in conversations over the world about its color, bright green, yellow, white, and red (depending on the type of infection you have received per its color.). A friend was telling me the other day about a lady whom he saw in the parking lot of the local grocery store who just exited the building walking towards her car who was left to blow snot from her nose into her hand and then proceeded to swipe it in the air to rid herself of this while loogie substance that was as he described, "disgusting! It looked like she was spider man as it flew from her wrist." What we need to know about snot is that it plays some kind of role in our lives and much like spiders is never more than three feet from us.
I tend to believe that Jesus at some point in His life blew a snot rocket or two and felt relief by having it removed from his nasal passage. Snot is not something that you debate in Systematic Theology as if it had something to do with you eternal salvation because it plays no part in you being seated in the heavenlies. Snot might as well be the topic of most sermons we hear today because like most sermons, snot is a topical discussion and has no eternal impact of the believer who longs for intimacy with their Creator.

Poo

Advancing on with the topic of poo, I must warn you that there is no explicit description of fecal matter and how it proceeds from or produces itself. Don't get me wrong, I believe that people have a right to poo because we all poo. The places we poo are sometimes problematic because the public has to witness the transaction. We shake hands with people that poo all the time, we just hope they had enough common sense to wash their hands before exiting the throne room. I worked on work staff in the summer of '91 at Lake Forest Ranch in Macon, MS and I experienced poo in many different areas of the camp.
I was summoned by the director to go and clean the rec hall bathroom that was occupied by the boys of the camp. This particular week of camp left us short of water due to a busted water line and in these particular toilets there was no way flush it down naturally with loads of water. He prepared me for such a task by telling me to suit up with goggles, cleaning gloves, an apron, a clothes pin, and a water hose. Just for future reference, when someone comes to you and says that you need goggles, cleaning gloves, an apron, a clothes pin, and a water hose, respectfully decline and save yourself a mental picture that will never cease.
As a means of gross, this top the list in every since of the word, backed with the support of my fellow work staff who participated from afar, I entered the bathroom and discovered a toilet that was not overflowing from milk and honey, but was overflowing from the remnants thereof. I noticed a message was written on the bathroom stall that nonetheless came from the crafted script of the index and middle fingers of a young gentle soul who decided it would be funny to write (_ _ it happens). After the laughter of disbelief and finding humor with the situation at hand, the bathroom itself was restored to clean order and I prayed that I would never again see the words (_ _ it happens) again on a bathroom wall with poo.
I am glad that in regards to poo, my sin included, disgust me. You may need to see your sins in regard to poo, as disgusting before you understand the need of a Savior who steps in and cleanses the bathroom stalls of your heart. I don’t have a perfect handle on how to help you see the disgust of sin; sometimes it takes stepping over the edge with the use of poo type language to describe the condition of our depraved lives.

Final Word

In retrospect, the declaration of steeples, snot, and poo have given us a look at humanity. We see things through filters that cloud truth and reality, removing those filters takes a process of wading through the waters that struggle against what we know as normal. Begin with one filter at a time and it will be easier to remove the mask we so easily hide behind on a daily basis. The results will be amazing when you look back on life and find that during this whole process that God never left your side.
Thursday, January 14, 2010

January 2010 "Misfits"

Greetings from the heart of Texas,

I say greetings from the heart of Texas because in deep east Texas there is a growing community of eccentric people who are building a family that will last forever. Have you ever had some one stand up for you in your moment of weakness? Have you been backed into a corner by the rear ends of the world and your only way out is through the help others? When I tell you that in the heart of Texas a growing community of love and respect is building in unity, I'm not speaking of the golden era of pomp and circumstance, but of the here and now in the midst of the worst economic recession our generation has witnessed, a community is being built.

a meticulous laid tile floor covers the surface of our local coffee shop and the floor is as meticulous as the owner who is painted in terrible light amongst those who exist outside of the family within. He is particular about the people, service, and keeping every detail of his place warm and welcoming. He is determined to build community. He wants to see music and the arts succeed in this sleepy part of Texas that can sometimes be rigid and disgruntled.

"Misfits," "you know they just don't seem to fit!" Maybe misfit should be a class of people instead of a term used down grade. Declaring today that I, Jason Todd Goodson is a Misfit in the tallest order or shorter order if you are judging vertical status. The Misfits slide inbetween Lower Middle Class and Poverty, Lower Middle Class and Upper Middle Class, and Lower Upper Class and Upper Class. The Misfits reside in every category and looks just like you and me.

On any Friday or Saturday night you can enter the coffee shop and find those who are playing folk, Country, blue grass, and occasionally a karoake collage of all the songs you remember from growing up in the era of the '70's, '80's, and 90's. Just recently a young patron of the coffee shop who has a love for the theatre arts wrote an original play and pulled from the pool of misfits and created a masterpeice that should be made into a movie, the "flickerking" will be coming to a theatre near you as soon as he grabs the nerve to send it off.

When I first entered the coffee shop three years ago I did not expect to be received so well, I mean seriously why would this group of misfits accept a baptist minister into the family of community being built? Why would the meticulous owner of the coffee shop who is still struggling with faith be Jesus with skin to me and those who I grew up loving and were groomed by have nothing to do with me now? It's a mystery, maybe in the mystery God chooses to show up in the weak and feeble, those who are ok with not being ok, those who don't a grip on life, or maybe its just that He chooses to manifest himself through misfits.

I met a lady a month before Christmas who joined our Monday night meetings, who calls herself a Messianic Christian, practicing the Jewish tradition as a means for her to know God. The only thing I can figure about this sweet soul is that she lives to know God. She has no job, no money, no family to speak of in the area, she came by way of Pennsylvania because the camp she worked for fired her because she was to Jewish, that's right to Jewish, she's a misfit. One day she finds herself with a back problem stuck in the Heart of East Texas, and now I'm looking forward to her walking through the door at the coffee shop or at the house our Monday night group meets, why? Because she beems God! I want to know God! I want to know Him even if through the misfits of this world.

What is the local church afraid of when it comes to misfits? I think they are afraid of being a misfits and that they could actually learn from the weak and feeble. It's strange but isn't that Paul's statement to the Corinthian church when he says, that God's power is made perfect in weakness! The local church has created a facade, a masquerade party with hidden identities that are afraid to unmask and show the true self. Healing will come when the mask are removed and prentious smiles are turned into real life, real problems, and then will a real God show up and meet them at their need.

some thoughts from a misfit,

Jason

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