You’ve got to love the internet–one moment your quickly checking your google reader and the next your reading a post about David Foster Wallace’s thoughts on the destructive tendencies of TV sitcoms. While I don’t know much about Wallace, I can with confidence say that his ideas about irony and ridicule in our society, found here, are dead on:
“And to the extent that it [TV] can train viewers to laugh at characters’ unending put-downs of one another, to view ridicule as both the mode of social intercourse and the ultimate art-form, television can reinforce its own queer ontology of appearance: the most frightening prospect, for the well-conditioned viewer, becomes leaving oneself open to others’ ridicule by betraying passé expressions of value, emotion, or vulnerability. Other people become judges; the crime is naiveté. The well-trained viewer becomes even more allergic to people. Lonelier”
“The assumptions behind early postmodern irony…were still frankly idealistic: it was assumed that etiology and diagnosis pointed toward cure, that a revelation of imprisonment led to freedom. [Rortyan irony?] So then how have irony, irreverence, and rebellion come to be not liberating but enfeebling in the culture today’s avant-garde tries to write about? One clue’s to be found in the fact that irony is still around, bigger than ever after 30 long years as the dominant mode of hip expression. It’s not a rhetorical mode that wears well. As Hyde (whom I pretty obviously like) puts it, ‘Irony has only emergency use. Carried over time, it is the voice of the trapped who have come to enjoy their cage.’ This is because irony, entertaining as it is, serves an almost exclusively negative function”
As I interact with many people I notice how people under the age of 40 live on irony, and I often feel like everyone is constantly worried about that they will say something that will leave them open for ridicule.
Irony is what we use to to fill in every gap and pause in a conversation. We are looking for places to through a barb in, but what does this do to our relationship?
I must confess that I live out this kind of TV humor the most with my wonderful and gracious wife who deserves none of it. Jo I’m sorry.
What do you think is Wallace right? Is irony a cage? Are we allergic to real interactions with people because we fear ridicule?
If Wallace is right how can we fi it?
This week I had this great plan to take half the day on Friday and start our trip up to my step sisters wedding in NY. The problem is sometimes plans don’t work out, and for the third time in less than a year we found ourselves on the side of the road getting our car towed away. My first thought was: “great add something else to the list of things on Sam’s shoulders right now—Starting a church, buying a house, and now fixing a car.” Then I started wondering: “How are we going to get home?”, “How are we going to get around next week?” I wanted to trust that God had something going on here but man was I totally stressing.
We ended up calling a friend from our old church who was willing to come out and get us, and then a family from the church plant offered to lend us their second car for the week. Things worked out.
The frustration is that there is some part of me that assumes now that I’m a church planter we should be the one giving out help, but not the ones needing help. As if when your in leadership you should always be independently able to care for yourself, but that idea is total contrary to the Biblical idea of dependance. We all are totally dependent on God, even if we don’t acknowledge it, and lets be honest we are also very often dependent on other people as well. From little things like having your hands full of groceries and someone opening a door for you, to the big things like your car breaking down and you needing someone to drive two hours to pick you, your wife and your screaming kid up—we need people.
Its ok to be dependent, In fact I think that we can’t help but be dependent, and Im realizing that it’s a pretty good leadership style to embrace, but one that requires you to swallow a lot of pride.
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Over the last few months, my frustration with Att and with Apple has been growing. Yes, I said both: Att for its awful coverage and horrible pricing and Apple for its draconian control over the iPhone, and their apparent disregard for what their customers ask for (Google Voice Achem..)
I’ve found myself looking at new T-Mobile plans or new Sprint plans, and finally I decided to do a side by side comparison: T-Mobile vs Sprint vs Att vs Verizon. With T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon I compared their 1500 minute family plans with unlimited texting and data, and calculated the cost over the next two years. I included the cost of new phones on each carrier. With Att I simply plugged in our current rates.
The really striking thing was that Sprint, T-Mobile offered family services with data in the range that I was paying for my iphone plan with only 200 text messages a month for Jo and I, and with her have no data.
Both T-Mobile and Sprint offer out of the box family plans with texting and data, Verizon on the other hand included data at an additional cost over the phone service. Sprint and T-Mobile destroyed the comprable Verizon plan (coming in $1,000 dollars cheaper).
Verizon was eliminated due to the cost.
Sprint and T-Mobile were comperable. The Real difference was in the phone choice, we wanted android phones and Sprint has the EVO, the Moment, the Intercept and the HTC Hero. T-Mobile has the MyTouch, the Cliq, the Vibrant, the Behold II, and the Garmin.
In reading the reviews of the different android phones, the Evo was the clear winner, and the rest of the phones offered by both providers seemed similar, so we settled on Sprint.
The icing on the cake was that because we are AAA member’s Sprint offered us a 10% discount on our monthly service. So even with the early termination fee from Att we were getting more service the same money.
Some of the benefits of switching:
- Unlimited Data for both of us
- Unlimited Mobile to Mobile calling with ALL carriers.
- Google Nav and Sprint Nav
- Unlimited Texting
- Better Reception (So far no dropped calls!)
- Sprints 4G network (coming in October)
So far I’m very happy with my decision.
He has his fathers fashion sense.
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In the book of Malachi (the last little book in the Old Testament section of the Bible) God is very upset with his people. Basically, the beginning of the book is God talking to his people and explaining how things got so bad.
Now sure many people might guess that God would be upset if they forgot about him, or if they didn’t fulfill their agreements, or if they lied about him (all of which we see in chapter 1&2) but in chapter 2 we see another reason that God is upset. God is angry because the men of Israel have not cared for their wives in the way that they had promised to. God says that the person who dishonors his marriage covers themselves in blood. God doesn’t mess around—he is saying: sure the religious stuff matters but the daily life stuff is just as important.
As I begin church planting I can see how I might spend tons of time on church stuff and end up neglecting my family, but if I do that I’d be covering myself in blood! I’m thankful for this warning, and I’m thankful for my family.
“If we have careful regard to the end for which our Lord intended it, we should realize that the use of it ought to be more frequent that many make it…Therefore the custom ought to be well established, in all churches, of celebrating the Supper as frequently as the capacity of the people will allow…Though we have no express command defining the time and the day, it should be enough for us to know that the intention of our Lord is that we use it often; otherwise we shall not know well the benefits which it offers us.”
John Calvin as found in The Lord’s Supper
Last Week Jo Gus, and I traveled to Nashville so that I could participate in our church’s national leaders convention (know to us as the General Assembly) For me this time of meeting is incredibly encouraging and incredibly draining.
In the last few days I’ve heard things said by church leaders that have made me cringe, but I’ve also interacted with folks that get me so excited about what can happen when people are honest about their need for God, and live out of that need. I even heard from a old white guy who planted a black church in Georgia in 1954. Think about that–White Dude, Black Church, Jim Crow, Deep South. That means this guy might as well be Jack Baur’s great-grandpappy. General Assembly embodies the best and the worst parts of being connectional all wrapped up into one very long week, but it’s well worth it.
Here are 5 things I learned at General Assembly:
- Sometimes Procedural stuff is good and sometimes it gets in the way of actual discussions – I wish we spent more time talking about our actually disagreements and less time wrapped up in procedural vortexes (Dave Snoke’s handy term). I hope next year is different.
- World Harvest Missions is legit – first off any group that foregoes the usual free luncheon to rent out a bar and gives away good beer, good cigars and great Christian material has my vote, but I also got a chance to hang out with some of the folks planting churches in London, and they are doing some cool stuff.
- Southern guys can bring it – I sat it on a lecture by Brian Habig Church Planter and Pastor down in Greenville NC and that dude was great.
- Disagreement and Disunity are different things – Some speaks were very gracious and winsome and even when I didn’t agree with their point, I was glad they had the chance to speak, while at other times guys spoke and even though I understand where they are coming from I wish they hadn’t said anything. All young pastors need to take some notes from guys like David Coffin, Bryan Chapell, Tim Keller, and Ligon Duncan.
- Face time is important – Email is great and twitter will help build connections but, nothing can replace good face-to-face conversations.
I’ve thought a lot lately about blogging. Up until now, that’s all I’ve done (duh). I’ve avoided it for one reason or another – claiming that people don’t really want to know what’s going on in my head, that I’m too self-conscious to share my thoughts, fears, and dreams to strangers, that “bloggers” assume everyone actually cares about their trivial lives when no one does… the list could go on.
But… here I am. I changed my mind for various reasons. One is a little conceited. Last June we had a baby, and I’m convinced that everyone wants to know what he is doing and looks like ALL the time. Yes, sadly, I’ve become that deranged mother (grandparents rejoice!). The other big reason is that my husband and I are trying to start a new church in our town. We aren’t doing it alone of course. We had our first core group meeting a few months ago, and there are about 20 people committed or seriously considering a commitment. But I think I, as Sam’s wife, am going to have a unique view on how this whole thing goes down. I hope that this can someday be an encouragement to other families as they start down similar roads, or for anyone who wants to keep tabs on this crazy family.
This was from last month, when Gus’s “baby mullet” was just too much for me to handle so we got out the clippers and fixed the problem.
The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians with demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God himself accordingly.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Life Together