YOLO, IKTR, LOL–Do You Follow?

If you’re a text-er of the first degree (or even a latecomer to the texting scene), you probably know what I just said in the title of this blog. In case you’re not numbered among the texting gurus (text-ually challenged, as it were), allow me to translate.

The title of this blog simply says, “You only live once—I know that’s right—laugh out loud.” When texting, these little shortcuts really come in handy (especially if you have fat fingers).IMG_1035

For example, HBD means Happy Birthday. Why type it out when everyone knows what the abbreviation means? LMBO means, “Laugh my butt off.” This comes in handy when someone texts you something really funny. WTF means, “Why the face?” I heard that on TV, so it must be true.

Well, I think I’ve reached the end of my texting lexicon. I’m still learning (usually the hard way). But I’ve noticed something significant.

  • The text-er has the advantage. When you’re texting a shortcut, you know what you mean. When you’re on the other end, not so much. I’ve discovered the Urban Dictionary can be my best friend. Who knew?

This whole shortcut business has gone viral. We have a shortcut for everything now. I saw a commercial the other day for an icon in the shape of a pizza slice. If you have that on your cell phone, all you have to do is press it, and Domino’s (or someone) will deliver a pizza to your door. That’s way too easy (and hard on my stomach and wallet).

My fear as a Christian is this whole smartphone-569076_1280shortcut thing will invade the church. Maybe it already has. Many denominations are shrinking (for good or ill) and, along with losing members, they’re losing leaders. Why that is can be a great topic for another day (or maybe a book). But my focus here is how church leaders, elders, pastors, etc. are being replaced (or reproduced).

  • I received notice from a bishop recently that a once popular discipleship course of study was being abbreviated—ostensibly to make it more palatable to the masses. The time of each session was being cut back and the total length of the program curtailed.

I’m not all that familiar with the program, so I can’t comment on its specific worth or its newfound relevance in brevity. It does seem to be a harbinger of things to come, however. Maybe tomorrow has arrived.

I may be an alarmist here, but it seems to me that discipleship has no shortcuts. Discipleship is accomplished line upon line, experience upon experience, and precept upon precept. When the church attempts to short circuit the process, there can only be Hell to pay (HTP?).

I hate to be a wet blanket. Normally I’m very positive about most things. In this area, however, I think I have to draw a line in the sand.

  • If you want to be a true disciple of Christ, put in the time…YKWIM?

It’s a Dog’s Life (or Can We Say Arf?)

As I was growing up, I often heard the expression, “It’s a dog’s life.” For some reason, I always thought that was referring to a life that was hard. I think I actually got it mixed up with another expression that referred to the “dog days of summer” (which was also something I heard a lot while I was growing up).

I’ve been set straight, however. Dogs get to lie around and eat. They devour two or three squares and sleep twenty hours a day (or something like that). Most of them aren’t required to do much except for a few stupid pet tricks (when they feel like it).

KenyaPupThere are the obvious exceptions like guard dogs, Seeing Eye dogs, and police dogs. But I suspect even most of these furry friends are treated quite well. Hence, a dog’s life…

If human beings lived like this, they would be reviled. They would be called all sorts of names like ne’er-do-well, idler, bum, or a drag on society. Since I have often heard these expressions as well, I guess there must be a few of those around.

But dogs, on the other hand, never seem to be called these names. When they lie around and do nothing, they are called cute, cuddly fur balls and are spoken to in baby talk. How can this be?

Well, I’ll tell you how this can be. This can be because dogs provide us with unconditional love. When we walk in the door, they wag their tails so hard their rear ends shake. Even dogs that aren’t treated so well seem to love their masters. It’s an amazing phenomenon.

What ever happened to I love you…period?

It seems to me that we of the human race could learn a couple of things from “man’s best friend” (by the way—what would the politically correct term for that be?). We could use a fresh dose of that unconditional love. We seem to be much better at unconditional apathy and unconditional hatred.

The best example we have of unconditional love does not come from dogs, however. Our best example is Jesus. Yet we in the church don’t seem to get it any more than your average pagan. Any love we can muster up has strings attached. I love you if… I love you when… I love you because… You can fill in the blanks as you wish.

What ever happened to I love you…period? Unconditional love. I Corinthians 13 love. Everything with us is so conditional it’s pathetic. Even among believers.

I guess we can chalk all that up to the human condition. We are deficient in the love department. We have been tried and found wanting. We have discovered the enemy, and it’s us.

Some would say, “Eat, love, pray.” I say, “Eat, sleep, love.” It’s a dog’s life.JessGirls

Michael Vick and the Church Triumphant

Growing up (and to this very day), the Pittsburgh Steelers have been my favorite NFL team. That would be Picksburg Stillerz to yinz from the Steel City. And for you non-fans, NFL stands for National Football League (don’t want to leave anyone behind—this is really important stuff).

Recently their backup quarterback was injured. Their choice to replace him was the best guy left on the market at that late date. That guy was Michael Vick.dog-720906_1280

Even you non-fans probably know MV by reputation—not a very good one, I might add. He was arrested, prosecuted, and served time for his involvement with a dog-fighting ring. But you can look all that up on your Google Machine.

Now let me remind you. Vick’s malicious escapades were made public back in 2007. I’m not a big math guy, but according to my calculations, that was eight years ago. Yet it seems that, eight years later, all is not forgiven (let alone forgotten). I kinda hope I’ve been forgiven for stuff I did eight years ago. In fact, I hope I’ve been forgiven for stuff I did last week, for Heaven’s sake (see what I did there?).

The Steelers are normally known for their high moral standards as an organization. Unfortunately, the word, “high,” is a relative term. In the NFL, “high” places them somewhere between politicians and used car salesmen.

WE ARE A DOG NATION…

We have a star quarterback, a star running back, and a star linebacker who have been forgiven of various and sundry forms of gross misbehavior (to put it mildly). Could this be called selective forgiveness (as in selective hearing)? Or can we simply chalk this up to the fact that we are now a “dog nation” as someone once put it?

I’ve never been known as a big animal guy (although I was a college biology major). I’ve had two pet dogs  in my life. One of the reasons I don’t have one now is because my heart still aches when I think of those two (RIP guys). I really don’t want to go through losing another one.

dog-472071_1280So I really do understand when some Steeler fans pronounce that they are no longer fans. I understand the venomous comments spewed when the subject is broached. In a pre-season game, Vick’s first official pass as a Steeler was a 63 yard bomb. Someone tweeted, “Yeah, but how many dogs did he kill on the sidelines?”

I understand, but I can’t relate. I can’t relate because I’m a lousy, scumbag sinner just like the rest of humanity. I’m undoubtedly capable of doing much worse than Vick (although admittedly, I can’t imagine). If I don’t forgive him and allow him to improve his life and move on, how can I expect the same from others toward me?

So I say to you Michael Vick, for what it’s worth, “I forgive you.” Besides—anyone married to someone named Kijafa Frink can’t be all bad.