Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ready For Love? PART 1

The first time I saw the preview for this show a month ago in the movie theater, I knew this post was coming.

Please, bear with me here and try to read all of the parts, this may be long...

Tonight was the premier of a new show called 'Ready For Love', and yes I did watch it - which is undoubtedly going to get me goofed on in the near future - but only to make sure my pre-conceived notions were true. Alas, what I found was very close what what I thought I would see portrayed on television. 

Let me give you a quick rundown synopsis of this show: 3 renowned match makers have 4 women each that they are coaching for our one lucky bachelor, and at the beginning of the show our man has to pick 3 women from those 4 whom he would like to get to know throughout the season. The bachelor is on stage with a wall between these 4 women, who protrude from the floor in human size boxes, and they each get 30 seconds or so to tell them why he should pick them - this is all done so he can't see their faces. He picks 3 from each match maker's team for a total of 9 women that he will get to date. They all get put into a house with each other that is littered with pictures and nic-nacs of our bachelor strewn on the walls and such. Then we see them all on a group date together with him, and also some separate one-on-one time between the key girls for this episode. 

After the date portion, we go to the match maker decision round where they place all the girls on stage in front of the match makers and proceed to pick apart the one-on-one times the girls had. In this, the girls get criticized on how they act, speak, what they say during their dates, and how each action made the bachelor feel. They then pick the bottom 3 out of all the girls for our bachelor to pick one from to send home. Eventually, the ultimate goal at the end of the season is to whittle down to a final 2 or something, and the one girl who wins will marry our lucky bachelor. It's kind of like the voice mixed with the bachelor mixed with survivor with a Jerry Springer cherry on top. 


I'm going to start with the girls rising from the floor in boxes. You kind of have to see it for yourself to understand, so look it up on youtube. Here's my beef with this - you have a dude and an audience picking what girls they want from boxes on stage. What I see is 4 barbie dolls in packaging that we choose who we want to play with for the next 3 months (or however long the season is). 

Next are the match makers. Undoubtedly there are gifted people in the world who understand qualities in humans that pair nicely with each other - I mean, why else would e-harmony have the most marriages of any other dating site, right? Here's my beef with this - they give the 10 steps to winning his heart, and how to separate yourself from this pack of girls all fighting for that same guy. And then, at the end, they pick apart every girl's action during the date like it is a homework assignment given by the science teacher at school. AND THEN, they in all of their amazing mind-reading knowledge of how each woman effected him get to choose which 3 they are going to let the bachelor pick from to send home. WHAT?!

Finally, on the grandeur scale, the game-show aspect of 'falling in love'. Here is my beef with this - If it is a game show, I'd argue you aren't really falling in love. The person you are trying to win for yourself has become an object of want or the #1 prize. I don't doubt there might be some true feelings in there, but let's be honest and say that the goal here is to win on a reality t.v. show. 

I could go on, but these are the top 3 on my list. 
This you guys, this is NOT love. It may be marketed as such, but love is not about winning a tv show. You can win the heart of that someone special of course, but that is done at the altar. There are no "10 steps to falling in love, or your money back guaranteed!' The universal definition of 'falling in love' is a person becoming so infatuated with the other that you can't help but think about her every second of the day for countless days on end. You wait around until the phone call at the end of the night to just talk, about absolutely nothing, for 3 hours, sitting in the window of a gazebo outside. Tell me where the 10 steps to that is? Love has never been about fighting each other, it has always been about fighting FOR.

I want to be able to look my possible future wife in the eyes and tell her I'm fighting for you, every single day. I'm battling my selfishness, my pride, my lust, my unbelief so that I can best serve you for the rest of our lives. There might be other dudes in the picture that have feelings for you, but I'm not focused on beating them, I'm focused on preparing to love you every second through rain or shine.

Love is about dying to yourself for the other, ALWAYS. (More on this in the future sequels...)

This type of love will never (and I admit that is a loaded word, because I can't guarantee it, but with the way we are going as a culture...) be portrayed on any game show you'll see during a prime-time spot on network television.

We constantly turn love into an object, and we are going to see how that effects us in part 2. But, before we end this one, I have to point something out regarding the ladies in the boxes.

Women, YOU ARE NOT OBJECTS. You are never to be lined up side by side and picked like I'm picking a kick ball team at recess (and I will use "never" because I can guarantee it this time). Your worth will never be defined by what others (men and women) think about you, but it is defined about what God says about you. It took me the better part of 20 years to start understanding that, so take it from someone who has been on both sides (refer to the 'My Story' posts on this blog). Fellas, same goes for us, but we have to step up as leaders and defend our better halves here.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you what shows to watch and not to watch, but what I do hope to do is challenge your perceptions on the portrayal of love these popular shows present to us. We are in danger of doing great harm to how we love each other if we buy into what hollywood and prime time tell us.

I will say though, Ben Rector was played tonight on the show. That was probably my favorite part. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Storm I Need PART 1

I'll preface this post with a verse we all know from Romans: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

I've been studying through the book of Matthew for a while, and my goal has been to get a solid 30 minutes of study before the day starts each morning. It has been incredibly fruitful. This last week, however, has been the most incredibly grace filled week for fruit producing I have seen in quite some time. We're talking Welch's warehouse fruitful.

I'll start by explaining a passage that I've been over a thousand times before that hit me like a semi-truck this week. Jesus and his disciples are crossing the sea in a storm. The boat is being swamped by the waves (think "A Perfect Storm" style), and Jesus is sleeping. The disciples wake him and say, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." And Jesus replies, "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?" (Matthew 8:23-27)

I want to point out something crucial here that I have read over constantly - "Why are you afraid?"
What a question to ask in this situation.

I have a terrible fear of deep water. I dislike not being able to see what's under me, because let's face it, only around 10% of the earth's water has been explored. That means there is a shark under there that is the size of Manhattan and it wants to eat the boat I'm on. That's neither here nor there, but what remains is this valid discomfort I get from open water. And when a storm is added to that situation, things go south real quick. So, if I'm a disciple in this situation, I'm freaking out and wondering why Jesus could ask such an incredible question.

There are some interesting things surrounding the dialogue between Jesus and the disciples. To their credit, they know to ask him for saving. They have been traveling with him for the last few weeks or so seeing him do miracles right in front of their eyes, so they have some idea that Jesus is Lord, but let's break down Jesus' response.

First, Jesus was sleeping. Let's not forget that. He was calm enough to zonk out, which should lead us in his question. I think what we have to ask ourselves is what was he really saying to the disciples in that moment? Jesus knew that the Father works everything together. His fingers are manipulating every single event in our lives down to how many breaths we take during a given hour (Matthew 6:27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his life?). He also knew the promise of the Lord that what happens is good for everyone who loves him. In that promise is the guarantee of everlasting life in heaven. Now, being disciples of Jesus, who is Lord, would you agree that they should understand that promise too? That being followers of him, they are adopted into that promise through his blood on the cross (which hasn't happened yet in the story, but He has given them enough at this point to understand they are involved in redemption) has accomplished for every single believer?

So here is what Jesus is really saying to the disciples with those 4 words I believe: "You guys, have you not been with me healing lepers, blind men, casting out demons, etc.? Have you not seen the promises my Father gave me through his prophets and scriptures being fulfilled completely in our days together? Have you listened, really listened to the words I've been preaching all this time about our salvation? So why do you even need to ask me to save you from this storm if we know where we are going to end up? My father told us we will make it to the next day, so why are you afraid of this one?"

I have been asking God to help me with my prayer. When you ask God for something, He usually doesn't just snap his fingers and give you what you want. If you want patience, he gives you opportunity to be patient. So, this week, He gave me opportunity to pray. I have been building this awesome life in my head with ultimate chick flick romanticism and superhero strength and ride off into the sunset allure, and He took it away. He also zapped me with a pretty crazy health issue that I'm seeing a doc for on Wednesday... I wanted help praying? Well, here, you can't do anything but pray for these things.

The fear of the storm I was suddenly being tossed around by drove me to say "save me Lord; I am perishing!" And He looked at me and said, "why are you afraid?"

This is how the story ends, and I left it out until now on purpose: "Then he rose and rebuked the waves and the sea, and there was a great calm." Jesus is still willing after my lack of faith to save me from my storm. Does he always make the storm stop? No, not every time as we will see in part 2. But, he is always willing to save us in our time of need. 

I shouldn't be afraid, because I have him. And if I have him, I know I have everything I need. I may be covered by waves, they may even sting as they hit me, but I know that he is faithful. What is tomorrow? I don't know, all I know is the promise that is true today, right now- "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).