From the monthly archives: October 2015

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As Sure as God Made Green Apples, Our Groaning Will End


Darn you, Steven Spielberg! You told us this was the year of the Cubbies! You went to the future and told us the glad tidings of the impossible coming true. But apparently it was not to be, after the Mets dispatched the Cubs last Friday. It was a sweep. There’s always next year, Cubs fans.

“There’s always next year.” The wet blanket put around losers.

I grew up the younger brother of a Cubs fan. My oldest brother followed the team in the 80s and 90s, when WGN Channel 2 was free, and we watched every single game in the summer time. Harry Caray was the voice of the Cubs, Andre Dawson was throwing temper tantrums, Ryne Sandberg was winning Gold Glove year after year (only to retire inexplicably) and things were looking bright. Making it as far as the NLCS in 1984 and 1989, they were always just out of reach of heaven — the World Series. Caray’s iconic call of, “Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win!” punctuated many games, but never finally, never in the World Series. But he stayed positive, always hopeful. At the end of the 1991 season, he assured Cubs fans that, “As sure as God made green apples, someday the Cubs are going to be in the World Series.” The ache was deep.

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Topless in the Areopagus: The Importance of Words and Worldview in the Public Square


It wasn’t exactly the fun night on the town that my husband and I envisioned once our kids left home. But on Tuesday, Scott and I joined other Fort Collins citizens at the City Council meeting to see if a city ordinance would be changed to allow female nudity from the waist up. This proposed change caught the attention of national news outlets mainly, I’m sure, because “topless” is a word that gets lots of clicks — which, ironically, is part of the problem we wanted to address.

When the Council finished presenting the two options — amend the prohibition to allow for breastfeeding in public or change it to allow toplessness completely — about 40 people lined up to speak their minds. Each person had a two-minute limit, and I was struck by the lucidity of the speakers. A variety of points were made, and some people took the time before they spoke to complement previous thoughts. It was civil and organized and passionate. I came away wishing the presidential debates went like this.

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Love and Fear, Yes and No, and Trusting God’s Grace in Our Limitations


“It’s the right thing to do. I have to help her. Of course now I can’t go anywhere or get anything done today. I’m supposed to give to those who ask, but this is the worst timing ever.”

Brenda had just turned over the keys of our only vehicle to our car-less roommate so she could make it to class on time. Both Brenda and I have a natural desire to give to others. You might call it our love language or spiritual gifting, but there are times when it feels wrong. At times we feel taken advantage of, de-valued, misused and unappreciated. Sacrifice is unquestionably part of the Christian life, but when we sacrifice our own responsibilities for the sake of another’s, are we really being faithful to God? There’s a fine line between empowering others and enabling them, but where do you draw it?

I love and hate lines, limits, boundaries. I hate them because I see the peak of my strength, the measure of my love and the limitations of my performance. I despise that I am finite — that there are boulders I can’t lift and loads that I struggle to carry. Conversely, I love limits because they define who I am, what I’m responsible for and who I’m responsible to. Whether I like it or not, I live in a finite world. Denying limits is like turning off all the lights in a dark basement and running as fast as you can in every direction without care. You’re going to hit a wall — and hard.

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Life on Mars: The Science of Salvation and Survival in ‘The Martian’


No aliens. Just alienation. That’s the theme of Ridley Scott’s latest sci-fi blockbuster, The Martian.

Matt Damon plays Mark Watney, botanist on the U.S. spaceship Hermes, whose manned mission to Mars gets cut short by a severe storm. In the chaos, Watney is left behind and presumed dead. In short order, he “decides” to survive and proceeds to use his MacGyver-like skills to solve every new problem on the harsh and remote planet. Though he’s too busy to feel lonely, even that is remedied when he digs up an older Martian probe and re-establishes communication with NASA. It’s cumbersome, but at least E.T. finally gets to phone home.

Massive amounts of money have been devoted to getting the actor Matt Damon home in movies such as Saving Private Ryan and Interstellar. His boyish charm still seems to demand a happy ending, and audiences will be dutifully rooting for him, despite his competent ingenuity, optimism and luck. Disappointingly, however, Watney’s personality is fairly one-dimensional, consisting primarily of a wry sense of humor and cocky self-sufficiency, peppered with an occasional outburst of profanity. The music also plays a major role in developing Watney’s persona. Similar to the sci-fi hit Guardians of the Galaxy, The Martian soundtrack relies heavily on annoying 70s disco hits. This has the effect of lightening the pathos of the marooned character and providing a constant source of therapeutic humor.

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Don’t Look Away: Self-harm and the Comfort of the Gospel


And they say, “Daughter, look away, don’t be afraid
When you want to turn back a million times.
And it might get colder,
But wait ‘til it’s over.
Darling, you’ll find your way.”

And she said, “I will not look away this time,
Take all these cuts and make them shine.
And all this pain I’ve held inside,
So I can find my way home again.

I will not look away this time,
Take all these cuts and make them shine,
Don’t wanna be perfect just alright.”

“Look Away” by Thousand Foot Krutch

A study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found that 15 percent of teens and between 17-35 percent of college students have engaged in some form of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). It’s not uncommon even for adults to use this as a coping mechanism, especially if they started as a child or adolescent.

And it happens among Christians. It happens here at Summitview. It happens more than we might think.

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