Tag Archives: Christian

Santa vs. Jesus

When I discovered Stuff White People Like, I thought I discovered sociological gold. I loved the humor and the satire and the author’s commentary of how white people behave. Mainly, I loved the fact that I noticed the same things too, and to have another person recognize the same thing–that’s a bond. Then, I discovered Stuff Christians Like (the book is coming out in April; I’m excited about that too) and I couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that as a Christian, I sometimes do the very same things.

So I thought this was entertaining, and it may be something SCL would post. My pastor put it up on the church bulletin. But Christians like to contrast things to Jesus.:

“Santa lives at the North Pole; Jesus Christ is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh; Christ rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year; Jesus Christ is an ever present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies; Jesus supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited; Jesus Christ stands at your door and knocks, and enters your heart.

You have to wait in line to see Santa; Jesus Christ is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap; Jesus Christ lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn’t know your name, all he can say is: “Hi, little boy or girl, what’s your name?” Jesus knew our name before we did. Not only does He know our name. He knows our history and future, and He even knows our hearts and how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly; Jesus Christ has a heart full of love, grace, mercy and forgiveness.

All Santa can offer is Ho Ho Ho. Jesus Christ says, “Cast your cares on Me, for I care for you.”

Santa may make you chuckle but; Jesus Christ gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree; Jesus Christ became our gift and died on the ‘tree’ (cross) for you and me.

It’s obvious there is really no comparison. We need to remember what Christmas is all about. Jesus Christ is still the reason for the season. Merry CHRISTmas!”

–By Anonymous

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It’s All So Draining: Exploring Vampires

Edward Cullen

Photo Credit: CSPA Workshop

The end of Halloween and the beginning of November can only mean one thing for girls all across America. Their two-year wait can now be count down to a matter of seventeen days before they see their precious heart-throb without a heart-throbbing in the big screen. Enter twenty-three-year-old British actor Robert Pattinson, who plays forever seventeen-year-old American vampire Edward Cullen. Girls seem to fall madly in love with him. One girl I asked described the actor-character as, “Gorgeous. I want him to come rescue me. And if he wants to bite me, all the better.” Another girl said, “His eyes are just beautiful.” Sorry, excuse me if I barf. I don’t quite understand his charm–he looks like a drug addict, especially around his eyes! But maybe that’s why he brings that specific appeal to Team Edward, rather than his rival in Team Jacob (the werewolf in the movie). Before angry girls start writing in, I’m not bagging on Pattinson–just his alter ego, the way he looks in the movie and pictures. I’m a big fan of him as squeaky clean Cedric Diggory. But enough with “Twilight” and “New Moon.” This post isn’t about them, but rather about our fascination with vampires.

Vampire mania seems to be the trend these days. Heck, when you’re sitting on gold, you got to exploit it while you still can, right?  When “Pirates of the Caribbean” came out, just about everyone wanted to be a pirate–even porn stars. And I’m sure the Halloween costume sales for pirates or naughty pirates increased during the trend. But these past two years, vampires are in. Case in point, “The Vampire Diaries,” which air on the CW. It’s about two teenage vampire brothers fighting for the love of a teenage girl. One vampire doesn’t drink human blood, the other does. Sounds somewhat familiar to the vegetarian Cullen clan. Then, there’s “The Vampire’s Assistant.” It’s about a teenage vampire who doesn’t drink human blood and who has to fight against his best friend-turned vampire who does. Yes, things sound quitet familiar. And the success of HBO’s “True Blood,” which is an adult vampire story also about a vampire that doesn’t drink blood who is constantly challenged by vampires who do drink blood, opened my eyes to why we’re so fascinated with them.

Vampire Diaries

Photo Credit: TV Fanatic

First, we have to understand the past. Perhaps it’s human to want to know what happens to us after we die. Is there or isn’t there an afterlife? And what if you can live on, even after you die, but the price you pay to live is by killing another? From the Dark Ages to the Victorian era, to the early 20th century, we’ve been fascinated by the vampire mythology. For several hundred years, that fascination was more of a fear of the dead and of the unknown. I just watched The History Channel’s special on vampires, and it was remarkable for me to learn that even to this day, some European graves have corpses with stakes in their hearts because of the vampire paranoia. But if we used to fear vampires for several hundred years, why are we in love with them today?

Perhaps it’s because we are no longer afraid of seeing dead bodies. Thanks to shows like CSI and NCIS, who have pushed the envelope into seeing how a human body looks on the inside, we don’t cringe as much when we see the dead bodies. We’ve been habituated to death and death isn’t quite a mystery in our Age of Enlightenment. Or perhaps we like to flirt with the ideals of the vampires. Vampires are rebellious and live (ironic, I know) freely, who live life dangerously and in a constant mode of excitement. Deep down each of us, we all secretly want to rebel from a life of mediocrity, a theme I know all too well from “Fight Club.” Or maybe, we don’t fear vampires because they’re just darn too sexy. The classic Dracula was a middle-aged man dressed in a cape who fed on beautiful virginesque (I made up that word) women. It’s definitely creepy. But nowadays, the vampires are dressed like you and me and with the exception of the “True Blood” vampires, I have not seen a vampire over the age of 30 who is not physically fit or not physically attractive. And when we make out with a vampire, such as the case with Kristen Stewart, we are literally making out with death and figuratively flirting with death. I thinking the “flirting with death” part intrigues people, and thus attracts them to the vampire mythos. There you go, today’s vampires have undergone image reconstruction, and whoever is doing the PR work for vampires needs to get promoted or get a raise. It is now cool to be a vampire.

But with all that said, can we lay it off with all these vampire stories that seem to be recycled? It’s all so draining! Enough with the “vampire who drinks human blood versus the vampire who doesn’t” storyline. Well, I guess I have to wait until the next trend. What does our fascination with vampires reveal about our own identities? Maybe the fact that although we understand death scientifically, we still fear death spiritually. Is there life after death? The vampire flirts with us and entices us with his answer.

Photo Credit: CSPA Workshop

Photo Credit: TV Fanatic

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God, I’m Fat. God, Are You?

Photo Source: Roosevelt Academy

Photo Source: Roosevelt Academy

I recently went running with Michael, my fraternity brother, around the hills of Westwood. As some of the expensive-looking cars drove through Sunset Boulevard, I couldn’t help but wonder which celebrity had passed by and saw me catching my breath. How did I get to this point? I used to be able to run with ease! I will one day run with ease. But in the most humorous sense of weakness, I remembered thinking: God, I’m fat.

After running up and down Drake Stadium, I gave up running altogether and made my way back to the fraternity house in defeat. As I sat on the couch disappointed in myself and what I’ve become, I decided to amuse myself by taking my iPod touch and searched for the words “How fat is God?” I needed to laugh at myself. Lo and behold, I came across various results, such as mama jokes: “Yo mama is so fat, that when God said, ‘Let there be light,’ He asked her to move out of the way.” And then I came across an amusing article entitled, “Is God fat too?” by Jim Evans, an SF Fitness Examiner. And I’ve got to say, he made some completely interesting points and observations.

First, we all know that America is one of the most obese nations in the world. According to Forbes.com, “nearly 237 million Americans are currently overweight. It is estimated that medical costs connected to obesity accounted for 9.1% of all health expenditures each year in the U.S.” Although we may be ranked #9 because 74.1% of people over 15 are overweight in this country, the first 8 countries are islands and their population can’t really compare with ours. How the heck did we get to this point? Is it because of our stressful jobs and little exercise? Is it because our physical education classes in middle schools and high schools consist of only reading and nothing to do with physical activity? Perhaps it’s also our availability of fast foods and how affordable it is? God, we’re fat.

But maybe, just maybe, God is fat too! This is where Evans’ article gets interesting. He says that a majority of the people in this country consider themselves Christians, thus if a majority of this country is overweight or obese, then Christians certainly make a large part of these statistics. Evans reminds Christians that our bodies are temples of God, and that we are to glorify Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This suggests that we shouldn’t be filling our bodies with filth and other unhealthy things. That’s Jambaisms #5: “Your body is a temple, littering is strictly prohibited.”  Thus, if we are to be stewards of this gift–this body that we have–then we need to take better care of it.

Evans goes far to wonder (and I wondered about this too as I laid on the couch recovering from the run) that if we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and we are growing overwhelmingly obese, does this reflect God’s own image? I’m going to have to say no, and not because I think we need to all look like Abercrombie and Fitch models either. No, that’s more of a Classical Greco-Roman ideal. I like Evans’s answer when he says that God gave us common sense and intelligence about what we are doing to our bodies. Our behavior and the environment are partly responsible for making us fat. But more importantly, we chose this path. We have the ability to control it. We need to control it. Our bodies are temples for God’s sake! And whether you believe in God or not, it’s still very logical and very intelligent to keep your body healthy.

Oh, and whether you’re skinny, average, or fat, God still loves you just the same. And no, that’s not a big fat lie.

Photo Source: Roosevelt Academy

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Phallic Symbol? Ties Need To Die…Sort Of

Growing up, I hated wearing my Sunday clothes to church, which consisted of dressy pants, a dressy shirt, and the dreaded tie. Oh the God-awful tie. Wearing the tie around my neck brought me great anxiety. I could feel it choking me, and as a seven-year-old, wearing such an attire was counter-productive.  It restricted movement and especially my playing time with other kids. It felt as if you were imprisioned in your own body.

neckties

As a twenty-three-year-old, I still hate wearing such clothes, but I’m less dramatic about it. I

understand the arguments of wearing your Sunday best. Most conservatives argue that if you look your best for a wedding, a party, a business meeting, job interviews, and a court hearing, then shouldn’t you also look your best for God? Okay, I’ll take that. But I’m thankful that God doesn’t judge me by the way I look, God examines the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). God could careless how we look, He sees our hearts. So perhaps looking our best is really a cultural thing, it’s a performance that we do to maintain the status quo, to not insult those whose culture follows such traditions.

But it got me thinking about the dreaded tie. I pray to God that I won’t have to wear a tie to work each day.Why do we even wear them? Who thought about this crazy contraption that allows us to willingly place a noose around our necks?  I’ve always thought that they were worn to cover the buttons. However, when I eat a fancy dinner, I have to toss my tie over my shoulder or remove it entirely–so the tie just isn’t that practical, is it?

As a psychology and sociology major, I tend to see things differently. Perhaps the tie is a phallic symbol since the pointy end of the tie directs our eyes downward towards the genital area. I mean it makes sense in Western culture. Guys boast about such things all the time. We have huge egos. In other cultures, other things are done to display masculinity and power. Perhaps the tie is simply a Western thing.

I’m no historian, but legend has it that ties actually came from a military regiment from Croatia around the mid 1600s. After defeating the Ottoman Empire in The Thirty-Year’s War, the Croatians visited King Louis XIV in Paris. They happened to be wearing handkerchiefs made of silk around their necks as neck cloths, which were originally worn to warm up the vocal chords of those who did public speaking. The king took a fancy at their fashion, and immediately had everyone in the palace wear these neck cloths instead of the lace ruffs they usually wear. Some believe this may be where the word “cravat” (“soft necktie”) comes from because the French word for Croatian is “Croate.” And the rest, I guess is history…or legend.

And fast forward four centuries and we’re back with the tie as we know it today. As a twenty-three-year-old, I appreciate the tie, even if I hate it. I appreaciate how it can be a fashion statement and help me display my personality or sense of individuality.

There are all kinds of ties, some colorful, some boring. Some ties have words, some have pictures. But there’s a tie out there that suits you and your mood and what ever message you are trying to send, like ex-president Bill Clinton.

gryftie

Today, I wore a Burberry tie to complete my Harry Potter outfit. Apparently, Burberry is a brand that is looked down upon by the British. But here in America, it’s still pretty popular. Wearing the tie with a nice white dress shirt and some grey shorts made me looked more like a Catholic school boy though. I need to find a real Hogworts tie. Maybe I’ll go for a Gryffindor one.Yes, ties are remarkable.

Photo Credit in Order: TracyEdwardWeymer, CostumeCraze

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Filed under Christianity, Issues/Causes, Life, Masculinity