December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

The New Year is a great reminder that it is never to late to make a fresh start by either creating a new habit or dropping an old one. Many good articles have been written about making and keeping New Year's Resolutions. There are a couple of good ones here and here.

I think these articles have some great tips. But in the vein of simplicity, I think that most articles omit one very important tip for New Year's Resolutions.

You have to REALLY WANT to do the resolution.

I think we fail to achieve our resolutions not because we don't have a desire to accomplish the goal, or a plan, or anything else. I think we fail because we don't go any further than desire. We don't REALLY want the goal we are setting out to accomplish. If we did, we would find a way to accomplish it.

There is a scene in the movie Fight Club where Brad Pitt's character holds a gun to a clerks head and asks him what he really wanted to do with his life. The clerk responded that he wanted to be a veterinarian. Brad Pitt takes the man's drivers license and tells him that unless he makes some tangible steps toward accomplishing that goal in the next few days, he will return and kill him.

I don't believe the guy really wanted to be a veterinarian...or at least not all that badly. Why? Because most of us always seem have time and make time to do the things we really want to do. The roadblocks and troubles that get in the way of things we really want to accomplish...we seem to find a way around or through.

So, what do you REALLY want to do this next year?

December 29, 2009

Television Dictates Our Perception

Here is an interesting quote:

“How television stages the world becomes the model for how the world is properly to be staged. It is not merely that on the television screen entertainment is the metaphor for all discourse. It is that off the screen the same metaphor prevails. As typography once dictated the style of conducting politics, religion, business, education, law and other important social matters, television now takes command. In courtrooms, classrooms, operating rooms, board rooms, churches, and even airplanes, Americans no longer talk to each other, they entertain each other. They do not exchange ideas; they exchange images. They do not argue with propositions; they argue with good looks, celebrities and commercials.” -Neil Postman

What do you think?

December 21, 2009

Christmas Wars

Here is an interesting article by Colleen Carroll Campbell in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
It has become an American tradition this time of year: Aggressive atheists roll out holiday campaigns calling for a God-free Christmas; strident secularists go to war against manger scenes and "Merry Christmas" greetings; and Christians wring their hands about the "Christmas Wars" that threaten to obscure the religious reason for the season.

Comforting as it may be to blame the grinches among us for the secularization of the holiday, atheism and anti-Christmas zeal are not the main culprits. A new Pew poll suggests that theological confusion and consumerism among Christians pose far greater threats to the Christian character of Christmas than anything the ACLU or American Humanist Association could cook up.

The survey, released last week, painted a picture of Americans as overwhelmingly Christian in their declared religious affiliation but increasingly likely to mix and match contradictory beliefs to suit their personal tastes and current fashions. New Age and Eastern beliefs are particularly in vogue right now: The poll found that 22 percent of Christians believe in reincarnation, 23 percent believe in astrology, 23 percent believe that spiritual energy resides in such objects as trees and crystals, 17 percent believe in the casting of curses, 17 percent say they have seen or been in the presence of ghosts and 14 percent consult fortune tellers or psychics.

That such practices and beliefs run counter to traditional Christian doctrine -- and to the biblical Christmas story of a God-made-man who came to earth to liberate mankind from seeking salvation in inanimate objects or favorable planetary alignments -- seems unimportant to many American Christians. These spiritual freelancers are not willing to reject Christianity and embrace another religious tradition. They prefer instead to take a syncretistic and consumeristic approach to faith, to shop among the various religions and houses of worship to create an individualistic blend of often conflicting beliefs...
Read the rest of the article here. What do you think?

December 2, 2009

Christmas 101

I found this video online, and thought it would be a great way for us to understand the true meaning the Church intended for Christmas. Christmas has been reclaimed by the world, and it time, as the very least in the homes of Christians, for Christians to re-Christianize Christmas.

This is a long video (25 minutes), but well worth it. I found it a valuable reminder and challenge.

Christmas 101, Part I from St. Peter's Anglican Church on Vimeo.

What do you think?