Sunday, December 18, 2005

observations so far...

Well, I keep waiting to get some good photos before I post, but the weather has been very Londonish and I’ve just not been up for taking them. So the following are my observations so far.

First of all, I have to say that it’s been very weird to be back in the States. There are a lot of little things that I just hadn’t noticed before I stepped away for two years and then came back. I think the most obvious are the excesses. It’s just hard to believe how much of everything there is, and just how much goes to waste. I’ve never seen more Hummers in my life. It’s like we’re living on a pimped out military base. The following are just a few more observations from the past week:

A bumper sticker that read “America, love it or leave it.” ??? So much for democracy.

Last Sunday morning we visited a church that is very near and dear to our hearts. We managed to arrive during Sunday School and the college (Uni) class was watching a sermon on video. I walked into the class just in time to hear the video preacher say “Save yourself for marriage. Because there’s nothing more erotic than two virgins in a bed together.” These are the kind statements that make the BBC come to the Bible Belt and do documentaries on us! : )

Two out of the city’s four sky scrapers have coordinated their office lights so that when you look at the building from the outside at night, crosses show up on all fours sides of the outside of the buildings. This is so shocking and I intend to get a picture of it. No wonder people around here are offended when a retailer decides to use the phrase “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”. This is truly a bubble.

The gun show is coming to town.

Standing in a right-wing church, singing “peace on earth, good will towards men.” I’m not sure that everybody saw the irony in this.

More Christian billboards than you could possibly imagine. Between the billboards, the crosses on the outside of skyscrapers, and people offended at just the thought of any other religion being recognized other than Christianity, it truly reminds me of the Muslim countries we condemn for allowing their Muslim religion to influence their politics. I see a big double standard here in the way we expect Muslim countries to separate their religion and politics vs. the way we expect our politicians to recognize Christianity when making decisions that affect the country.

This all sounds so condemning, and I don’t mean to be that guy who goes to Europe for a few years and comes back eating veggie burgers and driving solar powered cars, but it’s so weird how shocking and excessive it can seem when you step away from it for a few years. As Jamie and I looked at baby clothes this past week, we couldn’t help but notice that there were baby sweaters going for as much as most families from developing countries make in a month or more. Yet people were buying them up as if it were normal and even necessary to purchase a $30 sweater for your baby that she’s going to spit up on in the next five minutes. I’m not mad. I’m just sad. Sad for those people who are going without, and sad for those people who have been brainwashed into believing that they need all of this stuff to live a complete, happy, and successful life.

It’s almost Christmas so I’ll try to make my next post a little lighter.

Comments on "observations so far..."


Blogger Bill said ... (12:10 AM) : 

Lighter? It sounded pretty light to me. The Left Coast is truly a slightly better place...Less Christians and more languages so I can't tell what they are saying anyway. But, you are right! It is kind of sick and wrong aint it.

PS Where are you at? I guess KY or something.


Blogger surrendered said ... (3:54 AM) : 

you're not going to like me for posting this, but, oh well... I'm in Sydney airport on my way back home and I've got nothing better to do :)

there's a slight difference between our Christian extremists who try to influence politics and Islamic extremists who try to influence politics. our goal isn't the annihilation of an entire way of life - there's is.

a simplistic analysis, but i thought it was an appropriate offset to your post...

holy Christmas to you.



Blogger Larry said ... (3:22 PM) : 

I think Surrendered hit it on the head...there is a great difference between right wing moralists and conservative Christians. Even though I think that the video you mention is just another example of the consumer mentality of Christendom.

I am thinking that Christians can participate in the political process as well. Are there not many issues we can address....sort of like how to balance the disparity in the third world countries you mention in the blog and our over commercialized-over consumer driven society.
I think your discussion would be formed more completely if you took a read of Jim Wallis's book.. God's Politics: Why the right gets it wrong and the left doesn't get it.

You know I love you!!!! Hug Jamie and the baby for us!

Grace and peace,



Blogger Bill said ... (11:35 PM) : 

I don't know. Churches I grew up in would annialate the grunge or hip hop way of life. Besides are we not doing the same thing in Iraq in the name of democracy. How many nations have we Westernized. Not that it is necesarily a bad thing but it could be. What about when missionaries went with both religion and culture. "Becoming Christian meant (means?) adopting our culture." So are the Christians any better then Islamic extreemists? Well I guess it depends. Suiside Bombers or Smart Bombs? I'd go for no bombs. Maybe religion is the issue.


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