Wednesday, January 19, 2011

let's be relevant.

you know what i like? (no?)
i'll tell you.

i like relevant magazine. actually, that's not even fair. i really like relevant magazine!

i really like how the articles are... relevant. they are about popular, important, open topics, but come from christian perspectives. my favourite thing is that they don't condemn mainstream music, movies, tv shows, activities, thoughts, but instead view and critique these things with christian mindsets. this magazine, the writers and readers are in this world, but as Jesus called to be, they are not of this world. praying to God, Jesus said,

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world."
- John 17:13-18

that might sound kind of far fetched depending on where you're coming from, but the meaning is to say we are called to be above or to not take part in what society so easily hands us or the low expectations it has for us. (wait, does that even make sense?) ... it's easy to go with the flow - it's really nice to sometimes too - to fit in with peers by getting drunk every other day, having "no strings attached" sex with whoever, living for not much more than the weekend, working at a job you hate and complaining about it, speaking vulgarly, dressing unmodestly, being arrogant or self-centred... the list could go on (and really, these are just some obvious examples of ways we sell ourselves short, and "christians" still deal with these things all the time in the same way someone who does not call him/herself a christian would - i look at this list and see things i need to improve on myself). our human and naturally sinful desires are so... pathetic sometimes. CS Lewis wrote,

"It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

when i consider this quote and the things i aim for in life, and the things that seem to be so important to me, i can't help but scoff at myself. i'm guaranteed all these cool and awesome things through Crhist, God's plan for me is unfathomably better than my own (better than what i could ever imagine!), but yet i often lack the ability to allow Him to take the reigns of my life. i so badly want to be able to control where i'm going, what i'm doing, who i'm with, the roles i'm in. and then it's like, why do i limit myself? with God, i could do anything. the Lord could lead me to the coolest things but i just want to be "safe" and in control in my small little world. my expectations of myself and, because of my restrictions and small-mindedness, my expectations of God are so small. and we're talking about the creator of the universe - there's nothing small about that.

if we truly desire to live for Christ and to be an example of His life and love, then with that we should desire to not simply go with the flow of society but to have higher expecations of ourselves so that others hold us in greater accountability so that we do not wrongly communicate the message of Christ's love (like if you saw me drunk at a bar, throwing my body at random boys, would you find any validity in these words? no. and i wouldn't expect you to). the most popular/famous verse describing the great love of God says,

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. "
- John 3:16

or even more descriptive is the Message version, saying,

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.
- John 3:16-18 (The Message)

i love how welcoming the message version there is. the gift of the Lord's love and grace is there for everyone. but it seems people think it's some prank or pyramid scheme and they turn it away or hang-up on the telemarketer. but it's not a prank, it's the real deal. just take it! just open it! guaranteed it will be the best gift you've ever received. you'll want to regift it a million times more!

as usual, i diverted from my original topic, but regardless, i love relevant magazine because it's not about separating christians from "the rest of the world" but acknowledges that christians don't need to live in a bubble but can be wise in what they watch, listen to, and do.

in fact, i have found reading through relevant's articles super inspiring, not only spiritually, but i could really see myself working somewhere like that, whether it be as a writer, or some other media/creative job (who knows! i'm open to a lot of things lol). that has been good for me too, that inspiration, to get me thinking about the future (next year is my "last year".. except i'm thinking i will probably do another semester or so). because the magazine caters a lot to young adults, there isn't much on there that i don't find interest in. it's good also, because it gets me to read stuff other than people's tweets and facebook statuses!

you definitely need to take a gander of the site and all their articles! in the meantime, here are some of my favourite articles so far:

the most misused verse in the bible
what to know when you're 25ish
hollywood's confusing portrayal of marriage
our top albums of 2010
the dangers of emotional pornography
redeeming sexual brokenness

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