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Response to Your Responses RE: Revisiting the Depressies

So this post has been getting some good feedback.

In addition, I had a late night Twitter rant that served as the genesis of this post. Read that first, if you can stomach the foolish rambling and spelling mistakes.

More than a few of you have reached out to me, expressing feelings of solidarity and understanding. Encouraging words have been spoken. Attempts at understanding have been given.

There’s a two-fold issue here for me:

  1. It’s absolutely encouraging to hear that other people understand and have felt similar things. I’m not alone, and as much as I tell people to know that they are not alone, I easily forget to give myself the same reassurance.
  2. It’s absolutely heart-breaking to hear that other people understand and have felt similar things. They are not alone, yet they feel that they are, no matter how many people like me in their lives attempt to reassure them otherwise.

It’s #2 that reassures me I still know how to feel like a human. That I’m still capable of empathy and sympathy. That I’m actually able—for no matter how fleeting of a moment it might even be—to think outside of myself and consider another person. If that sounds like I’m tooting my own horn, you’re damn right. This is a victory for me, and for any of you who have struggled with depression, you know well how good it is to feel something that isn’t centered on yourself for once.

To be sure, understand that if anything I’ve said here has been encouraging to you, know I’ve only shared it because I’ve had to first scream it at myself in order to believe it. While I wish I could be altruistic and say I write so openly about these struggles solely for the fact that others like me might read them, the truth is there is another component that is just as satisfying. It helps me greatly to write them down. It gives me focus and a moment to center myself. To express what I otherwise have no other means of expressing. Those closest to me who are privy to (read: unfortunately touched by) these moments ask me what I’m feeling, and often I have no words I can share.

Here is where I seem to find those words. Here is where I gain the clarity and ability to look more clearly, even if I still don’t understand it. Here is where I attempt to help you understand while I attempt to understand myself, even if it results in you giving me a Side-eye Chloe.

Find your outlet. Seek your peace. Discover your zen. Do whatever it takes, but don’t let the darkness take over. And while it might be referencing a different circumstance, read some Dylan Thomas and rage.

If any of this sounds like hyperbole to you, then you don’t understand and I encourage you to seek understanding. Seek empathy.

Hell, forget seeking empathy; require it of yourself!

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Screams

The Daring Fanboy – Part 2

In my previous post, I introduced the idea of a “fanboy” in regards to Apple vs. Insert Company Here.

For my second installment on brand loyalty, I’m going to introduce a few examples of people one might consider a “fanboy” to be. For the purposes of this series, I will focus primarily on the Apple brand, specifically the dynamic that occurs between iPhone users and Android users.

If I were to give the perfect example of what many in the Android camp would consider to be the quintessential Apple Fanboy, I would need to look no further than Mr. John Gruber himself, who is an Apple enthusiast and writer. Gruber is the writer of Daring Fireball, which is a highly popular “Mac column in the form of a weblog”, as he personally states it.

Gruber’s opinions are usually fairly blunt and to the point, and his style is sometimes bordering on the slightly vulgar, but it’s kind of endearing. He’s known as somewhat of a higher level member of the Apple community, and is given a fairly significant amount of access to Apple without being an actual paid member of the company. Because of his substantial network, he is well-informed and highly influential.

Many members of the Android community like to point to him as an unabashed Apple bullhorn who has zero objectivity when it comes to anything regarding Apple. The most timely example of this kind of backlash against him (and other Apple enthusiasts) comes from the recently started site Daring No Balls, an obvious play on the namesake of Gruber’s blog. Daring No Balls was started due to the perceived snubbing of all things Android at the hands of the Apple elite, and serves as a sort of roasting of said members and anyone else who might not be able to pull themselves out of the Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field. While I don’t necessarily agree with the author’s way of going about it, I must say, it’s a rather interesting initiative that has already caught the attention of Gruber and others.

As you can tell, when the line has been drawn, people will be more than willing to take up the mantle of something (or some company) they really believe in. This sort of vehement side-taking isn’t a revelation of any kind to any of us, but it is a little discouraging to watch grown men and women argue to the point of vile-spitting anger over an inanimate object. But what really is it that is being argued over?

Is it the object, or the ideal behind it?

For many, myself sometimes included, it’s difficult to separate my love for Apple from rationality and objectivity. I believe so firmly in their philosophy that it wouldn’t be out of line to say that sometimes I might go along all too easily with whatever Apple does. As an adult, I find that highly annoying that I could be so easily swayed, and therefore cannot fault another person entirely for doing something similar.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s right. That doesn’t mean that I should blindly follow and accept without questioning. Not everything Apple does is great. And not everything Android does is terrible.

Taking this attempt of self-awareness and applying it to other areas in my life, it’s disconcerting to see that it’s much more prevalent than I would like to admit. As a Christian, I’ve often taken ideas, teachings, interpretations, doctrinal beliefs, etc. at face value without any real struggle to find out how strongly it might actually hold up to scrutiny. I’ve encountered this same unfortunate practice in the lives of countless other Christians, and the same could no doubt be said for numerous people of varying belief systems (whether they consider themselves believers or not).

As someone who has worked in multiple forms of youth ministry over the years, I have found time and again the need to implore my students to question everything. That’s a scary notion for a lot of people to accept, particularly adults (especially parents of students; I learned that the hard way). There isn’t anything wrong with questioning why you believe what you do, or whether or not you even should believe what you do. In fact, Scripture tells us to do just that.

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good…

The point is, as we go further into the idea of “fanboy-ism”, I hope we allow ourselves to question our motives, if only to be certain that they are pure and in the right place. And just as much, that we might give ourselves room to possibly change perspective on a few things. There is always room to grow, and while holding steadfast to our beliefs IS important, allowing for the possibility that we are wrong or misinformed might be just as vital.

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Apologies to Brothers and Sisters…

As much as I dislike many things that my fellow Christians do (as I’m sure they dislike things I do on an equal level, if not more), I can’t help but feel a little guilty for how often I have thrown my brothers and sisters under the bus.

I speak often of ecclesial unity, yet am quick to draw a line between those who share differing opinions and myself.  When you think about it, it’s not unlike a form of political posturing that we see day in and day out on the  major news outlets.  I will very quickly put distance between myself and someone who professes faith, yet acts in a manner that is unbecoming, as if this deed alone would absolve me from any guilt by association.

The truth is, if I’m not willing to carry my wayward brother in his darkest of moments, then I shouldn’t be surprised when I am alone in mine.

Take One For The Team from Justin McRoberts on Vimeo.

Thanks to MPT for the inspiration, even if I don’t always agree with everything you say.

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Prescription…

We all wish to have peace, and while I do not claim to have any special insight into how to achieve it, I can give you what has helped me in some of my most difficult of times.

I hope that if you are enduring those difficult moments that we tend to find ourselves in, some of this will help.  You are not alone, and you will see redemption at the end of your trials.

Blessings,

Jar

Step 1: turn down the lights

  • Doing this can set a mood, and let’s face it, the Church today is very reliant upon its moods.  I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a bad thing, but just like all things in life, careful moderation and discernment in use is needed.  If your heart is weary/restless/tired/anxious/etc., then create an environment that will enable you to relax.  Lighting enhances the mood.  Be careful though to not let your emotions or feelings set the agenda.  Allow God to do that.

Step 2: sit/lay/kneel in silence

  • Use this moment to take your mind off every distraction.  If you want a supernatural peace, be prepared to leave the natural world.  In order to do that, let nothing of man come between you and your God.  Media in all its forms, such as a computer, cell phone, magazines, books should be set aside.  All great things, but not pertinent for the moment you’re searching for.  Pray.  Speak.  But above all, listen.

Step 3: use music where needed

  • “Wait, didn’t you just say to leave the natural world?  Wouldn’t this include music?”  Yes.  Yes, I did say that.  But sometimes music can do things for us nothing else can.  After all, God devoted an entire book of the Bible to it, so there must be some merit in making an exception.  Whatever it is you choose to have playing, let it be something that points you toward your Savior.  This is in stark contrast with what most of contemporary Christian music involves these days: a frighteningly massive amount of self-centered lyrics that only serve to feed our selfish feelings.   God is not emo, so Dashboard Confessional need not be on your holy playlist.

Step 4: allow yourself to be broken

  • In your search for peace, you will no doubt encounter just the opposite.  When we are quiet in the presence of God, the Enemy becomes everything but.  In these moments, you will experience pain/sadness/discomfort/uncertainty.  This is a good thing.  But be careful who you listen to.  The admonitions of God lead us to seek change, while the accusations of Satan lead us to seek charity.  Seeking change is making sure you are ready and willing to do your part, while seeking charity is playing the pity card and begging for someone else to fix the problem.

Step 5: allow yourself to be healed

  • In our unfortunate state of being, we have constrained ourselves to self-loathing and hatred.  This is not a “love yourself before you can love anyone else” kind of idea.  It is however, an “allow yourself to be loved” kind of idea.  It’s humbling and difficult to accept that in spite of your shortcomings, someone still has love for you.  How much more difficult is it when that Person is our Heavenly Father?  Whatever you have done, whatever you have allowed to fracture your relationship with God, it’s past.  Now it’s time to move forward.  It’s true that changes in your life will need to be made, but if you think there’s anything more you can and have to do in order to gain favor with God, you are terribly mistaken.  Make the needed changes, but more importantly, accept the needed love.
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Pics, Screams

A proud day for you and your family…

I wrote earlier about a Christian alternative to Facebook, called Faithout.com.

Now I hate it when people bash something without first trying it out, so I decided to face my hypocrisy and give Faithout a try, just to see if it could possibly rock my world.

My world remains firmly unrocked.

Sadly, and as expected, my ideas were confirmed. If you’re looking for a cheap, near-carbon copy of Facebook that can make you feel just a little more self-righteous than you already do, then Faithout is your kind of place.

To give you a taste, here are some comparison screenshots of my Facebook and Faithout accounts:

If you’ve had your Facebook account for awhile, you perhaps remember the old layout.  Anything look familiar?

I’m sorry, but I can not take you seriously if your purpose is to provide a safe alternative that is a shoddy imitation of someone else’s creative genius, just because you don’t like the advertisements that pop up on your site due to user gathered information from your own page.  And if I, a brother in faith, can not take you seriously, just imagine how difficult it would be for someone who isn’t.

What’s next, a Christian version of Guitar Hero?

Oh wait…awesome.

John 11:35.

Jar

P.S. Check out Faithout, then add me so we can “expand our fellowship”.

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Are. You. Kidding??

I just got an email telling me about a new site that serves as the Christian alternative to Facebook.  I would give you a run down of what Faithout.com says it is, but [*plants tongue firmly in cheek*] there is apparently a flood of traffic on the site, so it’s currently encountering some load problems.

I suppose that just like the music industry, social media network market was not immune to being flooded with cheaply made Christian knock-offs.

I didn’t even realize Facebook was so evil.

Jar

Posted via web from That’s preposterous…

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Life vs. everything else…

I’m watching Larry King interview Joel and Victoria Osteen, and something has struck me.

Joel just explained that he thinks the purpose of the Gospel is to inform people that Jesus Christ came and died for our sins so that we may have salvation.

Nothing wrong there.  This is something I’ve heard countless times, and have believed most of my life.

But the thing I’m struggling with is that we focus so much on His arrival and departure, but not as much on His duration.

Why don’t we say He “came, lived, died, only to live again, so that we might do the same”?

We seem to skip over the details and examples of Jesus’ life, and as a result, I think we miss out on a crucial portion of His ministry.

During exceptionally rough times like today (by American standards, at least), I think there is much to be taken from the descriptions of His life.  Of course, even if times weren’t like they were, that would still be just as true.

Posted via web from That’s preposterous…

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