My big Christmas present this year was a new camera (thanks Mom & Dad!). One of those real cameras, not just a point and shoot deal. So now I can act like a photographer. I got my first rolls of film back today. Since I’m still giddy about pretending to be a photographer, I thought I’d show you one of my new pictures. It’s called “Evergreen.” (hey, I’m an art minor, I’m allowed to at least act like an artist)

Follow Up

I received an interesting response to Sunday’s thoughts (you may want to read the thoughts from two days ago so you know what I’m talking about). They started by asking how you can know if a person is sinning. Anger, hatred, and jealousy can all be sins committed entirely in your mind (of course anger, hatred, and jealousy are not always sins, I’m just using them as examples of emotions that can be taken to the point of sin). So then how do you know if someone is sinning? Secondly, the response pointed out that our only job is to love people. An interesting addition to the dialogue. I need to think a little more about that one before I just start rambling. Just thought I’d add a little to the thinking.

People’s Stubbornness

Have you ever been completely infuriated at people’s stubbornness? They so want to see things their way so badly that they ignore the obvious. They’re blinded by their own stubbornness. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the blind one. I’m probably opening a can of worms here, but I think it’s time to pop the lid. Christians have a serious problem dealing with this world. By “world” I don’t mean the people in this world. That’s another issue. By world I mean environment. Christians have a very hard time dealing with the environment we live in and how we’re supposed to interact with that environment.

Continue reading People’s Stubbornness

Dealing with Differing Beliefs

It’s the foggy night air, and you just can’t see anywhere. My headlights shine into the mist, but it only gets cloudier.

I was having an e-mail discussion with someone about dealing with unsaved friends. We were discussing whether or not you should be doing questionable things with them. How good of friends can you be with an unsaved person? The other person made a remark that when the person is committing a sin we shouldn’t be around them. The person gave the example that Jesus never talked with a person while they were sinning. If they were sinning, he would reprimand them, and then talk to them. I pondered this for a few days and came to a very different conclusion. When is a person not sinning? At what point can you go up to someone, realize they are not sinning at that exact moment, and talk to them? I don’t think you ever can. Now Christians are a special case. Christians have the saving blood of Christ, and while they can still sin, there is a point when they are clean and without sin. I don’t want to get into that debate. What about the unsaved? Let’s say you want to share Christ with a prostitute. Obviously, you don’t share Christ while she’s committing her sin. But afterwards, isn’t she still in sin. Just because she’s not committing the act, doesn’t mean she’s pure. In fact, I’d say she’s living in a sinful lifestyle. So how can you ever approach a person when they’re not sinning?

It’s just an interesting thought and addition to an on going conversation of how Christians should relate to the world. A lot of people think we should be reserved and withdrawn. You never know when the world could pull you down. While that may be true, I think we have to realize that sin is sin. It’s pulling the whole world down. There’s no way to escape that. The choice is either hide in your little church shelter, or go out and fight the sin. Notice I didn’t say embrace or accept the sin. Somehow, I think the Bible is pretty clear on which option we’re supposed to choose.

Another thing I’ve noticed, is it just me, or is the way we refer to those who aren’t Christians kind of weird? Unsaved? Non-Christians? Unbelievers? Just a thought. Maybe I’ve been in Christian circles for too long.

Y2K Non-Compliant

By the way, I’m still writing the date as “99”. You’d think with all the millennium hoopla I’d be able to remember that it’s “00”. But oh no. Did you ever notice that the ReAL Thoughts dating system isn’t Y2K compatible? If these are around for another 99 years we’re going to have some major problems.

Missing the Cranky Lady

We walked into our usual restaurant and took a booth in the non-smoking section. But something wasn’t very usual. The restaurant was extremely busy for 10:30 on a Saturday night. Something else was off, too. We didn’t recognize any of the employees. There had to be four or five people waiting tables, as well as a manager and someone manning the cash register. All of them were new faces. We read over the shiny new menus several times during the twenty minutes we waited before someone took our order. When the food finally came our waitress abandoned us, and our Cherry Cokes went dry. When you pay $1.59 for a Cherry Coke, you expect multiple refills. We had to actually call for her from across the restaurant to get her attention. Wisely, we asked for our bill along with the refills. Something had definitely changed.

Usually the place was a well oiled machine when we made our late night stops. One particular waitress always seemed to keep the place going. She hustled around the restaurant with a permanent scowl etched in her face. She was probably in her early fifties and rarely cracked a smile. We always heard her sighing and more than once I watched her walk away rolling her eyes. We always tried to be extra nice to her. You can’t expect much of a tip from two college students ordering muffins and water. She earned the nickname, “The Cranky Lady.” Anyone who frequented this particular restaurant would instantly know who we were talking about if we mentioned the Cranky Lady. Now she may have been cranky, but she knew how to do her job. She was fast and efficient, always being sure to come back and check on us. You never know when we may need another water.

There’s something cozy about the familiar. I miss the Cranky Lady. In fact, if the Cranky Lady isn’t there anymore, we’ll probably find ourselves a new usual restaurant.

Paying the Visa Bill

You crunch the numbers, the bills stack up, and you hope the bottom line is a positive number. You have to remember to pay for this, but you just got this check in the mail to cover half of it, and don’t forget that extra money over here. But you also have to pay this new bill, and you need to pick up one of those. And don’t forget about the money from the bike you just sold. You also owe Joe money for this. You owe some, you get some, you pay some. Sometimes I just want to crawl in a hole and hope money takes care of itself.

The funny thing is that I don’t have to worry about it. God’s watching over me, and he’ll worry about it. Now I’m not naïve enough to think that the money just takes care of itself. I don’t sit on my butt and watch the bills get paid. But somehow the ends meet and you scrape by. And it doesn’t come without sacrifice. I’m fretting over money and whether or not I have enough to pay my bills—and I certainly do, I’m just worrying too much. But then I sit there thinking about how much I want a pop. Which is exactly the problem in the first place. If we want stuff we really don’t need, we’re going to have problems with the dough. Believe it or not we can get by only on what we need.

Why all the talk on money? You’d think I just finished school and had to pay the rent, the phone bill, the gas bill, the electric bill, the insurance, and all that. Oh no, I just had to pay my Christmas Visa bill. I think I worry too much.

Slacking Off

Okay, so I completely slacked off.

Break is finally winding down and school starts up again on Monday. It’s been a pretty relaxing break, and I actually got a few things done. I’ve once again noticed how I can’t go very long without doing something. I have this innate desire to be useful, to accomplish at least something. I suppose that’s probably a good thing. Of course I don’t think I quite accomplished as many somethings as I wanted to this break, but oh well–it’s supposed to be a break.

(Hey, just because the ReAL Thoughts are back doesn’t mean they’re going to be deep. I’ve gotta work my way back into this.)