Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pining for Privacy - A Ban

Writing about privacy on the Internet is a self-defeating task, but I know my readership is the size of a taxicab, so I will confess. My desire for privacy has recently surged. I'm not talking about a fear of transparency or accountability. I still share personal gripes and struggles when I meet for coffee or preach a sermon. The privacy I'm pining for is personal space in my own bathroom.

Both my daughters attend elementary school. The youngest is fast-approaching her seventh birthday, which in some strains of Christianity is deemed the age of accountability. If I buy this doctrine, soon I will no longer provide the covering for my daughter's sin. And if they are uncovered (spiritually) and I am uncovered (literally), we have ourselves a potential sin problem. We really need locks on the doors.

Every parent has reached this privacy phase at some point. We start by spelling words so our illiterate kids can't understand us. Then we talk in hushed tones so our nosy kids don't hear us. We start making love in the garage or basement so our sleepless kids don't walk in on us. (Or we stop making love but pretend everything is alright so our maturing kids don't feel unstable.) We password protect our financial accounts so our teenage kids don't know our debts. Eventually, we hide our heart problems and degenerative diseases so our adult children don't worry about our demise. Parents constantly set privacy terms and limits.

But privacy issues extend well beyond parenting. We condemn the government for tapping into phone calls, and we applaud the mistresses who expose the bigotry of Donald Sterling. We update our personal status on social networks, and put on masks in person. I've talked to older men who would never write a journal for fear someone might stumble upon an entry and violate their privacy. I've heard about teenagers who SnapChat their chests and politicians who expose their privates to peers. Our culture's terms and limits for privacy are conflicted.

I will not solve the world's privacy problems, but I can fight for it in my own home. I am proposing a ban on all females from entering the bathroom while I am in it. Ten minutes to myself is not too much to ask.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Emphasizing Easter - He Is Risen, Indeed.

We really ramped up Easter at our home this year. My wife made an Easter tree with fifteen activity eggs. Each exercise brought us closer to the world-shaking reality of the resurrection. (He is risen, indeed.) We hosted a dance party. We watched Rise of the Guardians. We dyed eggs and lit fires. We plastered our wall with images of joy and spring, empty tombs and holy crosses. We gave flowers to a neighbor and bought flip flops for the girls. We shut off our home's artificial lights at sundown on Good Friday and lived by the glow of oils lamp until the sun rose on Easter Sunday.


(He is risen, indeed.) 

Because Resurrection Sunday marks the turning point of history - where death was conquered, sin defeated, and the Son of God vindicated - my wife and I felt compelled to give Easter its due. 

This festive spirit is contagious. So I invited my church to join the celebration by looking for signs of the Easter story in everyday life. I called it #EasterGRAM, asking them to text or email photos of Death (e.g., road kill, tombstone, obituary, rust), Longing (budding trees, holding breath, bandage, baking food) or Life (baby photos, people laughing, playing, flowers). These #EasterGRAM searches aimed to awaken our senses to the glory of the gospel on our streets, in our homes, and ever shouting from the heavens (Ps. 19:1). 

When Christians learn to search for pointers of God in our midst, we embody resurrection. We shake off the gloomy caricature that paints Christians as legalistic prudes or moralistic martyrs. The has sun set on the Day of Atonement; God has rent the veil and broken down the dividing wall. Jesus rose on Easter Sunday (indeed), and with Him a new and living hope (Hebrews 1:1-4; 6:19-20; 10:20).

Thus, we should heed the words of Pope John Paul II: "Do not abandon yourselves to despair; we are the Easter people and Hallelujah is our song."

He is risen, indeed.