Monday, January 27, 2014

Looking like Insanity

Einstein. Pretty cool guy, right? He said some stuff about math, had crazy hair, and is apparently credited with the coolest quotes ever.

"The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result."

Great Einstein quote, right? I thought so too. I was sitting in a Wednesday night church class covering Ephesians and the teacher happened to throw that out there. "We all know it was Albert Einstein who said..." It was like the bajillionth time that I had heard it. Now, for some reason, the feral beast of curiosity decided to visit my mind's doorstep that moment and I set my fingers to Google to look up the quote.

Ever heard of a lady named Rita Mae Brown? Neither had I. Apparently, she was referenced as the most reliable source for this quote. She had written it in one of her novels. But it doesn't stop there. Apparently, Narcotics Anonymous said it even before she did! So who came up with this overused quote?

Well, I'm not really sure. But I'm pretty sure it wasn't Einstein. An article I read said that they couldn't find a single place where Einstein had ever written or said this. They also went on to say, "It’s not surprising that it has been attributed to Einstein, since everything but the Book of Genesis has been attributed to him at some point." Go figure. Show everyone that you've figured half of the world out, and you also get credited with the other half. (I need to invent a formula or something...)

"What's your point? Even if Einstein didn't say it, it's still a solid quote."

Yeah, you're probably right. I get distracted by misinformation sometimes. The quote is solid, and is a good general rule for life. If you want to get different results, you've gotta try different stuff.

In Matthew 21, Jesus tells a parable of the master of a house that owns a vineyard which is tended by some tenants that stay on his land. Since he lives far away from the vineyard, the master sends servants to get the fruit of his harvest when the right time comes. His tenants respond by killing, beating, and stoning the servants that the master sends.

That's pretty screwed up, eh?

If I was the master, I'd send the po-po to go "take care" of the offending party. However, instead of doing that, the master just sends more servants. The same thing happens again. At this point, you'd think he'd do something different, right? Definition of insanity, right? Well, instead, the master sends his son, saying, "They will respect my son."

Spoiler alert: they kill the son, hoping to somehow snag his inheritance from the father (yes, because I would also love to give the inheritance that was due to my son to his murderers!). I've read this before and thought, "What's the deal? Isn't this insanity? Doesn't the master know what they're going to do?"

Of course He does. And He sends Him anyway. He wanted to give the tenants the opportunity to respond rightly. He knew their sins and what they're response would be, but he extends a hand of grace, giving them an ample number of chances to turn from their ways and accept His grace.

Sometimes, grace looks like insanity.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Jesus Was a Fireplace

Taking pictures of fireworks with your phone is probably one of the dumbest things things you could possibly try to do. Why?

1. It's a phone. Not a DSLR fancy-shmancy my-lens-is-bigger-than-yours Indian-soul-catching photographic device.

2. You're never going to look at them again. Honestly.

3. Everyone else is doing it. If you so happen to be one of those people that goes back and looks at your old pictures, all you have to do is get someone to text you some of the pictures they took.

4. You won't enjoy the moment. You'll be so busy getting the right angle and picking the right Instagram filter that you'll miss the sheer beauty and simplicity of watching organized explosions light the night sky.

However, if there was ever a time to take pictures of fireworks, this past New Year's Eve was it. I say that mainly because, in my city, there were a total of 22 minutes of fireworks. Yes, you read that correctly. Twenty-two minutes. MINUTES. What?!


I could've taken a shower in half the time. I could've gone to the store, made a sandwich, shared it with a bum, (common to our area) and been back in time to catch most of the explosive grandeur. I could've caught up on all the seasons of Lost. (Probably not true.)

But as I sat there absorbing the light with my ocular vision-spheres (common English for eyeballs), I began to realize something. Though there are few things on this planet that provide as much light as fireworks, they are still cold. Normally, when one thinks of light, they also think of the heat it provides, like the sun. However, I've never heard of anyone basking in the warmth of fireworks. Despite how cool they are to look at, despite all of their flashiness, and despite all of the majesty of these light displays, they are still distant, cold, and want little to do with the lowly humans they provide light for. For all of the shock, awe, and boom they offer, they are still too good for us down below, proving it by running as fast as they can away from us.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5)
I want to be a fireplace. Though the light it gives is not as organized as those of fireworks, and though they provide little but a humble, unobtrusive light, they give what many people are missing nowadays.


Standing on a stage and impressing people is easy. It is a simple matter to wow the masses. It is no difficult task to be a light show that gives little warmth to the humans watching from below. It is a much more difficult matter to step down into the crowd, be a part of them, and get close enough to transmit heat. Standing above the friction ensures a safe distance from the problems of those below, but it eliminates the opportunity to get involved in a more meaningful way.

Jesus was a fireplace.