2014-09-10 14.52.45

GameStop Expo 2014: Meeting Seth Rollins

I’ve already established that I’m an severe introvert. It makes doing press stuff a little difficult. When it comes to meeting celebrities, I’m not the type to go up and introduce myself. So I went the safe route and just got in line to meet WWE’s Seth Rollins. Yes, Mr. Money-In-the-Bank himself. It was easy. Stand in line. Ask for photo and take autograph. He was there to promote WWE 2K15. 

God-Said-it-sm

Lazy Theology: That Settles It

Introduction

Christians love strong, bold declarative statements. We like to stand in front of the world and declare that we belong to God, and he is our creator, savior and judge. It’s like a badge of honor and to some degree, I’m OK with that.

Last summer, my daughter went to the Vacation Bible School of a local church. Overall, the experience of VBS at that church was good for her. But that summer’s theme really rubbed me the wrong way. It’s a very popular Christian slogan/bumper sticker, and I hate it with such great passion.

“God said it…I believe it…that settles it!” (Please note I’m clenching my teeth right now!)

It’s an amazingly bold statement. In the context of the VBS, I get it. It’s meant to convey to children the greatness of God and the importance of his word, the Bible.

It’s a funny statement, however. I mean I believe the words of the statement, but it’s the tone and finality of the statement that I find reprehensible.

Full Disclosure: I believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God. I believe every word in the Bible is God-breathed and must be taken seriously. I fall on the inerrant side vs. the infallible. So before you label me a back-sliden Christian, read this blog. We don’t disagree on the message. We disagree on the method.

My problem is this statement is a justification for legalism. I hate legalism with the same passion Christ did whenever he faced religious leaders. Just read any story about the Pharisees confronting Jesus. They start their “trap” with the phrase, “Doesn’t the Law say…” And they would point out what Jesus was doing wrong. What exactly was Jesus doing wrong? How about healing the sick on a holy day? Talking to a prostitute?

Sign of Laziness

Christian bumper stickers like this, are what I like to call “Lazy Theology.” It’s a quick way to win an argument without having to do any work, like read the Bible. Let’s break down the statement:

“God said it…” That, my friend, is a loaded statement. Implication is if God said it, then there can be no debate. “Are you so knowledgeable in the Word that you can argue with God?”

“I believe it…” Now this is the lazy part. If it’s written in the Bible, then God said it. Therefore, whatever God says, I believe without question. We like rules because they are black and white statements of right and wrong. But why did God say it in the first place, that takes work to find out.

“That settles it.” Or “End of debate…period.” The implication is if you are a true Christian; then you cannot question what God says in his Word. You do not need to know why God made the rule. Just accept the fact that he did. And that is lazy theology.

God did not just set arbitrary rules, just to do it. In all cases, God set these rules and laws for a reason. The law is a reflection of God. If the goal of our lives on earth is to be Christ-like, each law is a glimpse into the character of Christ.

Christ’s Character

All throughout Christ’s ministry, the Pharisees accused Jesus of not following the law of God. The law of God delivered by Moses to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament Deuteronomy and Leviticus.

We want to believe we’re not like the Pharisees, but we can’t help but judge the actions and motivations of fellow Christians because they do or do not follow the strict words of Christ. You can say the Pharisees attack on Jesus was based on the Levitical laws. If we judge a person based on the Old Testament law or the very words of Christ himself, it’s still legalism.

Any time you create a list of do’s and don’ts, whether its based on the Old Testament law, the New Testament epistles or the very words of Christ, that is legalism and condemned by Christ as false religion. And as it was proven in the Old Testament, it’s a futile attempt to earn salvation. You’ll go mad.

It’s an unwinnable challenge. I challenge anyone to live his/her life trying to remember every single do and don’t in the Bible. Don’t waste your time? Also, don’t waste your time trying to get answers from the Bible about every decision you have to make in life.

Is it God’s will for me to take this job? Is this person my chosen soul mate for me? What color socks should I wear today? The truth is you’re not going to find a single verse in the Bible that will answer this question.

The funny thing is I believe the Bible does have answers to every question about life. Let me restate that…the Bible has the answer about how we should come to an answer about every question about life. That’s called wisdom.

Become more Christ-like. Walk on earth and in the circles of people in your life as if you were Jesus Christ walking the earth. The more you learn about the character of Christ the more your life will bear fruit…you know love, joy, peace, etc. Then God will give you the wisdom to answer life’s questions and you’ll be able to answer them quickly.

Before you become completely upset that I’ve destroyed a perfectly effective bumper sticker. How bout we change the statement to say:

“God said it… I will live it… And your life will be blessed too!”

 

Diary of a Bad Dad

This post is going to be an ongoing series about my thoughts on Fatherhood. The title comes from years of being labeled a bad dad by people in my life. People, whose opinion I care very little, and who for the most part a fellow Christians like myself.

As a middle child, I’m a pleaser by nature. I want everybody to like me. Now that I’m 47, I just don’t have the energy or will power to make people like me anymore. As trite as it sounds, the only opinion about my parenting style, that I care about is God and my daughter.

My daughter turns seven next month and already I’m a proud father. There are things I’ve intentionally instilled in her and things that shielded from her.

My Little Geek

The fight for childhood interests was a touchy subject for a while. My wife was at first able to get her into Disney Princesses and My Little Pony. But over time, my geek side has slowly crept into the mix. The two of us have seen Marvel’s Avengers seven times in the theaters and countless times at home. As of late, she’s brave enough to see Guardians of the Galaxy, and we’re just about ready to see it again.

What about my passion for wrestling? She expresses a desire to go to a WWE event with me, and her favorite wrestler is Sheamus. I don’t know why, but I’ll take it. She also thinks Stephanie McMahon is pretty.

My Social Butterfly

It’s well-documented that I’m an extreme introvert. My daughter is the exact opposite. She’s outgoing and friendly. She’s managed to make friends with our next door neighbors, get along with the kids at church and befriended even the kids of my friends.

Does Not Know Judgment

I’ll just get right to it. I have gay friends. I know gay couples. These gay couples have children. My daughter doesn’t care about the spiritual and moral ramifications of the gay lifestyle. She just sees two people who love each other and are raising their kids the best anyone can.

Honestly, it’s more important that my kid recognizes good and bad parents more than gay and straight parents. It would kill me if my daughter told a classmate his/her gay parents are sinners and refused to be friends with their child. That’s not the God; I want her to believe in.

That Me with Kevin McDonald of the Kids in the Hall

Kevin McDonald Workshop – Turning Improv Into Sketch

I’m planning on writing about this more in the future, but this little featured on the NCT Phoenix website is a great overview of what we did over the weekend. Plus you get to see my fat self on screen.

The workshop was about learning create sketches from improvised scenes. I learned about about trust and teamwork, especially working with people who have performed improv for a long time and barely at all.

ESPN Logo

Political Correctness: Is It Evil to Ask a Question?

Stephen A Smith

ESPN has suspended “First Take” co-host Stephen A. Smith for a week. Why? For simply asking a question. For simply asking for more details before making final judgement.

it all started with the NFL suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games over allegations he beat his fiancee. During the discussion and opinion portion of the story, Smith states, “In Ray Rice’s case, he probably deserves more than a two-game suspension, which we both acknowledged. But at the same time, we also have to make sure that we learn as much as we can about elements of provocation. Not that there’s real provocation, but the elements of provocation.”

That statement was interpreted by critics as Smith suggesting that victims of abuse might also be responsible for provoking it.

Please reread the statement. Smith made no implication that Ray Rice’s fiancee provoked Rice into beating her.

I don’t know anything about what happened with Ray Rice because I don’t follow football, and I don’t have instant access to all the news.

DISCLAIMER: Before I proceed I have to make this statement. I believe that anyone who beats another person, male or female, adult or child, deserves punishment. Restraint is always better than violence in all domestic issues.

Let’s look at the headline…”Ravens’ Running Back Ray Rice Suspended for Two Games Over Allegations of Domestic Violence.”

As a reader what are we supposed to think? “Ray Rice beat his wife.” In my opinion, Ray Rice beat his wife and probably deserve more than a two-day suspension for his actions. But at the same time, I don’t have any facts about the situation other than a reputable news source.

My question to you is this. Is asking a question in this situation a sign that you hate women or should I blindly accept the headline as gospel truth.

Did Ray Rice, out of nowhere, strike his fiancee? Was he drunk or one drugs? Is he a violent person by nature? Or was he provoked into violence? Personally, I believe Rice would more likely answer “Yes” to the first three questions than the last. But that’s not what this is all about.

I’m an absolute proponent of the first amendment right to say anything, no matter how true, false, outrageous or offensive the question is.

America is heading down the wrong road, when we start penalizing people for asking a question. Debate is how we get to the truth in any situation. The moment we shutdown the debate by punishing people for proposing an alternate view, that’s the moment we move toward a totalitarian society.

Abortion, environment, the Middle East. We’re a divided nation because we’ve shut down debate. You’re evil and no longer worthy to be heard if you disagree with me. There are issues in my life that I feel I’m 100% right about…the existence of God and beating innocent women is wrong. But I’m not so arrogant that my opinions can not be challenged, and I’m not afraid to be challenged either. You should not be either.

Comedy Central

Comedy Central Debuts New Improvised Web Series – CC: Social Scene

The six-episode weekly series, hosted by comedian Paul Scheer and directed by Rich Talarico, debuted last week on the Viacom-owned cabler’s YouTube channel and also is distributed via the CC.com website, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter.

The “CC: Social Scene” ensemble cast includes Lee Newton, H. Michael Croner, Lilan Bowden, Jacob Womack, Jeff Sloniker and Barak Hardley. The first show revolved around the theme “worst breakup lines,” with others slated to include “what washes up on the beach,” “oddest combos at the BBQ” and “beach hogs,” inspired by beach horror stories.

Nasim Pedrad

Saturday Night Live Loses Four Cast Members for 2015 Season

I love Saturday Night Live. I’ll get into it another time, but being live makes that show. It allows you to be timely which is a benchmark of SNL. As with every summer, it’s interesting just to see who stays and who leaves. Even better, when you leave…why?

Let’s go over the three featured cast members who where not asked back: Brooks Wheelan, Noel Wells and John Milhiser. The reason they are not back is simple, they were given a full season to make in impact on the audience and they failed to become memorable.

I remember Brooks Wheelan from two spots on Weekend Update but after that nothing. One really funny moment about his bad tattoo choices. The other I don’t remember.

John Milhiser’s highlight on the season was his talent show sketch with Lady Gaga. Loved the simple set up and execution that Milhiser brought to the sketch but I don’t remember anything else.

Noel Wells has the best shot to stay, seeing that SNL needs female cast members. Noel did a few funny impressions but that’s about it. Noel was unfortunately eclipsed by the entrance of Sasheer Zamata, who hit the bricks running and never looked back.

I’m sure all three are likable people, but I’ve heard all the stories about how hard you had to fight for screen time and Brooks, Noel and John just lost the fight.

I remember at the beginning of the season thinking that adding six new cast members was a lot, but it was probably a smart idea to give young comedians a chance to say they were on Saturday Night Live even if for a season.

To say that SNL can launch a career is an understatement. Just ask Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig. Nasim Pedrad is testing her wings starring in the John Mulaney (creator of Update’s Stefon) sit-com.

During the Television Critics Association preview, Pedrad said “Obviously there’s nothing like that show and I was lucky to be there for five years. At some point you have to leave, and I can’t think of a better reason to leave than for this particular show and this particular cast.”

“Yeah, had it not been for this show. Look, at the end of the day, these are two shows filming at the same time on opposite coasts. It wouldn’t have been practical to stay there,” she said. “I don’t think it’s that common to get this kind of group together, and having experienced working with John at SNL, I couldn’t be more confident in his ability to write and star in a sitcom like this, truly.”

Only time will tell if Pedrad can replicate Andy Samberg’s success with Brooklyn-Nine-Nine.

 

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