I can’t dance.  Seriously…it is painful to watch.  Remember that scene in Hitch where Will Smith tries to teach Kevin James how to dance?  Yeah, I wish I could dance as well as Kevin James.  If everyone danced like me, everybody would have rooted for John Lithgow in Footloose.

Luckily, everyone does not dance like me.  That is why I don’t dance in public.  I don’t want to make a fool of myself.  That, and my wife won’t let me.

Believe it or not, I ran into a similar situation in the book of 2 Samuel the other day.  When the ark of the Lord finally arrived in the City of David, King David was so excited that he threw a party.  He went out in the street, gave away some bread and some desserts, and as they say where I’m from, he cut a rug.  And apparently he wasn’t fully clothed...it got a little weird.

When he went back in the house, he abruptly found out that his wife had been watching from the window.  She quickly let him know that she did not approve of his behavior, and that his attire and performance were not very kingly.  His response blew my mind.

David replied to Michal, "In God's presence I'll dance all I want! He chose me over your father and the rest of our family and made me prince over God's people, over Israel. Oh yes, I'll dance to God's glory—more recklessly even than this. And as far as I'm concerned...I'll gladly look like a fool.  (2 Samuel 6:21-22a The Message)

David did not care how people viewed him because of his worship.  He was willing to do anything for God, no matter how it reflected on himself. 

I wish we were more like that.  We don’t like to hang out with outcasts because people may think we are weird.  We don’t stand up for our beliefs because we are afraid of being excluded.  We don’t fully express our love and obedience because we are too worried about fitting in.

David had it right, as he so often did.  We should be willing to be outcasts to reach the outcasts, give up our statuses in society to seek justice, and ignore the funny looks to worship as we feel led.  God is unbelievable, and it is about time we started acting like it.

 
My son is completely obsessed with superheroes.  We can’t do anything without it turning into a crime-fighting adventure.  Going to water the plants?  We have to find the Joker hiding in the garage.  Headed to the grocery store?  We have to put the Riddler in jail before he steals everything.  I am actually pretty sure he thinks Mr. Freeze causes winter.

Batman, Robin, Superman, Spiderman, Hulk, Green Lantern, Fantastic Four.  They have become a part of my everyday life, and I could not be happier about it.  What better way to teach a child right from wrong than to encourage him to be a hero

At a recent visit to the park, my son was pretending to be Robin chasing the Joker all over the place.  At one point, he took a leap off of a structure that was a little too high for him to be jumping off of.  Luckily, he was okay.  But I felt the need to say, “That was a pretty big jump.  Be careful.”  His reply was absolutely perfect.  Without missing a beat, and with great humility, he said, “That’s what superheroes do” and resumed his pursuit.

In his mind, he was doing a job and anything that came with it should be expected.  There was no need to draw attention to or acknowledge anything that fell in line with his Boy Wonder job description.  He was focused on a mission, and that was all that mattered.

Why aren’t Christians like that?  I know some are.  I have seen them.  But those folks are rare.  In general, Christians are not very gung-ho about keeping their heads down, using their gifts for God, and actively sacrificing their own desires without seeking some sort of recognition.  Especially in America, we want to be recognized for our hard work, our talents, and our sacrifices.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  (Luke 19:9-14 NIV)

Often times, we won’t even do the work unless we know there is something in it for us.  Why have we let ourselves become so worldly that recognition has become such a powerful motivator within the Church?  Like my son, we should be ready to shrug off unnecessary praise and say, "That's what Christians do" and get back to work.  Not only is humility the right thing to do, but it is part of the job description. 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (1 Peter 5:6 NIV)

Being a Christian is full of expectations.  We are supposed to give up all of our self desires and spend all of our time doing whatever God wants.  We are supposed to give without judging, seek justice without fear, love the unlovable, and be willing to sacrifice everything.  On top of that, we should do so while expecting zero recognition or praise.  Wow…that seems like a lot to ask of an adult with so many other responsibilities.

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.  And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2-4 NIV)

I think I will go play superheroes with my son now.  Perhaps he has a few more things to teach me.
 
As I’ve said before, I love movies.  Not all movies, but most.  I enjoy watching them, talking about them, researching the stories of how they came to be, and reading ahead about the movies currently in production.  I am apparently pretty fascinated by the entire industry.

One theme of the industry that boggles my mind, however, is the tendency to remake movies.  You take an old movie that was popular, perhaps change the time aspect of the setting, and then use modern technology to bring the story to the 21st century.  Being a person that enjoys variety and thrives on surprising twists, the general idea of remaking a film bores me.

And with the recent examples of The Karate Kid and Footloose, and upcoming copies of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Robocop, I feel as though my childhood is being personally attacked by those remaking these films.  I hate to be the old guy that always defends the old stuff, but geez, some things just need to be left alone.  Seriously, raise your hand if you can think of a single remake that was better than the original.  See, that’s what I thought.  (Note:  If you just raised your hand, chances are we aren’t that close anyway.  So what do you say, no hard feelings?)

I get almost as frustrated when I see my Christian brothers and sisters constantly trying to make up for the mistakes they have made or re-do a missed opportunity.  Many people seem to think that the only way to have a bright future is to overcome the past.  If I am interpreting the Bible correctly, it seems pretty clear that, once I accept Christ as my Savior and acknowledge Him as my Lord, my past is not only forgiven but forgotten.  “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12 NIV)

Sure, it is very difficult to move on from your mistakes and even to forgive yourself sometimes.  But when you start putting your focus on who you were, it becomes increasingly more difficult to become who God wants you to be.  Until you can accept His forgiveness and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in His plan, you will spend all of your time spinning your wheels. 

Just like it was a horrible idea to remake Footloose just to teach somebody how to Dougie, you will be making a huge mistake if you spend time trying to make up for your past.  Seek God’s face and submit to His will.  When you find yourself doing these things every day, you will quickly realize that the past is nothing more than a weapon the enemy uses to distract you from your eternal journey with the Creator.

So I plea to all Christians (and movie producers), please stop working on remakes.  Nothing good can come from it.

 
I really enjoy watching movies.  Almost any movie, actually.  I feel like most movies have something to offer, whether it is an inspirational story, a few thrilling action scenes, or some witty humor.  And aside from Back to the Future completely letting me down with the Hover Board, I believe movies are great at predicting the future. 

So, as scary as it may be, it seems like a zombie apocalypse may be inevitable.  And it is vital that we are all prepared.  While the basic survival rules for such an event can be found here, I believe that we should also be aware of our Christian responsibilities in a zombie (or walker) infested environment.  While this list is a working document and nowhere near exhaustive, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1.  Zombies are not vampires. – In vampire movies, Christians usually try to survive by keeping the undead at bay with their crosses and holy water.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t work with our zombie friends.  Unless you use the cross as a weapon, it will do you no good when a walker is coming at you and trying to eat your face.

2. Understand the sixth commandment. – “You shall not murder.”  The Bible is very clear about this.  You should not unlawfully take the life of another human being.  However, if I am clear on the definition of zombie, they are no longer human beings.  Actually, they are not really alive.  So, if you ask me, taking down a walker in self-defense is completely justified.  And if you want to survive and pursue countless dead ends of cures and safe houses, then you may have to drop a zombie or two.

3. Keep your head on a swivel when you are in The Witness Zone.  – I get it, when you are trying to lead somebody to Christ you have to be completely focused.  However, if a horde of zombies is ripping your limbs off, you will be doing very little to spread the gospel.  So do me a favor, just make sure you remain aware of your surroundings, and maybe spend most of your time in the middle of a football field where nothing can sneak up on you.

4.  Baptism in Aquafina – Just because the world is plagued by a virus that is likely to eliminate humanity, that does not mean that we should stop being obedient.  Of course new believers should still be baptized.  However, while most zombie productions leave out the fact that all fresh water supplies are likely contaminated, you should avoid creeks, rivers, ponds, and lakes at all costs.  That is not to mention the fact that you should avoid all faucet water because it likely comes from a common water source that could also be contaminated.  What does that leave?  You guessed it: bottled water. 

Based on my understanding of the Bible, baptism by full immersion in water best represents what the early Christians and Jesus Himself did.  Yet, since I'm sure bottled water will be in short supply, I'd say you'd be good to go ahead and sprinkle. 

5. Share your ear buds. – Unless you are super cool and you rock those colorful Dr. Dre headphones, you probably listen to music through ear buds. At least that’s what I see most of the kids doing nowadays.  Either way, in a zombie apocalypse type situation, you need to make sure you ONLY listen to your worship music through ear buds. 

It seems that the walking dead are attracted to noise since they usually find food nearby.  So it is vital that you are as quiet as possible when rocking out to Todd Agnew.  (If you do not currently rock out to Todd Agnew, stop reading this and go download some of his stuff immediately.)  Additionally, DO NOT PLUG UP BOTH OF YOUR EARS.  If you have an ear bud in each ear, you are stupid and deserve to be eaten by zombies.  Share the love and share your worship music with a friend.  That way you can work together to avoid an ambush.

6.  Pray with your eyes open. – Believe it or not, there seems to be no scripture commanding us to close our eyes when we pray.  Actually, there are several Bible passages that talk about praying with your eyes lifted to heaven.  So, in a world where clumsy, grunting zombies somehow display amazing amounts of stealth, I would say that you need to find a happy medium where you can focus on God and still be able to notice a horde in the distance.  Since praying with your eyes open is in the Bible and it could save you from walkers, I’d say that’s what they call a win-win.

7.  Share in everything. – While I’m still a little blurry on the line between pillaging to survive and habitual thievery, I’m pretty sure than anything left abandoned is up for grabs.  After all, the first Christians essentially put everything they owned in a big pile and took as they had need.  That sounds like it would be a perfect model to follow in the event of a zombie apocalypse.  In fact, I believe that everyone still alive after the initial epidemic is safe to operate under the finders keepers principle. 

Like I said, this is not an exhaustive list.  I'm sure there are many other Christian-specific situations that will present themselves when the virus starts to spread.  Are there any other rules you can think of that Christians should keep in mind after the zombies take over?

 
Boy, do I hate chick flicks.  I would honestly rather get a paper cut between my fingers than sit through a two hour movie about finding true love.  To be clear, though, it’s not the love part that bothers me.  It’s not even the ridiculous circumstances that are magically overcome that make me cringe.  It’s the selfishness.

Apparently any action is fair game as long as it leads to a happily ever after for whatever actor/actress that had to fulfill their contract with the production company.  I am always amazed at how the writers of these stories trick the viewer into cheering for these characters that lie, cheat, steal, ruin friendships, and manipulate everyone in their lives in the pursuit of love. 

Seriously?!  I’ve seen Kevin Spacey kill people for less.  But every time I watch one of these “romantic comedies,” I find myself in an argument with every woman that has ever seen it for the next week.  I try to make it clear how awful these characters are and argue that they should be viewed as villains, not heroes.  Yet, all is hear is, “but he/she was in love.”

FINALLY!!!  I have stumbled upon some scripture to back me up. 

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?  “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”  (Jeremiah 17:9-10 NIV)

As it turns out, following your heart is not all it is cracked up to be.  Your heart will deceive you.  This cannot be fixed.  Yet, God rewards us on our conduct.  So let me get this straight; even if we are following our heart, even if we are “in love,” God still judges us based on our behavior?  Huh…who would have thunk it?   

Let me see if I can follow the logic here.  The Bible says that the heart is deceitful.  Chick flicks are all about following your heart.  Would it not make sense, then, that God does not like these movies?  Hey, don’t blame me.  It’s in the Bible.