Project: Simplify…To Infinity and Beyond

Before I started Pop Parables, I had a long list of possible post topics, including a series on simplifying and decluttering. I wanted to pay particular attention to how the process of simplification relates to our spiritual lives.

March seems the perfect time to dive into a series on simplifying, especially since I’m participating in this:

 

Normally, I don’t read blogs with the word “Mom” in the title. But, I’ve been following Tsh on Instagram and Pinterest and I think I kinda like her. Plus, I soooooo need the intentionality, community and process that comes along with this challenge.

If you’re doubting whether or not this relates to pop culture, flip open any magazine, stop into Target, or watch a morning show to see that simplifying is what’s hot at this time of year.

What’s Project: Simplify?

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The Future: The Cloud

This guest post is coming atcha from a very special blogging buddy named Moe Vivas, whom I like to call Moevelous, also known as Moeses.  Moe is a brotha in Christ who has impacted my faith in more ways than he even realizes.  He writes with conviction, shares from the heart, and always makes me literally LOL.  Read more of his words at Beta Christian and Discipulus and be sure to follow him on Twitter.

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Technology moves at the speed of light. Just when you think you got the hang of it, it shifts and introduces a new way to make our lives easier. It’s hard to ignore that technology has changed how we communicate, listen to music and access our data.

Today, the fight for the consumer is by offering an effective and painless way of offering server space for all our data. This is called the “The Cloud”. You no longer have to keep your music in your device, you can stream it from the cloud. Your photos? Access them on a server. Documents, backups, bookmarks, emails? They live in the cloud also.

In the next 12 to 24 months our culture will shift and we’ll be singing the cloud’s benefits. We will no longer have to manage files, music, photos, etc. Whenever we need them, we’ll fetch them from the cloud. The cloud becomes the mothership of our information. We will keep our eyes on the cloud for all of our computing needs.

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Damsels in Distress

I get so excited when others find the pop parables because it means I’m not crazy.  Yay!  I hope you enjoy this heart felt post from my {real life} friend, Angela.

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Cinderella. Aurora. Snow White. Jasmine. Ariel. Rapunzel.

The other day while driving along with my daughter, listening to the Tangled soundtrack, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  All of the Disney princesses share a common struggle: captivity. I was stunned that I had never made this realization before.

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons: Bala

For all their beauty and admiration, the princesses all experience a period of captivity.  Consider:

  • Cinderella is a prisoner in her own home. She must follow her evil stepmother’s orders or face the consequences. At the movie’s climax, the stepmother locks her in the attic in an attempt to hide her true identity.
  • The three fairies in Sleeping Beauty hide Princess Aurora in a cottage deep in the forest to keep the evil Malificent from discovering her whereabouts. She spends the first 16 years of her life unaware of who she truly is, and who she is destined to be.
  • In spite of her attempts to hide from the wicked queen, Snow White eventually succumbs to the temptation of a beautiful apple. She is poisoned, held captive under a spell until her rescuer comes.
  • Even though Jasmine lives the life of royalty, she is far from truly free as she is held to royal law that she must marry a prince.
  • Ariel longs for a life she cannot have, and gambles away her freedom on a bet she makes with Ursula, the sea witch.
  • Abducted as an infant, Rapunzel spends her days trapped in a tower, longing for a life of freedom.

But, what does it mean to be held captive?  What does it mean to finally be free?

Held Captive

We’re told in II Kings that the Israelites were held captive.  The Bible also makes it very clear why they were taken into captivity.

All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God.  {II Kings 17:7}

There was a litany of offenses that the Israelites had committed against the Lord including idolatry, witchcraft, and human sacrifice. Bottom line? Sin. Check out what’s happening in verse 9, too:

The Israelites secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right.

There’s something so dangerous about the sin we do in secret, isn’t there? It’s easy to kid ourselves and think no one’s watching when we gossip, shortchange our employer at work a bit, cheat in some way or other, or allow bitterness to grow in our heart. We fool ourselves into thinking we’re controlling the behavior.

When in fact, we are held captive by it.

Sold as a Slave

Paul describes the condition of the human heart in terms of slavery:

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do, for what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do. {Romans 7:14-15}

It’s so easy to fall into the lie that being a Christian means giving up your freedom. On the contrary, when you become a Christian, you realize that you had never been free in the first place.

Paul makes the point painfully clear – it’s as if you’ve been sold to sin. As long as you are in the flesh, you are owned by it.  So who is really free then?

I See the Light

When I had the realization about the Disney Princesses, I was listening to a particular song from Tangled called “I see the Light”.  In the movie, there is one particularly breathtaking scene where Rapunzel has an epiphany about her life, and what she’s been missing.

Now maybe I’m a bit of a sap, but this scene always chokes me up a bit.  And, I couldn’t figure out why….until the other day, as I’m driving down the road and listening to the song. Really listening to it.

All those princesses experienced captivity, yes. None of them were free to be who they were meant to. But what inevitably happens at the end of the story? They are rescued! The handsome prince – remember him?

It was as I was making all this connection that this song touched me in a new, and real way. I love how God can use anything, even a song written by Disney, to minister to us.

I hope you will take a few minutes out and listen to it. (Please note that when Eugene sings, you’ll have to change “she” to “he” about 2-3 times. But you can handle that, right? I know you can.)

All those days watching from the windows

All those years, outside looking in

All that time, never even knowing just how blind I’ve been.

Now I’m here, blinking in the starlight

Now I’m here, suddenly I see

Standing here, it’s oh so clear

I’m where I’m meant to be

And at last I see the light!

And it’s like the fog has lifted

And at least I see the light!

And it’s like the sky is new

And it’s warm, and real, and bright

And the world has somehow shifted…

All at once, everything looks different

Now that I see You.

 

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  {Romans 8:1}

 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  {Galatians 5:1}

Praise the Lord, our Prince of Peace! He has come so that we might live happily ever after with him!

 

AngelaAngela Russell has seen the Disney princess movies one-too-many times. She lives with her husband and two children, Keefe and Piper in Tacoma, Washington. She runs a money-saving site, The Coupon Project, and is also a freelance writer.

The Superfan, the Superbowl and Connecting with God

Yesterday was the Superbowl, as dubbed by Madonna as The Greatest Show on Earth. I wouldn’t know if it actually lived up to that description since I didn’t even watch it. Perhaps you expected that I would have been watching for an 8 second pop parable in a commercial that cost a quadrillion dollars. I was not. Hubs and the boys were off at a friends watching the Giants steal the Superbowl right out from under the Patriots cleats at the last second. I stayed home and got a little crafty.

BUT! I do still have a pop parable for you that is totally Superbowl related. Take a gander at Parade magazine from Sunday:

You may be expecting the cop-out #Jesusjuke pop parable, whereby I say that if you know so much about football, you should know even more about Jesus. I’d quote religious analogies like this from the cover story: If football is the unofficial national religion, then Super Bowl Sunday is the High Holiday.  I’d talk about how your faith should be found in Jesus, not football. And, I’d ask why you don’t write John 3:16 on your face like Tim Tebow? What kinda Christian, are you, anyway?!

But, that’s just not how I roll.

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YouTube and the Depravity of Man

Last week I shared about the church’s opportunity to fully integrate faith with media, social media, and technology. The post was intended as a discourse on the “good” uses of media. The flip side of that argument is that there remain negative, even evil, uses of technology.

Last Wednesday, seven teenagers were arrested after their YouTube video went viral. And, by viral, I don’t mean the kind of viral you and I aspire to, like Rebecca Black’s “Friday”. {I know you sing that song into your hairbrush every Friday morning!}

The three minute video depicts the attackers yelling at the visibly terrified victim, punching and kicking him in the face with apparent glee as he curled up on the snow-covered ground. After robbing the victim, the teens {one of whom is the son of a sheriff’s deputy} posted it on YouTube. Shortly thereafter, their names and identities were provided in the comments of the video, which aided in their arrest.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Call me cynical, jaded, or heartless, but this article didn’t cause my eyes to widen. I didn’t scratch my head in bewilderment. It didn’t strike me as anything I hadn’t heard before.

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