We Americans enjoy celebrating a lot of stuff.

There are literally millions of images like this on a Google search.

There are literally millions of images like this on a Google search.

Those of us who consider ourselves Christians like to talk about and celebrate God. That goes without saying.

We like to celebrate family too.

Some of us like to celebrate freedom.

Or even America itself. Many of us will celebrate America in just a couple of weeks…on Flag Day, the most important and widely celebrated holiday of national patriotism. Well, maybe not. Most of us will celebrate a lot of “American” stuff a couple of weeks after that. I don’t really know what Flag Day is for.

Here’s what’s happening though, and it might be something to think about the next time we come to a holiday or other celebration.

People can celebrate anything they want. Americans celebrate a lot of diverse values. But those of us who celebrate God, had better be extra careful.

Because God is sharing space with a lot of other things that seem to get equal billing.

Here’s what I mean.

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School is out.

It’s time to make some memories.

Maybe you will make memories at home with your family, with some spontaneous or silly moments in the summer twilight.

Maybe your memories will be made out of trying something new with the people you love.

Or perhaps, you will make some lasting memories by going some place far away.

The thing that I’ve discovered about living in the age of blogging and social media is that we started out doing cool things and then thinking, “That was awesome. I want to share that.”

Then, we start feeling the need to share more.

And our thoughts shift to, “This would make a good blog post,”  “I’d better tweet about this.”

And then finally, we start looking for things, sniffing through the corners of our lives, for things we can share, almost like we need a steady flow of information about us being broadcast, so that people know I have a life.

I’m just as guilty as anyone. But the thing I’ve discovered is that mindset is a trap. It makes us a lot less creative. It makes life a lot less fun. Because it makes life a means to an end. It makes life about a product. The product is our blog or our social media feed.

What’s the best thing we can do this summer?

Make some really great memories…

Do some really awesome stuff with the people we love…

And don’t tell anyone.

Don’t blog about it. Don’t tweet about it. Don’t post Instagrams and wait for the likes to roll in. Let the best parts of your life be a secret, fantastic secret between you and the people you share those memories with.

secrets

Next week, I’m leaving town, to make some memories with my wife. I’ll post a few pictures. I’ll share with friends. But the best moments, I’m keeping for myself.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Around here, it’s been a week of catching up and cleaning up after returning from a mission trip with my high school freshmen (more on that next week.) I’m already into summer school, which isn’t bad for an art teacher. And there’s about a million projects beckoning me at home.

Anyway, my blog reader was jammed with good stuff, waiting for me to come back home.

Prayer In School

Maybe it’s a function of where we live, but I don’t hear the prayer in school debate as much as some of you may. (I thought Kansas City was in the Bible Belt. Then I visited the Bible Belt. Whoa…) Anyway, it’s funny to me that we talk about prayer in school, but we don’t debate how much prayer we need in our workplaces, hospitals, or really any other public place. Michael Perkins does a great job turning this problem on its head.

Praying Over the Cable Bill

Doggoneit, this post convicted me, even though I convinced my wife that we should dump our cable earlier this year. It’s not just about cable, it’s about all the money that flows through our bank accounts unnoticed. Most of us have a lot of our bills on autopay (I know I do), which means we are being less and less intentional about where our money is going.

Writer’s Doubt

I don’t usually suffer from writer’s block, and apparently, neither does my pal, K.C. Proctor. (I think the hardest part for me, like many people, is not writing, but finding time to write). K.C. and I share what I’d call an even tougher problem though, writer’s doubt.

An Evangelical and a Progressive

Sure this post is mostly about her own church, but Kathy Escobar is illustrating what the rest of our churches could be, if we were committed to this. Where many of our churches (“most,” dare I say) create community by first producing uniformity (or telling themselves they have produced uniformity), her church starts with community. Isn’t that what loving one another is about?

Female and Made In My Father’s Image

Finally, we live in a time when some of us are pushing for gender neutral language in the Bible. How can women be “made in God’s image” if God is a “He.” Admittedly, God is not a “He,” though some people would strongly disagree. Karen Swallow Prior wrote something fantastic for Her.Menutics about looking like her own dad, and what it really means to be made in God’s image (hint: it’s not about our gender.)

And that’s it! What fueled you this week?

 

 

I always bristled at the phrase “God will never give you more than you can handle.”

Because, you know, it’s a fake Bible verse.

It’s not in the Bible. But people repeat it like it is in the Bible.

And it’s kind of ludicrous. You mean God will never give me more tragedy than I can handle? God will never let my heart be broken more times than I can handle? So God took everything away from Job because He knew Job could handle it?

It tends to make people ignore all the times in the Bible where God does give people more than they can handle, if only so people will learn to stop being self-sufficient and rely on Him.

But then I started thinking…

What if it was true?

What if we were just thinking about it all wrong and God actually does give us way more than we can handle, all the time?

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It’s Friday again.

I’ll be off the blog next week as I take a group of high school freshmen on their annual mission trip. Today is graduation, where I’m giving the keynote. All in all, things have been…absolutely insane. But in a good way.

In My Blog Reader

Like myself, many bloggers wrote about Mother’s Day or some aspect of parenting, either before or after the fact.

Micha Boyett discussed the eternal question of which kind of moms have it hardest. Because it’s true. We all want someone to tell us we are doing a good job.

Jamie the Very Worst Missionary posted about her children’s faith and in doing so, highlighted one of my greatest fears about parenting – the fact that parenting is perhaps the biggest gamble anyone can make in this life. Even bigger than getting married. Because when that little life comes into the world, you don’t know what you are going to get. You know they will look something like you, but there will be a lot of ways they are not like you.

Caleb Wilde, everyone’s favorite internet funeral director posted a really incredibly challenging post about trying to give encouragement (especially “spiritual” encouragement) to someone who has lost a child. You’re going to get to the end of the list and say “Well what am I supposed to say?” You’ll feel like there is nothing that is appropriate to say. And when you say that, you will have realized the whole point.

And on another note, Emily Freeman posted this short, sweet link that ought to make us all pause for just a moment before we move on to the next debate about church politics, try to brow-beat someone with the gospel, or offer “spiritual” comfort to a grieving friend.

That’s all for me this week. I will see you again after Memorial Day!

This last weekend, we celebrated moms.

This mom is clearly better than you.

This mom is clearly better than you.

Being a mom is hard work, so it’s good that we celebrate them. They are pretty important.

But I also have heard a rumor that being a mom is pretty fulfilling work. Somehow, between the late nights, the laundry, the messes and the noise, there is a lot of joy.

My wife and I have been trying to make her into a mom for a long time. But she worries that it’s not the joyful, fulfilling job that all the moms make it out to be. And I say, “Honey, look at the moms we know. They don’t go out to nice restaurants anymore. They have baby food stuck in their hair. They look frazzled and sleep-deprived. Their lives are by every measure worse now that they have kids. Yet they say they wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

That is amazing that kids can make moms give up everything and be glad to do it.

But I’ll tell you ladies something.

I’m glad I don’t have to be a mom. No matter what happens to me, I’ll never have to worry about accidentally becoming a mom.

And it’s not that I won’t someday help with midnight feedings and poopy diapers.

I don’t think I could take the sheer, competitive nature of the sport that mothering has become.

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