Is Social Media Hurting the Church?

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Ah yes, it’s the notorious red Starbucks cup. You are probably groaning and tempted not to read this right now. You’re probably thinking this is yet another article on why we should boycott Starbucks for their “war on Christmas” or you may think this is about the “war on Christmas paranoia”. Either way, you’re probably sick of hearing about it. But don’t worry, this blog post is not about the plain red “holiday” cup.  It’s about the deeper problems the red cup uproar represents.

If you have a Facebook or pay attention to current events and trends, you’re probably very familiar with this cup, but in case you aren’t allow me to enlighten you. Starbucks recently announced that they are using plain red cups this year as more open minded approach to the Christmas season. This originally enraged many Christians, who feel they are trying to take the Christ out of Christmas. But then, after the initial wave of social media ranting, there came another tirade of annoyed Christians, but they’re anger was directed toward a surprising source. Other Christians. These Christians claimed that ranting about the red cup was just paranoia, and Christians just wanted to rave about something. Ironically, I saw a lot more of these post than the original holiday anger.

Honestly, I don’t have an opinion concerning the Starbucks cup. I don’t drink Starbucks for other reasons, so it doesn’t matter to me. I can see both sides of the argument. But after seeing several of these Facebook posts written by Christians about other Christians turn a little nasty and snarky, I realized that the infamous red cup symbolized a deeper problem. Christians are using social media to attack other Christians in a way they would never do face to face.

Now before I continue, I would just like to point out that I’m not referring to this one instance, only using it as an example. This is not the first time I have seen Christians go at other Christians on Facebook, but it is the first time I’ve seen it to this extreme, with well-known Christian leaders and celebrities chiming in as well.

This brings me to the point of this post: is social media hurting the Church?

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Don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest. I spend way more time than I probably should on these websites each day. Facebook is great for snooping on other people’s usually more interesting lives and finding out about fun events. YouTube is great for watching some of my favorite blogs and listening to music. And let’s not even get started on my Pinterest addiction. But the more time I spend on social media, Facebook specifically, the more I notice a disturbing trend. Christians using Facebook to vent their frustrations with other Christians, causing division in the Church.

I’d like to clarify that by the Church, I mean believers all over the world who love and serve God. I’m not referring to a specific church group. Believers are suppose to be encouraging and loving to one another.

1 Corinthians 12:25-26 says, “So that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

It’s as if Christians forget that the Bible still applies on the internet as much as it does in person. More so even, because not only are you disregarding someone’s opinion tactlessly, but you are doing it publicly.  Also, it’s much harder to judge someone’s tone over the internet than it is in person. And in the end what does it really solve? Reality is your not going to change anyone’s opinion by posting five different articles on why or why not Starbucks is declaring war on Christmas. So before you post that article on why Christians are wasting their time ranting about the red cup, or how they must not care about babies being aborted or homeless people because their concerned about a stupid cup, or called them paranoid in a condescending way, remember that they are all your brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray about what your about to say, and ask yourself, “Is this somewhat snippy comment really necessary? In the end, what’s it going to prove?”

The really ironic thing is I’ve seen more Christians rant about how other Christians are wasting their time ranting about the red cup, than Christians actually ranting about the red cup. Is it really that big of deal that’s worth causing conflict?

After eden social media

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful” ~Colossionas 3:15

 

~Allyson

Sentence Story

This is a story everyone wrote together at the party that Savy and I went to on Friday!

Elias Arwell

Enjoy this story, written one sentence at a time by 17 different people!🙂

Once upon a time there lived a strange niño named David. Hannah Allison

This boy once went on a trip to a foreign land. Maddie Lamken

Where, even there, he never understood what a land whale was. Megan Merydith

And he had seven years to live. Jason Walthinsen

This is the story of how he died. But don’t worry, it really is a very fun story. Allyson Swales (quote from Tangled©)

He was running through the forest one day, when he fell down a dark and creepy hole filled with bats. Savana Walthinsen

The bat life is to pick up people and drop them on a cliff. They did this to him. Leena Swales

As that happened Superman showed up to stop Batman, and the fight began. Trevor Allison

Superman beat Batman. Ethan Allison

Then…

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Just a Quiet, Innocent Game Night

Hi everyone! I promise to write something soon, but until then here is a blog post about a party I went to. It was written by our pastor’s son and is about our devotional.

Elias Arwell

Sometimes, things don’t go the way we plan. We can choose to complain and be upset, or we can laugh and keep it as an unforgettable memory. Such was my party…

The guests began arriving at 4 p.m., and trickled in until 4:15 or so. During the period of time in between, we split up into two teams for a game of my own invention (thus, it doesn’t have a title as of yet). To describe it in a nutshell, it’s a mixture of a treasure hunt and scavenger hunt, with money and cheating involved. Sound interesting? I’d love to hear the thoughts and suggestions of those who came so I know how to improve it. Feel free to comment below.

Anyway, this game ended at 6:07(ish). And of course, a party without pizza is a lame party, so we had Costco pizza for dinner. During the conversations and fellowship…

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Phobophobia

Everyone has they’re own inner battles. Some are more obvious than others, but when it gets down to it, everyone has something they really struggle with. One of my personal struggles is fear. Fear seems to have more power over us than just about any other emotion. When we’re afraid of something can’t think rationally and behave in ways we wouldn’t normally. Like insisting on sleeping with the light on or checking under our beds for monsters. Or almost ripping our shirt off in the middle of the living room, because we think there may be a tiny spider on it. (I did not do that!) Or running away from your Dad, screaming, because he told you he felt like he was going to vomit. (I have done that.)

That brings me to my fear. THE STOMACH FLU. Notice how that is in all caps, that’s kind of how I imagine those three words together, mixed with a high pitched squeak. Now, when I say I am afraid of the stomach flu, I mean I am really, really terrified. Or at least I used to be. Now I am very scared of the stomach flu, but not like I was. I used to be soooooooo frightened of the stomach flu that it was a physical reaction. My body would tremble, I would feel weak, and my heart would race. At times it was so bad, I could barely function. And this wasn’t just my reaction when my family started vomiting, this was my reaction when anyone I knew got sick with the awful virus.

Then one night, several years ago, my entire family got the stomach flu. Every single one, but me.

It was at that point, as I lay in bed crying, my heart pounding, that I realized I feared the fear as much as I feared the stomach flu. I also knew that I couldn’t live with this fear for the rest of my life. It was too controlling, it stopped me from doing things that I would normally have done, simply because I was afraid I might get the dreaded illness. That night I begged God to help me overcome my debilitating phobia. That night I opened my Bible and found Psalm 91. I know it’s a common passage, but I want to share it with you anyway.

 

Psalm 91

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say[a] to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
    and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
    the Most High, who is my refuge[b]
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
    no plague come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
    I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

I know what you’re thinking, this is going to be one of those incredible stories, where my fear completely disappeared in one night. But it’s not. I still fight with my anxiety. Each time my fear sneaks back in, I have to choose to trust God. In fact, it wasn’t until recently that I notice the wording in verses 9-10.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
    the Most High, who is my refuge[b]
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
    no plague come near your tent.

At the beginning of these two verses it says the word because. Because you have trusted God to protect you, because you have chosen him as your refuge he will be your shield. Wait a second. That means I have to be willing to give my dread to God? That’s really hard. Why? Because I want to feel like I am in control. But reality is, I’m not. And I never will be. It doesn’t matter how much hand sanitizer I put on, it’s up to God whether or not I get sick. Besides, the Good Lord made the germs for a reason, and he’s more capable than I am of getting rid of them. I might always be somewhat scared of the stomach flu, but God has given me wonderful resources to help my win my war with worry. There are four things that have really helped me.

1. God’s word

Every time I’m afraid, God gives me new verse to focus on. One of my favorites is Isaiah 41:13:

For I, the Lord your God,
    hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
    I am the one who helps you.”

I love that verse! Who doesn’t want God to hold their hand? You’ve got to admit that’s pretty cool and comforting!

2. Prayer (You would probably laugh if you could hear some of the imploring I’ve done with God over the years. Sometimes it sounds kind of like this: “Please, please, pleeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaase don’t let us catch the flu!!!!!!”)

As for prayer, I’m not generally feeling very creative when I’m scared, so it kind of comes out something like this: “Help!” or “Dear God, Please don’t let me get the stomach flu!” That’s generally the gist of my prayers. But you know what? They work! I have only had the stomach flu a couple of times ever! I can’t actually remember what it feels like to throw up. (Perhaps that’s part of the problem.) God really does hear our prayers when we ask him for something, even when his answer is NO.

3. Lavender Oil (I know you were expecting something profound, but lavender oil is especially helpful for anxiety.)

Now, let’s touch on the lavender oil thing for a minute. I don’t want to sound like I’m selling something, because I’m not, but this stuff truly is wonderful! The DoTerra brand smells heavenly and is great for anxiety. It helps relax your body and makes you a little bit tired. Plus, it’s completely natural! (I’m homeschooled, so obviously that is very important.) All you have to do is put a little bit under your nose and inhale.

4. Music

Alright, on to the music. One day, my Dad felt like he might be getting sick with the you-know-what. My parents had just had it not three weeks earlier, and I was thinking, No, no, no!!! Not again! I just did this, God! Is this some kind of cruel game? I turned on the CD I had in my CD player, and a song came on (imagine that.), it was “Hold Me Jesus”  by Rich Mullins.

Hold Me Jesus

Well, sometimes my life
Just don’t make sense at all
When the mountains look so big
And my faith just seems so small

CHORUS:
So hold me Jesus, ’cause I’m shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace

And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It’s so hot inside my soul
I swear there must be blisters on my heart

CHORUS

Surrender don’t come natural to me
I’d rather fight You for something
I don’t really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I’ve beat my head against so many walls
Now I’m falling down, I’m falling on my knees

And this Salvation Army band
Is playing this hymn
And Your grace rings out so deep
It makes my resistance seem so thin

CHORUS

You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace?

It occurred to me in that moment, that I needed to stop fighting God, and let him be my Prince of Peace. I needed to let him take control of my life, and stop worrying about the future.

Honestly, I hate writing these sort of blog post. In some ways they seem too personal and open. I’m sharing a bit of myself with you, and am making my self somewhat vulnerable. That’s not easy. I guess it’s probably a pride thing. But either way I decided to share this with you today. I hope it didn’t make you feel like I was just sharing my problems with the world. I wanted to write this, because I wanted to make the point that in our many fears, we should trust God, but not to be discouraged when our problems don’t immediately disappear. Even if you’re like me and you have a bit of phobophobia (fear of fear), he’ll help you overcome that fear as well. You can’t let your fears control and keep you from doing all the amazing things God has for your life. In the words of John Wayne: “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”

~Ally

Hilariously Random Movie Quotes: Part 2

Hello World! Here is the sequel to the Hilariously Random Movie Quotes. Enjoy!

 

 

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“Food is fuel. If you get picky about what you put in the tank, your engine is going to die. Now shut up and eat your garbage.”   ~  Ratatouille

 

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“Now look! We’ve figured it out 17 different ways, and each time we figured it, it was no good, because no matter how we figured it, somebody don’t like the way we figured it! So now, there’s only one way to figure it. And that is every man, including the old bag, for himself.”

“So good luck and may the best man win.”

“Except for you old lady, may you just DROP DEAD!”   ~ It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World

 

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“There’s a monster outside my room, can I have a glass of water?”   ~ Signs

 

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“How do you spell FBI?”   ~ Toy Story 2

 

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“I do not mean to pry. But you do not, by any chance, happen to have six fingers on your right hand?”

“Do you always begin conversations this way?”   ~ The Princess Bride

 

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“I’m only paranoid ’cause they want me dead.”   ~ Conspiracy Theory

 

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“Can I drink this?”

“Do you want to explode!?”   ~ Despicable Me

 

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“The name’s Fred; school mascot by day, but by night… I’m also the school mascot.”   ~ Big Hero 6

 

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“Don’t shut YOUR eyes!”

“Okay, sorry. Got a little nervous.”

“YOU’RE nervous? An 11-year-old is cutting my hair!”   ~ The Parent Trap

 

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“Money is the world’s curse.”

“May the Lord smite me with it! And may I never recover!” ~ Fiddler on the Roof

 

– Savy

Just to Say, “I Love You”

Hello everyone! Today I would like to share the song “My Tree” by Chris Rice with you in celebration of Good Friday. The song is  about Jesus’s love for us and how he should us that love when he died for our sins. It compares his dying on a cross to a little boy carving a heart on a tree to sh0w how much he loves a little girl. The little boy’s heart was a public declaration of his love for the girl, just like Jesus’s death was a public declaration of his love for us. He suffered through being brutally whipped and tortured, simply to say, “I love you.”

 

My Tree by Chris Rice

On a hill far away stands a tall, mighty tree
Where a boy and girl used to take turns pushing the tire swing
I remember the pocketknife in hand
And her name in my heart
And thinkin’ there ain’t no way for a boy to contain
The love that he feels inside
So I carved her name into my tree
Then I carved a heart around her name
Then I carved an arrow through the heart
Just to say “I love you”

Now on a hill far away stood an old rugged cross
The emblem of suffering and shame
I remember the nails through my hands
And your name in my heart
And how in their wordless way the nails explain
The love that I feel inside
As they carved your name into my tree
Where I wrapped my heart around your name
Then I took your arrow through my heart
Just to say “I love you”
Just to say “I love you”

Now I can never forget how much you mean to me
‘Cause I will always remember whenever I see

Where I carved your name into my tree
Where I wrapped my heart around your name
Then I took your arrow through my heart
Just to say “I love you”
Just to say “I love you”

 

For those of you who are viewing this on the blog, and not your email, I have also included the YouTube video.

 

~Ally

 

Dear Peasant…

Hello everyone! This year I completely forgot about April Fools Day until the day of, so I didn’t have anything to use for a prank. Therefore, I had to compromise. So I sent an email to Savy. I have decided to share our exchange with you.

Please note: I did not originally come up with I SLAP FLOOR, I got that from Adventures in Odyssey.

My email:

Hello Peasant!
This is email is to inform you that as of 10:00 a.m. this morning, I have been officially announced Dictator of the Universe. As I will be determining every detail of your life from this moment forward, I feel it is only fair that I introduce myself to you. My name is Tinker Bell, and I am married to a Moroccan man that I met while filming “Road to Morocco”. His name is Billy Bob. I recently wrote a book titled, “World Domination: How I Conquered the world and what I plan to do next.” It’s the story of my life and my plans for the future. I would recommend reading it so that you know how I plan to control your life and use it for my own selfish purposes. Wait, did I say that out loud? In case you are stupid enough not to read the book, I will give you a quick summary of my past experiences and what I plan to do next. I was born and raised like most Martian children, I suppose. But from an early age I knew I wanted to be in charge of everything. Especially planet earth. I moved to your charming planet when I was ten years old. I lived with the oompa-loompa’s for many years, and contrary to popular belief, I was the first person to discover them. Not Johnny Depp or Willy Wonka. After I left the oompa-loompa’s I played the supporting role in the movie, “Peter Pan.” Later, I decided to buy a coffee shop in Costa Rica. While there I lived mostly as a local, except I brainwashed every government official, and was soon the ruler of the entire country. I did this with every country until I had the entire world in the palm of my hand. That is the story of how I conquered the world. My hobbies include: knitting, golf, and drinking laundry detergent. Now that you know a little bit about me, I’m sure you’re curious as to what I plan to do with you. My intentions are simple: I plan to make you my slave and show you no mercy.
Have a lovely evening!
I SLAP FLOOR! ~The President of the Entire World and then Some, Tinker Bell
P.S.
You may want to re-arrange the letters of my sign off, there is a meaning there.🙂
Savy’s reply:
Dear Tinker-Bell

I am not entirely sure how you came into possession of my contact information. Either you have a highly sophisticated hacking system in your computers (which is highly unlikely, considering I am the only person who has access to technology of that kind), or you are very good at guessing. I must admit that I am rather confused. I have never heard of you before, and I am certain that if you were actually taking over the world, you would have at least been on at least one of the 27 news channels in Gotham City. To your misfortune, you have failed to brainwash me. If your code was an attempt at this, you might want to try writing one that is in a comprehensible language. Not Oompa Loompish. My secretary spent hours attempting to break the code, and he came to no avail. But seeing as how you appear to be new to the villain business, I suppose I can excuse this error. And just so you know, if you attempt to infiltrate, enslave, or tyrannize the city of Gotham, I will see to it that you and your Loompy henchmen are hunted down and destroyed. Justice will prevail.
Bruce Wayne
Owner of Wayne Enterprises
My response:
This email is simply an example of how small earthling’s brains are, any Martian would have known immediately that I SLAP FLOOR can easily be rearranged into April Fools! Anyway, how I came upon your contact information is none of your business, but if you must know I read your mind. That is one of my many skills. You only think you have never heard of me before because I have a multitude of disguises and body forms, as well as pseudonyms. You only think I have failed to brainwash you, even at this very moment I am controlling your every thought. (I want you to think that I do not control you.) I must admit that you have offended me with your insinuation that I am an amateur villain. You will pay dearly for this mistake. Your Gotham City and Wayne Enterprises will suffer. You have no power to stop me. As for justice prevailing, we are men (or girls) of action, lies do not become us.
Sincerely~ the One and Only, Totally Awesome, President Tinker-Bell
Savy’s response:
You sound like a bit of a racist supreme ruler. I might argue that little green people with antennae are of inferior intelligence. And don’t you think it is a bit odd that you are trying to convince me that you are mind controlling me, while at the same time are trying to convince me that you are not? And why are you using Earth’s lousy technology if you can just read my mind? Couldn’t you just instantly zap your emails into my brain? I don’t think you are taking advantage of your resources. Which is just one proof that you are an amateur.

And think about this. If you are the one controlling my brain, then aren’t you really just insulting yourself? It’s like you are fighting back and forth with yourself through Bruce Wayne, which is very hard on your self-esteem (and rather hard on Bruce’s brain. He won’t make a very good slave with a fried brain.). You seem like a very unstable life form. You might consider getting therapy and sorting your self out before you try ruling the world.
Bruce Wayne
Owner of Wayne Enterprises and King of New York
My response:
That’s it. Prepare to die. I’m prepping my zappy machine thing. Oh, and you can say good-bye to your precious Gotham City! Ha! Ha! Ha! (That was an evil laugh.) Maybe next time you’ll think twice about offending the great and powerful Tinker-Bell! And you can’t be King of New York, I’m King of New York and the entire universe! I like my slaves having fried brains, then they can’t think for themselves. I am not insulting myself, that’s just your pitiful little human brain thinking, you cannot fully comprehend my genius plan. See, I’m confusing you already. Truly, you have a dizzying intellect. Not.
Pushing all the fun buttons on my zappy thingamajig right now, in preparation for your death and erasing of memories! ~President Tinker-Bell
There were several more emails after that, but this post is already pretty long, so I will have to leave at that.
~The supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, incredible, diabolical, President Tinker-Bell (aka Ally)