A quick list of things I am watching on TV and my thoughts on them.
Downton Abbey - I have heard so much about Downton Abbey the past few months and honestly never thought that it would be something I’d be interested in. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I started season 1 on DVD last Thursday and got all the way caught up (halfway through season 3) by last night. Thats a week and a day to watch 2.5 seasons. And the episodes are an hour long. I still am not quite sure what is keeping my attention. I hate or am indifferent to about 70% of the characters and it really isn’t the type of show I’d watch, but for some reason I can’t get enough of it. Now I have to wait for one episode each week and I honestly don’t know how I’m going to do it.
Community - NBC’s Community returned two nights ago for its fourth season after almost a year of back and forth drama surrounding its future. I absolutely love this show but was a little unhappy with the season premier. It felt a little different, which is to be expected with the original creator, some writers and one cast member leaving the show. I will watch the season out of devotion and love for the show, but won’t be surprised if this is the last season even thought I’d love to see #SixSeasonsAndAMovie.
The Office - Speaking of watching a show out of devotion… I have been watching the final (thank God!) season of The Office mainly because I have seen all the seasons up to this point and I felt a sense of obligation to finish it out. The last season is better than some previous ones, but still a far way away from seasons 1-4. Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) has been missing for about the past 7 episodes and honestly I think they are better without him. I loved him as a minor character but as the boss, he just doesn’t do it for me.
The Bachelor - My weekly reality TV garbage. I have to have it and this is the show i choose to fill that spot for the next couple of months. If you aren’t watching there isn’t much I can say. I want Lesley M. from Washington DC to get picked.
The New Girl - My room mate in college used to watch this show and I never really paid attention. I thought it looked dumb and just never really gave it a chance. Now, I love it and wait for it each week. The cast is amazing and the show is hilarious each week! Schmidt is my favorite character and I think that Max Greenfield deserves the Emmy he was nominated for the role.
I think God has been working on me lately with the idea and concept that everything I have has been given to me from Him. That I don’t “own” anything, but rather I am a steward of it all.
This is a mindset that I thought I already had but due to a few recent mishaps involving the USPS (Newman!) I am no longer in possession of some items that I got for Christmas. To add to that, while my USPS man hunt was going on the church I attend was going over the topic of stewardship. I don’t think it can get any clearer than that. I realize that before I was fine with giving things away. If I didn’t need it or use it anymore then I would gladly give it away but if I lost something or had it stolen then it was a different story.
So whoever is the now in possession of a blanket, coffee & four vinyl records please enjoy them. I don’t think God “took them from me” because they are bad but to help teach me that all I do have isn’t the most important thing.
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” -Matthew 6:21
Thinking about Heaven can be a weird thing. Will we have wings? Would “streets of gold” even have value since we in theory would not need money anymore? Will we just sing all the time? I really don’t think too much about it because I am convinced that however grand you could imagine it to be the real thing will be infinitely better.
But the last question, the one about constant singing, sometimes crosses my mind. The reason being is I am kind of turned off by this thought even though I know I shouldn’t be. I am not a huge fan of typical traditional Christian music. With the exception of Hillsong, a few Jesus Culture songs and hymns I do not really care for “Christian music”. I attended WinterJam with my youth group and about 7000 other people a few months back and did not enjoy my experience. That music is just unbearably cheesy to me. This song linked below by Jamie Grace in particular set me over the edge.
Now I realize that this concert was not targeting my age group, but I’ve never been one to enjoy this type of music. Even when I was a high schooler and middle schooler I always found the super cheesy stuff to be annoying. I never listened to Audio Adrenaline, DC Talk, Newsboys or any of the stuff that was popular when I was a kid. I did like Relient K though (and still do), so take this for what you want. But the thought of listening to Jamie Grace or anything similar constantly in Heaven does not make me anxious.
But on the flip side, I did just get back from a high school retreat for NWYM youth that was held in Boise, ID. One night during worship we ended with an acapella version of the doxology and it gave me chills. Listening to 70-ish people sing praises to God, harmonizing & sitting in His presence was nothing short of beautiful to me. Moments like that make me excited to praise God in Heaven. Because if we can have a moment that beautiful here on Earth, imagine how great it will be in heaven. The hymnist John Newton puts it perfectly in his hymn “How Sweet The Name of Jesus Sounds” when he wrote:
“Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought,
But when I see Thee as Thou art,
I’ll praise Thee as I ought’”
What do you think about heaven?
With all the recent tragedies in America including Newtown, CT and even more recently in Southern California I’ve really been thinking about the current state of security at public schools in America. Frankly, I’m a little concerned. Let me get this straight right off the bat: This is NOT a post to discuss the topic of 2nd amendment rights or what we should do about gun control. I have my opinions on that topic and we could talk about it another time if you want. But this post is about something else entirely.
Just the other day a father in north TX town entered an elementary school to show them just how poor school security is. Ronald Miller entered his daughters school early that morning and told a schools greeter “I am a gunman and my target is inside this building” and the greeter did not stop him. Miller (who didn’t actually have a gun), made it inside and proceeded to point at people and say “you’re dead” proving just how easy it is to gain access to public schools and start a rampage.
I used to think this all the time when I was a student in high school myself. I would always think “if somebody really wanted to do a shooting at my school they’d have a very easy time doing it”. Multiple outside doors were always unlocked and since our school consisted of multiple buildings students were found outside multiple times a day. All somebody would have to do is wait outside in the parking lot. But this was over five years ago back in 2004-2008. Surely things have gotten better since then, right?
Wrong. Currently I work part-time in the school district in Nampa, ID. Three days out of the week I spend in one middle school and three other days I pick up students from 3 different schools in Nampa and Meridian, ID. All together I find myself in 4 different schools each week. Never once have I had to sign in, been asked to wear a visitor badge, or even state who I am. A few times women at the front desk have looked at me as I walk by and into a classroom never saying a word to me. I find this to be highly unsettling and I don’t even have kids of my own! You would think, with all the recent tragedies, that it would be a little harder for me to gain access to a public school.
Now I get that we don’t want to turn our schools into high security lock-down areas and cause the students to feel unsafe, but it is just sad to think that there is absolutely NOTHING stopping just anybody from walking into a school and that people working at the front desk will do nothing about it. I’ve thought about writing a letter to the school districts of the schools I work in about the concerns I have. Frankly, I think the approach this man from Celina, TX took was more eye opening than a letter, but I can’t afford to spend 3 days in jail to make a point.
Rotation Curation is slowly becoming a somewhat popular thing on twitter. It is taking off in different countries at different rates. Sweden and other European countries seem to have the biggest following. The United States has a decent following and then countries such as Russia have trouble finding people to take the account. Some other countries do not even have an account. But still, the movement is out there.
I had the privilege of being the curator for the US account, @TwkUSA, during the week of Dec. 23rd to Dec. 30th, 2012. I knew I was going to be tweeting during this week for about 3-4 months and ever since I heard about rotation curation on The Colbert Report when he wanted to become curator of @Sweden and I applied on the website I had been waiting for my turn.
I was a bit nervous to tweet. I didn’t want to be boring (I’ve stopped following some weeks because the curator was too boring) but I was also scared of causing big controversies or whatever. I ended up just tweeting everything I was doing and if people wanted to start talking about a topic then I would. I didn’t start tweeting things for the soul purpose of trying to start a conversation. The three topics that caused the most conversation between people were as follows:
1) Quakers and the Friends movement
2) DC vs Marvel comics / Hulk vs Superman
3) Christmas breakfast traditions
I didn’t expect such a positive response from me tweeting about being apart of the Friends Church and going to Christmas Eve service. In my opinion, the internet is wildly against religion so I was honestly expecting a negative response to my beliefs or no response at all. But a lot of people were surprisingly responsive and wanting to know more. A few people, both from America and overseas, had mentioned they were recently looking into the Quaker church and were excited that I was sharing this with them.
I really enjoyed being part of a global community on twitter for a week. On my normal account, @JaycubNewtunz, I follow about 3 people who live overseas. All my other followers are tweeting from all over the United States. During this experience I felt connected to people all over the world, people I’ve never met, and saw the positive side of technology. I had a blast tweeting from the account and would recommend it to anybody who tweets regularly.
You guys may remember (if you read my tumblr) that on July 2nd, 2012 I made a post asking for help to nominate me to become the curator of an America twitter account. Well, that time is here! I will be tweeting from the American rotation curation account, @TwkUSA.
Starting Dec. 23rd, 2012 at 8:30 EST I will be logging in and tweeting about whatever I want and interacting with people from all over the country and all over the world for an entire week! I am very excited about it!
I won’t be tweeting from my normal twitter account, @JaycubNewtunz, so if you care to see what I’m tweeting about or questions that people are asking you will have to follow the tweet week account for the USA. If not then enjoy a week of silence from me on your twitter timeline.
So we all know that the Mayan calendar has predicted the world to end on Dec. 21, 2012 for a while now. And even though experts have since then debunked this theory a few events that have happened in the last few days have made me start wondering that maybe the Mayans were right. I need to start taking some notes from the Doomsday Preppers to prepare.
1) Take It All on NBC - NBC has a new game show THIS WEEK ONLY called Take It All hosted by Howie Mandel. It airs each night and is basically the Christmas party game White Elephant on steroids. 5 contestants start racking up huge prizes and in the end it comes down to 2 people. They have all the stuff they have acquired throughout the show and then they have a choice. They can choose “Keep Mine” which, as the name states, lets them keep their own prizes or they can “Take It All” where they take both players prizes. If both players choose “Take It All” then they both lose their prizes. The 2 players get 1 minute to talk to each other to decide how to vote and EVERY TIME I’ve watched one of them has lied to the other and screwed that person over. YOU COULD BOTH WIN PRIZES but instead, these people are lying and screwing another person over during the Christmas season.
2) Michael Bublé lip synced - After watching a lady ruthlessly take it all from an old man on Monday night I was excited to tune into the Michael Bublé Christmas special on NBC. I love Michael. I think he is a great singer. So my world was crushed when I tune in to see him blatantly lip syncing his songs! I couldn’t even watch the whole thing it was so bad. Why Michael, why?!
3) Trevin Hunte got eliminated on The Voice - Last night on NBC’s The Voice (I just realized all these doomsday moments stem from NBC) the best contestant, Trevin Hunte, was eliminated from the top 4. He was undoubtedly top 2 material but in my opinion he should have won the whole thing. America voted choosing to leave the good, but overall boring, Cassadee Pope in the top 3. What the heck?!
Now that I don’t have to watch The Voice anymore I will have more time to build my fallout shelter for the impending end of the world coming in a little over a week.
We hear a lot about technological advancements in today’s society and people have always wondered about the creation of robots and what that would mean for society. I used to think these people were crazy, but recently I’ve been reading some things about technology different people are working on and it has got me thinking about what the world will be like in 20-30 years.
My friend Aaron always says you can’t trust machines. He even would refuse to use vending machines because you just “can’t trust them”! This kind of mindset is a little far-fetched for me, especially when it comes to vending machines. But here are a few things that are being developed right now that we may not be able to trust in the near future.
1) Microsoft is working on technology to implement in the next version of their Kinect cameras that can watch you in your home and determine your mood based on facial recognition software. They will then use this to target ads to you based on how you feel.
2) Aps like Facedeals can use cameras in local businesses to identify your face as you walk in, check your Facebook profile and send coupons and deals to your smartphone as you shop. This sounds like a nice deal, free coupons for coming in and shopping! But the fact that a camera could identify you walking into a store and get info on you is scary.
3) The Kibo Robot Project. These are human-like robots being designed in Japan who will be sent into space with astronauts to keep them company. They are also hoping to have them keep elderly people company who are alone. This just seems like the beginning of robotic uprisings.
I’m all for technology. I absolutely love it. I have an iPhone, social media and all that stuff. I’m glad that I can do things wirelessly almost anywhere rather than having to be at a desktop computer at home. But I think there is a point where it gets to be too much and I wonder what will happen if we ever get there.
If you do not what a Jesus Juke is let me quickly explain. Jon Acuff, a prolific Christian author, coined the phrase to refer to people who take a funny non-serious topic/thing and make a serious faith comment that really makes things awkward.
“Like a football player juking you at the last second and going a different direction, the Jesus Juke is when someone takes what is clearly a joke filled conversation and completely reverses direction into something serious and holy.” -Jon Acuff
It’s not that the point people make are bad or incorrect, they just kind of put a damper on the fun of others.
I had a moment happen to me at church this morning. I am the youth pastor for high schoolers and have recently planned a Christmas party coming up next weekend. One of our activities advertised in the bulletin is a White Elephant gift exchange. The students are encouraged to bring a joke/gag gift not exceeding $5 to trade with other students. It’s purely a game meant to be silly fun.
A woman whom I’ve never spoken to before approached metro day with a complaint on this idea. She said that this kind of activity will “devalue” or make light of the true gift, the birth of Jesus Christ. She thinks I should reconsider doing this at the party because “giving bad gifts is not honoring to the gift we were given”.
What?! I could do nothing but stand there and nod. It seemed like a joke at some points because I couldn’t believe that she actually felt this way. I am teaching about the birth of Jesus during youth group. This party is just a fun time with fun games. Kids understand that. Jesus Juking doesn’t lead to a productive, healthy conversation. You might think it will before you juke, but what usually happens is just massive amounts of awkwardness and making people feel shamed.
I have no plans to remove that game from the party.