It’s Black Friday! But, Christmas is Coming!

Well, today is Black Friday!  The craziest shopping day of the year!  Did you go and brave the crowds for all those insane deals?  I could never get up at 4 a.m. and wait in line just to get a better price on a Christmas gift.  Just of thought of the crowds, the lack of order, and crazy moms fighting over the newest toy (this year its some robotic hamster).  Just check out all these people waiting in the cold:

Did you notice the throngs of store employees standing there to keep order?  We have all heard the stories of people getting injured, trampled, and even killed by mobs of angry shoppers.  Crazy!  From the looks of this video, it is an orderly procession of people waiting for that great deal on that perfect gift for Christmas.  From the shouts of joy in the video, I can only imagine the excitement, adrenaline, and hope that people experienced.  They are excited about the deals.  Their adrenaline is pumping because they know they have to run to be the first.  And, they hope that their Xbox or Wii will be there for them to buy.

Why is it so exciting to wait and line at 4 a.m. to get the “best” deal?  Why all the excitement?

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"It's Good to be The King"

An earlier version of the this post did not post correctly.  This is an updated post.

“It’s good to be the king.” That was the classic line from Mel Brook’s History of the Word, Part I (He never made part II).  This line is said throughout the movie, often during wanton behavior from different characters.  In one part of the movie, Brooks plays King Louis during the French Revolution and he uses his power to oppress the people, gives the citizens of France rotten food, and treats people with contempt.  The joke about being the “king” in the movie is centered on the fact that being the king allows one to abusive power… when it suits the king.  Towards the end of the movie, the King Louis is running for his life because his “kingly attitude” catches up with him in the form of a mob!

When we look at kings in history, there are certainly kings who look like the Mel Brook’s King Louis and that leaves us with a bad taste in our mouths about the idea of kingship.  We can easily see a king as one who does not deserve power and who abuses power.  The idea that one person can assume leadership simply because his family has power and money is just downright wrong to us 21st century Americans.  We come from a democracy!

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The Pitfalls of Facebook Live Feed

I started using Facebook shortly after I entered graduate school in 2003.  I was a Myspace user, but often lamented Myspace’s messiness.  It was limited.  Some of my college friends began to use Facebook and I saw it as a way to stay in touch with people.  Facebook looked clean, but it was confusing why I could see everyone’s business: who they talked to, what they posted, what they said, etc…   We have seen Facebook evolve from a “college only” website to a global network of all ages.   Facebook is ubiquitous.  My parents, who are retired, even have a Facebook page!  Some bloggers have even commented how “uncool” Facebook has become since so many people are using it.  (You are still cool Mom and Dad.)

Facebook has played with the concept of the “news feed” and the “live feed” for sometime.  Currently, through the news feed you get the basic updates from people on pictures, posted links, and comments on your profile.  The live feed does much more.  It documents almost everything you and your friends are doing right now.  You can always change what information you share in the Facebook security settings, but things get ridiculous.   It can get annoying to see tiny details about your friend’s habits, especially if you have a large friend list.

In getting past the annoying nature of reading every minuet detail of your friends, we fall into the trap of Facebook live feed:

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Jon Gosselin, Please Stop!

As I mentioned before, I was very hopeful that Jon and Kate Gosselin would patch things up, but things have certainly gotten worse since Jon and Kate have split.  The media circus has heighten the tension of the conflict between Jon and Kate.  Despite Jon’s disclosure of seeking a “higher power” the relationship between him and his family is almost at a point of no return.  The girlfriends of Jon, other “reality celebrities”, and the media have virtually wrecked any chance of reconciliation.  I cringe every time Jon says, “I’m just here for my kids… I love them.”  If he truly loved his kids then he would not engage in activities or conflicts that bring the worst out of the couple.  Kate has admitted to her own issues, but Jon’s are more public.

In a strange development, Jon was planning a show with “Octo Mom”:

There were terrible, terrible rumors going around that Jon Gosselin and Octomom Nadya Suleman were going to have their own reality show entitled, Jon – Kate = Jon + Octomom. However, Jon has had time to have a long, hard think about this career decision and has come up with the surprising decision to opt against famewhoring.

You got to be kidding me. I think it is a little late for cashing in on his family’s publicity.  However, one silver-lining could be the fact that Jon now has “spiritual advisers”:

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The NFL Needs God

Many people ask me what I’d being doing if I was not a pastor, often I say, “I don’t know, but I know I would not be happy if I was not a pastor.”  I truly cannot imagine doing anything other than ministering to others, cultivating faith, teaching, and providing spiritual care.  However, I could be a chaplain to an NFL team.  What a dream job!

I have already blogged about my experience providing the invocation at the NFL Players Gala in Washington D.C.  Besides doing my ministerial duties, I got to meet Bill Cower,  Ben Roethlisberger, John Riggins, Clinton Portis, and Larry Fitzgerald.  Believe it or not, the NFL regularly uses chaplains and spiritual advisers for players and teams.  You could imagine the sweet perks of the job!

Time Magazine wrote a piece on NFL chaplains who regularly counsel and meet with players.  What is most interesting about the article is how one chaplain tells players they shouldn’t “pimp out Jesus”:

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