Aug 17 2011
Dear Hollister Clothing Company

Dear Hollister Clothing Company,

Greetings.  How are you?  I am fine.  I am Brant.

Hollister, I walked in one of your stores for the first time the other day!  I'm pretty sure your clothes are awesome and stuff, but I had a problem: 

I couldn't see anything.

I was wondering if I could buy you guys some lights.  I bumped into a couple tables. 

Hollister, I was going to tell you about my college roommate Jeff who used to have this blind ferret, and it would navigate by always brushing against the perimeter of the room.  I was going to tell you about that because I hadn't thought about that ferret for awhile.  But I thought about that ferret when I was at your store.

Anyway, I felt some clothes in there, but I didn't buy anything.   It was too dark.

I tried to guess what the clothes looked like from your advertising pictures.  In front of the store, you had a big picture of a guy with no clothes on, so that didn't help that much. 

I've enclosed the above picture of a guy taking off one of your shirts.  He seems mad.  Perhaps it is chafing him.

Sincerely,

Brant P. Hansen

P.S. -- I had this friend, Tom, who earnestly said, "You know, I go to the mall, and they've got the music thumping, and the store people are all cool and stuff, and it's like this awesome party, and then I get home -- and it's just a shirt."

P.P.S. -- I'm probably not your target demographic.  I play the accordion.

I also write haiku:

Hollister need help

darkness enshrouds your products

can't see anything

 

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Aug 15 2011
"Jesus-Juking": Some Tips

"Jesus juking", the term, is relatively new (hat tip to Jon Acuff!)  But the activity has been around for a long time  And, by golly, I'm good at it.

Not only have I participated in it, I've been employed in Christian radio, which means I've heard Jesus-juking at its highest levels, in hundreds of different contexts. It's all about adding a comment that will make everyone feel silly, and just plain unspiritual, for having the audacity to go about their daily lives.   Like I say, I've done this, too. 

So here are some tips:

 

1)  Remember that silliness cannot be tolerated.  And everything, compared to your mature spirituality, is silliness.

Him:  I really like this comedian!  His routine about getting frustrated with his broken washing machine is so true and hilarious!

You:  (sigh) I just don't see how getting angry at a machine glorifies the Lord.

 

2) "Spiritualize" EVERYTHING... and then contextualize your subtle rebuke by "tying in" to what they're talking about

Her:  I like baseball.

You:  You know, Jesus tells us we'll never truly be "safe" at "home" if we put energy into worldly things.

 

3) Make EVERYTHING about the "end days".

Him:  Huh.  Says here in the paper that "Rockstar" is now outselling "Powerade", and --

You:  We are told in scripture that "men will thirst".  Just another example that we are at the Very End of Time.

 

4) Don't let anyone get away with a hobby.

Her:  They've got this really cool model train setup in their garage, with little trees and --

You:  Wow. Wish they'd put that kind of effort into the Kingdom.

 

5) Compare sports crowds, always, to church crowds.

Him:  Wow! Touchdown! That was clutch!  Woohoo!

You:  If only people would get this excited about the Lord on Sunday mornings.

 

6) Music is easy pickings. You can juke forever.

Him:  I like this song!

You:  It's not Christian.

------

Him:  I like this CHRISTIAN song!

You:  Why don't they say the word, "Jesus"?

------

Him:  I like this CHRISTIAN song about JESUS!

You:  Whatever happened to songs that were just scripture?

-----

Him:  I like this CHRISTIAN song about JESUS that's straight from SCRIPTURE!

You:  So sad that we have to use a "club beat" that reminds people of the things of the world.

-----

Him:  I like this CHRISTIAN song about JESUS that's straight from SCRIPTURE and is A CAPPELLA.

You:  I prefer prayerful silence.

 

7)  Reading the Bible is awesome.  But not awesome enough.

Her:  You know, I'm reading the Bible more these days!  I'm really enjoying it.

You:  Hm. That's interesting. But you can't rely on your own, very human, flawed interpretation.  Instead, you should really read a John MacArthur Study Bible.

 

8)  Do NOT allow people to confess their weaknesses.   Pounce.  And then use "brother", or "sister".

Her:  I really struggle with prayer, and --

You:  I'll remember to pray for you, that you'll finally put your faith in God, sister.

 

9)  Relate all appreciation of nature to religious arguments.

Him:  Man, what a beautiful tree!  It's amazing, and --

You:  Amazing, isn't it, that people worship trees instead of the Creator?

 

10) Christmas is a GOLDEN opportunity to juke.

Him:  I got some neat Christmas cards with a star on them, and --

You:  It's too bad how they try to replace Jesus with a generic "star" pattern.

-----

Him:  I got some neat Christmas cards with baby Jesus on them, and --

You:  It's too bad society's so approving of BABY Jesus, but not the grown-up one who called down judgment.

-----

Him:  I got some neat Christmas cards with an adult Jesus on them, calling down judgment, and --

You:  It's too bad card-makers are trying to make money off selling pictures of Jesus.

 

10b) Combining Christmas with music?  PERFECT.

Him:  I love Bing Crosby's "White Christmas"

You:  It's a secular song.

-----

Him:  I love Bing Crosby's "Hark the Herald"

You:  It's too bad Bing Crosby wasn't a Christian.

-----

Him:  I love Kirk Franklin's "Hark the Herald"

You:  It's too bad the original melody is borrowed from a beer hall song.

-----

Him:  How about I just love Kirk Cameron?

You:  Okay!

Aug 11 2011
Can You Really "Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin"?

They say you can't "love the sinner, and hate the sin."  It's not possible.  If you love someone, you cannot hate how they are to themselves or others.  If you love someone, you must accept the entirety of who he is.  All of it.


As a scholar, equipped with (that's right) a Bachelor's Degree from a Fully-Accredited Institution, I humbly, respectfully, and collegially submit:


Bull.


Proof?  Exhibit A:  Me.


I hate some of the ways I am, and some of the things I do.  I hate, hate, hate it.  I do not approve.  I cast aspersion.  I think I'm a moral mess.  I should wear the scarlet alphabet, plus some scarlet numbers and maybe some scarlet wingdings.


...but I don't hate me.  No, I'm pretty taken with me, actually.


I loves me some me.


In spite of my moral failures, in spite of my sin, I still manage to want what's best for me.  I'm rooting for me, big time.  I'm in my corner.  I'm on the me bandwagon.  I carry around a picture of me in my wallet.  I hate some stuff I do, some ways I am, but I'm here to tell you, I still manage to pray for blessings to be poured onto my head.


If there's one person whom I know is a real selfish jerk, it's Me.  I can't know your motives, but I know Me, and I can manage to come off unselfish for selfish purposes.  I know it, you know it, the American people know it.  And you know who I'd like to see win the lottery?  Me, of all people!


Figure this:  There's only one guy whose moral failings are amply displayed in front of me every waking moment.  And I actually put that guy's pants on for him every day.  I shop for him.  I pay for his entertainment.  I try to make him look nice.  I floss his teeth.  I take him to the bathroom.  It's way gross, but I want this guy to succeed.  I'm apparently pretty taken with him. 

And so is everybody, with themselves. Even those who deny God will violate their own convictions at times, and yet -- they care for themselves.


Yep, love the sinner, hate the sin. 

Sounds not only tenable, not only do-able -- it's almost like breathing.