The Dress That Broke The Internet

Is it white and gold? Or blue and black? Come on, you know what I’m talking about. The dress that all your friends (and perhaps you) have shared on the likes of Facebook asking what colors others see when they look at the same picture. Maybe you and your spouse are sitting right next to each other, at the same time, looking at the same dress on the same computer and yet you see two different color schemes. So, clearly, this is news worthy and must be shared around the world. (I jest!) No, it didn’t actually break the internet. But it might as well have.

Listen, there is nothing wrong with having a little fun. I applaud it! It’s okay that dozens (or thousands) of my Facebook friends are blowing up my news feed (and everyone else’s) with the Exact. Same. Picture. Ok, there was a little bit of sarcasm there, but I’m serious when I say it’s good to have fun. After all, Proverbs 17:22 says that a joyful heart is good medicine (ESV).

My problem is that I find it really telling…and really sad…that this type of thing causes way more concern than the serious issues going on all around us. Yes, we need a break from all of the serious in order to just stay sane, but when way more people share about this one dress than they do about the fact that during just about the same time that this dress has been going around the internet, ISIS has kidnapped 200 Christians…well, I see that as a problem.

It’s kind of like that whole debate about leggings as pants (they’re not, FYI), but the point is that people get more caught up in issues such as that than they do about things that really matter. Or how about all of the attention that Kim K’s rear end got. Now that really did almost break the internet! The fact is that most of what goes viral is of little to no consequence, but so much of what does matter is hardly noticed. I just so wish that would change…

And it’s not just about what we share through social media. (Everyone uses it differently and, yes, there are still people who don’t use it at all.) Rather, it’s what we spend our time thinking about. It’s what we spend our time talking about. It’s where we invest our talents and our finances. I am reminded of passages such as “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21) and “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:24.). What’s on our hearts? What’s on our minds? What does our behavior demonstrate to others? Yes, I am saying “our” because I am including myself. (See Matthew 7:5.)

Listen, friend, go ahead and have fun, but when this whole thing passes, and even when it’s replaced by something new, maybe we could spend a little more time focusing on things that really matter? Take breaks from the harsh reality of life, but then get back to the righteous causes we are called to? Pay attention to self-care but then center ourselves on what God truly wants from us? That’s what I hope to do. Will you join me?

As for the dress…I say it’s white and gold. Then again, I’ve been told I’m wrong (which the maker of the dress has confirmed!)

PS: #TheDress story has a neat ending! This from IJReview:

Now, Sarah Weichel and Caitlin McNeill, the two women behind this mind-boggling debate, are using the unexpected publicity from the photo for a good cause.

According to Business Insider, the pair have teamed up to sell “Team #BlackandBlue” and “Team #WhiteandGold” t-shirts, with the proceeds benefiting the Princess Project, an organization that provides free prom dresses to high school girls who can’t afford them.

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It’s Gold. It’s Regal. And It’s Snorting Cocaine.

A few days ago, the 30-year old comedian and executive producer of “Parks and Recreation,” Harris Wittels, died of an apparent drug overdose. Through the years, many celebrities have died in similar fashion: Heath Ledger, Whitney Houston, Cory Monteith, Elvis Pressley, Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain, John Belushi…and the list goes on. Whether the overdoses were intentional or not, and whether they were the result of an addiction or not, it is clear that Hollywood has a problem.

And an artist that goes by the name “Plastic Jesus” agrees. In honor of the Oscars, he created a life size Oscar statue. It’s gold. It’s regal. And it’s snorting cocaine.

Oscar

What leads these individuals who seemingly have it all to the dangerous practice of illicit drug use? Perhaps it is because they have everything that leads them to chase the high. Then again, this is far from being a problem just among the rich elite (although they seem to get many more passes than your average drug addict on the streets). According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug use has increased from 2002 to 2012 with a reported 24 million Americans using drugs within the last month (2014). In fact, there is also an overall increase in drug related deaths related to prescription drugs, benzos, cocaine, and heroin (NIH, 2015).

So why do people use?

When asked, those who use give a wide variety of answers as to why they start: to cope with stress, to self-medicate for physical or emotional problems, to relax, to have fun, to fit in. Unfortunately, most did not believe they could become addicted until they actually were addicted. And as any addict will tell you, it is extremely difficult to get off drugs.

It seems to me that we are not doing enough in preventive work to help people avoid even trying drugs. People used to call marijuana the “gateway drug” but that’s no longer politically correct to state. Yet, the NIH reports that over ½ of people who use other drugs started with marijuana. Sure seems like a gateway to me. (PSA to CO, WA, AK, and UT!)

There is danger in legalizing marijuana for recreational use (with plenty of research to back up the problems associated with using marijuana), and, my friends, we have got to stand up against this. Hopefully the states that have already legalized it will change their minds before too much harm is done. Additionally, as is already taking place to some extent, children should be taught about the dangers of drug use from a young age through the use of effective educational programs, but that’s not all. Because it’s simply not enough. Because there is something significantly missing.

This truth:

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Cor. 6:19-20

I believe that if people know their worth, and I mean really know their worth, they would not turn to substances. They wouldn’t have to. They would see that there are other ways to have fun or fit in. They would see that there are other ways to relieve stress or pain. Ways that are actually healthy and helpful. So, as you are watching the Oscars this year, think about the messages some of these “stars” send about drugs…and commit to standing up against them.

Are you struggling with an addiction? Call 1-888-328-2518, a hotline to help you start the process of change.

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Fifty Reasons Not To…

The highly anticipated movie based on the wildly popular book Fifty Shades of Grey has hit a theatre near you. Have you heard of it? (That was a little bit of sarcasm.) I didn’t read the book. I won’t see the movie. But I have decided to write my own blog about it anyway, despite the numerous awesome posts already out there. Based on all I have read, I have compiled 50 reasons not to see Fifty Shades of Grey (or read the book for that matter). In no particular order:

 

50) Promotes violence against women.

49) Promotes control of women.

48) Portrays a warped view of relationships.

47) Includes nudity.

46) Includes sex scenes.

45) Promotes taking advantage of women.

44) Contains graphic images that will be difficult to erase from the mind.

43) Harmful to marriages.

42) Promotes unhealthy sexual interactions.

41) Promotes unhealthy “self-care” to try and cope with emotional pain.

40) Contains vulgarities.

39) Demonstrates and promotes BDSM.

38) Demonstrates and promotes sex outside of marriage.

37) Has no Biblical merit.

36) Contains extensive content that goes against Scripture.

35) Teaches men they need to be dominating.

34) Teaches women an unhealthy take on submissiveness.

33) Teaches that pain should be pleasurable.

32) Teaches that the pain of others should be pleasurable.

31) Teaches that inflicting pain on others should be pleasurable.

30) Contains pornography.

29) Supports the pornography industry.

28) Pretends to demonstrate a love story, which it clearly is not.

27) Demonstrates stalking.

26) Demonstrates theft.

25) Teaches men to manipulate women to get what they want.

24) Teaches that it’s okay to hurt others because you have been hurt.

23) Promotes a false sense of boundary setting.

22) Leads people to believe that abuse is normal.

21) Researchers at a major public university state “emotional and sexual abuse is   pervasive” in “50 shades.”

20) Confuses people as to what “romance” is.

19) Teaches men how to groom women for abuse.

18) Demonstrates unequal power in a relationship.

17) Contributes to a culture of women who desire this type of erotica in media.

16) Promotes isolation of women.

15) Teaches women to accept this type of relationship under the pretense that it’s love.

14) Teaches that this type of relationship is “sexy.”

13) Glorifies emotional abuse.

12) Demonstrates breaking and entering and pretends this is a romantic gesture.

11) Demonstrates a woman settling for abuse rather than real love.

10) Teaches that as long as a man is attractive and wealthy, he can do whatever he wants without question.

9) Encourages people to make unwise decisions that are harmful to them.

8) Teaches that someone with emotional pain can be “healed” by another person.

7) Teaches that it’s okay to desire pain.

6) Contains the same abuse patterns that victims of Interpersonal Violence experience.

5) Pretends that those in an abusive relationship have an easy way out.

4) Demonstrates taking advantage of someone who is intoxicated.

3) Has been spoken out against widely by domestic violence organizations.

2) Contains verbal abuse.

1) Teaches a message about love that is completely opposed to the sacrificial message of love that Jesus Christ teaches.

 

And if these 50 reasons aren’t enough, check out some other commentators:

 

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/film/fifty-shades-grey-and-abuse#0iSuVW14qxUrwEhG.99

 

http://www.scarymommy.com/a-letter-to-my-children-about-fifty-shades-of-grey/

 

http://www.pluggedin.com/movies/intheaters/fifty-shades-of-grey.aspx

 

http://www.scissortailsilk.com/2015/02/10/christian-women-and-christian-grey/

 

http://www.onlyabreath.com/2015/02/50-shades-grace-thoughts-movie-culture-numbness/

 

http://www.megmeekermd.com/2015/02/a-psychiatrists-letter-to-young-people-about-fifty-shades-of-grey/

 

http://www.upworthy.com/6-real-quotes-from-fifty-shades-that-could-make-you-rethink-how-you-feel-about-it?c=ufb1

 

I am sure that most of us have read and/or watched something that we regret. There is forgiveness and there is an opportunity to change. So you watched the book? Don’t go see the movie. So you went to see the movie? Speak out against it. Don’t read the rest of this series. Don’t read or watch any type of material that fits into this genre. Talk to your friends about why this type of material is harmful. Friends, let’s just say no to this book and movie, and every other one that contains any of the negative and unhealthy messages listed above!

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