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by Jeff
Rated: 18+ · Book · Biographical · #1399999
My primary Writing.com blog.
Logocentric (adj). Regarding words and language as a fundamental expression of an external reality (especially applied as a negative term to traditional Western thought by postmodernist critics).

Sometimes I just write whatever I feel like. Other times I respond to prompts, many taken from the following places:

         *Penw* "The Soundtrackers Group
         *Penw* "Blogging Circle of Friends
         *Penw* "Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise
         *Penw* "JAFBG
         *Penw* "Take up Your Cross

Thanks for stopping by! *Smile*
April 15, 2023 at 2:57am
April 15, 2023 at 2:57am
"Take up Your Cross | Prompt

I think a lot of people would approach this prompt looking outside the church at the types of issues that it grapples with. What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Or abortion? What about gender identity, or the role of women in church leadership roles, or age-old questions like why bad things happen to good people? There's also plenty of controversy to be found in the way Christianity has conducted itself over the years. I mean, the Spanish and Roman Inquisitions weren't exactly a great look. Nor were the Crusades, witch trials, and the more recent cover-ups of child abuse and sexual assault by numerous members of the clergy.

All of these things are extremely problematic for Christianity, but to my mind - in terms of the sheer number of offenses and damage that it's done to the institution - the most controversial subject in Christianity today is hypocrisy. Christians are supposed to be followers of Jesus, but it's remarkable how many Christians don't actually practice what he preaches.

For example, Jesus' actual words in the New Testament were, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery" (Luke 16:18, NIV), and yet the divorce (and remarriage) rate among Christians is not significantly lower than the divorce and remarriage rate among non-Christians, even though "Thou shalt not commit adultery" is on God's Top 10 No-No List. That's hypocrisy, and it damages Christianity's case for why anyone should follow its tenets.

Similarly, Matthew 7 is full of Jesus' guidance on judging others: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged" (Matthew 7:1, NIV); "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" (Matthew 7:3, NIV); "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12, NIV). And yet how many Christians do we know that judge others for their differences, judge others for failings while ignoring their own, and/or do things to others, even in the name of their faith, that they would never want done to themselves? That's hypocrisy, and it makes Christians seem the opposite of what they should be: judgmental.

And the reason why this is a controversial topic is because many Christians are very sensitive to having their hypocrisies pointed out. Christians who profess to be against abortion as a matter of law, but encourage it for their own loved ones when an unwanted pregnancy proves inconvenient. Christians who ignore the calls to forgive enemies, forego other idols (jobs, money, reputation, appearance, pleasure, comfort, etc.), or care for the least among us (the poor, the oppressed, orphans, widows, etc.). Christians who seek power and influence for themselves, and attempt to force their beliefs onto others even when they are poor stewards of faith themselves. Being faced with one's own hypocrisy can be a great source of guilt and shame, but if there's anyone who's able to acknowledge their own sin and shortcomings, it should be Christians. You know, the ones that talk of repentance and forgiveness and acceptance of others despite their flaws.

There are many, may controversies facing Christianity today. There are also plenty of issues that Christianity struggles with as it seeks to define itself in the modern world. But neither of those categories of things can be addressed earnestly while the church still has a hypocrisy problem. Until the world can look upon Christians and say, "Wow, when Jesus said he is the way, the truth, and the life, he wasn't kidding! Christians are living a different and desirable existence and I want in on that!" then controversy will continue to find the Christians in a multitude of forms because they simply aren't practicing what they preach.
April 14, 2023 at 1:49am
April 14, 2023 at 1:49am

My wife and I were talking the other day about Taylor Swift's Eras Tour. We're pretty big fans of her music and when we heard that she was going to be playing an extensive setlist from across her entire discography, we tried to get tickets... but alas, Ticketmaster ended those plans in a rather unceremonious fashion with the way they bungled the ticket queues. But my wife and I got to thinking, even if we can't attend her tour in person, which songs would we want to hear? We decided to challenge ourselves to put together our own setlist and I'm documenting it here because, well, I don't have anywhere else to post it. *Laugh*

If you want to play along (or get an idea of the methodology), here were the rules:

         *Bullet* Select exactly 44 songs (the number of songs on her actual tour setlist)
         *Bullet* Must choose at least 3 songs from each of her 10 studio albums
         *Bullet* The other 14 songs can be additional tracks from any album, or tracks from her EPs, album re-releases, etc.

With those established, here's what I went with:

Taylor Swift (2006)
         1. Teardrops on My Guitar
         2. Picture to Burn
         3. Our Song

Fearless (2008)
         1. Love Story
         2. White Horse
         3. You Belong With Me

Speak Now (2010)
         1. Mine
         2. Back to December
         3. Mean

Red (2012)
         1. 22
         2. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
         3. Holy Ground
         4. I Knew You Were Trouble

1989 (2014)
         1. Blank Space
         2. Out of the Woods
         3. Bad Blood
         4. Clean
         5. This Love
         6. You Are In Love
         7. Shake It Off

Reputation (2017)
         1. Delicate
         2. Getaway Car
         3. Dress
         4. Endgame

Lover (2019)
         1. The Archer
         2. Cornelia Street
         3. You Need to Calm Down
         4. Death by a Thousand Cuts
         5. I Forgot That You Existed
         6. Me!
         7. Cruel Summer

Folklore (2020)
         1. the 1
         2. exile
         3. mirrorball

Evermore (2020)
         1. long story short
         2. 'tis the damn season
         3. ivy

Midnights (2022)
         1. Anti-Hero
         2. Bejeweled
         3. Midnight Rain
         4. Maroon

Additional Tracks
         1. Today Was a Fairytale - from Fearless (Taylor's Version)
         2. Message in a Bottle - from Red (Taylor's Version)
         3. All Too Well (10-minute version) - from Red (Taylor's Version)

The hardest albums to whittle down were 1989 and Lover because I genuinely like almost every single track on each of those albums. I could have stood to lose some tracks off Evermore, Folklore, and her self-titled first album in exchange, but it wouldn't be much of a challenge if I could just pick whatever 44 songs I wanted with no restrictions. *Wink*

April 2, 2023 at 2:25am
April 2, 2023 at 2:25am
To qualify for my Watch List every month, the following has to be something that I've watched that's new to me. It doesn't necessarily have to be a current show, but it can't be reruns or rewatches of something I've already seen. So if I'm including it in this list, it means this month is the first time I've watched it. I'll put "DNF" (Did Not Finish) next to anything that I stopped watching and have no immediate plans to finish.


         *Movie* Everything Everywhere All At Once
         *Movie* Leave No Trace
         *Movie* Minions: Rise of Gru
         *Movie* The Purge: Anarchy


         *TV* Jack Ryan (Season 2)
         *TV* The Night Agent (Season 1)
         *TV* Shrinking (Season 1)
         *TV* Yellowstone (Season 2)


         *ButtonPlay* Anthony Jeselnik: Fire in the Maternity Ward

Everything I watched this past month was pretty decent. Everything Everywhere All At Once was a lot of fun (although I'm not sure it was Oscars Best Picture caliber), and probably my favorite movie of the month. On the television front, I'm still really enjoying Yellowstone, but Shrinking was pretty charming and The Night Agent was a surprisingly good political/espionage thriller show.

My favorite of the month though had to be Anthony Jeselnik's Netflix comedy special, Fire in the Maternity Ward. If you're not familiar with his particular brand of comedy, it's extremely offensive... but that's kind of the point. He's actually known for his brilliant one-liners, but he accomplishes that by subverting audience expectations and going places they don't expect him to go. In the past month, I've listened to all three of his comedy albums, plus watched this special and I don't think I've laughed so hard in a long time. His humor is definitely NSFW and not for the easily offended... but for everyone else, his comedic timing and ability to come up with deadpan zingers is a real treat, especially for anyone who appreciates good storytelling.

TOP PICK: Anthony Jeselnik: Fire in the Maternity Ward

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