Christianity, Culture, Faith

Idol Distraction

Warning:  This post is faith-based, so turn back if this is not your cup of tea.

I read today that the average phone user checks his phone 150 times a day. 150?  Not me. I can go a couple days without looking at my phone.  I spent enough time answering phones at former jobs, that I avoid it all costs in real life.  And I don’t text.  Ever.  So that makes me better than you, right?  No, it doesn’t.  Because I check my email and facebook and this very WordPressy blog nation.  Sometimes several times a day.  I’m guilty of wanting to be entertained and amused. Constantly.  Anything to escape a harsh reality, the huge dip in the 401K, the unpeace in the Middle East, the recession–basically everything the Today show reports in the pre-9am hour, before they get to the fun stuff.

But as I was reading the chapter Isaiah today (in my Bible), about men making wooden idols out of the very thing used to bake their bread, I thought about men making pocketsized idols out of plastic. Little screens that show movies and play music and have games, all the things the devil uses to distract us from what’s real and important.  That is no different than a golden calf, no different than making an idol of our job, of our economic status, of the bling on our aging skin.  But that’s not who we are; that’s not what matters.

I don’t want to be the teen I saw, skating circles at the roller rink, staring at her ipad instead of engaging in the present moment, with the flesh and blood humans around her. I read my Bible in a book made of paper because I imagine if I read it on a screen, I would be tempted to check shinier bells and whistles on that screen as soon as I left the scripture. Instead of letting it sink in.

Ever since 9/11, little ticker tapes of needless information have run across the bottom of the TV screen, and they run across our minds. And then we lie awake at night, wondering why we can’t slow down, why we can’t let it go.

I admit I enjoy all these distractions, the ease of randomly picking a topic, doing a search, and then reading a post about it.  Sometimes informative and engaging, even.  But we won’t lie on our deathbeds, regretting we didn’t read enough blogs or check enough status updates. Facebook will be as over as myspace by then. Will WordPress exist?  And how much crazier could it get?  Will we have chips implanted in our heads like Humane Society dogs, telling us the time and temperature and names of celebrity babies just birthed?  It is so hard to detach and let go.  There is too MUCH information.  It’s like trying to decide on a dessert at The Cheesecake Factory.  We went from flipping through immediately outdated copies of Encylopedia Brittanica in gradeschool to having access to the power of Google–the world at our fingertips.  We never have to wonder about song lyrics again.

But I need to check myself and remind myself what to read first thing when I awake.  It’s not this.  It’s not my phone.  It’s not facebook.  It’s not TV.  But it IS the source of all that matters.

Celebrities, Culture, Humor, Nostalgia

Seven Brides for Only One Brother

We’re about to get Biblical up in here.

The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon, by Sir Edward John Poynter
The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon, by Sir Edward John Poynter

Let’s get this straight.  King Solomon starts out on the right track.  He builds a temple, he moves the ark of the convenant to it, he dedicates it.  Good, good, good.  Then he starts accumulating riches and signing treaties right and left, and each time he puts his John Hancock down, a lesser king gives his daughter in marriage.  Badda-bing, badda-boom, Solomon’s got a piping hot, fresh, new wife.  Nevermind that Moses’ law said in plain Hebrew that a king shall not “multiply wives to himself.”  Solomon was multiplying wives like nobody’s business.

God already told him that his wives would lead him astray and turn his heart to false gods, and son of a gun, if the Lord wasn’t right.  So how is this man wise?  1 Kings 10 tells us that “the whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.”  Yet one chapter later, it states that Solomon loved many foreign women.  Hold up.  First off, nobody “loves many women,” foreign or not.  At least not at the same time.  That is not love.  Even Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias could tell you that.

Just dealing with two lovers is hard enough.  Ask Mary McGregor; she was torn between two lovers, feelin’ like a fool.  Even she had the decency to know that “lovin’ you both is breakin’ all the rules.”  You hear that, Solomon?

You either love Pharoah’s daughter or you don’t.  If I were her, I would be all, “Don’t come in here, telling me you just married some Ammonite skank.  I’m not trying to hear that.  And don’t be defiling our kingdom with those nasty Edomites and Sidonians.  If you so much as lay a hand on a Hittite, you’re never touching me again.  I don’t care if you are a king.  Israelite, please.”  I would have told him to put everything he owns in a box to the left.

And then he’d be all, “Don’t hate the player; hate the game.”  But the player tallied up 700 hundred wives and 300 hundred concubines.  And really, what’s the difference?  Wives get gold nameplates on their desks?  Actually, concubines have lower social rank, which prevents them from marrying.  So Pharoah’s daughter was right; it WAS slumming.  But I’m sure all one thousand of them got along hunky dory.  Just watch one episode of TLC’s “Sister Wives” and see how that plays out.  Everyone wins with fundamentalist Mormons and polygamy!

Look how happy Ken and Barbie–I mean Kody and Meri–were back in the day.  She had no idea what was coming.  Although, to be honest, I can’t say that I could have resisted his Pepsodent smile myself.  Three wives and seventeen children later, it hit him!  “Oh, snap!  This didn’t work out well for Solomon, and he was the wisest dude ever.”

God schooled Solomon in 1 Kings 11: “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son.”  And he did.

So the lesson here is one man, one woman.  Ideally, ’til death do you part.  But WWMRD?  I’ll tell you what Mickey Rooney would do. He would marry and divorce and marry and divorce until he racked up eight wives total (so far).  Talk about a player!  I realize everyone loved Andy Hardy, but this man is ONE INCH SHORTER than Dudley Moore.  He must seriously have it going on.  Five foot two!!  And at 92, he’s bound to have shrunk.  Discs degenerate, people.

Mickey Rooney & Jayne Mansfield
Mickey Rooney & Jayne Mansfield

God bless you, Mickey.  Now let’s just do a quick run-through of the ladies you managed to get to say “yes” when you bent your knee, from most recent back to WWII (in which you served).  Jan Chamberlin (m. 1978), Carolyn Hockett (m. 1969–1975), Marge Lane (m. 1966–1967), Carolyn Mitchell (m. 1958–1966), Elaine Devry (m. 1952–1958), Martha Vickers (m. 1949–1951), B. J. Baker (m. 1944–1949), Ava Gardner (m. 1942–1943).  Well, at least he finally figured it out.  He’s been with his current wife longer than the other seven wives combined.  An old dog CAN learn new tricks.

He explained, “When I say I do,’ the Justice of the Peace replies, ‘I know, I know.’ I’m the only man in the world whose marriage license reads, ‘To Whom it May Concern.’ But to have been married eight times is not normal. That’s only halfway intelligent.”  My point exactly.