Jimmy Eat World -- "Pain"

"Pain" Lyrics:

Anyone can make what I have built
And better now...
Anyone can find the same white pills,
It takes my pain away

It's a lie, a kiss with open eyes
She's not breathing back
Anything but bother me
It takes my pain away
Nevermind these are hurried times
Oh oh oh
I can't let it bother me

I never thought I'd walk away from you
I did
But it's a false sense of accomplishment
Every time I quit

Anyone can see my every flaw
It isn't hard
Anyone can say they're above this all
It takes my pain away

This song reminds me of some perverted advise I have heard over the years:

--Numb yourself to present circumstances whenever and however this might be convenient for you.
--Take care of yourself first.
--Alter your mind by any available means; this is an acceptable alternative to improving your actual character.
--You're really having a good time when you're so sloshed that you're barely conscious.
--Like yourself first; everything else is second.


Lauryn Hill said to her audience at her MTV Unplugged concert, "Fantasy is what people want, but reality is what they need." When I hear this, at first I feel indignant that anyone would threaten my right to embrace whatever fantasy I want for myself. I wouldn't admit out loud that I love fantasy, of course... I would object with some kind of self-serving statement, such as "Who are you to say what reality is?"

It is difficult to acknowledge reality; that's why we would rather embrace distraction or anything that gives us an escape.

So what's the difference? What's the benefit in dealing with inconvenient truth? (thank you, Al Gore)

Dealing with reality is necessary for us to grow up, for one thing.

Even better, the more we obey Jesus Christ, the more He will chip away at the foundations of deception upon which we have built our lives. The more we tear out and destroy the lies that have crept into our minds and hearts, the freer we will be to know and fellowship with God. This kind of freedom has to be grown into through years of trial and hardship, but this is infinitely better than willful, childish self-deception.

To quote Lauryn Hill again, here is a snippet from her song, "Selah" (from The Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood soundtrack)

How beautiful, this fruit
Still in denial of it's roots
My guilty heart behaved so foolishly
This treason from within
That reasons with my sin
Won't be happy 'til it sees the death of me
Selfishly addicted
To a life that I depicted
Conflicted 'cause it's not reality
Oh, what's left of me
I beg you desperately,
Cause me to agree
With what I know is best for me
Please save me from myself
I need You to save me from myself
Please save me from myself
so I can heal.

60 minutes -- True Happiness

The other day I saw an episode of 60 Minutes about the "Happiest Place on Earth," which turned out to be Denmark. They interviewed some young Danish students who described government-managed, virtually worry-free lifestyles. All this to say, I would still rather live in the U.S. (still the land of opportunity) but still, I couldn't help thinking about what is and isn't true happiness.

The Danish students observed that possessions are a big deal in the U.S., which is no news flash. It is true that we Americans tend to measure our success according to the material goods we accumulate. 60 Minutes contrasted this with the fact that rich people tend to have a lower "Happiness Index" (or whatever they call it) than those who are content to have "enough." This also isn't news to most people... most everyone will confirm that money can't buy happiness.

But, as of late, I haven't been so sure about this. I have been less and less sure about whether the statement, "Money can't buy happiness," is true or not. After all, I think to myself, how happy can I be while I'm trapped by my ailing finances?

Lately the phrase "financial freedom" has been sounding sweeter than ever. Lately it's been hard for me to imagine freedom apart from financial well-being.

It's not surprising that my faith has been mutating slowly over the past few years to the point that I now want more worldly "hook-ups" from God. I want a tangible raise for my troubles. I want worldly favor in addition to the otherworldly treasure He has already given me (joy, contentment, a clear conscience, purpose, a healthy outlook on relationships, etc).

My quest to obtain money has led me to yearn for money as an end in itself. But money, by itself, is neither desirable nor satisfying.

As my desire for money has developed, I have drawn nearer to losing the things in my life that are truly desirable. The more I dedicate my heart and mind to the pursuit of money the more perverted my mind and heart become.

Then a song by Skillet called "Comatose" jogged my memory:

I don't wanna live
I don't wanna breathe
'les I feel you next to me
you take the pain I feel
waking up to you never felt so real
I don't wanna sleep
I don't wanna dream
'cause my dreams don't comfort me
The way you make me feel
Waking up to you never felt so real

I hate living without you
Dead wrong to ever doubt you
But my demons lay in waiting
Tempting me away
Oh how I adore you
Oh how I thirst for you
Oh how I need you

So what do I truly desire? God! I desire God.

Sure, I desire other good things such as friendships and measurable success in my life-endeavors, but what I long for first of all I to know Jesus Christ.

As soon as I pull my head out and draw near to Christ, then I will be full. My soul thirsts for God's Presence... I can't deny it. As long as I know Jesus Christ, I might possess no wealth at all yet I would have everything.

Doesn't it make sense that we should be built to desire God? Isn't this clear just by observing human behavior?

"I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
--Jesus to a mixture of disciples and the Pharisees

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.

--Psalm 42:1

Batman is "Incorruptable" says the Joker

The Dark Knight has one rule: "No Killing." He demonstrates his uncompromising adherence to this rule by saving the Joker toward the end of the movie. The Joker, naturally, is entertained by Batman's display of incorruptibility. He can't understand Batman's dedication the same way that Batman can't entirely understand the Joker's zeal for anarchy.

The one thing that separates Gotham's handful of good guys from the swarms of bad guys is their incorruptibility. Commissioner Gordon and Batman join ranks in Batman Begins because, besides Rachel Dawes, they're the only ones with enough cahones to pursue justice for justice's sake. Later on, in the Dark Knight, Harvey Dent demonstrates a similar quality of gutsiness that wins him a place with Batman and Gordon.

At first the Joker wants to kill the Batman. Later on the Joker figures out a better way to beat Batman: Corrupt him. Even better, he sets out to corrupt the centerpiece of Batman's goals to bring justice to Gotham: Harvey Dent. Not only does Harvey mean a lot to Batman, he is the poster boy of Gotham's justice system. The Joker darkens Gotham by snuffing out the city's brightest burning light.

The Dark Knight's message about incorruptibility is also true in real life. A handful of people are like diamonds thrown amidst the sands of humanity, a rare few who are holding the whole world together. To resist evil is to swim against humanity's natural flow, but is at least a remnant that is bold enough to do this.

Throughout history God has reserved a handful of people for Himself. These are the few who who dare to open their minds and hearts up to His purifying influence. These are the people God uses to change the world for good.

P.O.D. -- "Execute the Sounds," Lyrics and Scripture Juxtaposition

from their CD, Payable on Death

"Execute the Sounds," partial lyrics:

You want to mess with me, try to take this crown
Babylon test me, we go smash them down
Original O.G., this is my playground
No take me seriously, you gonna feel it now
I man, know the harder they come
Because I man, am gonna get the job done
You know I man, know they don't want none
Me never have to cheat, 'cause me already won


David's observations as recorded in Psalm 33:

The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.

Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,
on those who hope in His steadfast love,
that He may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.


"You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands."

--David's words to Goliath, just before he killed the giant with a simple sling and stone (1 Samuel 17)


"My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then my servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, my kingdom is not of this realm."

--Jesus speaking to Pilate (John 18)

Green Day -- "Nice Guys Finish Last"

(from their Nimrod album)

Nice guys finish last.
You're running out of gas.
Your sympathy will get you left behind.

Every joke can have its truth
And now the joke's on you.

I never knew you were such a funny guy.


Is there any benefit in practicing charity, selflessness, purity or honesty? Do these things ever pay off? According to Green Day, the answer is "No" and, from this band's worldly perspective, that answer is correct. Don't worry, though... Green Day's perspective is extremely limited.

At first glance, the saying, "Virtue is it's own reward," seems really weak. It doesn't sound nearly as powerful as "Blast mercilessly through anyone who gets in your way."

In a fleeting sense, it pays to lie, cheat and steal. Such action will help you get what you want right now. However the other outcome of such action is a tainted conscience, so the liar, cheater or thief never really gets to enjoy the spoils of his efforts. As the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome, "their conscience bears witness and their thoughts alternately accuse or else defend them" (Romans 2:15).


John said something that you'd have to experience to really appreciate: "if we walk in the Light as God Himself is in the Light then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

Who knows what it's like to be cleansed? Who can appreciate the incalculable riches of being spiritually free, liberated from all guilt and tainted thinking?

If there is any way to find out about these things, it is through Jesus' teaching. He was appointed by God to teach all comers how to adopt a heavenly perspective, which rises above the "Nice Guys Finish Last" rut-thinking. Whether you ever embrace a meaningful life-perspective depends on whether you take care of business with Him first.


It is better (though far more difficult) to live by faith in God than to live by sight alone. Thus, people who live and die by their unyielding dedication to an unseen, higher Cause most effectively improve the world around them (though their peers might notice this fact only after they are dead and gone).

The good work that Christ gives his followers is difficult, but the end-product makes it all worthwhile. Developing and utilizing one's faith-based muscles if beneficial in every way, both in this life and the life to come.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

I read an article in a recent issue of Time that, by the year 2050, we might achieve environmental equilibrium by leveling out the population's growth rate and banning all fossil fuels.

This made me wonder whether we might ever achieve social equilibrium, or relational harmony with our neighbors. In regards to material wealth especially, it is hard to imagine humanity ever achieving a fair balance. We can't help plotting and scheming to accumulate as much as we can get away with.

At one point in the movie Terminator 2, the young John Connor turns to the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and says, "We're not gonna make it, are we?" Terminator answers, "It's in your nature to destroy yourselves." He should know -- he and his man-inspired counterparts were invented for the sole purpose of destroying humanity.

Terminator 2 depicts a realistically bleak outcome for humanity. This war-saturated doomsday is the logical conclusion of our present, destructive habits.

It's easy for us to compare ourselves to notorious dictators or serial-killers and say, "Well I'm not as violent as them!" But the sad truth is that we all have the capacity to be violent than than the most ruthless men we have ever heard of.

We all possess a similarly destructive, spiritual crookedness. A brief, hateful thought unbridled snowballs into mass destruction and genocide.

"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment."
--Jesus, Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:21-22)

POD -- "Alive"

(from P.O.D.'s Satellite album)now that i know You, i can never turn my back away
now that i see You, i can never look away
now that i know You, i can never turn my back away

now that i see You, i believe no matter what they say


Sometimes I get angry at God for not giving me everything I think I need, but how can that be?

Suppose I went to the streets preaching about how God has screwed me over... this would last about 10 seconds before I'd start to feel ridiculous. I would be proclaiming that Almighty God, omniscient and omnipotent, has done me wrong. But just admitting that He is throws a huge wrench in any game plan I might have to oppose Him or destroy His reputation.

God operates on a scale of infinitude while I can just barely deal with the issues that face me right now, today. His perspective is immeasurably grander than mine, therefore I should accept whatever He thinks is enough for me.

In any case, what can I lack as long I know Jesus Christ? I already have immeasurable, incorruptible wealth just just by being associated with Him.

Garth Brooks -- "Unanswered Prayers"

"Unanswered Prayers" Lyrics:

Just the other night a hometown football game
My wife and I ran into my old high school flame
And as I introduced them the past came back to me
And I couldn't help but think of the way things used to be

She was the one that I'd wanted for all times
And each night I'd spend prayin' that God would make her mine
And if he'd only grant me this wish I wished back then
I'd never ask for anything again

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you're talkin' to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn't answer doesn't mean he don't care
Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers

She wasn't quite the angel that I remembered in my dreams
And I could tell that time had changed me
In her eyes too it seemed
We tried to talk about the old days
There wasn't much we could recall
I guess the Lord knows what he's doin' after all

And as she walked away and I looked at my wife
And then and there I thanked the good Lord
For the gifts in my life


God does not answer prayers as we might expect because our expectations are too small. He also answers prayers differently than we might expect because He is holy and we are not, therefore He knows what is good better than us. Our definition of "good" tends to be misguided because our minds and hearts are tainted by selfishness and sin.

The more we pray, the more time we spend we God, the more He will transform our minds to desire what is truly good, pure and beneficial. Like Garth Brookes, we might fixate ourselves on the first person or thing that appeals to us, but God has an eternal perspective, so He sees the end-product of all things, or how well things will turn out if we go after this or that.

The more we pray, the more we will discover how smart it is to have faith in God. That is, the more we trust God with every aspect of our lives the more we will discover that He is eternally trustworthy.

Bad Religion -- "Dearly Beloved"

I just discovered that practically every song on Bad Religion's most recent album, New Maps of Hell, is spiritually loaded. Bad Religion seeks straightforward truth so diligently, therefore they can't help but convey a message that hints at the Truth Himself.


"Dearly Beloved" -- Lyrics:

Here's a story of an honest man losing religion,
Climbing the pulpit steps before an eager congregation,
The while praying came a wicked inspiration,
Brothers, sisters this is what he said:

Dearly beloved, dearly beloved, dearly beloved,
I can't relate to you, I can't relate to you!

He was the kind of guy who'd always go right out of his way,
But more before that crazy notion leapt right into his head,
And stubbornly crept into every mad perception,
I can't deny a funny feeling when he said:

Dearly beloved, dearly beloved, dearly beloved,
I can't relate to you, I can't relate to you!

Dearest in memoriam - set phasers to stun
And grab yourself a neighbors' skeleton to lean upon,
Did you know him in life - one filled with regret,
So soon we all forget... we ever met.

Do you know my name - sing a light refrain
For a man estranged - I won't deny that I'm inclined to isolate


Bad Religion advocates rebellion against "the establishment" as well as closed-mindedness. Rebellion in itself if unproductive, as this doesn't get any further than "I don't want to be like that." However, rebellion can be good if it rises up against wrongdoing or injustice. Even then, rebellion is still not entirely a good thing... it's better to say, "I do know what is right, and regardless of how much wrong surrounds me, I will continue to pursue what is right."

Rebelliousness is spiritually childish. Anyone who wants to move forward with a clear conscience will desire something more grown-up, like reconciliation. What might this look like? God knows. Reconciliation with God is infinitely superior to any and all forms of rebelliousness.


As for the song, "Dearly Beloved," I can perceive at least one, very useful message therein, which is: Be courageous; cast off your beloved traditions if that's what it takes to seek out the real, living Truth.

Bad Religion uses a pastor stepping down from his religious attainments as a dramatic illustration of the fact that even people whose job it is to have the right spiritual answers can be spiritually clueless. In any case, no matter what our worldly occupation, we will become enlightened in God's kingdom and attain to spiritual freedom when we confess that Christ is all and we are nothing.

Everyone has their own difficulties to overcome. Everyone has an immeasurably long ways to go in their quest for spiritual freedom. Everyone has their own business with God to take care of regardless of how outwardly entrenched in denial, sin or religiosity a person may seem, regardless of how perfect and at peace a person may seem. Everyone has their own chains to cast off, whether it be fear or misplaced affection... the main question is, do you have the courage to cast off these chains? Do you dare ask Jesus directly how this is possible?

"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?"
-- Paul to the church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 13:5)

P.O.D -- "Sleeping Awake"

"Sleeping Awake" Lyrics:

Reveal to me the mysteries
Can you tell me what it means?
Explain these motions and metaphors
Unlock these secrets in me
Describe the vision, the meaning is missing
Won't anybody listen?

Define the riddles of my mind
Nothing is really what it seems

Dreaming of Zion, awake
Sleeping Awake
Dreaming of Zion, awake
Can't stop sleeping awake

Do you see what I see?
And can you hear what I hear?
Do you feel what I feel?
Can't stop sleeping Awake
Do you see what I see?
And can you hear what I hear?
Do you feel like I feel?
Can't stop sleeping...

Can you see it? The writing,
Can you tell me what it means?
Translate the symbols, enigma
Expressions keep questioning me
The message is written,
The meaning is missing
Won't anybody listen?

Prophesy, interpretate the signs
Nothing is really what it seems


This is song is reminiscent of Creed's song, "Higher" ("When dreaming, I'm guided to another world..."). Both "Sleeping Awake" and "Higher" speak of a staying awake while desiring a certain kind of sleep or sober other-consciousness... whatever it takes to tear apart from the death and corruption of this present world.

We should acknowledge this present dying world and do our best to function herein, yet it is appropriate that we should desire the perfect rest that comes from being reunited with Christ.

A citizen of God's kingdom embraces reality more than one who does not, yet, to the one who does not, God's kingdom is imperceptible. "The kingdom of God is in your midst," Jesus said (Luke 17:21), which is true in general. But He also says to His disciples specifically, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that 'seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.'" (Luke 8:10) This means, if He wants you to understand the mysteries of God's kingdom, then He will make that happen.

Not to get too far off track, we are talking about embracing the reality of God's kingdom right now. Christ-followers have eternity to look forward to; at the same time we are embracing eternity right now.

God's Spirit teaches not only by imparting new information but, more importantly, by transforming the way we perceive information. He acts like a sieve or a filter to help us know, see and hear for real. This isn't as mystical or highfalutin' as most people tend to imagine. God's Spirit simply transforms hearts and minds to think more like God, more like Christ. The fruits of this better sight and understanding are purity of mind, greater ability to love, greater faith, a sense of purpose and a sturdier sense of hope.

Hilary Faye is Mr. Intentional

Mandy Moore stars in the movie Saved as Hilary Faye, the top religious superstar of her Christian high school. She takes it upon herself to "save" another student, named Cassandra who is not only Jewish by heritage but (even worse) she is unimpressed by the religious subculture over which Hilary Faye reigns as queen. To Hilary Faye, Cassandra is nothing more than another potential notch on her religious bludgeon. In the mean time, as long as Cassandra remains un-saved, Hilary is content to gossip about her and use her as a point of reference for her own religious accomplishments.

Hilary Faye says "I am totally glad [Cassandra] wasn't expelled. Her actions are such a cry for help. She may not know this now, but she's like that much closer to accepting Jesus in her heart, right?I'm so glad she is staying, so we can save her..." which sounds good to her posse, but she said this for the sole purpose of lifting up herself.

Lauryn Hill describes Hilary Faye's state of mind, which is too dependent on religion, in her song, "Mr. Intentional"... here's the first part:

The road to hell, is paved with good intentions
Can't you tell, the way they have to mention
How they helped you out, you're such a hopeless victim
Please don't do me any favors, Mr. Intentional
All their talk, is seasoned to perfection
The road they walk, commanding your affection
They need to be needed, deceived by motivation
An opportunity, to further situation
Why they're so important, is without explanation
Please don't patrionize me, Mr. Intentional

Lauryn Hill is talking about a misguided, rehearsed sort of care for others that isn't for others at all because it's inspired entirely by self-love.

It's simple. We either care about others or we do not. If we really care about someone other than ourselves, then we don't have to try too hard to demonstrate this.

"You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight."
-- Jesus to the Pharisees, Luke 16:15

Man on Fire -- Overcome Evil with Good

Denzel Washington stars in Man on Fire as John Creasy, a washed up military buff who lands a job as a little girl's bodyguard. The little girl's name is Lupita Ramos, or "Pita" (Dakota Fanning). One day, while dropping Pita off at her catholic elementary school, one of the nuns lectures Creasy, saying, "I wish your profession didn't have to exist." Then she starts to quote Romans 12:21, "Do not be overcome with evil..." except Creasy interrupts her and finishes the verse: "but overcome evil with good." Then he adds, "I'm the sheep that got lost, Madre."

So the question is, "How can we overcome evil with good?" Who is more on track, Creasy or the nun? The nun disagreed with Creasy's training as a killer, implying that he could only think of overcoming evil with more evil. But, despite the fact that Creasy's main skill is killing, we find out toward the end of the movie that he isn't cold or vindictive. Pita even nicknames him, "My Creasy Bear" (though she wouldn't have said this out loud...).

He does what he needs to do to find Pita, which involves a lot of explosions and shooting. But, toward the end of the movie, we discover that his motivation is straightforward, sacrificial love. At the very end of the movie in particular, he demonstrates the genuine quality of his heart by by sacrificing himself to save Pita.

Creasy's gratuitous utilization of guns and explosives threatens to distract us from the main weapon he uses to overcome evil, which is sacrificial love.

Saint Ralph

(Warning: Plot Spoilers)

Saint Ralph is about an imperfect 14-year-old named Ralph, whose imperfections are outweighed by his powerful faith in the supernatural. Ralph deals with his life with surprising grace and optimism despite some troublesome circumstances, including a single mother and overbearing Catholic school. Then, as if he doesn't already have enough to deal with, his mother falls into a coma that the doctors say is irrecoverable.

Ralph then gets it in his head that God will heal his mother if he enters and wins the Boston marathon. So he trains vigorously under the guidance one of his teachers, Father Hibbert. Father Hibbert encourages Ralph even though the school's principal, Father Fitzpatrick, condemns the boy's ideas as ridiculous, even sacrilegious.

Ralph ends up doing amazingly well in the marathon... though he is only fourteen he manages to place second overall. He is disappointed by his loss, but he is comforted by the fact that he did his best and all his peers and teachers are inspired by his dedication and courage. Plus, just before the end of the movie, we see Ralph's mom's eyes fluttering open...


It is appropriate that Ralph should be viewed as a saint for the powerful effect of his actions, which God utilized despite his imperfections. The fact that Ralph makes a fitting saint runs contrary mainstream religious thought, however, as Catholicism makes sainthood too much about people's accomplishments and not enough about God's accomplishments through people.

A genuine saint would prefer to be invisible so that Christ alone will be visible through them. Therefore, if we agree with the saints' saintly thinking, we shouldn't focus on any saintly person's saintliness... we should spend all our time and energy focusing on Christ's divinity.

The amazing thing about people who are used by God is that God works through them despite their imperfections. In other words, the fact that certain people are used by God is in no way a credit to these people. We should measure a saint's saintliness by how much they demonstrate God's miraculous grace, not by how much they demonstrate their own discipline or ability. This is why the idea of sainthood, or canonization, is impractical (and silly) from the point of view of God's kingdom.

Christ came in the flesh to demonstrate God's priorities to humankind, which are spiritual. In Christ we can acknowledge our present imperfections while we press on toward perfection. This way we can take action effectively to establish God's kingdom on earth, all the while enjoying a healthy, reconciled outlook on our lives. We should not focus on any shortsighted, religious definition of perfection, but rather let's give up our right to define perfection and let Christ define Himself through us.

"I do not consider myself to have taken hold of perfection yet... but one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
-- Philippians 3:13,14

The Bravery -- "Believe"

"Believe" song Lyrics:

The faces all around me they don't smile they just crack
Waiting for our ship to come but our ship's not coming back
We do our time like pennies in a jar
What are we saving for?

There's a smell of stale fear that's reeking from our skins.
The drinking never stops because the drinks absolve our sins
We sit and grow our roots into the floor
But what are we waiting for?

So give me something to believe
Cause I am living just to breathe
And I need something more
To keep on breathing for
So give me something to believe

Something's always coming, you can hear it in the ground
It swells into the air with the rising, rising sound
And never comes but shakes the boards and rattles all the doors
What are we waiting for?

I am hiding from some beast
But the beast was always here
Watching without eyes
Because the beast is just my fear
That I am just nothing...
Now it's just what I've become
What am I waiting for
Its already done, Oh

(repeat chorus)


Sometimes I wonder if Jesus had it backwards... I wonder if it would be better to take care of my worldly business and then take care of my business with God. Right now, for example, I wouldn't mind having a bit more of a financial "cushion."

Granted, I plan on progressing financially as a natural result of working hard, but, as The Bravery's "Believe" says, what would be my motivation for progressing in any way apart from God? My worldly goals don't mean much compared to my eternal purpose in Christ.

Earth-bound riches are of little use to me if I don't have contentment, a clear conscience or a sense of purpose that goes beyond this world. I might fill entire warehouses with silver and gold, but why?


As mentioned in The Bravery's song, if we try to establish ourselves in the world before we are established in God, then we will be plagued with fear. We will fret about the fact that someone or something might destroy our worldly accomplishments at any moment.

As long as we live on planet earth we will never be completely safe. Nothing is guaranteed, not our jobs, not our next meal, not our next breath.

Overcoming fear and discontentment is possible, but only as an aftereffect of taking care of our business with God through Jesus Christ. We will obtain unfading riches to the extent that we invest in God's kingdom.

"Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Seek first God's kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. "
-- Jesus to his disciples, Matthew 6:20, 23


"I'm 21st century digital boy
I don't know how to live,
but I got a lot of toys..."

-- Bad Religion, "21st Century Digital Boy"


In the futuristic world of Wall-E, humanity embraces consumerism with a zeal that turns the Earth into a huge garbage bin. After the planet becomes uninhabitable, everyone blasts themselves into space in huge luxury spaceships for an extended vacation. They leave behind an army of little trash robots called "Wall-E's" to clean up their mess. Eventually all the little Wall-E's break down except for one, who continues his work diligently, stacking little cubes of trash into skyscrapers of refuse.

Eventually Wall-E runs into the sleek, female robot of his dreams, named Eve. Wall-E helps Eve find the last surviving plant in the world. Eve takes the plant back to her home-base ship, named Axiom, to prove that Earth has become habitable once again. Wall-E follows Eve into space, back to the Axiom where thousands of people have been living for hundreds of years. Thanks to Wall-E and Eve's efforts, the people aboard the Axiom catch a new vision for their lives and turn the ship back around toward Earth.


Wall-E demonstrates the fact that modern technology can be good or bad. Excessive dependence on machines, for example, is detrimental to our physical, mental and spiritual health. God designed us to thrive on working purposely with our hands and our minds.

We are also meant to grow through life's struggles. When our daily lives become too easy, we lose our moral bearings and grow backwards toward immaturity.

Technological advances give us more power over the world around us, but that's not always a good thing either. Thanks to fossil fuels, for example, our ability to expand, consume and pollute has increased exponentially. We have also figured out how to blast ourselves into space, which means we can explore the universe... but still, a healthy existence is impossible on any other planet besides earth. Apart from earth's gravity, for example, we lose muscle and bone mass, which will inevitably have grave effects on our mental and spiritual health as well. God designed us to live on Earth.

We might devise ways of living that seem more efficient (eating fast food for example) but God's natural design will always be best. In Wall-E people drink their food out of a straw, which seems more convenient, but there is more to eating than just transporting nutrients into our stomachs. God designed us to eat solid food, which includes the exercise of chewing, which is also related to our God-given need to exercise.

Also, advancing technology can encumber our ability to relate to other people. The crew of the Axiom, exchange genuine relationships for the perpetual distraction of little screens that follow them around everywhere. Thanks to their unending flow of flashing noise, they phased out meaningful interaction with other people altogether.


Mental programming is another major theme in Wall-E. The Axiom's pilot had to wrestle the ship's controls away from the autopilot-robot to get himself and his crew away from their perpetual vacation, back to living. As the captain struggles to get control of the space cruiser, he argues with the autopilot, saying "I don't want to survive... I want to live!"


Another lesson from Wall-E: Life is sacred. Wall-E and Eve face all kinds of dangers to preserve the last remnant of life on earth.

Wall-E and Eve represent the gumption that God implanted in all people. They are inorganic, yet their extravagent passion awakened a spiritually fizzled human race. They reawakened people's desire to do more than survive -- to live.


Starring Jena Malone as Mary (pregnant girl), Mandy Moore as Hilary Faye (religious ringleader), Macaulay Culkin as Roland (Hilary Faye's brother, in the wheelchair), Patrick Fugit as Patrick (pastor's son, Mary's eventual boyfriend) and Eva Amurri as Cassandra (Jewish girl).


Why would anyone turn such a wonderful, revolutionary way of life as Christianity into a cold, lifeless religion? What inspires religion in general?

We like to feel successful, therefore it makes sense that we are drawn to religion. Religion gives us the opportunity to measure ourselves against specific rules and standards and then find out whether we are spiritually successful.

Religion also helps us organize ourselves into comfortable, social units. Thus, as soon as Hillary Faye lost her supporters she had lost the main benefit of her religion.

Christianity began as an extremely risky, Christ-centered, faith-based way of life yet, as Saved! demonstrates, people have turned it into a manmade religion, easily manipulated by anyone who knows all the "correct" answers.


The makers of Saved! go out of their way to demonstrate how much Cassandra, the only outspoken non-Christian in the whole movie, is more mature than all the outspoken Christians around her. She didn't jump through any religious hoops, yet she is more honest with herself than anyone else in the movie. Though Hilary Faye treats her as one who is in desperate need to be "saved," Casandra seems to know a lot more than Hilary Faye about mercy, forgiveness and understanding.


Saved! demonstrates the general truth that all people, religious and nonreligious, need mercy, patience and forgiveness.

God made people different, so it makes sense that people should have a variety of different issues. Thus, the beauty of God's grace: we don't have to be perfect to receive it. God's grace should have a revolutionary effect on our hearts, a drastic softening effect.

Cassandra demonstrates many of the character traits of one who has been affected by grace: She was treated like an outcast, but she still held onto her identity. She offered Mary the support and understanding that she desperately needed. Cassandra also treated Roland as an equal, which not even his Christian-superstar sister, Hilary Faye, could do.


The main character is named "Mary" for obvious reasons. During an inner-monologue she can't help comparing herself to Mary, Jesus' mother, who conceived though she was a virgin. Mary (Jena Malone's character) wished that she had as effective an alibi as Jesus' mother. She felt a connection to Jesus' mother because she thought she heard Jesus tell her to have sex with her boyfriend to save him from homosexuality.


It is ironic that Mandy Moore stars in this movie as a vindictive, religious Nazi because, just two years before Saved!, she had become notorious for her role in A Walk To Remember. She starred in that movie as the sincerely devoted, virtuous daughter of a small-town pastor who influences a rebellious boy to shape up and, for lack of a better word, repent.


Clever quotes:

Roland: "Are you okay?"
Hilary Faye: "No, Roland... I crashed my van into Jesus! Okay? I have a pimple the size of Jupiter! I am NOT okay!"

Cassandra: "I'm not really a stripper, you know"
Roland: "I'm not really a Christian."

Hilary Faye to Cassandra (right after "saving" her): "Hey Cass! How do you feel?"
Cassandra: "Oh, I'm a whole new girl Hay-Faye."
Hilary Faye: "I Told You! How great is Jesus?"
Cassandra: "Yeah, um, about that... I've decided to devote my life to Satan instead. Thanks though!"