Saturday, July 20, 2013

Setting the (Entertainment) Record Straight: An Addendum

By now, everyone reading this should know the drill: I had some points I wanted to make, but didn't put them in the previous post, so, now, here they are, yada, yada, yada.  I think that's about all I need to say about that.

My first point: I know that such tastes make me unique...but that's just how I like it.  With the prevalence of the Internet, it seems that less and less people watch the nightly news these days.  I grew up watching it, but many of the stories, especially on the local news, were rather depressing.  Hearing of murders, rapes, disasters, wars, and scandals made it seem like there was absolutely no good left in the world.  However, from time to time, the local or national news--as well as the local newspaper--would have stories about people who did something different.  One summer, on or around Independence Day, the local news featured an older couple who decked out their entire front yard with patriotic decorations, and kept them up year-round.  Even outside of any news sources, my brother-in-law once told me about a local guy whose Christmas light display is so elaborate, it can be seen from an airplane.

My point is: Whether it's on the news or just via word of mouth, unique people get attention.  In the past, I used to cringe at such stories, and thought of such people as freaks.  More recently, I have realized that I'm just as "different" as they are.  Frankly, I don't want to be normal, because normal is boring.  Even if I did want to be normal, it would be a true "mission: impossible," because I never really have been, and likely never will be.

My second point: I don't get why so many people take issue with me being "different."  Far too often, I see people bending over backwards to do things the "traditional" way for no other reason than that it is considered "tradition".  I once knew a married guy whose Christmas shopping for his wife consisted of buying everything on a list she gave him, and proceeding to wrap it without any sort of disguising.  He told me that it was pointless to even wrap them; he knew that his wife would know exactly what each gift was by just looking at it.  I thought to myself: If that's the case, then why didn't she just buy it herself? Why would anyone go through such pointless rigamarole?

Unfortunately, it would seem that many people take tradition as seriously as if it were a Biblical commandment or a federal law.  If you're not "normal," and/or you don't do what "normal" people should do, then you're essentially shunned.  Seriously, people, that kind of mentality is straight out of seventh grade!  God loves and accepts everyone, not just those who fit your fickle standards.  If you can't accept that, your local middle school is likely accepting registrants for the coming year; you can go there and be among your own kind.

I do want to make one thing clear: The reason I usually shun tradition is because it rarely works for me.  Still, I do have one rule about it: If it's not broke, don't fix it.  Seriously, if the "normal" way of doing things works, then why not do it? It's only a problem when the person/people who is/are doing whatever don't really like it, but are still doing it that way only because, as I've heard time and time again, "This is the way we've always done it." Okay...and are you going to get hauled off to prison if you did it differently? Of course not.

My third, and concluding, point: I'm trying my best to make sure that my "love" of whatever or whoever doesn't become idolatry.  A few years ago, I was attending a Wednesday night class at my church for young adults that was on the subject of worship.  One of the points that the teacher made was: All of us are going to worship something; however, we shouldn't be worshiping anything/anyone other than God.  There's no mistaking it: Throughout at least the first two decades of my life, I was an idolater.  As a kid, nothing mattered more than my single topic of interest, whatever it was.  As I got older, though my likes did broaden a bit, and I did have an interest in God, my views were completely skewed, probably as a product of never opening God's Word outside of of a Bible class or church service.  It wasn't until two years ago that I started doing a daily Bible reading, which is still going strong to this day.

Before that, even though I really had plenty of spare time, I "didn't have time" for such things.  Whatever my interest(s) were--and, starting in 2002, it pretty much was celebrities--always seemed to take precedence over what should have been more important.  Even when my sister died in 2005, it got minimized when Anne Hathaway replaced Hilary Duff as my "number one" the month after.  It got to the point where, when I reconnected with a high school friend a year after I graduated, one of the first questions he asked me was, "You still worship that one actress?" I don't think he was alone in interpreting my intense interests in such a way.  Years later, a former friend who was rather upset about something I had said to her sarcastically retorted, "Some actress you're never going to meet gets more respect than a real-life friend!" I hate to say it, but she was right.

Though all that seems to have subsided a bit, I still feel that idolatry is a bit of a struggle for me, as it seems to be for all of us.  Though it's fine to have interests, it's wrong when they get in the way of what should be more important: our faith, our families, and our friends.  Hopefully, my friends will help me keep that in check.  (You will, won't you?)

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