Son’s Request Plays Within An Hour On The Radio: What’s Your Latest Godincidence?

Chris, The Thinker, with Belle.
Chris, The Thinker, with Belle.

Another “Godincidence” (a.k.a. something unexplainable that seems to be divinely directed, not mere coincidence) happened recently. Both of our children— Erin, 24 and Chris, 21 had come home for Easter weekend. As we were finishing breakfast, I was talking up the praise band that we’d be seeing at the service that morning. Chris, rather out of the blue said, “If I hear God of Wonders today, then I will believe there is a God.”

I sipped my coffee and shot up a quick and silent prayer, “Please let him hear that song today.” Chris and I have a little history with the song God of Wonders by Marc Byrd and Steve Hindalong. It seems that whenever he and I would have a discussion about the existence of God, faith, or organized religion, Chris would spoof-sing in a hippy sort of way some of the lyrics, “God of Wonders beyond our Galaxy, You are holy, holy.” He had heard this now-19-year-old song during his childhood when he and Erin attended a vacation bible school at an evangelical church in our area.

Though, or maybe it’s because he had received the same rudimentary Sunday school education I did—learning the basic tenets of the Christian faith and how to find the old and new testaments of a Bible–his current take on God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit was colored with age-appropriate, healthy skepticism.

“It’s nice that you and Dad are into it, but I just don’t know about it for me.”

We headed to Easter service in separate vehicles. Chris rode in Sean’s car and Erin rode with me. While driving, I had 106.9 FM, K-LOVE on my radio. Granted it is a Christian radio station, but in my experience listening to it for almost a year, I’ve only ever heard them play current Christian artists and new songs. All of a sudden, God of Wonders started playing. “Erin!” I screamed, “The song! The song! Call your brother right now! Tell him to turn on 106.9 on Dad’s radio!”

Erin looked stunned as she dialed Chris on her cell. “Mom, don’t cry, you’re gonna make me cry!” Then to her brother, “Mom says to turn on 106.9 right now!”

Chris was on speaker, “I bet I know what’s going to be playing,” he said.
“I can’t believe it, Chris! I’ve never heard this song is played on this station! You asked for it, Bud!”

Please share your latest “Godincidence.”

Mac’n’Cheese Porn : Nevermind Jeans, Now Even Comfort Foods Are Sexed Up!

Sex in advertising is nothing new, but macaroni and cheese porn? Yesterday, midday, I looked up from reading as my husband was flipping between a race and football. There, dancing to Give a Little Bit (Shame on you, Supertramp!) were two, ah, well, amorous?? boxes of macaroni and cheese coming on to each other! Unbelievably, they slid in behind a toaster where we are to believe they are, ah, “making more pasta”…and four little containers of mac and cheese come pitter-pattering out after them!
Really? Do advertisers have to sex up everything? Not even comfort food is safe!
I hate to list the brand name of this company, and ones like it because it only does what they want. Push their brand and sell their products.
At risk of doing so, I have to rant about a leading jean company that goes WAY beyond imagination and decency in selling their red-tag-on-the-pocket jeans. The unconscionable company’s “Live in *****’s,Just Don’t Bore Them” campaign, does anything but bore. It makes me abhor the company. I happened to catch a lascivious ad recently. In a swift but indelible scene,a twenties-something man steps back from a woman who is bent backwards over a kitchen counter. He hoists up his jeans suggesting he’s been caught in the act or just finished with her.
Nothing left to the imagination. How do we explain something like this to young children? How do we protect our youth from what is broadcast as the norm? I was grateful that I was not watching with young children, teens, or really anyone besides my husband. I feel the same way as One Million Moms director Monica Cole in her post Levi’s Makes One Million Moms Mad With This Commercial.Check it out. What do you think? Is it OK, humorous, or inappropriate that we are subjected, (in some cases barraged by) overtly suggestive and sexual advertisements?

Politically Incorrect Girl Scout Songs of the 70s: Did We Have A Clue?

In 1975, I was ten and had no clue of what I was singing. Some of the songs we sang around the old campfire in Girl Scouts back then would get you burned, or maybe even a lawsuit today! Consider these lyrics: “Big red indian, beats upon his drum, rum tum-tum, rum, tum-tum. Woo-Woo-Woo!” There was an obnoxious hand gesture of hitting your lips in a war cry on the woo-woos!

Another song, which I didn’t get at the time, was about a man named Ruffus Rassius Johnston Brown not paying his rent on time. Another one that I thought was so funny was about Fried Ham, Fried Ham, Cheese and Baloney. Each of the four verses was sung in different ethnically-slurred accents! Gads!

The topper had to be “Just plant a watermelon right on my grave and let the juice slip through…Now Southern fried chicken might taste mighty fine, but nothin’ tastes better than a watermelon rind..”

A sign of the times. Don’t make it right.

I don’t mean to pick on the Girl Scouts. In fact, some of my best childhood memories are from Camp Higganumpus, a Girl Scout camp in Higganum.

We kids picked up politically insensitive lyrics on our transistor radios. At recess, we’d march across the playground belting out, “Half Breed” by Cher at the top of our prepubescent lungs.

It was around this time, thank goodness, of the advent of Archie Bunker and All In the Family. The creators did us a favor by holding up a mirror. Each episode was blaring hyperbole of how small-minded and racist we could be.

Do you remember thinking your older relatives “were just like Archie Bunker”?

There was still some of it going on in the 80s, though. Recall the movie Sixteen Candles by John Hughes starring Molly Ringwald? Whenever the international student staying at the main character’s house appeared in a scene, a gong would sound punctuating his obvious Asian background.

So what is my point? As decades are unfolding now, just rounding my fifth one, I have to believe we are a little less coarse and more sensitive as a society today. I am pretty sure the Girl Scouts of 2014 would only allow sanctioned ditties that are 100% PC as a matter of good conscience, and not fear of litigation.

What do you think? Are we politically correct enough today? Do you think we’ve gone overboard and are too overly PC?

Are You A Boat-Rocker or A Doormat? No More Christian Nice Girl Can Help

If you know me or have read even a few of my rants, you might be justified in calling me a boat-rocker. One who speaks up, goes against the tide, and says, “Hey people, the Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes!”

To be honest, I’ve heard more than once in my life, “Why can’t you just let it be?” “Stop being a bulldozer!”

Looking back over the past few decades, I believe I have been a vigilante for justice, champion of the underdog, a sometimes unsolicited protector, and a buzz-kill-whistle-blower.

I haven’t always won popularity contests pointing out things— (“Hey caregivers, your dependent (senior citizen) really needs some new teeth!” “Hey, hip radio station, it’s not OK for your DJ to encourage 15-year-old listeners to get drunk on a Saturday night!”). I’ve spoken up at church meetings and in town government as a Selectman and taxpayer. I’ve campaigned against verbally abusive and sexist kid coaches and challenged community “do-gooders” when they soft-soaped school drug-use survey results. The list goes on and on.

Sometimes I saw immediate change— the elderly lady got new teeth before she passed away! The FM station brought their radio show to the high school in effort to make nice. Sometimes it seemed fruitless to stand up, though. We got the crappy coach canned, but he was rehired almost immediately at a different high school.

Wouldn’t it just have been easier to look the other way? Just go with the flow?

Believe it or not—I haven’t always sounded off. I’ve done my share of plastering on fake smiles, holding my breath, stuffing it all down. Suppressing too much (especially anger) has led me to have to deal with mid-life anxiety and low-grade depression. When I’ve failed to speak up and felt I should, I felt like I had an itch I couldn’t scratch.

I have evolved enough to know by now at 48 that it is not up to me to save the world. To help me discern, I’ve begun wearing The Serenity Prayer etched on a bracelet. I truly need “the wisdom to know the difference” of what I can or cannot change so I can go through the rest of my passion-prone life without bulldozing, bungling, or burning out.

The book No More Christian Nice Girl:When Just Being Nice–Instead of Good–Hurts You, Your Family, and Your Friends by Paul Coughlin and Jennifer Degler, Ph.D. (Bethany House Publishers) has been another great tool to help me figure things out. I learned why it isn’t healthy or even Christian to be “a nice girl”, faking, stuffing, seething. I am relieved that I haven’t necessarily gone against God by speaking up or calling something or someone out when someone was being neglected, hurt or mislead. I will concede that there were times when I came on too strong—even for a good cause.

NMCNG reminded me that I need to be more like the complete (360 degree) Jesus. While He lead by example of a life of love of God and neighbor, he decidedly had a firm side. He wasn’t always the smiley, bearded, hippy-crunchy shepherd featured on the felt board in Sunday School. The authors say, “a narrow focus on the sweet side of Jesus gives women the idea that God wants Christians to behave sweetly in all situations.  Here’s the problem: Jesus says in Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth,” not the sugar of the earth.”

We are called to be stronger.

Jesus got pretty strong sometimes. He challenged those in authority and turned over the tables in the temple (Matthew 21:12). Coughlin and Degler reveal several more passages, almost twenty percent of the four Gospels showing where Jesus wasn’t always “nice and gentle, but assertive and firm when necessary.”

My kind of Jesus!

Admittedly, I have a LONG WAY TO GO in being more Christ-like, but I can strive to be a Woman of God—because “…God prefers his women to do more than passively sit on their hands while evil triumphs.” (Page 82). I can be firm out of love, instead of saccharine-sweet and smoldering inside.

Coughlin and Degler explained, “Our goal with this book is not to create Christian Mean Girls who bulldoze people…Christian women need to find a balance between passivity and aggressiveness.  This starts with finding a backbone so that they can be redemptive forces for good in a world that too often strips people of their dignity and worth.”

I encourage you to read this book to get over being a “Christian Nice Girl.” (If you are a guy, you can pick up, “No More Christian Nice Guy: When Being Nice–Instead of Good–Hurts Men, Women and Children” by Paul Coughlin.)

You’ll find as described:

“When passivity and false niceness don’t bring the abundant life Jesus promised, some Christian women try even harder to hide behind a fragile façade of pleasant perfection. Paul Coughlin and Jennifer Degler give women the empowering message that they have options far beyond simply acting nice or being mean–if they will emulate the real Jesus Christ and face their fears of conflict, rejection, and criticism. Brimming with enlightening information, thought-provoking questionnaires, real-life stories, and biblically based teaching from both the male author of the pioneering No More Christian Nice Guy and a female clinical psychologist, this book will motivate women to allow God to transform them into authentic, powerful women of loving faith.”

Like me, you will learn how to navigate successfully and not be a doormat in relationships with family and friends, boyfriends, your spouse.  You’ll see how to be firm in the workplace. The book even talks about knowing when it is time to walk away from abusive relationships.  It’s definitely a cool resource for a Bible study group. Anyone interested? I will serve chocolate covered pretzels representing how we’re to be both salty and sweet.