Friday Funny | January 10 2014

Print this and fill out as needed.

Print this and fill out as needed.

A very belated Happy New Year’s from YMHM! I hope that this apology slip will help you repair the familial bridges scourged during the holiday period. Alternatively I suggest leaving everything behind: getting in your car and driving till the fuel runs out, then hitchhiking across a dry expanse of desert using a fake name, finding work in bars, getting into fights and generally being consumed by a trickery of nostalgia and regret… Or deleting people off Facebook. Whatever works for you.

I hope that your 2014 is good, but not so good that you worry that it’s too good to be true and all about to go horrendously wrong. Just good enough that next year might be even better.

Cheerio :)

Top Ten Posts for 2013

Welcome to YMHM, where we are finally a mere semester away from an actual, can-you-believe-it degree! “About time!” some would say, and by ‘some’ I mean ‘all’. “All of my family.”

I know my posting lately has been lazy sporadic, so I thought I’d compile a list of YMHM’s top ten posts for 2013. I know the suspense is killing you, but please, try to remain calm:

  1. Grace: one size fits all.
  2. Four degrees of love.
  3. Sixteen fun ideas for attending a new church.
  4. Questions.
  5. Friday Funny for August thirtieth.
  6. Virtues.
  7. The God who is.
  8. God’s joy.
  9. Ruminations from the back pew: happy clappin’.
  10. Good Christians.

If you’re curious about the posts or articles I most enjoyed reading, check out my reblogs tag. You can also take a look at this post, in which I worship at the altar of longform.org. As a bonus it has a super weird graphic, so there’s that to look forward to.

How was your 2013? Personally I am convinced that time is a lie, but you know. I try to be open-minded about these things.

Thank you for skimming reading this blog this year. I truly appreciate every like and every comment, especially those that are not trying to sell me medication for erectile dysfunction.

I wish you and yours a very happy, blessed Christmas. May you not be the biggest screw-up at your family dinner. May the food be good. May your arch-nemesis not attend the Christmas service and if they do, ignore you first.

And remember: keep it classy.

A gif about eating pants.

I just call them “pants” but okay.

Ruminations from the back pew

I attend a local Methodist church. It has three services every Sunday: 7:30, 9:30 and 18:00. I usually go to either of the last two because if I went to the first one I might run into morning people (shudder).

On my way into church I got caught behind a family gaggle*. I don’t know what it is about me that sends small children tugging nervously at their grandmother’s skirt, but that’s what happened. Maybe I shouldn’t have tried smiling at them.

Patrick Bateman smile

Lately we’ve been trying to lure in welcome new congregants. I love it when new people come to our church because it upsets the established seating order and then it’s anyone’s game. I had a whole pew to myself near the heater, until someone slid in late smelling strongly of shoe polish. Unfortunately this pew is right in front of the mother’s room (which ironically contained only a father), which has not been properly soundproofed. So when a toddler tipped something over, my first thought was that the pew was going**. If you love me, I told God, you won’t let the pew break. I call this The Fat Sinner’s Prayer.

The leader of our evangelism team reported back on their efforts. Apparently the two biggest obstacles at this point are 1) that white people mistake them for Jehovah’s Witnesses and 2) that black people mistake them for white people.

Jehovah Witness level: expert.

Jehovah Witness level: expert.

There have been some changes to the worship team: Luciano Pavarotti has joined. He has a lovely voice, but it booms like the depths of Moria under siege. It took the congregation two songs to recover some of their wits and marshal a watery response to the giant’s thunder. I haven’t had that much fun singing in years because there was absolutely no chance of my reedy wiffle being overheard.

He probably isn't a stranger to The Fat Sinner's Prayer, either.

He probably isn’t a stranger to The Fat Sinner’s Prayer, either.

The sermon was about being saved by God’s grace (an old one, but a good one). How our redemption through Christ is unconditional and eternal. How we are accepted, and ought to accept in turn. How we need a relationship with God, church, fellowship, friends, to sustain the knowledge of our salvation and buffer us against worldliness. And you know what? In that back pew I felt sufficed with grace. A while ago I posted a reblog about how we tend to look for perfect churches (now there’s a misnomer). But really I think it’s just about finding an imperfect place that drowns out your own imperfections with love.

Yes? Yes. :)

– – – – – – – – – –

*Two grandparents, their children and their children’s children. If you ever wonder why the Israelites spent forty years trekking across a relatively small patch of desert, just look to family gaggles. It’s a time-consuming affair, making sure small children or confused geriatrics don’t wander off into traffic, and that’s not even counting the time fathers spend fussing over secure parking or mothers root through purses, bundles of children attached to their legs like so many ducklings. All of this occurring on the stretch of sidewalk between you and holy ground, of course. For a second, just one second, you sympathise deeply with Jehovah.

And it’s at a church so you can hardly lose your temper. The trick is to spot family gaggles ahead of time and slow down your pace so that your incandescent, unmarried-no-children rage remains a steady two steps behind any stragglers.

**They’re these old, creaky wooden things, stand alone and arranged along the flanks of the room.

Friday Funny July 12, 2013

Monopoly

 

I also enjoyed this post: When dad’s away, mom makes bad parenting and driving choices.

Have a great weekend!

Grace: one size fits all

Someecards

Do you think it’s sometimes easier to be merciful towards the ‘big’ sinners–murderers, thieves,  rapists, and so on? This morning I was disparaging about a family member whose husband is ill. Her requests for prayers and support are more about her than him, and I wasn’t feeling very sympathetic, much less inclined to pray for her.

Later I read an article about a man who raped a six-month old baby to death. Through the disgust I found myself thinking something along the lines of, well, everyone deserves grace–even him. I was more gracious about this guy’s crime than my aunt’s relatively harmless (and even understandable) narcissism.

Have you ever experienced anything similar? It made me feel like a prat and I wondered if we have the reverse situation going now than in Jesus’ time: where we are more likely to forgive or help strangers, these ‘others’, than we are the people in our own backyards over weekends, on our Facebook timelines, in our living rooms.

Maybe it’s because for most of, these ‘others’ are on the periphery of our lives: they live in news bulletins or in ghettos or in quiet whispers about ‘someone who knows someone who knows’. They don’t buy us birthday presents or spam our e-mail accounts with chain letters. We can afford to be gracious because doing so does not fundamentally alter our lives.

But extending grace at home, at work, in shopping malls, at birthday dinners, to the people we see every day–that’s not always so easy. We tend to grade sins, and unfortunately our magnanimity about those who commit them sometimes grows in relation to how big we think the transgressions are. The ‘smaller’ sins slip through the cracks of daily life, into that shady area of ‘habit’.

But all grace is radical, and everyone, regardless of who they are, what they are, whether those parameters fall within or outside our families, communities or comfort zones, deserves grace. Even slightly histrionic aunts :).

All grace is grace.

When

“When in public measure your words.

When with family control your temper.

When alone watch your thoughts.”

–Unknown

{via Gicorreia}

Anyone

Jesus doesn’t begin with a list of pre-qualifications. His invitation to follow is addressed to Anyone. —Not A Fan, Kyle Idleman

God doesn’t wait for you to reach maturity before he starts liking you. He loves and enjoys you at every stage of your spiritual development. —The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son… — John 3:16 ESV

Anyone. Even the irritating neighbours or the self-righteous church lady. Even the self-important friend or the horrible boss. Even the cheating ex or the gossiping uncle. Even the rude waiter or the person driving like an ass. Even the hobo who attacked and tried to rape an old lady. Even the gay guy with a chip on his shoulder. Even the friend who betrayed you. Even the person who took advantage of your kindness. Abusers, hypocrites, government officials, nice people and awful people, kids, adults, criminals, politicians, the person who hurt you most, your favourite star, your most hated enemy, the people you pass in the street, colleagues and acquaintances and people you knew in first grade. No matter your past, no matter you present. Anyone. Even you. Even me. Anyone.

How to accept Jesus’ invitation:

First, believe. Believe God loves you and made you for his purposes. Believe you’re not an accident. Believe you were made to last forever. Believe God has chosen you to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Believe that no matter what you’ve done, God wants to forgive you.

Second, receive. Receive Jesus into your life as your Lord and Savior. Receive his forgiveness for your sins. Receive his Spirit, who will give you the power to fulfill your life purpose. The Bible says, “Whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever!” Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity: “Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.” Go ahead. —The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren

Anyone.