Living with kindness: Thoughts from watching a Thai insurance video

I used to be a soft hearted person. I loved people, and helping them in any way possible. As I’ve grown older, cynicism has slowly crept in as I’ve seen the nasty things people do and say. I’ve been stung by the harsh words and actions of others. I’ve started keeping others at a distance, overly cautious and afraid of what they might be capable of.

I was paging through my Facebook news feed, and something prompted me to click on this video.

It brought tears to my eyes. I needed that reminder that no matter how others respond to my actions, I need to be kind, thoughtful, and caring. Every day offers me chances to serve others, and I need to use every chance I get.

Jesus was often treated with contempt and hatred. I’m not sure why I expect (and often demand) better treatment than He received. Just because someone treats me with contempt does not mean that I need to offer the same emotion back to them.

Do you find it hard to live with kindness and thoughtfulness?

The hook

I’ve never been a big Blues Traveler fan, especially after the song Run Around. I used to run from the room every time that song would play. I don’t know what it was about it, but it just grated on my nerves.

Their song Hook was all right though. When I heard it recently, I realized I had no idea what it was about. I gained a whole new respect for the band after reading these clever lyrics.

It doesn't matter what I say
So long as I sing with inflection
That makes you feel that I'll convey
Some inner truth of  vast reflection
But I've said nothing so far
And I can keep it up as long as it takes
And it don't matter who you are
If I'm doing my job, it's your resolve that breaks
Because the hook brings you back
I ain't tellin' you no lie
The hook brings you back
On that you can rely
There is something amiss
I am being insincere
In fact I don't mean any of this
Still my confession draws you near
To confuse the issue I refer
To familiar heroes from long ago
No matter how much Peter loved her
What made the Pan refuse to grow?
Was that the hook brings you back
I ain't telling you no lie
The hook brings you back
On that you can rely
Suck it in suck it in suck it in
If you're Rin Tin Tin or Anne Boleyn
Make a desperate move or else you'll win
And then begin to see
What you're doing to me this MTV is not for free
It's so PC it's killing me
So desperately I sing to thee of love
Sure but also rage and hate and pain and fear of self
And I can't keep these feelings on the shelf
I tried, well no in fact I lied
Could be financial suicide but I've got too much pride inside
To hide or slide
I'll do as I'll decide and let it ride until I've died
And only then shall I abide this tide
Of catchy little tunes
Of hip three minute ditties
I wanna bust all your balloons
I wanna burn all of your cities to the ground
I've found I will not mess around
Unless I play then hey
I will go on all day hear what I say
I have a prayer to pray
That's really all this was
And when I'm feeling stuck and need a buck
I don't rely on luck because
The hook brings you back
I ain't tellin' you no lie
The hook...
On that you can rely

The song is all about their frustration at having to write catchy songs. They weren’t able to write songs that really meant something, because all people care about is the hook; that catchy part of the song that gets stuck in your head.

How often are worship songs judged by how catchy they are or how good a hook they have? It doesn’t matter if they’re biblically sound or even that deep, as long as it’s catchy.

Songs that can be easily sung are important. The congregation needs easy to grasp melodies. I get that. But when that’s all worship songs are, I think we’re missing something.

Question: Do you ever get frustrated by the hook in worship songs?


We must love the church

Today I celebrate four years of marriage.

It’s been an amazing four years, filled with lots of laughter and love. I am very blessed.

I’ve always loved how God compares His relationship to us as a marriage. We are the bride of Christ. I know a lot of men shift uncomfortably with all that romantic imagery, but as an emotional woman, it connects with me.

During our wedding ceremony, some talented musician friends performed a special song: “The Church” by Derek Webb. The church is the bride of Christ, and if we love Christ, we must in turn love His bride. It’s a hard message for me to hear some days. I love Jesus, but often want nothing to do with the church. It’s full of ugly people who are underhanded, selfish, and hurtful.

Unfortunately, they come with the package. Most days I am no better than they are. Part of us loving on Jesus involves loving on His people.

If we love Him, me MUST love the church.


*There is an offensive word in this song. In context of the song, it makes perfect sense. Just be warned in case you’re sitting at your desk at work!*

The Church

I have come with one purpose
to capture for myself a bride
by my life she is lovely
by my death she’s justified

I have always been her husband
though many lovers she has known
so with water i will wash her
and by my word alone

So when you hear the sound of the water
you will know you’re not alone

‘Cause i haven’t come for only you
but for my people to pursue
you cannot care for me with no regard for her
if you love me you will love the church

I have long pursued her
as a harlot and a whore
but she will feast upon me
she will drink and thirst no more

So when you taste my flesh and my blood
you will know you’re not alone


There is none that can replace her
though there are many who will try
and though some may be her bridesmaids

they can never be my bride


One word worship

I was thinking about worship the other day, like I tend to do a lot. (When one writes a blog on a particular subject, one’s thoughts tend to drift toward that subject often.)

I asked myself, “What does worship mean for me today?”

One word immediately came to mind.


I sat and puzzled over that word, wondering why it had jumped immediately into my brain.

I need to trust more. I’m not a truster. I don’t like not being in control, not knowing what’s ahead. Part of worship is trusting God. Stepping out on faith and knowing that He’s got your back.

I have this weird health issue that’s been plaguing me for a while. My left ear constantly feels like there is fluid stuck inside. I’ve had countless tests, antibiotics, and doctor visits, and still have no answer. Sometimes I get bad headaches and sinus congestion. It can suck all energy from me and leave me crashing on the couch with trashy TV.

When I’m not feeling great, I get really inwardly focused. I struggle with oh-woe-is-me-itis. The ratio of time I’ve spent praying about this health issue and the time I’ve spent complaining about it is probably 1,006 to 1.

I’ve begun to wonder about it. Did God bring this to teach me something? Do I need to be trusting Him more?

Not that God is a heartless God who always brings suffering to teach us a lesson, but sometimes He does allow unpleasant things to happen to make us better people.

And not that I think I need to abandon all medical help, but maybe with more trust and less self-pity, it won’t consume my life so much.

Trust is a hard thing, but what a way to worship. Telling God, “I love you because you are in control. I’m okay with that. I’m okay with not controlling where this is going. It’s all You.”

God, help me to trust.

Worship propaganda

I found this video and was really struck by it. Mainly because of the boldness of Brian McLaren, and also because I agree with everything in it.

This goes along with what I shared on Monday, that music is dangerous and sweeps us away in happy emotions.

In case you can’t watch the video, here are the key points:

  • People want to “feel” certain things in their worship. They bring a worship check list to each service and if it doesn’t meet each check point, well, the Holy Spirit just didn’t show up today.
  • People put pressure on the worship leader to deliver a certain “worship experience.” As a result, “pre-fabricated worship experiences” are created.
  • When we do this, it ceases to be worship and it becomes manipulation and propoganda.
  • “There’s a huge difference between propoganda and art. There is something about art that says, ‘I’m telling the truth as I see it.’ The truth may not be pretty. It may be, ‘I don’t feel that God is real.’ We can’t handle that.”
  • We may not be able to handle ugly truths, but the Bible can.
  • “When you’re honest about the ugly things in life, it’s a beautiful thing.”
  • “When you try to make everything pretty, it ends up looking really cheap.”
  • “If we try to market God like He’s an infomercial, He seems less real.”

I applaud him for bringing these key points to light. And I wholeheartedly agree. It explains why I often can’t get excited about the worship experience. I long for raw honesty and it’s something that is often lacking in worship.

He asks a question in the video that I’d like to pose to you: How can we be people of truth and rediscover honesty in our relationship with God?

It’s good to laugh

I am a very emotional person. I am passionate, quiet, and often pensive. I am guilty of taking things way too seriously. Sometimes I need to lighten up.

This whole worship struggle is no different. When I fail to connect with a song on Sunday, it’s like the entire Christian church has utterly failed me. I throw up my hands in despair, wondering why I even make the effort of coming to church on Sunday. It’s hopeless! *sigh*

I have to remind myself to lighten up. It’s not the end of the world and my faith does not ride on one song.

It’s also really good to laugh.

It’s why I love blogs like Stuff Christians Like, because instead of agonizing over the stupid things the church does that drive me crazy, it pokes fun at them (in a loving way, of course). That blog has helped me lighten up immensely.

It’s also why I love Christian comedian Tim Hawkins. I’ve shared before how I feel that “Christian” things often fall short of the goal or try way too hard to be cool. Tim Hawkins is one of those exceptions. He is funny. I stumbled across this video on Youtube and had trouble breathing, I was laughing so hard. His thoughts on worship are hysterical, and it feels good to laugh about it, rather than agonize over the negative impacts it’s having on me.


What is Worship?

I often roll my eyes at church videos, but this one is pretty much dead on.

Here are my take home points:

  • Back to the warm fuzzy issue. Worship is not about me and what I get out of it. It’s about what I give.
  • I am so guilty of not “getting into worship” simply because I don’t like the songs. (I do believe that worship songs should be QUALITY songs… but that’s for another post.)
  • Worship is not about the music at all. The music is a medium used to get to worship, but it shouldn’t be the main focus.
  • Worship shouldn’t be sugarcoated. If you just raise your hands to Jesus, all will be well. I appreciate that the makers of this video acknowledged the heartache and struggle that life brings. Part of worship is bringing all that gunk to Jesus. Some days that’s the best worship I can bring Him.
  • At the cross we SHUT UP. Well put.
  • And at the end of it all, just look at Jesus. Gaze at Him. I never thought of worship that way. I like that visual.