Front Row Baby!

 

My best friend posted that on my Facebook page. It is a truth we’ve lived by for the last 11 years. Most my friends feel the same. If we can’t sit in the first row, we’ll begrudgingly take second or third row. It’s not that we’re snobs, and we’re certainly not groupies, but we are spoiled to it.

We like the front row for lots of reasons. Mostly because we like to be where the action is! My friends and I want to feel like that band is playing just for us. We like to be part of the party. I feel like that at church, too. I like to sit in the first few rows. If I am farther back, I get too distracted by the other people in the audience. Farther back feels like watching your favorite movie on an 11” TV instead of the big theater screen!

The other reason we like to sit in front is we are all mad concert photographers. Not professional, mind you. The only reason I take decent pictures is because I’ve been doing it a while now. I’ve picked up a few pointers, but mostly this one little trick. I have found if I take 500 pictures at a concert (Thank You God for digital photography!), 200 of them turn out good, 100 of them are really nice, about 30 of them are kind of awesome, and about 5 are what we call “money shots”. I don’t know why we call them that. None of us have ever sold a photo, although some of us have had photos used on other websites.

It’s always a thrill to see your photo on a music website, especially if they actually ask first and credit us without having to remind them. A good rule of thumb when right clicking and saving someone else’s photo is to save their name with the picture. Then if you ever post that photo anywhere, always ask the photographer’s permission and put something like photo by: Soandso Jones in the caption. The photographer will love you for it.

I’ve gone to concerts and sat stood in the front row without my camera. Boy, is that awkward. I don’t know what to do with my hands! Especially if I don’t know the words to the song. I’m so afraid the singer will look my way, and think I didn’t listen to the record enough to learn all the words.

I like to make the artist on the stage feel appreciated. I clap, sing, smile, dance, and show them that I’m having a great time. That’s why I don’t understand why people sit down at rock concerts. Rock music is meant to move you! These folks up on the stage are working hard. Look at them sweat! It’s not easy to get up there and pour your heart out to a different audience in a different city every night. Artists feed off of the energy of the audience. The more fun the audience is having, the more fun the band has, and the more fun the audience will have. It’s a circle of love!

As I wrote most of this post, I was minutes away from trying to buy tickets to see one of my favorite bands, NEEDTOBREATHE. (That’s not me shouting. That’s how they spell it.) I was a nervous wreck! I checked my blood pressure and pulse, and they were each up 10 points! I love buying tickets, and I hate it. It’s like riding a roller coaster, thrilling and terrifying at the same time! All the while we are screaming, and laughing, and feeling sick, and praying.

And really, I have no business going to this show. It’s in Longview, Texas, and the day after this show my husband and I have tickets to MUTEMATH (they like their name shouted, too) in San Antonio! That means we have to get up the next day, drive six hours, stand in line for another couple of hours hoping to get in there before everyone else, and then stand up all night, because it’s a GA (general admission) show! I mean seriously. Is that anyway for a couple of 51 year olds to act? Of course it is! (Note to self: Pack Geritol and Starbucks gift cards, lots of them.)

But it’s worth it. Whether it’s just me and the hubs, or me and my friends, or any combination thereof, we always have such amazing times at concerts.

So how did I do with the ticket buying? FRONT ROW BABY! It’s going to be an awesome, awesome weekend seeing two of my very favorite bands back-to-back with my hubby and friends!

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Consuming Fires and Their Place in Our Lives

(Breaking Good? Part 2)

Anyway, what I really wanted to say when I got lost in telling you about bonding with our kids over Breaking Bad was how things stick with us and sometimes consume us.

It has become our habit to watch Breaking Bad on Sunday afternoons. We usually watch three to five episodes, two and a half to four hours at a time.

The first time we did this was a couple of Sundays ago. After watching five episodes of Breaking Bad we couldn’t stop talking about it. For two or three days, and in my dreams, that’s all I could think about. “I’ll bet they’ll…” “Oh, I get why they…” “That pink bear was all over the place. I wonder if it means anything.” “What would I do…” And on and on and on.

Then a thought occurred to me. How can we make church do that? How can we make people think about God constantly, and be that preoccupied with questions and a need for Him? What could the church do differently that would make believers and nonbelievers alike run home after service and Google parts of what they just heard to learn more, to have after-church lunches that last hours because the participants are so lost in discussion, every Sunday?

Or not even church. Our small group time, or just our study time, our alone time with God. Anything!

I want to spend three to five hours, one day a week, with God, learning about Him. I want to give Him my full, focused, undistracted, uninterrupted attention. I want that time to be so deep and involving that it’s all I can think about for days. I want it to make me questions and search my mind and my heart and His word and the internet for answers. I want to talk to others about it and have them be on the same page as I am, and as blown away by His awesomeness as I am!

But it seems a lot harder than doing the same thing with Breaking Bad.

Why? Why is it so easy to get so involved with a TV show that is about a guy in a situation I will never, ever be in, doing things I will never, ever do? Shouldn’t it be easier to get deeply involved with a God who knows me personally? With His book that is a love letter written to me and has the answer to every situation I will ever be in?

Maybe it’s because I grew up knowing and loving God. Being a Christian is not new to me. It’s not some shiny Christmas package I’ve just discovered in the back of Mom’s closet that drives me wild with curiosity, which is kinda how I feel about this show. I’m used to Christianity. It’s always been a part of who I am.

I guess it’s like eating chocolate cake for the very first time. You would perceive the taste, smell, texture, the lusciousness of each bite of that cake a lot differently than you would if you were someone who had cake after dinner every night. If you are a Christian, you remember what it was like when you first gave your life to Jesus. I was so excited, so turned on, it was all I wanted to talk about for the first few months. Now it still excites me just as much, but I’ve calmed down, learned to live with it.

And there it is. Light bulb!

When I first started writing this, I had no idea where I was going with it. It just bothered me that it’s so easy to get so deeply involved with a TV show or movie or book. We’ll look up things about it on the internet, follow the stars on Twitter, join Facebook groups, try to get others to watch it, anything to get more involved with it. And it’s only meant to be entertainment, not a lifestyle.

Christianity is meant to be a lifestyle.

Our interest and involvement in entertainment can burn bright and hot, but when it does, it burns out quickly. We could not sustain such involvement at such a heat for long. We get excited about things, and they are all we talk about, but sooner or later the excitement of the newness fades. Some are long lasting interests. These we learn to incorporate into our lives. They take their place on the shelf with the rest of our interests. Life goes on, enriched but not dominated by this interest.

In our walk with God, we do have times of deep immersion. I’ve gone on retreats or done Bible studies that totally enveloped me. He was all I wanted to occupy myself with, and it was wonderful. Unfortunately, we can’t live like this on a daily basis. While we may have the desire, we just don’t have the time. There’s an old saying, “If we’re too heavenly minded, we’ll be no earthly good.” If we were too completely absorbed with any one thing, be it God, a TV show, a hobby, or whatever, after a while our friends would start to fade away, and no one except those as obsessed as we are would want to listen to us or even be around us. We’d lose our jobs. Our homes would be an unsanitary mess. It’s just not how our lives were meant to be. Even Jesus took time to just hang out with His friends.

So yes, I think we need to have times where we are completely occupied by our pursuit of God, but He put us here to live a daily life full of a variety of things. It’s okay to look up from the Bible and take in everything around us, and enjoy a little bit of whatever He puts in our path, be it good friends, family, food, music, or even television shows…with relish…as long as we remember to put Him first. We just need to keep ourselves in check and not go overboard with our little obsessions.

No problem there. This is the last season of Breaking Bad. 😉