Studio day! New video coming soon! (at Forty-One Fifteen)
#tbt #throwbackthursday Senior Year #baseball
I worked this up in 2010 and pretty much forgot about it until this year. Decided to dust it off and give it away for those of you (like me) already listening to Christmas music :)
Seen this guy before?
I must say, it’s all over the place here in Nashville. But if you haven’t seen or heard anything about it, here’s a quick summary: Chapman says that people tend to show and accept love in varying ways — using certain languages. These languages are described as the following:
- Quality Time - feeling love when other spend time with you
- Gifts - feeling love when others give you gifts
- Acts of Service - feeling love when others do things for you or serve you in any way
- Physical Touch - feeling love when another touches you lovingly
- Words of Affirmation - feeling love from the verbal approval of others
Chapman notes that people tend to express most freely the type of love that they also desire, and that for most, one of the five languages tends to impact an individual’s heart more profoundly than the others.
That’s pretty much the gist of it. Many readers have successfully used Dr. Chapman’s ideas to build much better relationships and marriages. It’s good stuff, and I think the premise and content of the book can be very helpful.
But like the title of this post states, I’m sick of it. Here’s why: in the hands of our modern Western culture, it often becomes an atom bomb. I recently met a girl who proclaimed upon one of our first conversations, “I’m definitely a words of affirmation.” That was her complete sentence. In the end, it was the structure of this sentence that surprised me. Essentially, she said, “I am a words of affirmation,” in the same way she might say, “I am a human.” It implies identity, but not only that, it implies immutability. Inflexibility. She is, always has been, and always will be a words of affirmation.
Does that sound strange? Yeah. But a lot of us do this, don’t we? I do.
Sometimes I’ll catch myself saying, “I’m an INFJ.” I’m a 2w3. I’m a Dumbledore. In an age and culture where individualism pervades and influences us in ways we probably don’t even realize, we love taking personality tests, strengths tests, weaknesses tests, which disney princess are you? tests, etc. And though many of us may dismiss this is the case, I think these tests are evidence of one of the strongest driving forces vying for our time and attention today: the pursuit of self-discovery.
More than ever, we want to know what makes us tick, to know our place amongst our peers, to know what qualities may help us succeed in certain careers. Of course, I don’t think that coming to a better understanding of yourself is inherently a bad thing any more than the ideas Chapman lays out in the Five Love Languages are inherently bad. We can use knowledge of ourselves to better understand how to interact with the world around us.
But we’ve taken it a little further, haven’t we? We take the test to learn our love language, and then deem the result important enough to amend our personal constitutions. We may even shun pop culture, throwing our figurative tomatoes at Lady Gaga, but we still believe that we were born this way. And maybe we were. But here’s what’s truly evil, and perhaps the most obvious bit of evidence of our obsession with self-discovery:
When Bob finds out that he’s an ENTP, a spark ignites in him. Suddenly, he sprouts a hearty desire to study more about ENTPs, to learn all he can about them. Why? He desires to become more truly himself. His trajectory of growth is in the direction of his own uniqueness. And that’s when he becomes immutable. When it comes to the betterment of his character, he believes he’ll achieve it only by learning to be a better ENTP. Here’s the kicker with that: essentially, what he’s saying is, “I’m as good as it gets. I couldn’t benefit by growing in any other direction besides that of my own personality.”
So back to the Five Love Languages: does our individualistic desire for self-discovery taint this personality test as well? I think so. The girl mentioned earlier might genuinely light up when she receives certain words that seem to unlock her heart in ways that no other kind of affection is able to. It’s a truly incredible thing! She’s stumbled upon an exciting bit of new knowledge about herself. But what to do with it?
She could head outward, learning to operate in different, more uncomfortable ways that make others feel loved also, or she could seek more of what makes her feel good. She may begin to count the words of those around her, measuring them to see which ones satisfy her the most. She may start grading her spouse on his ability to deliver these words, and as the years wear on, create an increasingly harder curve because she’s become surprisingly more difficult to satisfy. Yet still, she stands by herself and says, “I’ve found out that I’m a words person, and I want to grow in that.”
So what happens when her children are born? What happens when friends from different cultures come into her life or her husband happens to naturally function in a completely different way? She’s spent her life becoming an expert in the words language, and therefore can’t communicate in any other language with anyone else. Despite her belief that she’s pursued the depths of her relatability with others, she’ll only be able to experience a very shallow swath of human love.
I think that perhaps Dr. Chapman would agree: we must actually learn to be multi-lingual when it comes to love. We must reevaluate what we tie our identity to.
You may be an introvert, but that doesn’t give you the right to attend parties and sit in the corner brooding. You may be a words person, but that doesn’t give you license to do more than simply “weep with those who weep,” in a situation where no words could possibly suffice. We could spend much more time on the implications, but in the end, this is true: if you spend your time heading in the direction of you, that is exactly what you’ll end up with, and nothing more.
My pastor recently said something I’ll probably never forget. He said, “today we often think that the most important parts of ourselves are the things that distinguish us from others — our uniquenesses. But really, it’s our ordinariness that’s most important, not our uniqueness.”
What does he mean by this? He’s coming against pervasive self-discovery. He’s saying that our identity, as Christians, doesn’t in any way come from whether or not we got Belief on StrengthFinders or whether we tested high for teaching on our spiritual gifts inventory — whether we’re an introvert, a type 7, or a Pocahontas. It doesn’t even come from how we define our personality. Our importance, our identity, is irrevocably tied to the very thing that we all have in common: God’s incomprehensible, all-encompassing, perfect love for us, demonstrated by the saving work of Christ on our behalf. That’s the kind of love language we must pursue. All other personal information about how you love and operate is merely a means to Christ’s end.
Just in case you, like me, spent the morning pondering which Nashville establishment would serve as your makeshift office for the day, I humbly submit my top five for your consideration — the pros, the cons, and the ways to conquer your favorite coffee shop.
5. THE WELL
Pros: The Well sports one of the best environments amongst coffeehouses in Nashville. Its rustic barn-house backdrop tends to get all the right kinds of creative juices flowing. All sales proceeds there are donated, especially to clean water efforts in third world countries, which is pretty incredible. But not only is your dollar going towards making a difference in the world, you also get some pretty dang good coffee and food in return. And though I’ve never been to one, I hear they occasionally put on some acoustic concerts with some pretty gnarly (a word which here means “awesome”) artists like Andrew Osenga.
Cons: At certain times, you may be asked politely to return to your home as flocks of menopausal women descend onto the premises for evening bible study.
Conquering The Well: Take some time to look over merchandise — it all goes to a good cause. I personally recommend the White Mocha, and if you’re looking for a power outlet, try snagging a table near the stage.
4. BONGO JAVA
Pros: Bongo was, for me, the gateway drug to many more hardcore local coffee shops. It stands across the street from Belmont and sees many students come and go, as well as the occasional celebrity. Their porch is probably one of the best in Nashville. Seriously, it’s awesome, especially on a cool Fall day. But be warned: the squirrels here seem to be highly territorial. Don’t be surprised if you come to find that they’ve landed a couple of gnarly (a word which here means “smelly”) presents in your coffee while you were busy trying to sneak a picture of Taylor Swift. Recommended drinks: Mochahontas.
Cons: A thorough study of hipster culture might be advantageous before entering. Baristas have been known to give out nasty glares to anyone who has trouble pronouncing the names of their signature coffee drinks, which they likely christened after a lyric from their favorite Sigur Ros album (the one you’ve never heard of). You might also want to reconsider before taking your children here; you may find yourselves dining upon a table depicting Christ with exposed female anatomy. And I must warn you: parking will be difficult.
Conquering Bongo Java: Bongo is the perfect place to go on laundry days, when you must simply wear whatever was gathering lint at the back of your closet. In fact, you may find that you never knew you were so stylish. Try the back parking lot first, and if you have no luck, there’s bound to be a place open along Belmont Boulevard. Once inside, follow the peculiarly narrow hallway back to the woolly mammoth table, or the one with the woman’s lingerie nailed to it. This is your new office nook — quiet, bright, and full of power outlets. Feel free to partake of the complimentary water geyser behind the bar to your heart’s content.
Pros: Crema has perhaps the best location of any Nashville coffeehouse. From the front porch, you get a great view of the Gateway Bridge and the skyline. The atmosphere is relaxed and the coffee is great. Crema probably also wins the award for best mugs (they usually come with saucers, too). Don’t underestimate their food options, either. I first discovered quinoa at Crema and my life forever changed.
Cons: Mandatory flannel dress code.
Conquering Crema: Go during the Spring or Fall. Sit on the porch. Enjoy life.
Pros: If Bongo is the embodiment of Belmont culture, Fido is like his older, more reserved and well-mannered brother who modestly landed the presidential scholarship at Vandy. Bongo uses mom’s money to strategically dress like a homeless person, but Fido has taken a different path in life: he’s acquired his self-worth from countless business meetings and shopping trips to Banana Republic. Though he no doubt bears semblance to the Bongo family, he remains sophisticated. His food is amazing, his chefs are phenomenal; the special platters change on a daily basis. And Sleepy Hollow will be the best pumpkin latte you’ve ever had, period.
Cons: Although the food is delicious, it can get a little pricey, and during certain times of the day, the line at the counter can be pretty long. The WIFI is also rather persnickety. Also, like most all coffee shops in Nashville, the parking can be nauseating.
Conquering Fido: Avoid Fido around mealtimes. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, grab a side, like the sweet potato fries. You’re pretty sure to find a table near a power outlet in the back room if it’s not being used for a meeting. Fido is an especially good place if you’re easily distracted by Facebook or Twitter — the internet cuts out sporadically anyway.
1. FROTHY MONKEY
Pros: I’m not exaggerating when I say I can’t go a week without a White Monkey Mocha. It’s my personal creativity juice, which makes Frothy the pope of coffeehouses in my book (as well as the Nashville Scene). In fact, I’m writing these words right now from a seat near the bar. Frothy is pretty much the Cheers of the greater Nashville area; you’re bound to run into someone who knows your name. But while this place is a haven for good networking connections, beware! The chances that you’ll run into your former crazy calculus professor or an ex-girlfriend is very high. So get to know the baristas. They’re some of the coolest people in town and they’ll always have your back.
Cons: Because Frothy is the awesomest, it’s gained a great deal of recognition over the past few years. It gets pretty crowded. To be honest, if you go anytime between 9am and 5pm, you’re going to be lucky to find parking and a table. But if you’re a morning person like me, hop in before the rush and you’ll never want to leave.
Conquering Frothy Monkey: Get there either before 9am or after 5pm, and if there’s an open table, throw your stuff down onto it fast, before getting in line, effectively marking your territory. Draw a mustache on your finger. That way, you’ll have a disguise ‘on hand’ in case unwanted visitors pass by. Also, I know the spiral staircase is cool-lookin, but DON’T go up there.
Found another pirate.
God had always been king over Israel, but the day came when Israel demanded a new one. He warned them that it wasn’t best for them — that their very desire for a new king was itself evidence of their mistrust and discontentment in Him. But they continued to ask him for it. And he didn’t refuse them.
He didn’t withhold the thing he knew wouldn’t be beneficial for them. In this case, he chose not to override their decision. Instead, he told Samuel, his prophet, that he was to find a king for the people. Why did God do this? Because his children are just that sometimes — children. They can be told not to touch the stove, but chances are, they’ll still do it, and get burned.
Israel sinned by calling for a new king. God gave them over to that sin. Why? They needed to see that He alone was the only king that could give them true healing, true justice, and true care. In their fallen state (the same state we are in today) they wouldn’t arrive at that conclusion with the conviction he desired from them unless they actually experienced the failures of earthly kings and came face to face with their sin in wanting such rulers in the place of God. He desired that they come to depend on him more deeply.
So maybe we should ask ourselves: why are we today — especially those in leadership roles — so quick to commandeer the decisions others make under our guidance? Why do we feel that it’s our job to save them from their sin or their bad feelings? Over and over again in the Bible, God lets his people come frighteningly close to their depravity so that they may see his glory clearer in contrast. He gives his children good warning, but if they persist in their desire to touch the stove, he doesn’t pull their hands away. He knows they can’t escape his love, and he knows that when it comes to his children, trouble will always drive them back into his arms.
Do we trust God with the care of our friends? Our family? Our flock? Or do we insist on keeping them insulated, keeping them from experiencing the full blackness of sin? We’re told that when the law came, sin increased, but then grace abounded all the more (Rom. 5:20). While it’s never appropriate to sin, muting our view of it can also mute our view of grace. We must know what we’ve been saved from. So I think we find often that God (though not without ample warning) lets us make bad decisions, or even lets us sin, so that we may come to a fuller knowledge of and dependency on his glory and grace, and trust in his tender care. For he wounds, but he binds up; he injures, but his hands heal (Job 5:18).
Of course, I’m not at all saying there’s no place to share our wisdom with each other, or no place for leaders to guide those under their mentorship. God did give the Israelites a warning: “…in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day (1 Sam. 8:18).” But in the next few verses, after they continued to ask for a king, God gave it to them, actively. He didn’t just let them decide on their own; he instituted Saul himself, sending his Spirit to make Saul prophecy before crowds so that they knew he was chosen for the task (1 Sam. 9). And though he certainly looked the part, he wasn’t their best option by any means (he tried to hide from his responsibilities at his own coronation)(1 Sam. 10:22). God was actively involved in giving them what he knew would be bad for them, but what would also eventually teach them that he alone was king.
I think we must better trust in him as our caretaker, for us and for those we also care for, not becoming anxious when facing uncertainty. We must remember his sovereignty and his fierce, irresistible love that nothing can separate his children from — nothing — not even our own bad decisions (Rom. 8:38-39).
When engaged in disputes as to the interpretation of a particular Scripture text, I have often been rebutted with these words: “Well, that’s your interpretation.” Of course it is my interpretation, since I just stated it as such. My objector means that I interpret it one way and he in a mother way and that we are all entitled to interpret it however we wish. However, God has never given us the right to be wrong about the Word of God. That is why we guard our interpretation of Scripture carefully, looking at the best commentaries that we can find, studying diligently, and not relying on our naked ability. We consult the giants of church history and the confessions of the church. Even though they do not have binding authority over us, they certainly can inform us and help us out of errors born of our ignorance.
Private interpretation always carries with it the heavy burden of accurate interpretation.
Chatty aquarium day!