A World Stuck on Feelings

Slowly but surely for so many times now, I’m realizing the truth of something  warned by the books I read: We have become a culture that puts priority on feelings. Truth is secondary. People are secondary. Virtues are secondary. What is all-important is feelings. Feelings generate money.

I remember a marketing guru, who asked, “Do you want to sell a product? Then, be ready to create demand.” It’s not necessary if the demand is real. At least it must be perceived. Whether true or not is secondary. “And then what really would sell it is the feeling of exclusivity, of the superiority of owning it….THAT would sell the product.”

This may be an effect of entertainment. Yesterday, I saw a program in TV detailing the life of a matinee idol who was riding a Jaguar attending to his restaurant businesses. He came from a poor family. It’s a blessing to see a rags-to-riches story. But I wonder how many rags can accomplish a story like his? And then when you think deeper, his business success was fueled by his role as an actor. Entertainment! The money maker of today. What buys a Jaguar? Businesses that pay commercial spots on soap operas, sports, films, and TV programs that stimulate our feelings.

I remember reading a book by Neil Postman long time ago titled, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

It might have been decades since I read that, but I remember him saying in effect: TV has made an entire world dumber.

Which is very sobering because, we all know it: when we are dumb, our refuge are our feelings.

And as if that is not enough, now there is Facebook. It makes us dumb and dumber as a lot of articles say.

We have become narcissists; loving all that is inside of us. Feelings, thoughts, image. Mostly, feelings. That is why Facebook is successful. That is why I have my facebook page.  I too, am in love with myself. In all my years of reading, I have come to the conclusion that the enemy of man is himself. That deep within us is a drive to destroy ourselves. To kick the goads. Never mind if it wounds me, as long as it feels good. In the medical circles, we call that masochism. Everybody does it. Sometimes though, the good news is, some people wake up from it. But as far as me observing the world, all of us are in a stupor. We revert into it most often. We are, most of the time professional sleepwalkers.

Sometimes even, I’ve been asked to speak about Christ and Christianity, there is still residual rebellion to the idea that my life is not really mine. I mean, just from stating the idea alone: My life is not mine, is like an oxymoron. But you know, when you believe there is a God, you have to accept that He created you and being a created being, the Creator must have a purpose. And this hurts: Sometimes His purpose is not what you really want.

Most of our society’s impulse is to believe we are made to enjoy the world. That is in a way true. The first article in the Westminster Confession ask: What is the chief end of man? And it answers: To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. One way to enjoy God is to enjoy His creation – enjoy nature, enjoy the company of creation, enjoy the taste of food and enjoy the opposite sex as a partner. And then with a thankfulness, we eventually love the Lord all the more. What happened is that we stopped at the point of enjoying creation and its produce. God is left in a cathedral waiting for us every Sunday. We even have corrupted our enjoyments. We have become excessive. And as if that is not enough, we have come to the point of perverting even how nature should be appreciated by us. (It has come to the point even that saying two males should never cross their swords in bed is considered politically incorrect.)

And this is all because we don’t want to have our enjoyments meddled by a God with whom we should be accountable. We just want the ride, man. Forget about buying the ticket. We don’t want a God who wants to be King. We don’t want a God who will say, What I want should happen, not yours turkey. We want a God who respects us. Who gives us want we want. We don’t exactly want a Santa Claus, we want a Butler Santa Claus. One who would make us feel good, not do good. To do His bidding, and not the other way around.

And all of us would prefer dozing off. Entertainment pumps our adrenalin but it soporifizes (to put to sleep, ooohh I love highlighting my first use of it) thinking.

Oh, I better stop. This doesn’t feel good at all.


The Prodigal Son’s Theme Song

I was simply browsing thru the net and then I saw the lyrics of a familiar song I heard before and it struck me.  Very profound.  It’s like this is the song of the prodigal son under the stink of the pig sty, remembering his father.


When you try your best but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

And high up above or down below
When you’re too in love to let it go
But if you never try you’ll never know
Just what you’re worth

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Tears stream down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down your face
And I

Tears stream down your face
I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
Tears stream down your face
And I

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you.

Moreso, when I was reminded of this excerpt from the Pulitzer (?) Prize-Winning Film, Young at Heart.  It reminded me, these are words we, all of us young and old, from the rocker to the conservative,  long to hear from Someone who has all the power to fix us, truly – down to the very core.

Fix Us Down to our Very Core.

Post Script: Incidentally, I was once tasked to preached regarding the Prodigal Son in Tagalog for our home church in Pampanga.

Click to listen.

American Idol for the Glory of God #04

There are so many things that AI reminds me, I often end watching the show in slight tears because of so many truths that it nails home into my thinking.

and then relatedly, here is also one.

Reason #4:  AI reminds me of how glorious are angels who sing in God’s presence.  I predict, there is no angel that is out of tune.  There was one, but he was booted out of there!  If we, being made slightly lower than the angels can sing with so much resonance, so much so angels!

And can you imagine if God sings?

American Idol for the Glory of God 3

Watching American Idol as I said in earlier posts, reminds me so much of theology.

For example, this show reminds me on how much we, as humans, hate criticism.  It reminds me that humans, since the Fall of Humanity, have sought to entertain only lofty thoughts about himself.  Therefore any attempt to make us realize the inadequacy we have is faced with so much anger, rejection, and resistance.

Isn’t it so bad to hear bad news?

But wait, some Good News came. Do you want hear it?

American Idol for the Glory of God #2

Reason #2. AI reminds me always that in life, there is a standard that we have to meet. And in life as much as in heaven, we would all be judged based on a standard.

The bad news is: The standard in heaven is so much higher. People cry in AI when they fail to be recognized by the judges but in the life ahead, people would gnash their teeth in dismay when they learn they never ever met the standard that God requires.

AI demands that there should be talent.  But the Bible demands PERFECT TALENT.  And there is only one victorious  who is able to claim that. Do you know who He is?

American Idol for the Glory of God #1

Now I will not make any statements that AI aims to glorify God. In fact, it aims to sound secular, neutral or even mum to religious inclinations.  But as in

1Co 10:31  So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

I really love watching American Idol.  There is so much theology in it.

Theology? Let me start giving you my top ten reasons why I love watching AI and how I praise God when I see traces of theology in the middle of it.

Reason No. 1:  AI reminds me of the marvelous work of the Holy Spirit.

Whenever you see raw talent, have you ever wondered who gave that? Have you ever wondered who made man? Such a solitary creature who can sing melodies and harmonies and ideas all at once!   I remember RC Sproul explaining why he loved art.  “I praise the Holy Spirit whenever I look at a masterpiece!” he exclaimed.

But then the pundits would say, “I only see talented people in AI who have forgotten the real source of their talent.” Well, that doesn’t really diminish the fact that talent is from God.

I celebrate the marvelous work of God in man when I watch talent.

Exo 4:11  Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?