We Are Becoming Toxic

toxicDo you remember the TV show “Captain Planet”? I sure do. This show came on right after I woke up every weekday morning. It was the show I watched after I had gotten ready for school and I waited to go out to the bus stop. If you have never seen this show, I invite you to grab a DVD (or VHS) of the various episodes from your local library. The premise of the show centered around a group of friends who were each given a magical ring by Mother Earth (Gaia) that had a certain unique power. The rings had the power of wind, water, fire, earth, and heart (or love). The kids who possessed these rings had the ability to battle against enemies who desired to destroy the world through pollution. When these powers were combined, they created a powerful nature-conscience superhero called “Captain Planet”. As kids, we knew that this show was really a commercial for “living green”, but whatever the agenda of the show, it was definitely entertaining.

In this show, the most powerful foe that Captain Planet faced was the supervillian “Captain Pollution”. This villian was created through the combination of powers from evil rings called the “rings of pollution” that were created to be the antitheses of the good rings possessed by these children mentioned above. The powers included smog, toxins, radiation, deforestation, and hate. Got it? Ok…I am done with your nerdy superhero history lesson…let’s move on.

Besides the obvious themes of recycling and protecting nature, I think this show can give us an illustration of the way, I believe, humanity tends to lean in regards to the gifts God has given us. Our gracious Heavenly Father has gifted us with so many great things in life, and for some reason, we have  tendency to distort them to their antithesis. Those things that were intended for good; humanity has always found a way to pervert.

When we look at things like sex, stewardship, love, loyalty, joy, and even worship, for example, we can see the “rings of pollution” that were created by us in response. These responses, such as immorality, greed, selfishness, control, worry, and legalism, were all created when God had been abandoned out of insecurity. Think about it, even death was created from our disobedience and rejection of life.

In the Old Testament, when Moses went up on Mt. Sinai to speak with God, the people who were left at the base of the mountain, were encouraged to worship and trust in God while they waited for their leader to return. By the time Moses had returned they already had fashioned a golden idol to worship. Their insecurity drove them to the antithesis of what they were called to do. They had taken the golden gifts they were given and melted them down to create something they could control, but nothing that could help them.

Christians are not exempt from this concept. I know, for me, there have been many times in which I have felt as if God were far away. When I have reflected on these instances, I have found that a large reason why I felt this way was because, at some point, I began to rely on my own resources or power to get me through a situation. With great intentions, I fashioned an idol that looked strikingly similar to my own reflection. Worship became about me.

I think we need to repent. We need to repent of the gifts that we have “melted down” for the purpose of turning them into idols. The gifts that God gives are always God. Keep God at the center and we can access His power through the gratitude we give Him for these gifts.

Operate out of love and trust today.

-Landon DeCrastos

Controlling Tantrums

My oldest son is in a phase of his life where tantrums are highly evident. They are difficult moments for him and for me. In these moments he feels lost and is unable to control himself and his feelings.  Though most of us think of this as a phase that he will eventually out-grow, I’m not so sure. I think we all continue to go through tantrums.

 An adult tantrum is often less noticeable because we learn to hide them or deal with them in different ways. Though I can honestly admit that there have been times when I have wanted to just fall to the ground and bang it with my fists. Or, to throw something without thought as to whether it will break and how much it will cost me later.

 These tantrums are the result of us realizing we don’t have control. When we have control (or are under the impression that we do) we have feelings of safety and peace. We try to control things that we think are manageable to gain that peace.

 But, why do we want control so bad? I tend to think it’s because I’m not giving myself completely to God. I invite God into different facets of my life, but not every facet. I often exclude God from the picture and not realizing it until after my tantrum begins.

 Just like a child, I want to try something the first time and be able to do it. I want my dreams to become a reality and not just a distant thought. I have expectations and I seek control and this closes me off to God.

 So, what I need to be teaching my son is to (get plenty of rest and) be okay with not knowing how to do something. He needs to know that in God all things are possible and that God is the glue that holds all our craziness together for His glory.

 -Laura Ford