Geeks and God and All Things New

I was a band geek. I hung out with band geeks, marched like a band geek, and yes I looked like a band geek. No, I don’t have pictures. But I did find a great article that talks about awkward teen photos and The Awkward Years Project:

When braces, glasses, acne and mean kids rule your world, it’s hard to imagine you’ll one day emerge as a confident, alluring adult.

Anyone who has ever gone through a geeky, self-conscious stage as an adolescent – and that’s most of us – probably hides any photographic evidence of those unfortunate hairdos, nerdy clothes and gangly bodies.

But Salt Lake City, Utah, graphic designer Merilee Allred — a self-described “queen of the nerds” when she was in school — wants you to dig those pictures out and show kids it gets better.

Here’s the founder of the project, Merilee Allred, with a picture of herself at age 11.

Merilee Allred now and at age 11

Merilee Allred now and at age 11

Her website has dozens of photos uploaded by people who have joined her in showing younger people that teenage awkwardness will pass, that geekiness can be temporary, and that eventually people grow up.

Allred is all right by me.

Bullfrogs and Butterflies

Barry McGuire gained fame for the first Vietnam War protest song to achieve commercial success, Eve of Destruction, but my introduction to him was Bullfrogs and Butterflies. You’ve never heard Barry McGuire sing Bullfrogs and Butterflies? You’ve got to watch this:

I used to bellow this out even before I married and had kids. Then when our son and daughter came along, it was on the tape player a lot (this was before we had CDs around the house). And that led to an interesting question from our 4 year old son.

“I don’t know what he’s saying about ‘born again’.”

The conversation went quite well from there.

For those who also wonder what “born again” could possibly mean, it’s a phrase that goes back 2000 years, found in a conversation between a rabbi from Nazareth and a religious leader from Jerusalem who was looking for answers.

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:1-8.)

The first birth is physical, when we are born from our mother’s womb, the water being the amniotic fluid that breaks forth and precedes our entry to the world.

The second birth is spiritual and comes from the Spirit bringing us new life in Jesus, an eternal life in him.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation. The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17.)

Tadpoles to frogs and caterpillars to butterflies makes a huge difference to those creatures. Being made a new creation by spiritual rebirth makes all the difference to us too, allowing us to spend eternity with God.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7.)

Seated in heaven with Jesus already and for eternity – that’s what it means to be made new, to be born a second time.

Like bullfrogs and butterflies, life is never the same for those who belong to God.

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12 Responses to Geeks and God and All Things New

  1. From the one who is tied to the railroad tracks of condemnation with the train of eternity about to overtake us to the chosen, God’s beloved whose thoughts towards us are beyond number. Can anything make us shout louder or sink to glorify God more than knowing we were once the caterpillar who has been made a beautiful butterfly.

    Tim your posts reminds me of a quote from Henri Nouwen “When one claims and reclaims the truth of ones choseness it creates a desire within to tell others of their choseness. Instead of making us feel that we are better, more precious or valuable than others, our awareness of being chosen opens our eyes to the chosenness of others. That is the great joy of being chosen: the discovery that others are chosen as well.”

  2. Jeannie says:

    This is really encouraging, Tim, no matter what stage of life we’re at. I still feel like a geek sometimes, and I’m pretty sure my daughter would agree (it might be the dancing…).

    I also really like Patrick’s Nouwen quote above; thanks for that!

    • Tim says:

      My kids probably still put me in the geek category at times, Jeannie. That’s ok by me, because it’s an indication that we’re spending time together and they’re paying attention to me, right?

  3. nmcdonal says:

    The born again analogy is so rich – I mean, think about life in your Mom’s womb compared to life now. It doesn’t! The most exciting thing that happened back then was her leftover burrito. Now we have friendship, love, light, color – we couldn’t have imagined how good life was outside the womb. I think that’s a bit of what Jesus is getting at when he describes life in him as being “born again”.

    • Tim says:

      Great insight, Nick. Life reborn is unimaginably greater than the life we’re originally born into.

      P.S. Way back when I was in the womb it was more likely the after effects of a jello and three bean salad.

    • Aimee Byrd says:

      This also makes me think of how oblivious an unborn baby is to the world outside waiting for them. Not knowing, they are content to stay in those crammed quarters. Oh yeah, it also makes me think of how traumatic the birthing process can be!

  4. Deanna says:

    I was a band geek too-but band was where all of my best high school memories came from, so I don’t regret it! And I don’t think I am significantly less geeky now, but once I got out of my 20s, I pretty much stopped caring about that!
    And I love contemplating the idea that we are “seated in heavenly places with Jesus”. We are already there, right now, how is that the case? Really cool to think about!
    Thanks for writing, Tim!

  5. Bronwyn Lea says:

    I love that we have complementary posts! (http://bronlea.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/the-birth-buddy/) not that you are a complementarian. but you are a complimentarian, for sure 🙂

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