[From the archives.]
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.
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.