The Amy-W Syndrome

Okay so there is no such syndrome (let’s hope I don’t get sued).

I’m not here to jump on the band wagon of Amy Winehouse’s death, but we cannot ignore the life and lessons we see in her. We can go back to her musically gifted but broken family or even her embracing a life that has spiraled out of control through substance abuse and addiction and her unhealthy need for companionship and not finding it. All her songs speak of her life, her experiences, she was an open book to the world and she made no secret about it. The life of Amy is a tragedy on so many levels, yet her memory will last only for a short while as is the case of so many superstars and even ordinary people like you and I. The thought that scares me the most is that there will always be another Amy and there are many living amongst us.

The Amy-W  Syndrome is two-fold, I think.

First, it is when we have such talented people, gifted beyond words, that we tend to turn a blind eye to their lifestyles and their struggles. All we are interested in is the “star” in the person. We follow their painstaking steps every single day in wanting know more about them, we follow them on Twitter, we have them as a “friend” on Facebook, have the news clippings and all  that go with it, we even have their songs as ringtones. We forget that they are people in search of answers, whether they will acknowledge that or not (although her lyrics have confessed her desperate plea). Everybody is looking for something, some people are just more vocal about it.

Secondly, because of the person and their lifestyle being so antagonistic to what we embrace as social and godly, we ignore or try to wish away the giftedness of the person. When a person is gifted, then they are gifted. It is a gift to the world, and no, I’m not condoning a lifestyle that is reckless and ungodly. We would hope that the giftedness would be used to honour God, their creator and not to use it in pursuit of narcissism and self gain. Think of how her music has affected so many individuals, people who could identify with her struggles, who lived their lives through her lyrics (and possibly even felt good knowing that someone was worse off than they are).

It is sad to know that the Amy’s will always be with us and that many of them will end up in the Amy-W Syndrome, unless we can make that difference in their lives that they are looking for. Nobody is too far gone for God to save, to give purpose and meaning. I would hope we would get to a point where her death is not a joke or gossip but a lesson of a reality where many of our young people and even adults find themselves caught up in. We all pray that our kids will never end up where Amy did. But look around you and see the many Amy’s walking by you. they might even be in the room next to yours when you sleep at night.

 

I don’t ever want to drink again

I just, ooh, I just need a friend

I’m not gonna spend ten weeks

Have everyone think I’m on the mend

Rehab by Amy Winehouse

So this is my voice, a sad one at this point…

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Glee

So I began watching Glee. I know! I know! A bit slow on the whole youth culture thing here. It has been running since 2009 in the States, just another indication of how behind we in South Africa might be (or should I say me?). Yes, I can hear all the DSTV people saying, “I have been watching it for a while dude!” and don’t talk about all the illegal watchers (we know who we are!).

So, what were my first impressions when watching this?

Well, youth culture! That is what I was thinking. Even though we may be far removed from the States and even the rest of the world, we are certainly not far removed when it comes to youth culture. I could easily identify with much of what was happening on Glee with that of our youth in SA.

  1. Peer pressure
  2. Relationships
  3. Sexuality & gender confusion
  4. Drugs
  5. Sexual abuse
  6. Broken & dysfunctional families
  7. Future Goals
  8. Image & self-esteem
  9. Bullies
  10. Marital challenges (in the case of the teacher Mr Schultz)

And all of this in the pilot episode!

Here the big challenge lies for us irrespective of the country we may be living in, are we listening to what our young people are saying? Whether they say it audibly or through their actions. Do we take time out from our busy schedules and actually listen? Or should I say, “will we”? What are the solutions that we offer to them?
Globalization really has come around at an all deafening pace, to keep up is simply a miracle. To all those who are working with young people. To the youth pastors, youth leaders, youth workers, dedicated teachers, parents, I salute you! Lord knows it is no easy job.
 Jesus says “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

Doing God’s will

So Jesus Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane just before being arrested and going on trial and then to be crucified, was found kneeling and begging God to remove this cup from him. What cup you might ask? The act of dying on the cross for us as humans that it may be possible to have a relationship with God. But he then concludes saying not his will but God’s will be done.

 

Wow! Jesus asked God for something that was beyond his will and he knew what he was asking for! Sjoe! Isn’t that hectic? I mean we are so hung up on the fact that as people we must always ask God’s will and here Jesus Christ knew he was asking God for something that was not in his will. Sure you might say but in the end he said God’s will be done and not his, he must have conceded that he was wrong. But if he was, why then did he ask God this very thing three times?

 

I do think that Jesus was overwhelmed by his humanity and his humanity took over at his greatest point of need. I also think he shows that it is okay to ask God for things, anything. We don’t always have to ask according to his will, I mean who knows what God’s will is? Beside us accepting Christ, and becoming like God through worshipping him and the great Commission. What is his will for your life?

 

God’s will for your life is to become somebody that he wants you to become, whatever that may be. And that there should be no shame when asking Him for things. We should not become or aspire to become something because it is the general Christian belief and that we will be outside of God’s will. If God puts two options, two opportunities before you, what would be his will for you in that matter?

 

My answer, it doesn’t matter! As long as you have seeked Him in prayer. God has already answered that prayer by giving you the skill, the experience and the desire to pursue either one. Either would be the right decision and nothing would surprise God.

 

So please, pray before you leap. Don’t wait 40 years before making a decision, you can make the decision. And do not be afraid to ask God what your heart desires.

Part of the Whole

Let’s face it, people do not enjoy or want to talk money. But I thought about this concept for a while now and it’s a bit close to my heart.

So unemployment is high and there are many families without enough money for a loaf of bread. Inflation continues to soar and salaries remain at a constant level (should I say low-level). So who has extra cash flow? Definitely not me.

But is that enough reason to not make any effort or contribution in creating opportunities for employment or progress by giving?

I’m referring to a concept called “Crowdfunding” which is “the collective cooperation by people who network and pool their money together” for a purpose or goal. Zuckerberg calls it a “Gift Economy” and it is when a person gives something and not necessarily money to a person who is less fortunate and they in return give to another, either out of gratitude or obligation. In other words we, you and I take responsibility in creating opportunities or wealth for the next person and generation. Now I’m not promoting socialism or communism, I’m speaking about we create a better opportunity for someone and thereby create a ripple effect, a sort of paying it forward.

Let me give an example of a personal nature. A church wants to employ a youth pastor but is unable to afford a salary, though there is a great benefit of having one on the staff role. So 100 people (and there are way more than 100 Christians around and it doesn’t necessarily have to be from the same church or even denomination) each give R100 a month, that would be a salary of R10 000.00. Quite fascinating wouldn’t you say? I mean many times I spend R100 so indiscriminately that I am unable to recall what I spent it on.

I’m not saying lets all go and pay for youth pastors. But what about supporting social entrepreneurs like ICP or RLabs or YFC or SU or assist a young person who wants to begin his or her own business but doesn’t have the capital or collateral to secure financing. Get in touch with your church or community or check out websites like GivenGain or 1% Club. By giving a R100 we created the opportunity of employment and wealth that is infinite. We can no longer live on our own little islands, that time has passed.

So think about it?  Why not get involved in a small way and have your voice be heard and be Part of the whole!

This is my voice…

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A first step

Oh no! Not another blog!

Hey, we all want to save the world and in the process we want it documented. We all want to go down in history being remembered for something, a legacy, an invention, even better if we are known while we are still breathing. We want to start movements (hopefully not cults). We want to be millionaires (so freakin bad! I know it’s a bit cheesy), travel the world and maybe even end world poverty. We might even wish we were the Steve Jobs, the Zuckerbergs, the ones who made it big and had the rest of us ordinary people drooling from gaping mouths wishing it was us. We want to live and let the world know about it (and don’t say that’s not true of you. I’m sure you have a Facebook account or even Twitter a blog site or whatever other social site is out there). This may sound conceited or even self absorbed, maybe it is, but if my voice can make a difference (in constructing or deconstructing) or even be part of a larger community, a small community, any community, then now is the time.

So, this is my voice…

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