James Meehan - How to Live Like Jesus in the Middle of Conflict
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Vince Parker: Welcome back to Culture Makers, where today we're talking all things MTV, movie awards.
James Meehan: Come on. What do you do when your parents don't believe, but you do?
Vince Parker: Come on. And we answer a host of questions that you have. I'm your host Vince Parker. And with me today we have James, the man, the legend, the myth, Meehan. You can call them what you want, but you can't call him broke, because he's rich in Christ. Let's go. Did you like that?
James Meehan: I loved it.
Vince Parker: Awesome, man. How are you doing?
James Meehan: I'm so good. I'm better now.
Vince Parker: It's been a couple of weeks that we've done this.
James Meehan: I know.
Vince Parker: We've had some amazing people come in. A nice little rotation.
James Meehan: Come on, fantastic. Bo, Ariana, Riley, Bo again.
Vince Parker: Bo doubled up.
James Meehan: Come on, bro.
Vince Parker: He might have to be official. Y'all the last one to come on. How y'all feel about Bo? You like him?
James Meehan: You know what you don't wanna do with Bo? Bo up against him. You saw those biceps.
Vince Parker: Okay. Did you watch the MTV Movie TV awards?
James Meehan: No, not a chance. I didn't even know that was happening.
Vince Parker: Okay, that's okay.
James Meehan: Was it worth watching?
Vince Parker: I did not watch it, but I've got a list of the winners and what I thought I'd do is I can go down the list.
James Meehan: Yes, come on.
Vince Parker: And I want to know if you've seen it.
James Meehan: Yeah, you tell me the winner, and I have to give you one word what I think about that.
Vince Parker: Okay, okay. Awesome.
James Meehan: Hot takes Culture Makers style.
Vince Parker: And I apologize in advance for anything that I mispronounce.
James Meehan: And I apologize in advance for any jokes that I make that aren't funny. There will probably be many.
Vince Parker: Best kiss.
James Meehan: Oh, come on.
Vince Parker: Madelyn Cline and Chase Stokes on Outer Banks. Have you seen Outer Banks?
James Meehan: No, but I've heard about it.
Vince Parker: Best villain.
James Meehan: Oh yes. This excites me.
Vince Parker: Kathryn Hahn, WandaVision.
James Meehan: Dude. Yes, I support.
Vince Parker: Best fight.
James Meehan: Mm. Come on. That's my love language. Just kidding, that's not true.
Vince Parker: WandaVision Elizabeth Olsen and Kathryn Hahn.
James Meehan: Okay, okay I see you. Man this should have just swept all of them. Should have just been a WandaVision award show.
Vince Parker: They actually won four awards. They do call it like the WandaVision show, some of the headlines are there.
James Meehan: So we've gotten only two of them, but what about the next one?
Vince Parker: We're not like going in order of what WandaVision won. We're just kind of mixing it up. Okay, here we go. Breakthrough performance.
James Meehan: Oh yeah.
Vince Parker: Rege-Jean Page for Bridgerton. have you seen that on Netflix?
James Meehan: No.
Vince Parker: Okay, will you be watching it now that you know that they won? Okay, best hero.
James Meehan: Come on.
Vince Parker: Anthony Mackie, The Falcon and winter soldier.
James Meehan: I don't disagree. He did a phenomenal job.
Vince Parker: Best show.
James Meehan: Okay.
Vince Parker: WandaVision.
James Meehan: I agree.
Vince Parker: Now here's best performance. Chadwick Boseman for, it's on Netflix, The Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. I said that all wrong.
James Meehan: I have no idea what you're saying. Say it again.
Vince Parker: Ma,
James Meehan: Okay.
Vince Parker: Rainey's bottom, Chadwick Boseman in there.
James Meehan: So like Ma as in like mom.
Vince Parker: Ma, M, A.
James Meehan: Yeah, Rainey's is the name.
Vince Parker: Yes, black.
James Meehan: Black bottom.
Vince Parker: Bottom.
James Meehan: Okay.
Vince Parker: Best name of the movie. Best musical performance. Edge of great.
James Meehan: Okay. I don't know what that is either.
Vince Parker: And best performance on a TV show. Elizabeth Olsen, WandaVision.
James Meehan: Okay. Okay, great. Yeah, she did a fantastic job.
Vince Parker: Did you happen to scroll through any of the fashion photos?
James Meehan: The fashion photos? What are you talking about?
Vince Parker: Yes, the red carpet. So you know the MTV Movie TV awards.
James Meehan: Oh, 'cause you know me, I'm really big into fashion.
Vince Parker: Okay yeah, man. I see you. You got that little, kind of like a little Travis Scott, flannel look going on.
James Meehan: Oh come on, is that what this is?
Vince Parker: I mean, it's not like a Travis Scott brand, It's just, you know, he wears a lot of flannels.
James Meehan: Come on bro. Yeah, me and Travis Scott were the same too.
Vince Parker: You got several platinum albums?
James Meehan: No, none of those.
Vince Parker: Okay.
James Meehan: Got some platinum trophies on that PlayStation Four though. Come on, somebody. Come on.
Vince Parker: So when you hear about award winning shows and movies, do you watch them? You pass, you go look them up?
James Meehan: I mean, honestly it just depends on what the show is, right? So very rarely will I go watch something just because it won an award. There are times where I will be intrigued by something that won an award, but oftentimes the movies that win these awards are movies that are more built for those kinds of awards. Oftentimes when I'm going to the movies, I'm not looking for the best picture experience. I'm just looking for something entertaining, right? That's why I love Marvel movies.
James Meehan: Okay. Now the argument can be made that they may not always have the best writing, but dear goodness gracious, they're always entertaining.
Vince Parker: Now let's shift gears a little bit.
James Meehan: Come on.
Vince Parker: This next question I've been asked a few times, okay? But not necessarily in the chat. Remember, if you have questions, ask them in the chat. What do you do when you're a believer,
James Meehan: Yes.
Vince Parker: You know, you're walking with Jesus, You you've entered this new relationship.
James Meehan: Yeah.
Vince Parker: But your parents are not.
James Meehan: Hmm, man, that's such a good question, because the reality is I know that there are many of you watching this who have a relationship with Jesus, but somebody in your family, whether it's siblings, whether it's parents, whether it's an aunt, uncle doesn't. And the question becomes, man I know how much Jesus has changed my life, So how do I help the people in my life experience that same life change? And I think this is where it goes back to the idea of as followers of Jesus, the most powerful tool we have to bring people to him is not what we say, but it's how we live. In John chapter 13 verses 34 and 35, Jesus, after inaugurating a new covenant with his people, gives them a new command. He says "A new command I give to you to love one another in the same way that I have loved you. So you are to love one another by this, by the way you love the world will know that you are my people". Right? What Jesus is saying here is that for those of us who call him, Lord, the world will know who he is by the way that we love. And so whatever that looks like for you, the question I would ask is, how can you be the best son or daughter to your parents that you possibly can? How can you love them the same way that God through Christ has loved you now? How did Jesus love? Jesus loved sacrificially. He loved selflessly and he loved unconditionally. And so a super simple and practical thing you can do is literally do the chores without complaining, right?
Vince Parker: Oh.
James Meehan: Clean your room without having an attitude, right?
Vince Parker: Okay.
James Meehan: Show up to your home, ready to engage with your parents. Like I know that there will be days where you get to the end of the school day or whatever, and you're tired. You just want to go to your room, get on your phone, scroll Instagram, play PlayStation with your friends, whatever. But what would it look like for you to take 10 minutes to just engage in a conversation with your parents? One of the most important qualities we can possess as followers of Jesus is holiness. Now holiness doesn't mean that we think we're better than everybody else. Holiness literally means being set apart or different. And we are called by a Holy God to represent him to the world. And so what if, what if the way that you loved your parents was so different from the way that most kids do, that your parents saw that as a result of the transformation that Jesus has done in you. And so all that being said, you probably find yourself in a situation that can be really challenging and oftentimes overwhelming. And you feel this weight of responsibility to share that same love that you've experienced with your parents. I think one of the best ways you can do that is to simply model that love for them by being a great kid.
Vince Parker: That's good. That's good. What, when it comes to some of the things that might seem more difficult where it's like, Hey, I don't want you to go to church tonight. How does one navigate those kinds of things?
— Yeah, I mean, here's what I would say to that. I think that's one of the things where a very real tension can arise, because you're going to feel this tension in between, okay like, do I go to church and honor God? Or do I honor my parents who are telling me not to go to church? And one of the things I want to remind you of is this reality that the church is not a place. The church is a people. The church is not a building. The church is the people of God living out the will of God. And there are going to be times where one of the most honoring things you can do to show how much you love God is to honor the parents that he's given you. The first command that came with a promise, this is the apostle Paul writing in Ephesians, quoting from the Old Testament, from the 10 commandments. He says, Hey honor, your father and your mother, and it will go well with you in the land. And so there's this idea that within the context of the 10 commandments, the overview that God gave to his people, Israel, so long ago, he said, Hey, one of the most important things you can do is honor your parents. And there are going to be times where we will feel this tension between, okay do I honor God or honor my parents? And I think what's so beautiful about what Jesus did when he introduced the great commandment, is that he said, Hey, love God with all that you are and love your neighbor as yourself. What Jesus is doing, He's saying, Hey, the best way you can show your love for God is by the way that you love others. And so if there's this tension between honoring God and honoring your parents, oftentimes the best way you can honor God is by honoring your parents. Now, there might be times where you find yourself in a place where your parents are asking you to do things, or they're influencing you to do things that are so off from what God has called you to do. And that's a little bit of a different scenario. And I think that's where it gets more messy and more complicated. But I think for the majority of us, one of the most honoring things we can do to show how much we love God is by honoring and respecting our parents. And again, I know it's messy, and that's not always what we want to hear. Oftentimes we're looking for an excuse to just like, say bye parents, I'm gonna go do this other thing, because I'm serving Jesus. But again, I think one of the most important things that we can do to show our love for God is to actually honor our parents.
— And that's for those of you, which is the majority of you watching this, who live under your parents' roof, correct?
— So if you happen to be watching this, and you're 25 and you have your own place and your parents are like, don't go to church. is that slightly different?
— If you're 15, 16, 17, 18 under your parents' roof?
— Yeah. The thing is, obviously that part is different, but the reality is as a 26 year old dude who doesn't live with my parents, I still want to do everything I can to honor my parents. Now, if my mom says, Hey, bro, you're raising your kid wrong. Here's what you need to do. I'm going to respectfully say, Hey thank you for your advice, mom. I know you're giving it because you care, but we've decided to do this and here's why. But again, I don't want to do it in a way that's dishonoring. I always want to honor her.
— That's good.
— Because she's the mom that God gave me, right? I didn't choose her. God did, and because of that, I want to honor him by honoring her.
— I like how have you navigated that and talk about, Hey it's about honoring all the way through. there's no point in time in which it stops.
— Right, absolutely
— Now, depending on where you live, or how old you are, that might look a little bit different, if you're 15 or if you're 50. But there's always that honor, and by doing that, you're honoring God and you're showing love. So way to go, James. Great stuff as always. Appreciate it, sir.
— You're great stuff.
— Now remember if you guys have questions, ask them in the chat. We'd love to be able to answer them. We're going to dive into some questions. You guys had a lot, so let's go ahead. And the first one here, simple softball. You ready, James?
— Love it.
— This is from Lara. Should Christians watch The Walking Dead?
— Not a chance.
— I mean, it's one of those things where I'm pretty sure a lot of the ones,
— That's the shortest answer I've ever seen you give. Here's the thing with walking dead. It depends on what's okay in your household, right?
— If your parents are okay with you watching it, and it's not influencing you to see other people as less than human, I don't think that there's a problem. Now, if the themes in the show are causing you to care less about people. Don't watch it.
— Very good. Now this next one, not a softball.
— Come on. 100mph fastball.
— Let's go. I played baseball for a couple of years, but I quit when I was in eighth grade. 'Cause I couldn't see. That's why I wear glasses.
— Okay, SafariGuide1 says, is it okay to be baptized Catholic if you are a Christian, does it matter?
— I think that's a super interesting question, because it seems like maybe there's a distinction being drawn between being Catholic and being Christian. I think that the distinction to draw here is the difference between being Catholic and being Protestant. So at Life Church, we are a non-denominational church. So we would identify as Protestant, which is different from Catholicism. Now here's the thing that really matters most, is the church you're a part of, is the faith community you're a part of helping you become the kind of person that can love God with all that you are heart, soul, mind, and strength. And to love others the same way that God through Christ has loved you. If that's the case, then I would make the argument that the kind of church, what denomination you're apart of is less important than the community that you're a part of. And here's why I say that, because I actually grew up in the Catholic church. And my family, we were a part of the Catholic church, where the majority of that community were people who went to church because we were supposed to, but we weren't actually committed to following Jesus. And then we started coming to Life Church years ago, and we became a part of a community of people who didn't just go to church because they were supposed to, but we're actually committed to following Jesus.
— I know that there are really, really great Catholic people who love Jesus and who love others. And so what matters most is, is the community you're a part of, forming you into the kind of person that loves Jesus with all that you are, and loves others the same way that God through Christ has loved you.
— Wow, that's spot on. What's good. Brooke asked this question. She says I'm thankfully been able to find my joy in Christ, but so many people around me are still working towards it. And whenever they come to me feeling sad, I tend to feel that I need to act how they are, because I feel bad that I have that genuine happiness and they don't. What does she do in these situations?
— Man that's such a good question. 'Cause it sounds like she's wrestling with the tension between appreciating the joy she has in Christ,
— and also having empathy for the people who don't have that joy.
— And I think that is a tension to manage, not a problem to solve. So for example, I know that my wife and I, whenever we first got married, everybody and their grandma came out of the woodwork to tell us how miserable their first year of marriage was. And the thing is Mandy and I had intentionally decided ahead of time to do whatever we could, to have a great first year marriage.
— I love it.
— And so we did. Like our first year of marriage was fantastic. And every year after that, has been fantastic. And so there are times where as people are coming to us talking about how miserable their first, second, third, fourth, whatever year of marriage was, I feel this tension of, Oh man, that sucks for you because that hasn't been my experience. But what I don't want to do is just rub it in their face. Right? How great our marriage has,
— My marriage is good.
— Come on, bro. 'Cause that's not caring for them as an individual. And so what I try to do in that moment is I try to meet them where they are and then help them take steps to where they could be. And so as you're navigating these things, I don't think you should ever feel guilty or ashamed, because you have found joy that goes beyond your circumstances. Now at the same time, that doesn't mean you just flaunt it in other people's faces, but that does mean you operate from that place to meet people where they are, and you help them discover that same joy. And so it's the both and of yes, celebrate the joy and the life change that you've experienced because of who Jesus is and what he's done for you. And also follow the example of Jesus and meet other people in the middle of their suffering, in the middle of their hurt, in the middle of their brokenness and help them take steps forward to overcome whatever sadness or hurt they might be experiencing.
— I like that. Meet them where they're at,
— Come on.
— Help them take steps.
— Come on.
— How do you do that? You walk with them.
— And in the same way, Jesus walks with us.
— So that's awesome. This next one, James, is from Rohan.
— Oh, come on. He first says, great episode, talking about the last episode.
— Yeah it was.
— It was good.
— Come on. Bo and Riley.
— Could we talk about the Palestinian thing going on? He has Muslim friends and it's getting heated over there, and he does not know how to talk to him about it.
— Yeah. Yeah, so the Palestine-Israel conflict has recently escalated once again. And unfortunately, this has been a pattern for as long as I've been alive.
— The history goes back.
— Right? It goes back,
— Back decades and decades and decades. And the thing that I think is so challenging about this is, depending on who you're listening to or the people you surround yourself with, you're going to see one side as the good guys and the other side as the bad guys. And I think the temptation we have to resist as followers of Jesus is to try to pick either this side or that side as the good people. Because the problem is that both sides have done things that are really bad. And both sides have good reasons why they believe that their side is right. And I think the example that we see from Jesus is this example where he often tried to stand in the middle, fighting to bring people together. Right? In the beatitudes, right? The introduction to the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus says, "blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God". He does not say, blessed are the side takers, right? As tempting as it can be to choose either this side or that side. What we have to remember is that every time we take a side, we actually further the divide. And so instead of taking this side or that side, what I always want to do is I want to stand in the middle with Jesus, fighting to bring people together. Because more often than not, the people that Jesus stands with are the victims, are the people who are being hurt. The people who are being pushed down. And there are victims on both sides. So as a Christian, what I want to do is I want to pray and I want to intercede on behalf of those who are hurting. And those who are honestly the real victims of this conflict. And maybe for your friend, who's getting really frustrated and angry. Maybe what they're frustrated about is the fact that there are some Christians who are saying, Hey I'm on this side and I'm always going to be on this side. And who cares about the wrongs that they do? Or it maybe, they are in a community of people who say, Hey I'm on this side and I'm always going to be on this side, no matter what wrongs they commit. And I think this is an opportunity for you to say no, no, like as a follower of Jesus, what I want to fight to do is have empathy for both sides. I want to understand the motivations of both sides. And I want to fight to do whatever I can to bring people together because Jesus never said, blessed are the side takers, he said, blessed are the peacemakers. And as much as we can live in that tension, I think that's how we can really exemplify who Jesus was and what he came to do.
— Man, James, this has been a lot today.
— Come on, brother. They got some questions.
— MTV Movie awards.
— Yeah, MTV. Ma Rainey's,
— Palestinian-Israelite conflict. We talked about everything.
— Come on. And in one show. Here's the deal, ask your questions. Put it in the chat, put in the comments below. Smash the like button, subscribe.
— Come on.
— Do all the things because we're here for you. Thank you for watching Culture Makers, and we'll catch you next week.