Father Randy Dollins: Better than bling
Craig — Mr. T was ahead of his time. I remember watching “The A-Team” when I was a kid. I also remember the several pounds of jewelry, mainly necklaces, Mr. T donned.
The excessive use of flashy jewelry has become somewhat of a staple in many forms of urban fashion. While no one is really trying to outdo Mr. T in quantity, they are certainly following his lead.
One of the more interesting slang terms to arise out of the 1990s was “bling,” which has been defined in Webster’s Dictionary as, “flashy jewelry worn especially as an indication of wealth.”
What has caught my attention most about bling is that it often consists of a cross or crucifix. It seems that most individuals who use bling lead a life of low moral standards.
They promote excessive materialism, promiscuity and violence, all of which stands in stark contrast to the cross. Another B word comes to mind when I see the cross being used merely as a piece of jewelry promoting the vanity of the wearer.
Webster defines blasphemy as “the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God.”
Today is Ash Wednesday, and many Christians will attend services and receive a cross of ashes on their forehead. This outward donning of the cross is almost the complete opposite of the aforementioned “bling.”
The ash cross sends a message of authentic penance for sins committed, and it promotes poverty, chastity and peace. All of these are pillars of Christianity and flow from the teachings of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross.
Another B word comes to mind when I think about Christians with ashes on their foreheads.
Blessed, which is defined as “of or enjoying happiness.” True happiness comes from revering God; i.e., praising and respecting him.
During the next six-plus weeks, a period known as Lent, many Christians will take on penances that will help them detach from the world and all of its allurements that often lead them away from God.
It is my prayer that everyone use this time leading up to Easter to rethink his or her priorities. Too often, we give God the leftovers, and while he will work with whatever we give him, he can certainly help us more if we put him first.
A good start for today would be to seek out something better than bling by attending an Ash Wednesday service.
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