Archive for June, 2013

Reading Ramblings – July 7, 2013

June 30, 2013

Reading
Ramblings

Date: July 7, 2013,
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Texts:
Isaiah 66:10-14; Psalm 66:1-7; Galatians 6:1-10, 14-18; Luke 10:1-20

Contextual
Notes:
Ordinary Time consists of those Sundays in
the Church year that are not festival Sundays (Christmas, Easter) or
part of special seasons (Advent, Lent). Ordinary time began in the
season of Epiphany this year, lasting three Sundays prior to
Transfiguration Sunday and then the beginning of Lent. Now we begin
Ordinary Time again during the season of Pentecost. Ordinary Time
readings focus on Christ in the life of the Church. The readings are
no longer necessarily as tightly bound together as they were in
Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. The Gospel and the Old
Testament are linked together, but the Epistle reading is now used to
read through contiguous blocks of Scripture.

Isaiah 66:10-14: In the
final chapter of Isaiah there is the promise of peace for God’s
battered and bruised people. We are not to feel pity for those that
the Lord has admonished, because they deserved the judgment meted out
to them. But we are to rejoice to the remnant that will be
preserved, because to the faithful of that remnant, peace will come.
Those who mourn over Jerusalem’s fall are called to rejoice with her
restoration. From the restored people of God will come nourishment
and comfort for all people. The people who were formerly disgraced
through exile will be exalted and receive the glory of all the
nations on earth. The people of God will not merely be the object of
the Lord’s delight, but the instrument through which the world is
nursed to health and comforted. God will punish his enemies, but his
people will find peace.

Psalm 66:1-7: A
call to worship and glorification of the Lord! All the earth is to
praise God and exalt his name, specifically for the mighty deeds that
He works in his creation, and specifically towards his people. The
power of God is such that none can withstand it – all enemies must
acknowledge their inferiority before him. As such, it is right for
all creation to worship. Verse five calls the earth to examine what
the Lord has done that is so worthy of praise, and verse six explains
what that is – God has rescued his people. The words hearken back
to the Exodus of God’s people from slavery in Egypt, and more
specifically their rescue from the pursuing army of the Pharaoh by
crossing over the sea that had been made dry for them. The psalm
elicits praise of God for a very particular deed, the central deed of
the Old Testament. As we praise God, we ought to be specific. What
has God done in our lives? What mighty works have we witnessed and
attributed to him? Praising him for specific things reinforces in us
that our story is wrapped up in the Biblical story as well. The God
who saved his people thousands of years ago continues to act on
behalf of his people today – you and I.

Galatians 6:1-10, 14-18:
If Christians are not to be governed by the law, then what should
be at work in their lives? Doing good to one another. Rather than
standing in accusatory postures towards one another, shaking fingers
when someone falters under their particular burden, the Christian
community should be known as a place where people are supported and
encouraged, where burdens are shared. This is actually the only law
of Christ – to love one another. If we love one another (as God
defines love) then we are demonstrating love for God. If we cannot
or will not love one another, then we are not loving God, regardless
of what we tell ourselves (or others).

A
spirit of generosity should mark the Christian life and community.
Rather than only seeking our own good, we are to be generous to
others as they share the blessings of God with us. Verse 10 exhorts
us especially to be loving and good to others of the faith. Not only
to fellow Christians, but especially so.

Ultimately though, what matters is not what we do. We do not boast
in ourselves, whether we boast based on our love of others or on our
fulfillment of the law. The only reason we have to boast is Jesus
Christ. He alone is the one of whom we can boast.

Luke 10:1-20:
As Jesus begins his final march towards Jerusalem, he strategically
sends out his followers to go ahead of him, preaching the Word of God
in as many places as possible. They are sent out in pairs, so that
they might be an encouragement to one another without be intimidating
to the people they go to. They are to trust entirely on the Lord’s
provision for this journey. No money, no extra clothes or other
belongings. The Lord will provide them what they need. The Holy
Spirit will guide them to those who will provide for their needs
while they are in a certain town. They are not to hop around,
looking for the best accommodations (perhaps?), but rather to stay in
one home and receive their necessities from that household. If a
town accepts them, they should preach the word and allow the Holy
Spirit to heal the sick through them. If a town rejects them, they
are not to trouble themselves about it, but rather to bear witness to
the people of that town that they have placed themselves in jeopardy.

Jesus laments for the places that will not receive his followers and
his word. He knows that such closed-mindedness will lead to great
suffering on the part of those people. Even outsiders will fare
better on the judgment day than God’s own people who have rejected
his Word and his servants.

The disciples are understandably elated when they return. They have
experienced the power of God flowing through them – even in ways
that Jesus did not explicitly command, such as the casting out of
demons. Jesus assures them that the special authority He equipped
them with ensured that no servant of Satan could harm them. This is
not a general statement about all Christians, that we are immune to
the machinations of evil in this world, but rather a specific,
temporary state of affairs for these 72.

Jesus recalls their attention to what really matters, though. It is
not the amazing power of healing or casting out demons that matters.
What matters is that by faith in him, their names are written in
heaven. Spectacular events may come and go, but the most humble and
unnoticeable Christian shares an equal reward with even the most
powerful of Apostles. What matters is that we place our faith in
Jesus Christ, trusting him to lead us through our daily work –
whatever that may entail.

So it is that the people of God, the followers of Jesus Christ and in
this specific case the seventy-two, are to be a source of blessing
and healing and peace to the people they are sent to. The prophecy
of Isaiah 66 is being fulfilled through Jesus and his followers.
What should the response be then? To rejoice! To celebrate that the
Kingdom of God is at hand and is blessing people.

Today, just as in Jesus’ day, we cannot control how the Word of God
will be received. We are called to place each day faithfully in
Jesus’ hand. If He commissions us to go and preach the Word, we do
so, knowing that He will be with us. If we are led to our vocation
as spouse or employee or neighbor, we do so diligently and lovingly,
sharing the love of God with all those who cross our path. We are to
be a blessing to all of God’s creation, a continuation not just of
the prophetic words of Isaiah, but our Lord’s original instructions
to humanity in Genesis and through Abraham, that through us, all the
earth might be blessed! (Genesis 12:3)

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Not Separate, and Certainly Not Equal

June 29, 2013

One of the common arguments by proponents of redefining marriage is that it shouldn’t matter to the rest of us.  I’ve always argued that this isn’t true.  Typically the arguments then center around the fact that it won’t be enough for something to be merely legal, it will be necessary to further promote and encourage it – particularly through education.  

However, it’s a lot easier to disprove the fact that gay marriage won’t affect the rest of us.  
California is in the midst of what you might call financial turmoil.  Spending more than we bring in.  Potentially billions of dollars in budget shortfalls and budget cuts.  For one of the largest economies in the world, this is certainly not good news.
But amid all of these dire financial warnings and cutbacks in services and increases in cost, I found it a little surprising that there were gay couples getting married today in San Francisco. On a Saturday. I found it hard to believe that City Hall would be open on a weekend to service these requests.  A quick visit to the San Francisco City Hall web site confirmed my suspicions – they aren’t open on the weekends.  
But they are today.  
I wonder who is footing the bill for those employees who are coming in today so that these couples can be legally married?  Is that overtime pay?  How is that being funded?  From tax revenues, I assume?  
Who authorizes this expenditure?  How often are similar exceptions made for heterosexual couples?  Does this seem fair?  Critics will complain that this is a little thing, but it’s indicative of the fact that we aren’t dealing with a government that is neutral on these issues – we are dealing with certain governments that are actively pushing and encouraging these things, taking sides.  Not just taking sides but taking sides at taxpayers expense.  If the law of the land says that gay couples now have the right to marry, so be it.  I may not like it but I am bound to abide by it.  What I am *not* bound to is having my tax dollars go to fund opening government facilities and pay for government utilities and pay government employees (overtime or otherwise) because a particular government entity wants to show special consideration to these gay couples.  
That is not equality.  That is not fairness.  It is partiality of the sort that opponents of gay marriage are routinely belittled for.  Certainly there are other city halls that won’t be open to accommodate such requests today.  But I’m betting that not being open isn’t an attempt to slight gay couples – it’s merely consistent with the fact that they’re not open on the weekends in general.
Don’t but this not separate but equal line.  It’s not true.  Not on this first day, and not in the years to come.  

Just for the Record….

June 29, 2013

The Obama administration indicated that it is not going to change it’s stance on employer-mandated contraceptive and abortifacient employee insurance coverage.  Although the administration claims that exemptions have been made for non-profit organizations, this is not true.

Although some religious organizations are exempt from providing the stipulated coverages (for now), the vast majority of both non-profit and for-profit businesses must abide by the stipulations.  Non-profits are able to claim a religious objection to providing the abortifacient and contraceptive coverages.  They can object to this coverage to their insurance provider, who must then provide the exact same services for “free”, to avoid the impression that the employer is paying for them.
This is a shell game, of course.  
The objectionable coverages are still mandatory for all employees.  Any employer (other than the very narrow range of exempted religious organizations) that provides insurance coverage to employees must have these objectionable coverages included.  There is not an option to offer insurance without contraceptive/abortifacient coverage.  
As I’ve said before, the ‘concession’ that certain employers can object to paying for this type of coverage for their employees is a ruse.  The coverage is still being provided, and the insurance companies are going to be covering the costs of this ‘free’ coverage through the base premiums across the board – not only for that particular employer but for all employers.  Organizations and individuals who have religious objections to these practices will still be paying for them for other people.  
I’ve talked before about alternatives to insurance.  I’m going to be applying with one next week and see how it goes.  I’ll let you know what I find out.

…and Baby Makes Four

June 28, 2013

It just doesn’t sound right.  

Scientists are working on a way to create a single baby using three people’s DNA, a technique they claim will avert passing on complicating healthy conditions related to improperly functioning mitochondria.  This is fascinating, since current British law outlaws such techniques, except in the case of research.  And fascinatingly enough, once “research” develops a procedure that has already been ruled unethical and non-permissible, permission is sought to revoke such bans and allow the procedure.
Regardless of the ethicalness of the actual procedure, I find it interesting that research is permitted (and undoubtedly publicly funded) on procedures that have already been ruled explicitly forbidden.  Why do we research something that is illegal?  Why is the public responsible for paying for research on procedures that are illegal?  Is the public permitted to know that their tax dollars are being used to fund research on procedures that are already illegal?  How happy would they be to know that their money is being used to fund things that are not legal?  Would they perhaps prefer their money to be spend on research that hasn’t already been ruled illegal?  Who stands to make money in this scenario?  I’m betting somebody does – at the taxpayer’s expense.  After all, if you can’t do the procedure in your own country, for the people who paid for your research, you can always patent it and sell the right to perform it elsewhere.  And I’m sure the monies generated from such an arrangement are funneled back to the taxpayers who made it all possible.  
And of course, this sort of research requires embryos.  Lots of them.  Lots of little people who many still believe aren’t really people because they are so small.  So conveniently small that they can’t scream, can’t stare back at the researchers, and don’t really function well as adorable and literal poster children to stop such research.  
Lots and lots of people killed to develop a procedure that everybody knows is already illegal, funded by taxpayers who probably don’t know that their tax dollars are being used in this way.  Sounds perfectly normal after all, doesn’t it?

Another Commentary

June 27, 2013

Here is a statement that comes from my denominational affiliation, the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod regarding yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.

In discussion last week with the guys at the Rescue Mission, clarification was sought about homosexuality and why it seems to dominate Christian attention in the media these days.  Is this because homosexuality is somehow a bigger sin than others?
I think it’s helpful to think of this question in two directions.  One is vertically, which addresses the issue of sin and homosexuality as a specific sin in the relationship between humanity and God.  The other direction is horizontally – which addresses relationships among humanity and creation on earth.  The question has to be answered two times, because of these two  directions.
The first direction is easy.  Vertically, in our relationship between God and humanity, homosexuality is no worse (and no better) than any other sin.  Romans 3:22b-25a makes this clear.  Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5 makes this clear.  Sin is who and what we are, and any sin means that before God we are in need of salvation from God, since we cannot accomplish this ourselves.  Sexual sins are no worse than dishonoring our parents, or lying about our neighbors, or coveting our neighbor’s property, or failing to honor the Sabbath.  We all fall short, and the how is immaterial to God.  For this reason we cling to the hope of Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God whose death and resurrection open to everyone willing to accept him the promise of forgiveness of sins.  All sins.  
Regarding the horizontal realm and our relationships with one another, now sins begin to take on a hierarchical character.  This is not because, ultimately, one sin is worse than another.  Hurting or sinning against my neighbor is always bad.  But we experience them as worse (or better) than one another.  Because the experience of any given sin is relative to the experience of any other sin, we treat them somewhat subjectively as better or worse.  
So it is that a child who shoplifts a candy bar is (or at least was) treated differently than the person who commits murder.  Both are sins.  Both hurt someone else (as well as the perpetrator).  But murder is experienced as substantially worse a crime than shoplifting.  As such, the punishments differ markedly in their severity.  
It isn’t just a matter of age, either, where we treat the child more lightly than the adult because the child hasn’t had the time to fully learn how wrong their actions are.  An adult who is caught stealing a TV will be treated to different penalties than an adult who murders.  Again, both actions are wrong, but the one is experienced as inflicting greater (or more permanent) harm, and therefore the punishment is greater.
Ranking sins horizontally this way in terms of how they affect each other isn’t wrong.  In the Old Testament (the book of Leviticus in particular) God provides not just rules but also punishments for various crimes.  Whether you agree with the punishments is not the issue here, but simply demonstrates that in terms of our interactions with one another, sins that are more serious are treated more seriously.  Otherwise, we run the risk of, on a large, human scale, losing sight of the fact that some sins really cause a lot of damage to others.  Some sins, when they gain traction within a society or culture, wreak havoc on a scale that far outweighs other types of sins.
Sexual sins seem to be high on the Biblical list of types of sins that are so dangerous to a community that they must be punished severely.  Given our human preoccupation with sin – or at least our American one – this makes a lot of sense to me.  
Obviously, not everyone agrees.  
Which means that I continue to love my neighbor – not by agreeing that whatever my neighbor wants to do is necessarily right or healthy, but by loving that neighbor through prayer and gentle witness (as I am able and they allow me) to real truth, real hope, real joy.  Sin remains hurtful and dangerous whether others choose to see it that way or not.  The hurt and damage are amplified though when we attempt to convince others or ourselves that it is not sin, that there are no consequences.  A lot of people down the line are going to be hurt by the decisions being made today.  Christians will need to be the first in line to forgive and minister to those who are damaged by these decisions.  

Progress

June 26, 2013

I had a tooth extracted this morning.  A big one, apparently.  I was (and still am) amazed at the relative ease with which this sort of thing can be done.  Meaning, the painlessness.

Aside from a few slight pinching sensations early on, the psychological distress, and the discomfort of having someone cracking and then pulling out your tooth (a feeling of pressure and tugging, not pain), it was amazingly easy.  Of course, having a good dentist is the most important factor of such an experience.  
The other aspect is our medical ability and knowledge.  I picture the old western movies where the anesthesia was a bottle of whiskey.  I think there were some old World War II movies with the same anesthesia.  I can’t imagine that, and I’m grateful I don’t have to.  
I still maintain that we aren’t nearly as smart as we think we are, and that often times our abilities and interests in the scientific, medical, and technological fields overstep common sense wisdom to dabble in areas I believe we’ll ultimately regret.  But I am very, very grateful to live when I do, with plenty of helpful, non-threatening knowledge about our bodies and what we can safely do to them, in addition to the stuff that is dangerous or foolish.   

One Perspective

June 26, 2013

Here is one perspective on the Supreme Court’s ruling on Proposition 8.  I’d be interested in seeing other takes on this decision.

Here We Go Again

June 23, 2013

A new barista this morning.  I’m not surprised – the other guy clearly seemed somewhat out of place in this job.  Now there’s a new young woman who will be manning the counter when I go in for my Sunday bagel & tea.  I pray God will allow me to be who He needs me to be in my interactions with her.  

And I pray that next week she gets my order right.

Reading Ramblings – June 30, 2013

June 23, 2013

Reading
Ramblings

Date: June 30, 2013,
Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Texts:
1Kings 19:9b-21; Psalm 16; Galatians 5:1, 13-25; Luke 9:51-62

Contextual
Notes:
Ordinary Time consists of those Sundays in
the Church year that are not festival Sundays (Christmas, Easter) or
part of special seasons (Advent, Lent). Ordinary time began in the
season of Epiphany this year, lasting three Sundays prior to
Transfiguration Sunday and then the beginning of Lent. Now we begin
Ordinary Time again during the season of Pentecost. Ordinary Time
readings focus on Christ in the life of the Church. The readings are
no longer necessarily as tightly bound together as they were in
Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. The Gospel and the Old
Testament are linked together, but the Epistle reading is now used to
read through contiguous blocks of Scripture.

1 Kings 19:9b-21:
Elijah has enacted a stunning victory of God over the pagan priests
of Ba’al, slaughtering 450 of them in a single day. This cements
Queen Jezebel’s commitment to ending his life, and Elijah has run in
fear. He hides in the wilderness from the power of Jezebel, yet he
stands in the presence of the power of God, which is clearly greater
than hers. God’s majesty is not merely in his power, such as howling
as the wind or smashing like an earthquake or burning like fire.
Even Jezebel has power at her disposal. But God makes his power
known in his sovereignty, in the fact that what He commands
must be. Jezebel may command Elijah’s death but has no power to
enforce it if God decrees otherwise. God does decree
otherwise, not in terrifying grandeur but in a gentle whisper.

Elisha is called to replace Elijah. He
is accorded the grace of saying farewell to his family, a form of
obedience to the Fourth Commandment. His intent is apparently not
motivated by an inappropriate attachment to home and family. This is
made clear by his willingness to slaughter and sacrifice the means of
his economic survival – his oxen and plow. He gives up his past
completely in order to follow Elijah’s calling.

Psalm 16: Where
do we place our focus? In a time and place where evil seems so
prominent, where the argument that everyone else is doing
it
seems so pervasive and
oftentimes so persuasive, where do we turn, where do we fix our eyes?
We fix them on God, and on his Word, but also on others who seek to
follow him in faith as well. Verses 1-2 affirms that all we have
comes from God, that good cannot possibly come from any other source.
Verse 3 directs our gaze – we will focus our eyes (either in
judgment or envy) not on those who disobey God, but rather on those
who seek to follow him. We will not join in the practices of those
around us, because God is our provider who has given us good things
(vs. 5-6). We will allow God to lead us and guide us, growing us in
his wisdom which strengthens us (vs. 7-8). The result is that we are
glad, we rejoice and give glory to God. In the midst of suffering
and evil we are not discouraged, and not even death itself can
terrify us any longer (vs.9-10), because the path of life that God
leads us upon is eternal (vs.11).

Galatians 5:1, 13-25:
Paul continues his argument against those who would impose a
standard of cultural or ethical behavior as the means of making
ourselves right with God. Jesus frees us from such efforts, and we
are no longer slaves to them. If this is the case then, use this
freedom wisely, not foolishly! We are freed not for our own
self-gain at the expense of others, but rather to love others in
response to God’s love for us in Christ. Self-gain results in a
world where everyone seeks to devour one another and is constantly at
risk. Love of others results in a world of peace and harmony as we
seek to do best for one another.

Paul then goes on to a familiar theme – that we are at war within
us. There is part of us that wants to live for our own best
interests, and there is a part of us that wants to follow the will of
God. These two parts – nicknamed the flesh and the spirit – are
at odds with one another, and we cannot follow both. Following the
flesh leads us down paths that are contrary to the will and love of
God. The flesh places us under the law of God because we remove
ourselves from his grace. However by following the spirit, we remain
under his grace.

Are we ruled by the flesh or the spirit, by the law or by grace?
Look to the fruits, the results that should be visible to others.
The fruit will tell you what kind of tree you are.

Luke 9:51-62:
Echoes of the 1 Kings 19 reading are evident in the Gospel lesson.
There are varying responses to the Lord’s call. The Samaritans
reject him, provoking his followers to wrath. However wrath is not
the right response. Jesus has come not to judge but to give life.
While they may reject him on this particular day, the Son of God’s
intent and purpose is that they should have the opportunity to repent
and believe.

Then a series of exchanges are recorded. One volunteers to follow
Jesus, and is warned what that following will mean – a live of
privation and discomfort. Not all who come to faith are called to
become itinerant disciples, and therefore Jesus wants to make sure
that someone who seeks this calling rather than receiving the calling
is ready for what it will require of them.

Jesus directly calls another to follow him, but this person’s focus
is still on the other matters in their life that need attending to.
Allowing these obligations – however good – to get in the way of
our relationship with Jesus is a confusion of priorities. Either God
is our master or our other priorities are our master. We should be
careful to read this point in context. Jesus is not issuing a
blanket call to all Christians to give up family and home to follow
him. But for those who seek this particular form of service, perhaps
without a divine calling to it, there are sacrifices to be aware of.
Following Jesus to proclaim the Gospel will distance the disciple
from relationships. Whether one takes this burden upon them or is
called to it, what it will entail is a rejection of the world and the
normal way of thinking present in the world. This may sound harsh
and unfair, but it is also a reflection of the reality that
ultimately, the world will reject those who seek to follow Christ.

Perhaps Jesus knows that in the people who seek to follow him, there
is too great an attachment to what and who they leave behind. He is
unwilling to allow them to do things similar to what Elijah allowed
Elisha to do in saying good bye to his family. Then again, this is
the Son of God, the promised messiah, and not just a prophet. What
might be acceptable for Elisha to follow Elijah is not acceptable
when it is the Messiah himself who issues the call, or who one claims
to want to follow.   

Why Grow Up?

June 20, 2013

Scanning the radio dials I have to pass through a couple of pop music stations to get to either a modern rock or classic rock station.  I find myself pausing on the pop stations from time to time out of curiosity.  The latest single by Avril Lavigne has been getting a fair amount of air play, a song called Here’s To Never Growing Up (beware, the video contains a couple of offensive words as well as teen antics including jumping in the pool with clothes on and destroying the inside of a school).  

I enjoy listening to the Beach Boys, and when I was younger I thought that their song Wouldn’t It Be Nice (beware, this video also contains disturbing images of young people wearing their clothes in the pool) was romantic.  It talked about in a specific way the benefits that come with growing up, becoming an adult.  That song came to mind in juxtaposition to Lavigne’s song.  Of course Lavigne isn’t the first or last person to opine about the joy of youth and to insist that today’s crop of youth can somehow evade the changes that time and alleged maturity bring.  But the two songs do juxtapose the goals we set for our youth, and therefore the way that youth see themselves and their futures.
The Beach Boys sing about looking forward to getting older.  Getting older opens doors for them that are closed presently.  How often do you hear that these days?  At least publicly?  How often are people talking about the benefits of getting older or even, egads, the joys of married life?  Lavigne’s song is insulted by the notion that you will – let alone should – get older, but more importantly by the suggestion that growing older can give you anything better than what you have right now as a young person.  This has become the mantra of our culture.  
And perhaps it should be.   Why shouldn’t Lavigne insist that we need never grow up?  What does growing up promise youth these days?
Squat.  
Kids can have all the fun right now, sanctioned culturally if not legally.  Drink and do drugs – just be careful about it.  Have sex all you want – just be careful about it.  What is there to look forward to for young people today?  What will they get when they get older that they can’t have now?  More education (and student loan debt)?  Employment in a job or field that they are statistically unlikely to stay with?  For a company that feels free to downsize them out of their jobs at any point, or to revoke the promises made to them about benefits and health care and pensions whenever the numbers don’t add up?  
Youth has all of  the benefits of being an adult and none of the responsibilities.  All of the perks and none of the work.  Adulthood confers nothing more than work and bills and doldrums.  While this may not be an accurate portrayal, there aren’t many people who are willing or able to mount any sort of advocacy around adulthood.  
Hmmm.  Maybe there’s something to this whole youth thing after all.
But of course, there’s a lot of irony as well.  One of the most mocked subcultures today is hipsters, people obsessed with obsession, generally in terms of fashion.  The idea of attempting to be something that one really isn’t – in part because of age – is one that gets regularly ridiculed.  
When I watched the music video for Lavigne’s song, it struck me that she is aware of this irony, perhaps bitterly so.  She had huge, unprecedented success at the tender age of 17.  Her early work was channeling the angst and issues of youth.  
But that was 11 years ago.  She’s nearing 30.  She’s married.  Her life has changed.  She’s grown up.  Throughout most of the video she seems to be just going through the motions of rebellion.  She sings about it, but never participates in it.  She calls out through a megaphone but never picks up a bottle herself.  Youth rages in front of her and behind her and she is always alone, outside of it.  Beyond it.  
But her popularity is still in attempting to fit into the mold of her younger self – literally wearing the same thing she did in those videos 11 years ago.  It would be nice to see some of these musical child prodigies able to transition their music into topics and issues and concerns that appeal to more than just the 14-25 market demographic.  Maybe that’s not possible, commercially, though.  Maybe mega-artists are doomed to constantly be hipsters writing about issues they no longer have to deal with themselves.  Maybe there’s nothing to be done than write another song about Smokin’ in the Boys Room (and this is a Motley Crue video – proceed with appropriate caution) and wait for the royalties and tour revenue to come in.  
Maybe that’s what Lavigne is poking at in this video, if not the song itself.  But regardless, on the airwaves it’s just a catchy melody with a rebellious streak.  It will appeal to the demographic that fills the video – high schoolers – but not to anyone fortunate or unfortunate enough to have passed beyond whatever the magic cutoff age is, where you can no longer truly be considered young or a youth, regardless of what songs you like to sing or what your glasses look like.  
At a certain age, no matter your commitment and dedication to remaining forever young and never growing up, you become a poser.  Everyone else knows it, and the saddest situation is when the poser is the only one who doesn’t know they don’t fit, they don’t belong.  Maybe we wouldn’t feel the need to pose if we could articulate more clearly, and just as loudly, that there are benefits to being adult, and that some of those benefits ought to be off-limits to those still in the throes of youth precisely because they are the least able to see themselves older.  Maybe there needs to be more incentive and encouragement.    
Are you glad that you’ve grown up?  What are the benefits that age (or maturity – the two are not always mutually inclusive!) have brought you that you would encourage the young people in your life to hold out for?