Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Sunday, March 31, 2019

March musings

  This is only my second blog post since December 20. I have started a few posts that I never finished, and this may be another such post. There is a reason for my lack of blog posts, if anyone even noticed my silence. :) I will get into that later. This post will be a random one, of things on my mind or in my life lately.

1) Libertarians

  I always thought Ron Paul was a lunatic. He is very libertarian, and the more he talked, the less sense he made. I commented to a libertarian friend of mine that I have this idea that libertarians want to legalize all drugs and bring our military all home to just sit here and wait for attacks. He replied with an amused comment that it isn't that far off.

 A newer Facebook friend of mine who is also libertarian posted last night that we cannot legislate morality. In the process of the following conversation, he defended legalizing prostitution by pointing out that the Constitution gives us the right to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." He made that statement after I pointed out how much the sex trafficking industry is intertwined with prostitution, and how much that would worsen if prostitution is legalized. They are a strange bunch.

 I made a few points I haven't gotten back to reading replies on yet, as I try to stay away from arguing much: if their logic is followed, a lot of things should be legalized.....what if an adult male wants a sexual relationship with a 10 year old boy....isn't it legalizing morality to say he can't? Are not laws against murder, rape, child molestation, theft, etc, all legalizing morality? Sure, there is the consent point to make, but we are not talking about consent. We are talking about the right to do what we want, basically, and that he government should not tell us what we can and cannot do.

 We do have too much government control and too many laws, but you cannot just legalize everything. Drugs are already too accessible to kids. I wish alcohol had never been legalized...we'd be better off without it..but drugs? No way!

 We do need a third party option, but I shudder to think of a world where libertarians are in control. It sounds eerily like anarchy.

2) Amish getaway

  I had a Monday and Tuesday off last month, and went to Sugarcreek, Ohio for those two days. I got the package deal I have done before....$84 for the stay, my choice of 3 restaurants for breakfast and supper, and around 20 other free things at different locations such as jam, cider, cheese, ham, bread, etc. I had a great time and found a nice used bookstore that I spent a lot of time and money in.

 There is a restaurant, Mrs Yoder's, where I always get my free supper/dinner, but they were closed for some kind of maintenance. I drove about 25 minutes and discovered that. Choice #2 is a place I ate once and wasn't all that impressed, so I picked choice #3: Charm Family Restaurant in Charm, OH.....a small place you'll miss if you blink. I doubt I would have ever eaten there otherwise, but it was a really good meal and nice restaurant. I may go there again some time.

3) 50

 In two short months, I will turn 50. Turning 40 was rough. I remember crying before and after it for a couple of weeks......but 50 has been worse. I'll be bluntly honest about what I have been keeping to myself for weeks, other than sharing some with my best friend.

 This is the reason I haven't blogged. This is the reason I have been reading non-stop and have basically retreated from the world as much as I can and still go to work and church.....though I'd love to stay home from both and be by myself.

 I am on two depression meds, and feel I am more depressed than ever. Don't roll your eyes. It is so much more than "just a number."

 I am not saying this all to sound pathetic or try to have a pity party...this is stuff that is crushing me.

 With 50 looming, so much is hitting me.

I have always felt like a failure, but even more so at this stage in my life. I'm not like other guys. I'll never be like other guys.

The reality of being so alone is worse. I gave up on marriage.....I'll never be attracted to any woman enough to marry and make it work......but it still hurts. More than that, is the never having kids of my own. I still dream of having a couple of little boys to do stuff with...how I'd play sports with them just because I loved them. But the impassibility of such a reality crushes me......and I mean that. Maybe I'd be a lousy dad anyway.....it seems to me I am not good at anything else, and I only see failure when I look in the mirror.

 It may sound like a major contradiction, but I am lonelier than ever, yet I don't want to be around people. On my days off, I rarely have much contact with anyone, except people I see in stores. Some days, like today, I won't even leave the house.

 The end of my life seems too close now. I know, no one knows when they will die. But 50? I have most likely lived more years than I have left. OK...not most likely. I have. I won't live to be 100.

And I don't want to grow old alone, but that is exactly what will happen.

The gay crap is harder to deal with than ever. I find myself angry at God. No one chooses to be attracted to the same sex. If you think that, you need slapped hard....but no one knows how or why. Some say you are born this way.......could they be right? And if they aren't, then how? How can a loving God let someone have this curse where they have to go through life never being able to have someone to love...always having the desires and attractions for what they cannot have?

People who marry and divorce, who cheat on each other.....they bother me a lot. They have what I can never have, and mess it up. And too many of the same people who toss out what the Bible says on divorce and remarriage still think being gay is the worst sin.

I feel like I haven't done anything worthwhile in my life. Oh, there is serving God and all that entails.....but life is just working and paying bills and trying to survive. I honestly don't think I am selfish......I just have nothing to do with my life.

 Since I am being honest.....I wish I could do something to help kids. But I have no ideas. I really do love kids, and am very thankful that I have 3 nieces and 3 nephews who are such a part of my life and me of theirs...but they are growing up. The girls all work and are in college. The boys are in school and one works, plus they are an hour from me.

4) Trump

 I honestly can't see any possibility of me ever voting for the man or supporting him at all in this reality. I am actually working on a long post outlining why I still oppose him, so I will keep this part brief: I am not being dramatic or stupid, but I find it disconcerting how pro-Trump so many are. His supporters act like he is untouchable and defend him no matter what....... and worse, will never criticize him, and go after anyone who does. Quick example:

Any time Obama even mentioned guns, conservatives went nuts. "Hillary will take our guns" was something people told me when they were trying to bully me into voting for Trump.

But since Trump has been in office, he has instituted a bump stock ban that went into effect this past week. He wants to raise the minimum age to buy guns to 21. He told Republicans in congress to not be afraid to buck the NRA.

And conservatives were silent. The Trump propaganda machines Fox News, Sean Hannity, Limbaugh, Drudge, etc didn't touch it. Not one of my Trump supporting friends said a peep. But I'd stake all I own that if it was someone with a D by their name, these people would be outraged.

Trump nominated the first gay ambassador  and Pence swore the guy in with his partner there. Silence.

The man paid hush money to prostitutes and his Christian base don't care.

I am conservative, so of course I oppose Joe Biden...but the same people excusing and overlooking the horrible actions and words of Trump with women are already doing posts about Joe Biden being creepy with women. To be blunt....these people have a huge double standard, if not hypocritical, if they are so willing to overlook and excuse Trump for far worse.

And the memes are so over the top. It drives me crazy.

And he has done other stuff he shouldn't. The man had policies completely opposite to conservatives for years.......it should be no surprise.....but the silence of conservatives truly is alarming. He said he could shoot someone on the streets of Manhatten and not lose any voters.....I find myself honestly wondering if there is anything he could do that would get criticism from his supporters. I worry about the future of conservatism and evangelical Christianity.

 The Trump phenomena has really affected me negatively. No one seems to think my opinions matter since I dare criticize the man. No one says that, but that is the feeling I get. "Your opinion doesn't matter since it is different than us, so please shut up."  It is really frustrating......and though I haven't lost my faith in God, it has taken a hit as God's people have attacked me, tried to bully and guilt me into voting for the man and trying to silence me, and so many continue to praise the man far more than the God they claim to serve. It did almost destroy my faith, but I was very discouraged at election time......and not about the election. Well, I am still very discouraged.

 I suspect the whole Trump thing has also had an affect on my depression.

 I attend a very conservative church, and there seems to be a big disconnect about some of the seemingly small things my church teaches we should do, and the the way so many act about this man and those who dare oppose him. I have had Christians in my own church un-follow and delete me because I dare oppose DT....but they had no problem with me doing and saying far worse about Obama.......I have thoughts on that, but won't verbalize them. I guess I just expected people in my church to be different about politics and Donald Trump, and I am disappointed and disillusioned because so many are not.

 And no, I am not saying I am any better. Honestly, people have no idea what I think of myself. What I truly think....but it isn't very nice or good.

Vote for him if you feel you must. Support him. Acknowledge when he does something right....but please don't put him on a pedestal and never criticize him and try to shut up anyone who dares do so. He is not God. He is far from it.

5) Reading

 I mentioned that I have been reading a lot of books. I set a goal to read 200 books this year. In these first three months of this year, I have read 159 books towards that goal.....but I have been doing almost nothing but reading in my spare time. Due largely to my depression, I have a hard time doing more menial things...I have yet to put out my living room decor I put away for Christmas. I did take my Christmas decorations down, with the exception of the lights in the windows.....

 I do my laundry and dishes and take care of myself, but clutter gets the best of me and some days I don't even make my bed...something I always do. My dining room table and my coffee table are covered in books.

6) Facebook

  I have given serious thought to deleting my account. I have unfollwed and blocked so many political pages, yet am still constantly flooded with political posts I don't want to see. And there are some I can't block for some reason.....when someone shares a post from say "Americans for the abolishment of chocolate", there is usually a drop down thing you can click to block the page....but sometimes it isn't there. I don't know why.

 But to be honest, most of my social life is on line. I know, that sounds pathetic.....but I am a single guy about to turn 50. My real true friends are rare, and the people I hang out with are all related to me and call me "Uncle".....and yes, I do get with the whole family too. I sometimes already feel like a hermit, and if I deleted FB, I fear it would be worse.....but then on the other hand, more and more I wish I didn't have to be around people anyway, except for my family. I always want to be around them.

 There are benefits of FB. I keep up with people I normally wouldn't otherwise, I have authors I follow and keep up with, book review related things I take advantage of, and groups I am that help and encourage me...especially in regards to my same-sex attractions since there is nada off line for me.

 I guess it is almost a necessary evil. It has its good and bad, but without it I would feel even more isolated and alone than I am.

 My current friend count on FB is 606. There are a lot of those people who never interact with me, and some of them never post. Occasionally a birthday will pop up for someone I didn't even realize I was friends with. There are also several people who have un-followed me because of DT. I have gone through before and deleted anyone who had not interacted with me for several months. It may be time for another purge.

 And then there are the FB friends who only interact or comment if they disagree. It would be rude to delete them, but that drives me crazy.

7) The tree

  A few weeks back we had really high winds. A pine tree in my front yard fell onto the electric wires, and blocked a good part of  the road. The electric company cut it down and got rid of it. The tree blocked my front porch pretty well, and I am going to miss it in the summer when I sit on the porch.  At least the large rhododendron bush still blocks the neighbors.....and there is always the back porch for a little more privacy.

8) Weather

  I really do hate winter. It is so cold, I don't like the snow, I don't like driving on bad roads...I get tired of cleaning my car off, I don't like the ugly grey that is all around....I don't dare say much or people get on me about it....and it is a known fact that people tend to be more depressed in the winter. I can attest to that.

 My favorite attire is a short sleeved shirt, sandals, and jeans.....no jacket needed. I can't wait. It is also awesome to jump in the car and go without having to clean it off or warm it up.

 There was a fairly warm day this past week, and I drove home with the windows down and wearing sunglasses.

9) Weight

 I have come to a standstill with the weight loss, but have kept it down. It is amazing how many clothes I have. I have gotten back in 36 waist pants and jeans.....something that hasn't happened in ages. I am kind of in between on shirts. My 18 1/2 XXL shirts are getting too big on me, but the necks of my 17 1/2 XL shirts are still too tight to wear ties...so my overflowing closet has both.

10) Ties

 I have long had a hate relationship with ties. I was forced to wear them in Bible College...even to meals. If I was working or something else between meals, I had to get one on just to eat. Something I still think is really, really stupid....and something I think they may have relaxed on since....but for years since, I have hated to wear them.

 Then I get a job where I have to wear them. Ugh. Surprisingly, I have gotten used to it and have gotten pretty good at tying them. I do try to leave them tied for a while, but that is mostly a time saver. I have also gotten better at matching them with what I wear.

 I went out to eat at my favorite restaurant after work last month, and actually left my tie on. I even kind of surprised myself.

 I also have to wear a dark green blazer at work. I still don't like it, and doubt I ever will.

 I have a few novelty type ties I like to wear. One has cars, which I get tons of comments about.....one with a lighthouse, a safari tie, and a Noah's Ark. I'd like to get a superheroe's tie..preferably Captain America..... and one with antique cars like the one above....but people want too much for used ties on eBay.....plus I bought some Christmas ties that were junk and tossed, the quality was so bad. You don't know what you are getting online.

11) Vacation

 My whole family is going on vacation this summer to the Outer Banks. My oldest sister and her family has been going every year for around 20 or so years. We go every other year, and her in-laws go the years we don't. There will be 13 of us in a large 5 bedroom house that has 5 1/2 bedrooms. We get along great...I imagine there are a lot of families who couldn't do that: Me, my parents, 2 sisters, 2 brother-in-laws, 3 nephews, and 3 nieces. This year may be challenging. My parents have had mini vans for years, so we had plenty of room......but they sold theirs and didn't get another. They and I will be in a Nissan Rogue with a clamshell carrier on top. Packing may be challenging. My sisters still have mini vans, so they should have plenty of room. We take a lot of our food, and that takes a lot of room.....plus I always pack too much.

12) Work

 With all the negativity in my life, I am thankful for my job. I do like it, and have a lot of coworkers I like and who seem to like me. Yeah, I can't believe it either. They all work at the hospital I am at the most, thankfully. I am at the other one tomorrow, and only have a few people there I interact with much and who seem to like me. Another reason I miss hospital #1 when I am not there.

But I still love my days off....

13) Thankful

 I do know I have a lot to be thankful for, and that I could be a lot worse off than I am. I absoultely hate the struggles I have and ask God why a lot....but it could be something far worse than what I deal with on a daily basis.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Can Politics and Christianity mix?

**Disclaimer: I am no means perfect. I don't think I am better than anyone else, and in fact have a very low opinion of myself and see only failure in the mirror. I am just a guy who tried to do what I believed was right, and have been fought on that by the very people who should have supported me.

***Disclaimer #2: This post is not about Donald Trump, though I will discuss him.

****Disclaimer #3: This could be a very long post.

    This is actually my first blog post of 2019, and is about something that is alarming me more and more as the days go by.

    Politics has always been divisive. Way back when Abraham Lincoln was running for president, the debates between he and Douglas got pretty heated. It seems to have worsened in the last decade or so, or it may be that social media has made it more obvious. Everyone has an opinion, and most people are unafraid to share it. In fact, many are all too willing to do so.

  I have become increasingly bothered by how divisive and angry we have become. One could assume by the actions and words of too many Christians that it is more important to win people to their political views, than to win people to Christ. Many Christians spend a lot more time and energy to do the first, then the last...if they work on the latter at all.

  I was against Donald Trump from the start, and believe 100% that conservatives and Christians should never have picked him for the nominee with the kind of man he is, his past, and what he had done politically in the past. I felt - and still feel - that I could not vote for him for a variety of reasons, and to do so would be hypocritical of me since he was guilty of so much that I criticized Democrat politicians for. Looking back, I wish I had just kept silent, and voted the way I felt without telling anyone..which was 3rd party. I didn't want either candidate, and many people didn't, who did vote for DT. I don't want to belabor points I have made, but they go with the whole idea of this post, though the focus of this post is not any politician.

 Here are some things that have been said to me and have happened because I dared to not vote Republican....which is evidently in the Bible somewhere that I must. (Heavy sarcasm intended):

1) I have been blocked, un-friened, and un-followed by Christians on Facebook....even some from my own church.

2) I have been falsely accused of being for Hillary since I don't support Trump.

3) I have been told I am for killing babies if I don't support DT

4) I have been told I am not on God's side if I don't support Trump

5) "A vote for 3rd party is a vote for Hillary". Uh, no it isn't. That is a lie used to guilt or shame people into voting the way they want you to.

6) "A 3rd party vote is wasted." No it is not.

 And there are more. I won't take the time or energy to dredge them up.

   A Christian Facebook friend just did a post last week I found highly offensive. Now remember, the election was over 2 years ago. Donald Trump won. This man did a post lambasting we who did not vote for DT, again claiming a 3rd party vote was wasted, and other lovely things like that. I cannot remember everything he said, but I shot back a reply that has led to some thinking and resulted in this blog post.

    I have always been, and always will be a conservative. I will most likely not always be a Republican, for I feel conservative and Republican are becoming as much of oxymoron as Democrat and conservative. Both parties have their agenda, though I believe Democrats are more honest about what they are for and against. Republican politicians say what we want to hear, and we keep voting for them because the other party is so bad......and the Republicans never have to actually carry through and prove what they are for and against.

   Democrats and Republicans have always fought each other, for we have had differing values and beliefs. However, with the nomination and then election of Donald Trump, it has done something an election of Hillary or another Democrat would not have done: It has caused fighting among conservatives and evangelical Christians. And it sadly has caused many evangelical Christians to accept things in a candidate they never would have before. And sadder yet, it has caused some to defend things they never would have. Politics has become more important - or at least it seems to be - than our Christian witness, our relationship with Jesus Christ, and how we treat others. I firmly believe we are so missing it on a lot of what the Bible says, because it is more important to hold it against people how they did or not vote....or if they voted at all.

 We have become so worried and focused on safety and security, and are placing our trust in political parties and politicians. Our focus is on keeping gun rights, building a wall, and other things that may be important, yet are not as important as how we treat others.

  This next part of my post is not aimed at anyone, well it is aimed at anyone who claims to be a Christian....whether a Democrat, Republican, conservative, Trump supporter, not a Trump supporter, or any other party:

1) Are we truly loving people as Jesus commands us to when it comes to politics?

2) Are we showing people the same grace we want shown to us?

3) Have we truly forgiven people for voting opposite to how we wanted them to, and/or for pressuring us to vote or not vote a certain way?

4) Are our political posts congruent with being peacemakers? Are they congruent with being Christ-like?

5) Are we gentle and kind?

6) Is Jesus truly more important to us than politics and politicians?

7) Do we care how we make someone else feel by what we say, or is it more important to be right and in an argument?

8) Are we being 100% honest in what we say, or are we exaggerating and stretching the truth?

9) Why is it OK to trash politicians we don't agree with, but expect kid gloves treatment of those we do?

10) Is how we treat people and what we say to them and about them consistent with how the Bible says we should do?

11) Is it right and Christian to bash some politicians, yet attack people for bashing and criticizing ones we like?

12) Are we spending more time on politics than on things of God?

13) Do we are more about telling people what we think of their voting and their poltiical views, then about praying for them?

14) DO we pray for those we disagree with politically?

15) Are we too obsessed and worried about our safety and security?

16) Would Jesus post what we post about politics, and would He post about politics at all?

17) Should a true Christian harass someone about how they are voting or not voting? WOULD a true Christian do that? Should they try to guilt, shame, or scare someone into voting how they think they should?

  There are other questions I could ask, but they would be pretty similar to what I have covered. But the truth of the matter is we have become so obsessed with politics that we don't care how we treat people, or how we make them feel. It is all about getting our candidate elected, protecting that candidate, and getting what we want done politically.... and screw whoever disagrees with us. I did that word for shock value, but it sums up too many Christians' attitudes when it comes to politics.

  Personal stuff: I deal with depression, which is worse at some times than others....such as during winter. I am attracted to the wrong gender, which is more difficult than anyone can imagine who does not have the same struggle. I am lonely, long for a family, have very low opinions of myself, and still struggle after all these years to believe people like me and that I matter to anyone outside of my family. That is my reality.

  I said all that to say this: I find it hard to believe the many people who have un-followed me, un-friended me, falsely accused me, blocked me, harassed me, tried to get me to against my conscience, etc....really cares about me. All these people care(d) about is how I was voting, and they did their dead level best to shame, guilt, and scare me into voting the way they wanted. They didn't care how they made me feel. They didn't care how going against my conscience could affect me spiritually if I gave in. After all, why is it OK to go against one's conscience in one instance, but not in others? (And yeah, I have given as good as I have taken.)

   I am sick of American evangelical Christianity. Sound bad? Well I wouldn't be surprised if God is too. It seems to me that we are so far removed from what we should be.... and politics is just one of many areas we fail in. I want safety and security as much as the next guy, but we have it too easy here in America. The average American doesn't really need anything. Our welfare system has become more than something truly needy people use to get over a bad time. It has become a way of life so people can have all the kinds of food they want, but not adjust their lifestyle to live within their means.

 Yet we who are not living off taxpayers can be no better.

   I have a lot of friends on Facebook who are constantly posting about the wall. I personally believe it is never going to happen, but that is beside the point. I want to secure our borders....don't get me wrong.....but as someone has said, we are more concerned with building walls than bridges. And I am not talking about a literal wall.

   Isn't it sad that Christians are so divided, and not just over politics? I have someone I used to consider a good friend come up to me at church last week. He asked if I was shrinking. I told him I had lost around 30 pounds. Now here's the thing: we are friends on Facebook, and I have mentioned my weight loss several times, and how I am working on it....but he has un-followed me. I was 99.99% sure, but he verified that by what he said. Isn't that sad?

 I have considered deleting Facebook, but there are a few reasons I doubt I will do that:

1) I honestly have no social life. With the exception of my parents and my nieces and nephews, I eat out by myself. I shop by myself. I watch movies by myself. On my days off, I often have no human contact off social media other than employees where I eat or shop....if I even leave the house. That may sound pathetic, but I am almost 50, I am single, I am attracted to the wrong sex, and I have no children. That's just my life.

  In all honesty, interactions with  people on Facebook are about the only interactions I get most days outside of work. I have almost become a hermit outside of church and work, and if I deleted social media, I fear it would be worse.

2) There are people I enjoy keeping up with on social media. I have made friends, became acquainted with relatives I never knew, and gotten back in contact with friends and family I hadn't seen or heard from in years.

3) I am friends with a few authors, and follow several others, and enjoy keeping up with them. Along with that, I do a lot of book reviews because of things posted on Facebook by authors and publishing companies.

  I have tried - and am succeeding mostly - in getting away from politics on social media. I HAVE dialed it way back.  It is difficult, when one has always been very political and are outspoken... and when others are posting so much you disagree with. There are several people I am friends with who rarely, if ever, post political stuff. I do post a lot about abortion, but that is not a political issue....though it has been made into one.....it is a moral issue, and it should offend us so much that we don't keep silent.

 This post honestly is not a post about Trump, but since I have been on the receiving end of some stuff, there are some things I have and will mention to do with him. As I have already stated, I am not guiltless, though I have tried to not attack people, but limit my criticisms of politicians. I have covered these before, but this goes with my post. These are things Christians have done and said in regards to my and others not voting the way they wanted: (some mentioned earlier)

1) Accuse me of being for Hillary Clinton when they knew I was not, and that I am a conservative.

2) A longtime friend said I was for Hillary and for killing babies if I didn't support DT.

3) A cousin told me I was not on God's side if I didn't support DT.

4) Another longtime friend "liked" a post that said people who do not support DT are as bad as ISIS.

5) I have been blocked, un-followed, unfriended.....even by those in my own church.

 And there were other things.

   Conservatives and Christians who do not support DT have said and done unkind things also, and someone who was the recipient of those can cover them if they want. I am covering the perspective of we who did not and do not support him.  Now if you are a Bible believing Christian, can you look through what I put above and honestly say that is how a Christian should act? Can you honestly tell me these people were not lying or at least stretching the truth with some of those statements?

  Can we possibly be living as God wants if we are continually squabbling about politics and putting down those who disagree with us? Jesus prayed that we would all be one.....are we striving for that, or has politics derailed that train?

  And what is the world thinking? I am sure the majority, if not all, Christians have non-Christian friends and relatives on Facebook. What are they thinking as we bash each other and squabble over politics and politicians? Will it do harm to their chances of becoming a Christian some day? And why has it become more important for them to hear our political opinions than the fact that God loves them and He can change their lives?

What the world need to hear is John 3:16
That God loves them just as they are
His grace is sufficient to bring them to Him
Wherever they’ve been; no matter how far
There’s hope for the lost and the helpless
Faith will replace every fear
The gospel of Calvary – that‘s what the world needs to hear
(What the World Needs to Hear by the Booth Brothers)

  Isn't there better uses for social media than to make our politics being known top priority? I have friends on Facebook who post constantly about politics, and rarely about God or anything related to God. No, not ever post has to be Christian/religious in nature, but if God is truly more important to us than anything else, then shouldn't that reflect in what we post?

  Sadly, politics and Christianity have become so intertwined, that they are almost viewed as one. We tend to look at things as an American before as a Christian. I cannot remember the question, but someone at church who was constantly texting me about my voting, asked me a question. I answered back, "are you asking me that as a Christian, or as an American?" He replied "can't it be both?" And therein lies a lot of the problem." Instead of Christianity affecting and influencing our politics, our politics has affected and influenced our Christianity, until we almost equate the two. It has become more important to win people to our political views and/or politician, than to Jesus.

  Instead of the Great Commission being go into all the world and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it has become preaching and arguing our politics. And sadly, too many either don't care, or they aren't even aware of how much politics has taken over and pushed Jesus out.

   We will all stand before God some day and give account of our lives. It won't matter on that day if we toed the party line and voted the way friends and family wanted....or even if we voted at all. There are issues I believe God cares about....i.e. abortion, but I don't believe most of the issues that cause us concern and that we fight about are things He cares much about. God cares about people, not politics, rights, and freedoms. He doesn't view us as countries, but as individual people.

 It should be our top priorities as Christians to live lives pleasing to God, and to point others to the God we serve. Can we do that and be political at all? Do we want to do that, or has politics taken over our lives so much that we truly don't care about pointing anyone to God? Do we read our Bibles and focus on God first thing in the morning, or do we get on our computers to see what has happened in the political world first?

 I have un-followed countless political pages in the last couple of years. (Seriously, how many Facebook pages does any politician need?!) Daily, another one more more pops up that I un-follow. I am trying to get away from politics, and it doesn't help when I have to scroll through a couple dozen posts to find something not political.

 There is a song that comes to my mind occasionally when thinking along these lines. The title is "Long Walk Home". It is not about politics necessarily, but it fits here:

"It's gonna be a long, long walk home, walking in our differences.
It's gonna be a long, long walk home if we don't walk in the love Jesus gives
If we spend all our time trying to be right, fighting over who's been wrong, 
It's gonna be a long walk home".

  There is enough out there to divide Christians....theological differences, interpretation of Scripture, etc..we don't need politics to do that.....but it is, and most Christians seem oblivious.

 Here's a couple of questions:
|Is it possible politics has become an idol? An idol is anything that takes the place of God

Is it possible Satan is using politics to divide Christians and to get their attention off more important things?

 In closing, I have felt for the last couple of years that the election of 2016 and the politics since then has caused my faith to take a severe hit. However, I have come to the realization that I was not correct. My faith in God has not wavered or taken a hit. My faith in conservatism, the Republican Party, American Christianity, and Christians has wavered and taken a hit. And maybe I had too much faith in those things....because politics has been too important in my life.

 I may not be 100% correct in what I have said, or how I said it....but I am 100% convinced that politics has become too important to us, and that it has caused us to act in ways that do not line up with being a Christian.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Offensive Christmas songs

The world has gone mad. There is no other explanation for the idiocy that is abounding. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" is being banned in some places because it supposedly encourages date rape. Rudolph and Charlie Brown are offensive because they feature bullying. As someone who was bullied a lot in school, I can honestly say neither of those ever offended me or bothered me. "Baby...."? I would like to ban it because it is a horrible song that about makes my ears bleed.

 Yet the same people offended by these things seem to not be offended by - or at least don't waste the effort to say so - things that are truly offensive: sex trafficking, abortion, letting kids be transgender....and more. It makes me think of the verse in the Bible about straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel. I think that fits.

 So to help you out, I have come up with a list of Christmas songs that are offensive, and you should avoid. It is not exhaustive. And all are original with me except #3 and the second part of #25. Yeah, I really stretched on some.....but so are the people being offended by songs.

1) I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - two reasons here. It promotes adultery, and what if Santa didn't want kissed? Maybe he is part of the #Metoo movement.

2) I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas: White...really? Could the songwriter be any more racist?

3) Let It Snow: insensitive to the homeless

4) I'll Be Home for Christmas, and Home for the Holidays. Same reason as above.

5) Silent Night: insensitive to deaf people

6) Do You See What I See? Offensive to both blind and deaf people.

7) Good Christian Men Rejoice and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: What about the women? Chauvinist songs putting men above women.

8)  Winter Wonderland: insensitive to those who cannot walk

9) Merry Christmas Darling: Hurtful to those who have no darling.

10) I Heard the Bells: see #5

11) Tennessee Christmas: offensive to anyone not from Tennessee.

12) Santa Baby: it is just a horrible song

13) Go Tell It on the Mountain: Insensitive to mute people

14) Hark the Herald Angels Sing: makes people feel left out who can't carry a tune.

15) Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy: promotes identity theft

16) O Come All Ye Faithful: leaves out the unfaithful

17) Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas: "Little" - could offend short people.

18) All I Want for Christmas Is You: way to leave out everyone else. Rude

19) Little Drummer Boy: insensitive to short people and those who cannot play the drums

20) The 12 days of Christmas: promotes ownership of people... and insensitive to those who cannot count.

21) Ding Dong, Merrily On High: sounds like a drug reference

22) Deck the Halls: gay apparel? Making fun of gay people, obviously

23) The Holly and the Ivy: insensitive to those allergic to poison ivy

24) An Old Christmas Card: could make elderly people feel bad

25) Frosty the Snowman: not gender inclusive...plus he doesn't wear pants

26) All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth: hurtful to West Virginians

27) Blue Christmas: makes fun of smurfs

28) A Marshmallow World: hurtful to diabetics who should avoid marshmallows

29) Santa Clause Is Coming to Town: "sees you when you're sleeping?"...encourages peeping toms

30) Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer: encourages violence towards grandmas

Sunday, December 16, 2018

December thoughts, take 2

**I started this post on Saturday, December 15, so 1-12 was written then. The rest today, Sunday December 16. References up til 12 to "today" refers to Saturday.

 I have been bored and restless all afternoon and evening, not really feeling like doing anything. I finally got a spark of interest to blog, so here I go.....

 It is a post of random topics. You will most likely find something you agree with, and something that may tick you off. Just a heads up.

1) Christmas

 Christmas is 10 days away. It is coming fast whether or not we are ready for it. I am pretty much ready. I still have some wrapping left, but it is mostly done. Other than that, I am ready for it.

 Or am I?

 The popular Christmas carol, Joy to the World says "let every heart prepare Him room." Do we do that? Have we done that?

 Much is said and complained about the commercialization of Christmas, but what do we do in our celebration to combat that....or do we do our own version of commercialization of this time?

2) Merry Christmas

  I have heard the rationalizations of people many times. "Holiday really means holy day, so when people say Happy Holidays, they are really saying happy holy days". "The X in Xmas stands for Jesus, so they really aren't taking Jesus out of Christmas."


 Here's the thing: these people may be correct about the meaning of those, but the stores and individuals using those are intending to take Christ out of the picture. They have no issue with Merry, or even the "mas". They have issue with the first 5 letters: Christ. It bothers me a lot, and the rationalizations mentioned above just irritate me. Christmas is supposed to be about Christ. If stores want to take that away, then they should stop having sales to profit from the observed birthday of the One they despise so much.

3) Offensive

 The list of things offending people and being banned is insane. Baby It's Cold Outside, Rudolph, Charlie Brown, and more. And yet the same people have no problem with babies being ripped a apart in the womb, children being exploited for the gay agenda, kids being given hormones to try to turn them into the opposite gender, cursing, and a host of other things that are truly offensive and horrific.

 How long until Christianity is branded offensive, and they try to ban it?

4) My lunch date

 I tease my youngest niece occasionally when she posts a picture of she and her boyfriend out eating on a date. I'll ask where I was, or why I wasn't invited. She messaged me this morning and invited me to meet them for lunch at the Mexican restaurant near us, since I am always complaining they go without me...her words. :)

 So I did meet them, and had an enjoyable lunch. Though I think they invited me so I'd pay. Just kidding, I wouldn't have let them pay.

 And she owed me, after saying it looks like I threw the ornaments onto my tree :)

5) Not in the mood for Christmas

 This Christmas season has been weird for me. I'm not really in the mood for it, or at least not in some ways.

 I have yet to watch a Christmas movie. I have only listened to a handful of my 300 Christmas CDs. (exaggeration...it is definitely over 100). I HAVE been listening to my "Christmas favorites" playlist over and over on my PC and iPod (in the car).

 I received some Christmas cards at church and in the mail, but have yet to open them.

I haven't played any Christmas songs on my piano.

 Yet, I decorated and enjoy my lights and decorations. I enjoyed shopping for Christmas, and even have enjoyed wrapping the gifts.

 I have even been wearing Christmas ties to work and church.

 But the way I feel this year is not normal for me. I'm not really excited about anything Christmas, except for one thing: I am looking forward to being with my whole family on Christmas day, and watching them open the gifts I have bought for them, and hoping they like what I bought.

 And maybe that's enough. Oh, I am not meaning before Jesus and the reason for this holiday.... but after Jesus, what else is more important than family at this time of year? There are many who do not have that. They are all alone at Christmas, or tragedy or life choices have removed them from family, or vice versa.

 But we are still all together: my parents, my sisters, their husbands, my 6 nieces and nephews...... and me.

 Truly, that is what I am looking forward to. Being with family, gifts or no gifts. No family is perfect, but our family is close and we all get together great. I can't wait to be with the whole gang for a whole day, and laughing and making memories together.

 And there will be gag gifts. I think I started the tradition, and now there are a lot of them every Christmas. It is fun, and always brings laughter. We arrange seats around the living room, and pass out the gifts. We take turns opening one gift at a time, and everyone enjoys the sight of a gag gift being opened.

 Example of one, between you and I: My little sister said in our Facebook family chat last week that she cannot stand the Veggie Tales music CDs, and that they are horrible. I immediately went on eBay and found a cheap used copy of one of them, and she is getting it for Christmas.

6) America's obsession with animals

 OK, if you are an animal lover, you won't like this one....

 I'm not an animal lover, and not even close to it.....unless you count fried chicken, steak, pork chops, etc. I care about cruelty to animals, but it is nowhere near the top of my concerns.

 You would think that animals are the most important thing to some people though. I see constant posts about fur babies, how horrible it is to leave animals outside, etc. I have seen the following post or similar ones lately, and they kind of irritate me.

 What about homeless people? What about kids with no parents or someone to love them? What about the babies being ripped a part in their mothers' wombs? Are they not more important than some stupid animal?

 Sure, we are free to post what we want on Facebook, well except anything negative about Trump.....but it is a fact of life that we will talk about and post about what is most important to us. Compared to aborted babies, homeless vets and others, and kids needing parents...animals aren't even in the same universe of importance.

 I'll be honest: I really wish I could do something for hurting kids....foster, adopt......Kids need two parents - a mom and dad, not 2 dads or 2 moms - but one parent is better than none, and I could love a kid enough to be a decent parent. But I can't. My hours I work, my pay.....my sexuality. No, I'm not going to hurt a kid that way, but too many Christians still have the wrong ideas about gay/SSA people.

 It breaks my heart when I read of kids no one wants....but animals? Nah. Not worried about them.

 And they aren't fur babies, nor are you their mommy or daddy.....they are animals, and you are not. Nor do you adopt animals. You own animals, you adopt children.....human children.

 There is a pastor I had years ago that I have a very low opinion of, but he wasn't all bad. One sermon he preached has stuck with me. Colossians 3:5 mentions inordinate affections. Inordinate is beyond normal, extreme, without limitations. He used that verse and preached about how over the top people are with their animals. I think he had a point.

 And no, I am not saying it is wrong to love an animal and be fond of it, but people are way over the top with animals, and too many truly do seem to value animals over humans and care more about animals than what humans are going through.

 And yes, that verse could apply to about anything we value too much.

7) Trump mania

 Speaking of inordinate affections.....

 It is no secret I am in complete opposition to Donald Trump, and still cannot imagine how and why the Republican Party picked him as the GOP nomination over several decent and true conservative candidates. I have listed the reasons why before, so I won't go into that.

 What I do want to mention is the over the top adulation and worship of the man. I still view him as a corrupt and not very nice individual, but many of his Christian followers constantly post praise and defense of him. I don't say this sarcastically, but seriously: the ratio of praise and adulation of him compared to praise and adulation of God by many Christians is so out of whack, one would think that Trump is their Savior instead of Jesus, and more important to them than God.

 I don't agree with them, but I can understand saying something positive occasionally about your candidate occasionally....but not multiple times a day, over, and over, and over.

 And then some of the crap they post is ridiculous....make Christmas great again, Trump is the best president ever, we have never had such a great Christian president (he is NOT a Christian.)

 When Obama was president, his followers said a lot of over  the top stuff about him. I 100% believe Trump supporters are far worse. Maybe they aren't, and it is because I have so many Trump supporters posting the stuff day after day, whereas I didn't have Obama supporters doing that, and only read it on the news.

 An example that a Facebook friend posted today:

 OK, imagine if an Obama supporter posted that.....well, that is how over the top and obnoxious it is to me.

 I don't get it. What about this man has Christians so.....well, I can't come up with a polite word, so I'll say enthralled....he isn't a good man, he isn't a nice man, he has a history of supporting liberals and their policies, and he has broken campaign promises and done stuff that his base is silent on, yet would be criticizing Obama or Hillary for.

He funded Planned Parenthood, after promising to de-fund it

He talked about adding a gasoline tax on top of what we pay already

He nominated the first gay ambassador, and Pence swore him in with his husband by him

Most recently, he is talking about lifting the federal ban on marijuana, and making it legal.

He has made a couple of moves to harm gun rights.

He promised to further gay rights, and appeared at a gay rally for him holding the gay pride parade with LGBQT for Trump on it. Imagine if it had been Trump.

 Why are conservatives silent? Why is he so untouchable, and why do they want anyone to keep silent who does take issue with him?

 All of this just causes me to dislike and oppose him all the more, and cause me to hate politics even more than I have in the last couple of years.

 I'll never, ever understand how the so-called conservative party could elect such a man for the GOP nomination. I get why they voted for him over Hillary, though I wanted neither.

 Don't like this post? Then give me a good explanation why so many conservatives ignore and are silent about all the bad stuff he has done and is doing.

8) Pro gay Christians

 I read an excellent article this week titled "Why Are So Many Millennial Christians Confused About Homosexuality?" It is becoming more and more common for Christians to ignore or twist what the Bible says, and be OK with gay Christians. This article brings up some great points, and reasons for younger people especially to feel that way. If this is a topic that interests you at all, I would recommend reading it. The article title is linked to the article.

9) Gay Christians

 I have discussed this before, but it is on my mind, and that is what I blog about..what is on my mind. Well, not everything that is.

 It used to be that the term "gay Christian" meant a gay person who was having a sexual relationship with the same sex and claiming to be a Christian. Now, it has become a big thing for celibate Christians attracted to the same sex to use that term. I am against it for a couple of reasons. #1, gay is an identity, and if a person is living for God and not wanting to give into his same-sex desires and attractions, why cling to that label/identity? #2, it is confusing. I have people following me on Twitter who use the label gay Christian, or LGBQT in Christ. Some of them I know are celibate, some not, and some I have no clue...because the label is now being used by both people having sexual relationships with the same sex, and those who are attracted to the same sex and are not doing that.

 And if I, who deal with that personally am confused......how much more is the average Christian or person of the world going to know?

10) Max Lucado

 I have always liked Max Lucado's books, though I have not kept up with all of his. He is one of the few well known Christian leaders who did not support Trump, and was called a Pharisee and other lovely names by the lovely Christians who took issue with him not supporting their guy. It just impressed me even more with him.

 I learned something new about him this week. He spoke at Wheaton College at a seminar about sexual abuse, and told that he is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. It was brave of him to talk about it, and it is nice to see someone who overcame that to be used of God in the ways he has been.

11) Reading

  I set a goal of 130 books for the year, and have long ago passed that. I am currently at 196, and should hit 200 with no problem. Maybe I should make 200 my goal for 2019.

12) Beards

 I see a lot of stuff about beards being more manly, and how real men have beards, and other baloney like that. Yeah, baloney. Beads don't make a man more manly than a hairy chest does. I actually find most beards distasteful. The shorter the better, and most men look better without a food/crumb catcher...there is a reason they call it clean-shaven when a guy doesn't have one. I honestly don't know why guys want facial hair. I wouldn't want hair all over my face, and why would I want to deprive the world of seeing my face? :)

 Barring some major disfigurement to my face, or something happening that I couldn't shave myself....or not being able to afford a razor....I cannot see any reason I would ever of a sane mind grow a beard.

 By the way, the pictures above are of the Duck Dynasty guys with beards and without. Which would you rather kiss? :)

13) Being like Stephen

 No, this is not about you, Steven....my best friend....though he rarely reads my blog, so he most likely won't see this anyway...... :)

  I am reading/reviewing a book titled Stories Behind the Traditions of Christmas. The chapter I just read was about Boxing Day. The author discussed the origins of the day, and I found out the origins are tied to the Feast of Stephen. All I knew about that feast comes from the somewhat annoying Christmas song, Good King Wenceslas........"

Good King Wenceslas looked out 
On the Feast of Stephen 
When the snow lay round about 
Deep and crisp and even

 So I also discovered from this book what that feast is all about: it is to honor Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Here's the most amazing thing about Stephen: as the religious leaders of the day were stoning him, he prayed that God would not hold their sin against them. He died forgiving the people who were murdering him.

 Could you do that? Could I do that? A friend of mine recently posted something I cannot find now, but the gist of it was that the reason for so much hate and division we see now, is people are unwilling to forgive. Too many of we modern Christians really do a lousy job in that area.

 "They didn't go to my wedding, I'll never forgive them!" "They didn't speak to me, I'll never forgive them!""They criticized my politician, I'll never forgive them!" We may not say the last part, but it is a reality. For all our talk of wanting to be like Jesus, too many of us too often fail at that. We don't need to be a doormat, but when you take what the Bible says about forgiveness and how we react to and treat those who do us wrong, we don't get high marks.

 Can I be bluntly honest? Well, I am going to be: the election of 2016 has affected me in ways no one could dream of. I had Christians say some pretty hateful things to me because I wouldn't vote the way they wanted. I had Christians do what I consider lying: "If you don't support Trump, you are for Hillary." Not true. "If you don't vote for Trump, you are voting for Hillary." Also not true. "If you don't support Trump, you are not on God's side." Also not true. "If you don't support Trump, you are as bad as ISIS." Uh, really?? (No one said that directly to me, but a long time friend of mine "liked" that post, which hurt as much if he had said it). And I could go on, but you get the point.

  And I am still really ticked at some of those people. Politics and trying to keep our rights and freedoms have become more important than obeying Jesus' commands on how to treat people. I seriously doubt I will ever get an apology from anyone who said things to offend me and make me feel bad, but I still eventually need to forgive. The same Jesus who said not to treat people the way I have been treated by some Trump supporters, also said we must forgive.

 On the flip side....I do not need forgiven for doing what I felt I had to do - vote 3rd party and not vote for DT.....but even though he won, there are many Christians who still hold it against we conservatives who did not vote for their guy. Even though I did nothing in that area to require forgiveness on my part, they need to forgive what they wrongly perceive as a wrong.

 How are we going to make it if we are ever truly persecuted here in America, and have actual evil and horrible things done to us for our faith, if we cannot forgive the paltry things we have hold against people now?

14) Illegal immigration

  The illegal immigration issue has become a hot topic. Liberals want to let them in because they see them as likely voters, and they are desperate to destroy conservatism. But some conservatives have jumped on the bandwagon and post how we should let them in. I can't believe these people have considered the consequences and thought the whole thing out. There is already a lot of criminal activity from illegal immigrants, especially in border towns. It seems almost weekly, an illegal immigrant rapes or kills someone, and it comes out they were already deported a few times.

 And just how many of these people can we bring in and provide for before our economy crashes from having too many people living off the system? We already have too many Americans doing that.

 One of the poorest arguments that I have seen several times, is that this land belonged to Indians originally, so we are all here illegally. Eye roll.

 I am one who is convinced this caravan was politically motivated. They came close to election time, and they refused sanctuary in two other countries.

 Frustrated by a few posts I have seen lately, I posted this a short while ago on Facebook, and I stand by it:

It's easy to get on a soapbox and take the side of illegal immigrants, quote Bible verses, post memes, and tell us why we should allow the invasion.

But what are you doing about the people around you in need....of a home, money, love, clothes, a friend, and other things?

It's easy to say what our country should do about these illegals when you're not directly involved...but it's another to put your money where your mouth is and help those around you that would affect your safety, finances, and comfort.

Jesus never said anything about how a country should treat people or what a country should do for people in need. He had a lot to say about what the individual Christian should, however.

15) Road of scrooges

 I live in the country on a road that gets little traffic. I am about a mile off the main road. I am the only house in that mile that has visible Christmas lights. I cannot see any on the houses past me either, but I assume surely someone down that way has some up. If I was giving directions to someone visiting me after dark, I'd be really easy to find. "Just look for the house with Christmas lights."

16) The "F" word

 If there was one word I wish I could ban from social media, it would be the "F" word. When I was a kid, no one decent said it. It was rarely heard, and was seen occasionally as graffiti on a train or underpass.

 Now everyone uses it, even people claiming to be Christians. I don't believe other curse words should be said by decent people and Christians, but especially that one. I have Facebook friends who constantly use it in posts or memes. One friend/coworker recently posted a meme that said not to trust anyone who doesn't say that word, or drink beer. I don't know if he was serious, but that is pretty pathetic if anyone actually feels that way.

17) Timers

 Speaking of Christmas lights, I have all of mine on times, with the exception of the ones in the kitchen. Not every window has one. The rooms with two windows have one timer and I ran extension cords from one window so I could do two windows with one timer.

 There are two reasons I use timers:

I don't have to run all over the house plugging and unplugging lights every night.

Since another "perk" of winter is it getting dark so early, I go to work in the dark and come home at dark. Since I use timers, my Christmas lights are one when I get home.

18) Facebook friends

 There are people I am Facebook friends with who I may never meet on this earth, yet are better friends than people I see all the time. That is kind of sad.

 I have done a "purge" on Facebook a few times over my years on there, and am considering another one. What kind of purge? I deleted anyone who I have not interacted with, or at least who has not interacted with me, for several months. No one has the time to "like" and comment on the posts of everyone they are friends with, especially when you have 582 friends (as I do), but if you never, ever interact or comment on someone's posts, then why be friends with them? Why should I keep them around?

 But where does one draw the line? I have people who I see in real life who have stopped following me and interacting with me because I dare occasionally to criticize the guy in the White House.....which I consider a bit hypocritical by the way, since they never did that when I criticized the last guy.......

 It is a fact though that when you have so many Facebook friends, your Facebook feed can get pretty clogged up.

19) Tax funded abortions

 I don't know if they will ever stop using our taxes to help fund murdering babies. Trump promised to stop funding Planned Parenthood,  then funded them again. The Republicans in Congress seem to have little interest in doing so either. I am one who doesn't believe the Republican politicians are any more pro-life than Democrats. Democrats are just honest about it, while Republicans say they are pro-life so we keep voting for them.

 But if by some huge miracle we do stop funding the murder of babies with tax money, they should start funding pro-life causes, especially adoption. Of children, not animals. There are so many people who cannot have kids, but adoption is so expensive. It would be awesome if those people could get the same funding that the baby killers are currently getting.

20) Circle of friends

 I don't know how unique or unusual this is, but I don't really have a circle of friends. There's a couple I recently re-connected with, but for the most part, there are no people in my life I see outside of work and church, except my family. There's no one I can call or text to meet for lunch, other than family. My life is almost void of connections outside of church and work, and almost void of connections at church.

 If I was the kind of person to invite people to church, there wouldn't be anyone to invite. I have friends at work, but they all seem to have their own churches, plus they aren't close to me distance-wise.

 They say no man is an island, but I honestly feel like one. I just wish it had a lighthouse and beach.

 Maybe that is why I like social media so much. It is a connection.

 I am going to be the big 50 in May. I am not sure how I am going to handle that. 40 was rough. I cried for a few weeks before, when I thought about it, and for a few weeks after. I think that is when my depression really started, or worsened.

 And now I have another milestone birthday looming. One of my work friends is a woman who is exactly 6 days older than I am. We don't have much in common, but I like her. I was asking her several months back if she was dreading 50, and she said not really. I told her I was a lot. She then said "We should go out for our birthdays. Oh, but you don't drink." I laughed, and said "turning 50 might be enough to push me over the edge to drink." I was kidding. I am very anti-alcohol.....but it is true that I am dreading that birthday. Half of 100. Yikes.

 Guys my age are married. They have wives (well hopefully one), kids, grandchildren, lives. They are more involved in church and other things. I have no wife, kids, or grandchildren, nor will I ever have any of those. I am a loner with not many responsibilities other than work and bills. There is no one to hang out with or get involved with anyone's lives. There's just me and my books.

 Sound depressing? It can be. That is why I am so thankful for my family. It made my day when my niece asked me to meet her and her guy for lunch yesterday. I in no way expect them to invite me on all of their dates, but it was cool and nice of them to ask me yesterday.

 To be honest though, I am for the most part comfortable in my aloneness (guess that isn't a real word)

  Yeah, I have lonely times, but so do married people. Relationships and marriage are not a cure for loneliness. Sadly, a lot of gay/SSA people don't realize that and spend years trying to find the one guy who will fill the void in their lives.

21) 2019

 It seems like just yesterday that everyone was freaking out about the year 2000 and all that could happen. Computers would stop working. Cars made after a certain year would stop where they were. Planes might drop from the sky. People stocked up on bottled water and other things one might need to survive an apocalypse.

 And here we are almost 19 years later, and none of that happened. Where have those 19 years gone? I went from 30 years old to 49 in the blink of an eye. I gained another niece and 3 nephews. I lost more hair and started shaving my head.

 I don't listen to much country music, but one of my favorite country singers is Brad Paisley. He is credited with the following quote he made on New Year's Eve. It is not Christmas Eve yet - that will be the next time you blink - so the "tomorrow" in his quote is actually 2 weeks away, but it is a good quote. If God grants them to us, we have 365 days coming that nothing has happened yet in. We have not failed in them. We have done no wrong....or right. We haven't given into a temptation. We haven't been hurt, or hurt someone.

 I'm not much for New Year's resolutions. They are so easily broken, and are often vain and shallow. However, there is nothing wrong in looking at those 365 days like a book waiting to be written, and resolving to be a better person, to do more for God, to draw closer to God and family, and resolve to do more good in general, if not anything specific.

 But first, we get through Christmas.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

December thoughts

 This is going to be one of those multiple subject posts, and the first post of December.

1) Christmas gifts

I am pretty much done with my Christmas shopping. I need one thing yet for one of my nieces, and then I am done. Then the fun part starts: wrapping. I am not a fan, but I have at least improved enough over the years that it isn't so obvious who wrapped it without looking at the tag.

2) Cowardly Christians, part 1: Carl Lentz

  A while back, a well known Hillsong pastor was asked a question. Carl Lentz was asked if abortion was wrong on the View.... a show I don't see how any sane person can watch. His reply:

“That’s the kind of conversation we would have finding out your story, where you’re from, what you believe. I mean, God’s the judge. People have to live to their own convictions,” Lentz continued. “That’s such a broad question, to me, I’m going higher. I want to sit with somebody and say, ‘What do you believe?"

 Cowardly may seem harsh, but I do call it the way I see it. The man had to know he was going to get some tough questions and opposition going on a show consisting mostly of liberal anti-conservative/anti-Christian/anti-God women.

 He later tried to make up for it, but the damage was done. He dropped the ball, and dodged the question instead of giving the answer he should have given: yes, it is very wrong.

3) Cowardly Christians, part 2: Lauren Daigle. 

  I had actually never heard of this Christian singer until she appeared on Ellen. I cannot stand Ellen. When I first became the greeter in the E.R. her show was on daily until I decided I was in control of the waiting room, and would change it to FOX news. I saw enough to be disgusted.

 Lauren Daigle appeared on the show and shared the Gospel, and was knocked for going on the show by a lot of Christians. I actually defended her on that.

 But now she has done something I consider her a coward for. She was on some show I never heard of, and was asked if she felt homosexuality is a sin. Her response was this:

"I can't honestly answer on that," Daigle responded. "In a sense, I have too many people that I love that they are homosexual. I don't know. I actually had a conversation with someone last night about it. I can't say one way or the other. I'm not God.

So when people ask questions like that...that's what my go to is.  I just say read the Bible and find out for yourself.  And when you find out let me know, because I'm learning too," she continued. 

  Now I am sure it was a tough question to answer. It would have been better for her to refuse to answer it, but to not agree with the God she claims to serve and give such a pathetic answer....yeah, cowardly and politically correct.

 If you read this blog much, you know I am same-sex attracted/gay, or whatever term I should use....and I have said many times it is sin and wrong. I even had a college friend give me a nasty comment on Facebook once about it. I had shared a news story about an athlete coming out as gay, and how Obama and many others were treating him as a hero. I said something to the effect that there was nothing heroic about it, and I think I added that the real heroes are the ones who are gay/SSA who live for God instead of their sexual desires. This woman attacked me and said I must be really homophobic and hate gay people. Yeah, kind of ironic. I messaged her and told her, and she would not back down. Her son is gay, not sure how many people know/knew.

 But even though it is something I personally deal with, I will not pull any punches in admitting and saying it is a sin. More on that later.

 We should be loving with our responses in such situations, but to say what she did is a complete failure as a Christian. There are many other ways she could have answered. But she gave a complete un-biblical answer, and may suffer for it.

**update: Some Christians are bashing anyone who dares criticize this woman. One guy/author I follow had harsh words about it, and ended it with "no one wants your opinion"......outspoken me commented and said that maybe no one wants his either :)

 And yeah, people can go overboard with this stuff, but this woman really dropped the ball. And here is what bothers me the most and the main reason I am so disgusted about this: This woman has influence, and it is very possible - and very likely - she could influence someone the wrong way. Same-sex attractions/gay attractions or whatever you want to call it are very tough to deal with. It is hard to live right when you are lonely, want someone to love.....and you are most likely in for a celibate lonely life with no one to love if you follow Jesus. What if she tips someone the wrong way? What if there are listeners/fans of hers who are SSA and hear what she says, and decides to believe what she so carelessly said? I find her comments dangerous and heretical.

4) Supper with the nephews

 I was wanting to shop at the Lifeway Christian store in Canton Wednesday, which is where my little sister and her family live. It is about an hour away, so I don't get over that way a lot. Since I was going over, I picked my nephews up to take out to eat. The youngest two asked where we were going, and I asked them where they wanted to go. They picked Chik fil a. My oldest nephew works there after school some days and on some Saturdays and gets $10 worth of free food per shift, so I pointed out he may want to go elsewhere. They assured me he'd want to go there.... and when he came into the room, that is where he picked to go.

5) Impromptu get-together

  I got home last night from work around 6, ate, watched a Christmas movie, and was reading a book. I figured I was in for the night until my brother-in-law messaged everyone in our family group chat  a little before 9 and asked who wanted to meet at McDonald's for ice cream. They were in Salem for something, and were headed for McDonald's. I threw on clothes and headed there. I was last to arrive, but they had just ordered. In addition to them and my nephews, my youngest niece and her boyfriend also came. I really do love being with my family, so I enjoyed our hour and a half or so. And yeah, I got ice cream and fries.

6) My weight

 I have been bouncing back and forth between 214 and 216 for a couple of weeks now, and getting frustrated about it. I am happy to be down from 230 back in May, but I need to lose more. I was pleasantly surprised this morning that the scales showed 213, especially after ice cream and fries. Hopefully I will still be that tomorrow, or even a pound less. My eating plans for the day are pizza for lunch...I buy 8 inch pre-made crusts from Walmart and add sauce and toppings.... and then a chicken salad for supper.

7) Baby It's Cold Outside

  I cannot stand the song Baby It's Cold Outside. I have heard many men and women do it as a duet, some worse than others, but the song about makes my ears bleed. It is a song I'd like to ban from my listening experience forever.

 But it is being banned for ridiculous reasons. It supposedly encourages rape. Yeah, how dumb is that. Keep in mind no one is wanting the 50 Shades movies and books banned....which truly does encourage some bad stuff being done to women. Yet people are going after an innocent - but ear bleeding - song.

 Liberals are offended by the stupidest things, yet cheer and support the bad things...like murdering babies in the womb, screwing up little kids with transgender stuff and sexuality, and more.

 But by all means ban a song that has been around since the 40's. Man has this country lost its way and mind.

 This country continues to ban and claim offense over things that for years has caused no problems. As someone has said, we are sop afraid to offend anyone except God.....and Christians, of course.

8) Ties

 Anyone who knows me very well may be shocked by this: I actually don't mind wearing ties that much any more. If the shirt is loose enough at the collar to not strangle me, it isn't a big deal. I even wore one to church last Sunday and plan on wearing one tomorrow.

 I am required to wear one for work, and have gotten used to it and have also gotten better at tying ties. I do try to keep ties tied for as long as I can for work so I don't have to tie one every time I wear a tie.

 We are allowed to wear Christmas ties, so I bought a few to wear to work.....and maybe to church. My main problem is matching ties with shirts. I have learned to just wear a solid shirt with a print tie and a solid tie with a shirt that is not a solid color. I see guys all the time wearing print ties with shirts that aren't solid, but I guess I'd better not attempt it.

 I have a coworker who helps me out. I had this conversation with her Thursday about a Christmas tie I was wearing:

Me: "would this tie go with a striped shirt?"

Her: "uh, no...it would be too busy"

Me: "oh"

Her: "I'm here to protect you from making a fashion disaster Buzz"

9) Gifts

  I am almost done with my gift buying for Christmas. I need one more thing for one of my nieces, and then I am done. I started wrapping tonight, and will work on that more another evening or day.

 My family is big on gag gifts. I guess I am the one who started the yearly tradition...shocking, I know. I also tend to be the one to receive the most gag gifts at Christmas. We pass out all of the gifts and go around taking turns opening one gift at a time. I am always opening gifts after everyone is finished....because I get the most gag gifts.

 And this year I have some new ones. :)

10) Christmas cards and letters

 I have never liked Christmas letters. They seem so impersonal and mass produced. We had a family who used to attend our church that went way over the top bragging about their kid's accomplishments over the year. My family got to calling Christmas newsletters "brag letters" because of  that. I still groan when I get one.

 And dare I go further? I don't even get that excited about Christmas cards for the most part. I do like getting Christmas cards in the mail, especially from people I don't see often. My church passes out cards people take in, and it is almost old hat. I like to get a card that has a personal note in it, but most just are signed with the person's name and I am just one of many whose name they scrawled and then signed as they went down the church address list. Yeah, that sounds bad and may make me sound like a scrooge, but it is true.

 I myself? I'd like to make a fake Christmas newsletter. My little sister did that one year for our whole family and passed it out to a few select people. Cards? I send most of them to people I don't see often, my family, and a few people at church.

 And this may sound really bad....but few people at church are part of my life. I see them at church and we may speak if we cross paths, but to many, if not most, I am just another face in the church, another name on the church Christmas newsletter.

 Yeah, it can go both ways....but this is coming from a guy who has always had trouble making friends, and is very afraid of rejection.

11) My banned post

 I got a notice from Facebook this past week that they had removed/banned a post of mine. I have heard of this happening and always wondered if it really happens. It happens. The post is a news story about a woman who is trying to turn her 6 year old boy into a girl. The court ruled against the father and said he could not tell the boy he is a boy. The story is wrong on so many levels...... and it is insane Facebook removed it. Anyone with decency and common sense should be horrified by it...but evidently Facebook supports that stuff.

 This stuff is child abuse of the worst kind. God have mercy on these poor kids who have such horrible unfit parents.

12) Transgender

 The transgender stuff is getting way beyond insane. People need to stand up to it. Yes, I feel badly for those who are confused and think they are the opposite gender that they are.....but you cannot change your gender. Oh, people can mutilate their bodies, take hormones, and do other ungodly things to attempt it.....but they are still the gender they are born, and are more likely to commit suicide after the attempt. They need help, not encouragement to pursue a delusion.

 But people need to stand up to men who are trying to be women participating in women's sports and other such things. Bruce Jenner won woman of the year a couple of years ago. Why didn't the feminists revolt? Why are women in competitions revolting or taking a stand when a man enters? Miss Universe may be won by a man this year, and everyone involved is either politically correct or afraid to speak out. People are losing their jobs for not calling people the pronouns they want to be called.

 When and where will the madness stop?

13)  Someone to come home to

  I'm not a normal guy. I know that and admit it, thought what IS normal? If you dropped the average "normal" guy in a lot of times in history, they'd be lost and considered abnormal. Good with cars? That wouldn't do you any good in 1492. Love football? That wouldn't do you any good a few hundred years ago.

 And yeah, I am different in part because of my same-sex attractions. There is no mold for guys like me. Some love sports and are good at them. I hate sports and am lousy at them. I love to shop, and most guys do not.

 SSA (same-sex attracted) guys tend to be more vulnerable than heterosexual guys. We also tend to be more open and willing to talk. Someone has joked that the average gay male would be every woman's dream.....if they were attracted to women.

 I said all that to say this: I tend to share more about how I feel and what I am thinking than "normal guys."

 Being single can be great. Other than work, I keep my own schedule. On days off, I get up when I want. I play music when I want and as loud as I want. I stay up as late as I want when I don't work the next day. I eat when I want.....and not so much what I want anymore....but I used to. Diabetes and high blood pressure changed that.

 But it can be rough and lonely too. There are nights I wish I had someone special to come home to, who would have supper ready and want to hear about my day. The cards I have been dealt say that can never happen for me.

 Sometimes I feel I have too much to deal with: diabetes, weight issues, hair issues (OK, that doesn't really bother me anymore), SSA, high car insurance, and other stuff I don't need to mention that bothers me.

 Then I feel guilty. Instead of diabetes, it could be cancer. Instead of SSA, it could be no limbs like Nick Vujicic. There are always people worse off than us, but sometimes it is difficult to focus that way.

 I'll be honest. Christmas brings the lonely factor home, maybe more than any other time. There is so much focus on love and couples. Songs, movies, advertising, and other things remind that this is a time for love and family.

 There are no gifts under my tree, for there is no one here to give them to, or give to me. Yeah, I have gifts for family, but they won't be opened here and it doesn't make a lot of sense to put any under there. But there are none for me, and there never will be.

 I've been kind of mad at God lately. There have been other times in my life that I have experienced that. The Christian stance is that no one is born gay, and God doesn't make people gay. But if that isn't true, then what does? I didn't wake up one day and think "I think I am going to be attracted to other boys!"

 There are theories, but no one really knows. Maybe we ARE born this way, but that wouldn't make it OK. Everyone is born with the predisposition to sin. Whatever the how, why? Why me? I would have loved to have had a family. I love kids, and still hurt sometimes knowing I can never be a dad. At times, it feels like a curse. I find myself asking God why me, what did I do to deserve this.

 And He has never answered that.

 I'll get over it eventually. I always have. There have been times I accepted this cross and have not been angry with God, so that day will come again.

 I am tempted to delete the last several paragraphs, but I don't shy about personal stuff and being bluntly honest, so why stop now?

14) The real meaning

 I guess if one truly focused on the real meaning of Christmas, the rest of it wouldn't matter. It isn't about family, giving gifts, getting bargains, eating, Christmas music, etc.

 It is about God loving us so much that He sent His only son as a baby who would be killed by those He came to save.

 All of the other stuff is just trappings. Not that it is all bad. I love being with family at Christmas, and giving them gifts. OK, I enjoy getting them also.

15) Santa 

 I am not a fan of Santa. He is an impostor who takes the place of Jesus in too many homes and hearts. If I had kids, Santa would not be any more present in my house and life than he is now....which is none at all. I would not let my kids believe he was real, and have major issues with that.

 Besides, I would want my kids to know their gifts were from me, and bought with my money. There is no way a fat mythical being would get the credit.

 I do like one Santa song: Santa Baby. Yeah, it is a romantic Christmas song that can bring me down if I think about it too much, but it is an awesome song.

16) Santa at the manger

  There is a thing going around on Facebook claiming that Facebook is censoring the picture of Santa at the manger for being violent. That is obviously insane, if it is true... and it does seem to be.

 You may disagree with me on my feelings about the picture/figurine. But if you read this blog much and haven't disagreed with me yet, you had better do some deep soul searching...... ;)

 Hate is a strong word, but I hate the Santa at the manger thing. People are often shocked when I say I don't like it, and act like I just said I don't like to breathe. Here's the thing: Santa is a mythical being who unfortunately takes Jesus' place all too often, and  unfortunately many people tell their kids he is real.

 So here is a figure depicting the Savior of the world as a baby with the mythical being who takes his place at the time of the year we are celebrating that baby's birth. It rubs me really wrong, and seems a bit heretical to me. Yeah, bring on the flames. I'll toss your Santa at the manger in those flames. That was supposed to be funny.

 And yeah, I get the attempted idea behind it....but good intentions does not make it right, nor does it make me like it.

 I have half joked that we may as well put the Easter bunny and tooth fairy at the manger also.

17) Favorite Christmas song

 I have a lot of Christmas songs I really like, and many favorites. Some are new, and some are old. One that was written in the 80's is one near the top of my list: We Are the Reason. There is a group I don't normally listen to who recorded it on their Christmas CD a few years back who hits it out of the ballpark: Avalon. I have heard it by others, and they can't hold a candle to that version. David Phelps is one of the best voices I have ever heard, and I was disappointed in his rendering of it on his new Christmas CD. It doesn't compare.

18) My tree

 I showed a picture of my Christmas tree to my youngest niece and my nephews last night. She said it looked like I threw my ornaments on it, and that the tinsel is crooked. The boys agreed with her, but her boyfriend said it looked good. I like how it looks. It is me. :)

19) Mary Did You Know....heretical?!

  A Facebook friend posted something someone had written claiming the song Mary Did You Know? is heretical.

 Spoiler alert: It is not

 The reasons: Mary DID know, and then there is that line in the song he and other Catholics hate: this child that you deliver, will soon deliver you."

 Yeah, it is a Catholic thing. They believe Mary was sinless, and next to God....so the idea that she needed a Savior is something a lot of Catholics cannot handle.

 As my best friend said, if Mary was sinless, then she is God and there are 4 parts to God instead of 3.

I have never understood the idolatry and worship of the Catholic church to Mary. She was a vessel to carry Jesus, and was not sinless. She should not be prayed to - that is idolatry - she does not have God's ear any more than you or I.

 I saw an  obituary recently for a young Catholic guy. It said that he was always faithful to the blessed mother. Huh?! How about being faithful to God?

 And I seriously doubt she knew everything the song asks. And by the way, the song asks if she knew.......it does not say she didn't know.

 It is an awesome song, and Catholics are a lot closer to being heretical than the song is.

20) Christmas and work

 My boss sends out a tentative schedule, and asks if anyone needs anything changed. I was scheduled to have Christmas Eve off, and work the day after Christmas (I have all holidays off). I would rather have the day after Christmas off, so I asked my one coworker to trade and she did. Now I have Christmas and the two days following off. I like having the day off after Christmas, as I can stay at with my family all day and not worry about going to bed early.

 And I am looking forward to the chaos, fun, and laughter of Christmas Day with my family.