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

Monday, October 22, 2018

October thoughts

***Warning: this is going to be a very long blog post, a combination of a new one and another I never posted last month. It is split up into different topics, so if you read this post, you can skip around and read the ones that might interest you, and skip others....or skip the whole thing. :)

  I have had a serious lack of blogging lately, which is bad. I find writing therapeutic, and just enjoy doing it. One problem I have is I often write a blog, get it out of my system, and never publish it. I have a ton of unpublished blog posts that I will most likely never post. Another problem I have is typing one up that has a lot of dated/current stuff in it, and I wait too long to post it and there are things not relevant anymore.

  I work at two hospitals that are in the same health system. One is closer, busier, and I know a lot more people there. The other is slower, further away by at least 30 minutes, and I don't know many people at. I am there today ( not the day I actually post this on my blog, we are past that day already). We had stopped being at this hospital on weekends at least a year ago, but recently started Saturdays again. Since it is so much slower, especially on weekends, I am sitting at the computer and figured I'd type up a blog in my email when I have the time.

 One advantage this hospital has, is there is a parking garage.

 Time does truly go faster the older I get. One month barely begins, and another is starting before I blink. I love summer, but it is gone and winter is peeking its very unwelcome head around the corner.

 This is going to be a variety blog. I don't even know where these types are going. I just blog about what has been on my mind, and what comes to my mind as I type. So here goes.....

1) Medications

  I had a doctor's visit on Thursday, and he wants me to start testing my sugar levels again. I have only bought the strips once - March of 2016 when I discovered I had type 2 diabetes.. I had no insurance then, and had to buy the little gadget that reads the strips....so I have no idea what I paid. I do remember it was a lot for the 2 combined. I picked up the news strips yesterday and had sticker shock. They charged $58 for 50 strips, and the instructions say to test 2 times a day. I cannot afford to buy them very often at that price, so I sure won't be testing it that often.

The doc also doubled my diabetes medicine. He wants me to lose weight, and the medication I take for diabetes helps with weight loss, and is sometimes prescribed to non-diabetics.... so that may explain my losing 4 pounds since my last visit in May without dieting. I do need to start watching what I eat, and being more careful about carbs and how much I eat.

2) Chili

 I have been wanting to make chili for a while, and decided to try one of the "Wendy's duplicate" recipes on line. As usual when I make anything like that, I ended up with far more than I need for one person. I took my parents a quart of it, and still had enough to feed a small village in Africa. My parents and I agreed that it does taste a lot like Wendy's chili.

3) Friend

 I ran into someone at Walmart that  I used to be friends with, but stuff happened and our friendship pretty much ended.She and her husband used to hang out a lot with me. She was one of the first people I told I was gay/same-sex attracted, or whatever label to attach to this stuff. They were a huge help and encouragement to me during the darkest days of my life. We chatted for quite a while, and I told her I was sorry for whatever I said and did to offend them, and she also apologized. We made plans to renew our friendship, and to hang out some time, and became friends on Facebook again. It made my day. I have missed them.

4) Friend 2

  Is there a time when we should cut people out of our lives? There's a lady I worked with at my last job, who I will call Barb. (Names have been changed to protect the guilty). She is a little older than me, has a boyfriend of many years who she does not live with nor has any intentions of marrying. She is a very fun and funny person, and we have hung out a lot. She likes my family, and has come to a few family events - graduations, my parents' 50th anniversary party.

 But there's a few bad things about her.

A. She is a notorious liar. She lies more than Obama and Trump combined.

B. She will come up with excuses to hang up on the phone, even when she calls me, and says she will call back....and never does.

C. She has arranged to meet for lunch several times, and has canceled on me so many times I lost track. It is so bad that even my parents figures she will cancel the last few times. And her reasons always sound made up. Once she said her brother surprised her and came from Florida to visit, but I found out he hadn't. It is frustrating.

 And then several months back, I was supposed to call her and make lunch plans this one day...... and I forgot. She was upset and I didn't hear from her for a very long time. Then a few weeks ago, she texted me, asked how I was, and said we need to get together. I replied and asked how she was..... and she has never replied to that text.

 Another thing....a couple of years ago she actually met me at Panera Bread for lunch. She got water with her meal, and after we ate and chatted for a while, she said she needed to use the restroom. She got up, went up to one of the garbage cans and got a coffee cup out of the bin on top, went up to the counter, and came back with another cup filled with coffee. There as no money exchanged, so I am fairly confident that she asked for a refill, and they as many restaurants will do, give you a new cup.

 But it gets worse. As we started to walk outside, I pointed out she was caryring the mug of coffee. She said she would take it back in. She didn't. She drove off with her free cup of coffee and her free mug.

  Do I need a person in my life like this? Being her friend is very frustrating and disappointing. I don't like people lying, and it isn't fun being canceled on multiple times.

5) Reading

 Goodreads is a website where you can keep track of books you read, want to read, where you can leave reviews, and meet other readers. Every year, they have a program where you put down how many books you want to read that year, and tracks your progress. I set my goal at 130, and passed it last week. I have read 131 books so far, and am currently reading 2 books...not something I normally do.

6) The books 

 The two books I am currently reading are both by guys who are gay and have left the gay life to live for God. Both are going to be totally different reads, with different views, but both are very good.

   A War of Loves by David Bennett: I was hoping to be able to review this book, and I did get on the launch team for it. The author is a former gay activist/agnostic who found God at the age of 19. I am guessing he is close to or around 30 years of age.

 Holy Sexuality by Christopher Yuan: This is another launch team I am on, but it has far fewer people on it. Christopher not only lived a very promiscuous gay life, but was a big drug dealer. He eventually went to prison, where he was diagnosed with HIV and became a Christian. He is currently on staff at Moody Bible Institute and goes around the country speaking. I was privleged to hear him a few years ago when he spoke at a location near to me. He thought I looked familiar, and I did hear his testimony back in 2006 at an Exodus conference....but I don't think I was anywhere near to him.

   I strongly believe too many Christians have no clue about gay related issues, and how to respond to and treat gay people. I truly shudder at what some people dealing with attractions to the same sex might experience if they confided in their parents or other Christians. It is something far more widespread than anyone knows, and  the likelihood of knowing someone gay/same sex attracted is very high. I hid mine for years and struggled in silence, and the people in my life had no clue what I was experiencing and dealing with. The church and Christians should be a safe place for people to come to with any issue, sin, or struggle....and this is one that is particularly difficult. I applaud Christians who take the time to learn about it, who read books, and take active measures to understand and be equipped to help....even if it is just a listening ear.

7) Making Christmas great again

 If you are a Trump supporter and are 100% against Obama or Hillary, imagine having a lot of Facebook friends constantly praising them, and knocking anyone who doesn't support them. Welcome to my world. I have friends on Facebook who bombard Facebook with pro-Trump posts. One would think by some of their posts that Donald Trump is their savior instead of Jesus..... and I am not trying to be rude by saying that.

 Anyway, a lot of the pro-Trump stuff is way over the top such as the pro-Obama stuff was.....but I saw something that took the cake. Pro-Trump advertisements and merchandise pop up all the time on my timeline. One came up for presidential coins with Donald Trump on. That isn't what got me though. This phrase was that was in the advertisement: "Make Christmas great again by purchasing some presidential Donald Trump coins." If you celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, that should be at least a little offensive, no matter how you feel about DT.

8) Blessed are the peacemakers

 Imagine what it would be like if we actually lived according to the Bible and its teachings. "oh, but I do", you say. "I am a faithful Christian who does live by the Bible." But do you really? Do I?

  I did a blog post recently about how Christians are too political and we set the Bible aside when we get political. It can happen in other areas too, but this is kind of a "P.S" to that.

 Are we truly living by the teachings of Jesus and other teachings in the Bible?

The Bible says that the peacemakers are blessed. Are we peacemakers? Can we be peacemakers while railing against those we disagree?

The Bible says the fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience,  kindness, goodness, self control, faithfulness. Can we have those when we are political.......or driving a car, or talking to someone we disagree with on anything?

 I fear we have given politics, and other areas,  an exception to all of these teachings we should be practicing.

 When we get to Heaven, we will not be judged on how many political arguments we won, or how many people we convinced to vote how we wanted them to vote. We will be judged on how we treated people, and how we lived according to God's Word.

9) Love

  One problem Christians have nowadays, is not having love. Whether it be politics, gay people, liberals - or anyone we disagree with politically, family dynamics, church stuff, or anything else in life.....we don't love, or love enough.

  Do we truly love the obviously gay and flamboyant guy that is our waiter, or do we secretly look down on him, condemn him, and make fun of him?

 Do we love the young guy with purple hair that is stocking groceries in the aisle where we are getting pizza sauce? (Yeah, that was me. Getting the sauce, not with the purple hair. My hair is not purple.....nor is it there. :)

 Do we love those who vote differently than we do, and who fight our values?

10) When the shoe is on the other foot

  There have been a few instances lately of politicians - and non-politicians also - being harassed in public, and in some cases being forced out of a restaurant because of people harassing them. Many of my Facebook friends have shared the news stories of it happening to  Ted Cruz and his wife, and that press secretary lady for Trump. They have expressed their outrage and say how horrible it is. I was disgusted by both instances, even though I don't like or support the press secretary.

  And then it happened to Nancy Pelosi. Now don't get me wrong: I think she is the worst liberal out there, and cannot imagine what the people are thinking who vote her in time after time. There are a lot of Christians and conservatives rejoicing and laughing about it. But if it is wrong for it to happen to conservatives and Republicans, isn't it wrong to happen to even liberals?

 What it boils down to, is are we truly for or against certain things, or does our idea of right and wrong change depending on which party the person is from?

11) Mice 

  I live in the country in a 3 bedroom farmhouse, and love living there. One problem is mice. I have an outside cat - don't judge me, it has the barn when it is cold, and it hangs out at the neighbor's more than my place anyway. There's probably no way to say this without offending animal lovers, but I am grossed out by animals in the house. We had cats in the house when I was growing up, but now that I am adult, I just can't stand animals in the house... so the cat is no help. If it actually hung out at my house and didn't just come over to get fed, it might keep mice away......but it likes the neighbors.

   Anyway, I had a mouse several months ago. The traditional traps didn't work, so I set a black plastic one that looks like an igloo, and caught it immediately. I got another more recently. I again had no luck with the traditional trap, so I tried the igloo again... no luck. I tried another kind, no luck. At one point, I had 5 traps set in the kitchen...3 different kinds... and only caught ants...... so I went with the glue traps. Yeah, inhumane...but I didn't care. I was tired of cleaning up mouse poop and bleaching counters and other things. I caught it after 2 nights.... about 6 weeks after first discovering it.

   And then 2 days later, I found evidence it had a buddy. I put out a glue trap... and over a week later, no luck. I haven't found any evidence for a few days, so I am wondering if it left. I hope so.

12) Divisiveness

   Our country is getting more and more divided, and maybe we should drop the "United" in the spirit of honesty. There are things that have always divided us, but it is getting worse....especially in regards to politics and political issues.

  I believe 100% that Obama made it worse. As the first black president, he could have done a lot of good for race relations and united our country. Sadly, he did the opposite. He dove into the fray in anything that happened in regards to black people. He always blamed white people and cops, and helped stir up hatred towards whites and cops. He favored Muslims and seemed to delight in fighting Christians and our rights and freedoms. He definitely left the country more divided than when he took office.

 And then Donald Trump came along. His supporters will deny it, but he also has done a lot to stir up division. He has been a lifelong liberal, and he acts and reacts like a liberal. During the election, he encouraged his supporters to be violent. Yeah, look it up. Granted, anyone who does anything his fellow liberals dislike are going to tick the liberals off......but he needs to tone down his rhetoric and stay off Twitter.

 I fear if it gets much worse, our country could have another civil war.

13) Table for one

   I eat out a lot on my own. It is just a fact of life that outside of my family, I don't have anyone to meet for lunch or supper (dinner to some of you). I can sometimes be a bit senstive about it. It can feel odd to walk into a restaurant where everyone is sitting with at least one person, and to have a table by myself. And it doesn't help when the hostess says "just one?" Ugh.

 I recently experienced that more than normal. Last Friday I was hungry for Mexican, and decided to go into nearby Salem after I got home and change and eat at the Mexican restaurant there. Two problems with that: they tend to be busier at that time of day - close to 7 pm when I got there - and they also tend to be even busier on a Friday night.

  I parked and debated about leaving. They were very busy, but I was hungry for Mexican. I walked in and saw the couple ahead of me with one of those pager things they give out when they are out of tables. Ugh. I really thought about leaving then, but I really wanted Mexican...........so I said one person and sat down to wait. The wait wasn't very long, and I got seated in a booth that would hold four people.... and I was surrounded by booths with 2-4 people in them. I felt weird and conspicuous. Here I was taking up a booth all by myself when people were waiting for tables. I texted my best friend and relayed my feelings. He replied "you have as much right to be eating there as anyone else, don't worry about it."

 If my waiter was dismayed by my table of one, he didn't show it. My food took longer than it does at lunch when they are slower, but I enjoyed it and decided not to care what people thought. I didn't dwaddle though, and left the waiter $4 for what came to around $11 or less.

 Today (the actual day I am posting this blog, October 22), I went to the same restaurant with my 3 nieces. It is unusual for all three to be free at the same time, and I enjoyed taking them out for lunch.

14) Marriage/Singleness

  In the one book I am reading, A War of Loves, the author talks a lot about his desire for a boyfriend even after becoming a Christian. He dated a guy for a while, and really struggled to get to the point that he knew it was wrong and that he had to surrender his desire for marriage and a relationship to God.

  He made some interesting points. A lot of gay people are obsessed with relationships and having someone to love. He made the great point that the same is true of heterosexuals. There has been a push for several years to make gay people who become Christians into heterosexuals.There have been ministries that tried to help people change their sexual orientation and become attracted to the same sex. It has worked for some, but not for the majority.

 But should the goal for people like me to become "normal" and marry the opposite sex? Is marriage what we are all about? Some of the greatest Christians in history were single. Jesus was single........so when you pray, you are praying to a single adult. :)

 I am not knocking marriage. But is it possible we have idolized it and made it of more importance than it should be?

   For all too many churches, there really is no place for singles. The people most involved in the church are the married people with children. Whether or not it is intended, that is held up as the standard to work towards to be a normal church member. And then trying to be a single that is not attracted to the opposite sex.

   Books, movies, TV shows, commercials, billboards, and other mediums stress that we all need someone. Commercials for all sorts of products are geared towards sex and desire for another, and how it will help the relationship. From an early age, we have the idea instilled in us that we need another person to complete and fulfill us. People date too young, have sex too early, marry too quickly, and then we wonder at the high divorce rates.

   I am sure this is not original with me, but here are my thoughts: don't date in high school. It is a difficult and busy time without dating. Avoid serious relationships as an adult, and learn to be comfortable alone. There are too many people who have to immediately jump into a new relationship as soon as the last one ends. It is as if people can't function on their own without a special someone in their life. It may sound weird, but learn to know yourself and do stuff alone.

   Yeah, being alone can be lonely. I know all about that. We are social creatures and most of us enjoy doing things with others. I have gone to the Amish part of Ohio by myself several times, and even stayed overnight in a motel... and enjoyed it a lot. I have gone twice with my best friend, and it is more fun with a buddy.  But the thing is, I can be comfortable and enjoy myself when it is just me. And we should all be that way.

  It can be tough being a single person in such a relationship orientated world. It isn't just restaurants that can make a single person feel out of place. We can even feel out place at church and with family. I was reading a blog post recently  by a young man who talked about how difficult family pictures are. When his family is together for special events and holidays, all of his siblings have spouses and children and pose with them. He has neither and feels out of place.

 We need marriage and families, or the human race would die out. However, I do believe we have made marriage a cure all. Lonely? Get married. Gay? Marry and it will make it go away. Want to fit in? Marry. Want to be used of God? Get married.........and so on.

  Here is the blunt truth of the matter: God is the only person who can truly fulfill any of us. It isn't only gay people who become Christians that must surrender their sexuality and desires for a relationship and marriage to God....everyone must.

15) Why I talk about "it" so much

  I am sure there are people who wish I didn't discuss gay related things so much....but let me be a little blunt and open about this.

 One one hand, it can be disturbing how much gay stuff is shoved in our faces, and how there is such a push to normalize it and even indoctrinate young children about how wonderful and normal it is.

 But there is a positive side to that. There was day when gay people were scared to death to "come out", and there are still places in the world, such as Muslim countries, where gay people are tortured and killed. There are even many here in our country who fear coming out and admitting it.

   It is no fun to deal with it and have to hide it. I sat in the church pew for years carrying the very heavy secret. I was scared to death of people finding out. I got rather good at dodging questions about why I wasn't dating or married, and adapted an attitude of joking about it that made people think I didn't want to be married....but oh, how I did.

 Since I quit hiding my struggles, it has been life changing. It has gotten easier to deal with it, as such a secret makes it more difficult to deal with it. I honestly don't know what people think of me because of it. I have never really had many people who are actual friends with me, as in hanging out... so I haven't noticed a difference. But then people are just as apt to avoid me because I don't blindly fall in with the Republican Party anymore.

 But on to the positive I was getting to: I would never have come to the place I am at, if it were not for others like me who have written books, spoke at conferences, talk about their struggles publicly and on social media.

  Imagine if you had something wrong with you physically, emotionally, or some difficult struggle. Now imagine if you knew of no one else with that same issue. How likely would you be to tell anyone? How would you feel emotionally if you thought you were the only one?

 And that is why I have become so open about discussing my struggles with same-sex attractions, and share so many thoughts about it. I hope by sharing some of my thoughts and struggles that I can help and encourage others who are dealing with this.

 I'll share a comment I just got today on a recent blog post. It made my day, and reinforced how important it is to be more open and transparent about these things. I think this is the first time this guy commented. I have no idea of his age, where he lives, or if he is even using his real first name.....but it made my day and made me more determined to not keep quiet about my struggles. I doubt he would mind me sharing it here, as it is a public comment already:

Cody  October 21, 2018 at 6:52 PM

Mark, Thank you for sharing your heart. I totally relate, as a faithful Christian who also struggles with same-sex attraction. You are not alone and your blog always encourages me. :-)

 THAT is why I post the things I do. If I even help or encourage one person dealing with this very tough issue, then it is worth whatever others think of me.

 And this is part of me. Yes, God can change people's sexual orientation, but He doesn't always do that.... and I am OK with that. Being heterosexual or "straight" shouldn't be the goal anyway....being like Jesus and pleasing Him should be.

16) Loving gay people

  Yeah, more on the gay stuff. I deal with it, and am reading 2 books on the subject, so it is on my mind a lot.

   There has been a lot of damage done to the gay community by the church and Christians. I have heard my share of jokes, cutting remarks, and outright homophobia in my life. David Bennett relayed something that happened to him after he became a Christian: he had invited 2 gay friends of his to go to church with him. They were a bit reluctant and antsy about being there, and the preacher said some things they took issue with. At some point in his sermon, he told a joke about gay people. David's 2 friends got up and walked out, and he followed them.

  It isn't funny, it isn't nice, and it certainly isn't Christian to joke about gay people and make mean remarks.

 Some years ago, someone was speaking in church. They mentioned homosexuality. A guy sitting behind me who had gone to a few concerts with me, leaned up to me and said "we should round up all of them and hang them." It hurt. A lot. He had no clue. Then there was the Sunday School class. We were doing a month on social issues - abortion, homosexuality, etc. I was still deeply "in the closet". I can't remember everything that was said, but there were 2 men especially vocal about "those perverts". One, or both, said they'd prefer having a murderer around their kids over one of those perverts....and other such remarks. I was fighting tears and the desire to walk out....but I was afraid people would figure out my secret. If that happened now that I don't care who cares, I would not stay silent. I am happy to report the subject has been discussed in that same class in more recent years with compassion and kind comments.

   But how many people are we driving away from the church that we could be winning to Jesus? Imagine if I wasn't in the church and had been a visitor in that class. Do you think I would have ever darkened another church door or been interested in being a Christian?

 There are gay people all around us. Many hide it, afraid to tell anyone. Our churches have countless people dealing with this issue who are scared to death to talk to anyone in the church about it because of the attitude towards it by so many Christians. In my church alone, which averages around 235-250 most Sunday mornings, there are 3 including me, that I know of. I don't know the identity of the third. There may be more than three. How many will be driven from the church because of how all too many Christians react to gay people?

   And let me take it further since I am on the subject: same- sex attractions should not disqualify people from ministry or church offices. I have read several stories of guys who were rejected from holding an office in the church because they were a Christian attracted to other guys. One I recently read of was actually asked to step down from an office he was holding when the church found out about his same-sex attractions. And by the way, I am completely happy warming a pew - or actually the stupid chairs that replaced the pews. It may sound bad, but I really don't want anything to do....but there are many who do and are not allowed.

   I referenced it before on my blog, but my Sunday School teacher made an interesting statement in class once. He pointed out that the early church was built on some pretty messed up people. Read Paul's letters, especially Corinthians. They had gay people, people in other sexual sins, and other sins. God redeemed them and started  the early church with people like that....people like me.

 Who knows what some of these churches are missing by refusing to allow anyone to serve who has same-sex attractions?

 Thankfully, God welcomes us all.

More thoughts.......the rest are things I wrote last month and never published, so they may be outdated a bit

17) Nike

 Nike has made the news by doing an ad featuring Colin Kaepernick and others. They are getting serious criticism and losing customers like crazy.

 A friend of mine said it well: Nike has the freedom to do what they want to in this regard, but they will also suffer the consequences of such a foolish move. Colin K is not a popular guy, and his actions and other NFL players has made the NFL suffer some.

 People are calling for a boycott of Nike, but I have been boycotting them all my life. There's no way I'd pay that much for a pair of shoes.

 And their slogan is way off base......believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. It matters what you believe in and sacrifice for. The Muslims guilty for 911 believed intensely in the wrong thing, and sacrificed everything.... and are burning in hell for believing in the wrong thing.

18) NFL bowing    

 I find it telling that we didn't hear from any football players protesting during the off season. If their protests are so important to them, why just do it during game time? Is it because they can get more attention and be more offensive then?

 Some defend them doing it, but here is the thing: When they are on the field, they are working for someone....and that is no time for political protests. The majority of us would get fired if we did that on the job..... and they should be no different.

19) Defending indecency

  It seems to many people that as long as a politician does enough things politically to please his voters, that it is God who put him into office...no matter how corrupt and immoral he is.

 I have serious concerns about some of the Christians in the Republican Party. I get that people were scared of Hillary Clinton, so they voted for the lesser of two evils.....but Donald Trump should never have made it very far in the primaries, and definitely should not have won the GOP ticket. I have said it before: If he had kept the D by his name and ran, the same people who defended his liberal and immoral past would have been using it as reasons to not vote for the man.

 A Christian friend of mine actually posted on Facebook recently that she doesn't care that Trump used and paid off a prostitute because he did it when he wasn't in office....so it doesn't matter What?! And sadly, that is the attitude of many of Trump's evangelical supporters. Christians defend things in him that should bother them.

 I made reference to it before, but some months back I shared a meme of Trump asking Jr what he was thinking committing adultery. Jr replied "I learned it from you." A very conservative preacher's wife commented "Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone".........yet she constantly condemns Hillary and other liberals. Also, her son's first wife cheated on him, and I'd bet all I own that she doesn't chirp that verse when that woman's name comes up.

 There is a Republican who won the GOP nomination for some office in Nevada that owns brothels.....and Christians are voting for the man, I guess it shouldn't surprise me since Christians have no problem with the strip clubs in Trump's casinos.....which is OK since he actually doesn't own the strip clubs, they are just in casinos that he owns...so I am told.

 Not all Trump voters defend the bad in him, but enough do that it is concerning. And the over the top praise of him is so common. I have Facebook friends who are constantly posting defense and praise of him. It would get old even if I liked DT.

 One more thing on Trump: I see people posting things often to make him look good, as if they need to offset all the bad he does and says. Example: A big Trump fan posted recently that Trump was the only president to attend Billy Graham's funeral.

A few things about that:

Billy Graham didn't mean much to me. He was a good man, better than most celebrity type preachers.....but I never read any of his books or listened to his sermons. I have differences of opinions on him with theology and some other issues.....so I really don't care who attended and didn't attend his funeral.

Imagine the security nightmare had all living presidents attended. Maybe Trump should have skipped it too so it wouldn't have been such a circus.

His attending the funeral of a popular preacher doesn't take away what kind of man he is.

  Republicans cannot hold Democrats to a different standard than Republicans, or guys that have an R by their name.....but that is exactly what they have done and are doing with Donald Trump. And we who dare hold him to the same standards we have held other politicians to, are the bad guys. Go figure.

 Back when Obama was in office, there was a lot of over the top adulation and praise of him from his supporters......but I think some of the Trump supporters have bypassed that and are worse. Sometimes my Facebook feed is downright nauseating as I see the over the top defense and adulation of a very corrupt man.

 And I get there are a lot of people who voted reluctantly for him.

20) Demanding acceptance

  The world keeps coming out with more and more bizarre looks, fads, and behaviors....and those who do it demand we just accept them.

 Case in point: Tattoos. There was a day when decent people didn't get them. And still today, they are often associated with gangs and bikers, and other rough characters. I'll be blunt: I think people are nuts for putting something permanent on their bodies, but I can tolerate a few tasteful ones that can be covered.....but sleeves and enough tattoos that people look like a walking tattoo advertisement is insane. They could save money by jumping in a vat of ink if they want so much skin to be a different color.

 Weird colored hair, gauges, piercings, and multiple tattoos.....people end up looking like freaks, and then they demand to be accepted for their freaking behavior and looks. It made the news a while back when a couple asked for a different waitress because theirs had several tattoos.....but if you are dining out, you have the right to want a waiter or waitress that looks normal.

 Here's the thing: things that were wrong, bizarre, taboo, etc are now being flaunted and done by many, and we who still believe those things are wrong, bizarre, and taboo are demanded to accept and not have any issue with.

  And just because society accepts something as normal and OK, does that make it normal and OK? In the early days of the Roman empire, it was considered OK and normal for an adult male to have a young boy for sexual purposes. That is an extreme example, but I use it to prove my point: just because a segment of the population accepts something as normal and OK, does not make it normal and OK.

 We have value, no matter what we look like......but if you are going to do bizarre things to your body, you cannot expect the whole world to accept the way you look and not have a problem with it.

 And yes, we should love people no matter what they do or look like.....but come on, it is getting beyond ridiculous what people are doing to themselves.

21) The Catholic Church

  In my opinion, there is something the Catholic church needs to do if they are truly concerned about the sexual abuse scandal: stop the cover up, launch an investigation to round up other guilty parties, and turn them over to  the police.

 There have been other cases where children were being molested, and people looked the other way...such as the Penn State scandal a few years back. It seems to me that too many people are more concerned with keeping the reputations and images intact of organizations and people, than they are with protecting children.

 A Catholic friend of mine who is in his 70's told me months ago that the Catholic church just moves a priest to another parish when he is caught molesting kids. I think  the Catholic church is way off-base in the majority of their beliefs and practices anyway, but how can they expect God to have anything to do with them if they cover up the sexual molestation of children? And the people who help cover up are as guilty as the ones doing the abusing.

 How many of these kids are forced to be around their abusers because their parents ignore their not wanting to be around them. The altar boy being abused and not wanting to go, is forced by his parents because it is an honor. The young football player wanting to drop out because his coach is molesting him, but his dad wants his son to play football, so they deny his request to drop out.

  Granted, not every kid who wants to drop out of things like this are being molested......but I would wager that some are.

 I don't know what the answer is. I don't believe the majority of gay men are going to molest boys, and if you look at the amount of teachers having sex with their students, it is obvious it is not just a gay issue. It is beyond pathetic and outrageous that kids are being taken advantage of by priests, teachers, coaches, and other adults in a place of leadership....or adults in general. It seems nowhere is exempt.

 Frank Worthen is a man who dealt with same-sex attractions, and eventually married a woman and started a ministry to help people with unwanted same-sex attractions. As a teenager, he went to his pastor about his attractions, and that pastor took advantage of him sexually......so it isn't just a Catholic problem.

 Jesus said it would be better to have a millstone hung around your neck and be thrown into  the sea, than to offend a child......and sexual abuse has got to be one of the worst things to do to a child.

 I saw a post yesterday by a Catholic who believes as many do that the pope knew about the cover up of the molestation of children, and may have helped cover it up.....yet the writer doesn't think the pope should be removed, as it would hurt the Catholic Church....but isn't protecting kids and getting justice for those hurt by priests more important? I say kick him out and charge him as an accessory.

22) Voting your conscience

    One of the most frustrating things about this past election was the refusal of Christians voting for Trump to understand voting your conscience. If one truly lives the Christian life and follows Jesus the way the Bible says to, they are going to face times when they feel they can't do something, and to do so would go against their conscience and beliefs.

  I know Christians who don't believe in wearing neck ties - wish I had that conviction! I know Christians who don't believe they should eat in an establishment  that serves alcohol. I  know a lot of people who don't do certain things on Sunday, some of which I would agree with and some that I would not. I could go on and list examples, but if you truly follow Jesus, there will be things you feel you cannot do.

  One thing these all have in common: other Christians in their church/denomination are not going to harass them trying to get them to do what they feel they cannot. Oh, more liberal Christians will.......but not those who have the same belief system and church background.

  But along comes politics. Those same Christians who understand not going against your conscience, and who themselves have had times when they could not do something because it would violate their conscience and beliefs....they want you to go against your conscience and will not understand or allow you to do so unchallenged. Just this morning, a Facebook friend posted something that irritated me. He has posted often condemning people who did not vote or voted third party, and this morning. He mockingly referred to those who didn't vote as "pure as the wind driven snow".

   I don't think I am off base when I say this: A true follower of Jesus would understand a person not going against their conscience,...even in politics. It is sad that we have elevated politics to such a level that it is almost important, or as important to us as spiritual things.

  I am far more frustrated because of this election, than anyone really knows. I don't even say half of what I think, or when I think it. I will say this: due to the crap I got for not voting for DT this last election, among other things......I may never vote again in my life. What good does it do anyway?

 I see a lot of people posting to vote your values, but it seems we only want people to do that if they vote like us...... and we are free speech as long as we agree with it.

23) Kavanaugh    (ok, this one is really outdated)

  I really don't know much about the judge up for the Supreme Court. With my feelings about Trump, I find it hard to believe anyone he picks is completely good....but maybe he is a true conservative.....the judge, not Trump.

 Anyway, it is becoming all too predicable....conservative up for an important position, and a woman (or women) from his past comes forward with sexual allegations. A few thoughts on that:

1) The attacks/abuse do happen, but should women always be believed? Should the man always be presumed guilty, while the woman be presumed a victim? There have been men sent to prison on false rape charges, and men whose reputations have been destroyed because a woman lied.

2) This woman is a liberal who donated to liberals, is a Hillary supporter - in other words, a female version of Trump (haha!) - and has other liberal ties. And she suddenly after 40 years comes forward with something that supposedly happened when Kavanaugh was 17 years old.

3) The timing is suspicious and too convenient. Why wait til now? Why not when he was up to be an attorney or judge?

4) No woman deserves rape. Read that twice before you read my next statement: But if a girl or woman doesn't want to be raped/taken advantage of, there are a few things to help that not happen:

a) Don't go to a party where there are a bunch of horny boys and men, and get drunk.

b) Do not ever go in a bedroom or in a hotel room with a male, unless you plan on having sex with that male.

c) Conduct yourself and dress like a lady. I am not attracted to  females, so maybe I can see it better than guys who are: a lot of females flirt too much, and act in ways to encourage guys to go after them, instead of acting in a proper way to encourage guys to treat them with respect.

  Any woman can be raped, but I do believe women should be more careful in some areas. There have been many young girls raped at parties where they got drunk and/or high, where if they had not drank or gotten high - or not gone to the party at all - they would not have been so vulnerable.

 I do believe this woman is lying, but even if it did happen..........it was 17 years ago when he was 17 years old. Should it still be held against him? How many of us want things we did as a teenager held against us?

24) Nationalism

  I am as patriotic as the next guy. I know what has been sacrificed and been done to make our country what it is, and I am thankful for that. But lately, I have been wondering if we are too nationalistic.I dared ask that on Facebook a while back, and one friend commented "definitely not! But you are welcome to your opinions." Another friend responded hotly that I should go to Venezuela and then maybe I would appreciate America more. But my appreciating our country wasn't the point. I do appreciate it and our remaining freedoms. We are losing rights and freedoms at an alarming rate, and the amount of people who want socialism is scary...our forefathers would roll over in  their graves to see how many freedoms we have lost........but we still are free to worship as we please, and are more free than many others across the globe.

   Nationalism is more than patriotism. It is defined as "having strong patriotic feelings, especially a belief in the superiority of one's own country over others." I fear we are too proud to be Americans, that we have a feeling of superiority over those in other countries, and many of us may even have a misguided idea that God loves America more and favors us more than other countries. We seem to think and react as Americans first, and Christians secondly. Pride is a sin condemned often in the Bible, and I fear we may carry the pride of country too far sometimes.

 I think some Christians in America would be shocked to learn God is not an American.... or a Republican.

25) Clothing

  I have to dress up for work....unfortunately. Black or grey dress pants, a green blazer (provided by the hospital), dress shirt, tie, and black shoes. For most of my time since January of 2017 doing this job, I have worn white shirts. I was never good at matching, so I played it safe.

 A few weeks ago, I decided to branch out. I wore a shirt and tie combination that I wasn't sure about. One female coworker said it looked OK when asked, a blunt male coworker said it looked horrible - without being asked, and another female coworker politely said she wouldn't put it together when I asked her.

 Later that day, a black woman who comes in often and accessories and matches to a T came in. Everything matched, even her scarf, purse, and flip flops. I complimented her and told her she always dresses nice, and that I might need her help. Pointing at my shirt and tie, I told her my coworkers said my shirt and tie don't go well together. She looked me over, and said "Oh honey, definitely not." After about dying laughing, I vowed to never wear that combo again.

 I have become better at it since, though using a plain black tie has helped a lot. I have gotten several compliments on my shirt and tie combinations, and haven't worn a white shirt in a couple of weeks now.

26)  Decor 

  I don't have nearly the amount of fall decor as I do Christmas, but I have enough that I need to get it out. A lady from my church gave me a heads up to a decoration a local store was selling cheap, so I picked one up for my place. She knows I like old trucks in decor - I got a Christmas one last year - and this one is for fall. The pic is hers, but mine is the same. I was too lazy to take and upload my own :)

 I bought 2 scarecrows and 2 pumpkins to put outside, so hopefully I get around to that this weekend.

 Also pictured is my favorite fall decoration. I bought it when I worked at Hobby Lobby. If I remember correctly, it was at least $70 originally - if not more. After the mark down after season and with my discount, I paid well under $20 for it.

27) Decor 2 (old and new)

  I have my bedroom done in patriotic/Americana decor. There is a lady who works in my doctor's office (which is in the hospital I work at), who gives me that kind of decor occasionally. When she wants to get rid of decor, she brings it to work to give away, and gives me first choice on patriotic/ Americana stuff. She gave me a big metal blue star that is on my front porch, and a few other things. Yesterday she gave me 2 pillows, which are already displayed in my room.

 She also gave me other patriotic decor.

 And more recently, the quilt on the wall and the 2 patriotic pillows on my bed.

28) 2 conversations (new, as of today, October 22)

  I discussed this in my last blog post, but will briefly mention it here: on Saturday I had 2 conversations, both with younger guys who are same-sex attracted Christians. The one was on Twitter, and he said some helpful things, even though we disagree on some things. The other was an over 3 hour conversation with another guy who preaches some. He had me reading a few chapters over the phone and he would interrupt to comment on some. Both guys really encouraged me, and made me wish more people would take time to help and encourage others.

  And that is finally it. Sorry for such a long post.

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