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

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

September stuff

 I just blogged on the last day of August for the first time since March, and for only the third time this year. Here I am blogging again. Of course this could be one of the many I start and never publish.

  A heads up on this one. There will be some rants. I try to post positive stuff, and I may get there. The posts like this with multiple subjects usually get worked on over a period of a few days, or even weeks, so I keep adding to it. I honestly don't know when I start one what all I will cover, and what all I will say. I do have a few topics I plan on covering that will fall into the rant category. There are also a few I typed up and never published that I may work into this post. What else gets covered is up in the air.

1) Depression/anxiety

  There is a common misconception about depression among many Christians. Too many think it is a spiritual issue, and you just need a trip to the altar and to pray more, and it will go away. Prayer may help some, and God may choose to heal it, but it isn't a spiritual issue. It is emotional and mental. There is a popular meme going around that is knocking pills for anxiety. It shows pills and says that is not what is needed for anxiety,  and the bottom half has folded hands on a Bible and it says that is what is needed. I am not knocking prayer, or the power of God.....but these same people wouldn't knock medications for other things.

 I would wager that the large majority of Christians who spout nonsense about depression and anxiety have never truly dealt with it personally.

  I'll admit there was a day I didn't know much about depression and anxiety and didn't figure it was something Christians dealt with. A fiction novel is what actually changed my thinking on that. Back when Karen Kingsbury still wrote great books, she wrote one dealing with that: When Joy Came to Stay, release date 2000.

  Life and things that happen can change us and change our thinking, and even our beliefs. I have come to realize one should be careful about what we are dogmatic about, for life may change things.

 And I didn't intend this part to get political, but politics is a great example. After how vocal I have been over the years about Democrat candidates, my opinions of the kind of people Democrat voters vote for no matter how bad, etc...I felt I would be a huge hypocrite to vote for Donald Trump considering a lot I knew and felt about him. There was more to my not voting for him, but that played into it a lot.

2) Shorts

  I may get myself in trouble on this one, but oh well....won't be the first or last time.

   I have noticed something. It is regarding shorts. Look at guys wearing shorts. The average length is around the knee. Guys typically wear shorts slightly above, to the knee, or slightly below. Now look at women wearing shorts. The average length is about boxer length on a guy. Most of them reveal a lot of the thigh. A lot of thigh. Often their t-shirt is longer than the shorts. And to be blunt...maybe it is because I am not attracted to women - too many women don't have thighs that should be shown. Thunder thighs, I call them.

 Why is there such a big difference? Do women want to show off more of their bodies than men? And while I am at it, modest decent women do not show off any of their breasts. Not that I think guys should go shirtless either....modesty goes both ways. But seriously. If I had a wife and daughters, there is no way they'd show that much leg in a world of perverts who want to see that, and more. And there's no way my daughter would go to a prom in a dress like they wear for a night with  hormonal teenage boy. Hope that dress comes with condoms....

  And all joking and opinions aside, why ARE the average women's shorts so much shorter than the average guy's?

3) Books

  As I have been moving, I have realized how many books I have. (and how many clothes!) I was talking about it with someone recently, and they asked if I re-read them. I said I do some. They asked why I keep so many. Well, because I love books.....

  I think there is a difference in someone who likes to read, and in someone who loves books. I like to read books, but I also like to feel them, smell them (no, that is not weird!), see them on my shelves, take them off the shelf and re-read endings and parts I really liked. That is a good gift idea. Since I like to re-read the end of books so well, book ends are a great idea...

  But seriously, books are one of my few pleasures in life. It may seem weird to have so many books, but I love it. My dining room is full of books, and I love seeing that. It may sound weird, but books are kind of like friends. OK, that does sound weird, but another lover of books might understand.

4) Make up

  I actually did a post a year or so ago on things men need to stop doing, so I'm not just picking on women. :)

 I don't get make up. Again, maybe it is because I am not attracted to women....though even I recognize when a woman is attractive....and when one is not......

  There is a very fine line between women looking good with makeup, and not looking so good. And here are questions I have:

Why do women want artificial colored nails? Especially red? Ugh

Why do women want their eyelids other colors? Looks like a raccoon.

Why do women want pink cheeks? Why not the color God made us?

Why pluck eyebrows and paint fake ones on? Were the ones God gave not good enough?

If women are the fairer sex, why do women need makeup to look good, and we men don't?(OK, some guys do it now too....yuk)... and men can grow a beard if they are ugly...... :)

Would the average woman's family recognize her without all of her additives?

Why DO women think they  need artificial gunk to look pretty?

  I think it is sad there is such a huge industry built on making women think they need products for their face, hair, and nails to look attractive, instead of going with what God gave them.

5) Settling in

  I had to work Labor Day weekend, but had Labor Day and the day after off. Other than a cookout and evening spent with family on Labor Day, I spent most of those two days working on my place. I unpacked more, and worked on the spare bedroom, and the hallway. I put my nonfiction books in the hallway outside of the spare room, and a couple of shelves and a dresser in the spare room. One shelf has Narnia stuff on, along with a wall shelf.

  There is a futon coming for that room. It is an inexpensive one that lays out to make a bed. The spare room is pretty small, so a bed won't fit well. It won't get used much, so I figure a futon is a good solution. I joke that the room isn't much bigger than the closet, but it really isn't. The spare room is 9'9" by 8'5", and the closet is 8'6" by 4'5". :) I may make that room a reading room, depending on  how comfortable the futon is.

 I am happy with how the place is turning out. A few people (women) have described the dinning and living rooms as "cozy", and that fits. I spend a lot of time at home when not at work, so it is good I like the place. There are days off when I don't even leave the house. Of course since I can walk to my pharmacy, grocery store, and other places, I may venture out more on my days off.

6) Vacation

My whole family, with the addition of my youngest niece's boyfriend, went to the Outer Banks for the first week of June. Me, my parents, my 2 sisters and their husbands, my 3 nieces and 3 nephews, and the boyfriend.

 My cousin and his wife, their daughter and her husband, and their 4 little girls came down for a few days. They stayed in their own place. Our house had 6 bedrooms and 6 1/2 baths. Caleb (the boyfriend) stayed in a sitting room on the first floor beside the bedroom my nephews occupied. My parents' room was on the 3rd floor, and the rest of us occupied the 4 bedrooms on the second floor.

 As we have done the last few trips there, we took matching clothes and did photos on the beach. This year, it was some combination of red, white, and blue.

7) Colored lights vs white (clear) 

  I have this thing about Christmas lights. White, or clear, seem so every day to me. Colored are what seem Christmasy to me. I have the only colored lights Christmas tree in my family. My parents and both sisters are peasants and have clear on their trees. I do it the right way: colored lights the whole way. :)

 The thing is, we see clear/white lights the rest of the year. Bring out the colored for Christmas. They are so much prettier and festive. What is festive about the clear ones? :)

 I have heard the argument that white lights look classy. Do you really think I am concerned about being classy? :)

8) Pineapple on pizza

 Since I am being opinionated about things that matter so much, how about addressing another major subject: pineapple on pizza. Yay, or nay?

 I love pineapple. Fresh, or out of the can..but it doesn't belong on pizza, unless it is a fruit pizza. Ever have fruit pizza? Man are they good!

 But on a regular pizza?Yuk! No way, Jose'! Pile on the meats, and peppers are OK. But fruit? No. A definite no.

If you are going to do pineapple, might as well throw some oranges, apples, grapes....why not just dump a whole fruit salad on top of it. :)

9) Kissing Christianity good-bye, and the Calvinist cop-out

 Several years back, a young guy named Joshua Harris wrote a book that took the Christian retail market by storm: I Kissed Dating Good-bye. Though he later retracted what he wrote, I still think it was a good book and he had the right idea. If you are not familiar with the book, the idea is that dating around isn't good for when you are later married, and it is better to hang out in groups until you find what seems to be the right one, then court with the intent to marry. And to limit physical contact, even kissing, til marriage. I am a bachelor for life, but have been disgusted by the dating even in conservative Christian circles. How many people do you need to date before you settle on one anyway? And isn't it awkward to sit with your spouse in church across the aisle from your former girlfriend or boyfriend who you locked lips with, held hands, etc?

  Back to Mr Harris. He wrote at least a  couple other books, got married, and became a pastor. Last week, he announced he is no longer a Christian, and apologized to the gay community. For what, I am not sure, but I assume for daring to say what the Bible says about homosexuality. I could be wrong, but my best friend and I both expect either he or his wife to come out as gay at some point.

   I am not going to knock him. I don't know what led to his decision, and find it sad. Social media is full of opinions about him of course. One thread I was reading had claims by some people that he never was a Christian. I could bet the farm and win that these people are Calvinists. One of  their major beliefs is that once you are a Christian, you can never not be one. You are in for eternity, and there is no way you will miss Heaven or leave God. To put it as nicely as I can... I totally disagree, and believe that is not Biblical. And isn't that the judging the Bible DOES condemn.....to say a person was never a Christian because they don't fit into your theological box of beliefs?

   I have talked to many Calvinists over the years, and put a scenario to them: What if someone is genuinely saved as a young person. Life gets rough, they get discouraged, and go further and further into sin until they are committing murder. Do you mean to tell me God is going to welcome them into Heaven? The response of everyone I asked that, or a similar scenario: "Well then they were never saved in the first place."

  I call that the Calvinist cop-out. Joshua Harris and others like him don't fit into the theology of Calvinists, so they just declare that they were never Christians in the first place. How do they know that? Isn't that judging to say someone who does what Harris has done was never a Christian in the first place? There is no Biblical evidence of once saved always saved, and if we can't walk or fall away, then why are there so many warnings about it?

   We need to pray for Joshua, that God brings Him back. I do believe he was a Christian, and now has decided not to be. To say he was never one is just idiocy and fitting him into bad theology.

10) Family, and my wish

   I have a close family, which is good since I don't really have anyone else in my life. The night I moved, everyone who could in my family showed up to help. My youngest niece and her boyfriend even used their date night to help.

  I am beyond thankful that I have been able to be so close to my 3 nephews and my 3 nieces. I wanted to be a dad more than anything, but marriage just wasn't in the cards for me. I thought I had gotten over that long ago, but turning 50 hit me hard, and that was one area. It became more of a reality than ever that I'll never have a family of my own. I love these 6 kids I am so blessed to be uncle to, but there will most likely always be an ache that I could never have my own.

   This part may sound dumb, but for some time I have found myself wishing I could do something with kids. I have felt this way for a long time, and books I have read have made me wish that more, or cemented the idea more.

 I'll give a couple of examples:

   In a suspense novel I read recently, the main male character, Luke, had pretty much raised his younger sister and brother due to an alcoholic mother. Eventually they ended up in foster care, and he got his siblings out when he became an adult. His dream was to build a community center where kids could come to play games, get a meal, and even counseling if they needed it. His dream became reality at the end of the book, and it was moving, even though it was fictional.

 In a series of books I read several months ago, some people built a few houses on their property for foster kids, and had a barn with different kinds of animals for the kids to be involved in raising and helping out with.

   I honestly have no idea what I want to do. I did the Big Brother program several years ago, and really enjoyed that....but I can't do that again. And I'll admit, I worry that my same sex attraction could be an issue. No, I am not worried about  doing anything wrong......I am not attracted to kids, but not everyone gets that.

 Or even adults. One of the wonderful perks of dealing with same-sex attractions is loneliness. Thankfully, I have my family and my books....but the world is full of lonely people.

  It would just be nice to have something to do with some of my spare time other than hibernate in my house and read.

11) SSA... a rant

  I did warn you there would be a few rants. I am friends with and follow a lot of people on social media who deal with SSA (same-sex attractions) on some level, and am in a few groups for Christians who deal with it.

  There are a few things that bother me a lot related to SSA, and what people say.

a) A lot of Christians who have SSA think their experience should be everyone's. And it is two extremes:

First are the ones who have been 100% cured/healed and are not attracted to the same sex anymore. They think everyone can be healed/cured like them, and it is just a lack of faith if it does not happen.

Then on the other side are the ones who believe you can never be healed/cured, that you will deal with it for life, and anyone who claims to be healed or cured are lying.

  I fall in between those two extremes. I believe God CAN cure and heal SSA, but that most people with it are going to deal with it on some level for life. I also believe it should not be the goal to be heterosexual and marry the opposite sex, but to pursue God above all and if a heterosexual relationship/marriage  happens, then good for the person who gets to experience it.

b) The other thing that bothers me is people saying gay is a choice. There is a choice involved in how you deal with SSA, but no one chooses to have SSA. It is difficult to deal with. No sane person would choose it.

 And lest you judge those who give in too harshly, we all want someone to love and be loved by, and the church condemns it while doing nothing to help those who are SSA with their loneliness and struggles.

 No, that doesn't make gay relationships OK, nor approved of by God. But take it from me, it is very difficult.

c) The third things that drives me crazy is those who say it is a sin to just have the attractions. Granted, the most vocal I have heard are Calvinists who believe Christians sin every day. Giving into lust and sex are sin. The attraction is not.

12) The fall of the Hope for Wholeness founder

  A reader of my blog asked me what I thought of the founder and former leader of the ministry Hope for Wholeness disavowing the ministry and embracing his sexuality (gay).

  I met him, as I went to two of his conferences, which I found helpful. I think it is sad that after running a ministry to help people with SSA that he has gone the other way. He is married with two kids, and I don't  know if he has left his wife or what is going on there, but I feel for them.

 What really bothered my best friend and I was this: On his Facebook page when he announced his change of belief and lifestyle, many Christians who are involved in that ministry and have attended thanked him for and complimented him on his transparency. Don't get me wrong...I am not saying to hate on the guy and heap condemnation....but to compliment him on and applaud his transparency for going back on God's Word and most likely his marriage? That isn't the right response either.

13) My new place

  I know....I talked about it a lot in my last post, and already in this one....but I really like it. I hate to move, and wasn't ready to move, but I feel I found the ideal place for me. Yeah, I am a bit worried about having more bills to pay, but I'll just have to be more careful with my spending.

 I worked all day yesterday unpacking and getting things settled, so I walked to the Chinese place and went to the Dollar General while I was so close to it. There is something nice and cool about living in a small town and being able to walk to so many places. I doubt I'll want to do that in the winter, but right now it is ideal.

 And I really like shaving 15 minutes off my work commute.

  I am going to try to start blogging more often. I like to write, and find it relaxing and helpful, whether anyone reads it or not. So we shall see. Two posts within 5 days is a record for me these days.

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