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

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Facebook, the good, the bad, and the ugly

  Facebook is here to stay. Of all of the social networks out  there, it seems to be the most popular. Many people sign up and use it, and many don't, and for a variety of reasons. Some people think it is a waste of time. Others just think its a bad thing and you should stay away from it. So is it good or bad, a waste of time, or something worth using?

   I signed up for an account in 2006, if I remember correctly, and didn't do much with the site for a few years, but now it is something I use a lot. There is a possibility of bad, but there is also so much possibility for good. So from my perspective

The good:

1) New friends: I have made a lot of new friends. Sure, among the current 407 people on my friends list, there are some I never interact with, but I have still made some new friends via this social network. And I mean real friends.

Just last night, I talked to a great newer friend of mine from Florida who struggles with the same issue that I do, but is so far ahead of me spiritually and otherwise. And he isn't the only one. I have made friends with other such guys and women via groups on Facebook where I can be real, ask for prayer, admit where I am and when I need help, and this great group of guys are there for me.

2) Old friends: I have reconnected with people I haven't seen or heard from in years. Sure, there are always people you'd rather not hear from like ex-girlfriends, but there are a lot I have been happy to renew acquaintance with.

3) Relatives: Along with that, I have been able to keep connected and in contact more with relatives and even people I attend church with.

4) Encouragement: I mentioned the groups I am part of where I receive a lot of help and encouragement, but Facebook goes beyond that. People post encouraging sayings and quotes like the one above, stories, songs, and all kinds of things to encourage and brighten your day.

5) Authors: I love to read, and have been honored to be added as friends to some Christian author's personal Facebook pages. It has given me an inside look at their lives and personalities, and I don't take it for granted, but consider it a privilege.

6) Advertisement: I post links to blog posts on Facebook, and there are groups to advertise things you have to sell.

7) News: Facebook is a great place to pass along news, not to be confused with gossip.

8) Groups: I mentioned them already, but there are all kinds of groups to join on Facebook. I am in groups with people who read the kind of books I read, the kind of music I listen to, the same struggles I have, and more..... it is cool to chat with people interested in what you are interested in.

The bad:

1) Waste of time: As much good as there can be, it can also be a waste of time. Contrary to popular belief, I am not on it as much as it would appear. I do have it open when I am on the computer and often comment or reply to a comment while I am doing something else.... like writing this blog post :)

If it is taking us away from other things we should be doing, we need to cut back. Not necessarily cut out, but cut back.

2) Gossip: Yes, it is wonderful to find out news on Facebook, but it can also be a place to gossip.

3) Stuff you're not into: It happens. People post things you get tired of hearing about. A popular complaint is politics. I don't post that stuff as much as I used to, but I still do some, and I see people complain. But if people only posted things everyone on their friends list wanted to see, we wouldn't post much.

I hate sports, and get tired of seeing stuff about sports, but it is a free country. I am not an animal lover and weary of people going on and on about their animals and how we need to stop animal cruelty..... that's all and good, but most of those people never mention stopping abortion, which is way more important than animals.....not that I for animal cruelty.

And there are other things I don't care about, but I can't have people bow to my wishes and avoid  things I am not into in. That is life. We are all different.

4) Bad photos and memes: I often see pictures and words that I'd rather not see, and wish there was a way to block some words, the "F-word" particularly.

5) Narcissism: I read this in a book, and the author had a point. Facebook can make us narcissistic. Some people, usually women (sorry, but its true!) are always posting selfies.... and why? To get comments and "likes". And how often do we go back to see how many people "liked" a comment, joke, or picture we posted, and are disappointed if no one or not many have "liked" it? I am guilty.

6) Friends: There is a danger of becoming so involved in social networks and our friends on them, that we avoid the people around us. Ever around someone who instead of paying attention to you, kept texting someone else or was on Facebook? It isn't a good feeling.

7) Romantic attachments: I don't know of anyone personally this happens to, but it does happen. One or both parties are married and get too friendly on Facebook and private chats, and next thing it becomes an on line affair, physical affair, or both.

The ugly:

1) Meanness: I am not innocent in this. It is easier to shoot off things without considering the impact and tick people off or make them feel bad. It doesn't help when you're outspoken. And yeah, I have been on the receiving end of that a few times.

I had someone not like my stance on a bill coming up for vote here in Ohio. This person got personal with their remarks that was attacking my character, so I deleted them and blocked them. So they came into the store where I worked and told me off in front of 2 co-workers. One asked if I was OK after the person left, the other said "if that is how people act from your church, I sure don't want to go there." Which brings me to my next point:

2) Un-friending people: I am trying to do better at this than I used to, though I don't think I have done it much. Someone posts something you don't like - i.e. for some weird reason you like Obama and I post anti-Obama stuff, so you delete me. (That has happened to me at least 4 times). Or someone says something mean to you, so you delete them. Imagine doing that in real life. Going up to someone and saying "you're not my friend anymore because.....".

Now there is a time to un-friend people. If they are so offensive or use bad language. I'll give a good example: A few months ago, a young man I'll call "Jon" added me, to my surprise for a few reasons. Right off the bat, he posted things with the "F-word" scattered throughout it. And then when I posted a couple of articles about the dangers of marijuana, he commented with some outlandish comments, so I deleted him. It was not going to be a profitable friendship.

There is an option where you can un-follow someone. They remain your friend and you can go on their page to see what they post, but their posts will no longer appear in your news feed. That might be better than "un-friending" someone for bad reasons. It isn't fun to be on the reverse side. A story about that:

Recently, I posted the link to a story where someone was being applauded for something sinful. I posted the link and said "sad that people like this are made into heroes for doing what the Bible says is wrong." The real heroes are those who serve God and live for Him instead of their own desires". A college friend commented and said I seemed to have a lot of anger and bitterness towards this group of people and wrote a long comment lambasting me for what I thought was a tame comment.

I was on my way to church (not driving) and wanted to delete the comment, but couldn't on my cell. So I message her and tell her I struggle with the issue myself, but God has helped me a lot, that I posted that because I weary of people being cheered on for giving into what I am fighting against. We had an interesting back and forth, with me asking her to please delete it now that I had explained myself..... and basically bared my soul to her, but she wouldn't. When I got home, I decided to just reply to her comment and let it stand, but she had done the un-friend thing. I was like, really?! Over that comment? Wow.

I read over what I had posted, and still felt it was not hateful at all, especially given that she now knew of my personal struggle, so I left it and moved on, though I felt bad she had to delete me. But it happens.

The thing is, and I have been guilty of it in the past, though I have not always been where I should have been spiritually when I said some things: Christians should still be Christians on line. We don't have a leave of Christianity when we go on line..... but too many of us do that. Yours truly included, though God is helping me with that. Part of it is, too many of us don't like being disagreed with, and a lot of us don't have to deal with that much in off-line life. On line..... there are a lot of people who disagree. I just had a couple of people disagree with my last blog post, but they were nice about it and I wasn't offended.

And some people just like to argue. Social networking opens up a new whole world of people for argumentative people to have fun arguing in,

No one is ever always right, except God. And we need to get along better with each other whether it be on line or in real life.

There is a lot more that could be said, and more points that could be made in each category, but I already wrote more than I intended, and I need to go see how many pictures and comments have been "liked" while I was blogging.......

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Heaven is for real........ and being too preachy

    It has been awhile since I had something on my mind to blog about, and now I have two things on my mind that I am going to try to merge into one blog.

   There's a lot of talk right now about the book and movie, Heaven Is For Real. The story of a little boy who supposedly went to Heaven. It isn't popular to say this.... actually, it is rarely popular to disagree with people who are gung-ho about such things, but I am skeptical. Very skeptical.

  No, I didn't read the book, and you'd have to pay me to watch the movie. There is a copy of the book here, actually in my line of sight. It was a gift to my mom from a couple she used to babysit. I have looked through the book, read about  the book and movie, and read what others have said about  the book and movie..... and I remain skeptical.

  Here is my skepticism in a nutshell:

1) This is supposedly what happened to a four year old boy, Colton. A four year old. Kids that age have great imaginations, and a great story telling ability. I sure wouldn't want to make such a big production out of something a four year old came up with.

2) Colton's description of some things he saw don't line up with Scripture. There is no evidence we will have wings and halos, and I doubt we will.... we aren't going to be angels.

3) Just the idea of how much money is being made off of the story makes me skeptical. A book, and now a movie. And as with any Christian fad, I am sure there is all kinds of merchandise as Christian companies try to cash in on a little boy's story.

4) People don't go to Heaven and come back. And why of all the billions of people on the earth, would God pick a 4 year old to do so?

   Now I have heard the argument about it drawing people's attention to God and Heaven and all that..... and I am not convinced that is a big deal. With the exception of atheists, pretty much everyone believes in Heaven. And you know what else everyone pretty much believes?

They believe they are going there. In fact, no matter what kind of life their family members lived who have died, they believe they went to Heaven.

  There's an old song that says "everybody talkin' about Heaven ain't going there". That is what the movie doesn't cover. Yes, Heaven is for real and is a wonderful place, but "everybody ain't going there". The only people in Heaven will be those who have repented of their sins, asked Jesus into their hearts, and lived for Him.

  Really good people won't make it. No matter how sweet Granny was, she won't make it if Jesus wasn't her Savior. Did Heave Is For Real mention that? Did it mention the place people will go who don't serve God in this life? Did it tell the other side of the story?

  It doesn't matter if every person on the earth goes to see Heaven Is For Real and is moved by it and convinced that Heaven IS for real, if they just assume they are going there and don't get the message of the Gospel. If they don't get the message there is also a Hell to avoid. And from what I hear, neither the movie or the book make the case about hell, nor make a case for people needing Jesus to make it to the wonderful place called Heaven.

  Which brings me to the other thought on my mind: I am in a Facebook group called "Avid Readers of Christian Fiction." A lady in the group posted this earlier this evening:
"Anyone read Fear Has A Name by Creston Mapes. I enjoyed the book and would recommend. But, found it a little preachy. Any thoughts."

  A few things: 
1) I did read the book.
2)  I didn't find it a little preachy
3) This IS Christian fiction we are talking about. Is preachy not allowed because it is fiction?

  Christian fiction gets a bad rap. I have heard people speak derisively of the "Christian novel" and refer to them as fluff. And yes, there is some books out there with fluff, but there are many that have a great message, and I have been stirred and convicted by things I read in a Christian fiction novel.

  I commented with what I just said in the above sentence, and that Jesus told stories that were very preachy, and we shouldn't be bothered by it. Then I thought some more. And here are a few more thoughts:

  First off, let me say I am one of the first to admit the old "scare them to the altar with scary stories of hell" is not the way to do it. Yes, hell should be mentioned some. Jesus talked about it, but I speak from personal experience that it can cause problems if people are scared to the altar. I believe that is one factor that caused me to doubt God's love for so many years, and why  tried to serve Him for the wrong reasons for so many years. One of those wrong reasons was fear of hell.

  That said, I believe if every Christian got a glimpse of what hell is really like, it would change everything. We wouldn't be afraid to witness to friends and relatives. We would pray more for lost loves ones. We'd spend less time playing, and more time spreading the Gospel. If we sang, we'd sing songs to really reach people, not songs about your cheating heart, etc. If we wrote books, they'd be preachy. We wouldn't fear offending people by talking about God to much or by being too preachy, whether in a fiction book or in conversation.

   But we don't fear hell enough. We don't fear people going there. Even the most saintly among us have almost bought into the idea that everyone is going to Heaven. But everybody isn't.

  Heaven is for real, but so is hell. So is the reality that millions are speeding towards hell while we play and waste our time entertaining ourselves. Maybe its time we tossed the rainbows of books and movies like this aside, tossed aside ideas of being too preachy, and do what Jesus commanded us to to: take the Gospel to the world.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Still more random thoughts and questions

1) Why are guys who aren't into sports looked down on and often made fun of, but women who are into them are considered cool and awesome? Sounds like a bad way to gauge masculinity.

2) When it comes down to it, do we really want God to decide how we should dress, act, where we should go, etc., or do we want Him to agree with us on what we want?

3) What IS the real reason women insist they have the sole right to decide on the position of the toilet seat? If it is truly because it looks better, then put both lids down and put a big bow on it........

4) One of my favorite Bible stories is Esther. Too bad the movie stunk. Both of them.

5) Too many people go to church for the wrong reasons, and want to get out of the service what they want, not what God wants.

6) My church was so conservative at one point, that it was a battle to get an organ brought in and used. That was way before my time.

7) I'm not sure any church has the right to expect you to pay your tithe, yet deny you any say in what happens in the church.

8) I feel bad for the people who grew up in the 50's and 60's. The music from that time period is pathetic.

9) I absolutely detest Elvis Presley's singing.

10) There are Christians who would be more upset if you suggested Elvis might not have made it to Heaven, than if you claimed there was no God.

11) I believe sports is one of the major gods of America.

12) Too many people marry for the wrong reasons. People cannot bring happiness and fulfillment. Only God can.

13) Singleness can be really lonely, but I'd rather be single and lonely, than to be married and lonely

14) I like being around people who freely give hugs.

15) Often the scars people cannot see are the worst scars.

16) Looking back over the last 6 years, it seems our country has been on the wrong side of every issue.

17) One of the coolest things I own is an hourglass that is about 12 inches tall

18) One of the best things I ever personally did, was to be in the Big Brother's of America program.

19) To forgive is one of the hardest things to do. Especially when the guilty party shows no regret nor asks forgiveness.

20) For years, I was bullied and let myself be pushed around. Sometimes I fear that has made me be the opposite too much.

21) If I had to pick the person in the Bible I most related to, it would be the woman at the well.

22) Forget Lays chips...... can anyone eat just one of any chip?

23)I don't understand people who can keep the Sabbath, and don't. We are commanded to take a day of rest and do no work.... what kind of person turns that down?!

24) God is so much more patient with us than others are. And more patient with me than I am with myself.

25) I don't believe that once we are saved, that we can never do anything to miss Heaven, but neither do I believe salvation is as easy to lose as I have been led to believe.

26) People who curse have a limited vocabulary and have to make up for it by using curse words.

27) Why do people feel they need to ask single people why they aren't dating or married?

28) Some of the men who stand out to me as heroes and I admire most, are people I have come to know  through online blogs and social networks.

29) I need a vacation.

30) When we stand before God, we aren't going to wish we had dodged and reasoned around more things He said in His Word, but we may wish we had sought His will on more.

31) There are places Christians shouldn't go, music Christians shouldn't listen to, ways Christians shouldn't dress, ways Christians shouldn't talk, and ways Christians shouldn't act. We are not so much as like Jesus as we are like the world.

Monday, July 28, 2014

It's all about me

  Sometimes I feel like blogging and have absolutely no ideas to blog about. Tonight is one of those times. The slate is completely blank...... but I still feel like blogging. So I am doing a post similar to one I did a few years ago. Things about me that people may or may not know. Yeah, not that interesting, but it will scratch the urge to blog itch.

1) I am really outspoken, but I think it is to cover up all of the inadequacies that I feel. And I really don't say half of what I think.... no one would like me then :-)

2) If I had to pick a favorite cuisine, it would probably be Mexican. Although Italian is up there too.

3) I don't enjoy missions services, when a missionary visits and speaks about the country they are a missionary to. Heretical, I know, but true.

4) My favorite genre' of music to listen to is Southern Gospel.

5) Most days, I feel like a failure.

6) My favorite music artist is the Booth Brothers.

7) If I could live anywhere I wanted, it would be near a beach and lighthouse. I'd go to church at the beach, work at the beach, read at the beach........

8) I love lighthouses.

9) My favorite hymn is "And Can It Be?".... with the chorus, not the way it was originally written.

10) I hate being single, and wish marriage was an option, but it isn't.

11) The second place I'd like to live is in Amish country.

12) I am glad my church has Sunday evening services, though sometimes I'd rather stay home and relax.

13) I love to read, and my favorite genre' to read is Christian suspense/mystery.

14) I can't remember the last time I read a secular book. Or listened to a secular song.

15) I still have a massive self esteem issue.

16) I think my favorite vacation ever was two years ago. My parents, my little sister and her family, and my 3 nieces took a 2-day trip to Lancaster, PA to go to the Sight and Sound Theater, and a few other places. It was too short, but awesome.

17) I really loathe the word "delish" and would love to ban the word.

18) I like my church, but wish we had events outside of church for people to get together and fellowship and have fun.

19) If I publicly said how strongly I feel about our current president, the Secret Service would most likely show up at my door.

20) My favorite drink is iced tea - sweet, and diet coke with certain foods like pizza.

21) I love Christmas, but hate winter.

22) I really, really do hate winter. And don't enjoy driving on the roads when they are bad.

23) I'd love a 70 degree climate 365 days of the year.

24) I have to take a pill nightly to help me sleep.

25) I love covered bridges and have one close to me I visit often.

26) Getting old scares me.

27) There are still times I feel like I need to earn God's grace.

28) I really don't enjoy singing in church unless I really like the song.

29) I have too many favorite authors to narrow it down to just one.

30) I've spent most of my life feeling like I had to hide the real me.

31) I remember just about every joke I have heard, though it often takes something someone says to trigger the joke.

32) My favorite movies are the Chronicles of Narnia movies, and I keep hoping they do more of them.

33) I love superhero movies.

34) There are days I wish I could take some books and go off by myself for a couple of days.

35) I love fried chicken, and my mom's fried chicken is my favorite. I'd pick it for my last meal.

36) I can't sing a part, though I wish I could.

37) I believe it is better to read a few verses of Scripture and get something out of it, than to read a few chapters and just mark it off the checklist.

38) I wish I could go barefoot and go in sandals 365 days a year.

39) I've probably cried more in my life than most men.

40) Sometimes I am amazed at how many people have added me as a friend on Facebook, and figure if they knew me well, they'd delete me.

41) I really loathe sports more than most people would consider normal, but feel sports played a large part in the bullying I got in high school and the scars I carry inside to this day.

42) My favorite translation of the Bible is the New Living Translation.

43) I struggle with depression, though I usually keep a good handle on it, but lately it has been kicking my butt.

44) I love to blog, and find it therapeutic, but often think what I write is dumb.

45) Becoming an uncle was one of the greatest joys of my life. Six times over.

46) One of my biggest regrets is not being a father, though I am afraid I'd have messed that up.

47) I still feel like I haven't found my place in this world.

48) I wish I could travel and take pictures of churches and other interesting things I'd run across.

49) I've carried a secret for years that has gotten too heavy to carry, and I believe has done me more harm by keeping it, than if I had told the world.

50) I love it when someone gives me a card and writes a personal note in it, which might be why I hate Christmas newsletters so much. They are impersonal and mass produced.

51) I wish I could see my nephews more often, but am glad they are now 2 hours away instead of 9

52) Some people think Facebook is a waste of time, but it helps me keep connected to the world and stops me from withdrawing into myself, as I used to do so often.

53) One thing I don't like about my job is how early I have to go to bed..... I love staying up late.

Speaking of which, it is time I stop blogging and get ready to head there.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Random thoughts on modesty

  I see a lot of feedback on modesty on line, and it is unfortunately often from Christians trying to excuse how they want to dress. Sometimes it is from someone showing why a Christian should be able to dress in revealing and seductive ways. I have been thinking about it a lot today, and instead of writing a long well thought out blog post, am going to post some random thoughts on it.

1) Modesty isn't just for women, it is for men also

2) It is better to look like Old Mother Hubbard, than to look like her cupboard.....kind of bare.

3) Why do men let their brides wear such revealing bridal gowns? Do they want to show off what they are getting?

4) Why do so many ( sadly even Christian) brides wear gowns baring the arms and shoulders and showing part of their breasts, while the groom wears a long sleeved shirt buttoned to the neck, tux, and a tie? Also applies to prom attire.

5) If the same rules of modesty were applied to grooms and young men at proms, they'd either be shirtless, have on a muscle shirt, or some other revealing shirt.

6) Men are much more visually stimulated than the average woman.

7) Any man who lets his daughter dress immodestly, knowing how men are wired, is crazy.

8) Any parent who lets their daughter go out in a revealing prom dress with a hormonal teenage boy who, like all boys his age,  has sex on the brain, is crazy.

9) I believe God DOES care how we dress, how much skin we show.

10) Just because a man should control his thoughts and lust, does not give women license to dress immodestly in front of men. It is on a woman if they dress in ways to cause men problems, whether they want to accept that blame or not. And yes.... it is on the man too, if he acts on that lust, but it still does not excuse the woman even when she claims it is all the man's fault.

11) A man going shirtless is not modest. It can cause the same problem for some women - and some men  - as a woman running around topless would cause men.

12) Immodesty has no place anywhere, but especially at church. Church should be a safe place, not a place where people have to avert their eyes because of how someone is dressed.

13) If you have to put your hand on your neckline before you bend over, chances are your neckline is too low.

14) If your shirt is longer than your shorts or skirt, chances are your shorts or skirt are too short.

15) Christians dress in ways now that even non-Christians once considered immodest and immoral.

16) How would YOU want women to dress when they are around your sons, your husband, your brothers.....especially if the said men were struggling with lust and trying to keep pure?

17) All men have a struggle to stay pure and not lust. And it isn't always about women, sometimes it is about men.

18) Clothing can cover every inch of the body, but if it is too tight, can be just as immodest as clothing that bares most of the body

19) If more skin is showing than not showing, it is most likely immodest

20) I've heard comments made by other men about women they see, and I can't remember any being made about a woman who was truly modestly dressed and had a modest walk and actions.

21) Modesty also involves how one conducts them self.

22) How would you dress, and how would you dress your daughter, if you knew the neighbor had been in prison for rape?

23) You never know how many rapists or would be rapists you come across on a daily basis.

24) No one deserves to be raped, but I do believe a woman showing a lot of skin would be a target over a woman modestly dressed.

25) One cannot let their daughters dress immodestly, then be surprised when they have sex and/or get pregnant outside of marriage.

26) Adam and Eve made aprons for themselves when they discovered they were naked, but God made them coats.......He obviously cares how much skin we show.

27) Most people wouldn't answer the door of their house the same amount of clothing they wear to the beach.

28) Don't advertise what you aren't selling.

29) The way too many Christian woman dress, is the same way women working the street used to -and still do - dress.

30) We cannot let the world dictate to us what is modest and what is not.... the world has no modesty anymore and the church is blindly following along.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

More random deep and not so deep thoughts and questions

1) You are not in good hands with Allstate. That may be their slogan, but it isn't what they deliver

2) Solomon said it is better to dwell on the housetop than in a house with a contentious woman. Having 300 concubines, 700 wives and mothers-in-law, he most likely spent some time on the housetop

3) It is better to be single and wish you were married, than to be married and wish you were single.

4) Singleness can be lonely, but so can marriage..... and it is worse to be married and lonely than single and married.

5) God does let us have more than we can handle. Otherwise, we wouldn't feel we needed Him.

6) People should have to ask to have mayonnaise on their sandwiches, instead of we people who don't like it having to ask to have it left off.

7) If men talked about "stuff" more often, they might not die before women so often.

8) Real men DO cry. Jesus wept.

9) I cry in books and movies. And at weddings, when I went to them.

10) I don't go to weddings. The last one I was at was my little sister's, 14 years ago.

11) Tattoos are permanent proof of temporary insanity

12) Why does the groom rent a tux, but the bride spends a ton of money to buy a dress she will wear once?

13) Why is the wedding day all about the bride, when there are 2 people getting married?

14) And why do they make bridesmaids dresses so ugly?

15) TV in and of itself is not evil, but it has a lot of bad on it and has had more bad influence on American culture and morality, than good

16) If we are truly "once-saved, always-saved", then why does the devil fight us so hard as Christians, and why are there so many warnings in the Bible to Christians?

17) I love the Chronicles of Narnia books and movies, and have read the books several times and watched the movies several times

18) Facebook is given a bad rap by a lot of people, but I have made some great friends and gotten a lot of encouragement and help on there. Yes, there is bad, but everything has some bad.... even church and Christians.

19) Too many Christians are fitting the Bible around what they want, instead of conforming their lives to the Bible.

20) Of all Christians, I feel the weakest and lowest.

21) I really do blame Eve, not Adam for the fall of man.

22) I'd like to live in Amish country. I love it there.

23) Of all the things in life I regret, not being a father is towards the top of the list.

24) I wish it was around 70 degrees 365 days of the year.

25) If I never saw snow again, I'd be OK with that.

26) I really do think people who like winter are weird. I still like them, but they're weird

27) I believe it is better to read a few verses of Scripture and really get what you read, then to read several chapters and only be able to say you read several chapters

28) I want my Christianity to be more than a checklist of items I mark off each day and week that I did, just because doing them means I am OK.

29) How does a hot and cold thermos know when to keep something hot, and when to keep something cold?

30) I don't think even my best friend understands how much I truly hate sports, and how deeply I have been scarred because of sports.

31) No kid should be forced to play sports. I don't care if every kid in school is playing that sport for gym class, it is wrong and can be destructive to force a kid who is not good at sports and doesn't like sports, to play them. I am the poster child for that.

32) Of all the sports out there, I view football as the worst, and the one that makes the least sense. Soccer makes the most sense.

33) I still view golf as something old men in ugly plaid shorts play

35) Most of the people on my "wish I could meet" list are authors

36) I rarely read a secular book or listen to secular music..... it isn't I feel it is wrong, though I do believe it should be a small part of what we read and listen to, it is just like something is missing when I read secular fiction and listen to secular music.

37) I wish I could go barefoot all the time..... or at least wear sandals

38) Whoever invented the tie was an idiot

39) The third verse of The Love of God was written on the wall of an insane asylum by an inmate.

40) All people who write and sing rap music belong in an insane asylum

41) The first time I heard Justin Bieber singing, I thought it was a girl singing. Honest.

42) I was made fun of for my singing in choir as a kid at school, and to this day I am self conscious about my singing.

43) I think Dolly Parton is cool. I don't listen to her music, but she is cool. Much cooler than Justin Bieber

44) Samson may have been strong, but he must have been really stupid to fall for Delilah's tricks so many times

45) Obama is either a Muslim, or he likes them a lot more than Americans and Christians in general.

46) I love covered bridges

47) I think my cell phone is smarter than I am

48) I hate it when a girl chases a guy

49) Why are older women who like younger men called cougars, but older men who like younger women are called perverts?

50) Some bags of candy are harder to get into than a bottle of pills with a child proof lid

Sunday, July 13, 2014

In favor of shaving

 I don't like beards. I think most men look better without them, and that most men who wear one could improve their looks a lot just by shaving. That said, this is a free country and we guys have the right to shave or not shave.

  But I have run across more than one person who claims that men who have beards are more manly. I disagree. It takes a whole lot more than hair on your face to be a real man, and many guys who have beards do not even come close to what makes a real man. It isn't a beard, sports, hunting, or muscles. It is things like integrity, compassion, serving God instead with all your heart.

  What got me on this post or rant, was something I saw on Facebook today. A friend commented on someone else's post who I do not know. The man who posted it has a beard and had this as his status:

Stat for the day: The average man will spend about 60 hours shaving every year. There is a cure for this dreadful waste of time. 

  The amount of time spent on doing something does not mean you should quit. If you add up the time I spent brushing my teeth, trimming my eyebrows, cutting fingernails and toenails,  etc, it would add up to a lot of time too, but one does not set aside good grooming habits just to save time...... and believe me, once a guy hits a certain age, there is hair growing in places it never grew before that must be done away with.

  It would seem a lot of men in the Bible wore beards. That is OK. They also didn't have deodorant, toothpaste, and a lot of other things we do today. I am sure they had ways to shave, but it wouldn't have been the easy and practical methods and tools we have today, so that is a poor argument.

  There are those who say beards are wrong. I disagree. As much as I dislike beards, there is o evidence that the Bible says they are wrong. In fact, they plucked Jesus's beard, so He evidently had one. There was a dear older lady that used to attend my church who felt so strongly about beards, that she refused to shake the hand of a man wearing one...... I told my family once, when she met Jesus in Heaven, she might be surprised if He had one on. Maybe He wouldn't.....will hair grow in Heaven? Hmm.

   I think one of the best cases against beards is the popular Duck Dynasty dudes. They really need to shave, or at least severely trim those messes. I can't see how their wives - and there are a couple of them who are very attractive - would want to live with that and have to kiss it. And if you ever wondered what they looked like under all that hair.......

  Now which would you prefer to see every day, and which faces would you prefer to kiss? :)

  I think there are some jobs where beards wouldn't be a good idea. i.e. waiter.... would you want someone like the DD guys bringing your food, cooking your food?

  In today's world, where we have great tools for shaving, clean-shaven seems to be such a better choice...... and why cover up your face..... although some people do need to cover it up :)

 And again, it is a guy's business if he goes with a beard, but it does not make a man more manly, and I have the right to like clean-shaven more, as they have the right to like a beard more. But might I add... they call it clean-shaven for a reason. And I shudder to think of what I'd look like in a beard. Sure, shaving gets old, but its better than my not doing it.

  In closing, I read an amusing story in Reader's Digest a few years back: A young man had grown a beard against the advice and wishes of his family. They thought he looked pretty bad in one. One evening he was waiting on a street corner waiting to cross. A car stopped at the red light that had a young woman in it. She looked at him, her eyes widened, and she reached over and locked her car doors. He went home and shaved his beard off.

  I don't tell that story to try to say bearded men are bad characters...... but it can make some men look like bad characters. To shave or not, it is a man's freedom to do so, but it isn't always a good idea to toss the razor aside.

  And if you think its a waste of time to spend 60 hours a year on shaving, then pray for people as you shave. Praying is never a waste of time.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

50 random deep thoughts, not so deep thoughts, and questions

1) I love chicken. Fried chicken, grilled chicken, BBQ chicken, chicken tacos, chicken burritos, chicken nuggets......

2) The miracle part of "Miracle Whip" is that anyone can past the horrid smell to actually eat it

3) Animals are not people. Stop treating them like they are.

4) They shouldn't call it "a capella".....they should call it "a ca-boring"

5) Women will never have equal rights with men as long as they insist on special treatment with toilet seats

6) My dream that will never happen.... well, one of them: to open a Christian bookstore/coffee shop

7) I enjoy solitude

8) Why DO we park on driveways and drive on parkways?

9) Of all the things that I am, being an uncle is my favorite

10) Life is too complicated sometimes, and goes by too fast

11) If being a vegetarian is so great, why did God give a long list of animals that we could eat, and not a long list of plants we could eat?

12) At least in the summer, it is not as hot in the mornings and evenings, but in the winter, it is cold all day long and never warmer at any point

13) I think anyone running for president should be required to have served in the military. Also, they should have to put aside their golf clubs and blackberry for their entire term of being president

14) I am proud to be a conservative.... Republican? Not so much.

15) I try to be charitable, but it is beyond me how a professing Christian can vote for a candidate who has killing babies in the womb as part of their very platform and policies, not to mention just supporting it

16) If something was taboo before, maybe there were good reasons for it being taboo

17) Politics. Comes from two words: poly, meaning many, and tics, meaning a blood-sucking parasite

18) If Jesus suddenly showed up in person, most churches would kick him out and not welcome Him into their church

19) If a weird meat that is not eaten by the majority of the population does indeed "taste like chicken", then why go for the weird? Just eat chicken!

20) Most decent women wouldn't answer the door in their underwear, yet will go out in public in a bikini which covers the same amount of skin.... odd how color suddenly makes something modest that would be immodest in underwear colors......

21) It is weird to salt watermelon. It is a fruit. One does not salt fruit. You salt vegetables.

22) Yes, a tomato is technically a fruit, but it shouldn't be.

23) I don't always salt cherry tomatoes

24) I'm not a big animal person. I like some animals in their place. Like outside, and in zoos.

25) I also like some animals on a plate beside my mashed potatoes and gravy

26) I think no matter how mature the Christian, we still tend to put God in a box, and are surprised when He gets out of it.

27) It will never cease to amaze me how the liberals and media defend Muslims, when Muslims have such a bad track record with their treatment of women and gay people....... two of the biggest causes of liberals

28) I think Southern Gospel music is the best music there is. That isn't to say I like all Southern Gospel music. I DO have taste

29) When most people are depressed, they lose their appetite. When I am depressed, I want to eat constantly

30) They have sports bras for cars. Really.

31) When I get my own place again, I would love to have a room for just my books. And a nice Lazy Boy recliner to enjoy them in.

32) I don't think even my close family and friends get how much I really do hate winter. It has only one redeeming quality: Christmas. Granted, that is a major redeeming quality, but Jesus was most likely born at a warmer time of year anyway.

33) Windows 8 drives me crazy. Why does Microsoft have to keep making worse operating systems in the name of improvement?

34) Every time you pray, you are praying to a single adult male.

35) What if the hokey pokey is really what it is all about?

36) We have reached the point even as Christians, that we let society, instead of God's Word, dictate what is right and wrong, normal and abnormal, what should be hidden, and what should be paraded down the street.

37) Don't blame me. I didn't vote for Obama... either time.

38) There are a lot of people who have absolutely no clue what is going on in this country in regards to the scandals plaguing this administration.

39) More people should watch Fox News.

40) There is a right way and a wrong way to put toilet paper on the dispenser. The right way is with it coming off the front, not behind.

41) People go to the emergency room for the dumbest stuff

42) If the Bible is supposedly wrong on homosexuality, is it also wrong on fornication, adultery, incest, and bestiality? Or did it just get it wrong on that one sexual sin?

43) If we could hear people's thoughts, we would be much kinder and loving to each other

44) On the other hand, we might have more enemies if we could hear other's thoughts

45) My favorite musical group is the Booth Brothers. They consist of two brothers and a third guy who is not their brother

46) As far as I have come with issues of self esteem, I am still afraid to add someone as a friend on Facebook, for fear they don't want to be my friend

47) I am way too outspoken, but people have no idea what I think that I DON'T say

48) Nothing is worth missing Heaven for

49) He that is born of God doth not commit sin

50) If we were more thankful, we would be happier

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Vengeful God I Serve

One of my favorite things to blog about is God's love. After struggling to believe it for so many years, now that I finally grasp it, I want to explore it more, and that includes reasons why I felt that way in the first place.

     I believe a lot of damage has been done by people projecting ideas of God that are not at all what He is. Looking back, I can see I developed the idea that God was mad at me. If I didn't line up 100%, He would wreak havoc in my life until I did line up. And yes, I do believe if we get out of line, God may allow some circumstances to come our way to wake us up, but contrary to the beliefs of some people, He is not up there just waiting for us to mess up so He can send a lightning bolt our way and zap us back into shape.

   I have been thinking about this issue in relation to tithing. In the Old Testament, it was required to give one tenth of your income to God. I could be wrong, but I don't think the New Testament is specific about the amount, but Jesus Himself said to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God....... and since one tenth was previously mentioned, that would seem a good place to start. I do believe tithing is Biblical and that Christians should do it. However, I don't like how too many preachers approach the subject.

   Too many preachers and Christians in general, preach and indicate two fallacies about tithing:

1) If you don't tithe, God is going to get you. OK, they don't say it in those words, but similar. I have heard over and over that if you don't tithe, "the car repairman will get your tithe..... the washer repairman will get your tithe", and so on. They may use different scenarios, but the idea being driven home is the same: if you don't pay your tithe, God is going to cause a bunch of things to happen to you that you will have to use the money on that you didn't give Him.

  Then they expect us to believe God is a God of love. Doesn't much sound like it to me. Sounds like He is petty and vengeful. Give Him money, or bad things will happen to you.

  Now maybe, just maybe, if people are consistently not giving God their tithes and offerings, He might allow some trouble to come their way, but I am not so sure about that. He may nudge them, talk to them about it, and try to gently get them to come around to tithing, but to give the idea that if you don't tithe, God's going to drain your checking and savings accounts on your car or other troubles does not paint a very good picture of God.

  In my personal experience, the opposite is true. I will admit I haven't always paid my tithe consistently, but it is when I have been consistent that it seems things go wrong. The mechanic drains my checking account trying to find out what is wrong with my car. Then he starts on my savings account. I get a larger than normal bill. I get my hours cut at work. As I look back over my life, I seriously believe that when we are serious about serving God and giving Him our tithe, that is when things fall apart. Not when we are holding back. And I don't think I am wrong in thinking this: I believe the devil fights us in that area, and that is why it goes that way.

  And that brings me to my second equally false and damaging idea about tithing:

2) If you pay your tithe, nothing will go wrong and you'll always have enough money for all you need. Again, maybe not in those exact words, but the idea is given that if you pay your tithe consistently, then you'll be OK. And yes, I believe God takes care of us, but there have been many saints of God who faithfully tithed above and beyond the ten percent who lost their jobs, their homes, their families, who barely had 2 pennies to rub together.

  Tithing is not a guarantee that life is going to be a bed of roses. Christianity in general doesn't promise that. If it did, everyone would be a Christian, but the rain falls on the just and unjust. On the tither and those who don't tithe.

  God loves us completely, no matter what. Whether we serve Him or not, He loves us. Whether we tithe or don't, He loves us.

  Being a Christian is not about a set of rules and obligations. It is about the God of the universe sending His only Son to die for us so we can be sinless in His sight and have a relationship with Him. And it is the best relationship ever. God isn't a demanding bully in the relationship who gets easily ticked off at us and wants revenge for things like not paying tithe. I don't even believe it is Biblical to give the idea that God will get our tithe out of us one way or another, yet that is sadly preached my many pastors.

  We SHOULD tithe. It is Biblical, and if we don't, we should examine why we don't. No, the paycheck might not stretch to cover everything, but we can hope and pray that God will provide. And maybe He will. And maybe we have to have faith even if He doesn't. Tithing is not a guarantee that our finances will always work out and the bills will always get paid on time... yet we should still do it, and with the right attitude.

  If we are tithing just because we have to, or because we are afraid the boogeyman God will get us if we don't, then we may as well not do it. The Bible says that God loves a cheerful giver..... but if we are grudging, or worse, doing it out of fear, it isn't going to impress Him any. But doing it because we love Him and want to show our love by giving Him what belongs to Him anyway is the right way to do it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fake women, fake men

This may not be a popular post, but what is the fun in blogging if I steer clear of controversy, and people who know me well should know I don't do well staying away from controversial topics.

    I recently bought the newest CD of a group that I had never purchased a CD of before, but I like their sound, so I decided to give them a try. The group consists of 4 siblings, 2 brothers, and 2 sisters. The picture on the front of the CD gave me pause, and in part has prompted this blog post, although these thoughts have been churning in my mind for a long time.

   The two girls on the CD cover have a lot of make up on. And I mean a lot. I personally think they look unattractive. I've seen other pictures of them where they had no or little makeup on, and they look entirely different....... and very attractive.

  I grew up in a home and church where women don't wear makeup, and they look fine without it. And I am not saying all makeup makes women look garish or unattractive, but I am not sure why so many women feel they need it. And so much of it. What is wrong with the way God made women that they feel they have to improve upon it?

Fake face
Fake eyelashes
Fake nails and nail color
Fake hair and hair color

 I pretty much missed out on the typical guy stuff, and never identified with the traditional men into hunting, fishing, sports, and all that stuff, so maybe there is fake stuff men put on that I am not aware of, but really....... if the average woman showed up with her real hair, face, nails, and dare I say it...... breasts..... would her husband recognize her? What do some of these women really look like without all the fake stuff? Are they really that ugly that they have to cover up their real face and hair?

  I cringe when I see red fingernails. They creep me out. And eye shadow make women look like raccoons to me. What is attractive about blue or any other color of eyelids than God gave us? And what's with the unnatural lip colors? Yuk. I wouldn't want to kiss lipstick covered lips. Shudder.

  How did we reach this place that women feel they have to use products to change their looks so much to look better? Sure, anything can be marketed and the experts are good at making us believe we need certain things to make our lives better, to make US better. But why do it? Why make yourself look so different that your own family wouldn't recognize you if you showed up at breakfast the way God made you?

  Someone once said young women use makeup to look older, and older women use it to look younger. Maybe that is true, but sometimes they come off looking like the few men who do wear makeup.... clowns.

  Now I get that women don't want grey hair. If I had hair, I wouldn't want it either, yet the Bible says grey hair is an honor..... so God must not think its bad. Try losing your hair.. that's bad.

  Which brings up a good point: if makeup is so great and improves looks so much, why aren't guys wearing it? (OK, some guys do, but we are talking normal, heterosexual men). Could it be that we men are fake in other areas?

  "Real men don't cry." That has been quoted more times than a politician has lied. So real men hide their emotions, they fake their way through life, never opening up, never admitting their fears and struggles. And yet, the best man who ever lived cried. That would be Jesus.

  Just as society is so wrong on women needing to color their hair, put on tons of makeup, fake nails, and fake body parts, they are just as wrong on forcing men to stifle their emotions. I know how rare it is for men to get together and talk. Really talk. Not about sports, hunting, and women, but about their fears, insecurities, what is bothering them.

  We have come up with our mold of what makes a man, and try to force every man that is born into it.

  I'm not married, but I read a lot, and I know one thing many women complain about in relationships with men in dating and marriage, is the man won't talk about "stuff." They never get real. They won't talk about what's bothering them. Women, meanwhile, do nothing but talk about what's bothering them. They just don't want solutions from men, but listening. At least that's what I am told.

  But here is the rub: I believe a lot of men would like to get real. They'd like to talk about what is bothering them. They'd like to discuss their fears, their struggles...... but they can't. They have been stuffed into a mold or box and do their best to conform to what real men do and don't do. And "talk" is one of the do not's. So they don't.

  There have been many attempts made by Christian men to have a group of men to meet and be accountable with...... and so often it falls through. No one wants to admit when they messed up. No one wants to talk about what they struggled with that week. How sad. But again, the stigma is even there in a group meant for sharing, to keep the real man hidden, to not show vulnerability.

  Maybe the women who are wanting their men to be real with them, to really talk, need to be real and toss aside their fake hair colors, fake nails, fake faces. Maybe. One can't expect one person to be real if they are being fake.

  I'm not sure which is worse. That women feel they have to have the fake face, hair, nails, etc. to fit in, and to look better and younger, or that we men feel we have to fake it through life with our emotions and what we let people see of us.

  And lest a bunch of women show up to burn me at the stake, I don't think all makeup makes women look garish, clown-like, or raccoon-like. A little in moderation can help, but again...... isn't what God gave you good enough?