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

Thursday, December 21, 2017

December chex mix

 Christmas is only 5 days away, and it doesn't seem like it could possibly be that close. I am ready for it. All of my gifts are bought and I wrapped them all on Saturday. Unfortunately, I only have one day off between now and Christmas - tomorrow. I'll most likely stay up late watching Christmas movies tonight, as there are a few I want to see that I have not watched yet this year.

 I usually blog a lot over the Christmas season, but have not done so this year for various reasons. However, I do have some things on my mind, so this will be a chex mix type blog.....read what you wish, if you read it at all :)

 And it is long. I have been adding to it for several days.......

1) I want a hippopotamus for Christmas

 My family is big on gag gifts. I usually receive the most, but that may be because I am the one who started the tradition. Around 8-9 years ago, I found a stuffed hippo at a used store. I bought it, wrapped it for my dad, and had the infamous song ready to play as he opened it. Since then, it has been given to different members of the family each year. The kids love to get it, and beg to be the one to get it each year.

2) Christmas cards

 I haven't been in the Christmas card mood this year. I only send out 12 by mail, and those are to people I don't see very often..... and I haven't opened most of the ones I have received yet. Weird, I know.

3) Christmas decorations   

 It may sound weird, but I have been somewhat down about there being no one to see my Christmas decorations. I have really been enjoying them, spending many a night with just the Christmas lights on in the living room..... but no one else has experienced it. Maybe it is dumb to even think like that.

4) Roy Moore

 I am no prophet, but I predicted once the Roy Moore election was over, the accusers would disappear...especially if he lost. And so they have.

 I am one who believes he was innocent and was the victim of a Democratic smear campaign to get the guy in office who supports killing babies.... and it worked.

 What gets me, is how many Christians joined in the mud slinging and stone throwing. There never was any proof, yet Christian after Christian slung mud at him and at anyone who dared defend him.

 Here is my question: Did those joining in act towards Roy Moore as Jesus would? The Bible has a lot to say about how we treat other Christians, and did this stone throwing and mud slinging line up with what the Bible says, or did they just throw out the Sermon on the Mount and other similar verses? This man has led an exemplary Christian life - unlike Trump, the Clintons, and others who so balatantly do wrong - so did the Christians do right who stood on their soapboxes and helped condemn a man for actions he likely did not commit?

What if he is innocent? If he is, then many Christians did him wrong....but who cares, politics is more important than the Bible......

5) Family    

 My family had a rare get together at my parents Monday night. With my 3 nieces all working and everyone having different schedules, it isn't very often that we are all free... but we were Monday night. My mom fried chicken, and we had grilled hamburgers, hotdogs, mac and cheese, baked beans, and Christmas cookies and fudge for dessert.

 The highlight of the evening was when I was playing Blue Christmas on the piano accompanied by my oldest niece on her violin. The rest of the family joined in and tried to mimic the backup singers on Evis Presley's Blue Christmas. It was pretty funny.

6) The Trump vs Obama meme

 I depise Donald Trump.....anyone paying any attention at all to me knows that....but Obama is still a worse president than he has been so far. This meme is popular among pro-Obama/anti-Trump people. To be honest, anyone who thinks Obama was a decent president has no credibility with me when they criticize DT. Be consistent. You can't point out the faults in DT - and there are many - and ignore the 8 years of Obama.

 And the second part IS correct....but it totally gets Obama wrong.

 I shared this link on a friend's post who had shared that meme. This is a pretty exhaustive list of all the times the so-called Christian Obama did things to hurt Christians and our religious freedoms.


7) Mistletoe

 With all of the sexual allegations going on, this might not be the best year to hang your mistletoe......just saying..........

8) That time I was accused of sexual harrassment

  Yeah, it really happened. It was around 20 years ago when I was in my 20's. I was working in the bakery at Das Dutch House in Columbiana, OH. I was still very shy and withdrawn, and no one knew I was hiding attractions to other guys. They had recently hired an Asian woman to work on the pie table. We got along great, as I did with all of the other ladies - I was the only guy. On that fateful day, this lady was working alongside Pearl, a lady my mom's age who thought of herself as my mom at work.

 I was on the other side of the bakery, weighing out pie dough so the pie shells would all be the same. I took a small piece of dough and threw across the room at Pearl. I missed, and hit the Asian woman. On the butt. I don't remember how she knew I threw it, but she whirled around and loudly announced that it was sexual harrassment and that if I ever did anything like that again, she'd have me arrested for sexual harrassment. I was horrifed and probably the color of chalk. I remember Pearl speaking up and saying "You know he wasn't aiming at you. He couldn't hit the broad side of a barn." I fled to the stock room and hid there in a panic.

 My supervisor came and found me. She said she knew I wasn't trying to hit the woman on the butt, but to go apologize so she'd let it go. My apology went something like this, "I was not aiming at you, but I apologize for hitting you with the pie dough." I ignored her for several weeks, and she slowly tried to make up. I am not bragging, but I was well liked and she knew she had been out of line.

 I eventually moved on to another job, and she brought me a couple pounds of smoked cheddar cheese on my last day. She knew I liked it, and she worked part time at a deli where they sold the cheese. I still believe it was her way of saying she was sorry for making such a big deal out of it.

 The story doesn't end there. A few months ago, an Asian lady walked into the Beaver hospital where I work and said my name. It was this same lady. She asked how I had been, and how my family was doing. I asked the same of her, and found out that she and her husband both had had cancer and were both currently in remission, She gave me a hug and told me it was good to see me, and I told her the same......and it was true. I hold no ill will.

 The story does go to show how easy it is for guys to be falsely accused though. Maybe that is one of the reasons I was not so quick to go against Roy Moore.

9) Fruitcake

I joke a lot about fruitcake, but I have never actually tried one. Who knows, I might actually like one if it was fresh.

10) A gift for myself    

 I usually buy a gift for myself for Christmas....no, I don't wrap it..... but get something I want for myself. This year, the only things I want that I didn't put on my wish list are a pistol and a chest freezer......neither of which I can afford at this point. Were I not still paying off my car insurance on my credit card, I'd put one of them on that and buy it.

11) Inflatable decorations    

 I find those inflatable Christmas decorations an eyesore. There are a few that might not be so bad if people only put one out, but they are evidently like Lay's potato chips......people can't stop at just one. And they look even worse when they are deflated.

12) Sweating the small stuff at Christmas

 It kind of bugs me when people try to make a big deal out of small things at Christmas. i.e. - wismen in a Nativity scene, arguing about the number of wisemen, arguing about whether Mary rode a donkey.....etc. There are bigger issues to worry about, and no one is going to miss Heaven for putting wisemen in a Nativity scene or thinking Mary rode a donkey.

13) Gun

 I do want to get a gun and get a permit to carry it. Some of my family took a course at the beginning of the month, but it was $100 and then you obviously needed to buy a gun...... and I could not afford both. I hope to do that this coming year.

 I had some friends visit me and they declared I need a gun since I live alone and because of where I live.

14) Living according to the Bible

  I am including myself in this, but nowadays it seems so few Christians actually live according to the Bible. This past election is a great example of how so few Christians laid aside what the Bible says about how we treat people, but we do it all year long. Imagine what this world would look like if we actually lived how Jesus said to. Radical thought.

15) Sexual allegations    

 A while back, liberals mocked Pence and were outraged because he won't meet with another woman by himself. In light of all the sexual allegations coming out, he is looking more and more intelligent with his decision. Sadly, there are many women who will accuse men of sexual impropriety when none happened.

16) God's way

  If couples waited til marriage for sex like God intended, some of these allegations could be avoided. There are many vindictive women who have consensual sex and then accuse the man of rape. If the man wasn't engaging in casual sex, he wouldn't be as apt to run into that scenario.

17) Snow lovers        

  People who really love snow annoy me. This may sound dumb, but driving on snowy roads scares me. I hate it. I am afraid I'll go in a ditch, over a hill, hit another car, hit a deer,etc. I am hoping and praying for clear roads, and then you have people cheering the more snow we get. I posted about my trip to work the other day. The roads were really bad, I almost went off the road and over the hill at one point, and got stuck for about 10 minutes. I posted a picture of the roads and one nutcase from my church commented that it was glorious......... isn't that kind of like rejoicing in someone's fears and misfortunes?

If I could stay home and not leave the house, it wouldn't be so bad..... but I have to go to work no natter what the roads are like.

18) Apologies

 I saw where people (Trump supporters) were excited that CNN apologized to Donald Trump. I am still waiting on Trump to apologize to Rubio and Cruz for how he treated them and the crap he said to them..... and to Ted Cruz' father for helping to spread the tabloid lie that Cruz Sr was involved in the assassination of JFK. Fake news indeed

19) My Christmas tree

  I have traditionally put mostly glass ornaments on my tree, but have started adding ornaments that are not so traditional: Iron Man, Captain America, Mario (from Nintendo), a beach chair, a tin airplane....and I like the look. I may start phasing out the round glass ornaments and go to mostly that kind of ornament.

 I'd like to get what is sometimes called a pencil tree, put white lights on it, and leave it up all year with different decorations for different seasons and holidays.

20) New favorite Christmas song

  I have a new favorite Christmas song: Pat-A-Pan by David Archuleta. I had only previously heard the instrumental version by Manheimm Steamroller.... which is very pretty, but the music video is depressing. I recently started listening to David's Christmas CD that I bought over the summer, and he does a great job on it. I love it.

And that is all for now :)

Monday, December 11, 2017

How political should Christians be?

 I have started this blog post a few times, and have always scrapped it....not that I didn't like what I wrote. I rarely publish blog posts I write anymore. I write it, get the urge to write out of my system, and delete it. Maybe this time I will publish it.

 This specific version of this post was spurred by a Facebook post yesterday by a Christian. He posted that in this recent election, Trump got 26% of the vote. Hillary got 26% of the vote, and that 48% didn't vote, and that if you are part of that 48%, you can go pound sand. I honestly didn't realize where he was going with it, and pointed out his numbers were wrong as they didn't include we who voted 3rd party......he informed me that I was counted in the group who didn't vote, because my vote was a throw away......so this Christian was telling me to "go pound sand" because I didn't vote for Donald Trump. (How does one pound sand anyway? It is usually soft, so can it even be pounded?") I googled it, and it really doesn't sound very Christian........

  Has politics become more important to us than Christianity, and how we treat people? Can we honestly say our actions, words, and how we treat people during election time line up with how the Bible says we should talk and treat people? Could we say Jesus would have acted like we did?

 Let me say up front that I am not guiltless, though I will be coming from the standpoint of someone who was and is very much against Donald Trump. I still feel 100% that he should never have been nominated by the Republican Party, and that the party as a whole has a big double standard when it comes to him, his political past, and  his immorality. The more heat I got for not supporting him, and the more I was attacked for daring to speak up, the angrier I got and the more vocal I got.

 Pretty much anything thrown at me was by Christians, and some from people in  my own church:

1) I was told "with my past", I should be OK with Trump's strip clubs, serial adultery, etc. The lady then deleted me on Facebook. (Lady from my church)

2) A friend "liked" a post where people not supporting Trump were compared to ISIS. Seriously.

3) I was told I was for Hillary if I wasn't for Trump. (In what Biblical reality is that NOT a lie?)

4) A long time friend posted that I was for Hillary and for killing babies if I wasn't for Trump.

5) I was called stubborn and holier than thou.

6) I was told a vote for a 3rd party was a vote for Hillary. Again, how is that not a lie? Have Christians bought so much into  a 2 party system that they are too ignorant to realize there are more than two parties?

7) A cousin said I was not on God's side if I was not for Trump.

8) A Facebook friend - a Christian - ran and tattled everything I said about Trump to my sister and brother-in-law who are not on Facebook, which caused some family problems. (If I knew who that was, I WOULD delete them)

9) Then of course yesterday I was told to "pound sand" since I voted 3rd party. (by a Christian, so hopefully he didn't intend the "go to hell" part)

10) I felt early on that I could not vote for DT as a Christian, and that I'd be a hypocrite and going against my conscience to do so........ but I had several Christians try to get me to go against my conscience.

11) I had people who had been silent for 8 years about my criticisms of Obama message me, text me, and jump all over me telling me I needed to quit criticizing Trump and that I must support him because he won.

12) A pastor friend bragged how he convinced a woman from his congregation to vote for DT who felt she could not vote for him - was that really his thing to do as a pastor?

13) Someone I think highly of said "we need someone to speak up" when I pointed out how badly Trump behaves on Twitter, and how he bullies people.

14) A pastor's wife who wouldn't even watch TV,  posted recently that Bill Clinton and others are worse than Trump, as if making others worse makes Trump any better.

15) The over the top comparisons of Trump to David, Jesus, Esther, Sampson, and others...... the almost worship and deification of him by many Christians.

    And then you have the support and defense of DT and everything he has said and done. I believe this with all my heart: had he been running as a Democrat, those same people would have been using against him what they defended - the strip clubs, his serial adultery he bragged about, his bragging that he grabs women by their genitals, his vulgarity, his wife's appearance in porn, his years of funding liberals and their causes, his saying Planned Parenthood does a lot of good....... and more. None of that mattered. Hillary must be defeated and all Republicans must vote for DT, and convinced to do so at any cost.

  Can we read through what I wrote and honestly say politics is not more important than Christianity and how we treat people?

 Should Christians in either party so quickly and easily ignore and defend everything their candidate does?

   I'll be honest: my faith was shaken severely this last election. First was the nomination, defense, and total support of a man far removed from Biblical values and morals. Second was the unreasonable push to get any Christian to vote for him, no matter what had to be said or done. I was hurt, angry, and bitter at the way I was treated and at the double standard surrounding this man. I still haven't gotten over it, I just have withdrawn into myself and don't say much about DT or the election. And I'll be blunt: Here I am struggling to live a clean moral life while dealing with a very difficult struggle - same-sex attractions - and the same people who would condemn me if I gave in are the same people defending just as bad or worse behaviors in their candidate. I know these Christians would not vote for a gay candidate, yet they support, defend, and voted for a man who owned strip clubs, cheated on at least 2 wives and bragged about it, is vulgar, promised to further gay rights, and more.... and I was condemned for daring to point that all out. Truthfully, I felt - and still feel - a sense of betrayal that no Trump voter or supporter will ever understand.

    I'm not sure Jesus would even vote if He were living here in America today. He'd be all about souls and people. He'd be more interested in how He treated people than how - or if - they voted. IF He voted, He would never tell someone to "pound sand" if they didn't vote, or voted 3rd party. He'd never agree that someone was like ISIS for not supporting a certain candidate. He'd never badger anyone to vote a certain way. or make false accusations against that person for not voting how He wanted. I don't think Jesus would even vote. He wasn't political when He was here, so why would He be now? (I wonder if my Facebook friend would tell Jesus to pound sand for not voting)

  God is most likely not as concerned about who is president as we are. God cares more about what we are doing for Him and our fellow man than with us keeping our freedoms and comforts. Oh, I care about those too, but we are too focused on those things. I doubt the condition of a person's soul was on anyone's mind during the election. Which is more important: Letting "John" know God loves him and will save him, or getting John to vote for Donald Trump?

  I have always voted Republican, even when I didn't care for the candidate.....but those days are over. I may never vote again. I am way past being sick of being badgered, lied about, falsely accused, etc in an effort to get me to vote like someone wants me to vote. If I do vote, I am going to do my best to vote my conscience and keep it to myself how I vote. It really isn't anyone's business, after all.

 One problem we have, is we look at everything as an American, instead of a Christian. One guy who tried his dead level best to get me to vote for DT asked me something via text - can't remember what it was. I replied, "are you asking as an American, or as a Christian". He replied "can't I do it as both?" We have so intertwined the two, that we equate  the two.... and they are not the same. I love our country and freedoms, and hate what liberals and atheists are doing to it. We are too concerned with what happens in America.

  Which is more important according to the Bible: getting someone to see things your way politically, or how the other person will feel after make your points? Which is more important: Getting that person to vote the way you want, or how you will affect his spiritual life........ and how his spiritual life will be affected if you convince him to go against his conscience?

   Let me get really nitty gritty: To tell someone who you know is conservative and would not vote for a liberal that he is for Hillary if he is not for Trump is a lie. Oh you can call it whatever you want, but it is a lie..... and yet Christians have no problem telling me that. To say a vote for a 3rd party candidate is really a vote for Hillary is a lie. It is not a vote for Hillary, but a vote for someone else. So yes, I am saying many Christians lied during this election as they did their best to guilt or shame people to vote the way they wanted them to vote. Did they ever think that maybe the way they wanted them to vote was not the way God wanted them to vote? Would that even matter to them?

   Here's the  thing: Christians are fine with you not going against your conscience as long as they agree with you. No one among my evangelical friends would ever tell me to embrace my sexual desires and have sex with other guys........for they believe it is wrong. But I have had people claiming to be Christians urge me to do exactly that.......so why is it OK to go against my conscience when Christian A wants me to, but not when Christian B does? And is there a danger of going against your conscience? What if giving into Christian A and going against my conscience leads to me going against it in the other area further down the road?

 I am not saying Christians should not be involved in politics nor vote. I am saying for too long we have put politics before Christianity. We set Christianity aside and pull politics to  the front during the election. Living by what the Bible says doesn't enter our minds. How we treat people doesn't matter, as long as we make our point and convince them to vote a certain way.

  In closing, a personal illustration: I am friends with the guy who founded and ran Hope for Wholeness until a few months ago when he resigned. HFW is an organization/ministry to help people with unwanted same-sex attractions. During the election, he was being very vocal about voting for Trump and really bashing Hillary a lot. I sent him a nicely worded email cautioning him that maybe in his position he should not be too political. The chances of having pro-Hillary Facebook  friends was not only likely, but very high. I cautioned he might turn off some of the very people he was trying to help. He thanked me, but it changed nothing.

 But let's take it a bit further. One of the people who tried hardest to convince me to vote for Trump and insisted I was for Hillary, cautioned me once that with as vocal I was being against Trump, it could hurt my Christian witness and make my reasons for not voting Trump null and void to some people. (Ironically, he never said that to me when I was saying worse things about Obama.....). But think about that......what if we are turning people off on Christianity by being too political.....no matter who we are vocal about for or against? If Susie loves Hillary and is not a Christian, will she want your religion when you are constantly blasting Hillary on Facebook?

 People do need to know where candidates stand, but do we Christians too easily resort to un-Christian tactics and name calling when it comes to politicians we are against? I have called Trump a sleazebag, and got called out for it..... but called Obama as bad or worse and did not get called out for it......is it any worse for me to call Trump derogatory names than Obama? Evidently as a Republican it is, but what about as a Christian? Should we celebrate the take-down of a liberal politician? Should we take up stones and cast when one is accused of sexual allegations?

 Why do Christians have no problem with criticisms of politicians on the other side of the aisle? Why is it OK for me to criticize and call Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi names and point out their faults, but suddenly I am holier than thou, judgmental, and going against God if I do the same with Donald Trump?

 There are those on Facebook who never post political posts......I admire that, and hope to be like that some day. I am working on it. That may mean un-following even more people and staying out of the voting booth completey - I'm sure I'll get a lot of Christian understanding and support if I do that!

 Jesus was all about loving people and doing good. That is more important than politics and who wins an election. Which is more important to us?

 Some day we will all stand before God. Who was president will not matter on that day, but how we treated people will matter........even during an election.

**Disclaimer: I am in no way guiltless in these areas. I despise Donald Trump - just as much for what I have gotten from his supporters as what the man is. I am sure I have been too vocal about him - but again, I was just as vocal about Obama and no one ever said anything about that........but anyway, I too am guilty of being too political and caring too much about winning arguments.

Saturday, December 2, 2017


It has been awhile since I did an actual blog that wasn't just several random ideas thrown together. This has been on my mind all week, so I tried to get my thoughts down in a blog post.

I picked up a movie the other day for $1.96 that looked interesting. It was titled Self/less, was rated PG-13, and sounded decent. If you have any intention of watching this movie, I am going to give some things away. You were warned. And no, this is not a movie review, it is a blog post.

 The movie is about an elderly man named Ben Kingsley who is dying of cancer. He is wealthy and has accomplished a lot in life, but was a terrible father to his daughter and has turned out to be a self-centered lonely old man. He discovers something new a doctor has come up with that is expensive called "shedding". One can "shed" their old body and have their consciousness put into a younger healthy body that has been grown in a lab. His death is faked, he goes into the operation, and wakes up in a much younger body played by a much younger and good looking Ryan Reynolds. The trick to staying in this new and younger body is to take some red pills regularly, to make the "transplant" work.

 Ben forgets to take the pills a few times and starts having flashbacks that involve a young Hispanic woman and a little girl he feels he is supposed to help. The doctor claims they are hallucinations, but Ben soon realizes the truth: His new body was not grown in a lab. It is the body of a young Marine named Mark - great name for a good looking guy, huh? ;)  - Mark gave his life to be used for this program so money would be given to get his sick little girl the help she needs. Ben/Mark ends up on the run with the mother and little girl as the doctor and his group does their best to kill all three to keep the truth quiet.

 And now to the point of the whole post, and the biggest spoiler: The reason for the pills. If Ben stops taking them, Ben will fade away and Mark will take back over the living body along with his consciousness and memories. At the climax of the movie, Ben does the most unselfish thing of his life.... and the last thing he will do. He stops taking the pills and leaves a video message explaining it all to Mark when Mark's consciousness and memories take back over the body he gave to save his daughter.

 It was just a movie, but it impacted me....a mark of a great movie.....no pun intended. Two very unselfish acts by two very different men: Mark, the young marine father who gave his life to save his daughter's life. Ben, the older wealthy man who let himself go so that young father could have his life and family back.

 I like the movie title. If you look at it, it is not just the word "selfless". There is a backslash in between the letters - "self/less". There is nothing in the movie that spells it out plainly, but the idea is there that to be selfless, there needs to be less of self.

 We live in selfish times. Sadly that has invaded our churches and Christianity. Everything is about us. We decide what we believe and pretty much set up God in our own image. We like to knock those who say they can be gay and Christian - that one can have a sexual relationship with the same sex and be a Christian, yet how many of us go through the Bible and pick and choose what verses mean and what parts apply to us. "It is a shame for a man to have long hair...... - that was just in Paul's day". "If you are divorced and remarry, or you marry a divorced person you commit adultery - if you are the innocent party, it is OK....." and on and on.

 We want to be first in everything. We want people to violate their conscience in politics because we are more concerned about our comforts and freedoms then how we are making that person feel.

 We spend our money on what we want. It is all about what we want, yet we claim to serve God and want to be like Jesus, the most selfless person that ever walked this earth. How does our selflessness compare to that of Jesus? I fear most of us would be sadly lacking compared to Him.

 Yet shouldn't Christians be the most selfless people on the face of the earth?

  Would we give our lives to save a loved one? I have read stories of women who refused medical treatment that would harm their unborn baby, and died after giving birth to that baby. Would we give our lives to save someone we don't know? Would we pass up on that close parking place so someone else could park there, or leave someone in front of us in the checkout line? Would we give up our time to listen to someone?

 I did a selfless act today. I was shopping at Hobby Lobby and they had their Christmas decorations half off. I found the single decorations they have hung by theme and picked out a cool tin airplane I liked, and another I liked. I then had the great idea to buy all of my nieces and nephews an ornament. (Hope they are not reading this). I found one quickly for my youngest niece, and then my 3 nephews - fishing related, that was easy. Then I found one for my middle niece, and was struggling to find one for my oldest niece. I saw nothing. I then glanced at the 7 ornaments in my hand. Along with the 5 for my nieces and nephews were the 2 I had picked for myself - the plane and the other one. It was one that fit my oldest niece, but there were no more of it. I then realized what I needed to do. The plane would go on my tree, but the other one I wanted would go to my oldest niece. I didn't need it, and it was one she would like.

 Now in the grand scheme of things, that was not that big. I don't feel sad or that I gave up anything major..... but I did put my niece above me and did a selfless act. Now if we all just did selfless acts daily as a part of our lives, how much different we and our world would be.

 Just how selfless are we?