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

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Pasta salad

  My mom makes great pasta salad, but there is something in it that each of my siblings and I didn't like. I remember eating it outside, and one sister was throwing carrots over her shoulder, I think I was throwing the raw cauliflower or broccoli, and my other sister was tossing out something else. This is a pasta salad post....if you read it, there will be things you like, and things you want to toss out......

1) The epidemic

  There is a silent epidemic going on that isn't getting the attention it needs: an epidemic of using the bathroom and not washing hands afterwards. It happens everywhere: work, church, restaurants, stores, and more. Since I don't use the women's' bathroom because I am a guy, I can't attest to what women do..... but there are a lot of men who will use the bathroom, then walk out without washing their hands....touching the door handle on their way out.

Where were these guy's parents when they were growing up and needed taught the basics....like hand-washing?

 I like bathrooms that have paper towels.....I use them to open the door when I leave the bathroom.

And guys even do this at church......where it is so common to shake hands with people. Really?! Would these people want to shake hands with someone who has just touched their genitals and/or wiped feces from their butt with a thin piece of TP? It is gross. Wash your hands, you degenerate people!

2) Brad Thor for president

 Author Brad Thor has announced he will run against Trump on the GOP ticket in 2020. I think it is awesome. Thor is everything Trump is not: intelligent, knows foreign policy, and is a very decent and conservative guy from what I have seen. Of course, any conservative who stood against Trump in 2016 is a hero in my eyes. I would have to know more about Thor before actually voting for him, but I do know Trump won't get my vote.

3) Being like the left

 Speaking of Trump.....the die hard Trump supporters are both hilarious and nauseating. I posted a meme pointing out how Trump has given money and support to so many liberals over the years that we have been fighting against. One Trump supporter commented and said I was as bad as the left........huh?! The liberals aren't pointing that out.

 In my experience, the loyal die hard Trump supporters are the ones like the left. I was reminded a lot of Obama supporters by the actions, words, attitudes, and so forth by the Trump supporters during and since the election.

 They are more bothered and angry about Trump's horrible actions being pointed out, than by Trump actually doing them.

4) I am a cracker

 I got called a cracker the other day at work. I walked into the bathroom and a man was stepping from the urinal to the sink. I said hi, and  as I stepped up to one of the urinals, he started ranting. It took me a few seconds to realize it was at me. At one point he called me a cracker. I ignored him, other than answering "no", when he asked if I was security. You can pretty much guess he wasn't white.....

 I wonder what kind of cracker I am? I hope the Cheez It Grooves. Those are awesome, and remind me of groovy......

5) A dangerous bill 

 There is a bill up in California, which is passed is very dangerous. And knowing the idiots in that state, it will likely pass. It would ban anyone from seeking help from a Christian perspective for their same-sex attractions. And it gets worse: it would ban the sale of books promoting a Biblical view of homosexuality.

 This hits home with me since that is a personal issue for me. If this bill passes, it would be illegal for someone like me to get help for my same-sex attractions from anyone daring to promote a Biblical view of that issue. There would be no books allowed for sale in that degenerate state for someone like to to buy for help along the same vein.

 But wait..... it gets even worse. There are those who admit the Bible could potentially be among the books not allowed for sale, given its views on homosexuality.

 I am not surprised. I feared this would some day happen nation wide, and it is likely to at some point. You know who gay people hate the most? It is people who dare walk away from homosexuality, say it is wrong, and live for God. Sadly, the church doesn't seem to have much time for us either.

 Liberals will cheer you on if you don't want to be pregnant and want to murder your baby.

They will cheer you on if you don't want to be heterosexual.

They will cheer you on if you don't want to be the gender you were born.

But if you are same-sex attracted/gay......they will hate you and try to destroy you if you dare suggest you don't want to be gay, and that change is possible or necessary.

 I seriously fear some day that you will not be able to buy or sell, or hold a job, if you dare hold a Biblical view of sexuality and marriage. Kind of like the mark of the beast.

6) New author

 Several months back, I think it was my best friend who influenced me to buy 2 books by a new-to-me author. What is unique, is they are not Christian fiction. I rarely - as in almost never - read secular fiction. Though I may start reading Brad Thor's........

 This guy is different though. He is a Christian, and his books are complexly curse-free, and are squeaky clean. He was in the Air Force and flew Stealth bombers, something that is in his books. I could not find book #3 for less than $50, so I emailed him and told him how much I liked his books, thanked him for his service, etc... and asked if he had any copies for sale.

 He replied and said an e-book would be my best bet, but if I didn't mind some errors and name changes, he had copies of that book done for an earlier publisher and would send me a copy free of charge. He also told me he is starting a Christian CIA series this Fall with a Christian publisher I review for....which is awesome.

 The book came yesterday, and was signed and accompanied by a bookmark advertising his kid's series he is still writing. I thought it was awesome of him to do this, and it made my day.

7) Changing parties

 I have been so disgusted with the Republican party, I was considering changing to Independent. It isn't just the fact that they picked such a disgrace to run as president this last time..... it is also the fact that the politicians in our party are barely any different from the liberals. Most of them really don't want to end abortion. They don't care about the values and morals of their Christian base... they just want our votes.

  However, with this news that Trump may have a decent challenger in the 2020 primaries, it gives me pause about changing. Maybe there is hope.

8) Paradox

 This will not make any sense: I have been extremely lonely lately. A guy my age that is single, just doesn't have much opportunity to hang out with people. Add to the mix that I am attracted to guys and am very against a man that most Christians are all gaga for (That would be Mr Trump), it makes it worse.

 The paradox: More and more I find myself not wanting to be around people...other than my family.  I would rather stay home from church and work and just be by myself. Obviously, I have to go to work or I would lose my job and have no money.

9) Missing the pews

 I really miss our church pews. I am really tired of the chairs. You have no choice in how close you sit to people, there is no place to lay anything except on the floor, and the songbooks are under the chairs in front of you instead of on the back of the pew in front of you. I still believe that was a decision that should have been decided by the whole church.......not a few people on a board.

10) Pastor

 Speaking of church, the members today voted to keep our pastor for two more years.....something I am in favor of. He is the best pastor I have ever had, or likely ever will.

11) The bathroom

 When my little sister and her family moved into the house I live in now, the upstairs bathroom was purple and the downstairs bathroom a very dark brown. They painted the upstairs bathroom white. They did not paint the downstairs bathroom.

 Two weeks ago, I decided to do it. I wanted to do light blue, but my sister and brother in law had left me a full gallon of white paint to use. I decided to save the money and go with the paint I already had. It made a big difference.

12) The weather

 I am so thankful we are finally starting to get some warmer weather. The older I get, the more I dislike winter, snow, and driving in snow. Yesterday was so nice, I washed my car, vacuumed it, and wiped down the interior.

13) Free will

 There is a lot I don't understand about Calvinists, but the free will issue really boggles my mind. Why do they want to believe God gives us no choice in serving Him? No matter how you ice that cake, it still makes God out to be a puppeteer or robot master. They seem to be very threatened by the idea that God gives us a choice.

14) The porch

 I am hoping to spend more time outside this Spring and Summer. I picked up two chairs at Walmart for $12.47 each, and got 2 tables at another store. One will function as a place to rest my feet. I put them on my front porch. Not sure why I bought two chairs, as no one ever visits me anyway. :)

 My back porch is more secluded and has a porch swing, so I may spend some time there also.

15) Worry

 I worry so much about the future, that I fear it hinders me from enjoying the moment I am in.
 Example: I have a 3 bedroom house I am renting at a very reasonable price with free water and gas. I have a room that I use as a library........but some day my sister's father in law who owns the place, may want to move in. Then where will I go? And I worry about a lot of stuff like that. I wonder who will care about me and help me out after my parents are gone. Can I truly live til old age all alone? And on and on.

16) Friends

 Why does it seem the friends who most want to spend time with me, live too far away to see very often?

17) Blogging

 I have been slacking a lot in blogging, and not sure why. I went over a month without any posts, but this is my third this weekend.... so maybe I am coming out of that slump.

18) Til next time

 Maybe it will be another month til a new post.... who knows.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

What Jesus didn't say......and what He did say

  I'll start off by saying I don't have all of the answers, and that this post is not meant to offend anyone.....but it most likely will.

 I read an interesting article this week written by a man who deals with same-sex attractions. He made an interesting point that I'd like to expound on. Original article here.

 One point the pro-gay theology people use to make a case for God being OK with homosexuality is that Jesus never addressed the issue.....so He is OK with it. That is a pretty lousy point for a few reasons: 1) there is a lot Jesus didn't address which is wrong. 2) The whole Bible is God's Word....not just the Gospels..... and it is addressed other places in the Bible.

 And then there is the 3rd point, which is often used as an argument against this very bad reasoning: Although Jesus did not address homosexuality, He did address marriage......and everywhere He did,  He used a man and woman. He left no room for same-sex relationships.

 So everything is cool. It makes a lot of sense to use those verses on marriage to help prove Jesus did not approve of homosexuality/same-sex relationships.

 No, everything is not cool. As the writer of the article I read pointed out, these verses often used to argue against Jesus' approval of same-sex relationships do say something else many churches and Christians tend to ignore or twist.

   It is kind of ironic. I was against gay marriage being passed. As a guy dealing with same-sex attractions, I can see both sides of the issue. I understand that two gay men in a relationship might want marriage, though gay relationships usually don't tend to last very long.....but then neither do heterosexual ones anymore. The ironic part: when gay marriage was passed, evangelical Christians across the country declared this was a mockery of God's intention for marriage. Yet, marriage had already been made a mockery by heterosexuals with shacking up, abortion, and divorce......even among Christians. Gay marriage did not mock God's institution of marriage..........that had happened long before gay marriage.

  It is a bit unfair to accuse the gay community of such a thing when Christians have been complicit in doing the same thing. And Christians also do something gay people do. I have read much on homosexuality, same-sex attractions, gay marriage, and anything relating to those over the years. I have read and heard arguments from both sides, and remain convinced of a few things:

1) Sex and any sexual relationship between two people of the same sex is sin and is not approved of by God, no matter how monogamous or loving.

2) You have to either totally ignore or do some major twising of Scripture to make a case for God being OK with anything gay.

3) And I may as well throw this one in: being attracted to the same sex is NOT a choice. The choice is what you do with that.

4) Being attracted to the same sex is not a sin. Lust and giving into those attractions is.

5) Christians are as guilty of ignoring and twisting Scriptures.

  I am going to focus on #5, for that is what the article I read was about. Fasten your seat belts, for you are in for a major insight: those same verses used to show Jesus does not approve of any gay relationship also prove/show something else: Jesus does not a approve of marriage after divorce. Ouch!

  In Matthew 9, Jesus is asked about divorce. I won't quote the whole passage, but it is verses 3-10. Verse 9 says "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality,[d] and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” And again in Mark 10 2-10, quoting verses 11-12 "So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 12 And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

  Doesn't it seem a bit off - to put it mildly - to use these verses to show Jesus only approved of marriage between a man and woman, but ignore the rest of it?

  I attend a church that still believes and teaches against divorce and remarriage......but I feel as a denomination, we are getting softer on the issue.

  Here is the blunt truth: Jesus said anyone who divorces and remarries commits adultery...... and anyone who marries a divorced person commits adultery..... no ifs, and, or buts. No exceptions.

  But we make exceptions. He/she is innocent. It isn't fair for him/her to go through life without a marriage partner because they are divorced.......yet is is fair for people with same-sex attractions to go through life lonely with no marriage partner? I have actually had those thoughts when discussing the issue of divorce and remarriage. "What about me? I have a life of singleness, celibacy, and loneliness ahead of me if I am to live for Christ." Is it any more unfair to expect the divorced person to remain single and celibate, than it is to expect the person with same-sex attractions to do so? Sure, some people with same-sex attractions can marry the opposite sex.....but many cannot.

 This may sound harsh and hard, but being a Christian isn't always easy or fair.

   I have friends and relatives who have married after divorcing. Our family does not attend a wedding of people marrying who are divorced. We don't make a big deal about it.....we just don't do it. And don't get me wrong: I don't sit around and view people as adulterers after marrying and being divorced. If it makes sense, I totally disagree with them doing it and do believe Jesus said it is adultery. But after the deed is done, I leave that up to God. Their marriage may have started out against what I believe the Bible teaches, but they are still my friend or relative, and I am not going to hold it against them. After the fact, it is between them and God.

  But the fact remains, the church as a whole is a hypocrite when it comes to sexuality. The answer is not to do as more liberal Christians and churches have done and gone along with the pro-gay theology. It is not love to encourage people to engage in sin that will send them to hell for eternity while patting them on the back and telling them they can be a Christian and do that.

  However, does  the church really have any right to pull their righteous robes around them and condemn gay people for their sins, while they too are ignoring/twisting Scripture on sexuality and marriage? There are gay people pointing out the double standard and hypocrisy on these issues, but no one wants to hear them or admit they are right.

  And the church has become to accepting of heterosexual sin in general. Yes, it is wrong for two men or two women to have sex. But it is also wrong for a man and woman to have sex if they are not married, and it is also wrong for a man and woman to marry if one or both of them are divorced.

  There are 3 couples I think of when this topic comes up:(names have been changed)

1) Mike and Mindy

   I had some friends who attended my church for several years. They were both raised as I was, and attended the same kind of church all of their lives. They met in Bible college, and dated. They fought a lot, and broke up a few times, but got back together and married. He told me more than once that if our church believed in divorce and remarriage, they would divorce. Well, they eventually left our church and went where that was accepted..... and now they are divorced and both are remarried. I have often wondered why they married. They had a volatile dating relationship, and had a lot of marriage problems. Had they waited, maybe neither would be divorced and be married to  the right one.

2) John and Martha

   John was married and had a few kids to the woman he met in Bible college. While working for that Bible college, he got the hots for a single gal from my church and started meeting her for sex. It came out, and he stopped....only to go back to his little homewrecker. He eventually divorced his wife, married his little sex partner, and both are wonderful Christians who attend church faithfully and have had more kids between the two of them.

3) Harry and Sally

  Harry and Sally were missionaries in another country. Sally was sick for a while and unable to perform her "wifely duties." Harry got the hots for a native woman and hooked up with her......I have no idea how long or how many times. He confessed, and they were yanked from  the mission field, and he lost his preaching license. Everything seemed OK for a few years, then suddenly Harry divorced Sally, causing all kinds of problems in his kids... not sure they are still all OK with the mess. He is now married to another woman, still a Christian, and doing what he never believed to be right years ago.

  I'll be honest. It is not easy dealing with same-sex attractions. It is far more difficult than anyone can imagine. I wish I had someone to love, someone to go out to eat with, someone to cuddle with. And to be bluntly honest.....maybe too blunt for anyone reading this post.....those desires are for a man, not a woman. But God's Word says that is sin. But God's Word also says all of  the three scenarios above are sin....... and any marriage involving a divorced person. So does anyone OK with divorce and remarriage really have any right to condemn a gay relationship?

   Back to my friend "Mike" in the first scenario. Long before his divorce, we were discussing these issues. He took major issue with the fact that my family will not attend a wedding where one or both individuals is divorced. I posed this question to him: "Gay marriage is going to be legal some day (it is now). The chances of you being invited to a gay wedding at some point is very likely. Would you go?" He made the claim that gay marriage is different from divorce and remarriage because God doesn't recognize gay marriage. OK, but who is to say He recognizes marriages of divorced individuals? He declared that adultery.... so I honestly don't know how God views those marriages after the deed is done. As I said, I don't hold it against people and leave that between them and God.

  The Bible has become a box of chex mix to Christians. We focus on the verses important to us, and tend to ignore the ones that are inconvenient...... like divorce and remarriage, hair, and others. Anything gay....oh yeah, we have to be outraged about that.

   I am in no way trying to make allowances or excuses for gay relationships of any kind. I AM saying the church should be consistent, and that we as a whole are doing the same thing with divorce and remarriage that we are faulting the pro-gay theology people for doing with gay marriage and relationships: twisting and ignoring Scripture.

Defending indecency part 4

  If you fall within the ranks that believe Donald Trump should not be criticized because you voted for him, because he has done a few good things, because he ran and won on the GOP ticket...or any other reason....you may not want to read this. You have been warned.

 First a note: I know not all Trump voters are the same. Some voted for him in the primaries, and they should bow and repent. I am serious. Some voted for him because he won the GOP nomination for some insane reason. Some voted for him reluctantly in hopes to stop Hillary from winning. Some cheerfully and gleefully voted for him in the general election. They also should repent. Not all Trump voters defend everything about him, but most don't want him criticized....which is unfair if they criticized Obama and had no problem with him being criticized...... but I digress. The point of my note is that I know not all Trump supporters are gaga over everything he does, and does not support everything he has done and said.

 This post is aimed at those who feel they must defend and excuse everything the man does.

Note 2: I criticized Obama for 8 years, saying very harsh things about him. No one took issue with it. I don't think he did anything I agreed with, and consider him to be the worst president ever, and believe he hates America and white people. Trump has done some good - and bad - has kept a few promises and broken a few. Obama divided this country like it has not been for years, while Trump has divided the Republican party and Christians...... and I find myself disliking Trump more. When Obama was president, I could criticize him without people harping at me. I didn't have countless people posting countless pro-Obama stuff.....but I do have that with Trump. I weary of this attitude that I can only criticize presidents that are Democrats.

  Donald Trump is an enigma. For years, he supported liberals and their causes with his money and in other ways. He fought the Tea Party and helped put our country in the mess it is in with his contributions to and support of the liberals who fight against our freedoms. He has been great friends with the Clintons for years, and trashed the women that came out with sexual allegations against Bill. He said that Hillary Clinton would make a great president. Every position conservatives are for, he was against...... and every position we are against, he has been for. He said Planned Parenthood did a lot of good. He promised to further gay rights. He was for people using whatever bathroom they wanted. He is vulgar, immoral, committed adultery on at least 2 of his wives and bragged about it. he viciously attacked the conservatives running against him and lied about them, even using a tabloid story one of his buddies published. And more. He is not a good man, nor is he a nice man.

 And the party that is the party of conservative Christians, that is pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, and the party that has suffered from policies Trump helped liberals put in..... this same party picked this man over several decent, good, and Christian candidates. I still cannot wrap my head around it. There is nothing about Donald Trump that should attract Christians to him, yet many act like he is a Messiah, going beyond how insane Obama supporters acted with their worship and over the top adulation of that man.

  Matt Walsh put it well recently in light of the Stormy scandal: Suddenly Christians don't care about adultery, and liberals do.

 There is a segment of Trump supporters who will defend and support anything the man does.....even things they would fight were he still a Democrat.

It was bad for the Obamas to cost us so much in vacations, but OK for the Trumps.

It was bad for Obama to golf so much, but OK for Trump to.

It was bad for Obama to bully people on Twitter and act like an immature brat, but OK for Trump to.

Immorality by a Democrat: bad. By Trump? How dare you judge the man?!

 I honestly believe we have lost our right to outrage and to be offended by immorality by picking this man, and then by defending the things in him that so many conservatives and Christians are defending and excusing.

 There is something specific that brought on this blog post. A few weeks ago I posted a meme that had Trump blasting Trump jr. for his adultery, and asked where he got such a stupid idea. Jr replied "from you." A very conservative pastor's wife who won't even watch movies and TV because of the violence, vulgarity, and immorality jumped on me and posted "He who is without sin, cast the first stone." Let me tell you something about this lady: some years back, her son's first wife cheated on him and committed adultery. Now be honest here: If someone to this day criticizes her former daughter-in-law for cheating on her son, do you think she is going to chirp "He who is without sin, cast the first stone?" No way, Jose'. Even if she has forgiven that woman, she is not going to defend her adultery.......she very likely will criticize her, and rightly so.......yet she doesn't want Trump's adultery brought up.

 We cannot stand against issues and sins in one party, then suddenly be OK and defend them in a man who runs and wins in our party........but that is exactly what this Trump version of Christianity is doing that so many of his supporters possess. As Christians, we are either against immorality, bullying, adultery, vulgarity, arrogance, narcissism, etc..... or we are not. We can't take issue with these things in Democrats, then suddenly be OK with them and tell people not to judge, and quote verses like my friend did to me.

 I quipped recently that if Trump decided he was gay and married another man, many Christians who support him would suddenly be OK with homosexuality and gay marriage........ and that is sadly most likely true.

 We have blurred and merged Christianity and politics. If you are a Christian, you must vote for the Republican candidate..... no matter how bad they are, and no matter how strongly you feel you should not and cannot. Party above all,including God, convictions, and doing right.

 It is possible to support policies a president has and things he does, and not defend the bad...... and there is a lot of bad in Trump.

 The Bible commands us to do and be a lot of things: kind, loving, gentle, and more. We are to abhor evil and injustice. If it is wrong for us to act like Trump does and do some of the things he does, then it is wrong for us to like and defend those things.

 I saw a statement somewhere this week that said Christians are trying to sanitize Donald Trump..... but it won't work. The man is corrupt and immoral to the core, and he will never change. Oh, I know..... he is supposedly a Christian. Well, Hillary supposedly is, and that idea was mocked and rightly so..... and so should the claims that Trump is.

 Christians should be horrified by the Stormy Daniels scandal, but most are either ignoring or defending it. Now imagine if it was Bill Clinton or some other Democrat... Sean Hannity would be having her on his show. Limbaugh would be cheering her on and defending her. Fox News would have her on 24/7.......but since it is Donald Trump, Christian Trump supporters don't care. But Bill Clinton.........

 I am far from perfect. I grew up in the church struggling with same-sex attractions, and had no clue how to deal with them. I attended a very conservative church where even listening to Southern Gospel music was condemned by many, not to mention country music, TV, and movies. I never fit in. All of those perfect people.... and me, with my deep, dark secret. I did things I am not proud of, and wondered if God could ever love and forgive me.

 I heard the cruel and mocking comments from those in my church circle, some from people in my own church. I worked hard to keep my secret, often lying about why I wasn't dating or married to satisfy people who seemed to have an undying desire to know. I feared judgment and being ostracized.

 And then I decided I didn't care. It was a long and winding journey to get to that point, but I realized the people who truly love me, will accept me and not fear they will catch it from me. Things didn't seem to change much. There was no line at my door of people wanting to be my friend and hang out..... but there wasn't before either......... but I did find it freeing. I honestly didn't care who knew anymore, and didn't carry around that fear. I didn't have to sit in the pew and struggle silently anymore.

 And I began to change in other ways.

 At some point I realized the church was expecting more of me than God Himself. I realized it was OK to disagree with my church on some things, and that I didn't have to do everything the church said to follow Jesus. I didn't change anything too major, but I began looking to God for my beliefs.... not my church and tradition.

 I was doing very well, until this election. I naively took the stance that I thought my ultra conservative church would take...... and I was wrong. I took a lot of heat, had people in my own church do what I call outright lying, and began to watch many defend and excuse behaviors and sins in this man that Christians should have been cringing at and fleeing.

 It shook my faith hard. Harder than anyone would understand. Maybe. I recently sat across from someone who will remain nameless, that many who read this blog know well. He voted reluctantly for Trump, and he got it when I shared what a difficult time I am still having with this defense and excusing of Trump's behaviors and sins. I was half expecting him to disagree, but he didn't. He told me he has been shocked at what Christians accept and defend in Donald Trump.

 I have wondered something: I am not planning on doing it, but what if I decided against this lonely celibate life of a same-sex attracted guy, and jumped into the gay lifestyle..... got a boyfriend, and lived that life. Would the same Christians defending and excusing Trump's adultery and immorality accept and defend mine? Of course not. They still hate that sin, and still find anyone doing it the worst of sinners.

 You cannot defend Trump's adultery and immorality and say it doesn't matter, and then take a stand against homosexuality. That is inconsistent and makes you a hypocrite and having a double standard.

 During the election, a couple of atheist friends of a friend of mine said they never wanted to hear Christians talk about morality again......and they have a good point. By nominating and electing Donald Trump...... and by this continuing feverish defense of everything the man has done and said and is doing and saying, we have shown we are no better than those we have stood against and fought before Donald Trump came along.

 Support and defend the man you voted for when he does something right.... but please in the name of all that is good, don't defend the bad. You are making Christianity look bad, whether you want to admit it or not.