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

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Becoming a political atheist

**not to be confused with a regular atheist who claims there is no God.

 I was thinking this evening about politics and my views of it this evening, and the thought occurred to me "Maybe I am a political atheist." I Googled the term to see if there was such a thing, and to my surprise, urban dictionary actually has a couple of definitions for political atheist. This is the one of the two that I feel best describes me, though I balk a little at the "too intelligent" phrasing, as I do not consider myself more intelligent than others.....but I do feel I have been paying more attention than some people.

What is a political atheist?

Political atheist: "One who is too intelligent and informed to believe any of the political ideologies being pushed today. Their knowledge of government has evolved to the point that they cannot trust, in any way, shape, or form the fairy tales and coincidences peddled by people in power, regardless of the party a politician proclaims him/herself to be in. A political atheist understands that these people tend to be the worst of humanity-- greedy, sociopathic, narcissistic, lying criminals and are not worthy of supporting; especially not with a vote.

To trust a politician is the ultimate act of misplaced faith."

 It should go without saying, but I have never trusted Democrats, and find their main platforms ant-God, anti-American, anti-life, and anti-anything good. I have come to realize and believe in recent years that the Republican Party isn't much different than the Democrats. One big difference is the Democrats are a little more honest in some ways. They say outright they want to further the cause of women being allowed to murder their babies, using softer words like "women's reproductive rights", of course.....but they are not shy about their desire to keep abortion legal and widespread.

 Then take the Republicans. They say they are pro-life, but rarely do anything to prove it. Donald Trump promises to de-fund Planned Parenthood, and could have done so when the Republicans held a majority in both the House and Senate......but it didn't happen. I have come to believe that the Republicans have their own agenda and most of them have no intention of doing what their Christian base wants and expects them to do. But as long as they say they are for or against what Christians want, Christians will vote for them over and over. I occasionally refer to the Republican Party as the "Democrat lite Party, " because the parties don't seem much different to me these days.

  I think Rush Limbaugh is an arrogant narcissistic faux conservative, but something he said years ago when I listened to his propaganda stuck with me. He was at a big political party of some kind, and some Republican politicians were talking. One asked "What are we going to do about these Christians?" From what Limbaugh related, the general consensus was that these Republican politicians despised their Christian base, but realized they need them and had to do and say enough to make them happy. And that makes sense from what I have seen.

Is Holiness a sham?  

  I made a statement on a post by someone from my church, and that statement has not gone over well - "Trump has shown that holiness is a sham." I attend a holiness church, and if you don't know what that is or understand, you may want to skip this part. Holiness churches believe not in just someone being saved, but also sanctified, which is a separate work of grace and received at a different time. Think indwelling of the Holy Spirit, without the tongues and antics of Pentecostals. A good description of what this does is a story about Uncle Bud Robinson.

 Uncle Bud Robinson was a Christian, but had an anger problem. One evidence was with his cow. When he milked it, it often knocked over the milk, and he would hit it - I think with the milking stool. Anyway, he got sanctified and never had an issue of hitting the cow again. Sanctification is a removal of the root of sin, involves surrender, and is supposed to make the person even more Christ-like and less prone to sin. Very simplistic view.

 People in holiness churches have a lot of strict outward rules, varying from one church and denomination to another. For different reasons, I have not really believed in sanctification for several years, at least not the way my church teaches.

 These last 4 years have kind of pushed me over the edge. If people truly believe what my church and others teach, then holiness (sanctification) must be a sham.

 Politics has invaded the church, even mine. Saved and sanctified people spend way too much time arguing and posting about politics. They bash Democrats, even posting things that are not true, because it is about Democrats. Then they turn around and defend everything Trump does and says, and goes after anyone who dares criticize Trump. They have a separate list of rules for Democrats than they do for Trump. There is such a huge double standard, and it boggles my mind after listening to the sermons and teachings I have all my life that so many people, that the same people who profess sanctification are not any different from the world in how they act when it comes to politics.....over the top support of a man who they would recoil from and criticize if he still had a "D" by his name.....accuse people of being for Hillary who don't support him, knowing full well they aren't, while ignoring the fact they voted for a man who actually did support Hillary....still holding a grudge towards Christians who didn't vote for Trump.....accusing people of being judgmental and Pharisees for daring to hold Trump to the same standard we hold Democrats to (no one gets accused of being a Pharisee or judgmental for pointing out wrongs in Democrats).....declaring to be for free speech while trying to shut up people who dare criticize Trump....rant about the Democrats wanting gun control and abortion while ignoring Trump's gun control and funding of abortion......and ignoring so much they would go after if it was a Democrat.

  My best friend made an interesting comment....I hate masks and don't think the governors have a right to mandate them. I feel people should wear them if they want....but Steven said this "People sure aren't going to be drawn to Christ by a bunch of Christians whining about having to wear a mask or how unfair it is that they can't meet in a building like they want to." And I have argued hotly against them.

 Christians from my church and others have become so political and argumentative that we don't love people. We have to get our political views out there, and it has become more important than loving people and winning people to God. It is actually sad that with all the uses for social media for Christians, so many use it to argue politics and praise and admire politicians who are as corrupt as the ones they bash.

 That is why I said holiness is a sham. Because what I have seen these last 4 years do not line up with what my church teaches, but politics seems to give people an exemption from acting like the sanctified people they profess to be. If what my church teaches is true, then sanctified people shouldn't make false accusations, post things not true, attack politician they don't like and attack people who dare criticize their guy. They won't try to get people to vote against their conscience. They won't say it is wrong to watch TV or wear shorts yet embrace a man that has the morals of Trump - or lack of.

 But to be fair, even Christians who only are saved should act different. Maybe we were this bad before and Trump has just helped bring it out......I probably posted things about Obama that I shouldn't have....but that was OK since he was a Democrat. There are so many Bible verses we seem to discard when it comes to politics....as if it is an exemption to how Jesus commanded us to live and treat each other.

 I have a few friends from church who don't like Trump, but keep quiet because of how they were treated when they did speak up. By others in my church and similar churches.

 Seriously, we are never going to win people to Christ when politics has so corrupted and invaded our Christianity and churches.

(And no, I don't think holiness people are a sham...just sanctification if it truly is what I have been taught.)

 This has all made me realize that politics has become so corrupt in both parties that I can't see even the Republican Party doing much good. And I can't see them nominating better candidates in the future, only worse. I

Doing better

 I am going to try to do better. I have a lot of anger from what I see as the huge double standard when it comes to Trump, and family and friends trying to shut me up makes me angrier. Why is it OK for them to post whatever they want politically, but not OK for me since I don't agree with them? Am I only allowed free speech when they agree with what I say? That isn't Christian, holiness, or even American.

 Maybe I need to un-follow those who post so much politics, at least until after the election. As corrupt as both parties are, and as corrupt and liberal as both candidates are, should Christians be fighting about them when neither is worth our time? Surely there are better uses for social media than arguing politics and trying to get people to vote the way we want them to do. Jesus wasn't political, and I am not saying we shouldn't be political at all or not vote.....but are we being like Him when we are arguing politics, putting so much faith in politicians, and often praising politicians more than Jesus...at least on social media?

 We aren't going to change anyone's minds, and will most likely alienate some people.....and possibly turn some off on God and Christianity....but do we even care? Politics has taken such a priority in our lives that we tend to think more as Americans than Christians. We react as Americans first, and not as Christians. We tend to hold the Constitution on the same plane as the Bible, and use it more on social media than the Bible. We worry more about our rights and freedoms than loving people. I am guilty. You are most likely guilty.....unless you are like my friend Avis Blowers, who never posts political stuff, but posts a lot of positive Christian content....like all Christians should.

 Biden or Trump are unfortunately going to win the election. No number of political posts or arguments is going to affect which one wins. So why should any Christian worth their salt spend more time on political posts, when they can use social media for so much more important and better things?

  Stepping away from the Republican Party, not having a "horse" in the race in 2016 or since has given me a completely new perspective. I don't think I am better than anyone else, smarter, or even always right.....but I do believe everything I have said about Trump, and am sad my former party picked him and has not held him accountable as they would if he was a Democrat. I do believe I think more for myself than I did prior to the 2016 election.

 And I believe we'd be better off as a church and as Christians, and that the cause of Christ would fare better and be more attractive if Christians never voted and were under Democrat rule forever and lose our rights and freedoms......no, I don't want that.....but what is more important - the Kingdom of Heaven, or our lives here in America. (And by the way, when I say former party referring to the Republican Party, it does not mean I have changed parties...I simply unregistered to vote. Maybe I won't get jury duty now.)

  The average Trump supporter would condemn my rhetoric about Trump and say I should pray for him........while they use the same rhetoric about Democrats and don't pray for them. A popular thing right now is to share memes saying Biden is a pedophile, with pictures of him hugging kids....yet there is no proof, and the same people would never accuse of anyone they knew of that with no proof - yet the Bible doesn't say we can falsely accuse a Democrat of something.....and ironically, there are as many or more pictures of Trump hugging kids. So is he one too? Politics has gotten so dirty and divisive, and too many Christians are getting down in the dirty part and wallowing like pigs, while they toss their Christianity on the side to put back on later.

 I am far from perfect, and have been hurt by what people said because I dared vote 3rd party in 2016. I have been hurt as people have tried to shut me down as I tried to do as they do, and exercise my freedom of speech. I have watched as this president does things Obama did and got criticized for, and as he does things his supporters would scream about if it was a Democrat - like gun control. There is a lot of corruption in this administration, but it gets ignored....because the Democrats are worse.

 What if Biden is the lesser of two evils.....what if a Biden presidency caused a revival in the church and got people to seek God more than politics? What if a Biden presidency brought unity among Christians instead of the divisiveness politics has caused? What if a Biden presidency did more to further the cause of Christ than a Trump presidency?

 And again, I value my rights and freedoms and don't want Biden any more than Trump. But what if?

 A certain friend of mine who is also conservative and anti-Trump wanted to ask this on Facebook, but feared the backlash: "if you knew a Biden win would bring about revival in the church, would you fight him so much?" Great question. The temporal has become too important. America has almost eclipsed Heaven, where we are supposed to be living for.

 I want America to be Christian and conservative, but the Republican Party is sliding further away from that with each election. The day may come when the Republican candidate is too bad for any Christian to vote for....then what will we do? Politicians can't save America, nor can they make our country great again. Only God can do that....and if that statement offends you, then why does it?

  I have failed God more often than not in my life, or so it seems. I have never been a strong Christian.....struggling for years to believe God loves me, struggling to believe I was truly saved, watching people more than looking to Jesus. Toss in depression and my SSA, my Christian walk seems to be more rocky and difficult than what seems to be normal. 2016 about shattered my faith, and that is partly good, as it shattered my faith in the Republican Party and helped me see I have put too much hope and faith in elections and politicians. The bad part is it about shattered my faith in God and the Church. I have found myself thinking several times over the last four years, "if this is what Christianity is, do I truly want to be one?" And again, I am not saying I am better than anyone...but it is true. If Christianity has become so intertwined and invaded by politics, and Christians are going to argue politics and let it divide them.....do I want that? Should any of us want that?

 My hope is no longer in politics, a political party, or politicians like I feel it used to be. I am a political atheist.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The quarantine edition #3

Ugh, I can't believe it is June already. The last day I worked was April 11. I am on my 8th week of being laid off, and didn't work for over half of April and all of May. They are still doing it  week by week. My boss calls every Friday and lets us know about the next week. She said she doesn't want to leave us hanging for too long, so that is why she does it weekly. She did ask me if that worked OK for me, which it does.


 I found out today that my neighbors are moving at the end of the month. They are in the other half of the duplex, and are a very nice young Jehovah Witness couple with a 2 year old girl. They are quiet, and have been great neighbors.

 My landlord gives him $50 off the rent to do the mowing on the months that the grass needs mowed. When my landlord dropped my water bill off today, he told me they were moving and asked if I'd be interested in mowing for $50 off the rent a month. He furnishes the mower and weed wacker, so I said I'd do it. $50 may not sound like much, but there isn't much grass to mow. I doubt it would take over 30 minutes, if it even takes that long. I am guessing I'll have to keep the mower and weed wacker in my basement....and that doesn't excite me.

 Nor does it excite me to get new neighbors...but my landlord is very picky. I had to give references of where I rented, personal references, my credit score, my employment proof and how much I make.

 Speaking of neighbors....the neighbors in the houses on both sides of the duplex smoke on their porches....which means if I sit on mine, I'll get it from both sides. I had my kitchen door open one day this week, and it smelled like cigarette smoke. I really, really hate cigarettes. I feel bad for those who are addicted and want to quit...I hear it is almost impossible. There isn't much yard behind the duplex, but I could sit back there if I want to sit outside.

The park

 I am within walking distance of the park in my town....well, I am within walking distance of pretty much anything in my town...and had never been to the park in the 9 months I have lived here. There is the entrance to a paved walking trail right past the park, so I walked down toady to walk on it since today was a gorgeous day. The trail isn't long, and winds back into the park. I was surprised at how big it is, and how beautiful it is. It has several picnic pavilions, swimming pools, a couple of baseball fields, a pond, gazebo, etc.

 I spent some time just wandering around enjoying it, and taking pictures. I definitely plan on spending more time there.

 And I should have worn sunblock or a hat :)

George Floyd

  It is terrible about the death of Mr Floyd at the hands of a corrupt cop. This will sound terrible, but I am tired of hearing about it. Several people on Facebook post multiple times about it a day, many lecturing and giving their opinion over and over and over. And yes, it is horrible.....but the cop has been arrested and hopefully will go away for a very long time.

 But seriously, how many times does one person need to post about it? Yes, there is racism in this country, and it is on all sides. There is just as much, if not more, towards whites (thanks Obama!)... and why do some injustices get so much attention and endless posts.

 This past week, a black man was killed because of the riots. His death is not getting much attention, or endless posts on social media. Why not? He was black. Also, this past week, 2 young cops were killed....and their deaths aren't getting much attention either...or the other cops who have been killed this year.

  America has a racism problem, but it is from all races....not just whites....but we are the ones who get railed at and told how horrible we are over and over. If George Floyd was white, it wouldn't get even close to the outrage we are dealing with. And I am honestly not trying to take away from the horror of his death at all.

 I honestly think the endless posts about him are just making it worse, inciting more hate, more riots, and even more racism. And the media thrives on it.

 And this is just for Trump supporters who are on Facebook posting endless posts about racism: I have a Facebook friend who is black, and he struggles a lot with what he sees as racism from Trump and a lot of his supporters.

 I am just so tired of the negativity on Facebook. Yeah, I am guilty of it too. I try not to be, but I get sucked into it. I have started pausing a lot of people and pages who are posting the constant negativity about this.

 I am depressed. Severely depressed. I don't need 99% of the posts on Facebook to be negative and make me feel worse and make me angry - a lovely side effect of depression.

  The other day, I challenged my Facebook friends to do a positive post. Out of the 588 friends, I think 3 or 4 did it.

  And yeah, I go so long without criticizing dear leader, but after seeing so many posts about him by people who refuse to see any wrong in him and continually praise him to the point of nausea....it is like I snap and start sharing my thoughts about him.

  But I am not alone. Way too many Christians on Facebook post negative post after negative post. They attack Nancy Pelosi and Biden - for a lot of what Trump is guilty of - they rail about racism, masks, etc. It is kind of difficult to remain positive on Facebook when so many of what is running across your feed is negative.

 And again, I have considered getting rid of Facebook....but I keep in contact with relatives, acquaintances, and authors.... and do a lot of book and book review related things on and through Facebook.

 Maybe one just needs to slowly weed out  the negative Nellys, political Pauls, and racist lecture Larrys, and try to get your feed on the positive side.

 And maybe Christians need to consider more what they post. What effect it will have, if it will be helpful or not, etc. Because too much of what we post isn't helpful, positive,  or encouraging.

 Speaking of negativity, I got a funny blog post comment recently. The person said it was nice that I had a place where I could share my thoughts, but I was too negative and they should have read a newspaper instead . :)


  When I moved into the farmhouse a few years ago, my oldest sister gave me one of their 4 pianos. Yeah - 4. It was the one we learned to play on, and it had been in our family for around 33 years. I didn't like how it played, so I rarely played it, and I sold it when I moved here. My parents have a Yamaha electric piano I love. I tried to find the same model on Amazon, but they don't have it. So I went shopping on there this evening. I looked at Yamaha pianos, Roland (I used to have one), and other brands, and finally narrowed it down to three Yamaha pianos. They were all different prices. Option #1 had a lot of reviews, didn't have many bells and whistles, and had several negative reviews. Option #2 cost more, had some bells and whistles, didn't have many reviews - but all were good - and the piano sounded better in the description than option #1. Option #3 was even more money, had a lot of bells and whistles, good reviews - just a few reviews- and looked like a lot of fun.

 I debated for a while, and settled on option #2. I didn't figure I needed all the bells and whistles on the third one, plus it looked like it took up more space. The reason I shopped Amazon is I could get 12 months same as cash, with no interest if paid off in a year....and I hopefully will pay it off long before that.

 The option I picked comes with a bench, stand, sustain pedal, power cord, and headphones....though I don't need those.

 I was playing at my sister's on Memorial day, and was dismayed at how rusty I am....so hopefully I can get back in practice. It should come Friday, and I can't wait. I am just hoping it fits where I want to put it.

Garage sale

 When my little sister and family moved back in March, they had a lot of stuff for a yard sale....but you couldn't have one because of the virus. And I mean a lot of stuff. Caleb, my niece's fiance' loaded up a trailer and the back of his pickup, and they loaded their van when they brought the stuff to my parents'.

 We are planning on one later this week, so I got together a lot of things for it. I sold a dresser to my little sister instead of putting it in the sale, and still have a lot. I took two carloads down today, and still have enough for another.

 I of course have several books and CDs, among other things. I debated about selling my card table and 4 chairs, and finally decided to do so. It is a nice thing to have, but I never, ever use it. I don't have company, and there is no use of it just sitting in the basement gathering dust. There are things that are nice to have on hand, but why keep them if you never use them. Well, I did use it when I wrapped Christmas gifts.....but that is not enough to merit keeping it.

Foot peel

  My feet are really dry, and I was Googling what to do to help. A foot peel was one option, and one I had never heard of. After researching it, and comparing different brands, I ordered one and did it last week.

 What is a foot peel? You get two bootie type things made out of plastic and filled with "stuff" - lotions, etc. The one I used said to wear them for 2 hours, and for best results wear socks. I cannot explain how weird it felt. The directions said the dry skin would start peeling off in 7-10 days, but it started in a few.....and yes, it works and helps. I may do a second one to help the worst of it....but I do recommend.

 And if you try it, I'd go with Amazon. I first tried a cheap one from Walmart, but it wasn't the same and did nothing.

Do we truly want equality?

  This is a thought I have had for a long time, if I can get across in a way that makes sense.

   Years ago, when there was a crime or violent act between a black and white person, the black person had no voice and was presumed guilty....and that was wrong and evil.  We have flipped that around. Now when there is an incident between black and white, it often becomes a national incident and the white person is always presumed wrong, and the media even works to make it that way. And that is wrong and evil. When Trayvon Martin was killed, CBS doctored the 911 call to make it sound like it was racist motivated....I still don't understand why their actions weren't a bigger deal to people.

  And yes, as in this most recent incident, the white guy is sometimes in the wrong. But imagine for a moment...if George had been white, how different reactions would be. No one would be "whiting out" today, and a lot of things would be different.

 There is just as much hate and racism towards whites, but it gets ignored and is OK. There have been a lot of black people in the public eye who have said terrible things about whites, and nothing happens. When Obama was in office, it was quite popular to hate whites and cops...he encouraged it.

 So here is my point: If everyone truly wants equality, then why do incidents get treated so differently when a black person is the victim? Someone said something on Facebook I thought made sense. He said his views are a little different: A corrupt cop murdered an American. Think about that. Why does race always have to be brought into it? More white people are killed by cops, but people only focus on the black ones killed. Cops are killed all the time, and there is nowhere near the same reactions.

 And the same goes for gay people. People's race or sexual orientation always have to be mentioned if they are certain colors or sexual orientation. It seems people prefer keeping us divided and different.

 I am not saying there is not racism or true homophobia....there is. But there is just as much hate and bigotry aimed at Christians and white people.....but it is accepted, overlooked, and even defended. And yeah, I keep hearing we shouldn't say all lives matter right now...but if not, then when will be deal with the racism and hate towards whites and Christians? We matter too, not just black people and gay people.

 The truth of the matter is there is a segment of Americans who thrive on division. Someone said once if there was no racism towards blacks, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would be out of work.....but they are not the only ones who want racism and division to stay alive.

 I hope I got my point across without being misunderstood...but I understood. :)

 Why can't we all just be Americans?

Are we all narcissists?

 Could we all be a bit narcissistic? That could explain this need for so many of us to express our opinions over and over on so many issues. We seem to think the world needs to know our thoughts, feelings, and opinions on things people probably are not waiting with baited breath for us to express. Yeah, deep thought.

Pride month

  June is gay pride month. There was a day I was terrified of people finding out that I was attracted to males instead of females. I can honestly say I don't care who knows at this point. I didn't ask for it, and it doesn't seem to affect how people are involved in my life....but then my family is pretty much the only people I see outside of church and work and interact and hang out with.

 I am not ashamed of my attractions. No, I am not proud, and I get disgusted by gay pride. I still believe 100% you cannot be a Christian and have any kind of gay relationship. That is Biblical.  I also believe pride is a sin as the same Bible says, so you have a two-fer if you celebrate gay pride.

 What really gets me is when companies have to jump on it. Last year, Papa John's kept featuring gay employees on social media. Other companies make specific products rainbow during June. What is alarming is the amount of Christians who promote it.

 I get the idea of gay pride. So many had to hide it for so long, but that doesn't make it right. I do believe everyone should be allowed to live as gay if they want, but it should not infringe on the rights of Christians...and it does. But that is another story.

 The church and Christians need to do better in this area than most do. No, the answer isn't patting gay people on the backs and helping them believe a lie that will cause them to miss Heaven. But homosexuality is one of many sins that will keep people out of Heaven and that you cannot be a Christian and practice. Could you be friends with a heterosexual guy who is living with his girlfriend? That too is a sin that will keep people out of Heaven, though we are used to it and hardly think anything of it anymore. A Christian should be able to be friends with gay people and love them without acting like they are gross or constantly pointing out how wrong their lifestyle is.

 No young person should be thrown out of his parents' house because he is gay. Yes, the parents have a right to  say certain behaviors are not allowed in the house, but that is not Christianity to toss out your own kid because he is gay...but it happens. There are a lot of homeless youth who got kicked out of their parents' homes because they were gay. And of course not all of the parents are Christians who do that, but many are.

 Homophobia is not believing the Bible says it is a sin. Homophobia is hate and a fear of being around gay people.

Capital One

 I have a savings account, credit card, and auto loan with Capital One, and can access all three on the same website. I mentioned I paid my car off, but I had questions last week and could not get through to talk to anyone. The automated thing just kept circling me around for half an hour til they closed. Then I paid it off, and everything seemed fine. I got an email saying my loan was paid off, and they closed the account on the website.

 Then today, I got an email with a statement. I logged on, and it said I owe $499+, and that a payment had been reversed. I tried something new....I called the line for new auto loan applicants, and guess what......I got through immediately. I finally had someone from their connect me to someone for current loans. The guy was very nice, and it took him a while, but it turns out the car is paid off, and he said to give them a week and it should all be straightened out.

 While I was on their site, I noticed something that made my day. It has my credit score, and it is excellent. I had to file bankruptcy about 11-12 years ago, and my credit has been improving, but it made my day that it is excellent. Hopefully I can keep it there.

 It is sad that current customers find it impossible to talk to customer service, but possible ones can get through immediately. And yes, I tried everything. :)


 I have seen a lot of hateful comments about cops, and there has been a lot of violence against them. There have some killed during the riots, and others hurt. One young cop was shot in the back of the head while making an arrest. He is alive, and hopefully makes it.

 All these people who hate cops....if they need one some day, their attitude might change. Yes, there are corrupt and bad cops....but there are bad and corrupt people in every profession that exists...especially politicians...99.99% of them are corrupt and bad.

 There are a lot of good police officers out there keeping us safe. It is wrong to lump them all together and hate all cops for the actions of a few bad ones.

This was posted on one page I follow:

In the last 96 hours...
-A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officer was shot in the back of the head while struggling with a rioter
-An active shooter opened fire on law enforcement at a Las Vegas courthouse
-4 St. Louis Police Officers were shot by an active shooter
-A New York Police Officer was struck by a vehicle
-3 Buffalo law enforcement officers were struck by a vehicle in front of the police station
-3 Davenport law enforcement officers were ambushed and 1 was shot
-132 officers were injured in Chicago during a riot
-9 Pittsburg officers were injured by objects during a riot
-Several officers in Rhode Island were injured during riots
-An active shooter opened fire at the Oakland Police Department
-2 officers were struck in the head with projectiles in Santa Ana
-2 Richland officers were shot in Virginia
-1 officer was struck in the head by a brick in Albany
-4 Prince William County Police Officers sustained head injuries from projectiles
-7 officers were injured in Sacramento
-Several officers were shot at and injured in Lynchburg
-Several Champaign Police Officers were injured
-3 Oak Law Police Officers were injured
-21 officers were injured in Salt Lake City
-At least 50 Secret Service Agents were injured by Molotov cocktails in Washington
-3 Denver Police Officers were ran over by a vehicle
-33 New York Police Officers were injured during riots
-6 Athens Police Officers injured during a protest
-2 Capitol Police Officers were injured during a riot in Harrisburg
-12 Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officers were injured during riots
-21 Minneapolis law enforcement officers injured in riots
-1 Federal Protective Services Officer was shot and killed.

Source: Jeff Rey

 Will the same people doing the "black out" today do something to honor these people tomorrow? I doubt it. Their focus is only on one thing right now, and cops' lives don't matter to them. At least not right now.


 I started using Harry's razor blades a few years ago, and love them. I was happy when Walmart started carrying them, as I don't have to order on line. I thought it was odd though I saw in a recent post that their blades are not for shaving heads....and I shave my head with them all the time. So I don't get it.

 I recently tried a sample of their body wash, and really liked it. They had all 4 scents in 16 ounce bottles for $26, so I ordered them to add to my 25 other bottles of body wash. That is an exaggeration. I probably had 6 or so before. It may sound weird, but I kept smelling my arm the first day I used it. Yeah, that sounds weird. :)

More positive

  We all can do our part, so I am trying to be more positive.So I will end with something positive: My favorite restaurant, O Charley's, is open for dine in....first come, first serve. I haven't eaten inside there for a while - I did do curbside in March - so tomorrow I am planning on driving up to Boardman mainly to eat there.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Be a Barnabas....or an Avis

  There are people in the Bible we know a lot about, and some who take up a lot of space in the Bible. There are also some who are rather obscure, such as Barnabas. I looked up him on Biblegateway.com, and was surprised to find he is actually mentioned 39 times in the Bible, and all in the book of Acts. I also discovered that there is also more information on him than I remembered, and that is because Barnabas is remembered for one specific thing. Did you know that Barnabas wasn't his real name? His real name was Joseph, but he was nicknamed "Barnabas", which means one who encourages, or son of encouragement.

  So when I say to be a Barnabas, anyone who knows their Bible very well is going to know what I mean. And what a cool thing to be known for. "Hey, there's that guy who is always encouraging people." What would our name mean? What if I said be a John, Mark, Donald, Joe, Martha, Cindy......

  I doubt there are many people who are so encouraging that when their name is mentioned, people think of that trait. There is a lady who does come to mind for me. Avis Blowers. She is a Facebook friend who I have met. I was at their house a few years ago for supper, and man is she a good cook. And I have an open invitation to go back. Avis is married to Marvin, brother to my former pastor, David Blowers.

 Social media is an awesome thing, yet isn't used for good by so many......even Christians. It has been so nice to have had it during this quarantine time, but so many people are negative. Social media has been full of doom and gloom about the virus, and now it is flooded with people's reactions about the guy's death in Minneapolis and about the looting by so many criminals. Why do so many Christians feel the need to spread bad news and negativity?

 Back to Avis. Her Facebook page is full of encouragement and positive things. She never gets political, except a few months ago when she took Trump to task for his saying he is full of un-matchless wisdom. She even had a page just for that kind of stuff (positive, not political), but it got shut down for reasons no one knows.  Here is a little glimpse into her recent posts:

1) Post about God's unlimited resources and benevolence, with a gorgeous picture
2) a picture of a sunset
3) a Max Lucado quote about pride and humility
4) A nice quote by Harriet Beecher Stowe about God being near

  I could go on. Post after post by this gracious lady. But go to the average Christian's post, and there are posts condemning politicians we don't like, rants about cops and/or racism, corona stuff, and more.

 If Barabas were alive and had social media, I believe his posts would look a lot like Avis' posts. positive, encouraging.

 And I am not saying we shouldn't address other things, but if the majority of our posts are political and about negative things, aren't we rather pathetic Christians?

 We all need encouragement. I am a single guy who is lonely a lot, has depression, struggles with the very difficult issue of same-sex attraction....discouragement is my home, not just a place I visit. But I am not an exception to the rule...everyone gets discouraged at times. I bet even Barabas got discouraged, but he still encouraged people.

 What if we all tried to be more encouraging? What if we used social media for good, instead of pushing our politics or giving our opinion on the latest horrible news story? What if most of our Facebook posts were positive, and people could look at them and they would resemble Avis' posts, or what Barabas would post?

  A few weeks ago, a long time friend of mine sent me a card, saying she knows how hard it is for me to be off work and alone. Now I am not hinting for people to send me cards, but that was a very nice thing to do. (Thanks Christy!) But what if we all did things like that year around? It doesn't cost anything to encourage someone, and if we want to do something tangible, it doesn't have to cost much. A favorite candy bar or snack with a card would make anyone's day.

 I used to speak occasionally in church to the youth, though others would be in the service too. Back in November 2004, I spoke on encouragement. The notes are saved on my pc, and that is the date....believe me, my memory is not that good. I was actually surprised that I still had them. I am going to put some of them below, as I have ideas on how to encourage and who to encourage. Don't be a negative Nelly or political Paul. Be a Barabas or Avis. Be an encourager.

My notes:

The story is told that one day Satan was selling off some of his tools. All sizes and prices were available. There was one small tool that had an extremely high price on it. When asked why the high price for such a small tool, his reply was that it was his most often used, and most effective tool - the tool of discouragement.

   Of course there never was such a sale, but discouragement is one of the devil’s best tools. It seems if he can get a Christian discouraged, they become ineffective, and for a lot of Christians who give up and stumble, it is all started by discouragement.

The charismatic churches emphasize spiritual gifts a lot, but they are Biblical, and I think some people have the gift of encouragement, and even if you don’t, everyone needs to practice it some.

Who to encourage:

A. Yourself
The first person you need to encourage is yourself - not a selfish thing- if you are discouraged, you cannot help others.

1. Prayer: It should be our first action and resource when we are discouraged and down about something

2. Bible - it helps to have favorite scriptures that mean a lot to turn to when you are discouraged - Jeremiah 29:10-12

Also, a Promise book of scriptures by topic is a great idea to keep on hand, and also a good devotional (Joni Earaekson Tada).

3. Church-regular church attendance to all services is a great help to stay encouraged- plus being around people who believe like you helps a lot - (Bush rally)

4. Thanksgiving & Praise-it is pretty hard to stay discouraged and in the dumps if you start thanking God for all the good things in your life, and praising Him for all His goodness - Praise His Name

5. Music-sometimes popping in a good CD helps a lot. Some songs just seem to encourage you more - Southern Gospel - songs that make you tap your foot

6. Do something nice for someone else-it is amazing how doing something for someone else can make you feel better - which brings us to the next point - invite someone to your house

B. Encouraging Others

1.Pray for them - sometimes tell them you are. Especially if someone is going through a hard time and you know it

2. Call, text,  or email, or send a card -it is amazing what a phone call or email can do for someone (card from Paul)

3. Feed them - having someone over to chat and/or to eat can do wonders

4. Compliment people and tell them you appreciate them - so many people are letting down in areas, let those who are staying true know you appreciate it

5) Give them a small gift of a candy bar, snack, gift card, etc.

6. Live a life that encourages others:-attend church,live right, smile a lot, etc.

C.Encourage your pastor:-no pastor is perfect, but there is always something to do to make him feel good

1. Attend  services 

2. Compliment him on messages - especially if one really helped you or stood out to you

3. Have the pastor and family over to eat. Or take them out to eat if you can't cook.

4. Drop him a card, or even a small gift - especially on Pastor Appreciation Day

5. Offer to help out wherever needed - and if asked to do a task, do it cheerfully

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Quarantine edition, #2

 Am I the only one losing track of time? Half the time I struggle to know what day it is, and what day something happened. There are two Mennonite stores near me, and the one closest to where I used to live makes fry pies every Thursday and Friday. (If you have never had one, you are missing out.) In my experience, if you go too early, they are still making them and the flavors are limited. Last week, I went to Salem, OH - about a 30 minute trip from where I live now. I got to the store close to 11, but figured I'd stop on my way back through to grab a couple of the fry pies. So on my way back, I pulled in, parked, walked in and back to the bakery counter. The case where they put them was empty, and the ladies were working on other baked goods. Then it hit me. It was not Thursday, but Wednesday. Thankfully, I didn't ask for them.


  There is a lot of controversy, and pardon my blunt word - crap - about masks. Long before COVID-19 came along, I read and heard many people say the common masks people wear at flu season aren't any good against the flu. To be any good or help, the mask has to be snug...and they aren't. Back in March, the Surgeon General said wearing masks were worse for you, as people tend to touch their faces more when wearing them. And a lot of people also said they don't help.

 Yet there are people insisting we should wear them, that we are selfish and don't care about people if we don't wear them.  You can't enter a business in PA without one on, so I am avoiding PA at the moment. It could happen in Ohio too, but I hope not. Some businesses are requiring one. My mom was going to go in the Rite Aid in her town, but they had a sign up saying you had to have a mask on to go in. She didn't have one, so she left.

Here are my thoughts on masks:

1) They don't help
2) It is a violation of my freedoms to force me to wear one
3) If people want to wear one, then fine...but don't judge me for not wearing one
4) It is selfish of mask wearers to expect everyone else to also wear one
5) In regards to the argument that it would make others feel better if I wore one.....there is a lot of things that would make me feel better if people did or didn't do...but that is freedom
6) In regards to the argument that I should wear a mask because I could have the virus and don't know it...are those people going to take chemo in case they have cancer and don't know it?
7) Yes, businesses have the right to require a mask for entry, but I also have the right to think it is stupid and to not shop there til that changes.
8) I am not going to wear one because of someone else's fears.

(And yeah, I know the pictured mask isn't the right kind...but I like the Green Arrow, and I am tempted to wear that kind of mask :) ) After all, they don't say what kind of mask.......


 I was originally laid off for 3 weeks, and that 3 weeks has come and gone. This is my 7th week off, and it looks like I may go back next week. I asked off for my birthday on the 26th...I didn't know I was going to get 6 weeks off before it and the week of it off.

 It will be hard to go back to work. When I am not working the next day, I stay up til at least midnight...sometimes 1-2. I actually was reading in bed til 4 the other night (or day?) - and then I sleep in til around 9 usually. And I have been living in t-shirts, shorts, and no shoes in the house. I'll have to go back to getting up early to work at 6:30 am and dressing in dress pants, dress shirt, tie, blazer.....and of course socks and shoes.

 There are a lot of people I miss at work though.


 One of the things that frustrate me, is the people acting like churches are being singled out and shut down...ignoring the fact that a lot of places have been shut down. Now I am at the point that I am seriously wondering if this is all necessary, and thinking they may be dragging it out too long and that there is definitely too much government overreach. But I don't know if it is still necessary. I do know this is not an attack on Christianity or the church. As a friend of mine said, too many Christians try to make everything into persecution.

 And granted, there have been a few instances where it seems some are singling out churches.

 I actually like church on line. I can stay in my sweat pants and t-shirt -  or whatever I am wearing, I can snack, go get a drink, and wonder around my place since I have speakers in every room on the main floor and one upstairs :)

 And I can mute it if I want :)

I am glad we are starting to open things back up. And part of me still wonders if this has all been necessary.

My church is opening back up this coming Sunday with several safety measures in place. And I'll be there....happy no one can shake hands :)

 And of course there are people condemning churches for opening.......but if not now, when? And there have been people in the past and present who face jail, torture, death - even being thrown to the lions - if they care caught meeting together for church. Should we continue cowering from a virus that may not be as bad as we have been told?

 The church I attend is making it so people can still sit in their car and listen if they want.

 And we always live stream. Which you can watch in shorts, t-shirt, and no shoes......

The economy

  I have seen a lot of posts slamming people for daring to be concerned about the economy. One person even did a post saying something to the effect that if you are not truly pro-life if you are putting the economy over people.

  Here is the thing though: If the economy gets bad enough, people are going to be losing their homes, their livelihoods. There could be looting and people being killed for food and money. The worst case scenario is we could lose more lives that way than through a virus. If we go too long, we may end up living in a dystopian society.

 One has to wonder how long we can go on the way we have been living before it hurts us in ways as bad as getting the virus would be.

The medical heroes

 A disclaimer: I work at a hospital, and know and interact with a lot of nurses, doctors, PCAs, doctors, x-ray techs, etc. I count some of them as friends. Some are extremely friendly and nice, and others act like everyone else is scum. Daily, they are around sick people. They have patients who have the flu, HIV, and all sorts of diseases.

 Since the virus hit, they are getting a lot of accolades and hero status. I even saw people saying their college debt should be forgiven since they are on the front lines.

  But guess what: They signed up to do what they are doing: helping sick people. And they get paid a lot of money for doing it. I am not going to question their motives for their job choice...but they are doing what they trained for and are getting paid for. They should NOT have college debts forgiven for doing their jobs. Are they at more risk right now? Yes....and so are the grocery store clerks and workers who are working around people who could have the virus. I am thankful for what the medical field does on a daily basis, not just when we have a pandemic. Be thankful for them, applaud them....but don't forget they are not the only ones on the front line, and they are doing what they signed up for.


 There is some anger because of people making more at home than the ones who are working. It does seem off, but I don't know how I'd pay all of my bills and have money to live on without the extra.

Double standards in politics

 It has been obvious for years that the Democratic Party has double standards. Trump has shown how the Republican Party is just as bad, or worse.

 Two examples:

Morality: Trump supporters defend/excuse/ignore Trump's horrible record when it comes to women, but love to point out Biden being too touchy feely. Trump Jr even called him a pedophile, which seems a bit much...but then Trump compared Ben Carson to a child molester....the Trump family fights dirty, like the liberals they are.

Demeaning...A lot of people are on Biden about what he said about blacks who don't vote for him, and are saying it was demeaning....yet it was very demeaning of Trump to call conservatives who oppose him "human scum"...and they ignored that. I am disgusted with both parties and both candidates who don't seem very different from each other.

Getting back to normal

  To be honest, this quarantine hasn't affected me as much as it has some. Yes, I have been off work 7 weeks, haven't been able to thrift store shop, eat in restaurants, and have had a hard time finding some things early on...but I haven't stayed home, and I never hang out with anyone other than my family anyway, so I didn't miss out on social interaction as many have.

  Last Monday, I went with one of my sisters and two of my nieces to Akron. There are a couple of thrift stores over there we like to go to. It was awesome to shop there again. My best friend said I probably felt like a crack addict who just got out of jail and had access to crack again.

 Last Thursday, Ohio restaurants were allowed to serve dine in again, and I took advantage of it, meeting two of my nieces at a place new to me in Boardman, OH. Friday, I took all 3 nephews and one niece out to eat, I ate out Monday for breakfast, and took my three nieces out for Mexican on Tuesday....my birthday. It truly is nice to do those things again. Restaurants are pretty slow, most likely to a lot of people being afraid to go out.

My car is now truly mine

 I put my stimulus check into savings along with a lot of the extra cash I get from unemployment. I used that to pay my car off this week, two years early. I am pretty happy about it. I waited til I accumulated some extra so I wouldn't drain my savings completely. If I figured right, I saved around $300 by paying it off so early. I bought the car 3 years ago in June and did a 5 year loan, with $3000 down. Now hopefully I can keep car payment free for a few years.

George Floyd

 There is a lot of outrage about the black man who died while being arrested. It IS sad, but why must everyone on Facebook post about it and their outrage?

A few points:
Every day there is someone murdered and there are tons of injustice

There is as much, if not more, racism hate, and crimes against whites by blacks than vice versa, but they get ignored

Daily, babies are murdered in the womb, ripped apart...and most of the same people outraged about Floyd, don't seem to care about that.

 So why when there is something involving white on black does everyone get outraged and flood Facebook?

 I believe, largely due to Obama, there is still a lot of hate and racism aimed towards white people.

  I'm not racist. I don't have any black friends, but then I really don't have any white ones either. If I were to live the gay lifestyle, I'd be as likely to date a black guy as white, because I am attracted to a lot of black guys I see. If I voted - which I don't anymore - the color of a candidate's skin would not influence my vote at all. I was against Obama because he was a horrible candidate with horrible policies......and I don't vote for corrupt liberals. That is why I didn't vote for Hillary or Trump either.

 I am just tired of everyone making it all about racism by blacks and bad actions by cops towards blacks. There is racism and hate on all sides......and Planned Parenthood - still funded by Trump - was founded to thin down the black population, and more black babies are killed than white...where is the outrage about THAT? And black people by the millions support and vote the party that loves to murder their babies.

 And there is always a rush to judgment. The white guy or cop is always, always wrong... but the truth has come out differently on some cases, but no one cares. Everyone becomes an armchair judge and jury. And people seem to love it when there is a white on black crime they can point out and say how racist America still is. It is like gasoline on fire.

 If the cops were truly in the wrong, then try and jail them.


 It bothers me how apathetic we are about the daily murder of babies in the womb. Our tax dollars are going to help butchers go inside the womb and rip a part innocent babies. Maybe if it showed the "doctor" kneeling on the babies' necks as they killed them and we could hear the babies screams people might care more. I wish we all - me included - could grasp the true horror and atrocity of it. At times I think about it, and wonder how on earth it was ever legalized.... and why so many people are so determined it stays legal. What on earth were the heartless people on that Supreme Court thinking?

 We live in a world where people care more about the treatment of animals than babies. If a guy killed a puppy, there would be outrage. Kill a baby in the womb, and you are a hero to Democrats and too many Republicans just look the other way.

Want to make America great again? End the murder of innocent babies. Oh, and vote conservative again.

May 26th

  May 26th was my birthday. Birthdays kind of depress me anymore. I still wish I had been able to have a family - at least kids - but that has always been impossible, and the older I get the bigger void I feel because of that. And it isn't easy being a single guy my age. I really have no one other than my family.....and by best friend, but he is 400 + miles away.

 My middle niece was born the day after my birthday, so my family always gets together to celebrate both birthdays. We did that Monday and had a cookout. I got a few books I wanted, a gift card to Amazon, and my one sister and her family gave me a gift bag of different items: A foldable cutting board, which is cool - I thought it was a dust pan at first, and some other things including some cool napkins, pictured above. They combine my love for the beach with my love of classic/antique cars. I like them so much that I hate to use them.


  I have done a lot of shopping on line while this quarantine has been going on, more than normal. I even got Amazon Prime, something I didn't think I would ever do. Unfortunately, the day I got it so I could get my order faster, it turned out the order wasn't being shipped by Amazon. It is coming by mule from Timbuktu. It shipped May 15th, and has an estimated arrival date of June 29-July 24. You.Have.Got.To.Be.Kidding.

 To offset Prime, I ended Netflix......it didn't have much on there that interested me anyway, and there is as much to watch on Prime.

 I did buy a couple of items to help with bathroom space. My bathroom is very small. This duplex was once one house, and I think they just split the bathroom in half to make two. It is the same width as my bedroom closet, and is 21 inches longer. From wall to wall - including the shower- it is 56 inches. The space between the shower and wall is about 24 inches, and the doorway is too small for a normal sized door.

It was difficult finding things to fit in the bathroom for towels and other items. Where they need to be, things can't stick out past 8-9 inches, or there's not enough room between the sink and toilet and the furniture. I have a tall white cupboard that works for washcloths, TP, and other items, and was using a 3-shelf bookcase for towels. Problem: it stuck over past the towel bar, so I had to fold towels in half to hang.

 I found a towel holder on Amazon that is 7 inches by 11. I bought two, thinking of putting them side by side, and that would take care of the towel bar issue.....but they stuck out too far. So I put one in that space turned sideways, so the open side faces the door, and put the other in the hallway by the hamper. It works. And I got $10 off my order for trying Amazon photos. Win-win. It does work best if the towels are rolled, which I knew by the pictures on Amazon.

 My bed also got a change: a new quilt. The shams are on backorder, and I just ordered a navy bed-skirt. I found the quilt on Collections, Etc for $25, shams $4.99 each.

The quarantine

  At this point, I personally believe a lot of what has been done was overkill. Why close thrift stores, but not Walmart. Why force masks that don't likely help. I still believe we should be cautious, but stop living in fear and go out and live.

 And people need to stop arguing and trying to turn people in for not keeping social distancing, etc. No one truly knows anything. The powers that be are clueless, and even medical "experts" keep changing their minds. So sanitize, wear a mask if that makes you feel safer, stay 6 feet away from people.....but stop living in fear, and stop condemning others for not doing everything you think they should do.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Fear not

  I have never counted, but I am told that there are 365 references in the Bible saying not to fear. One for every day of the year, except the year 2020....and any other leap year. Wonder why God didn't toss one extra one in for leap year...

 The last four years have been interesting. This is not a political post, but I will say since I didn't go with the status quo in 2016, it has given me a different perspective. I watch a lot, and have seen so much from Christians (including myself) that has made me realize how weak we Christians are in areas, and how there are so many things the Bible says that we tend to disregard, ignore, twist, or toss out when it is convenient.

 Fear is one of those areas. Does anyone else notice how afraid Christians are? I am convinced the main reason Donald Trump is president is fear. Christians in the Republican party were so afraid of Hillary, they picked the guy who was the most liberal and was the worst fin the principles, morals, and values that had always directed our voting. He fought hard and dirty, and he got picked because so many figured he was the best bet against Hillary.

 Post after post on social media reeks of fear:

Corona virus
People not wearing masks
Going down the wrong aisle at Walmart
Bill Gates
The mark of the beast
Being chipped
Deep state
Conspiracy theory after conspiracy theory
The Democrats
The Republicans
Running out of TP
Democrats stealing the election through mail in ballots
The economy
The virus hurting Trump's re-election (eye roll)
Unemployment running out
Social security running out
Hand sanitizer running out
Running out of money
Our job closing
Running out of tacos

  You name it, there are people afraid, and it affects what they post on social media. Positive posts are rare from so many. But posts warning about this or that are rampant. One could make the deduction that many Christians don't truly trust in God. Every election, fear mongering is more popular than tacos. Politicians use fear. Talk radio hosts use fear. It is used to manipulate people.

   I have fears. I am scared to death of snakes. I fear dying in my apartment, and no one knowing for a few days or missing me. For too much of my life I lived in constant fear that people would find out that I was attracted to males instead of females. Now, I admit it as freely as the fact I am wearing one of my favorite t-shirts I bought last year at the Outer Banks. People found out, I announced it on this blog, and I'll tell people if it comes up. And to my knowledge, it hasn't had an effect on my life. No one hung out with me before, so I can't see a difference. I got more blow-back for being anti-Trump. True story.

  And that is the thing. So many things we worry about and fear never happen. The chances of me being bit by a poisonous snake are very slim, especially living where I live and not going where they are prevalent. Caution needs to be used during this pandemic, but if one is careful and takes preventive measures, your chances are pretty good at not getting it. Sure....you could, but should we live in constant fear of it.......or of anything?

 No, I don't trust our government. Four more years of Trump or 4 years of Biden is something that worries me....but who do we really believe is in control? When we go to the voting booth, are we going in fear that the evil Democrats will win and will destroy America? Or do we go trusting that God has it under control no matter who wins.

 Fear influences our actions, and everything in our lives. I was watching something last night that led to my blogging about fear. A spirit of fear had invaded a town. People feared a group of people who were different than them. Some were hunting down teenagers and killing them out of fear. At one point, a handful of these teens were hiding in the police department, and the building was surrounded by people with all kinds of guns wanting to kill who they feared.

 That may be a drastic example of what fear can do, but it can control us. It affects our actions and reactions. It directs what we post on social media, and how we act towards those who hold a different viewpoint on what we fear.

 Maybe I am judging, but it sure seems like too many Christians are living in constant fear, and are not trusting God enough.....or at all. If it is judging, then I am judging myself too.

 But if Christians are not living in fear, then won't our lives reflect it? Won't it influence what we post on social media.......and what we don't post? A Christian's outlook should be different from non-Christians if they are not living in fear, but are living a life of trusting that God has it all under His control.

 Daily we can find a different and new reminder in God's Word to not fear. It isn't a suggestion. There are no exceptions. Fear not.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

The quarantine edition

  Starting another muti-subject post that I'll likely work on over a period of a few days to a week. Or longer. :)

 And yes, there is some politics. :)

1) Corona

  I may have said this before, but I seriously thought it was a joke something to do with the beer when I first heard of the virus.

 Sadly, it is not. And man, have our lives changed in such a short time. My life really wasn't affected seriously recently. I got a call two weeks ago informing me that I was getting laid off for 3 weeks. Unless things change, I am off til May 4. As long as the unemployment checks come through, I am OK with it. I need a break. Unfortunately, there is nowhere to go.

  I do miss eating in a restaurant, can't take the nieces or nephews out to eat anywhere, and I'd really, really like to go thrift store shopping.

But as I have stated before, I am rarely around people outside of work and church and family times.....so the social aspect really isn't affecting me.

 It is a plus that I can stay up late and sleep in. :)

This all does bring up interesting questions:

Is this all really necessary? I get it that it is different than the flu......but all this?

Should the government have this much control...but yet if we go about as normal, it could spread like wild fire.

Should governors have the authority to demand all that they have without it having to go through anyone else? (I asked that on Facebook, and it turned into a Trump praisefest)

Man, do I miss normal.

2) Love

 I know my Bible fairly well. I am not saying I am a Bible scholar.....but I attended a Christian school for 13 years, was in a Christian home after the age of 11 1/2, attended a Bible college for 4 years, have read the Bible through once, and read many passages and studied books and passages of the Bible for the greater part of my life.

 So I can safely say that the main message of the Bible is love, mostly God's love for human kind. But the Bible also has a lot to say about loving others.....even Bible versions outside of what Jesus, Moses, and Paul used. (Everyone knows they used the KJV!)

 Can Christians say suck? I don't know. But if so, a lot of Christians really suck at loving people. It is easy to love people who are like us, and act like we want them to.

 Babies? Everyone loves babies....except Planned Parenthood and anyone who supports the murder of them.
Family members? With the exception that one aunt or cousin, usually we can love most of them.
Republicans? As long as they support and defend our politician to the death.
Democrats? Nah, they are evil and we can hate them.
Gay people? They are "perverts and should be hung". (Something someone in church leaned up and told me once, not having a clue about me.)

  I truly have learned a lot these last 4 years. We cannot love people the way God commands us to do, and argue politics and say the things all sides have said about those we disagree with politically. True story, as the saying goes.

 I John 4:8 says that if we do not love, we don't love God.....for God is love. (My paraphrase). If we can't love those who don't vote like us and who do not support our political candidate or political views, then we don't truly know God. If we can't love the gay couple next door, then we don't know God.

  I am so thankful for my 6 nieces and nephews: Stephanie, Allie, Caitie, Josiah, Ben, and Nathan. I am thankful for all of my family, and love them all.....but to be honest, I have spent a big part of my life feeling unlovable and unlikeable. (well, that evidently is not a word since it got highlighted....) I wanted so badly to be a father to a couple little boys - don't know why I never pictured being a father to girls. (It may because I wanted a brother so badly). When my sister Vicki was pregnant with Stephanie, my oldest niece, I vowed if it was a girl that I would have nothing to do with her. That of course changed once I set eyes on her, and she was followed by 2 other nieces who wrapped me around their fingers.

 Then the boys came after my other sister married. Vicki could evidently not have boys, and my sister Pam could not have girls. These 6 totally awesome kids have filled a hole in my life and heart, and I don't think I could love them more if I was their father. They love me, want to spend time with me...especially if I buy lunch....and are quick and willing to hug. Well, at least before Corona..... Even Josiah, age 18, hugs me and tells me he loves me.

 We all need love, but we don't all give it to all willingly and easily. I think I can rightly say we are most like God when we love, especially sacrificially and not holding back. Can we do that and be very political?

 I see posts all the time slamming people who do not support a certain politician. And do I love him? No, but unless you love Pelosi, Obama, Hillary, etc...don't judge me on not loving politicians.....yet, if the Bible is right, then we should love those very corrupt individuals who seem intent on destroying our rights and freedoms.

 And that underscores my point. There are few among us who truly loves like God commands us to. But are we willing to change? Does it matter enough to us?

3) Politicians and salvation

  It is really easy for those who support a politician to believe that the politician is a Christian. A lot, maybe most, of those who ran for president in the last several elections have claimed to be a Christian. Even pulling off a sudden conversion at the last minute when the Christian vote is needed is believed if one supports that candidate.

 Sadly, all a politician has to do is say he or she supports the political views and values of their supporters, and the supporters will staunchly defend their claim to be a Christian.

 For building a wall, stronger borders, being pro-life, putting down the other party, etc....the person HAS to be a Christian.

 Yet the Bible gives different criteria for being a Christian. You won't find the Democratic or Republican platform as being proof of Christianity in the Bible. The Bible says we are known by our fruits, and those have nothing to do with politics.

 The Bible states that it is really difficult for rich people to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I would say it is pretty difficult for a politician to also, but then a lot of them are also rich.

4) Truly pro-life

 I read a comment on a Facebook post that bothered me a lot. A huge Trump supporter friend of mine commented that sadly this quarantine will probably result in a surge of abortions - the idea is couples cooped up together....well, you get the point. His statement may or may not be correct, but it was what a female friend of his posted in reply: "Or worse, more liberal babies."

 Think about that statement for a minute. This is a Trump supporter, and I assume a Christian,  saying having liberal babies being born is worse than babies being killed in the womb. If we are truly pro-life, we will be against the killing of all babies, no matter who their parents are or what their political party is. This woman cannot be pro-life with her wacked out statement. (evidently wacked isn't a word either)

 I am afraid we pro-life people drop the ball in other areas. Being pro-life isn't just being anti-abortion. It is caring about all people and their lives.

 And no, a president who is truly pro-life will NOT sign a bill funding the killing of babies.

5) Truth

When Jesus was before Pilate, He was asked by Pilate "What is truth?"

 Maybe that is a question that needs asked today also. What is truth? A young man I am friends with on Facebook, named Kenny Stetler, shared this recently:

The amount of rumors, conspiracy theories, poor reasoning, and outright falsehoods being shared on Facebook right now is astounding.

COVID, Bill Gates, vaccines, 5G, Fauci, microchips... No molehill is overlooked for potential promotion to mountain.

As people who, in theory, believe in an objective, knowable truth, I see disappointingly little time and thought given to searching for the truth. People who would die before they told a lie, share them day in and out with hardly a thought given to their credibility.

We have given in to the fatal conceit that if it sounds good to us, it must be true - after all, our motive is pure! Yet while motive is important, a lie that is told with the best of intentions is still a lie.

I know the world is confusing. I know that, in the din of voices that constantly barrage us, truth isn't always easy to find - I struggle with that. But I find, when that happens, it is always best for me to turn my thoughts to the things I know for certain.

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8

  Well said. I have been both alarmed and disgusted at how little Christians seem to care about what is true today. Oh, almost any Christian worth their salt would say they never lie and are honest......but is that really the truth?

 I noticed it before the virus came along. If something makes a Christian's favorite politician look good, they will share the daylights out of it and never seem to care if it is true. If something makes a politician look bad they don't like, the same thing happens. Christians do post things on social media that are not true, and when confronted, all too often they just dig in their heels and defend the lie.

 It happened to me a lot during the 2016 election. Christians said all kinds of things to me since I dared oppose the GOP nominee and hold him to the same standards we used to hold politicians to. Then I went further and voted third party. Did you know it is possible to not vote Republican or Democrat? Wow. Who knew?! There ARE other choices, and you'd think a true Christian would understand that and show some grace. Ah, if only.

  Does truth matter? Do words matter? Is it honest and Christian to say "If you don't support Trump, then you are for Hillary." (That one almost amuses me.....the man himself supported her, and they didn't care about that..) Or "A 3rd party vote is for Hillary." Huh?

 Those were two of the most common, but there were others. Now since I am bored, let's take some time to examine these two statements:

Is it true that if you did not support Trump, you supported Hillary? No. I was against Hillary when Trump was giving her money and saying she'd make a great president. Being against him didn't suddenly change that......and I would wager most, if not all, of the Christians who said that to me knew that I wasn't for Hillary. It was most likely an attempt to guilt me into or somehow coerce me into voting the way they wanted....which isn't very Christian either. So to be blunt, these people are liars. You can excuse it or call it whatever you want, but they knew it wasn't true and still said it.

Is it true that a vote for a 3rd party was a vote for Hillary? Imagine for a moment that you ask me where I want to eat: Josie's Pizza or Denny's. Josie's Pizza is nasty, and I had bad experieces more than once at Dennys......I don't want to eat at either place. But I like O 'Charley's a lot, so I say I want to eat at O 'Charley's, and I eat there. But you wanted me to eat at Denny's, so you go around saying I ate at Josie's. That seems ludicrous, but no more so than saying since I didn't vote for Trump like they wanted me to, and voted 3rd party, then I actually voted for Hillary. It isn't true, and no Christian who actually cares about being honest would ever say such a thing. If you are reading this, can you understand why I have been so frustrated by this version of Christianity that has been corrupted and poisoned by politics?

   There are people who don't believe in wearing shorts, sleeves of certain lengths, watching movies or TV, and other things...yet will be dishonest when it comes to politics, or act very un-Christ-like in  how they treat people who dare speak out against a politician they have given too high of a place in their lives. I don't even believe it is Christian to freely voice your political views for and against who you want, yet try to shut down people who dare criticize the one(s) you like. Could politics be an idol? Can a politician be an idol? If they influence Christians to lie, or at best be less than honest, then yes.

***Addition to this post: There is a video of Trump suggesting people ingest disinfectant to fight the virus. As much as I dislike him, I didn't believe it til I watched the video. And yeah, he said it....yet many of his supporters are flooding social media with claims that he did not say that. One friend posted a link on my Facebook page claiming he didn't say it. I went and watched the video again before I replied, but she took it down in the meantime. I am guessing she realized she was wrong.

6) Corona 2

  I hope by the time that this quarantine has been lifted, that we will appreciate and be thankful for the every day normalcy and what we have that this virus has interrupted and kept us from. I hope that we will not take things for granted that we cannot do right now. Things like sitting in church, eating inside a restaurant, shopping at "non-essential stores", hugging those who are OK with it if we do that, having a job to go to.....and other things that we took for granted and cannot do right now....though if enough people started running around naked, they might open thrift and clothing stores. :)

  There are posts on social media asking what is one of the first things you will do after things go back to normal. One of the first things I am going to do is take my 3 nieces out to our favorite Mexican restaurant, and my 3 nephews to the restaurant of their choice. I am tempted on a warm enough day to meet my nieces at the Mexican restaurant, set up my card table in the parking lot, and eat there. :)

7) The nephews

 Speaking of my nephews, they and  my sister and brother in law moved Friday from Canton to the farm house I used to live in. They are buying it from his dad, so now they are a lot closer - from about an hour to about 10 minutes. I love it that they will be so close. I told Nate, the youngest at 13, that now they can take me out to eat. He gave me a look, and informed me that I am supposed to take them out to eat. :)

 I did my uncle duties last week. I dropped off cookies to my little sister and her family who we just moved the Friday before into the farmhouse I moved out of in August......so they are about 10 minutes from me now instead of an hour. (Yay!)

The two younger boys were't home, so I took the oldest one to get subs for him, my sister, and I. Then the other two got home, and the 3 boys wanted me to run them to Walmart. I figured why not, so we headed for Salem, going through Arby's drive through where I ordered the youngest two lunch - they were cheap though. Then we hit Walmart, which was not busy at all. The boys recently got a tent, and were wanting camping stuff. They handed me their stuff and cash, and asked if I'd pay for it. I learned long ago when they do this, that they most likely do not have enough money to cover it and are hoping I will cover the extra....which was $6.50. They did offer to pay me back later, but I told them not to worry about it. But man, them moving close might bankrupt me :)

 Then I went through the Wendy's drive through and got Frosty's for them. And me :)

 More recently, I spent a few hours entertaining the youngest 2 nephews by playing the Wii with them and getting a pizza.

 And yeah, social distancing, stay home, blah, blah, blah.... we were together to move, and I have only been around family....so not too worried at this point.

 And give me a break...I live by myself, and don't even have work now for 3 weeks.

8) Quarantine stuff 

   As I have stated before, I don't really have much human contact on my days off.....but this many days like that is driving me crazy.

 I have read. A lot. I have also worked on straightening and organizing things like under my sinks, my bookshelves upstairs, drawers, cupboards, etc. Next up is either my spare bedroom closet and the totes in my basement. I figure if it is in the totes, I most likely don't need all of it that badly.

 I have also been cooking more than normal. Which means I am eating too much. Ugh. My dumpster was a lot fuller than normal tonight when I put it out.

9) Would we be better off with Biden?

   No, I am not saying I want Biden for a president. I am against any liberal being president, which includes the one we have now.

 I wish I had kept track of all the things Trump has done and said that conservatives would have criticized and fought against if it were a president with a "D" by their name. There have been a lot. But I do remember the biggie: gun control.

Trump banned bump stocks.
He has pushed red flag laws with no due process
He has pushed raising the age to buy guns to 21.
After the one shooting, he said we need more gun control measures to stop shootings.

 And he may have even done more than that. I remember when Obama even mentioned gun control. Conservatives went nuts, including this conservative. I remember when Obama pushed gun control after a shooting, and conservatives and fake conservatives like Hannity and Limbaugh talked about him crawling on top of the bodies to push gun control. Yet when Trump does that....and does actual gin control....the same people are silent. For some reason, his supporters will not criticize him no matter what he does and says......even when it is things they would scream about and march if he had a D by his name.

 I have watched these last 4 years at the actions, words, and policies of this man that should have been fought and criticized.....but one cannot criticize this man, so his supporters either ignored, defended, or said "but Hillary". It is like a huge case of Stockholm syndrome. (Look it up).

 Another example: Imagine if Hillary or Obama called we conservatives "human scum." Do you think it would be ignored? No. Hannity and Limbaugh would be all over it, and my fellow conservatives would be ranting about it on social media. Yet Trump said that about we #nevertrump conservatives, and not one relative or friend of mine has criticized him for it. They ignored it like his gun control, his paying off a prostitute, his horrible actions, vulgarity, and more. Their silence bothers me more than him saying it. I am tempted to ask them what they think of it, but fear they would just prove they are more loyal to and protective of him than me. So I won't. And worse, they may agree with him.

  By the way, I brought up Trump's gun control to the same coworker who said she doesn't need friends who won't support Trump. She asked if his gun control directly affected me, and then asked why I cared.....wow. Imagine her defending it if it was Obama.

 But back to my premise: If Joe Biden was president instead of Trump, all conservatives would fight him on gun control. All conservatives would be outraged if he called us things like human scum. All conservatives would fight bad policies, actions, and words. All conservatives would fight him as he funds abortion.

 There are so many reasons I get angered and frustrated by this presidency and his supporters....and this is one reason. The man can get by with anything, and his supporters will not question him. I honestly believe many Christians are more comfortable and quick to question God than Trump, and will take criticisms of God over criticisms of Trump. A friend of mine who shall remain nameless has said Trump could kill children on the White House lawn, and his supporter would defend it. Or at least ignore it.

 One of many things that bother me, is how so many Christians seem to put hope in Trump over God. "He is the only one standing between us and socialism", etc. And no Christian worth their salt should be chirping his "MAGA" slogan. Isn't God the only one to do that?

  A Biden presidency would unite conservatives. In some ways, we would be better off under him than under Trump.And Christians would care again about morals and character in politicians. To quote myself, there is really nothing wrong for a politician to do. It just matters who he is, as to who will call it wrong.

 Do I want Biden as president? No. Neither do I want Trump. We are back at 2016. Two old corrupt and rich liberals who need to retire. Two bad choices. Two evils.

10) Corona 3

  I live in a small Ohio town that is right on the Ohio/PA border. I can be in PA by car in 5 minutes or less. Since moving here, the closest Walmart is in PA, 12 minutes away vs the closest one in Salem, Ohio about 30 minutes away, so I usually go to the PA one unless I want to do more shopping in Salem. When there are other stores open.

 I went to the PA Walmart Monday afternoon, walked up to where they had it roped off for people to line up - no line, thankfully. There was a Walmart employee and a cop standing there. The cop stopped me and informed me that I had to have a mask on to go in. Thankfully, I had one in my car....but I honestly didn't know they were doing that. I thought it was stupid, and way too much overreach. What is next? A Hazmat suit?

 From what I have read, the average mask doesn't protect you from even the flu. Just how much more are they going to demand, and how much more are we going to comply with? Fortunately, Ohio isn't doing that yet, so I am going to drive further to that Walmart to return a couple items and buy a few things. As long as I don't have to mask up to shop in Ohio, I will avoid PA.

11) Thinking for yourself

  How much do we really think for ourselves? For years, we have heard how Democrats and the liberal media spin things and control what we hear. They want us to think and believe a certain way.

 But are Republicans and conservatives any different? Pretty much any idea or conspiracy theory on social media is just regurgitated ideas and theories from fake conservatives like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and others. Fox News included. What is being propagated and shared by so many conservatives is not original with those sharing it. In most, if not all cases, it came from these radio personalities who are telling their listeners how to think.

   And our churches? Don't get me wrong, I am not taking God out of the equation. But I have questioned a few things my church teaches and believes, and no one can give a good answer. Here is something that may come as a shock: No church is 100% right. There are some that are 100% wrong, but none are 100% right. I don't want to give the idea that my church is a cult, or that you are shunned if you dare question something.....but I have gotten the idea from years of church attendance that thinking for yourself isn't the thing to do. Just do what the church teaches and don't divert from what it believes, and keep all the rules.

 Thinking for myself is why I am where I am politically. It is why I disagree with pretty much all of my relatives and fellow church members. I researched, dared to think as an individual instead of as a Republican, and it led to the stand I took and still take.

 Conspiracy theories are abounding, which just make people look foolish. I have never been a conspiracy theorist kind of guy, but what if those in power and position don't want people thinking for themselves? Whether they be liberals, conservatives, Republicans, congressmen, the president of the US, your church, etc....what if they don't want people who think for themselves, but instead want people who will do as they say and believe what they tell them without questioning it?

12) I'm an addict

  I discovered Outshine Bars a few years ago on vacation in the Outerbanks. They are frozen fruit bars that have real fruit juice in, and in the case of the first ones I tried - pineapple - they have chunks of pineapple in. My two favorites are pineapple and grape. I have been eating a lot of them during this quarantine. I am almost ashamed to admit I ate a whole 6 pack box of the grape one day this pasy week. They are sooo good. They taste like frozen grape juice. Yeah, I am addicted. :) I highly recommend them. There are other flavors, but the two I mentioned are the best. And a word of advice: skip the coconut. I like coconut, but it wasn't a good choice for these bars.

**I since also bought raspberry. I forgot how good they are. Some flavors are easier to find, and it is one that is not..so I hadn't had it for a while. I also recommend it :)

13) Light of the world

  In Matthew 5: 14-16, Jesus said this:

14 You are like light for the whole world. A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden, 15 and no one would light a lamp and put it under a clay pot. A lamp is placed on a lampstand, where it can give light to everyone in the house. 16 Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven. (CEV)

   Disclaimer: My Christian walk is extremely shaky, and is not one to emulate....so please don't think I am setting myself up as some kind of example to follow, or get the idea that I think I am perfect. I am not, and I don't think that. I really don't like anything about myself, including my spiritual walk...so no, I don't think I am better than anyone else.  OK, now that I got that out of the way:

   Are we being a light to the world? With all of our conspiracy theories, trashing politicians we don't like, going after people who don't support our politician, posting things that aren't true, being too political, too confrontational, etc. Seriously. Are we truly being a light to the world? Do Christians care enough about what the world is seeing...not just in the day to day being around neighbors and coworkers, but what we are like on social media? Are we being a good witness for Jesus, or just for our political views? What is more important to we American Christians: defending and/or attacking politicians and those who differ politically than us, or spreading the Gospel? What is more important: winning a political argument, or winning a soul for Jesus? What is more of a priority to us: winning someone to vote for our candidate, or winning that person to Jesus? If the latter is truly the case in those questions, then how is our social media presence affecting that and reflecting that?

   I'll be honest. Never have I been closer to walking away from God and the church and not looking back, then I have in the last 4 years. Yeah, I have fought back.....something I wish I had learned to do when I was being bullied in school....but I am far more vulnerable and more easily hurt than anyone would ever guess. It is another "perk" of being a guy dealing with same-sex attractions. I have also been guilty of watching people too much, and letting their spiritual walk and actions affect me too much. I won't give details of the who's and all that has been said, but I have been disgusted and disillusioned with this American version of Christianity that has in my opinion been poisoned and sidetracked by politics. My church is a holiness church, one that believes in sanctification. I have no use for that doctrine. I wasn't really believing in it for a long time, but these last few years have destroyed any lingering doubts I had about it. When it comes to politics, Christians are no different than the world, and holiness church people are no different than anyone else. (And no, not every person from my church has to my knowledge

 What does that mean for me? It means I am truly trying to back away from politics, but it is difficult. I have a lot of anger in me about it, and have explained in this and a previous post why that is the case. Having attempts to shut me up and down, and essentially being told my opinions don't matter and should not be shared has caused a lot of anger that I am not sure how to get rid of. Maybe I do need to un-follow everyone on social media who is political. I am so tired of the double standards, of Christians praising politicians more than Jesus, of people caring more about defending a politician than caring about how their words might make me feel.

 Christians in the past and today are being tortured for their faith. They have forgiven people for atrocities we haven't come close to witnessing....yet we can't handle people criticizing a politician or disagreeing with us politically. What pathetic excuses for Christians have we American Christians become.

 The day may come when Christians in America are faced with true persecution. We may face situations where we have to forgive what seems impossible to forgive. If we can't handle those who disagree with us politically, or handle our candidates being criticized, then how on earth will we handle true persecution?

  I got a card in the mail this week from someone who hasn't had an easy life for most of their life. It was just a card saying they knew I had been laid off, and wanted to know they cared and was praying for me. A very nice gesture. This same person sent me this message today:

Obviously I'll never be a never trumper but let me share what's frustrating to me... so many conservatives speak out against dr Levine but adore trump. I want you to know that I am not in agreement...I still support trump in spite of his flaws (he has many) simply because he is the best of the choices... and has done positive things for our country... but im aghast at the hypocrisy right now. Please know we're not all like that. (Saw the crap you got today on Facebook)

 This is a person I admire. They have come far, and the card and the message meant a lot to me. Maybe I need to be more like her.....though I will never, ever support Trump - I don't mean that.

  Maybe forgiveness is the key. I have always had a difficult time forgiving, even myself. Dumb things I have done and said often play over and over like a record skipping (those were before CDs). And forgiveness needs to be on all sides. I have seen and heard enough to know that even though I am guilty of no offense by voting third party, there are a lot of Christians who need to forgive people for not voting the way they wanted us to. Good grief...their guy won anyway, so why hold a grudge?!

 I honestly believe the best thing for the church and for Christians spiritually speaking, would be to be under Democrat rule and lose our freedoms. Do I want that? No way! But our modern Christianity is too weak, too influenced by the world, politics, and other things that we should be influencing instead of being influenced by. We have become salt that has lost its savor. We think God is involved and cares about our politics and who is president, while He is concerned about our hearts, and what we are doing for Him and for the Kingdom of Heaven. Can we honestly believe He is pleased with what He sees?

  I want a relationship with God that is not weakened or affected by things like politics. I want to love people and be their friend no matter what their political views are.