Purpose Driven Bullshit

I have never read Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life book… nor will I. So call me closeminded. But this statement is bullshit. It doesn’t even make logical sense.

If there were no God, and everything was a result of random chance, there would be no purpose to your life. It all starts with God.

So to all of you questioning God or doubting God…. Go ahead and blow your fuckin’ brains out. It just doesn’t seem to matter.

The Authority Prayer

In cleaning out my garage and going through some old boxes, I found sermon notes and messages from way back in the day. Among those was a set of written “prayers”. I am not certain where these came from but I thought I would share them here. On their face I guess there’s nothing wrong with them… if that’s what you believe. They just made me laugh though.

I claim for myself the full victory the Lord Jesus Christ has won over Satan and all his forces. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I take back all ground I may ever have given to Satan and I break all demonic connections and subjections. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I resist the devil and command him to flee from me. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I command all wicked spirits to leave me and go to the pit. I am bought with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and I choose to be entirely His and used for His glory.

Presto. Chango. Just add water. And now you have authority. Congratulations! Nothing like a good formula to save the day.

Five Givens

These five things are a certainty in life.

1. Everything changes and ends.
2. Things do not always go according to plan.
3. Life is not always fair.
4. Pain is part of life.
5. People are not loving and loyal all the time.

It is vital that I not live in denial of these givens. Being somewhat stupid, it has taken me some time to learn that I cannot fight against these truths. I must learn to live with them. In addition, I need to see the value in accepting them.

To deny them and fight against them prolongs the frustration, pain or suffering that the initial truth revealed to me.

For the past two years I have had each of these “five givens” hit me squarely in the face. Yet instead of grabbing onto them and holding these truths to be self-evident, I denied that these things were possible. Somehow, my situation and circumstances would be different and all would be restored someday.

Well that’s just delusional.

Five Givens (with some explanations)

These five things are a certainty in life.

1. Everything changes and ends.
2. Things do not always go according to plan.
3. Life is not always fair.
4. Pain is part of life.
5. People are not loving and loyal all the time.

These truths will visit you if they haven’t already. Learn to live with them. Embrace them. And most importantly, teach them to your children.

Stupid people like me live in denial of these truths. I am not sure why this is?? Eternally optimistic? Always hopeful for the best in life and others? Hell, I don’t know… maybe I was holding onto ideals that once seemed to transcend these truths in my mind.

In talking with a good friend the other day, I was reminded that there is no need to perpetuate pain in your life by refusing to embrace the truth that is before you. Pick any of the five listed above and time and again over the past year and a half I have had these truths beating me on the head, trying to get me to admit that they were there… and yet I refused to acknowledge them.

Hope occasionally would visit my door with promises… but it was an illusion. My happiness will not be found in trying to roll back the hands of time. My happiness is in front of me. It’s waiting on me to come to it.

My world has been redefined by the steady beat of these five truths over the past two years.

Things change. Situations change. People change.

Everything eventually ends. Nothing lasts forever. Forever is a myth.

My plans are will fail. My ideals will as well.

Life isn’t fair. The word “fair” should be stricken from the dictionary.

Pain is part of our existence. When I was born, I was born into a life of pain and suffering.

People… they will let me down. They have let me down.

From the book “The Five Things We Cannot Change” by David Richo.

Feel Good Post

For all of you that think all I can do is gripe, complain and argue about the church and people in the church…. well here you go. Something positive. (I do have a life you know).

Here are just a few things that make me smile and grateful to be alive.

My sons… anytime, anywhere. They are, quite literally, my right and left arm. (My attempt of an “artful” photo of them —–>>>)

My oldest, Bryson… he makes me smile. He’s a young man now, however he still wants the affection and love of the little boy he won’t be for long… as long as none of his friends are around. Seeing him grow up, watching him interact with his friends, other adults and “that girl” he likes. Watching him play basketball and giving 100% everytime he hits the court. Watching the way he loves his little brother and seeing him step up to help me around the house when I need it. I love my Brydog.

My youngest, Grant…. he makes me smile. When I walk in the front door and he yells “Da Da” and comes running up to me and gives me the biggest hug possible… it doesn’t get any better than that. His infectious laugh. His beautiful art. The non-stop questions about what this is, what that is, what this means and how to spell every word known to man. The way he can get under his brothers skin in one minute, and the next have his brother wrapped around his little finger. He loves his “bubba”. I love my little man.

Thinking back on the trip I took with the boys to San Diego recently… this makes me smile. It truly was one of the happiest times in recent memory. We took the train down, road in taxis around town, and went to SeaWorld. We were drenched by Shamu. By the way, when they say “soak zone” they mean it (see pic to the left – we are freezing)!

My job… makes me so grateful. I work at the best place anyone could ever work. I am so lucky to have the job I have, work with the friends I have made over the years and get to wear whatever I damn well please everyday. It’s nice getting up in the morning and wanting to go to work. Every job has its moments, but when the moments come I just think of the alernatives and it’s just not that bad anymore.

My friends… make me smile and grateful… all at the same time. I haven’t been a great friend to some of you over the past couple of years. Actually, I have put some of you through the ringer as I shuffled through life. But I think I am coming around… a few minor setbacks here and there, but I might just make it. Some of you are long time friends and some of you are new. Some of you I have never met face to face. But one thing is for certain… all of you are dear to me for the love, grace, understanding and acceptance you have given me.

So here’s a belated toast to 2007…. to smiles and happiness in the New Year.

The Happy Post

What’s wrong with being happy?

I am learning that there is nothing wrong with it. Admitting this though makes me feel very, very selfish. And why is that I wonder? Lately I have been giving this much thought and I have an idea.

Growing up in the evangelical faith I was primarily taught that as Christians we aren’t guaranteed happiness. As a matter of fact, by and large, I felt that I was discouraged to seek my own happiness, but instead lose myself in loving and serving others (God, my family, the church, the “lost”, etc.). In service to others I would find something more lasting than happiness. In doing so I was almost guaranteed joy.

I was taught (and in turn taught others) this rule: “Happiness is a product of our circumstances and joy is the product of surrender (i.e. sacrifice).”

Listen, maybe I don’t understand how all of this works, but over the last part of 2006 and now into 2007, I am revisiting this concept of “being happy”. I know, many of you think all I can do is bash the church and because I am “so mean” it is no wonder I am not happy. But just like you, I have a fairly normal life. I go to work, take care of my kids, enjoy reading and watching movies, go out with friends… all pretty normal things. But in the end, I would say that I try to live my life to make others happy and not myself… and I wonder why that is??

It’s no secret that these past two years I have been going through a separation. Obviously, not a very happy time for anyone. (Ok, you Jr. Psychologists… no psychoanalyzing please). However, when things first hit the fan, one of the very first things I was told was to A) take care of myself and B) pursue what makes me happy.

Well, quite honestly, that runs counter to what I always felt about things. My number one priority in life was to A) take care of my family and B) make sure the members of my family were happy. It was my understanding that this is how God would want it. So now, everything I am hearing is the direct opposite of what I believed for all those years.

But as I reconsider things, and I truly listen to people that want the best for me… I must give serious thoughts to the two ideas above.

Take care of myself.

Pursue happiness.

I think both of these ideas will benefit my kids. I also think when I set at the forefront of my life the pursuit of happiness, the by-product of that will be me taking care of myself. The opposite could also very well be true: Take care of myself will result in happiness.

Now, when I think of happiness I am not talking about the pursuit of just pleasure. Noone should confuse happiness with pleasure. Its not about money, sex, houses, or cars. It is not about my desires or wants necessarily. Self-satisfaction alone isn’t the answer. While there is nothing wrong with any of these things and there is certainly nothing wrong with enjoying those things… these are not congruent with being happy.

About the Last Post….

I think it has been interesting to read the comments on my last post.

Some of you applaud me, others mock me and others chastise me. Well, this is the blog world and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. More than that, being the blogworld, we all enjoy a large amount of freedom to share our opinions without hesitation. I know I do.

Your responses to my comments and the varying degrees to which you agree or disagree with me says a lot about the current state of Christianity and the church. It says a great deal about you and the extent to which you are affected by your experiences with the church.

I want to make some follow-up comments to the previous post based only in part to your comments.

Lest some of you think I am ignorant, I do not believe that all people that attend church are evil or mean or bad. As a matter of fact, I think that many of them have very decent and kind hearts. Specifically, there are a couple of families I currently am around that go to church. They are good people and they treat me and my family well. They have been supportive and have been willing to go out of their way to help us if we needed them. I would be remiss if I didn’t make this observation about these people who call themselves Christians AND also attend church regularly.

I have also met some very kind and caring people that DO NOT call themselves Christians. One couple in particular consider themselves atheists (the upside-down burning cross tattoos on the woman’s calves might have been a clue) and at first glance can appear to be very intimidating. I have found them to be the most inviting people I have ever met. They have brought me into their circle of friends, made me feel welcome and weekly contact me to see if I want to get together to hang out.

So going to church does not equal being a bad, mean or cruel person. Neither does being an atheist.

For You…. Wherever You Are!

I dedicate this post to the person that acted like an ass the other day towards someone I love and care for deeply. You will never know the hurt and pain your careless attitude and insensitivity caused. It’s just another strike against ignorant-ass Christians like yourself.

You are a stupid, stupid person. Actually more than stupid, you are a small and shallow person. I found myself making excuses for you, trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, but it just isn’t possible to do so any longer. I have no idea why I defend people in the ministry anymore… nothing should surprise me, but yet people like you continue to amaze me.

I was there and watched you. You were smug, cold, insensitive, and rude. You had an opportunity to build a bridge to my friend, yet all you did was carry a burning torch and set it on fire.

There was a time when I missed people like you in my life. I keep thinking back to a time when the likes of you were my closest friends, people I shared my life with daily. But after watching you in action, seeing your thoughtless and callous reaction to this person who has done nothing to be treated like an alien by you, I am so glad to not be associated with the church or pastors anymore.

I know, lots of people will say that I shouldn’t indict all Christians or church people with this broad brush I am using… but I cannot help it. I think the Christian church of America creates a sub-culture that is so full of veiled intolerance for anyone that doesn’t conform to their own image… that I just can’t stand it anymore. Your ignorance will be your personal undoing. It certainly is the church’s “Achilles Heel”.

Your willful and malicious treatment of those who once were “in the fold” but for whatever reason now are not… that is the great “dirty little secret” of the church. What is sad isn’t how you reject people like my friend (or me for that matter)… what’s really sad is how you percieve the moral high ground you are on to be the path to righteousness.

Some will say that I am no better for writing these things about you but I beg to differ. I am being open and honest about my disdain for people like you rather than hiding it behind a fake smile and lifeless hug as you do.

If what you showed my friend the other day was Christian love then we are all fucked.