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Loitering in the Intersection

People talk about coming to crossroads in their life.  How often do most people hit these crossroads?  Lately I’ve been hitting more than a few – or perhaps I’ve just been loitering in the same intersection too long.  Maybe I’m lucky I haven’t gotten run over yet.

So my latest question (for myself or anyone who cares to try and help answer, seriously): how do you distinguish between legitimate doubt and irrational fear?  And if it’s fear, how do you identify what exactly it is that you fear?

Do I fear moving forward?  I’ve been told that I seem to sabotage things when they start going well.

Do I fear going backwards?  How long is too long to stay in the same spot?  Did I run a red light back there?

Which way should I go?  Or maybe I’m supposed to take another road altogether?  But does that even go anywhere?

So I’m trying to do what men are so averse to do: I’m stopping for directions.  But I need to get out of the road; people are trying to get through and are starting to honk at me.  Dear God, where’s a gas station when you need one?

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This past Saturday Cheri and I were both feeling productive, and she helped me get my huge artificial Christmas tree out of the attic and put it together.  Surprisingly, there was no great frustration putting the tree together or getting to stand up straight (although it’s just a *tad* crooked).

While we were setting it up, my boys were watching SpongeBob.  It was the episode where SpongeBob failed his driving test (again) and was complaining to Patrick about how hard it was.  The Patrick (the “dumb” one) took the test and passed it on the first try.  He then went on to just flippantly tell SpongeBob how easy it was, and how anyone could pass it.

I said to Cheri, “You know, Patrick plays dumb, but really he’s a hyper-intelligent jackass.”

Cheri said, “Kinda like you.”

firehoses and emotions

Sometimes I wonder if I am entirely unique.  Yes, I know that “we’re all special in our own way”, but I really think I’m just a freak.  I sometimes ask whoever I’m talking to at the moment, “So, what are you thinking about?”, and 9 times out of 10 the answer is, “nothing”.

“No, really, what are you thinking about?”

“Nothing.”

How can anyone be thinking about “nothing”?  And this is not anyone in particular that I’m talking about.  That seems to be the case with most people that I talk to.  I don’t understand that.  My mind is constantly racing, and not necessarily in paranoid OCD kinda way (well, it’s not limited to that, I should say…).  If you ask me what I’m thinking about, you will likely hear about a whole slew of things, and the way I put them together as they fly off my tongue may or may not make sense to the average person.  If you ask me what’s really on my mind and ask me to expound upon it, you’ll get more than stream of consciousness; it’s more of a firehose.

Forgive me if I sound arrogant for saying as much.  If I sound that way, it’s only because I genuinely think I’m different in some weird way.  Whether that’s a good thing or bad thing is up to each person that meets me, I suppose.

And I suppose that this next point is somehow related to that: I am an extremely emotional person.  And yes, I realize that that fact is a turn-off to many people.  But I don’t mean “emotional” as in crying all the time and not able to handle life.  I’ve been through some stuff and I’ve handled it very well, and I challenge anyone that knows me to dispute that fact (I didn’t win custody and my house by being weak).  I mean that I experience emotions, both positive and negative and everything in-between, very deeply.  Life experiences, especially in the past 4 years, have definitely changed me.  But fundamentally I am still a very passionate person.

I’ve been told that some people actually set aside their emotions during certain events so they can better deal with whatever it is that they’re dealing with: be it work, some crisis, etc.  I personally have a very difficult time doing that.  There are moments, such as when my oldest son busted his head open and then when I had to hold him down to get stitches, where I can shut them off.  But on a continual basis?  I’m not wired that way.

When I was younger, this was a handicap for me.  My Mom had taken me to a counselor, and he told me I was hyper-sensitive (or some such adjective), and that we could work on desensitizing certain aspects of my personality.  I resisted that, and shortly afterwards asked my Mom for a reprieve from the sessions, which was granted.  It’s the same reason I didn’t stay on the anti-depressants, either: that stuff makes you numb to the world.

What I have learned over these past few years is how to leverage my emotions instead of letting them rule me, or worse, repressing them.  If I am happy, I use that as a springboard of sorts to catapult my creativity.  If I am feeling morose, I use that help me shut out the distractions around me and focus on the task at hand.  Somehow my emotions make me feel alive, very aware of myself and those around me.  It lets me sense the atmosphere I’m in.

The one thing that divorce taught me was how to be alone.  If you’ve been there, you understand what I mean.  I learned about myself, my likes, my dislikes, my desires, my fears.  And I learned how to overcome those personal demons that we too often look to others to handle for us.  God has indeed done a marvelous work in me, and for that I am grateful.

Which brings me back to what I was going to say at the top of this post: is there anyone else that understands this?  Is there anyone else out there that feels the same way?  Heck, maybe we’ve known each other for ages but we just haven’t opened up to this level with each other yet.  I ache for this kind of fellowship, where I can be myself without reserve.

So I’m sending out an SOS… anyone out there?

Giuliani for President?

I typically don’t write about politics, primarily because I have come to the sad conclusion that our government, at least on a federal level, is wholely corrupt.  Our hope is not in men (regardless of their office), but in Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords.  But it is because of that fact that I am writing this entry.

I was raised Southern Baptist.  I currently consider myself a fundamentalist Pentecostal, and I am not ashamed of the labels “evangelical” or “fundamentalist”.  I was raised Republican, and still consider myself a Republican, at least in what I consider the “old school” sense.  I am all for voting according to my values, and am for keeping “In God We Trust” on every government building paid for with my tax dollars.  Call me “bigoted” or “spiteful” if you’d like; if you can look above the spin of modern media you would realize that this is not the case, even if you happen to disagree with my viewpoint.

The problem is not that evangelicals have too much influence in politics.  If there are so many of us, shouldn’t our voices be represented in this great republic?

The problem is that we, as evangelicals and fundamentalists, have allowed the leaven of politics to poison our message.  We have taken the bones that the politicians have thrown us, and then aligned ourselves with them in the misguided hope that they would empower our message.  The Word of God is our guide, not the word of the Republican Party, the Libertarian Party, or the Democratic Party.  The Light that we have should not be placed under a bushel.  By supporting candidates that would work against what we hold so dear, we are placing more trust in politics than God.

purgatory

I didn’t believe in Purgatory until this week. Let me paraphrase the conversation. Use your imagination to increase the intensity of vocal and emotional inflection at each line break:

“I need to let you know that I love you, and I’m not mad, but what you said last weekend hurt me.”
“Why didn’t you tell me then?”
“I didn’t want to upset you.”
“I don’t want to be with someone who is afraid to talk to me.”
“You’re right, my bad. I will do better. But I’m saying it now, you hurt me.”
“So you’re upset at me telling you how I feel?”
“…”
“If you’re afraid to talk to me, then don’t say anything at all.”
“You’re proving my point.”
“I don’t wanna talk about this now.”
“First you’re mad for me not talking, now you’re mad that I am.”
“I don’t want to talk about it now. I have to go.”
“Can we talk about it Thursday night then?”
“I’d rather talk in person.”
“Are you coming over then?”
“No.”
“I can come out to you. Can we meet after you get off work?”
“No.”

And that would be that, but she will call again later today and apologize, and I will accept it and gravel myself.

So what did I do? I had flowers delivered to her work this afternoon. She thanked me in a text msg.

At least it makes for interesting reading. I have enough material for several good throw-away novels.

some thoughts on Truth

I am currently going through a bit of a personal renaissance. Well, to be fair, it’s not exactly a recent phenomenon for me. It first started several years ago prior during a brief stint of unemployment, but then a new job and a bitter divorce pushed that aside for a while. As anyone who has gone through a less-than-friendly separation, especially when kids are involved, can tell you, it can take some time for the waves from the storm to die down and for you to get your head screwed back on straight. But I’m back…

In any case, aside from my online gaming addiction (no, not gambling), I have this intense hunger to learn and read and do more now. And, as life permits, I am doing just that. Of course the Word and God’s Spirit quickening me is how I define myself and that directs my focus. But at the same time, my intellectual curiosities lead me to explore a million different paths, a million different ideas, a million different worlds.

That is definitely not to say that I am in the least bit swayed in my faith because of it. Just because I read the Enuma Elish does not mean that I am going to suddenly begin worshipping Ea. Furthermore, I am not afraid of or discouraged by the fact that some scholars find parallels between the Babylonian creation story and the Creation story found in Genesis. Is it possible that both accounts share a common root? Does that suggestion, as some fellow fundamentalists fret over, cast a shadow of doubt over the Inspired nature of the Genesis Creation account? What if (and I know that this is a crazy thought) the Genesis account is true? (I’m not getting into the whole literal six days versus day-age; that’s for another day.) Is it possible that tales of God’s Creation of man had indeed been passed down verbally throughout the generations, and that Mount Sinai was the start of God setting the record straight? Yeah, I could go on for a while on that thought…

So why is it that people are so afraid to expand their minds? I recently purchased an English translation of the Bhagavad Gita. So someone might not have a problem with my reading the Enuma Elish, because everyone knows now that Ea and Tiamat and Apsu are not real. But there are plenty who believe that Brahma and Vishnu and Shiva are real, so by reading that I might be deceived, or so the reasoning goes, and so I’ve been cautioned.

What’s more – and forgive me for it, friends – I also enjoy reading fiction, including science fiction and ::gasp:: fantasy. After my current batch of contraband, I intend on reading some of the classic fictional works (Christian and secular) and philosophy. I’ve also got some modern historical works on the early church in the bullpen. Can someone please tell me where indulging in things that expand our understanding, our ability to reason, and fire our God given imagination are forbidden in Scripture?

As followers and disciples of Christ, we have His Spirit that bears witness that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. As believers, we believe that He is the Word made flesh, the absolute Truth, the Beginning and the End. Likewise, we are called to be in the world, but not of it. We are called to study to show ourselves approved. We are called to be all things to all men so that by all means we might save some. Can we really accomplish that if we stick our heads in the sand and censor everything that does not align itself with our dogma? Do we really believe in Christ and His Scriptures, or do we only believe because it’s all we’ve been taught, or even because we refuse to consider the world around us? Have we caught only the slightest glimpse of His Glory, and then said “it is enough” and blinded ourselves from that point forward? If someone would come up to your average church-going Southern Baptist and challenge them about Babylonian and Egyptian influences in Judaism, or about supposed pagan origins for the doctrine of the Virgin Birth, Resurrection, and Trinity, how would they answer?

The Truth has nothing to hide.

God’s wooing

One thing that I finally figured out with this whole dating thing is you cannot chase hard after a lady. It seems that the more you chase, the more they pull away. The secret in capturing someone’s affection is simply to *be*… to be the best that God made you to be, to remain confident in your abilities, and to live your single life completely whole. If you can do that, then when you show interest, without being overwhelming, the other person is drawn in.

People ask all the time why God doesn’t “just do it”, whatever that “it” is at the moment. They figure that God is all powerful, all knowing, so why can’t He just take care of it for us or just show Himself to us plainly? Well, God already showed us His Love by sending His Son. So we know that He loves us, and that He cares for us. But why, so often, does He simply remind us to look to His Son to find the way back to His Will?

God is the great I AM. He is all we need. God can and does work supernaturally in very tangible ways at times of His choosing. But often He only waits for us, He calls to us, He woos us with His love. He has shown His interest in us, and then He continues being who He is. It is because of that that we are drawn into relationship with Him.