Tag Archives: Common Sense

Don’t Be Bitter

Bitterness is such a destructive thing.  Bitterness is something that can take you from doing great things to doing no-things.  Bitterness is so self destructive.  It’s like taking dynamite and placing it underneath a bridge and hitting the detonator.  Sure you make sure that you keep people that you’re angry with at a distance but at the same time you’re now trapped because of your destructive behavior.

I have played a popular online game for a few years now and all of the time that I have played it I have been at the very bottom level.  No matter how hard I tried or how much I wanted it I couldn’t do anything but be a bottom dweller.  It was this summer that I figured out why I was stuck in this level.  When I would play and I got frustrated with myself or others who were making mistakes I became toxic.  I would let my bitterness cause me to lash out at others.

After a lot of contemplation and recommendations from people who had been through the same things I realized that it was my attitude that was keeping me in the cellar.  Because when things go wrong and you start acting bitter it actually causes people to not be able to meet their potential.  Your chances of success become so marginally thin that you pretty much guarantee your failure.  This is a never ending cycle of self destruction.  You basically have to put yourself in land of make believe to cope with it.

The point is that you should make a conscious effort to not be bitter.  You’ll be amazed at the results. I stayed on that bottom level in the game for over 40 months.  When I changed my attitude it took me less than 4 months to climb out.  This is a principle that goes through all of life.

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We Have No One Else to Blame

“Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, their glory is in their shame.  Their mind is set on earthly things.”  Philippians 3:19

According to a recent ABC poll 83% of Americans responded that they are of the Christian religion.  That’s a pretty big number.  According to polls over the years homosexuals make up anywhere from 1% to 3% of the American population.  Yet the will being displayed in government and in pop culture is the will secularists and supporters of the lgbt community.  Now how exactly is it that approximately 263,000,000 people are being dictated to by 3,100,000 to 9,500,000 people?  How is it that people that call themselves Christians allow the society they live in to become so ungodly that now as recently as just yesterday a Christian bureaucrat was thrown in jail because she would not issue marriage certificates to gay couples because it violated her conscience?

I’ll tell you how it happens and if you’re as angry as I am the first place you need to look is in your bathroom mirror.  You need to look there and get angry at the person you see staring back at you because that’s the person that let this happen.

I once heard my pastor say that the most popular face in the church is George Washington.  Because when the offering plate gets passed around that’s normally the only face you see in it.  The fact is that we have become a perverse church who’s god is in their belly.  Hey I’m just as guilty as anyone else so don’t think I’m up here on a soap box lecturing and pretending that I’m above this.

We show where our loyalties lie when we won’t come off with our cash.  We throw ol’ George Washington in the offering plate when we make $400/week.  We say we can’t afford anymore than that because of bills but our bills are things like the fully loaded cable package that we can’t live without or the 3 gallons of ice cream we have in the freezer.  Don’t make up excuses.  If you created a line item budget showing how much money comes in and how much money goes out and exactly what it’s going toward I’m 100% certain that every single one of us will find that we pay a lot of money for things that we don’t need and then turn around and act as though those things are necessities.  Meanwhile back at the ranch the damned farm is burning down and we let it happen.

What I mean is look at the amount of money that lgbt groups and secular progressives have spent on campaigns to change minds and look at how much money we have spent to change minds.  Try getting around town on 1$ in gas.  You won’t get very far and yet we try to accomplish the exact same thing as Christians.  We want to give like Ebeneezer Scrooge and expect to reap over flowing harvests.  But the woeful fact of the matter is that he who sews sparingly the same reaps sparingly.  And brother when we sew sparingly in our nation today we begin to see the deliberate and cruel treatment of Christians right out in the open even though we supposedly make up the majority.

Our gods are our bellies.  That’s the sad fact here in America.  We have placed money on a pedestal.  Paul called the love of money the root of all evil because he knew what we need to know and that is that money is a servant and it serves the desires of the person who has it.  We spend it to “get” things.  The modern church in America has become a black hole of desire.  We don’t want to come off with anymore than we have to because the rest of that money is like our own little fix.  It’s like our own little morphine drip.  We have become junkies and let our country go to hell on a moped.

Wake up Church of America.  We will soon find ourselves in quite a spot if we don’t change our ways.  I mean it’s already here.  Christians are being dragged into court and fined more money than it takes most people several years and sometimes a decade to earn.  Christians being thrown in jail and told to comply or else.  Like Solomon once said “Only a fool sees trouble coming and does not prepare themselves.”  Change your ways or else you’ll pay more than it would have cost you to save yourself.

What Being an American Means to Me.

Sometimes I feel like I am alone and I wonder if there are people out there like me.  What I mean is that I feel so disconnected from from our current cultural, political and philosophic ideas of what it means to be an American.  I was born here and yet I don’t always feel like I fit into the mold of what many people consider to be what it means to be an American.

Today you have to wave a flag or throw your support behind the democrats or the republicans.  You have to gush at the service of military members because that is what is considered socially acceptable.  To be an American you have to love our military which is being used by a corrupt and evil government and if you don’t then you are a borderline traitor…..You’re an ingrate.  And I never said anything about disrespecting or disliking.  I just said that to many people if you are not gushing at every opportunity to lift the police up like they are demi-gods or the military as though they are legendary folk heroes then you are looked at like you’re Judas.  But let me tell you what being an American means to me.  If there is any ounce of patriotism left in my bones it lies in these things.

To me being an American means that you don’t hesitate when you see someone in trouble to stop what you’re doing and see if there is anything you can do to help.  To me being an American means that you’re interested in working hard and playing harder.  It means that you enjoy spending time with other Americans and talking about sports, or cars, or art or television and by doing so you have become a part of their lives and you have made a bond with them over something that seems so silly.  Being an American means that you think about the sacrifices that our great grandfather’s, great grandfathers made.  You are proud of the good things we did and you sincerely regret the bad things we did.

To me being an American means that you are practical and you loan out trust like a loan from the bank and you’re willing to give people a chance but it also means that you protect yourselves and  your family from those who might do you harm.  It means that we protect those who can’t protect themselves.  We look out for the weak.  We do what we can to help people to get by but ask that they help themselves to get back up as well…..and when you’ve done that they are expected to extend their own hand to help the unfortunate.

Being an American to me means that we’re dreamers, almost to a fault.  We dream big and we try hard to make those dreams a reality.  But sometimes when we fail we don’t see that although we might have failed to reach for the stars we were much closer to touching them than when we started and we expanded our horizons and moved into a new place of understanding.  To me being an American means that we become team players to help others reach their goals.  If there is some way we can help them along the way, a real American helps them out, putting aside their own personal feelings and sacrificing some of their valuable time.

To me being an American has more to do with the principles of God than it does the principles of man.  God made us free to love Him and so we value freedom even if we aren’t happy with the way people choose to handle that freedom.  Much in the same way that the father of the prodigal son allowed his son to run off into debauchery because he valued his son’s freedom we too value the freedom of our family and our neighbors to live the lives they want to live without us sticking our noses in it.

These are some of the things that make me proud to be an American.

Just Call Me Captain Paranoia

I have found that my views on things are constantly evolving.  As I get more information I reassess whatever idea or belief that I previously held in order to come up with what I consider to be a more accurate one.  Synthesis, antithesis and thesis.  It is this philosophical process that kind of guides me into the waters that I am now attempting to venture which is to re-examine my beliefs on socialism as well as (but to a much lesser extent) free market capitalism.

When I was younger I would say that I was unaware that I was a socialist.  I thought I was a conservative because I held conservative views on social issues like abortion, gay marriage, etc.  But in all actuality I was a socialist at heart because I held onto the view that there were ideas that I could implement, laws that I could create, and emotions that I could generate that would lead to a Utopian sort of America.  All of this in the name of God of course.

As good as my intentions were and as noble as they seemed I eventually read some materials that changed my mind on just how productive or good my actions were.  I had a friend who moved out of Ohio to pursue a degree at Indiana Wesleyan university.  On the weekends or on holidays he would come back home and we would hang out and drink coffee and talk about all of the cool ideas he was hearing about at college.  It was at one of these very chill coffee talks that he showed me a print off of a speech given by Nobel prize winning economist F.A. Hayek.

The speech was about something called “the pretense of knowledge”.  I often like to confuse the name of this speech, or at the very least smash it together with Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove or How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb”.  Hayek’s speech was about socialsm, central planning, or whatever word you want to describe a left wing government.  The main theme in this speech was that central planning could not work because one person or even a large group of people could never have enough relevant information in order to make decisions on how goods and services were to be allocated so that a system could run efficiently.

This paper is really the one that revolutionized my way of thinking.  As intelligent as I believed that I was, I couldn’t have enough information to be making decisions for others because there were too many unforeseen consequences that I couldn’t control.  So my mission started to become one where I advocated for freedom from the shackles of government rather than try to contribute to a system of slavery and incredible inefficiency.

Now after about ten years of this way of thinking I have began to notice something terrifying.  It’s terrifying to me at least.  It’s something that can do the unthinkable; It’s something that accurately predicts the desires of people on a massive scale in real time.  This is a dagger to Hayek’s idea.

The other day I was perusing through some videos on Youtube.  After watching one particular video something caught my attention in the video.  So I decided to do a Youtube search on what caught my eye and I typed the first letter of what would be a four or five word search and immediately the obscure thing I was looking for came up as the first recommended search term.  What I was looking for wasn’t in any of the description of the video or video tags.  It was incredible.  This started happening over and over.

Analytics has gotten so incredibly accurate at predicting what we want that it is beginning to dispel the idea that we can’t have fast, reliable and relevant information in order to make accurate predictions about what people are going to want in real time.  This is horrifying to me.

I’m not trying to poo poo on you but people for the most part are generally not good.  When you give bad people power they abuse it.  There are no such things as fair haired angels.  It’s dangerous to give someone the ability to control our lives for us in our supposed own best interest.  But that’s exactly what this technology allows to happen.  I’m not against it, I just think this should put us on guard.  Because if our government starts to use the analytic capabilities that a company such as google has it could result in one of the most horrifying tyrannical dictatorships, if not the most horrific, of all time.

The only thing that has stopped the abuse of government in the past is the fact that when a government gets too inefficient the people will rise up and overthrow it.  But if a government can meet people’s basic needs most people are willing to hand over their other rights.  It’s important to be aware of this so that we aren’t sheep going to slaughter.  I know that the government doesn’t have this technology yet or else things would be running better.  But as Google and the government begin having a closer relationship don’t be surprised in what you see happen.  And when a big government has the capability of running efficiently, look out.  For now just call me Captain Paranoia.

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Beware of Those You Put in Authority

All of our social hierarchies require levels of authority to function.  We choose subordinates for a variety of reasons but you need to make sure that you do not take the task lightly.  You should always make very shrewd decisions based upon good or honorable rationale or else you may be heading for some real trouble.

There is a story in the bible that I really like that is a perfect example of this.  It’s in the book of first Samuel.  In this book we find the story of the priest Eli.  Now, it appears to Eli was a man who knew God.  He was able to perceive that when Samuel was a young boy that the voice he was hearing call out to him in the night was the voice of God and so he gave Samuel the right advice on how to respond.  It would seem to me that a man that didn’t know God wouldn’t be able to interpret that correctly so I give Eli credit for that.

But even though Eli knew God and was in a position of great authority (as he was the high priest in Israel) he had a problem.  That problem was that he allowed his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, to run much of his day to day operations.

This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing but his sons were using their position of authority to lie, cheat, steal and defile the people that would come to the tabernacle to make sacrifices to atone for their sins.  They would force people to hand over meat offerings before they had been burned. They lied saying that these were the orders of the high priest.  They threatened the people who questioned their demands.  They were sleeping with women who were coming to the gates of the tabernacle.  Can you imagine how sick and disturbing this is?  A woman comes to the tabernacle to get her life right with God and these men were using her to fulfill their own perverted desires and simultaneously causing her to fall into more sin!

The worst part in my eyes to all of this is the fact that Eli, the high priest, had gotten word that these things were going on.  But he was too mentally weak to put a stop to it.  He allowed these things to continue and he allowed people that were working in the upper hierarchy of the “church” to abuse the people.  They were allowed to carry out their own fleshly agendas.

Now don’t think that because you’re not threatening people in your flock or using them for sexual pleasure that you aren’t guilty.  Please hear what I’m saying.  What if it is taking the opportunity to berate or make harsh comments to someone because you felt that they haven’t properly respected your position or your desires.  Sometimes it is the love of your position of authority that can lead you react out of pride even if you aren’t immediately aware of it.  We humans have a really slick ability to keep from being completely honest with ourselves.

One day the Israelite nation went to war with the Philistines.  After a particular day that they lost a battle, the high priests sons decided that they would get involved in turning the odds of the fight back in favor of Israel so they brought the ark of the covenant into battle with them.  For those of you who don’t know what the ark of the covenant was, it was an artifact that was supposed to be the meeting place where the spirit of God would descend from heaven and encompass the ark.

The sons of Eli took the ark without their father’s permission into battle and instead of turning the battle around they lost 7 and 1/2 times more men than they lost in the previous battle.  Not only that, the Philistines seized the ark of the covenant.  This meant that these insolent, nasty, lecherous, and just all around bad kids (who were put into positions of authority) caused the people that they were supposed to be leading to be disconnected from the presence of God.

Do you realize what an egregious offense that is?  That is one of the worst things you can do in this world is try to separate people from having a relationship with God.  But yet we have people in the modern church who are doing this all of the time with their laws, judgmental attitudes, religious pride, gossip, and secret despising of those that they believe would challenge their position.  Their sins help to facilitate an atmosphere that makes it difficult for people to hear God or feel God.

Remember what Jesus said to the scribes and pharisees?

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.  “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”

Ultimately Eli’s sons were killed, the ark was lost, tens of thousands were killed, Eli broke his neck and died, his daughter in law died in child birth and to top it off the baby lived and was named “Ichabod” as an admission that God had left them.  All of this because Eli honored his sons above God.  Because he put people in a position of authority that shouldn’t have been there.  Eli’s motives seemed good on the outside.  He loved his sons.  He couldn’t bring himself to discipline them.  But sometimes our emotions keep us from doing the right things.

Beware of who you have serving under you in positions of authority because it could bring an incredible amount of destruction to your ministry, your work, your home life, friendships and social circles.

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Key to Christian Genius

Christians have the potential to be geniuses if they really wanted to.  That’s not to say that non-Christians can’t be geniuses as well because clearly there are a lot of non-Christians that are pretty smart.  But a person that has a relationship with God has a secret and very tangible weapon that would allow them to push themselves to near genius status.  That weapon is their prayer and worship life.

Before I get into all of these details i think it’s important to say that you don’t have to be a genius to be a successful or dynamic person.  There is a commonly held adage that says people only use 10% of their brain.  While that may or may not be true the fact of the matter is that you can do a tremendous amount with what you’ve already got but it’s just a matter of desire that determines what you can accomplish.

The difference between a genius and a person such as much myself is that although I am just as capable of understanding the math and the concepts that they understand, it takes me much longer to process the information and it requires more effort.  But this can largely be changed by your prayer and worship life and mostly, to be honest, your worship life.

I took two years of algebra in high school.  I am not sure that I passed either one of them.  I couldn’t get it.  I watched the teacher get up to the chalk board and write out equations but I just couldn’t comprehend why you had to perform each step in order.  This caused my brain to have a train wreck right after lunch (because algebra class was right after lunch).

It was a few years later that I got saved and had a tremendous physical and spiritual encounter with God.  One day I was going through some boxes of books and I happened upon an introductory algebra book and suddenly it was as if someone had flipped a light on and I just “got it”.  I started to understand why you performed each step the way that you were supposed to.  It wasn’t until recently, 12 years later, that I believe I understand why I suddenly got it.

A human being can make their brain and mental capacity stronger by performing exercises.  Albert Einstein once talked about how he would perform daily thought exercises, much in the same way a person might go for a jog.  But Einstein’s thought exercises were doing things like sitting down and trying to picture what it would be like to travel parallel to a beam of light.  The point is that you can actually increase your mental prowess by exercising your brain.

I am getting to that secret weapon but it’s important to demonstrate why it works the way it does first.

The brain doesn’t just recall a memory like a book at a library but more like how we Google something on the internet.  The information that we are looking for is not contained in one place.  Much like Google there are various servers and sites all over the net that they present results from.  When we access memories and other information in our brain it requires different parts of the brain working together to produce a single memory.  What does this have to do with worship?  Well I’m glad I asked.

There was a study done on the brains of test subjects while they prayed and worshiped.  They also had atheists and agnostics brains scanned while they were contemplating God.  In the study, Christians who worshiped God had the frontal lobes of their brains light up.  This is the communication and language oriented part of the brain.  The atheists and agnostics did not have the same activity in their frontal lobe.

The reason why this is significant is because while you’re worshiping God your brain is forced to use new paths to direct information.  Because your brain is already dedicating activity to God, when you start reciting scripture or other bits of information your mind finds new, unused channels to send the information.  This is what allows the brain to process information quicker.  Think of it as upgrading your internet connection from dial-up (does that even exist anymore?) to a high speed fios connection.

The key is to meditate and think about things as your worshiping.  For awhile I thought something was wrong with me because during worship time at church when the Spirit would really start moving I would feel the most compelled to open up my bible and start reading which probably looks sacrilegious to some people.  But as I was doing this, as I was connected to God in the frontal lobe of my brain, God was upgrading my abilities.  He was making me stronger.

After worshiping I found that I was absorbing information on various subjects like a sponge.  Science, philosophy, various arts, it didn’t matter.  I was able to quickly keep and retain the information I was learning about and apply it to everyday life and come up with solutions to problems that in the past I would have had no answer for.

Any Christian who is not taking advantage of this is doing themselves a great disservice.  You have the ability to really come into your own and be a dynamic person.  God has made these tools available to you.  It’s up to you whether or not you want to use them.

Should Government Attempt to Preserve Dignity?

Geez there is so much to write about today that I kind of agonized over what I would write about first because there are a couple of subjects that are jumping out at me.  But you don’t need to get your violins out yet and start playing for me because I bit the bullet and I have decided to write today about whether or not it is the government’s responsibility to protect my dignity.

There is a lot of anger and vitriol over the recent religious freedom law in Indiana and since I have already blogged about this two or three times I won’t rehash those arguments.  What I want to discuss today is related to this law but it is not about the law itself.  It is about an abstract idea that it is the government’s responsibility to preserve the dignity of the gay and lesbian community or any of us frankly.

Many people believe that the primary reason that you shouldn’t allow business owners to refuse service to anyone on the basis of religious convictions because if you discriminate against them you are harming their dignity.  Which, I understand is probably the same way I would feel if someone wouldn’t serve me because they looked down upon me or my request.  I would feel like I wasn’t as important or valuable and it would make me angry or upset, etc.

Let’s say that I went to a restaurant today for lunch.  Let’s say that I am just minding my own business when the owner of the establishment came out and asked me to leave and proceeded to explain to me that because I am overweight that he couldn’t serve me.  I would ask him why and lets say that he/she said it’s because he/she felt like they would be either participating in my sin of gluttony or that he would somehow be demonstrating to people that gluttony was okay and it offended his conscience. I would probably be pissed off and my feelings would be hurt, but does this mean that the government should be trying to preserve my dignity?

Well, first what is dignity exactly?  Dignity is a state of being where something is worthy of quality and respect.  It is a sense of pride or self-respect.  Dignity is a good thing.  It produces a self respect that allows people to believe in themselves.  When people believe in themselves they are much more likely to have a more dynamic life.  People who don’t have dignity go through tremendous amounts of trouble and usually stay stuck in the same old depressing ruts.  But dignity is also subjective.

What I mean is should everybody have dignity?  Most people automatically want to say yes, but what about pedophiles?  I’m not comparing homosexuals to pedophiles, but I am trying to demonstrate that some people don’t deserve to have dignity.  Who we decide should have dignity is a gray area and because it exists as such nobody should make rash judgments.  You shouldn’t hurry to cast judgment on the gays or the religious business owners who have offended their sense of dignity.

But is it the government’s place to protect the dignity of people?  It seems to me that if there is such a gray area on who we decide should or shouldn’t have dignity how is that government bureaucrats suddenly can be trusted to make accurate decisions on dignity?  Just because you form a coalition of people that can sway them to vote one way or another doesn’t legitimize their decision.

How can a third party protect something that only exists to the end of your nose?  Dignity is a personal matter.  You can’t have dignity for someone else.  You can only yourself have dignity.  You yourself have to choose whether or not you relinquish that dignity.  The actions of another can’t take dignity away from you.  It is a conscious or unconscious act of the will to determine whether or not you have dignity.  A third party, such as the government, can never preserve or protect your dignity without creating an environment where the rights of someone are going to be infringed upon.  That’s what the government does.  They either make a law that discriminates against one party or a law that discriminates against the other party.

What should have been done was nothing.  The religious liberty laws, and laws like them are often times a response to other legislation, like the one about the florist in Arizona or New Mexico where she was forced to shut down her business because she wouldn’t provide floral arrangements for a gay wedding.  It’s okay to destroy a person’s livelihood and try to destroy their dignity so long as one party’s dignity is preserved.  This is what happens when the government gets involved.  But to some people that’s okay if they aren’t the one being harmed by the government.  It’s not a party on one side or the other.  It’s both sides that are a problem.  Both sides are generally bigoted and love government intervention so long as it favors them.

To conclude this little derby doo, the government or any third party ultimately cannot protect your dignity for you.  Any action against you can’t remove your dignity.  It has to be your own conscious act of deciding you have no dignity that causes the damage.  Don’t involve the government to try to force, coerce and destroy those that don’t acknowledge that you have dignity.

Please feel free to like, share, follow or re-blog if you like or agree or even if you disagree with me.  Thanks for viewing!