Posts tagged Pain and Suffering

Quote Of The Week On Pain


“When the world crushes you with pain, will you stand with me?”

-Actually, I am the one who wrote the line above. And it is one of the most important things I have ever written. It is a question I ask myself all the time. These are recent lyrics I wrote and sang for a song called “The Call” for the band VENIA’s new release. The explanation of them is forthcoming.

Have a great weekend!

What is “The Call”?


I am posting some lyrics I have recently written. You can listen to it here and read the explanation of the lyrics hereThey contain what I would classify as the two most important lines I have ever written. And understanding them can literally affect the trajectory of your very life (an idea I will develop in my next book). Sound presumptuous? I promise it’s not–because it’s true.

As I have mentioned, I recently did a song with a band called VENIA because of the influence of my old band Strongarm (often known for the lyrics) has had on the scene. I sang and wrote the lyrics to one song on their new EP called “I’ve Lost All Faith In Myself” which is available now at Blood & Ink Records.

So here are the lyrics to The Call. Again, an explanation of them is here, which includes an explanation of the two most important lines I have ever written. Also, I sing the song with VENIA’s singer, Chad. Below I have darkened the lines I sing, in case you wondering who the heck is screaming:


The Call

This is a call, a time for reckoning

Lay rest to the past, awake a new beginning

Let it be known, this ends all confusion

These words are the anthem of a saving revolution

No more chasing shadows leading to the depths

No drawing from a well of sorrows and sewing more regrets

Leaving nothing to fortune and nothing to fate–there is only that which we create

Generations test it true, the future is made from the decisions of today

And so I ask, my friend. I ask you now, will you stand?

When the world crushes you with pain

Will you stand with me?

When pleasures tempt you to stray

Will you stand with me?

(whole chorus 2x’s–I sing the 1st one)

Sear this on your conscience

And brand it in your heart

For the faithful there is a promise

A sacred trust of salvation

Never forget and never give in

I will not deny (4x’s)

Will you stand with me? (4x’s–I sing the 2nd & 4th)

Repost: Remembering Never


I wrote this last year:

I didn’t want to do this for several reasons. Mainly, because I thought everyone else would. But then I realized they probably wouldn’t. When something big, emotional, and traumatic crosses our paths, sometimes it’s easier to forget about it. But sometimes there is value in remembering the thing you want to forget forever. It can clarify what’s important to you. In a sense, by remembering the hard things you refresh your list of priorities.

I remember it like it was yesterday…

I was living with my wife in our first house in Ft. Lauderdale. I had taken a job at an insurance repair business as a supervisor of a small crew. We repaired water and fire damage, mainly. My wife and I were also deep in the process of helping start a church in Miami, FL.

This particular day I was working alone. My job was to go to south Miami(Kendall, I think) to do some punch-out on an apartment building that the company had the contract on. I have always been a news junky, so I had the radio on in my work van while driving.

Just as I had arrived there was a new flash about a small commuter plane that had accidentally flown into one of the World Trade Center buildings.Of course, in a short time I would learn that both those details were quite wrong.

At that point, I had no reason to be overly concerned or worried. I thought it was awful, but I had no idea. So I gathered my tools and went into to the apartment building to work.

I set up and went to work. I put on my little portable radio and started painting a door jams. While I was working and listening a second plane suddenly hit the other World Trade Center building. That’s when I knew it wasn’t an accident.

From there, the news was patchy. I was lacking focus and momentum, because I was a little afraid by this time. I continued working. I was dragging,but what else could I do?

And then the first building collapsed.

The news wasn’t clear on this at first. That’s because it was so unbelievable. Eventually, the truth was clear: The building was gone.I was in shock and sick.

And then…

The other one fell.

By this time, I couldn’t work. I decided to take an early lunch. Mind you,I had only been working some 30 or so minutes. So I took my lunch in the van and listened to the radio. And listened. And listened.

Finally,I decided I couldn’t work. I was just so distraught. So I packed up,went home, and watched the TV coverage all day and late into the night. I couldn’t watch and couldn’t stop, all at the same time.

I went to work the next day. I also continued to watch the news coverage at night. But by the weekend, I couldn’t anymore. It was just too much.And that is the main approach I’ve taken since then.

I remember only when necessary.

A couple years ago, I flew up to Connecticut to help my Dad move. He lived in the south west portion of the state, which functioned as a suburb of New York City.

Through the course of the day, neighbors would stop by to wish my Dad well (we were pushing out the next day). One neighbor got to talking. We all sat on the grass in the spring sun. They had a beer and I had a Coke (since I hate beer, and all).

He got to talking about his big brother. Stories of childhood, being best friends, best men at each others weddings etc. ensued. So I asked if his brother lived in the area.

That’s when he told me all about September 11th. And I remembered it all over again. His brother worked in one of the buildings.

He proceeded to recount the events of the day—from his perspective. He cried all the while. This was a big dude. He was a construction worker,big and burly. So it had quite an impact on me. I looked at the situation totally different. I’m glad he shared his story. In that moment, it brought clarity and does just as strongly every time I remember.

Remembering the things we never want to remember is hard. But sometimes it is good to. It helps us think on what is most important to us.

What were you doing that day?

Book Review: The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails-Pt. 2 of 2


[Click here to read part 1]

So let’s continue.

Context doesn’t matter. That one was a little jab. Of course, this is not a stated value of the book, but this is certainly the practical application as the arguments play out. The authors have little regard for context in regards to the areas of Scripture they do analyze. As a result, they are completely incapable (or unwilling) of determining if a particular area of Scripture is meant to be a special circumstance or a timeless principle. For me, this is a daily and mandatory discipline. But rather than try to determine the context, they liberally vacillate between the literal and metaphorical understandings—depending on which will more readily support their current point or eviscerate Christianity more.

In the same vein, they also make no distinction between the religion of Christianity and those actually desiring to be a follower of Jesus. For example, I did not join a ‘religion’ or belief system (and I did not grow up a Christian). I simply wanted to try to follow the teachings of Jesus and apply them to my life.

Religion kills, Christianity is the worst, and Atheism is all sunny days and yummy milkshakes. If someone in history has claimed to be Christian and done horrible things, like Timothy McVeigh (He is a favorite example of Atheists, although McVeigh was a self-proclaimed agnostic, but I’ll let it stand for the sake of argument.), it was because he was a religious nut and religion is to blame (it made him that way). However, if someone was an Atheist or agnostic and did terrible things, like Mao Zedong, his godless worldview is not responsible. It was just because he was crazy or bad. Christianity is held accountable while Atheism gets a pass.

Plus, Atheism is awesome because it has never had missionaries corrupting societies or hurt anyone. So in the “Age of Reason” France never banished pastors, converted churches to temples of reason, and punished people for claiming to “know the truth” I guess? This is a good place to introduce the 2nd major flaw of the book.

Flaw #2-“The Original Sin”. What is the Original Sin of this book? It takes shape as a HUGE oversight. It does not even delve into the very reason for religion. That is to say, it doesn’t offer one thought as to how this all started or where we all come from. More fundamentally, it does not even do a cursory mention or a courtesy bow to the idea of how you get something from nothing. If you’re going to write a whole reference-type book on debunking Christianity, you better offer something on this.

That’s what this is all about, isn’t it? That’s why I believe at all. Where did this all start? What about our origins? Saying “Darwin” or “Evolution” isn’t enough. Give me “Cosmic Goo” or “X” the “Big Bang.” It isn’t an explanation, but its something. What started this all? Did aliens seed all this as noted Atheist Richard Dawkins said could be possible? To not offer anything is a major flaw of a book seeking to destroy Christianity and promote Atheism. You better offer something, or at least say why you’re not offering anything. But let me say, in offering something you may only put forward what science can prove and test. Remember, the natural (or physical) world is all that we may believe in or that can guide us. That means nothing that can be construed as “extraordinary” or hint at something “supernatural” may be proposed. I suppose that may be why our origins is ignored in this book. It is difficult to explain.

How do you get something from nothing?

Christianity can’t be because it isn’t. Christianity can’t be true because it probably isn’t the only religion you (or I) tried. That’s a major contention. They hold that I must treat every religion with the same amount of validity. If I want to have any integrity I must flush out and try each one before I am allowed to decide.

The Outsider Test For Faith. What I gather to be one of the benchmarks of the book is described as the Outsider Test For Faith (OTF). This is somewhat related to the point above. It is something the editor and main contributor, John Loftus, builds his very Atheism on. Unfortunately, he never stated exactly what the Outsider Test For Faith is. I read the chapter several times to try and find it. He laid out questions that he uses to guide his skepticism based on the OTF, answered objections based on the OTF, but never defined clearly what the OTF was/is. In addition, I know he wants us (Christians) to subject the same amount of skepticism to Christianity as we do other religions. I suppose that is what it is. Still, I’m not sure. Nowhere did Loftus say “The OTF can essentially be summarized as…” and then build from there. Perhaps, I missed it. I guess I failed the test.

Marxism and Atheism. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that most Atheists are Marxists in regards to their socio-political philosophy (most are Socialists and a few admit to being Communists). And I extend this assessment beyond the confines of this book. I find this somewhat inconsistent and even humorous. It is a true lapse of the ‘unwavering’ logic they profess. They don’t have the integrity or decency to be anarchists at best (the only ‘survival of the fittest’ socio-political philosophy) or Libertarians at worst (the only amoral one). Atheists are so often averse and upset about the influence of religion on society and its ‘oppressive’ morality. Their perfect, reasoned, and logical solution? To revert to another form of moralism. They seek to employ all the authoritarianism of a theocracy, minus the God part.

*The book alleges that the Bible promotes a “flat earth” view of cosmology because it employs such terms as the “four corners of the earth”. This is to show how primitive framers of the Bible were and, subsequently, must have been wrong about God too. Somehow there is no understanding of the poetry and parallelism in Hebrew writings and banter. For example, Jesus once said to take the plank out your own eye before pointing out the piece of sawdust in someone else’s (in regard to being judgmental). This may come as a surprise, but Jesus did not in fact think we are all actually made of wood. It was a creative metaphor.

*The book contends that we are all moral relativists because we view someone else’s view of morality as relative to ours (often a clear distinction between belief and non-belief). But that’s not what I view as moral relativism. I am not a moral relativist because I believe in absolutes that are intrinsic and fixed. Perhaps we are operating from two different meanings of ‘relative/ist.’

*Christians must give opponents of Christianity more validity than promoters of it if they want to truly find the truth. Of course, no one ever does this. Do the environmentalists look to skeptics to learn how to protect the earth? Do pro-choice advocates glean wisdom from pro-lifers when weighing their decision? (And so on) This is simply hedging and an air of moral superiority, because we’re all guilty here—even Atheists.

*Science picks up where philosophy leaves off, is what they say in this book. In direct contrast, I say the exact opposite in my book. Philosophy offers a theory or explanation when science can’t.

*Atheists get mad that Atheism often gets called a religion by Christian apologists. While I understand Atheism is not a religion, in that it is not a belief system and is more accurately non-belief or non-religion, can we agree that sometimes this is an argument about semantics? Religion can be defined as a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe. Does Atheism not sometimes fit that description when having these debates? Perhaps Atheism can sometimes be viewed as a religion with a little “r” and not a big “R”, as it is not an organized and formal religion. But you get the idea, academically speaking, when we’re having these talks, don’t you?

*Atheists also dispute Christianity because there are so many variations of it (with the denominations, non-denominations, and cults, to a lesser degree). In essence, Christianity (and Christians) can’t agree with itself, so it must be false. So am I to understand that because there are varying viewpoints on a particular subject (the result of free will, mind you) then none can be correct or worth considering? That makes no sense. Bring that into a marriage or friendship and see where that gets you. Not to mention, this isn’t exactly a fair point to make at all. Atheists only have to agree on ONE THING: there is no God. In the inverse, Christians unanimously agree on this point (that there is a God). And they agree on the most important element of Christianity: Jesus. Beyond that, there can be no more comparing, since we have doctrine, principles, and lessons to learn from and interpret. If Atheists had the same to consider they would obviously find themselves in the same predicament.

Flaw #1-“The Epic Fail”. The very title “The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails” is an epic fail. That is to say, the very premise of the book fails. Why? Because Christianity is alive and well. In fact, it started with just 12 followers 2,000 years ago and has bad BILLIONS of followers since then. If we put this in an empirical and scientific context, as Atheists claim to guide their lives with, we see that the evidence proves that the title breaks down in a major way with very little analysis—because faith hasn’t failed.

In fact, the very first sentence of the first chapter confirms my point. It opens with, “One of the great mysteries is why, despite the best arguments against it, religion survives.” There it is: an inadvertent admission that the title does not stand up under the weight of its own scrutiny. And if that’s the case, then doesn’t the whole premise of the book fail? Perhaps a better subtitle would be something like “Why Faith Should Fail”. A title with a qualitative word in it helps to deliver on the promise. This is something I learned writing my own book. With all the contributors claims of intellect, experience in academia, and fancy letters after their names, how did they miss this epic fail?

Lastly, a word to Atheists:

I do not hate you. I am not trying to convert you. I do not want to control you. I do not want to create a theocracy. I understand your frustrations and doubts—I have them weekly. I believe in God. You do not. I believe there is a spiritual element to life. You do not. I believe Jesus was the Son of God. You do not. But make no mistake:

I believe because I know it to be personally true. Sometimes resolute and sometimes strong. And sometimes a little more dimly. But I know this:

I will always believe Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. To me, that’s just the best news ever.


Book Review: The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails-Pt. 1 of 2

3 recently finished reading The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails (TCD) in order to review it on my site It was recommended to me by one of the contributors, Edward Babinski, who is a reader of my blog (named above). I’ve had many pleasant back-and-forths with him and was excited at the prospect.

I suspect I was approached to read TCD because of the title of my book 10 Things I Hate About Christianity: Working Through the Frustrations of Faith —that I am perhaps a borderline Atheist convert, or a “New Atheist” as they’re called. It’s a fair point, but it is not the case as many Atheists have discovered (and then gotten mad about). I suppose there is a frustration that I used such a shocking title, but used it for good (to build faith and bring attention to Jesus) and used it before they did/could. The irony is, much that is covered in TCD I discuss in my own book.

So what about The Christian Delusion?

Following are my overall impressions and thoughts. By the end of this, I will also reveal the three major flaws of the book, as I see them. Please keep in mind, when I refer to Atheists in this review, I am referring to the contributors of this book only unless otherwise noted.

I appreciate the content of the book. It was well written and presents many valid points. I think it’s important to constantly review the objections many raise concerning Christianity. They are questions worth asking and discussing. We, as Christians, should never resist these dialogues. We should be committed to healthy, productive, and respectful discussions regarding our faith. Unfortunately, the ‘respect’ part is difficult in this heated subject from both sides of this aisle.

Let’s get started.

Summarizing Atheism. Let’s begin at the foundation. From what I gather, Atheism hinges on two rejections (in regard to religion in general): 1) there is no spiritual element to life and 2) there is no such thing as the supernatural. That’s my bottom-line description. For this reason, the physical world can be the only guide. What can be tested and proven with scientific methods can be the only evidence for living. This is summed up quite well by Richard Carrier, PhD on page 296, “That’s why I don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead: it simply isn’t a plausible event, and is not supported by any sources I trust.”

Intellectual honesty. That was perhaps the favorite phrase in this book when critiquing Christianity. Much was made of our (Christians) intellectual dishonesty. In other words, Christians would cease to be Christians if they were intellectually honest about…(and so on). But anyone who is intellectually honest will realize that much of the counterpoints to faith in this book are not exactly intellectually honest themselves. But then again, I am no intellectual, to be honest.

For example, there is a railing of Christian apologists for not being authentic in their approach since they seek to prove their faith—that they shouldn’t enter into the endeavor with a defined bias. It’s a fair point. But nothing is said of many apologists becoming converts by doing precisely this. At face value the Atheists make the same mistake (regardless of what they may say). They also enter into their undertaking with a defined bias: they seek to disprove God and Christianity. Personally, I could care less. Just be honest about it rather than assuming some level of moral superiority, especially when you do the same.

Humorless, condescending, and cynical. That is the overall tone of the book. One of the last lines of the introduction is, “To honest believers who are seeking to test their own inherited religious faith, this book is for you.” Sounds so magnanimous and polite, right? As if we are all just sitting around a coffee table together after Thanksgiving Dinner just shuckin-n-jivin. Unfortunately, up to that point the introduction spends a great deal of time talking down to people of faith.

For example, if you are a Christian, have faith, or believe in God this book has no lack of descriptions or directions for you. Allow me to elaborate about you (and these are no exaggerations). You are mentally ill, an obstacle to society, unenlightened, uneducated, brainwashed, sexist, prejudice, primitive, stupid, gullible, superstitious, uncivilized, racist, ridiculous, inferior, embarrassingly incompetent, perversely dishonest, wildly deluded, a liar for Christ, a tragedy, programmed to distrust skeptics, in a cult, and scary. You will hopefully evolve out of your need to believe, must realize that Rome didn’t really persecute Christians all that much, should know there has never been much of an effort to destroy the canonical evidence of Scripture or supportive artifacts, must be open to Atheists ideas (but not vice versa), may not use the Bible when discussing faith with Atheists (although Atheists can use the bible in every argument against it they make and are allowed any other bit of supporting work, theory, innuendo, or otherwise to proselytize their non-God worldview), believe in a savior (Jesus) who was an ignorant xenophobe, should be a socialist, should follow Marxism at least (according to most) and Communism at best (according to a few), contribute to the violence in the world, need to appreciate that Atheists are patient enough to ‘deal’ with you, and need to realize that the Apostle Paul hallucinated himself into belief because of guilt. Oh yes, and you have also likely hallucinated and have low self-esteem (which explains your need to believe).

Now you may be wondering why I included so many direct descriptions. Believe it or not, this is just a small percentage of what the book included. I think it’s important to point out that the book attempts to cloak itself in a guise of respect, reason, and magnanimity (as I stated before). But as you can see, these words are quite antagonistic. This dialogue environment is not egalitarian and altruistic as it claims to want to create. These are words of anger and revenge. And if that’s the purpose, again, then just be honest about it.

“Insiders” of Christianity. That is the claim of nearly all the contributors—that they were former ones, that is. I am very suspicious of this because of the blatant disregard for context (which I will get into later). It just seems to me, if this is true, there is quite a but of willful ignorance as the arguments play out. Or perhaps they had very bad mentors when they were “insiders”.

The Bible has NO credibility. Any source seems to be more valid than the Bible to them. Even one with only one or two copies citing a particular event holds more weight (so long as it casts doubt on Christianity) than the thousands of manuscripts of the Scripture. If two books record the same event, the Bible is automatically wrong. Why? Well, because it’s the Bible, of course! Aren’t you paying attention? This is a good place to introduce the 1st major flaw of the book (in descending order) and end part 1 of this review (part 2 posts tomorrow).

Flaw #3-“The Idiot Genius Contradiction”. In my observation, this is a major pillar of the Atheists (again, I refer to the contributors of this book) contention to Christianity. And in order to accept it, you must accept two contradictory theories at the same time and believe them both simultaneously. Although they should largely negate each other (if we are ‘intellectually honest’), somehow they survive each other, together.

The contradiction is this: Christianity (and Judaism to a lesser degree) is built on the brilliantly maniacal manipulative writings of an elite group of people (i.e., the Bible). This group has been able to translate, re-translate, craft, and re-craft the Bible in a way that has enabled them to control the masses, proliferate their religion throughout the centuries, and maintain their own positions of power. With it and through it they prey on fears, promise rewards, and punish disobedience.

And at the same time

Somehow this elite group was not smart enough to make God perfect, his followers flawless, and his will universal and clear as the Caribbean waters in those same writings. Obviously, this would require no apologies and phony justifications while helping this elite ensure more power, influence, and amass more money. Instead, in the Bible, they make much of alleging God (and often his followers) is an ethical tyrant, moral monster, racial hatemonger, oppressive master, violent father, indifferent to suffering, and permissive of evil. But somehow we were all tricked into following this God while reading all this. In short, this elite crowd was not smart enough to frame a God that didn’t seem bi-polar and is at least good, yet somehow invented the most successful religion (Christianity) ever. It’s very similar to the 9/11 conspiracy theories: somehow President Bush was an evil genius that destroyed the Word Trade Center to line his (and his cohorts) pockets by starting a war for oil without leaving a hint of evidence but was the biggest bumbling idiot at the same time.

So the Bible is brilliant and stupid all at once. Somehow both are true. That’s the Idiot Genius Contradiction.

Got it?

[Click here for Part 2]

10 Missionaries Killed


I know I usually post something humorous and light on Monday. Not today. Sorry about that.

I wanted to tell you about some missionaries that were killed last week. This article says that:

Ten members of a medical team, including six Americans, were shot and killed by militants as they were returning from providing eye treatment and other health care in remote villages in northern Afghanistan, a spokesman for the team said Saturday..Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The Associated Press that they killed the foreigners because they were “spying for the Americans” and “preaching Christianity.”

You can read the rest of the article here. It is very sad.

I wanted to let know about it because missionaries often risk their lives every day in order to bring some level of healing, both physical and hopefully spiritual, to people. Say what you want about Christians, but these types of people represent the best of us.

So perhaps take a moment to remember them today and pray for their families.


The Cycle of Suck


Sometimes life sucks. I know that as a Christian I probably am not supposed to say that. I am supposed to present the idea that once you begin following the teaching of Jesus, everyday is filled with rainbows, sunshine, and lollipops. But that is not honest.

As helpful as that info is not, I thought it would be helpful to chronicle the emotional process that happens when something that sucks happens. This way you can know what to expect and know what demons you will have to face and wrestle with. This is the order it happens in my life, complete with the questioning that goes on and the thoughts behind it:

Hurt: “Why me?”

It’s impossible not to take a sucky situation in your life personal. You feel like a loser and alone.

Disappointment: “What did I do wrong?”

You start to think you can’t do anything right and wonder what you did to deserve this. Maybe even what you thought was a great opportunity ended in disaster and dashes your future hopes.

Frustration: “What do I do now?”

You would do anything to change the outcome but there’s nothing that can be done.

Anger: “Who’s doing this/made this happen?”

You start blaming because there has to be a reason and if there is a reason then that means someone, or something, is out to get you. You start trying to figure out who not to trust so you can prevent this next time.

Depression: “What’s the point?”

You think nothing will ever go right and it weighs you down, down, down. Your process might be a little different than mine, but chances are it’s exactly the same. You may be asking yourself, “I don’t know if this makes me feel better or worse?” or “Thanks for dumping all that crap on me”.

We have to get through these stages in order to get beyond these situations. Too many people get stuck in one of these places and end up living a miserable existence. They tend to view life through the lens of whatever stage they’re stuck in. This is scary because it isn’t difficult to let years go by living in bitterness because of our frustration with life. You have to let yourself work this all out so you can reach a point of break-through. We still have to navigate the brokenness that still peppers this existence.

And of course, there are many aspects of life that are better on this spiritual journey. I have a higher lever of clarity, purpose, and value than previously. But it is these difficult stages of life that get you off track and making bad decisions. And that’s the point of this post. You have to learn how to get through those points.


Why Do Bad Things Happen?


You know the scenario. I’m sure you’ve experienced something similar. The guy in the cubicle next to you is a liar and a jerk. He takes credit for other people’s work. He’s always talking smack about co-workers. His nose is always brown. Plus, he doesn’t even work hard (or do a very good job).

You, on the other hand, work hard, give credit when it’s due, and don’t kiss butt. You’re never late and you don’t exaggerate your hours. And you won’t even take a pen home from the office supply closet.

So what happens?

The jerk gets promoted and becomes your boss. To make matters worse, that same week your spouse gets diagnosed with diabetes.

He’s a wretch. You’re a good person. Life is awesome for him. Life sucks for you.

We’ve all wondered in these times:

Why is God letting this all happen? Why do bad things happen to good people? And why do good things happen to bad people?

These are the types of engaging conversations the brand-new Discussion Guide for 10 Things I Hate About Christianity is geared toward. It is for people at all levels of spiritual interest and facilitators at all levels of experience. This small group resource can help the spiritually curious, new followers of Jesus, and seasoned Christians struggling with disillusionment.

From a coffee shop of just a few, to a classroom full of learners, this discussion guide is sure to keep the conversation interesting and flowing. Be ready for a healthy examination and exciting journey through the foundations of the Christian faith and spirituality.

So if you have a chance, please take a look at it here. I even have a FREE GIFT for you on my site (click here).

*Coming Soon: additional resources to help group leaders–like how to approach the 5 different personality types in your group and how to navigate the 5 most difficult issues.

Turning Regret Into Positive Momentum


Right now I’m finishing up the Discussion Guide for my book. Not to unload, but it’s got me doing a lot of thinking.

Seems like I often reflect on the regrets I have: bad decisions, mediocre decisions, no decisions. I’m a firm believer in learning from the past. So that’s what I try to capture in the things I write down. And with the discussion guide, I want create an avenue for people to do that with regard to their faith and spiritual musings.

Wondering what I (or we) can do differently next time is so valuable. It is an important regular exercise.

But on a lighter note, here are some awesome tattoo blunders that will yield a lifetime of regret. They are quite hilarious. And be warned: they are PG13. Here’s one to wet your appetite. And ask yourself while perusing:

What will you do with your mistakes?

BIG News, Baby Coming!


So the BIG news is that my wife is pregnant again! That’s right, we might be a little crazy since we already have 3 kids.

Maybe we’re just trying to do our part to overpopulate and destroy the environment.

Or maybe we’re trying to create more taxpayers for the future bohemoth government that is coming.

Either way, we are very excited. To us, living is about life, and life is about living. The baby will likely come Thanksgiving week like a turkey out of the oven!

*Update: unfortunately, my wife miscarried about 2 months into the pregnancy.


Is Satan Real?


Last week I watched this video from Nightline Face-off and it was really good.

In this third installment,
philosopher Deepak Chopra and Bishop Carlton Pearson will face-off
against Pastor Mark Driscoll of the Mars Hill Church and Annie Lobert,
founder of the Christian ministry “Hookers for Jesus” about the
existence of the Devil.

Both sides are interesting. Whether or not you believe, I found Deepak’s main point a little empty. His basic premise is that God is infinite, so we humans cannot understand Him. Furthermore, because God is infinite, we humans do him a disservice by trying to define him like religions do. Deepak’s approach is to seek enlightenment. And if you limit God by trying to understand Him in human terms, you are not working toward enlightenment. You are a primitive. You need only know that he can’t be known–and that he is love. Whatever love means in this ambiguous context.

So let me get this straight, the purpose of enlightenment is to discover that nothing can be known? Seeking truth only reveals there is no truth? Searching for knowledge only reveals nothing can be known? Yea, that makes sense…

If there is a God, and he is worth worshipping, than he better define his expectations a little. He better tell us what he likes and what he dislikes. Otherwise God is like an abusive father. The kind where the kids never know what to say or how to act. They just walk around the dad in fear afraid that the slightest thing will set him off, but they never really know what that is. What kind of relationship is that?

I think truth can be know. I guess I’m a primitive…

I highly recommend watching it. It’s a great debate.

So watch it when you get a chance: Does Satan Exist?

*Update: I just finally got to watch the last segment. Did anyone notice in the last frame (when all the panelists were saying goodbye to each other) that Deepak refused to shake Mark’s hand when he extended it? Wow! Not very enlightened…

Somewhere Before Depression


I’ve been silent. I’ve been recovering from all the stress the elections season has brought on.

I going through the stages of grief: denial-anger-bargaining-depression-acceptance.

I am somewhere between bargaining and depression as I think on tomorrow. I wonder what kind of country my children will inherit. The debt, state of justice, safety, prosperity, morality, opportunity, all sear my conscience.

What will tomorrow be like? How can I protect and preserve their future freedoms? 

I know it’s an historic election and all, but that doesn’t change the fact that I feel like we are destroying the very principles that much wiser and intuitive people than I founded this nation on:

“Though [the people] may acquiesce, they cannot approve what they
do not understand.” –Thomas Jefferson: Opinion on Apportionment Bill,
1792. ME 3:211

A democracy can only be strong and thrive if it has an educated electorate. That’s doesn’t mean I think everyone who voted a certain way is stupid. I just think they may not fully understand what they voted for.

The ability to choose means you should choose to preserve personal liberty and individual freedom above all else. It is based on principle and not emotion. Policies of large government always, I mean ALWAYS, take those rights away from its citizens. But often this gets clouded when we get caught up in the emotion of the moment.

But I know all is not lost. There is a new day ahead. I just like to enter it with a sober view. That’s just me.


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