Sunday, December 27, 2009

Burning the Midnight Oil... For Nothing?

It's quite late, approximately 02:14 and as I write down the time I'm reminded that I never did figure out why my blog time stamp is off. You see? There I go again, I'm trying to write a deeply thought-provoking blog entry and all I can write about is the stupid time stamp. Might as well write about a guy who's up past his bedtime reading the most fantastic blog entries (which are not his own) and watching some rather mind numbing television shows via the Internet. Oh wait, that guy is me.

I can't pretend to have something really deep and note worthy to discuss when I don't have anything. Right now my brain feels like applesauce two months after expiration, but at the same time I'm looking at my leather-bound Bible and the embossed words, "Veritas De Facto" in the bottom right corner... Am I Truth in practice? It seems really hypocritical to me to have a blog and tote a Bible that would appear to make the claim that I am Truth in practice. Then again, today I read the second chapter of Joshua which tells the story of Rahab the prostitute taking in spies and hiding them from the king. God took the lowliest of people and used her to deliver the land to the Israelites. If God would do that for a prostitute, what would He do for me?

This isn't to say that I should sin and sin again as if His grace was stuck to me like my head is to my neck. By willfully choosing to sin repeatedly, it is my understanding and belief that I'd be rejecting God's grace. In Hebrews 11:25, it is said that sin is only pleasurable for a season. When we take that into our understanding of what a season is, although literal and limited as the metaphor maybe, we have four seasons. We get one season of pleasure, and then what do we get? Romans 6:23 tells that the wages of sin is death. We choose to sin and we get one season of pleasure and three seasons of death. When I think about it on a broader scope, one might see this life as merely a season, but eternity can seem like twice that or even triple. Perhaps, you could even say you get to spend this life in the pleasure of sin, but you spend eternity in death. Of course, I'm not talking about six feet under, but rather a death that one can never be resurrected from; separation from God. I would rather die a thousand deaths here on earth than suffer one death knowing I would separated from my Savior.

Anyways, coming back to my Veritas De Facto motto and persona... It seems that while I had picked it because it was a strong and powerful phrase, the responsibility that comes with plastering that everywhere is such that it requires character of a strong and powerful person. I, of myself, have no power whatsoever. Nada. Zilch. Zero ("Go ahead, read it, it's orders from 'The Voice.") I am just a human, though I am God's workmanship, I make my own choices and some of them do not reflect my Maker's perfection. I openly and humbly admit that I do not always do the right thing, but I also openly and humbly accept the grace of Jesus Christ who redeemed my sorry self from the punishment of my sin so that I might spend eternity worshiping Him before His throne. Leaving all doctrinal debates aside about whether I'll actually get to do that once I die, consider the notion which I put forth and examine the resolve of my desire to serve my King.

In John 14:6, "Jesus replied, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life[...]'" Jesus is the Truth and we are to be imitators of Jesus, therefore we are to be imitators of Truth. In claiming that I am Truth in practice is to claim that I am an imitator of Christ, the Truth. Looking at it that way, realizing that everyone should be, "Veritas De Facto" makes the title less grandiose and intimidating. Since it's not about the titles or about the peron(s) holding those titles, then having my clever little Latin catch-phrase suddenly reduced to standard by which all Christians of every denomination should be living by is really not a big deal.

Still, I thank God for my lovely new Bible embossed with this standard and I pray that as I begin my journey through His Word yet again, that He will reveal to me more and more of Himself.

Until next time,
De Facto

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Something good this way comes

I know that some people who have followed my blog entries about upcoming writings know that it's about 50/50 on the turn out rate. The thing is, regardless of whether I get to writing the story that's got me all fired up after watching the movie Avatar (2009), I'm still coming out with a language in its infancy development stages. I've already laid the groundwork for the grammar, structure, and alphabet (phonetic and characters.) My hope is that I can get a few dedicated people to actually attempt to learn and incorporate the language in conversation. This would most likely manifest in the form of letter written once a weekly or once every other week. These would not have to be hand written letters, however hand written letters would provide me with valuable feedback on the level of difficulty for others in reproducing the characters I created. I'm not sure which to be more excited about, the story, or the language I'm creating for the story and its sequels.

Just a couple days ago I went to the theater to see James Cameron's Avatar. This movie was 14 years in the making and is the most expensive project to date. James Cameron, in case the name doesn't ring a bell, is the guy who made the classic Titanic. If you're memory is a little spotty or you're not into trivial facts concerning film, Titanic was one of the most expensive but also the most successful film in the mainstream box office. No film, not even Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight was able to surpass the gross income raked in for the Titanic. Now that you have an idea about this guy's track record, let me tell you about his latest film and possibly one of my favorite films of all time.

Avatar is set on the fictional planet Pandora. This planet is much like our own. Also like Earth, Pandora has valuable resources, one of which is so valuable that mere kilos of the material will make you rich. Our main character, Jake Sullivan is sent to Pandora to replace his dead brother as a special type of negotiator. Sullivan was selected because his genome was compatible the avatar built for his brother. An avatar, in context to the film, is an artificially developed body in resemblance to Pandora's only sentient life, the Na'vi, infused with the DNA of person who will remotely control this body.

If you're feeling lost by my run down, don't feel bad, because I'm going to catch you up real quick here. This film is excellent display of how real a CGI character can be. At times I forgot I that I was looking at computer animated characters, they blended in so well with the environment (granted many environments were CGI.) The fact is, if they hadn't done such a good job on the rendering, then I'd probably get really sick of looking at cheaply made CGI characters sloppily cut and paste onto a real forest background. The only other option would have been to make this film a motion-capture film like The Polar Express, Beowulf, and Jim Carey's A Christmas Carol. To me, and a lot of other amateur film critics, these motion-capture style films don't hold the same value as films that simply mix CGI with real characters and environments. With that, it should come as no surprise that it cost James Cameron over $300 million to make this film, and it stands to reason that someone who puts down that much cash for some renderings is going to get the most lifelike renderings you'll ever see.

What Christians going to this film will probably hear from their other Christian friends is that this movie is reminiscent of Manifest Destiny and Greenpeace's push to save Mother Earth. People who say this fail to see a major difference that Sigourmey Weaver's character points out quite vividly, Pandora's connection to the animal, plant, and sentient life is biologically explainable. While Native Americans might have claimed to have a connection to all of life through some power given to them by the Great Spirit, the Na'vi and James Cameron aren't making that claim for Pandora. The Na'vi have tentacles smaller than fingers hidden beneath a tuft of hair at the end of their braided hair which can connect to similar tentacles on the animals that roam Pandora. The plant life doesn't seem to have these tentacles, but they still can make that connection, if only a one-way communication. These connections are neural in nature, and therefore when the Na'vi connect to an animal they can temporarily conscript its service. The Na'vi, like most Native American tribes, worshiped a nature-related deity. For the Na'vi her name is Ewya, the goddess of nature and of Pandora itself, who actually turns out to be a large tree with branches similar to a weeping willow except that these branches are larger versions of those neural tentacles I was telling you about. By connecting neural-tentacle-ally to the tree, the Na'vi can retrieve the memories of their dead ancestors, which is also explained by their burial process which involves Ewya absorbing their "energy" (which is their neural synapses).

I say all that to show you that James Cameron's invented race and the mythology they subscribe to is actually, in its fundamentals, a sound religion backed by the science. The Native Americans and their Great Spirit had no such science to back up their beliefs. Try not to get too offended by nature-loving/tree-hugging message you might be receiving, it's just your oversensitive oil-drilling self getting a little trigger happy.

I would give this film a 4.5/5. I won't give a 5/5 simply because I don't give that out to any film but the ones that live up to the highest of high expectations and then exceed them beyond my wildest imagination. If you're wondering what films did that for me, I'd say Watchmen and The Dark Knight were just two action films that did that for me. Forrest Gump and Finding Nemo were two other films that also received a perfect 5/5 in my book. If there's one thing I might suggest when you go to see this movie which you now know is an film that you would be foolish not to see in theaters, is that I wouldn't recommend paying the extra $3 or $4 just to see it in 3D. I saw it in 3D and didn't realize what was 3D about it until about an hour into the film when things started falling from the sky and appeared to be coming from the ceiling towards the screen. Still, the 3D portion of the film did not live up to the expectations I had for it based on what my friends had told me, but that did not effect my opinion of the film.

Until next time and Merry Christmas,
De Facto

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Life is a Mine Field

"It's no game, when someone lives without His grace,
Who's to blame? When it blow ups in your face!
It's a mine field, you'd follow Him through
God knows the way, you'd better stick like glue
It's a mine field, you'd better stay on His heels
'Cause the enemy steals, and the enemy kills
So keep your head down, and keep your eyes peeled
'Cause life is, life is a mine field
"

"Mine Field" - Petra, written by Bob Hartman.
Words inspired from Proverbs 3:6, 1 Peter 5:8, Matthew 16:24
You can listen to the full song: Click Here

I was uploading and transferring files into my iTunes about an hour ago, and while doing so I was listening to the song that I posted above among other songs, but the words really stuck out to me. What struck me the most was the line, "It's no game, when someone lives without His grace." When I think about the truth of those words, it brings me to tears. People are literally living life and spiritually walking through a mine field. They have no idea what's going on and those of us who do, are walking around so comfortable and complacent, it's ridiculous how many people slip through our fingers every day. We may not be able to lead them all to Christ, but we can at least plant the seed. I think about all the people I talk to, all the people I deal with whenever I go out somewhere, and I wonder if I just let them go.

It's not enough to hope that someone else will reach them, or to let other evangelists reach out to them. It's true that there are those who have a passion and fervor for reaching the lost, but we are all called to preach the Gospel. We are don't even have to lead them to Christ, because in fact just by preaching the Gospel we are, the Holy Spirit can work the rest of it out in their hearts and minds. We simply have to say, "Yes, Lord" and do His will. Those of us who have been walking with the Lord for years, or maybe you were raised in a Christian home, know all this stuff. You know how to talk like a Christian, you can finish a Scripture someone is quoting, and you have everyone looking in from the outside thinking you're a good little Christian; I ask you, "Where is your faith?" It doesn't matter what you know in your head. What matters is in your heart, who is in your heart, who dwells within you. And if you have the Light inside, then let it shine, so that those who are empty inside can be made whole.

I cry out to God and ask, "Oh my God, how can I reach more people? More people, Lord! There's just so many people." It reminds me so much of the song, "Whether They Like It Or Not" by Disciple in which they sing about preaching the Gospel whether or not the rest of the world likes it. The fact is that things like college, blogging, listening to music, and things that we general put a level of importance on should be put on the back burner when opportunities come along to reach the lost. Or, you could make it easier on yourself and just preach the Gospel wherever you are. You don't have to whip out your 1688 KJV deluxe leather-bound pulpit Bible just to preach the Gospel. It could be something as simple as saying, "Jesus loves you" as you check out at the grocery store/department store instead of saying the expected, "Have a nice day." It's not politically correct, and thereby is not polite, but we're in the world and not of it, so that's just a little impoliteness we'll have to suffer through.

You wouldn't horde a cup of blood that contains disease, so why are you hording the cup of life? That's the blood of Jesus shed for all mankind that they might know of Him and be saved.

Until next time,
De Facto

Friday, December 4, 2009

Newton's Laws, God Bell Curve Grading, and Repentence

I was listening to some secular rock music and it for whatever it reason it sparked some thoughts about God. I really don't like rock music, particularly secular rock music because it's such a diluted form of music... I think rock could be a great genre, but as it is now... Well, it's crap. Anyways, I was thinking about sin, and how many people would like to think that God grades on a reverse-bell curve. As if somehow, the "evil-er" deeds of others justify your "inconsequential" sins. We humans, so simple-minded, look at individual acts and categorize them as if one were more severe than the other. Rape is worse than lying, hence why we don't put away liars for 25 years. Somehow liars justify their sin by looking at the rapist and saying, "It's not like I'm a rapist!" By that logic, I could justify nearly anything. One murder could be justified because it wasn't a genocide, a rape could be justified because it wasn't pedophilia, and so on and so forth. See how the foolishness of our own childish reasoning? We humans really are a child race of our Maker, only capable of seeing things from a limited perspective.

I was also thinking about how Newton's Laws of Physics seem to apply quite nicely to sin. One law in particular states that for action there is an equal and opposite reaction. With sin, there is some kind of pleasureable stimulus that keeps us coming back for more. We lust because it gratifies us in some way, but there is also that opposite reaction. Lust consumes us and if unchecked, can cause us to do all sorts of evil that we would have never considered when we started dabbling with sin. Which brings me to another one of Newton's Laws that is parallel to how sin works. That law is that a object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. Although you may think you're in control, once you start sinning you will continue to do so until something stops you, like your willpower to repent. Someone might argue that that's not an outside force, and perhaps it isn't. The way I see it though is that free will is a God-given right, a gift to us so that we would not be like angels who chose their destiny long ago at the time of Lucifer's fall. In that respect, our free will seems more like an outside force than something that comes from within us.

I can't pretend to know everything, but after spending two years studying Biblical principles at an Institute hosted by church, I can say with some confidence that I at least have a foggy clue what I'm talking about. Speaking of outside forces, can you guess what isn't an outside force that stops you from sinning? Have you guessed it yet? If you guessed, "false humility" then you guessed right. You may fool your pastor, the priest your confessing to, or your friend who you're talking your sin through, but you cannot fool God. God sees your heart, and if your prayers of "repentence" are just lip service, then so will God's forgiveness. You reap what you sow; an empty sacrifice yields and empty reward.

When I think about my life, the way I live, and the things I do. How much of it sets the ball rolling of sin? What things in my life are fleshly things that keep me from living the life God has called me to live. I know that I can be slothful, a horrible habit bred by my upbringing, and that's not an excuse either. Often times I mean well when I set out to do something, but then I get overzealous and start many things at once and never finish any of them. Unfortunately, I do the exact opposite at times when I know that I can't handle multiple projects, in that I just don't do anything and say, "I can't handle that stuff right now. I just need to prioritize." If I prioritized with all the free time I had, I could prioritize the next 250 years of my life into the most structured and organized life... What a dull existence that would be... There's nothing wrong with be prioritized, in fact it's wise to do so, but being spontaneous is good in both battle and in everyday life. Bringing this back to focus, I don't want people to read this and get put off thinking that I'm out there with a Holier Than Thou attitude trying to condemn you all. I'm actually saying this because I look at myself and recognize a flaw and some symptoms of it, how it got started, and some parallels to the rest of the world that we can all relate to.

On an unrelated note, I am really sad and you can read a poem that I wrote, which explains why: Click Here

Until next time,
De Facto

Saturday, November 28, 2009

In Case You Were On The Fence...

Most of my friends I've talked to, not all, but most don't want to take a vocal stance against Scientology. I'm sure they all have "good" reasons, but to me none of them are "good" enough, not when there is so much at stake.

So in case you were still on the fence about this issue:



Until next time,
De Facto

Monday, November 23, 2009

What Our Fathers Really Meant Was...

It amazes me how very few pictures there are of all the Founding Fathers, in fact I couldn't find one. The one here to the left is actually historically inaccurate since some people paid the artist to have their face in the picture regardless of the fact that they were not there when this event occurred. The painter and his skills were the prehistoric Photoshop. Unfortunately, I didn't conjure up the idea to write about phony pictures and the lack of quality images that display the faces of all our founding fathers. Instead, I've decided to talk about an issue much more pertinent to today and our lives daily.

As a Christian, there is a lot of stigma behind that title. Fellow protesters of Scientology have jested about certain dogmatic aspects of Christianity attributing it to religion as a whole. The biggest stigma is that Christians are suppressive. Christians have a history of suppressing all sorts of things which include sexuality and the discussion thereof, critical thinking, dissenting speech, controversial literature, opposing theological viewpoints, atheism, science, and anything that might have the potential to threaten the mainstream Christian-held beliefs. With such a negative rep, I'd like to be able to tell my friends and fellow protesters that that was all in the past and that that was stuff Renaissance era religious blindness, but I can't because it's all happening today. Human sexuality is still being suppressed in the form of imposing our Christian views on others. The same is true for most of everything else I listed previously. It a huge grievance for me that many millions of Christians have bought into the lie that Christianity is all about right and wrong; sin and virtue. It is a big heaping mess of hypocrisy to assert our moral, cultural, and political values on others when Jesus did not impose His Way on us. The tragedy of liberty is the freedom for groups to invent reason to suppress each other over fabrications of nothing.

Some Christians, the most vile and hypocritical of them all, are more crafty than to blatantly label their organizations as Christian organizations, but instead pose as followers of such high and lofty ideologies as liberty, virtue, and truth. They cite the Founding Fathers intentions as justification for censorship and religious favoritism. America is not a Christian nation, regardless of what some "patriots" would like you to believe. Yes, this nation was founded by men who listened to God, and quite very likely helped found this nation because of strength from God, but they did not found a Christian nation. To say that America is a Christian nation defeats the whole purpose of America. America was an escape from the cruel oppression of the Church of England, and later from the tyrannical King George. Some Christians think it is their business to impose on others their own interpretation of the Constitution, as if they have some divine connection to our long dead Founders and can therefore express the true meaning and intent of the words which we hold so dear.

Stupid Christians, always thinking their better than everyone else. I can't stand the arrogance of my own family, that is my spiritual family. And I'm not picking on one denomination over another, Catholics have a very bloody history, but the Baptists are known for their hellfire and brimstone sermons that only turn people away, while charismatics and their over-spiritualistic attitude towards everything has turned people over little things like Harry Potter and Twilight. Do you know what I think it is? I think it is Christians who have not had a real relationship with God, who don't read their Bibles without a judgmental filter, and who have nothing but contempt for anyone or anything that doesn't conform to their picture-perfect idea of a world that doesn't exist but in their twisted little mind.

Honestly, the freedoms we have today are not meant to be interpreted as a license for Christians to skew it in their favor. The freedom of speech protects the rights of Neo-Nazis and Christians alike. It protects those who want to say, "fuck" every other word with those who want to say, "Merry Christmas." The freedom of religion ensures that a Buddhist can live out his life without being subjected to Christian standards and expectations of how he should act. It protects Christians from being hunted down, raped, tortured, and killed because of their faith. It also protects an atheist from having to participate in any religious activity or adhere to any tenets of faith which he does not volunteer to adhere to.

I propose another freedom be added specifically for those who might want impose their views on others without their consent, the freedom to find a hole and die.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

So Cold

If you are expecting to read something profound, enlightening, or otherwise thought-provoking then I suggest you abandon all hope of it here and now. This entry is a long and possibly exaggerated rant about how much I hate living in a cold state of freezing coldness. Nothing in this post can seriously be taken as a joke, honestly it is really quite absurd.

I live in the northernmost region of the Midwest, USA. In my state we have a saying that we have four seasons: almost winter, winter, not yet over winter, and construction. Despite Al Gore's persistent nagging coupled with the popular trend to go green, it's actually been colder these past few summers and I've noticed. This past summer I could hardly tell what season it was considering that I barely sweat. I actually begged my dad on certain occasions to let me use a space heater in my room, in the middle of July. I fortunate to spend most of my summer touring the lesser known parts of neighboring states performing at summer camps.

I am the self-proclaimed "biggest wimp in the state [when it comes to the cold]." I think that over time my self-proclamation has turned to self-evident truth. I remember when my ex-girlfriend told me she wanted to live in Alaska I began to ask myself if God intended love to hurt that much. Apparently God didn't intend for love to hurt that much because I'm not with her anymore. Just so anyone who's real sensitive and wants to get all guilt trippy on me, I want you to know that I would have gone to Alaska and lived out the rest of my life there without one word of complaint if it had meant I was going to spend the rest of my life with that woman. She is a one in a million kind of woman, but not my one in a million woman, and that's all I have to say about that.

Now this issue I have with cold... I think that December would just not be December without snow. I can't imagine anything other than a white Christmas. However, the snow and cold doesn't come and go in December... No, it likes to come as early as October and sometimes doesn't leave until the first week of April. What kind of crap is this? This is madness! (You may now insert your most epic version of the infamous, "This is Sparta" line here.) Seriously though, I can't understand the logic of calling a period of time that spans for more than five months long a season, it's more like one very long nightmare. Most of my friends, admittedly they are female, have said that they wouldn't leave this frost bitten hunk of ice for much of anything. It's a running joke among what most would call my "family" that I will have to move down south to find my wife, but I'm thinking more along the lines of just marrying a volcano. That should be warm enough, right? I mean, volcanoes are women too, look, you start talking to them and all of sudden they just blow up in your face. You don't even know why they did, but they blew up at you and somehow it's all your fault.

Now that I have thoroughly insulted all the sensitive ones with my off the cuff remark about my ex-girlfriend and all the women with my comparison of them to volcanoes; my rant can thoroughly be concluded. I hate being cold. Besides the fact that I'm the only one who walks around in August with a black sweater simply because I need it to stay warm, my room is equipped with a space heater capable of heating my whole room in less than 20 minutes as well as an electric fitted sheet that can warm my bed in about 15 minutes. If that wasn't enough, I have enough winter weather clothing that I can't simply don't have room to keep both summer and winter clothing together. Fortunately, I usually layer the two and wear a lot of my winter weight stuff in the summer as well as the colder months. I guess I can be thankful that I was born into a middle-class family in America, because otherwise I'd be a miserable child with a bitter attitude and a most cynical yet intellectual outlook on life.

Until *brrr* next *sneeze* time *wraps self in blanket*,
De Facto

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trivial Matters

Ever since I joined the theatre company nine months ago, I have gradually pursued a deeper relationship with Yeshua. Before that time, I was pretty complacent in my walk with God. I had no reason to go forward, because where I was people thought I was such spiritual guy and looked up to me as a leader. In truth, I was the furthest thing from a leader and hardly spiritual. When I joined the theatre company God showed me that I had to make a choice. The spiritual warfare was too intense to be on the fence about my spiritual walk. I had to decide who I was going to serve; myself, or God. I chose God, and I'll be honest that when I first made that choice I was making it more as programmed response than because that's what I really wanted. God took my complacency and trampled on it with His awesome righteousness and showed me what I could have if I only lived my life completely dedicated to Him. It was then, after a spiritual kick in the behind that I began the process of surrendering everything. I put it this way because I feel like sometimes when someone talks about when I first started in the ministry, they don't have the full story. Even after I had made the choice to surrender everything, it wasn't until a couple months ago that I was able to surrender one last thing that was so important to me.

In more recent months, I have come to a point in my walk where I feel like God is actually right beside me, and I know that is there for me. I don't have to read Scripture to reassure myself, and even though I still need read Scripture, it's not to reassure myself of these truths which I feel are now self-evident. I call on God and He answers, because I have complete faith in Him. I have wanted this, at least a part of me has, for most of my life. I have always wanted God to be the center of my life and the source of my strength, now I finally have it. This is not to say that I am perfect, because I'm not. I still have free will and still make choices at times that are wrong, but 1 John 1:9 says that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. This is verse I don't need to quote for reassurance, I quote it to validate what I know. I am at a point in my life where my faith, belief, and knowledge are equally balanced to the point that no matter what happens, I know that God will somehow bring about a glorious outcome.

In Proverbs we're told not to lean on our own understanding, but instead acknowledge Him and He will make our paths straight. Lately I've found myself in situations where I have clearly heard God tell me to do something and it sounded so ridiculous in my own mind that I just didn't do it. For example, one day I was just about to leave for the Ministry House because we had a show that night. God distinctly told me to bring my iPod after I had decided I wasn't going to take it with me. I hesitated after hearing God tell me to bring it. Why would God tell me to bring my iPod? Why would He even care whether or not I bring my iPod? Unfortunately, I didn't bring it, but of course there was a reason God told me to. We were five minutes on the road in the company van when our director pulls something out of a compartment and says, "Hey, look at this, now you guys can let the whole van listen to your iPod. We can plug it in with this deal..." In his hand the director had a cassette adapter for an iPod. My jaw literally dropped as I realized the significance of this. Never in a million years would I expect my director to buy one of those adapters, considering that I never thought he'd tolerate the kind of music most of us actors listen to. God gently chastised me by saying, "You could have unified the team by worshiping Me."

Another time, which actually just happened last week, I was on my way to the Ministry House. It was extremely early in the morning and I was praying up a storm for strength and that God would help us all make the three performances really awesome. I was grabbing all my shirts that I needed, specifically the ones that were on hangers and I heard God say to me that i was supposed to bring my white collared dress shirt. I was really puzzled, since my collared dress shirt wasn't apart of any of my costumes and I had already picked out a different dress shirt to wear en route to the school we were performing at. I shrugged it off and didn't bring the shirt. Sure enough, about ten hours later during our technical rehearsal one of my fellow actors asked me if I had a collared dress shirt. Apparently he had forgotten his and no longer had the appropriate shirt for his costume. I grunted and told him the whole story of what had happened at 4:30 that morning, and I apologized to him and to God for not listening.

Funny thing that I trust God with my finances, or lack thereof, and yet when He tells me to bring an iPod or a white collared dress shirt I have a problem just saying, "Yes, Lord." I'm one of those people that wants to trust God completely, but at the same time I don't want to be unrealistic like some Christians who run around without their glasses saying, "God is going to heal me!!!" Stupidity and blind (yes, blind) following of the doctrines and dogma of some ultra charismatic preacher will get you nowhere. Anyways, that's off topic, I just have to laugh at myself and wag a finger (not the finger) because of how silly I am. I'm sure God doesn't get mad at me when I do this, because He knows what goes through my head, and at the same time I bet it does kind of irk Him that I've come so far and yet I won't just trust Him with trivial things. Samuel told Saul, "I desire obedience rather than sacrifice." I could exhaust all my energy worshiping, dancing, and singing to Lord but God would rather me take my iPod to a performance when He tells me to than doing all that other stuff.

I guess the trivial matters. Until next time,
De Facto

Thursday, November 5, 2009

J.O.Y.

"J is for Jesus, our Savior and King. His love and kindness are the reason we sing. O is others, the people we meet. We'll lead them to Jesus by meeting their needs. Y is for You, and though it seems odd; the last shall be first in the Kingdom of God. First, Jesus, and Others, and then there's You; the secret for a JOYful attitude..." - Star of Bethlehem play

It's funny that I remember this tune from the musical play in which my acting career really began at the age of eight. My church at the time was obsessed with childrens plays. Every Christmas time someone would rise to the occasion to direct a Christmas play with sets, props, and lots of cute little girls dressed as heavenly hosts. It's funny that I remember this tune because the message in it ties into what this blog entry is about. Jesus, Others, and You (Self)

On Wednesday, November 4th, I got up at 4:00am to go get ready for the day. Unfortunately, by got up, I don't mean I woke up, as I didn't sleep a wink that night; too excited. I got to the Ministry House, the place our theatre company has its office and our official meeting place before shows. All the props had been loaded the night before, all that was left was our over-sized tech case that holds a mixer, CD player, DVD player, and microphone antennae affectionately named, "Steve." After having to pick up one of our members in a downtown area, getting into a minor car crash (literally the vehicle clipped us at an illegal speed), informing the teachers at a faculty meeting of what we do, and spending hardly enough time in prayer with the rest of the cast of the show we were about to perform; we hit the stage. About 100 little junior high kids from sixth grade to eighth grade were in the audience all watching us with their precious eyes glued to the stage.

The show went off without much a hitch, and that's not to say it was perfect, but considering that we didn't rehearse for the show beforehand with one performance of the show a week prior; it was still a professional show. After going into classrooms and disseminating and reinforcing the concepts presented in the play, and then a light lunch (I try not to eat too much before performances or else risk a severe stomach ache); cast readied themselves for another performance of the same show. Most of us were already tired, but we had to be more energetic than the first show. The second show was much better than the first, and our director thought that it was proof that if you put on a high energy show that even the cheesiest play can attract a senior high crowd. When we had finished performing the second show we had to go into the classrooms and talk with our peers about what was going on. We had mixed feelings about how well that went. We rested for a few minutes, I spent most of that time praying and talking to my director about several things, not least of which were some of the choice words I used in my testimonial speaking to get the point across. When the rest of the cast had arrived for the evening show we had to get to work setting up.

We were in such a crunch to get everything ready for the show that we almost missed dinner. We were supposed to be met by a local church pastor who would take us over to his church and feed us with his youth group. Unfortunately, there was some kind of miscommunication and our director ended up going to the church to pick up whatever leftovers might have been there without knowing whether or not there would be any. Fortunately, the church had three boxes of pizza, two bags of apples, a few clusters of grapes, and double sided generic brand cookies. The whole cast ate quickly, and I mean that within a matter of minutes the two pepperoni pizzas were almost gone except for two pieces we saved for a member who was one the phone at the time the food arrived. It was at this time that I was grabbing food for myself and eating as fast as could that I didn't realize what was happening. I wasn't just eating fast because we had little time to eat, but I was eating quickly to ensure that I would be able to eat enough so that I was not hungry on stage. Truth of the matter was, anyone who hadn't been with us during the day had been at school and went straight from school to the auditorium where we were getting prepared to perform. In others words, we were all hungry and what I had gone through during the day was more or less legitimate of a reason to be hungry than my friends.

Now I'm pretty sure that most people would not blame me for what I did, especially since I didn't hog the pizza to myself and I ate plenty of fruit to help get some natural sugar in my body. But when I think about it, as a leader I have to set the example, and even better leaders look out for the rest of their mates before looking out for themselves. It wouldn't bother me, this whole thing with the dinner we ate, if it weren't for the fact that I've had opportunities in the past as well as this most recent incident where I could have waited for everyone else to eat before eating myself. Some might think that, since my director and his wife among others were present, the only leadership I needed to demonstrate was by eating a "well-balanced" dinner by combining apple, grapes, and pizza instead of just eating cookies and pizza. To that I say, "Yep, you're right." I know that it really doesn't matter, that I did nothing wrong by just about anyone's standard, except my own. Why am I so hard on myself? I'm hard on myself so that I can become more than what I am. When I get down on myself about eating with others, I'm not thinking about what I did wrong then and there, I'm thinking about what I would be doing wrong in the future when the highest authority of man is me.

That tune, J.O.Y., really reminds me of the way I should think. My friend wrote in a correspondence letter a quote from Max Lucado's book, A Purpose Driven Life, "It's not about you." It truly isn't about me, even when I am a leader. A true leader knows that his strength doesn't come from himself, but from God. Keeping that in mind, it's Yeshua who deserves all the glory, honor, and adoration for the things accomplished. He's the first person we should acknowledge. Then others, not only does this mean people other than myself, but the tune was more specifically referring to those who have not yet found their Way to life. Even the hardest of hearts eventually see when a person is truly humble and giving of themselves, putting others before themself, and it's that kind of humility that I pray I can learn to demonstrate. Finally there's you, and that's the self. No life is insignificant, not even oneself, and the principles brought up in the tun are not meant to demean the importance of oneself, but to remind those of us who want to lead the way that we must remember who comes first. John Maxwell points out that true leaders are the leaders who serve others, who are not waiting to be served by the people under them. True leaders are waiting to serve those under their authority. I hope and pray that I can be that kind of leader.

Until next time,
De Facto

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lay My Burdens Down

I recently was listening to the most recent album release by Disciple, their album called, "Southern Hospitality" and on there is a track called, "Lay My Burdens" which describes exactly what I am having to do these days. To understand, I have provided a link to the music video exclusively premiered on Tangle (formerly GodTube), click here to watch it.

Lately, with rehearsals being three to four times a week on top of a different show in the midst of rehearsal for another show, I have been feeling so overwhelmed by it all. I have done my best to hide, but tonight it really came out and my mind just keeps going back to that song and the verse in Matthew 11:28 that says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." I have been working and working, hashing out the details and pushing myself to work through issues I've had during rehearsals; I'm feeling burned out but I can't quit because I have rehearsal tomorrow night and a work project on Saturday. I've been feeling stressed and not really wanting to do the very thing I should do. I know I may not have as busy of a schedule as my spiritual siblings, but going from having nothing to do 24/7 to what I've got going for me now is a major change that's taking a toll on me. As if that wasn't enough, my health is still sub-par and in some ways I feel like it's holding me back. I don't want to complain too much about that though, because I'm not writing this to complain about how "bad" I've got it.

God tells that we will face hard times, but that doesn't mean we have to be overburdened and worn down by our circumstances. In fact, we know from Isaiah 40:31 that when we wait on the Lord, He will renew our strength. We don't have to always try and make things happen, God says wait on Him, and He will renew our strength. From this, I know that God is looking to restore me if I will just turn it all over to Him and wait for His guidance. Tonight, while I was emptying myself of everything before the show, God showed me just how easy it can be to surrender my burdens to Him. I seriously just felt a great peace flood me and that was when I said to God, "Okay, okay... Lord, I surrender it all to You. I give it up to You, just take it from me and deal with it in the way You want it handled."

Friends, I just want to encourage you that if you have been feeling overwhelmed, burdened, or just exhausted and worn out from the stuff you've got going on in your life that you can go to God with it all. None of it is too trivial, because you're His precious child and He loves it when you come to Him with even the littlest of things. He wants a relationship with His children, and if you don't know it yet, a relationship isn't always about serious stuff with deep philosophical implications. Sometimes it's good to go off about the small things. It may not always be easy to just give things over to God, but when you think about it like carrying a heavy backpack full of bricks, it just seems to make sense to give that backpack over to someone who is stronger than you could ever be to carry it for you. Maybe you feel like you don't need to let anyone carry that baggage for you, but another way to think of that baggage is really as garbage. That weight you carry is only bringing you down, and it won't make you stronger, unless you turn it over to God who can elevate you to place of restoration, peace, and understanding.

I pray that you all have a feather-light yoke rest of the week. Be blessed!

Until next time,
De Facto

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

No doubt most people have now heard the news that President Obama has received the Nobel Peace Prize. The media is all abuzz with this, eating up every little bit of information that comes from the White House and from the Nobel Committee. Any skepticism has been crushed by the irrationally biased media fiends who worship the very air the president breathes. There are already articles artificially poising themselves as critics of the 2009 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, however upon closer inspection it is clear that they are only deceptive ploys to make the reader agree with the decision.

President Obama said that he was deeply humbled and did not deserve to be among those who have previously received the prize, and that's probably the most truth said since he started campaigning for the presidential office. According to an article I read on Yahoo! News, the Nobel Committee awarded President Obama with the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize in honor of his plans to work towards disarmermant of nuclear weapons, easing tensions in Muslim nations, and efforts of diplomacy over unilateralism (talking to terrorist leaders instead of blowing them up.) According to one of the committee members, this decision was made in effort to bolster support for the presidents' policies.

In other words, President Obama hasn't done anything to merit this prize, but they're giving it to him anyways because they think he will do something good and they want to show support for his plans. HE HASN'T DONE ANYTHING! It's one thing to award someone something if they've done something, but another if we award someone something for things they intend to do. In local news about a year ago, there was a man who saved an epileptic man from being run over by a train by laying down on top of the seizing man in between the two rails as the train passed over their heads. He received the highest honors and medals that society could bestow upon a common citizen. Imagine if he had been given those honors and medals for simply intending to save the epileptic man but not actually doing so. Suddenly anyone who has a whim to do something, regardless of whether they followed through with it could receive a reward. Or perhaps you have to be an ambitious black man from Chicago who had less than humble beginnings (yes, I said what I meant) that marries a very charismatic woman who helps you spearhead your campaign to the White House.

Perhaps the global agenda of socialists is much more well planned than just mere coincidence. The fact that President Obama and the Left use the racism card as both a way to squash opponents and reason to support the president (because we all know that voting for a black man solves the issue of racism in our country.) It really comes as no surprise then that the representative who was apart of the Socialist Left party was the spokesperson for the decision to award President Obama with the Nobel Peace Prize. If you're reading this and thinking I'm talking about global conspiracy, then rest assured that I'm not. What I'm saying is that in these dark times; the allies of moral/social relativism, neo-socialist governments, and spiritual ambiguity are more numerous than ever. The time for apathy is over, and if you don't want to have an opinion, or your opinion is to live and let live, then you will find yourself duped and becoming a slave to many masters who will be more cruel than you can fathom.

Until next time,
De Facto

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Church of $cientology

It has come to my attention that there is an organization that is wicked. The evilness of this organization is so insidious that I am most grieved to inform you that it is a religious organization, in fact an entire belief system is upheld by this organization. I am referring to the Church of Scientology, also spelled Church of $cientology, Co$, or CoS. The Church of Scientology has committed crimes against humanity, against free speech, and against the masses who unified in an effort to bring down the corrupt practices of an evil empire. The singularly unified voice of Anonymous, a unregulated unofficial band of people who wave the banner of freedom and justice for all, has been fighting the good fight for a few years now with their biggest protest on 2/10/2008 which was the birthday of the late Lisa McPherson. The other biggest day of protest was 3/15/2008 which was birthday of the late L. Ron Hubbard, founder and leader of the Church of Scientology until he died and passed the baton on to David Miscavige.

I encourage everyone to do their own research, but as I have done mine, I'll share with you some of my favorites:

Why We Protest

Why Are They Dead?

Xenu TV


If you want to do less reading and more watching of videos, I've compiled a list of videos that will explain a lot of what you'd read on these websites. I encourage everyone to think about these things and while some of it may seem silly, melodramatic, or strange; be open minded and try to understand what is going on. This is not about the funny kids in masks, or the pirate costumes, or anything like that. This is about exposing and debunking the corrupt Church of Scientology.

Here are some videos, I encourage you to ask questions and watch more than what I post here and seek out the answers yourself.

Message to Scientology - A message from Anonymous to Scientology.

Who We Are - A message from Anonymous about who they are.

Call To Action - Another message by Anonymous detailing who Anonymous is and what they're goals are.

The Un-Funny Truth About Scientology - Smoothmedia mini-documentary about Scientology.

Scientology Crazy Followers - Members of the Co$ ruthlessly interrogate the camera man using ad hominem tactics. Although hard to believe, this is not a remote incident.

January Anonymous Protest - A video by Anonymous listing charges against the Co$.

The Anonymous Protest Scientology - A video blogger reports on Anonymous protesting Co$.

Anonymous Scientology Protest Philadelphia, PA June 14 - An ambassador of Anonymous explains what Anonymous is doing and a bit of history on protesting.

Anonymous Protests Scientology - 10th February 2008 - London - Footage by Anonymous from the protests that occurred globally, this is the protests in London.

Tom Cruise Scientology Video
- This is a promotional video made by the Co$ that was not meant for the public. It was leaked sometime in 2008 and has since then struggled to stay on the Internet. The Co$ does not want people to see it, from their perspective it's considered "out-gradient" which is a term they use to describe a concept that if someone sees something before they're ready that it will not be accepted by the viewer. As far as Anonymous is concerned, the Co$ just doesn't want you to know how absolutely ridiculous the corrupt organization is.

There's a lot more videos that I would like to post, but I think most of you would be overwhelmed by all the links to videos. I think what's important is that you understand who Anonymous is, why they are protesting, and why they have to wear masks.

If you don't understand something, research it. Think for yourself, it's one of the few freedoms they cannot take away from you unless you let them.

Until next time,
De Facto

Saturday, October 3, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009

For those who are not familiar with the name NaNoWriMo, it's short for National Novel Writer's Month and you can visit the official website here. Every October, the NaNoWriMo website opens up with brand new material and freshly cleaned and archived forums as resources to help NaNo writers prepare for their novel. I am no exception, and this is my third year making a serious attempt at writing a novel. In 2006, I made a meek yet honest attempt finished the month with a mere 4, 500 on a title-less novel. In 2007, I wrote my first novel, Deadkeepers, which I finished the month with 36,000+ words and continued writing until I had finished the story. Oh, and in case you didn't bother to check the website; the significance of the word count is how a novel is defined. A novel, for purposes of NaNoWriMo is defined as literature consisting of 50,000 words. I had originally planned to write a novel in 2008, but took a break since I had to figure out my priorities and NaNoWriMo fell to the bottom of that list last year. This year I'm coming back to NaNoWriMo with tenacity. I'm inexhaustibly pumped up about this story I've got worked up in my brain. Let me give you a summary:

Katonda and Jamie are a young married couple just weeks into their second year of marriage. Katonda is an American-born Ugandan immigrant who works for his dad as the regional technical department head and his father is the owner of a major lumber industry. Jamie is a stay-at-home wife who is very active in her community. She attends city counsel meetings regularly, reads books to children every Tuesday and Thursday morning at the library, and travels to neighboring cities to give talks about the book she wrote on getting active in local politics. But did I mention that she has a disability? I haven't worked out which disability yet, but it prohibits her from walking extended distances without assistance of either a cane, a wheelchair, or someone to offer support. I hope you all are starting to see some familiarities in the story summary, as it is analogous to our walk with Christ and the romance that His Bride and Him share.

What I need is a little help from everyone and anyone who reads this. Given the summary, can you all suggest some possible title names? I know coming up with a title may seem trivial, but really I've found that coming up with a title gives me something tangible to work with and helps me focus on what's so important about this. Folks, I may not be a great writer, but I can never learn to be better if I don't keep writing and receiving constructive criticism. Help me get the ball rolling by contributing your ideas for a title based on the summary I gave you. If I base the title completely or partially on your suggestion, you will be mentioned and thanked in my dedication page.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What Am I Becoming?

Anyone who bothers to get to know me knows that I have problems with my family. What people often refuse to believe or don't understand is just how bad it is. You see, my parents seem to live in a state of denial. Despite my best efforts to pull the veil from over their eyes; no positive results have come of it. For years it was petty bickering between my siblings and I, me being the one who was always wrong. I don't know why, but for whatever reason my parents would yell at my siblings, thinking that a good shouting-match would solve the problem. When I came to them and complained about my siblings they would tell me that I needed to just deal with it and that it was apart of growing up. They were wrong.

My parents think they know, they'd like to think they know me because they know what I need and want but can't afford. They buy me things from time to time, as if I hadn't made it abundantly clear that while monetary gifts and gifts of such nature are kind gestures, they speak love to me about as much as Vogon poetry. What I've communicated to them, but perhaps not successfully, is that if they want to express Love to me, then they have to listen to me. My dad can sit in a chair at 10:30 at night and listen to me sob and cry about how much I'm hurting and after a quick little "feel-good" prayer, I go off to bed feeling emotionally drained. In later years I came to the realization that as soon as I woke up the problems would be there and nothing I said accomplished anything except to let me cry a little. What a rip-off, thanks Dad! And honestly, when I try to go to my mother she just freaks out and says, "I can't deal with this right now!" then tells me to shut up and whoever else is involved to shut up as well.

Now a days, I find myself confined to my room when my siblings are home. During the summer that meant most of my day was in my room, and if I left for any reason I was sure to be insulted for one thing or another. Despite trying to make it stop, despite my pleas to my parents for change; nothing was ever accomplished. With school started, I have the majority of the day to myself, thankfully, but it is very lonely here and the only things to talk to that are even vaguely aware that I'm trying to communicate with them are my dog and my sister's cat. My dog is a loyal one, but incredibly unintelligent and spends most of her day chewing up napkins or toilet paper. My sister's cat is an abomination that should be curb stomped, because that thing spends his time running around aimlessly; scratching up the wallpaper, whining, trying to get into places he shouldn't be, and most of all just getting in my way. Once in a blue moon, my brother from another mother will come over and we'll talk a little, but as of late we don't seem to have a whole lot to talk about. We've kind of become a bit more distant in the past few years.

Lately I've noticed a change in myself, and my little brother was trying to point it out, but I only proved him right by blowing up in his face about it. I'm becoming just like my siblings. I can't seem to say anything nice about my siblings anymore. I even cussed out my little brother, which is something I'm not accustomed to doing. What is wrong with me? Why am I doing this? I feel more like an animal, just as I've always thought of my siblings more like animals than humans the way they treat me, and yet now I'm becoming the same. This is not who I am, but yet I'm behaving like an insecure little teeny-bopper. What is that all about? Perhaps the strain of living in a home that is not a safe environment without much in the way of outside support is finally causing me to snap, but I thought that I was better than that.

The thing is, I don't know how much more of this life I'm living I can take. Outside of my house, the real me flourishes. I express myself without fear of being mocked or told I'm wrong. I even break free of the serious-self that everyone assumes me to be, and embrace some silliness. Yes, I can be a bit melodramatic, but what's the fun in living life in mediocrity? Outside of my house, I feel safe enough to express the big heart that I hide away from the scary monsters in my house. People who saw me at home, who only knew me from one setting or another outside of my house, would not recognize me. In my home, I'm a scared, dejected, and rejected little child who eats, sleeps, and does the chores his mother assigns him. I can't seem to escape the darkness that clouds this house and even on days that appear to be good, something goes horribly wrong and the day, like every other, becomes rather gloomy and hopeless.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

And I Thought My Jokes Were Bad...

When a white man talks poorly about black man, regardless of what the white man says, it's racist. When a man talks poorly about a woman, regardless of what the man says, it's sexist. When a straight person talks poorly about someone with uncertain sexual orientation, regardless of what the straight person says, it's homophobic. And when a Christian says something about someone of another faith, regardless of what the Christian says, it's religious discrimination. But when anyone says something about Christianity that is negative or offensive to Christians, it's considered exercising religious freedom. This is the standard for tolerance.

Tolerance, the very word puts a foul taste on my tongue and offends me like the most profane words uttered in the darkest lyrics of music. On the surface, tolerance sounds very exciting and like something we should all strive for; but the methodology and undertones of application of such a thing are anything but noble. When I was visiting the high school I was going to finish up my school year with, it was also the day of President Obama's inauguration. Everyone was glued to the television and my tour guide, an old friend from elementary school was bashing conservatives, the Republican Party (which I could care less about), and likened supporting Former President Bush to a blind lamb headed to the slaughter. He turned to me with a sheepish grin and asked if I was one of those conservative Republicans, and at first I cringed at the idea of being associated with the spineless rabble known as the Republican Party, I said yes and then quickly added a quote from Nietzsche to the effect of, "The most dangerous thing you can teach your children is to think lesser of those who think differently than you."

This dramatic moment elicited a response from the teacher of the journalism class I was in, an outspoken lesbian and supervising teacher of the school's Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club. She looked at me with an impressed crooked grin and said, "You sound like a pretty tolerant individual." After that I turned away and watched the procession on the television, hiding my disgust. For the record, I did not lie to anyone when I quoted Nietzsche and implied that that was what I believe. I believe it is important to educate children in such a way that they can entertain other people's ideas without agreeing with them. A person cannot make a logical decision without being able to see their options, and therefore if a child is not trained how to entertain ideas that are not their own, then they cannot make a conscious choice of what ideas are in fact theirs and what are ideas spoon-fed to them. This, my friends, is what the knowledgeable world calls, "Indoctrination."

The concept and the name, Tolerance, seem to contradict each other. The Left teaches a concept and calls it tolerance, but it is anything other than its name. We have seen this with responses to criticism of the Healthcare Plan. Most well known is probably Former President Jimmy Carter's blanket remark that criticism of President Obama is the result of racism on the part of the Right. This type of ignorance and irrational slander is infectiously spreading throughout the Left and its followers. The perversity of this kind of thinking is blatantly obvious, and if one does not see it, then that is likely because they refuse to see it. The Right is not racist, and I for one have nothing against the color of President Obama's skin. In fact, the other day I was discussing with my best friend how President Obama would be the kind of guy I would hang out with and simply agree to disagree with when it came to politics. He's smart, funny, bold, and a family man; what's not to like about that? Politically though, I couldn't be more opposed to him unless he openly denied my rights laid out the Bill of Rights.

After that exhausting rant, I'd like to switch gears and point out that I have provided links to a few different sites that I write for. The first one is my AllPoetry page. AllPoetry.com is a website for poets who want a place to post their poetry and receive comments from other poets on them. They're are contests for best poetry under various types of criteria, articles on how to write poetry, and much much more. I linked to it because I thought that some of you would be interested in reading my poetry and lyrics. I make a disclaimer here and now that the content of my poetry ranges from a G to PG-13 and to some, even R. Poetry is an outlet for my emotions, so I forewarn you all that not all of my poetry is saintly, but none of it is profane or obscene.

The next two are Star Trek themed Role-Playing Games (RPGs) also called simulations or sims. The general idea of an RPG/Sim is that each individual helps tell a collective story, a joint story as some have come to call it. With Federation Space, players take on a persona of Starfleet, Romulan Naval, or Klingon Imperial officer. Players are assigned to a starship, where they role play their custom designed character as being an officer aboard that starship. Players accumulate points for the quality of their posts along with whether or not their posts contributed to the overall story. The other one, Star Trek: Megiddo, takes place in the fictional region of space known to Star Trek fans as the Gamma Quadrant. Megiddo is the name of the colony established in a region of the Gamma Quadrant unknown to the Federation until a starship was transported there by a wormhole, similar to the way the wormhole was discovered in the Star Trek series, Deep Space Nine. Players here have a bit more versatile roles than on Federation Space, in that they can play an officer of Starfleet, a Romulan officer, or they can play any number of races as a civilian on the colony. Players do not earn points like on Federation Space, and promotions are given only once every two months (Federation Space has promotions and medal award ceremonies every month). Players on Megiddo are awarded promotions solely at the recommendation of their commanding officer.

I know I may have just convinced some of you that I'm an absolute nerd, and while I am intellectually a nerd; Star Trek is simply something I grew up with and couldn't help but like it. I mean, honestly? What 5 year-old boy wouldn't love spaceships blowing each other with bald guys running shouting in a very British accent, "I'm Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the U.S.S. Enterprise." Anyways, I really like Star Trek, and if you don't like it then you can practice tolerance and just deal with it. ;)

Live long and prosper, I mean, until next time,
De Facto

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Playing Match-Maker

Earlier this evening a friend was feeling down, and so I devised a plan to cheer her a up a little. You see, I know this guy who loves her to death. He's just crazy about her and can't stand being without her, and not in the clingy annoying type- no, he just has this infatuation with her that's infectiously pure and honest. Heck, he doesn't just waltz into her house when he's invited over, he actually stands at the door and knocks until she answers it. What does he want from her? A relationship, you know, the kind where you're open and honest about everything to the point where the couple know each other like the back of their own hand. He's written a book of love letters to her, which is so many pages long that I couldn't read it in one sitting if I wanted to. The thing that's so incredible is that his father wrote their love story a long time ago, and now this guy is out to make it come true. I should clarify he has two fathers, one that was an adoptive father who took care of him as a child, and then his actual father whom he did all his work for. His adoptive father was a carpenter, and it may seem strange that a this Jewish carpenter's son would have such love for her, but the truth is; there's nothing he'd rather do than pursue her and spend his time with her.

Most of you have figured out what I'm talking about by now, and hopefully there were a few who knew what I was talking about sooner than the last couple sentences of the first paragraph. The most important thing is that you know that all that I said in the first paragraph applies to the Bride of Christ. Who is the Bride of Christ? We are, all of us who have decided to take up our crosses and followed Him. So many people forget just what it's like for Jesus, that He loves us so much He can't stand it when we neglect to spend time with Him. He's not a pervert or a clingy annoying boyfriend who sends you a million-gazillion texts a day because he has nothing better to do. No, instead he speaks to you in a still small voice that quickens your heart to come. He's not a loud or boisterous party animal who thinks that wherever He goes is His own territory (although technically it is), but instead He stands at the door of your heart and knocks. He loves to listen to you, to hear your thoughts on things and to know what worries you have. He wants the best for you in every circumstance and is willing to go the extra mile in order for you to achieve it. He wants you to tell Him every care, to cast it on Him, because He cares for you. He truly Loves you.

Now that I've shown you all how much He desires to have a relationship with His Bride, I'm going to go spend some time with Him.

Until next time,
De Facto

Do You Know Better?

According to an article which was brought to my attention by the American Family Association (AFA), Mark Hourigan, a registered sex offender was ordained at the City of Refuge Worship Center in Germantown, Kentucky. This is causing quite a stir in the Christian community and among the community of those abused by their religious authoritarian figures. For me, it's also upsetting, but not for the same reason that everyone else is getting all up in arms for. It's upsetting to me that people are so quick to cast judgment on this man without even bothering to think about the type of people God uses to do His work, as if you all know what kind of person can do His work and who can't.

Yes, it's true that he was charged for sexually assaulting young boys, a crime that has caused a lot of problems in the Catholic Church. The question that all of you have to ask yourselves is, "Can people change? Can sex offenders change?" If you don't believe that people can change, then you also don't believe salvation is possible, and therefore we're all in trouble. The Bible says that when you become a disciple of Christ that you are new creature in Him, that you know the truth and truth sets you free. The Bible also says that now that we are of the Spirit of God, we are no longer of the flesh. If we are of the flesh, then we cannot be of the Spirit of God. It stands to reason that if this Pastor Mark were serious about his ordination, then he would have renounced his old ways and taken up his cross to follow Christ.

The truth is that God does not need Holy Joes and Pure Penelopes trying to work their way into positions of authority within His Church. The Church is merely the people who make up the Body of Christ, and that's all of God's children. So in that sense, we are all equals, but the Bible is clear that there are divinely given gifts called the Five Fold Gifts. We are called to use these gifts to uplift each other, but as of late leadership within Church has turned man-ward instead of Heavenward. Any leader, of anything, should be the servant of the people he or she has under their followership; that is and has been the rule of leadership since the beginning time. Unfortunately, this brand of leadership has been nearly obliterated and in its stead a selfish and power-hungry leadership structure has become commonplace.

God does not call the equipped like Holy Joe and Pure Penelope, but He equips the Called. God has called all of us to do something, but what is up to God, not you. Too many people want to be something that they are not called to be, as if they know better than God what they should be doing; God doesn't stop you, but He doesn't bless what you're doing. Another thing, which brings this whole thing back to what my point with newly ordained Pastor Mark Hourigan, is that God loves to take the wretches and filthy sinners and use them to bring Him the most glory. He took a murderer like Moses and made him the leader of the Hebrew children. He took a liar like Jacob and with tenacity and determination, blessed him and his family. He took a lowly scribes' daughter and made her queen over a nation and save the her people. He took a man like Joseph, despised and cast down into slavery by his own flesh and blood, then rose him up to Pharaoh's second in command and helped his family survive the famine. He took a prostitute like Rahab and used her to harbor the spies who eventually allowed the Hebrew children to bring down the city. He took a thief like Levi and made him into the disciple Matthew. He took a pair of fishermen like Simon and Andrew and made them into disciples. He took a murderer like Paul and made him the spiritual guardian of the Church and the author of more than half of all the books in the New Testament.

So I ask, do you know better than God who can serve as an ordained minister? Can Mark Hourigan fulfill his pastoral duties? He certainly fits the bill of a person God would take and use for this purpose. Do you know better than God?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chasing the Wisp

Ever taken on a task that you felt was so noble and worth while that you were willing to do the seemingly impossible? How much have you been willing to sacrifice to accomplish the task? If you're thinking of your walk with Christ, that's good, but not what I'm talking about. However, it does mean that in some way you can relate to how I'm feeling. Whether you are an elder in the faith, or a newborn papoose just experiencing the fullness of God's Love for the first time, you may still be able to relate based on our calling from Romans 8 to be of the Spirit of God and not of the flesh; one or the other, not both.

"Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice: It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved." - Jean de La Fontaine

Sometimes I want to compare what I'm doing to a lion chasing a deer, but that is quite inaccurate for I am not in hot pursuit with the promise of impending reward for such efforts. No, my task is one that is long and tiresome, but requires constant vigilance and has no promise of any reward except the whatever thrill comes of taking on the task. Granted, if I succeed at my task there is a variable element that could make my task all for naught- or perhaps not. That is the question I ask you and I will put in the terms of an analogy to explain further my dilemma. Try to not focus on individual details half as much as the overarching story, since I'm trying to be too complex a few things may throw you for a loop if you get too caught up on the finer points of it.

A baker has a successful shop in the town which he sells his goods, however the town has already expanded to it's maximum capacity and is showing signs of the population dwindling due to people relocating, lack of reproduction, and other causes not relevant to the analogy. He knows that there is a city not a great distance away where if he could relocate his business then he could maintain his successful shop. He knows a man who owns a building in this city and could easily use the building for his shop. The baker has to prepare and move all of his equipment to this city, effectively closing down his shop in the town he currently provides for. All this would take approximately two years to accomplish, but there is no guarantee that the man in this city will sell his building to the baker and if the baker cannot buy the building, then he has just lost both his bakery in the town and his ability to set-up a new shop in the city. The man who owns the building is a shrewd business man and will not commit to selling his building to the baker prematurely, but instead wants to wait until the best offer comes. The baker can only do his best to offer all that he has, which means he has to sell his shop in the town in order to have enough money to offer the man in the city for the building.

Now, given the analogy what would you do being the baker?

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Will Never Forget, Will You?

I've only told a handful of people my 9/11 story. Lots of people have told stories about where they were and what happened when they found out, but not me. For reasons I'd rather not go into at this time, I can tell you that I felt more connected to 9/11 than anyone else around me. I felt this way because I was around the news nearly all day every day. Before I get too far, I'll back up and tell the story from the beginning.

It was a normal day for the most part, the day after my birthday, I had just turned 11. I was biking to school as I had done every day and was unaware of what had happened in New York. There was a woman and her son that I often saw as we crossed the busy road with guidance of the safety patrol. Her young 2nd grader (or was it 1st?) was muttering about how he hoped his grandpa was okay. This kid was a spoiled brat as far as I was concerned, but in an attempt to be charitable (loving), I asked him what he meant. He told me that some kind of explosion had happened in New York and that his grandpa was in the area where it had happened. "What?!" I asked in disbelief. The mother was quite beside herself, puffing away at her cancerettes, she managed to form semi-cohesive sentences to the effect of, " There was a plane crash and an explosion and people are dead or dying and the whole world is in chaos." She turned away from me and walked away.

I was dumbstruck. What she meant? No. Flippin'. Clue. I thought maybe it was some cruel joke, another part of me thought maybe there had been a really bad car crash and a car exploded like in the movies. When I got into class the television was on and everyone was silent except for a few girls who were sniffling and trying to keep their crying to a dull roar. My teacher, one of the most patient and understanding men I've ever known, was quite beside himself although he didn't show it like that crazy mom taking her kid to school. He let us watch for about a half an hour or so, long enough for us to get an idea of what was happening. After that we wrote down how we were feeling, what our thoughts were, and our prayers. I remember half the class kept asking how to spell "Osama Bin Laden" and "Al-Qaeda." At the time I thought Al-Qaeda was a person.

I remember going home; that was pretty much the only thing my family watched. The news. It didn't matter which station since they were all covering the same story, but at the time it was tuned to CNN. I remember eating popcorn while my mom cried as she watched video taken earlier in the day of people thrashing around in the ash and debris dust clouds trying to find their away from the buildings. I remember thinking it was a really sick thing to be eating popcorn while watching that, and my mother was upset because she felt like I was unaware of what was happening. Obviously, she was wrong, and I couldn't have been more aware of what was happening unless I had been there. All I could think of was this attack on the World Trade Center buildings and how much I hated Bin Laden. There was nothing in the world that I wanted more than to see that man die some way that was painful, and televised for all the world to see. I had dreams about him, the World Trade Center buildings, and all kinds of things like that. I also had the song, "Only Time" by Enya stuck in my head thanks to a virulent video that floated around the Internet which really put my mother in a foul mood every time she watched it. It was basically a slide show of horrible images from the attack to the aforementioned song.

Over the years, I feel like people are starting to forget, or at least they're starting to "move on" as if there was anything to move on from. The buildings are gone. GONE! 2,740 Americans obliterated by a single event, not to mention the 236 non-Americans dead, not even half of which were people who were apart of the attack. I understand it if people don't want to be groveling in their sorrow all day today, but honestly if we could take more than 59 seconds to reflect on that day... Reflect on what happened that morning and give thanks to God that we are still alive and that we still remember. We have lost so much from that attack, but also gained so much more. Thinking back to that time, I remember how united we were as a people. I don't think I've ever seen such unity in America as that. I don't think I've ever seen so many nations unified as they were during that time. I remember seeing footage of some young women from Norway (I think) who were just sobbing their eyes out as they trembled and held their vigil candles. I remember seeing large crowds in England gathering, crying, hugging, and just expressing their deepest sadness.

I'm sitting upright in my bed typing this, beginning to feel very emotional as these memories become more vivid to me. I believe this is important. Remembering more than just the deaths, more than just the destruction, but remembering the unity we had. Remember our resolve to "find those bastards" as Former President George W. Bush said. If we forget, we spit on the graves of all those innocent people who died. Regardless of who was behind the attacks, as some still argue there is ambiguity, the fact is that it happened and it was real and what happened afterward was real too. We cannot deny that much without denying reality.

Below are a couple graphics I composed using the image and adding text. If you're easily offended the second picture may strike you as crass.

Never Forgetting, Never Forgiving,
De Facto





Tuesday, September 8, 2009

When I Was Five

When children are five there are so many things about them that just boggle adult minds. The way they are so ignorant to the way the world really works, and have such simple solutions to complex problems. They're so innocent and understand nothing of evil or of wrong motive. They only know what they see at home, on their television, and in their preschool class. They have such impressionable minds and are so trusting to those who are kind, yet at the same time they can sense when someone has ill intentions as if it were a sixth sense. A five year old is probably the pinnacle of human innocence colliding with human potential and intelligence. A five year old reasons like an adult, but because they do not know everything an adult knows they reason within the limited scope of their knowledge. Just talking about this makes me long to be a five year old again, maybe it's nostalgia, or maybe it's because I was being developed into a precocious child. Whatever the reason, there's one thing I don't regret doing at that age that was something I couldn't fully understand being as young as I was.

For whatever reason, I always asked my mom who I was going to marry. I asked her that question over and over, completely unaware of how complex of a question it was that I was asking. She would always tell me to pray for my future wife because only God knew who that was. Over the years I have kept that up sporadically, more so in these past few years than in my childhood, but all the same I didn't completely abandon the practice. When I think about it now I can't imagine what prompted me to even ask about my future wife except for the simple fact that perhaps God had given me, from such a young age, the desire to be a husband. That may seem far fetched to some of you who read this, but God talks about knitting us together in our mother's womb in Psalm 139 and so if then He knits us together, would that not also include our hopes, dreams, and aspirations?

When I was in 8th grade, or 15 years of age, I began to keep a journal to my future wife. I'm not sure why, but before this journal I have never been able to keep one. I had tried to keep journals/diaries, but in the end they would be forgotten and left behind for me discover years later and end up in the garbage. This one was different however, and I've been keeping it for almost four years now. When I started it, I wasn't sure what to write. I wrote all kinds of crazy things that I don't even want to repeat because it'll only make me want to burn that journal more. I'm a lengthy writer, and I eventually filled up one, then two, and today I'm on volume six of my journal to future wife. This one will take longer to fill, since it has more pages and I don't write as often or as much as I used to. What I've written in it has drastically changed. I used to talk about what I want in life, but now I talk about what I have in life and thank God for the blessings He has given me.

My hope is that when my future wife finishes reading the entire collection she'll see where I've come from and understand how much I grew over the years. If you don't know what I mean, I'll paint you a picture... I was so immature when I first started writing in the journal to my future wife that now I have to restrain myself from burning it because it is so embarrassing to think that I'm going to let someone who is stuck with me for the rest of her days read that horrible mess of childish writings. Anyway, so I've been writing in this, and although I do still pray for my future wife, I spend more time writing. I'm not sure if it's a bad thing that I spend more time writing to her than I do praying for her, but honestly there is only so much I can say and even then I can't pray in tongues indefinitely.

Well, that's pretty much all I have to say on the subject matter. This and other similar topics have been on my mind and I needed to kind of vent some of it, so I thought a blog entry would be fitting.

Until next time,
De Facto

P.S. - Here's a little graphic I composed with a picture, text, and icon sticker.

Friday, September 4, 2009

An Apology (In the most archaic sense of the word)

Recent events have led to the inevitable, and although I have made previous attempts to set up blogs for such purposes and all that. It was not until a concerned parent raised unfounded claims against me over a note I had written on Facebook that I realized that there were too many lazy eyes wondering around getting their noses into business that doesn't concern them. The truth always wins out and all the accusations against me were cleared almost an hour after being raised against me, but I didn't and won't forget incident, instead I will learn. It's sad that good people will inconvenience me to satisfy their superstitious ignorance all in the name of God. Surely, this cannot be the same God that I worship, can it? Unfortunately, it is so. But enough about them, they've already gotten more credit than is due to them.

This blog will be where I post my serious thoughts. Some of them I may copy over to Facebook, because not everyone who checks my profile will visit this blog, but some will. Still, I can't begin to describe the utter frustration I feel knowing that I had to setup a whole blog just to avoid being lumped in with devil worshipers, witches, wizards, warlocks, goons, bafoons, and the likes of which become absurd if mentioned. The surest sign that evolution does not exist is the fact that humans are still capable of irrational judgments based on fear and ignorance.

For the record, Homeward Bound Theatre Company and it's staff, affiliates, and otherwise connected associates cannot be held responsible for any content posted on this blog. They are not to be contacted regarded grievances against what is posted here. Complaints can posted as comments on my blog. I invite criticism that is correctly spelled and grammatically sound, profanity free, and constructive. There is no need for tearing down fellow brothers and sisters, as there are already enough enemies out to tear us down. We need to embrace love and truth in order to be unified. I cannot make anyone do this, however I can lead a horse to water.

Anyways, I've made my apology (archaic use of the word.) How about yours?

Sincerely,
De Facto