Thursday, November 25, 2010

Citizen of Heaven

I mentioned in The Drunk, The Waiter, and A Conservative Heretic that I would explain my views more adequately one of these days. Today is one of these days. I've been cultivating these views for a couple years now and I'm finally seeing the ideology come from infancy to something more mature. I called myself a conservative heretic because although I have been conservative for the majority of my life; I feel like there is too many complexities in this life to stick to labels and parties, and that's an important revelation. I've heard a lot of conservatives say the same thing, "Oh yeah, that's why I don't call myself a Republican," they say to me. I don't buy that line of carp(sic) at all, and why not? Because that's the same thing I used to say when I was 15. It's a cliche amongst conservatives and I'm getting really tired of hearing it, especially coming from Christians or followers of Jesus.

Poverty and Social Justice


For too long taking care of the homeless, poor, and oppressed has been an issue for one side of the political divide, but I feel that if you are a follower of Jesus then you should be more mindful of the needy. I am not saying it is wrong to have money, but to need it and horde it because you're looking after yourself above all else is wrong. Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself, which means as if s/he were you. Therefore we can reasonably assume that in a world where the dollar is god, we must choose to carry our cross and follow Him. I've watched The Passion and read the story of the Crucifixion several times and I don't recall Jesus carrying a stack of Benjamins with him to the hill they called the Skull. It's very hard to abandon what we've all been raised to appreciate, and that is capitalism, but we must stop thinking in terms of the best of a bad situation. Capitalism is the best way to make money and run a business, but it is not the best way to run the Church. For many of us who were raised in "good Christian homes" of conservative slant have always seen one side of the spectrum, but Jesus saw the full spectrum.

Abortion


Abortion is murder, but in our eagerness to stop the murder are we sending the wrong message to confused pregnant women or those who have already gone through an abortion? Those of us who have always stood very conservatively on the abortion issue have been very adamant that abortion is murder, but then shall we call the woman who had an abortion a murderer? Shall we call the doctor who perform these procedures murderers? If the struggle we wage is not against flesh and bone, are they not all pawns in an epic battle for the souls of every man? Yes, we have free will and yes, there is always a choice; but how long have we looked at the problem as an issue of seeing abortion as murder? When will we start to look at the issues that brought about the misconception that we need abortion in the first place? When will we start reaching out to the women who have had abortions and offer them the message of healing that Jesus offers though the stripes He took on the Cross?

Earth and the Environment


Regardless of what you believe about Global Warming, if you are a follower of Jesus then you are steward of the Earth. A steward is responsible for the well-being and flourishing of whatever is in his or her care. As stewards of the Earth, we have the monumental task of taking care of the Earth and helping it flourish. Eliminating the Global Warming portion of the argument, we cannot call ourselves followers of Jesus, children of God, and ignore taking care of Earth. It's wholly selfish and sinful to cherry-pick the issues we want to be concerned about when Jesus asks us to abandon our old lives and follow Him. The fields are ready, but the workers few; who will answer the call to work? Everyone is called, but only those who submit themselves can be equipped for the work that's ahead.

Homosexual Marriage


Let's eliminate the question of whether same-sex marriage is moral or not, because I think that question will answer itself when we answer a few different questions first. The first question is whether everyone needs love? Yes. Do people search for love by having sex? Yes. Why would homosexuals be any different than heterosexuals who have sex looking for love? All sin is simply sin to God, so why do we treat homosexuality like it's any different from fornication? Sure, homosexuality may be repulsive to you, but fornication isn't it? I think the issue is that you've become numb to fornication, but homosexuality is still a fresh odor in your nose and you're reacting to it. Another question, does God love everyone and desire them to spend their immortal lives with Him? Yes. Are we supposed to reflect that same love and desire for their salvation to everyone we meet? Yes. Therefore, we can conclude that our priorities are wrong if our focus is on defending the sanctity of marriage. Folks, no government can truly take away the sanctity of marriage, because what is sanctified by God is sanctified by God, not man. The only thing the government can do is take away our illusion that the government is somehow tied to our practice of marriage as if government has anything to do with it.

Patriotism


Patriotism is at best idolatry. I realize that may be very hard for some to accept, after all aren't God-fearing men and women of America patriots? The fact of the matter is that because of Jesus we have been given dual-citizenship, but after making a decision to follow Christ you are choosing to forsake your citizenship to this world and taking up a citizenship in Heaven. The government will say you belong to the country you live in, but that is only the skin and bones for they do not own your soul. We are commanded to be respectful to the Earthly governments, which means no violent protesting or anything like that, but we are by no means supposed to be loyal to our governments.

Violence and War


Let me start by saying that I do not condemn soldiers, police, or the average citizen of America who chooses to carry a weapon. Thing is, those who live by the sword will die by it, and yet it seems that the only way we as humans know how to solve problems is through violence and destruction. As followers of Jesus, we are not supposed to do what the rest of the world does; war is their solution, but not our solution. The only way that we should be waging war is through prayer and worship, but beyond that we would be in the wrong.



That was a lot to take in, wasn't it? You'll notice I didn't put references in places where I quoted Scripture, and that's for the simple fact that this is not only for followers of Jesus, but for those watching the parade. If you have any questions or need a reference to a Scripture, just leave a comment down below and I will be happy to dig it up for you. Folks, I didn't write this up so that you could silently agree or disagree, if you have thoughts on this then please comment and let your voice be heard (or your type be read, as it were.) A lot of my conservative friends may be challenged by what I'm saying, or maybe they wont, but ladies and gentlemen we should not be content to watch the world suffer when we lack hardly anything at all.

Hoc est verum,
De Facto

Sunday, November 21, 2010

They Honor Me With Their Lips...

Many people are flocking to the theaters to see the newest release, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1. Some have mused over the competition Harry Potter has with the Twilight saga, both with two part conclusions. All the while there's a small group of folks who feel the need to have their say about the whole thing with a very dark and negative tone. It's towards this small group that I am directing this entry to, because while they are a small group; those effected by this group are large in number.

I have read all four books in the Twilight saga and all seven books in the Harry Potter series. I've seen the film versions of Twilight and the first three Harry Potter films. I enjoyed the Harry Potter books as well as the first and third books in the Twilight saga. The Harry Potter movies were sub-par in my opinion, and the Twilight movie was crap. More importantly, I have studied witchcraft of both Eastern and Western craft. There is a lot to understand about both of those and I cannot claim to be an expert, but I must establish that I am more familiar with those arts than most. I can safely say that Harry Potter magic is nothing like real witchcraft. Yes, there is the possibility that impressionable minds could be encouraged to discover the real witchcraft. There's also a possibility my kid could watch Star Wars and decide he's going be a Jedi Knight like Luke Skywalker, so I'll have to put up with him wanting to wave his hand every time he comes up to an automatic door as he pretends to have opened with the Force.

They say that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Sometimes, I am astounded just how profoundly true this is. This small group of naysayers, who preach that those who like Twilight and Harry Potter are into devil worship or tinkering with the occult could take a lesson in history. Flip back your calenders to the early 1950's. Rock 'n' Roll was on the rise and honest preachers of the Gospel began to set their sights on keeping their congregations away from the devil's music. While some preachers and pastors simply made it a point to encourage their flock to stick with the hymns, others went on a campaign against rock music to such a degree that it was a choice between rock music or Jesus. For a decade "Christian soldiers" irreverently reamed the Gospel up the arses of their church folk, turning many young people away from God altogether. In the 1960's the drug culture and sexual revolution in America hit like a tsunami in combination with massively popular rock artists of the time. Most of those little church boys and girls in the 1950's were leaving home and into the most dangerous world imaginable, the colleges; the slaughterhouse for those youth who had previously been kept in check by their parents. Professors in the '60s were exposing their students to all kinds of experimental and theoretical philosophies of Eastern thinkers warped by political agendas and anti-war sentiments. In spite of this, God managed to pull of lot of that generation back to His side, but it wasn't without a lot of effort on the part of real Christian soldiers like Larry Norman, Greg X Voltz and Bob Hartman in '70s who brought a new spin on rock music.

I look at what's happening with Twilight and Harry Potter and see much of the same thing today. There's definitely a legitimate concern about the obsession of the fringe fanatics, seeing as how they want to emulate their storybook heroes Edward, Jacob, Harry, Hermione, and Ron. They might actually try to get into witchcraft or vampire occultism. For most though, the reader perceives witchcraft and vampires/werewolves as literary devices to explore deeper issues. I don't see a whole lot of those same naysayers sounding the rally cry over Frank Peretti's book, The Oath, [SPOILER WARNING] which features a dragon that is really a demon. Are you, naysayers, going to now accuse anyone who likes dragons to be someone who worships demons? (By the way, spoilers end here.)

Christians, if you have not read the Harry Potter series or the Twilight Saga, but you're thinking about it; don't bother. There are a lot of books with better stories, while not as wildly popular at the moment, you will probably benefit more from reading these others books. If you want to read the books just so that you can say you've read them, go ahead, but you won't be any better for it. In fact, if you were to read the books so you could say you've read them, wouldn't you just be conforming to the patterns of this world contrary to Scripture? ( Romans 12:2 ) Just something to think about before reading Harry Potter and Twilight. I'd recommend The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, Wormwood G.P. Taylor, The Circle Series by Ted Dekker (also known as Black, Red, Green, White); Monster, The Oath, The Prophet, The Visitation, This Present Darkness, and Piercing The Darkness by Frank Peretti. If you've read all of these and need more reading material, just leave a comment on this entry.

Naysayers, check yourselves... Do you really want to be responsible for another generation turning away from God because you're a little too eager to judge a whole generation for the reactions of a few and far between? Are you going to irreverently ream the Gospel up the arses of this generation? It didn't feel good when you were a kid, so why would you do it to them? How important is it to you that you have your say on the matter instead of letting God's Word speak for itself? Remember that this isn't about you or your piety and adherence to God's letter of the law, because in reality there isn't any of that. There is only the love of God through Jesus Christ; loving your neighbor as yourself. Can you bash those who read Twilight/Harry Potter and love your neighbor at the same time? Tread carefully, my brothers in sisters in faith, for you are walking on eggshells.

Hoc est verum,
De Facto

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Drunk, The Waiter, and A Conservative Heretic

It's weird that just shy of week after writing about anger and controlling it, I get one of the biggest tests of my self-control. A woman who looked familiar, but I couldn't be certain, came into the gas station where I work with two friends. At first I thought all three were drunk, and I was going to call the police because I don't want to allow intoxicated drivers back onto the streets. I waited and watched and then the woman who I thought I recognized came to the register to checkout and asked for a pack of Marlboro Reds. I told her I needed to see her ID, but she refused rather nonchalantly. I explained to her that I am required to card everyone, no matter how old, for tobacco products.

At this point the woman was joined by her sober male friend who tried to buy the cigarettes using his ID, but she started yelling and swearing. At this point, I just ignored the woman and focused on her other companion, a sober female who was trying to diffuse the situation by explaining (as only friends can do) to the drunk why I had to see her ID. The drunk just continued to raise her voice at me, while I just refused to ring up the cigarettes, and finally the sober female friend asked if she could use her ID, to which I agreed, since I was all too willing to make the transaction go quicker. Finally, the drunk woman dropped fourteen dollars on the counter and at the recommendation of her sober female friend, went to the car and waited for the sale to close. The sober female companion tried to apologize to which I said, "Well, she's drunk, but she's lucky she's a lady or I would have some unkind words for her." I was still pretty shaken up throughout the rest of my shift and decided that I'm going to refuse service to any and all drunks, to the degree that if I even see them walk through the door I will demand they leave or I will call the police. My co-worker said it was a good thing I handled the drunk woman, because he said that if it had been him he would have been really angry at that point.

The same night a man, who was a waiter for the local Perkins, paid for a few items with a $100 bill. There are two types of payment I hate: checks and large bills. Now, if your total is $89.62 and you pay with large bills, then I might be quite relieved that I don't have to count so many little ones. This guy bought a couple of drinks and a snack item. I had no $20 bills, so I called my co-worker to the register to help me acquire change for the $100 bill. While I was trying to get things straightened out, another man was pestering me about some cigarillos. I got him the kind he wanted, but I still had to see his ID, since I can't sell any tobacco/tobacco-related products; unfortunately he left his money upon receiving the cigarillos and was gone. After all was said and done, I had to break with protocol and use the "Over 40" button, a choice which could cost me my employment. When the dust settled on that fiasco, I ended up paying out of my own pocket because the guy didn't give me enough money to cover taxes. I broke so many rules in ten minutes flat, I can believe I still have a job.

So I may not have gotten angry when I had the right to, but I don't feel any better really. Sadly enough, I couldn't stop thinking about that drunk woman, and about how much I want to tell her what a horrible person she is the next time I see her when she's sober. I seriously want her to come back when she's sober, so I can tell her what she did to me and then tell her to leave before I call the police. Perhaps I didn't get angry because I internalized my feelings to the point where they were suppressed and now they are beginning to surface as I think about it. I just don't understand how some people can think that this woman's behavior is funny, after all her behavior is pretty normal for drunk people. If they don't get their way, they throw childish temper tantrums like the one that happened over the ID with this woman. In what universe is such behavior acceptably humorous? And since when does anyone ever want to be like that? Oh sure, they're drunk, therefore they can't be held responsible for their behavior. WRONG! You can bet that if someone chooses to get drunk, I'll hold them accountable for every bad decision made thereafter.

Anyways, one more thing before I conclude this entry. President Obama wrote a new book called, Of Thee I sing: A Letter to My Daughters. This book is very short and features some personal heroes of our president. Fox News got wind of this book and immediately went into slander mode, since President Obama is a Democrat, he's good for nothing else, right? Fox News decided that they were going to fault President Obama for putting a "controversial figure" in his book. Who was this figure whose the cause for riling the neanderthals at Fox? Marx? Lenin? Tsung? Che? Hitler himself? Nope, Sitting Bull of the Lakota Sioux tribe. This is the part where you have to act like your scarred by the idea our President could consider him a hero. The reason why Fox News thinks Sitting Bull is such a negative character is because he killed a U.S. General. Ok, to set the record straight, General Custer was sent to remove Sitting Bull and the Sioux people from THEIR LAND. Yeah, the Sioux killed Custer and his men in defiance to the U.S. government, but history tells a slightly story. Custer was really crummy military leader, and although he had ample resources to force Sitting Bull and the Sioux to relocate; the Sioux managed to route and slaughter Custer's men. In modern times, if a general did that, there would be criminal charges brought against the general for gross negligence that would likely result in the loss of commission and probably a life-long prison sentence. Custer died in the confrontation with the Sioux, so in essence he got off with a slap on the wrist. Fox News doesn't care that they're distorting the truth to slander the President of the United States.

In conclusion, let me say that some of you are probably confused. Those who know me well enough know that I have stood very conservative in my stance on many issues, even voted for a few Republican candidates, but one of these days I will write a blog about what I really believe and explain everything more fully. Whatever you do, don't read my blog with an open mind, it just might expose you to something outside of your conventional thinking. God forbid, you might even agree with me... Ok, I'll stop now, I'm being mean.

Hoc est verum,
De Facto

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Conviction About Family

It's really hard to talk about this because I'm surrounded by people who have strong family units, not perfect, but strongly knit. I've struggle with envying those who get along with their siblings, who can go a day without fighting, and who have great relationships with their parents. Anyways, within the past couple weeks I've been pouring my heart out to God and He's been showing me things, teaching me things, and stretching me in ways that I was previously inflexible. Lately, I feel like God wants me to start treating the women in my family better. I hardly ever see my mom anymore since I go to work when she goes to bed, and I come home when she goes to work. My younger sister is off at college, and my baby sister is hardly home because she's either at work or school. For a while, I was kind of wondering how that would possible since I'm hardly in contact with them anymore.

That's when I heard that my younger sister is getting static from people because of her stance on same-sex marriage, being on the unpopular side of the issue, and said to my, "I want to be a Christian, it's just hard." So what did I do? I wrote her a letter from my heart about being persecuted and understanding that the world doesn't really hate us; they hate who is in us, the Truth has that effect on people. Then the weather got really rather testy in my little portion of the world, and so I now have the opportunity to scrape the windows of the car she drives as well as start the car a few minutes before she leaves. And finally, my mom had skin cancer removed from her nose, which required a skin graft to cover the area of her nose they took. I've found I have helped her by being honest about the scar the graft left, because I think she's way too self-conscious about it; who wouldn't be though?

So last night at a meeting when we talked about what to pay attention to in a significant other, I got confirmation that God is starting to teach me how to be a better man for my future wife. For those who don't know: women should look at the way their boyfriend/male interest treats the women in his family and in particular his mother. Men should pay attention to the way their girlfriend treats the men in her family, particularly her father. Men do need to be aware that if their girlfriend/female interest has been abused in any way by her father, there's a certain amount of grace that you need to afford for her and the way she treats her father. However, in that situation, what men need to pay attention to is if she is transferring, meaning projecting the wrongs done to her by her father onto you (the boyfriend.)

Folks, this doesn't mean that I'm ready for a girlfriend or anything like that. In fact, I'm at a point in my life where I'm certain that I'm not ready for a relationship. God is preparing me, but He could take a year or ten years (please, Lord, don't take that long.) And while there is a desire in my heart to find my life-long partner, I also know that I can't truly love a woman without knowing the love of God. For now, I'm pretty content building my relationship with the Lover Of My Soul. Waiting for my future wife used to be a chore and that's probably because I was too immature to understand what it meant to really wait, yet now I find myself content to rest in His love.

Hoc est verum
De Facto

P.S. - I realize that this entry isn't very well written. I'm really off my sleep schedule and my head is kind of spinning from that.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In Anger, Sin Not

"Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath[...]" - Ephesians 4:26

Recently I've suffered a major blow beneath the belt from someone in spiritual authority over me, the details of which I am not at liberty to discuss except with the closest of company, and I want to make an honest assessment of how I reacted.

It started on Monday night when I stormed out of a meeting and drove home, leaving my personal belongings at the meeting; which someone else graciously took for me. That was definitely not the appropriate response. Yes, I was tempted to speak in anger and possibly do more damage than storming out of the meeting, but I could have sat down and kept my peace until after the meeting to speak freely in private with the person who offended me. As I was driving home I didn't even want to listen to Christian music, something that indicates I'm having a moment of raw immaturity, and bought a pack of cigarettes. (Sarcasm: 'Cause we all know that will make things better...)

I'm going to go on a tangent for a moment, and say that when using a cross as a symbolic tool for ministry, it should be treated as though it were the very Cross that Jesus bled and died on. This may come across as a religious (read: dead works) sentiment that some people would like to write off, but after the things that happened on Monday night, I feel strongly that we defile the Cross when we use an imitation as a symbolic representation and then misuse it for our own purposes. For example, if you were to use a cross in human video, don't then take it after rehearsal and pretend it is a guitar or a giant sword to be used as a weapon of carnal warfare. Instead, you should put it away and leave it alone. To do otherwise, I feel, is to defile the Cross. Again, don't get your knickers in a knot as if I'm trying to lay down the law of how to treat crosses, because I am not. I am sharing with you how I feel personally about treating a cross used symbolically for ministry as the Cross.

Back to my assessment, I went home, but on the drive to my house I was very tempted to throw my phone out the window I was so upset (not exactly angry, shaken is more like it); I just did not want someone from the meeting to call me. When I got home I told my parents what happened. I did use the A-word, although some could say that I in fact used it properly, but in my heart I was using it for shock value and therefore it might as well have been F-word. After that I went to my room and stewed over the situation. I sent the person who took my stuff a text explaining my perspective of the events that happened at the meeting and then spent the rest of the night writing. The next day I called the person who offended me and apologized for my reaction at the meeting and explained to them why I reacted in that manner. The person called back, but I did not answer because I was afraid that I would say something I'd later regret. That was probably a wise choice because I was still pretty shaken up about the events that happened at meeting. The person left a voicemail basically saying that they were not going to acknowledge any wrongdoing and that I was not owning up to all of my faults and proceeded to list these faults. The first time I listened to this voicemail, I literally did not make it through the whole voicemail before throwing my phone against the wall.

Well, that was really immature of me. I kind of chuckle now, seeing as how childish I was being, that I let someone get under my skin like that. I'm sure a lot of people have felt that way at times, though most people manage not to chuck their phone. I was using a lot of profanity as I rifled through my cluttered desk and things looking for that little phone battery, but did not find it. After about 20 minutes of looking around for it in vain, I bit my lip and drove to the store and bought the cheapest phone I could find. When I had gotten home and charged my phone, I listened to the voicemail that had stirred me to anger in a way which I reacted by throwing my first phone, and listened the whole way through. There was nothing new on the message, the gist of which I had caught the first time. So I went to bed and was relieved that I did not have to go to work that night since it was already 15:42.

I could write myself a grade and score myself based on the positive reactions and negative reactions, but that's not how God operates. Sin is sin. (James 2:10) Fortunately, God has already paid for the price of my immaturity and lack of restraint; He forgives me even though I don't deserve forgiveness. (1 John 1:9) So how did I do? I failed miserably, but the grace of Jesus Christ has covered that and is teaching me to seek Him for a solution to temptation. (1 Corinthians 10:13) God will use this for His purpose, even if I can't see exactly what that purpose is. (Romans 8:28)

I'm not doing this for glory, but for transparency. Do not misunderstand my conclusion, I made mistakes and what I did was wrong, and the sacrifice of Jesus does not justify what I did. The grace of God simply means that I do not have wallow in guilt, because I am blameless in His sight. I want you all to know that I am not perfect, I am still partly human and slowly dying to my flesh, but not there yet.

Hoc est verum,
De Facto

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My FedSpace Blog

It's kind of weird to write a blog entry about another blog, especially when it's your own because it kind of sounds conceited. In reality though, I'm more just using this new blog I'm keeping as an excuse to promote Federation Space (affectionately referred to as FedSpace.) For those who don't know what Federation Space is, it's an online community of writers who enjoy writing collaborative fan-fiction, also known as role-playing based on the Star Trek universe 38 years after the events of Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and The Next Generation. Each person starts out with an account under the name and rank of their character, but all new players with few exceptions start with the rank of Cadet. They go through the Academy, which is a training area for players who need to learn how to write using the FedSpace standard format. Alternately, a player can opt to test out of the Academy from the get-go, however I personally enjoyed my time writing in the Academy so much so that I didn't mind going through it three times. After a cadet graduates from the Academy they are promoted to the rank of Midshipman and stationed on either a starship or a space station.

Way back in the day, I had a character named Xavier Carlson. He was a doctor aboard the U.S.S. Gettysburg (I don't remember the registry), and after about a year and half of writing I ended up abandoning my character. I don't remember the details surrounding why I did, but I think part of had to do with the fact that at the time I struggled with creativity surrounding the realm of Star Trek. When I returned I wrote for another two years as Xavier Carlson, attaining the rank of Lieutenant and being promoted to Chief Medical Officer aboard the U.S.S. Sheridan, DD-4086. I got tired of writing about Xavier though, especially since I had other ideas floating around in my head that were incompatible with who I had shaped my character into. Xavier was an emotional disconnected human being suffering from two lifestyle choices, that of his human heritage, or that of his Vulcan training. The more he tried to fuse the two together, the more unable he was to function. I was so tired of writing about him that I actually got permission to kill him off and create a new character with the same rank and points. Oh, yeah, the points; we get points based on the frequency and quality of our writing entries (referred to as posts) awarded to us on the first of each month. When a player reaches a certain number of points they are promoted to the next rank.

This new character that I created is named Fayn Desmond. His last name is said and written first, as is the custom with Bajorans. Desmond is the Chief Tactical Officer aboard the U.S.S. Sheridan, DD-4086. By the way, I love the crew of the Sheridan, the players behind each character are great people to write with. Anyway, shortly before I killed Xavier with an elaborate sub-plot (a plot that works behind the scenes of the main plot), I realized that it was very difficult to link to just one post to show to people and almost impossible to search for unless it was written very recently. That's when I decided that my new character would have his own blog, thus The Blog of Fayn Desmond was created. I copy all of my posts from FedSpace into the blog and post them individually as entries. Entries are ordered most recent to oldest and titled with the stardate and location of my character at the time.

Also, if anyone has any interest in joining you can find the site by visiting THIS link. If you mention my name character's name (Fayn Desmond), I get a few points for recruiting, but if you don't I'll just be happy we have a new player on the site. Either way, if you have any interest at all I encourage you to at least give it a try and sign up. Give it a go in the Academy, and if you like it keep at it!

Disclaimer: I feel the need to warn you that I do use profanity in my FedSpace writing. Yes, I realize that's probably disagreeable to many of Christly friends. Frankly though, I tried at first to use allusions to the use of swear words such as, "he cursed under his breath" and then I used swear word substitutes, but they just didn't have the same stylistic quality and realism as actual swear-words. However, I will never use the real F-word. I have in the past and it just seemed unnecessary after the fact. I use frak, a sanitized version of the F-word created for Battlestar Galactica, as a substitute which I think everyone can appreciate is close enough. On FedSpace, most profanities are censored by the filter and appear as red dots (exceptions are hell and damn), but I keep the profanities intact on my FedSpace blog.

Hoc est verum,
De Facto

P.S. - You probably noticed that I changed the title of my blog, and that was for the purpose of using a more grammatically accurate translation of the phrase "truth in practice."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Did You Even Try?

It's always bothered me when Christians say they don't listen to "Christian music"* because there's nothing good out there to listen to. I've always had an inkling of why this bothered me, but could never fully vocalize my feelings on the subject until now. The fact of the matter is that I feel that to say there is nothing good out there is inadvertently dishonest at best, and an outright lie at the core. The way the music industry works is that often times what is popular and what is good music is not always the same. Sometimes finding the good music takes painstaking searching, but most music lovers agree that the discovery makes the effort worthwhile.

"Christian music" is no exception. Bands like Skillet, Pillar, and Demon Hunter are not the only rock bands playing "Christian rock." They are the mainstream of "Christian rock" and do not reflect the whole of "Christian rock." My younger brother is really into rap music, but I hate the message that the typical scene is sending to such an impressionable youth, so I encouraged him to try setting up a Pandora radio station dedicated solely to "Christian rap." He set up a station based on Lecrae and is now discovering hundreds of artists with similar stylistic qualities, but none of the negative messages.

Frankly, I think that while it may not be apparent to the people who say that "Christian music" isn't as good as worldly music, I think the real reason they don't like "Christian music" is because their flesh enjoys worldly music. The flesh will always prefer music that encourages drugs, illicit sexual relationships, and drunkenness over the truth of the Gospel. We'd rather make excuses about how the beat is all we listen and that the lyrics don't really have an effect on us, but in all actuality we're putting garbage into our hearts and minds; eventually that garbage is going to start coming out of us.

I struggle with worldly music, because I'm not ready to say that all non-"Christian music" is bad, but I'd certainly say that you need to be on your guard about what you listen to and how much you listen to it. This past week I've been fasting from my two forms media that I get overexposed to: music and television/movies. It's given me a lot to think about, especially about how much time I normally spend doing those things and what kind of stuff I'm filling my head and heart with. Even when I'm driving to the grocery store just five minutes away, I often turn on the radio, but in that five minutes I often times get caught up in the emotions and deeper meanings of one song or another... Yeah, I'm that intellectual about even the most base-level music out there.

Hoc est verum,
De Facto

* I put parenthesis around Christian music, rap, and rock because I question the validity of calling it Christian, for more about that you can read my entry, What is Christian Music? What is a Christian band?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Falling in Love with Jesus

Too often religion gets in the way of the relationship with Christ which can only be likened to a bride and her groom. We get caught up in the complexities of what one theologian or another think as opposed to what God thinks. Too often we let the words of dead people who may or may not have been inspired by the Holy Spirit confine God into a distant thing of reverential contemplation, when in fact Christ is so much more than a story to be told over again and again. Christ is alive, He has risen, and His desire is to have the intimate relationship which our simple minds can only compare to as that of marriage.

It's a good analogy though, since throughout the First Testament God compared Israel to a woman and when she fell away from Him she was like a prostitute whoring herself to every and any nation that would take her. God's desire is for us to turn away from anything that would between us and Him so that we can have this relationship unadulterated. Now that Jesus has paid the price of death for the things that we did, we no longer have to live in the shadows of shame and guilt, but can rejoice in the union between Creator and His creation.

Ever since I fell in love with Jesus, I've noticed a few changes in myself. For one, when I look in the mirror I actually like what see. I look in the mirror and think, "Dang, I look sexy." So perhaps that's a little too much for some of you, but do you understand what I'm saying? I actually like the way I look, I'm not ashamed of how I look. I feel good in my skin... Another thing is that "every young man's battle" is no longer a battle, because Jesus already won the victory for me. I can't count how many times I've tried to grasp that concept before falling in love with Jesus, but now it just makes so much sense and really works. For once, I'm no longer in control, but not entirely out of control either. My passions and desires are kept in check by the grace of the Lord.

Folks, I was raised in the faith. I've been attending church for 20 some years and I can't tell you how easy it is to think you've got it figured out and that you're faith is strong; the truth is that being in love with Jesus is more than just a few prayers and daily devotions. Are you dating the Truth, or are you having a wild and passionate love-affair with Him?



Hoc est verum,
De Facto