Sunday, December 30, 2012

What does God want?




Is this the right question to ask at the end of the year, or would it be better for the beginning of a new year?  At first glance, one would think that the question is best posed at the beginning of a new year, but it’s possible that the year that has passed may be more clearly seen with this question in mind.  I guess the timing isn’t as important as the answer itself.  But therein lay the dilemma, because try as we might, we’re not going to get a firm answer to this question.

One can state that what God wants is for us to do His will, and that would be a good answer.  However, that begs another question:  What is His will?  Now we can look at the Bible and get a pretty clear overview on what He wants, but when it’s all said and done, what does He want in regards to me?  Does he want me to be happy?  Oh boy, going down a very interesting path right now.  The Bible says He came to give life and more abundantly.  While life and certainly abundance is nice, does it necessarily equate to happiness?  All we need to do is look at some of the men of the Bible for an idea of what the answer may be.  Let’s look at Hosea, he was ordered to marry a prostitute so that he would know what God feels like.  How about Jonah?  Gets stuck in a storm, swallowed by a fish, and then has to watch his mortal enemies celebrate.  Paul?  Shipwrecked, stoned, beaten, whipped, among other things.  Can we honestly believe these men were happy?  They may have been at peace, they may have seen the big picture and realize that all that matters is what happens in eternity, and that would give a sense of comfort.  While being uncomfortable can cause one to be unhappy, the opposite is not necessarily true.  Just because someone is comfortable doesn’t mean they are happy. 

Is it safe to say that God is not overly concerned with our happiness?  Is it safe to say that He sees that all that matters is how happy we are in eternity?  That would be a tough statement to make because the question that leaps out would be to ask if that is true love.  The Bible talks about His unconditional love and how a fathers’ love for his child is nothing compared to His love for us.  I was recently asked what I did with the verses that talk about asking and receiving, and how He wouldn’t give us a stone when we asked for bread.  My reply was that I did ask, and did not receive.  My explanation went something like this:

There have been more righteous men, more spiritual men, men with purer motives who have gone through things and asked God to deliver them and were not delivered in the way that they hoped.  So who am I to expect God to come through for me in the way I would like?  As things fell apart all around me, I came to the conclusion that God was not going to come through in the way I expected no matter how much faith I had.  Now you may question my level of faith, but how much more faith do you need to put all your possessions on the line?  I was told that my relief, so to speak, did not come because I was not totally in His will.  This brings up something very disconcerting.  Must I be perfect to ask Him to help me carry out what I think His will is?  Obviously not, because no one is perfect, but how close to it must you be for Him to follow through on expectations He asked you to place on Him? 

You see how dangerous this road can get?  Let’s journey forward to see it get even more so.  We talked a bit of love, and a big question is that if God truly loves us, why would He allow us to suffer?  Now this is a different question than why God didn’t prevent this disaster or tragedy.  Obviously, there is free will, but this question is about someone who is believing God and doing everything he can to do His will, so why wouldn’t He answer?  It would be wrong to say that He enjoys our suffering, but what does one say when you know that God knows what’s going to happen and doesn’t prevent it?  To put it another way, you put everything on the line, your house, your things, your savings, and you say, “God, I’m doing this for you.  You will have to make things happen as I press forward.”  So, what do you do when He doesn’t come through?  Which begs an even bigger question, and this is where danger is at its highest.  If God, who knows everything that is going to happen, would let those who follow Him to suffer, why would He create anyone who He knows will reject Him and end up with eternal suffering? 

Athiests, for centuries, have tried to debunk the Bible, and many who have tried, came away as Christians.  Those who genuinely study it, even to try to find a flaw, come away with no valid argument against it.  One of my pastors likes to state that if you want to become very rich, find a flaw in the Bible, because nobody has been able to do so yet.  But perhaps it’s much simpler than that.  The last question posed in the previous paragraph focuses on His love.  The Bible says that He is love, but why would He create anyone that He knows will ultimately suffer for eternity?  How is that love?  Therein, if anything, lay the flaw.  How can that be answered?  Will this be one of those questions that the response is that it’s beyond our comprehension and that we will never understand here on earth, so just have faith and press on?  There seem to be to many of those, and yet, all we need to do is look around and notice the unending creativity the Creator has to understand how limited our thought capabilities are. 

Do you see how dangerous the road got?  We started with the question as to what God wants and we ended with exposing a possible flaw and debunking Christianity.  The fact of the matter is that I can’t answer any of those questions.  My closest guess to the last question is that those who will eternally suffer are those who ultimately don’t want to be with God.  Like the saying I heard from many friends when I was growing up:  Heaven sounds boring, I’d rather be in Hell where all the fun is.  Of course they are sorely mistaken, but if that is their choice, then they chose poorly.  I don’t know what God wants.  For me?  I don’t.  I thought I did, and perhaps the journey I’ve experienced is all in accordance with what He wants.  I’ve experienced loss, but really, who hasn’t?  And to be perfectly honest, with what I’ve gone through is nothing compared to millions and billions who are now suffering or have suffered in the past.  I guess when it all comes down to it, the closer you get to someone, the more you know their desires, their needs and their wants.  What does God want?  If I can’t answer that, then it’s highly probable that I need to get closer to Him to know that answer.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wild Pigs/Free lunch

Wild Pigs

 
Wild Pigs

THIS IS TRULY THOUGHT PROVOKING

There was a chemistry professor in a large college that had some
exchange students in the class.

One day while the class was in the lab, the professor noticed one
young man, an exchange student, who kept rubbing his back and
stretching as if his back hurt. The professor asked the young man what
was the matter.

The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been
shot while fighting communists in his native country who were trying
to overthrow his country's government and install a new communist
regime.

In the midst of his story, he looked at the professor and asked a
strange question. He asked: "Do you know how to catch wild pigs?"

The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line.

The young man said that it was no joke. "You catch wild pigs by
finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground.

The pigs find it and begin to come every day to eat the free corn.

"When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side
of the place where they are used to coming.

When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and
you put up another side of the fence.

"They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you
have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side.

"The pigs, which are used to the free corn, start to come through the
gate to eat that free corn again.

You then slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd. Suddenly the
wild pigs have lost their freedom.

They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon
they go back to eating the free corn.

They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the
woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity."

The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees
happening in America .

The government keeps pushing us toward Communism/Socialism and keeps
spreading the free corn out in the form of programs such as
supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income, tax exemptions,
tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops (CRP),
welfare, medicine, drugs, etc.

While we continually lose our freedoms, just a little at a time.

One should always remember two truths:

There is no such thing as a free lunch and you can never hire someone
to provide a service for you cheaper than you can do it yourself.

If you see that all of this wonderful government 'help' is a problem
confronting the future of America , you might want to send this on to
your friends.

God help us when the gate slams shut!

Monday, May 7, 2012

THE worst book I've ever read.


I just finished reading THE worst book I have ever read in my life.  Before I give the gory details of this travesty that somehow has been termed a story, I must give you a little background on me so you may properly gauge my point of view.  Once you get this info, you can judge for yourself on whether or not you agree with my assessment on what I believe is absolute trash and how I am absolutely perplexed on how this thing is considered a classic. 

I like to read.  I don’t read as much as I’d like to now, with life being so busy and so much on my plate, but I read quite a bit when I was younger.  Now before you get the impression that I’m a reading snob, one of those elitist who looks down on anything that is printed for the masses, let me assure you, I am not.  My tastes are pretty much middle of the road.  I have not read Tolstoy, and I have not read Nieztsche.  Some of the classics I have enjoyed are Tom Sawyer, The Count of Monte Cristo, Gone with the Wind, and A Tale of Two Cities.  Some of the modern authors I have enjoyed reading are David Baldacci, John Grisham, Michael Crichton, Larry McMurtry, Tom Clancy and Alistair Maclean.  I’ve read a few biographies, and a few historical accounts.  It’s a brief background, and you might get the impression that perhaps this novel I will describe may be too deep for me as I’ve listed a number of authors of what is sometimes called “throw-away” novels as ones I enjoy reading.  That might be the case, but I highly doubt it.  Now, on to this drivel.

I will first say that there has been only one book I started reading that I didn’t finish.  It was a book that my boss at the time had given to me.  He enjoyed reading, and noticing I read all the time at my lunch, he would often give me paperbacks to read.  In fact, he was the one who first got me into McMurtry.  I was never interested in reading a Western, but he said I might like it, and sure enough, it was an impressive story.  But he did give me one that was excessively boring, and I got about halfway through before putting it down. 

This one, this “classic,” and I use those quotation marks in the most sarcastic air quotes I can muster, is one that I felt like putting down after getting through a quarter of it.  The only reason why I finished it is because it’s considered a classic and I sincerely thought it would get better.  It did not, and the more I read, the angrier I got.

It starts off decently enough.  It’s written in the first person, which I thoroughly enjoy.  By consistently reading “I did,” “I thought,” “I saw,” it puts me right in the narrator’s shoes and into their mindset.  Books written in the first person are generally my favorite, so we were off to a good start.  It went downhill very quickly.

The main character of this thing is the least likable character I have ever read or seen portrayed in film or TV.  This character has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.  He has no vision, no direction, no purpose and no relationships.  This annoying character has problems with everyone he comes into contact with.  “This person does this too often, therefore he’s prideful,” “this person has this kind of luggage, therefore he’s stupid,” “this girl says this word too much, therefore she’s phony.”  Everyone he talks to, everyone he sees is phony, annoying and stupid, according to him.

This character has a few minor quirks that are neither here or there.  Some little things that he does that are a bit humorous, but quickly loses its humor when he describes himself as a madman every time he does it.  “I did this.  I’m a madman.”  You add that to his constant use of the phrase, “if you want to know the truth,” and he uses it for the most inane things.  “I had a choice between red and blue, and I chose blue, if you want to know the truth.”  That’s just an example but it’s an overused phrase for something that’s really not that important.
 
This character goes through the entire book overusing these phrases and loathing every person around him that it gives a sickening feeling reading it.  At one point, he makes mention of the war, the second world war, and how he was thankful for the bomb so that he didn’t have to fight.  And so fearful of having to fight, he vowed that if another war broke out, he would find the first bomb and sit on it.  Now I can understand that fear, some men are not born to fight, but I found myself wishing that as the author wrote this book, another war did break out, so that he would nuke himself and save me from reading this garbage. 

A little side note.  It’s not major, but as I trudged through the mire, it helped increase my displeasure with the whole experience, and that was the cussing.  I’m no prude, I’m not the type that gets offended when I hear cussing.  In fact, one of my favorite movies is Goodfellas, and there’s language flowing through the whole movie.  That’s the culture and I understand it.  But in this book, curse words are thrown all over the place, and there really isn’t a reason.  It just reeked of a lack of vocabulary.  And I know it was written from the point of view of a teenager, but it just seemed very stupid. 

I’m wrapping this up, because it’s getting long, but I’ll end with this.  Throughout this whole book, NOTHING happens.  This whole story is about a teenager getting fed up with his prep school and leaving.  The next few days he muddles through doing little of anything.  The most exciting thing he does, which he describes as the biggest problem he’s ever dealt with, is a hooker and her pimp push him around a little bit because he needed to pay them an extra five dollars.  Other than that, it was a complete bore.

What is this waste?  What is this monstrosity that absolutely astounds me that it’s considered a classic?  The answer
The Catcher in the Rye

The title itself is taken from a career he tells his younger sister that he wants.  For him, what he wants to do in life is that when children are playing ball in the rye field, and when they chase the ball out of it, to prevent them from falling off a cliff, he wants to catch them.  Was there an epidemic of children running out of rye fields off cliffs?  Was that a huge problem? 

Do yourself a favor.  Don’t EVER read this book.  It is a complete waste of time.  I only finished it because I thought there was going to be some great point at the end that made it all worth it.  There isn’t.  There’s no point.  It ends with nothing being accomplished and with no indication of how those few days affected his life.   The fact of the matter is that what you did in the last week amounts to a heck of a lot more than the experience the author describes in this book.  I’d venture to say that even some coma patients accomplished more this past week.   

Monday, March 19, 2012

Entitlement

When did we become a bunch of whiners?  I mean, really, when did this happen?  I can't remember a time in my life where I've heard so much "I deserve this," "I want that," or "it's not right that I don't have this."  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for your esteem driving your sense of deservedness or wants, but where I'm getting lost is the statement made after these sentences.  "I deserve this, AND YOU SHOULD PAY FOR THIS." 

Is this the most ridiculous thing around right now?  There is a feeling that has infested our culture with the belief that not only should we get what we want or feel that we deserve, but that the price of it should be passed on to someone else.  "They're better off, they should pay for it."  That is the new philosophy.  That is the putrid attitude that is driving this mentality.  Now obviously I'm speaking in generalities, because there are a great number of people in our great land who work hard, use their ingenuity and creativity and educate themselves to get what they want, need or deserve.

"IT'S NOT FAIR."  I've heard this statement waaaaaaay too often lately.  Grow up!  We heard it many times when we were kids, "Life is not fair."  You're not overly happy about it, but you learn to deal with it.  "That's the way the ball bounces," "That's the way the cookie crumbles."  These are statements we heard when we were growing up, and sometimes the ball bounced our way and sometimes it didn't, and no matter what anybody says to you, "LIFE IS NEVER GOING TO BE FAIR." 

The sad thing is that the same people who cry "unfair," and demand something be done about it are the same people who get offended when you give them advice.  Out of money, there's a janitor job over there.  "HOW DARE YOU INSULT ME BY INSUINATING I SHOULD BELITTLE MYSELF IN TAKING SUCH A MENIAL JOB!"  Stop sleeping around and making babies all over the place.  "DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!"  It's absolutely absurd that so many can get offended when they're told what they can do to get themselves back on their feet, but then turn around and demand others to give them something.  It all comes down to this.

When you tell me you're part of the 99%, you're telling me that YOU ARE THE BIGGEST WHINER ON THE FACE OF THIS PLANET IN ITS WHOLE HISTORY!  What you are in your poverty makes you part of the upper middle class in Europe.  We won't even go into Africa because the disparity between what you don't have and what they don't have is so indescribably huge that to try to put it into words would not even come close to doing it justice.  All of us in this country are part of the 1%, and if you're truly concerned about what's fair, then you should be doing everything you can to make sure a child in Africa gets a meal today just so that he/she can see another morning. 

Our constitution gives us the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  You're alive, you're free, and you can pursue as much happiness as you what.  Stop whining.  Go make something of yourself.  Sometimes the cookie will crumble on your table, sometimes on another table.  Embrace the advantageous bounces of the ball, and deal with the disadvantageous bounces.  We are all blessed in this great land of opportunity.  Yes, some more than others, but stop crying and make things happen.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Introduction

I've debated for months on whether or not to start blogging, and more often than not, I would tell myself that I wouldn't.  My argument against it was that I wouldn't post very often, that I have a few points I'd like to make, but once they were addressed, this blog would remain relatively silent.  And that may very well be the case, but I sincerely doubt it only because of the fact that there is so much insanity and absurdity going on in this country that it's likely that I may be posting very often.  I mean, there are issues and topics being discussed and debated that are so ridiculous it seems as if we went down the rabbit hole wherein logic and reasoning have been abandoned for the feelings one gets when they ponder certain subjects. 
This blog will touch on a number of subjects including, but not limited to, politics, religion and sports.  I know, sports seems so trivial a matter compared to the other topics, but being a huge sports fan, I know how passionate people can get when it comes to their teams, and it will be a bit of brevity from, what could be, the weightiness of some of our discussions.
On that note, I will address the Lakers-Kings 2002 playoff series and, hopefully, shed some light on what many feel was a fixed series.  (It was, but not in the way you think)

With that said, I welcome your comments and discussion, so long as they are clean and are not personal.  I'd like the audience to enjoy this blog without worrying on whether or not it will be R-rated.