To Its Logical End

If logic is your god, at least make logical decisions….

Logic

I have some friends who do not believe what I believe… heck, none of my friends agree with me completely in my beliefs. This, in-and-of itself is an interesting thought to ponder. Do you completely and wholeheartedly agree across the board with anyone who carries the same general belief structure as you do? I would venture to say that the answer to this question [if answered honestly] is no one hundred percent of the time.

As humans we are shaped by our experiences, insecurities, what we believe to be true and our ability to carry a situation to its logical end, or maybe it’s our inability to do so.

[disclaimer: If we get into semantics I would agree that there is more that shapes us as people than just these four things, but generally speaking, most any situation can fit into this categorization]

As I mentioned, I have some friends who do not believe what I believe, one of them in particular has continually challenged me in my faith by telling me that I should be more logical in my thinking and give no weight to faith in “God”, because it isn’t scientifically possible. For the duration of our friendship I have been the “Christian” and he the “Atheist”, a yin and yang that has brought about incredibly intimacy through heated and refining conversations for both of us.

One of the things I am most grateful for from our friendship is the way that God has used him in my life to keep me from being a ‘kooky right wing Westboro Baptist version of a Christian’. He specifically forces me to take every single belief I have to its logical end; this is a process that I have tried to adapt in most of my decision making.

I began thinking about writing this post after overhearing, and without tact, butting into a conversation that involved someone I care about dearly. [She will remain nameless to respect her personal life]. She is anxious for a dude to get out of prison in hopes that he will return with polished armor and be the prince who will swoop her into happily ever after. And while pursuing this situation, continually tells my wife and I that “she wants what we have”, and if we let logic run its course on the details of her situation… I don’t think the numbers add up.

So, why… why do we fight so hard for the life decisions that are so contradictory to logic, let alone the idea of taking logic to its very end? Back to my dear friend who believes differently than me and has helped me be a better man because of it. He always tells me that “logic and reason” should be our guide, not a high in the sky esoteric deity.

Look around… think about the last time you read or watched the news, our world is ignorantly selfish and irrational in its decision making. But, somehow these individuals would rather be left to the fate of their gods: logic, reason and karma. It is logical to understand that the way humans treat one another is unreasonable and I pray to God that we’re not left to karma, because we’d all be damned.

To what end is your logic leading you? Is it leading you to self-preservation and honor and respect of others? Or, is it leading you to a broken heart, years as the victim and a perpetuation of the insecurities that eat you alive from the inside? Is your logic leading you closer to God, the author of all the we want to experience as humans: love, joy, hope, peace and grace. Or, does our stubbornness tell us to abandon that nonsense because it interferes with our decision making? With the way we make decisions, any interference would be a blessing.

Think about it… Evaluate it… Do something about it…

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The Balance of the Bible

20130507-233352.jpgAlthough I’m not a bible scholar, seminary graduate or the product of a nice Christian up-bringing, I have been identified as a Christian for going on 13 years. Not that time spent has a great deal of weight on what someone can know or the quality of their life, but it could, and in my case it does.

There are a list of trials both self inflicted and experienced that have led me further down this road that the Bible would classify as “narrow”, for those that find it. And at each fork in the road I have had to dig in, hold on tight and continually admit that I don’t know a whole lot about God or how He works. A process I’m sure will continue for the remainder of my time here [on earth].

Amidst so many of these experiences I have drawn closer to the Gospel[s] of Jesus Christ, Psalms and Proverbs and loosened my grip on the Epistles, which honestly used to be my Gospel. The past few years specifically have made me cling to the voice of Holy Spirit and the reflection of who Jesus was/is, how he interacted with humanity, and what seemed to be most important to Him as He interacted with His craftsmanship. A majority of the verses that we use against other humans are A. removed from their contextual home in order to support someones opinion or B. not from the words of Jesus specifically.

When Jesus spares a woman caught in adultery, we would rather respond w/ words from Paul about sexual purity and its guilt stricken place in the Christian faith. What we have learned as Christians is that when someone else commits a wrong we are to “correct” them in “love” as Paul commands, but when it is us we shout from the rooftops for our accusers to take the plank of wood out of their eye. In other words, we want to feel holy by making sure that someone else knowns they screwed up and that they must seek repentance, but when we are the ones wearing those shoes we want everyone to take the time to examine their own hearts and lives before saying anything about ours.

This not only seems kinda dumb, but it is the reason that a lot of people get hurt in the world and business of church. There is no room for honesty, freedom, submission or obedience in the Church because we are all too busy bull-shittin about how someone else has decided to live their life. If, and only if we are able to talk about real things in the church and make it more about regeneration than outreach will we see a revival of hungry hearts not just fare-weather fans!

Here are some things that Jesus talked about that we don’t [especially to the youth] like to discuss because most of us probably don’t agree 100% on these topics.
Demons
Prayer as a continual conversation with God
Grace
Drinking
Spending time with people who do bad things
Endless forgiveness
Joy
and others

I am praying for a paradigm shift where honesty out weighs a congregations perception of a pastor; if I had to guess, Jesus wasn’t very concerned with how people perceived Him because He knew that His integrity was more dense than the flash of someone else’s word[s].

Remember that Jesus said, “… on earth as it is in heaven.” He said, “go out into all the world [the places that you are called or have great passion for] and baptize people in my name through Holy Spirit and water.”

Bring heaven here.
Get out of your church.
Love well.
Don’t be an asshole to people that you don’t understand.
Be honest with kids [10 and up]. If they don’t learn about it from you they will learn about it from someone.
Get pissed if the situation calls for a righteous display of justice

As a bible-believing man, I believe that there is balance in the scriptures, in our churches and our hearts, but it is up to you [me] to listen to Holy Spirit, weigh motives and truly act like Jesus did; because when we do that, people want what Jesus is offering.

Thanks for reading!
If you think I’m way off please feel free to let me know; I’m always up for the conversation.

DG

Quiet Down & Listen

We choose all kinds of unnecessary conversations to engage in, most of which the bible warns us against having [especially in the company of folks who don’t believe in Jesus]. We waste hours being indignant to our family, friends and strangers who don’t believe what we do, all the while we should know that an argument has (likely) never turned someone’s heart towards Jesus. We write blogs, spend hours reading and exercising our pride for the sole purpose of proving someone (christian or not) wrong.

Please, for the sake of your public esteem, quiet your desire to “be right” in a faith where mystery far out weighs indisputable fact, rather focus on listening to The Lord who (I believe) is far more concerned with you being fully alive than being right.

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If you identify yourself as Christian then there are only a few things that we trust as truth, things that don’t dance with mystery:
God is a trinitarian reality who is whole and equally God the Father, God the Son-of-Man [Jesus Christ] and God the Holy Spirit].
That unfathomable trinitarian deity is the visionary, designer and builder of everything, literally everything.
God the Father introduced commandments aka rules to live by and he willingly punished certain humans for being disobedient.
God the Son-of-Man showed up on the same earth that He created to live amongst humans that He created in Their image.
God the Son-of-Man chose to be a normal, functional piece of society. He Built furniture, was full of sarcasm, drank wine, got pissed off, made friends in all walks of his life, exemplified grace and emotional vulnerability and closed the chapter by doing supernatural, prophesy fulfilling things.
God Holy Spirit took over as the voice that speaks the word of God the Father to a humanity created in Their image and inherently attuned to The Voice of God.

These span of events have each demanded a new way of living…
When humanity was living based on the 10 commandments and subsequent laws, humanity was expected to obedient to such rules to justify their holiness.
When God the Son-of-Man lived on earth, the flow of humanity was being stirred and shaken for approximately 33 years; the status quo was changing. He was setting up a new way of living for humanity rooted in freedom.
Now we are under the leadership of God Holy Spirit, the communicator, the mediator, the one who shares divine wisdom and knowledge with His likeness, humanity.

If you are traveling this journey of faith without putting a great deal of weight into hearing from God Holy Spirit then you are greatly discounting the intimacy you could have with a God who wants your time. Joy. Peace. Freedom. Vision. Influence… these are all things that we are promised, if we can only believe that we are worth this type of intimacy and unending love from God the Trinity.

The NCM challenge you to shut up and listen today… If you don’t know what you’re listening for, here are a couple insights:
1. You are as crazy as you feel.
2. You will likely hear “your own voice”, which is par for the course; God Holy Spirit is speaking to you, in your voice, in order to be able to communicate clearly.
3. Ask God to tell you something about someone you know very well [preferably someone who believes that God could speak through you if he wanted… this lessens the “crazy” feeling you’ll have].
4. Just go with what you hear… no matter how weird it may be, don’t try and make it sound “normal”.
5. Tell that person what you heard from The Lord and they will be able to confirm or deny if it is really a word from The Lord.

Happy listening 🙂

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Self[ish] Preservation

Over the last 12+ years I have had my hands in something that I hoped to be inspiring to another human being. Whether that be rap-rocking the shit out of a microphone back in the old bloodbaught days [and yes, I know it is spelled incorrectly], or spending hours in middle and high school class rooms baring my entire soul to tens of thousands of students, or by writing, tweeting, facebooking, instagramming and any other excuse I can find to use words. I genuinely enjoy the battle of hypocrisy… knowing that if I’m not who I say I am [and I haven’t always been] then I would likely get found out [and I always do]. I believe with all of my heart that there is no better version of yourself to be than the absolute best version, while fully disclosing all of the ignorant, shady, painful things you’ve done or experience with anyone that will listen.

20130108-140628.jpgThat said, there are a lot of things about being “vulnerable” and sharing my story that are some weird mix of emotionally exhausting and totally self indulgent. But, there are also very rewarding aspects to this journey that I’m on as well. One of the most rewarding aspects of being able to share my story with thousands of teens is the moment when one of them comes up to me, obviously nervous, and says “You’re the only adult who knows this, but I’ve had an abortion too.”

I started on this journey because very early on in my journey of being a Christian [which probably had very little to do with being like Jesus back then] I got really fed up with fake-ass Sunday smiles, bible study super kids, and a paralyzing fear of reality. Don’t get me wrong, I often smile on Sundays whether I am at church or not, but that’s because I also smile on Thursdays. And there is nothing wrong with having a love and passion for learning, studying and knowing the bible… as long as you have some interest in being who He would ask you to be [this will likely be a rant of it’s own really soon]. Lastly, I know that being honest is scary, and I realize that not everyone needs to know your business and blah blah blah… My response to that very real truth is: stop being so damn selfish!

When you do or don’t do something because of how it makes you feel, there is some level of selfishness attached to it, and that may not be a bad thing; I think it brings The Lord great joy in some heavenly way to know that His kids are really enjoying their time on earth. However, when it comes down to not sharing your story because of how it makes you feel I think you should probably just get over it in anyway you need to, solely for the benefit of those around you. I have been reading a daily devotional that was written by one of my spiritual fathers and he captures the weight of being selfless with your story by sharing an aspect of his:


One weekend, I had my first real encounter with alcohol. Southern Comfort might be its name, but it took me on a trip to the pain zone. I was hung over for two days! I did all the things that a sick person does and more. I could not get out of bed because of the freight train that was clickity-clacking in my head. It was horrible.

Those two days, my parents did not say a word to me. They took care of me, but nothing was ever mentioned. A couple days later, Dad invited me to his office. He wanted to talk to me in private. I was in great dread of that meeting!

To my surprise, he shared some things with me out of his childhood along with a few of the lessons he had learned around his own mistakes with alcohol. Things I never knew, stories I never imagined. I still recall what he wore that day, I remember how he smelled, and I was deeply impacted by the fact that he did not demean me, but instead challenged me to responsibility.

All that to say this:
Regardless of what you believe or don’t believe, the fine print of our story has an unfathomable worth to someone that tries to hide the same details. And with that I encourage you to share the most painful, scary details of your story with someone else when you feel like you should. If you are a Christian, your life should be lived to the service and sacrifice of your fellow [wo]man for the Glory of God… If you believe that God can/has redeemed you from your story then what in the hell are you so afraid of anyway?

DG