I am brainstorming a book/discussion of why the Church in the US needs to divorce itself from American Democracy and American Capitalism to survive. Any insights, arguments, or disagreements would be appreciated. However, I do insist on specific details and examples.
Whispers through walls
Jackal pups dance in a circle
Blissful and unaware of the shadows looming
I do not read the bible too often anymore. Perhaps a few verses a day. Years ago I would read an entire book or letter each day, depending on the length. An obsessive pull compelled me to read as much as possible. Some would call that the Holy Spirit. During that time I would have agreed with them. Nevertheless:
James 1:5-6: “Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?”
Those words should cut deep, regardless of religion (or lack thereof). I cannot get over the statement, “But you have dishonored the poor man.” The poor man. He/She is the one we have dishonored. Not the priests. Not the church. Not the rich. Not the law or government. No, the poor is who we have dishonored.
James continues in verse thirteen and writes: “For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.”
I have heard a lot about the migrants and immigrants from the south. I have heard from the lips of those who say they read the same bible make statements like: “They need to follow the law.” “They are in confinement because they broke the law.” “Their children were taken away because they broke our laws.”
Where is the mercy?
You can hold your judgment if you will. But remember, God will show as much judgment or more on you when your day arrives. So why not show mercy? Everyone of us who calls on the name of Christ would do well to remember that mercy and grace are far more important than judgment or riches.
One I do not have to quote: Christ told us that we cannot serve God and money. We serve money when we place the economy above people. We serve money when we place a false sense of security above the poor.
Before you pass judgment on my words, or me, I ask that you pray. Look inside your own heart. Your own soul. Ask the question: “Do I want God to show me mercy or judgment?”
Only you and God knows if you’re worthy of mercy. Grace is free. So should our love and land.
Our multi-sided self can drive us insane. Maybe you're more level than me and have no idea ehat I am saying. That's cool. I can only speak from ky own experience and the individuals I have observed.
One side presents a laid back, devil may care hipster. It's not an act, but instead the persona my brain finds most relaxing and maintainable during that specific moment of time.
I have an obsessive/compulsive side. Where I continually refresh a webpage to see if I have received a new reader of the Spiral Effect. I check, 20 times or more a day to see if anyone has purchased a copy. If anyone has downloaded a copy of the free story too.
I have a side where I equate my self worth with my financial success. I equate my writing ability with units sold. I spend far too much time evaluating my entire life and writing path. Wondering if people even like me or if they think my stuff sucks.
Then there is my overconfident self. Fuck it, I'm an excellent writer and storyteller, and I don't need anyone's validation.
I have a side who finds it irresistible to make sure someone has all the facts. Mainly people I disagree with on politics, religion, music, art, writers. This side assumes that if I could just present this person with the right information, surely they would see it my way.
Trouble always arises with my instigator self. Arguments with chaos. Get in the last word. Own the prick with a witty retort. Show him or her who has the more secure head. Build an idol to humour at a human's expense.
All of these are me. I am all of them. A work in progress. Yes, I follow Christ, but I would be a fool to say I was further than I am in this spiritual race. I, we, cannot run or walk it alone. I hope to shed this hyper-individualism and grow closer to you all.
What happens when we deny spiritual and emotional experience? What happens to the soul when we neglect to feed it?
We are more than a body and brain.
We travel a limiting path when our goals orient around the mind and body alone.
While facts might not care about our goals or feelings, flawed humans create the facts we use to defend and attack differing points of view. Those who record, interpret, and document the data to use for facts make mistakes in judgment and calculations. Some on accident. Some on purpose.
Emotion, bias, prejudice, ignorance—these affect the smartest to the dumbest; most pious to loosest; selfless to selfish.
Me and women of:
No matter how smart or dumb, there is a problematic effect when people adhere to the foolish and misguided adage, “The Ends Justify the Means.”
We also live in a time where people readily trade in truth for validation to solidify their own beliefs and feelings.
All because we hate to be wrong…
As if humility and humbleness were a bad look.
Christ described it as a badge of honor.
The most successful attribute their rise with an ever increase in failure. The artist breaks multiple brushes. Blots out painting after painting. Trial and error. Trial and error.
The scientist blows up a garage.
The medical doctor gives herself radiation poisoning.
Errors can lead to magnificence.
God can take a wrong and make it right.
But only if I am willing to admit when I am wrong—where I made the mistake—how I could improve. No one is a perfect human. Won’t be in this life. A lot left to learn and realize. More to experience and hypothesize.
Just ask yourself one thing—are you scare of being wrong—because if so—that is your first mistake.
I am glad to have it.
Old College Friends.
A wide variety of varying ethnicity, beliefs, age, education, talent, humor. Some are loud. Others quiet. Boisterous. Obnoxious. Enlightened. Frustrated. Angry. Happy. Sad. Depressed.
Multiple friends of multiple emotions and personality. But they aren't crazy. Well, maybe a little. Insanity runs in the family--and somewhere down the line--don't we all come from the same source?
Some friends encourage. Some push. Some demand. And some are great for sharing a drink and shooting the shit.
We may argue, fight, lash out, and punch. If we didn't...how much would we really love and care for each other? Those we are closest too piss us off at some point.
As we increasingly distance ourselves from one another in the physical sense, and rely more on push notifications to inform us of how you're doing, let's step back and schedule a night to hang. Share some drinks and talk about the Cosmic Show we find ourselves spinning within.
The way George MacDonald describes Christ, and those who interact with Him, illuminates the Faith in ways I have yet to find in modern theology/spirituality. He presents Christ as the True King to humankind. This man truly was Spirit led and ahead of his time. 1800s Scotland.
"The men of Nazareth could have believed in Jesus as their saviour from the Romans; as their saviour from their sins they could not believe in him, for they loved their sins. The king of heaven came to offer them a share in his kingdom; but they were not poor in spirit, and the kingdom of heaven was not for them."
from Hope of the Gospel
If you get a chance, his books are available for purchase on Amazon and Ebay. I had to purchase my copies through ebay. However, if you would like to read him for free, his works are available on Google Play Books, iTunes books, and Kindle books. Very enlightening for the mind and soul.
Why do I see so many evangelical Christians complain about people disrespecting their beliefs, and then in the same breath, insult and belittle those with which they disagree?
Did we forget Christ’s teachings? Turn the other cheek. Take care of the orphan and widow. Christ told his own nation to respect and love the Romans who had conquered them.
Please, quit assuming all democrats or republicans are the same. We aren’t.
Please, quit assuming a dislike for Trump equates a love for Obama or Hilary. It doesn’t.
Does Trump and American Imperialism really hold more worth than Christ’s teachings?
By their fruits you shall know them.
This isn’t Christianity vs. secularism. Christ wasn’t about that. Christ teaches us the Love of God and changing hearts through the Holy Spirit.
This is no longer humorous. Christians making fun of those who don’t know Christ? All in the name of some prideful need to defend our nonexistent honor?
My mind settles with the expulsion of the swirling frustration. Those in the middle hold the weight of both sides in a near fruitless attempt to keep the world balanced.
The heroes were losing, so they decided to play the villains' games.
Our heroes won--but lost their souls--encased within Ends that Justify Means.
Now we are lead by tyrants. Children look up to men without chests.
Virtue is lost
Greed is king
Our heroes are dead. Committed suicide to embrace evil within. To rise in a new suit of money and fame.
Without a foundation, this house cannot stand.
The world is an insane plane of chaos, and I have difficulty navigating through the fog.
To a fault, I argue on the side of reason with far too much emotion. Facts laid out, in my mind, should suffice. I forget personal stigmas, past experiences, and current belief systems post an issue when attempting any discourse. Public or private.
I lose sight of the reason for discussion. Irrritated, control falters and I resort to insults in an attempt to shake sense into the other person. It fails. I fail. And we both leave with a great dislike for the other.
I am currently writing some new scenes for a small collection of shorts about the infamous Alex Wonder. This is the most fun I have had writing in quite a while. And why is that, you might ask? Because I stopped revising while I write.
Yes, that dreaded Muse of overthinking and doubt. Tapping my shoulder and whispering nonsense about perfecting each sentence and word before moving to the next.
Does he not know what that does with flow? How it dries the creative juics and tempts me to procrastinate?
Damn perfection during scene creation. I'll call for you when it is time to line edit.
I am an observer. Most times I would rather sit back, cold-brew coffee in hand, and watch the events unfold. Participation doesn't seem worth the effort most times. I know this isn't the healthiest approach. And I have enjoyed many events. But watching the world's play is just so damn interesting.
At times though, I find myself yearning to enter that world of participation. Problem is, most times people don't like to invite the guy who silently sits and watches as everyone else converses. I mean, I try to converse, but when I feel awkward, oh boy do I talk about some weird shit. Then I notice that look in their eyes and desire to walk away. Sometimes I just walk away when I am done talking. It is usually better that way.
I feel like I am missing something though. Some internal mechanism that ignites a willingness for people to notice you. To come and socialize with you. Seems like a lot of wasted energy to me. But it would be nice to learn it. It would also be great if I could sound like I am not insulting you when I say this.
And yet, here I am, with this website, pushing myself to be noticed to some extent. Why? Mainly so I can get enough word of mouth for my novels and short stories. Typically, when someone attempts to self-publish and promote their own work, they have a personality to make it work. Honestly, if I could just write and enjoy the fruits of those labors without having to talk with anyone about the book. I mean, I will talk with you about what you liked and didn't like about it. Just don't ask me what the book is about if you haven't read it. I don't know how to vocalize the shapes and images in my head.
you guys are weird.
Debut song from The Exes We Owe.
My God is it incredible.
I need to find an order for this madness, and chronological just won't do.
This week, starting today, I will be posting 3 short fables on the origin of Alex Wonder, Hero (or villain?) of The Spiral Effect. Please take a read and leave your thoughts. I appreciate feedback of all kinds.
Let me first preface that this is a fresh/new idea that I haven't fleshed out yet.
So, for over a decade (long time, right) I have always been curious/intrigued at the intentional ambiguity of specific topics in the New Testament.
In acts we get, "So turn to God! Give up your sins, and you will be forgiven."
What, exactly, does that look like? Turning to God is obviously a metaphor for a plethora of various methods, but none specified with the exception of having Faith in Christ. The sins to give up differs for each individual.
Then a chapter later we get, "Only Jesus has the power to save! His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone."
Now, some might provide a knee jerk reaction and say it's obvious he means to save us from sin, or hell. However, nothing specific follows. Perhaps Peter means "evil" or perhaps it is a dig at the Jewish idea that the Messiah would physically save them from the Romans.
Acts 8, "Philip...explained the good news about Jesus." Now, here is a perfect place to insert theology, commandments, whatever. But it is left open. Why? I am still under the impression it is intentional and here is why. After Philip explains the Gospel to the Ethiopian eunuch, the man asks to be baptized. Prior to meeting Philip, the Ethiopian had been reading from the Prophet Isaiah.
So what inkling did I garner from reading and praying?
The gospel is based on spiritual experience. The only time reading from the bible or listening to someone talk about it will "click" is if you are already on that path of searching for something Greater than yourself. Look at Saul who became Paul. He knew a shit ton of scripture, but it wasn't until Christ blinded him with Light that Saul changed.
Spiritual Experience. Metaphysical moments with Christ. That is it. We don't need to berate anyone with scripture. We can refrain from pushing a political agenda. Because really, if you're a Christian, our goal should be helping people experience Christ. And reflecting on the gospels, I don't once recall Christ pushing any type of agenda like the current ones.
The Holy Spirit convicts and guides the heart.
A few moths ago I, along with about two hundred or so others from work, put in for a promotion. I had been in my current position going on two years, so I figured it was finally time to move up. Besides, My wife had achieved the goal within the same timeframe (sooner if you want to break down the details), so I knew it was possible.
The job announcement hit our emails back in October and boasted a whopping fifteen to twenty available positions. Rumor spread that the number could increase to thirty, maybe even forty. Nevertheless, I couldn't afford a sloppy resume or rushed application, so I took my time. Had my wife revise and edit. Once she gave me the go ahead, and after I obsessively read over it three to four more times, I clicked submit and waited.
Due to the high number of applications my employer receives, the computer system implements an algorithm to immediately deny applications lacking specific, albeit unspoken, criteria. If an applicant left out specific words from their job description or didn't answer key questions with the most appropriate response (trust me, one question overall flushes more applicants out of the system than any other one), then their application is rejected with an email response of "not referred". I apologize for the ambiguity, but I work for a government institution and don't think it wise to go into specific details about our applications.
A little over a month after the job post had ended, half the applicants received their email of denial. My confidence teetered the line between focused humility and unwavering confidence. A couple of weeks later unchecked confidence took over when I received an interview confirmation.
My thinking had now morphed into a cocky expectation of promotion, with only the formality of an interview in the way. I prepared little because, in my thinking, my performance thus far had been stellar, I go beyond what is expected of me, and I already possessed a good understanding of how the new position works. Besides, coworkers already in that position had told me I should get the job.
You can see where this is going.
The Thursday before Christmas I received an email of the chosen candidates, and my name was not on the list. Of course, my first response was a common one. Higher ups had their darlings in mind. Never had a shot. Pride soiled the roots of my heart and gave birth to rotten, misguided emotions.
"How," I demanded, "could they choose some of these techs over me?"
I fumed. I screamed. I sunk into my own misery.
Thank God for the Light He shines on those who ask.
I had just started reading Hope Against Darkness by Richard Rohr and John Feister. The words plunged a spiritual knife into my heart. According to the Holy Spirit, I had been an arrogant jackass.
This moment of understanding did not complete the humbling experience. That required further action on my part. I needed to know why, from the interviewers' end, I was not selected.
Shit, that was rough as hell.
Seriously, if you ever find yourself struggling with arrogance and pride and need a good check, sit down with some people who rejected you in some way or another and ask for their honest feedback.
The meeting was an enlightening kick in the ass. I realized that I assume way too much, put too much faith in facts, and foolishly place unrealistic expectations on others. Also apparent, some instances require I break from my comfort zone. I cannot expect people to cater to my weirdness. God, I hate using the word to twice in a sentence.
Time to go.
We each have one. Maybe even multiple fears. Mine is leaving without completing these stories playing out in my head. The visuals are so real. The characters like friends. The story forms into a moment of past and present.
But what if I never complete them? What if I continue to waste time on entertaining distractions?
Frustration within the perpetual cycle of unproductive time. Frightened by the thought I might perish and not hear our Lord speak, “well done, my good and faithful servant,” but instead hear, “piss off you time waster.”
Style and Story. The difficulty lies in attempting both simultaneously. A path best left uncharted. If you want to keep sane and healthy.
I find myself divided between those two realms.
Style and Story.
A matter of patience--or none.
Grab the necessary pieces and players first--then suffer in the style of perfecting their placement together.