Sunday, July 19, 2015

Class of 95 Revisited, Reflections from 20 Years.

It's been a week of reflecting on my 20th class reunion.  It was a surreal experience.  I hadn't been back to my home town since 2002. We stopped by briefly before moving to Phoenix,  and I haven't been back.  I saw the house I grew up in,  the Community College I attended,  my first apartment.  I saw how my home church has grown and expanded,  I saw the tree where my parent's ashes were sprinkled. I saw a lot of people I haven't seen in a long time.

The day of the reunion started with a tour of the old high school.  High school was an improvement in my life.  Middle school was horrible,  wasn't it for everyone?  I matured slowly,  I was awkward even into high school.  I never dated,  I was more shy.  High school is a great social experiment where everyone tries to figure out who they are,  just to graduate and become someone else. I know I became someone else.

Here I am,  20 years removed from High School with people I went to school with.  It was amazing to see them all,  everyone had done great things. We grew up,  figured out how to treat each other,  many of us had kids and have tried to teach them how to treat each other.  We have had good times and bad times and figured a few things out. I think more than anything we all learned the important of relationships and community.  High school is full of small little groups of people who socialize exclusively because the world is small to high schoolers.  My world was FCA.  I found my place in FCA,  as the non-athletic guy I was passionate about my faith,  still am.  I was all about making FCA awesome,  and I had a great time with it. My world was small,  my community was small. As I have aged,  my world has gotten bigger and my communities have become much more.

The class of Green River High School 1995 is scattered across the United States. Most of us stuck closer to the west,  but we are scattered.  I am thankful for social media that we can still connect. The community of the class of 95 definately means more to me now than ever before.  It's a group that understands me more than many because of the shared experiences. The football games,  the classes,  the teachers and the building. We have a shared past,  a time of life that shaped us so much and we will always have that connection.  I have more grieved that I have lost touch with so many,  friends that were good friends who I don't even know how to contact. Hopefully some day our paths will cross.

Thanks class of 95 for a great reunion.  If you asked me 20 years ago if I would have had such a great time,  I would have been more skeptical.  I was unsure back then,  I didn't really know who I was or what I was doing.  I still don't know what I'm doing,  but I know who I am. Looking back at who I was has helped me understand that even more.  I am glad I got to see you all,  my prayer is that God continues to keep our community together.  Here's to the next 20.

Friday, July 17, 2015

What Makes A Woman?

I don't generally enjoy posting about social issues,  and seldom back to back. I wrote about Planned Parenthood,  but I want to discuss one aspect of the Brucelyn Jenner story. Is Bruce,  now Caitlyn Jenner really a woman?

For those of you who say "yes,  we should accept Kaitlyn Jenner as a woman" make me a little sad. Especially for those of you who are women to think that the only difference between a man and a woman is some feeling and genitalia. From a Christian standpoint,  God makes them male and female,  but from a more general standpoint,  let's ask WHAT makes a person male or female?  Just some equipment,  or is there something more?

Gender equality people want to tell you there is no difference between men and women.  Those people clearly have never studied anatomy differences above the waste. I'm talking the brain. The male brain and the female brain are wired differently. Men have 50% less nerve connections in their corpus callosum,  the part that connects the right and left halves of the brain.  Women can process between both halves much faster.  Woman access logic and emotion at the same time,  men cannot.  Men are either logical or emotional,  we can't do both,  it's a natural,  physiological condition hard wired into humans.  You can disagree,  but the data is there,  we can see it,  pull out a couple of brains and there it is.

The DNA is different,  the brain is different,  women are made up differently than men.  So,  Bruce can say he feels more like a woman but how does he know?  No man understands what it's like to be a woman, why are women not outraged by this statement.  If I said "I think I feel more like I should be African American"  and started to get my pigment darkened,  I am not sure I would be embraced by the black community,  I haven't experienced what they experienced,  I don't have the knowledge,  and my brain and the brain of a black man are virtually the same. He or I hold no structural differences.  A man says he feels like a woman,  yet has differences in his neurology (aside from the hormonal differences)  says he feels like a woman and we are just like "ya,  ok,  sure that's legit".

No,  it's not legit. He can't be a woman unless they do some brain surgery. Changing some genetics and giving you some hormone pills don't cut it.  There is more to being man or woman than some equipment and some hormones. Brucelyn Jenner is not a woman,  at best he is part woman,  part man. His brain is still a man's brain,  regardless to how he thinks he feels. He doesn't even know what it feels like to be a woman,  he is operating on what he thinks it feels like to be a woman. In reality,  he feels like an effeminate man.

Here is what I would say to Brucelyn,  not that he reads my blog. It's ok to feel like a more effeminate man.  It's ok to be a man who likes to. . .  do the things you think make you a woman, but your brain and your DNA make you male. You can't change that. You look like a woman,  you sound like a woman,  you probably smell like a woman but you have th brain of a man,  and you will always have the brain of a man.  Embrace who you are,  not who you feel like you should be,  because you don't and can't feel like a woman. You don't have the proper wiring upstairs.

Be true to who you are,  even if you don't feel like you are who you are,  because some things can't be changed.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Planned Parenthood, Enough is Enough

To say I dislike abortion is a major understatement.  I believe in my heart that the practice of contraception through abortion is beyond unjustifiable. Let me start by saying I am not interested in the "what about rape and incest"  argument because those account for less than 1% of all abortions.  I don't want to discuss the "what if the mother's life is in danger"  because that has always been legal as a medical emergency.  I'm talking about the 99% of abortions in which a man and woman have unprotected (or failed protected)  consensual sex that results in pregnancy. That pregnancy is unwanted and the result is the destruction of the unborn child.

Sex,  as an action has ramifications.  They are not negative or positive, just natural outcomes.  If I throw a rock up in the air,  it comes down. Throwing stones has positive and negative outcomes.  If I throw it just right,  I can skip is across a lake,  play a game of stick ball or even kill a giant threatening to destroy my people.  I can also break a window,  hurt someone or myself if I throw it straight up. Sex is the same way,  my wife and I have three wonderful and beautiful children. We wanted each of them and feel blessed to have them. Some people engage in sex and get pregnant with a child they didn't particularly plan for. It's a reality of the activity of sex,  it makes babies. We have known this for all of human history,  the entire animal kingdom knows this,  sex makes babies.  To have sex,  make a baby and then destroy the baby is a barbaric and inhumane action that doesn't belong in a civilized society. It's unjustifiable killing of a child.

Let's face it,  birth control in our day and age works pretty good.  Condoms come with built in spermicide and are 99% effective. If you get pregnant on accident,  it was because you were irresponsible. That might seem harsh,  but you got caught in the moment without having protection and you did it anyway. Things fail,  but they fail rarely,  most of the time it's because the proper precautions weren't taken. What we have done is allowed people to be irresponsible and destroy the new life,  and let's be clear,  it's alive. It's living cells,  living tissue, and by the time a woman knows she is pregnant,  it has it's own heartbeat. It's a living being,  a life that deserve an opportunity to live it's life.

We have found out that planned Parenthood is taking the aborted babies and selling the body parts. There is video of a national leader of the organization talking about what parts are often sold and how they can make sure when they do the procedure,  they can keep the desired parts intact. They have become a business enterprise to farm human organs and body parts,  at tax payers expense. This is butchery of a human being to sell off,  and it's unconscionable. They have duped the American people,  using terms like "it's a woman's right to choose" and having no concern for the woman or the baby.  Their concern is clearly the financial gain that comes from the harvesting of human tissue with the blessing of the American people and the Government.

Christians have protested,  picketed,  campaigned and above all prayed.  We need to continue to do these things,  but we must convince others that abortion is barbaric murder. We must convince our Senators,  our congressmen,  our leaders and of course our neighbors.  We are a government of the people and by the people. We as Americans must convince people that abortion does not belong in a civilized society. We have the means to prevent pregnancy,  if pregnancy happens that we have individuals who would love to adopt and raise a baby. As a foster parent,  I know there are people who wish to bring in children to their homes and care for them. Children and precious,  and the idea of killing them,  chopping them up and selling their parts should bother you. We must find a way to change the heart and mind of America to make this heinous activity a thing of the past.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Obligatory Gay Marriage Post

So homosexuals can now legally marry in all 50 states.  It looks like unicorns that only eat skittles have puked all over social media.  There are more rainbows than a 10 year olds watercolor paintings.  Everyone has weighed in and sides are chosen and words exchanged.  So here is my view on the whole thing, like anyone really needs one more opinion.

In a democracy, with an open government that is ruled by the people, our society does and needs to reflect the people of the country.  Marriage is a rule of law in a government system and therefore needs to be equal.  If that means giving homosexuals the right to marry, then the government should afford that right to homosexuals.  The ability to destroy the institution of arraignment should be available to all people.  It shouldn't be just a heterosexual issue, let's all trash marriage.

Now you may think I am saying sarcastically, but I'm serious.  We have destroyed marriage long before the homosexuals decided they wanted a piece of the action.  At it's foundation, marriage was about a man and a woman, two incomplete people coming together making a more complete whole.  We once understood that men and women were different.  They have different strengths, different weaknesses.  Long before this idea of gender neutral, we understood that God made them male and female, instead of God making them men and surgery and hormone replacement making them female.  We got it, and we put men and women together to form the basic core unit of the family.  That combination, two becoming one flesh usually resulted in children.  Yes, some couldn't have children, but most could.  That unit was the family and it was the core of community.  The family unit then helped to build the community, they contributed and invested and sacrificed.  The community came together to build a society which built a nation.  We were much less focused on the good of the one, more on the good of the whole.

Then we decided one day that we are all about us.  We are about what is good for me.  What is going to make me happy.  We decided that if community doesn't make me happy, I find a new one, or just leave it all together.  If marriage doesn't make me happy, I just get a divorce and find someone else.  Now, I can choose if I like men or women or both, or I can switch.  It's all about what makes me happy.  I have kids because they make me happy, and if I begin to have a kid and that isn't what I want, I can abort it.  We just change our minds based on what we want.

The issue isn't choice or freedom or equal rights.  The point is that we are so selfish that we have begun to worship ourselves, and Romans 1 tells us that when we do that, God gives us over to our depravity.  We will then do whatever we think will make us happy.  News flash, homosexuals won't be happy with this, there will be something else later.  Maybe polygamy or the push for the removal of age limits so I can marry a 14 year old, or whatever.  The self will never be happy, there always must be something else.

Is homosexuality wrong?  Bible says it's just as wrong as any sex outside marriage, even if the homosexuals are married.  Why?  Telling two guys they are married doesn't mean God says they are married, it means the state says they are married.  In the Bible, God made them male, God made them female and for this reason and man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh.  God makes this happen, not the word marriage, not the state, not the Supreme Court.

It's wrong, but so is abortion, sex outside of marriage, most divorces are wrong, and a list of other things.  It doesn't change anything and it really doesn't matter.  Pride and anger and lust and greed are wrong and we are all full of those things.  I'm wrong every day and so are you.  That's not the problem.  The problem is that we are saying it's not wrong, it's ok and we are told not to say it's wrong.  The truth is we need Jesus to save us from our sin.  From our greed and lust and pride and murder and perversion.  Yes, I said perversion.  We all need Jesus, me and you and the two guys who got married today.

The ground is equal at the cross.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Martha, Martha. The Great Anxiety

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
John 14:27

Do you ever struggle with fear? We are all afraid of something,  for example I am not a fan of birds. I don'think like things flying around my head,  it just creeps me out. There is a difference however,  between things that creep you out and genuine fear.  Many struggle with anxiety and fear on a daily basis. I have some anxiety issues,  but mine are very minor compared to many. We live in a world that is filled with much fear. I think the high pace of our society,  combined with constant pressure to succeed,  and the bombardment of information constantly has made us a stressed out people. Even today,  things at work didn't go exactly as planned,  and I may possibly face some consequences. That makes me nervous.

Sometimes it's simple things that cause us to worry. Every woman I have ever known worries about how the house looks when company is coming over. Remember Martha? She was stressed that she had so much to do and her sister Mary wasn't helping out.  Jesus told her "you are concerned with a great many things".  Not exactly what she wanted to hear I imagine,  but exactly what she needed. I know that often I am concerned with a great many things that don't have eternal significance. I worry about work and money and family and health and a long list of issues I have little to no control over. Do you relate?

The scripture is full of words to tell us not to worry,  to be brave and courageous.  2 Timothy 1:7 says we have not been given a spirit of fear.  In Matthew 6, Jesus asks if we can add a moment to our lives by worry,  which is probably the opposite of what we are actually doing. Jesus knew the stress would kill us,  and we are killing ourselves,  for what? I know I don'don't want to be afraid anymore.  I don't want to live in fear,  I don't want to suffer from anxiety.  I am going to continue to put my faith in the one who holds it all in His hands. I hope you find his peace today.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Real American Idol

Sometimes I wonder if we have all gone crazy. Take a look at the world today,  and it seems we have our priorities backwards. Slavery and the sex trafficking of minors is at an all time high,  but we are worried about Brucelyn Jenner. Millions of babies are murdered every day in abortion clinics,  but we are more concerned with same gender marriage.  Yes,  these are all issues and each one represents the depravity and the lostness of our society, but as Christians we need to make it a priority to protect those who cannot protect themselves.   Children,  infants and the unborn should be our priority. Heaven should be filled with our cries and pleas against these atrocities.

These problems and many more plague us as a society.  We have abandoned the values that once kept marriages,  families,  communities and churches strong. Instead we have given our hearts to the American idol,  not the TV show,  but the idol of happiness.  It'S the American dream right,  the pursuit of happiness?  The desire to be happy has given to a feeling of happiness. We worship this feeling so much that we have become narcissistic without even noticing. Abortion,  divorce, same sex marriage,  transgender issues, even sexual abuse comes down to our attempts to try to fill our lives with things that make us happy. The problem is that we are not happy when we get what we want. We then turn our attention to the next thing that we think will make us happy,  and the depravity spiral downwards.

The woman or man believes if they are in a relationship,  they will be happy. Once in the relationship,  they feel if they get married,  they will be happy.  In the marriage,  they believe if their spouse will just do the thing they want them to do,  they will be happy. The spouse doesn'doesn't do the things they want them to do,  and even if they do,  they still aren't satisfied. In the course,  they find someone else who they think will make them happy. They get a divorce and remarry,  thinking then they will be happy.

Somehow we have begun to think that we have the right to be happy. That we deserve to be happy That somehow we have this great value and we are owed happiness. We have a sense of entitlement that has come from worshipping the American Dream. Our pursuit of happiness has given way to the worship of happiness.
So what is the solution? I think there are several issues that we need to come to terms with.  First is the issue that suffering is bad and we should never suffer. Do you know people who have never suffered? How would you describe those people? The people I know who have never suffered are usually selfish,  self focused and often whiney. They are spoiled and haven'the learned the first thing about livingliving in community with others. We sometime ask "why do bad things happen to good people"  but people who are good people are good because they were shaped and tempered through adversity. Next,  we need to realize how emotionally driven we are as a people. Out movies,  TV,  music,  books,  all these forms of entertainment are designed to impact our emotions. We let our emotions control our thinking,  our actions and our behaviors.

It can be phrased a thousand different ways, the bottom line is we need to mature. I am hesitant to use the phrase "grow up"  but in many ways that is what is comes down too. We no longer live in a society where community is the goal. We want what we want,  when and how we want it. We do it in marriage,  in family,  community and in the church. How many churches have fights over worship styles and music? How many churches fight over personalities,  worry about "stepping on toes" and split over non-essential doctrine? How many complain about the sermon length,  the music volume and how many pastors have lost their jobs to keep people happy?

This is an epidemic,  we have become self-self-absorbed and narcissistic to the point we will walk away from church,  seek a divorce,  redefine marriage to make it fit whatever we think will make us happy,  change our gender and murder our unborn children. None of these things seem to be making us happy as a nation,  maybe it's time to suck it up and care more about our neighbors,  seek to build real community and help one another again. Maybe then we will find something better than being happy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Longing For Eternity

As a Christian,  I think there is a natural longing for heaven and for eternity with Christ.  This life seems so long,  especially during times of pain. I remember after my abdominal surgery,  laying in a hospital bed feeling miserable, praying that Jesus would return or just take me home to be with Him.   Even the Apostle Paul said that to die is gain. Eternity with Christ is so much better than anything.

With a glorious afterlife awaiting us,  we have to stop and ask the question about suicide.  If we kill ourselves,  will we be in heaven?  Some churches teach that suicide will cause a soul to go to hell.  I don't agree,  if you are in Christ,  there is no condemnation,  your sins are forgiven,  past present and future. A Christian who takes their own life will enter paradise with Jesus.

Is it a temptation?  I think the Apostle Paul thought so. I think Paul struggled with longing to be with Christ as he suffered through prison,  beatings,  stoning,  ship wrecks and trials of all kinds.   What kept him going forward was those he loved and served.   The churches,  the other disciples and missionaries,  those young in Christ.

We stay on earth after salvation because Christ has good works for us to do. We are the Incarnational representation of Christ as the church.   We are the body of Christ, we are here to do the work of Jesus. If we leave,  there is no one to represent Christ on earth,  to do the good works that He has prepared for us. If we abandon this world,  the darkness will be out of control.  You think it's bad now,  imagine the worst.  It would be reality.

I long for heaven,  I long to be with Jesus. I'm ready for His return,  but I'm not ready to leave my children and my family.   I want them to be with me,  and I want you to be with me. If Jesus comes for if I go,  I will be in heaven for eternity.  The other option is eternity in hell,  seperated from God by sin.   A place for eternal punishment.  Trust Christ,  place your life in Him and look forward to an eternity with Him.

Fellow believer,  hang in there today. When suffering comes and you feel like Paul when he said it would be better to be absent form the body and present with the Lord. Paul remained for the work set before him,  and he finished the race. Let's run hard until we are glorified in Christ Jesus.