Archive for the ‘forgiveness’ Category

After processing the news of Tony Snow’s passing I knew there was something I had to do.  I had to pay a visit to the Daily Kos and see what the folks over there thought of the passing of this genuinely good and kind man who left behind a wife and three children.  What I found what about as revolting as the time back in college when I accidentally took a swig from my roommates dip bottle- which was all to inconspicuously disguised as an ordinary Coke bottle and in very close proximity to my Coke bottle.

I will warn you that the comments are quite vulgar. I must also give props to those on the comment board who had the moral courage to condemn those spewing pointless vitriol- thank you all for standing up to a conmmon decency that knows no political bounds.

Why am I republishing these awful comments?  I think that republishing these comments on this blog can lead to a teachable moment, a moment I will capitalize on next week in a post under the intellectual transformation series.  [Note: All of the below quotes can be found at this thread on the Daily Kos]

“Tony knew that his boss was full of shit and that he was lying to the American people everyday.  He gets no kudos for being a lying sack of shit.  Yes its terrible for his young children, but it is also terrible for the young children of soldiers who keep getting killed because of the bullshit this lying sack of crap spewed everyday from his podeium.  rest in hell.” -Rogereaton

One can have little doubt that what the poster (and countless other folks after him) considered “lies” were more likely than not points of political difference- instances where Tony Snow or those he represented drew different conclusions from the same facts.  Yet, Mr. Eaton is more than happy to condemn Tony Snow to the darkest pits of hell because of their political disagreements.  I guess we are lucky this guy isn’t actually in charge of who gets what final destination.  Aside: For those of you looking for the proper application of the admonishments against judging others found in the New Testament, here you have a perfect example.

“I am a little baffled by the kind words for Mr. Snow on this blog today. Here was a man who could have used his talents to better the world, and he chose to do the complete opposite. I am not sure how he slept at night. My condolances (sic) to his family, but I can’t be sad that he’s gone.”- unionsally

While I am glad she expressed some concern over Tony Snow getting some rest- since we all know a good nights sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle- some might consider it a tres bit gauche to make sweeping moral claims about the dead.  Perhaps we can all find some way to at least stay quiet if we can’t say anything nice about those recently departed.

“You were my favorite of the Bush administration’s apologistic (sic) panderers.  You were a good spokesman for the side of evil and if not for your cancer, would have easily had a promising career in televangilism (sic) should you have chosen to pursue one.”- Juliewolf

The best that I can say is that perhaps this is an attempt at humor that took a disappointing turn.  Note how she connects Tony Snow with “the side of evil” and suggests a possible career in televangelism- since we all know televangelists are horrible people right?  All I want to know is whether Ms. Wolf was among those who decried President Bush when he called North Korea, Iran, and Iraq an “axis of evil.” (A statement I had problems with at the time, although no doubt for completely different reasons. Especially since I do believe that the North Korean governmental system is a clearly evil system.) (more…)

This will be a new series similar to my old posts on patience and pride.  I still stand behind my old posts, but I think enough remains to be written that I won’t have to repeat myself.  Each day (if the Lord is willing and the schedule open) I will post on one of the below virtues.

Each post will follow the same rough outline.  I will identify a vice, name the virtue which can diminish that vice, and then list the benefits of that virtue.   It isn’t realistic to expect a total absence of vice in your life, but that doesn’t mean you have to let your vices control you.

And if you think virtues aren’t for you because you aren’t a religious person, think again.  These four virtues cut across all aspects of life: body, mind, and spirit.  For example, holding on to anger and refusal to forgive can cripple the spirit, preoccupy the mind, and have adverse health impacts on your body.

1. Flee Pride, Pursue Humility, Find Contentment

2. Flee Impulse, Pursue Patience, Find Calm

3. Flee Excuses, Pursue Honesty, Find Perspective

4. Flee Bitterness, Pursue Forgiveness, Find Peace

Ever have one of those days where you feel like scrapping everything you’ve worked for because things are just that hard? Today, I came too close for comfort.

The problem. Well it is complex. Apparently my previous university gave me about $1,000 too much in subsidized Stafford loans. I didn’t find out about this until I got accepted to UNC-Greensboro for my doctorate. At which point I was told I couldn’t receive ANY unsubsidized Stafford loans because of the over payment.

The last three months have been a quest to find out who is responsible: Wells Fargo (my lender), North Carolina State (my previous institution), or Direct Loans (the federal program). I have been told of two possible solutions.

  1. I figure out a way to pay my lender (representing the feds) $1,000+ dollars. Such is impossible since we don’t even know how we will pay our living expenses this July (no paychecks for either of us). So how in the heck am I going to find $1,000 bucks?
  2. NC State sends Wells-Fargo the money back and in return Wells-Fargo cuts a new unsubsidized loan for the same amount. That sounds simple doesn’t it? Well it is. In order to do that I would have to apply for a whole new loan and the process would take 4 – 6 months. I start classes at UNC-Greensboro in August- two months from now.

I could just scream I am so angry. No one at NC State is offering me any help. No one at my lender is offering any help. And no one at the U.S. Department of Ed. is lifting a finger. Each one says it is the other two’s problem.

Meanwhile I have no clue how I am going to afford the gas to drive back and forth to UNCG- a two hour drive each way. Much less pay for books, fees, etc.

Please keep me in your prayers. This is taking a serious toll on my sanity and my stress level is way up.

I just try to have faith that God will provide and remember Christ’s words

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34.

God values me and he will never forget me. Although it is a struggle, I will keep my faith that the Lord will provide. Whether it means finding a job for the month, a check in the mail, or a kind stranger. I have faith God will come through. And I must admit I can’t wait to see how he does it.

Yesterday I went to a cook-out and consumed tons of pork and three large pieces of garlic bread.  On top of that I had a slice of chocolate cake, and two other desserts I couldn’t even name- but they were delicious.

So my weight is obviously quite depressing at this point.  I had been just about to break the 170 barrier.  Now I will be happy if I break 171 again by the end of the week.

I do have a big announcement though…

(more…)

Tomorrow’s gonna be the day I shatter the 173 lbs barrier.  Not that morning, but what I do during the day will result in me weighing in on Monday (5/28) at 172.9.

The odds are stacked against me.  Why?  Well tomorrow is church, and church means one troublesome thing, donuts– Dunkin Donuts to be exact.  I think even allowing myself one (and only eating one is hard enough), if I trim back my calories at lunch and my afternoon snack, I can still pull it off.

So here’s the plan for tomorrow…

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Well, someone brought donuts to a church meeting I attended last night and I just couldn’t resist.  I needed the quick shot of sugar as the meeting run until 9:45 last night.  So one coconut covered donut later I am seriously regretting ruining an awesome  day to satisfy a momentary craving.  Just goes to show that even after three months my self-discipline still needs a lot of work.

So what about today?

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I was originally going to title this post, “How to Leave Your Church.” However, the title fell far short of what I wanted this post to convey. While this post will address the right way to leave a church, this post is much bigger than that. I want to speak to our western world view and how it plays into our actions within the church and as a body of believers.

Take that phrase, “body of believers,” and think on it.

Paul refers to the “body” often in his various epistles. But can we understand what he means? Is our frame of reference able to comprehend the gravity of that word?

Living in a Constitutional Republic, each of us is accustomed to knowing and exercising our rights. Even those ignorant of the Constitutional specifics know that they have rights. Those rights don’t belong to certain groups, but to the people. They are individual rights that each member of society is capable of exercising without seeking permission or blessing. And while this has been a political blessing, it has also served as a spiritual curse.

As a result, we feel entitled even in the church setting to seek comfort, to go after what pleases us, and to find our own happiness. Just think of how many times you’ve heard the phrase, “How can I grow in Christ” compared with the phrase, “How can we grow together in Christ.” Sadly, church has become an individual exercise of weekly attendance. Where is submission? Where is sacrifice? Where are the shared burdens?

To make matters worse we use or freedom to avoid growth.

Too often, as members of the church we take offense, and instead of confronting our brother, we simply move on to another congregation. Instead of letting these kind of conflicts lead to stronger bonds of brotherhood and friendship, we seek the immediate comfort of avoidance. But in doing such you haven’t solved a problem, you have merely carried your own problem to another church- where it is destined to arise again at some point.

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I love the beginning of a new week. Each new week carries with it the promise of a fresh change, a new start, a chance to get over the day you ate two donuts- the chocolate kind that are covered in chocolate frosting. But ideally, my view (our view) of each day should be the same. Heck, why not each minute?

All of us would transform and grow at a more rapid pace if we could put our shame behind us quicker. Too many of us wallow in our mistakes and end up repeating them over and over. We bear shame that is far too heavy for our shoulders and as a result we keep our faces in the same dirt that brought us shame in the first place.

For some it is that day they went overboard and had a whole pizza, with BBQ wings, regular (not diet) Coca-Cola, and half an apple pie with ice cream on the side. After that day they (possibly you) say, “Why bother? ”  That voice of shame says, “You’re not going to be able to control your appetite.”

For some it might be the lies they told or the sheer weight of their own sin, that bears down on their back. That same voice of shame whispers in our ears, “You’ll never be good enough. You don’t deserve (insert here whatever your goal might be).”

Luckily, that voice of shame is wrong. You don’t blow a whole diet by eating poorly one day- heck you don’t even blow it by eating poorly one day a week. Step back and look at the totality of your choices. You might blow it one day a week, but what about the other six? None of us is perfect. So if your life is marked (for the most part) by positive movement toward your goals you haven’t blown it.

Because it isn’t that one day, that one mistake that ruins our diet, that ruins our walk with God, or our career. Most often it is the inordinate amount of time we spend dwelling on that mistake, refusing to learn from it, and consequently repeating it over and over.

Leave your mistake(s) behind you. Don’t forget them, but learn from them, and move on with your life or your diet. There is something at the other end that is well worth the pain and self-denial. I can tell you from where I stand, right about half-way, I am so happy about all I have achieved. I am also so excited about all the mountains left to climb.

Change is difficult, change is hard on the nerves, and change is perhaps the single most important incentive to growth. Sometimes the only certain thing in our lives is change. We can encounter that change and cower in fear, we can simply roll with that change (letting it overpower us), or we can use that change to transform us for the better.

When I started this process in early February, I noticed a change in myself.

I had become intellectually lazy (I had almost stopped reading completely), I had become spiritually empty (my prayer life was practically dead), I had become financially lazy (engaged in a cycle of spending beyond our means on non-essential items), and of course I had become near hopelessly fat (my stomach jiggled when I brushed my teeth).

These things hadn’t happened over night. Each occurred gradually, the result of a long string of poor choices and bad decisions.

I took a look at myself that February day and said, “This need stop now.” I haven’t been perfect since then, I have spent money I shouldn’t have, missed bible study dates, and eaten deep fried food and calorie dense snack food. However, for the most part, 95% of how I live my life in all those areas has changed. Why did I do that?

Because I looked ahead and I saw an unwanted change coming. I looked to my financial future and I saw bankruptcy; I looked to my spiritual future and I saw the wide path that led to destruction; I looked to body’s future and saw heart attacks and diabetes. I didn’t like any of what I saw. So the choice was clear, wait for change, or begin the process of change (transformation) myself.

The process has been at times a bumpy road and at times quite difficult, but it has also been rewarding. I would advise anyone else seeking to transform their life that the change is worth it- the chance is worth it.

I wanted to avoid any further comments on this but the facts surrounding the man behind the tragedy seem to get crazier by the moment.

1) He had an actual order for psych evaluation placed against him. This is huge news. It means several people took his insanity seriously enough to go to the magistrate and try to have something done. Moreover, the magistrate complied and issued the order.

2) Like any good nut it now appears that Cho sent a package to NBC outlining why he went psycho. He also had the words “Ismael Ax” written on his arm. What does it mean. Who knows at this point, but maybe the package will provide an explanation. Making this more detestable, the package was sent between the shootings. Think how many people probably saw this guy on his way to the mailbox.

3) He actually had stalked two separate girls. Unfortunately, both declined to press charges. Who knows if it would have made a difference though. I just hope those two girls don’t beat themselves up over their decision not to press charges.

4) Lastly, he wrote plays disturbing enough that his teachers were scared. Now that is crazy! The text of his plays, available on-line here, is quite disturbing.

How odd this whole story has become. Still, I am not sure, anything could have been done to stop this guy. He seems to have been determined to kill and to kill as many as possible. I am just glad he spared everyone the pain of a trial by killing himself.

The most important thing I take from all this new information is this- he was insane. Knowing that, we now are freed from trying to use our rational brains (brains which function normally) to try and figure out why he did what he did. Only his irrational brain knew why he committed these acts- and he has provided that information to NBC news. When that information is disclosed we will get a peak into a psychotic mind. A mind we can barely hope to understand.