Archive for the ‘guilt’ Category

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…

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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.

Birthday’s are usually a good time to reflect on your life- especially when you enter the second quarter of your earthly existence.   What have I learned?  How have I grown?  Heck, I don’t have enough space here to answer those questions.

But one thing stands out- I have a lot of learning left to do.  While my fitness situation is rapidly improving, my finances and my spiritual walk are both lagging behind.  I have taken steps in the last few days to address both deficiencies and I will continue to try to compensate for past neglect.

Beyond that, as I watched the news this morning, I heard a quote that was quite poignant.  I believe it was Mohammad Ali’s wife who said that the most important thing to remember (at least according to her husband) was that “He whom receives much from God, of him/her much is expected.”  Living in the United States, with a home of my own, with a wonderful family and good health- I consider myself rich beyond comparison.  Yeah we drive 17 year old cars that make me scared every time I turn the key; yes we are behind on some of our bills; and yes we don’t have enough to put the new roof on our house that it needs.  None of that is incredibly important though.  Why not?  Because I have faith that if the cars broke down, if the more bills piled, or the roof collapsed- whatever happens God will provide relief.  I don’t know how He will do it, I don’t know when, but I know His aid will come when the time is right.  For all this I am so grateful, but also so guilty, as I know I haven’t given back enough.

So looking forward from this day, it would be appropriate to say that I look toward a more abundant and charitable life.  Whether it means running our ranch/farm for the benefit of our community or whatever the Lord asks, I look forward to the opportunity.  I will admit I have my fingers crossed that God goes with the whole farm idea- but I am open to whatever He asks.

Since this is a slow day for workouts, how about some news stories from around the web.

Sharpton’s Collateral Damage

Future of Imus Charity Ranch Questioned, Deborah Baker (AP).

“Don Imus’s banishment from the public airwaves also deprives him of a critical platform to raise money for the sprawling Imus Ranch, where children with cancer and other illnesses get a taste of the cowboy life…

…Imus said he and his wife Deirdre are round-the-clock surrogate parents to the youngsters who spend a week at the property, nearly half of whom are from minority groups and 10 percent are black.”

[Someone who asked a similar question stirred up a lively debate over at “Yahoo! Answers” (See also this discussion on the same forum). For those of you unaware of Sharpton’s slash and burn (not to mention callous disregard for the truth) past see Larry Elder’s recent article. I’ll leave you to decide if Imus’s good works are of far greater worth than three words- “nappy headed hos.”

Aside: I despise this topic; however, I discuss it because the media has turned it into a major news event. I emphatically state for the record that I can’t stand Imus or his radio show.

For your perusal I have also linked to several comments on Imus’s firing.

Cowards Kick Another Piece of America’s Soul, Kinky Friedman.

“Wavy Gravy says he salutes mistakes. They’re what makes us human, he claims. And humanity beyond doubt, is what appears to be missing from this equation. If we’ve lost the ability to laugh at ourselves, to laugh at each other, to laugh together, then the PC world has succeeded in diminishing us all.”

Music Lyrics Take Spotlight During Imus Controversy, Goff and Alexander [Could also be called “The Giant Double Standard Elephant in the Room.”]

[When asked to defend a rap act where the N-word was used more than 100 times (I bet if the H word (ho) and the B word (b*tch) had been counted the tally would have been much higher) the student body president responded with the following statement- contained in the article linked above]

“Being they are a performing artist group they’re merely here to entertain us. That’s nothing serious in content, they’re here to entertain.” – Student Body President Deven Anderson.

[Imus Fired for Threatening to Reveal 9/11 Secrets?] American Radio Icon Don Imus Disgraced, Fired after Threat to Reveal 9/11 Secrets, Sorcha Faal.

“In a clear sign of its intent to reign in dissident American media personalities, and their growing influence in American culture, US War Leaders this past week launched an unprecedented attack upon one of their most politically ‘connected’, and legendary, radio hosts named Don Imus after his threats to release information relating to the September 11, 2001 attacks upon that country.”

[Is this kind of stuff supposed to be taken seriously?]

The Ten Commandments for Husbands, Doug Giles.

Thou shalt not hang out with horndogs. Hanging out with guys who hateth their wives, who loveth to indulge in the superfluity of naughtiness and who are out to convert the faithful to the Cult of Infidelity is muy goofy. Be not deceived: bad company will land thee in a strip club or an illicit affair which will causeth thou to meet with the chainsaw of Jehovah. Be afraid.”

[An excellent list of ten rules to live by that will keep us men out of most of the stupid and ridiculous situation we often find ourselves in. I also recommend my series (a new section is in the works) on living the deliberate life.]

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As the events transpired not too far down the road from where I attended graduate school, I find it hard to remain silent. The headline today, “All Charges Dropped in Duke Case” is an indication that some justice has finally occurred in this horrible display of prosecutorial power abused.

This case has dredged up a lot of emotion since it first hit the news. Many found it hard to ignore. Sadly, it wasn’t because of any good evidence that would indicate that the accuser’s claims were truthful. Instead, the media ate up this story since it was a perfect story- a story of privilege vs. poverty, white vs. black, men vs. woman, powerful vs. powerless, etc.

A real problem has been exposed by this case. It is reported that the Duke players’ families have incurred a debt close to 3 million dollars for their respective sons’ legal defense fund. What of the boys who can’t afford the best lawyers? How many prosecutors like Nifong have steamrolled over innocent young men because they lacked the material resources to defend themselves?

In all their paroxysms over the guilt of these evil, rich, privileged white boys, the media forgot one very important thing. If they had been the opposite, if the accused were poor black kids, could they have received a fair trial? Most likely not. Why?

First, the media wouldn’t have even taken notice. The story wouldn’t have garnered much attention, since it didn’t fit the ideal narrative present in the Duke case. The media took notice because this case fell within a narrative framework that fits well in the weltanschauung of modern liberals. It is revealing that few in leadership positions at Duke and in the media were willing to consider the innocence of these young men when the accusation first surfaced.

Second, their attorneys would have been overworked and underpaid public defenders- juggling too many cases and without the necessary resources to confront a rogue prosecutor.

Third, the North Carolina system has almost no checks against this kind of prosecutor run amok, and without press coverage there would be little chance of getting anyone in power to act.

Foxnews has come out with an article on the accuser– Crystal Mangum. It indicates that she had a very troubled past. It is worth reading, as the article is highly informative and helped to explain some questions I had about why anyone would present these kind of false accusations.

What Lesson have we Learned?

Lesson One: God’s laws regarding sexual purity, moderation in alcohol, etc. are given for a reason. Had these young men not celebrated by hiring a stripper and consuming alcohol (excessively) this whole drama never would have occurred. While they are not responsible for her false charges, they are responsible for their own actions.

Lesson Two: People who describe themselves as “Victims’ Rights Advocates” have a severe hatred for the truth. They seem to be interested in one thing- proving the guilt of any accused individual. I am sure that even now many VRA’s will be condemning the A.G.’s actions and bemoaning how this case turned out.

For the life of me I can’t believe that there are people out there who believe (and I saw these words in print in reference to this case several months ago), “Women don’t lie about rape.” This kind of thing is really ridiculous, especially if you apply the Feminist perspective to the above statement. If women are mostly powerless, and they seek avenues to gain power, rape accusations present the perfect opportunity to be empowered. The female accuser in a rape case gets near unconditional support, no condemnation or criticism from those interviewing and counseling her, and a near blank check for future support and care. Of course as the case moves on the accuser might be rightly or wrongly maligned by the defense- but does this kind of thing really enter the mind of someone seeking immediate love and acceptance (or revenge)?

Lesson Three: Being restricted by a world view that paints all blacks as helpless victims, whites as privileged oppressors, and sets guilt or innocence based on the former categories is severely limited and biased. Our judgments in these matters can’t be based on broad categories that find support only in our own prejudices, but in facts and a reasoned approach to those facts. Whether it be local newspaper editorial section or the Group of 88, most were quick to convict these men before they were even charged, and punish them before they had even the slightest inkling of the facts. Worse yet, many have remained steadfast in their wrongful claim about these young men to this day.

I hope now these young men can begin putting their lives back together. I am glad they are lucky enough to have that chance. I pray for those who lack the same resources and who now sit inside a jail cell, righteously suffering a wrongful conviction. I also pray for the accuser, that her wounds (those wounds that led to this horrid accusation) might be healed, that she might be restored.

May God turn this to good for everyone involved, even Mike Nifong (after he receives his just punishment from his peers- the North Carolina Bar).

After sleeping through the guilt and shame of consuming over a dozen oatmeal chocolate chip cookies- not to mention a general lax attitude in my food intake over the last few days- my weigh-in tomorrow will not be very pretty.

So the next two weeks will be a project in both returning to the straight and narrow path of discipline and commitments as well as seeing what my won body is capable of. Below you will see my food and exercise commitment for tomorrow.

Food:

Breakfast– 5 eggs (2 whole, 3 whites w/ smoked turkey breast), one piece of whole wheat toast, 4 cups water, and one serving Creatine.

Snack– Protein bar (20g protein), one serving Creatine.

Lunch– Peanut butter and jelly on 100% whole wheat, one medium pear, and one serving Creatine.

Snack– Protein drink (12g protein), one serving Creatine.

Dinner– Smoked turkey and ham sandwich (w/ lettuce and tomato) on 100% whole wheat bread, blue chips, salsa, cucumber. Two cups of water.

Snack– Jello and 2 cups of water.

*Each serving of Creatine is also a full serving of water.

Exercise:

Sprints: I have a 110 foot drive (so about 36 yards), so I start a few feet before the bottom, and sprint 40 yards up the driveway. Repeat five times, walking back down to the starting point. [I should mention my driveway is at a 30-35 degree angle].

One-legged calf raise: holding weight- in my case a bucket full of rocks.

Rock Carry: Carrying to buckets with 45lbs of rocks each up and down the drive-way 4 times.

Circle Push-ups: Assume a regular push-up position with your left foot raised slightly in the air. From this position, keep your right foot set as a pivot and move your right hand to the right; do a wide grip push-up; move your left hand to the right; do a close grip (diamond) push-up; repeat until you do a full revolution. Now lift the other leg and rotate in the opposite direction.

Plank: Assume a push-up position, and contract your abs as if you were trying to touch your backbone with your belly button. Hold for 15-20 seconds.

Side Plank: From a plank move right into a side plank. Lay on your side supporting your weight on one arm (bent like an L) and one foot. Bridge up to form a straight line with your body. Hold for 15-20 seconds.

[Move from plank, to right side plank, to plank, to left side plank for two complete cycles]

Now cycle through this workout one more time (do as much as you can without unusual pain).