All The Noise Gets In Our Way.

Dear Visitors and Friends,

What is to follow are my own opinions about the various organizations. I will try to avoid generalizations but if I do happen to clump people together, please know that I don’t believe that everyone under an umbrella name are the same.

I was wrong. It’s not often that anyone who puts something online returns later to say that. And even less when people who read the wrong information comes back to read the correction. However, that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t admit their wrong.

On November 17, 2016 I wrote that I had hope that Donald Trump would turn out to be ineffectual and to egotistical to do things that would make him so unpopular. I believed he wanted to be seen as having a better presidency than Obama. I guess he has his own ideas what that means. I’ll reiterate here that he was not my choice for president, and that I wrote that post to allay the fears of friends around the world.

I’ve been paying some attention to how people are trying to remove him from office and campaign against him. There are a lot of mistakes being made and I believe if the country as a collective would step back and take several deep breathes, it might discover most of us agree on many things, including voting out Trump.

What is getting in the way of our coming together, having a conversation, or recognizing there are agreements on many things? The noise.

There isn’t a majority or even a healthy smaller amount people causing the disruption, but the noisy ones are those the media loves to put on TV and social media spreads like a wildfire in the middle of a three-month drought. Two of the noise maker groups are the alt-right and antifa. These two entities inspire fear on both sides of the political line that then causes voters to vote against the party the group somewhat represents.

The interesting aspect of this is neither truly represents either side. They each have their own agendas. The alt-right stand for alternative right. They don’t agree with the right, the conservative or moderate Republicans. They want a separate white state and believe the only way for that to happen is for the US to cease to exist in its present form. They even take it one step further and have different what they refer to as races occupy different regions of the present-day US territory.

Let me take a moment to say that I don’t believe in separate races. We are the human race, with different physical and cultural characteristics. But the alt-right, the NSM (National Socialist Movement), Aryan Nation, or the KKK, among others, don’t see it that way, even though some claim to believe in the Bible. If they really did, they would remember there were only two people in the beginning.

The alt-right does not represent 99% of the conservatives in this country, just as I would think the antifa do not represent a huge majority of the liberals.

Here is an image from the documentary Alt-Right Age of Rage currently on Netflix showing how some divide up the far, extreme right.

Far right category image.I think the Nazi sign would include the KKK, the NSA and others that are extremists about race. And keep in min this is just a sorting by one source. Oddly if you were to watch the film, the founder of the alt-right would be a mixture of the lite and right.

I tried to find how the left side of the line looks at that far extreme but was unsuccessful. If anyone has a good chart, please put a link in the comments. It can include the right and left. Thanks in advance. If it’s good and credible, I’ll share it here and give credit as well.

Antifa means anti-fascists. The modern form of antifa and the NSM both have early roots in the punk music scene. While one side was screaming out and identifying with hatred and frustration with the world and what it was doing to them, or so they perceived, the other side was screaming about how people should unite against those who discriminate. One thing to know about antifa, they are not a united, organized group, but instead are multiple groups who unite through social media or emails to protest in certain cities at set times. One antifa group doesn’t represent another antifa group.

I think looking at the roots you can see how the extreme ends of the spectrum run high on emotions, not as in disturbed mentally, but are passionate about what it is they believe and are willing to show it, whether they are right or wrong. You pick your side, if you dare to pick one.

Me, I’m in the middle, almost dead center. I’ve learned over the course of following elections that I believe in things on the right of the moderate line and on the left of the moderate line. I personally believe if people were honest, they would say they same. No one party is completely right or wrong. Everyone talks about the right and left but there are other directions to take in politics.

Another problem is those heavily involved in politics vary on what they think of as extreme views. I think a lot of people can agree that alt-right and associated acts views are extreme, but on the left people start getting vague about wanting to call anyone out. And with the attacks people face from the extremes when they do express their views on either side that differ from those extremes and how they are spread on social media and sometimes end up on news programs, there isn’t even a chance for discussions.

Back to my point. With the focus on the noise the extremes are making no one is paying attention to the sensible, experienced people. The best people in government today are hiding in their offices because they are afraid of being labeled something that might cost them votes. This is one reason I am good with the idea of term limits. If you know your term is coming to an end, then you can step out and take chances and be bold for the people of your state and country. To do what is best for the people, not the party.

One of the many sad scenarios of the political world today is the most knowledgeable people about any given topic are rarely the ones being consulted or placed in charge of the issue. It’s the movers and shakers, the glad-handers, and butt kissers that claw to become a leader a committee rather than be an actual leader of their state or people.

The image above represents how the system really looks, or thereabouts. The country is in the middle strong and healthy. As you move further away from a united systems things begin to fade. And there is no simple right and left.

The divisiveness began back in the 1990s. The following is from Joe Biden’s eulogy at John McCain’s funeral. For those who do not know, Biden is a Democrat and McCain was a Republican and they were best friends since the 1970s. And yes, they were Dem and Rep even back then.

“We both would end our caucus, and coincidentally, we were approached by our caucus leaders with the same thing: ‘Joe, it doesn’t look good, you sitting next to John all the time,’ ” Biden said, as those in attendance laughed. “I swear to God. The same thing was said to John in your caucus. That’s when things began to change for the worse in America, in the Senate. That’s when it changed.”

I wonder if pro wrestling influenced the US political arena. In pro wrestling, back in the day, the good guys only talked to, ate with, or traveled with the good guys, and vice versa with the bad guys (baby faces and heels for the fans reading this). The idea was pro wrestling was real and feuds were real and went on even outside the arena. It was called kayfabe, a word used by wrestlers to warn others when outsiders would come around to get in to character.  Of course, most fans knew it was fake, but enjoyed the spectacle.

Politics has taken kayfabe to a new level. It has turned kayfabe into the real thing. New Senators and Representatives don’t realize there was a point you were meant to work together instead of fight. In pro wrestling the good guy and bad guy depended on each other to make sure they came out in the end safely and successfully gave the people what they wanted and needed.

Now politicians are the managers of their wrestlers, antifa for the left and the alt-right and associated acts for the right. The bad part is, they can’t manage them because the truth is, the far ends don’t really agree with the parties. Some of each end are the talkers, the mouth pieces of the ideologies, usually intelligent and articulate, but then you have the muscle. Some of antifa and the alt-right are willing to and like to fight. For the alt-right itself, it’s more the associated acts that fight. The NSM, the KKK, the neo-Nazis. But, the alt-right freely and seem to gladly unite with these groups during rallies.

I wonder if there will be a day when the governing system of the US will truly become a governing system as opposed to a power-seeking system. It’s doubtful. Whenever you have a group, there is very likely to be a leader and others who want to be that leader.

I wish there was someone with the organizational power to pull together millions of Americans to write actual letters and send them to Congress and perhaps the White House demanding certain things happen. Each letter demanding the same thing, concise, professional, without threats. Doesn’t matter the party, just that our Washington tax-paid employees do their jobs, grow spines, and tell the president no. Get things done despite him.

I better stop now, or I’ll ramble on forever and lose my way. I’ll spend another time discussing further about the noise and how it comes even from silence.

 

Respect and Love.,

Ronovan

Politics or Praise, what’s in your church?

Lately I’ve been doing research for a series of posts I plan to do in regards to why young people and even some older people leave the church, the Christian church. The reasons have been many and not all that surprising for the most part. After all, those that don’t like Christianity are happy to give you the reasons on air whenever they get the chance.

I will get in to each reason later, but it recently occurred to me that they all had something in common. Those in leadership positions of the church, elected or simply held in high regard, let the members of the church down. Why, because they are looked up to as examples of what a Christian should be. The fairly new Christians, and that is of any age, often see hypocrisy occurring when people forget they are a church and begin acting as though the church is some power organization that one needs to control or be a part of.

I’ve been part of a church that went from having to park on the grass and sitting in folding chairs of a 300+ capacity church to having only 100 show up for service. All because of politics. Most often it is because someone didn’t like the pastor and when that one influential person leaves, all those that are on that person’s side, follow suit. By the way, he was an amazing pastor who got my father back into church after being out for over 30 years.

While everyone is involved in the politics, as opposed to praising and praying, the people of the church are not being fed spiritually nor being fed the knowledge of scripture. Two very important things in a Christians foundation of belief.

Another thing that happens is members see the infighting and power struggle of the church and can’t help but notice the hypocrisy occurring. The gossip, the whispers, the sometimes outright lying. The causing of conflict and discord in the church.

Those involved in the conflict are so caught up in what is happening that they don’t realize they are failing others. They see their needs as being the most important needs, but they explain this away by saying it is also best for all those in the church. Is it really?

I am a fan of the Simple Church. It is a book by Thom S. Rainer and talks about how to cut out all of those things that a church doesn’t really need. In other words, back to basics. I heard him speak on this at a SBC conference once and the end to all the headaches of what was occurring in my church looked to be in sight. I’m a peacemaker. That’s what my spiritual gift has been identified as. That is one reason a lot of my posts seem to give a bit of two sides of things and rarely have an edge to them. As the head of the Deacons, and Sunday School, and Youth Director, I embraced the Simple Church.

For us it was almost too late. But we still survive.

I am not speaking about conflict in the church just be talking. It really dose run people off. If this is all you have experienced in a church, or the majority of your time, then why would you want to stay there?

With that I give you the following passage.

Proverbs 6:16-19

There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
        haughty eyes,
        a lying tongue,
        hands that shed innocent blood,
        a heart that devises wicked schemes,
        feet that are quick to rush into evil,
        a false witness who pours out lies
        and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” NIV Translation

This is a list from lowest of the things he detests to his most. Note his most despised thing, those who cause conflict or discord within the church. This doesn’t mean those who ask questions, because one who believes wants to know as much as possible and needs to know in order to be able to give answers when asked. This means those who are out for some kind of control or want to get their way in a dispute.

When whispers and gossip begins to spread and your church numbers begin to dwindle , there is something wrong. Look in the mirror and see if you have the heart of Jesus for all members of your church. If you are not happy in your church, then find another one, but leave quietly. Don’t leave with a roar in an attempt to break a church down. Because when you do, the young Christians, and I mean young as in new to being a Christian at any age, only see hypocrisy and the discord caused. They do not receive the spiritual energizing and feeding they need with their fellow Christians that is so important, especially in the early stages.

For those thinking God only spoke to the Jews in the Old Testament about conflict and lying and gossipers, check out Romans Chapter 1 and see what He says they deserve.

Finally, I give you one of my favorite verses.

Psalm 46:10

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Emphasis mine.)

This is the Old Testament and means Christians and Jews alike, should be still and remember that what we can do is finite, what God can do is infinite.

Be still can mean that people who believe they can do good works to show they are good and mighty are foolish because they do not give God the credit for their ability to achieve.

Christians should be still and observe all that God has done and can do, and realize that we shouldn’t sweat over things we can’t control. Do what is within your control, and as you do so with God’s help, you will be able to discover there are more things in your control because you have grown. This is what young Christians should be able to look forward to, not a conflict torn church that denies them the opportunity, or perhaps a young person thinking of asking Jesus into his/her heart and walks away instead because of what they see.

It’s Sunday all over again.

Back in the day, which would be a couple of years ago now, I would spend Sundays on my blog sharing my thoughts about my faith. Please, don’t turn the channel yet. This particular post won’t exactly be faith sharing as one might think of it. It’s more like explaining, and that’s to Christians as well. We can all learn a little something we thought we knew already.

It’s Father’s Day here in the USA and in an article I read yesterday a celebrity of sorts was quoted as saying “It’s God first and family second.” I’ve seen and heard that phrase plenty during my years as a Christian, but when I read it this time, it occurred to me, for the first time, that many people probably misunderstand what that really means, including the Christians that say it. That brings me to my purpose for writing today.

I believe that a large majority of Christians today haven’t been taught properly about what being a Christian is, because I don’t see them being Christ like, and if you talk to them about Christianity, they can’t do what is called defending the faith. Meaning, they can’t explain why they are a Christian or why certain things are the way they are in the Bible. Even those who think they know it all continue to learn every day. And if they aren’t? They might need to be checked on by a brother or sister in Christ. No, there isn’t a Christ Cops airing on TV busting backsliding Baptists.

Christians are at various stages in their life as a Christian, ranging from Baby Christian, which is what I was at 23 when I was saved to Mature Christian, where I feel comfortable in saying I am now. Not telling you my age. But age don’t mean a thing when it comes to your walk with Christ. Here are some things any stage of a Christian’s maturity level in their walk and knowledge should think about when reading the Bible.  Or for non-believers who hear people quoting scripture to prove how evil Christians must be.

1) The Bible is a text book. More precisely, a History book. It’s not a book of fairy tales or approved by God events. If that were the case, the Bible would be a lot shorter. As with any text book, the author, God doesn’t have to, and most likely doesn’t, approve of every last fact in the Bible. God either directly told, as to Moses, what to write, or He inspired someone to write, as in the New Testament, those feelings and put them in to words that God approved of. Normally in the New Testament these are letters to either churches, mentors, or students who are helping a church.

2) The Old Testament is the history of the Jews and is included in the Bible to show us why Jesus had to come, and thus Christianity begins. That’s correct, Christians don’t follow the Old Testament. Christianity doesn’t begin until the New Testament. We don’t follow or believe in or even like the idea of the laws/rules that the Jews had to live by. There are some denominations of Christianity that do follow parts of the Old Testament, but they are in a very small minority but always seemed to get picked by media to represent all of Christianity.

3) All you really need are the words of Jesus to follow. If anything else in the New Testament disagrees with the words of Jesus then those words are incorrect and are just an opinion of whoever physically wrote those words. Usually the author will say, in some way, they are giving their own opinion.

4) If you are reading the Bible or hear a verse from scripture you need to keep these things in mind; where, when, and why (WWW). That goes for any historical text you might read.  I’ll give you an example. 1 Corinthians 14:34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.” These are the words of Paul writing to the church in Corinth.

Where and When: Corinth, first century A.D.. Why is Corinth important? Because it is a Roman controlled city, under Roman law.

Why: Corinth is having problems with all sorts of members who are doing things to draw the attention of others.

Results of WWW: Roman law during this period forbade women from speaking in public gatherings and many other things. They couldn’t even own property. The house was their domain and that is where they were expected to talk and ask questions about anything from church to politics. Thus in order to keep the young Christian churches growing and spreading, it was important not to give Rome a reason to break up or give problems to a church. The use of the lowercase L in law is important here, as if Paul were referring to Jewish Law he would normally use the uppercase L, as he does earlier in the same portion of the text, not the lower which normally referred to Roman or local law.

I hope you see why the WWW is important to know when reading or interpreting something in the Bible. I’ve never really heard people outside of fellow Apologists who explain details like that. With Jews writing these letters, it is important to remember how important word selection and letter case is.

5) The Bible we have was put together by man. Man chose which letters and text to include in a unified book form. Constantine order for Bibles to be made for the Bishop of Constantinople and the churches in the area around the city. It is believed this may have been what prompted the idea of having just one version of the Bible that could be used, although some Bibles, even today, have a few extra books outside of what was finally decided upon. Some say it was divinely inspired as to what to include. Perhaps. I leave that for you to decide. I just know I stick to the words Jesus said, and I know I’m doing good. Although I still mess up in some way every day.

You are probably wondering what all of this has to do with “It’s God first and family second.” When many Christians see or say this, they really put God before the family in such a way that it interferes with family. The truth of it is, if you are following God, following Jesus, then you are not allowing what I call pollutants to contaminate your life and interfere with your relationship with your family. When you put God first you really are doing so in order to be a stronger and better person for your family. No, you won’t be perfect. No one ever will be. The whole point is for you to know that and keep trying, talk to God and ask for His help to give you strength to get through whatever might be giving you problems. Don’t confuse God and church as the same thing. I know people, like myself at one point, who thought if I am doing everything that I’m asked to do for the church then that’s what God wants me to do. But that can interfere with your family life. You can put God first everywhere you are and at any time.

It’s God, Family, then church.

Well, I hope I helped someone out there understand a little bit more about Christianity, at least how I see it. I’ve experienced a lot, learned a lot, and led a lot. I’ve fallen even more than all of those three put together. God isn’t about a building or what a preacher says to you or about a clique or club inside the church. God can’t be contained by a building. The only time God is in a church is when his followers are there to talk to Him, to worship Him, or praise Him. Because each believer/follower, has a bit of God in their heart.

I end with a New Testament verse that I live by and an Old Testament I live by that is still relevant for we Christians.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Romans 1:16

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;” 46:10a This helped in my time of great confusion, distress, and fear. We all need to learn to be still. Pick our battles. Choose our moments. And let all the other insanity be. Do what we can, and let others do what they can, and be happy with what we have done while still living our life by living it not existing it.

A Journey of Decisions.

We are a pitiful lot, aren’t we? We look around and see things we want. We want that car he has, or the job she has, and don’t forget the hair she has, but then you can buy that. That’s just the beginning of the wants. Can you imagine if there were a true Want Ads section of a newspaper?

I am about to do something that will help make me a successful and happy man. This something that a small percentage of humanity will do in order to reach that pinnacle of life. I am going to begin a journey.

This isn’t a journey to Disney World or the Grand Canyon, although for some, that may be the journey chosen. No, this journey, this Route of Life starts at my current existence and choosing my chosen point of happiness and success, making decisions along the way to make it all come true, before parking my Ferrari Portofino at the final Exit of Life.

You are thinking that we all do this every day of our lives. That’s not true. You see, we all have this GPS of Life we start out with at birth. Point A is the day we are born. Point B is when we should start making decisions about our future, and Point C is the end.

Point A you can’t control, you’re strapped in your car seat in the self-driving car that carries you through life and head to Point B. Most of us, when we turn 14 or so, the Age of Decision Making, move from the back seat to the passenger seat for a better view, just so we can see things we want. You are delivered to your high school advisor and she asks what classes you want to take, what school sports or activities you want to be in, and what are your plans for after graduation. You push the well-worn button number one, then as the window of your car rises, you fall in line behind your best friend and the other lemmings.

You enter Point C, the Exit of Life, into the GPS of Life with adequate restrooms available along the way and the trip continues. The car of your life drives along and when obstacles appear, it picks the easiest way around that obstacle and continues along the way with no side trips or new point C in your trip. All easy and simple.

You graduate high school. Sadly for you, your best friend is accepted to a college out of state because she made decisions you didn’t know about. You enter the college nearest to home. While you get your Business or Education degree you meet someone, because that is the GPS of Life’s most used route from your point B. You stare wide-eyed like a deer caught in blue tinted halogen headlights as you walk down the aisle because you are supposed to do that after you graduate college, even though you aren’t certain that you even have feelings of like, let alone love, for your future spouse.

Now you are at least happy your high school advisor suggested you enter the “adequate restrooms” into the GPS of Life, because if you are a man, you have married a woman, who at one time drank five margaritas and three shots of something that was never identified and danced for three hours without stopping, whose bladder has now suddenly become the size of a raisin or if you are a woman, you need to get warm because your husband doesn’t understand that normal humans need to use heaters during winter, not air conditioners, which means you need coffee every 30 minutes, and of course that means you need to pee, and the cycle continues. And let us not mention what happens once the children come along. And the dog. The incontinent dog that your wife just won’t allow you to put to sleep although it can’t walk or even poop without you helping it stand, and you sometimes have need to poke the poor thing to start its breathing again. Try to look cool in that grassy area at the convenience store holding up the back end of a Boxer so it can poop. That’s the Success Life of Happiness.

I think you probably see what the GPS of Life is all about. You are simply a passenger that makes the stops and visits the places between points B and C that are most common for people in your general area and demographic, which your high school advisor helpfully programmed in for you at Point B, the Age of Decision Making.

That describes a very large percentage of the world. For some, they can’t get off that GPS of Life route. They are born in to a world where there are very few stops between Point A and Point C, and there is no Age of Decision Making. But for people that are reading this, very likely you can reroute. And thank God, Oprah or BTS for that.

For me, a journey is a series of decisions you make. The first decision is often the hardest decision to make but it is the one that frees you. It could be you quitting a job to start your own business while you have no guarantee of success or income for the next month or six. It could be moving thousands of miles away from everyone and everything you know. It could be a change of your current family life package.

One piece of advice at this point, an aside if you will, tell your doctor about your beginning a journey, because it is very likely your blood pressure will be rising at first due to stress, unless your rerouting is a fabulous opportunity with nothing to leave behind. For the rest of us, read me, you don’t want to get misdiagnosed and end up doing a nuclear stress test.

People that can sit down, analyze their life and then say they are truly happy are those who have taken journeys and achieved success. You need to define what your success will be. For me, that journey is beginning late in life. But, is it ever too late to become happy? Is a person ever too old or too far along the GPS of Life route to swerve in to that next exit, take a deep breathe, and reroute?

By this time next year, I should be at a Point C in life, that new Starting/Current Life point working on a Point D, Success and Happiness. No one make any assumptions about what that C is. I am an odd one and it could be anything. I am the amnesiac who wrote an historical fiction novel about pirates and met a blogging friend from Australia, who was born in Malaysia to Chinese parents, at a Cracker Barrel in Georgia for breakfast and introduced her to grits for the first time in her life. In my life, anything can happen. And I want anything to happen. I am going to have fun until that Point E, the Exit of Life, comes along. Bring it on world, I got your GPS right here.

The joyful thaw.

Sometimes I cry, but not because I’m sad.

It’s because when I met you my heart was frozen.

You’re the one who warmed me through and through.

You brought this strange thing called love into my world.

And tears of joy, that come from the melting ice.