Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Holidays

I have a confession concerning the Holidays; I am a humbug. Now I fully admit that it's partly due to my flesh. Well, maybe more than partially. I am lazy by nature and all the cooking, decorating, buying the tree, untangling the lights, hitting your thumb on the hammer yet again, straightening the tree for the fifteenth time, chasing the cats off said tree, shopping for the wife and kids, wrapping the presents, cleaning up after each said event, ad nausea, really holds no excitement for a man whose idea of a good time is sitting in a comfortable chair with a good book. If physical exercise is required I want productivity; working out, tending to my garden. I want results for my efforts. Selfish, yes I know.

It also has to do with the flat out hypocrisy of the season. The thin veneer of pleasantness that people wear during the Holidays tires my spirit.  The same people that can barely stand each other and were fighting not but thirty days ago suddenly are in the same room kissing cheeks and cooing over unwanted gifts, most fighting again before the beginning of the new year.

Then there is the absolute crass commercialism that now dominates what use to be a special celebration for Christians. I am so sure Jesus came to die on the cross so that we could rush to stores on 'Black Friday', the day after my favorite Holiday, Thanksgiving (yes for the food but most importantly it is a time to give thanks), at an hour that farmers don't rise to, rushing stores for bargains that put us further in debt for things we don't need.

Bah! Humbug!

Can I challenge the Body of Christ (including myself) here for a moment ? Can we really celebrate the true meaning of Christmas this year? Can we put aside the things of the flesh for just a moment and look through the trees and the lights and somewhere in there find the real Spirit of Christmas?

Three shepherds over two thousand years ago did. Out minding their flocks one summer night (Jesus was not born on Christmas day, December 25th was the day picked to celebrate his birth, no one knows the real day he was born) suddenly,
And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" Luke 2:9-14

We've heard this story so many times we've lost its impact. Good Tidings! Great JOY! The Angel didn't come to warn these men that God was going to flood the world like he did with Noah, he wasn't coming to warn them God was going to smite their cities because of their wickedness like he did with Lot,  he came to tell them that God had sent his only Son to make peace with man.

So this Holiday season can we make peace those around us? Not the peace of this world, but with the Love of God. Can we show love to those in our families and our lives who have harmed and hurt us? I'm not saying its going to be easy. For some of you (I'm in this boat), you can't even do it yourself. You will need the Holy Spirit to give you the strength and courage. We need to make peace with them, if possible, for God himself made peace with us.

I have a second challenge. Can we as the Body of Christ make this and upcoming Holiday Seasons less about shopping and more about giving? I know we say, 'it's better to give than to receive'; but do we really believe that? Does giving gifts to those that love us or to those who give gifts in return, is that really giving? Is that a true demonstration of God's love?

I know what my family and I are doing next year (I am embarrassed to say expectations are already set for this year but I am setting them for next year; family take note). Next year I am taking our Christmas budget and we are buying gifts for families that can't afford them and items the homeless need. We are going to wrap them and I am going to have my immediate family deliver them in person. We will then give the rest of the family Christmas cards that say something to the effect, 'Your present this year is you blessed this family with.....' and give them pictures and stories of how the gift we would have given them blessed someone else instead.

Giving gifts to those who cannot give anything in return. Radical? Not really. God did it for you. He gave you his Son so that you might live. And you what did you have to give to him? That's right. Nothing.

May you have a Happy Thanksgiving and a true Christmas of Good Tidings and Great JOY!

Monday, October 25, 2010


"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." (1 Cor 13:13)

Paul penned these words around two thousand years ago and despite all of our technological, sociological and cultural advances they are still really the only things that remain important. Skeptics, particularly of the atheistic bent would scoff at this suggestion but I invite you to live without them. Most of us that have lived beyond our late thirties or early forties have probably tried and have found it difficult if not outright impossible to do so. 

Faith is a perfect example. Some will claim that there is no God; that everything around us is the product of pure chance and that indeed something came from nothing. The very fact that this belief is, in of itself, a statement of faith (there is no way to prove this scientifically or otherwise) seems to be somehow missed by those who hold to the idea. Everyone has a faith system for if one does not then there is no reason to continue and tragically there are some who come to this conclusion and end their existence. But it is not the loss of faith that causes this, it is the loss of that which is borne from faith and love; hope. 

Hope is the never discussed and much looked over attribute that is missing too much from the Christian's vocabulary and is desperately needed in our societies present economic and spiritual crisis. If Faith and Love were dating Hope is the unwanted third wheel in the church much like the Holy Spirit of the Trinity; seldom discussed, misunderstood, and underutilized. Which is a shame because it is rather quite powerful. 

A little over a year ago one of my business partners asked me to pray for the wife of a good friend who was stricken with a very aggressive form of cancer and he supplied me with a login to her Care Blog which she updates frequently for her friends and family. 

To say that Maria Elena Milam has been to hell and back is an understatement. She had her kidney and lymph nodes removed to find out that the cancer had spread to her spine and left lung. She went through exotic and painful radiation and chemotherapy treatments; some which she had to discontinue as the treatments turned out to be more dangerous than the cancer. She has been bounced around clinics, doctors, treatment centers, drugged, went through extremely dangerous back surgery (left a 12 inch scar), been down, back up and then down and then back up again, dealt with endless rounds of chemotherapy to joyfully discover it working on her cancer and then watch a good friend of hers die of the disease. 

How does one deal with life when it has become a personal living hell? This is what Maria has to say:
Hope really IS everything. With hope you can pick up the pieces and deal with whatever you are being dealt. There are times on this journey when I have lost it and when I found it again it was even more precious than before. This cancer journey has no rhyme or reason to it that is discernable to the human mind. But if you think about it, from strictly a human perspective there are many crazy things in life besides cancer that don't seem to make sense. I have been struggling with why some people live and some people die. The face of death is personal to me now as I have befriended people on this cancer path and those friends and aquaintences have died. There is Nancy from the center and June, Ron, and John from support groups. There is little Meena whose mother carries on with an unfathomable strength every single day. There is Laura from Inheritance of Hope. These are all people I met, got to know, and prayed for. They have moved on to the next life and they don't suffer here anymore but their families miss them terribly. And there are people that live like Billy from Virginia, Louie from New York, John from Gainesville, my wonderful friend and cancer mentor Kim, many, many people that now work at CTCA and Duke, and many people whose names I don't remember that were glowing from good news like the news that I got yesterday. There are people that I have lost track of so I don't know where they are in their fight and people fighting hard like Kristen and JayZ and Kelley. Where is the ryhme and the reason? I have come to peace with it by reminding myself every day that this is God's world and the only way to find peace with it is to find your way to God. I hope and pray that each of you can do that in your own way because it truly is the path to peace in this seemingly crazy world.
Hope is misunderstood as it has lost its spiritual connotation and context; we presently relate Hope with 'wishes', i.e. 'I hope I win the lottery', 'I hope I make a million bucks'. We associate Hope with things that we really never believe we will acquire or attain. Yet the hope of the Bible is a million miles from that definition. We cannot even have Faith without hope:
 'Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.' (Heb 11:1
Hope is not 'wishes and butterfly kisses', it is the real desire see the Kingdom of God established on Earth as it is in Heaven. It is born out of the Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ; that even when we don't see it that in him all the promises of God are 'Yes' and 'Amen'. We Hope for substantial things and by our Faith we see them implemented in this dead dying world.

Jesus is our ultimate Hope. We know that one day we shall leave this body and someday we will see him yet again. But this is not wishful thinking, Jesus told us this would happen and we can believe him. Dead men tell no lies and neither does the one who came back from the dead. His resurrection is our Hope. Until that day Hope gives our Faith arms and legs and even sometimes wings. 

Until I started reading Maria's blog hope has not been one of my strong suits. So let's give it a shot shall we?

I hope Maria one day is completely cancer free. 
I hope that my marriage will continue to get stronger and stronger. 
I hope my children will come to know the Love of Jesus.
I hope my friend will find a job. 
I hope that Jesus will come soon. 
I hope that one moment of one second in heaven will wipe away all the suffering, pain and tears that every person has every experienced. 

I hope. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

9/11 -- Did We Learn Anything?

On September 11, 2001 Islamic, al-Qaeda terrorists turned four commercial airline jets into fuel laden flying bombs and destroyed the Twin Towers in New York, a large section of the Pentagon and if not for the heroes on Flight 93 who willingly sacrificed their lives; the White House. 2982 people tragically lost their lives that day; more than the day of infamy at Pearl Harbor. Nine years and two wars later the effects are still being felt world wide.

Did we, and when I say 'we' I mean all of us, collectively, as the most advanced and wealthiest civilization ever to exist in the history of the world; did we learn any lessons from that day?

I think we did, but I think we are hell bent on forgetting them. I think we want to bury that day away and to leave it in the ash heap of history to continue forward like the good old days when death did not rain down from the sky and steal away fathers, husbands, wives, mothers and children without any warning. We want our security back. We want our illusions.

Oh and how wonderful those illusions were. We lived in the most prosperous society in the history of mankind and the most peaceful. The world's super powers had not been at war for over fifty years, for the first time in human history. Science had promised nearly everyone a full, long life with people living regularly past eighty with an active, viable lifestyles. Doctor's long promised cure for diseases was starting to come true; it didn't matter if you had taken the highway to hell just take a pill and everything would be cured. Technology was producing an economy that was going to make everyone wealthy and that which couldn't be bought would be available for free. Man's long sought nirvana was well on its way.

My how things have changed.

Iran is acquiring a nuclear weapon and being sponsored by China and Russia who perform joint military actions together while Islamic fascists threaten to embroil the nations into another world war. Science is discovering that diseases can be more difficult to cure than we thought and the swine flue gave us an ugly reminder that new nightmares are just a mutation away. We are finding out that medicating medical problems for long periods of time causes their own side effects which can kill you just as quickly as the original problem and that the mass produced foods that we are consuming may be causing health problems like obesity and hormonal imbalances. Did I mention that we are finding out that stress will kill you quicker than anything else and how can you not be stressed these days?

That wonderful technology bubble burst and hard. The economic growth that would never end and would eventually make everyone rich cannot even produce jobs in the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Wealth at a never before seen magnitude was lost in record time. Our Government has proven itself incapable of even fulfilling an election promise of simply providing much needed hope.

There is a tendency in a wealthy society for people to think that everything is going to turn out well for them. Society has always had an attitude that their way of life will always be around and that it can always conquer the challenges it faces and find solutions to problems that threaten its existence. 'We will always overcome'. The problem is six thousand years of known human history au contraire.

On that tragic day terrorists didn't just destroy buildings and lives they destroyed our illusions of safety. We always believe that if we just do the right things; eat the right foods, exercise, drive cautiously, be green, recycle, reduce global warming, save the whales, save the dolphins, reduce our carbon footprint, use alternate fuels, be racially sensitive, divorce our old wives and marry that young thing, find the perfect spouse, get cosmetic surgery, if we are just good enough then we will avoid that thing called death.

When those twin towers of our economic might and power fell we could no longer deny that someday death too would come knocking at our door, and probably not when we are ready. Our reaction to 2900 plus deaths was disproportionate to say the 40.000 plus who die annually in automobile accidents. Our hidden horror was these people were doing nothing more dangerous than showing up for work and within hours some were jumping forty stories to their death to avoid being burned alive.

This is the lesson of 9/11 that our society refuses to learn or acknowledge; there is no hope of avoiding death. It is coming and when you least expect it.

And yet, I have good news. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16). Maybe that verse doesn't seem so contrite now.

September 12 is my birthday. Every year now I am reminded that in one horrific day three thousand people perished and every year I am getting closer to taking that trip. My birthday wish is that you will learn the secret that I have learned; God loves you, God has forgiven you, and God has life for you. That you will accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and so when death comes knocking on your door you will have the will, authority, audacity and hope to tell it to go to hell. Because you won't be there thank you very much.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Smaller Portions

I own a business and I travel. A lot. I have a 2007 Honda Accord that has 260,000+ miles on it*. I like driving and visiting people; if you want to see me shrivel like a neglected potted plant make me go to the same office every day. However, this lifestyle has some serious drawbacks of which one is the constant eating out. It's a miracle that I am not more overweight than I already am.

Due to the recession restaurants are having to slice prices to keep their patrons returning and I have noticed a trend; smaller portions. At first it bothered me as I was paying less for my meals but the meals were getting smaller and smaller until I was looking at a five dollar lunch that consisted of two palm sized burgers with five dainty shrimp strewn across a pile of spinach leaves that would barely fill a tea cup. Incredulous, I looked up at the waiter to say something when the Holy Spirit told me, with the usual difficulty it encounters, to shut up. I sat stunned and eventually managed a weak, "Thank you".

As I looked at the meal which would barely feed a gerbil much less a six foot two fifty two inch chest male I begin to become convicted of my attitude. There are millions, literally millions, of people in this world that would trade places with me in a heartbeat. How did the six hundred plus calories sitting in front of me become not enough? How did I manage to grande size my entire life to the point that when presented with smaller portions instead of thanking God for my blessings I immediately acquired an attitude that it was insufficient?

I am asking these questions as I think about our society and our wrecked economy which is at its lowest point since the Great Depression. There is no denying that people are financially hurting. What I wonder is how much of it within the Body of Christ was self inflicted? Was our quest for bigger houses, nicer cars under the guise of being 'blessed by God' really hiding our fleshly desire to super size our lives? Did we get caught up in using credit cards to get what we wanted now to end up paying for it later? Did we begin to believe that God was a debit card existing to finance our lifestyles? I think we did. I know I did.

I wonder how much of what God is allowing in our society has to do with bringing the unbelievers to repentance (it's working, Church's are growing again) as opposed to educating the body of Christ as to why we need to be good stewards of our finances and resources. My guess is that God is probably getting a twofer here. Get the heathen's attention that they can't trust the riches of this world and teach his 'flighty I will take the charge card and run the bill up to get things that I don't need while the world is dying around me' Bride to be a lesson in financial stewardship.

God wants us to have the big dreams and to do great things for the Kingdom of God. "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father." (John 14:12) But God also wants us to be good stewards of the resources he's already given us. We have an opportunity in the challenge before us to learn to discipline our appetites and to make do with smaller portions so that when the blessings flow again we can use the resources to grow the Kingdom of God; not our bank accounts, the number of our possessions or the size or our waistlines.

For me personally, I am working on reducing my waistline and we are on track to be completely debt free by 2012.

We need to fulfill great dreams for the Kingdom of God. We just need to do it with smaller portions.

"He who is found faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much" (Luke 16:10

 *On a side note, if you want a reliable car get a Honda. They are made in America and the only thing I've replaced on the vehicle is the radiator fan and the battery. I'm not making this up and I didn't receive any money or favors for this endorsement, but wish I had thought about it first :). 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Did Perez Hilton Post Child Porn?

You've probably already heard but apparently people are accusing Perez Hilton of posting pictures of Miley Cyrus on his website wearing a see through dress without any underwear and apparently all can be seen. The problem for Perez is that Miley is seventeen years old, a minor, so if the pictures were real then legally it was child porn and Perez is in deep trouble. No one knows for sure because Perez had them scrubbed from his server the same day after being accused of child pornography and immediately claimed that she did have underwear. Nice to know there are still some laws on the book that have teeth.

I'm not here to rehash whether Perez committed a felony nor here to discuss his character. It is interesting to note that this is the same Perez who verbally assaulted runner up Miss California in the Miss USA pageant after she gave an answer not to his liking about homosexual marriage.  I'm also not here to discuss my disappointment in Miley Cyrus and her all too revealing outfits.

What I want to discuss is our societies perversity of turning young girls into sex objects.

Before we begin this discussion there is one very important fact that we (particularly women) must understand about men. Once you understand this undeniable fact (because you can poll one thousand men about this and nine hundred and ninety five will agree with me and the other five are lying to impress you) then you will fully understand the dangerous waters that we are wading, nay, plunging into as a society.

The simple fact about men is when it comes to sex is that we are visual. Period, end of story and debate. If you are a married women you may have noticed that when you walk around the house naked you husband will attack you. If not he either has health issues or your marriage has serious problems. God made men so that it is the eye that attracts and trust me, don't think you have to have the curves of a supermodel to get his engine running.

Now I know women everywhere went, "I knew it! Men are all dogs!!"  I want to take a moment here to defend the good men in society. Men are not dogs. Men who sleep with everyone they can are dogs and give the good men out there a bad name. That's like saying because there are women who like to sleep around then all women are sluts. Just because a man sees something visually that he likes doesn't mean he has the right hit on it. In civilized society men are expected to show restraint, married men are allowed to go to only one well. Not all women are sluts and not all men are dogs.

But all men are visual. This is why the pornography business, even if exaggerated, is at minimum a billion dollar a year industry in the US. This is why ninety eight percent of the men in the US have used or use porn and the other two percent have trouble with lying. Porn appeals to the very core of a man's sexuality; his eyes. Women accuse men of thinking with the member between his legs but trust me on this one its the member between his eyeballs. If women really knew what went on in a man's head you would be more sicken than you are now.

Men do have the ability to admire the beauty of a women without lusting after her. When a man looks at a women and says to himself, 'Wow, she's beautiful', at this point he has not sinned. He is simply admiring her beauty, say the way I look after a 2010 Dodge Challenger (Wait, that might not be a good example). However, if a man looks a women and then begins to imagine her in a sexual way he is lusting and according to Jesus, has committed adultery in his heart (Matthew 5:28). I know you women out there want us to be attracted to your bubbly personality and winning heart but I am here to tell you it's what we see that catches our attention. For most men what we see is not enough to enter into a lifetime commitment but it does make us curious enough to find out if there is the other characteristics we are looking for in a mate (as was in my personal case).

Now past (and some present cultures) understood the effect the naked feminine body had on a man. Hence floor length squirts and it was scandalous to show an ankle; a thigh and a women was slut. Both Islamic and Christian extremes have unjustly blamed women for what they possess and have sought to severely restrict any view of the female flesh whatsoever to the point of head coverings. I don't think we should go back to severe restrictions on feminine fashion (we forget, it was just a hundred years ago it was dangerous for a women to show up wearing pants). But the pendulum has swung way, way too far the opposite direction and now we are endangering our children.

There is a fantastic water park within an hour from where we live and every year the family goes out and we have a good time. What I saw this year basically shocked me. If being shocked seeing 13 - 17 year old girls walking around in bikinis so tiny and revealing that they may as well have been naked makes you a prude then for me it's official. Most of these girls were not skinny prepubescent sticks either, they easily could have passed for older women if not for the baby fat and childish behavior. I was constantly looking at my feet the entire day but many men were openly lusting.

The question I have for the parents of these children, at least I think so, is fair: "Who the hell let these kids out dressed like this?" I mean really, get a clue. You think your daughter showing that much flesh is not going to be attracting unwarranted attention? Pedophiles and child molesters are looking for young women to exploit and you are apparently willing to provide the bait. Children in that age group have absolutely no business dressing that skimpy in public (much less mature women).

Disregarding the sickos in our society looking to hurt your young daughters what about men such as myself, faithful to our wives and respectful to women (open the doors for them, let them ahead in the line, etc) who train our minds not to go where its not suppose to go and your allowing your daughter to basically stand naked in front of us. We are honorable men and we won't do anything but don't expect us not to be disgusted.

What is frightening is that dressing girls in tight shirts showing cleavage with shorts that ride inches from the pubic area is becoming the norm. I have a twelve year old daughter and we are disgusted with the current offerings for girls from the ages of 10 - young adult. We have to shop and shop and shop just to find clothes that we are somewhat satisfied with. There is an apparent attempt by clothes designers to cloth young women with as little as possible.

When a women dresses in such a fashion that she is showing cleavage, belly, shapely legs and tight clothes that leave no imagination to the shape of her body whether she knows it or not she is advertising that she is sexually available. When women wear makeup they use blush which simulates flushing of the cheeks and lipstick which simulates the way their lips flush during sex. If I walk into my bedroom and my wife is dressed in lingerie with high heels and stockings and wearing makeup I don't look at her and say, "What a wonderful outfit. That really goes with your skin tone and hair color." I pounce. My wife is advertising her desire for sex and who am I to deny her?

When you send your little girls out in the world dressed in such a way that previous generations would have labeled them sluts their little bodies are sending signals to men that they are sexually active and when you let them wear heavy makeup it doubles the effect. Many men walk by and say, "Who am I to deny her?". You are allowing your daughters to dress inappropriately and provocatively.

Now I want a disclaimer here; no woman, regardless of how she dresses deserves to be sexually abused, manhandled or raped. I don't care if she is standing out in the street naked; if I see a man treat a woman that way my wife will probably be bailing me out of jail. No woman deserves to be hurt in such a fashion, period. But men deserve the courteousness of women dressing modestly. Women can wear pants or skirts and tops and come off pretty and not as a sexual billboard. Any men who protest this of course have one thing on their mind. I mean, come on women out there, who do you think invented the bikini? It was two Frenchmen of course!

But what is really disheartening is how nobody speaks against this discerning trend. If you are a full grown women and you want to display your flesh in all its glory then so be it but don't wonder why you are always attracting the wrong type of men. Allowing your children to dress this way is unconscionable. Do not let your daughters out the door without a clothes inspection and do not negotiate. Set boundaries for your child and stick to them and it helps if you model the rules yourself. I think a lot of this has to do also with too many fathers not in the house. If you are a father and you wife is allowing your young girls to dress this way she may not be doing it on purpose. Many women just don't get the visual aspect of a man's sexuality (I guarantee you I will get many women posting on this blog complaining that it shouldn't be this way. Sigh.) Please set your daughter and wife down and explain how men look at women. Be brutally honest. Set standards and enforce them.

Now I know some of you think that I am being as shrilly as Perez Hilton about turning our children into sex objects. So I want to show you some pictures I took at the mall the other day.

The above picture is right in the front of the store as you walk in next to this one:

Now your probably thinking this is the area for young women. Nope. Your wrong:

It's the Juniors section. THE JUNIORS. Notice how the younger girl (picture one) is in the more sexually suggestive position and is showing more leg than the older girl (picture 2). This is a major department store who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty.

We have to stop buying these terrible clothes for our daughters (vote by wallet) and we need to start complaining to the stores. I walked into this same store about a year ago and they had pictures of women in lingerie in poses that could only possibly be called 'soft porn'. I sent the children out into the mall and called a floor manager down to complain that I did not want my kids seeing those pictures. She quickly agreed and an hour later we walked by and they were gone.

Perez Hilton may be a menace to society and if Miley Cyrus was indeed flying free that day he had no right to publish those photos. But he is dead on when he shrills about young underage women dressing inappropriately. We as fathers and mothers need to protect our children and stop our society from turning them into sex objects. They deserve their childhood and we need to fight for it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Response To Comments on Homosexuality Part II

First of all I want to thank all of you who have responded and have respected the boundaries of healthy debate. Living in the greatest country in the history of civilization (in my humble opinion) we sometimes forget that one of the things that astonishes our admirers and enemies alike is our ability to live peacefully among those we, sometimes vehemently, disagree with.

Having said this I want to say, particularly to the homosexuals who have responded to my blog, that I in no way condone violence towards those who choose that lifestyle and your welcome at my Church (not just my words, our Pastor's words). As a born again Christian I am called by Jesus to love the sinner (and that can't be just lip service, in needs to be action) and rightfully so; I am a sinner and I have no trouble loving myself.

The debate here is whether the act of homosexuality is a morally acceptable one. What is not in question here is whether Jesus or myself love homosexuals. He does and as he is my master so shall I. It is interesting that many of the commentators responded to my philosophical arguments with spiritual ones which is what I was trying to avoid in Part II; Part I explains where the Bible stands on homosexuality. Part II was from the view point of secular moral view point and not the Biblical truth.

There were some very, very good arguments presented that we could go around and around on till the second coming and not convince or change each others view points. (My best friend and I have argued consistently for the last ten years if 'Time' actually exists.) There were some arguments I could systematically dismantle but do not have the time or inclination. However, there is one that needs to be addressed.

It was articulated extremely well and I will quote the part I want to address verbatim:
I love my boyfriend. My lesbian friend loves her girlfriend.
I look at us both, and I think "What is different? We both kiss our partner, we both hold hands with our partner, we both talk to our partner, we both take pictures with our partner, and we both look at our partner's in the eye. What is society's problem?"
This is an excellent question and deserves an answer. I may have the left the impression that homosexuals are incapable of any resemblance of a healthy relationship and I want you to understand that is not what I believe. I've seen, unfortunately, many marriages dysfunctional to their very core. Marriage does not guarantee a healthy relationship and being homosexual does not guarantee (although I believe it does lend itself) to promiscuity. Then why should it matter?

Because marriage is not based on relationships. Now I know this is very contrary to what many of you have been taught. Many of you have been indoctrinated that someday when you are young and beautiful you will be walking along minding your own business when you will look up and see the most beautiful person in the entire world and your eyes will lock simultaneously with your hearts and you will instantly understand each other and hang on every word of your beloved and they will understand you in such a complete way they will meet your every need and you will have healthy beautiful well behaved children and grow old and happy with each other.

And it is utter hogwash. The reason that the divorce rate in the United States is approaching 50% is because people (especially young people) really believe the aforementioned love scenario and after about six months of marriage they figure out that the reality falls far, far, far, short of expectations.

Marriage to society is a contractual agreement that guarantees the survival of the society and its culture and it the raising of children who will further that society. There is really no other point of marriage. The concept that it should be based on love or relationship is a very recent idea. Now I know this sounds foreign to many of you but what may shock you even further is that modern studies indicate that arranged marriages are happier overall than Western marriages and India has the lowest divorce rate of any democracy, hands down. There are many misconceptions about arranged marriages (that they are forced for instance) but I have always thought that cultures that participate in these types of relationships always have a healthier attitude towards marriage than than Western culture. (Yes, I am sure there are abuses of arranged marriages just as there are abuses of dating in Western culture. Also, I am not advocating the approach in the USA but it would probably be healthier if young adults allowed their parents more input in the selection of their spouse). Whether there is a true correlation or not it is interesting to note that cultures that have the lowest divorce rates have the lowest toleration for adultery, sex outside of marriage and homosexuality.

I heard Ellen DeGeneres (I personally think her show is hilarious) once say how people on the far right always say that if you allow homosexuals to marry then you would have people marrying cats and dogs. Why do they always say that, she quipped, its always straight to bestiality. With this very funny statement though Ellen actually makes the argument I am presenting.

What she is saying is that homosexuality should be accepted but of course bestiality should not be. What she is saying is that just because people are homosexuals doesn't mean they are not moral and doesn't meant they don't have standards. That allowing homosexuals to marry doesn't meant that you should allow people to sleep with animals as there are still things that people should not be allowed to do.

But that is exactly the problem. The moment we say that marriage is no longer a contractual agreement between a man and a woman and society but based upon relationships and feelings we have now opened Pandora's box. If a man has feelings for two women why should he not marry both? If a man has feelings for a man and a woman why not all three of them marry? If a man has feelings for his daughter, why can they not legitimately marry. If a woman has feelings for her son why can she not legitimately marry him? If men have feelings for boys why should they not be able to have sex with them?

What your saying is that sex should no longer be allowed exclusively between a man and a woman in a marriage contract only but with whomever and whatever one has feelings for. Many are confused in western culture because we have already destroyed the first line of resistance which is sex outside of marriage which was not tolerated in Western culture as recently as 150 years ago. Marriage has become an option if one is having sex, not the only option for having sex. In Western culture sex is now based on feelings and emotions, not on marriage so of course it now makes perfect sense for people to sleep with the same sex.

The issue here is not really whether homosexuality is moral but whether sex outside of marriage is moral. Either it is not and we in the West have been very bad (and I think the destroyed marriages and children show the fruit of our behavior) or anything goes and we need to drop all the pretenses. Now some of you homosexuals are going to tell me that we cannot allow incest or sex with children but my question is where does your moral standard come from? Yourself? What tells you that you have the right to sleep with the same sex but a man does not have that right with his daughter?

If the moral decadence in our society continues and I was a dog or cat I would start looking for places to hide.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Homosexuality Part II

In Part I of my blog on homosexuality we discussed the Biblical views of homosexuality and the evidence is compelling that God is not in favor of the act and in fact outright condemns it in both the Old and New Testament. Now if you don't believe the Bible is the final authority of God's word or, worse yet in my view, don't even believe in a God then Part II is for you. Don't leave yet.

We ended Part I by asking the question that if you have a healthy, loving relationship between two members of the same sex then what can possibly be wrong with allowing them to marry? If your a Christian, the answer is obvious; not only should they not marry but they shouldn't even be engaged in the act. If your not a Christian the answer is not so obvious as you do not have a direct commandment from God. But I do believe that there are moral, philosophical and societal reasons why homosexuals should not get married, much less even be involved sexually.

Before we begin to discuss these arguments against homosexuality I would like to dispel some damn nonsense that I hear on a regular basis that is dispensed from the mouths of normally rather intelligent human beings. It goes something like this, "Each to his own." or "I should be able to do what I want as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else." or worse, "There is no such thing as morality."

When someone says "Each to his own" he or she is telling me that they are doing things they know they shouldn't be doing but plan on continue doing them anyway. This maxim is usually tolerated until you become a terrorist, serial killer or a dictator bent on world destruction. If this mantra is true then why shouldn't serial killers be allowed to operate in peace? Oh, because they hurt other people. So this nonsense about everyone should be allowed to do what they want to do means as long as they don't hurt other people. But this doesn't hold true either because people who live by this mantra commit adultery and divorce their spouses but feel they should have the freedom to do this even though it leaves a trail of devastated lives behind them. When someone says "Each to his own" let me translate; "I will do whatever the hell I want and I really don't care whom it hurts." Society simply has limits on what type of pain you are allowed to inflict and this has changed throughout time and culture. Murder is still disallowed in most civilized societies but until the last fifty years adultery was severally punished by the courts in the form of alimony; alas this has sadly since stopped. Men are now free to leave their wife's and go play without penalty (and vice verse). Until Christianity infected and eventually overwhelmed Roman civilization it was common for fathers to turn their backs on new born infants; a sign the child was not wanted and was to be killed. Infanticide is no longer tolerated in just about every modern culture (outside the womb).

Morality is relative even in cases where it is not obvious others are being affected. I can think of no other better example than the two current demonized activities of smoking and obesity. Although not outright outlawed to the extent of say, smoking pot, it has become so repressive to smoke it might as well be and my once a month cigar habit may not be available much longer. And my wife says, 'Amen!'.  Smoking generally affects mainly the smoker himself (despite the persistent myth of second hand smoke) and his immediate family. Yet our society pretty much demands that this practice be abandoned.

Obesity is another example of a personal behavior that is no longer tolerated by society. It too lacks direct laws against it but they might as well pass them and parents who allow their children to become grossly overweight now face intrusion from the governments, rightly or wrongly.

Now some of you will argue that smoking does affect everyone and does have an impact in higher health costs to society as a whole and so does obesity. To which I say, exactly. Society does feel that certain behaviors are unacceptable because although there may not be direct harm to other individuals society as a whole takes it in the chin for these behaviors (I would include drug and alcohol abuse in this category).

This is exactly why homosexuality cannot and should not be tolerated in society and at best accepted but not condoned. They definitely should not be allowed to marry or form legal unions.

Homosexuality, at its very core and very essence is based upon one thing; selfishness. Homosexuality is the revelation that one can have his or her sexual needs satisfied with a member of the same sex versus a member of the opposite sex. This may not seem like a big deal in its impact on individuals, society or mankind in general but from a philosophical and moral standpoint there are implications for any society that condones such behavior. Some of you are threatening to fall asleep at this point. Stay with me, it's important you get this because your probably not hearing this argument anywhere else. Not even in the Church.

The first thing homosexuality destroys is the relationship between men and women. I was buying my son a replacement phone for the one he lost when the AT&T rep saw my wife and I interacting about how much money to spend on the boy (always a sore point between us) when the rep confided to me he was gay because it allowed him not to have to deal with the opposite sex. I confided to him I completely sympathized with his choice. I am unfortunately attracted to the female form and another hairy man's rear end does nothing for me (not to mention I am a born again Christian) so I am forced to deal with this deep dark mystery known as the female mind on a daily basis. Anyone who thinks men and women are compatible has never been married for more than three weeks. Marriage is not bliss; it is two sinners who cannot understand each other one iota forced to compromise and forgive on a regular basis and those are on the good days. Bad marriages are probably one of the closest representations of Hell we will have on Earth. I may have inadvertently converted some recent divorcee's with that last statement.

Homosexuals avoid the complications and general frustration of dealing with the opposite sex yet while allowing their sexual desires to be met. Selfishness pure and simple. No more selfish than a man who uses women as sex objects and discards them but still selfish. Both behaviors are wrong and neither should be tolerated.

The second way homosexuality is selfish is the avoidance of reproduction. For you 'naturalists' and 'Neo-Darwinist' out there please note that homosexuality in nature is rare and usually dealt with harshly. There is a very good reason for this; from an evolutionary standpoint it's a dead end. If a species mutates a homosexual gene that gene will last one generation as there will be no offspring to carry the gene forward. Please note that I am not discussing bisexuality, another topic we will discuss in Part III. I'm talking true homosexuals who do not find the opposite sex attractive.

Homosexuality in a society is detrimental to the existence of that society. Marriage is a contractual agreement that is the core building blocks of all successful civilizations. You may not like this truth but you cannot, as much as you try, to remove it. All civilizations that have become wealthy and have tinkered with this core building block no longer exist. Six thousand years of human history has taught us that successful cultures and civilizations require a man and a woman to enter a contract of sexual exclusiveness and for those two to be the main teachers to their offspring of their culture and morals. All other attempts, capitalism, socialism, communism, liberalism, ad nausea, have failed to find a better system to allow a civilization to expand and preserve its culture at the same time. In fact, all these systems can only achieve any type of success as long as the core family unit is healthy. The test on whether a civilization is on its way out is easy; whose teaching and raising the children, the parents or other forces?

I don't think I want to apply this test to our present culture.

The problem with homosexuality is that it attacks, whether intentional or not; the core building block of any successful civilization; the family unit. Homosexuality breeds contempt for traditional values for it is itself a deviancy that allows an indeed demands for sexual exploration. Homosexuals claim they have the same traditional values between couples but their lifestyles betray them and the level of promiscuity in their relationships approaches legendary status. They will point to heterosexual couples who are promiscuous but fail to acknowledge that those couples are not looked upon fondly by society as a whole (at least until recently). Again, both are wrong and neither is right.   

And neither is the environment to raise children. An acquaintance of mine related to me childhood memories of a strange men and women being at the breakfast table on a regular basis. He is still dealing with the devastation it wrought on his childhood mind and he has serious trust issues in his relationships not to mention that he is attracted to women who tend towards this behavior even though he is desperately looking for a stable long term relationship. My message is to sexual deviants is simple; don't have children. You have no damn business doing so.

Even though homosexuals preach peaceful co-existence with traditional family values it is at best delusional and at worse a deceptive farce. Anyone who disagrees with this statement has never attended a homosexual rally (I mean, really, did you need to use the rainbow for crying out loud, is it not bad enough that you have already destroyed the word gay). They are as much a anti-marriage rally as a pro-gay rally which is a rather confusing stance in my view; I am against traditional marriage but want the right to participate in the exercise. I mean, really?

And herein lies the rub. Homosexuals want the benefits of marriage but without the requirements. They want the ring and the federal laws and tax benefits and legitimacy that comes with marriage but they want to participate in a promiscuous lifestyle in the meantime. They want to raise children but if you can't even commit to the boundaries of traditional marriage then you have no business raising children (this holds true for heterosexual couples as well).

Why? Because a marriage that is healthy propagates a society and its culture and can raise healthy children that can take care of themselves and the society they live in cannot, will not and never will be based upon selfishness which all sexual deviancy (adultery, homosexuality, bisexuality, gender changers, etc) is rooted in. A society that is based upon and promotes selfishness over valor and sacrifice will not survive. Period.

There is one lest defense for homosexuality. It's the modern day version of 'the devil made me do it'. There are some that argue that homosexuality is a gene and since its genetic then they cannot help themselves and so we cannot stop that which is natural. Well, you will probably be shocked to learn that I actually agree that it is probably genetic (there is, by the way, no proof of the 'gay gene' whatsoever) and you will also be shocked to learn that I believe that even if it is I do not believe that makes a difference.

We will discuss this in Part III

Update: Response To Comments on Homosexuality Part II

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Annually in most Western countries Mother's day is celebrated roughly this time of the year and rightfully so. Who can deny their mother the rightful honor of having significantly contributed to their very existence? Especially as one is reminded from the moment that words are comprehensible of the anguish, toil, blood and inexpressible pain that was involved in causing your existence to come to pass. Yet, no no, they would do it all over again if it somehow was needed to be done again.

The truth is they would.

There is no doubt the existence of a very real bond between mothers and their children that defies even the explanation of the bonds of nature. Mothers willingly give up their time, money, careers, health and even their lives to preserve their children and ruthlessly rate fellow citizens of motherhood by their level of sacrifice for their offspring. Octomom is judged harshly because she is seen as putting her needs first before her children; in fact it is perceived that she had the children to serve her interests, an unforgivable sin in motherhood.

As a Christian and a father of a boy and a girl and one who is willing to sacrifice for his children I have been left breathless at the lengths my wife is willing to go to meet the needs of our children to the extent that I have questioned whether all she was providing was really a 'need'. This is of course a sacrilege with mothers and I was immediately branded as a heretic and was only admitted back into parenthood after swearing a pledge that if it came to a choice between my wife living or my children that I would let her go to the great beyond. This pledge was not to be offered or given lightly.

The boy is still not getting a new Mustang before he goes to college. There are limits here.

There is an understanding with children that mothers are the parent that is willing to give it the all and unfortunately some will use it to their advantage. But the mothers still give and even after the children leave the house they will try to continue to do so, sometimes even to the detriment of the child who must now become an adult.

We of course know where mother's get this behavior from; they get it from the father. Their Father in Heaven that is.

There is a misconception that men where made in the image of God not women. This is false. Genesis 1:27 is clear: 'So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.' Women are a reflection of God's character as much as men and in the role of mother they shine. God's unconditional love shows through the love a mother. There is not a thing a child can do to make a mother not love him; murderers frequently have mothers visit them. Mothers may not always agree with their children, but they will always love them. Men love their children also but their are times when they are ready to disown them. Try as they might, Men can only match that love by having Jesus in their heart, with women it is build into their DNA.

In those instances where for whatever reason you are an individual who had a mother who fell short of acting on her God given instincts to love or she had so many issues herself that she was unable to love you properly I have good news for you. That love, much like the love of a missing father, can be found in God through our Lord Jesus the Christ. Yes, God will not only be your father but your mother also.

To all those mothers out there, like mine, who did show us the unconditional Love of God I say, Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Homosexuality Part I

One of my business partners parents came into town and we took them to see Avatar (I am embarrassed to say it was my third time and I ended up seeing it four times; first movie since Star Wars that caught my attention to that extent). On the trip into town his father expressed his angst that his denominational Church, which will remain nameless to protect the guilty, had decided to ordain an openly homosexual priest. My partner's father was not happy with this and said that it was more than likely to cause the Church denomination to split.

What lead to this blog about the aforementioned topic however was the comment that my partner's father made concerning the Church's defense of this act. Their excuse was that the commandment against homosexuality is the equivalent of Paul's commandment about men keeping their hair short and women growing theirs long. We will deal with the complete absurdity of that analogy but to do so we must back up a bit and discuss sex, marriage and the Church for it has much to do with where we presently are with the Church's view of homosexuality.

The problem with the Church's view of human sexuality is that we have allowed our culture to dictate the morals and attitudes that surround this sacred act. It's as if sex was invented in the 1960's and before then people had no idea what they were doing. The Church views sexuality through the culture filters of 20th century humanists and morally progressive philosophies as apposed to the word of God and then we wonder why the divorce rate in the Church is higher than our cultures. There are two reasons for this, both lies from Satan himself.

The first issue is that somehow people in modern Western culture associate Christian views of sex with Puritans and associate Puritan views with the idea that sex is dirty and to be avoided. This is of course is utter damned nonsense. In fact, if a Puritan man failed to satisfy his wife he would be confronted by the Church and if he still refused he would be excommunicated. Puritans were against priest not marrying, and except for a few called by God, they were very much against celibacy. They believed, rightly so, that sex was to be confined in a loving relationship between a man and a woman in the covenant of marriage. They were against homosexuality, promiscuity and adultery. What must be understood is that at that time many of the sexual views of Europe were in line with the Puritans and while the Europeans were not as strict they would be viewed by today's 'sexually free' society as oppressive. Puritans had issues, but sex between a married man and woman was not one of them. (Book to read on the Puritans is by Leland Ryken).

The second lie that we encounter today is that in the 1960's there was this 'sexual revolution' and that men and women threw off the shackles of the oppressive society so they could be free to find their true sexual identity. This too is utter damned nonsense. Simply, the birth control pill  became available to society at a low cost and allowed men and women to bypass the issue of pregnancy in relationships outside of marriage. Unfortunately this philosophical and moral change was evangelized to third world countries with devastating effects as they themselves did not have access to cheap birth control as western cultures.  Birth control and prevention, of course, did not prove to be 100% effective so this led to the legalization of the termination of life in the womb to allow continued sexual freedom when birth control failed to deal with the inconvenience and constraints of pregnancy and to deal with minority cultures who refused to adhere to the new principal of 'sex with no offspring'. Planned Parenthood itself was organized to control the black population and working class minorities in the 1920's.

This new found medically induced sexual freedom led to experimentation and now we see the continuing justification of that experimentation by groups who wish to establish their legal and moral rights to do whatever they want sexually. The latest group to garner attention is the homosexuals.

I want to say up front that I am not happy with the response of Christians towards homosexuality. Why? Because it is a sin like any other sin. There are no acceptable sins in Christianity. Homosexuals are not going to hell any quicker than liars, thieves or adulterers. (Remember, Jesus said that if you look at a woman and lust after her in your heart than you are an adulterer.) The body of Christ has a bad habit of fixating on certain sins while allow others, like gossip, to run rampant in the Church. If Jesus were alive to today there is no doubt in my mind he would be hanging with homosexuals; not to join them in their sins but to bring them to repentance through love.

Having said that, how anyone can actually read their Bible and claim that God has no issue with homosexuality strains the honesty and credibility of the said reader to the point of breaking. Having been a Sunday school teacher for over ten years and reading my Bible front to back on average every two years, it is amazing and rather disturbing to me the amount of twisted truths, misinformation and outright false statements that are believed by the general public and sadly Christians. Most of the people I've met who have an opinion about what the Bible says about homosexuality (and many other topics) more than likely have never even actually read the Bible. So what does the Bible say about homosexuality?

Leviticus 18:22 -- Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
Leviticus 20:13 -- If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death ; their blood shall be upon them. 

In Genesis 19:4-14 it is established that the city of Sodom was wicked, and one of the reasons it was wicked was the men openly laid (had sex) with each other. Notice that Lot offered his daughters to them and they refused, wanting the men (whom they did not know were Angels). God destroyed the city for its wickedness and to this day the word Sodomy is used to describe the act of sex between two men.

Deuteronomy 23:17 --- There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.

And we can go on and on and on in the Old Testament. Now I know some of you think that when Jesus died for our sins on the cross he removed the law so the Old Testament no longer applies. This is false. Jesus himself said that he did not remove the law but fulfilled it. True that we are no longer under the law, but that's because we are under grace. Now some of you are saying, 'See, then homosexuals will go to Heaven." Apparently the Holy Spirit saw this coming for it inspired Paul to write in the new testament: 

Romans 1:26-28 ---  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another ; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet . And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient ;

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 --- Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived : neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

In Romans Paul clearly defines the act of homosexuality and promiscuity and in Corinthians condemns it.  Now before we proceed further let's put away these two points of ridiculous critiques of the Bible; first that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality and secondly that the advice Paul gives about homosexuality equates to the advice he gave about the length of women and a man's hair.

To the first argument I simply say read the scriptures quoted above and read for yourself what the Bible says about homosexuality. Please note that homosexuality is grouped with many other sexual sins including adultery. A Christian committing adultery has his soul in as much danger as a homosexuals. They are both wrong. But the Bible is clear that neither is right. 

The second argument is more nuanced and admittedly clever. Paul does give advice that men should have short hair and women long hair. But there is a lot more going on and he is not just discussing hair length. Carefully read 1 Corinthians 11:3-15. Notice that nowhere does Paul discuss or correlate his instructions on gender issues with salvation. This is not an issue of ones destination for eternity, Paul is discussing the relationship between men, women and their culture. In contrast, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is very blunt concerning sexual sins and the result; you will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. 

All sins have consequences but they vary. Lie to your wife and you may be sleeping on the couch; lie to the judge and you may be sleeping in a cot in a room with concrete walls. Sexual sins can be some of the most damaging in relation to both spiritual and physical consequences. Most sexual sins (sex with multiple partners, adultery, masturbation) tie the spirit to the flesh and, like drug use, damage both and can be extremely difficult to stop. I'm going to go out on another proverbial limb and say that sexual sins can be more dangerous than drug use or other habitual addictive behaviors due to the fact that you are doing them to yourself and many times there are no short term consequences so one thinks one is getting away with it. 

But the long term results of  the habitual pattern of sexual sin can be extremely devastating. Inability to trust, deadening of the spirit, divorce and most disturbingly, escalation of deviant sexual acts in order to achieve new levels of excitement and satisfaction. Too many rapists and sexual sociopaths started out with just pornography. Ted Bundy quickly comes to mind.  

Now I'm not saying that looking at pornography will cause you to do what Ted Bundy did (for the record, he never said that; read his interview with James Dobson before casting judgment) nor am I saying that leading a life of homosexuality will cause you to be a sociopath. Just like heterosexuals there are many homosexuals that are in healthy relationships. Just like heterosexuals there are also many homosexuals who are not.

So why not ordain them or even allow them to marry or raise children? 

We will discuss this very good question in Part II.