I've been thinking and jotting down notes in the days since the school shooting in Parkland.
I believe that it's a direct result of how sick our society has become, and how we can fix it.
First, I realize that fixing our society will not be easy and many will want to push back because we have changed so much as a culture and many of the ideas I believe in seem archaic.
Second, I also realize that if we were to do this, it will take generations to recover from the gradual slide that our culture has become.
So here are 15 ideas, I believe we can do to "fix" our sick society.
1. Realize that you, me, we are a product of a sick society and we need to fix it.
2. Do not get married unless you are willing to work out your marriage and stay married. Love your spouse.
3. Do not have children, but if you do, love them and be an example of to be better.
4. Do not get a divorce, but if you do, get along if children are involved. Respect and cherish that your divorced partner is the parent of your most prized possession.
5. Do not hit or speak ill to your spouse in front of you children, if you do...apologize and change that behavior.
6. Do not abuse drugs or alcohol...if you have a problem with them, get help.
7. Check your anger issues, get help if needed.
8. Your knee jerk reaction should be to respect authority. Of course, authority should be checked and questioned, but many people in those positions are there for mostly good reasons.
9. Be accountable, allow your children to be held accountable. Let them fail, let them learn, do not swoop in and fix all of their problems.
10. Allow your children to be disciplined.
11. Realize we have been desensitized to death, violence, murder, and sex. Limit how much your children and you see.
12. Realize that there is something greater than yourself. Whether it be religion or visiting poor areas, we need to not be the center of the universe. Be selfless.
13. Teach your children that they are not perfect, that they will fail, that is how we improve.
14. If your child shows mental issues, get them help.
15. Reach out to those who seem to be struggling, it might not help, but it just might.
Friday, February 16, 2018
I often see things too simple, I guess. I realize that not any single issue is simple that there are many complexities, but it frustrates me to see what I see are inconsistent beliefs.
Those who are pro-life for the unborn, want to do little to nothing about students being shot in schools.
Those who are pro-choice are outraged at the number of schools shootings which is much, much, much fewer than abortions per day.
The national debt is only important politically to the political party not in power.
We are offended by religion in schools, but sympathize with many issues that really don't need to belong in schools, but can't be helped.
Those that are pro-life do not fight for cheaper adoptions.
Those that are pro-life believe that criminals should be put to death.
Pro-choice people seem somewhat OK with abortion, but do not believe that hardened, heinous criminals deserve execution.
We seem to applaud pornography, which undoubtedly influences young men negatively, but want to punish men for even the smallest (and unacceptable) sexual harassments.
Men who love and admire their mothers and sisters and daughters, seem to think other women are objects.
Illegal immigration is wrong, but so are refugees it seems and yet many Americans are descendants of immigrants or refugees.
Money is what we strive to attain, but it shows over and over that the love of money does not help our situation and often makes it worse.
Our good intentions are hollow or worse, make the situation worse.
We are pro-gun, but blame gun violence on the perpetrator.
Guns don't kill anyone, the perpetrator does, but we don't seem to want to help them.
We want to help, but aren't willing to be made uncomfortable doing so.
So many on social media seem to have the answers, but do zero in volunteering for anything in which they seem to be so vocal.
I have the answer, and I believe that these types of things are made even more aware when you realize there is a "religion" of the United States and compare with our faith in Jesus.
Love...love...not a superficial love, but a genuine love for humankind is the only thing that can save us, but unfortunately there will always be someone or some group that wants more and is willing to do whatever to attain it.
So I will get up today hug and kiss my children and wife, tell them I love them and do the best I can raising them to be good human beings.
And I will continue to be frustrated, outraged, and sad, but continue to grow and try to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Luke 2:52 “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
Often times we look at one scripture and we try to apply it to our lives without knowing context or its actual meaning.
In Luke, this simple scripture says much that we can apply to our life without knowing context or actual meaning because it says so much in so few words.
“Jesus grew in wisdom and stature”.
Many of us hit snags in our growth and do not continue on and many of us stay in our place of growth for a very long time.
Many of us attend church on a Sunday, but do not convert the teachings of Jesus to our everyday life.
Following are some simple beliefs about our faith that some of us struggle with. I urge you to grab a Bible and research.
If you believe that women are second class citizens, you are not doing it right. (John 4)
If you believe that people of different races are lesser than you, you are not doing it right. (Galatians 3:28)
If you believe that Christians from other countries are not equal to American Christians, you are not doing it right. (1 Corinthians 12: 12-13)
If you believe that the lost do not deserve our attention (rapists, child molesters, murderers, your atheist neighbor, people from Kenya, Sellersburg, and Iceland, Muslims, ISIS, the Taliban, everyone), you are not doing it right. (Romans 5:8/ John 3:16)
Some of you are reading the above and thinking, some of you are reading it and rolling your eyes.
I teach Psychology and Sociology, I understand how hard it is to overcome our upbringings, our biases, and our surroundings.
But as followers of Jesus, we must feel transformed by the Holy Spirit.
We must evaluate our lives and ask are we setting a Godly example of change?
It’s hard, trust me, I understand.
Because I fail too often.
But by growing as Jesus did, you should be transformed as a believer. Your heart should ache for not just the obvious horrific things that occur, but also for the remaining victims of sinners mainly their family and friends.
We should feel some remorse for the extreme sinner themselves realizing that they lack a relationship with Jesus and have been overcome by the sinful, evil world and are headed for an eternity separated from God in Hell.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
I remember when I played and my mom told me a story that occurred during a high school basketball game.
Our coach was pretty aggressive and wasn't afraid to yell at us, directly, by name.
He used to have his favorites, and one game he was yelling at a teammate of mine and his mother turned around and looked at my mom and said "If he yells at *** again and doesn't yell at Perry, we will have a problem!"
Like my mom had anything to do with who Coach yelled at or not, but that mother seemed to think so.
I didn't get it really until my own children have played sports and really until my son has aged and become more experienced.
The jealousy never existed of my daughter, well, it did, but not until recently, but my son...
I just don't understand it.
I don't understand because my wife and I have cheered for all other players my kids have played for wanting them to feel success also.
I don't know if it's a jealousy at my son, or if this group of parents think that I am pulling strings (which I don't do intentionally) to benefit my children.
If we do anything, we try to make coaches feel relaxed to bench our kiddos anytime they feel it's needed, to make an example if necessary.
But I realize that some form of favoring could happen because we are supportive parents of coaches, for the most part and those coaches realize that.
But it's not my fault and it sure as heck isn't my kids fault.
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Psalm 82:3 “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.”
This will be the most controversial writing that I have put forth so far. All previous writings when read by the few seemed to relate to them in ways that showed a connection between me and what I wrote about and our faith.
This one may not.
I believe that Psalm 82:3 tells us to love prisoners and has caused me to become anti-capital punishment. I know that theologically capital punishment can be justified, but because of my love of people that I have gained through the love that Jesus has for us, I cannot think of anything worse than stealing away an opportunity for someone to be saved.
I am 100% in support of punishment for a crime, but I believe that by executing someone, we have taken away their chance to be saved. I know they have probably heard The Gospel before, but how many times did it take for you to be saved? For me, it was quite a few times. I am glad I was able to be alive to hear it enough times to accept it.
I believe that Psalm 82:3 tells us to love those who have had abortions. I know we know that, but we have become so anti-abortion that I feel we have forgotten about the victims who felt that this was their only option. That Satan had tricked them into this situation. Yes, the babies are victims, but so are the mothers.
Thankfully, with the work of the church, total abortions are going down in our country, but why is it when a woman and/or male counterpart find themselves in this unfortunate situation that they do not feel they can turn to the church for guidance and help. Or worse yet…they can’t turn to friends or family that will offer alternatives?
I believe that Psalm 82:3 tells us to help everyone. From the poor in our hometowns, to the poor in Nairobi and other slums around the globe, to opioid addicts, to murderers, molesters, Muslims, atheists, and believers who have fallen from their path.
I believe that Jesus calls us to minister to refugees, to illegal immigrants, and to all races and not just to those who look just…. like….us.
Psalm 82:3 is what causes many of my fellow believers to believe that I am some left wing lunatic who doesn’t understand the world.
I am 48 years old. I came to Christ at 32 and deeply grew in my faith the last seven years.
I have been to the worst slums on Earth and some of the worst places in this country.
I have read the Bible and many books about our faith and Jesus.
I know that I may not understand the world, but I know that our thinking should be transformed as Believers so that the world does not understand us.
I know I am a hypocrite.
I know I don’t do enough.
I know I miss church too often.
But I am hoping as I progress that my base belief in my faith as a follower of The Nazarene is that I am either growing or understanding I need to continue to grow.
Because if I am the same today as I am in five, ten, twenty years then I have not gotten “it” and what this Christianity thing is supposed to be about.
And my greatest fear is that I will become a comfortable, lukewarm, finger pointing, hypocrite who quotes scripture on social media and the next post am completely unaware of pain I am causing others by my lack of awareness.