Coffee, Theology and Jesus

working out our messy faith over coffee

Category: Blog (page 2 of 13)

Bursting the Christian Marriage Bubble

So as amazed as we all are that Tim has pulled the wool over some girls eyes long enough to maintain some sort of steady relationship…. I got a girl to say “I do.” Perhaps many of you do not know me but that’s ok, you can agree along with the rest of us that God can do anything. Now saying that, I appreciated Tim’s last blog about bursting the ideals and assumptions we have going into a relationship. I wanted to expand on it a bit and talk about marriage. Now, I got married on Sept 1, 2012 so I am certainly no expert on the subject and wouldn’t pretend to be. Hopefully some of these things you will be able to identify with and will help you in the future. If you have any more please share them as marriage doesn’t get any easier as you go.

Many of Tim’s list of 5 applies to marriage as well so I won’t try to repeat anything he has already stated so well. But here is another list (of 6) that I have learned.

1. Sex isn’t as great as you might think
You may be lifting an eyebrow (especially those who are married and enjoying a healthy sex life) and my pre-marriage self is wondering “what on earth can you mean?” However, I will stick to this one. Don’t get me wrong, sex is amazing and wonderful (in the confines of marriage) but it is not what will hold your marriage together. Your marriage will determine the enjoyment of the benefits. I can go back a few short years when I couldn’t wait for my honeymoon. I couldn’t wait to be married so I could do “marriage things.” That is what is pounded into our minds right? “The Bible says that sex is for marriage and marriage only!” While I agree with the statement the constant reminder of the marriage rights started to warp my mind on what it is actually for. I started to want the marriage more for the benefits it came with. Is that any reason to get married? I’ll answer for you. Definitely not! One theory I have for the reason that the divorce rate is higher among Christians is because of sex. Kids are getting married to enjoy the benefits of marriage and not because they are ready to submit themselves to one another and serve God together. Let me tell you, if sex is your goal in marriage, you will be highly disappointed. Some nights you may just not be in the mood. Does that mean your marriage is failing and something is wrong? No, but if that is your main focus… things may start to crumble when this begins to happen.
Sex in its correct context, the physical, emotional, and spiritual bonding of two people is beautiful and brings two people who already are in love even closer. The bonds created in sex are inexplicable and why it is meant for marriage. It is so much more than just a physical act. But, it is not a reason for marriage. I won’t take the time to go deeper into this one but I think you get the idea. Have a correct perspective of sex in marriage. Focus on the relationship not the benefits of it and the benefits will be even better.

2. You are Selfish –
When people ask me what is the top thing I’ve learned about marriage since the wedding day I always say the same thing. I’ve learned exactly how selfish I am. This is one of those things that you just can’t prepare for. Dating begins this process but when the wedding vows are done and over you realize how much you missed. When I was single I ate what I wanted for dinner, I went where I wanted to go, and spent money where I wanted to spend it. This all changed once I got a ring on my finger and I’m now with this other person every day and every night. A quick example. The other night Julia was working late and mentioned she wanted a salad for dinner. So as I get home from work and I’m just doing a few things around the house I finally decide to order Chinese food. The Chinese food arrives and not 10 mins later Julia walks in the door with this look on her face “YESSSSSS!!!!! CHINESE FOOD” and I right them realized that I probably should have asked her if she wanted anything. Oops. It’s simple and was mostly harmless but it showed that I’m still working on constantly being aware that it’s not just “every man for himself” any more. I’ve got a wife that I have to consider into everything (if I want to have a solid Christian marriage that is). Should I really buy that new ______ (fill in the blank) without consulting her or should I really be hanging out with this group of people right now? Every decision should get input from all parties involved.

3. Your actions affect another
This is one I’m constantly struggling with and learning to deal with. One of the most terrifying moments just before the wedding day was when it was impressed on my mind the responsibility I was taking on. I had learned in the months leading up to us starting to date that I had a lot of things God wanted to see changed in me. He is still changing and working with me. But now, its not just me that my actions and decisions affect but my wife as well. I am held accountable to how our marriage is reflecting upon God. I am held accountable (to an extent) for the spiritual wellbeing of my family. Being “the head of the household” doesn’t mean I make all the decisions. It means that I have the God given responsibility. It means I am taking initiative to lead our family in a path of spiritual growth and development and we can foster that type of activity. It is definitely a team effort but I have that responsibility. The thought of that terrified me until I also realized that God didn’t wan to see me fail and would be with me every step of the way, in success and failure. But it is not just leading. It is every aspect of life.
How I talk to certain people affects not just me but Julia. Where I go does not just affect me but Julia too. Where I work, what we do with our money our time, etc. Everything is affecting both of us. It is an enormous responsibility that should not be taken lightly.

4. Time will not slow down
While Julia and I were engaged we were under this delusion that we would have so much more time when we are finally married. We won’t have to spend so much time in the car driving to one another. We won’t have to say goodbye and goodnight every day. We will just be able to get so much more done. Trust me when I say… life sped up after marriage. It was like someone kicked us into the next gear and time started to go faster than before. The days and weeks fly by and before you know it a year is over. Time will not slow down. My advice to you? Start good habits early in life. Are you single? Start spending time with God as much as you can. You will never have time alone like you have right now. Are you dating/engaged? Spend time with God alone… and together! You won’t believe how crammed full your life will get as the years pass on. The world, the flesh, and the devil will try to squeeze every last second out of you and keep you from that precious time with God. But, if you developed those habits earlier (say when you were single) it will be easier to maintain. Then when you get married you are used to spending time in the scriptures and praying together. Let me tell you… that doesn’t happen overnight. It is a “chore” and has to constantly be readdressed. You will never be able to spend enough time together with The Lord. Get in the routine as early as possible. But always remember it is never too late to start :)
As life goes on it will only get busier… kids, activities, school, work, etc. Everything will pile on. Don’t let life separate you from the one who gave it to you.

5. Be content with where God has you now
I will word this one carefully and lovingly because I know we are struggling with this right now. As humans we always want to see what is coming next and get going to the next stage. While growing up we couldn’t wait to be a teenager. Then we couldn’t wait to go off to college. Then we couldn’t wait to start our career. Then we couldn’t wait to get married. On and on the list goes (in whatever order). But I can speak for myself that I was always ready for the next step. ESPECIALLY when EVERYONE around me was crossing into that next step. I felt left out. I knew God gave me the desires of my heart for a reason but I didn’t want them if they couldn’t be satisfied. God’s timing however was perfect and was worth waiting for. If I would have settled for something earlier I would not be as blessed as I am now. God gave to me the perfect girl for me at the perfect time. But I want the next step! This is a constant struggle to be content with where we are now and with what God is doing with us now. God is never not working with us. God is never just asking us to sit and do nothing. Even “waiting” implies preparing. Please refer to this post on waiting for more of an explanation. God knows what He is doing and we have to learn to submit our wills, our plans, our desires, and everything to Him. He made you with your desires. Even if they don’t make sense right now, or they frustrate you, or they make you lay awake at night in tears. God gave them to you. He made you and He didn’t make a mistake. Trust that He will satisfy the desires of your heart in His time and His own way. Easier said than done, especially in a “now” society. Whatever you want you should go get. That isn’t how God works. Rely on Him and be content with where you are now and what you’re doing for Him now. The next step will come at the best time.

6. Remember to date your spouse
One last thing. Dating your spouse. I guess this could be thrown up into number 4 with time constraints but that isn’t the only thing here. Dating your spouse is about learning about them, spending time them, and generally showing interest in them. Flirting in marriage is the best thing you can do. Let your spouse know that just because you both are wearing rings doesn’t mean you don’t still like to flirt with each other and have fun. Marriage is stressful, hard work, and sometimes you just want to throw in the towel. So pick a night and show your spouse that they still have your attention and you are still attracted to them. I will never stop learning about Julia. There will never come a time where I will be a “Julia expert.” This is a life long commitment and dating your spouse is a great way to keep everything going.

As I stated at the beginning, a lot of what Tim said about dating applies to marriage as well. Friendship or perceived romance or lack of butterflies. Let me tell you in marriage there are days that there are no butterflies in my stomach because they’ve been eaten by vipers haha. But love is a choice and every day I must chose to love my wife. I chose to put her before me and do anything I can to make sure I am being a benefit to her. That is not easy and things get rough. A strong marriage grounded on the right things will always prevail as marriage is ultimately a picture of Christ and His Church. God would never bring two people together and want them to fail. God is for marriage. Hopefully these few basic points help you in some way.

Rob

Wedding

Popping the Christian Dating Bubble.

Well the unthinkable in my life happened; I started dating someone.  Yes pick yourself up off that chair, brush your dusty knees off, no you’re not dreaming.  It’s true.

 

 

About two months ago I started seeing a wonderful person.  It was kind of sudden, very unexpected but truth be told it’s been a great journey thus far.   Yes, I’m well aware it’s only been two months, but already I have learned a great deal about myself and mindsets I had that I didn’t even know I had.  This post really is for you single people out there.  Especially the Christian ones because I have news for you…you probably have mindsets and disney fairy tale views that you don’t even know you have.  Trust me when I tell you the past few months have been a complete rewiring of everything I thought I knew about romance, ‘healthy’ relationships, and expectations.

Here are a few things i learned.

 

1. You’re dating a human, not a fantasy – “oh Tim” you say, “of course I know that”.  Only you really don’t until you start dating someone and realize that this person can’t read your mind.  That this person doesn’t fit into you’re nice, neat view of that special someone.  Do you know why? Because they are a human being with their own thoughts, desires, habits, attitudes, preferences, and views.  You’re dating another human being, not the person you made up in your head.  Seriously, stop wondering what it’s going to be like because you’ll be pretty much wrong.  I mean you can day dream about being with someone all you want, just understand that you’re mostly wrong about the actual person you’ll be dating because the person you’re thinking of isn’t a person..it’s a daydream.

 

2. No matter how much I knew that hollywood gives a false view of romance I still bought it – I mean can you blame me? We are bombarded with it everywhere.  Yes Yes I know that we Christians think we see through it…..but we don’t. Instead we combine Jesus with Disney and the result is crap like this. We are saturated with culture’s view of love and romance and no matter how much we tell ourselves we don’t buyit but secretly we do. Yes of course I knew that no woman will be my answer in life but it wasn’t until i actually experienced it that I understood it.   You might think that you see through hollywood’s smoke but you’ve still inhaled it.

3. He/She Won’t be your ultimate fulfillment – Understanding that this girl will never fully answer all my questions, never calm every nerve, and never be perfect is at first terrifying and then completely relieving because you realize that you’re not her end all be all either.  My relationship with Jesus is my center, but she is with me on this journey, not my journey.  Of course I couldn’t be more thrilled to be pursuing this person and yes, it’s great to be with her and I love to spend time with her.  But I don’t have to see her every single second of every single day. This person isn’t my answer.  Jesus is and because of that we have healthy space in our relationship.

4. No butterflies does not equal I’m falling out of love – I imagine anyone in a serious relationship or marriage is laughing at me right now.  Truth be told it sounds ridiculous.  But one day when I woke up and didn’t have raging feelings for the person I’m dating I thought to myself “well this must be it, for some reason I don’t like her anymore” which of course is complete poop.  Once again I bought the lie that feelings = relationship. This another great mirage of our culture and especially our media.  From movies alone we are left to assume that to like someone, or to love someone means to have strong, constant, crazy feelings for them 24/7/365.  What a shock it was to me when that didn’t happen. Once again I knew it wasn’t true, but I didn’t understand until I experienced it.

5. Friendship is just as important as the romantic – Another mind blowing revelation that I’ve learned in these past few months.  My friendship with this girl is just as important as the romance.  I’ve had fun just being with her not having to hold her hand every second of every day.  We’ve had moments where we’ve laughed so hard we both started crying, these moments that our often overlooked in our culture’s view of dating have often been the most intimate and important in our relationship.  Sure I take her out , we go on dates, but most of that time is spent as great friends enjoying the company of each other and usually ends up with us laughing till our heads explode…or binging on a few Office episodes.

Look, I don’t claim to be some relationship guru because I’m two months into a relationship after 5 years of being single. That isn’t the point of this post.  The point of this post to wake Christian singles up.  Dating Sarah is so much better than dating the person I made up in my head because Sarah is a real human being made in the image of God and the person I made up was made in the image of me.

 

If you like this post then share it

 

-TW

 

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The Christian Hypocrite

 

 

It’s been a while.

 

 

Facebook is a great place for Christians to show off their hypocritical ability. I mean it doesn’t take much effort for me to find the guy who in one breath posts lyrics about grace and love and in the next breath posts how much a certain politician is ruining America, or how the barista messed up his or her drink AGAIN, or how people just really tick them off because they drive slow in the left hand lane (My pet peeve) or how rude customers are to them at work. In fact, the other day I saw a particular person who had one status filled with a couple of F bombs about the way people drive followed by a status with a Bible verse about God’s grace and love.

 

 

We do this while claiming to be an ambassador for the ways of Jesus.

 

Don’t get me wrong, Christians are humans too. Christians will do things that can be at best be described as unwise.  Christians will be hypocrites because deep down everyone is a hypocrite at some point and time in life. Sure we all strive to be consistent, we try to have our actions line up with our words, but they don’t all the time do they? Maybe that’s why Paul wrote these brilliant words in Romans:

 

 

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…”

 

 

Nailed it.

 

 

But (and there’s always a but) what irks me here is that we act like we are ok with being this way. We claim to be a Christian, we claim to affirm the death and resurrection of Jesus and by default we affirm his way of living, but instead of following his way, we follow the culture’s way. We vent to Facebook about dumb people. When someone gives us attitude we give people attitude right back. We don’t put ourselves aside for the sake of others, or give people the benefit of the doubt. We are not quick to forgive, we are quick to hold grudges and you know the kingdom we build when we live opposite of Christ? I’ll give you a hint..it’s not the kingdom of God.

 

 

Listen, if you are a Christian then you’re telling people that you’re following a different path than most people. You’re telling culture that you subscribe to the ways of Jesus whether you recognize that or not.

 

Being a follower of Jesus is not always an easy life to live, but it is a better way to live. Let me also mention here that when I say Christian or follower of Jesus I’m not referring to praying a prayer, going to ‘church’ once a week, reading your Bible every now and then, and trying to vote for those good ol’ Christian ‘conservative’ values.

 

That’s the easy stuff. Anyone can do those things. I’m talking about costly grace here. The kind that you give your life for. I’m talking about loving the people who don’t treat you nice. I’m talking about laying yourself down for the sake of others. I’m talking about taking all of Christ’s words seriously, not just the popular cliché one liners.

 

Let me put it this way; if you believe that Christ is the son of God and that every word in the Bible is God breathed, then please take the words “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” as seriously as you take “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me”.

 

Jesus’s way of living calls us to abandon ourselves for the sake of the Gospel. Will we miss that mark at times? Yes we will. What do we do when that happens? We repent to our gracious Father and we repent to those who we wronged. A Christian apologizing for their fault and for their wrongdoing in a situation speaks volumes more than doing all the right things ever could. Why? Because people know that no one is perfect. People know that we all make mistakes and sometimes frankly, We Christians don’t think that we are ever at fault. We are quick to play the persecution or “hey what about MY RIGHTS card” while forgetting that Jesus tells us that for us to find our life we must first lose it.

 

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-TWImage

 

 

 

 

The Social Dilemma Part 2

So as Tim stated in his post last week… we are touching on some of the pitfalls of the social media driven world.  Again, I would like to state that we love social media.  In fact, if you are reading this post… it is a form of social media.  We looked at the validation search last week and want to take a look at “intimate moments” this week.

Missed Part 1?  Check it out here: Part 1

The more I scour the various platforms of social media the more I am confronted with the simple fact of their success.  Social media has reached deep into the human psyche and struck a chord for acceptance, and validation.  Tim aptly explained that this search for acceptance and validation is because we haven’t found it in our Creator (with whom we have already been accepted and loved).  If we don’t seek for it and find it in our Creator we will pursue it elsewhere and always come up empty.  However, I wanted to look at not our search for validation but the loss of distinction between public and personal information.

The rest of the world is breaking into our most intimate moments.  Walk through a restaurant and notice how many families are not talking but all scrolling through their phones.  See how many dates are inundated with pictures/tweets of food, ticket stubs, and selfies.  At the next wedding you attend try to count the amount of times someone pulls out their phone to get the next Instagram photo captured for posting.  These intimate moments are being destroyed because of our addiction to social media.  Family time around the table used to entail discussing the latest news of the day and enjoying time as a family, now it is time to catch up on the world.  Dates used to be the method of discovering if the person across the table or next to you at the concert was the person you wanted to spend your life with, now it is the method to gain social popularity.  Weddings used to be a celebration of love when we show our support in this beautiful union of two people, now it is the springboard for “likes” and “follows.”  I assure you that your family would rather have you present at dinner than see you posted a picture of your plate with the hashtags “#homecooking #loveyoumom #poorcollegekid #nomoreramen.”  I promise that your date would rather spend time talking to you and enjoying the date then see some status about how good your seats are or where you are eating.  And I can absolutely guarantee that the couple that invited you to their wedding would much rather you enjoy it with your phone in your pocket and your eyes on them.  If social fame is what you are after then the sacrifice will be much greater than you want to give.  As those precious moments slip by you will wish that you everything back.

Another problem I have been noticing was more apparent than ever last Friday.  Yes, February 14th.  Better known as Valentine’s Day.  Scroll through any social media news feed that day and you will see a bunch of posts that you will wonder why they are online instead of written in some card.  Part of it goes back to what Tim wrote last week… we want to be noticed, we want to be validated, and we want to show off our lives.  I am thrilled that people love their significant other but those are moments and things that should be shared between those two people only.  Stop bringing the world into our private lives!  I’ve had to catch myself on multiple occasions from spreading something that was private.  From inviting people into my intimate moments that had no business being there.  The line has all but been erased between public and private; between universal and intimate.

Push the social media back out of your private life and enjoy those moments.  No tweet, vine, post, or picture will ever compare to the quality time spent in the moments you will cherish.  Tell your significant other to their face how much they mean to you and it will mean much more than an eloquently worded post.  Sit down and discuss life with friends and family around the table and you’ll never miss what the social world is doing around you.  Enjoy your life and those you have in it face to face instead of screen to screen.

The Social Media Dilemma: Part One

I LOVE social media. I really do.

I use it daily, I use it to connect with old friends, see what my friends who are traveling are up to, I use it to promote this blog, use it to share my opinions on things, and I use it to keep in touch with people I don’t see often. Social media (especially Facebook) sure has its perks.

But, like any good thing, the abuse of it can lead to a major problem. Social media is not immune to its own problems….and it has quite a few when it is used to an extreme.

In the next two posts, Rob and I are going to be touching on the two big problems we see with social media when we begin to let it creep in to areas it really shouldn’t be. I (Tim) will be taking part one, and Rob will be taking part two. Onward to part 1.

What do I think is one of the biggest dangers of Facebook? The dreaded ‘like’ button. This little button says so much more than the word itself. This word ‘like’ also says approval, validation, popularity, cool, and pretty much any other word designed to inflate the self. When you get 30 likes on a status you can’t help but think “wow, I must be a popular guy”. You know how I know people think that? Because I think that.

The shift in our culture over the past decade regarding where we seek popularity has been immense. Specifically related to where and how we seek validation and approval. We used to seek most of our approval from actual human beings. These could include our peers, parents, immediate family, co-workers, or fans. But over the years we’ve shifted from people to digitized words and symbols. Now, we get our validation from how many people retweet our tweet, how many people ‘like’ our opinions, how many people share our photo, blog post (whoops), or self-made meme (so far no luck). We now view ourselves more highly when social media views us more highly.

Here’s the thing though, God has already approved of us. Yes, the one who designed every atom in our body, who knows us better than we know ourselves, has already approved us and validates us as lovely, brave and worth loving. The fact that Christ died on the cross to save a dying world from their own sin shows us that he approves of us. So much that He wants to set us up as co-heirs with His Son!

If we don’t find our approval from our Creator we will always be seeking our validation from somewhere else. For some it might not necessarily be social media, but for most that is where we seek it.

It’s a dead end.

A black hole.

And it’s not authentic.

It’s like eating junk food.

When we use social media as a validation tool, we essentially tell God that what he already says about us is not true. When we seek unhealthy approval from people, we become a slave to the cycle of thinking “man I hope people like this”.

God didn’t design us to live enslaved to other people and what they think of us, He designed us to live in freedom of who he says we already are.

Social media can be a great tool. In fact, you most likely found this post through Facebook or some other form of it. But when we use it to validate us as humans, as worthy, it falls short. Until you find it in the one who designed you, it will be an empty lifelong pursuit.

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You’re Not One in a Million

My friends and I…..well we can really get our nerd on when it comes down to it.

 

 

 

We love our superheroes, we’ve shown up at the movies in full blown costume for movies like The Avengers, Thor 2, and Iron Man.   Some of my friends will have comic book days that includes a couch, a few people, and dozens of comics as they sift through them reading about the newest adventures of their favorite hero.

In fact, we got so absorbed in the superhero world we starting giving each other characters that strangely resembled our own personal strengths.  My one friend is Thor, another one Iron Man, I happen to be the Hulk (the best superhero btw) and so on and so forth.  At this point we have handed out about 40 different characters to 40 different people.

 

What makes superheroes so cool is that they can do something that we can’t, and that they have abilities unique to only them.   Batman tackles problems a different way than Superman does,  Thor has a hammer, Iron Man has his tech.  They all have unique abilities that make them….them!

 

 

Why am I saying all this?  Because people are unique.  People are so unique that no other you has every existed.  Ever.

You know why you’re not one in a million?  Because you’re 1 in forever.  No one on the planet has your exact personality, your exact traits, looks, talents, abilities.

 

This is what is so amazing about people is that God makes no replicates. He doesn’t run out of creativity when it comes to His creation.   You are made by God, and there’s only of you.  Your soul is unique to your body and no one else can ever be you. We can often feel like we are not worth it, that we are so flawed, that we are just 1 in a couple billion.  But the truth is that no one else is your combination of human.  You have been created, set here on earth at this exact time and place because only you can handle the situation your in.  Only you have the ability to handle where you are, and no one on earth is living the life you are living.

 

You are truly unique, handcrafted by God only once, never will another one of you come around.   This doesn’t make you superior to other people but it makes you unique in  the midst of people.

 

So many times we can be envious of other people, wishing we were them, wishing we had their position in life, wishing we had the talent that they have, all the while neglecting ourselves and the abilities God has given us that no one else has.     To be envious of other people is to tell God that the body, traits, and personality He gave you is not good enough.  The irony of that is thinking that the clay knows more about pottery then the potter does.

 

 

Walk in confidence in who you were created to be because you are once in a lifetime.

 

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-TW

 

 

Coffee

The Church Friend Zone (Breaking Out)

Remember when you were in the friend zone?

For the married crowd let me refresh your memory on what the friend zone is.

The friend zone is when you like someone more than just friends, but they don’t see you the same way so they put you in what’s called the friend zone. It pretty much means that they will never see you as more than a friend and there’s nothing you can do about it. They simply don’t see you the same way that you see them. For men, those three words bring up feelings of impending doom, emotional death, and absolute helplessness.

The friend zone is a barrier put up between you and the other person that says “you can come this far into my life, but no farther then this boundary I put up”.

So what happens when we Church zone people? I’m glad you asked.

The Church zone is like the friend zone only for Church people. Essentially, it’s a barrier we put up between us and other fellow Church members that says we can be friends up to a point. That we can be friends at Church events (like Sunday morning, maybe small group, and the yearly Super Bowl party) and that’s about as far as our relationship will go. When we church zone people we don’t see them as friends that we do life with, we see them as church folks that we see once a week or at other church events.

I know when I’m breaking out of the church zone with Church people when they call me just to hangout, to maybe see a movie, to kick back at the house and figure out something to do. This is when I know I’m not just a fellow church member, but now I’m a friend. Now I ‘m someone they see as a part of their entire life, not just their “church life”.

This is incredibly frustrating for me because the big movement in Church these past few years has been a (rightful) focus on community and relationships. The problem is that we are so used to planning events and church functions that we have forgotten how to be friends again.We are afraid that if people from Church just hangout without an agenda that we somehow didn’t do it right. This is a dangerous mindset because when we forget how to be…friends, we then miss the whole point of holistic Church life.

Listen, if people in the Church are agreeing that Church is not a place you go to it’s a life you live, then we need to smash through this wall in our heads that we put up of spending 90% of our time with fellow Church members at specific Church designated events. We must de-compartmentalize and blur the lines between Church friends and friends! Who are the people you make time to see? Who are the people that you can be you around, who you invite over regularly to eat with, to catch up on life with, to share your life with? Are they the same people you see regularly on Sunday morning?

If we are going to claim to be a Church that sees human relationships as key to living out the faith, then we must de-church zone our fellow church members and must invite them into our whole lives, not just to small group time, or Sunday morning service time, or potluck dinner time.

What’s the challenge? Call up someone you see on Sunday mornings but not during your normal week or during your normal social time and invite them to hangout. Share a meal, play Mario Kart, grab coffee, go shopping together or whatever else you can think of and break them out of the zone you’ve put them in.

If you like this post then share it!

-TW

Hoax and Chains (Guest Author, Tim Whitaker Sr)

DISCLAIMER: The following post was written by my father Tim Whitaker Sr.  It does not necessarily reflect my views on the issue.  This article is written with a heavy satire tone.  These are one man’s opinion and experience on a very complicated issue. 

 

Hoax and Chains –

 

One man’s experience with Obummer care

Hi there, may name is Tim Whitaker Sr, the greedy vice president of T. Whitaker Painting, Inc. – an evil woman owned corporation.  Let me tell you a little about our company. We make an absurd amount of illicit money on the backs of slave laborers two of which are our own sons.  Here are some of our many transgressions that we are being punished for:

1. Employing 8 people, the least of whom makes double the minimum wage, most of whom make 20/hour or more.  Our subs make 45-80 dollars an hour. We clearly take advantage of our workers.  Oh, and we pay them for their lunch break too. Plus we force them to work here – they have no choice.
2. Paying all the associated costs of doing a legitimate business in NJ – Workmans comp. insurance, general liability insurance, business liscence, cost of vehicles/maintenence, Federal taxes, state taxes (hey we pay local taxes too), corporation taxes, etc. et. A total of $125,000 of expenses before be begin to see a penny and that does NOT include any payroll or health insurance.
3. Add in $24,000 per year for health insurance JUST for our family (more on that in a minute)
4. We support our church with our time and money (that’s very, very evil)
5. We give to those in need, loan to others and have just co-signed a loan for someone with bad credit that needed to have their car repaired.
6. I personally work on average 80 hours a week between working on the job, doing estimates, getting materials, doing proposals, finding out why so and so is late, etc. etc.
7. My wife who runs our office puts in similar hours
8. Our smoke filled back office where we do our shady deals is actually our kitchen table.  I usually have to push a stack of papers aside to make room for a piece of french toast and a cup of jo.

You get the picture, and again, my apologies for running an evil corporation that actually has turned a profit (oops, am I allowed to use that word?) for 27 years.  But don’t worry, we have been punished – again.

Which brings me to Obummer care, AKA “The Affordable Care Act”. You know, the bill that needed to be passed “So we can see what’s in it”.  

 

We just had the displeasure of receiving a letter from our insurance company (Blue Cross/Blue Shield) stating that our health insurance is CANCELLED SINCE IT DOESN’T MEET THE GOVERNMENTS CRITERIA.  

 

 

Now wait a minute, didn’t I hear somewhere, someplace, sometime, something about “If you like your insurance plan you can keep your insurance plan”?  Hmmm, well at least I’ll be saving the 2,500 dollars a year we were promised during Obummers campaign, right? Um, sadly, no – just another lie.  We will now be paying – get this – $32,000 and change for the health insurance JUST FOR MY FAMILY.  That’s not a typo – let me spell that out for you – thirty two thousand dollars a year.  And this thing is called the “Affordable Care Act”?

Obama should be in prison right now along with Pelosi and Reed as well as many others for forcing this unconstitutional scam on the American people.

As for me, I’m toying with learning from the illegal immigrants who have stolen so many of our jobs – just use the emergency room as the doctors office. 

So how’s that hoax and chains working for ya?  

Way to Drop the Ball, Phil

*Sigh*

That’s what I thought when I first heard about the “controversy” surrounding Phil Robertson. Also, for the sake of length I’m not going to explain what happened. Besides, every news outlet has covered it, you can read part of the interview he gave with GQ magazine almost anywhere.

Anyway, I can’t say I was exactly surprised when Christians all over the place went crazy hearing that Phil got suspended over the comments. I was however pretty disappointed with the way Christians decided to express their view (and outrage) over the suspension. There are a fewdifferent themes interwoven into this situation so I’m going to list them out and address them head on. Hopefully I can shed some light on this issue and why I’m pretty fed up with my own people who claim to follow a God who extends grace to all, but yet only show grace to their own.

1. The Free Speech Issue

Let’s nip this one in the bud fast. A&E suspending Phil is not a free speech infringement.

Viewing this from a strict viewpoint of rights and free speech, any employer should have the right to fire people for the language they use if they deem it inappropriate. We’ve had to let people go at my dad’s company because of the words they used, does this mean we were infringing on free speech? Of course not! People can say almost anything they want without the government infringing. This does not mean that there are no consequences for the words you use. If someone lumps bestiality, homosexuality, and fornication into one sentence then there might be some kickback.

2. The Political Issue

I’m not surprised that of course party lines were drawn when this happened. It’s really a shame that someone’s view is so heavily linked to the assumption of their political leaning. I’m not surprised that conservatives all of the sudden came out in support of Phil’s free speech to say whatever he wants (they are not surprisingly silent on this issue when something is being said that they don’t agree with however), and I’m not surprised that liberals are all of the sudden insisting that someone being fired for their beliefs is not infringing on their free speech. Yet I bet if Phil was a homosexual, expressed his view for equality and got fired for that, there’d be an uproar from the liberal side. It’s frustrating to see that beliefs are not consistent, they are so often just driven by political leanings.

3. The Jesus Issue

This is what matters to me. I don’t care about free speech, political leanings, company profits nearly as much as I care about how Jesus handles himself and how as people who claim to follow Him we are called to be LIKE Him. We are called to be followers of Jesus ONLY.

I’m not approaching this issue from a political viewpoint. I don’t care about the conservative view point or liberal viewpoint nearly as much as I care about the view that Jesus has of people. I don’t care if it’s a double standard, just because someone else isn’t playing fair doesn’t mean that we who claim to follow the God of the universe start cheating too. The rules don’t change simply because other people (who don’t claim what we claim) don’t follow the “rules”. I don’t care how hypocritical, judgmental, or hateful other people are. It does not change who we as followers of Christ are called to be. Just read about the guy called Jesus who died on a cross after being tried unjustly and unfairly (what a double standard right?)

Here’s the bottom line; I don’t care if it’s a double standard, I don’t care if it’s not fair. As followers of Jesus we are called to speak kindly and with love to people. There are ways to express your convictions, to express the heart of God without compromising your beliefs and without marginalizing someone. A great example of that would be Jesus with the woman at the well. He didn’t come out and lump her sin in with bestiality, he didn’t tell her that sin “just ain’t logical” or anything like that. He met her where she was at, offered her FIRST living water and then told her to go and sin no more. Jesus doesn’t avoid sin, he overwhelms it with love and grace and she turns from it and lives forever changed because of Jesus.

I’m tired and exhausted from apparent “christians” who have no problem watching movies that involve premarital sex, who are silent on divorce in the church, who are silent on pornography, who are silent on the ridiculous amount of consumeristic tendencies our culture thrives on, who have no problem listening to music with sexual suggestive themes or watching music videos full of hypersexualization, who have no problem having a little too much to drink every now and then but then have the audacity to make sure we know the “truth”on homosexuality! In their minds they say “we MUST make sure people KNOW that WE believe homosexuality is SIN! is SIN!”

It gets old quick.

People all over the place need redeeming grace that Jesus offers them, we are the vessels with which Jesus shows it.

Why did Phil drop the ball? Because he had a chance to clearly articulate God’s heart for people. Instead He told the interviewer how a woman’s vagina has “more to offer” than a man’s anus (gee, thanks for the heads up bro), and that sin “just ain’t logical”. Way to drop the ball Phil, truly you showed Jesus to a a world desperate for answers.

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-TW

Growing Up Never Felt So Good

Yep you heard me growing up never felt so good.

Of course the younger me is screaming right now at the top of his lungs.   I can hear him telling me that I just admitted defeat.  Well if growing up is admitting defeat….then I admit defeat.

Here’s the thing (and there’s always a thing), I’m glad I’m growing up and if you’re in your early twenties or late teens and you couldn’t disagree more with me then read on.

I remember when I was 18 (wow I said that), I remember listening to Soco Amaratto Lime.  Heck, for nostalgia’s sake I threw it on while typing this post.  Ah yes this was the song I would sing to myself for many years.  I’d tell myself I’m going to stay 18 forever, I told myself that the girl I was in love with was the one I was destined to be with, and then I turned 19, and then 20, and then 21…..and now I’m 25.  Guess what? I’m not 18 anymore.  Brand New lied to me, I wasn’t going to stay 18 forever.  *Sigh*

I cherish my teenage years, and I cherish my early twenties.  I had the chance to travel Europe for three months, live in community with some great people, cut a record with my band and throw it on iTunes, played Cornerstone festival in Illinois, and had some of the best times yet of my life.  Truly the memories I have of those years I’m so grateful for.  I lived life with some of the most amazing people doing some of the most life fulfilling things.

As time goes on, you start to see the transition of adulthood encroaching on your life.  If my life was a book and I was standing in one of the pages, then I saw the page of adulthood turning and I couldn’t outrun it.  Truth be told I don’t know what I was running from, but I was running.  Who wants to grow up?  Who wants to work for some company slaving away with tons of bills to pay?  Who wants to go into debt or being upside down on your mortgage one day?  Who wants to be that big grown up that never let kids be kids? Who wants to be this boring no fun adult who forgets how to party?   Who says that’s what growing up is anyway?

Growing up can mean a lot of things to a lot of people.  For some people it does mean that career or for some others it might mean that mortgage, but who makes these rules that define what growing up is?

What I’m learning is that you can grow up into the future without leaving who you are behind.   Nothing has been more disheartening than to see people with big dreams never follow through because the American culture’s version of adulthood swooped in like a hawk honing in on its prey.  I’ve watching friends go to school for the sake of going to school, accumulating massive amounts of debt and then picking up a job at Starbucks because their degree really wasn’t what they felt created to do.  They just did it because people told them it’s time to grow up and get a real job, start a family, and work your way up the ladder.

For some people this works great.  That’s awesome.  Really, I know great people that have great careers doing what they love.  I had a friend go to school for 4 years in the Philippines to become a doctor and now he’s back in the states working on his licensing.  Every time we talk, health is bound to come up and it’s clear that he absolutely was created to help other people in the medical field.

But what about us? The others who don’t really know exactly how their calling will work in reality?  Culture isn’t built to handle dreamers, artists, people who are passionate about things that start in the form of a non-profit is it?  Culture is built to try and have security, peace of mind, and accumulate as much wealth as you can.

This is what I’ve been learning; that I can grow up, being confident in what I want to do, and not feel bad for not following a normal trajectory in life.

I used to think that growing up meant selling out, that it meant to give up who I was, and what I wanted in return for a career.  I thought it meant buying the house I couldn’t pay for, and taking what I believe to be created for and flushing it down the toilet.  But growing up I’m realizing, is maturing more into who you are created to be.  This is why I’ve been not just ok with growing up, I’ve been loving it.

To fight growing up (maturing) is to rob yourself of who you really are.  You sell yourself short because when you get into your mid twenties you start to realize that the things your parents taught you were genius, and you ultimately begin to understand that you really know nothing.  It’s humbling, yet confidence building all in one.  The best part though, is that you begin to develop the connections and resources to start making your passion a reality.  This is the time where I am combining my years of developing a talent, skill, passion, or project and I get to see it now begin to mature.

Yes growing up is great, don’t be afraid of it.  Instead, embrace it and go with it.  Let it polish you more and more into a more complete person.

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-TW

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