Tag Archives: Facebook

A Little Less Ignorance, Please

This week I have been “away from my desk” doing other things…things on which I will report as early as next week.

But even though I have not been doing much writing, I have had a phone nearby, and Facebook has been a constant source of stress.

You know, all it takes is one comment on one thread to stir up a hornets’ nest of anger and hate. Even if your comment is meant to be objective, somebody is going to interpret it as an attack. Too many people are WAY too defensive and full of anger.

Unfortunately, part of the problem is that there are a lot of people out there throwing words around without knowing their actual meanings. And if you DARE make an attempt to draw out an actual definition, the one being questioned will launch into a vulgar, condescending, grammatically-incorrect, ALL-CAP rant accusing you of everything from racism to being born out of wedlock (followed by demands that you go perform a sexual act upon yourself which is physically impossible).

For example, according to some, Donald J. Trump is supposed to be a Nazi. However, if Trump was really a “Nazi,” would he have befriended Israel and moved the American embassy to Jerusalem? Would he have allowed his daughter to marry a Jew and convert to Judaism? Don’t think so. Those are the kind of things the National Socialist German Workers Party would have disapproved.

In the same vein, there are a lot of people who throw around the label Christian when describing nice people, non-Muslims, the American alt-Right, or nominal church attendees. Do they really know what “Christian” means? Do they have any concept of what wearing that name tag demands? Not likely, especially if they believe Jesus was a radical socialist and an “anti-establishment, hippie freak with strange ideas” who never judged anyone.

If you want to be honest, the majority of Americans can’t even define what it means to be a “conservative” or “liberal,” a Democrat or Republican, much less a Nazi, Socialist, or Fascist!

We hear adjectives like “unbiblical” and “unconstitutional,” yet more often than not the users of these words never read the Bible nor the Constitution, just a few out-of-context memes.

Therefore, why not call a truce until we are better able to define what it is that we actually believe, and why? How about let’s read more source material and less social media propaganda? Maybe then we could get past the name-calling and attacks and move forward to more informed, civil and intelligent conversation.

Or, <<<U can AKT LYK a IGNERANT SHEOPLE>> on the facebook>>> W/NUTN  BUT H8t!!>><< HOW BOW DAH??!!

Your choice. Choose wisely.

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” – James 1:5 NLT

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Filed under America, current events, General Observations, politics

What Is a “Blessing”?

Earlier this week I posted a question on Facebook:

If I could offer you your choice – if you’d just come to church just once – of either $1,000 or a blessing from God, would you come?

I got a few responses, but one friend, Michael Wheeler, decided to probe a little, asking if I could define what a “blessing” actually is.

The answer seems obvious, but how do you define “blessing”? That word is thrown around with no real meaning. – Michael Wheeler

I gave a typical tongue-in-cheek response:

True. I know a thousand dollars would surely BE a blessing right now 

Michael followed that response with how that he had asked “countless pastors and laypersons who overuse that word to define it, but have never gotten a satisfactory answer.” He then went on to say that the use of the word “sounds good,” but carries with it “no real meaning.”  “Other than salvation,” he proposed, “we have no other ‘blessings’ or promised things over what unbelievers experience.

Well, in fun I replied to Michael Wheeler’s question with:

Do you even own a box of crayons?

As expected (because Michael is usually a very serious kind of guy), he answered with:

Nope… Is that the extent of your definition of “blessing”?

That is when – after a brief distraction – I wrote the following:

No, not hardly. I got distracted by other things. I only asked that because sometimes I feel like you see things only in black and white – not as in truth claims, but in what you see. For instance, I never read fiction, but then I read “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”…it added color to the pallet of my spiritual imagination. Lewis didn’t teach me any new truth, but he added shades of color to what I could already see.

Much of what I would call “blessings” are those moments when the Spirit opens the eyes of my understanding and allows me to see the beauty of a Truth in a new shade. In some ways, it’s like God takes me into His art gallery and amazes me with a new painting of the same scene. I’m speaking in terms of spiritual imagination, of course… the box of crayons.

We are blessed every day by the goodness of God. That goes for everyone who enjoys the providential care of the Creator (it rains on the just and the unjust). But we are also blessed in that we have a Father who not only gave us salvation but continues to give us bread instead of stones. He is the one who will one day bring us close to Himself and share with us that little white stone with a name on it only the two of us will know – that’s true intimacy. So, many blessings are no less than those moments when we enter into worship – corporately or privately – and sense the real presence of the Holy Spirit reassuring us of the truth that He will never leave us or forsake us, that His grace is sufficient for every need. I could go on and on.

If I had the time to sit down do a more meticulous study of the definition of “blessing,” I’m sure you’d find the result more satisfying to your particular taste. However, what I’ve just described for you is the practical and real-world look at how I see it. Simply put, many times getting a “blessing” may be nothing more than being brought the realization of how good, merciful, and gracious our Father is. If He throws in a thousand dollars, well, that’s a bonus.

Excellent answer,” wrote Mr. Wheeler.

That’s why I thought it would be worth sharing with you!

What do you think? How would you define a “blessing”? 

4 Comments

Filed under Church, Love of God, salvation

May a Christian Listen to Any Kind of Music?

Sharing a Facebook Thread

Very rarely do I share a conversation from Facebook, but this one with a former member of my congregation (who shall remain nameless) is well worth it.

The following question is an honest one, made by a Christian struggling with a real dilemma.

The Question

“I have been thinking a lot about how music affects me, spiritually. I’m not a big fan of a lot of Christian music although I am a Christian. I like old school hymns but not so much the newer contemporary music. I don’t know how someone can have the gift of music and be a peaceful, Christ-like person, but not go to Heaven or not ever be saved (Like George Harrison). Every time I hear “My sweet Lord” I think of how I can’t wait to be with my Lord in Heaven and my family and friends, but George wasn’t a Christian. Also there are other musicians who are talented and really great people but they’re not saved.

“Does that make me a bad Christian because I don’t listen to J103 [a CCM station in the Chattanooga area] but really like classic Rock? I wouldn’t listen to music knowingly that bashes God, so it disturbs me that a Christian or anyone could listen to music or say things like GD.

“Not sure if this makes any sense, because I am not a writer and have a hard time putting my thoughts into words. But it’s been on my mind a lot lately, for some reason. Maybe I should be listening to more music that praises God, but I feel like most all music is a gift from God. Thoughts please! This is really bugging me.” – (Minor edits were made for this blog)

My Response

“Without him quoting any Bible verses, let this preacher submit his two cents 😉

“Music WAS created by God. Music is what we would call “amoral,” because it is neither good or bad – it just is. However, music is a very powerful force which links emotions, memories, and physical feelings together with the now. That kind of force attached to a lyric (the words) can become a powerful tool – either for good or evil.

“The guiding authority for the Christian is God’s divine revelation to man – the Bible. Regardless of what man (or woman) has to say, we should always base our actions on what is right in the light of God’s Word. Therefore, does the Bible have anything to say about whether a Christian should listen to just Christian music? Only in principle.

“OK, I can’t help it…I have to quote Scripture. “Whatsoever things are true…just…pure…honest…lovely…of good report…have virtue…any praise…think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). There are a lot of non-Christian songs (especially instrumental music) that fit into the above verse. A song about doing good, or loving someone forever, or doing what’s right in a bad world…there’s nothing really wrong with that. However, you do have to be careful when you start liking a style of music without any regard to the lyrics of the song itself. The musical score may be amoral, but the lyrics can be anything but true, pure, virtuous, etc. That stuff you should avoid.

“One other thing I would caution you about: Never fall for the lie of “I don’t listen to the words, just the music.” That sounds all well and good, but it’s impossible – unless you just don’t understand the language being sung. Every song has a message, else it’s not a song. If the message is ungodly, then it will eventually find its way into your heart.

“Remember, there is an Enemy that knows more about the power of music than any producer or executive in Nashville. This Enemy knows our weaknesses and temptations, too. If world leaders know how to use propaganda to turn the minds and hearts of people, don’t you think the Devil is equally knowledgeable? Remember where Satan came from and of what he is capable. One of his actual [attributes] was the ability to create music – not just play it – within himself. At one point he literally led the worshipping angels of heaven and gave praise to God! He KNOWS music. He also knows how to use it to change minds, just like he did to a third of the angels of heaven.

“So, all that being said, we are not under the Law, but Grace. You are free to make choices. However, you are NOT free from the consequences of your choices. Therefore, my advice is to choose wisely. Make sure what you listen to is at least wholesome, if not exactly Christian. Feed your soul with good stuff, not trash, and you’ll not have anything to worry about.”

What are YOUR thoughts?

Yes, I know a little about music. This is myself, along with my sister, Rebecca, Jody Gould, and Steve Castlen. The band was Mirror Image, circa 1992.

Yes, I know a little about music. This is myself, along with my sister, Rebecca, Jody Gould, and Steve Castlen. The band was Mirror Image, circa 1992.

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Filed under legalism, music

A “Like” Getter

As I get ready to head off to the land of slumber, let me leave you with a precious poem which will encourage, strengthen, and uplift your spirits. It’s like one of those you see on Facebook every day.

Roses are red and violets are blue.

I’ve always known that, and so have you.

Puppies are sweet and faithful and fun;

The world would be sad if we had none.

So share this sweet poem with all your friends.

Hit the “like” button again and again!

If you love God, your mother, your children, puppies, kittens, or the Baby Jesus in a manger, you will now forward this poem and post it on your wall. If you don’t, millions of demonic monkeys will arise from the abyss, come into your kitchen, and then dirty every stinking dish in your house!

cute nuggetFor the love of all that is holy and pure; for the love of children; for health and decency; “like” and share this poem – a precious poem which made you feel warm and fuzzy – or you just might find yourself in everlasting torment wishing you had at least one more Facebook friend to message.

Blessings! 😉

Aren’t manipulative Facebook posts wonderful?

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Filed under Humor

Just Write

One thing that I have heard over and over again from experienced writers is, “Just write.” When asked how to become a better writer, they say, “Just write.” When asked, “What if I don’t know what to write about today?”, they say, “Just write.”

Okie Dokie.

There once was a blubber named Blue who went to the ocean blue – who knew? He went there all scared, then came back prepared to marry a rubber rain shoe.

So, what’s all this stuff about North Korea? I think their leader actually believes the propaganda he heard as a child. Either that, or he has been affected by lead poisoning leaching from the medals of his generals.

I think that bullies are victims, too. Seriously! I read a meme posted by somebody on Facebook that blasted others for making fun of people. Well, when you bash bullies, remember that they are only scared, insecure, babies in big-boy clothes. They need love, too.

Have I ever told you that I hate the word “meme” almost as much as cottage cheese?

I have learned in my last semester of seminary that I am just as intelligent as my professors and most of the authors of my text books. No joke. I’m just not as well educated.

I broke my glasses this week, so I had to pull out an old pair with an older prescription. Until I can get some new ones I am wearing this pair with a broken ear piece put back together with a steel-like puddy. It’s not been too bad, though. Now I look like the nerd I never was. Maybe I’ll score an IT job making $150K a year!

There comes a time in every preacher’s life, especially one who preaches three times a week, when he asks the question: “What in the world am I going to preach on this Sunday?” Imagine being enrolled in a never-ending speech class!

I don’t mind when I snore.

Don’t you hate it when the weather is cold in the morning but hot as the Sahara in the afternoon? One has to start off the day in a parka, but end it in shorts and a t-shirt. It gets bad when you forget to check the forecast and end up later in the day wearing a flannel shirt and no deodorant.

It has been determined that I will never be a Calvinist.

I never liked Elmo on Sesame Street. Grover was my hero. I can even talk like him.

Kenya could use some of President Obama’s vacation money. I wonder if his daughters will go there on their next mission trip?

People are putting up gutters outside my window. I wonder that they are thinking as they look inside and see me sitting here, typing away like a professional writer? I bet they’re thinking, “Those blisters he has to get on his fingers must be painful, poor guy.”

Have a great Tuesday! 

Or, if you are reading this on another day of the week, have a great whatever that day is, too!

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Filed under General Observations, Humor

Bug Spray Warning

A Reasonable Idea

There is a suggestion floating around the internet on places like Facebook, Twitter, etc. The suggestion is to get yourself a big can of wasp & hornet spray (a pesticide) for protection – not from bug, but from criminals.

wasp sprayYou see, it is getting more and more difficult for honest, law-abiding citizens to own and carry firearms. On the other hand, criminals are becoming anything but more friendly. Therefore, some are suggesting that using a can of wasp spray is a good alternative to a gun. Here’s an example from a post on Facebook…

[Wasp spray] can shoot up to twenty feet away and is a lot more accurate [than pepper spray], while with the pepper spray, they have to get too close to you and could overpower you. The wasp spray temporarily blinds an attacker until they get to the hospital for an antidote. [A church secretary] keeps a can on her desk in the office and it doesn’t attract attention from people like a can of pepper spray would. She also keeps one nearby at home for home protection.

A Legal Problem

Having an inexpensive form of self-defense sounds all fine and dandy, especially if you are the type who either cannot or won’t own a firearm. The only problem with using a can of bug spray is that it would be illegal. Yes, illegal.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why would I worry about using a can of bug spray on an attacker trying to harm me or take my life?” In a normal universe, it would seem perfectly acceptable to use anything at your disposal to defend your life, correct? Well, we don’t live in a world ruled by common sense, but by lawyers.

If you were casually walking through your house one day, and a burglar broke in and chased you through the garage, and you picked up the first thing handy, a can of bug spray, and shot him in the face, you might be OK. On the other hand, if you have a can sitting on your desk, or beside your bed, or in your purse, then you could get in real trouble.

bug sprayTake a look at the highlighted portion of the picture. There you will read the following: “It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.” As any trained pest control technician would tell you, “the label is the law.”

So, if you are ever forced to use your bug spray on an attacker, bear this in mind: a good defense attorney will have your skin for the premeditated illegal use of a potentially deadly substance. If your attacker is harmed in any way, don’t think for a moment that a sleazeball lawyer won’t take advantage of you “violating Federal law.” Your attacker may even get off without jail time, all because you hurt his feelings with anything but a double-barrel shotgun.

Law and Grace

When the law is all there is, legalists will seize any opportunity. There will always be someone willing to twist the law to his (or his client’s) own advantage.

Paul told Timothy, “we know that the law [is] good, if a man use it lawfully” (1 Timothy 1:8). Unfortunately, in this day and age, there are those who don’t always use the law for good, but for gain. Therefore, be careful.

Thank God for grace.

6 Comments

Filed under America, General Observations, legalism

Wouldn’t You Take Him Home?

Tear Jerkers

Frequently I see posts/pictures on Facebook that are really meant to make one cry. And many times the tears are supposed to make one want to do something, like give to a charity, hug a tree, or feed the hungry.

Now, look at the picture to the right. Here you have a grown dog sitting in the middle of a street getting soaked in the rain. I don’t know who took the picture, but the title of the Facebook post was something like, “Wouldn’t you take him home?”

That got me to thinking about some things. Can I share them with you?

  • Go ahead, go up to the dog. I bet it’ll snap your hand off at the wrist.
  • Have you ever wondered why a grown dog has chosen to just sit in the rain?
  • If the dog was smart enough to fetch your slippers, don’t you think it could have found something to hide under?
  • It the dog is so stupid that it can’t get out of the rain, then do you really want it in your home?
  • Is it possible that he simply wants to be left alone because his girlfriend left him for a Doberman? If that is true, refer back to the first point.

An Old Dog

Looking at this dog sitting in the rain also got me to thinking about some other things. For instance, why don’t we think about old men that way? Let’s just say that dog in the road is 5 or 6 years old – that would make him what, 30 or 40 in human years? Would you look at a drug addict lying in the rain and ask, “Wouldn’t you take him home?”

No, a grown man has made his choices, right? He should be left in the rain, or on the side of the road bleeding. It’s one thing to help a dirty dog, but a stranger? Get real, right? I mean, who does that kind of thing? A good Samaritan?

Isn’t that strange? Why is it that we would be more likely to cry a tear over an old dog than a man? A mother’s child?

What About These?

And then I remembered this picture. It is not of a dog in the rain, or a cat in a kennel, or a puppy in the pound; it’s just a bunch of orphans.

Back in 1992 I had the rare privilege to visit a Romanian orphanage. The children did not know why we were there, but they were excited. It wasn’t often that strangers were allowed in, especially after a 1990 news story on ABC’s 20/20.  They stood lined against a wall…waiting.

Wouldn’t you take one home? Don’t you know what happens to orphans in places like this, especially after they “graduate” at age 18?

Misplaced Sorrow

It is only my opinion, but I think we should worry less about animals in the rain and more about humans living in drains. I’ll never forget a story I saw about children living in the sewage drains of Kenyan cities. They would sniff glue at night, not for fun, but to keep from feeling the pain of hunger. That should make us cry.

“For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'” – Matthew 25:35-40 NLT

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Filed under animals, General Observations, Uncategorized, World View