Broad Strokes Paint Poor Portraits

I know this has been happening since time immemorial, but in the past year, I have been increasingly disappointed by seemingly rational people casting wide, sweeping generalizations of all sorts over all types, classes, races, religions, and genders of people. The Left is ________. The Right is ________. Gay people are ________. Evangelicals are ________. Millenials are ________. Gen Xers are ________. Men are ________. Women are ________. Feminists are ________. White males are ________. Black Lives Matter are ________. Police are ________. Christians are ________. Muslims are ________.

Things, unfortunately, are not that simple. I think viewing the world through the filter of Facebook has made it feel like a growing epidemic because 95% (this is not a real statistic) of the people on the internet say things that they would never say if even one human being from whatever populace they are discussing were standing in front of them. And therein lies the problem.

Broad strokes paint poor portraits. Anytime you try to categorize people, shove them into a box, make them fit whatever stereotype helps you make sense of the world, you are distorting them as individuals.

Because each of these groups of people is made up of hundreds of thousands of individuals who have hopes and dreams and mostly want good things just like you do. Whether they agree with what good is or go about getting it the same way you do is not the question. Disagreement does not even come into play in this discussion. We’re not discussing ideologies, but humanity and the intrinsic worth and complicated emotions and desires that come with it.

Portraits are unique and distinct. They are nuanced and shadowed and, in good ones, there is something intangible that helps you almost feel like you know the person portrayed. If you could look at the details, the histories, the loves, and the fears of each individual within any person your world view has tried to turn into a cliche, you would find a soul just as worthy as your own.

Our broad strokes are embarrassing. It is like drawing a stick figure and saying it is the spitting image of everyone in whichever subset you are discussing. This is not only rude; it is illogical. It is the thing children do when they are afraid. We are scrawling children’s drawings on people’s faces and turning them into boogeymen instead of human souls.

I am completely aware that some people fit stereotypes. That’s why they exist. But only the ignorant actually judge people by them. Because there are many, many more who do NOT fit the blanket categorization applied to them. No person is just one thing. They are infinite worlds unto themselves that we will never be able to fully comprehend.

Portraits are not something you create overnight. You must be engaged with someone in order to see them fully – to see them around corners and in the dark, behind doors and when the curtain is pulled back. It’s not always pretty, but let’s refrain from painting over three-dimensional people with our flat preconceived notions.

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Circus Christianity

This morning as I was sitting in church, an image popped into my head.  It was the image of a clown.  This particular clown had a sad face with tears painted on, but was still doing its silly clown show to make people laugh.  And I thought about how Christians do this…how there are Christians who act like clowns.  They might vary in how they look – some of them may have the sad faces, but some have happy ones and some just look a little crazy.  The common denominator is that each of them has painted on a persona that is not their own – a persona that, in fact, hides what each of them really is.  Have you ever seen a movie or a TV show portraying a clown that ends his or her act, then when they no longer have an audience, they begin treating everyone like scum or you find out that they are a raging alcoholic?  It’s a ridiculous analogy, I know, but this style of Christians does the same ridiculous thing.  Their real character is completely incongruous with what they try to portray, leaving people disillusioned and disappointed when they find out the truth.  They thought those Clown Christians had it all together, but turns out, that’s only while they were on stage. 

 

Christianity is not about faking it.  Some people may say, “Well, we have to look cheerful or act cheerful or do something to make everything look great.”  I say this is one of the best ways to chase people away from Christianity.  It doesn’t take a very long look for anyone to tell that everything is not always great for anyone.  It’s hypocrisy at its grandest.  So, if people do fall for it initially, they drift away easily after coming to the truth of the matter: that Christians struggle and mess up, too.  Even the clowns with the sad faces are going through the motions of making people happy…a performance they’ve often been rigorously taught.  People pleasers rarely please people.  Let’s be real, Christians.  The clown act doesn’t become us.

 

And as I thought through this, I realized it was more than just clowns.  There is an entire Christian Circus going on all around us. 

 

There’s the guy/girl walking the tight rope.  It doesn’t take long to spot this one.  These guys are in shape.  They’ve worked hard.  They probably even have a little talent.  And now they want to show it off.  “Look at me – I can walk this rope.  It’s a fine line, but I can do it.”  They put themselves way up there…they are the elite.  They’re not going to fall…falling is not an option.  I mean, if you fall, you die, right?  There’s no net.  God’s not big enough for me to fall.  These are the legalists.  There’s no room for error, and anyone who can’t do what they can do has not quite got it all together.  What happens with them?  They crash…and burn.  They live in fear of stepping one toe out of line, and inevitably find out that they can’t stay up there forever.  It’s a lonely road.

 

Christianity is not about fear.  And all this act does is scare people.  “Ooh, I could never do that.  I might as well not even try.  I’ll just stay down here and walk around on this dusty tent floor.  You have to really work too hard…and it’s dangerous, too…I mean, what if you fall?  You’re done for.”  When are we going to learn that it’s not about what we can do, but about what God already did?

 

And now we have the lion tamer.  This is the dude with the whip.  He is all about beating everyone into submission.  There’s no love in this act.  It’s all force: conversion by conquest.  And then once you get them conquered, you make sure you keep them controlled.  He’s not getting people to follow God; he’s getting people to follow him.  It’s all about the power.

 

Christianity is not about force.  The lion tamer eventually gets his head ripped off when one of the lions he thought he had tamed suddenly realizes this guy doesn’t have its best interest at heart.  He’s just a mean guy with a whip on a power trip.  If conquest were the answer, then the whole world would’ve been Christian after the Crusades.  Let’s stop pretending we can hold people down until they say uncle…or Jesus.  This would only establish that the strongest guy wins.  It says nothing about truth.

 

Then we have the guy who eats fire.  He’s a showman.  He uses a lot of slight of hand, illusions, tricks.  The Christian fire-eater is really not much more than a magician with an agenda, but he sure does make it look exciting.

 

Christianity is not about the hype.  Hype goes away.  People get tired of watching him eat fire every day…he’s a one trick wonder.  They lose interest.  There is no substance to his message.  People don’t get tired of watching someone who is living the abundant life that Christ offers us to the fullest, day in, day out, in every area of their life.  THAT is something to see.

 

The next one is more like a category.  It includes the bearded lady, the tattooed man, etc. – the pejorative “freak show.”  These are the Christians who have embraced their fears and insecurities.  They have accepted the lie that they have nothing to offer anyone, except as a novelty, and therefore have retracted from normal daily interaction with people.  They get mocked a little bit and just take it as their lumps in life, figuring this is the price you pay for being different.  You may as well just own it, right?  Their inability to fit in has become their identity.  It’s an excuse not to become something else, something more.

 

Christianity is not about hiding behind your insecurities.  It’s about facing them head on, and allowing God to make something of you in spite, or possibly because of them.  When we, as Christians, retreat because we feel inadequate, that says to the world, “Look, they really don’t have anything to offer.  They don’t even believe in the power of it themselves.”  God has promised that He will make something of us, and we need to start acting like it!

 

There are probably more, but this is as far as I got on the performers in the circus.  However, there’s one more I want to mention: the ringmaster.

 

You might think that I’m going to say the ringmaster is God.  Not in this case.  In the case of Circus Christianity, the ringmaster is Satan.  He is standing in the middle of that big red tent, directing the performance.  “Yes, that’s right,” he says.  To the clown: “Don’t you dare show your true colors.”  To the tightrope walker: “You (and everyone else) must be perfect or it was all a complete failure.”  To the lion tamer: “Anyone who disagrees with you should be treated as a hostile.”  To the fire-eater: “Give them a good thrill!”  To the bearded lady: “You are not worth anything.”  Satan applauds it all…anything that makes us ineffective, impotent Christians.

 

How many spectators of a circus do you know who watch it, and then decide they’re going to go join up and become part of the circus, too?  It’s just a show; something to do…see what those crazy Circus Christians are up to now.  There is nothing remotely desirable in it.

 

So, this is a call to all Christians – step out of the circus!  Stop doing tricks and putting on shows.  Become a real person with real purpose as God has called us to.  Be engaged with those around you and with what you believe.  Don’t be afraid of people questioning things; know that God is big enough to handle their questions as well as your own.  Don’t pretend to have it all together; if you don’t know, say so.  Respond to people with the love that God asks us to respond with.  Don’t focus on your own insecurities or other people’s faults; focus on God’s strength and the way He can make something out of anyone – just like He does over and over again in the Bible.

Answers for Atheists – Faith or Evidence?

Someone commented on my blog the other day, and I followed the comment to her blog, A is for Atheists. She seemed to have real questions for which she sought real answers and respected those who had a faith, and just wanted to know their thoughts. She had one post called Questions for Christians. I sort of felt led to try to answer those questions. I sent her an e-mail response to her first question, which was, “Is your belief based on faith or evidence?”

I’ve decided to post my responses here as well, although, I will say, I tweaked this one a bit beforehand. It WAS midnight when I wrote it. 🙂 I decided it could be a little more clear.

Question 1:  Are your beliefs based on faith or evidence?

My beliefs are based on both, which I tend to think is the case for more things than we recognize in our lives. There are many things that we take for granted as truth, but for which we have never seen concrete evidence for ourselves – things that we just trust experts in things that we don’t know about to tell us, hopefully honestly, about. Example: people trust medical doctors every day to treat conditions they have never heard of with medicines that they have never heard of, many without a second thought – this requires faith. And even my own personal distrust of mainstream medicine leads me to seek knowledge from other sources – people that I have deemed reliable – this also requires faith. People trust doctors (or whatever type of medicinal expertise they seek) because they have seen enough evidence to believe that these sources are trying to help them, that they know about things that the individuals don’t and, hopefully, because they have heard testimony or seen evidence that at least some of the things these medicinal experts recommend are effective. So, their faith in the doctors is based in evidence. This evidence does not factually prove that all of the medicines the doctors give them will cure everything that needs curing. The patients don’t read all of the FDA reports for every medicine to check its safety or reliability. So, their attendance to the doctor is based on evidence for some truths which leads to faith in others. That is the point I am trying to get to with my convoluted explanation here. If we tried to live life operating on the same amount of factual evidence and expertise that we ask people to provide for their faith, we would all go insane.

Example:

Man 1: Is your house safe?

Man 2: Yes.

Man 1: How do you know?

Man 2: Because I live in it, and it’s never fallen on me.

Man 1: Did you meet the architect?

Man 2: Not in person, but I know who he is.

Man 1: Did you work with the builders?

Man 2: No, but they have good reputations.

Man 1: Then how do you know they were reliable?

Man 2: Because my house continues to stand, and I trust those who told me they were.

Man 1: Well, I’m not coming in until I see the architect in person.

You get the point. It’s just not possible. If logic required us to KNOW everything in order to BELIEVE anything, then none of us would be able to go through one day of life. This is not to say that the answers are not out there…just that it is impossible for one person to know all of them.

I have seen enough evidence that the Bible is true to make me believe that it IS true. I can’t prove to you that every word in it is true, but I can show you some of the things that prove to me it is more than just a book. Granted these are based on my belief that the different parts of the Bible were written when it is said to be written – if that is under debate for you, let me know, and we will discuss it later – I know some people have doubts about this.

1) In Genesis 5, there is a genealogy listed – Adam through Noah. It’s pretty boring stuff, until you look at the meanings of the names of each of those characters, and list the meanings in sequence in order to read them as a sentence. Here goes: Adam = Man; Seth = Appointed; Enosh = Mortal; Kenan = Sorrow; Mahalalel = Blessed God; Jared = Shall Come Down; Enoch = Teaching; Methuselah = His Death Shall Bring; Lamech = Despairing; Noah = Rest or Comfort. If you read the meanings of the names, it is as follows: Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest.

I’m assuming you know the basics of the gospel, and that is the story of our redemption through Christ in a nutshell. Some conspiracy if that was thought up thousands of years before Jesus was even born, and spelled out in the names of men from 10 generations.

2) For this one, you’d probably get a better explanation of it if you followed this link: http://www.khouse.org/articles/1998/73/
It has to do with the genealogy of Jesus himself, and the way he fulfilled a seemingly contradictory prophecy. To try to outline it succinctly, Jesus was prophesied to come through the royal line of David. However, come Jeconiah in Jeremiah 22:30, there is a blood curse placed on the royal line of David that states: “Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.”

This is a little quandary since Jesus is supposed to come from that line. The solution comes from tracing the genealogies of Jesus listed in the New Testament. In the book of Matthew, it takes us through Jesus legal lineage, which comes down through Joseph, who IS of the royal line of David. However, Jesus was not of Joseph’s biological line, so the blood curse was not applicable to him. The book of Luke takes a turn in the genealogy of Jesus, however, and at David, he splits off and follows Jesus line down through Mary, who is ALSO of the line of David, but not of the line with the curse. Pretty fascinating how that all worked out.

3) All of the prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus – quicker to follow a link or two: http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/messianicprophecies.html
http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/prophchr.html

From here on out, this is less about the veracity of the Bible specifically, and more about my belief in God in general.

You mention in one of your other posts that you wonder why Christians feel so threatened by evolution. I do not feel threatened by it. I believe if God wanted to cause the universe to form slowly, he could have. And honestly, I don’t know or care whether he did it slowly or in 7 days or not. What I do believe, based on the intricacy of our universe, of the human body and of every system I have ever learned about, is that there is NO WAY it happened by accident, whether slowly or quickly. It is a process of logic to see that things do not accidentally fall into order. You would never stop folding your laundry, and instead, just began throwing it across the room expecting it to fall down on the floor folded neatly. And from everything I know, that would be infinitely more possible than everything we live in every day having occurred by chance. To continue along this thought, as silly as the above analogy sounds, it sounds even more ridiculous to begin expecting your laundry to throw itself across the room and fall into a pattern of order, which is essentially what scientists who purport a purely naturalistic evolution seem to want you to believe.

You also mention in one of your posts that coincidence happens. I fully agree with you that it does. However, I wonder if you recognize how much in your own life, you fully acknowledge things as being caused by intelligence when you have no real proof of that. Think about it – there is the inference of intelligence in order everywhere around us. If you look at someone’s yard, and see 5 of the same type of trees planted in a perfect line, all growing at about the same height, you infer and fully believe that some intelligence planted those trees that way on purpose, because they wanted them to be in order. You never saw anyone plant those trees. Is it possible that those trees could grow that way by simple chance or coincidence? Of course it is. But you would think it silly to assume so, because there is order. I am sure that you understand the complicated nature of the human body, and of the rotations of the planets, the tilt of the earth, the distance of our planet from the sun…in any of those things, there are innumerable things that if changed, even the slightest bit, would make our planet unliveable, our bodies unusable. That is FAR more complicated than 5 trees neatly planted in a straight line, which almost anyone would never give a second thought to being the result of intelligent design. In addition to that, here is a link to a great movie that only addresses ONE tiny thing – the bacterial flagellum – and how the chances of it occurring randomly are basically unfathomable. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5585125669588896670

And then there is my personal experience, possibly the most convincing, at least to me. I am fully aware that you have no reason to care about or believe my personal experience, but I am throwing it out there anyway, because I feel that I couldn’t really make this answer complete without it. I believe that God speaks to us, if we are listening. He does not necessarily speak to me audibly, but I believe he could if he chose.

Here goes: When I was 19, I was going through a particularly difficult time with my belief in God. I was having serious doubts. I used to climb up on my roof to watch the stars. One night I was doing this, and I saw a shooting star. The only prayer I had prayed for months was, “God, if you are real, show me.” So, I’m up on the roof, and I see this shooting star. So, I prayed the same prayer I had been praying for months, but for the first time, I gave God stipulations. I said, “God, if you are real, I want to see ten shooting stars tonight.” Well, the one I had just seen was the ONLY shooting star I had ever seen in my life thus far. Ten shooting stars seemed like a tall order. So, after a few minutes consideration, I lowered my expectations. I said, “OK, God, ten might be a little ridiculous – three shooting stars. I just want you to show me three shooting stars.” I hung out on the roof for a while longer, but what I can tell you, and you can choose to believe or not, is that before I got down, I saw not three, not ten…I saw eleven shooting stars. I had put an expectation on God, and then lowered it because it seemed like I was asking something impossible…and he exceeded it. That’s when this verse became real to me: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20) I learned the next day that there had been a meteor shower the night before, but I didn’t know that…and the fact that it was a major cosmic occurrence only makes it bigger to me – because either God knew that I would be on my roof that night, asking him to show me ten shooting stars, and planned the cosmos out in order to appease my doubt, or else he put me on the roof that night and prompted me to base my belief on him in whether I saw ten shooting stars or not, all because he knew that there would be more than that. Or what I really believe, is that God did both of these things, he was working in me and working in the cosmos concurrently, and brought us together at this portentous moment.

Another more recent occurrence is as follows: It happened in May. I had been purposely trying to make sure I “listened” to promptings (i.e. from God) that seemed outside of the range of what I would naturally do if I were just going about my daily life as usual. I had a few friends coming over for supper – I was not sure how many. I kind of just threw the invitation out there. So, I was cooking a Thai chicken pasta. When it came time to put it all together and I got to the chicken, I hesitated. I felt like I was supposed to leave some out in case a vegetarian came. I have never in my life worried about whether I had a vegetarian dish when having people over. Not because I am discriminatory against vegetarians, mind you, I’m more vegetarian than carnivore myself half the time – just because I never think of it. When I first felt like that was what I was supposed to do, I thought I was just being silly and I actually went to add the chicken anyway, but I felt it stronger. So, I thought, “Well, it won’t hurt to leave some pasta out,” so I pulled some out, and added chicken to the rest. Two people ended up coming over for dinner that night. One was a friend of mine, and one was her friend, whom I did not even know. Her friend turned out to be a vegetarian, and there was no way I could have known that. My story above about the stars had a rather large, overarching purpose that anyone can see why, if there IS a God, he would want to do something like that in order to secure my belief in him. It benefited HIM to show me those eleven shooting stars. But this? It was just proof to me that he cares. He cared that this woman got to eat a portion of my main dish.

The things I’ve discussed here are in no way the only evidences that have led to my faith. They are just the ones I felt compelled to elucidate here. I’d be happy to hear thoughts, criticisms and questions.

As a disclaimer, I do not necessarily promote the websites I have linked to as far as doctrine or any other specific beliefs. I am just using them as a reference for factual information.

Buried or Planted?

Bury: to put in the ground and cover with earth

Plant: To put in the ground and cover, as seed for growth

God asked me on Sunday if I was buried or planted.  I know it was Him because I wasn’t thinking about getting buried or planted, either one.  Those are not two of my normal activities.  But when I felt the question, I knew that whatever I am, I act like I am buried – like I’ve been buried alive.  And then I realized how the two things are exactly the same – being buried and being planted, except for the intent behind them.  Did you read the definitions above?  In case you missed it, here you go again:

Bury: To put in the ground and cover with earth

Plant: To put in the ground and cover, as seed for growth

So, if I pretend I am a seed who does not know the intent of its gardener, then I have every right to flip out when the dirt begins to block out everything in the world that I know and understand in my life.  The weight of the earth on top of me is immobilizing; it’s dark; i’m lonely and scared.  It seems impossible to become anything under here.  And just when I think it can’t get any worse, someone comes along and dumps *#%& on top of me.  Now, in addition to everything else, it starts to stink.  And then they drown me, and all the filth from the you know what starts trickling down over me, mixed in with the dirt and now I’m wet, too.

Is anyone seeing what I’m getting at here?  Being planted would seem a whole lot like getting screwed.  (Theologically speaking.)  But being planted is also the only way for a seed to fulfill its purpose, and when that little green shoot first starts to peer out over the earth, I don’t imagine that sentient seed will be minding so much, although it might wonder if there were not an easier way to get here.  But there’s not. 

I think I act like God has buried me, when I’ve really been planted and now I am being nourished and tended to by a Gardener who says that I should be “confident of this very thing: that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it.” (Philipians 1:6)

And now for the lyrics to a song I wrote almost 8 years ago:

In Its Time

The whole world is barren.  Whenever will this end?

It’s been so long, I hardly know if anything can grow.

I’m so unbelieving, so foolish for grieving.

How many times have I seen death revive with one small breath?

And every beginning must start with an ending,

Just like the life You gave to me when You died, so willingly.

But right now it’s winter, and it’s still December.

And the sunless sky is dark and grey again.

The cold wind’s still blowing, and though it’s still snowing,

I know that Spring will come in its time.

Lord, help me remember, though it may seem bitter,

There’s always more than I can see underneath those lifeless trees.

And, so in my own heart, when I need a new start,

I know it brings a little pain, but soon enough, the soothing rain.

But right now it’s winter, and it’s still December.

And the sunless sky is dark and grey again.

The cold wind’s still blowing, and though it’s still snowing,

I know that Spring will come in its time.

How Bad Things Can Be Good

Well, I am moved.  I have been moved for 2 weeks, but it does not quite seem like it.  I didn’t have internet for the first week and a half, and I’ve been playing catch-up otherwise.  I am somewhat calmed down from my frenzy, although I still have tons of things I want to do.  My place is unpacked and settled if not quite how I envision it when I finish all of my projects.

There were several things that happened around the move that reminded me that even things that get on your nerves can be positive sometimes.  To put it God’s way, “All things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)  That is something that is easy to forget when things happen that are frustrating or annoying or not how you planned or due to someone else’s mistakes. 

Situation 1:  I work for a caterer, you know.  And at this job, I do almost all of the office work, some serving at events, a smattering of food preparation, and if there are no males around, anything you would get the “guy” to do, i.e. taking out the trash, breaking down the boxes, climbing the ladders, carrying the heavy things.  I don’t mind doing this stuff when I’m there.  However, it can be a point of contention for me when it comes to the boxes.  These are not like packing boxes – they are boxes made to transport fruit and stapled and folded and doubled, etc.  They’re tough boxes.  No one else wants to break them down.  So, for a while there, I would come to work after not being there for a few days and there would be stacks of un-broken down boxes all waiting for me.  Doing it when I’m there is one thing.  Having stacks of boxes that will not be taken by the trash pick-up left outside getting gross for me to breakdown when I get there is another thing.  It started getting on my nerves.  I mentioned it to my boss.  You know, that it would be good if someone else would break down the boxes when I am not there.  She mentioned it to the other girls, and it has drastically improved, but there are still the days where I come in to random un-broken down boxes lying around.  The day before I moved I worked for my caterer, and this is what I found.  Only this time, I had run out of packing boxes when I only had a few small things (read, difficult to carry individually) to pack.  There were just enough un-broken down boxes at my caterer’s to fit all of those little odds and ends I needed to pack.  And so, what usually gets on my nerves was, that day, exactly the thing that I needed. 

This next thing actually involves something that is annoying to someone else and not me, because it involves their things and not mine.  It counts, though, as an example for what I am talking about.  The day of the move, we used my boyfriend’s band bus, my caterer’s van and various friend’s cars.  The fun part was that the power steering went out on the band bus the night before on the way back from their band’s show.  If you’ve ever driven a car when the power steering went out, you can imagine the difficulty that presents in a bus.  My boyfriend was trying to figure out if it was a quick fix of adding power steering fluid, so he took the catering van to the store to get some.  (I just drove the van home from work, so I did not even have my car.)  He came back and that was not the issue, so he just had to drive the bus with no power steering.  Because of this and the fact that I moved to a place on a very curvy road, he decided he would leave before the rest of us because he would have to be driving so slowly and he didn’t want anyone else to have to wait.  He left, and then about 10 minutes later, the rest of us were about to get into our respective vehicles and head out when it occurred to me that he never gave the keys for the catering van back to me after taking it to the store.  Uh-oh.  I said, “I hope he left the keys to the van in the ignition.”  Someone looked.  He didn’t.  Uh-oh.  This meant that he and I would have to come back later and then take the van & unpack it by ourselves because everyone else was not coming back to my old place.  Not the end of the world, but definitely an annoyance.  Well, my catering boss finally a couple of months ago had multiple extra sets made of her keys because they would frequently be accidentally taken home by whomever drove to whatever event we had going on.  This was, of course, not good when she needed to drive her vehicles the next day only to find there were no keys.  The day of my move, one of my catering co-workers was helping me.  When we realized I had no keys to “Bertha,” as the catering van is affectionately dubbed, this friend pipes up, “Wait!  I think I accidentally took a set of Bertha keys home the other day…I think they’re still in my car!”  She runs to her car, and emerges, triumphantly, with a set of Bertha keys.  Moving crisis averted all because of something that is a continual frustration to my boss…forgetting to return keys.

The third situation involves my cat.  I think I have mentioned his obsession with the linen closet before.  Well, while I was taking a shower the morning of the move, he managed to get in there, and I thought, “That’s not actually a bad idea.”  And I closed him in so I would be able to find him when it was time to leave with him.  Since he is indoor/outdoor, with all the commotion of people moving everything and doors being open constantly, I knew he would disappear somewhere outside and I wouldn’t be able to find him when it was time to go.  He did not mind being shut in there, so this is not like a punishment if you are worrying about him.  So, we loaded the bulk of my things and only left my cat and some cleaning supplies at the old place.  I don’t like to take him in the initial run because he gets freaked out driving anyway, and I would have to leave him in the carrier until everything was inside and doors closed.  I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking him to an entirely new place, not giving him a chance to get acclimated and then him running around outside.  Anyway, after we unloaded everything at the new place, we went back to my old house to do a final cleaning and pick up the cat.  He is a terrible traveler – always gets sick or goes to the bathroom in his carrier…he’s just terrified.  My boyfriend recommended tying his collar to my porch so that we could maybe get him to go to the bathroom before we got in the car, but still be able to find him when we needed to leave.  I decided it was worth a try.  I think it was not such a good idea.  🙂  Try tying up a cat who has never been tied up before.  He was NOT happy.  But he was out there, and I was cleaning inside, when I was informed that he had made a break for it.  I went outside to find that he did not just slip out of his collar.  He BROKE it.  OK, tying up not such a good plan.  Of course, then he was mad and disappeared and would not come when I called him.  I had to leave, though, because I had some pieces of furniture that I had bought to pick up from people while I still had the van, and I also needed to get some necessities at the store before heading back.  These errands were kind of lengthy, because I had to drive about an hour out of my way to pick up the furniture and I had two different things to pick up, plus you know how things just take longer than you think they will.  It ended up taking us about 4 hours before we were ready to go back to my new place, at which point we stopped back by my old house, my cat came running, and I scooped him up & took off.  And it all worked out beautifully.  I don’t think driving my terrified cat around for 4 hours would have been a very good idea, or at least it would not have been very positive.  Initially, I was frustrated that I had to go back and get him.  In the end, it was the best scenario. 

Now, these are all sort of petty situations.  There was nothing severely detrimental.  But they were clear pictures of how things I think of as bad can end up being good.  The bottom line is that if it happens in petty things, it can happen in important things as well.  And I am sure that most of the time we are not able to see the full circle of events enough to understand this.  These events were clustered and it was spread out in front of me like a lesson plan so I could see the beginning and the end of how it all worked together.  I’m hoping that I can translate this into a little bit of faith…that I would be able to accept events calmly as they come and not freak out about whatever difficulties they bring…that instead of waiting until, if ever, I can understand how they work for good, I will trust God’s word and know that what He said in Romans 8:28 is true.  Because it is.

Questioning Government

I’m not much into politics.  I don’t really follow it.  I do know that my boyfriend thinks Ron Paul is the only candidate out there worth looking at, but this post really isn’t about him so much.  It’s about the attitude of the two people on this newscast.  Watch the video below and then see what I think about all of that.  (It’s only about 3 minutes long.)

The attitudes of these women angers and saddens me.  Whether you believe that 911 was an inside job or not (it’s worth looking into), blind trust in ANY government is never a good idea.  Whatever you think about the Founding Fathers, this was the reason they established the government as they did, so that you COULD question it.  So that the people were in charge of it and not the other way around.  Because they had seen what unlimited power in the government did to societies and individuals. 

Also, the fact that these ladies say Ron Paul should have told the 911 Truth-ers to “Bug Off” shows an incredible intolerance to anyone who doesn’t think exactly as they do.  Since when is it a good idea for a presidential candidate to alienate any group of people whether they agree with them or not?  Their attitudes, their comments and their blatant mocking of Ron Paul makes this newscast seem more like a gossip session than a political commentary, with a severe lack of insight and a definite lack of respect for a man who is not some “fringe” candidate, but an upstanding citizen.  Whatever else he is, he has been a flight surgeon in the US Airforce, an obstetrician, and served more than one term and over several decades in the United States Congress.  Although his ideas might not be popular amongst heads of state, he is clearly not demented or deluded or crazy.  You just have to watch him in an interview or a debate to see that.  You would think that his history and demeanor would ensure a certain amount of security from simply being seen as a laughable public figure; a joke; someone to be dismissed as ridiculous. 

I want to add here that I know I have been guilty of simply bad-mouthing people I did not agree with in the past.  I’m sure that I will again be guilty of it in the future.  I hope that is not what I am doing here.

 So, go think for yourself.  Question.  I’m not saying you have to support Ron Paul or that you have to believe 911 was an inside job.  Just go figure out what you DO support or what you DO believe.  For yourself.