Monthly Archives: March 2013

Good Friday Prayer

Today is Good Friday. In my tradition, its one of the most significant days of the year. It’s the day that Christians everywhere commemorate the death of Christ.

On this day, I’m reflecting on the fact that in the name of Jesus, people have been killed. Nations have been brought low. People have been abused. Of course, hospitals have been built, churches established that have helped countless people on their journeys. Lives, including mine,  have been changed.

The problem with Christianity has rarely been Christ particularly, it’s with Christians. But then, that’s the thing with all religions – regardless of the belief system, it worked out by people and people have issues!

Few doubt the gravity of the sacrifice commemorated by this day. Few doubt the love that drove Jesus to take up his cross, endure the humiliation, and die for humankind. Whatever issues you might have with Christians or the church, I encourage you to think about the heart of Christianity  – Love. “Herein is love”, the Apostle John wrote, “not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his son to pay for our sin. And not for our sin only but for the sin of the entire world.”

This Easter, I pray that God’s peace be upon you. That the Blessing of the Resurrection be upon your family, your children, your work, your play – upon you. Amen.

A Prayer for Good Friday.

O Jesus, Who by reason of Thy burning love for us
hast willed to be crucified
and to shed Thy Most Precious Blood
for the redemption and salvation of our souls,
look down upon us here gathered together
in remembrance of Thy most sorrowful Passion and Death,
fully trusting in Thy mercy;
cleanse us from sin by Thy grace,
sanctify our toil,
give unto us and unto all those who are dear to us our
daily bread,
sweeten our sufferings,
bless our families,
and to the nations so sorely afflicted,
grant Thy peace,
which is the only true peace,
so that by obeying Thy commandments
we may come at last to the glory of heaven.

Amen.

1 Comment

Filed under thought of the day

Why I’m not against “Gay Marriage”

The Supreme Court is looking at the validity of gay marriage. Huh. A friend of mine asked on Facebook what the theological arguments for gay marriage would be. I’m actually not going to give those here, I think one could google it and get a solid overview fairly quickly.

I will, however, tell whoever wants to read this, why – as a Christian and a pastor – I’m not against it.

When I first became a chaplain, the first marriage I was asked to do was between to Christians who had both been divorced previously. Having had a very conservative ministry training experience, my instinct was to refuse. However, since I had not really been presented with this situation in actuality before, I studied it. I read authors from both sides of the argument and reflected on what various thoughtful, godly, reasoned people believed about the issue.

I came away with the conclusion that it was an issue of theological interpretation and like all theological interpretation issues, I needed to “work out my own salvation” and act accordingly. Good people, who love God, Jesus, and the Bible are on both sides of that issue.

I certainly didn’t join some fight to get the Congress of the Land to ban marriage between divorced people since its a theological understanding of the Bible that even Christians disagree on. What the Bible says or does not say about divorced people has little to do with whether or not the state recognizes the contract between them called “marriage.”

To this day, a rule that I hold dear in marrying people is this: as an ordained minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I only marry those who BOTH declare Christ. I am helpful to those who are not Christians (or one is and the other isn’t) – I’ll help them find the courthouse or even recommend another minister who might be ok with that. However, I won’t do it. Both individuals need to be Christian for me to perform a Christian ceremony for them.

Again, not a rule I think that the Supreme Court of the United States should uphold for the entire nation.

So, am I for or against “gay marriage?” Doesn’t matter.

Not in the case of the supreme court. It’s a non issue. Whether the state should honor a contractual relationship between two people and call it marriage is not particularly important to me. In fact, I think that a couple that wants to marry should be able to. How I personally interpret the Bible and what federal, civil law –  that applies to every person that lives within our borders – says has little to do with each other.

I’ve read authors on both sides of this debate. In particular, the books “Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals” as well as “Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality” both convinced me that there are valid theological arguments (which are beyond the scope of this post to articulate) for the idea that homosexuality isn’t the “great evil” that it is often portrayed as.

Whether homosexuality is a sin or not is a theological issue that needs to be worked out in each Christians and churches worldview.

Like anything else.

Can we still be friends?

 

 

Postscript: Actually, if you were asking, I’m a fan of the model in which a couple that wants to contractually bind themselves to one another and receive the benefits the State doles out to that kind of stability can. They can go to the courthouse and sign a document that binds themselves to one another – gay, straight – it’s the same for everyone. If they want a Christian ceremony wherein they are married in the eyes of God, let them find a body of believers that has no issue with whatever baggage they bring to the alter. Lord knows – we all have baggage.

2 Comments

Filed under Chaplaincy, Theology

Passion Sunday

What are the two things that you’re just NOT supposed to talk about at family events?

Religion and politics – they say.

Why?

I think it’s because talking about these two particular topics reveals who you really are. As long as you are embracing the truth about you, your belief system will rear its ugly little head and let everybody know what you really think.

Disunity. Discord. Disagreement. This seems to mark us as humans. Its drives us apart. Capitalists don’t like socialists and conservatives can’t hang with liberals. Theology, in of itself does not divide, but it gives us a platform to embrace our human need to separate. What? You baptize babies? Anathema!! You reject the (read: my understanding of) body and blood?? Shame!! How can you call yourself a Christian and believe that there is no pre-tribulation rapture!! I mean, when you get to heaven, there is going to be a test –St. Peter will ask you what your interpretation of Romans chapter 1 is in relationship to gay marriage. So… get it wrong and it’s the boot for you!

Politics and religion highlight our need for “getting it right.” Our need for being right.

This does not make it a useless study or minimize the need to seek for the truth – I note it because there is something greater than “being right” – it’s unity.

Paul writes from a Roman prison. It’s likely that he dies there. He writes to a working church. One of his favorite churches. A church that is doing the right things. He likes this church. But there is discord. There is some strife and he addresses it head on in chapter 2 vs. 1-12.
I would bring to mind what he has already stated, namely, in chapter one, he notes that the pain and agony of imprisonment have not hurt him or the Gospel – it has made it better! Authorities have tried to contain Paul but it has not happened. The witness has gone forth in spite of the prison walls. He ends the chapter with a charge: 27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit,[e] striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
The assumption here is that they already are doing this. They are already living it out – so, continue! Chapter two carries the narrative: 2:1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

“If there be” – there is. It’s the mark of fellowship. It’s the mark of a healthy family and congregation if there is encouragement in Christ, comfort of love, fellowship in the Spirit. A church body, following/living in the Spirit, are going to have these attributes present.

What prevents this from being present?

Strife/selfish ambition.
Vain glory/empty pride.

What?? Common!! Not in the church right? That never happens. Preachers don’t say things so that they will hear, “great, great message pastor!” Leaders never make pronouncements just to make the news or to affirm/justify the hatred of their flocks. Ever. Does. Not. Happen.

This, of course, is silly. Of course it happens. Every day a million times. We do this because we’re humans. We do this because of ego. We do this because it feels good and righteous. We do this because we carry the flawed notion that for me to be right – you have to be wrong. We do this because, fearing change, we rage against things we cannot control. Instead of resting in the grace of Christ that has carried us through far worse things, we embrace what we thinks is power and fight shifting sand.

Paul appeals to the church to embrace a higher way. To embrace a better way. Unity. The only way to get beyond your own stuff is to recognize that whatever you are going through, it resonates in Christ’s story. Whatever you want to fight about – it wasn’t worth it to Christ. Hear the story:

5 Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus:
6 Though he was in the form of God,
he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit.
7 But he emptied himself
by taking the form of a slave
and by becoming like human beings.
When he found himself in the form of a human,
8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
9 Therefore, God highly honored him
and gave him a name above all names,
10 so that at the name of Jesus everyone
in heaven, on earth, and under the earth might bow
11 and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I really like how Eugene Peterson tells the story in “The Message”
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
9-11 Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.

Think on Jesus. He, rather than Adam, Satan or anyone else, had the actual right to be called God. He had the actual right to BE God, but he laid that aside for me. Jesus, looking from Heaven sees mankind unable to come to terms with God’s righteousness, unable to make it to purity even with the grace, even with the examples, even with 2nd, 3rd, 4th and more chances – “when the fullness of time was come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.[b] 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[c] Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

Sons. Daughters. Children of the King.

That’s who Jesus came for. He looks from heaven, sees that we can’t get it right and does it for us. Pays our debt. Takes our charges, our punishment, our confinement, our execution. Our Death.

And we beat each other up about the proper interpretation of an obscure passage of Scripture written thousands of years ago. We pass judgment upon one another and destroy relationships – the gift of God to get us through hard times. Nice.

Jerusalem. Passover. AD 30. Pontius Pilot Rome’s appointment to control Palestine.

People from all over the world are converging on Jerusalem in order to do business, reunite with family, worship Jehovah, celebrate. It’s a party. Tensions are high. Pilot himself has come from his usual seat of power to Jerusalem to oversee security. Crowds, Soldiers, Priests, Peasants, Lords – they are all there.
Word comes that Jesus of Nazareth is coming up the hill. The word travels fast. The pilgrims are singing as the ascend to the Holy City,

“ I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

But their songs change. A man, dressed in the simple tunic of a peasant approaches the gates of the city riding on the back of a donkey. The people press in on all sides to see this thing that is coming to pass in front of them.

There are zealots sharpening their swords. Jesus is the answer to their wait. He has come to Jerusalem to lead them over the Romans. The Pharisees look with suspicion. The Zealots are the insurgents to Rome’s occupying force. They pine for what was in Israel, they chafe under the yoke of Roman (before that it was the Greeks, before that it was the Persians and on and on it goes) oppression. Christ has always had a very tenuous relationship with them.

One of Jesus’ own, Simon, is known to us as “Simon the Zealot.” Isn’t it interesting that Jesus also has in his entourage, Matthew, the Tax Collector. Here’s a group of people: blue collar, peasants, craftsmen – and a government official and a revolutionary. Somehow, they are able to lay aside their dynamically opposed views of the Roman Occupation in order to be a Disciple.

The Zealots get involved with the song – it changes: “Hosanna!! Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!! Blessed is the coming Kingdom of our Father David!! Hosanna!!” They dry out for the kingship of Christ. They, in that moment connect Jesus, not with metaphorical salvation from sin but real, literal salvation from Rome!

In that moment of passion – all the oppression ceases – in the ecstasy, all the joy of connection with God is restored!! They have been remembered! They have been thought of! They have not been forgotten!! Jehovah cares and sees! The Psalms are true, the prophecies are fulfilled!! Salvation has come!!

I am not forgotten
I am not forgotten
I am not forgotten
God knows my name.
He knows my name.

Light over darkness
Strength over weakness
Joy over sadness
He knows my name

Father to the Fatherless
Friend to the friendless
Hope for the hopeless
He knows my name

I will praise You
I will praise You
For I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I am not forgotten
Never forsaken

Feels good to hear those words! Feels good to know that God remembers us in our distress, in our defeat and pain. Hey! If God be for us who can be against us right?

Think about that for a moment. Think about that crowd in Jerusalem that day. They cried out for their king – but that’s not what Jesus was about. They threw the only clothes they had on the ground so that the hooves on his donkey would not touch the dirt or mud – they ripped branches off trees to create a road for the King!

They knew what they wanted. They interpreted Jesus’ words and actions in light of their own needs and wants. They made Jesus into their image and worshiped accordingly.

We do this every day. We do this when we act and speak as though we own Jesus. We own Jesus’ teachings. We own Jesus legacy. We do this when we worship Jesus as we want Jesus to be. Jesus in our image. Jesus in our tribe. Jesus with our prejudices. Jesus with our troubles. Jesus with our failures. Jesus with our greed. Jesus with our shame. Jesus with our guilt. Jesus with our choices.

A week later, this same group would discard Christ as so much trash in the street. Pilot would discard Jesus on a tree for peace in his city. The Pharisees and Sadducees would discard the Son for perceived power. The Zealots would discard our Lord because, as it turned out, he wasn’t the king they were looking for. The disciples discarded their leader in fear and shame. In the end, those who created a god to fit their life choices, discarded that god when it didn’t pan out the way they planned. There, hangs a man discarded.

1 Here hangs a man discarded,
a scarecrow hoisted high,
a nonsense pointing nowhere
to all who hurry by.
2 Can such a clown of sorrows
still bring a useful word
when faith and love seem phantoms
and every hope absurd?
3 Yet here is help and comfort
for lives by comfort bound,
when drums of dazzling progress
give strangely hollow sound:
4 Life, emptied of all meaning,
drained out in bleak distress,
can share in broken silence
our deepest emptiness;
5 And love that freely entered
the pit of life’s despair,
can name our hidden darkness
and suffer with us there.
6 Christ, in our darkness risen,
help all who long for light
to hold the hand of promise,
till faith receives its sight.

Have you ever felt discarded? Efforts for naught? People who should have been with you, invested in you, just throw you away? Discard you in the trash somewhere? Then you know the pain of the One who laid aside his royalty, his majesty, his grace, his relationships, his comfort, pride, joy – to be one of us. This is the example Paul appeals to.

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
How pale Thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish, which once was bright as morn!
What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.
Men mock and taunt and jeer Thee, Thou noble countenance,
Though mighty worlds shall fear Thee and flee before Thy glance.
How art thou pale with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish that once was bright as morn!
Now from Thy cheeks has vanished their color once so fair;
From Thy red lips is banished the splendor that was there.
Grim death, with cruel rigor, hath robbed Thee of Thy life;
Thus Thou hast lost Thy vigor, Thy strength in this sad strife.
My burden in Thy Passion, Lord, Thou hast borne for me,
For it was my transgression which brought this woe on Thee.
I cast me down before Thee, wrath were my rightful lot;
Have mercy, I implore Thee; Redeemer, spurn me not!
What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.
My Shepherd, now receive me; my Guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me, O source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me with words of truth and love;
Thy Spirit oft hath led me to heavenly joys above.
Here I will stand beside Thee, from Thee I will not part;
O Savior, do not chide me! When breaks Thy loving heart,
When soul and body languish in death’s cold, cruel grasp,
Then, in Thy deepest anguish, Thee in mine arms I’ll clasp.
The joy can never be spoken, above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken I thus with safety hide.
O Lord of Life, desiring Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring, I’d breathe my soul to Thee.
My Savior, be Thou near me when death is at my door;
Then let Thy presence cheer me, forsake me nevermore!
When soul and body languish, oh, leave me not alone,
But take away mine anguish by virtue of Thine own!
Be Thou my consolation, my shield when I must die;
Remind me of Thy passion when my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee, upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfolds Thee. Who dieth thus dies well.

Christ, who stands with God, at the beginning of time lays aside all of it to embrace the shame, humiliation of Calvary. This is your king. Humble. This is our king. Poor. This is our king. Naked. This is our king. Beaten. Bloody. Crawling out of the city alone in his shame. Bearing your sin. Your choices. My sin. My shame. This is our king.

1) What wondrous Love is this, oh my soul, oh my soul
What wondrous Love is this, oh my soul
What wondrous Love is this that caused the Lord of Bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul
2) When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down
When I was sinking down, sinking down
When I was seeking down beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul
3) And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on
And through eternity I’ll sing on

It’s Holy Week.

Stop.

Reflect.

Experience.

Now, as the Apostle reflects on his hymn of the Savior, work out what it means to be a follower of Christ, your own salvation, with fear and trembling.

Leave a comment

Filed under General

Space Alliens and Grief

I have busy mornings. Every Soldier does. There is PT, getting ready for the day, coming up with something pithy (thought of the day) for my morning staff meting, and having breakfast with my family. I make the breakfast thing a priority because its important that we all begin the day together and end the day together at dinner.

There is not a great deal of time in that routine for doing other things besides what I have mentioned. When that routine is upset, it can set the day on edge.

This morning, it was a stuffed lion. Lila. Not sure why Sophie named her favorite animal after her cousin but she did and Lila is a presence at our house. Lila comes to dinner. Lila doesn’t like green food. Lila was not impressed with so-and-so at school today. Lila would really like to watch some TV now…

This morning Lila was missing in action. Nowhere to be found. There were tears. Sobs. Snot. The usual grief. I spent some time this morning doing grief counseling with my child. We walked through shock, denial, anger, bargaining and (after giving approximately 55 seconds of my morning to actually look for said stuffed lion) were reaching acceptance through the depression – we stat down for breakfast. There were bites of cheerios and concerns about whether or not Lila had a blanket on her, wherever she was.

That’s when this happened: (I quote from my Facebook)

Sophia was concerned about her stuffed lion that she couldn’t find this morning so Ransom calmly told her it was probably taken by space aliens who have a space ship with a green light that sucks animals into the ship where the aliens get to play with it. Not to worry, the aliens are mostly nice.

… Not. Comforting.

I was all, “Son. Really??” Sobs begin all over again.

Then, the little stinker walks into his and ‘Fia’s room and comes out with Lila after two seconds.

“Where was that Ransom??”

“Oh, she was just under ‘Fia’s pillow.”

Right, of course she was. Why didn’t I think of that. Bad Dad…

I listen all day long. I hear stories all day long. I hear grief all day long. Sometimes, I’m so worn down from all that, I stop hearing what is being said and I assume (or pass judgement) on what is being said based on my circumstances.

“That’s not a big deal.” “I wouldn’t worry about that.” “There are worse things happening in the world. What makes you so different??”

These are not helpful. They are not kind. I don’t mean to be unkind. I certainly do not intend to blow people off but I’m busy and busyness tends to erode pastoral care.

With people, fast is slow and slow is fast.

Today, hear what someone is saying to you. Really listen. Stop. Use eye contact. Present open body language. Listen.

When you want to respond. Don’t. Continue to listen.

It’ll be more helpful than you know.

Leave a comment

March 21, 2013 · 1:51 pm

Normal Flies Chaos.

“Should be. Ought to be. Usually. In the past we have…” these are words that, when used always trigger some sense of questioning in myself. It tells me that the person I am talking to is experiencing some kind of internal consternation (in the context of an inspection etc). There is the “normal way things are done” and the real way things are done. Morticia Aadams noted, “Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” Indeed. Proverbs 28:2 gives the remedy – When the country is in chaos, everybody has a plan to fix it, but it takes a leader of real understanding to straighten things out.

Leave a comment

Filed under thought of the day

Gun Safety and Alchohol

Like most folks, I have my morning reading. I tried getting the paper for about six months but frankly all that accomplished was a great deal of recycling. I’m a product of my generation. Every morning, after my run/PT, I love to sit at the table sipping coffee and checking my morning websites.

I get the GunsAmerica blog notifications every few days and read those regularly. Like most gun websites there is the usual diatribes about the government taking all the guns and libs making life difficult for everybody. (Since I don’t vote necessarily liberal or conservative – depends on the issue – I love taking the middle road, moderate, also like my generation. We hate tags.)

This morning, I was looking through a post on Ruger’s new 1911 and some new idea for storing your handgun next to your bed when this thought occurred to me: the gun lobby needs to get out ahead of their image problem.

Currently, what I read on a regular basis (and this is skewed because I don’t spend much time doing so) seems to focus on the “threat to the second amendment” and “those crazy gun-hating, america-bashing, licentious liberals ruining our country as fast as they can” sort of stuff. Not helpful. Makes gun owners like me want to run away, fast.

I like to think I’m thoughtful. I like to think that I approach issues in a nuanced, reasonable way. I don’t really think it’s all that helpful to have massive rallys where everybody shows up armed to the teeth with their favorite automatic weapons. I mean, really, do you think that you are scaring the government? Really? The guys with Abrams tanks? The guys who can control a hellfire missile from around the globe? Do you think that the “evil government” is afraid of large groups of people with automatic weapons? Been there, done that. Not helpful. Makes you look crazy.

How about responsible gun owners take a page from the responsible drinkers book. Everyone knows that cool, responsible drinker who sips their slick Disaronno on the rocks is not making InBev a ton of money – the real money makers are the folks who unhealthily consume massive volumes of alcohol on a regular basis. The drunken orgies where people legally and illegally down thousands of dollars worth of fermented mash – not pretty places. Not something anyone wants to see in a sexy commercial. Just like the guy who smoked a few cigs a week after important events or to unwind from the day does not make tobacco companies any money – the real money maker is the guy who goes through three packs a day and had intense brand loyalty. That’s gold.

Everyone likes to see the moderate, cool consumer. I like to see the responsible gun owner. The videos I see about firearms usually resemble something like Boondock Saints meets the Matrix (“we need guns, lots of guns…”).

What if every gun company made a concerted effort to put the responsible gun owner out front. Try really hard to put out the message that the “right to gun ownership” comes with a huge responsibility to take public safety seriously. Messages like:

If you have a gun – lock it up. 

If mental health issues run in your family, ensure that who has access to weapons is able to responsibly use that weapon. 

If you are angry and depressed, get help, don’t purchase a weapon. 

Responsible gun owners take classes in firearm safety. 

Responsible parents teach firearm safety. 

Make sure when selling a gun, it’s to someone responsible. 

I’m sure there are more and better messages out there. I think that this approach would be a first step by gun owners to at least try to show they care about public safety rather than doubling down on “it’s our right to own whatever we want, shoot whatever we want, whenever we want.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Responsible Gun Ownership

Children are closer to God.

Sophia: Dad, did your mommy like to sing?
Me: Actually, yes, very much.
Sophia: I wish I could hear her voice.
Me: (Speechless)
Sophia: I think I will hear it in Heaven.
Me: Yes. Yes you will.
Sophia: I think she likes to sing in Heaven.
And just like that, the moment passes. Children are closer to Heaven.

The following story was told to me by my therapist while treating my PTSD. She reflected that one of her clients had told it to her:

“I was going to put my children to bed one night and, while standing in the doorway, I observed my four-year-old talking to my 6 month old infant in her crib. I saw her lean over to the baby and say, “Will you tell me about God, I am forgetting already.”

There is the idea that children come from God. I just tend to think they are closer.

Leave a comment

Filed under Peace, thought of the day

Intermittent Fasting, Alternate Day Fasting – whatever you call it, it worked for me.

I’ve always struggled with weight. Even when I was young living the Marlene Fisher-tofu-whole wheat biscuit-boiled beans-all-the-time diet. Well, maybe not exactly then. But ever since I left home and made my own food choices, I got fat. I like fat, salt, and sugar. Alot.

It really got bad when I traveled in a college promotion singing group. Affectionately known as “Ensemble.” Every day we were fed the best folks had to offer and then just sat in a van heading to the next town to do it all over again. I would go weeks without seeing a green fibrous thing.

Coming into the Army forced me to think about it. In my first few years, I did some drastic diets and lost weight – I just had a really hard time keeping it off. To put it in perspective, I wore a size 46 suit coat in college. In the Army, it came down to a 44. Never under and I had to take some drastic measures to keep it that way. My work with weight has been frustrating at best and depressing at worst.

Today, I read an article about how a new fasting diet is hitting the UK. Funny thing is, I’ve been doing this for a year. I love it. Intermittent fasting for me looks like this: Every week, I do three 24-hour fasts. It’s great because I get to eat dinner with my family every day.

It’s generally called “Alternate Day Fasting” or ADF. Its essentially a calorie restricted lifestyle. From the name you can surmise the basic idea – fast every other day. Fasting is a fairly normal part of my life anyway so this was not a stretch for me. What made is interesting is the science behind it and what it has done for me.
What made this so doable is the scheduling. My fasts for spiritual reasons have always been sun-up to sun-up essentially which makes me start to really drag in the afternoon/evenings. Here’s how I do it right now:
Sunday: Stop Eating at 5pm
Mon: Fast until my afternoon workout, then I break my fast with a protein shake and dinner.
Tue: Eat Normally, stop at 5pm.
Wed: Repeat Monday Schedule
Thu: Tue Schedule
Fri: Mon Schedule, except that this is an off night for me so I’ll eat after 5pm.
Sat: Off
Sun: Stop eating at 5.
That’s it. Last February-March, I lost 30 pounds and now, a year later, they have not come back. It’s so refreshing. If I binge one day or I need to do a working lunch or whatever, I just adjust my schedule and I’m right back on track.
I know, the naysayers will tell me all about the problems – I’ve found that everything has problems. They said the same thing to me when I got out of and swore off all debt. it’s been six years, still no debt and I’ll never look back.
So, hey, do what you want but for me, ADF worked and worked great. It’s been a year since I started this lifestyle and I’m still wearing a 42 coat and 36 pants (I haven’t worn that since high school)!! For a life-long fatty, I’ll take this any day of the week!

2 Comments

Filed under Army