Archives for posts with tag: Jesus

I only post this video because he poses some questions that would benefit Christians. I was going to write a rebuttal to his video, but then I realized that he only means to goad people into an argument which cannot be ‘won.’ From his standpoint, the question may as well be “Can God create something so heavy that he cannot lift it?”

The way the author responds to his own questions makes me believe that any answer will be a “convoluted, rationalized excuse.”

I say this for the simple fact that a non-believer would see something as a coincidence, whereas a believer would see it as a message or part of the plan. There’s a tale of a boy who takes a bird to the wise man. He hides the bird behind his back and asks the wise man if it is alive or dead. “It is what you want it to be,” is the wise man’s response. The wise man knew that the boy would do what he wanted to make sure the wise man is wrong. And that’s what I think this man is doing with the video. He uses the questions as the bird, and will do his best to make sure that the answer is always wrong. Hence his “convoluted, rationalized excuse” statement.

Basically I find the questions interesting (not fascinating – that’s just pretentious) because they’re things that Christians don’t really address on any regular basis.  And personally, I think we as Christians should question our faith regularly.

There is a link under the video that takes you to a website that deals with faith. I’ve read through some of it, and all I can come away with is that the man misses the point of Christianity. The website is titled “Why Won’t God Heal Amputees? <- The Most Important Question That We Can Ask About God.”

Now I’m not sure that’s the most important question we can ask about God, but I think it’s a fair question. Where the author gets it wrong is that he’s assuming that the best thing for an amputee is to grow back their limb(s). I find that selfish at best.

I know a man who survived an explosion of a roadside bomb. Four others died in that explosion. He lost his left hand, and was burned over the majority of his body. I’m pretty sure he wishes that it had never happened. I know I would. But since that day, he’s gone on tours doing motivational speeches and doing stand up comedy. He goes to burn units and rehab facilities and inspires not only disabled veterans, but families and others as well. The man inspires me, quite frankly. But if we were to take away that one event, that one moment in time that changed his life forever, then the lives of others would never be touched, and I would never have met this man.

Or, what about Candace Lightner, who lost her 13 year old daughter to a drunk driver? She used that experience to create Mothers Against Drunk Driving, MADD. An organization that has probably saved the lives of countless people simply by drawing awareness to the problem. I’m sure that Candace would love to have that moment back and keep her daughter safe – but look at the outcome? How many lives were saved because Candace’s daughter died? Yes, it’s a tragedy, but the inspiration that came of it was much greater than keeping her daughter alive.

The author goes on to ask 9 other questions. And while they’re important questions, the problem lies in the fact that all the ‘correct’ answers are selfish. To me, Christianity is about helping others while showing them the love of Christ. That’s it. Ask Jesus into your heart, live for Him, and ask for forgiveness, and your life will be fulfilling. I don’t mean that you’ll be rich, or your life will be easy, but that with the peace of Christ,  life will be more tolerable. The strength of God is found in our weakness. It’s a bit sobering, but also uplifting. To know that God will be there in our lowest moments is such a great feeling. It’s hard for a non-believer to understand. Sometimes it’s hard for Christians to understand. But it’s there, and I’ve been a part of it. I’ve witnessed the power of prayer. I’ve seen the strength of God in our weaknesses.

So watch the video, think about it, and see where it can help you in your faith. I’m open to questions and discussion – as long as my side is not dismissed as a “convoluted, rationalized excuse.”

 

I like helping people. There’s something inside of me that yearns to help people whenever I can. Even people who I don’t think deserve it – I help out to some degree. And I feel good about it. I have never regretted helping someone out. Even if it has put me at a disadvantage at the time, it usually comes back in multiples and is beneficial.

Sometimes people try to take advantage of this. And yes, I will help them to an extent – but a lot of times the help is, “What would you do if I wasn’t here?” (Thanks Steve Langevin!) Sometimes the best help you can give is self-worth and self-confidence. You know, “give a man a fish…”

The biggest problem I’ve ever faced is that people tend to mistake kindness for weakness, as if me being helpful is the same as me not having a spine. But I can usually solve this issue by showing the opposite. I can be helpful and unbending.

At the core of my being, my Christianity is that I believe in second chances, trusting others, being tolerant, and accepting people for who they are. All I can do as a servant of Christ is to show others what’s out there. All I can do is talk about God and Jesus. I can’t make them believe. I can’t make them convert. But I can be a friend and show them the wonderful things that happen when you put your faith in Jesus and let Him guide your life.

I don’t always make the right decisions, but if I ask for God’s help and listen, He tells me what to do. And yes, God talks to me. I think it’s different for everyone. I have a friend that got a message from God through someone who was but a chance encounter. I have gotten messages from God through the TV. I know it sounds odd, but it happened.

There was a point where I felt like I needed to give up comedy. I felt as though I was done with it. I prayed and asked for God’s guidance, and I got it. From various things on TV. One was from Desperate Housewives, another from Conan, and I can’t remember right now what the third one was -but the message from all three were ‘stand-up comedy.’ I took that to mean I should continue along this path.

I don’t know why I’m supposed to keep doing comedy. The only thing that I really can see is that I’m supposed to go into this thing and be the shining light. Comedy will always have the dark, dirty side, but I think I’ve inspired others to work on clean material. I know I’ve made an impression on a few people, so maybe I’ll continue to do that and help people see that Christianity isn’t that “Fire and Brimstone – You’re going to HELL!” that is so prevalent in our society. It’s about trusting in God when the odds are against you. It’s about doing the best you can and helping others when you’re not really in a position to help anyone – including yourself!

Maybe you’re not a Christian. Maybe you don’t believe in God. There’s nothing I can do or say to prove to you one way or the other. And truthfully, all I can do is relate my experiences. What those do for you is up to how you receive them. Sometimes a person isn’t ready to receive that message, but that message stays there, and will come back later when that person is ready. It’s sort of like that moment at the end of “The Sixth Sense,” where it’s revealed that Bruce Willis’ character was dead the whole time. What was perceived originally changes when new info is introduced.

Do me a favor – take a moment and look at your life. Maybe you’re really happy where you are. Maybe you’re battling depression for some unknown reason. Maybe things are fine, but you feel as though something is missing. Look around you – God is everywhere, and God loves you. God is love. God does not hate anyone. He does not hate “fags.” He doesn’t hate anyone. He loves us all and wants us to come to him and let him be the guide in our lives.

I think one of the biggest hurdles is that people think that God solves all the problems and when He doesn’t, they lose faith. That’s not how it works. You have to work at being a Christian. You have to have a dialog with God. You have to be willing to make those sacrifices He asks of you. I don’t think God makes people rich with money, but he makes them valuable as people.

At least that’s how I’ve seen it.

The summer before my eighth grade year, I gave my heart to Jesus. I won’t go into the details, but it was a defining moment for me. I’ve always grown up in the church, but it was that summer where my life changed.

Over time, things changed, and while I never stopped believing, I did stop acting. I grew away from God, and did my best to distance myself from “Christians.”

I put “Christians” in quotes because to me, they’re not really Christians. You know who I’m talking about – the guy that screams at you that you’re “Going to Hell” and that you need to change the “error of your ways.” When someone is quick to point out that you are living a lifestyle that will send you to hell, that’s not winning hearts. That’s making true Christians look like idiots.

Last November, I came to a point where I made a decision to realign myself with God. It’s the normal story – the footprints in the sand. Since that point, I’ve learned that it’s in our weakness where God is most powerful. That’s a pretty amazing statement, because none of us want to be weak. But it’s at that particular moment, when we reach out for help, is when we get it.

What I’ve noticed most is the way people treat me. In general, I haven’t gone around singing the praises of Jesus, but I have made certain lifestyle changes that are way more apparent than I’ve realized. People that I’m around behave better – mostly. For instance, a friend of mine was really cursing a lot, and he apologized for his behavior. I appreciated it, but told him it was fine. We all get to that point where we just need to vent, and sometimes dropping a profanity is just the way to make us feel better.

I’ve also used it as an opportunity. Another friend of mine mentioned that he was basically accosted by a “Christian” who was definitely not preaching love and tolerance. To me, that’s not Christianity. That’s being judgmental. And that’s not bringing people closer to God. It drives them away. It’s like trying to get people to hang out with you when you’re pointing a stick at them. And that stick has poop on it.

Who’s going to join your group if you are out there crapping on people? No one. I’m not going to join a Star Wars club who keeps telling me I’m stupid for liking or not liking Jar Jar Binks. I would, however, join a group that encouraged me to like Star Trek, despite my lack of knowledge of all things Star Trek.  (By the way – Star Wars and Star Trek are not diametrically opposed. It is possible to like both)

When I was in the Air Force, I was blessed to be given the opportunity to work with some real leaders. My supervisors were hands on, and they never asked their charges to do something they wouldn’t do or hadn’t done themselves. Even my flight officer was out there loading and unloading equipment during an exercise. (I told him I’d get it, and he said “It’s okay, I was prior enlisted!”) But what I took to be the rule, was only the exception. Other places I’d gone in the Air Force proved that it wasn’t so. It was more of a “do it because I said so.” Needless to say, those people weren’t on my list of ‘best supervisors.’

I took that example of leading by example (My shop chief once policed cigarette butts with us once,) in most aspects of my life. When I was managing at Starbucks, I did my best to not only do the managerial duties, but all the other stuff as well. It goes a long ways when your people see that you’re out there taking the trash out and cleaning the machines. Sometimes that does backfire, because few people would take out the trash… but I digress.

I try to do that with my religion. I know I’m not going to convert you or even gain compassion by telling you how wrong it is for you to do this or that. But if I can show you compassion and love and attribute it to Christianity, maybe you’ll think about it. “Maybe Christians aren’t bad. Maybe I’m just seeing the wrong ones.” I think this is more the case.

Take, for example, Westboro Baptist Church. These are the guys out there protesting soldier’s funerals and declaring to the world that “God hates fags” and “Thank God for dead soldiers.” Something is completely wrong here. God does not hate anyone, and he does not punish people. Sure, He does allow things to happen, but it’s much the same way that your parents would allow you to do things that could hurt you so that you’d learn. Think about it – what teaches you more? Having a bad thing happen? Or having a good thing happen? Chances are, you’ll remember getting shocked by an electric fence more than hearing your dad tell you not to touch it.

I use that example, because when I was a kid, my dad put up an electric fence. I was curious and he told me to touch it to see what it was like. Sounds odd, right? But he specified that I touch it only with the back of my hand. And I did. I learned a lot that day. First, what it feels like to get shocked by a fence. Second, that muscles contract and grabbing an electric fence might mean not letting go. Third, that despite my dad’s odd sense, I knew that he wanted to satisfy my curiosity without getting hurt. That lesson has stayed with me for a long time. Obviously, since I’m writing about it 25 years later.

What can you do when you’re faced with one of these “Christians?” I’m not completely sure. On one hand, I would inform them that they are not true Christians and that the message they are spreading is hate, not love. But that isn’t necessarily the best way to handle things, because it could just turn into some sort of shouting match with both people and on-lookers thinking worse of both of you.

Maybe the best way to deal with it is to ignore it and  move on. If it bothers you, talk to someone about it. Like me – talk to me about it. I’m not the greatest Christian in the world, and I am far far away from being Jesus-like. I’m just a man. Tell me about your experience. I’d love to get the chance to help put Christianity in a positive light for you.

The main thing that I want to do here is show you that the basis of Christianity is that it’s about love and tolerance. Jesus loved all people, and he tolerated people’s lifestyles. He talked to the prostitutes, the murderers, the ‘evil’ people. He talked to them because they were the ones that needed help. They were the ones who did not know about Jesus and God, and needed to make those changes. He didn’t chastise them and tell them they were going to Hell. He knew better. He comforted them and showed them what was right, and that Christianity was about love.

That’s all I want to do. I don’t want to tell you what you’re doing wrong. I want to show you love and tolerance through Jesus. I can’t make you follow Jesus or convince you to become a Christian, but I can show you the light and hope that you make that choice for yourself. That’s all I can do – show you the path.