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(PHOTO from Chris Lopez)

I may be addicted to working out. Not the running part (Actually, I hate the running part.) but the lifting weights part. I am amazed how much lifting weights relieves my stress and anxiety. I need some form of aggression release and weight lifting is it.

And for the record, I’m not one of those guys who stand in front of the mirror and do curls for 45 minutes. Since I know you’re curious, I do a modified version of this workout regimen. The exercises I do are not enjoyable. Squats, military presses, and dead lifts all in the same sequence forces you to focus (Sometimes throw up).

I have been known to hold in my anger, sadness, and grief until there is nowhere for it to go but out. And pushing my body to do things that it doesn’t want to do, I find euphoric. For that 45-60 minutes, nothing else matters.

But what I anticipate the most is the day after a workout. The next day, almost exactly 24 hours later, I hope to be sore. I mean like beat up sore.  The soreness is like my new caffeine. My crack (not buttocks although it hurts too). The soreness is proof. Proof, that I worked out legitimately. If I am not sore the next day, than I make the workout more difficult by adding weight or repetitions.

Eventually, I get stronger.

In the same manner, I am attempting to approach God and the Bible. I want my conversation with God leaving me sore. I need to know that I could have done better yesterday. I want the bible to make me realize that I need God more. I need to know that I don’t know enough.

If following these interactions I am the same as before they started, then I didn’t push myself hard enough. So I pray longer. I pray more honestly. I listen as intently as possible. And I realize God is greater. I read deeper. I read until I get kicked in the gut. I read until I notice that I suck. And I realize God is greater.

Eventually, I get stronger.


(PHOTO from chrome_redneck)

The book of Job is amazing. To be honest, I had to reread the majority of it. Here is what I learned, so far.

1. Job was not perfect. (Meaning at some point in his life he sinned (I’m assuming). Throughout this trial, he didn’t)

2. God does not always punish sin (Well, all sin is punished by death but all sin is not punished immediately).

3. God does not always reward faithfulness (Immediately.).

4. Job questioned God. (Who wouldn’t in light of Job’s circumstances?)

5. Job never blamed God. (Job just wanted to know, “Whats’up with this God?”)

6. God has ALL control. (We can’t explain, understand it, or describe it. Even though we try.)

I don’t know about you but I loved grasping number 2 and 3. Will I always find comfort in those statements? Probably not. It amazes me how much Christendom is wrapped up in these statements, incorrectly. I ain’t gonna lie and say that I have never wanted somebody who has blatantly sinned, to be punished by God. I’m also lying when I say I have never asked God to bless me because I have been “faithful.”

When will we get that? When will I get that? [That] being the stuff (wants, desires, possessions, dare I say-prayers) we acquire on the earth will never matter. None of it. Want to test your own faith? Ask yourself these two questions.  Will you and I remain faithful when other people’s sin (Any/every sin that affects us directly or indirectly.) is NOT punished? Will we remain faithful when our faithfulness is NOT rewarded (Here on earth.)?

(PHOTO from Lynne’s Lens’)

I have been having some incredible conversation with a new friend, who happens to be an atheist. And yes, I am totally cool with him being an atheist. Even if he remains an atheist! I believe this has been one of those circumstances that is going to take me further in my faith. Maybe even further than I am comfortable going.

My faith has been shook. You understand what shook means, right? It hasn’t faltered but it has been shook. I have realized that we Christians (well maybe just me) have taken our faith for granted. I believe a lot of people find comfort in the fact that other people believe, what they supposedly believe, and accept it on account of that. I don’t want to say that we should question the “WHAT” we believe (Probably should but that scares the crap out of me.) but I definitely think we should question the “WHY” we believe. In turn, the “why” should lead us back to the “what” (I hope to God).

I understand why this type of thinking is avoided in most circles. I fear that someone may come across all these questions and thoughts (they’re chaotic at best.) and possibly begin to believe the opposite of what I believe. The more these THINGS spin in my head, the more I believe they are necessary. And no I am not sure what “they” are. Meaning the right questions. I can hardly grasp it. (It’s like when Maximus was talking with Julius Ceaser in the movie Gladiator. And Julius described the dream of Rome as a “whisper”. He said if it was anything more than a whisper, the whole idea would vanish.) So I am questioning the “why’s” in a whisper.

I asked my new friend if there were any books that have influenced his stand on atheism. He told me about a book written by Mark Twain, Letters to the Earth. I just read it online. Um, if you claim to follow (follow being a verb) Christ, I say check it out. If you are a “comfortable in your seat at church” type of Christian, don’t even bother. Just keep that seat warm but don’t forget to tithe.

Like I was told, “the book is funny as hell.” (There is irony, satire, and sarcasm in that statement. Especially in light of this conversation. Do you see it?)

I especially like this:

“All sane white people hate noise; yet they have tranquilly accepted this kind of heaven — without thinking, without reflection, without examination — and they actually want to go to it!” (For some reason I thought of all of the white men that I have heard describe rap as noise.)

Please note I am not agreeing with this book. But I believe it will, or at least should, influence those who strive to point people to Christ. What I fear most is that people have quit “growing” their faith. Those people that are good to go (to heaven so they think). And when they even THINK about someone who believes differently, they immediately try to prove them wrong. Well, actually, as I realized from my friend, just cast them to the side. And these people who do the casting used to wear those cute little bracelets with the white letters. Which has gone out of style, the bracelets or the message of the bracelets?

I want you to believe. Believe in God. Believe so emphatically that though your faith may shake, it will never falter. I have a fascination with words (as you can tell I don’t have a fascination with punctuation), as in a words root meaning. I piously like to think this fascination is because of my faith in God and that God is the word and the word is God. But its not the case. I just want to know “why”, I always have. I know, it sounds crazy to me too. “Why would someone want to know why a word means what it means?”. But being the dork that I am, I looked up the word falter. Falter is a 14th century verb with a middle English root.

Falter, F-A-L-T-E-R, Falter. 1. a. To walk unsteadily b. to give way c. to move waveringly or hesitatingly 2. to speak brokenly or weakly 3. a. to hesitate in purpose or action b. to lose drive or effectiveness

Should I say any more? Or can I leave by asking you to describe your faith? Screw that! We don’t have the right to describe our faith. Why don’t we ask the atheist to describe our faith (I bet a word that rhymes with pass slips in)? Dare I say, why don’t we ask God to describe our faith? (If you truly believe that one day you will stand before the creator…this would be the beginning of every question that I would ask a “Christian” if I were a atheist.)  Does the word falter fall into your description? Typically in this situation I would ask questions referring to the church as a whole and avoid using the word you. As a believer myself, I know how sensitive we get when someone starts pointing fingers. But screw feelings at this moment. I am talking to you. I am talking to me (this gets weirder and weirder). How’s your faith? I don’t know about you but this definition just kicked me in the junk.

For the last 2 weeks I have been reading and researching everything I could get my hands about Calvinism. I seriously started having some major doubts. Doubts about who I am. Doubts about why I am here. I honestly have been stressing. I agree with this but don’t agree with that. I was taught this but not taught that. I believe this but not that. Then I found this.

And I laughed!

These arguments are so time consuming. Pointless, to me anyways. I know who I am. I know what I believe. My beliefs, thankfully, come from my own reasoning. I have studied the doctrine that I confirm my faith through and I have questioned every individual that has attempted to point me in a specific direction. Now, I think I will go study the systematic theology of “Git er done.”


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