A brief and partial defense of my use of using “bad words” in my blogs

I was recently talking to someone who noticed that occasionally I use “bad words” in my speech as well as in my writing. I will say this much, when it comes to so-called bad words it wasn’t my peers or the television that taught me these words, but rather my parents, not in a good context; I usually heard these words when they were fighting amongst each other. Still, I have to have some ownership in this, as I am the one saying/writing them, so here it goes.

I don’t believe there are bad words. Words are words, and they carry weight for better or worse, and that is how a word is valued and used or not used. Now one thing you should know about my usage of these words, they’re never uttered among impressionable young children who don’t get the weight of the words I am saying as a whole let alone a well-placed fuck or shit. Now my methodology is not full proof, there are times I say such words for the reaction, but I think a better portion of my times of using these words are in context and applicable.
Now because sometimes my circles are amongst followers of Christ who get offended by my use of these words I am willing to venture this; do you not say crud/crap, dang instead of damn, heck instead of hell, et al? Because here’s my thing, you might not put as much weight on these words but we all know what you’re saying with your lack of saying it.

Another thing I have thought about with the weight of words is that sometimes people focus on the words instead of a problem. I addressed people starving to death, people dying of unclean water sources…THAT is the bigger problem than how I put my sentences together with some words thrown in that leave some with a bad taste in their mouths. If you’re hung up by my use of these words instead of people dying, you may want to self-examine yourself. Profanity, if anything, is when we know of a problem that needs addressing and we don’t give a damn or don’t give a shit to address it and make the world a better place.

So please, if you haveย  a problem with the words I use, let me know but also know I will return the favor in addressing your complacency in letting people starve to death. If you are willing to sit back and not be a part of the solution you’re part of the problem, this is an issue I am constantly faced with as I know but don’t act ๐Ÿ˜ฆ This is one of my shortcomings in life, my language however is not.

~Nathanael~

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CCM is coming back into print (speechless)

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Speechless, I am rather speechless. Turns out CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) is trying to get back on its feet and start anew. I am not angry, I am not pissed, but rather I am frustrated by the circulation of money spent by Christians for Christians and their “Christian merchandise”. I wrote the following a short while ago on CCM’s Facebook wall…

You say you want to bring back CCM?
My question is simply complicated…why?

Why must there be another “Christian” magazine to promote solely “Christian” music and other “Christian” products?
If anything, there needs to be a magazine about good music and products, because, as Derek Webb aptly put it, “when used to describe goods or services. the word โ€œchristian,โ€ when applied to anything other than a human being, is a marketing term.”

Make a magazine about good things, but don’t conveniently compartmentalize it and affix Christian to it as if the word Christian were an adjective. The life of a follower of Christ needs to be active and lived out in love and in actions.
I also hope that this doesn’t become a sanitized “safe for the whole family” kind of magazine. The Gospel message of Jesus is not family friendly! There is a dying to self that for some followers of Christ it costs them everything.

***

Why can’t something better come from the way we as humanity spend our money? Check these staggering statistics; “3.4 million people die each year from a water related disease” – Water Facts “21,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes” – Poverty

Hello?!? Anybody?!? Those numbers are fucked up! Why you might ask? Because they can be taken care of, but instead we squander our resources for our own personal gain without giving a fuck about those who will be affected by our personal satisfaction. These kind of issues can be addressed and fixed! These things can be eradicated if we just put in the effort and resources. To the naysayers I quote you this:

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.
I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.

When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.

by Unknown Monk, 1100 A.D.

***

This portion is to followers of Christ including myself…how the fuck can we truly call ourselves Christ-like if we don’t take care of those who are in need? How can we show the love of God to others if we don’t demonstrate it in our actions, our words, and our resources? This magazine will [sadly] go back into print, and as I write this there’s a little over $3,400 contributed to the Kickstarter page. This is a misuse of funds, and it is aimed at a limited audience and is inclusive…hmmm, strikes me as the opposite of who Jesus was and what he did. For the love of God and humanity do something better and bigger with your resources than throw it away on something like this.

***

Humanity, oh dear and precious humanity, I am sorry for my actions that screw you over. I am sorry for the times I don’t care about how my “savings” doesn’t save you and harms you or depletes what you have so that I have more to my more.

Lord save me from me and your followers,
Nathanael

Giving myself space to veg out (and be okay with it)

“Ah! There is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort.” – Jane Austen

There used to be a time in my life where I had a hard time unwinding after a week of work. I didn’t focus on work outside of work, but I imposed some guilt upon myself for taking life easy and perhaps even lazily. My friend Mark, who I mentioned in this post, wondered why I was like this and called me out on it. I don’t think I had adequate responses to his inquiry, perhaps I answered in a piecemeal of excuses, but over time I’ve let myself get lazy.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do not like being lazy for long periods of time; I grow antsy, I find something to do, heck I’ll dry dishes even though I’m told I’m a guest when visiting people for the first time, but…I need to find space to simply do nothing and be okay with it. This is why I’m writing this post; for my sake, but also for you the reader’s sake, if allowing yourself to veg out is difficult this is for you.

Since my work week is non-traditional, that is Friday to Monday I work and Tuesday thru Thursday are my days, I usually allow myself a day of “nothing” on Tuesday. How do I do that? I watch (more) shows I fancy, read some books (okay, I read other times as well), and simply…well…simply put, I have good wifi reception in my bedroom, so I lay in bed with my laptop…staying in bed later than I usually do! Yes, truth to be told, I too like to live dangerously.
I am OKAY with where I’m at with vegging out on Tuesdays, but sometimes that self-imposed guilt I was talking about creeps back in and I kinda have to kick its ass otherwise I am prone to fretting and worrying something’s amiss with me, which works against the very nature of just vegging out for vegging out’s sake.

Now it is your turn as the reader. Do you allow yourself space to veg out? Yes? No? What do you do when you allow yourself to do this? (If in the negative) why don’t you allow yourself space to veg out?

I’m interested in what you have to say about this, so please, comment! ๐Ÿ™‚

Back to veg out mode,
Nathanael

My road out of martyrdumb

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(St. Bartholomew/Nathanael holding up his skin)

A bit more about me…

When I was younger so much younger than today, I was interested in martyrs. Martyrs by definition means “a person who is put to death or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause” (dictionary.com). Growing up I heard about martyrs, primarily followers of Christ who, as written in Hebrews 11:37, “They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated” So the martyrs and martyrdom I knew came from my religious upbringing.

It’s no easy read, and some parts of it aren’t for those who are squeamish. I read this book, but eventually I was given a more contemporary book of the same nature, Jesus Freaks by dc Talk:

Once again I learned more about martyrs and what led to their martyrdom, and eventually this got [too far] into my head and I started thinking about living for God by way of dying for God. *disclaimer* – I do not think that intentionally setting yourself up for death is martyrdom, such as suicide bombers and related, so this was my fucked up mindset at the time.

I did not put myself and my life in harm’s way where martyrdom could be achieved, but there’s something very messed up to thinking about dying in such a way. I wasn’t thinking “all I have to go where *insert group of people who don’t like Christians* and then I’ll be martyr!” It was more of a dwelling on it and thinking of acclaim that I would get, postmortem of course. When you get so wrapped up into thinking about death and not the day-to-day, that in and of itself is a kind of death, and it’s a depressing and sad place to be. If you’re caught up in the hereafter and not focused on what’s going on around you life can and will slip by.

So what changed exactly that brought me back to living? What motivated me to put my strength and energy into something better than self-imposed martyrdom (which completely conflicts with what martyrdom is)? Life. Life got better, I became more open to those I trusted with real life shit that was going on in my life, and I stopped reading those books because it did no good to dwell on it. They’re a good read, don’t get me wrong, but reality checks and balances need to come into place when you’re still developing intellectually. Plus the people who have died for their beliefs did not set themselves up for martyrdom, that is, they weren’t doing it for kudos and accolades.

I am glad to be alive, and those days were some of my darkest. God has been good and keeps putting awesome people in my path. People I want to share life and community with, people I want to trust with my darkest deepest secrets. It is in living and desiring to follow God and serve others while I am alive got me back on track and away from the self-imposed road to martyrdumb.

~Nathanael~

My vacation in photos (part 2)

One of the main pulls to going to Tennessee was Memphis Pride, I’ve already written about it here but here’s some photos…enjoy!

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There’s a lot of cool architecture in Memphis, including this church:
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Photos of our group that represented the I’m Sorry Campaign:
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Priding in Memphis off of Beale ๐Ÿ™‚
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The parade!
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(That’s another thing about this year’s Memphis Pride, it rained nearly the entire time of the parade…but the same came out and dried things off very quickly)

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Purple El Camino with purple rims? Heck yes!
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During my camping at T.O. Fuller State Park I grew restless. The woman who took care of adding a few days on to my Memphis part of my vacation in Memphis suggested that I give Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park a try, I did and it was fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

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The Mississippi River!
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Hobbs watching a barge go by.
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Hobbs and a 4 inch grasshopper!
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This sandbar’s mine! See, it bears my signature and everything ๐Ÿ˜‰
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More to come, soon enough ๐Ÿ™‚
~Nathanael~

Marriage equality in Illinois!

The other day Illinois became the 15th state to marriage equality to all. I am encouraged by this momentous time in my lifetime, and I am pleased that my friends within the LGBT community have the opportunity (if they so choose) to get married and have the rights afforded to them that they once did not.

As a follower of Christ and a straight ally I welcome this newest law that has passed within my state. I believe that between consenting individuals they should be allowed to love and marry whomever they choose to. I truly believe that love wins, and for some that love has been hampered by the lack of being to officially take their love to the level of marriage per their state’s laws, but now in Illinois that is no longer an issue.

Such an awesome moment in Illinois’ history,
Nathanael

Unity, Liberty, Charity

In the last few weeks with my youth ministry students we have been going The Apostles’ Creed, which in most churches and among most followers of Christ this is a creed that is a unifier. How fortuitous that shortly after starting this series I have found a quote from a 17th century Lutheran by the name of Rupertus Meldenius who said the following; “In essentials Unity, In non-essentials Liberty, in all things Charity”.
The various students that make up my small group bring a lot to the table. I recognize that a lot of them ask questions that I didn’t think of at that age and at the same time I don”t think that I was allowed to vocalize such questions. In my younger years I realized that my questions and doubts weren’t going to be allowed, or they would be and I would be looked upon as a decenter. I realize that in some Christian circles questions and doubting makes you out to be rebellious, or perhaps even a heretic when you think outside the box , but in the church I’m a part of now there is liberty and freedom to think differently and even bigger.

Yes there are parts of the Bible that are certainly black and white, but there is a lot of grey. I recognize that where I’m at as a follower of Christ has been shaped in part by what I learned growing up but there’s also what I have experienced in my life, hence the grey areas of the Bible that I am led to lean on in faith.ย  The experiential model is the way most people read and engage what the Bible has to say, and granted there are times I scratch my head and wonder “how the heck did you get THAT out of reading the Bible?” For instance, when people speak of a vengeful God, a God who’s out to “get them” in anger and in fury…really? Have you read any of the New Testament, or are you still offering up regular sacrifices of grain and livestock…Still, some people make God out to be feared to a point that’s very unhealthy, but it’s views like these that only the person can resolve and workout on their own with the help of God.

I think that’s why there’s over 30,000 denominations across the globe. That differences are maybe not allowed and so a new denomination starts, and maybe sometimes differences are allowed but some individuals would rather split than be united despite the differences…these are mere guesses as to what might cause schisms amongst followers of Christ.

Still I believe in diversity and sharing from one’s perspective of what one believes about, well, pretty much anything. Yes there are times I do not agree with other followers of Christ’s views but I am sure others can say that about some my beliefs as well. I meditate on St. Francis of Assisi’s “make me an instrument of your peace” prayer when I am faced with the differences of views of others often, because I am prone to foot-in-mouth disease and I need to listen more than talk in such circumstances.

This quote is something I need to dwell on because it will help me out as a follower of Christ in my interaction with those who views differ from me. I need to be charitable in differences, and as a work in progress I am not there yet, but I’m getting there slowly but surely.

~Nathanael~