Posts Tagged With: religion

The Sugar Coat

I’ll be the first to admit when I don’t understand something. I think everyone suffers when you pretend to understand something you don’t. Usually, I’ll go to the source to try and find out whatever bit of information I’m missing so that I’ll have everything I need on which to base my opinion. If I’m unable to go to the source or the source proves unreliable, I just leave well enough alone. It’s not that I can’t have an opinion, I just don’t think my opinion is any more credible than those who formulate ideas about what an actor is really like, based solely on the roles they play.

Seems silly.

That being said, I’m trying to understand something… how is it that people somehow find a way to make everyone a hero? We make horrible decisions and must deal with the consequences. Nevertheless we will still find a crowd of people rushing to console and defend someone under the guise of being a “real friend”.

I don’t need friends like that. I need someone who will tell me point blank, “Riis, that was wrong.” or “Riis, you need to apologize.” or even “Riis, you messed up bad. Either you make this right or you suffer the fallout alone because I can’t support this kind of behavior.”

See… give it to me straight. Don’t sugarcoat my feelings or pity my shortcomings with silence. I will never grow that way.

Let me say that again…

Don’t sugarcoat my feelings, or pity my shortcomings with silence. I will NEVER grow that way.

Growth is invaluable.

Growth is sometimes painful.

Growth is necessary.

I can’t live without growth.

But I can live without the sugar coat.

Categories: commentary, opinion, personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beyond Measure

One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that it is not within my ability to convince anyone of God’s existence. That responsibility falls to God alone. However, for those who are searching for God or searching for answers, I make myself available to them so that in the end they might discover Him and His truth, as I know it, for themselves.

That being said, I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God was born of a virgin unto man and died for the propitiation of our sin. More specifically, I hold to the Trinitarian Pentecostal Reformation viewpoint. What does this mean? I believe in the triune Godhead: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. I believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. I believe that salvation is a GIFT from God, the acceptance of which is a prerequisite to avoiding hell and complete and utter separation from God. No, I do not believe “once saved, always saved” in the sense that you can claim Christ and then live as a heathen. However, I do believe that if you are chosen by God, he will keep you unto eternal salvation with a heart that abhors a sinful lifestyle and strives to be pleasing to Him in all that you say and do.

Someone said to me, “Omnipresence is impossible.” [It is entirely impossible for any created being to be in more than one place at the same time, let alone everywhere.]

Not necessarily. A God all-powerful enough to create the laws of physics and time by which mankind is limited would not Himself be confined to them. I come to this by the simple belief that if He created them, He could also un-create them, and is therefore not bound by them. Especially if it is the creator of the laws themselves.

They also said, “Omniscience is impossible.” [It is entirely impossible for any created being to be all-knowing.]

Again, a being that exists outside of our frame of reference and delineation of time wouldn’t necessarily be confined to the laws of it. To me, any being that could or should be referred to as a god is by definition not subject to His creation or the parameters within which His creation now exists.

Finally, they said, “Omnipotence is impossible.” [It is entirely impossible for any created being to be all-powerful.]

I think we come up short when we attempt to define God by the limitations of mankind. Impossibility, in this regard, is simply stating that man is entirely incapable of an action. Therefore it is impossible. But NOT for God. BECAUSE He is God. His ability to do things that man can not is further proof of His deity.

Needless to say, this all presupposes that we define “God” in the same way. And there is a great majority, Christian and non-Christian alike, that do not.

There can be no consensus if we don’t agree on basic points such as who “God” is or is not. If there are no absolutes then there is no foundation upon which a debate can be established. And MY God is more complex than our finite minds can comprehend and therefore is beyond defining.

Actually, the truth is that to attempt a definition would be using the wrong terminology. You wouldn’t ask someone to “define” their mother. You would ask them to “describe” their mother.

So I will describe God as I have come to know Him…

He is the Creator of all things. A divine, incorruptible, perfect and just being who is capable of both infinite mercy and incredible wrath. He exists outside of time and resides in eternity. He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He is, therefore I am.

Here’s what I say to those who believe that God doesn’t exist because He can’t be “proven” to exist. To insist on the nonexistence of a deity who is supernatural, simply because nature and its laws cannot measure Him seems rather conjectural. Would your expectation of any god who was all-powerful be that his/her/its existence can only be substantiated by their creation?

In my opinion, to say that only a being that can be proven by the parameters of science can be god is to negate the very attributes that would make Him god-like in the first place. Mankind doesn’t possess the tools nor the capacity to measure God’s supernatural attributes. In the end, if He is not omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent (and therefore immeasurable), then He is not God.

In regard to God’s measurability, I simply refer to my previous post on LOVE… while we can certainly demonstrate love, we cannot measure its depth or variations by any benchmark or standard of behavior established by mankind. Nor does everyone define it the same. Yet, we know it exists.

Categories: personal, religion, theology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Brief Reflection On Christmas

When I think of Christmas, I feel both gratitude and sorrow. Gratitude for the life of Christ that was given that I might have the gift of salvation. And sorrow that the holiday has been so commercialized that the preeminent focus has become gift giving.

I think Christmas as a whole confuses some people with the contrasting images of Santa Claus vs Baby Jesus. Angels vs Reindeer. Christmas Trees vs The Nativity. While I personally see nothing wrong with setting aside a particular time of year to exchange gifts, I would rather see the secular aspect of the holiday separated from the religious aspect.

But I doubt that will ever happen. There’s far too much money to be made by intermingling the two.
Categories: commentary | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DOVE NOTE #37: Are You Commit-Able?

There are many people who adamantly believe that most, if not all, marriages are destined to fail and will end in divorce. I don’t agree. I believe that in many cases, divorce is simply a byproduct of the failings of the people involved. Allow me to explain…

From an informal survey, these are just some of the reasons I’ve been told why people get married (as opposed to people who just choose to live together).

  1. Financial Security: Among other things, a combined income increases your ability to purchase a home. Some want to enjoy the spoils of being married to someone wealthy.
  2. Fear: Some people are afraid of being alone.
  3. Low Self-Esteem: Many settle for less than they actually deserve because they honestly don’t believe they deserve or could ever get someone better.
  4. Children: Along comes an unplanned pregnancy and some think marriage is the answer.
  5. Love: Real love. Not infatuation, obsession or lust.

One glaring omission from this list is what I believe to be one of the most important reasons of all to get married: COMMITMENT.

First of all, falling in love is a CHOICE in the same way that you make a DECISION to get married. What I’ve observed as the seed of destruction for many marriages is they’ve somehow failed to understand the real meaning of commitment and how it applies to being married.

When you agree to commit yourself to someone else for the rest of your life, it means you are bound and obligated to work together on making the marriage successful (obviously, there are exceptions for instances of abuse or infidelity). There is no giving up. It’s not about growing tired of someone. It’s not about holding on to The Ewwies (unspoken expectations) and then complaining to others about those expectations not being met. It’s all about two people who’ve agreed to communicate honestly about what does or does not work, what makes them feel loved, what makes them feel rejected and rehearsing all of the reasons life is better together.

A recent study contends: “When [people get] married, they don’t [do so] for long love. If they [start to believe] love and family [no longer] offer them happiness and safety, they choose to divorce. They [no longer] think about the family or the children because they [hold] themselves as the center. That means they love freedom [over] stability.”

I’ll leave you with my Bulleted Personal Observations:

  • Work out any major issues before you get married. Marriage will inevitably amplify existing problems
  • Discuss finances, religion and how you’ll raise your kids BEFORE-hand as well
  • You can never say “I Love You” too much
  • Figure out his/her love language and work to express your feelings toward them in that way
  • Use the Upward Spiral Method. The more you love your spouse, the more they love you back and the more you want to love on them, etc, etc
  • It’s okay to disagree or get upset. An argument does not imply imminent disaster.
Categories: Dove Note, marriage, relationships, Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

DOVE NOTE #63: The Magic Pill

(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes”)

Now this may be controversial, but I’m going to make the bold assertion that there are very few things more damaging to long term relationships than unspoken expectations (I call them The Ewwies as in, “The U.E’s”). These Ewwies come about when communication is relegated to an afterthought instead of a priority in the relationship.

So what could be worse, you ask?

Well, “worse” would be people erroneously assuming these unspoken expectations will somehow miraculously be met once they get married.  It’s almost as if they believe marriage is some Magic Pill that will communicate all of their hidden desires and make all of their relationship issues go away. Unfortunately, it’s a recipe for disaster if there ever was one.

Just recently a friend told me that he’ll be getting married in six weeks. I’m sure he noticed my facial expression, which was an unmistakable combination of shock and concern mixed with that pain stricken face you make when you swallow something hard. I quickly caught myself and smiled. Although it certainly seems kind of rushed to me, I do realize it’s different for everyone. I mean, I’m all for marrying when the time is right. But to avoid the Ewwies I think it’s critical that some basic expectations are covered before walking down the aisle. So I just encouraged him to make sure he’s tackled some of the big topics with his soon-to-be wife, like:

  1. Children (how many, if at all)
  2. Child Rearing (spanking/discipline, education, and nutrition)
  3. Finances (separate or joint accounts, who pays what)
  4. Religion (Protestant, Jewish, Agnostic, Wiccan, Catholic?)

Disagreements in any of these critical areas can often become deal-breakers in a relationship. And failing to address them before marriage only serves to exacerbate the agony of the Ewwies. In the end, I’ve found that some of the best marriages are the ones with strong foundations built on effective communication… and successful avoidance of the Ewwies. 😉

Categories: Dove Note, marriage, relationships, Series | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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