I really think this whole going to the doctor thing is a racket. You go to one doctor and he wants you to see a specialist. Then that doctor says I think you should see another specialist. Oh and while your at it, I think you should have surgery to put this thing in your body that will make you eat less and loose weight. I am not sure if insurance will pay for this. Then when you say you are not interested, and the doctor sees you not taking the hook on his money making scheme, he tries to use scare tactics on you. There is a point when you have to start treating doctor’s like greeting cards, some offer sage advice and make you feel better while others just make you spend money for no apparent reason other than everyone thinks you need to send a card.
This brings me to the second part of my reflection…I will now treat doctors like used car sales people. I’m ignoring the high pressure sales pitch, looking under the hood and kicking the tires of anything they are trying to sell me. I am also going to check for a dart board just in case they diagnose the same way the weather people predict the weather.
I need a boyfriend. This whole waking up alone thing needs to end.
In other news. It appears I got unfriended by someone on Facebook because they just figured out I am gay. OK REALLY?! I have been out since like 2009? You are just NOW figuring this out? I don’t feel the need to put as a headline on my page HI I’M GAY but come on. Thing is, although this is someone I have known since high school, I am just not that upset about it. My real thought to this person is, well, carry your ass. No more room for small minds. I hid in the closet over 35 years because of that shit and when I came out I blew the door off the bitch and tore down the walls. This is who I am and if you don’t like it the line for hell is to the right.
Like I said, short sweet and to the point.
Apparently I put up a rant on my facebook page that was only understood by a few people. As a result, I think I will leave facebook to them for a while and just post here. May not be as big an audience, but at least I won’t be a bother to my friends or family with my ranting. I didn’t even think I was ranting that much but I have been very upset lately by that disgusting vote in North Carolina and then by how some people in my life seem to have started reacting because I am trying to articulate my anger. I have a dear friend who is going through the same thing on his page. I wish I could explain how I feel without pissing people off or people not getting the point. So, I will just post here. Hopefully this will prove to be a better ground for my ranting.
Below is a copy of a reflection I delivered in church on a Wednesday night for our Lenten Series. The series took the passage from Mark 12: 28-34 and broke the weeks up based on the first commandment Jesus said was the greatest. The week I delivered this reflection was the week covering “Love the Lord with your mind.” I hope you enjoy it. If there is enough interest I will be happy to post the other 4 reflections I wrote and delivered.
Love the Lord with your mind.
This is going to be a little different so please bear with me. Also, it may seem that I am being accusatory or pointing fingers and please believe me that is not my intention or where my heart is while I deliver this reflection tonight. Here are a few items of interest for you to ponder while I am talking;
Chapters Verses Words (aprox)
Old Testament 929 23,214 593,493
New Testament 260 7,959 181,253
Bible 1,189 31,173 774,746
In the King James version
the word - love - appears 314 times
the word - love’s - appears once
the word - loved - appears 98 times
the word - lovedst - appears twice
the word - lovely - appears 4 times
the word - lover - appears 4 times
the word - lovers - appears 23 times
the word - loves - appears twice
the word - lovest - appears 12 times
the word - loveth - appears 65 times
the word - loving - appears 3 times
the word - lovingkindness - appears 26 times
the word - lovingkindnesses - appears 4 times
In the NIV Love appears aprox. 505 and in the NLT aprox 581 so I will say that love appears approximately 525 to 540 times.
As close as any figure I can find listed anywhere, hate appears approximately 215 to 220 times in the Bible in it’s many forms. [ personal notes (my electronic search came up with 73, but it only counts the word once even if it appears more than once in a verse, and my manual count was 87). Double that plus twenty or so if you also want other forms of the word (hated, hating, etc.) ]
There is a British comedy from the 1970’s that I love watching titled “Bless Me Father”. The show is set in a Catholic church in the 1950’s and a new curate has just been assigned to the church. The head priest is a 60 something man who has a peculiar whit and displays what I think is an accurate 1950’s mentality about religion, don’t question it. There is a scene where the young curate is instructing a potential new member on the ways of the Catholic church and the person keeps asking the question why. The older priest looks over and tells her that Catholics don’t ask why, they say yes father I believe. The person asks why again and the priest tells her to go see the Anglican minister down the street who will let her why why why until she is blue in the face.
Funny as that is, it isn’t the right idea. There are enough Christians in the world who do not really understand their faith. They recite the myths and fairy tales they have heard or worse yet, the, and I use this term loosely, teachings of some persons in their pulpits or on their televisions. They never question why and they never crack open their Bibles. They would rather sit in blind ignorance and bask in the understanding of others rather than use the mind that God gifted to them. God did gift us a mind and asks us to use it. In fact, we are told to love God with our mind. How can we love God with something we do not use?
Look at the book of Acts for a moment.
10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
They examined the scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. It is funny this is Paul since I am reminded that this passage is the basis for another man named Paul’s philosophy on religion. Dr. Paul Watlington was my pastor for most of my life when I was growing up. If I had a dime for each time Dr. W. told us all to not believe something just because he said it but to go read it and research it for ourselves I could have retired before I even started working. He always said to come to him with the questions and we would examine it and discuss it. The singular problem I had was I never really made it to him with a question. Inevitably my Grandmother would hear the question and I would get the answer. I actually did make it to him with one question and his reply was, well what did your Grandmother say. His point, and my Grandmother’s example are that we should be in our scriptures all the time and asking questions to get us to a deeper understanding.
Too many times we hear scripture misquoted and, unfortunately, used as a weapon or argument against something or someone. They use it to scare you out of hell or into believing what they believe. But this just isn’t right. God is asking us to love Him with our mind. To love Him with our mind we must understand His message. We must understand what IS in the Bible.
Some things the Bible talks about include;
Faith. God. Sin. Salvation. Righteousness. Grace. Mercy. Forgiveness. Jesus. Power over sin. The Holy Spirit. Heaven and how to get there. Relationships. Marriage. Sex. Work. Raising kids. Money. Clothes. Worry. Anxiety. Peace in troubled times. All sorts of things.
Love the Lord with all your mind means to think. When we hear scripture quoted somewhere, we should check to see if the passage is being used accurately and correctly quoted. Question why it was used. Question how it was used. Question who used it.
When we read scripture we should look around to find out what the author of the scripture intended. What was this person’s message and how do we really apply it to life today? The Bible I use is called a study Bible. At the beginning of each book it gives me a look at things like who wrote the book and to whom was it written. What was the period or historical context it was written in? Why should I read the book? Why was the book written? What should I look for in the book? Along the sides of the pages there are notes about the verses giving me more to think about than just the words I read. It is designed to help me, or anyone with a copy, get a deeper understanding of the scriptures. I am not trying to sell you on this copy of the Bible but rather point out that this is one way I get deeper into the meaning of the scriptures. From here I jump to many resources to understand what I have read. Even in preparing for this reflection, I turned to the internet and read what others have said about loving God with your mind. You have to weed out the junk but there are really great thoughts out there on the subject.
I can keep going with this for a long time but I will start wrapping things up with this, that list of items I told you about in the beginning gives you an idea in the only tangible way I could really think of what it means to use your mind. With approximately 774, 746 words to go through, the only way to understand them is to read, research and then reflect. If you look at the other numbers, the word love appears approximately 530 to 540 times while hate appears approximately 200. Just using those figures for a moment gives you some information about what you should be doing. But to fully understand that conclusion, you have to get deeper into scripture and the Bible. God has graced us with many resources. In this church, God has graced us with a good understanding of our faith and a wonderful example of loving God with our mind.
I keep reminding you about Holy Week. It is important, especially in this age, to use our minds to understand Holy Week. It seems that a number of Christians would rather pack Holy Week into Palm Sunday and give it all to you at once. That cheapens the meaning. In order for Easter Sunday to make sense, we need to have a deep understanding of the events of Holy Week. We need to go beyond the upper room and delve into what Pilot’s role truly was. Was he the bad guy he has been made out to be or was he simply part of a system that some where using to get Jesus out of the way? Next week when I talk about strength, we will look closer at the events on the cross, but examine the words used on the cross to fully understand their meaning. We will use the Easter Vigil to reflect on all that was given up and all that was taken in but to do so; we must understand what was asked of Jesus and what happened. We will need to love God with our whole heart.
Hear O Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord is one. Unfortunately, there are people in this world who do not get this passage because they have been turned away by people who are not reading for themselves but only believing the fairy tales others continue to tell. There is a bumper sticker that reads, I love Jesus I just hate his fan club. There are people who have told me in one way or the other that they have been beaten up with the Bible from people who have not even fully read the Bible. I ask that, as we reflect on Loving God with our mind, that we use the gifts God has graced us with and read the Bible more and more. We all have been graced by God, let us return that grace by loving God with our minds.
I hope you enjoy this. Please leave feedback or if you know me leave it on my facebook page or my twitter page. Thanks
Let me just get this out of the way now. I am a lot of things. I am funny, I am just ask me. I am a son. I am a friend. I am a geek. I am a photographer. I am a Lutheran. I am smart (on the things I know about, just a disclaimer). I am romantic. I am thoughtful. I am a hard worker. I am a singer. I am a writer. I am a good public speaker. I am punctual. I am also gay. It seems that being gay, which is one part of who I am, takes up a large amount of time talking about with people. It also is the part of me that seems to cause some people to hate me and wish very bad things for me. Really? It this out it is going to be? That is OK because I have a new way of responding to all of this. You can either be a positive person and have a positive influence on my life or you can kindly take that fork in the road that leads you somewhere else. I love you as a fellow child of God but you have got to go. I officially have no more fucks to give. I have lived too long and been way too infected with toxic people. I will only care about you as far as you will let me and if you let me care enough for a relationship (friendship as well as boyfriend, partner, husband) then I promise you will not regret it. We can disagree and I am not looking for yes people. Relationship means you tell me when you think I am fucking up as well as when I am doing good. As long as it comes from a place of love and caring I can take it. Vileness however, needs to step aside. This is the image from my mind today.
The thing is…do you really want to see what is in my mind? This is the beginning of posting on tumblr. I am anticipating using this as a platform to say some things I have wanted to say as well as post images I have captured. I hope you like it but if not, sucks to be you huh?