A Dream

4 04 2014

I awoke from a dream this morning and tried to post on FB, but something is not working right so I’ll just blog it real quickly before this fades.

Jesus and I walked to EVERY church building in the Portland Metro area.  At every one Jesus had me ask the gatekeepers “Who’s in charge here?’  We were taken to either the Pastor, Minister, or someone else considered the most important person in the church.  Jesus was always giggling in my ear about this, but I was in tears because Jesus and I shared the secret that we both knew that HE wasn’t in charge of these places.  

We sneaked into choirs,  board meetings. and other churchy things around these places.  And not ONCE did anyone ask Jesus or even recognize his presence.   After we left each church I became more and more saddened that no one noticed Jesus.  “They look right at you, Steven, and miss Me.” 

“How come they don’t see you?”  

“They don’t WANT to see me.  I would become real to them and  most of the religious people don’t want My Father or Me.  They want order, rules and power.  They don’t want love, they want logic.  They want no responsibility and just want ME to do everything. This is NOT how it works.  If they really want me to live again, they need to let me live through them and get to know me as well as they know the back of their hands.” 

There was then a very private conversation and union that happened with Jesus and myself that is meant only for me. 

I have posted this because, dear reader, because you are meant to learn something from this.  Take from this what you need.  Let the Lord show you what you need to see. 





Abandoning Salvation?

15 02 2014

I have been watching the Classic Battlestar Galactica again.   Growing up with this show,  I never really got the political/religious/secularist ideals that were so well written for this short lived and still beloved series.   It’s still early on a Saturday morning and I have just finished the episode “Lost Planet of the Gods”,  where the Galactica finds the planet Kobal, where all human life began and the 13 tribes of humans came from, according to the show.  But what struck me was one line that is now haunting me.

“Should we abandoned what once gave us salvation?”

Glenn A. Larson and Donald Bellisaurius, creators of BG,  bring up a good question.  Should we get rid of things that have brought us away from our destruction as a human?

We are living in a time where most people believe that there is something bigger than us.  That there is SOME kind of Deity.  But we start to doubt that the writings of ancient cultures are 100% fact.  In the episode the discovery of Kobal  puts the Book of the Word into play,  the series idea of Holy Scripture, and finds that there is SOME fact within the pages.  That the stories told brought hope and give a history but some things were left out and OTHER writings found NOT in the book give more information and hope.

In good storytelling,  Commander Adama,  his son Apollo and his wife Serina find within a tomb the writings on the wall on where the 13 colony and the map to Earth, the salvation now of  the humans in the starcrafts,  but is destroyed when the enemy attacks and the writings are then lost.    This is what continues to happen today.  We value our books only as so long as they are useful, and when we find other writing that conflicts or confirms we either ignore or destroy what really is the truth.  We would rather be satisfied with a false fact than the real truth.

As humans continue to uncover the truth about the cultures that were here before this time, we find we have forgotten much because we have decided to abandon the things that have saved us as humans time and time again.   I find in my own life what has saved me on a personal level is going back to the teaching s of Christ Jesus,  more than the First Testament,  though now I’m finding that I need to explore those books more now that I have a firm foundation in His teaching.   The things that I find from the Jewish/Christian traditions that have saved us over and over are  faith, love, wisdom, prayer,  trust in God and each other,  turning from hatred of the unknown,  embracing the unknown and trusting “gut feelings”  and “heart pulls”.

The internet has become a place for these kinds of discussions, and there are a lot of people now questioning the existence or accuracy of our written texts.   Atheist are claiming a new salvation through abandoning ALL religions.   Far right religious people are saying to use only the Holy Book to base a society on.   And neither side wants something in between.  Both sides are abandoning, or  have “left behind”  anyone and anything that might just really be the salvation of their soul,  their life that has now been hidden away and trapped in the heart.

For me, my salvation came from leaving the tradition of the institutional church.  Now the church STILL is there, it’s just that I have not needed it to grow in my Faith in Christ.  In FACT,  I was in a bog and stuck in one place by staying within the Methodist tradition.   It wasn’t the “flavor” or Christianity that would be my salvation, but my finally accepting that I was being changed by Christ, and nothing that I was doing was going to stop that.  I had to trust that the Lord of Lords, whom I had only READ about was real and that I would be changed by the written word,  so I would be changed into HIS word made flesh.

Now don’t be too quick to judge, I’m am by no way perfect by human standards alone.  I still struggle with stereotypes of behavior.  I still at times “act like THE MAN” and attempt to be dominate over all I see, instead of letting Christ work his power through me.  Because I am still becoming the REAL male that I was always meant to be.   By letting a different kind of salvation than the one that can be proven by scientific evidence or religious tests that there is a way that is not being done as it must have been done for eons.

MY personal salvation came from trusting that the authors of Biblical text were on to something.  That the stories are not false, speak to the truth and that the progression of ridged rules and regulations become fluid and bendable boundaries that bring a full and robust life.     That everything  you learn to live by becomes based in Love and Love alone.   That is the ONLY thing that I have fully accepted is that all life is based ON and IN love.   Though I do see people take that love and FEAR loosing that love because of our actions and just plain worries.   We would rather abandon love for security.  But to be secure without love is a death sentence.  It kills you.   You will find yourself more concerned with political and religious systems as being the way back to life.  THIS is what is going on when we vote or go to church.    We look for salvation there.   We look for salvation outside of our selves.

Jesus’ teachings move us from finding salvation “out there”,  to ” salvation IS here, within you.”    But we have forgotten WHO can teach this to us.  So it does start “out there”, but it’s also within each person too.

From what I can see from other faiths is that this is a common theme.   For myself, it’s been journeying with the Christ Jesus story to start to see the world differently and understand what courage it takes to depart from the world and enter into a New Heaven and New Earth.     If I had abandoned the path that was chosen for me, that being the Path of Jesus,  set up before I was born, by my Grandmother, whom I believe really understood unconditional love,  and know that I had been chosen for this salvation, would I have the salvation from my own  ego?

Should we abandon the way of salvation when so many have “missed the mark”.  In the Jewish/Christian language that is known as “sinning”.    How many atheist and even Christians  have just given up and not worked through their salvation.  I find I am still working MINE out.   Redefining what manhood means in a world where being a man is either looked upon as a joke or macho-ism.   Discovering that being made in the image of God  as a male is not to be just masculine, but to have BOTH masculine and feminine qualities that are balanced.   To be fully restored to what was intend from the day I was born into the world.

How have I come to this?   By trusting that salvation through Jesus IS the way, the truth and the life.    I have been chosen and CHOOSE to live by the indwelling Spirit and, just like many before me have, not  given up on working THROUGH that salvation.   Too many just think that they are saved by saying they believe Jesus.  Well, it takes time to get to know Him when you only know the history of Him.  Keep at it!

The only way that I could be redeemed was to admit that I was the problem and came to the conclusion that I needed His help.   I had to be Fathered by God and him alone.  I was pointed to Jesus.  Jesus is the salvation that can not be abandoned, though the religion that was formed around his teaching is being abandoned for a life with Him.    Jesus had become my step dad, moved to friend and now something even more wonder-filled and wonderful.   Through his story and HIS teaching I have found salvation.

From what I read,  Jesus abandoned the Temple system for a new one.  He abandoned the way of the Roman Empire too.   But HIS salvation was never abandoned.   His was always with Him.  Ours is too.  Christians, quit pointing to the church, but point to Jesus.   Instead of spewing hatred and bile,  speak of Jesus.  Or tell one of his tales to make your point.  He IS salvation.  He IS masculinity at it’s finest.   To paraphrase my friend Paul Coughlin ,  Jesus is Love bolstered by courage.  (Paul made this statement on Facebook about masculinity).   Church, I would start to describe and present Jesus like this.

Men in Faith,  rise up.  For truthfully, we don’t have many wise or wisdom fellows at this time.   Work through your salvation WITH Jesus.   You will know those who are with him and those who only KNOW of Him.   You can see it.  You can feel it.   I speak specifically to men because the women are pretty good at being in Christ.  It’s men who are having trouble with Him.   Ladies, do not be offended by this, but I know you good women are in agreement with me.    The truth is that MALE and masculinity is dying and needs a second birth.   I can feel the groaning and birth pains of a new and deep masculinity forming.   My hope and dream is that this can be found for ALL, men and women through their salvation in Jesus.

Guys, you really want to be a true man, read up on Jesus.  And then get to know him.  And THEN be his disciple and friend.  To the point where you hear his voice say “Brother”.   I know I have.  And that scares me at times.  But in a good way.

I’m looking now for my fellow Brothers who are needing to be mentors to the next generation of Christ.   I see no map for doing this, but just when I encounter another guy to just be with them.  Hopefully they will see Christ in me now.





2 01 2014

I’m experimenting with not posting anything political on my Facebook page.  No links, no statement that supports my political view, but I’m doing all that I can to post about my faith, and the way that I’ve come to understand that my original view of “God” was nothing from what I expected.  And WHO I am is totally different from what I thought I was.

Or can even describe.

Having boldly going outside of the Methodist/Secularist tradition that I grew up in and went to explore what it means to be wounded,  to die to my ego and come out the other side of this death of myself to find a whole new life, I find that what I wanted to be God was NOT what THE Lord really is.

I’m finding more and more that I get discussed with the hatred that is flung back and forth between the  flawed vision of secular and the sacred.  There is this whole,” I’m right, your wrong” BS that we, as a people, are forgetting what it was like when we were small children who trusted parental authority,  trusted that people were not just knowledgeable, but also had wisdom. 

There is this “theory” that the USA is anti intellectual, in other words, against facts.  Well, you can have all the facts, but if you can not find Agape with others, than you are at a loss. We can not come to an understanding of each other.  You don’t understand deeper meanings that can not be found in facts.  Sometimes it’s better to ignore the fact and find the truth of the matter. 

At the same time so many facts that were once thought to be truth have been found out to be false.  That is what I’ve come to.  That there has been much falsehood about ourselves, about God, Jesus, religion, atheism, practically everything ever invented by Man alone,   that we need to stop, rethink, and renew our inner way.   I would love to see an ultimate truthhood appear.   

Ask of yourself, what is the truth?  

There is so much to explore and so much damage done that it takes time to restore what was lost.  I tend to wear a mask on my face, one showing a child who still is afraid to speak out in love.   I only show my true face to my family, but I no longer wish to hide behind that mask. 

There really is a battle going on.  It’s not good vs. evil, but truth vs. false.  And even THAT doesn’t make much sense.  Which is how come we need to rethink about mystics, magic and fantasy as a good way to start making more sense of reality.  What I’m attempting to do is put into words what my heart is and I’m finding it hard to say what I mean.

 I don’t have the answer.  But I feel that I AM HIS answer.  Just as my wife is His answer.  Just as all the people that I encounter everyday are HIS answer.  I know this makes no sense, and at the same time makes perfect sense.  

So much of my early “Christian” life was waiting for Jesus to come back, when I find that HIS Spirit is what is to be formed within me.  I keep feeling closer and closer to this, but then something happens to where I want to put the mask back on and hide Him and take the credit.  It’s like taking two steps forward and then you are pulled back 10 steps. 

 

It’s a scary place to go beyond the facade of “church” and start exploring what being good and evil is about.  Fear not being truthful or fear saying something false.  Fear not being corrected. Fear not being noticed. Fear not being the center of attention.  Fear not deity.  Fear not NO deity.   To finally come to ONE full truth about WHO YOU are. 

I feel as if I’ve been initiated by His presence. 

There is no better feeling than this. 

 

 

 





Duck Dynasty and Judgement

21 12 2013

Sigh.

Sigh.

Sigh.

Alright already. Enough with the whole Duck Dynasty thing.

He said something that is offensive.  But as a citizen of the USA he has the right to speak out.  And he is not gonna loose any of the money he has made over the years.  But when was the last time you offended someone?  Hmmm?

I will not defend the man’s words, because I doubt he really has spent anytime with anyone recently that is gay or black or any of those things which SHOULD NOT MATTER TO A CHRISTIAN WHO IS IN CHRIST!

Yes, I’ve made a judgement and expect to be judged in return.  Because that is how it works. 

“Do not judge, unless ye be judged”.  

Here is the real lesson behind that bumpersticker phrase that is so important.  Being quick to judge someone because of a statement made without getting to know a person makes us ALL look like unwise little boys and girls instead of gentlemen and ladies.   When you look at a person, WHO do you see? 

I certainly think we have lost politeness that needs to be recovered.  What ever happened to if you can’t speak the truth out of a loving heart, then don’t speak at all?   This whole thing reminds me of children who don’t control what they say and end up hurting someone at the core of their heart.  

I’ve never watch Duck Dynasty, but I did watch the latest VeggieTales which featured the DD patriarch as a narrator and he was quite personal and delightful.  But did Veggie Tales use him because he has a hit show?   

 

When you speak about Jesus, you will usually end up being emotionally beaten up and crucified by people who don’t see the same way that you do.  Good heavens, that goes for ANY of the world viewpoints.  This comes back around to not willing to sit and learn from the spirit within, to take that which you learn about from outside your skin and take it all in.  Only to discover that LOVE is what is the heart of His word.  

Perhaps when EVERYONE puts down their Bibles and keeping the ACT up that they are good little christians and start LIVING from the love that has been in your heart from the beginning of YOUR creation, then, THEN we might see the homophobic, racist and just plain unwise life fade from reality for a better and much more peace filled world.   I DO believe there is great wisdom and love through out the books found within the Bible.  I know that because I’ve taken time to read and take to heart much of the stories within those pages, I’m a better person.  But I’ve also not just taken the words at face value. I take them seriously as the story that I’m a part of.  As I think the DD family does. 

As we who have decided to accept the world through Jesus’ way, we fail miserably to attempt to live like the Lord.  We continue to hold Christians up to a higher standard and we should.  But we need to find the way to confront and make wise judgements and not complain that free speech is being quelled when a TV celebrity is put on notice.  I HATE people speaking out of a viewpoint instead of the heart.  This is what I believe to be the problem.  

How I wish and pray that all people would wake up and start to understand that LOVE is the Lord.  That when people speak in racist ways they are being a hypocrite and do not understand the heart at all.  I used to try and act the part of a good christian man, but I’ve find that is too hard to do.  I know that LOVE is good.  LOVE is the ONLY thing that makes a man or woman good.

Until then you can keep watching and listening to egocentric people who, once become the center of attention, will have you purchasing items that make you a walking and free advertisement for them.  And not the one who is the center of your life. 

Judge away.  

Merry Christmas!





For Richer And Poorer

19 10 2013

Third and final post in a series about divorce pervention.

So many people have use the marriage vows that include the phrase “For Richer, For Poorer”.   How many couples standing up there in front of friends and family do NOT take that vow seriously.  And how many people in our religious and political systems remember those phrases?  From what I see, not many do.

This post will go off into some areas of life that may not seem related, but really do connect and also deals with the current political/sociological/ religious horror that is happening in the United States.

First off, the vilifying of being poor.  The GOP wants to cut all austerity programs in the USA to “save money” and make people more responsible without doing something to really create jobs.  The reality is that many, MANY people who are well educated, have degrees and have graduated collage can’t find work in the study that they have the diploma in.  Labor jobs, those “blue collar” ones that once made America’s economy run are hard to find in a full time, and require many to have experience anymore rather than take a chance and hire the person.

Many couples, including my wife and I, have to use the SNAP program from time to time due to our age, having children and having to find other work during the summer months.   Sometimes that means that my wife and I don’t get to do “vacation” time  while our girls still get to go to camp and other activities.    It USED to be that teens filled up the part time restaurant work,  delivered newspapers,  went door to door selling seeds, but NOW there are very few of these jobs due to the demand of EVERYONE looking for FULL TIME work and not being able to get out of the trap that is permeant part time.

Meanwhile, the top 1% of the earned income in this country continues to go to those who can crunch the numbers, which are made up and not based on how much gold or silver the USA has, and think that if every one just does what THEY do, then we will all be millionaires and masters of the world.  There is NO middle class anymore, no matter what the media says and no matter how much you would like to believe that just because you own your home, that you are in the middle.  No, there is the working poor AND the working rich.   There is also the NON working poor AND NON working rich.   These are the people who will cheat the systems that are meant to be a safety net for when the economy is not healthy.

We live lives of illusion when we start to worship money as “god”.  Since I was a kid, there was, and still is a stigma to not having any money.  My own parents would argue about how much money there was.  I know my dad didn’t want to live with Grandma  and he took a job as a principal, instead of continuing to teach science which he loved to do.  He did it because, “your mom needs more money, she’s never satisfied, it’s never enough for her.”  Or at least he believe that.  I find that he was believing the lie of the American Dream.

Right now you are saying , “Oh he’s back on track about preventing divorce and he’s gonna get off this class warfare stuff now.”   Sadly, no.  Because there is class warfare right in your own home!  Unless you are able to get your vision of what it means to be married, what it takes to STAY in love, and to stop worshiping money!

So many people are afraid to risk surrendering  themselves to anyone.   We have been taught since childhood that you and ONLY you are important.  At least that is what I learned.   We are told to love one another, BUT make sure you don’t set yourself up to be hurt, walked all over and have an easy life.  This is the greatest LIE ever told!   Life is rough.  We were not made to sit passively by and watch the world go to hell.  We were not meant to be afraid of ANYTHING.  But we continue to fear what we can not control,  we fear that if we don’t have money, we are not worth anything to anyone, INCLUDING God, we fear that we will end up just like those who have been on the streets and die there, unknown and alone.

Depressing, isn’t it?

NOW…

What if all this depression and fear could be taken away.  What if, instead of listening to the lying of the media and the over exaggeration  of  how many people are not pulling their weight and getting a job,  what if just doing the work you either love or need to do is not rewarded with cash, but with respect for the person doing the work, how would that change your perception on what it means to be really privileged?   What if we would quit blaming our schools, religion, the government, ALL our systems and blame OURSELVES that the mess of them vs. us has caused and return to a vision of brother/sisterhood.  Wouldn’t that help us understand that we are NOT individuals, but family.

“Oh you misguided hippie!  That is not what America is about.  Go to Canada”.   No, I will not, because the American Dream is as dead and lifeless as your way of thinking has gone.   In FACT,  the issue is that I see many people never use their hearts in decision making.  They only use the information in their brains or what the TV tells them to believe.  I know this to be true because I’ve lived this way.   I used to live in only in my head and imagined reality.  I have also lived only in my heart, and that way was lacking.   TIME and quiet helps you to become IN-formed and realize that your whole being starts with the heart and not the head.   For within BOTH worlds do they become one and WISDOM formed in to the one thing that matters,  LOVE

Wisdom only comes from being able to have the heart and mind work together!   But that takes finding someone who can train you in the way.  The way of the Western thinking has been  “What is in it for ME!’   A very childish way to live.  I know that when I got married I thought all my wants would be met like turning on a light, instant and immediate.  Boy was I wrong.  I still didn’t get what I wanted, not even money.   I added Kathleen’s debt to mine and we have been fighting to get out of it for years.  I thought it would be easier with more income, and it wasn’t.   It took my grandmother passing and an inheritance to get rid of most of the debt.   I went into marriage wanting all my needs to be met.  I hid this from my wife at the time, but looking back I think she saw this.    Too much thinking.  Too much wanting.  Too much demanding that I and I alone be satisfied.

Part of being married is to start on a new path in life.  To be able to let go of the idea of “what’s in it for me” to “what can I do for YOU”.   We have to accept that we are to take on debts,  and poor emotional states, and begin healing one another in LOVE.   Oh there’s that word again, “Love”.   But what does that really mean?   So much of our learning puts love being an emotion and not the Way we were designed to live.    It’s just been recently that I discovered that you can LOVE without money,  religion,  politics and even a mate.   LOVE is not just an emotional state, it is a WISDOM that brings everything back to a fully functioning life.   In LOVE there is true freedom for a person, but that freedom comes at a great cost.  No wonder the poor find this before the rich do.   LOVE is the heart and mind working together.

Ancient cultures used to worship the heart as the center of their being.  It’s only been in recent history that the mind has been valued over the heart.  Western thought and “enlightenment” changed the concepts and has made it difficult for us as a nation,  and even married couples, to look and find wisdom from the heart.   It takes courage to stop thinking like a Westerner in the USA for I do believe that it’s this kind of thinking without heart that has brought us all to the poor house.   As more people discover that money can not love as a person can love, we will store up a new treasure.  One that has been there all the time, locked away because we are too afraid to share it.

I watched the documentary “I AM”  from the director of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,  and yes, it really is a good documentary, that showed what science has learned recently.  Our heart beats give off a pulse that can be felt by other people.  It’s invisible to the eye, but how many times have you been around someone who is angry and have felt their emotion coming off them and invading you?  I have had this happen.  When you see your heart beat at the doctor’s office on the monitor, there are peaks and valleys.   In the valley, scientists have discovered that your emotions start in that valley and what emotion you are emulating shows there.   LOVE is the one that makes the heart regulate properly.   All other emotions show up and the heart doesn’t work as well as it should.

Blessed are the poor, in spirit.  The rich tend to hide the heart, because they now have something that they feel needs to be protected from harm.  In LOVE you don’t need to protect, for LOVE protects.   There are no rich or poor in LOVE.

Love is patient, love is kind. He does not envy, She does not boast, He is not proud.    She does not dishonor others, He is not self-seeking, She is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.(J) (1 Corinthians) (MY Paraphrase)

The passage from this letter continues to say “Love never fails”.

When we finally accept that we fail ourselves when we depend on money,  or knowledge alone,  then and ONLY then will we attempt to love.   When that mountain is climbed what you find on the top is the Utopia that you have been searching for.

Jesus’ WAY was and always will be love.   It takes courage to BE love in a world that worships at the alter of knowledge alone.   You are unable to live in the heart by itself, or the mind by itself.  It’s being able to understand the emotions that start in the heart, and USE those emotions with the knowledge that is in your memory. THIS is MY way.  It’s the way of LOVE that is promised after you have tried faith and hope.  LOVE is all that is left.  .

May you find the love that has always been with you.  May you always BE love to those around you.  May you see LOVE as the ONLY way.

LOVE is the ONLY way to prevent a divorce.   May you understand that you ARE loved and you CAN love.

MAKE IT SO!

 





To Honor and Respect means No Bullying

24 08 2013

This is the second of a series of posts about dealing with divorce prevention.  The first was about learning how NOT to fight.

Now let’s focus on what it means to honor and respect.

My parents lived a very passive/aggressive relationship.   As I posted, they fought a lot.  My dad also was able to do damage with out physical harm to my mom.   I’ve had discussions with my mom about what she was experiencing when he would insult her,  say that she wouldn’t be anything on her own,  and thought that he should be the one earning money.  When I would try to ask my dad about this, he would not talk about it.   He would say that my mom just was trying to make me choose sides and was manipulating me.   Well for many years this worked, but I chose my mom’s view and side because I saw my dad being a verbal bully.   Most of this part of the story will be told from what I’ve learned from my mom.   The only statement I can get from my dad is “Sometimes people just don’t see eye to eye.”  or ” People fall out of love”.

According to the website BullyingStatsitcs.org   Adult verbal bullies ” are more spontaneous and plan their bullying out less. Even if consequences are likely, this adult bully has a hard time restraining his or her behavior. In some cases, this type of bullying may be unintentional, resulting in periods of stress, or when the bully is actually upset or concerned about something unconnected with the victim.”  (From the website)

.    My mom recently talked to me about what went on that I didn’t realize that I heard and then imitated when I got married.   She told me that many times my dad would make her feel bad about herself.   Would push the ideal that she was there to serve him and and the family and that was all.  My dad told me that he felt that both my Grandma and Mom just wanted to have power over him.  He felt that they both acted like controller, not letting him do what was best for the family.  Seems to me that there was some very big egos at work in all of them.   Bullies are so full of themselves and selfishness is “normal” for this type of person.   How can you respect someone who thinks more of their self than for those around them?

My mom  told me about some of my dad’s putdowns.   He would say things like “You can’t make it on your own.   You want the kids to learn music, then YOU pay for it, I’ll have nothing to do with that.”    My dad has told me that mom just did what she wanted to do and wouldn’t listen to him.  You deny that you have done wrong to a person, keep acting as if you are in charge  and keep pushing YOUR point of view until  it’s YOU and only you standing.     This lead up to the fights, which I posted about perviously.     Each of my parents thought the other was trying to control them.   I understand that neither of them was willing to back down or make sacrifices for each other.   There is nothing wrong with taking a stand, but when you can’t get through to the other person,the best defense is to step away and cool off.  I have learned that you can’t communicate when a person is so self centered and wants things to go only YOUR way it’s best to get away.

Bullying  is not respectful and is an act of evil.  A performance that only makes the bully feel good about themselves. .  Telling  your mate that they can not survive without you is not honorable.   I don’t know where my dad learned this, but I have a feeling it was from his own dad, who I never met and he won’t talk about his dad.   Both of my parents think that they were naive and really not ready for marriage.   I still don’t have a very clear picture of what their lives were like as kids.   They don’t talk about this.  Which I find frustrating because I think I’d have a better grasp at why they really were NOT married and just living a co exsistence that happened to have children.

I do believe that the “happily ever after” of fairy tales and our romantic movies has done a great deal to damage what marriage should be.   I grew up with the vision that the man is the head of the household, that the woman is his helper and you have children that smile and behave themselves.   This is an unrealistic ideal to uphold.    We also hold to the idea that you keep your individualism when you get married.  That you should compliment each other.  But this is a too is not the full picture of a marriage made in heaven.     I find the “traditional” idea of the male being in charge of all things in the realationship is sexist and so full of bullshit that it stinks.   That is not what I’ve learned from God.  I’ve seen and been friends with couples that didn’t adhere to this ideal had a much fuller, richer experience.    I find that people who are willing to learn from each other, see the divine creation that God has made them to be, and are willing to drop ideas that are now proven to not be beneficial to the marriage to be how I wish my own marriage to be.

As most of us who grew up in a Christian background, we were told that we were to marry til death do us part.   I still hold to this value as a great truth, but it takes you to willing to be changed by living life together and work not just for the common good of the family.   Too many times I’ve seen other men make the mistake of trying to change their wife into something that they want them to be.   To fit the conservative LIE that women should be just homemakers.   My mother in law is a good example of the choice to be the stay at home parent.  My wife tells me she studied home economics and never wanted to do work outside the home.   My own mother didn’t want to do that.   She wanted to pursue music and outside interests.   She wanted her sons to learn music too. She saw that we had a gift and didn’t want to waste it.   My dad didn’t want that for us.   I never KNEW what my dad wanted for us.  Music wasn’t it.  He thought that we would go no where with it.  He always wanted us to have something else to fall back on.

I have come to understand that most couples who enter into a marriage at a  young age,  have no clue about how to live a life contented to be with each other, support each person’s ideas and dreams,  and understand that to really honor each one to let God run the marriage from the start.   When it’s done by human ego alone, it is bound to fail.   I have had to let go of most dreams that turned out to be unrealistic for me and accept that I honor God by being a  husband, father,  and school bus driver.   It’s not that my dreams couldn’t be obtained, it’s just that those dreams are not what I was designed to do.   Since I decided to sit at the feet of Jesus, learn HOW to commune with the Heavenly Father, and really listen to that small quiet voice to guide me, I find that my whole life has changed.    I find that there is no better way for me to live than to be the person that I am now.  Listening to the guiding voice from the Kingdom within,  seeing what Jesus did in situations that might be similar in the Gospel stories, learning to humble myself when I am wrong.  There was a time when I would not listen to HIm .

I don’t back down from bullies anymore.   Even the adult bullies that I see.  I’m not afraid to at least speak to them.  The greatest lesson that I have learned from having seeing adults being bullies is to recognize that they are NOT afraid of the person they are bulling.    I have Paul Coughlin, author of No More Christian Nice Guy and founder of The Protectors for helping me to understand how to stand up against bullying.   His book introduced me to what I never knew about Jesus and helped me to quit being a bystander and stop being a passive/aggressive  person.   I highly recommend reading his works.

I can tell you that if you continue to be a bully or try to always be correct and have YOUR way in your relationships, you will end up being so full of yourself that you will end up pushing those that you love away.  You have to understand that marriage is about honoring your wife or husband and children.  I do that by keeping my focus on Jesus and not what I REALLY would want to do.   It has taken me many years to be able to do things for my family.   To not force my kids to do things, but to show them what I would like them to be like.   I don’t tell my wife she can’t do something, but I do ask questions at times to see if she really is doing for selfish reasons or if it would be beneficial to her.   I find that she does this for me as well.

I find that though this process my old ways of trying to force her to do what I want her to do fail to manifest.  The great news is that I’m still growing in this love and respect.  I find more and more that if she really wants to go out with friends, that it does good for our relationship.  I don’t go out that much, I’m not much for a lot of friends.  The few that I have face to face relations with I know would be willing to do what it takes to have my back.  I find that this is a good thing too.   I find it honors my family and shows that you don’t have to have a HUGE social life to really live.  But that is just me.

I find that when you learn how to let go of your selfishness that it becomes natural to honor and respect.   Our culture here in the USA really likes to give lip service to honor and respect.  A good example is some of the kids in our apartment complex take to insulting each other,  and they think it’s all in fun.  But I see the younger kids not laughing at this.  Honor and respect start when you are young.   We can’t have a distorted ideal of this.   I say that we need to remind and teach kids that to be respectful means to treat everyone as you WANT to be treated.   It has to start at home.   Bullies like to think that they have respect because they make others fear them.  All this does is create a culture that doesn’t want to know one another and see each other as something wonderful.

Bullies have no honor and no respect.

Marriages that can’t find the way to honor and respect both God and themselves tend to end up in divorce.

May you find honor and respect.

This world is rough.  Honor and respect make it smoother.

 





Fights – a matter of self control in Love

28 07 2013

Hi,  my name is Steven and I am NOT a victim of divorce.  But the actions of a falling out of my parents HAS had an effect on me.  My dad is now divorcing his second wife.  What does this have to do with me?   How does this pertain to my marriage?  Why should I even be concerned?   Isn’t a son to leave his father and go his own way?   I care because I’m tired of the media, internet and the lack of examples of  ordinalry married couples who stick by each other no matter what happens.  (There is more details about this here)

I grew up wanting to get away from my dad.  I felt that he was overbearing, hurtful, and not such a great guy.  I picked that up not only from how he acted, but I became  for my mom a sounding board.   I remember her telling me how she was unhappy, how dad was holding her back, not being supportive.    In my teen years,I had a fantasy that George  wasn’t my dad, but some kind of alien that had taken the form of my dad.  I hated him because of how he treated my mother.   There were times though that I felt that my mom manipulated me into pushing my dad away.  I ended up pushing them both away for a time.  My parents divorced after I graduated High School.  There was this idea that it would be better to do it then, staying together “for the kids”.   I’m going to tell you right now that if you are staying together just for the kids, you are entering into a world of deciet, and lies.

I know my parents attempted to reconsile their differences.  The last ditch effort was a family trip that we took the weekend after I graduated High School.  I remember that one well. Car trip to  Gold Beach OR.  Jet boat ride up the Snake River.  I was treated like a prince!   Dad, who never really had deep conversations with me, wanted to know what I saw myself doing now that I was out of High School and seemed very interested in me.  My mom was very quiet.  I was totally oblivious to what was about to happen.  We got back from the trip and what seemed to be only a few days later, my dad had moved out.

Looking back, I KNEW that my parents didn’t want to work at becoming one with each other.  I hated both of  them for staying in a relationship that wasn’t working.   I grew even more hatred towards my dad.  This didn’t help with my self esteem.  I was still living with my mom and grandmother, Grams for short, and I ended up hiding in the basement a lot.  I never turned to drugs or alcohol but I was very tempted to.  I went through my mind and kept thinking , “What did I do wrong?  How could I have helped them stay together?  Is this MY fault?  Did I MAKE them get a divorce just by wishing my dad wasn’t around?”

That’s when I realized that I loved my dad.  Marriage is not supposed to be rejected.  NO one is supposed to be rejected.  I felt that my dad had rejected me too.   He said that he only divorced my mom, not me.  To a kid who wanted his parents to be perfect that comment did more damage to my soul than being spanked by my dad for telling him to “Fuck off”.   It would take me nearly 20 years before I could tell my dad that I love him.

Guys, we need to be able to tell our dads that we love them.  Even when they give up hope.  Even when they see no other option.  And especially when they make mistakes.  Our older men need their sons to say that they love them.  And we need to not fear what people think of that.   I know that once I learned that men don’t “love each other as a man loves a woman”  and I learned that homosexuality was defined as two men who love each other, I found that I couldn’t say to my dad “I love you” without it feeling strange.   I have since learned that this idea is foolish and  love doesn’t work that way in a father/son relationship built on unconditional love.  I am not gay but have had friends who are.  They helped me to understand that my limited definition of  that culture was flawed. I had a strange definition then of what love is.    I know now that “love” is not sex, or just an emotional reaction, but as  a young man who was told that love is only between a man and a woman, it was very confusing to hear that God, who I saw as male, loves me.  It has taken me many years to understand what love in the form of Agape is between men.  I feel that this is not being taught and even a bit feared by the male half of the USA.   There is fear in telling another guy I love you.  Jesus said to his male disciples “Love one another as I have loved you”.    I had to learn what Jesus means by that.  I’m still working that out.

I have started to see my dad as loved child of God.  I see him now as a person who is not just part of my DNA, but as a person who is in need  of seeing unconditional love.    I see a man who has put conditions on himself, and doesn’t really know HOW to love as God does.    I believe that you are never really divorced from a person.  You can separate but you will still think of that person from time to time.  Love that binds the hearts is a gift from God.  I find this to be true in my own marriage.  And with my parents.  I may have hated them and held a grudge for too many years, but I’m IN love with them again.  I do not want them hurt or to stay in a relationship that really wasn’t built on God’s love to begin with.

My  hope here is to  illiminate some of the stigma and hurt that children, even as adult , feels when divorce is seen as the final option for a couple.  My hope for you, the reader, can understand that your feelings about what happened between your parents if they divorced  are real.  NO one wants to see a divorce happen. It’s not your fault that your parents split.   This is not always a comforting phrase, but it’s true.

I want to make one more thing clear.  Marriage is NOT an institution.  It is NOT a social contract. It is  LIFE.     Most of all, Marriage is NOT to be idolized.   When the  goal is to be married because it’s the socially acceptable thing to do and that it’s  more important than God, it’s become an idol and must be destroyed, reformed and started over.  If you think that marriage is the happily ever after promised by fairy tales,  don’t get married and that  will help make the divorce rate go down.   Marriage is not for the timid. A good marriage I find to be like a well tuned piano.  All the notes play in beautiful harmonies that even the the minor chords sound beautiful.  If the strings are not at the right tension then it’s out of tune and hard to listen to.  At that point there needs to be a person who is good at retuning who needs to come in and adjust it.  Marriage should have a good tension to it.

Lets start with what I consider one of the biggest problems that leads married couples towards divorce:

FIGHTS

Now if you haven’t grown up with parents who argue and fight from time to time about things, you are really, REALLY lucky.  If you lived with parents who were like Mike and Carol Brady, DAMN you were lucky.  That fantasy is what I wanted as a kid.  I never saw the parents in those 70s and 80s family sit coms EVER blow up at each other.  Oh there were a few progressive shows like Family Ties which had a few, but even those fights were resolved and in the shows I watched never ended in a divorce unless you were a neighbor.  Married people on TV were in love with each other and somehow in those 30 mins could solve their problems.  Sometimes Hollywood writers  DO get a good vision.

I lived with yelling behind closed doors, and my grandmother constantly doing what she could to keep me oblibious to these fights.  ( This is where either books and my headphones hooked up to my cassette player came into play or Grams would see if there was something on TV appropriate for me to watch.  The other option was outside to play.)  My parent’s room was across the hall from ours and I could hear every word and the two of them never SEEMED to pay any compliments, or words of support.  I don’t ever remember hearing them say “I love you.”   Yes, your read that right. I don’t ever remember hearing them say to each other “I love you.”

By my sophmore year of High School, I saw that my dad would spend more time in his man cave  in the basement after coming home from his job as principal of a local middle school. He took the job because he had a family to support, even though his passion was to teach science.  There were times I wish he had stayed doing that job, but I know he really wanted to be able to move out of his mother-in-law’s house.  My dad would sit down in the basement man cave, watch sports, take care of his school homework at a desk that I wasn’t supposed to ever disturb and hide from the family.   I think he was trying to avoid my mom so he wouldn’t have to fight.  I don’t think they really knew how to argue fairly.

I  remember my parents biggest arguments were about money.  You can search the internet and find that the number one reason that is quoted for a divorce is money.  It seems there is never enough.   That’s part of the story I get from my dad’s point of view.  I know that my dad wanted to buy a house for our family, so we wouldn’t have to live with Grandma.   I know it disappointed him when that didn’t happen.

As a child and teen I really hated the yelling and screaming.  I was unable to feel that it was safe to bring friends over to the house to play.  I was also very embarassed by it all.  I thought that my family was screwed up.  I never saw my friends parents fighting or yelling at each other.   I also wasn’t a stand up kid.  I was told that “good boys” don’t fight or say mean things.  I got picked on because I didn’t have the cool clothes, the big “nerd” glasses and I enjoyed big band music.  As a kid this didn’t help when I’d go to  a friend’s house and have no idea who Van Halen was.  It wasn’t that the type of music wasn’t allowed in the house as a kid, we just didn’t listen to it.    I did play basketball in grade school but found I wanted to play drums.  Labeled early on as a band geek and nerd, I accepted what others were saying of me.  It hurt.  I’d go home and tell mom and dad about  this.  Mom just hugged me. I’m not sure if dad did anything or approach his fellow principal.  What I do remember was that my dad did attempt to get me to fight back, but my heart just wasn’t in picking a fight because I heard my parents fights and I didn’t want to get hurt.

I was afraid that if my friends did come over while my parents were there,  I would have to make an excuse for them.  I’ve read books about children of alchololics who would  provide excuses for their parents actions and behavior.  Paul Coughlin, author of “No More Christian Nice Guy”, told a story like that in the book of the same name.  My parents were NOT alcoholics, due to the rule at Grams (that was our nickname for Grandma),  of no alcohol in her house, which to this day I’m grateful for. If my parents had been alcoholics, it could have been more than just yelling.   Still I feel just like Paul when my parents fought.  I didn’t want to make excuses for them, or take care of them.   Were they not to take care of me?

What I learned from my parents when it came to fighting was yell until you get your way.  In other words,  BE A BRAT!  Even in my own marriage this carried over.  The first few years of Kathleen’s and my marriage became a shouting match. The only way it would stop would be with me ending up hitting her, threaten to leave her, only to back down and cry for her not to kick me out.   I’m still embarrassed that I let my anger and distress of needing to KNOW that she loved me caused me to loose control over my emotions.  I will go into deeper details on this in just a bit. It needs to be revealed.  Guys, it’s gonna piss you off and I hope that you might just recognize yourself a bit in this.

As I have said, I don’t blame my parents for my actions, but when I would hear their fights,  unwittingly  they showed me the way NOT to fight and unknowinly taught me to always get my way.  Though I think that neither of them ever really won.

I also learned from my dad that you keep the fight only in the house. You put on a mask and not talk to anyone else about what is happening.  I have found this to be very destructive and dishonest to do.  Hiding your fights from your friends and try to go it alone is not good at all.  It brings on depression.   “I want you to love me.  You don’t love me.  I hate you.   I don’t I love you. Nobody loves me.”    This would go through my head.  As a kid it’s your parents who should be showing you unconditional love.  Due to the yelling matches I saw what people who put conditions on their marriage and not built on Godly love, but on attraction only.   I can testify to this because with the help of a good friend, a wife who has forgiven me for my past behavior and that I’ve come to forgive myself for my anger and letting God speak to me and guide me through prayer and insight.

Women value their friendships with other women.  Guys, you need a buddy.  There are some men who still believe that they have to go it alone, ala John Wayne cowboy.  I find this to be a lie.  You  don’t have to have an accountability group guys.  You need ONE good friend who you can tell everything to that you wouldn’t want to say to your spouse!   Have that person to throw the mess around with so you don’t end up saying something that will be demeaning , not true and make your marriage suffer.    I have a really good buddy named Mike  Wright, who I met at the right time in my life.  I can always text him now or call him and he is my sounding board and helps me get out of my head and back to reality.

Learn how to fight  fare with words and not with anger.  It’s alright to get heated but if you let that anger control you instead of you controlling the emotion, you will end up doing more that just saying things.  It can lead to physical abuse. I know this because it did. I am not proud of that.   When you get out of control and raise your hand against your spouse, you have crossed a line that can put you in jail.

Yes, I did hit my wife and I would do it in such a way that I could make it hurt and not leave a heavy mark.  I did evil acts.  I wish that I could go back in time  and stop myself.  I had a lack of self control.  I let my emotional sate take over. There are times that I still think of that I’ve yet to forgive myself for doing.   I’m very grateful that I never ended up in jail.  I’m very grateful for one social worker who helped me get counseling to recognize my thought process that ended up getting to the point of love me or I’m gonna hurt you.

Kathleen has forgiven me.

You have NO idea what that does for one’s soul and how much that humbles you.  How much forgiveness like this starts to change you.  Moves you away from such evil and into pure love.   That last part was very hard to write.

Self control  is very important to learn early on.   I wish I had learned how to do this before I got married.  I was taught that if you are angry to go to your room and don’t come out til you calm down and can talk, not yell.  Again it was “do as we say, don’t do as we do.”

Parents, be consistent.  Hold yourself to the same things that you expect your children to do.  I find that my children respect that.  I do as I say.  Have I done it every time?  No, but I’m being more aware and stopping before I get into a yelling match.   I’ve even told my kids that if I don’t calm down or walk away and they feel threatened by me, do not hesitate, call 911!

Having children really can change you, only if you are aware that they do see and hear everything you do.  Remember what I said about the yelling matches about my parents.  I learned that from them.  I don’t blame them for my imitating it.   I do believe that as parents you need to have self control in place before being married and having children. Otherwise, as I have learned, you  have to learn self control very quickly and it causes some distress in your head as you are changed for the better.  It’s not easy.  Don’t go through this alone.

.  You have to be in full control of yourself, which is a sign of love.  Self control is something that we tend to not teach our children now.   I have been lucky, really lucky that I’ve received grace and love to grow out of my childish way. I have learned how to walk away from an argument before it becomes a fight.  To be humble enough to let my wife have the last say.  Hey it feels great when you do get the last word, but only when it is earned through love.  I don’t remember what that fight was about, but when the words “Yeah, your right sweetie.  I’m sorry” came out, I was floored.  I only remember I won and it didn’t feel like I forced the answer I wanted out of my wife.

.  I don’t feel so angry about my parent’s divorce anymore.  I feel that by my wife accepting me, forgiving me and the sense that she is in this till the day our bodies stop working, that this is God’s provision of  His love.    I’ve also learned that no matter what I’ve done, God loved me from the beginning.  It’s been said that humans minds work on a fight or flight mentality.  This is true when someone is attacking you.  I feel though that this is a sickness that can be cured by letting go of fear and learning to live in God’s love.  I really had to put God first in every matter in my life.

As Kathleen and I have grown more together through our years of wedded tension, I find my anger lessening.  I have less room for such anger.  Less of the me that I grew, and more of the me that God is making.  Even the love I have received to give to my dad is unlimited.

I find now that when we do get into a fight, we are both usually tired, had a hard day at work, or stressed out about money.  By recognizing what is upsetting us we now are able to talk things out..   I find that God doesn’t want me to blow up and say things that I wouldn’t say if I was calm.  (It’s amazing that Kathleen likes  this also ;-) )  I find that you also need to give your fights over to Him.   You need to go to God within and show you HIS idea of fighting.  Let Him take over and you will see a change as He teaches you to control your emotions.

I find when I just give what is bugging me about something Kathleen is doing, or not doing and instead of getting pissed off, I’m asking God what I should do about it, I do get a sense of calm.   Sometimes it’s a urge to call or text Mike and get the frustration out.  Other times it’s just this sense of drop it or go write in a journal or blog about it.

You can break the cycle of parents poor choices and not let it repeat.  It does take a conscious choice, a forgiving spouse, and knowing that when those come together for the goodness of both people, it’s truly from the Peaceable Kingdom of the Heavens.

I find myself as I finish this post I find that I am moving past the fighting to get MY way in this life.  That I really don’t need to do that anymore. I find that God has won the battle in my heart.   I don’t need to beg to get love.   Never needed to.  I don’t have to give up on love.  Love never gives up on us.   I’m not afraid of a fight. But I don’t feel the need to start one.  Love wins this round.








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