“What’cha thinkin’?”

“What’cha thinkin’?”

I hate this question. But I do not hate the people who ask it.

I know why people ask it: They want to start up a conversation. As someone who enjoys talking, I cannot fault them for this even a little bit.

But it’s a loaded question, similar to asking someone “How are you doing?” What they want really isn’t the question; they don’t care. “How are you doing?” has become conflated with “Hello!” And “What’cha thinkin’?” is more like “Let’s talk about something here; the silence is killing me!” Continue reading ““What’cha thinkin’?””

Ask a Christian 

hand of god

Well, you’ve done it Internet. You’ve broken me.

Just when I think there are no more ways people can get Christianity wrong, I see stuff that doesn’t even make me upset; it just leaves me scratching my head and wondering how anyone living in the United States or Europe could be so wrong about the underpinnings of the last 2,000 years of our civilizations.

The point you

And then I remember that the United States and Europe are far different than they were even 50 years ago.

So as a part of my mission is to clear up misconceptions and change perceptions, I’ve decided to set up my booth, so to speak, and talk about some of these things people think they know about Christianity, but have way, way wrong.

I’m not trying to convert anybody (but if you want to visit a Greek Orthodox Church to see what it’s all about, that’s great!) but I would just like to change contemporary American’s perceptions about what it is us Christians do and believe.

–From “How We Do: On Missions and their Statements

This is not done in anger, but as a relatively quick way to clarify some Christian beliefs. And I am not trying to convert anybody, just attempting to do a bit of level-setting so we’re not all talking past each other when we discuss Christianity.

Mind you, I’m approaching this from the perspective of my church, the Greek Orthodox Church, so your mileage may vary.

Before we begin, I have to point out that these are actual questions I have gotten and actual things I have seen on-line and elsewhere. I’ll only go over a few in this post, mainly focusing on the Bible itself, because if I don’t control myself I could go on about this stuff for days . . .

“You think God wrote the Bible, so you can’t disagree with it even when it’s wrong because Christians are all superstitious (and dumb).”

No Christian believes that God Himself wrote the Bible. If anyone’s been taught that God literally sat down, uncapped his pen, and scribbled down a few notes, than they seriously need to find a new teacher. Continue reading “Ask a Christian “

Fatherly Rage

No child is bad from the beginning… they only imitate their atmosphere.

Prince

Nothing in life is easy. Nothing. Especially the things that are good. Even things that are supposed to be natural, like parenthood.

Life is stressful enough without adding kids into the mix, and patience is always in limited reserves. Like any scarce resource, patience must be judiciously managed so that one doesn’t spend the last few hours of the waking day a simmering cauldron of rage.

This affects parents, no doubt. But this is not necessarily what has been affecting me. I am generally even-keeled and tend not to let my emotions overtake me, whether I’m at work or involved in something personal. This isn’t my natural disposition, though, but one borne through almost two decades of managing a legendarily short fuse.

And yet, I find myself getting angry at my son a lot lately.

He is four-and-a-half, very funny, and very energetic. This energy has difficulty being dispersed by nature of our having moved recently to a much smaller place in the city. This will change soon, hopefully, but I’m not making any guesses as to when.

So in lieu of being able to play outside, he has to deal with “indoor” stuff, particularly at night, when there are no playgrounds or parks or backyards nearby. And the indoor stuff soon gets boring for a kid who loves nothing more than being out in the open air. 

You can see where this is going.  Continue reading “Fatherly Rage”

Can’t Shake It

I would love to not pay attention. 

And yet, I feel compelled to do more than while away my time as the world goes on around me. 

So I try to put what’s happening together, to paint a coherent picture, and I usually don’t like the results. And so I worry. 

I worry about how we use history as a how-to guide and not a cautionary tale. No matter the lessons the record provides, we seem to return, like a dog to its vomit, to the worst of what humanity has to offer. 

I worry about what kind of world I’ve brought my son into, what kind of inheritance he and his progeny will have–though I will be dead, I still worry about them. 

I worry about eternity

And I worry if there is any hope for us in the here and now. Continue reading “Can’t Shake It”

Being a Church Man

Being a man. Much of it involves standing up for yourself, for your friends and family, and the weak. And a lot of times, “standing up” means fighting back, physically or with words. 

And then there’s being a Christian. Love your enemies and pray for them, even as they revile you. Be meek, because the meek shall inherit the Earth. Turn the other cheek. 

These are in conflict, right?Yet there’s something strange brewing in the realm of Christendom. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

You see, something I’ve noticed, thanks to the Internet, is that there are a lot of young, passionate Christians–far more than I remember growing up. And these Christians fight back.

When the culture punches them, they punch back. Hard.

There is even some armed resistance in regions of the world where Christianity is being stamped out by evil religious fanatics who claim to worship the same God. There’s not enough, but at least it’s there.

I applaud this and am energized by it.

Here in America, things haven’t yet come to blows (though the so-called Antifa thugs are starting to change this).

In a culture hellbent on denigrating your beliefs, sitting idly by gets you nowhere.

And this is important, because culture is far more important than politics in and of themselves.

So three cheers for Christians who actually defend themselves. Using the weapons of Scripture and snark in equal measure, logic and reason coupled with fearlessness and effective rhetoric, we refuse to go quietly into that dark night of decline. In fact, the goal seems to be to increase the numbers of the faithful, and bolster the strength of our various churches.

You see, the prevailing culture has successfully turned Christians into John Lithgow’s character from Footloose (1984). 

I’ve never seen the movie (there’s only so much Kevin Bacon I can take), but I know the stereotype all too well. In Footloose, Lithgow plays the villain, Reverend Shaw Moore, a fiery Christian preacher who hates dancing and bans dancing and music in his community.

Now, it doesn’t matter that Reverend Moore has powerful personal reasons for hating dancing and music, and later has a change of heart when he realizes that dancing and music are not the problems he thinks they are. Christianity in movies gets associated with hating fun. You see this in so many films, TV shows, and books. 

The Jesus freak is always puritanical, bigoted, and violent. And nine times out of ten, a complete and utter hypocrite, who is usually stupid for good measure. 

Why? Because Christ, of course.

I see a lot of this edifice eroding in the face of Christians who prove that you can be a churchgoer and bite back. Have a sense of humor. A sense of mischief, even. 

This is all well and good . . . but is it really Christ-like?

In other words, is fighting back contrary to Christian teachings?

Is being a masculine man incompatible with being a church man? Continue reading “Being a Church Man”

Merry Christmas Everyone

Merry Christmas everyone. Enjoy the day with your family and friends and enjoy God’s blessings. It’s a time of hope and renewal, a bookend to the resurrection. 

And for those who are secular, atheist, or non-Christian, have a wonderful few days off and enjoy the spirit of the holidays. 

All my American friends: This is still a great country. Don’t get bitter. 

To my international friends: All the best from over here in Hamburger Land. Whatever your traditions, enjoy them. 

No politics. No bitterness. No snark. 

Sincerety. 

Joy. 

The flat-out corny earnest niceness of it all

Even if only for one day. 

Merry Christmas.

Follow me on Twitter @DaytimeRenegade and Gab.ai @DaytimeRenegade

And check out my Instagram here

Recalibration

You know, I had another post ready to go. But after I put the finishing touches on it, I decided not to publish it. 

For starters, it was very solipsistic. Nobody wants to read a diary. People read   blogs for interesting stories that teach something or provide some insight, not for dour lamentations and narcissistic howls into the digital wind. 

Let’s just say I’ve been feeling restive lately. Discontented. Or in the common parlance, down

And so the other day, as I’m wont to do when I get like this, I opened my Bible at random and read the first verse that caught my eye. It was so apropos I had to underline and highlight it. 

It might have just been a coincidence. It probably was. I don’t care. I’m running with it. 

It’s precisely because this world is how it is–oh-so “advanced,” you might say–that I need to trust in Him more than ever, desolate as I am. 

And it’s why I still enjoy the ancient rituals and elaborate services of church. 

My church has changed very little in 2,000 years. Orthodoxy is no feel-good sect that glosses over the so-called naughty bits of Scripture to appeal to a modern audience. Our liturgy was written in the 4th century and is performed in a dialect of Greek no one outside of the clergy speaks anymore. 

It’s the definition of old-school. And this is why I love it. In the face of a world that feels unnatural, all of that tradition feels more real. It’s like an escape to a time and place where things were more rooted. 

Many Christian services are attempts to recreate the kingdom of heaven here on Earth. And sometimes during a service in a Sunday, when I smell the incense and I hear the chanting and see the icons, I swear I can almost feel it. 

Regardless of your religion, chances are it’s centuries old, probably millennia. The fact that it’s still around is testament to the truth and purity of its ideas. 

There’s nothing incongruous about performing ancient rites in an era of high technology, fast travel, and instant communications, of unprecedented comfort, leisure, and ease. 

If anything, it reminds you of what being human is, that we don’t have all the answers, and that there is something to aspire to. It provides some recalibration in a society that’s hellbent on consuming you while. 

If I may get a little solipsistic here after all, please indulge me. I have been feeling so unfocused lately. My personal energy is at an all-time low, and I’m having difficulty figuring out what’s the point of anything it is I do, whether it’s my work or my writing or anything else, even having a family. If my offspring is condemned to have these same issues, then what’s the point of it all?

Focusing on the divine can at least provide some kind of purpose beyond the endless cycle of live-work-die. 

Maybe you don’t need that. That’s cool. As for me, I’ll be taking my regularly scheduled detours into the past so I’m better equipped to handle the future. 

Follow me on Twitter @DaytimeRenegade and Gab.ai @DaytimeRenegade

And check out my Instagram here

PS I still don’t even really know what the purpose of this blog is, either. Maybe I’ll figure this out one of these days too.