Happy Birthday Dad!

Today’s my Dad’s birthday and I just wanted to wish him a quick Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday Dad!

I love you!

~matt

Happy First Birthday, Coen!

Today’s my son’s very first birthday and I just wanted to wish him a Happy Birthday!

Happy First Birthday Coen!

I love you!

~matt

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today’s my Mom’s birthday and I just wanted to wish her a quick Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday Mom!

I love you!

~matt

Happy Birthday Deanna!

Today’s my wife’s birthday and I just wanted to wish her a quick Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday Deanna!

I love you!

~matt

Things I Learned from God’s People

As I have mentioned before, I was raised in the “Christian” faith, namely the “Assembly of God” variety. I have never found the concept of denominations to be of any use to me on my search for truth. I’ve always found them to be a crutch or a wall. In either case a hindrance to the truth of a real God. I’ve always held to the idea that although there is a wide variety of followers and seekers of God, they are all just different parts of the same body. Despite being a very unpopular opinion, especially among other folks who take great pride in their specific denomination, I have never felt comfortable joining any religious organization in any official capacity. I have attended many different religious buildings, gatherings, services and the like, but never formally joined, and Lord willing, never will. Just like there is no library that can contain every written work on the planet, there is no religion that can contain every iteration of God. I believe that choosing to allow myself to be taught under only one brand of God, is to deny the whole nature of God. I have yet to find a religion, sect, or denomination that doesn’t have its own “saint of the faith” to which almost Godlike qualities or honor are bestowed. This really makes me squirm in my chair. I believe in the basic tenants of the “Christian” religion, which is to say I believe the Bible. I think that some of the things that were documented in the Bible, whether historical, prophetic, poetic, or philosophical, are crazy enough without someone else coming along side to add their own version of craziness to the mix. That said, I think that not all the writings, teachings and ideas of more contemporary folks are a load of bunk. There are morsels of truth in the works of several people across time, however that doesn’t make their opinion equal or greater in holiness to the Bible. They are just people, like I am people, like you are people, like that crazy Uncle so and so is people, like those that came before and those that will come after are people. With people comes trouble in as many varieties as the religious groups, sects, and denominations that they subscribe to. Here are a few of the unholy untruths about “Christianity” that I’ve encountered along my path.

  • Christians don’t go to movie theaters, dance clubs, etc.
  • It is better to appear holy than be honest about your unholiness.
  • Christians don’t struggle with things like alcohol, drugs, porn, etc.
  • All sin is equal in the sight of God, but not your fellow Christian.
  • Grace and forgiveness abounds above and beyond all sin, except those you don’t confess quick enough to beat your own death or the Second Coming.
  • When you need an answer, healing, forgiveness, assistance, or a polite excuse for not helping someone else, “Pray about it.”
  • It’s not gossip if you call it a prayer request.
  • Don’t bother doing something with your own two hands when you can pray for it to be done for you and then give God the glory for it.
  • If you want people to donate time or money to complete a task, call it a “ministry opportunity.”
  • If you can’t convince others to jump on board with your particular religious project, threats and questioning their salvation sometimes works.
  • Don’t take responsibility for any mistake that you make. Likewise don’t try to hold any other “Christian” accountable for mistakes that they have made, otherwise suffer the consequences of being an “Accuser of the Brethren.”
  • If your wishes aren’t granted by God, it’s most definitely because of some secret sin in your life.
  • Don’t use logic or intellect to make decisions in life, trust that God will provide your every need.
  • If you really have no faith that God is going to answer your prayer, use the phrase “if it be God’s will.” Then if it doesn’t happen the way you asked, your reputation won’t be sullied because it wasn’t a fervent and effectual prayer of a righteous person, it’s that God had other plans.
  • When praying publicly, remind those listening (including God) how much holier you are by randomly interjecting the words “Lord,” or “God,” or “Jesus,” or any combination of the three with an occasional prefix of “Dear,” or “My,” or “Our.”
  • When possible, make sure your prayer is in the King’s English. Hearing words like “thou,” “shall,” and “hath” will standout against our current vernacular and cause God to stop playing Angry Birds on His iPad and take note of what your asking for.
  • Don’t worry about what the Bible actually says, instead focus on what you were told that it might have implied.
  • Some parts of the Bible aren’t really that important (ie. the fourth commandment, gluttony being an abomination, any verse that defines tithes, etc.).
  • If you think the people next to you are judging your holiness, speak in tongues, that’ll show ’em.
  • Wearing shorts inside the sanctuary is one way to get a direct flight to Hell.
  • When giving a testimony, make sure that it is a 15 minute bragging session, masked as humility and blessing.
  • If someone comes to the front for prayer, it’s never to pray for someone else, it’s to ask forgiveness for something scandalous. Feel “led by God” to go ask for details so that you can pray more specifically for their needs.
  • When “laying on hands,” either for healing or deliverance, the more force you use to grip or hit them with, the better chance you have of seeing your prayer answered by God.
  • When praying for someone younger than yourself, it’s necessary to pull their ear so close to your mouth that they will feel your hot, stale breath condensing in their ear canal.
  • Everyone in your church should have the exact same gift of the Spirit, that way it breeds competition among the brethren, and contempt for those who are blessed with a less popular gift.
  • Although we are all the body of God, some parts of the body probably aren’t going to make it to Heaven, and if they do, their crowns will be greatly outnumbered by ours.
  • Being baptized in this denomination’s church means that you are being baptized into our social group, not into God’s family.
  • Verily, verily, I say unto you, thou shalt readeth from thine King James Version of the Bible, lest thine holier than thou brethren condemneth thee, and thou shalt surely perish socially.
  • Knowing what you believe is more important that knowing why you believe it, or whether it is actually in the Bible or not.
  • Missionaries are called to go to Dakar, not Detroit.
  • If you forget the lyrics to the song, close your eyes, bow your head, and whisper a faint, yet audible prayer. That means you’re sensitive to the move of God, as opposed to just plain forgetful or nervous.
  • If called to preach before a congregation, emphasize all three of your sermon points by slamming your Bible on the pulpit or the pew of those who have lost interest. As a side note, it helps to add the suffix “-ugh” to the end of key words and phrases.
  • Any time that you are in any secular public venue or eating establishment, make sure that those around you realize how much better you are than them by showing them that “Children of God” deserve to be waited on, hand and foot, with absolutely no hope of a decent tip or common kindness during your stay.
  • Don’t worry if you can’t pay your bills, that’s a sign that the Devil is out to get you for being so holy, not a sign that you should have budgeted more money for food and heat, as opposed to lottery tickets and a new Mercedes.
  • As a “Child of the King,” expect those around you to bow and praise your holiness any time that you perform a common act of decency toward another human being. Of course you deserve a cookie for treating others with common courtesy.

I have of course taken the liberty to poke fun at some of the more prominent issues that exist in the churches I have attended and visited over the years, and trust me there are plenty that go unmentioned. I do this to bring our attention to some of the items of concern that folks not raised in this crazy culture we call “Christianity” have issue with, are confused by, or are quite bluntly repulsed by. Any group of people will have issues due to nothing more than the mere inclusion of people themselves. These are the same issues that have existed within church bodies since the dawn of time, and they’ll be with us until the end of time. So as we enter this Easter holiday weekend, let’s just accept each other, believer and unbeliever alike, for what they are, and then make sure we act accordingly in deed, not just in word.

Enjoy!

…and if you don’t, please write me to tell me how horrible it is and what parts you merely dislike as well as the parts that you utterly despise.

~ matt

I guess I misunderstood!?

I work for a “Christian” organization and was sent an email from my boss with the subject “Deadline” and it read as follows:

Please e-mail your 30–60 word paragraph for Michelle’s memory book to Jonathan by Tuesday noon.

I responded in kind:

Michelle,

I was told that I needed to submit a “well wishes” comment for your Memory Book to Jonathan by 12:00 noon today. I have to admit that I’m not exactly sure why I’m supposed to send you my “well wishes” as I was always told that if I spoke of my “well wishes” with anyone, other than the “wish granting troll” at the bottom of said “well,” it would negate the validity of my wishes. That said, it was also the only email that I’ve ever received at work here with the word “Deadline” in it, so I guess I should comply with the request. My “well wishes” are as follows:

  1. I wish for more wishes, 100 to be exact, and pronto!
  2. I wish for unlimited funding to keep an ever bleeding edge Linux desktop and server array in my home.
  3. I wish for the proper land and estate required to fulfill my lifelong dream of raising honey badgers. They’re mean but beautiful.
  4. I wish for a fleet of biodiesel powered Humvees (including the MUTT, Gama Goat, Ambulance, and CUCV versions) to be fueled and at the ready, 24/7.
  5. I wish for three secret lairs to be built to my specification. One in the base of a volcano, one underwater in the Indian Ocean, and one on the dark side of Earth’s moon.
  6. I wish for all the people of the world to join hands, in a spirit of harmony and truth, and demand that MacGyver be returned to prime time network television.
  7. I wish for a Sovereign class starship with a fully vetted crew and fully stocked ordinances to orbit Earth, ready for departure to worlds unknown in the event of WWIII, or Miley Cyrus being given a lifetime achievement award in any category, in any country.
  8. I wish for the ability to speak the languages of every living thing on the planet. So that I can negotiate a peace treaty among all species, and also so that I can tell off that snotty poodle across the street in her own tongue…she’s always had it out for me.
  9. I wish for God Almighty to light upon this Earth, solely to appoint me as the world’s One True Technology Czar with the power to start a Technological Inquisition and Crusade, the likes of which have never been seen by human or non-human eyes.
  10. I wish for Michelle to be allowed to escape the bonds and confines of her current dead-end job, into the unfettered joy and freedom that only the secular workplace can provide.

Godspeed!

matt

I was then informed that the Memory Book for Michelle was supposed to be:

about Michelle…not us.

I guess I misunderstood as I:

thought it was to remind Michelle about us, as she probably wouldn’t have a hard time remembering about herself…my bad.

I subsequently submitted the following, at exactly 60 words, nonetheless:

Michelle,

I was told that I needed to submit a 30-60 word “well wishes” comment for your Memory Book to Jonathan by 12:00 noon today. I, as resident cynic and skeptic, hereby wish you well as you throw off the ties that bind, and embark into the unfettered joy and freedom that only the secular workplace can provide.

Godspeed!

matt

I guess I keep forgetting that terms like “humor” or “wordplay” or “sarcasm” have no place with terms like “Christian” or “organization” or “University.”

[reprinted as submitted by an unnamed source within an unnamed organization]