Random Firings of Neurons

The rest of your life is going to be spent getting back up after life has knocked you down again. You might as well just get used to it.

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Location: Round Rock, Texas, United States

Saturday, November 27, 2004

On meanings

Okay, this has been bugging me for quite some time, now. So, I'm going to try and get it off my chest, and see if it helps y'all understand some very important things about Christianity, and the schisms between the denominations.

Way back when, even before digital watches, the Roman Catholic Church had a near-monopoly on Christian doctrine. The Greek Orthodox Church existed, sure, but it only had influence in the East. The only other Christian doctrines that existed were (correctly, BTW) labeled as heretics by the RCC. Now, with a near-monopoly on the issue of doctrine, what did the RCC do? It started ignoring, re-interpreting, and just flat out declaring wrong any portion of the Bible that didn't conform to the wishes of the Pope and the Cardinals. What was their reason? Simple. Power grab. Many, if not most, of the Council of Cardinals were cardinals because of money or political influence, rather than any real grasp of Christian doctrine, so, the cardinals merely were continuing the behavior that made them cardinals to begin with. So, we can understand WHY it happened, we just don't have to agree with it, or the results.

One of the worst results that happened was the diluting of the Gospel. Since most people at that time were illiterate, they couldn't read the words of the Gospel for themselves, so had to take the RCC's word for it. And since the cardinals were more interested in grabbing power than winning souls, they started the tradition of "expository revelation", or, put in simpler, jargon-free terms, "God told me that this part of the Bible doesn't apply anymore". When the cardinals, through their puppet, the Pope, started to realize that they were using that outlet even too much for their tastes, they had to take a different tack. Which was deciding that the Bible had to be fallible, since it was written by men. Now, if one part of the Bible is fallible, due to it's human authorship, wouldn't it stand to reason that ANY part of the Bible could be fallible, even the parts about the existence of God?

I don't think it is any accident that most of the anti-Christian arguements are the direct result of some of the RCC doctrines and theology from the middle part of the RCC history. Since the RCC declared portions of the Bible in error, due to the human weakness, NO part of the Bible became defensible, at least for the RCC. And when parts of the Bible were selectively interpreted, sometimes willfully and grossly, what was to prevent anyone else from declaring THEIR interpretation to be the correct one? When one part of the Bible is applied, without the contextual passsages surrounding it, how can anyone be criticized for using one verse to justify their bad behavior?

One of the longer term effects of this doctrine is the Protestant schism, and the schishms between the Protestants. Many, if not most, of the Protestant denominations were created because they felt that either the RCC, or the other Protestants, were selectively interprteting, or even ignoring, the parts of the Bible that the new denomination considered important. So, the various flavors of Protestants actually are the result of many decisions, by many people, to selectively interpret the Bible differently than anyone else. This has got to stop, and right now.

If you are a Christian, or even call yourself one, you have to make a decision, and soon. Are you going to accept the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible, or are you going to continue to pay attention to only the parts that you like? Because, I assure you, Jesus knew about what was going to happen, and predicted it, and then laid out a punishment for it. When He returns, He will also cast into the Lake of Fire those who claimed to be followers of His, yet didn't follow ALL of His commandments...even the commandments we don't like. Don't believe me? Look it up. In Jesus' own words, false followers of Him will be treated no better than people who didn't follow Him. And those who preach false doctrine will be "twice damned" for preaching false doctrine. Once for themselves, and once for the soul that they condemned to the Lake of Fire.

Pray on it. Think on it. Read on it. But, most importantly, ACT on it.

On more lame excuses

Okay, I haven't been posting much, yet again, but I have a reason. Work became somewhat of a butt-kicker these past two weeks, with drivers being injured at alarming rates, and then having a holiday in the middle of the week. The same amount of trash needs to be picked up, but, one week, we didn't have enough drivers to do it, and the next week, we didn't have enough days. So, this morning, I was priveleged enough to get to work, picking up garbage, to help us catch up for next week. It was cold, and it rained EVERY STINKIN' MINUTE I WAS OUT THERE! So, after I dry off, and suck down some HOT coffee, and get to feeling like I won't freeze to death, I just might be able to muster the energy to get some posts up.

I make no promises as to the quality of the posts, just that they will be present.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

On giving thanks

Okay, I'll admit it. Thanksgiving is one of my least favorite holidays, but not because of the sentiment(s) involved, but merely because of my...interesting...family dynamics. But, in the spirit of what Thanksgiving is SUPPOSED to mean, I'll do a Giving of Thanks here.

I am thankful for my job. It isn't an easy job, and it takes a lot out of me, and I think I'm a touch too high-mileage to actually do it for too long, but, it pays the bills, and I'm surviving it, for now, at least.

I am thankful for my Lord and Savior, without whom, I wouldn't know HOW to be a good person. I don't always succeed (in fact, I fail more often than I succeed...), but, at least I have an ideal to strive for.

I am thankful that my country saw fit to elect a man of principle, rather than a charlatan. I was very nervous about the election results, even when I went to bed that night. I woke up the next morning to find that America WASN'T a country of easily led automatons.

I am thankful for y'all, my loyal readers. I am very sorry that I can't, or won't, post enough to justify your visits, but, I hope that I'll be able to, once I get used to the rather ridiculous amount of labour I have to perform in a normal day.

I am especially thankful for Greg and Todd. They have helped me out through some interesting times, and I don't know if they even know they did it. But, they did, and I am very grateful for that.

I am thankful for my three darling nephews. They are wonderful children, even though their mother (my sister) has made some decisions about their upbringing that I don't neccesarily agree with. But, they aren't my children, so, I'll just continue to play with them, and spoil them, until I have some DevilPuppies of my own.

I am thankful that the obligatory family holidays only come around twice a year, within a month's span, so I don't have to put up with my horrid family any more than I have to. I am polite to them, but I am miserable every minute I spend with them. Except my nephews. Them, I like.

I am thankful that I had the chance to grow up in the greatest country the Earth has ever seen, and then had a chance to serve that country. Even if I wasn't the best Marine, or most disciplined, or even the most skilled. At least I am an American, and a Marine. And NO ONE can take that away from me. No matter what anyone says about me, or does to me, or says to me, I am still a US Marine (not currently serving), and that is good enough for me.

Friday, November 12, 2004

On dinner at the King's house

Not too long ago, I posted this thread about not wanting to deal with organised religion anymore. Brian B, of Memento Moron, brought up the very valid point of churches being a place of fellowship, also.

That got me to thinking about the role of churches, and what their function is supposed to be. "Church" is a word of Greek origin, meaning "community". That should tell us something about how the early Christian Church functioned. It was a neighborhood, not a temple. The early Church was primarily for Christians to meet other Christians, and to worship the Lord of Hosts together. Now, churches are, for the most part, either indoctrination centers, or places to evangelize the evangelized. Actual dedication to the Word of God seems to be rather lacking.

Now, don't get me wrong. I only recently (past 2 years) dedicated my life to Jesus. Before then, I was just a Christian in Name Only. I didn't attend church, and I didn't really think that God was real. In fact, I used to tell people that I was more of a Buddhist by temperment, but didn't want to take the time to learn all about Buddhism to actually become a Buddhist. So, Christianity it was, since I was raised in a Judeo-Christian society, so already had most of the basic tenets down pat. Or so I thought.

One day, I was driving somewhere (for the life of me, I can't remember where, but that can happen when you drive 100,000 miles+ in an average year), and all I could get on the radio was a Christian radio station. Well, just to have something to listen to, I listened. I mean, I was a Christian, even if I didn't believe all that Jesus-rose-from-the-dead mumbo-jumbo, right? Wrong. It was a sermon by Dr. David Jeremiah, and it literally changed my life. I don't even remember what the sermon was about. All I know is, I was left with the feeling that I had been lied to. By my mother. By the Catholic school I attended. By society. By the Mormons. (I was baptized Mormon, FYI...) By everyone. Christianity was NEVER about going to church. It was about talking to God directly, and binding my soul to God's Will. It was all there. In the Bible. All I had ever had to do was actually crack the cover on the Bible, and actually read what Jesus told us. And Paul. We must NEVER forget Paul.

You see, Paul didn't attend church. He was too busy founding them. He rarely went to a church in the cities he visited, since he was usually the only Christian when he arrived. There wasn't a community for him to take fellowship with. He created the communities, and then left to create new communities. Paul didn't need to attend church, because wherever he went, he WAS the church. Him and God. Paul contented himself with the fellowship of God. And I see no reason for me not to follow his example.

But, I actually do have a church that I attend for fellowship. It is here, and here, and here. It is also here, and here. My church follows me wherever I go, because, wherever I go, God is with me. I also get my fellowship with other Christians, wherever I find them, be it on the Internet, or on the radio, or in the meat world. So, I don't need a church for fellowship. I have my fellowship. All the fellowship I need. I found my church. It just wasn't in a brick-and-mortar building, as most people think it is. It was in the world, and with God. YOU are my Christian fellowship. Not the building. Not the denomination. People who search for the Will of God is my church. And will remain so until God calls for me to join Him.

On obligations and responsibilities

In the past couple of days, I have had it impressed upon my heart to do something that I really don't want to do. I mean, I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY don't want to do this, but, I have to. I don't really have a choice. You see, when God tells you to do something, you would be well-advised to do it. But I really don't want to do it, and I bet that y'all don't want to do it, either. But we have to. HAVE TO! We, literally, have no choice.

What is this thing that we must do, that we don't want to do?

We have to pray for Yassir Arafat's soul. We have to pray to God to forgive Yassir for his sins and crimes. Yes, he was evil. Yes, he was a murderer. Yes, he was a tyrant. Yes, he was a tool of the Adversary. All of these things are true, and I imagine that there are other things about him that we DON'T know about him that would only lower our estimation of him. That is all irrelevant.

If we were to rate ourselves on a goodness scale, where would we each rate ourselves? How would we rate Yassir Arafat? How would we rate ourselves compared to Yassir Arafat? Let me tell you, it doesn't matter, because God is rating all of us, and He is using a diffent scale than we are. No matter how high we rate ourselves, God is rated at "Infinite". And, if any of us remember our theoretical mathematics, "Infinite" is an awfully big number. Well, what difference does it make to God if we are a 75 on the Goodness Scale, or a 50? Or even a 1000? Because every number we rate ourselves at falls short, WAY short, of God. When God is perfect, and we all fall short of His standards, who are we to say that we are any better or worse than anyone else?!

So, for this reason, I have found myself asking God to forgive Mr. Arafat. Even though I prayed for his death, and cheered when it came to pass, now, I have to ask God to forgive him. Because, to God, Arafat and I are the same rating on the Goodness Scale...not good enough.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

On cuteness

The only reason they lived this long... Posted by Hello

Okay, I've got to take a moment or two and show off my two adorable cats. Since I don't have children of my own, these two will have to suffice for now.

There is a saying about children, which I will now apply to my cats: The reason cats are cute is for self-defence. Otherwise, you'd kill them.

Zoe, the grey one, is currently gnawing on my foot, as if she knows that I'm talking about her. Kili, the calico, is glaring at the both of us. Which is her normal activity.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

On happy holidays

Okay, I have to be honest. There are only four holidays that I even consider celebrating, and today and tommorrow are two of them. Today, if you didn't know, is the US Marine Corps' Birthday, and tommorrow is Veteran's Day. Both of them are very important to me, but one of them is more...sentimental to me. Care to take a guess which one? But, anyway, the only other holidays I celebrate are Independence
Day (which really isn't July 4, but will suffice lacking a better date) and Memorial Day. Every other holiday can go away, as far as I'm concerned.

Easter? Pagan holiday. Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Passover celebration, so, Easter ought to be the same week as Passover, right? Wrong, at least according the Roman Catholic Church. You see, they wanted to blend in with the pagans, so adopted the pagan holidays as their own. And Easter is an adaptation of a pagan spring festival of fertility. Now does the Easter Bunny make a little more sense?

Christmas? Even worse. Jesus was most assuredly NOT born in the middle of winter. He was likely born in summer or late spring. So, why the winter celebration? Again, the RCC adopted a pagan winter holiday as their own, with many of the pagan rituals and trappings.

Thanksgiving? Only for personal reasons. I have NEVER had a Thanksgiving dinner with my family (mother and sister) that I enjoyed. I don't enjoy being baited in conversation by my moonbat mother, and being ignored by my mother and sister when they start talking. So, for now, the only reason I participate in Thanksgiving is to play with my three adorable nephews.

Halloween? Pagan holiday. 'Nuff said.

Labor Day? Only in America do we celebrate Union workers with a day off...which, considering the work ethic of most unions, actually makes a fair amount of sense. But, why on Earth would I want to celebrate unions?

New Year's Eve and Day? Another pagan holiday, but, this time, with drunken crowds. I hate crowds, and I hate drunks even more. Even though I used to be one of those drunks. Nothing sets my teeth on edge faster than a mob of drunken idiots, many of whom are fights looking for a place to occur. I don't like fights. Someone always goes to the hospital, and someone always goes to jail. I don't like hospitals, so I usually choose to go to jail.

Now that I have my little gripe about holidays out of the way, let me get on to the important stuff.

Happy Birthday, United States Marine Corps. Semper Fidelis. Here's to another 500 years of God's Finest Fighting Force protecting liberty and freedom throughout the world...even if some of the guarded don't deserve it.

"If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven's scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded by
United States Marines!"

Give 'em Hell in Fallujah, Leathernecks.

Happy Veteran's Day, veterans currently serving, and those who wish they still were. Without you, I would not have had the chance to grow up in the greatest country God has ever seen fit to allow. It is because of you that I had the choice to join the US Marine Corps, and the freedom to write these praises for you, without a rifle being pointed at my head. Today, I will think about all the veterans America has, both here and at the right hand of God. For the American Veterans truly did God's work here on Earth.

Even if y'all were just support troops for my beloved Corps.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

On pondering imponderables

Okay, I have some questions, comments and snide remarks to make, and they all have to do with my job.

1. What is it about VERY LARGE TRUCKS that makes you drivers in crunchy four-wheeled vehicles become stupid? I am getting sick and tired of little squishy four-wheelers darting around me in no passing zones, just to get to a stop sign 1/2 second before me...all the while ignoring the fact that they took away 2 seconds of my 5 second stopping time. If you ever hear a truck driver say he was standing on his brakes, he means it LITERALLY! Let me tell you, the absolutely, positively LAST place you EVER want to be in the WORLD is in front of a 50,000+lb. vehicle while it is trying to stop...especially if you are in a wet-cardboard-box-with-wheels called a "car". When my truck is loaded, it will run over your car like it was a speed bump...with about the same ride for me. Trust me. I will barely even notice your Suburban under my tires. If numbers help you understand this, "your" SUV will weigh anywheres between 1,500 and 5,000lbs. My truck, when empty, weighs a hair under 40,000lbs. (39,120, if you want to be near-exact) Which one of us is going to win in a collision?

2. For those of you who recycle, here is a list of things that I have pulled out of recycle bins that are NOT recylable:

a. Pumpkins. For that matter, NO edible materials are recyclable...unless given to a food-bank. And a garbage truck is NOT a food bank.
b. Shoes. They are recyclable...if you take them to a cobbler, or to GoodWill, or some other charitable organisation. Garbage trucks are NOT charitable organisations.
c. Drywall. Just because it has paper on the outside, doesn't mean it's recyclable.
d. Lumber, especially treated lumber and plywood. Just because paper was wood at one time doesn't mean that wood is recyclable.
e. Grass and leaves. Similar to (a), but non-edible.
f. Pizza boxes. Okay, the cardboard in a pizza box IS recyclable, but the grease and cheese stuck to the box is NOT.
g. Anything inflatable. Things that need air to be full size are not made of plastic. At the very best, they are made of vinyl, which, while a plastic, is not a recyclable plastic.
h. Clothes. Again, recyclable, but not by a garbage truck.
i. Shingles. I can't even begin to fathom why anyone thinks that a slice of roadway is recyclable.
j. Microwave ovens. Not only are they not recyclable, they aren't even trash. They are appliances. For some reason, landfills have issues with people dumping radioactive materials at their sites.
k. Light bulbs, flourescent AND incandescent. While the glass is recylable, the powders applied to the inside of the bulbs are not.
l. Kitty litter, new OR used. I don't know where someone got that idea from, but about .1% of the people who own cats seem to think that.
m. Pottery. Glass, yes. Clay, no. Just because it shatters when dropped does not mean it is glass.
n. Porcelain. See (m). (Porcelain and clay are different things...)
o. Tires. Similar to (j), but, this time, it's "stuff that has a half-life longer than most radioactive materials" Vulcanized rubber just isn't all that bio-degradeable.
p. Batteries. Just because something is metal on the outside does NOT mean it is metal on the inside.
q. Coffee makers. similar to (p), but "plastic" instead of "metal".

3. What on EARTH possesses people to put styrofoam packing peanuts in their trashcans with no bags?! That trash can is going to go upside down while it is being dumped into a hopper, after which said hopper is going to go 25ft in the air...and then turn upside down. If there is a 5mph wind that day, it will be raining packing peanuts for the next 5 minutes, and there isn't anything the driver can do about it. If the driver is in an especially vile mood, he will dump that hopper right next to YOUR yard, and do it sloppily, just so you can come home and find your lawn looking like a fine January morning. The driver who taught me that calls it "Giving them their peanuts back."

And while we are on the topic of ways to mess up your lawn whilst your garbage man is dumping his hopper, why do people think that they don't need garbage bags just because they have a garbage can?! The people who do that usually have VERY nice houses, and also have about 4 cans of garbage out. You would think they would spring for the garbage bags, just to keep their well-maintained lawn from looking like a landfill on a windy day. If you put loose garbage in your garbage cans, on a windy day, you will get much of your loose garbage back...all over your lawn. And the driver isn't going to spend more than 30 seconds cleaning it up. He's a garbage man, not a janitor. Bag that garbage, even if it is going in a can.

4. Don't try and bribe your garbage man into lifting your 150lb. can. You can't offer him enough money to make it worth his while, should he hurt his back lifting the remnants of your garage into his truck. If he gets hurt, he WILL NOT be able to collect Workman's Compensation, because his company has rules against picking up anything that weighs more than 50lbs. Your $5 bill won't pay for the lost wages. In fact, it won't even pay for the lost wages he will suffer in the next 1/2 hour...my training wage is almost three times that an hour.

5. Polite people consider it rude to put out, oh, 5 times the allowable amount of garbage, and then call and complain that the driver only took twice the allowable amount of garbage. The reason there is a limit on how much garbage people can put out is that each community has a contract stipulating how much trash per household it wants to pay for to be removed. The contractor company has no say in the limit. It only has a say in how much each bag or can may weigh.

6. City garbage men have it easy. They WILL NOT pick up anything that isn't per rules. Since I work for a contractor company, I'm not supposed to, but I kinda have to, to keep complaints down to a minimum, so my company can get the contract the next negotiation period. If you think you don't have to follow the local city's rules on garbage pickup (<35gal. containers, <50lbs., detachable lids) just because you don't live in that city, you are wrong, and making your garbage man work harder than he really is supposed to. You probably have a contractor company, and they'll put up with your rule-breaking, just so they don't lose the contract next time.

7. What in the world possesses people to put their trash out A DAY LATE, and then call and complain that the garbage man didn't pick it up?! I was finishing the previous day's route one morning, and had just finished a stretch of road and was turning around, when I noticed a pile of garbage that wasn't there ten minutes ago. I went back and picked it up, and checked the bags to see if they were cold. If they were cold, I was ready to take the blame for overlooking the trash. But, just as I suspected, the bags were still warm...in fact, they were radiating heat. Sure enough, I got a call on the radio an hour later, saying that I had missed them. I informed my dispatcher that I had picked up their trash THAT MORNING, after they had put out behind me. I was aided in my case by the fact that I had radiod in their perfidy when I took care of it...at my company, do that to your garbage man enough times, and we won't pick your trash up anymore until you can get it out on time. Which is usually 6:30AM or 7:00AM, depending on the community's rules.

Okay, that's all for now. These are the things that have been bothering me the most about slingin' trash. Truth be told, being a garbage man isn't all that bad, other than having to deal with people whose only goal in life is to put their trash out.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

On fighing back

I am in a bit of a quandry at work. It seems that some of the more experienced drivers (at least more experienced than me, which is all of them but one...) have the bug up their butt to unionize. Unionize. Yep, you saw that right. There is talk of letting the Teamsters into our shop. Of course, this generated the expected reaction from management...sheer panic. Management doesn't want us to unionize, and is now trying to do everything it can to keep the Teamsters out. So, management is now trying to address all the problems the drivers have to keep the union from getting in. This creates a small problem for me.

You see, there are very few things I hate more than unions. VERY few. If I had to choose between joining a union, and becoming a subject of the Holy See, I would become Catholic. Now, if it was a choice between joining a union and becoming Muslim, I would seriously contemplate suicide...or at least armed rebellion. Now, my problem is, I don't want the union to come in. So, I am going to work with management as much as I can to keep the union out. But, I'm new. VERY new. So, I now run the risk of pissing off a lot of my co-workers who may be amenable to the lies promises of the union. But, I don't want to work for a union. I have already told one of my bosses that I might have to quit if the we unionize. There is a chance that I can transfer out, but I'm so new, that no other facility may want me, due to me being an unknown quantity, with no real pattern of work for them to base their decision on. Also, since I am so new, I doubt the other drivers will be willing to confide in me about their problems with management, so management can fix them. This means that there is rather little that I can do to actually help the management to fix the problems, thereby helping me in my goal to keep the union out.

I suppose I should take this time to explain that there are very few workers out there who are a bigger friend of higher management than I am. Due to my rather, um, varied work history (I used to be a job-hopper...), I have quite a bit of experience dealing with management, and have actually been a manager three times. I know how difficult successful management is, and I know how thankless their lives are. So, I try and make the management's life as easy as possible, with an unintended side-effect being that I rarely have to actually talk to my bosses. I don't like talking to my boss. It usually means I am either getting more work, or an ass-chewing. I don't like either situation. So, I bend over backwards to insure that management never has a reason to talk to me, which means I don't cause problems, I don't complain, and I don't make waves. I also volunteer for a lot of extra work, to prevent management from assigning the work to me.

In addition, I found out something about how Christians are supposed to conduct their work lives that changed how I behaved as an employee. You see, Paul told us that we are to work "as unto the Lord"...which means God is my boss, not my company. My company just happens to be the local supervisor for me, but God is my boss. And God is NOT a boss that one should try and piss off. He always seems to get His way, and, when He fires someone, it tends to not involve any unemloyment compensation...

So, if y'all have any suggestions of what I can do to keep the union out, I am open to hearing them. Please keep them moral, ethical, and legal.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

On Courage

Have you ever heard a song that hit you right in the gut? Left you short of breath? Hit WAY too close to home? Well, Casting Crowns, one of the best new Christian bands out there, has a song like that for me. If you don't have the album, I suggest you go out and get it. But, for now, I'll just print the lyrics to their song, The Voice of Truth. You tell me if it doesn't hit too close to home.

The Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns

Oh What I Would Do To Have
The Kind Of Faith It Takes
To CLimb Out Of This Boat
And Then
On To The Crashing Wave
To Step Out Of My Comfort Zone
Into The Rhelms Of The Unknown
Where Jesus Is
And He's holding out his hand

But The Waves Are Calling Out My Name
And They Laugh At Me
Reminding Me Of All The Times
Ive Tried Before and Failed
The Waves They keep On Telling me
Time and Time Again
Boy You'll Never
No You'll Never Win

But The Voice Of Truth
Tells Me A Different Story
The Voice Of Truth
Says Do Not Be Afraid
And The Voice of Truth
Says This Is For My Glory
Out Of All The Voices Calling out To Me
I will Choose To Listen and Believe
The Voice Of Truth

Oh What I Would Do To Have
The Kind Of Strength It Takes To Stand Before
A Giant
With Just A Sling And A Stone
Surrounded By The Sound
Of A Thousand Warriors
Shaking In Their Armor
Wishing They Had Had The Strength To Stand
But The Giant's Calling out My Name
And He Laughs At Me
Reminding Me Of All the Times
I've tried Before and Failed
The Giant Keeps on Telling Me

Time and Time Again
Boy You'll Never Win
You'll Never Win

But The Voice Of Truth
Tells Me A Different Story
The Voice Of Truth
Says Do Not Be Afraid
And The Voice of Truth
Says This Is For My Glory
Out Of All The Voices Calling out To Me
I will Choose To Listen and Believe
The Voice Of Truth

The Stone Was Just The Right Size
To Put The Giant On The Ground
And The Waves They Dont Seem So high
On Top Of Them Looking Down
I'll Soar With The Wings Of Eagles
When I Stop And Hear The Voice Of Jesus
Singing It Over Me

The Voice Of Truth
Tells Me A Different Story
The Voice Of Truth
Says Do Not Be Afraid
And The Voice of Truth
Says This Is For My Glory
Out Of All The Voices Calling out To Me
I will Choose To Listen and Believe
I will Choose To Listen and Believe
The Voice Of Truth

I Will Listen And Believe
I Will Listen And Believe
The Voice Of Truth
I Will Listen And Believe
Cause Jesus You Are The Voice Of Truth
And I Will Listen To You
You Are

I will not eat the King's food

When I started this little glimpse into my twisted psyche, I made a decision to title all of my posts "On (subject X)". As if y'all didn't notice that. But, today, my title is rather different. And with good reason, too.

My thoughts today are running towards choices. Important choices. Life-altering choices, and how to deal with them. And how important choices, and the ability to make those choices on one's own, affects our lives, and the lives of those around us.

While I may not get the nitty-gritty details of this little tale correct, due to laziness in actually researching it, the gist of it is accurate, and based on a sermon I heard on the radio while picking up trash from some God-forsaken township here in Dane County, Wisconsin. The story is one of choices, and how important they are.

When the Babylonians conquered Israel, the Babylonian king was impressed with the knowledge and minds of the Israelite people. So, he decided that he was going to take a group of the best and brightest children of Israel, and teach them how to run the Babylonian government for the king. He commanded that they not want for anything. The best food, the best clothes, the best teachers, and even the best homes. In return, these young minds were to become Babylonian. With Babylonian names, Babylonian gods, and Babylonian manners. The parents of these young minds cautioned their boys to remain true to their Israelite heritage, and to not forget that they were Israelites. But, what were these young boys to do? They were only allowed to speak Babylonian, write Babylonian, and use their Babylonian names. But, one of these young, promising minds, when asked what the King could provide for him, said "A simple room to study in, a simple bed to sleep in, and bread and water to eat." For three years, this young man studied in a simple room, sleeping on a simple bed, and eating only bread, and drinking water. When it came time for "final exams" after three years of immersion in the Babylonian way of life, only the young man of simple desires was acceptable to the King. He was the only one who learned what was taught, and the only one with the abilities to perform the duties the King required.

Now, I would imagine you might be asking yourself, "Self, what does this have to do with choices?". Glad you asked.

That young man would later be better known by his HEBREW name of Daniel. In order to remain true to his Israelite heritage, Daniel decided that he would NOT partake of the King's generosity, lest Daniel become beholden to the King out of gratitude. By not partaking of the King's food, Daniel was free to worship The Lord of Hosts, without letting thoughts of what the King might say about it. Also, by not accepting the King's generosity, Daniel also removed also all ability of the King to punish Daniel for any transgressions. Since Daniel was receiving next to nothing from the King, the King couldn't withhold much from Daniel.

Now, on to how this pertains to me. A couple of days ago, I posted about how the major denominations of Christianity selectively interpret the Bible, or, in some cases, ignore it all together. That same day, over at Mr. Minority's site, he had this post. Which got me to thinking. And then, I heard the story of Daniel, and his upbringing in the court of Babylon, which got me to thinking even more.

What I decided is that I will no longer eat the King's food. EVERY denomination of Christianity has it wrong. Every.Stinkin'.One. I have yet to hear a major denomination actually practice what it preaches, when it comes to believing the Bible is the Word of God. Every one ignores the parts they don't like, and preaches only on the parts they do like. So, from now on, until I find a church that actually PRACTICES WHAT IT STINKIN' PREACHES, I will no longer go to church. Nor will I affiliate myself with ANY denomination. I, personally, am sick and tired of going to a church that professes to be the "True Christian" church, only to find the minister preaching heresy and lies from the pulpit. I'm tired of it, and I'm not going to take it any more.

Another VERY important factor in my decision is the role which organised religion plays in the Bible. Which isn't a very good role. When one reads the Bible, it is almost always the trained clergy who turn away from the Lord of Hosts, and most of the prophets (I think all of them, actually, but I could be mistaken) had little or no religious training. Coincidence? I don't think so. It is also relevant to me that Jesus preached AGAINST organised religion, and told us that God was always with us, even if we weren't in the Temple. (for those who don't know, there were only two temples to JHVH in Jesus' day...one in Jerusalem, and the other in Samaria...which is why the Israelites and Samarians didn't get along. They were arguing over which Temple was the correct Temple.) In addition, Paul spent almost all of his evangelising years nowhere near a church...since he was too busy being Super-Apostle to actually attend church. Also, it's kinda hard to attend church when you are in a location to actually create a church...

So, from now on, I am simply a Christian. No denomination. No church. No minister to tell me how the Bible is wrong "just this once", none of it. I encourage y'all to pray about it, and consider it for yourselves, but I don't expect you to.

Some people actually like the King's food.

Semper Fidelis: Always Faithful, to God, Corps and Country