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Archive for the ‘Livable philosophy’ Category

I’ve lived long enough to realize that we have seasons in our lives. Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Not just physical seasons but spiritual seasons as well. And recently I’ve began thawing out from a long hard, cold winter in my soul. I was too long alone in the wastelands of my frozen, ice hardened heart. I’ve been dark, cold and miserable.

Recently a Spring breeze has been warming my soul, awakening my stoney, cold heart. And a still small voice on that wind has been speaking “life” to my darkened mind. Remaining me whose I am. That I have been chosen by the Father and given to his Only Begotten Son. It’s all of Grace!

My soul is being revived! The love of God is crushing this heart of stone and replacing it with a heart that is tuning into Christ. His love and patience is breaking into the darkest corners of my mind with light, life, and truth. He is restoring my soul!!
All I want right now is to be with him. To walk with him. I understand what Paul was saying now… to live is Christ!
“In Christ”
I get it now! To be in Christ as He is in The Father… my sin is blotted out because of what Jesus the Christ did on the cross in obedience to the plan of redemption he and the Father prepared before he ever created the first thing. That is the Sovereignty of the one who created everything that was ever created. He is the Sovereign God over all the Universe, over all Creation!
And I am his!
I am in Christ.
His will, his plan, his workmanship!

Do you understand?
Do you see?

What a savior!

He is my Lord, my redeemer, my God!

Ephesians 2:4-10
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

How can I be quiet any longer!?
How can I not witness what He has done for me?
I am a Child of Love, I’ve been adopted and am in Jesus Christ, God the Father’s accepted, saved by His Amazing Grace!!

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Have you ever really read the words to the hymns you sing? Read with meditation the words Robert Robinson penned in 1758. 263 years ago, yet still as powerful as the day they were written.(truth is like that you know)

“Come Thou Fount”

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothèd then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

1758
Robert Robinson.

May verse 4 become one of my daily prayers.

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Ever have an epiphany?
I just did, I had a freaking crap storm of them.
It just dawned on me that in my youth I never expected to live to see my 35th Birthday so I never planned on anything after that. Nothing.
Zip, ziltch, nada.
No financial plan, no career plan, no retirement plan. Just work until I die… so, according to my original calculations I should have not made it to 35. Then my adjusted calculations said I’d never make 45 since my dad died at 44. Yeah, that came and went as well. The final calculations begin this year when I hit 54, the same as as my Grandfather when he died. (and please, nobody give me the whole “it’s in God’s hands” spiel. I know it as well as anyone because I’m still freaking here)
Yep, here I am. Here I am…indeed.
Funny how life doesn’t go according to plan eh?
Epiphany #2 is this: If things are never going to change.. why waste the effort in attempting to make a change? (and please spare me the the self-help, self actualizing crap about, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires” philosophy. Nope, don’t believe that any longer either.)
Time is not on my side, there is more behind me now than there is in front of me, and all the best is in the rear view. There may be some good days here and there in what’s ahead but, it will be neither quantity nor quality and that’s just the facts. That’s not pity talking, it is reality. And that was Epiphany #3.

So, here’s to the days ahead. I know not what they bring. I’ll face them one at a time, and make the most of what is left, with what I have left. A job (yeah ,yeah, yeah… I’m thankful for it… but I hate it) that sucks the joy out of me. A neglected body that will probably never recover from the damage done to this point. And an attitude (and PLEASE don’t lecture me about attitude and how I can change it! I’ve lived with it this long so I’m f-ing comfortable with it.) I tried to reprogram for the past four years and I’m just tired of trying. Life’s too short to eat crab legs… too much effort and not enough reward. Just do what is comfortable and hope for the best.

And that’s it for now.  I’m just weary, bone freaking weary.

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While recuperating I am trying to return to reading more and getting back to learning.
I am finding that reading is a discipline akin to working out. It requires a concerted effort to guide my mind back into “reading mode.” Much like returning to running after years of non-running where my body had forgotten “how to” run, I find my mind has grown fat and lazy.  It prefers the junk food found in social media rather than the solid nutrition found in literature, art, and story.  So then, my “exercise” regime is to ease my mind back into reading.
I find my mind is hungry for substance, for ideas, for things that will cause me to grow rather than waste away on the junk food found in our technological cornucopia of social media and instant infotainment.  I find myself wondering if I have waited too long to get back to learning?  Am I too old?  Is it too late?  No!
No.  It is a matter of discipline.  It will take work, and it will not be easy.  There are many distractions in this day of instant internet and entertainment access.  It was an epiphany to realize that I had allowed myself to become seduced by easy technology, to be ensnared by the entertainment at my fingertips in the device I now carry with me everywhere I go.  My mind has become addicted to soundbite, to bumper sticker snippets and click-bait headlines.  All fluff and no substance.
  I have therefore decided to impose some self discipline and require myself to read for at least one hour each day.   In practicing that today, my mind realized the shallowness  of what I have been consuming for far too long and it realized the emptiness of time wasted in cheap entertainment pursuits with which I have intoxicated myself. Cheap entertainment pursuits that require no thought have left my mind numb and in desperate need of more nourishing substance.  
I hope to incorporate more classical literature in my routine as well as my mind training progresses.  I just know that at this moment my mind is starving for something more that the mind numbing dribble that I’ve been feeding it for the past several years.  It’s not too late to begin again and learn.  It’s not too late to feed my mind and soul.

In the words of one of my favorite movies I offer this quote:
“…while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.”
So, I begin… again.

On tap for now:

“On Writing Well”  William Zinsser
“Wabi Sabi for Writers”   Richard R Powell
“The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense”   Suzette Haden Elgin
“Finding your Perfect Work”    Paul and Sarah Edwards
“Pierre or, The Ambiguities”  Herman Melville
“Brain Power: practical ways to boost your memory, creativity and thinking capacity”   Laureli Blyth
“30 Steps to Becoming a Writer and Getting Published”   Scott Edelstein
“The Bible”   ESV study translation

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My story would begin in darkness though not total darkness but not romantic moonlit darkness either.   It would be more the darkness that accompanies a storm.   The kind that diffuses the the light and casts strange shadows across the land.  The kind that causes the street lamps to come on at mid-day.
I stand at the gate looking out at the road that lies before me, uncertain which direction to go from here.  Do I open the gate and step through?   Or do I run back  to the porch and ride out the storm in the relative comfort of  the crumbling structure I am  seeking to escape?   Do I stay until the bitter end?
I stand at the gate and look back.  Indecision has me paralyzed and the storm is increasing in intensity.   I feel the  wind at my back and it causes me to shiver.  I adjust my collar and huddle down to make myself a smaller target for the chill breeze and once again turn to look at the road before me just a step beyond the gate.
I stand at the gate and my eyes search for any sign of direction.   Off in the distance I see rays of sunlight that quickly retreat into shadow as I watch, teasing me with hope that is transient and elusive.    I’m too old to go chasing after “maybes” and “what-ifs.”  I need a sure thing.  Yet I realize how unreasonable and unrealistic that standard is.  There are no “sure things” and to make that a requirement will only keep me paralyzed with indecision.
I stand at the gate…

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Al-righty then,
Tonight’s workout was a milestone for me.
Now to preface what I am about to say let me define some terms and set the stage.
1) When I say Swimming I use the term in the loosest possible way imaginable. In fact, think wounded whale on drugs. Yeah… it’s not pretty.
2) Any other reference I make to swimming just refer to #1.

 

So I had found a sleeveless StayDry style shirt at Goodwill that covers most of my awesome Chris Farley wanna-be upper- body. It does help keep other patrons from being unbearably nauseated and keeps them from going blind due to my neon-whiteness.

I began slowly and stayed at that that speed all night.
The strokes that I know are…
and…
so I used both of them.

Down and back, down and back, down and… you get the picture. I made 35 round trips.

So why is that significant? Well it is kinda a big deal for a non-swimming middle-aged wounded neon bright white whale like me.
See, that’s a mile.
Yep a M-I-L-E.
It took me two hours in the water but I swam a mile this evening.

It was some kinda ugly but I did it!
Of course now I can’t comb my hair… or brush my teeth. In fact, the keyboard is as high as I can get my hands at the moment. I may have to put the tooth brush on the counter and bend over to it to brush my teeth tonight.

It may not be what anyone who was watching would call “swimming” but I did it!

Now let’s go get that last batch of Spartan Challenge sit-ups knocked out.

We are the entity known as Persifler and we have been “Quitter” quit free for 689 days now

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altar call

The altar Call is an outward show of how the pastor can emotionally manipulate his followers to do what he says through guilt and other pressure tactics.  It is a power play so that there is visible evidence of a successful sermon.  The (so-called) “Altar Call” is the pastor’s way of  “proving that he is worth his paycheck.”  It is part and parcel of the Man-centered Gospel of the Church Growth Movement in Modern Churchianity.

The church lecture series is all about the man in the pulpit no matter how much he claims to the contrary.  The Cult of Personality is the glue that really holds the congregation together.  Take away the charisma in the pulpit and the so called church that meets in the temple they have built for themselves will dwindle down and die.  The sheeple will find themselves another proxy god to put in the pulpit.  They must have their very own idol to listen to and to worship.

“Not a god,” you say?  Really?  Pastors are the gods over their congregations.  His is the only voice allowed to speak during the lecture and he cannot be questioned about anything he says from behind the so called sacred desk.  He is infallible and not to be questioned.  He demands loyalty and obedience.  His word is law.  The sheeple are conditioned to passively, and unconditionally accept what the man in the pulpit is saying no matter what he says.  The pastor is in fact speaking “ex cathedra” as he is the head of his church no matter who he gives lip-service to.

“I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or certainty of corruption by full authority. There is no worse heresy than the fact that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”   -Lord Acton  expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887

_________________________
My premise is that any man who is given authority over others will, if left unchecked, make full use of that authority for both personal gain and personal power. The amount of corruption by this person will ultimately be decided by the amount of power that is available. As Lord Acton says, “Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or certainty of corruption by full authority.”

In modern Christianity most church congregations are based on a simple design. The authority is vested in the persons of the (so called) clergy, usually at the consent of, or at least the tacit agreement of the (so called) laity. This Catholic Idea of Clergy/Laity came from the teachings of Ignatius, Irenaeus, Cyprias, and Augustine who created and promoted the whole “Christian” class/ caste system. While not addressing the theological issues of this problem Lord Acton actually does a marvelous job of attacking just such a system, “There is no worse heresy than the fact that the office sanctifies the holder of it.” As true today as when Acton said it.

-excerpted from my blog:  https://persifler.wordpress.com/2010/04/12/corruption-is-directly-proportional-to-the-level-of-control-that-is-available/

The “Altar Call” is nothing more than a way for the Pastor to practice his manipulation tactics while stroking his own ego.  I dare say that what most people claim to be a movement of the Holy Spirit is at best ginned up emotionalism brought on through guilt and spiritual/emotional manipulation.  Why would I say such a thing? Because the “feeling” is generally gone by the time you reach the parking lot, that’s why.

Finally, and most importantly, the Altar Call promotes a man-centered humanistic approach to religion and “salvation.”  It portrays a weak frail god who can only work in “his building” following the pastor’s sermon.  I have heard testimonies from folks who sweated bullets all week long until they could get to the Altar Call part of the service so they could get saved.  That screams of a god in a box who is so weak and so inept that that he has to have the work of the Man of god (little “g” on purpose) in order to save someone.  I have also heard of so called soul winners who got people to say the sinners prayer on visitation coaching them to come to church on Sunday and come down during the altar call in order to make their decision official with the preacher.  *groan*   No, no I don’t have all the answers.  I’m just now asking the right questions.  I just know that this Kabuki theatre that is being called “Church” these days is a sham and a shame.

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AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!! We are down to only three Mistress Sadies!  They did some equipment changes at my Y,   leaving only (3) three Sadies on premise.  What would I do without my Sadie?

But on a positive note… I had committed to making November Cardio month and concentrating on that. I also made one  of my goals  to get 5 miles on Sadie?

We-l-l-l-l… tonight Mistress Sadie was hard on the old man. She demanded a lot out of me… but I rose to the occasion. Tonight we went all the way again and I lasted a full five minutes at her maximum effort (level 20),
And if that was not enough, tonight …..drum roll please…….

5.02 miles in 65 minutes baby! (yes that’s 13 min miles) Pretty good for a fat guy who didn’t like to exercise I’d say. Now, I know what you are thinking… but that’s on a piece of equipment so that’s not really running. I’ll grant you that it’s not the same dynamic as running outdoors on the road or on a track but Sadie has her own dynamics that require a different set of muscles and training. A mile on Sadie is still a mile, and 65 minutes at multiple settings, up to and including the max resistance, is nothing to sneeze at. (a-n-d… it was a 1062 calorie burn on Sadie as well.)

I’ll take the trade off, my joints not taking the pounding on the road for the challenge of the open strider.

Oh and to top things off, I tried out one of the new treadmills. I walked an additional .98 miles in 20 minutes playing around with the inclines and the TV channels. (another 200+ calories for that) That’s a total of 6 miles tonight. That’s almost a 10k. Wooop-Wooop!

All in all, I’d say it was a bang up start to my 4 day weekend. 🙂

I have been -“Quitter” Quit Free- for 454 days now.

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Over on http://www.stufffundieslike.com forum a question was asked:

Why Did You Leave? Would You Go Back?
For those of you who have left Fundamentalism, and I think that’s probably most of you who post here, why did you leave? Was it the theology, or was it the culture? If it was the theology, what specifically about the theology drove you away? If it was the culture, what specifically about the culture drove you away?

My answer:

Why did I leave?

Most of you know my story and the history of deception and lies I encountered in the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement.
http://www.stufffundieslike.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=45

Why did I leave?  Why didn’t I stay and fight?
I believe that there is nothing worth salvaging in the IFB movement.  I believe it is a religious cult movement that should die a very public, and very convincing death.  The heart and core of IFB error is Theological Error.  The error lies in how the IFB presents and views God in relation to both the individual and the “Ministry” of the Local, sanctified, separated, sold-out, sanctimonious sect of believing believers.  According to IFB dogma the “Local church” is superior to all other things Christian.  In theory and in words they say they worship a sovereign God… but in practice God’s sovereignty ends with the
preeminence of the individual’s free-will.  In a nutshell, God is viewed as a reactive deity who frets around his heaven wringing his hands hoping that there will be someone to stand in the gap, make up the hedge, and come up with a masterful formula for winning souls to Christ.  Because we know that Church in the IFB is all about the numbers.

Numbers and power actually.
I am more convinced than ever that,   Most churches today have a “pastor” who oversees the entire operation, and there may be a deacon board that is either working with the pastor or against him… either way it is doubtful that either “office” is operating biblically. With the advent of the Professional Clergy there has been a rise in the cult of personality as well. The Professional is seen in a light that is clearly not biblical and we see that whether by “influence” or by acquired “authority” these men rise to prominence. Even the small rural churches are patterned after this and the pastor is looked on as a man of authority over the congregation. And there is the rub.
Even the meanest paid rural “pastor” would not willingly give up “his power” over even the smallest group of people. It is not about the money, heaven knows many, if not most, small congregations pay at or below the poverty level. No, it is about power to influence and control a group of people and mold their worldviews.(This is the danger of the passive approach to worship where a one-way conversation takes place.  The only view allowed in these meetings is the pastor’s.  This affords almost total control by the speaker to inject his own views as ‘god breathed’.  Whatever the “anointed”, “man of god” says while behind the “sacred desk” will be seen as, and accepted as, the “word of God”.) That is an especially strong allure for men of lesser character who are drawn to such positions. I have no doubt that there are good men who are trying to do what is right in these positions and I commend them and pray for them but the position itself is the enabler, the seductress; and even the best of men will, sooner or later, succumb to the temptation of power. We see a picture of this in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings Trillogy”.   As a Ring Bearer, Frodo Baggins had an awful burden to carry yet, even he failed in the end and succumbed to the power of the ring; unable to destroy it he claimed it for himself.  The thread through-out the tale is about power, the use and the abuse of it.  Many who would have taken the ring would have done so out of a noble purpose but would have been corrupted by it’s power and their corruption would (like Sauron) only be limited by the (unlimited) power of the ring.

Would I go back?
No, not even if my life depended on it.
I truly do not believe that the IFB movement is worth saving, and I truly believe that it is a cult.  A very seductive powerful cult that relies more on the abilities of man and less on the power of the god it claims to serve.  That may sound harsh and it may be.  I know that God does work in the midst of even the very worst of these bunkers.  But I do believe that the error and the man made traditionalism and the King James only idolatry that is practiced in these dens of sanctimonious piety is deadly poison to  sanctam ecclesiam catholicam; sanctorum communionem.  (the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints)

Where am I at spiritually now?
That is the hardest thing about leaving the IFB bassinet, one has to start thinking for oneself.  I was fortunate in that about the time I left the enfolding tentacles of the IFB, I broke my ankle.  How was that fortunate?  I was able to spend almost 6 months examining my worldview.  I was able to take a long hard look at who I was in Christ, what I actually believed, why I believed it and I wrestled with several items that I had to abandon because there was no reason other than man-made traditionalism that I was holding to them.   It’s much tougher than having someone spoon-feed you how you should act and think.  But the realization that you are no longer performing according to someone else’s standards is very spiritually refreshing!  Yes, there are often doubts and you find you might be out on a limb that you would not have climbed before… but the learning experience is so worth it.

In conclusion, I know that there are brothers and sisters in Christ who have a death grip on their comfortable religion and practices in the IFB bunkers which they live and breathe.  But I have found so much fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ outside the bunker system that I could never go back into the cave to stay.

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It has been a while since I updated The Orange and Lime Green Sherbets, or how things are going with Mistress Sadie.

I will have to admit there was, shall we say, a pall in my resolve.
What with “The Wedding” and so much other stuff going on over the summer I found myself dozing while my life was on autopilot.  I had let my guard down and when I awoke from my self-induced stupor I realized the enemy had retaken ground that was hard won the first time.

So there I was, faced with the ultimate decision, what do I do?  Do I go ahead and take the easy road back to the couch and give up?  Or do I man up and dig down deep inside myself and find the Marine that I once was, pick him up dust him off and between the two of us become the man that I once hoped to be but never have been yet?

To tell you the truth everything within me fought against me this week.  Every demon from my past, every failure I have ever experienced popped up and sang its tale of woe, weakness and frustration.  All my failures, disappointments, and personal flaws whispered to me to just give up and quit.  “It’s not worth it,” they said.  “Why even try?” they said.  “No one cares about or wants you,” they argued.  “What difference will it make?”

It dawned on me, they were absolutely right, “What difference WILL it make?”  So I quit arguing, and somewhere deep, deep down inside I started to get angry.  I stopped engaging my demons and my failures and my dead dreams, and my personal flaws altogether… and in my mind I stood up, turned around and began walking.  They all withstood me, began to taunt and make fun of me until I finally growled, “To hell with all of that, I’m doing this for me!”  I don’t care about my failures, or my flaws, or even about what anyone thinks of me!  I’m doing this for me, and when it’s done I hope to finally meet the man that I once hoped to be.  Not the man someone else wants me to be, but the one who I let life beat down, the one I smothered with religiosity, the one I never allowed myself to be.

Today marks the second day back in actual training mode.  I went back to Mistress Sadie and she worked me over for 50 minutes.  35-40 minutes was pumping her as hard as I could go.  My heart rate peaked at 180 beats/min. She was glistening with my sweat when I finished.  I wiped her down and she knew I was back only now the intensity is greater than before.  I’m on a mission.

Somewhere in my encounter with Mistress Sadie today I stepped through a portal in my mind, a portal to the id.  I had to find the Marine.  I knew he was in there, covered with the sands of my time, the dust and sediment of my life.  I sent out a distress signal, that he was needed, that I was reactivating him.  If this mission was to succeed I was going to have to have him back.  His ability to endure the mental challenges was needed.  I realize now that it was I who limited his physical abilities and I was the one who held “him” back.

Somewhere around the 20-minute mark he found me.  For a brief shining moment I felt him there; he was there to rescue me.  He was there to carry me over the pain threshold and for the next 20 minutes he ran with me as we pushed past levels 8-10 on Sadie as we took the hill of level 12 and reached the summit at level 14 for a couple of minutes.   Somewhere during the 5 min cool down he nodded and smiled.  I came back to this side of the portal, completely spent but encouraged, knowing the Marine is still with me, “Always Faithful.”

I was able to do one Set of the 14 Fitlinxx stations, then to the steam room to relax, finally shower and leave.

So, here I sit.
I’m not the man I once was.  With heaven’s help I will become the man I once hoped to be.  Not for anyone else or anyone else’s approval, this time I’m doing it for me. (Now I fully understand the meaning behind James 4:14-16.  If the Lord allows me to complete this quest, then so be it.) I have examined my life, weighed it in the balances and it comes up lacking.  And if I fail, let me die in the attempt, because that would be preferable to this life of mediocrity I now endure.

I am Persifler, not the man I was, but not yet the man I hope to be.

*for those who don’t know who Mistress Sadie is:  precor_amt_100_i

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