Category Archives: Faith

Deeply Held Misconceptions

Oh my.

I am a firm believer that you make your own future.  Sure, doodoo occurs, but in general, the beasts you feed the most are the ones that walk with you.

To whit:  I was raised in a liberal California town in mostly the 1970’s.   There was something in my head that loves to doubt and be the contrarian, so by the time my socialist teachers got done with me, I realized they were mostly just greedy haters who wanted what they wanted and if others were forced to pay for it, so much the better.  I now view liberalism and socialism as mental illnesses, but is it too late for me?

You see, you act, desire, fear, and hate based on your beliefs.  What you think affects your disposition.  Furthermore, your view of life is built on a foundation of your deepest beliefs.  It’s like a house of cards, or as one wise man put it, it’s building a house on the sand.

For instance, when I was a young lad in Catholic school, I was taught that the highest ideal was Christ, who sacrificed himself for others.  This is the perfect way we all should strive to live.  That’s a foundational concept and a grievous misinterpretation and error.  You see, when you tell a 6 year-old that, it means this: You must throw your own life away for anyone else on the planet that may require it.  This leads to the next brick in this tilted wall: You must always regard your life, your existence as the most worthless thing on the planet.  This leads to an overall nihilism, and the notion that you are just worthless.

My little soul cried out, I don’t want to be meaningless.  I want to matter!  But the foundation was poured, and had hardened.  It led to another egregious error: depression and hedonism.  If you are meaningless, to Hell with it: just have as much fun as you can.

When it came to the concept of work, well, what is work?  The expending of decades of massive energy to acquire skill,  learn the ropes, become excellent.  But why would a worthless lump care about doing any of that?  Especially when coupled with the liberal notion that the evil corporations will just co-opt your success and steal all the rewards, or the conservative notion that the evil government will just tax you and steal from you and ruin you if you don’t hand the rewards over to them.

Politics

You see, modern day politics is 100% designed to create a false dichotomy that you are a helpless victim because of them, and only the transfer of power to us will help with that.  This is why conservatives promise tax cuts and deregulation they never deliver, while liberals promise handouts and free goodies that they never deliver.

If they ever did deliver, we’d be up a creek because then we’d have no excuse why we are not as successful as we’d like.  It would be our responsibility that we fail!  We can’t have that!  We don’t really want that!  We want there to be a reason why we can’t succeed, because we think we are worthless failures anyway, and we are loathe to blame ourselves.

It’s all a game to them, they get your votes, and it’s another 2, 4, or 8 years until they need to fool you again.  Try calling your senator sometime.  You’ll leave a voicemail with a million other people, but since you aren’t a million dollar donor, and they don’t need you right now, you’ll never even get a response.

But the bottom line is this:  BOTH SIDES need you to feel victimized by the other side.  That makes for a lot of people feeling like perpetual victims.  And it’s the ones who care about society and are trying to be politically informed.  I am saying that any casual involvement in politics is harmful.  It’s all lies and misrepresentations designed to make you so hopeless and hateful that you panic.

The word work.

So you turn 17, and  you need a job to pay for not starving, so you work.  But you don’t view work as the ultimate expression of your individuality, creativity, and industry, to you it’s that bullshit society makes you do in exchange for not letting you die.  Because you view yourself as worthless, you feel like you’re exchanging your second-rate efforts for a deservedly low salary.  But you do as little as possible, in an effort to make it feel more fair.  Eventually you have a goal of working as little as you can for as much pay as you can, all the while hoping that no one will really take a look at what you accomplish in a day.  This leads you to despise your managers and coworkers because any halfway involved manager would see through your shit and reprimand you daily.  You actually wish they would, because you see that you’re not growing or improving, you’re only becoming more savvy at hiding your inadequacies.

Once I loved photography.  And that was back in the film days where you had to take the film to Fotomat and wait a week to get them back.  I took photography classes, and took long drives to get pictures to add to my portfolio.  But then I got hired to do a photo spread for a local business.  I was initially jazzed.  My mind started thinking, hey, maybe we can parlay this into a career!  But the minute I attached the word work to it, it became a drudgery, and I barely made my deadline because I – for some reason – hated doing it, even though I loved photography.  You see the inter-twisted hoops my mind went through?

Video Games

Video games are where truly hopeless minds go to find an ordered world where their lives matter.  I may be worthless in real life, but I matter as a Jedi Knight.  I can see the evil and actually fight it.  Sometimes I even win!  And there are others – lots and lots of others – who will join me in the fight.   My soul is fed, and for a moment (and by moment I mean 60 hours a week) – in this preferable universe far, far away – I matter.  My actions and heroism push back the borders of darkness and I actually matter.

Of course time spent in this illusion deducts from time in the real world, where we are meant to be cooperating with real people against real darkness, and attaining some measure of real greatness.  Many gamers, after decades of pissing their time into the internet, find that the real world has got along fine without them.

If you started gaming at age 17 and now you’re 40, you find that you interact in the real world like a 17 year old because you missed out on all the growth that would have occurred if you had been part of society.

The Reality Stack

So your reality stack ends up looking like this.

  1. The highest goal is to toss your life away.
  2. You are worth less than every other person on Earth (and the few in space).
  3. Your highest goal is to become nothing without starving.
  4. You are convinced that they want to take everything from you.
  5. You are perpetually hopeless, helpless, a victim.
  6. You know your opinions are wrong and don’t matter.

Except that it’s not true.

First, let’s go back to Christ.  Christ didn’t model the act of throwing His life away to show us how to throw our lives away.  He did it instead of us having to do it.  Christ didn’t get crucified because you are worthless and needed to be shown how to die for others.  He did it because you are valuable, and He wanted to save you.

Get it?  The Omnipotent Creator thinks YOU are VALUABLE.  Supremely valuable.  You were not meant to toss your life away and constantly defer to others, you actually have a place in life.  Your energy, drive and industry have meaning and this world misses them when you withhold them.  You are here for a reason.

Now we see the true roots of evil.  The Bible calls the Devil “the Father of Lies”, and “The Accuser of the Brethren”.   I see him not as a powerful fire demon from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but more as Grima Wormtongue from Lord of the Rings.  He hovers around whispering in your ear about how worthless and inadequate you are,how scary the world is, and how no one truly loves you.

Seemingly his goal is not to get us to do evil, but rather not to act at all in the face of evil.  Video gamers who should have been designing Mars cities and writing great literature and solving the air and water problems are fooled into withdrawing their efforts from the family of man and pissing them away into the internet or just refusing to develop themselves because of their own hopelessness.  Great thinkers who could be pursuing marvels that mankind only dreams of are instead wasting their talents fighting idiotic things like microaggressions  (an aggression so small it can’t be noticed) and male privilege (the notion that men holding doors for women, fighting to give them votes, going to war for them and protecting them constitutes oppression).  How many people have been born, raised and died fighting their whole lives because of some offense that occurred in the far reaches or history?  What could those minds have accomplished if they were set on bettering mankind instead of feeding a 10,000 year old grudge?

So come to the truth:

  1. You are so valuable that God sent Christ to suffer instead of you.
  2. You are meant to be part of the answer, not the problem.
  3. You can fight against evil and make the world a better place.
  4. There is hope if you know where to look.
  5. You don’t fight evil by punching it in the face: you fight evil by doing good.
  6. You have a place in the family of man, and what you do matters to everyone, even into the future.
  7. The Family of Man is one family.  It survives or dies as one.

Once you embrace truth, you have a hard but necessary road to walk.  You must unlearn all that crap you believed since you were 6.  That means that the barriers in your mind – all of them – need to be re-evaluated.  Those things you feel trapped about: the business idea, the love you seek, conquering porn, drug, alcohol and video game addictions, and everything – you are probably not as trapped as you think.  You have to tear down the wall brick by brick and figure out if the lies that have kept you trapped really have you trapped at all.

It is for freedom’s sake that you have been set free.  Don’t let yourself  be put back in shackles again.

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Quick Depression Facts

  1. You feel useless, unloved, and undesirable.
  2. You get lazy, and lose all self-respect and pride.
  3. You want to quit your job and get a new one, but #2 makes you feel unemployable.
  4. You snap into behaviors that take you nowhere, like video games, TV, Netflix, Youtube.
  5. You go to bed later and later because if it takes you 30 minutes to fall asleep, you’ll spend all that time judging yourself.
  6. You are constantly sleep-deprived.
  7. You neglect your mind and body.
  8. You become unhealthy.
  9. You stop caring about yourself.
  10. People who love you and want to interact with you start to feel bossy, and you resent them more and more.
  11. Your find it physically difficult, and later impossible to get any work started, let alone done.
  12. You find the truth of your mortality comforting.
  13. You listen to the news and come to believe in the swift, inevitable decline of civilization, and probably mankind as well.
  14. You are fine with that.
  15. You gain weight and your health becomes spotty.
  16. The smallest actions are too much effort.
  17. You know clearly what to do to change your lot, but you never do.
    1. It’s too much work
    2. Even if you start, you’ll fail
    3. Even if you succeed for a time, you’ll eventually end up right back here.
  18. Hope is a lie.
  19. You feel trapped, even though one decision – completely under your control – could change that.  Yet you never do what’s right.
  20. You feel as though your soul fell out one day when you weren’t minding it, and now it’s lost forever.
  21. You want to trust in God, but there is no evidence in everyday life that He would actually intervene for you.
  22. Eventually you come to trust that God will not intervene, and that your predicament is exactly what you deserve.
  23. You are completely to blame for your own demise.
  24. You wonder why your body goes on when the rest of you has clearly died.
  25. You are constantly exhausted.
  26. You have a perpetual headache.
  27. You are poor, and have failed to provide for your retirement.
  28. You find that no one respects or listens to you anymore.
  29. People interrupt you more and more.
  30. No one finds you funny anymore.

Am I close?

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Overcoming

“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and evil

After a decade of sadness and woe, I feel as though I have been staring into an abyss.  Not with the noble intent of destroying evil, but with the sense that all-enveloping hopelessness is all there is to life.  I ceased to fear and dread death.  Death is an end to pointlessness and irrelevance.

I know that if I turn around, if I turn my back on the abyss, there is life.  There can be happiness.  The misery can – if not end – abate somewhat.  There are people who love me, but not in the way I want.  There are things worth striving for, but I feel destined to fail at them all.   The only future I can foresee is loneliness and despair.

The monsters I fight do not kill.  They merely steal life.  Each day of hopelessness, futility and despair is a meal to them, they cannot get enough.  Even the days when I rail angrily about it feeds them, because my uselessness prevails.  I accomplish nothing.  I do not advance.  I gain no life, no energy, no manna.  I devote my life to meaningless pursuits that come with no risk and no reward.  Video games, MMOs, Netflix, Politics.

My bills go unpaid, my work goes undone, my clients are cheated.  I have talent, but no reason to excel.  Hopelessness prevails.  The evil I face is like a dementor, sucking the life and strength from my bones, leaving only a drooling husk.  The more I think about turning it around, the more I am reminded that I have already lost a decade.  Opportunity has tired of knocking on my door, and may soon forget my address altogether.  I feel sometimes as though I have missed my boat.

But let me tell you a secret.  That’s what the monsters want me to think.  There is a spark, somewhere that cannot be extinguished.  Like a firefly in the forest of Fangorn.  Like a distress beacon in the bottomless vastness of space.  The monsters can’t find it and even if they could, they cannot extinguish it.  The best they can do is distract me and hope I will not see it.  But what they don’t realize is that the darker they make my mind, the brighter the spark is – and that much easier to find.

Do I believe that there are actual evil beings that seek destruction and ruin for me and humankind?  Yes, actually but that doesn’t change a thing.  The answer I need is in that spark, that will to go on, that drive to prevail.  I am now old.  I my days are numbered (but they always were, really).  I may not be able to fan this spark into an ember, the ember to a flame, and the flame to a bonfire.  But I know this.  NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, it is there.  There is always opportunity.  My soul just needs the nourishment to seize it.

I used to blame God for letting me get here, and not lifting me out of it when I cried.  But the truth is that I didn’t seek Him while I was descending this infernal ladder, so it’s not His job to pull me out.  He gave me the spark, that’s all I need.  I hope (yes I have found some small hope) that someday He will be proud of me for climbing all the way out of this personal Hell.

I want this to be understood.

  • My wife did not put me here.
  • “Liberals” did not put me here.
  • Having financial burdens didn’t put me here.
  • My kids did not put me here.
  • Reverse racism did not put me here.
  • I put me here.

I may winge about some of those things from time to time, but ultimately I am the one who saw the face of the abyss and surrendered.  I am the one who sat down.  I am the one that stopped rowing.  And I am the one who needs to pick up and move on.  No matter the cost.  No matter the pain.

“Pain is always there, because life is freaking painful, OK?  But suffering is a choice.”  – Pennsatucky, Orange is the New Black

I have a feeling.  A notion that energy will beget energy.  That if I can muster enough wattage in a day to propel myself even an inch forward, I might build up the momentum to keep going.  I dare dream that I might even have enough time left to achieve some measure of greatness.  To not die a pauper clutching a worthless, broken guitar under an overpass.

This hope,  this Godly spark,  lives in all mankind.  Even in atheists.  You may think it comes from random chemicals or Gaia, or the universe, but it is there.  You can go on.  You can choose to use it or not. It’s your move.  God is with you.  Who can stand against you?

 

 

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Winnowing

Luke 3:17: His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

I know that sounds like the good people will be gathered to heaven, while the evil people will be cast out, but I have always believed that the winnowing process is also one that goes on in ones own life.  For instance, you may find yourself lying to your friends and family about something, and the constant work of the Holy Spirit in your life is there showing you with increasing personal discomfort how this is a problem for you in your life.

Some people are instantly convinced and turn from their errors right away.  Others take a vast part of their lives to learn that the thing that they desire so badly is the cause of their problems.

In my case it’s not a massive sin or anything, it’s just a long time nerdy addiction to video games.  I have recently come to the realization that those games exist solely to waste my time and prevent me from forming real, healthy relationships with other people.  Real people.  This addiction held me back greatly in business, family, and social life.  Frankly, I’m glad to be rid of it.

But, now it’s NOW.  What do I do with the 30+ hours of my week I was wasting?  It’s not like I have other things I was pursuing.  It’s not like I have any real-life friends to spend my time with.  It’s not like I have any other hobbies.

Winnowing has left me empty.  I have no desire to go back, I actually view the games as life-eating monsters, but what now?  I have been filling my time taking care of some things I had been putting off, and I have tried my hand at a few things I had always wanted to try.  But sadly, I have the feeling that my life has already largely passed me by.

So I fill my time with Netflix, and goof around with the dog.  I know that what I have lost is the dead weight of my life, but I’m just waiting for something to come fill me up.  And I have this dreadful fear that my something flew past me decades ago and I never even noticed.

And of course where do I share this but on a blog that no one reads?  I guess I just needed to type it in to make myself feel better, to help me endure the waiting.

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