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Vampire christians suck – less but more. And how this partly relates to why I don’t pray anymore.

Willard’s quote below is an additional reason I struggle with prayer and hardly pray much at all anymore (there are many reasons). Primarily, I haven’t found a proper way to pray that sits well w/my theology. I don’t want my prayers to resemble “vampire christianity”.

I also don’t want to teach my sons to treat god like a genie in a bottle who doles out our wishes. Also, b/c I saw one of my greatest prayers for my Mom never happen, and that fucking pisses me off. Like a friend of mine commented when he lost his son, “it feels like I was tricked”.

I want to avoid vampire Christianity in my life and if/whenever I feel comfortable to pray again.

This ‘heresy’ has created the impression that it is quite reasonable to be a ‘vampire Christian.’ One in effect says to Jesus, ‘I’d like a little of your blood, please. But I don’t care to be your student or have your character. In fact, won’t you just excuse me while I get on with my life, and I’ll see you in heaven.’ But can we really imagine that this is an approach that Jesus finds acceptable? – Dallas Willard

Almost surprisingly my faith is strong, and I have hope that someday I’ll pray again and that I’ll also be able to teach my sons how to pray properly. But until that day I’ll sit quietly while you all pray.

Amaharo.

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Posted by on November 27, 2017 in theology

 

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My political silence is ending…but not on FB.

My political silence is ending…but not on FB.

My political silence is ending…but not on FB. Fire it up.

Since last September when my dog Baron died…


…I’ve tempered my FB posts a bit in realization that FB is just nonsense and utter bullshit when it comes to politics. I love you all but it truthfully is. It devolves down to who can shout the loudest?! 

So back then, I turned over a new leaf on FB and have tried, to the best of my ability, to keep my Facebook posts free of my own personal politics (except for “liking” other peoples’ political posts). Political FB posts are often times just way too divisive. Posts on a screen don’t have the ability to change culture, or advance anything meaningful or tangible, really. It’s just an attempt of who can shout the loudest while reinforcing our own cognitive biases. We simply “like” ideas we agree with, while we dismiss (demean) ideas or people groups we don’t agree with. Facebook has become a different form of the “Christian ghetto”. Facebook requires nothing of the user other than the click of a thumbs up, or sharing things we really, really, really agree with; and we just know that if people will read what I shared they’ll change their minds and agree with my cognitive bias posts. (heavy sarcasm implied)

My blog on the other hand is fair game for any and all topics!…and it’s also where I would like to invite you all to engage me for RESPECTFUL discourse. Topics will include: theology (sin of certainty, books I’m reading, how we read the Bible, turning the other cheek vs why Jesus doesn’t champion christian warriors/soldiers, evolution), racism, politics (Dems and Repubs are both wrong, legislating morality is wrong-er), business (sales primarily), sports (KU, Royals, Sporting KC and muckfizzou), my new love of gravel grinding, BBQ (reviews and my own smoking), cigars (reviews and FDA bullshit regulation updates), etc, etc, etc. 

But everything that has happened from the president recently is absolutely unbelievable, and astonishing. And yet, at the same time, not surprising of him at all. That fact is regrettably the sad, hopeless feeling of pulling the curtain back on Trump’s true character. 

So with all this nonsensical, despicable bullshit going on from the president and the Church’s silence in response to him I might have to start firing the blog up again and I apologize in advance. 😉😎 but seriously, I want to encourage you to engage me – I’m nice…for the most part. So if you don’t understand why I believe something I wrote about, just ask me. My blog is called “Dialogo de Derek” for a reason – it’s an invitation into a conversation. It’s not meant to just be a monologue, or my own diatribe.

Honestly though, writing for me is more cathartic than anything else; it allows me to hammer something out, take a deep breath, exhale and continue on without loosing my noodle. I’ve written several posts recently and just haven’t hit “publish”. If/when I start writing again I will link to the posts on FB, but still keep my FB feed free of my direct thoughts, you’ll have to click the link to see the inner workings of my randomness. We’ll see what jumps from my brain to my blog in the coming days. You’ve been warned. 😉😜 I love you all…or at least most of you. 🤣

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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I Will Not Pray For You, I Will Be Here For You. aka: No Parent Should Ever Have To Bury Their Child. 

I Will Not Pray For You, I Will Be Here For You. aka: No Parent Should Ever Have To Bury Their Child. 

(This post was inspired by the tragedy that occurred at Schlitterbahn in Kansas City Sunday, August, 7th. And dedicated to all my friends who have lost their child.)

A parent should never have to bury their child.

That is not the natural order or progression of life. It makes no sense. And such is life: nonsensical at times. 

I am overwhelmed and feel like I’ve been kicked in the gut when I read of a child dying in a senseless accident  (that is not placing blame for yesterday’s accident)  such as being forgotten or locked in a car that overheats. No matter the instance, no matter the accident, illness, or malicious intent of someone, a parent burying their own child is an absolute tragedy. 

I’m only one person and know of too many friends who have had to bury their own child. Think of what I just said: 

Bury. Their. Own. Child.

If you don’t have children I’m not discounting your ability to understand this scenario but the rush of love that fills your life when you have a child is astronomical. Words can’t explain the amount of love that coarses through your life. I didn’t (couldn’t) understand this before I had my two sons. 

But then, to have the focus of your love taken from you – feeling helpless and impotent and frozen. With NOTHING able to fill that void. 

Good god. 

Horrific. 

As friends we think of the parents the day the tragedy happens and maybe periodically afterwards (not a guilt trip, just reality) but the parents have to live with the heartache every single hour of every single day. 

To all my friends who have had this tragedy happen, I am so sorry. I love you. I can not fathom or empathize what it is like to be in your shoes – to experience a heart-wrenching loss. My heart breaks when I hear of your tragedies. But please know I am here for you. 

To everyone else, please keep your children safe. 

Walk alongside your friends who have experienced this tragedy. If you’re a flesh and blood friend don’t tritely offer to pray. If they are religious they might be questioning a whole helluva lot of faith’s worth and don’t want to hear a hollow offer. I know I wouldn’t. 

Here’s a song by the band Needtobreathe singing of the importance of friends and community and how we should be there for each other during times in our life that can rock our foundation, crush our spirits, tear our souls to shreds. 

At the same time, their faith could be their only shred of hope they have to cling on to as they feel the walls of the natural order crumbling around them. Everyone reacts different. 
They need continual, tangible help; a shoulder, an ear, or a body to just sit with them. Be there and be available for them as they need you. 

Lord be with us all. 

I am here for you. 

Thy kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 

https://youtu.be/R3-wie9NOZE

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2016 in creation, culture, spiritual, theology

 

Hopeless Shit vs Hope…For Now…Until That Day

Hopeless Shit vs Hope…For Now…Until That Day

The Preface of Being Pissed Off

Yesterday I was driving home from Omaha and reflecting on all the good meetings I had the past couple days at the hospitals I call on. What I didn’t expect was later that evening to be sitting in my living room, holding a glass of bourbon (well that’s always expected 😉) and typing out a post while crying my eyes out over a song. I had an overwhelming feeling of sadness and hopelessness from something I believe has been stolen from my sons. 

I was feeling heartbroken and pissed off like I’ve never felt before at the hollow bill of theological goods churches sell about God.* Thankfully from all the shit that happened at churches I attended in Little Rock I’m not sold out to allowing a church feed beliefs into me. Over the past 5 years I’ve had a paradigm shift in a lot of my religious beliefs and my view on the Bible. Don’t worry I’m not jaded with God, just the Church. {Thankfully we’ve found a great church here in Olathe that helps me grounded.}

The Song

This song, “When Your Kingdom Comes” by The Silver Pages (link below) is continually punching me in the gut. It’s hard to listen to and not just cry. I’m talking a serious ugly cry like lay night. I’m not kidding I was making noises I’ve never heard from me. It was like a duck being stepped on slowly. 😜

When I heard the song on the drive home from Omaha last night it immediately made me tear up.

The Hopeless Shit

With all the horrible, gut wrenching, hopeless shit that goes on in this world…for me personally it’s dealing with the effects of Alzheimer’s on my Mom, knowing my mom isn’t able to enjoy and love on my amazing sons like she would if Alzheimer’s hadn’t taken her beautiful mind and spirit away…for those who are dealing with their children suffering in some manner, cancer, losing loved ones, having to bury your own child, divorce, abuse, some assholes valuing a gorilla more than a child’s life (I honestly don’t give a fuck if you’re offended by me saying that…did you miss the part about my Mom has Alzheimer’s? That she doesn’t recognize me, her son. Do you think I care if you’re offended about what I said about a gorilla, or that I said “shit”, “assholes”, and “fuck”? I don’t care. My. Mom. Doesn’t. Know. Who. I. Am. I don’t care if you’re offended by a statement or a word or my beliefs. If you are offended just click away and stop reading my posts.), feeling the church has tricked you by teaching an empty and faulty theology that life is peachy by saying a prayer and that God will fix and cure everything…

…but this song points to hope. Sometimes all we have is hope. 

The Hope…For Now…Until That Day

Hope is not a tangible replacement, honestly in a way it’s  just a mind-game and for some, maybe for me, a coping mechanism. It won’t bring my Mom’s mind and spirit back anytime soon. But what hope will allow is for me to imagine and dream of one day when heaven kisses earth and all things are redeemed/renewed, my boys will run up to their Mimi and give her the biggest hugs and she will have the biggest smile on her renewed mind and body as she hugs them back as she had always craved. Her spirit (and patience in raising me 😉 ) is one of never ending grace and loving kindness. 

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Hope.

Sometimes hope is all we have to cling to…and hope can be beautiful…for now…until that day.

Anyway, have a listen to the song and cling to hope…for now…until that day.

Please Lord, remember me when you walk in paradise. Please Lord, remember me, let me walk there by your side.

*I’ll have a post expounding a bit more on some of these topics in a couple days…maybe the post will just be cathartic for me but that’s ok with me. That’s mostly all of my writing anyways. There are so many things I don’t post but maybe I should for the sake of letting others know maybe what they’re feeling isn’t isolated to only themselves.

 

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2016 in theology, Uncategorized

 

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“Jackie Robinson” Is Not Our Final Example of Racism. Brutally Honest Opinions

“Jackie Robinson” Is Not Our Final Example of Racism. Brutally Honest Opinions


I am really looking forward to the Jackie Robinson documentary on PBS tonight and tomorrow. I am a big fan of Ken Burns’ documentaries and can’t wait to see this one. 

Unfortunately some will watch this documentary and think, “I’m glad our society isn’t like that today”. Sad. Today, our laws may be different and our sports are integrated but the truth is our hearts tell a much different story. Our hearts still resemble the actions of what Jackie Robinson had to fight against. 

Racism Today

Racism baffles me. 

Yes, I unfortunately understand (and abhor) how people are racist a-holes and try to subordinate people who intimidate them (i.e. slavery – no, subordination is not why slavery started but I do think it might have been a contributing factor for what helped perpetuate slavery), and how the legal system allowed racism to legally linger well into the 1960s. 

But, how racism still exists in today’s society is completely beyond comprehension. Yes, a society will always have outspoken degenerates (today that seems to be the Republican party…sorry, but prove me otherwise), but I have heard racist comments from all walks of life, not just degenerates. 

Brutally Honest 

{Disclaimer – what follows does not fully encapsulate my opinion of Arkansas because I had a lot of great experiences, for example: I have some good friends who live(d) in Arkansas, 

L to R: Tad, Brian, John, and Me
I met and married my wife in Arkansas, p1010009and both of my precious sons were born in Arkansas.  But my horrible church experiences, and the racism I saw do not reflect favorably on Arkansas, to put it mildly. But unfortunately despite this disclaimer some will completely disregard what I have stated and think I hate Arkansas. This is not true at all.}  

a sign in Harrison, AR

 
Before I moved to Arkansas I had NO IDEA how alive racism is in Arkansas. They have Robert E. Lee day on the same day as MLK Jr day and are realizing how ridiculous and insulting that is and finally might get that changed. 
When I lived in Arkansas  (2008-2015) I heard racist comments on a regular basis: in doctors’ offices, on the golf course, playing soccer, playing softball, parties, out to dinner, everywhere. People in Arkansas were not bashful at espousing their disgusting racist opinions. 

Now that we (my family) have moved from Arkansas to Kansas (my home state), being able to get away from the rampant racism in Arkansas is one reason I’m glad we don’t live there anymore. I don’t want my sons being infected by others’ disgusting racist ways and am glad they won’t be inundated with those views. I hope my sons are so oblivious about the way some people are treated dependent upon the color of their skin that I have to teach my sons about racism and how wrong it is.  Despite Kansas being steeped in historical landmark decisions and actions of racial equality (being a free state, Brown vs Board of Education ruling, John Brown, Bleeding Kansas, and more) sadly more recently Kansas is not perfect when it comes to fighting for marriage equality (again, see the Republican party). 

And please understand not every Arkansan is racist, but when it comes to race Kansas is much better than southern states. (Considering the present state of the South and race that last sentence isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement.)

Racist Christians

The church founded by Jesus should be known for what he was known for: radically embracing those that others refused to touch. – Jonathan McIntosh

Short sidenote that I won’t belabor – if you’re a “Christian” and hold racist views i.e. you’re a racist…I honestly don’t know what to say… What part of Christ’s message embodies racism? Unbelievable. 

Diversity and the Gospel – Christ City Church

This is a link to a great podcast of Matt Washburn guest speaking at Chrisy City Church who speaks about this issue more tenderly and eloquently than I do. I am more blunt and straightforward; for better or worse. 🙃

Rant over for now…I do have a blog post I’m still working on regarding racism, but for now, enjoy the Jackie Robinson documentary and think about how you can help eradicate racism. 

Cheers! 

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2016 in culture, theology

 

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If You Vote You Can’t Complain Because You’re The One To Blame For The Mess. Why And When It’s Ok To Not Vote

If You Vote You Can’t Complain Because You’re The One To Blame For The Mess. Why And When It’s Ok To Not Vote


Note – there is coarse language used in this post because this is a hot topic for me. And you might be offended by what I say about you, if you’ve said what pisses me off. But do know that I still love you. 😊👍

I used to be super gung-ho about politics. It was just as exciting as sports for me. I grew up very similar to Alex P. Keaton in “Family Ties” but where he admired Nixon I admired Reagan.

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(Tangent – I love Michael J Foxx and am heartbroken by what Parkinson’s has done to him.) 

The third picture above is something I drew after the 1984 presidential election when Reagan won reelection against Mondale. The laser beam shooting from Reagan’s spaceship was clearly what helped Reagan win a landslide election against Mobdsle in a horse drawn buggy. What normal 9 year old kid does that? It’ll probably be in the Smithsonian someday. 😉

People used to tell me I should run for office. I have been to Reagan’s Library in Simi Valley, CA countless times. I have worked endless hours on candidates’ campaigns. I have stood on street corners waving candidates signs on Election Day. I stood next to a US congressional district candidate as he placed his concession call to his opponent late in the evening on election night. I even almost moved to DC after the candidate I supported lost…and then later after he had lost went to jail on wire fraud charges and a mortgage scheme. But that’s a story for later. 

But I am now disheartened super ticked off at both the Republican and Democratic parties for a variety of party-specific matters, but collectively from both parties’ desire to legislate morality. Legislating morality is not their job – government is not the moral compass of the people.

So here we are today on Super Tuesday and I knew rather soon I would start seeing people litter Facebook with the same old, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain”.

Bullshit!

That comment is tired, trite, pious, and just flat out wrong. Do not say this to people. You’re just being an ass and ending the conversation. Plus if you voted for the jerked in office then you’re the one to blame when everything goes to hell – not the person who doesn’t vote. George Carlin waxes eloquently and crudely on this topic. This video is NSFW and if you’re easily offended by cuss words…well you shouldn’t have read this post but definitely do t watch this video; and he also makes an allegorical reference of masturbation. You’ve been warned. 

Voting is an amazing privilege we have in the United States. If a voter feels so compelled to not attach their name/vote with any candidate because of a believed lack of proper representation from the candidates then that (non)voter has every right to be just as involved in discussions as some one who did cast a vote. Unless you’re going to continue in being an ass with that point of view.
Two weeks ago my wife asked me who I would vote for and I told her I don’t know and that I might not cast a vote for the presidential race. My conviction (as a recovering Republican) after studying the current candidates leads me to the conclusion that there are no candidates that I would put my name behind to support. Kansas is a caucus state and individual voters in Kansas do not vote today on Super Tuesday. So, thankfully I dont have to make a decision today about voting or not voting. As of right now I don’t know if I’ll vote. I’ll let the primaries play out and see who rises from the dust (read: multi-million dollar campaigns). I do know this; if Trump wins the Republican nomination I will vote for whoever the Democrat is. That is a definite.

Now having said that…
Two warnings to non-voters:
1) Not voting costs the non-voter nothing it should not be used as a scapegoat for that person to say, “Well, it’s not my fault, I didn’t vote.” Well, no shit Sherlock but this is not your time to grandstand because of your decision. You still have a stake in the game. You should be so upset by your lack of representation to be moved to action and not have to repeat the same abstention the next election.

and…
2) For god’s sake, don’t not vote as a cover for you to be lazy and ignorant about the candidates and the issues. Get off your ass, educate yourself and care about your community so when jackasses stop saying “If you don’t vote you can’t complain” then you can bring a reasonable opinion and point of view to the conversation.

So in wrapping up…if come election day I end up not voting you can be frustrated with me if you want – it’s your prerogative. But please understand this, I’m not voting because I don’t care enough, but because I care too much.

I care too much about our country and the sacrifices made by our military to see our government elections devolve into popularity contests and capital pissing matches. I don’t have the solution to everything (or anything in particular) but I also won’t sit idly by and watch my country’s government become a mockery of idiots making big decisions with far reaching ramifications and/or consequences.

Yes, I might not cast a vote in the presidential race, but dammit, it’s not it’s because I don’t care, but because I care too much.

Those are my four half-pennies.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2016 in culture, politics, Uncategorized

 

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My Unaffiliated Affilation With Politics

My Unaffiliated Affilation With Politics

This is a super short post, but I recently had a “first” for me and wanted to share some basic thoughts.

My wife and I moved from Arkansas to Kansas (officially in July) and recently I went to get my Kansas driver’s license. As we all know when you get your driver’s license you can also register to vote which allows you to identify yourself with a political party…if so desired.

Since day 1 of being a registered voter I have always been registered as a Republican. For the first time in my 22 year voting tenure I am now registered as, “Unaffiliated”. To say I’m upset with the Republican party would be a huge understatement. I really can’t stand what they now stand for, how they try to legislate morality, and what certain Republicans try to do to create division in attempting to script their narrative of what “biblical” means. I honestly feel some of these Republicans are less Christ-like than they even know.

Democrats aren’t off the hook either – they like to legislate morality just as much as Republicans. I have no desire to live in a nanny-state. Dear Democrats, government intervention is not the answer to every question and in most cases it’s the worst possible answer to almost every question.
The pendulum for me began to swing away from the Republicans about 13 years ago when the Republicans started aligning themselves more as a party that desired to legislate morality. In no way do I believe the government should be making moral decisions. Shoving laws and regulations down peoples’ throats is not a way to make a virtuous society. It only creates harsh dividing lines; and with each topic/issue it creates an us vs them scenario – god knows we need more unity and less division in our society.

This time when I went to get my driver’s license there were four choices for affiliation: Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Unaffiliated. I was very surprised and happy to see Libertarian as an option. But even though I identify more with Libertarian values politically I don’t feel the need to hitch my wagon to anyone in particular. This decision has been very freeing for me – I can now say I speak for myself instead of backing a specific party platform.

All that to say my vote can be bought. The right cigar or bourbon can garner my vote for your candidate…just kidding…kinda. 😜

In the near future I will have a longer post expounding upon the specific reasons of why I am no longer affiliated with the Republican party…but probably before that I’ll have posts on the rapture and later today a post on a gut check on my perspective.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2015 in culture, politics

 

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