Cogitations of an Addled Mind

Thoughts of a mind that cannot stop thinking

Location: Painesville, Ohio, United States

I have finished my piano degree, and now am studying to receive a masters degree in divinity.

Monday, July 04, 2005

A House full of Tattle-Tales

When I was growing up, (elementary school) "tattle-tale" was perhaps one of the worst things I could have been branded. It was way worse then "geek", "nerd", and even "teacher's pet". It was understood among the students that you did not tell on someone else.

So as I look at what has been going on in our nation's capital among our "leaders" I am astounded. They are acting like little children who never learned the stigma of being a "tattle-tale". Democrats and Republicans running to the leader's of the opposing party saying things like, "He called me a bad name, make him stop, make him apologize!". Both parties are guilty of this ridiculous behavior. Why are our politicians stooping to such childish behavior? Because they have nothing better to say. They must say something so their constituants see them acting, but they don't want to put the effort and risk into coming up with new ideas to better our government. Instead they just rehash the same old ideas over and over again, and hurl insults back and forth and then demand an apology when they don't like what the other party says.

Until our politicians start acting like adults and not like children, how can we expect them to do anything worthwhile? Instead of focusing on what others are saying about them, politicians need to start coming up with ideas to better our country. I welcome a battle of ideas. I may not agree with every idea, but I can learn something from every idea proposed, that is the purpose of debate. Nothing can be learned from the name-calling and tattle-tale tactics of our politicians today. Such actions are nothing more than stalling tactics, for politicians are scared to do any real work, for that could come to haunt them. They would rather hurl insults back and forth, secure in the fact that they are doing nothing.

When will politicians stop hurling insults and doing nothing? When we tell them we are fed up with it and will not re-elect them until they actually start doing the job they are paid to do.

The Tyranny of Fear

Why do people do what they do? Why does it seem that most Americans today act in ways that defy reason? It is almost as if they are not even thinking about what they do. They are content to just exist and do not get involved in politics and other such arenas. And when they do vote it is hard to understand how they could vote in the ways that they do.

It is because most people are ruled by their fears. When it comes time to make a decision they allow their fears to make the decision for them. Why else would the media spend so much time using scare tactics to motivate the populace to do what they want? You see it all the time. Ads and articles that tell people that unless they act now Seniors will be left high and dry and die because of inadequate care, or some other message with the same idea. Just look at the Social Security debate going on in our nation right now. Instead of just calmly discussing the different options, both parties are screaming "If you don't follow my advice, Social Security will be ruined." Why is it that they cannot discuss the pros and cons of each idea rationally? People will not act in today's society unless induced to do so by fear. So we are fed half-truths and exaggerations to get us to do what others want done.

Americans today are comfortable. They are living good and do not want to change that. Just look at how few people are willing to take risks. They are just happy the way they are and do not want to change. This creates a fear of new ideas such as changing Social Security, because they like the way it is right now and are unwilling to consider that without change it will not stay the same, because they are afraid that change will ruin what they already have. The problem with this outlook is it ignores the reality that a static state of existence is impossible. There is no way to keep things exactly as they are. Change is a part of life, whether we want it to be or not. If we do not act to change the way things are, they will still change, we will just not have any influence in how they change.

Next time you read a story or hear a plea from someone to act now on some cause, stop and research what it is really about. Many times you will find the truth is really opposite of what they wish to believe. Use your mind to make decisions, not your fear. Fear is an emotion giving to us by God for good. It warns and reminds us to be careful of what we are doing. Yet it is not meant to rule our lives. Fear is like a Hurricane warning, if we ignore it we are placing ourselves in danger, yet if we let it dictate what we do, we could easily do things that are even more dangerous or just plain stupid. Emotions are an important part of humanity, but they are not meant to rule our actions, that is what the mind is for.

True courage is not the absence of fear, but the control of fear. Choosing to act even though we are scared. Letting our mind tell us what to do rather than allowing fear to have it's way. We need to rule over the God-given tool of fear, rather than letting it rule over us.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

More than Just A Religion

Many times in our culture today, people talk about their "religion" as is if it a part of their life seperated from everything else. However when one truly studies "Christianity" as shown forth in the Bible it is quite evident that it is not meant to be taken in such a manner. As the Bible
presents the teachings of Jesus Christ, the letters of Paul, and Peter, the Gospels and even the books of the Old Testament it becomes plainly evident that "Christianity" is meant to be more than just a religion, it is meant to be a way of life.

It is often heard from the pulpits across the land that Christianity is dying, we are losing our influence and our country is getting more wicked every day. The causes are as various as denominations. Some think that if Americans would just go to church more we wouldn't be in this mess. Otheres think that if we can just get some new laws passed and some old one
overturned we will be alright. Perhaps, some say if we can elect conservative politicians who will appoint conservative judges our country will get better. And even some postulate that if we just converted America back to "Christianity" then everything fix itself.

The problem is however much deeper than that. In fact to find the real root of the problem one does not need to look at Americans as a whole, but rather just look at the church. The statistics are astounding. Churches all over the country are compromising on doctrines they once held dear, the divorce rate among the "churched" is the same if not higher than the divorce rate among the "unchurched". Many who call themselves "Christians" are more wicked than those who refuse to believe in God. What then is the cause the problem? The problem is many "Christians" view Christianity as just a religion. Something you do on Sundays, Wednesdays, and perhaps one other evening in the week, but not all the time. They "serve" God by going
to church, maybe going soulwinning once a week and perhaps attending a Bible study. But the rest of the week is their time. They have given God his time, so they feel they get their own time that God has no say in.

The realization that Christianity is a way of life, rather than a religion is lacking in the church today. Even from the pulpit, we have capitulated to this belief. The preachers plead with their listeners to give God just 15 minutes a day in Bible reading and prayer, and go to church as if that is only what is required of us. The common man in church today has two sets of beliefs, moral systems, philosophies, and actions. They believe, act, and do one thing on Sunday, and then the rest of the week they believe, act, and do the complete opposite. They live for God on Sunday, and live for the world on Sunday. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Matt 6:24) Unfortunately today Christians think that it is possible. In the book of James it says that "A double
minded man is unstable in all his ways" (James 1:8). The world and Christianity are so opposed that those who try to serve both end up serving neither very well. When you try to serve both, you begin to see your "service" for God as a chore and something dreadful. Eventually the time
will come when these "Christians" just stop "serving" God, because they just don't enjoy it.

What then should Christians do? They should allow their belief to color everything they do throughout the entire day. They should radiate Christ in the way they walk, talk, act, and what they do, and even what they don't do. They shouldn't look down upon others because they feel themselves better, but rather should think, "there but for the grace of God, go I" as John Newton once said. Not all Christians are going to be preachers, missionaries and Sunday School teachers, but we can all live our lives for our Lord. We must choose whom we will serve as we live our life. We cannot serve both, for neither will be pleased. Rather we must choose to
serve one and then put all our life into doing so.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

What is Love?

For many years I have pondered the thought What is Love? For a long time I was of the opinion that love is just a choice that one makes in regard to their relationships to other people. And while I still do believe this in a way, I have also come to realize that love is more than just that. I
think that there is more than one type of love out there.

One type of love is a choice. It is the love that Jesus commands all Christians to have for him and their neighbors. That love is a choice, for if it is commanded in the Bible than it is something that can be accomplished by man, for in another part of the Bible (I don't remember exactly where) we are told that God never asks us to do something that we are unable to humanly do. And since it is not possible to always feel good about every single person you meet in the world, therefore love cannot be just a feeling you have for people. So therefore love is a choice that one chooses to make. This love is putting others before one's self. Putting their needs before my own. That is truly love.

But now I am beginning to realize that love is also a feeling. So I must come to the conclusion that there is more than one type of love. For one type of love is a choice, and yet another type of love is a feeling one has towards another. This feeling we call love is an incredible thing while it
lasts. And yet feelings fade over time, and that is where the choice comes in. To choose to love someone even when you don't feel like it is truly what Christ meant when he told us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Without the love of choice the love of feeling cannot last for it is
ephereal and temporal.

What is Love? I do not know if I will ever be able to completely answer that question. But no longer can I think it is an easy question to answer, for personal experience is teaching me otherwise and that is truly the best schoolmaster. Perhaps someday I will more fully understand this complexity and paradox of love being both a feeling and a choice. But for now I guess
I will just hang on for the ride.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The Truth about Bias

Many people today claim to have no bias. They look at things from a completely neutral standpoint and report it like they see it. However this is not based in reality. Everyone on Earth has some kind of bias towards anything. Think about it. Some people are optimists, they always look for the positive, while some are pessimists and always look for the negative. That in itself is a bias. Every person has their own slants on a position, including myself.

So as I write these entries trying to set out the truth, I admit freely that I do so with a bias. That bias is that of Christianity. Now, this does not mean that I agree with everything that has been done, is being done, or will be done in the name of Christ. In fact I might strongly disagree with many of them. However, as I look at this earth and today's happenings, I do so from the bias that there is truth. As Francis Schaeffer would say a "true truth". My bias is in part that it is possible to know and understand the truth. There really is a difference between good and bad. Life is not relative.

I also come from the bias that Truth is based on an absolute. That absolute is an infinite, personal God. If He were not infinite than he could not be absolute, for then he would change from nonbeing to being to nonbeing. For truth to exist then God must be infinite and absolute. My bias also says he is a personal God. For otherwise we could not know the truth.

Within my bias is the belief that life was created by this infinite personal God. Otherwise he would not be qualified to be the absolute for truth to stand upon. So, yes I am biased. I admit it freely. For everyone is biased. And one of the first things one must do when searching for the truth is discover their own biases, and test them, see if they make sense and are based on something solid. When one realizes his bias and accepts it as true, then he will be able to look out from himself and being to look for truth.

Friday, December 24, 2004

What is Happening to Christmas?

The real meaning of Christmas has been obscured. Over the past few years, through the efforts of organizations such as the ACLU, Christmas can no longer be celebrated as it always has. Not only are they now attacking the religious overtones of Christmas, even the secular icons of Christmas are under attack. Why is this so? What is it about Christmas that some people hate vehemently?

For them, Christmas is a reminder of Christianity, which to many people is the one "religion" that is not allowed in our schools. The children can be taught to celebrate many holidays during the so called "Holiday Season" except for Christmas, Even thought these other holidays are tied to specific religions. In the name of "toleration" of all religions it is interesting that Christianity is the only "religion" that is not tolerated.

And yet even with all this going on, even Christians are guilty of forgetting the true meaning of Christmas. The idea that giving or love is the reason for the season has been propogated heavily in even churches lately, and yet that is not the true reason for celebrating Christmas. Is there anything wrong with love and giving? No, of course there isn't. Yet, when they are put forward as the true meaning of Christmas it obscures the actual meaning of Christmas. Sometimes to hide the truth, people will find something good and replace the real with the fake. It sounds good so people agree to go along with it and the next thing you know the real message has been hidden behind layers of good intentions.

What then is the real meaning of Christmas if it is not giving or love? The real meaning of celebrating Christmas is Christ. To remember that our God came down to earth in the form of a man. Christmas is not about giving and loving it is about celebrating and remembering what was given to us many years ago in a stable of Bethlehem. This is where love and giving come in then. God loved us so much that he gave us his son (who was also God) and Christmas is a holiday created to remember the love of God for us and the gift that he gave us. The very word Christmas is created from the words Christ and Mass, meaning the Christ Mass. The coming together of the saints to celebrate the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. So, when celebrating Christmas remember that the love and giving of Christmas is what God did for us and we are celebrating the fact that He loved us and gave us His Son, rather then giving and love itself.

-The Addled Mind

Friday, December 10, 2004

Lies, lies, lies, everywhere I look are lies.

Poor Me. Poor Mind. I am trying to see past all the lies, half-truths, exxagerations, falsehoods, and illogic this world has to offer. No wonder my mind is so addled. Just the sheer volume of falseness in this world is enough to make one's head spin. It is hard to know what is true and what is false. When listening to politicians the sheer volume of lies and misrepresentations of the facts is enough to send a truth-lover into an seizure. But politics is not the only arena of public thought that is beset with this problem.

In the arena of religion they tell me that all religions are the same, they all will get you the same place. But that can't be right! For Truth to exist there must be False. And if two religions say different things then at least one of them must be false! Some people, to justify thier musical
tastes, tell me that all music is neutral, but then I listen to the a song it causes emotions to swell up within my breast. This cannot be neutral. In philosophy they tell me that I do not really exist, I am just a figment of my imagination. But if I am a figment of my imagination, then how am I imagining myself?!!

AAH! It is difficult to sort out the truth from the lies. But I must try! I must suceed, for if I do not know the truth then what is the point of existance.. There is truth in the old saying "The Truth WIll Set You Free". Ignorance is not bliss and this poor addled mind of mine, will attempt to sort out the truth from the fiction, and come to a conclusion that is free of all lies and exxagerations. It is a difficult task I know. But someone has to try, and it might as well be me.

-The Addled Mind