Watching/Reading The News While Being a Christian

I was thinking about posting this on Facebook, but I figured nah, it might be too much. I’ve always wanted to get back into blogging so I think now is the time. Below is the link and below that is my response.

How to Be a Christian in the Era of Cable News Fights

A thousand times YES!!! A Fantastic Read!! One of the reasons why I don’t talk about politics is that I don’t ever want to engage in name calling. I guard my heart against things that is not pleasing to God and name calling in such a way that I become a stumbling block is wrong.

Having a verity definitely helps when it comes to current events. It’s a personal preference if someone wants to read/watch the news or not and I never argue with them. For me, I just like current events and it’s something I’ve enjoyed getting into since the 4th/5th grade. I never, ever stick to one side. Nobody ever fits into a single category or a label. In my Archaeology class years ago, I learned that I was more moderate than anything else because some things I was highly conservative more than conservatives are and very few I was liberal toward. I do believe our Forefathers’ intentions were balance and fairness and not a country divided.

Take the crisis in Syria today. It’s a hot mess over there and sadly extreme religious belief got in the way. I’ve read a lot and here is what I have to say. 1) Most people in the world want to live in peace with each other. Leo Tolstoy found this out. As my professor Dr. C always said, “Not everyone in the world is a barbarian, it’s only a select few.” The one thing I find missing from the popular news sources is that they aren’t telling you how the refugees will come in. Just like how the Jews from the Holocaust were documented, the same will go for the refugees. Now isn’t the time to put blame and pressure as this will negatively affect the quality of their job. Let the government do their job to not only protect America but to keep American values which is to grant Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 2) We’re not fighting a country or a people, we’re fighting an evil doctrine, an ideology, an occult. If we ever truly want to end terrorism then we have to go at war with the mentality and the spirit behind it. We wrestle NOT against flesh and blood. As Sun Tzu said in The Art of War, “The Supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” 3) In my personal life, I almost lost my faith. I actually visited a mosque and I was amazed at how everyone was friendly. But the one thing many told me and one I believe was God’s angel sent, is that I was told to follow my heart. If it wasn’t for that I would have quit Christianity altogether, but I didn’t.

Hi, I’m Levi. I’m A Christian And I ‘Celebrate’ Halloween

I saw this video

And then I saw this video

If you know me by now, you would know that I like the second video better. Let me criticize the first video a little.

First Video 

Okay, for one, don’t rely on the Encyclopedia Britannica as a primary source and don’t let it be your only source. There’s no qualitative research here and no epistemology, and that is why Halloween among Christians is a disputable topic. I’m not going to go into the details of how one should research, but spending time in a library and checking out books is a good start.

I am not fascinated with origins, but I am fascinated with religious history. My favorite historical moment is The Salem Witch Trials. Historians can tell a story, but someone involved in religious studies like myself can describe the picture in a unique way. I see it often, not just in this video, but in Christendom entirely, that people act like sheep. Yes, someone might be a pastor, but that doesn’t mean we should always agree. Nobody should endure any kind of judging, condemning, or ridicule just because he/she disagrees with their pastor or their religious leaders in the church. If anything, pastors and religious leaders should learn from the people in the congregation, and there are good reasons why.

Like I said, I’m one of those who loves to research!! This year I bought two books: Halloween An American Holiday, An American History by Lesley Pratt Bannatyne; and Trick or Treat A history of Halloween by Lisa Morton. I didn’t do an extensive research as I would have liked about Halloween, but that’s only because from what I found out, Halloween is made up of many things.

Often times, a lot of Christians get scared and panic when they hear certain words like divination and death. A lot of Christians doesn’t even know that some practices they do in church is in fact divination. Numerology, for example, is often explored and brought up in churches. No? Well, ever hear sermons on the end time? A lot of Christians will use the famous verse about how 1,000 years is a day to the Lord for divination practices in trying to foretell the coming end of the age.

“Oh, but that’s different” Is it? Because last time I read in the Bible, we don’t know when Jesus is coming back!!

Scying is often done, even though Christians don’t use a crystal ball. I’m very skeptical of Christians who prophecy…and they’re still in the church. A real prophet is among the most ridiculed of all Christians. I haven’t even got into Tarot which is often seen as some kind of fortune telling. I did research on Tarot and Tarot isn’t fortune telling, but I would be cautious of anyone who uses it as such.

But this isn’t about all of that. This is about Halloween and the first video. The pastor really discredited himself when it talked about the Egyptians decorating a tree. He shot himself in the foot with that one, but proved that any holiday can be bad or good based on what YOU think it is. It’s all about the Individual. If it’s not okay for the Egyptians to decorate a tree, then what about Christmas? Christmas traditions and practices came from a lot of pagan rituals and practices. What I like about the second video is that she explained a few things.

 

Second Video

PERFECT VIDEO! No complaints from me. She’s also right about pagans. It takes a Christians with a lot of discernment to discern if something is a debate or something that should be dealt with. I will admit that there are a lot of disputable opinions and debates that float around in Christendom. It’s annoying, too, because the same questions keep on popping up.

Should Christians celebrate Halloween

Can Christians vote democrat

Should Christians judge others

Should Christians listen to secular music

A lot of times, the questions like these seem like loaded questions. That is, questions that has presumptions built into it so that it can’t be answered without appearing guilty. Lets face it, we’re all guilty. We’re guilty just for living in the day of Halloween. But Christians can’t skip over the day, and it’s just over religious to sleep all day and turn off the lights. God doesn’t like religiousness, yet so many lives their life that.

Halloween is what you make it out to be. If you think it’s wrong, evil, against God, then don’t celebrate it. It’s just more wrong to argue with those who only sees a positive light from it. For a lot of us, it’s just nothing but a day of dressing up, watching scary T.V., and getting lots of candy.

I’m Back!

 

A lot has happened from 2012 to now. One of which is that I am no longer friends with certain people in my life. I’ll just use their initials, DF and TF. They’re a married couple. DF, I befriended when he broke his ankle skating. I got active in the church and young adult groups. I felt bad because it seemed in these youth groups, nobody did anything for him, let alone others, if they got a broken ankle. As a church, it’s my belief that we can do more than just pray for them. That’s how I met TF, and the story continues from there.

To keep it short, from TF, I met KB. I met TF’s other friends. All of us used to hang out. I did have a crush on ZA, one of TF’s friends who is super cute and intelligent, and doesn’t have a total disregard toward religion. Nothing ever happened. However, with KB, I was told by DF and TF that’s KB is crazy. KB has even admitted herself that she’s crazy. Lets see, I got scolded, cussed out at, and threatened by KB because I was doing the exact same thing that KB was doing. KB was talking to me and inviting me out. I was talking to KB and invited her out, but I got treated like a criminal. That problem still persists, but the plot thickens!!

I noticed that DF and TF were saying things about me that isn’t true. Not only that, but I noticed a lot of lies. In truth, the lying is why I got angry at DF and TF. I’m still upset at them, but I do care about them. They moved twice, and I even helped them move. I have asked them and tried to plan a zoo trip. Nothing. I got invited to a Pittsburgh Steelers party by one of TF’s friends GB. It was only DF, TF and myself who went. I had a blast. I friended GB on Facebook. GB and I were talking. GB was even “joking” about how she felt left out because DF, TF, TF’s mom and brother, and myself got together to do some pumpkin carving. Then, DF and TF got together to watch the Steelers game and I said I felt left out. I got told told to watch the game at home, but at the time I couldn’t. GB told me to punch my mom so I could watch the game. GB also told me to let her know when I’m in Pittsburgh so that maybe we can hang out. And here’s where the fun begins…..

TF’s aunt got angry at me that year because I spent my birthday by myself. She got mad at me because I didn’t ask anyone, yet I did. I asked DF, TF and GB. I told them how I felt. GB gave me one reason, yet DF and TF gave me several different reasons. It’s those reasons, which I highly presume to be lies, is why I got angry, PLUS, KB did think vicious lies about me falsely accusing me of stalking and harassing. Not only that, but when I told them I was disappointed that they didn’t say no, DF said that, “we’re still friends,” and for me not to have negative thoughts.

Right, yet, it’s super easy to ask me for help, I come and help. In truth, I felt like the wrong I did was ask my friends if they wanted to do something. DF asked me why am I always assuming that DF and TF doesn’t want to hang out? I wasn’t assuming anything. I was just asking. It was just disturbing that DF and TF would lie and say things about their friend(s) that was true.

So, I changed my number and said I didn’t want to be friends anymore. I regretted it, and I tried to be friends again, but it turns out I should have stuck with my decision.

I honestly felt like I wasn’t allowed to ask DF and TF anything. I even asked if they wanted to hang out. They’re excuse was that they didn’t have any money. HOWEVER, they made plans for me. They made plans to go to a concert in Pittsburgh EVEN THOUGH it was my graduation. They even made plans for my 30th birthday even though all I wanted to do was see The Hobbit.

Then? At an Arts Festival, DF told me, “you can hang out with us if you want to.” They were there. DF and TF stopped talking to me, even though they complained about me stop talking to them. I never stopped, they stopped. They always quit listening to me.

It was a huge mess. They were some of the friends who said I needed to get a job and a cell phone so it’s easier for them. All my friends who said I needed a phone quit talking to me.

I shared the above videos because all this happened in my quest to be more outgoing, more talkative. Yet, in not being myself, I got into more trouble. I’m a naturally quiet person. I think I might make a video one day on being quiet, but the videos I shared holds a lot of truth.

Things are better for me. I am back in church and volunteering. I met some new friends and got reacquainted with old ones.

I Took A Quiz! INFP

FAMOUS INFPs:

George Orwell, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, J.R.R. Tolkien, Edgar Allan Poe, Shakespeare, George R.R. Martin, John Lennon, Curt Cobain, Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Bjork, Thom Yorke, Andy Warhol, Chloé Sevigny

PERCENTAGE OF INFPs AMONG POPULATION

4.4%

 

INFP – DESCRIPTION

 

INFPs’ main interest is to make the world a better a place for anyone. Their primary goal is to find the meaning of life. They are highly intuitive about people and let their intuition guide them to find the truth and meaning about many things.

INFPs dislike conflicts and will do anything to listen and put people at ease. They are genuinely interested in understanding people and this sincerity makes them valued friends and confidantes.

INFPs are flexible and low-key as long as their value system is not violated. They can fight very passionately to defend their causes. They might not be detail-oriented individuals but they can cover every possible detail if working for their causes demands it. INFPs are rarely given enough credit because of their high standards. They can often act as “control-freaks” that can never be happy with themselves.

INFPs are more sensitive to feelings and human behavior than logic and “hard facts”. They are usually talented writers even if they are not the best at expressing themselves verbally. They are good in situations where they work towards the public good and in which they don’t need to use hard logic.

Dishonest About My Religion

I’m not really sure how to respond to this. I only watched half of the interview, but the only thing I found troubling is to say that Christianity is wrong. It’s almost as if it’s jumping the band wagon because most people who do follow these religions aren’t perfect and a substantial amount of people has done some cruel things in the name of religion.

To start off, I’m a Christian. I was at a point in my life where I questioned my religion. I questioned my religion because I have noticed some things that I found to be unsettling. Personal things that happened to me was that I was told I wasn’t a true Christian because I vote Democrat, I was told I never truly read God’s word because I didn’t read from the NIV, KJV or NKJV of the Bible. The Bible translation debate really stung me. I was borderline calling myself agnostic. Did I really believe in God? Is God real? Is Christianity right? I was on the verge of a breakdown.

Then, something happened. God spoke to me and said, “I’m real.” God’s voice is truly like a whisper, and at the same time I called it quits. I just wanted God and I threw out religion to the point where I actually majored in religious studies. It was a good time, too, because Chinese was being offered and it is a requirement to take a foreign language. I thought, no better time then now. I get to major in something I know I would love and learn Chinese which is something I always wanted to do. I actually have an associate degree to prove that I have been there.

All this was done in the span from 2009-2012.

During my time, adventuring through religious studies, I ventured out on my curiosity of Islam. I met some Muslims, some I’m still friends with. I met someone and he and I went to their mosque together. They have a moment of prayer and service every Friday, I think at 1:00pm. It was quite an experience. The friendliness and hospitality was not lacking. It was the only religious “service” I have ever been to where a lot of people greeted each other. I was seriously thinking about converting, but I didn’t, and I’ll tell why.

I couldn’t convert for two reasons 1) I just couldn’t give up the bacon 2) A Muslim told me to follow my heart. My heart knows the answer.

I can honestly say that belief in God, a divine existence, whatever, is truly different from living according to a religious text. I will say that I haven’t been open about my faith; not to Christians, not to atheists, not to anyone. I don’t agree with every preacher and if I like a preacher, I don’t agree with everything he/she said. I only go to church on Sundays. I don’t believe all of the Bible is God’s word, and I don’t take everything literally. I don’t base my faith on doctrines and the Bible, my faith is based on believing in God and believing that his ways are just, fair, and righteous. I do believe God is love.

I believe that there is more than one path that will lead to God, it’s just that everything Jesus said and did is the way, the truth, and the light. It’s just that we can all find Jesus in something other than religion.

I believe that there is some F*#&ed up doctrine out there.

But ya know? I can only speak about Christianity. I think it’s wrong to say those who do wrong are fundamentalist. No, the fundamentals of Christianity is to do right, to love God and to love others. Everything else has been taken to extreme and they are called extremist.

But life isn’t about religion and arguing the morality and merits of it. Faith is part of life. Religion is not synonymous with faith and spirituality.  Everyone believes in something, and some doesn’t. Religion is rituals and practices based on our belief. I don’t go to church because I’m following doctrine, obeying the rules, or doing what someone else says to do. I go because I have faith. Believe me, there are things I do or don’t do that will probably label me as not being a Christian, but it’s my faith. Nobody can walk to this path but me. A lot of us have faith, and you can call it spirituality, but the truth? I believe a lot of us aren’t being honest about what we really believe and what we really say and do.

(Re-Thought) Being A Christian And A Democrat. I’m So Blue :)

I’M BACK!!! To blogging. I’ll explain later why and how. This will be the first of what could be many Re-Thought blogs. I deleted some posts because I was just ranting heavily. I posted a blog about being a Christian and Democrat/liberal/moderate, but I want to revisit that. I’ll post the video below first.

 

This video was also interesting.

 

I find the second video…unsettling…disturbing…not just because of content, but because of what is said. One pastor came out and said, “I hate, Obama.” I can just stop there. Hate, is a strong word. As a Christian, it’s unsettling and disturbing to hear that. While some of the people say they question Christians for voting Democrat, and some Christians question if President Obama is a Christian, I wonder if they are Christian for saying they hate him.

Verses I absolutely LOVE!!! ESV Translation

Matthew 7:1-6

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

 

Matthew 7:12-14

12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

 

Romans 13:1-7

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

 

Proverbs 6:16-19

16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
    seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
    feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
    and one who sows discord among brothers.

 

James 4:17

17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

 

I got into a heated argument about Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. The person constantly shared videos of John MacArthur, a Christian preacher.  MacArthur’s sermons sound like they are for intellectuals only because he uses words the common folk won’t understand. Not everyone understands what an apostate is let alone a pagan. MacArthur also strays away from the topic and I get lost. I would never go to MacArthur’s church unless I wanted to purposefully fall asleep.

I was told that these verses in Matthew 7:1-2 isn’t saying we shouldn’t judge. Which, I agree, it’s not saying we shouldn’t. However, I argued on the fact that it’s also not saying we should. It does, however, say if we do judge then we will be judged the same way how we judge. I would have to say the most challenging thing about being a Christian, is not only when my Biblical interpretation is considered “wrong,” but being told I’m not a Christian. I have been told I am not a Christian just for my political views. That’s why I’m going to talk about Abortion and Same-Sex Marriage.

 

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

 

Same-sex marriage has erupted into the biggest issue among Christians who are involved in politics, even if all they do is vote. I will say that the topic does confuse me, and where there’s confusion, there is the enemy. Because I’m a Christian, the enemy is Satan. It has always confused me because in 1Corinthians 6:9-11 it says, 

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

but then it says in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20

18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

So, it is considered to be a sin? I would say yes, it is. It’s just that sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. I could get into Bible translations and interpretations, the history of the Bible, Biblical meanings, etc. but I’m not. Instead, I feel as a Christian, it needs to be handled differently.

In Matthew 7:3-5

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Not only is same-sex marriage a hot button issue, but it seems that out of all the sins in the Bible, homosexuality is THE sin. So, why nit pick one sin and not the rest? I for one don’t understand why to some, homosexuality is the most sins of sins, when in reality…Biblical sense, it’s not. I don’t think we should concentrate on homosexuality, and I also believe that Christians shouldn’t had of made it a huge deal. Sadly, it’s a big deal now. Being for same-sex marriage brands you as pro or for homosexuality. The stereotyping and generalizing set in. I’m still single and now it’s back where some think I’m gay. Whoa! No, I’m not gay. It’s a very touchy subject.

Of course, not talking about doesn’t mean that I refuse to stand up for what’s right, and I think another major issue on same-sex marriage Christians face is with other Christians. A lot of Christians are mean, judgmental, and unloving when it comes to homosexuality. It’s a fact, that people are mean and will bully. I do agree that Christians should act better than the world because there are atheists who are way worse.

So, is homosexuality a sin? Yes. But according to Jesus, it’s also sinful to take away the hope of Christ from others. It’s sinful to worry about someone else’s sin when we are in fact sinners ourselves.

 

 

ABORTION

This one is straight forward. It’s simple. It’s not a complex of an issue as same-sex marriage is. I’m pro-choice. If it comes down to choosing to have a baby, then I choose to do so. But I am a man, so what do I know? I’m not even in the medical field, so what do I know? I don’t know crap about having a baby. If you read the comments in the first video I showed, people will say I’m uninformed. Yeah, being uninformed is said a lot in the political world toward one another. However, I did do some research on abortion and there are some cases where there are pregnancy problems that leads to abortion. We live in America, but that doesn’t mean everyone is nor will have the same faith as I do. However, I still can’t make that choice. I’m not the one having a baby, she is. It’s a woman’s issue.

I think a lot of Christians have it wrong and men have the mentality that mean are the heads. Well, that part of the Bible is misinterpreted. See, Paul sent those letters to the church in Corinth because he was trying to bring order to chaos. Women are to submit to their husband, not to all men. Paul said that because there was a lot of crap happening in these churches to the point that everyone was no longer respecting each other. As long as there is respect, love, and kindness, it doesn’t matter who is “in charge.” That’s why I believe that men should butt out of the abortion issue in America.

I personally don’t believe that when a baby is aborted, it’s murder, but murder is the reason why I can never label myself pro-life. Why be pro-life only to care about if a baby is born or not? What about the rest of his or her life? Exactly. But that’s not the argument I choose. I’m pro-choice because we can’t make abortion fully illegal. I believe that any woman who is raped and then got pregnant should have a choice to have the baby or not. Why bash her, when the rapist did wrong? I’m pro-choice because pregnancy complications does happen. I’m pro-choice because I believe that instead of calling myself pro-life, I should just call myself a hypocrite. Caring about a person’s life isn’t just when they are a baby, it’s when they live until they die.

I do believe that God judges us based on what he sees in our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7), and it’s something no human being will ever be able to see. I will never see it. Also, God understands every situation we’re in. People should just butt out on things they don’t understand.

 

POLITICS

Well, here it is. Politics in general is a cruel world. Not everyone can handle it. It’s a world where I have seen the most name calling and the most false accusations. I’ve shared scriptures above as to why I generally vote Democrat, and technically I always will. I can never vote for those who support an economic system where the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. We’re the United States of America and our government is to protect and to serve. Sure, each state is sovereign, but we can’t survive on our own. That’s why we have The United States. Issues like Education, programs and institutions for the poor, and reasonable healthcare are bigger issues I care about. Yet, lately, Republicans doesn’t seem to care about any of those.

Of course, not all Republicans are bad and not all Democrats are good. But, as a Christian, I refuse to belittle, antagonize, and bully anyone for making a choice. We still live in a Constitutional Republic with a Representative Democracy. I’m a Christian first, but I can never forget that I’m also an American. Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is for all Americans. Homosexuality and abortion happens, but so does greed, lust, rape, and not giving a crap about the poor and the sick.

 

Mom’s And Their Awesome Encouragement

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The bear portrays the ultimate depiction of how I have been feeling lately. Yesterday, my mom was telling me about this girl who would always take photos of animals. The Hallmark hired her, then she ended up working for National Geographic and is traveling the world.

I really want to travel the world. It’s been a little bit over a year since my Pell Grants got cut due to change in legislation, and because of that I didn’t have enough money to study abroad. I should have applied for another scholarship, but at the informational meeting the guy said, “If you don’t want to apply due to moral reasons, then don’t.” I feel stupid for doing so, but I wish I did my research better. Price you pay for having TOO much focus.

Going back to school doesn’t look so great. Financial aid is scarce these days. Those Pell Grants and other education grants helped a lot.

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