Yes, You Probably Have a Religion

Note: This post appears to have been stuck in draft mode…not sure when I originally composed it.

The article below is worth a read. Mentally, I think we tie “religion” to systems of belief hinging on the supernatural, but the Merriam-Webster definition shows it is far more inclusive:

Definition of religion

“a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.”

Your “religion” might not be supernatural…nor may it be politics as Leighton Akira Woodhouse discusses below…but I would suggest you almost definitely have a “system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.” Woodhouse discussed how previously politics brought people together in compromise, but the religion of politics does just the opposite.

Final comment (of my own): Worldviews that accept the supernatural are just as worthy of being in the public square as those that reject it. Let each make its case for each issue at hand and trust people to make a decision. Blind dogmatism and ideology are the issue, not a belief in there being more than what our five senses can measure.

”Trust in science” is a religious statement, not a scientific one. True science doesn’t trust anything. 🙂

P.S. Lest it come off otherwise, I trust science (or, rather, the scientific method), since it fully recognizes its limitations and encourages questioning, refining, etc. What I don’t trust are scientists, who are no more perfect than the rest of us humans.

Day 2: Farm Equipment (July 4, 2022)

This is day 2 of “30 Days of Cycling,” and I headed north on Strasburg Road to record my though for today. Just after I got off my bicycle, this neat thing came along:

And today’s thought for today will give a bit more of an idea of what it is like north of the main part of the town:

Day 1’s post explains a bit about why I am doing this…

P.S. I didn’t see until I posted the video on YouTube that the guy waved as he went by. 🙂

Tractor driver waving

Kid Rock’s Church a Church of Christ?

I am a minister, with a small congregation (the Strasburg Church of Christ). We are part of the Churches of Christ, an affiliation of churches with similar beliefs, versus a denomination. God blessed my family and me by first introducing us to them at the Antrim Church of Christ in Antrim, New Hampshire.

Either way, being in a Church of Christ meant something caught my eye in a Tucker Carlson Originals called “Life of a Rock Star: Kid Rock.” This screenshot is from inside the church on Kid Rock’s Nashville property:

Sign over door

Now, “Church of Christ” could be said of any true Christian church, so it may not indicate they are a sister church. Kind ‘a neat if they are though. 🙂

BTW, this is the sign out front:

Church sign

Now, don’t get any ideas that…during a service…you’ll hear “rock n roll” at a Church of Christ. A traditional Church of Christ does not use instruments during worship service. However, I’ll tell you right now, a cappella singing at a Church of Christ is pretty awesome. 🙂

P.S. Church of Christ or not, the Dixie ridge Church of Rock N Roll has it right. Jesus loves you. So do I.

SDMF and Hell’s Angels

(This is a cross-post of an article from 2012 on Traditores.org. It is one of my most regularly viewed posts on that site. The kindness that the Texas Hippie Coalitiion showed me reminded me of it.)

Black Label Society logoAlthough I can appreciate almost any style of music that includes a melody, I am especially drawn to tunes with heavy guitars. Over the years, Ozzy Osborne has had a knack for not only putting out songs with great guitars—he also attracts especially talented guitarists. (For those not familiar with Ozzy, he first became famous as the lead singer of Black Sabbath—another guitar-laden band.)

Perhaps Ozzy’s most famous guitarist is Rhandy Rhoads, who is considered one of rock’s best even though he died at the age of 25 in an airplane accident. Rhandy’s death was hard on Ozzy…but life does go on, and Rhandy was ultimately replaced by Jake E. Lee, who was later succeeded by Zakk Wylde.

Which almost gets us to the acronym in this article’s title. 🙂 Read More

Texas Hippie Coalition

Yesterday, I had the honor of meeting, and listening to, the Texas Hippie Coalition. All I can tell you is that they were the nicest bunch of guys (band and their supporting cast), and that Big Dad Rich provided a prayer before the concert that was an incredible testimony to Jesus. Big Dad Rich’s brother, Terrance, and THC’s drummer, Joey, especially showed me above-and-beyond kindness.

Yeah, I paid for the meet-and-greet :-), but that doesn’t explain how congenial the band members were to all of who had…nor how Terrance and Joey were so friendly outside it.

I will have fond memories of the night long into the future.

Alan Fahrner and the Texas Hippie Coalition

Before I share a couple of video snippets from last night, I’ll admit THC presents a conundrum for me. If you look at the liner notes from their last album, at least four of them call on the name of Jesus. Additionally, from talking to Terrance and Big Dad Rich’s prayer, it’s clear their faith is much more than that of a “cultural Christian.” Yet, as a minister, I can tell you that there are things that Big Dad Rich says, does, and sings about that would cause me to counsel a congregant who said, did, or sung about.

That is, I am blessed to call Terrance, Big Dad Rich, and some of the other band members brothers in Christ, but I do not know how to harmonize aspects of their behavior with what I believe Scripture teaches. Neither my conversations with Terrance at the merchandise table nor the meet-and-greet were appropriate venues for asking about the apparent disconnects, and it is unlikely I’ll ever have the opportunity to do so, but it would be a great conversation…and I will be regularly praying for Big Dad Rich, Terrance, and the band. God watch over you and yours brothers.

Now that I’ve shared my conundrum, here are a couple snippets from “Hands Up” last night at the Wild Goose Saloon in Parker, Colorado (which deserves five stars for being an incredible venue with friendly staff). Coarse language warning:

UPDATE: Egad! I just realized I forgot to say that they were stunning on stage. Amazingly talented band.

Joey, if you ever read this: First, thanks for the friendliness. Second, I don’t know how you do with the drums what you do with the drums. Wow. Third, and finally, you cause me serious hair envy as you whip it around playing the drums. 🙂

To Bid Dad Rich and the rest of the band: You are as equally talented as Joey, and thank you again for your kindness and your music.

Finally, to Terrance, there is nothing I can say that would measure up to the hospitality you showed me. Thank you!

Sean Feucht Versus the Texas Hippie Coalition

Who did it better, Sean Feucht or the Texas Hippie Coalition?

By “it,” I mean: Give God credit.

Exhibit A, a screenshot of the “About” page on seanfeucht.com, searching for all references to “God”:

Screen shot

Exhibit B, the liner notes from the Texas Hippy Coalition’s latest album, “High in the Saddle”:


Liner notes

So, who did it better?

Obviously, my two exhibits prove nothing, but you gotta admit it makes you wonder. Do popular Christians ever consider whether the promotional materials people create for them show the correct amount of humility? Whether people see “Soli Deo Gloria” (glory to God alone) in the words?

Recommended: Dickey’s Barbecue Pit

A little while back Augie and I had a hankerin’ for pizza, but wanted to try something new. We drove a bit, only to discover our destination was take out only.

So, we went next door to Dickey’s Barbecue Pit.

It. Was. Great!

As I put in the Google review:

Although a bit more expensive than normal fast food, it is also a lot better quality. Big thumbs up from the whole family!

Nice employees too. 🙂

Update: Adding a picture from a later visit…although I already had eaten some of it…so you can see the portions are plenty large.

This restaurant has become a family favorite, thanks to the food and the people.

Plate of food

The update was from today.

If you have a Dickey’s Barbecue Pit nearby…and you’re not a vegetarian :-), you should go check it out!

Huge kudos to the folks at the Tower Road location in Denver. Thanks for always being so awesome.

1984 + ?

This is a repost of a Traditores.org article from about a decade ago.

Church image with interferenceAs Jeremy passed the deteriorating wood-tiled church on North Main Street, he tried to remember just how long ago its large doors had been locked for the last time. Was it ten years? Longer? Shorter? However far back it was, the doors were no longer white, having lost the battle with weather that any abandoned building does. Its handicapped ramp had also, long ago, seen its rust color turn into the hue of gray decay. From the looks of it, it also lost its structural integrity—a fitting unsafe entry path to an unused church.

For that matter, even religious worship would have been permitted if the proles had shown any sign of needing or wanting it.1

Jeremy tried to narrow down the actual year by remembering other connected events. Although what finally finished off the small congregation was the hate-crime judgment against their minister, he wasn’t the first conviction in Antrim when the Tolerance Purge (“Tolperge” in Newspeak) arrived. Not surprisingly, the first Tolperge drive avoided houses of worship, focusing instead on businesses. Religious kooks would be allowed their bigotry, at least for a time, but owning a business was a privilege in the eyes of the Federal Government, the Department of Tolerance, and their Tolerance Czar (“Fedgov,” “Deptol,” and “Czartol” respectively). Read More

Is Jetpack Blocking the Ukrainian Flag?

Update (and this belongs at the top, so you read it first):

Glad to hear that Jetpack is not blocking anything with their CDN and kudos to them for their response! Read More

“We had gone nowhere at all”

12 Rules for Life book cover
Image from Amazon.com

Listening to Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life this morning (while exercising), I was hit by the punchline of an experience he shared. As a teenager, he convinced small-town friends to travel with him to Edmonton, 800 miles away.

We spent the weekend drinking in the hotel room. Although we had travelled a long distance, we had gone nowhere at all.

(Emphasis mine.)

How sad. How true in our own lives?

I Am Published!

Okay, what I really should have said is, “I paid somebody to publish me, and it’s only a tract…”

But I am still pretty excited that this arrived from the printer today!:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You can read essentially the same text as a single web page on the front page of Gospel.Claims.

I don’t have a ton of the tracts, but please contact me if you would like me to send one (or some) your way. (Contact info is also in the footer of this page.)

Oh, a big thank you and kudos to PrintMyTract.com (AKA Moments with the Book). They were tremendous to work with, and I will be partnering with them to publish more tracts in the future. (If your are interested, you can order this tract from them, with the last page yours to modify: “You Must Choose.”)

Can you do me a favor? Please pray that God will be able to use these to help bring people to Jesus.

P.S. Please understand that any time you try to explain the infinite with finite words, the result will be imperfect (especially when adding in the humanity of the authors). The approach this tract takes to explain a portion of the gospel does not give the full view of a God who not only offers you salvation, He offers you friendship. (See John 15:15.)

Also, remember if you’ve seen Jesus, you’ve seen the Father. (See John 14:9.)

One last thing, I am the primary author, but my good friend Uriel deserves credit too. God has blessed me with the wonderful brother in Christ.

What Really Matters

This blog is of my musings…my “nibbles and bits.” As such, it’ll sometimes touch on “third rail” topics. I ask for your charity and forgiveness if ever I offend you (or worse). No matter what subjects inspire my posts, in the end, you matter more to me…and love matters most:

1 Corinthians 13:4–8, 13 (NIV):

Jesus

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Even if we disagree, you have my love.

Perspectives

A Twitter thread about perspectives (sorry, I don’t know a good way not to have it show the previous tweet in the thread each time):

Not my best prose, but I think it makes the point.

If my lack of charity has harmed you, I apologize. In the end, we are all brothers and sisters. My God bless you and, if you aren’t part of His fold, may you find Him.

Oaths

Politicians, police officers, and soldier take an oath to uphold the Constitution.

Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath to stay true to certain ethics (e.g. “do no harm”).

Christians, at baptism, implicitly take an oath to follow Jesus as Lord.

How are we doing?

Cursed with human nature, I believe we all fail to varying degrees. However, if we essential promote the opposite of that we took an oath to, what does that say about us?

At best, just hypocrites. In reality, probably charlatans, liars, and…maybe…evil.

Jesus’ words ring truer and truer:

“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:33-37, NIV).

5 Stars: Rosie’s Diner in Monument, Colorado

Just posted this review on Google Maps Reviews:

We were a hike from home, and wanted to grab lunch before returning. From the moment we walked in, we knew we made the right decision choosing Rosie’s Diner.

Awesome food, atmosphere, and prices! Not to mention, our server, Mimi, was the icing on the cake.

It’s far away from where we live, but we’ll be back

And it was well-deserved!

A SQLite Blessing

Credit to Ace of Spades HQ for pointing to this beautiful, thoughtful blessing in SQLite’s GitHub repository’s main.c:

** The author disclaims copyright to this source code. In place of
** a legal notice, here is a blessing:
**
** May you do good and not evil.
** May you find forgiveness for yourself and forgive others.
** May you share freely, never taking more than you give.
**

Nicely done, SQLite team. Nicely done.

“Live at Peace with Everyone”

Bible and candleAs I pondered the incivility the pandemic has brought to on-line dialogue, Romans 12:18 came to mind today: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (NIV)

As Christians, I would argue that probably includes “giving in” more than our natures might desire. Not giving into sin…but not being so worried about standing up for our rights, slapping people back who dis us on social media, etc.

(I hesitate to say that. I am not suggesting we should be doormats, and there are definitely times we need to stand up to others, including government authority…e.g. when many of us opposed slavery and helped lead to its abolition.)

Perhaps the world would be a bit kinder if everyone who claims the name of Christ asked themselves why the meek inherit the earth and peacemakers are called the sons of God, and then decided how they were going to react. Short version: What should Jesus do (WWJD)?

Of course, that doesn’t mean we will live at peace with everyone. That’s why Paul was wise enough to say, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (emphasis mine). We know things won’t always be Skittles and rainbows, because Jesus told us it wouldn’t:

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’  If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also” (John 15:18-20, emphasis mine).

Brothers and sisters, if we aren’t at peace with someone, let it be for the right reasons, not because we blaspheme the name of Jesus by our words and actions towards others.

On the other hand, if we get along fine-and-dandy with the world, and it doesn’t hate us, then maybe Jesus is not truly our master.

I’m Not a Prude, but…

I am not prude, but I would argue the image in this Twitter ad was inappropriate:

Twitter ad

No, what popped up on my timeline did not include the blurring.

It’s a beautiful painting, but they could have chosen plenty of other famous pieces of artwork. There was only one reason they chose this one.

And, yes, it worked. It quickly drew my eyes to the advertisement. Being effective does not make it okay.

Am I wrong and I am a prude?

Final thing to consider: If an alcoholic was “on the wagon,” would you sneak liquor into punch he/she was drinking?

I don’t think some folks realize just how pornography is for some men (and probably a higher percentage of teenage boys).

What’s Better than Winning?

What did I learn (again) this year? Don’t treat people as instrumental means to my predetermined end. This is particularly true of people with whom I may think I disagree. It’s highly probable that I don’t understand where they are coming from, what they mean, or anything about the particulars of our disagreement. If I listen, instead of winning, I learn. And that’s better than winning.

Jordan Peterson tweet‐ Jordan Peterson, from Bari Weiss’ “Common Sense” Substack:

 

Love Testing Your Opinions

The Socratic method doesn’t replace your current opinions with better ones. It changes your relationship to your opinions. It replaces the love of holding them with the love of testing them.

– Ward Farnsworth, The Socratic Method: A Practitioner’s Handbook

Farnsworth quote

Weigh-In: 242 lbs

Nutrisystem 10 lb awardThis day marks three weeks of being on Nutrisystem and applying Strong Advice: Zuby’s Guide to Fitness for Everybody.

Result: 10.4 lbs lost (now at 242 lbs).

I should note that’s with the second week including Thanksgiving, resulting in a 0.2 lb gain.

My hope is to lose 2 lbs a week…and it sure seems doable now. 🙂