Donny's Ramblings

These Colors Don't Run (the world)…


…but we sure act like we do, don’t we?

Did you know that the day after Thanksgiving, Americans spent enough money on that one day alone to provide safe drinking water for the entire world?

I could list off statistic after statistic that shows how greedy we are. We consume more resources than dozens of the world’s countries combined, and we’re never satisfied. We’re always searching for ways to make more money so that we can consume more of the world’s resources (I made “the world” bold because that’s who said resources belong to).

We deserve all of this, right? After all, our churches teach us we’re Sons and Daughters of the King, right? I’ve been to several church services recently that tell me so. And I’ve also been to a few small groups that give off that same message. At one of those small group meetings I said something about how we should really be feeding the hungry and serving the poor. I read a passage from a book written by Donald Miller that illustrated what I was trying to say. I was met with a few nods and blank looks. Why? Because what I read doesn’t fit with the cool, popular “spirituality” of greed that seems to be sweeping many churches, particularly the one that this small group calls home.

Fact is, churches that preach nothing but prosperity seem to be packed. One such church has so many people in attendence that, unless one arrives early, the only place to sit is on the floor. I stopped attending because it doesn’t seem to me that real life issues are being addressed. Ask for help dealing with a real problem and see what type of response you get (and I’m not even talking about financial help either – just some good Christian advice).

If I wanted to “feel good” all the time I’d listen to Tony Robbins. I’m not saying I don’t want to hear these messages once in awhile, but who hit the “repeat” button on this particular track? That’s all I seem to hear.

Right now I need Jesus. I need his love. I don’t need to face the same temptation, in church, that partially led to my life as a porn producer. I was wrapped up in money and possessions, and hatred towards Christians. Porn production brought money and a way to shock the Christians I hated.

Now I go to church only to find that the greed of the masses is being fed by messages of prosperity. What happened to love? What happened to what Jesus called us to do?

Sure, I’m all about living comfortably. And to be honest, I’m sure I’ll one day care about amassing wealth again (that will be a sad day). Right now I love the thought of sitting next to stinky people at a bus stop, loving them because they, too, are children of the King. Did we forget that part? Every person in the entire world is a child of the King. The middle class, upper midle class, and upper class citizens of the United States of America ARE NOT the only children of the King!

If one of your kids was hungry wouldn’t you be a little pissed off if your over fed kid didn’t share some of his/her food with the one that is starving? You haven’t eaten today? Sorry, I can’t give you this hot dog because I’ve only had 4 myself for lunch so far. You know I always eat 6! Look at me! I’ll waste away if I give up these other 2!

Shouldn’t we be spending billions of dollars a day solving humanitarian problems, rather than blowing up Iraq so that we can insure that our oil supply doesn’t diminish? I realize our Hummers are thirsty. Perhaps we need to starve them a bit.

I’m a patriotic SOB and I love our troops, and in fact served in the military myself, but wouldn’t it really kick ass if our troops were sent to other countries to hug the starving kids and feed them a decent meal? I bet our men would return from the War on Hunger with Post Traumatic Selflessness Disorder, and be pretty happy about it! I bet the rest of the world would stop hating us so much and would lose their desire to blow us to shreds if we’d start flying over their countries dropping food and water supplies instead of bombs.

For the price of the bombs we drop on countries we don’t have any business invading, thousands of people could be fed. Millions, perhaps.

For the daily price of the “War on Terra” (which must be Texan for “Terror”) I bet we’d wipe out a lot of really bad problems.

Mr. President, do you want to know how to defeat “Terra”? Here’s the answer:

Respond to hatred with LOVE. Drop a food bomb on those pesky terrorists.

Maybe Jesus knew what he was talking about after all.

PS: I’m SO preaching to myself here. As I wrote this I kept telling myself that I need to remember all of this. It is going to be SO easy for me to resume thinking about making millions and living comfortably on a Yacht in a tropical land if I don’t constantly remind myself that I exist to learn to love OTHERS, and not just myself. God, please help me remember this. Please give me the courage to give of my time and money. Please give me the courage to change my political registration and to stop thinking “Republican” so much. Ouch, that hurts.

20 thoughts on “These Colors Don't Run (the world)…

  1. Just wanted to say that I agree with you whole heratedly. We are so concerned with getting more that we cannot see the bigger picture. I am from the UK and we are very insular and inward looking. My time in Africa made me greatful for what we have and not to take it for granted. Glad you are well.God BlessDave

  2. Right on… the American church preaches “health and wealth” because it sells, and because Americans and American Christians in particular generally have the perception that we are morally superior to the rest of the world. We have more or less become a nation of Christian Pharisees – and you know what Jesus had to say to the Pharisees, don’t you? You should check out Rob Bell’s NOOMA videos and his book Velvet Elvis. You can also listen to him speak at Mars Hill at I think you’d really like him. In NOOMA Rich, Rob claims that the estimated cost to eliminate world hunger is around $20B/year. That is approximately the same amount Americans spend on ice cream each year. Disgusting, isn’t it? And as you mentioned, we’ve already spent around $500B blowing up other countries the past few years. We’re supposed to be part of the solution, right here and right now. In fact, we’re supposed to be God’s answer. So as the church goes, so does the world. The world’s looking pretty bad right now. What does that say about the church? k.

  3. Dear Donny,There, finally finding a browser that let’s me see the verification letters.Anyway, I feel compelled to respond to this…carefully. Sorry this is long and I hope you can accept this in the spiritin which it is being given, especially since I could not put this down to go to bed till I wrote you.Let me also preface my response by clarifying that I have never served in the military, though as a soldier of Christ, some tenents are the same.Where do I begin and I by no means am answering everything, but just sharing some of my own thoughts on this..First of all, whether Democrat or Republican, neither is a “Christian” party, though members of both would like to think so, any more than a Christian organization can get saved. They are both made up of people who profess to follow Christ, though as of late, as a party one has tended greatly toward liberal thinking with the absence of God, while at the same time, espouses or claims to care for the poor, saving the environment, etc. Ultimately, very humanistic…with the absence of God, no matter how nice it sounds.Anyway, while I can certainly note much disgust in what is preached in some churches, and if it is as you say, then rightly so, as it is no more than Christ having to deal with pharasees and their views.However, in your aparent rage of what appears to be all that’s wrong with the Church or even it’s members, one must tread carefully. Because they are family.In Revelations, we certainly see warnings from the Lord to some of the churches and their ways, so certainly, there is a lot of detouring from the path going on. But people are at different places in their walk of faith, in any given congregation. I for one, once having lived out of my car on the streets of NYC, though due to my own rebellion at God’s best, understand, that according to scripture, it is God who gives us the power to gain wealth, and there are so many numerous passages to that end, though not to serve us but to serve the body and God’s kingdom and purpose. So people are hearing messages of wealth from different perspectives and for different reasons. Some will run with it faithfully serving God and others, while still others, will as with any teaching, carry out a distorted response. Not to mention that some of what is preached is also distorted…but not all of it. We have to do some sifting for what applies to us. In this country certainly blessed with so much, there is definitely waist and endulgence. Not because God doesn’t want to bless us, but we as a whole have sqaundered God’s blessing. So while there are warnings on one side to not lose sight of who He is, there is also His encouragment to be successful, not just spiritually but also in wealth, while all the while being content where you are but not burying your talents. Be whole in other words as you can not serve both God and money.However, we more than any nation in the world, send aid to more countries than anyone else, why because, though we try to uphold the false notion that there is s so-called “separation of Church and State”, we undoubtedly still carry out our understood God-given responsibility of helping those less fortunate than ourselves. And since it is without an acknowledgement of God, it is also very skewed, warped and sometimes corrupt (having worked in humanitarian aid first hand through US government assistance, I know it isn’t always corrupt). At least it is with “good intentions”. But as the quote goes, “the path to hell is paved with good intensions”.We also want to be careful that we don’t hold to what appears to be fair and reasonable thinking, as Judas did, when concerned that expensive perfume was wasted on Jesus’ feet, instead of it being sold and the money being given to the poor, only to have Jesus say a very real truth… “you will always have the poor with you”. There is a time and a place for everything.As for the war, though as a young man, I held to the influence I had living with Amish Mennonites, to be a “consciencious objector” to instead serve in other ways, I do feel I can at least poke an attempt to see this war through objective eyes. I believe though there will always be renegades, our military’s attempt to create “smart bombs” indicates the attempt to reduce as much as possible, civilian casualties. The enemies attempts on the other hand at smart bombs is in the suicide bombers, who indiscrimately kill everyone in their path. When you see crying mothers, and dead children, your heart cries out for a stop to all this. While they blame us for this, and sometimes it is us, so often, those inadequate missles that are sent up, especially during the original war have to fall somewhere, so who determines, when they are there’s, especially when they’re shot up radomly. Then, like during the Israel and Hesbollah conflict, Hesbollah was going into Christian neighborhoods, shooting their missles from mobile units and scramming, so that when Israel finally would respond to where they were shot from, our Christian brothers and sisters were being hit. To see that the ideology of this enemy, Islamic, who claim that they don’t believe in killing innocent people, fail to clarify for us, that in their book, no one is innocent, unless they believe as they do, and in their world, apparently, Allah is confused about who he loves, because they are blowing each other up, then these insurgencies are nothing less than what we as Christians have to face when we are determined to live for Christ. The enemy of our souls will keep battering us. It’s easy to get mad at it, but we have to point our anger at the right thing. God is not the god they follow who demands his pound of flesh with no view of him as a loving God. Thus, they live and die that way.With so much of what the media is feeding us, it is not feeding us what our soldiers are doing right. In fact they are so frustrated that the good that is being done is not being reported. Feeding kids, building schools, protecting the teachers and kids while they learn, setting up generators to support electricity, bring in heat for the cold they are having there now. You asked for all of this and they are doing it, but you rarely if ever hear about it. They are providing trauma counseling when possible to the Iraqis. The nature of our military is not to rule over countries, as one country over another, thus, we wouldn’t seek international approval and assistance from others. Neither, once we can get them on their feet, do we even want to stay there unless we help in ensuring their success. We’re not perfect but that tends to be our way.My biggest problem though with anything we are doing abroad in terms of promoting democracy, is that with all of the separation of Church and State hype, we are failing to bring them the basis for what our democracy was built on, and that is the God of Judeo-Christian faith. Trying to inculcate it or integrate it into Islam just doesn’t work, unless you water down Islam as do the moderates and liberals of the faith. By nature it is resistant to even the notions or commandments or principles that built this country, though some are trying to tear it down and change history to suit and ever changing liberal mentality.I’m sure that are things we’ve done wrong with this war, but it is ultimately a war on their turf against an enemy who, by using his pawns, will slowly bring the need for a universal system that may end up as 666 and all that in terms of security and privacy issues, us giving up ours for more safety and it being taken from us in the name of tracking our enemies. Ultimately, they are not being led by Allah, unless it’s an alias to our Lords enemy.We certainly have to do more on behalf of those hungry in our country, but keeping them there is not the answer. The Church is called to this, not our government. As much

    as Godly compassion should be serving the needy and not beaurocratic policy, that can not even legislate morality. Unfortunately, so many in the Church are lethargic and God forbid, apostate. But we must stir them up to good works. God does judge the Church first, as He wants His bride to be without spot or blemish. But in the Body, we must love her and motivate her at all cost. It is what the world sees, and He said that they will know we are Christians by our love…His love. The scriptures also tell us to pray for our leaders, that they would make the right decisions and lead our country right. Especially, if our President, who has declared Jesus to be the most important person in his life. Then let’s encourage him to seek Him and we too on his behalf.As for the idea that we are all God’s children, I don’t believe that that is entirely true. Not that we don’t treat everyone with deepest respect and with the hope that some day they will be. But John 1:11-13 reveals who God’s children are:11He came to that which belonged to Him [to His own–His domain, creation, things, world], and they who were His own did not receive Him and did not welcome Him. 12But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name– 13Who owe their birth neither to bloods nor to the will of the flesh [that of physical impulse] nor to the will of man [that of a natural father], but to God. [They are born of God!]Therefore, we are certainly all God’s creation, as in don’t worship the creation, worship the Creator, but only those in Christ are His children.Anyway, I know you feel very strongly about what you’ve shared, but I hope that there is not a root of bitterness that damages the soul, giving way to deceptive thinking. So many have been steered away because of such kinds of anger. Remember that even Satan believes in Jesus and trembles. Therefore, following Christ must be clear and all of scripture must be taken into account. I love you brother and believe that what God began in you, He will also complete. Just don’t let these things distract you, even as those who are being distracted by incomplete messages about Christ and His kingdom. There is a hell and there is a heaven, likewise, success and riches in Christ can be material but should not replace a heart for the lost and the depths of the Kingdom. Coming from a perspective you have of seeking wealth, I can understand your discontent with those who appear to have similar puruits…but for what reasons. Moses sought to set his people free, years before God would show him how it really was going to take place. Thus, you may have had the desire and talent for wealth, but God is about to show you now, that you are in Him, the right way to obtain it with the right heart and the right way to distribute it to enlarge His Kingdom, not yours, or theirs, but His, to God be the glory.Hope this was at least insightful and encouraging to you as you chew the cud.Sincerely, Your brother in Christ.Daniel Mendez

  4. Hey Donny, Great post. I agree that we as Christians need to do more about helping the poor. And there are a lot of Christian organizations out there that do just that. The group, Samaritans Purse, led by Franklin Graham, is doing an excellent job of doing that, but it’s just one organization. They actually have a “Christmas Catalog” that allows you to purchase items like Food for a family for a month for about $45 or you could give a family a cow, which would provide nourishment for a long time, for about $75 to $100. And that’s just a couple of items. It’s a great organization and just shows how far our dollar can go to bring others hope and the love of Christ. Unfortunately, in some areas of the world, it’s not as easy as just making a donation. There are areas in the world that are controlled by militias that confiscate all humanitarian aid and either horde it for themselves or sell it on the black market. For the aid to work and be beneficial, we must first find a way to combat such situations. We seriously need to consider ways to help. You know, this may sound mean, but I really don’t care if the rest of the world likes the US. That’s not gonna change the fact that people will always be gunning for us. That’s what happens when you are on top. (and I mean this from a financial standpoint). The Muslim extremist will always want to do away with the “infidels” no matter how nice we are. But I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to do better at helping the rest of the world. I’m just saying we don’t need to get caught up in what the rest of the world thinks of us because we don’t get our reward from them. I’d say that I agree with at least 97% of your post and I think you really hit the nail on the head when you talked about the churches that preach on the “self-help, feel good kinda” gospel. That burns me up. A friend of mine always says (about church outreach), “What you win them with, is what you will win them to.” Basically, if you go up to someone and say, “Hey, if you go to church and believe in God, he will help you become financially secure.” Well, then, people will only seek a relationship with God to be financially secure, and we all know that that seldom works out. Christ never promised that. Instead, if you say to someone,”Hey, if you believe in Christ, you will experience a love and relationship with God that you never have.” then you will win them to that and they will come to Christ expecting that relationship, and will never be let down. Okay, there’s my 2 cents. I better get back to work. Donny, keep it up and we are so proud of you. As one that was ensnared by pornography, it’s good to see another person come out of such a destructive industry. God Bless you and your ministry. That’s right ministry, cause if you haven’t guessed yet, you now have a ministry. And it is awesome!

  5. Awesome post, Donny! I agree!As a side note, you’d be shocked at how many of our troops are feeding the hungry. My brother did 2 “tours” in the middle east, one was near the Russian/Afghanistan border. He and the others would bring food with them on patrols and they would stop to feed orphans. I know more could be done and I agree with your post. But wanted to make sure that people knew our soldiers do more than just shoot and kill.

  6. “Did you know that the day after Thanksgiving, Americans spent enough money on that one day alone to provide safe drinking water for the entire world?”can you back that up?

  7. “6% increase over last year’s black friday spending to raise the total to 8.9 billion dollars in 2006.” …quote from top out at 9 billion dollars to relieve not only the worlds’ fresh water problem but the sanitation problem as well.

  8. there is no way that 9 billion can solve the worlds water problems. where are you getting that info from.

  9. Maybe not $9B, but in the ballpark… from a 1999 article:”The UN estimates the overall price to bring low-cost safe water and sanitation to all those who need it today (and will in the next decade, given population growth) in rural and low-income urban areas at $23 to $25 billion per year over eight to 10 years. Current world investment is $8 billion per year, leaving a $15 to $17 billion shortfall — an amount roughly equal to annual pet food purchases in Europe and the USA.”k.

  10. ok assuming the values given then are applicable today, it states that between $23 and $25 billion per year over 8 to 10 years. And this is only for “those who need it today (and will in the next decade, given population growth) in rural and low-income urban areas”. so Donny says that “Americans spent enough money on that one day alone to provide safe drinking water for the entire world?”. His statement is so vague and just plain wrong. Some people will probably go around quoting him now to their friends and its an absolute rubbish statement.

  11. Hold on there anonymous… don’t miss the point here. The point is that the world’s water problems, and sanitation problems, and hunger are SOLVABLE problems. We’ve spent $500 billion in Iraq. At even the high end of this estimate, we could have already paid for the world’s water needs twice over in the past 3 years for the same amount that we’ve spent on what has proven to be a futile and worthless war effort. And while this is a hindsight argument, it should at least make rethink things from another perspective. k.

  12. People like their plush stadium sanctuary seats a little too much. However, there are some believers who have the discipline not feed their expensive tastebuds and focus their money on feeding other people too. I’m not gonna even try to front on this issue, I’m so not where I need to be in this area. I try but I could do some much more if I fully surrended myself to the Holy Spirit’s hand of discpline in this matter. Bishop Tudor Bismark, who’s from Africa, challenged my church to make these life goals: 1. Build a well in a foreign country 2. Pay for the vaccinations of at least one child 3. Build a medical center in a needy country 4. Pay for at least one child’s education other than your own. What he said really reasonated with me and now I’ve made them part of my life goals. I totally believe that with God’s strength it can be done. And I cling to the promise that He’s not done with me and my struggling organizational habits in this area. Good post. Keep fighting the good fight of faith!!

  13. Came across this verse last night:”If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.” Proverbs 21:13Powerful.

  14. Also, I don’t think it necessarily matters which party we’re affiliated with. I’m a registered Dem, but I don’t agree with them on all counts and often vote Republican. I will probably switch to be Indy as the Dem party because more and more insistent on allowing abortion without any restrictions. I count helpless fetuses in the “poor” category as well. We need to remember that when the Bible talks about being “poor”, it’s not just talking about money.

  15. Oceanskater,I agree, the unborn count as “poor”. That being said, not long ago I blogged about how Christians are tricked into voting republican by that issue. I’m a registered Republican, but I too will likely change to Independent.Republicans use abortion to acquire the “Christian” vote. They never do anything about it and the only time the issue is really on their mind is when it’s time for an election.A Republican was in the office of President when abortion was legalized, and Republicans have held office for more than 20 total years since it was legalized. I’m still waiting for the one that has overturned Roe V Wade.

  16. “Shouldn’t we be spending billions of dollars a day solving humanitarian problems, rather than blowing up Iraq so that we can insure that our oil supply doesn’t diminish?”Blame the diehard Christians for voting Bush back into office. Good luck on changing the ways of the bible thumpers too. Everyone loves to talk about taking care of others but oh so few will ever practice what they preach. The evil Bill Gates will do more for the word than most of Christianity combined.

  17. anonymous, i agree that it is difficult to change minds so that people might give of themselves to help others. however, i hope, and will do my part.i also agree, bill gates may just do more than most christians. maybe he is being christlike with how he is committing his resources to help those in need in the world.definately bono is a shining example of a person living by their convictions…regardless of if i like his music or not.brad

  18. “Shouldn’t we be spending billions of dollars a day solving humanitarian problems, rather than blowing up Iraq so that we can insure that our oil supply doesn’t diminish?”“Blame the diehard Christians for voting Bush back into office.” There’s more to it than just insuring America’s oil supply. Iraq is a former Nazi client state and after WWII a Soviet client state, so by smacking Iraq around the US is killing off Nazi sympathizers, which helps Israel, and works to prevent a reemergence of the Soviet Union, which would result in a return to the Cold War. Randy

  19. That’s why I the only churches I’ll work for anymore have to be ones that are actively involved in social justice at some level. Which currently means a General Conference Mennonite Church up here in the Great White North. These people give you the shirt off their backs and then some. Once wrote an article about ture counter cultural Christianity being counter to consumer culture, but the Christian magazine that usually buys my work wasn’t interested in it. Too much biting the hand that fed them I guess.

  20. Donny, I’d have to disagree slightly that nothing is being done. In the last election, there were ballot measures in Oregon and South Dakota concerning abortion. Niether passed, but it’s a start. And the Supreme court will soon be making a decision about partial-birth abortion. This wouldn’t have been possible prior to Alito and Roberts being on the court, which was a direct result of Bush being in office. Plus, I can’t say I’d be completely comfortable making abortion straight-up illegal for all. I think we need to do a lot more education first. Like this program called “Option Ultrasound”. They put ultrasound machines in abortion clinics and give women the option of having an ultrasound prior to deciding to have an abortion. Women who see their babies on ultrasound are far less likely to seek abortions than those without access to such an option. Why? Because it’s hard to believe the lie that it’s just a clump of cells when it is shaped like a human and has a heartbeat.Just my thoughts, of course 🙂 I’ve loved following your story through XXXChurch, and am excited to see how God is continuing to work in your life.

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