Donny's Ramblings


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“Donny, Why Do You Argue So Much?”

“Donny, why do you argue so much?” (Spike TheBarber‘s question has been paraphrased).

We’re all influenced by our past. My mom (who is my friend on Facebook and will see this and be okay with me saying it) was very loud growing up. She was a stay-at-home mom who dedicated every waking moment to my brother and I. Arguments in our home were not taken the same way arguments are taken by others – I simply don’t see them the same way some people see them. To me, it’s just another form of communication. Regardless of the decibel level, I never had any doubt that my mother loved me. I never took long-term offense to the things that were said in screaming matches. My mother and I have many issues between us, but neither of us doubts the love we have for each other.

I would prefer to call it “discussing,” but feel free to label it “arguing” if you must. It’s a HUGE part of how I process, how I share and how I LEARN. I’m not called to be a Pastor. I’m Donny. When invited to speak, I talk about porn and God’s grace and forgiveness… things He has done for me (and you). On Facebook and blog posts/comments, I talk about theology based on what I’ve learned and studied. I’m not your pastor or counselor. I’m Donny. I’m not a leader, as some seem to believe. I’m Donny. I once led a shockingly sinful lifestyle, by human standards, from which God has brought me out. “By human standards” are the key words in that last sentence. By God’s standards, your sin is just as “shocking.” Being pulled out of the stinky pit I was in doesn’t make God’s grace for me any greater or less than His grace for YOU. I’m amused, and admittedly more than a little flattered, that some people seem to be fascinated by what has happened in my life.

If I say something to you that you find insulting, just know that 5-10 minutes from that time I’ll be ready to give you a hug, buy you a beer (root, if you’re Pentecostal and against drinking – LOL) and talk about the 49ers. Some of the people I love most have heard very insulting things escape my lips. Only two exceptions: my son Caden, who has never once experienced my voice raised to him, or harsh words aimed at him, and my Pastor Bill, who has so much of my respect that I simply can’t insult him – I can’t put into words what Bill and his wisdom has done for me. Every other person I care about has probably experienced my sharp tongue (and it’s not that I don’t respect them, too… I can’t explain it).

An admission: I get even more “argumentative” than normal when under stress, and I feel like I’m under an EXTREME amount of stress right now. When it passes, I’ll write about it (don’t I write about EVERYTHING? LOL). It might pass by this time next week, or it might drag on for months… I just don’t know. Pray for me.

Know this: I love Jesus. I’ve never been so sure in my life that I want to be sold out for Him. Fortunately, who HE is has no bearing on how argumentative Donny Pauling happens to be. Thank God for that. 🙂

 

PS:  I’ve actually gone to counseling and discussed this part of my personality with a psychiatrist, which helped a bit…


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Immaturity and Being Mean

On March 24th I wrote The Lost Gospels – And a Disclaimer. I’ve been wanting to write the disclaimer you read at the bottom of that column for weeks, but my original plan was that it would be it’s own stand-alone column. That way I can link to it anytime I write about something controversial in the future.

Why do that? Because I’m the type who questions everything. And sometimes my questions make people a little uncomfortable or upset. And for some reason I kinda like making people a little upset. Why? I dunno. I just do.

But I also want it to be known that I’m in the process of learning, and will likely be in that process for a very long time. For life, most likely. And as a learner I’ve got to be ready to admit that I often misunderstand concepts and/or ideas, or that I am entirely wrong. What I spew as hard opinions today I’ll likely dismiss as the ramblings of an Immature Learner tomorrow. Kinda like a teenager, ya know?

Such may be the case with some of the contents of this blog entry as well.

Like this, for example:

It seems to me that there is much more to God than some people want to open themselves up to believe. It’s my hope to never be the type of person who thinks I have God all wrapped up in a box. I don’t think it’s possible for the creation to ever fathom even a fraction of the bigness of the Creator (thank you, Rob Bell) and I get a bit peeved when I hear someone discussing God like they have Him all figured out. Personally, I believe there are so many dimensions to God that humans don’t have a chance of getting remotely close to understanding Him. Ever.

I also feel that, while the Bible is undoubtedly a very important book, it should come secondary to spending time with God Himself. If I was in love with a beautiful women (which I am, but that’s another story) I could spend all day reading about her but I’ll never get to know her until I actually spend time with her. Knowwhatimean Vern? My single favorite part of Lee Strobel’s latest book, The Case For the Real Jesus, is when he points out that we should never make an Idol out of the Bible… it was never meant to be one. It’s a great guide, but it can’t take the place of a relationship with our Creator.

But I digress…

__________

In his sermon today, my Pastor put into words exactly what I’m experiencing at this point in my life: spiritual immaturity. I’m an infant. I know, I know… it’s hard to believe.  But it’s true.  😉

Bill’s sermon discussed the love found in the 13th chapter of Paul’s letter to the Christians in Corinth and explained how such love is only possible when one has reached a deep level of spiritual maturity. Did you know that 79% of non-Christians don’t think Churches demonstrate true love for God and love for others? I wonder if that means I’m not alone as an immature Christian…

Bill pointed out that this passage clearly demonstrates that such love as this doesn’t fail. Does. Not. Fail. Which makes me wonder if I’ve ever witnessed a truly mature Christian, but that’s another topic of discussion that I’m not capable of having.

When I surrendered my life to God in September of 2006 I began envisioning a world where God’s transformation power completely changed my life, healed my relationship with my ex-wife and reunited our family. With that goal in mind I was able to treat my son’s mother with a lot of patience. The things that used to irritate me when we were married (and even after we divorced… especially after we divorced) all of a sudden were “cute” and endearing. She noticed the difference.

But when it became apparent that reconciliation is out of the question… well, those things started bugging me again. I snap at her again. I’m very short with her again. I get angry with her again.

Immaturity. Not the love of 1 Corinthians 13.

And when Bill started talking about some Christians being downright mean to others I once again found myself getting hit upside the heads with his words. As recently as the past few weeks I’ve been pretty mean to others, including former acquaintances from the porn world. My thoughts on the matter were that those people will never again be a part of my life, I no longer have to do business with them, and their thoughts don’t matter to me anymore, so why be nice?

Does anybody else see the error of my thinking? Good thing X3 didn’t take that attitude while dealing with me all those years.

So here I go, continuing the process of “growing up”. By the way things look today, that’s gonna be a very long process indeed.