Donny's Ramblings


28 Comments

Let's Combat This Head On

One thing that has always angered me about Christians is that they refuse to meet certain challenges head-on. I was recently sent a video that attacks the basis for Christianity and questions whether or not Jesus really existed. I used to send similar videos to Christians during my Christian-Hating Years. Nobody would take the time to respond. They were always quick to dismiss.

The problem with that type of attitude, in my opinion, is that we and our children are going to continue to be asked questions such as those that are raised by this video:

Click here to watch “Zeitgeist The Movie”
(runtime: 26 minutes, 20 seconds)

The video is 26 minutes long. It is clearly anti-Christianity, and it raises lots of questions. The funny thing is that I bet pastors across the country, when and if they’re asked about this, will likely ignore it or dismiss it with questions on faith and whether or not Christians should watch such content. Are we so fragile that we can’t view what those who don’t believe have begun arming themselves with?

To be honest, if someone approached me for an opinion on this video (which someone actually recently did) I don’t have answers for them. I’ve been searching for answers on my own, and believe each of us need to do our own research, but I also think our spiritual leaders need to educate us on how to deal with things like this. And I’m not talking about “blow off” answers. We need real meat here. People aren’t as ignorant as they once were, my friends.

I’ve promised the person who sent me the link that I’d respond, unlike the Christians to whom I used to raise similar questions. Watch the video (click here) and tell me what you think, and how you’d respond.


56 Comments

Let’s Combat This Head On

One thing that has always angered me about Christians is that they refuse to meet certain challenges head-on. I was recently sent a video that attacks the basis for Christianity and questions whether or not Jesus really existed. I used to send similar videos to Christians during my Christian-Hating Years. Nobody would take the time to respond. They were always quick to dismiss.

The problem with that type of attitude, in my opinion, is that we and our children are going to continue to be asked questions such as those that are raised by this video:

Click here to watch “Zeitgeist The Movie”
(runtime: 26 minutes, 20 seconds)

The video is 26 minutes long. It is clearly anti-Christianity, and it raises lots of questions. The funny thing is that I bet pastors across the country, when and if they’re asked about this, will likely ignore it or dismiss it with questions on faith and whether or not Christians should watch such content. Are we so fragile that we can’t view what those who don’t believe have begun arming themselves with?

To be honest, if someone approached me for an opinion on this video (which someone actually recently did) I don’t have answers for them. I’ve been searching for answers on my own, and believe each of us need to do our own research, but I also think our spiritual leaders need to educate us on how to deal with things like this. And I’m not talking about “blow off” answers. We need real meat here. People aren’t as ignorant as they once were, my friends.

I’ve promised the person who sent me the link that I’d respond, unlike the Christians to whom I used to raise similar questions. Watch the video (click here) and tell me what you think, and how you’d respond.


12 Comments

Sometimes You Just Gotta Read It

I’ve been keeping myself very busy. I wake up at 7am and walk for at least an hour and a half. Sometimes as much as 3 hours. After finishing my walk, eating breakfast and getting showered I immediately head in to work, where I give it everything I’ve got until 7 or 8pm. By then I’m emotionally burnt. Most of the time I’ll relax an hour or two before going to bed, only to start the cycle again in the morning.

I pray a lot while on my morning walks, but I’ve been neglecting my Bible. It just doesn’t seem too appealing to read it sometimes, does it? This morning I forced myself to pick it up. It opened to James chapter 4. I got a lot out of the scriptures themselves and even more out of the commentary, this sentence in particular:

We can be released from our self-centered desires by humbling ourselves before God, realizing that all we really need is His approval.

I have a habit of seeking the approval of others. It’s a habit I’m trying to break. I needed that reminder.

In other news: I’m loving life in my little studio apartment. It fits me perfectly.


32 Comments

Emotional Roller Coaster, a Healed Ear and a 45lbs Lighter Donny

I started writing this on April 3rd, 11 days ago. I wrote most of it, saved it as a draft, and haven’t returned to finish it. Today I intend to do so.

Before becoming a Christian, I’d never seriously considered ending my life.

Ever.

Ever ever ever.

So after surrendering my life to God… after He begins doing amazing, powerful, profound things for me… after having real encounters with the Creator of the Universe… why is it that after all of that I arrived at a place where I seriously wished to die?

This happened just a few days short of a month ago. John says I played it down when I very briefly mentioned it in my “Dear Daphne” letter. He says I did so because I’m afraid that if I tell the truth people won’t like me as much. People might stop reading my blog. People might think I’m not really a Christian. People might think I’m crazy and, as such, might not want to listen to me speak.

John is very blunt. I love him. He’s my best friend and he knows me pretty damned well. He calls it like he sees it and trusts me enough to know I won’t be offended when he does so. He knows I respect that about him.

And really, what is there to be afraid of? I discuss everything here, and because of that I’ve received dozens of emails thanking me for being transparent. Telling me that this blog speaks into the lives of many.

I feel that’s what I’m supposed to do here. I feel that very strongly.

So now I’m going to tell you about the emotional roller coaster I was riding.

It felt like the world came crashing down on March 16th.

On that day:

– I’d just settled in to a new place to live after the bank took my house. The new place isn’t nearly as comfortable as what I’ve been used to, and having two roommates takes a bit of adjustment, especially when you have to share a bathroom with one of them.

– That afternoon Wendy let me know that there’s no hope for reconciliation on any sort of romantic level, and when I heard her reasons for feeling that way I knew she was serious.

I had to face a very serious issue from my past that I’ve been trying to forget.

– I was still upset that, the day before, a man from the adult industry… a man I used to consider a good friend… publicly posted the following message to me, where hundreds if not thousands of people could read it:

If you think you are some reborn Christian, you have lost it. Seriously, I anticipate the day I hear/read about you offing yourself, and I will state now that not only does it not surprise me, but it doesn’t sadden me either. You have inner demons that must be cast out, and at the rate you are going, death is the only thing that will help that along.

– Feelings of rejection (Belinda) begun raising up inside, once again (sometimes I still can’t wrap my mind around how someone can move on so quickly after 6 years of being together – deep inside I know it was my fault, but that doesn’t always satisfy my questions).

– My counselor was out of town.

– My dad, too, was out of town: on vacation for the entire month.

I started thinking, “Lloyd’s right. I should do the world a favor and take myself out.”

I don’t want to discuss the full details of that day because, looking back, I am very embarrassed to have felt that way at all. But I will tell you what kept me from parking my running car in a garage at my former residence, where my garage door opener still works, and listening to music until I went to sleep: I ended up making a call for help. That call brought me down to earth enough that I deciding to check myself into a mental hospital instead of doing something really stupid.

The hospital turned me away. It was after normal admissions hours.  I was informed that in order to be admitted I’d need to go to the emergency room of a regular local hospital and ask for a counselor to be sent.

On the way to the ER I became angry and asked myself what the hell I was doing. Why was I being so stupid? It turned out not to be necessary to check in. Simply attempting to admit myself made something change inside of me, so instead of going to the ER, I went directly to the church for Friday night service…

where God healed my ear. It had been hurting pretty badly for several days. During the service, a man whose name I don’t know started praying for it. Less than 10 seconds into his prayer I started hearing popping noises, the pain went away, and it hasn’t returned.

How can one continue wallowing in self pity after God heals their ear?

God, that was a really good way to refocus my mind back onto you. Thank you for that.

The next day I read Donald Miller’s To Own a Dragon. I was very embarrassed about how I’d felt the day before. How could I have allowed such thoughts to enter my brain?

I was feeling normal again.

For a few days.

The beautiful conversations I’d been having with Wendy were over. There’s nothing more intimate than connecting with words and being on the same page. But that intimacy had to stop.

Once again, I started feeling like I had nobody who truly cared. I bought into that lie. I didn’t sink again to a level where I wanted to die, but I sure was feeling sorry for myself. Today I can’t even remember why.

Because of all of this I realized I was giving myself way too much free time to ponder things that don’t need to be pondered. I immersed myself in work, which is why this blog hasn’t been updated as regularly as I’d like. Dealer Web Concepts, the business I started to help auto dealers with their internet marketing needs, now services 7 auto dealerships in 4 towns. I had to drop one client due to a conflict of interest with another. That turned out to be a good thing, however, because I have no idea where I’d find the time to service them.

Is now a good time to take a break and mention that I’ve lost 45 lbs? I haven’t been at this weight for almost 6 years. Not long ago I read a comment made on an internet message board by Belinda’s new boyfriend, alluding to him wanting to be “the bigger man” and I couldn’t help but snicker a little. Because now he literally IS the bigger man. But I digress.

Dear God, you’ve allowed me to work past my hatred of Mark to the point where it no longer exists, now please help me lose the residual bitterness as well.

Besides immersing myself in work, I’ve begun attending more home groups. Surrounding myself with like minded people works wonders. When I was growing up, the churches I attended never had small groups. Are these a relatively new creation or were we just clueless? Home groups are amazing! And the churches I associate with have so many to choose from! I attend a Singles group, a Single Parents group, a Christian Sportsman group and another group that wouldn’t quite fit into any particular category.

Feelings of being “alone” no longer exist.

As a Christian I’m still an infant, but I’m loving every experience, good and bad. I’m so far from perfect it’s not even funny. Thank God for Romans 7 verse 17-25. I’ve used those scriptures to help lead others to surrendering their life to God, but I personally find a lot of strength to stand back up each time I fall down.

Here’s Paul, the man who wrote the majority of the New Testament upon which literally BILLIONS of people have lived their lives, talking about his personal struggles. Not struggles he USED TO HAVE, but struggles he faced as a Christian, all the time. “The Message” translation says it best:

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help!

I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it.

I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway.

My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up.

I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

As Rob Bell talks about in the first of his Nooma videos, so many people think being a Christian means you have to have your life in perfect order. But Jesus himself said he didn’t come for those who have it all together. He came for the sick.

Thank God for that.


10 Comments

I Really Like Luke

The Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles were both written by Luke, who was a Gentile writing for his fellow Gentiles. Luke was an educated man, a doctor, and his accounts were written in a more “documentary” manner. I’ve been enjoying his writings because I appreciate his penchant for thinking from an academic perspective.

Allow me to think aloud here: the Acts of the Apostles is a compilation of stories that share with us the biographies of some of the first Christians. Could it be possible that the reason they’re included in the Bible is not only to show us examples of various life situations, but also to convey to us that we should document our own journeys with Christ, so that our stories help others?

This jumped out at me earlier this morning while I was reading Acts 27. The story of Paul’s shipwreck doesn’t really seem to be teaching us much about the fundamentals of Christianity. It seems to be just a story from Paul’s life and an example of sharing his beliefs with the crew. I was overcome with the feeling that documenting the stories of our own lives, whether mundane or exciting, may provide strength to others who face similar situations to our own.

I often go back to prior entries I’ve written, especially on days when I’m tired from spending 10 hours at an automobile dealership. Reading my prior entries reminds me of the presence of God I experienced on that particular day. I gain strength from witnessing how much I’ve grown in such a short time. The healing of my mind amazes me. God still performs miracles, my friends.

I will continue to share the ups and downs of my own struggles with all of you. I’ll share the exciting and the mundane. I’ll share the victories and the defeats. And I’d encourage you to do the same.

If you don’t have a blog, start one. If you’re not comfortable sharing your life stories with the public, write them down for family. Or simply email them to me. My email address can be found at the top of every blog entry. Whether good or bad, I’ll enjoy reading what you have to say.


8 Comments

New Revelations from Old Knowledge

Just a quick note:

Growing up a Pastor’s son, I was expected to win Bible quizzes. That being the case, I memorized and studied a lot of scripture. It always bored me. I loved winning Bible knowledge contests, but talking about the Bible, for the most part, bored me almost to tears. It meant nothing to me. I’d never had a “real” experience.

Since September 25th, a lot of that “knowledge” keeps coming back to me, but now it means something. I get excited when something will pop into my mind that made no sense before, yet makes all the sense in the world now.

I’m calling it “new revelations from old knowledge”.

On a side note:

Blogging about things I have problems with seems to be helping. It’s almost like a form of prayer for me. “God, I’m having a problem with _______. I’m going to write about it, accept feedback from your people, and meditate on that feedback.”

Two days ago I wrote about my lack of desire to read the Bible. Today I pulled it out and enjoyed reading several chapters. I’m already realizing that I’ll be the type that needs to dig deep, study word meanings, and understand things for myself. One reader told me to check out Logos software. It’s not currently available for Mac users, but should be early next year. You can bet I’ll pick up a copy as soon as it’s available.

I’m also beginning to enjoy church more than ever before. I text messaged Belinda while on my way to church tonight and told her “Church is Chicken Soup for the Buddha’s soul.” No, I’m not referring to the founder of Buddhism. “Buddha” is a nickname she gave to me (take a look at my stomach and you’ll understand). The name has stuck and now several people call me Buddha… or Donkey Kong, although I don’t remember how or why Donkey Kong came to be.

Thanks again to all of you who leave feedback, write emails or send prayers. It helps so very much.


48 Comments

The Bee Lie Bee Lie Eee

Today is exactly one month since “the surrender”. It really feels like much longer than that.

My ex-wife has always been a Christian. I’ve mentioned that before. As such, she has always taken my son to church. I’m telling you this so that I can now make sense of the title for you. It refers to how my son used to sing that song: “The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me…” blah blah blah. You probably know the rest. Caden used to sing it “The Bee Lie Bee Lie Eeee”. I don’t remember how old he was at the time.

On my mind today is the Bible. I have a Life Application Bible, New International Version. I can’t seem to get myself to open it much. I just don’t know where to start. And even when I do open it to some random scripture I can’t seem to spend much time in it. I just close it back up and go for a drive, listening to K-Love. I’m not a big fan of the music played on K-Love but for some reason it still raises my spirits and brings God’s presence into my car. And it’s so much easier than reading the Bible.

I’ve been going to church a lot, and I don’t bring my Bible with me most of the time. That’s partially because one of the churches I keep going back to has wireless internet, so when the message is being given I just log into eBible.com, type in the scripture the preacher mentions, and then see what it says in several different translations. I type fast, so I take a lot of notes in Microsoft Word for Mac, and simply copy and paste the scriptures into those notes.

Then I go home feeling like I’ve done my Bible reading for the day. I can’t be the only one who feels this way, I’m sure.