White Noise

I can not tell you how long I have wanted to write a piece on Donald Trump. Maybe this is just an example of laziness but my first draft  was started well over a year ago. Yet again and again I seem to stumble. The point I thought was so vivid just a day ago tends to be overcome by something different the next day. Why is this? The key I believe revolves around Trump’s true source of inspiration, chaos.

Our President thrives on chaos. He dines on it morning, noon, and night. He is a master at distracting the audience in order to avoid being pinned down on anything. I am not simply talking about policy. He avoids being called out in regards to his personal practices, beliefs, and principles. He gets away with it due to our nation’s inability to address the lies over the insults. It is a typical bullying technique. As soon as you confront the bully of his manipulation he shields himself by spewing accusations and insults at his accuser. Before we know it we find ourselves five degrees of distraction away from addressing the original issue.

Trump is a pathetic example of a human being. I do not say this lightly. I have studied him in great detail ever since he started running for president. He is a tragic figure, broken beyond repair. Out of the now hundreds of hours of hearing him speak I’ve never heard him acknowledge any weaknesses or build anyone else up at the expense of himself. He is the classic narcissist who has lost all perception of a world without him as the center.

The narcissist can only function through the energy of others. Because his world revolves around himself, he must have the rest of us support his narrative. Trump couldn’t care less whether we acknowledge him through opposition or support. All he needs is the spotlight. Watch his rallies. See when he becomes the most alive. His energy is fed just as much through those chanting against him as those for him. His single function at the moment is to be a vacuum. All our nation’s strength is being sucked up by a man who will never be full; never translate the energy he is sucking up into any kind of substance.

When Trump lies it is for the sole purpose of bending the narrative toward himself. Our job as a society is to change the trajectory of the narrative. We must push through Trump’s deception and redirect the truth toward change and growth. So far the problem has been,every time someone finds the truth they are knocked off course by the power of Trump’s vacuum.

The good news is, we are entirely in control of deflating the monster that is Donald Trump. Once we figure out how to turn off the white noise that is TRUMP, we can address the real issues.

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Born A Sinner

Through out my childhood of being raised in the Church I was told by my pastors and Sunday school teachers  I was born a sinner. It was the great warning given to the Church. All you need to do is look at the Bible and you can see how sinful we really are. Verses like Psalms 58:3 “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies”, Proverbs 22:15 “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him”, and Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”, have all been used to prove we are sick and evil creatures. The trump card when trying to prove our original sinful nature often comes from John 8:44 when Jesus was talking to a group of Jews who questioned who he was and the truth he spoke. He said, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires”.  Gosh! It can’t get much worse then being told you are the devils child.

Knowing these verses are part of most Christians foundational beliefs you can see why they have such a hard time connecting to the secular world. The foundation of our faith tells us not to trust the world. We are told the world is an evil place full of deceit and folly. Quite literally all of you non-Christians are considered no better then the devil. Am I the only one here who sees how this is setting both sides up for failure?

Let me first explain my original philosophy on what my job was as a Christian. When I was still part of the Church my main mission was to bring people to Jesus. The world outside the Church was a world in need of salvation. It was a world all damned to hell unless I and my fellow Christians did something about it. We were God’s soldiers. We were sent into the world to invite people to our youth groups and bible studies so they could be converted to Christianity. The main mission was to see the secular friends we invited to Church raise their hands when asked if they wanted to give their souls to Jesus and go up to the front of the alter so they could accept Jesus into their hearts. The Church rejoiced with “Hallelujah” and clapping when our pastor told us at the beginning of service, “We had twenty five people give their soul to God last week”.

I believed it was my job as a Christian to protect my soul from the evils of the world. Those who did not know Jesus were enemies in the eyes of the Church. I may have had secular friends but I was careful not to be influenced by them. I was warned numerous times their hearts were evil and if I let down my guard I would fall into their sinful ways. My secular friends were those who went out drinking, disobeyed their parents, and thought only of themselves. I never cared enough to know who they were; learn about their hobbies, understand their views on life, or hear about what they wanted to do in the future. I didn’t get to know these things because I was so convinced it wasn’t worth anything unless they first accepted Jesus into their hearts. I was ignorant and naive. I had the audacity to believe they should care about me and my views without giving a crap about theirs. I pursued relationships thinking myself superior and neglecting the truth in my secular friends lives. Is there any greater sin then denying Jesus where he is evident? That is what I did for a good portion of my life. It is what much of the Church still does today.

Christians must understand when they deny Jesus in the lives of nonbelievers, they are look in the faces of Mahatma Gandhi, Tenzin Gyatso (the Dali Lama), and Malala Yousafzai and say “God does not live in you”. I like to bring up these names to Christians when discussing salvation and truth. Most Christians I know still stick to the idea God is only in Christianity. Even more Christians I know stick to the idea that “accepting Jesus” (becoming Christian) is the most important thing we can do in this life. Well Mahatma Gandhi, Tenzin Gyatso, and Malala Yousafzai are not Christian and either did not or will not convert to the Christian faith. Much of their humanitarian work is inspired by their personal faith in Buddhism, Islam, or Hindu. As a youth being raised in a Christian Church I would have been worried about these peoples souls. I would have looked past the work they have done for God because they don’t attribute their faith to the right name. I would have said I, as a 14 year old Christian boy who was mostly just minding his own business not doing anything for the poor, the sick, or the uneducated, was closer to God then these people. Can’t you see something is wrong with this picture?

I am sure a good portion of you would reply, “Nope”.  There is nothing wrong with the way I once thought. The problem I am making in my last paragraph is putting works ahead of faith. When I first began to question these things the biggest argument was always, “God does not judge us based on works but rather faith”. All the things I see non-Christians do for others is done out of their selfish sinful nature. It sure looks as if the sixteen year old girl Malala is advocating for education for all and pushing towards non-violence because of her faith and her love for the others, but in reality she is just trying to fill the empty void that only can truly be filled by Jesus Christ. Sure Gandhi might have been the main one responsible for the freedom of the Indian people from Europe and might have saved countless lives through advocating fighting with none violence, but he was a Hindu when he died and thus suffering in an eternal Hell. After countless conversations of putting up with these arguments and trying to diplomatically reply to why I don’t agree with them I want to give you a definitive answer to what I think of this line of thinking. BULL SHIT!

I am tired of needing to argue whether humanitarians who have done greater things then I could imagine are in question of damnation. I am tired of talking to Christian friends who deny God in a sixteen year old girl who was able to forgive the man who shot her, or in a man who has spent his whole life teaching the importance of living for others, or in a leader who won a war through not being willing to pick up a sword or fire a gun.  I am tired of seeing Christians constantly give sin and “the devil” more power and influence then their own God. How narrow minded is it to say our God can only be seen in one religion?!  How naive is it for us Christians to say we have a monopoly on truth?! Not only does this hurt our ability to recognize God in others, it hurts our ability to recognize His absence in ourselves. Thinking ourselves closer to God then people like Malala, The Dali Lama, and Gandhi, allows us to feel good about living a mediocre life where we go to our Bible studies and Church services but don’t live our faith out in the regular world. It is so much easier to ignore people when you see them as the child of the devil instead of a child of God. Words like, “I believe in Jesus” become more important to us then feeding the hungry, giving shelter to the poor, and taking care of the sick.

Realize when I am talking about feeding the hungry, sheltering the poor, and taking care of the sick, I am talking about spiritual growth. We mistake doing these things as physical acts of goodness. I rather believe those who are committed to these things are people who have a spiritual urge to do them. Whether they know it or not, someone has put the need to help others in their heart. I watch someone like Malala speak about her faith in God and I can no longer help but see my savior in the God she speaks of.

This I know is blasphemy to some of my friends. Many of the Christians who have stuck through reading this are probably throwing my comments out just because I have not used verses to back up my statements. I don’t want to get into a bible thumping debate. For some reasons Christians think the world should put a huge amount of weight on what they say the Bible says, even though they think very little of the other religious books of faith. However, I do want to close this post with one verse. Genesis 1: 27, “So God created mankind in his own image,in the image of God he created them;male and female he created them”. Human kind was not created by the devil. We were not created in the image of the devil. We were created by God, in His image. We are all born children of God. Let us not forget we are seeing God’s creation when looking into the faces of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and Atheists. And Let us not be so naive to think God isn’t seen in those faiths. I consider myself to still be a Christian but I am not willing to limit God and His wonders to my personal faith. The more I look into other faiths and religions the more I can see God in them. I want to learn from the scientist inspired by the beauty of evolution. I want to understand the peace seen in Hinduism. I want to look upon the true face of God. The only way we will be able to do this is if we open ourselves to all of God’s creation.

Ignorance

It would be quite ignorant for me to suggest I have not been ignorant about many things in my life. Gosh, where to start?! First off, I thought I was the main focus of a reality TV show for a long time and conducted my interviews with myself in the mirror. I thought I could become a professional baseball player with only practicing an hour or two every week. I thought I didn’t need to know how to construct a sentence or paragraph in order to write a good paper. The idea essays needed an introduction to set up the body of a paper and a conclusion that lead to some kind of point others could understand seemed stupid to me. The place where I was most ignorant however was in my faith. For the longest time I thought it was perfectly reasonable to think all non-Christians would not make it to heaven. Not only would they not make it to heaven but they would suffer. They would suffer for eternity in fire and brimstone with a lot of crying and gnashing of teeth. I was taught the world was completely lost and full of sin. I was warned against becoming too good of friends with non-Christians and I was tricked into thinking if I did not give my time and money to the Church I was not supporting God.

As a Christian I was ignorant for a long time. As soon as I began to open my eyes and look at different views my church began to close it’s doors to me. I was slowly pushed out of leadership and relationships I had held for a long time. I made the mistake of being honest with my Church leaders about my changing views. I began to ask questions and argue points with leadership. They were not ready. I had conversations with leadership that were cut off mid point because of “time” issues, but were never picked up again. I suddenly felt I was intentionally ignored. I was given the polite “hello” at the beginning of Church or youth group, but never asked the big questions like, “How are you (honestly) doing?” or “What has God been talking to you about lately?”.

The more I looked outside the Church the less interesting the box of Christianity seemed to be. The places I looked at outside seemed to be willing to ask the big questions and fight with differing opinions. The more I looked outside the Church the more I needed to come face to face with my own ignorance. I needed to face the fact I had built up judgment of the rest of the world without ever looking into that which I was judging. It’s hard to stand on the belief all non-Christians will spend eternity in hell when you open your eyes and see so many non-Christians being more Christlike then your Christian friends. It’s hard to deny Woman’s stance in leadership when you see how effective they have been in those roles outside the Church. It is hard to deny things like Gay rights when we see so many homosexual relationships with as strong a love bond and commitment to one another as heterosexual relationships.

Ignorance is a beautiful thing really. It makes life easier. I see so many Christians these days who seem so confident in their beliefs. They are convinced they are doing God’s work by denying the godliness in those who don’t believe in their God. They feel righteously appointed to deny relationships they have not taken the time to understand. And they feel the blanket of security in only listening to the groups they have formed, groups who have had a whole life time of being taught not to question the word of God as interpreted through their leadership. Prayer is used as an excuse to not work at changing the world or oneself.

I am tired of the Church teaching ignorance. I am tired of it manipulating its followers into seeing differing view points as sin worthy of a eternity in hell. If you want to know and understand the world you must be willing to open yourself up to it. You must be willing to consider them as no less deceived as you might be. Yes you can point to the Bible and suggest it supports your view points. However, that is the same thing the Roman Catholics did during the crusades. It’s the same thing we Americans did when denying the rights of woman and blacks, and subjecting hundreds of thousands to slavery. It’s the same thing the Nazis did when committing genocide against the Jews. The “truth” has been manipulated by man throughout history in order to justify what one group wanted to do to another group. To suggest anyone or any religion has a monopoly on truth is the essence of ignorance.

If you are not willing to consider truth can be found in the Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist’s faith why should you expect them to consider truth can be found in ours? The search for truth will never end. It is much easier for us as Christians to go with the crowd, suggest the Bible is infallible, think our denomination is the right denomination, and assume the world is full of corruption not worth God’s eternal love or our time. I see so many of my friends taking this rout. It deeply saddens me. Ignorance leads to destruction and suffering. In the end we will all suffer because of it. If we don’t choose to embrace what is good in each one of us, what is love in each one of us, what is truth in each one of us, then we are missing out on seeing God.