God

Perhaps I’m Just A Paintbrush

I was thinking about God, gods, and human understanding…

I was talking to Aj, and expressing myself poorly…as usual. I told her that the “mechanism” of the way God and gods interact with humans and we with them didn’t matter, again a poor way of phrasing. To her, it is incredibly important that I get it right…

She said, “My gods are like a brother 15 yrs older than you. Not interested in my daily doings but always willing to help if I ask”…
…and to me, except for the person that was Jesus, mine is distant and beyond my understanding. I don’t want my God to become “personal” and understandable.  I am not a person that wants to know “why did that happen?” in a personal interaction sense. People are not machines or physics or chemistry so, “why did he/she do that?” isn’t something that “usually” matters to me. I like the idea that magik is magic. I want it to stay a bit beyond my grasp. Familiarity breeds contempt. I like being in awe and not quite understanding.

What if?…What if she and I are missing the point entirely?

What if her life is the Mona Lisa and I am merely a paintbrush in the hand of the painter? I’m more than happy to be a tool used to craft a masterpiece. If that’s the case, my gratitude to God and gods is not misplaced. I wasn’t thanking them for treating us like puppets but, for joining our paths.
What if we are joined as friends, not for ourselves but, because someone else needs to see that two people with differing views of the Divine are able to become as close as we are and that helps them? Are we parts of a plan for someone else or some other purpose. That us being friends is a part of a greater “project”? If that’s the case, my gratitude to them for allowing me to be part of her life is not misplaced.
What if we are in this place now because of something that will be asked later? All the “stuff” in my past seemed bad at the time, it really was but, it laid the groundwork for who I became. Is this the same? If so, again, I am grateful for being allowed to be a part.

I KNOW she wants me to understand. She doesn’t need for me to agree or follow her beliefs but, it is important to her that I understand how they work so, I try and get it wrong and express myself poorly…and try again…like now.
I like having some things being not quite within my grasp. I am more “comfortable” if there are things to learn and things beyond that. I don’t want God and gods…and women…to be understandable. I want to remain in a state of wonder. It keeps my eyes “new”,

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Perspectives…

I’ll apologize in advance for the disjointed nature of this. It will be written over a couple of days and work will intrude. Also, my offline life is going to become busy for the next couple of months so this will probably be the last one for awhile…

Aj is correct. I try to control things. This blog is a prime example. I’ve tried by every method I am able to use words and thoughts to do that…and I’ve been spectacularly unsuccessful. I’ve gone into the darkest corners of my mind to try to understand how the Burning Times happened. I’ve looked into my own theology to see how she could be hated, not for who she is but what…and it still hasn’t changed a single person…except for me…

There’s a difficulty with having a Best Friend that is VERY smart and knows you better than you know yourself. As an aside, my wife fits both of those so I’m surrounded… Anyway, the problem is that you can’t hide from her. Give her the tiniest scrap of a thought and she’s gotten it, processed it, figured out where you’re going with it…and is ready to remove your excuses even before you’ve gotten past “you know what’s bugging me?”
(insert break for work)
A funny thing happened while I was at work. I left Aj a message asking if there was anything she had to suggest that I write in this one. I got this reply, “Maybe turn this blog into a piece about you. Your beliefs. How you changed, the parts in your daily life where that change makes a difference?” That’s odd because before I read that, the same thought was wandering through my head…She does know me better than I know myself. Have I mentioned my Best Friend is an empath and is particularly attuned to the people she loves, no matter the distance they may be apart?

*****

I digressed so, back on track. I was raised in a middle-sized town, around 30,000 people when I was growing up. My Dad was a medium sized fish in a medium-sized pond. Mom was what would now be called a Soccer Mom. We were a nuclear family, Dad and Mom with 3 kids, I am the oldest…and the most rebellious. You know the routine, Protestant Church on Sunday, band, activities, Summer car vacation. We grew up believing that everyone was like us. Some of our friends went to a different church or were *gasp* Catholic or Jewish. A few people we knew were *cringe* Liberals. There were a few kids in school who weren’t white but, race wasn’t really an issue because we were kids and didn’t care.
*Just as an aside, if you’ve read other stuff I’ve written, you know I became a meth addict and stayed there for a very long time, that doesn’t change the beliefs I grew up with and carried into my adulthood.*
The point of all this is that by the time I reached my late 40’s I was pretty set in my ways. I KNEW what I expected people to be. I knew what I believed. I had and still do, have a fixed set of ideas about what is right and what isn’t. I knew my set of Morals was the ONLY Right way. I had wandered away from the Faith of my youth and come back to it with a vengeance. I believed in a Dogmatic, Capricious, Loving God. I knew that My God punished non-believers. I was of the view that everyone that wasn’t Christian was going to burn in Hell and the worst of those poor people were the ones that were exposed to Christians and they weren’t Christian…and I was entirely comfortable with those beliefs.

Have you ever watched the Roadrunner cartoons? Wile E. Coyote always has a foolproof plan…and it always backfires. God has a sense of humor. I’ve learned this…There I was, minding my own business and God’s sense of humor was lurking just around the corner. I never even saw it coming. He decided I was far too comfortable in my beliefs for my own good…

I’m a bit, more than that if I’m being honest, of a smart aleck. I like it. It keeps me amused. *yeah, we’ve covered this ground in other posts so, I’ll keep it brief* I smarted off about witches. A Witch told me she was one. I freaked out because she was “not like me”. I quit freaking about her being a Witch. I freaked out about her going to Hell. I came to some conclusions about that which didn’t send her to Hell. In other words, just like the cartoon, I “never even saw it coming”…

By this point, you may be thinking, “Miller, you’ve covered all of this stuff in previous posts. We know you love Aj. We know you changed your entire outlook on your faith to include her not going to Hell. Dag nabbit, Miller, you’re getting senile and repeating the same stories over and over, give us a break. Do you even know what the point you’re trying to make is or do you just like writing about Aj?” I do like writing about Aj but, that isn’t really the point…

We live in our own skin. We are the product of our upbringing and our life experiences. No one really knows their own thoughts and motivations as well as they think they do. We pretend to know ourselves but, I am not even sure if I’m motivated to put the toilette seat down because I love my wife or if it’s because I don’t like getting yelled at. I’m still not sure if I decided to reshape my worldview because of Aj or for her…or is there another plan entirely? Am I forgetting my own belief that God does everything for a reason?

I do believe that last part with all my heart. I believe that we have an illusion of “free will”. I “think” it’s more along the lines of a trip to Austin from Denton. You may take 35E or 35W or take the back roads and skip the highway entirely but, you’re still going to Austin. Sometimes, I think God is the same way. He figures out where He wants you to end up and leaves the driving to you…

Back to our story…I changed. I learned one of the hardest lessons that anyone should learn. I figured out that “different does not equal bad”. I learned, during that process that I was not seeing God’s Creations but, just images of them. I had not gotten to the point where people were actually real unless they had a direct intersection with what I thought they should be. In other words, I dehumanized the vast majority of the world. I mistook seeing a part of a person for seeing ALL of them.

You know what the oddest part is? The person I saw the least was myself. I didn’t know me in the tiniest bit. I had no clue that it wasn’t Aj that needed to change but me. I thought I was fine, a bit weird but fine anyway.

I was also a jerk. Because I didn’t see anyone outside my own tiny world as “real”, I could treat them as if they weren’t…Have you ever gone to the comments on a YouTube video or a political post on some emotional issue? Have you seen how people jump to conclusions and judge the entirety of someone’s life based on one comment or viewpoint? Did you ever wonder how that could be? Why would someone be reduced to a comment and lashed out at by a stranger? It’s really very easy. All we have to do is reduce them to “just a witch”…Once we’ve done that, they are valueless…

So, I changed. I became kinder. Not more “generous” because, within my own group, I’d give you the last food I had in the house but, kinder. I learned that people are not just one part of them but, the gestalt. The parts aren’t the whole. Try that again so “I” don’t forget. People ARE NOT just their facets. Period. Once that sank in, I learned that I am able to love people outside my family and wife. Nah, I don’t love everyone. I don’t want to or need to but, I should love some people outside of those inside my house.

That carries over into the rest of my life. I know some really great people that I would have written off because they didn’t fit my norms. I am a kinder person and that means I like ME better.

Here’s the part where I start to wind down and draw the final conclusions.

*exhale*

Would I suggest doing things, meaning change your life, the way I did? It depends. Why are you changing? I wanted to. I really wanted to because I realized that if I didn’t, someone would be missing from it that I wanted in it. If you read that to say, “do you suggest that we all metaphorically hug a witch? That’s your call. If she lived closer, I’d hug My Witch as often as possible because hugs are good and My Witch is My Best Friend.

Do I suggest being kinder toward people that do things differently? Yeah, every time. Period. We are ALL different. No single human is exactly a copy. Even identical twins have different life experiences. As a thought that goes along with that, because you won’t understand why someone does what they do or even how they think, ask them questions. Find out where the differences lie and try to learn them, not “about them”, just “them” as a whole person. To make something clear, I am not excusing every behavior or thought process. There are people’s actions and beliefs that make them criminals and racists. Those things are inexcusable. Period.

Is it going to be easy? Nope. Not even close to “easy” to change yourself. It is worth it, though. The endpoint isn’t really for the other person, it’s for yourself. You’ll be far less stressed. You’ll be easier on your keyboard when you’re not slamming the keys when you argue online because you’ll find yourself wanting to argue less…it’s that way for me, I dunno about you.

This post has been about what I’ve learned. It is about my own path to a spot where I am comfortable with a set of views that are vastly changed from 9 years ago. I wouldn’t trade Aj for any other person in the world to be My Best Friend. She’s far from what I would have picked, see also *whispers* she’s a Witch but, now that she’s here, I couldn’t imagine having a better one.

Has she learned anything from me? No clue. Maybe if she reads this and feels like telling me I’ll find out.

“A catalyst is a substance that speeds up a chemical reaction but, is not consumed by the reaction; hence a catalyst can be recovered chemically unchanged at the end of the reaction it has been used to speed up…” Would I have changed without her? No clue, possibly. Is she apart from the reaction? No. She took part. She is part of the end result. If she were gone, if she weren’t here to keep me grounded, the result wouldn’t be the same. She will not be left out of the end result…Not while I am able to draw a breath.

I am lucky. There are two non-blood relations that I absolutely count on. They both provoke random smiles. They have both been the cause of me wanting to be a better human. The other is my wife. Change hurts…till you get used to it. Those little hurts are called “growing pains”. Understanding that they will pass and seeing the potential end result is what makes us adults. I may not be “all grown up” but, I’m far closer than I used to be…

Your Objections Have Been Noted, Here’s My Rebuttal…

*sigh*

I gotta go back to this…

I was looking. Depending on the poll, roughly 6% of the population of the US is LBG. Broken down, roughly 1.7% Lesbian, 1.7% gay, 1.8% Bisexual. Again, that is, roughly, 8 million people, total. There are some variances in the surveys and the numbers…In the US, roughly 83% identify as Christian. That is, roughly, 264.5 million.

Why is it so hard to figure out? A “Gay Army” is not out to destroy Christianity. Assuming that some portion of the 8 million are Christian, lets use half and make it lower than the stats would suggest, that leaves 4 million. By what reach of imagination do we get to this war against us?

*sigh*

Holy Birdbrain, Batman. Even if the numbers were doubled, there wouldn’t be enough. Even if they cared enough to be out to get you, odds are by the time they got to you, they’d be worn out from trying.

*sigh*

“But my Bible says…” Yeah, I have one, too. I read mine, too. I read the spot where Moses brought down the Law. No words about being gay there. I read the Laws Jesus gave us…

“28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[b] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] There is no commandment greater than these.” ”  Mark 12:29-31

There is no ambiguity there. Those are the rules. No exceptions. Anything else is against the words of Christ. I read some preacher, wish I remembered who, say, “Jesus and the Bible hate gays”. Ok, I’ll play, where in the Bible did JESUS say that. Look in the bits that have red letters, those are his words. Find a quote. Cite chapter and verse. No, you don’t get to paraphrase or “read between the lines”, quote the verse, I’ll wait…Never mind, there’s no point, Jesus never said those words.

“But Paul said…” Ok, I’ll play, Paul is NOT the Son of God. He wrote his opinion. Period. The Words of Jesus should be every Christian’s “default mode”. If they aren’t, we have vastly different ideas of what being a Christian is…

*****

Ok, next point and arguments…

“They want to redefine marriage”…How? By saying that they want to make a lifetime commitment? Ah no. Your objection has been noted. “But marriage is for procreation…” So, you are saying a paraplegic can not be married, either. You are saying my marriage is invalid because we are, and will be, childless. “But marriage is a CHRISTIAN institution…” So, you invalidate every couple that is not Christian’s marriage. Tell that to the other 17% of the population that isn’t Christian.

Those objections have been noted and rejected.

*****

Final objection…

They are re-interpreting the Constitution…How? The Constitution has not one single word about marriage in it. It does have some specific wording, though, “Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The words you are looking for are “No State “,”citizens”, “due process of law”, and “nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”. There is not the tiniest bit of wiggle room. There are ZERO exceptions listed. Not “citizens except the gay ones”, just “citizens”. Period. That is the strictest possible way to read it. If your straight Christian marriage is protected, so is every other one. Period.

“Blah blah blah slippery slope to pedophiles or livestock or appliances…” etc. If you are so thick skulled and obtuse as to think that a predatory criminal act is the moral equivalent of a non-criminal act between adults, then there’s no point in trying to reason with that point. You failed the test.

*****

*sigh*

Look, here’s the bottom line, it’s done. It won’t be undone. No matter how much you whine, it’s over.

For what it’s worth, I’ll admit my bias, again. I’m a married, straight, Christian man. My best friend is a single, Lesbian, Christian. She’s no threat to you. She doesn’t want you to do something that makes you feel your religion is under threat. She’s the first one to jump to your right to your beliefs. She’ll be the first one to defend your right to all the non-PC comments you want to make. She was a soldier. She went into Iraq during the First Gulf War. She probably thinks more of the Constitution than you do because she swore an oath to defend it and never quit that oath. I promise she’s more conservative than you ever thought about being. She doesn’t want “special” privileges just “equal protection” since she is a “citizen”. That’s not too much to ask.

You can keep your objections. They have been noted. The War on Marriage, the Judicial Over-reach,  The Against My Religion, allow me to be blunt…or ignore me, I really don’t care. You are being paranoid. That victim mentality you want to use to repress a minority of the population looks ugly on you.

*****

Sorry for the tone of this post. I’m really not angry, just worn out. I love Z. Yeppers, freely admit that I love another woman that isn’t my wife. I hope she does find a woman worth her and get married. *Editorial, loving a girl that likes girls isn’t a threat to my marriage. Nothing is because my wife ALWAYS will be the love of my life* I take it personally, far more than Z does, when I read how she’s going to be the “downfall of ‘Merica”. I take the perception that she’s a threat to people she defends as an insult to her. She earned better treatment than that. So, I HAD to write a rebuttal to the stupidity and hate that I see.

If none of my answers apply to you, pose an argument that is valid, not defensive.

If my answers defend your rights, that was our point. I’ll always have Z’s back…and yours.

In the end, it really is that simple, we are not allowed to judge the quality of an adult’s love for another adult. We are not given the right to demean or devalue someone for being different. We, the majority, should be protecting the minorities. We are, ultimately, ALL minorities because, we are all individuals. When I stand before God, he’s only going to show me the value of MY soul, not yours. My actions and thoughts are the ones I answer for. How I treated the ones I love, not who you loved…that’s it. We were born alone and we’ll die alone. In the middle, we should try to walk in peace with each other…

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Thanks to Shane Turner for allowing me to use this image. Find him here.https://www.facebook.com/shaneturnerart

Thanks to Shane Turner for allowing me to use this image. Find him here.https://www.facebook.com/shaneturnerart

More Thoughts… (Z, Being Gay, Christianity, The Bible and the Constitution)

After my last post, Z made this comment “I guess I’m not a citizen since the laws that apply too all citizens don’t all apply to me.” This reminds me of the part of this blog that I hate. *sigh* Z allows me to use her as the example. If you read any of these posts, you’ll very quickly realize that I think the world of Z and hate the idea of any harm coming to her. She’s a strong lady. Still, I wish there wasn’t the reminder, to her, that not everyone sees her as what we see her as. Not everyone sees the warm and caring human we see. They just see the part that is the thing they hate. That sucks. *sigh again* If there were a way to hide that from her I would but, she knows it better than I do. *sigh 3rd time*

*****

I am a husband. Of all the parts of my self-identity, that is the most important. I remember the first time I told my wife I loved her. I think I was more surprised to hear me say that than she was. Falling in love with her was not a conscious choice. It was just something I realized I am. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t plan on it…Perhaps, Z may correct me, being gay is the same thing? You don’t mean to be. It is not a choice. It is just something you realize has happened…

*****

Christianity has changed over the centuries. The early church is not the same as the modern one.Catholic Cannon and Protestant Cannon are not the same. There are various movements within the Church. We have changed our views on everything from Slavery to Women’s Rights.

Right now, there is a new set of factions. I don’t see it as a gay rights issue as much as an issue of who the individual believer is concerned with. Am I concerned about my own actions and following the example of Jesus or, am I concerned with the actions of others? For me, MY actions and the way I treat others are of greater concern than what perceptions I might or, might not, have of their life. *editorial, this statement contradicts the entire point, persuading others to change their beliefs, of the blog. I do understand that* Am I more worried about showing compassion toward others of, condemnation for what I think they are doing? Is my sin more important than my perception of someone else’s? Do I express myself with love and gentle persuasion or, do I point my finger and shout about their very existence being an “abomination”?

It is my choice to believe that God did not create “abomination”. It Is my belief that the Jesus I follow would have reached out to ALL humans. It is my belief that I should use my words to show support and love for those that are different from me and still created in the Image of God. It is my heart to be a compassionate Christian. It is my belief that your life does not make me a victim but, a fellow Child of God. It is not in me to think less of someone because of how they love but, to think more of them because they can.

*******

Please *quietly pleading, passionate tone of voice* read your Bible, if you’re Christian. Please read all of it. Read the words of love and compassion. Read the words of encouragement and strength. Read the words that call us to look inward to our own weakness. Read the history in the Old Testament. Read the many varieties of what marriage is. Read the context of it’s time and social issues. Read the words of how we are to treat others. Read how we are to not judge the conditions of someone else’s soul but, our own.Read how we are to forgive “seventy times seven”. Read how we are not to “cast the first stone”…

Then, if you are American, read the Constitution. Read how it protects our rights to “equal protection under the law”. Please read how it uses, repeatedly, the word “citizens”. It doesn’t mention a specific religion or orientation. It doesn’t say we have a right to not be exposed to things or people we disagree with. Please tell me how keeping a group of citizens from having the same rights as another group is equal protection. Tell me how you might justify it. Realize that the same Constitution prevents the government from encouraging or repressing your faith. The same Constitution protects your right to offend and be offended. The freedoms of Expression and Assembly that protect me, also protect Westboro, PETA, NOM, and every politician and journalist. All those laws protect Citizens. We don’t get to pick which citizens are less than citizens. We accept that there will be citizens that we disagree with, That makes them no less worthy of protection than we are. Please try to understand that, if you want to be protected by the Constitution, you can not limit it to people just like you. It is there to protect the little guy, the weird people, the minorities, and the ones you disagree with. That is the entire point of it. It is to protect us, all of us citizens, not just the ones that look and act and think like us…

I love those two works. They give me the framework that I live within. One, the Bible defines how I interact with God and Man. The other, the Constitution, gives a basis for how the Government interacts with me. I need them both.

*****

I think perhaps this enough for one day.