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I Guess I’m Not A Very Good Christian

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I guess I’m not a very good Christian.

I don’t think it’s a big deal when a sports star comes out and talks about how Christian they are. I also don’t think it’s a big deal when a different one comes out as gay.

I think Jesus had a lot more negative things to say about religious people than anyone else.

Even though I think the unborn have just as much a right to life as I do, I think they have a right to be healthy once they’re out of the womb, too.

I think rights and freedoms are two different things, and I don’t think either one of those things are under attack when someone else has them too.

I’m not interested in calling some girl I don’t know a slut because she got pregnant before she got married.

I don’t believe the Constitution, the Declaration, the Bill of Rights, Supreme Court decisions, or the words of the Founding Fathers to be God-breathed.

I don’t think rape victims were asking for it.

I think there’s a big difference between being outspoken for your faith and plastering Bible verses on yourself just to make sure everyone knows what your beliefs are.

I think straight people are doing just fine destroying the sanctity of marriage.

I think most poor people would love nothing more than to be able to feed, clothe, and shelter their family without anyone’s help.

I’m pretty sure Jesus said that those who live by the sword die by the sword.

I’m also pretty sure the good old days everyone wants to get back to were only good if you were a white male.

Given the past 1500 years or so of human history, I’m not very comfortable playing the victim card.

I guess I’m just not a very good Christian.

Written by matt

May 2, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Prayer and Daddy Issues

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The message at church on Sunday was on prayer, specifically the part in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus tells his followers the difference between a good prayer and a bad one right before giving the example known as the Lord’s Prayer. The pastor today made several good points about what prayer is supposed to be like and laid out a few things that were meant to encourage us to pray.

I’ve never been good at praying. For some reason it’s always felt so uncomfortable to me to talk to God the way we’re encouraged to by Jesus himself. The thing that is supposed to make it easy to pray is that Jesus refers to God as “your Father” who already knows what you want and who has your best interest at heart. What’s gotten me stuck for so many years is that it’s hard for me, and I imagine for others who grew up this way, that picturing God as a good and loving father is a completely foreign concept. I think I’ve talked about this before, but I’ve finally been able to conjure up an apt analogy.
Maybe some of you grew up like this, maybe you didn’t, but did you ever have a friend whose dad was maybe just a bit scarier than yours when you were a little kid? Like maybe he was a bigger guy, or had a more intimidating look,or didn’t smile as much, or maybe just smelled more like alcohol or cigarettes than your own dad. That’s how every dad was for me when I was a boy for the simple reason that there was a masculine authority there that was completely unfamiliar to me. For me, praying to THE HEAVENLY FATHER feels like approaching my friend’s dad to ask for a favor that he doesn’t owe me. When you grow up without a dad (or with a super crappy one, I’d imagine) it skews your perception of who God says he is for the simple fact that our feeble minds can’t comprehend who God actually is and have to draw comparisons to familiar ideas. God is consistently referred to as a father throughout the Bible which says two things to me: that we are to see Him as approachable and loving, and that fathers have an incredible and important responsibility/opportunity in their child’s lives.

To me, praying is still in my mind the equivalent to interrupting my friend’s dad while he’s busy with his own kids to ask a favor I’m not owed. My honest hope (and prayer, I guess) is that through being an earthly father myself I’ll begin to better understand what a good loving father really looks like and feel more at ease approaching my own Father.

Written by matt

February 12, 2013 at 8:53 pm

“So, how’s does it feel to be a dad??”

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I’ve never heard that question prior to six weeks and five days ago. Now, it’s all I can do to go a day without being asked that. It doesn’t bother me. I’m sure most people have questions they get asked all the time. Being in a touring band for a good long time you get very used to hearing the same questions all the time and so get used to having your awesome (and always witty) stock answer ready to deploy. I’ve been answering this question since he was born and for the first time with one of these types to questions, I’ve probably answered differently every time I’ve been asked. There’s simply not a good (conversationally short) answer that could really communicate everything I’ve been feeling. This blog is my attempt at really explaining how I feel so far about being a dad.

First, there’s the wide range of emotions. Now, a year ago, after spending some months in counseling I would occasionally make the joke of, “Yeah, counseling is going great. I’m up to four feelings now.” Having a kid has kind of opened the flood gates as far as that’s concerned. I’ve felt things I didn’t know were even possible. Here’s a small sampling of the different feelings I’ve recently experienced:

-Absolute joy at seeing my son for that first time
-The weight of knowing God holds me responsible for him
-Euphoric peace when we take naps together
-Frustration at not being able to figure why he’s crying this time
-Sadness at seeing him cry with his little lower lip quivering
-Immense pride whenever he does anything
-Deeper love than I thought possible watching my wife be such an amazing mother to him
-Out and out rage towards my father for choosing anything else than what I get to experience with my son
-Curiosity about what my son is going to be like as he grows up
-Surprised at how much I’m not grossed out by all his bodily functions that need constant attention
-Sheer unadulterated exhaustion

That’s just a sampling and it’s already more than double my previous number of feelings.

Before having my son, I would ask new dads all the time what it felt like to be a dad and a recurring theme was them saying that there’s no words that can do it justice; that it was so intense they couldn’t really explain it. Being on this side of it now, I think I understand what they meant by that.

Do you know what white noise is? Or the snowy static that used to come on old analog TV’s? It’s not really the absence of a certain picture or frequency, it’s actually every frequency on display at once. The TV static is every light frequency at once and white noise is every audio frequency all at once. Part of the reason it’s been so hard to accurately tell people how it feels to be a dad is because of the number of emotions involved. The hardest thing to explain is that I’ve literally felt every emotion I’m capable of feeling all at the same time all the time. It is, in a very real sense, a constant white noise of emotions.

I think I have my witty stock answer for when people ask me that now.

Written by matt

August 28, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Reflections on a Father’s Day

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(I wrote this late Sunday night, but haven’t gotten to finish it until today.)

I really wanted to have a great blog post for Father’s Day. It’s been my entire life that I’ve seen this day as something that I’m left out of, and this year is the first one that I’ve gotten to celebrate. Despite the fact that it started out with so much promise, it ended with a bit of a letdown.

This was the first Father’s day that I really feel like I got to celebrate instead of doing my usual reflections on my abandonment issues. My lovely, nine-months-pregnant wife made me breakfast this morning and really went out of her way to emphasize how much of a great dad she thinks I’ll be. She knows what this day has meant to me previously and what it gets to mean to me now. I even (coincidentally) got a very welcome surprise phone call from my sister. It turns out one of my brothers is also expecting a baby only a few weeks after me. Lastly, I had a show tonight and that always puts me in a good mood.

About halfway through the four hour drive though the day took kind of a weird left turn. I’ll spare you the gritty details, but suffice it to say that there were many phone calls and frantic text messages with a few more (likely) uncomfortable phone calls in my near future.

I tend to be a “live and let live” kind of guy for the most part. The phone calls will be uncomfortable for me because it’s the opposite of that, but it’s for the good of myself, my wife, and very soon, my son. And it’s just not fair. It has so little to do with me and I don’t want to do it and I shouldn’t have to.

That’s the trick, though, isn’t it?

The more I learn about what it means to be a man and a father, the more I hate that I would much rather just let things go at the risk of those things negatively affecting my family. I’m beginning to understand on so much a different level of what it means to sacrifice for your family and to lead and protect those who God places under you. This isn’t to excuse them, but I’m even better understanding why so many men just check out of the whole thing: it’s really freaking hard.

I’m not gonna check out though. The first reason is accountability, meaning everyone who reads this gets to administer a very serious ass kicking if I ever do check out. Another reason is that is that I’m already beginning to feel rewarded by doing the occasional really tough thing. I get to look at my wife and see how much she loves and trusts me, and one day I may get to see that from my son.

Written by matt

June 19, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Late Night Thought

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I often wonder what would happen if I truly felt free to write the things I feel like I need to.

Alright, I can’t end this week with that one sporadic and depressing thought. Instead, I’ll leave with a thank you to Karl over at guitarforworship.com for his amazingly kind words on his last post. I also have to say thank you to the entire team over at Newsong Church in Irvine for having me be a part of their Easter services and welcoming me and my wife as family. I feel extremely blessed by both of these parties and I honestly haven’t felt so loved by so many people as I have over the past week.

Written by matt

April 25, 2011 at 1:40 am

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