This week is known as Holy Week for millions of Christians around the world who are followers of Jesus Christ. Those millions might include yourself, your spouse, co-worker, friend or family member. You don’t have to look hard to find one. They are all spread out in over the world. So who are those Christians and what is it like to be a Christian in today’s world? Yours truly just so happens to be one of them.
I have to admit that confessing to be a Christian and a follower of Jesus in today’s world is a very difficult thing to do. In some countries, my life would be in danger if someone read what I am posting here. I would be called an infidel and face possible prison time,or even worse yet, be given a death sentence. Here in the United States, people like me are often looked at in a very negative way. We are called judgemental, narrow-minded, bigots, extremists, bible bangers or Jesus freaks. Some even go as far as saying that Christianity or any type of organized religion is the root of so many problems in our society and must be stopped. In their minds, we are just as bad as terrorists.
So why would I want to put up with that kind of ridicule and lose many people’s respect because of my views? For the simple reason that I strongly believe in what the core principles of Christianity is all about. Many people feel that living a Christian life restricts them in having a fun and enjoyable life. Nothing is further from the truth. Just because I do not go partying every weekend and chasing after women doesn’t mean that my life is a complete bore. I can sit at home, watch a movie or a ball game, drink Coke, eat pizza and have a great time. I am sure that I would become a lot more popular and have more friend’s phone numbers on my Android if I drank more. But that drinking could lead to me to having a big alcoholic addition. A few people I know have that problem and they have lost a lot in their lives. One guy I know lost his job and his wife at the same time. Living an immoral lifestyle may seem like fun at the beginning, but ultimately it can destroy you in so many ways. I know many guys and gals think that it might be fun to cheat on their spouse and have an affair. “Life is short, have an adventure” is a slogan of a very sell know adult dating site. That adventure will end in crash that is not only devastating to you but your entire family. As a Christian, I warned about living an ungodly lifestyle and how it could ruin my life. My life does not have those headaches and problems that people who engage in those activities have.
I know many people including several Christians have problems trusting a God who is not there physically. Even though he is not there physically, he is there in spirit and I have experienced times when he has guided me through some of the biggest and darkest moments of my life. We all will face those challenges and trials in our lives at some time. I always feel good about having someone to rely on when I have major decision to make in my life. There is someone who can give me the sense to make the right decision and guide me. I know some unbelievers might be laughing at what I just wrote, but he has guided me in making several key decisions in which has greatly affected my life. In fact, I might be here today if I was not tuned into what he was telling me. That is why prayer is so important in our lives not only for ourselves, but other people. I gives us a sense of guidance and direction in any situation.
I think a huge reason that many folks are turned off by Christians is the fact that many seem to come across as being very judgemental. It is only human nature to be offended when someone questions your lifestyle or activities. I have never felt comfortable about vocally judging someone because my life has issues as well. You will never find me on a street corner yelling to people to repent or go to hell. Instead I would rather demonstrate my Christian faith by doing random acts of kindness and setting good examples. Perhaps my neighbor needs a chore done that he is physically unable to do. I will take time out of my busy schedule to help him as much as possible. Or maybe a co-worker is struggling with a project and I will put aside my projects to assist them. A huge part of the Christian lifestyle is serving other people and I feel obligated to serve others in need. In addition, I believe strongly in encouraging people by saying kind words or maybe writing a nice little message. It is amazing how far those little things can go in not only helping others, but building good positive relationships with people.
My own little utopia of the world consists of many kind and loving people, people everywhere getting alone and respecting one another. Strangers going out of their own way to help out others, no violence or poverty and general peace and happiness in the world. There has been much discussion about how to achieve these things. Sometimes the answer is really quite simple and that is why I support Christianity so much. It is the solution, not the problem to many of our world’s problems.
One of things that I really love about the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is having some Cinderella team come up of nowhere and do extremely well. It seems to happen every year. There is always some low seeded team who suddenly becomes the darlings of the tournament and busts everyone’s bracket. This year is no exception; teams such as S.F. Austin and especially Middle Tennessee shocked the world on Friday with their opening round upsets. Middle Tennessee? I didn’t even realize that they were a division 1 school for crying out loud!
When you think about college basketball, schools like Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke and Kansas always come to mind. These programs are the cream of the crop in college hoops. Year in and year out, they always get the much-advertised blue chip talent among high school seniors. In fact, you could make an argument in saying that around 10 schools in the country hold a monopoly on the best talent in the country. The remaining programs or schools are pretty much left with a bunch of scraps. So it is wonderful to see some much unheralded program with a bunch of guys who were overlooked in recruiting and who actually stuck it out for 4 years achieve success in the tournament? I think it is extremely wonderful! In fact, I could care less if my bracket, which it already has this year, explodes. I love when a small conference school does well in the tournament. I always find myself cheering for the so-called little schools in the tournament.
Many of these teams represent what college basketball and sports in general should be all about. The players on these teams actually stick around for 4 years. Only a handful of the players at these unheralded small schools will actually make it to the NBA. The college game is their top of the mountain top. Making it to the tournament, not the NBA, is their dream as a player. Now contrast that with your typical elite prima donna college superstar who plays for Duke. It is all about one and done, baby as Dick Vitale might say. Do you think that many of these elite players are concerned about staying 4 years and winning multiple NCAA championships? Of course not! They are just using that year of so as a stepping stone to the pro game. Why should they even attend class at all? It is a complete joke!
College sports should be about student athletes going to school, pursuing a degree and playing sports for 4 years. That is why it is always refreshing to see less heralded teams garner some much overdue attention in this tournament. How can you not cheer for them?
Last Monday, one of the best quarterbacks ever in the NFL, Peyton Manning, decided to call it quits and retire from the NFL. Is Manning the greatest quarterback ever is highly up to debate. I tend to think that there are a few others who rank slightly higher, but having said that, how many football players at any level had a higher IQ for the game than Manning? I think you would have to look long and hard to even come up with 5 that were even in his class. The man was a complete genius on the football field. In my opinion, he might have been the smartest player ever.
Manning was definitely not the most athletic quarterback ever to play the game. One has to wonder whether he even broke 7 seconds for the 40. Nor did he the strongest arm. His passes were like wounded ducks floating throw the air. They were not pretty, but very accurate. What separated Manning from the rest of the field was his ability to read defenses and anticipate what they were going to do. Very few players have that ability to be a coach on the field and Manning just so happens to be one of those special players.
In today’s world of sports, so much emphasis is placed on how fast a guy can run or how strong he is. NFL teams love to place stock on a player based on how he tests out at the NFL combine. All of that stuff is meaningless if the player is weak from the neck up. Sometimes, what is underneath that helmet is the true measure of a good football player. Peyton Manning is a prime example that you do not have to be a great athlete to succeed in any sport. A great deal of smarts and savvy go a long ways in defining how successful an athlete can become.
As a fan of the NFL, I will miss him. He was a class act and great for the game. I hope he will stay in the game in some capacity. The NFL needs more good and brilliant guys like Peyton Manning in the future.
A few months ago, I decided to do something rather dramatic with my life and join a well-known online dating service. Now granted, I am not exactly one of those desperate types who needs a woman in my life to be completely happy, but nevertheless, I just felt the urge to boost my social life a bit with the opposite sex. After being on that site for just a few weeks, I received a message from a woman that really kind of floored me. She said that she loved my profile, thought I was handsome and nice, had my life together and all that good stuff, however, she explained to me that she tends to stay away from guys who have never been married. Well fine I said to myself, this woman is extremely shallow and does not deserve my time. A few days later, another woman sent me a message and seemed to be bewildered that someone my age has never been married. I guess I was not aware that a person has to be married by a certain age to be accepted by society. I looked at this woman’s profile and she listed that she was only looking to meet other divorced members of the site. Cross her off my list too. Finally I just quit the site all together. Why waste my money and time dealing with a bunch of narrow-minded shallow people which this particular site seemed to have too many of ?
I have tried hard for the past few months to understand why some women and probably men think that way. Why is it so important to have that “divorced status”on your profile? Are people who have been previously married, have a better chance than a never married person of having a better long-term relationship? Perhaps they are hungrier to get married than a person who has never been married? I really cannot understand the logic that many divorced singles have in only wanting to date others who have been divorced. Maybe someone who thinks like that can write me a response and explain to me why they feel this way.
When I join any dating site, I am completely open to meeting all types, divorced, widowed and never married. The only exception is separated women. If you are still legally married, I want nothing to do with you. Of course there are some doubts in my mind when I meet someone who has been previously married. There are questions about her ex, her kids, how emotionally stable is she after the divorce. Am I just someone who fills just a temporary void in her life? But I am aware that her new life chapter could include me and be a glorious chapter.
There are thousands of outstanding singles out there who have never been married. Many like myself enjoy our lives but would love to have someone share it with us. Contrary to many people’s beliefs, I am not afraid of a commitment. The perception that people like us only like to play the field is completely false. Some of us have been in previous long-term relationships were we have learned a lot as well. Just because someone has never been married does not mean that they are clueless about what a good relationship is all about. And just maybe some of us are wise about jumping into a relationship which is supposed to last a lifetime, not just 5 years or so. If you are one of these people who avoid never married people at all costs, you might want take a chance with us. It might be the best choose that you have ever made in your life after what might seem to be the worst choice. Being narrow-minded and shallow in online dating will only close the door to many potential great mates.
Read through any online political news story and you are bound to see a variety of different views from different people. Some may express their opinions based on their own conservative principles while others tend to be either liberal or somewhat down the middle. Either way, I enjoy reading good discussions or comments among people regarding certain issues. But how often does it happen when these good discussions take place? The answer seems to be very rarely. More times than not, you will encounter a bunch of name calling, generalizing of parties or people coming up with misleading or false facts and claims. Sometimes my blood boils when I read some of that garbage!
The incident last night at a Donald Trump rally in Chicago is another example of what I am trying to get into here. A large group of people gathered to support a presidential candidate and garner enthusiasm for his campaign. Unfortunately, a group of protesters had a huge problem with this basic right of freedom of speech and succeeded in shutting down the event. This incident illustrates a sad reality in our country today. There are certain groups of people who will not tolerate any other view points but their own. If anyone disagrees with them, they are marked to be silenced forever and that is just not right! One of our basic rights is the freedom of speech and that seems to becoming more and more in jeopardy if a certain individuals have their way.
I come across many people all the time, either online or in person, who have different views on certain hot button issues. While sometimes I want to scream at them for being delusional, I realize that they share the same passion and in the end, I respect people for that passion. They want our country to be great just as much as I want and I can respect that. It is just their way of finding thE solution is much different than mine.
I challenge everyone to show some class and respect for others in this election season coming up. When someone disagrees with your view of the issues, instead of hurling insults at them or their party, explain to them why you feel a certain way about an issue and your solutions. It might surprise you to see how constructive the conversation can become.
Of course when you have many politicians act the way they do, it is no wonder that the general population starts to act the same way. I include the President and Donald Trump in that group. A good leader will lead not resort to name calling and insults to his or her opponents. Everyone needs to respect their fellow Americans views. A successful business is made great by having a combination of great ideas. There is no reason we can’t do that with our government. The only way we can do that is to respect others for their ideas as well.