My post-Happy New Year Post about being a terrible Christian

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Well, the New Year is here. It has been a day or two and surely there are some of you that have already started to tackle your New Year resolutions. Lose weight… be more sociable… be on Facebook less… Call mom more often… the list just seems endless.

I am actually one of the many, however, that has not really ever done a resolution for the New Year. And this post isn’t about me starting one either. But, I will say that the idea of a resolution is what started my train of thoughts that inspired this blog post. With the New Year upon us I started thinking on the resolutions people would be making. With that, I thought about myself. Was there anything I would like to change about myself? Upon reflection I went way back in time to when I first became a Christian more than 10 years ago. And in the 10 years that have passed I have met, made, and lost a lot of relationships (various reasons, but mostly a result of moving to new locations and being away from home so often).

When I think about these relationships I can’t help but reflect on them all. And what I see when I look back on them is terrible. I think that I am quite possibly the worst Christian you will ever meet. If you are ready for my rant, then here goes. Satanism is the worship of self. With that in mind, to be self centered is the opposite of Christ. When I look back on 10 years of relationships… people I dated, people I was in a band with, friends, family, fellow believers, co-workers… and so on, all I can see is how focused I was on just myself. My mindset was always “how can this person help ME”. Rather than, “how can I help this person”. I wasn’t in a band with these people because we were best friends. I was in a band with them because they were pushing me toward my goal of a music career. When I broke up with her it was because it was not longer convenient to date anymore. And so on…

What am I getting at?

Well, I feel like I have been asleep. How often as Christians are we not consciously “Christian”? For 2017 I want to be a conscious Christian. Someone that actually focuses on the people around them rather than being so inside themselves that they pass every moment by being asleep. Here are some examples of what I mean.

At work a girl walks by wearing tight clothing and her shorts are way too short. My co-worker who happens to be standing with me addresses the girl to me in a derogatory manor. My response it silence. Most people might think I did the Christian thing there. I didn’t provoke the banter. But my stomach turns at this for one reason. I can’t help but ask myself why my co-worker didn’t respect my values by not pointing it out and saying nothing at all? Does this co-worker even know I am a Christian? Most likely not. There is something wrong with that picture. Why have I not made a conscious effort to see the opportunities to witness to them about my beliefs? I will tell you why… because I have been too focused on my “self” (satanism). My mind is cluttered with what “I” need to get done today or tomorrow. How “I” did on this test or that exam. How “I” am going to do this or that.

Another example is the same situation, but this time my co-worker knows I am a Christian. The girl walks by and I don’t realize my co-worker is there and watching me. I take a look at the girl’s too-short shorts. As a result my co-worker is self-justified because he thinks that since I have lust of the eyes that my faith in invalid and grins to himself. In that case, why wasn’t I conscious that my co-worker was watching to see how I as a Christian would react to the visual stimulus? Not only did I sin in that moment, but I set a bad example at the same time justifying another man’s reasons to deny Christ. As Christians we are watched in this way by nonbelievers constantly. With that, why was I not a conscious Christian? If Christ is coming at any moment, then every moment matters.

What am I saying with all of this?

I feel that as Christians in a social media drive society we have become stagnant. Rather than go the extra mile by making a difference in our community we simply click “LIKE” on a post about poverty as if that justifies our lack of effort. We have fallen in line with the rest of the world. The Christians have fallen asleep, myself included. And quite honestly I am tired of it.

My resolution for 2017 is to become a conscious Christian by making every relationship count through focusing on them rather than myself. To quit being silent about the things I am passionate about by becoming active.

Thanks God I am saved by faith through grace. Otherwise, I would be in trouble. I am the worst Christian I know.

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Dinosaurs in the bible and days out on the town

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A lot of my friends and family tend to ask the question of how we like Austin now that we have lived here for a while. Well, it’s fantastic. There seems to be a festival or shop expo every single weekend. This weekend we went to craft sale downtown because we knew that these sewing ladies were going to be there. They are called Fort Lonesome and they do this thing called chain stitching. It was pretty cool and is done with this vintage looking machine. We went to the event because we knew that they were going to be there. I got the bible verse Job 40:15-25 because… well… dinosaurs. That’s why.  Verse 24 makes me think of a triceratops of all the behemoths. Boom!!!

Job 40:15-24 King James Version (KJV)

Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him. Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play. He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens. The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about. Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth. He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.

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Screen Print Patches and more…

A lot of new things are going on in patch making land with For the Win Inc. I have spent the last 4 months designing and releasing embroidery patches on my Etsy store. They have been well received to say the least. With that, I decided to go in a new direction, not because I thought it would sell, but because I personally like this style of patchwork. I just released 4 new patch designs on the store this week. But this time they aren’t embroidery patches. No, instead they are screen printed designs on black fabric. These are the types of patches most commonly associated with back patches, vests, jackets, and pant legs. This style of screen print patches are usually seen being worn by individuals in the punk, crust punk, grungecore, doom metal, and deathcore scene. Neo-thrash abounds with these punk inspired patches. And since the types of people that wear this style of patch are of the opinionated variety, I have a few more designs in the works that display some of my more political and economical stances on the modern times we live in today. I don’t honestly know that these will sell as well as the embroidery patches, but I am honestly okay with that. After all, I didn’t release these designs to make money. I released them to have fun while making them for myself. That’s right… these patches are going on my vest!

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With that mentioned, my vest is getting a total overhaul. I got a new back patch made up to replace my current one. It’s pretty brutal and I am excited to get it, along with these 4 new patch designs sewn onto my vest. Luckily Sarah knows how to use a sewing machine. Hopefully she won’t roll her eyes too many times while fighting her way through the pile of new patches I have getting put together on my vest. I am excited to get them put on it for sure! This new one “Read the Bible… the End is Nigh”, speaks true to how I feel about our existence as not only a nation, but as a world. And since I was getting so many compliments on my existing back patch, I got a bright idea. If that many people were actually reading my back patch, why not make it of something relevant to my personal views and convictions? After all, they were the ones that chose to read it, right…

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New back patch in the works

Yeah, it’s finally about that time in life to change things up. For those of you that don’t know me that well, I like back patches. I have been rocking the same old “Bizarro Brigade” back patch for close to 4 or 5 years now on my hoodie. Not only have I been rocking this same old design for that long, but I have also been rocking the same old hoodie for that long. Time is way past due for a new one. The hoodie is black, and yet, the years of use have faded the sleeves brown somehow. With that, it is time to throw in the towel and go with something fresh and new. A head turner, if you will. Something that will intrigue, spark conversation, engage ridicule, demand my “apparent” close minded ignorance, and yes… even a few eye rolls.

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Read the Bible. The end is Nigh.

I put this design together myself, deciding I wanted something biblical that expressed my feelings toward the world, and my desire for people to wake up about where things are headed. No, I did not create this art. I merely pulled it from the world-wide-web while providing what I felt was an appropriate tagline. We have all kinds of biblical symbolism in this image. The lion and the lamb as one, the 7 headed dragon, the elders, and the cross just to name a few. I don’t have this patch in my postion yet, but I will very soon. And for that, I am excited.

The crew over at MantidSnip were kind enough to send me some “in progress” photos before shipping out my order. If you are into custom back patches and want something done right with the quality that counts, go check these guys out!

Punk Patches in progress

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For those of you that keep up with my blog, you already know that I am in the process of doing some punk rock style screen printed patches to add to the store. Well, after much searching I came across a company called MantidSnip from the United Kingdom that does some epic work. Their shirt designs are both complex and large, which I fell in love with. With that, I had to reach out to them… and to my surprise, not only were their deigns fantastic, but so were their prices. It is for that reason that I have decided to partner with them on my screen printed patch venture. And the process has already begun! So far things are looking great and I can’t wait to have these posted up on the store. If you haven’t checked out MantidSnip before, then please do. Not only are they genuine people, but they design, create, and sell some very fantastic products.

500 Sales + A new Direction #patchgame

Well, here we are in the middle of my fourth month of patch selling operation and things are growing and changing like wild flowers in spring. For starters, I have reached 500 and exceeded 500 sales. It couldn’t have happened at a better time either, considering I am only half way through my 4th month as an Etsy merchant. A few sales before hitting the big 500 I did the math and realized something. If I managed to reach 500 sales this week it would meant something pretty cool. And since I did reach that mark in said time, it happened. With 500 sales under my belt and the calculations done, I have officially sold an average of 5 orders every day since the shop opened. That is 5 orders a day, every day, every single day of the month, 3 & 1/2 months straight. That’s radical if you ask me. Since most sales have been multi packs or even orders up to and exceeding 100 patches, there is no telling how many actual patches I have sold. It has for sure been a while ride.

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With that ride in mind I have decided to go a new direction. My wife may think it silly, but I am a big fan of the neo thrash / crust punk style and have even started leaning that direction with my own personal choices in dress (crust excluded). Having said that, the first of December I will be adding a few new items to the store. I have decided to do a run of Christian themed screen printed fabric patches inspired by the for mentioned punk rock look. The large patch on the right with all of its intricate detail is actually not going on the store. That is a one of that I am having made all for myself. That bad boy is a back patch just for me.

Obviously, my focus with all of the patches I have done in the past has been to create something I would want to personally own on my clothing or backpack. With that in mind, these screen printed patches are no different. I plan on putting one of each of these puppies on my vest along with that back patch.

If by chance these neo thrash – crust punk patches do well in the store I may very well be on my way to getting a screen printer set up in my garage. I already have a friend who knows a lot about it who is willing to help me get set up and started, if I so choose.

Anyway, enough rambling.

500 Sales!!!! New Patches Coming!!!!

Now Available – Bible Patches #Jesus

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Well, it’s official… For the Win Inc has finally done some Christian patches. They have just hit the stores today. I have 4 of them currently… but there is no telling how many I will actually end up doing; what with the endless number of epic biblical stories I could draw inspiration from and all that jazz. Right now we have The lamb of revelations, Adam and Eve from genesis, The suffering of Christ prior to being crucified for our sins, and a Jesus Lives patch. I almost went cliché with this one and had it say “Jesus’ Life Matters” since it seems to be a controversial topic lately on the fight against racism. But, I went with my better judgment and didn’t do it. Anyway, go on over to the store and check them out. If you have feedback or patch ideas based on biblical themes, let me know. I am all ears.

Throwing P. A. Douglas into the trash for a fresh start

Well, after a little over 5 years of writing horror based fiction I have accumulated a little over a dozen titles under my belt as author P. A. Douglas. And today, I am announcing that I am throwing that literary name in the trash!

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Before I get into it I thought I would recap my experience as a writer over these last 5 years. I first found my passion for the horror genre as a kid. Later in life I began to enjoy reading as an adult. While working at Wal-Mart of all places overnight to save money for a tour van (that Sarah and I used to tour with), I read a lot of zombie books. And well, after my 5th of 6th book I thought to myself, “I could write this stuff”.

So, I did.

While working I jotted notes and ideas for my first book into a notepad. As a result my very first title became released in 2011 at a whopping 90,000 words. It wasn’t a great piece of fiction, but it was mine! I had done it. I wrote a book. With the fire lit I found that I couldn’t stop. I kept on reading the genre and kept on writing as well. I feel that the pinnacle of my career as a horror writer was when I landed a contract with my all time favorite apocalyptic publisher. I had done it. I was in the big lieges. I had reached the top of my genre as an indie author and it had only taken about 4 years to get there.

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So… why then, after all this effort and success am I crumpling it all up and tossing it in the trash?

Yeah, well… that is a good question I suppose. I think it has to do with an accumulation of many different factors. For starters I am currently knee deep in school taking 16 credit hours per semester. And have been for about two years now. As a result that has been two years of not writing or reading much fiction at all; if any for lack of available time. Secondly, because of several other factors that I will mention in a moment, I am in a mental state of mind lately (the past 4 months or so) where I am evaluating what is actually worth my time. Because, let’s face it. Time is a precious commodity. Everyone knows that. So, the question was raised internally; “what is my time worth”?

What exactly brought this question swirling into my mind over these last few months is the real question. It has been an accumulation of several things, like I said already. For one, being in school has given me the itch of learning. I would rather spend my time learning than being entertained with silly nonsense. With that in mind, I have picked up a few magazine subscriptions to things like Astronomy and National Geographic. Also, over the last year I have still continued to read for pleasure. But rather than reading fiction for mere entertainment I have found myself reading educational content. Astrophysics, quantum mechanics, and history  have found their way into m heart and I can’t seem to get enough of them.

Secondly, this world is a mess. As some of you know, I am a Christian. In the last 4 months or so Sarah and I have been attending Calvary Chapel in South Austin. It is a great place that has accepted us as we are. Oddly enough, we joined this group of believers right as they were jumping into the book of Revelations. Kind of ironic when you think about it considering the state of things in America and how outlandish this election was. With those two factors in mind (the teachings in retrospect to the state of our nation), an internal reflection began to take place where I asked myself that question; “what is truly worth my time”? Now, this isn’t some brain wash type of church either. This is a more of the Spirit within the church and within myself toward repentance. So, what does repentance have to do with your books and dropping them in the can? Well, as a Christian I do have to admit that there is some tacky content within my past writings. Rape, sex, murder, language, and so on. Of course, I realize that all of those things can be found in the Bible. I don’t know how to explain it. I’ve just decided that I don’t really want to be affiliated with my work anyone as a Christian. It’s hard to explain. I will say this though; a lot of my work as a fiction writer was done at a time in my faith when I was angry at God. And as a result, the words that flowed across the page were not a reflection of my beliefs. I just feel that our time should be spent educating and being educated. Yes, entertainment is a good thing. With that and the value of time, if and when I start writing again, it will be with those principles in mind.

All I know is, we as a nation spend too much time blinded and numbed by entertainment. We glare at our computers, phones, and televisions, watching the world become worse and worse. All the while pretend in our own minds that posting a positive meme will make a difference. In the end, my body of work as a fiction writer wasn’t part of the solution. It was part of the problem, promoting things I don’t wish to promote.

With that in mind, once I am out of school I do plan to start writing again… under a new name… with a new agenda – to educate, inspire, and encourage, rather than indulge.

We live in a world where World War 3 could very easily be on the horizon regardless of what you believe in. You have to ask yourself, do you want to have spent your life glued to your vices? Or do you want to spend your life thriving for a solution?

And, as a Christian I assume you know what solution I speak of.