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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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.

The Trump Blog

 

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Tuesday, November 8th caught me by surprise. I am not sure why honestly because I have read my Bible and am aware that the world is not going to become a better place, but instead will decline until the actually apocalypse happens. Wait what, You’re a Christian and didn’t vote for TRUMP? Yes, I actually believe he is the absolute moral opposite of everything my savior stood for. If I could apologize to you in the place of all the misguided Christians who did vote for him than I would, but I can’t, we must suffer the consequences of our fellow americans actions and make it through these next 4 years.

I want to make it clear that I am not writing this blog to boo hoo and whine about losing. That seems to be the assumption by the outspoken republicans on my facebook wall. I am simply writing this because someone suggested that it might be good for me, to let off some of the emotions this whole campaign season have brought to light. See though I am disappointed, I know God is in control and not because 100 people have told me so in order to comfort my crippling anxiety. I know he is in control because he always has been, He was in control when Hitler took over as well, when Sodom and Gomorrah burned to the ground. God being in control or Donald Trump being elected because you prayed for it does not mean that everything will be peachy keen. In fact, God gave Israel the king they wanted after they nagged Him enough, causing them to live with their poor decisions.

My disappointment with this election has less to do with Trump winning and more to do with what it revealed about the people I thought I knew. You can not say you support Hitler and expect people to think you are not ok with hating Jewish people. You can not support Charles Manson because he is a good group leader and expect people to leave his past in the history. You are connected to your choices. I was heartbroken to see people I respected supporting this evil, I saw it though, and I saw it grow. Now I am not speaking of the people I went to high school with, or a big mouthed coworker, or those distant relatives who alway hug you too tight, you always expect they might be a little bit racist, a little bit homophobic. I am talking about the friends you grew up with, the people who helped you through difficult times in your life, those you asked personal questions to and told your deepest secrets. I feel betrayed, they are not who I thought they were, they are not role models after all, they are way more broken and flawed than I could have ever imagined.

This election hasn’t changed me and probably hasn’t changed them, it has just revealed the truth.

I wasn’t ready for the truth, I wasn’t ready to see these people I respected with their dirty clothes still on. Stained with their misogyny and fear of becoming a minority. They would rather hand their burden of hidden fear to someone else than face their own flawed inner racism.

Congratulations to the Trump voters. You voted for a perceived perfect future where the rich don’t pay their fair share and the different people of America are tethered. You have enabled a new future, a new form of slavery where women are choiceless, immigrants must die in their home country, the LGBTQ community suffers, and sexism is approved of. This is the world you gave your children, this is the blood on your hands. You are not creating a world that is safe, you are creating a hate filled world, your own private country club which you were born into. You don’t have a right to comment on their sadness.

I have heard the many excuses as to why a person would vote for such a monster. About how he was the lesser of two evils, about how he is anti-abortion, and is going to repeal all of the terrible things that don’t even affect the person telling me. I have heard the excuses, I am done with them. I have also heard the backlash against the people standing up for what they believe in afterward. The hate filled comments against the protesters, calling them babies, saying they are no better than common thugs. You are standing in judgement of something you don’t understand when you make those comments. Those people are afraid, scared and hurting because of what has been done against them on one faithful day in November. Rather than reaching out in the Christ filled love that you should, you judge, you mock. 

I am an American and I always will be. I am proud of the progression my country has made, but do not believe this was a step in the right direction.  America was already great. Donald Trump is not my president and I will not be silenced.

Serving the Church can be a Tricky Business

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So, we have been going to the same church for a while now and we think these guys are fantastic. I also have the heart to serve which is why Sarah and I stepped forward after a few weeks and said we are interested in serving in the church. This is something I think everyone should do. If you are a Christian and are part of a local community, you should go beyond just being a pew sitter. Well, the inevitable happened and I was asked to step up in rotation as the drummer for the worship team. Sadly, this offer to serve musically came at the same exact time that work in Dead People World started picking up. And since a lot of funerals take place on Sunday I had to step down from the position before I ever even really got started. This is a sad day for me because my true passion to serve is in music.

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The cool thing though, is that this church has many different opportunities to serve outside of just music. I am branching out and hope to get plugged into a ministry there that does not conflict with work. If you go to church but you feel disconnected like you don’t belong, all it takes is a step of faith. I encourage you to get off of that pew and get involved. By doing this you will find yourself making true friends and developing real and lasting relationships. Because, let’s face it… that is what church is all about—relationships.

So, I guess I am in a band…

God is good.

As most of you know, I used to be a singer-songwriter who toured nationally for a living. Including some of the other bands I was in before my solo stuff I toured full time for the better part of 5 or 6 years. I miss it a lot. And since then I haven’t really done any writing musically. I have always told myself that if I got back into music it would be at church for the edification of the body of believers and not self. The last church I was at before we relocated for Sarah’s job was Life Church. Those guys are awesome and I had the opportunity to play the cajon for them. The cajon is basically a hollow box that can produce a range of tones, emulating a drum kit if used properly. Since the relocation however Sarah and I have attended several churches in Liberty, Dayton, Humble, and Baytown… searching for that place that we fit in. Finding a church can be hard. Especially for Christians like Sarah and I. we just don’t believe in being merely attendees. Also known as pew sitters. Personally I don’t understand that concept. If it was my intention to walk into a building, sit and listen to music, shake a few hands, listen to a message, and then go home… having learned nothing about the people sitting around me, then what is the point? If I was just going to sit there I could accomplish essentially the same thing from the comfort of my own couch by streaming a church from the internet. What is crazy about this concept is the fact that most Christians seem to fall into the group. Show up… smile… shake the hand of a name you can’t remember… and go home.

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Well, as a last ditch effort to feel connected in our faith with the local community we decided to try a Calvary Chapel in Baytown. I used to go to one in Florida and I loved it. If you find yourself struggling to fit in, then this branch of the body of Christ might be for you. My experience has been that it is a come as you are community that strives on challenging us to study the bible line by line rather than putting a motivational speaker in our faces and sending us on our way.

Anyway, I am writing this blog just to say that I am not worthy and that God is good. We have been going to this church for a little over two months now and we feel welcome and are getting to know a lot of the people there. I have even been invited to join the worship team as one of the drummers on rotation. I have always felt that it was important for me to not give up on music just because I wasn’t on the road anymore. It feels good to be back behind a kit and I am honored to give back to God with my talents.

This Sunday is my first Sunday service to play at this gathering. Considering it has been something like 4 years since I have actually played a full kit, this should be interesting.

God is good, and if you go to church but find yourself being a pew sitter, I encourage you to stand up and start knocking on doors. In one way or another, the bible says we don’t have because we don’t ask. If you want to get involved you have to speak up.

Art of the Day: Pastor Mike Online

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So, today’s art of the day is based on Pastor Mike Online. You are scratching your head wondering who the heck this guy is, I know. But that is okay. I am about to tell you. He is this super creeper dude that posts podcasts and video blogs about the bible and what is going on in the world today. I like following him because he talks a lot about Revelations, the occult and modern science. I recommend checking him out. His videos can be rather lengthy and he seems to ramble a bit… but, if you sit through it he does a great job of tying everything together. If you plan on taking the plunge I recommend this video first, because most of his other stuff kind of circles around this. Anyway, most people might think he is crazy or that I am for that matter, since I listen to him… but regardless. Today’s art is inspired by my weekly bible reading.