Joe's Rambles

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Reflections

As I sit back and reflect upon my life, upon my triumphs and my failures, I get a sense of what went wrong. I get a sense of why I rebelled as hard and as fast as I did. See, I grew up in a very conservative church. Long hair was a sin (not that I would grow my hair long, I hated hippies), facial hair could be seen as a sign of an attitude problem (Hey, I wanted to grow facial hair! What teenage boy does not!). Wearing shorts was a sin. Swimming with the opposite sex was seen as tempting sin and discouraged. Holding hansd with your gal was discouraged. Dancing was out. Alcohol was the devil's brew. This is a sin, that is a sin...and if we ain't named it...well it might be a sin too! There was lots of judging (maybe in order to pacify their own mind regarding their own sins?) The problem was the standard was set at an unrealistic high, the bar never surmountable. All you were faced with was failure to reach this mythical standard. All you had was failure. You were forever like Sisyphus trying to roll the stone up the impossible hill.

What else could I do with constant failure? Failure that over shadowed any semblance of grace? Why...the answer is clear. Develop a clear cut case of self hatred. Despise yourself. Kill the flesh; no matter the cost to your mind.

When I rebelled I rebelled hard. The shackles were off and I was on a permanent Rumspringa. What is wrong with that picture? It's a picture that leads to a mental breakdown. That is a yoke , the yoke of legalism Christ never intended. What was missing was Grace.

Forgive your brother 70 * 7, keep forgiving the contrite person. When they offend you, forgive. Grace. Grace. Grace. And Mercy. That is what Christ offered. His harsh words were not for the sinners. No! He ate and drank with sinners, he ministered to the "scum" of the earth. His damnations were reserved for those religious figures with the faux-piety and pseudo-righteousness; those that would place the yoke on others, point out the speck in others' eyes while ignoring the beam in their own eye. Hypocrisy. No more.

No more will I allow myself to be brought under the bondage of another man's condemnation! No more will I judge myself by the standard that man places upon me (a standard they themselves can not keep). No more. Grace. Mercy. Christ! That is what I will strive to imitate. Will I fail. Yes. And so will you. But will I so despise and hate myself for everything little failure until such hatred because an all consuming entity that burns my mind mind and rips my flesh? Never more! I will reach up to Christ when I fall and call upon Grace! Mercy! Call upon the forgiveness that Christ offers...even when men disagree with that forgiveness, and learn from it and grow in Christ. Never more will I judge others just to silence the little voice that screams at me my own judgment...a judgment that is of man and not Christ. Grace! Mercy! Christ!
posted by Joe at 10:06 PM 29 comments

Friday, December 18, 2009

My story

Recently, I made a decision to rededicate my life to Christ. This has not been at all an easy decision to make. Nor is it a decision made in haste and without the proper introspection, reflection, and study of the issue.

In fact, this time two or three months ago I considered myself to be agnostic, if not outright atheist. When my son passed away earlier this year the very idea of God died for me too. There was no more need in my life for God nor did I ever want to consider Him again. What good would it do?

What good was the idea of God when my son was on his deathbed? What good was the idea of an all loving and merciful God to me when that very same God did nothing to heal my son? What good to me was the idea of an all powerful God when that same God seemed so powerless to stop the cancer than took my son's life? Or worse yet, what good was the idea of a good and benevolent God when that same God allowed such a cruel thing to happen to my 9 year old son?

For me the answer was "It is no good." God, as Nietzsche once said, was dead...and I killed Him. I killed the very idea of God. In my life, God would be dead. No longer would I look to the heavens in hope that some all powerful Being would notice me and take pity upon me...and help me. No longer would I concern myself with His will and how to walk in His path. No more. My life would be my own. I would be the ultimate authority in my life. In short, I would become my own god.

But, there was one small problem. I killed God...but God would not stay dead. In fact, God became more real to me than He has been in years. Through the tragedy my son and my family went through I have felt the Father pull me closer to Him. In spite of my hatred for Him, I have found the love of God to be ever more present.

I have been asked to share my story. That is something I am more than willing to do. More than anything I want to help point people to God and to the great salvation offered to us by Jesus Christ. That is what I will do here. I will share my story with you (and pray that somehow the story of my life, of my son, of my family) will point you to Christ and inspire you to walk in His steps.

In order to properly share my story I feel it incumbent upon me to start at the beginning. To skip the first 32 years of my life and jump to the most recent parts would be to do a great disservice to you and to God. This blog will tell the story of my life. I will start at the beginning and go from there.

It will not be a short story. It will take more than one or two posts. My posts will probably be long. But, I hope you are patient with me and I hope you will stick around to read these posts and to share your comments.

A note about this blog;s I have had it for around 3 years I guess. Some of the previous posts were written when I was away from God. Thus, the content you will find therein may be rough and the language salty. I will leave these posts up. I feel these posts are a part of my story. Reading back through them and reading the new post may show you the transformation that has indeed taken place in my life (through the grace of God the Father).

This is going to be a difficult story for me to share. There will be highs and lows. And I am sure many of the posts will be written by me as I wipe away tears from my eyes. But, for better or for worse I hope you come along on this ride with me.

Thank you and God bless you.

Joe
posted by Joe at 6:51 PM 2 comments

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Best song and video ever.

posted by Joe at 4:38 AM 0 comments

Sunday, November 25, 2007

6


Well, the sixth verse is the same as the first. Last night the Iron Bowl was played. And Auburn won 17-10. It was a decent game. A real defensive struggle. Alabama had a chance to take the lead before half-time, but threw an interception in the endzone (pretty much like has happened all season.)

So now Auburn has won 6 in a row and are getting closer to Alabama's record of 9 in row. Next season's game should be a lot better. Both teams should be much improved over this year's squad. Alabama looks to have a great recruiting class for 2008 (Bama is currently ranked number 3 in that department) and Saban will have had a full year to get his system in place. Better days are ahead for the good guys!

So, congrats to Auburn for a hard fought win. We'll see ya'll next year in Tuscaloosa.
posted by Joe at 4:10 PM 0 comments

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Iron Bowl 2007


Today is the day. The day when all of the state of Alabama comes to a grinding halt. It is the day of the 2007 Iron Bowl.

This is more than just a football game. More than just a game for bragging rights. People in this state live this game 365 days a year. It is a game that is talked about, debated, rehashed, and relived all year long. If you are not an Alabama or Auburn fan I really do not know how to explain it to you. It is more than just a football game. It is the best rivalry game in college football.

Usually, this game carries SEC and national implications. Not this year however. Both teams have had down years (Bama is 6-5 and Auburn is 7-4). Nothing to play for but pride and bragging rights. But, that doesn't even start to tell the story.

For years Auburn lived as Bama's "Little Brother". While Auburn was mired in mediocracy, Bama was winning national titles and SEC titles left and right (Bama has 12 national titles to Auburn's 1. Bama has 21 SEC titles to just 6 SEC titles for Auburn). Auburn suffered through a 9 game losing steak to Bama. But my how times have changed.

Bama is the team in the shadows now. While Auburn still has not won a national title since 1957, they have won 5 Iron Bowls in a row (tying their school's record). Let me put this in perspective. I have 3 kids. Two of them were not even born the last time Bama beat Auburn. Auburn would love to make it 6 in a row. Bama would love to end that streak and start one of their own.

Both teams are coming into this game after losing their last game. Auburn was blown out by Georgia while Bama suffered an embarrassing loss to Louisiana-Monroe. A victory in this game would erase all of that and give the winning team a great end to their season.

I don't know who to pick. Both teams have a lot of minuses and few pluses. This should be a very good game. Will Auburn make it 6 in a row? Or will Bama end Auburn's streak and leave Jordan-Hare singing "Rammer Jammer?" We will find out tonight!

Roll Tide!
posted by Joe at 3:52 AM 0 comments

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving



I hope you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Joe
posted by Joe at 1:45 AM 0 comments

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Top Ten Indulgences.

Got this meme from Sage Thought I'd give it a go.

1. Going on a date with my wife. Now, this may seem strange to be on this list. But alone time with my wife is indeed an indulgence. We have three small kids at home (ages 9,5, & 2). So it is a real treat when we can call up the babysitter and head out for a night on the town. Plus, Tanda is a really cool chica and so much fun to hang out with! Love ya gal!

2. Making You Tube videos with Tanda. Now, we started doing this just for kicks and giggles. It was a great way to unwind after a long day. Just put the kids into bed, grab some coffee and have fun making silly videos. We actually have a good amount of subscribers. So I guess people like our silliness. Plus, we have got to meet some really nice people and watch some really funny videos.

3.Grabbing a beer and listening to a live band at the nightclub. I love live bands. Really doesn't matter what they play. I love the whole ambiance of the scene. Tuscaloosa has some really nice bars and nightclubs (it's a college town...what else would you expect?!). Our favorite clubs are The Legacy and Cheap Shots. The Jupiter is nice. But, it tends to attract the fraternity types. At age 30, I'm much to old to hang out with them.

4. Reading. This dropped down on my list because lately I have had so much reading for my masters degree program than reading is becoming blah. But, when I can read for pleasure, I love it. Right now I am reading a biography on John Adams. Really good. I love reading history, political stuff, religion, & philosophy. I am actually beginning a bibliography for a book that I plan to write. The genre of my book will religion/philosophy. It will be essay form more than likely.

5. Watching a movie on DVD with my wife. I love doing this. It's nice when just the two of us can stay up late and watch some movies together. Winter times are great for this. Grab a warm blanket and a cup of hot chocolate and the night is set!

6. Playing on the 'Net. Yeah, it's a mindless time waster most of the time. But that is what makes it so fun!

7. Wrestling around with my kids. With three boys in the house...you just know a wrestling match can break out at anytime. Doesn't matter when, doesn't matter where...at ANYTIME you are liable to be pounced upon by the three lion cubs! It's fun. I have a great time playing with them. They are great kids.

8. Watching SpongeBob with my kids. Yeah, I admit it. I am a SpongeBob fan. My kids love the show and it kinda grew on me. It's a pretty funny show. Mindless hilarity ensues!

9. Hanging out at the local coffee house. It used to be called Bad Ass Coffee. But now it is called Wicked Bean Cafe. They have a great selection of coffees, lattes, and the rest. Great place to study and just chill out. Plus, how can you not love a coffee shop that sells women's thongs! Bow chicka wow!

10. Martial Arts. I've been involved in martial arts since my junior high years. I took Shotokan for a long time. Had a little lay off and got involved with Chinese Kenpo. I love Kenpo. It is a real self-defense style of martial art (as opposed to kata based or tournament style martial arts). It's a hard style and I like that. It's a great stress reliever and gives one confidence to be able to defend themselves in any situation.

Well, that's my little list. Hope you enjoyed.
posted by Joe at 5:04 PM 0 comments