Tag Archives: friends

Be a man and not a one-way creep

I will admit, I’m not a really empathetic person, you may think that’s not where a pastor wants to be, but more and more I’m learning that too many people would rather bring you down to where they are, then to try to start rising up from their pit. I’m simply not going to let people drag me down, God’s got a lot for me and I have to remain faithful to Him. God wants to raise me up, He wants to raise all who are Christians up. He wants them to all be faithful disciples. The original disciples were very ordinary men, God took them, gave them the Holy Spirit and these men went to various points of the world to bring Christ to the nations, The Great Commandment.

For those people who want to strive, who want to keep pushing, who want to move in faith to Christ, I am with them. For others, I try to set a strong example, I try to model strength, perseverance, creativity, desire to learn, curiosity. Too many people want you to be an enabler, simply support them in their habit, their sin, their little comfy place, well frankly I’m not the right guy.

Too much of secular counseling, psychology, as it were, is simply enabling, not pushing someone to where they need to be. The Holy Spirit is always pushing us, always encouraging us to grow and mature as disciples. This lead up is in regards to an article in “Black Belt Magazine” (Aug/Sep 2014 pp 32-33). Point taken to Keith Vargo, the author. In this particular issue he has made me much more empathetic. For the “there’s no difference between men and women” troglodytes, yea the narrow minded groovy/hippy types of the 1960s, the ones who never let the facts get in the way of their opinion, please, for once, try to keep an open mind.

Mr Vargo is talking about women involved in martial arts, but is certainly across the board. “Women are most often assaulted by men. Worse still, it’s usually by men they know… the fear of rape and abuse changes how women see us.”

Yea, ok, right. I have no doubt that women need to be more cautious. Mr Vargo points out that men generally think of people as well as themselves, as trustworthy, we would be more concerned with danger from strangers then someone we know. Ya, point taken. I was the oldest of five boys, we moved to Brockton, Ma. when I was ten years old. Brockton is an old mill city, very much on the decline when we moved there. Rocky Marciano grew up there. Rocky is the only undefeated heavy weight champion in the history of professional boxing. He was killed in a plane crash the summer we moved there. I, kinda, grew up with Marvin Hagler, knew him just a little. Marvin was the middle weight boxing champion of the world. There were others guys who were not quite so good, but believe me, I knew plenty of guys who could fight, often finding out the hard way. Brockton was not a gentle place for me growing up. For those little girls who look like males (and I really hate that neutral term, but I hesitate to call such whimps “men”), and who are only tough with a gun in their hand, who are scared to death of anything and everything and try to look tough, you need to straighten up and start acting like men. Quit the nonsense you’re involved with, grow up, get your life together, find a woman you can serve and protect and start acting like a man.

As a kid, it was pretty routine for me to fight my way to and from home. I was active in athletics, mostly swimming, football, basketball, other stuff here and there. Not good at that, or much else. In a way I think God used this to make me really reliant on Him. [Note- I was not a Christian at the time, or maybe just vaguely so] No talent, having to regularly confront physical abuse, no one to rely on to help, having to stand up on my own. God provided for me, taught me to be physical, gave me a good strong body, through football, basketball, the military, taught me to not only be strong, but stay strong. Learned self-defense as a civilian police officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, so yea OK, guess I’ve been pretty well indoctrinated and if there’s a lack of empathy, well maybe that’s not a bad thing.

But in terms of Mr Vargo’s comments on women, yea, I get it: “…It doesn’t matter that the majority of men will never beat their spouse or rape anyone Somewhere among all the decent men in a woman’s life, there’s a man with bad intentions. He could be a family member, a friend, a co-worker or even a guy at the dojo. Because women can’t know for sure who the bad guys are, it’s reasonable for them to be cautious anytime they get attention they didn’t invite.”

As men become more about themselves, no longer provider or protector, but just whining and demanding, obviously women become even more vulnerable. Heck, don’t want to judge there now do you? As men are just more wheedlers or demanders, as Vargos points out: “What happened to them [women] didn’t start with the overt aggression you learn to handle in self-defense class. It started out with persistent interest and slowly edged into coercion…”

So yea it is time for me to man up, that doesn’t mean try and saddle me with every fuss, but in terms of protecting from the fear of and actual physical violence? Yes! For being more empathetic and ready to listen yea. That means guys, knock it off! Quit being creeps, find that women, help her to feel safe, loved, provide for her, have children who will see what a really great man you are and maybe we might start to turn around this crummy one-way, secular, whimpy, society and oh yeah, get yourself and them to church, mine! Ladies, I am your big brother in Jesus and you should expect that from every man around you and not tolerate anything less. Any “man” who thinks he’s got it altogether and doesn’t need that Jesus stuff, lose him and find a man you can rely on as a husband and a brother in Jesus and then treat them as the men they deserve to be treated as too. This way you both grow in each other, keep bringing each other up and reaching for the Lord. Yea, now that’s the way to go.

Well being, church attendance enhances well being hmmmm

Gallup research conducts and maintains a “Well-Being Index” on various aspects of Americans well being. Well, well, what do you think they found? “In U.S. Churchgoers Boast Better Mood, especially on Sundays.” (Gallup – Healthways Well-Being Index in 2011) The study was done by Chaeyoon Lim who sub-titled the study “Those who don’t attend religious services often see their mood decline.”

I am not saying that church should always be a “feel-good” experience, frankly if folks left worship from First St Johns and they didn’t feel a little, oh I don’t know, disturbed? If they didn’t feel a little challenged, a little pushed, I’d probably be disappointed. Sure I want people to be pumped up, encouraged, thankful to God and renewed in their relationship with Jesus. Frankly I’m not surprised that they are in a better mood. Even if they’ve been challenged, pushed, they still know whose they are, our Father’s. They know that they are part of the Body of Christ, surrounded by brothers and sisters in Jesus and ready to start a new week in the Lord standing for the Lord in the world. So yes they should leave worship in a “Better Mood”.

“…regular churchgoers seem to do better than non-churchgoers… in terms of their daily positive wellbeing experiences. This underscores previous Gallup research that finds very religious Americans do better across numerous dimensions of well being than do those who are less religious or not at all religious.”

And look, don’t give me any of this “Moonie effect” or other non-sense, there is no doubt in my mind that the general “well-being” of Americans has been directly related to the decrease of community and especially being a part of a church community. This goofy idea that you will be happier sitting at home watching television by yourself, thinking that you are genuinely getting community on your computer, the stories go on and on and you know them as well as I do. The solution, get off your quista and get out among real human beings. As we as a culture continue to cut ourselves off from each other, the worse our life attitude will be. Sit home by ourselves, isolated and vulnerable, Satan picks us off one by one. The Bible tells us two are better than one, we all need others to “have our back”, where better than brothers and sisters in Jesus?

The study goes on to report: “Not only do Americans who attend a church, synagogue or mosque frequently report having higher wellbeing in general, but they also get an extra boost to their emotional state on Sundays – while the rest of Americans see a decline in their mood. The average number of positive emotions frequent churchgoers report experiencing rises up to a high of 3..49 for the week on Sundays, whereas for those who attend church monthly or less often, the average number peaks on Saturdays and declines to a range of 3.14 to 3.29 on Sundays.” Yea, you read that right, on the day before we have to go back to the old salt mine, people who attend worship actually get a bump in their wellbeing. There is a sense of being secure in something bigger, knowing you are with like-minded brothers and sisters in Jesus and the research confirms this: “…the research found that friendship in church is more strongly correlated with life satisfaction than friendships in other contexts such as the workplace or a book club. It is not only that churchgoing Americans may be more likely to socialize on Sundays, but also that they are spending time with co-religionists who can especially boost their mood.”

Let’s face it, church does put you into proximity of people who are like-minded, feel secure being in church and something to readily share with each other. (Hopefully it’s not, ‘wow, pastor’s sermon was brutal today.’) This research lines up with so many other studies that show numerous positive outcomes to church, worship, prayer etc. While the world stresses individuality, isolation, “feeling good” in things such as materialism, covetousness, sex, drugs, booze and rock and roll, the reality is that well being is found in church, in worship, in the presence of those who are brothers and sisters in Christ. It stands to reason, we come into the presence of the almighty Creator, Sustainer of all things. He knows us better than we know ourself, He forgives us, He has given us a way through the sacrifice of Jesus to come into relationship with the all knowing, all powerful Lord of all. We have the assurance that through the forgiveness we have in Christ’s sacrifice that we will have eternal life in a new perfect world, the world that the Father intended before we messed it up with our sin. If all this doesn’t enhance your “well-being” then you need to sit down with your pastor and have a long serious discussion.