And no, I don’t mean stuck between a rock and a hard place… I mean torn. I am literally torn between two great loves. But, I am not really sure how to express myself. So, I guess I will do it here in blog form since, according to others, I am apparently somewhat decent at writing.

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As adults we have all come to the conclusion at some point or another most holidays are actually pagan in origin. Things like Christmas, Easter, and yes… Valentine’s Day are all in some way or another based on something other than what we as Americans celebrate it for. And, we tend to not really care. Let alone think twice of it. We just enjoy the day and move on with our lives.

Thing is, when we do a search on any given holiday we will find that it has countless things that are associated with it. Christmas is the winter solstice. And Easter, the spring equinox or the celebration of the goddess Ishtar. So on and so on it goes for every single holiday.

Valentine’s Day is no different obviously. There are all kinds of things tied to it.

Many consider Valentine’s Day to be Christian holiday. After all, it is named after a Christian “Catholic” saint. But when we consider the matter more closely, the pagan connections to the date appear much stronger than the Christian ones.

For example, Juno Fructifier… or Juno Februata, and the Feast of Lupercalia which came way before Catholics decided to commandeer the holiday. Every bit of it has to do with fertility. But, this blog post isn’t about all of the back story of the holiday with the intent of having an “I told you so” moment.

We are all already aware that these various holidays are steeped in something pagan somewhere down the line. The question that I am wrestling with is this; why can’t I just be like the countless other Christians that overlook this fact and just enjoy the holiday for what it is… just good old wholesome family time? I love my wife. I should just zip it and do like everyone else today.

Clearly, I’m just an over thinker.

Making decisions can be difficult

Go read 2 Kings 21 in total.

Basically, we have a new king getting set up named Manasseh. His father before him drove out all of the idols in the land. And here we see this new, young, king bringing them back. The people worshiped the host of heaven and served them. He even built altars in the house of the Lord.

There are countless stories besides this one in the Old Testament where idols are either erected or taken down. But, in this story the idols are in the house of the Lord specifically. Today, I have to ask… where is the house of the Lord? In the Old Testament the house of the Lord is where the law was kept. And we know that God will write His law on the hearts of His people. And in the New Testament we find that we, as people, are the temple. With that, we are the house of the Lord. Are there any idols in His house today?

The issue is that we allow ourselves to practice the little things and don’t consider them to be worship. For example, I can celebrate Valentine’s Day by expressing love, wearing an excessive amount of red, while following the traditions of the world by purchasing candy and flowers for a loved one. I can get offended when that special someone doesn’t reciprocate the same tradition based expression.

It may just be cards and sweet words expressed through following the traditions of the world. But, at what point are we in denial by refusing to admit that it can still be considered a form of worship while refusing to admit the roots of some of these traditions. The traditions themselves may have changed over time (cracking a whip while wearing a dead goat skin or blushing while we give each other followers). The latter of the two seems so harmless.

And yet, it is an act of the heart that is forcing itself to be affiliated with a particular festivity. I have a problem with that.

If I am the house of the Lord, what am I willing to allow into His house. The story for Manasseh in 2 Kings 21 didn’t end that well.

And when I see the bulk of North America rushing to the grocery store for flowers and a card to show their love on this special Holiday, I don’t see true love. I see the pagan past being tolerated by the masses because we’ve disguised it in innocence and an obligation to fit in with the traditions of our peers.

The pagan past is alive. And the idols have made their way into the groves of our daily lives. They are the same old pagans from Manasseh’s day. We’ve just dressed them up a little differently. And rather than putting them in a literal grove or a literal house, we are acting them out in the spirit and letting them take root in our being.

The word Holiday is a Catholic word meaning Holy Day. And the last time I checked there is only one day that God commands us to make sanctified and holy. And that day is the Sabbath… a day of remembrance.

I am torn between a rock and a hard place because I love both my God and my wife. In either case I’m going to be letting one of them down. So, regardless of what happens with regard to any “holiday“, I am destined to fail and fall short either way despite my love for them both.

And today, every year… the one I fail always ends up feeling like I don’t love her. It breaks my heart.

Well, just a little over a month and we have already returned… But why?

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Have you ever come to realize that something is true and then later try to ignore it, but you can’t because in the back of your mind the truth is still there smiling at you? For example, if your entire life you were being paid $10 an hour to do a $30 an hour job to one day realize that you were supposed to be getting paid that amount the entire time. You can move along, trying to ignore it, but you can’t. You’ll eventually find yourself in the office asking for a correction.

Our decision to return to the SDA church went something like that.

If you want to read the blog post that explains why we left at the end of December, you can click here to read it before moving on.

The short hand answer to our reason for leaving is the church’s inability to intellectually give a reason for their faith in the writings on Ellen G. White. After having read much of her work, one will be hard pressed to find a person within the church that can discuss her writings with you. Although I disagree with some of her commentary and find no reason “as of yet” to believe in her visions or prophecies, the Historicist view on eschatology is closest to the truth.

And when one actually does spend time reading through her writings it does bring some serious light into what the early reformers believed and taught regarding biblical prophecies, like Daniel and Revelation. With that, I think that her writings are in fact worth reading. And, I would recommend them to others while still disagreeing with some of her commentary.

One example of her commentary that changed my life would be her commentary on diet in the bible. Because of it, I am a vegan.

Although this church can’t reasonably give an answer for their faith in Ellen G. White when questions or criticism arise, that doesn’t make the truth of their eschatology any less true.

For example, the main reason why we weren’t able to stay away long, would be the church’s stance on the beast that comes up out of the earth found in the prophetic book of Revelation.

And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. – Revelation 13:11-14

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To the SDA church this beast is North America. This beast looks like a lamb, but speaks like a dragon. We look like a Christian nation, but we speak like the world. A large percentage of this nation, particularly the southern half, attend church. And yet, there is no change. No true repentance. This beast causes fire to come down out of heaven in the site of men.

Ellen G. White describes this fire as the charismatic movement in great detail.

Don’t get me wrong. I have friends that are part of this movement, and I find them to be very sincere in their faith (including the pastor of the church we just left when returning to the SDA church). But, when we examine this movement as a hole we will find that there is something amiss. When we stepped away from the SDA church in December we began to attend one of these churches. Of course they disagreed with our eschatological views on things like the state of the dead, eternal hell, and the rapture. But, that was to be expected.

However, every week was the same. I found myself watching people get “filled” one day out of the week with no real internal change taking place. Have you ever heard the phrase “on fire for Christ”?

The charismatic movement is raining down this false fire. People are getting filled, being passionate for Christ one day out of the week with no real fruit to show for it.

Christ said that we will know them by their fruit. When I go to these churches I don’t see repentance. I see people chasing emotion while maintaining their interest in the worldly things around them. At what point did the church decide that fruit meant church growth, church attendance, the number of people baptized every quarter, and the number of ministries being run under one roof, etc.?

The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The fruits that we are led to look for in a church are works based (church growth) when in reality, they are character based. And that isn’t something I see in America anymore.

The modern protestant movement has replaced the fruits while becoming complacent in its sin. And the main fruit that the charismatic movement lacks from my perspective is self-control. Some of them become so passionate during worship in church that they literally lose control and when it’s done, they go right back into the world unchanged.

I realize that I should pluck the plank from my own eye before pointing at the sins of others. And with that, I am a nobody. And I have no true answers. This post is just me hashing out my thoughts while sharing them with others. Who am I to have any answers or an opinion for that matter? I would refer you to 2 Corinthians 12:11 for that one.

While attending this charismatic church, the lobby was a time where I was eager to hear peoples stories of conversion and faith. But all I heard were stories about recent movies, current video games, and the latest tech gadgets while offering to go get drinks later. Church has become a social club. Not a place of spiritual growth.

The thing that made me have to get up and leave was when the pastor stated, and I quote: “two of the things that Jesus said to the rich young ruler were not true”. The pastor may have meant something else, but that isn’t what was said.

So, what is the strange fire?

It’s an appearance of godliness but the lack thereof.

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.2 Timothy 3:5 

The truth is, we are all asleep. When the ten virgins of Mathew 25 heard the loud cry “All” of them woke up. This means that at that last call, all of the churches were asleep. I think that we are in that time. We are all asleep. And the SDA church is no different. They are asleep too, not practicing much of what they preach… just like the rest of the christian world.

Although this may be so, it doesn’t change the fact that their view on eschatology, theology, and doctrine are closest to the truth with or without Ellen G. White.

You can’t compromise the truth just because the church is asleep.

We had to return. The only other option is strange fire. The path that leads to destruction is broad. And sadly, most of the modern protestant world is on that path. We have lost what it means to have true repentance. And besides, who needs repentance  these days anyway when the beast that looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon can offer you the easy way out; grace without works.

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Yesterday I spent a few hours plastering the above flyer all over town. I hit a few of the Starbucks coffee shops, a few records stores, book stores, and of course… the local Guitar Center. Within the first five hours, even while I was still out posting them, I got a few hits. I’m hoping that this turns into something worthwhile.

If not, I have two options.

One, keep practicing vocals myself and come to the sad truth that my vocal tracks will just end up being very much below the bar of my hopes and expectations for the genre and the release of this new album I’ve been working on.

Or two, I can always just do another Kent Hovind style sermoncore release. To be honest, I am fine with this option, because at the end of the day, this option makes the project less about me and more about presenting the truth.

Regardless of which route transpires, I hope to find some likeminded people of faith to create music with out of this old school promotion attempt. I’ll be sure to post updates on what comes of it as things develop in the coming weeks.

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I am an all or nothing kind of guy when it comes to enjoying the things that inspire me to action. In many ways this is awesome, because, once I get going on an idea there are very few times when I find it hard to not attain at least a little bit of success in my pursuits. Just to give a few minor examples would be to point out some of the things that I have goofed off with in the last few, more recent years.

I operated an Etsy store designing and selling embroidery and screen print patches. I chased this venture for nearly two years, I think. Within that short time the store exploded with sales exceeding an average of 10 to 12 sales per day. I don’t remember exactly, but when I decided to step away from it, deleting the store, I think it had something like 10,000+ five star reviews. That’s pretty good for just being a hobby.

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Before that, obviously… if you have read my bio, there was my music career in the mid-2000’s which went full time for 6 years nationally. It got to that level not because of skill or talent, but because of the “all or nothing” mentality that seems to burn within me.

Then there was the very short stent were I decided to start a podcast about the growing Cosmology Debates on social media and, especially Youtube. I didn’t expect it to grow very quickly, but… by marketing it to the right crowd it somehow managed to gain 100+ subscribers and over 150 listeners per episode before I deleted the podcast. This number may not seem like a lot, but the podcast was only live for a few months and I think I only did something like 5 or 6 episodes.

There was also the time I became an author, publishing a dozen or so books, some full length novels and other short novellas with various publishing companies. That pursuit grew very fast and was likely one of the ventures I spent the most time and effort on outside of touring. I managed to lock a contract with my favorite publisher at the time and even had my all-time favorite author of the time review one of my books. But, alas, I trashed that venture also, giving all of my published titles to a close friend who did most of the post editing for my work prior to publication.

And now, I have started up a home studio to record and publish music as a studio artist. And within the first 6 months of owning the studio gear I managed to release a three song EP with a record label out of Iowa.

So, here’s the thing… if I don’t have to try so hard to move forward successfully on something, why have I quit time and time again to do all of these things if they were being successful? And, if I am likely to quit something after it becomes bigger than my goals intended for them to be, why start something new to begin with?

Honestly, I feel like stepping away from each past pursuit is justified in its own right due to personal reasons (tour, being an author, the patches, the podcast, etc…).

But, this blog post isn’t about me justifying via excuse my reasons for quitting while being so called “ahead” of my goal expectations for each project.

This rant is more about being the type of person with the “all or nothing” mindset trying to cope with downtime in life. We all have seasons where things are busy and we are moving forward with goals. For some it might be building a career or creating a family. For others it might be launching and maintaining a podcast, youtube channel, or writing a book.

Right now, I find myself in this so called downtime phase in life where things are moving at a specific pace outside of my control. I am in my mid-30’s, leaning toward 40 and somehow, in some way, life has managed to make an adult out of me without my being aware. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just looking back, somehow it feels like it happened out of nowhere. I’m at a transition stage in life where I am not committed to any one creativity based project which frees me up to do anything. The possibilities are endless. While at the same time, the life transition of moving and starting a new job is keeping me from committing to anything as well.

So, if it’s all or nothing… right now, my mindset is leaving me in the nothing phase. I have literally had the last week and a half off from work, and yet I haven’t seized the opportunity by utilizing that time for creativity. I’ve just been stooping.

That is the conundrum of an all or nothing mindset. When you have set yourself to doing something, you get it done. But, when life forces you to slow down, a person with the “all or nothing” view, tends to just sit stagnant under those circumstances (now, I could be wrong. Which is why I am just speaking for myself here).

And thus, here I am feeling stagnant.

This isn’t to suggest that I am unhappy. That is far from true. I have just been doing a lot of internalizing lately and I have concluded two facts. One, I love the pursuit of pursuit itself. And two, I am entirely burnt out on the internet and the mass consumption of entertainment provided by mainstream society. It is corrupting our humanity to the core and creating distance, not only between varying cultures in local communities, but also within individual households as well.

This creates a problem… because, every venture that I have been successful with has been due to the fact that I am good at “online social networking”. I wouldn’t have become a full time touring singer-song writer without Myspace. I wouldn’t have become a successful author without Facebook. I wouldn’t have had a successful Etsy store without Instagram. The podcast wouldn’t have been successful had it not piggybacked off of my previous successes along with Youtube. And even now, my latest EP Ignorance is Woe got picked up by a record label because I operate a website, which in its own right is an online social media platform.

I am absolutely tired of the internet, but it is the internet that has allowed me the luxury of being semi-successful at my creative pursuits.

Couple this together with the stagnant position I am currently in due to a life transition taking place… and with being someone that is the “all or nothing” type in regard to pursuit, a slow season can tend to make you a little twitchy (for lack of a better term).

Obviously, once my family is moved and done with the relocation process, I will still continue to write and produce music in my home studio. But, I don’t know that the music venture will be my primary platform of creativity driven focus. Since I am in this stagnation stage, my prayer is that God will speak to me and show me what I should be doing rather than the usual… me just listening to my gut and doing what I want to be doing.

God has a purpose for my life. And right now, outside of providing for my family, I don’t know what that purpose is.

This is the issue of an “all or nothing” mindset.

We tend to not like the question; what next? And besides, as a Christian I know the primary focus with creativity should be to spread the gospel. But, as I look at the world, too many Christians have switched to strictly “online evangelism” (I can witness to you so long as I don’t have to interact with you). Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great tool and a great platform that I myself have benefited from as the listener.

However, this isn’t good. And I want to do something for Christ. But, how can I do that without settling into the internet as my outlet like so many other Christians have begun to do? There has got to be more to life than this.

And yet, that still leaves me with this… what next?

If you haven’t read Answers to difficult bible texts, by author Joe Crews… you should. This is a really great book.

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With this recommendation throw on the table, I just wanted to mention that I have added a new book suggestions page to the site with the layout revamp. Be sure to check that page out. I’ve already got a few books posted on that page. If you have any books you would like to recommend for me to check out, you should send me a message.