Category Archives: Overthinking

Fasting from Self-Control

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I use to be good at fasting.  I would give up food, technology, sleep, or work to be more self-disciplined.  To rest, pray and grow my faith in what I could not see.  To be part of something outside myself.  For years, I gave up meals every Sunday and subjected my body to a 40 day juice fast a year. In doing so, I also tore up my stomach and most of my digestive system by not doing it smartly. Forcing my body to live off highly diluted orange juice with the occasional grape juice.  After realizing the weight loss and gain of this was highly unhealthy, I let myself turn off all technology and just read, write, walk and visit with friends for a day.

It was good to not be obsessed with technology for a day thinking back to the days not so many years ago, I didn’t have it or my home computer sat turned off most of the time because I didn’t have time or a need to use it.  What did I do before I realized the internet had more information than I could handle and Netflix more movies than I needed to watch?

Then I went back to school and life became busy.  Sundays became homework days and the technology was always on again.  Not intensely needed, just in the way that I felt like I needed to check my email 6 times a day including the Sabbath.  That there must be some article on Facebook or RSS feed to read and become more rounded…even though I paid more attention to the pictures than words for the 6 days before.

At some point in that I felt like the call to give up something and stick to a solid lined Sabbath was legalistic…so I fasted legalism.  I fasted from having to give up food or technology, or anything.  In time I also stopped finding time to really rest, to read, pray or grow in faith or be outside myself.

Which leads us to 2014 Jeremiah…

Now I can’t give up soda or cookies or donuts knowingly for a day…telling myself “You can’t have sweets today.  Just let them sit on the table without touching them.”  I always figure out an excuse for why I deserve them or create a stressful situation that would be solved by food.

I can’t think about turning off my computer for a week without having something to fill that space like being in nowhere Montana or driving 2400 miles.    Again, there is always a reason to check email again and again…especially now that it is on my phone.

For months I have been telling the beautiful Hannah my body needs a reset.  I should do a cleanse or a food fast.  But there is always some reason in my head not to so it hasn’t happened.  Then at the beginning of the year I got a flu bug and my body did cleanse itself.  Which has allowed me to justify the sweets, the lack of discipline and failure at knowingly fasting anything.

So I am still good at fasting… self-control.

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Filed under Freewrite, Obese Obsessions, Overthinking, Transparency

One Week

It is less than one week until my son is born. We have an exact date because he is already a trouble maker and is not only currently breach but literally put his foot down into Hannah’s pelvic bone when the doctor tried to flip him a couple weeks ago. We have worked through this as a couple and are at peace with having a surgery instead of natural birth so onto other planning.

So this has lead me to really start finalizing what I want my kid to learn and what I don’t.
The beautiful Hannah and I have been talking about what we want to teach Junior. Do our standards and practices need to be passed on? Or should he learn it himself? Basically will I disown him if he enjoys shopping at Walmart?
When it comes down to it we believe in our decisions enough to pass them on. We want to feed him local and organic food and have him eat less frozen chicken nuggets than sautéed kale and brussel sprouts. We want him to wear second hand clothing that doesn’t market anything…no Disney, no Nickelodeon, no corporate buy ins. We want him to love travel more than possessions and books more than reality television. We want to teach about people having needs greater than yours. We want to teach him about Advent Conspiracy instead of Christmas meaning getting things.  And about a Jesus that loves and forgives not judges and hates. Before you ask… Yes, we are hoping to make him a little weird so he doesn’t date until he’s 26 but in Portland it’ll probably have the opposite effect as we are the norm not the freak here.

I hope he will be gentle and peaceful like we are. Thinking about his impact on the world and the people around him from an early age.  Realizing how he treats people relates to how he will be treated.  And that his decisions can help or hinder other people in nearby or far away regions.  That a pair of socks is a better gift to the stranger with a cardboard sign than the coworker that has 60 pairs already.  That giving is better than receiving 9 times out of 10 but that one time you receive, do it humbly.

And that not everything has to be 10,000 feet view.  I’ve also realized we need to teach him what good music, books and comedy are and hope he doesn’t rebel so much as to watch vintage Duck Dynasty when he is a teenager.

I have ready created clean and dirty playlists for my podcasts. He can hear the sounds of Hamish and Andy at any age, but I don’t think he needs to listen to half of the comedy podcasts available out there!

Since I got a smart phone a month or so ago I have listened to two artists and I am more than fine with my kid being raised in the tunes of Trombone Shorty and Chuck Brown. Combined with Hannah’s slight obsession with the Civil Wars and ABBA we should have a good kid. Oh and of course some Willie, Dolly, Kenny and Johnny will be combined with the Sunday Southern Gospel to fill the house on weekends.

My kid will know how to laugh. No Dane Cook, but lots of “Fluffy” Gabriel Iglesias, Jim Gaffigan, some Mitch Hedburg and early Bill Cosby.
He will watch documentaries and learn about the world.
He will stare at maps and globes and realize the world has a lot to teach him…almost as much as he has to teach others…
He will learn the old bum on the street is as smart as or smarter than the dude in the suit or khakis scoffing as they walk into the overpriced steak house.
He will know this world is mean sometimes, life sucks occasionally, he can’t always win and his mom won’t throw a board game no matter how cute he is. But he will see the rainbows and unicorns of life.

Of course, he will probably remind me of these things more than I him but here is to hoping me and the beautiful Hannah survive parenthood.

Here’s a picture since you read all the words!

taken by this person

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Filed under Adulthood, Junior, Overthinking

Heathen or Overthinker?

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Sometimes I go to church and feel like a heathen. Not because I don’t believe in Jesus…but I think because I believe in Him too much and want Him to be someone I can believe in.  I believe He is good and choses love over all other emotions…hate, fear, anger.

It is probably because I spent most of a decade skeptically digging into the Scriptures, discussing faith, debating faith and seeking answers in the earthly and spiritual realms. At the end of that I found a lot of middle ground that most Christians with pulpits don’t seem to like to be near.  I believe He created an evolving creation on His timeline. I believe He mourns and cries out about divorce and the purity of marriage as much as He does about the sanctity of traditional versus same sex marriage. I wonder if He is offended when churches use a one off or annual event as “mission”?  If maybe he wants his name to be praised and lifted up in word as much as deed and vice versa?  If things like a van ministry should be more than just driving people to church and if anti-abortion pro-life movements should operate outside of the church walls as well as in? If those who are pro-life for the unborn, but support and defend governmental procedures like the death penalty, war(s), personal firearm ownership, and profiteering healthcare makes Him shake His head.  If He looks at humanity and wonders how we have taken our free will for granted so much…or if it is just me that thinks that way?

Now before you think I am ragging on some small-town church or specific Christians, I am not. I am talking about all those who identify as Christ follower, Christian, believer in Jesus or followers of the Jesus Way, or however they decide to self-identify.  And all churches are flawed including the one I call home, which spends as much on the decorations for a 200 person dinner as the entire monthly food and supplies budget of a small ministry that feeds the forgotten and under resourced weekly.  We are all at fault in this it seems whether socially, politically, or Biblically liberal or conservative.

I wonder if those red letters (as applied by humans and machines) are enough or if we should follow his follower’s words as gospel too. If the red letters are the ones we should focus on. If the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount are as important as the Book of Romans. If the Lord’s Prayer is as important as the partially manuscripted verses of the Gospel of Mark 16. If the Golden Rule is as important as the Ten Commandments.

If He lives and speaks to us as much today as in -5 BCE, 28AD and 100AD. Because when I was doubting Him at church twice in the last month He showed up…and those moments were more powerful than any sermon I have heard in the last decade plus.

Which leads me to wonder…

Is it wrong to be a skeptical Christian?

Is it right to claim God’s authority as final on social and governmental issues?

Aren’t we all heathens for worshiping false gods and sinning 90% of the time no matter how hard we try to be exclusive and sinless?

Comments allowed below!

 

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Filed under Heathen Healers, Obese Obsessions, Overthinking, The Jesus Way

I’ve changed

 

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

I have spent some time in the last couple weeks going over what I wrote on old blogs, facebooks and even…really old things on MySpace.  It is vaguely based on a dream of being a published author before I am 40 but it has let me reminisce.  It has also shown me how good life currently is.

I used to have to beg people for money, and recently received a largish raise.  I used to have to ask people to pray for unknowns in a frelationship and now I have a beautiful, amazing, committed wife.  My faith drew lines in the sand on many issues, and now because of location or age maybe, my faith has kind of twisted and molded itself into a simpler more loving expression.  Previously I wrote a lot about what the future holds in vaguer unknown hypothetical ways and how I was going to make it happen.

And ….still that is the bulk of my writing and thinking, but with less hypotheticals and more cynicism honestly.  But I feel like I have changed a lot in the last 5 years since arriving in Portland.

My goals in life have successfully changed from having 6 month plans to having long term plans.  No longer do all commitments include the word “until” like before. i.e. Until I find something better.  Until I pay off that loan.  Until I meet someone.  Until I figure out what I want to do with my life.

Don’t get me wrong.  I still wonder what I will be doing when I am 36 or 40 or 67.  I still wonder where I will live and when all debts will be paid off but I am no longer letting those things drive me.  Now I am driven by dreams.  I am driven by the “I wonders” instead of the “what if’s”.  I am riskier in life events and not as risky in traditions.

I find that I like routines lately.  I like knowing what is waiting for me this week and tonight.  What messes will be in my email at work or in the closet on Saturday.  I want to know when people expect to see me so I can plan some alone recharging times. It is most likely true that this has been in me for awhile but planning takes time and effort and I was too lazy to do it.

I have also changed in the fact that I have been in a city for five years, worked at the same place for 4+ and am making solid plans for the future that I can’t fall back on.

Yep, I am a changed man.

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Filed under Overthinking, Transparency

We need Respect

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I haven’t written in a while.  Or more correctly, I have published in a while.  I have free written a couple times a week, but only had 50 words that make sense or need to be shared.  I have been reading a lot online and realized that there are a lot of words out in the interwebs, most of which don’t need to be.  So I was critical of my words and realized that I was contributing to the overflowing mess of the same thing instead of presenting new ideas.  I wanted to talk about Sandy Hook and children dying and tried but nothing good came out.

All my writings were rants. Obnoxious, unfounded vitriolic rants about more guns being the solution being the dumbest idea ever. Then I heard that Honey Boo Boo had a second season and made more money per episode than my yearly salary.  I wondered how that could be and if that is why there are 7+ 24 hour news channels.

I wrote a lot of snippets about money and others misuse of it, while I was wiping the crumbs of another unnecessary treat out of my beard.  How we buy excess food, clothes, and houses, while people starve, freeze and sleep outside.  I judged others and talked about the growing financial gap between the poor I pass on the street and the rich suburban dwellers that drive past me.

Last week I was sitting on the bus headed home, thinking about my day and the night which had a little time for me to sit at the computer to write.  I was thinking about how I hadn’t written much and what I had wasn’t good.  I wondered if I wasn’t thinking enough.  If I wasn’t processing life as it happened or if I was just being lazy.  I wondered if there was something in front of me I wasn’t learning from.  I stared off into space while contemplating that and was distracted by a few high schoolers who came on the bus.

The bus is generally quiet in this plugged in, earbud culture so any noise is very noticeable and these kids were not plugged into anything but themselves.  They talked loudly (over my mp3 player volume) about other girls, parties, and parents.  They also didn’t really censor themselves and so I looked around to see the response.  Sometimes there is a lady or grandpa on my gentrified bus who likes to quiet them to various results and to my own personal cringe worthy desire to be a peacemaker.  I noticed the man across from me cringing and frowning.  He was middle aged, and tired from a rough day of work it looked.

Moments later, as he walked off the bus he finally spoke, “Hey there, say hi to your moms for me. Tell her I’ll see her at church tomorrow.”

And with that the sweet, silent man at the back of the bus shut up the four rambunctious teenagers.  They were busted.  And besides a slight giggle after the doors shut from one of them, there was no loud talk after that.  They all got off a couple stops later and looked around the bus to make sure no one else was watching them.

It made me smirk, because we in the plugged in world forget that people are watching us.  That we are not alone and our actions impact others.  We are all part of a community and there is causes and effects.  We also forget that respect and accountability are major forces, which can be used for good.

It made me wonder if this or this or this would have happened if someone was honest with those around them.  If respect and accountability were tenets of life for all involved. If someone else was willing to walk with and teach all those involved some respect for human life.

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Filed under Adulthood, Global Community, Overthinking