Nanowrimo

Today is November.

Not only is it the month of Thanksgiving, which is (in my opinion) one of the most overlooked holidays of the year, but it is the month hundreds, maybe thousands, of people decide they just want to buckle down and write a book.

Known as Nanorimo, which is short for National Novel Writing Month, lots of people take this time to write regularly for one month so they can complete their dream of writing a book.

This is something that I have always wanted to do, in fact it is #61 on my bucket list. So I decided, what better time than now?! This November I’m going to write a book I’ve had rattling around in my head for a few years now.

Usually, Nanowrimo is for fiction novels, but this book I want to write is non-fiction. Even though I’m not sure if I get that special badge that many get for completing the number of words for their novel, but I’m more concerned about writing this book than getting that badge.

And who knows, if I finally write this, I might try to get it published… or at least self-published. Then I can knock out #61 AND #5 on my bucket list.

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A fly on the wall

Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall?

A strange fascination of mine is how things work. Not in the way like the How it’s Made TV show shows us how we make things.

What I am talking about when I say how things work, I specifically mean how do organizations work. How decisions are made. What considerations are made when coming to a decision. What I would give to just see how that works. I would just want to be a fly on the wall. I wouldn’t need to say anything or interact with anyone in any way. I just want to sit there and observe.

For example, I would love to know how does a board for a giant corporation work? What types of things do they discuss when making decisions to buy out other companies or launching a new product.

In the entertainment industry, how to they come to the decision to greenlight one movie instead of another. Or the fact that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of beautiful people with great singing voices and can write music and/or play an instrument. How do they decide no to them, but yes to Taylor Swift, Adele, or Ariana Grande.

In Politics, I would love to sit in on conversations a party Whip has with a congressman. Or in the Roosevelt Room when important meetings between West Wing staff and congressional caucus compromising on a bill.

I feel like I would learn more in one meeting about leadership and management and overall how the world work then I could ever learn on my own or in a class.

Where is someplace you would like to be a fly on the wall?

Half-formed ideas

Have you ever had a half-formed idea? You know what I’m talking about. An idea that isn’t fully developed and probably requires time for a good think to finish creating this concept in your head.

The problem with having an active mind AND wanting to write regular blog posts is having too many half-formed ideas.

I have plenty of thoughts, but they aren’t collected or organized. But the hard part is taking these half-formed ideas and making them in to fully realized ideas that I can coherently talk or write about.

But that would require that I stop having the TV on all time, or stop paying attention to my phone. It would require that I be alone… in my thoughts… and think deeply.

*shutters*

While I am only half joking, this is a real problem for many (and sometimes myself). We as a culture have sometimes become so non-confrontational that we don’t even want to sit alone in quiet because of what we might have to confront ourselves.

How else are we supposed to grow though? How else are supposed to be creative? Do we really want to go through life, just ignoring ourselves, or think a year later, I had a great idea once I never followed through with.

No.

The quiet is not our enemy. Take some time and fully form ideas and thoughts. Take some to turn everything off around you so you can confront yourself and grow.

You’ll thank yourself for it later.

Trying to get back on the Saddle

Okay, who in here doesn’t ride horses?

For those of you who don’t, have you ever done it before? Like at a friend’s ranch, or at some retreat where they offer the opportunity to ride a horse?

One of the hardest things to do for a lot of new people is trying to get on the horse’s back. Like one foot in a stirrup, but unable to get on the saddle. You keep trying to pull yourself up but always start to fall down before you’re are able to get settled.

When it comes to writing this blog, that analogy is what I’ve been experiencing for a while now. When I have a good prompt, like when I wrote about the Nashville Statement or about seeing the Total Solar Eclipse, I can write up something pretty quick. But when I don’t finding inspiration on what to write about or motivation to even write fails me.

I used to post something everyday, and the weird thing is I was way more busy when I did post something everyday than I am now. But, here I am again trying to get back in the saddle and hopefully posting more.

Why? First, because I love writing. I love telling stories, I love sharing experiences or tidbits of knowledge. Second, because it clears my head. It helps my crazy ADD mind sort things out.

So wish me luck. I hope I won’t look like that one guy who just can’t get on the horse!

Patriotic Dissent

Just for a moment I want to speak as an American and not necessarily as a Christian, although I believe the values I’ve learned from Christ helps guide my views as a citizen of a country.

But as an American, I hate seeing so many attacking others just for just having a different opinion.

We as a country have seemed to have forgotten that patriotic dissent is the foundation of democracy. We can make a protest about certain issues and still remain proud to be American. We can respect the office of the President and still think the man is horrible.

So let me say that again… We can respect the office of the President and still completely disagree with Obama. We can respect the office of the President and still completely disagree with trump.

We can love our country and hate awful things some have said and done in it.

We can kneel during the anthem and still honor the flag. We can protest during the anthem and still hold on hope that as “the bombs bursting in air, that our flag is still there!”

Men and women died for us to have the right to stand up and voice what they believe in. Men and women died for the right for Neo-Nazis and KKK to gather. Men and women died for the right for Black Lives Matter to meet and vent their anger.

Yes, what many say are despicable and should not be endorsed. But, if you don’t believe in the right to free speech for your worst enemies, you don’t believe in it at all.

The country I grew up in and love is built on our right to speak our mind and it doesn’t make anyone a bad American to show discontent. That is what in fact makes us great.

Do you really want to make America great again? Don’t demonize those who hold different political views from you. Don’t demonize those who protest differently than you do.

People in other countries die for voicing a different opinion or criticizing those in power, but in America we can do those things.

Colin Kaepernick is a patriot.
Bruce Maxwell is a patriot.
Alejandro Villanueva is a patriot.
Every player in the NFL who protested or stood in solidarity yesterday are patriots.

Respect them, respect their views. You don’t have to agree with them but don’t for one second say they are un-American for voicing their opinion and disagreeing with the President.

Patriotic dissent is the key to creating a great country.

If we don’t allow and respect patriotic dissent, we are no different than the dictators we fight against and help overthrow.

So maybe instead of attacking people for having differing opinions or criticisms, let’s work together to create solutions to a make a more perfect union.

/end rant

Bait and Switch

Bait and Switch is when you advertise one product and sell another.

It’s generally frowned upon…. Okay, so that’s putting it mildly, but you get the idea. People don’t like being tricked into buying something they didn’t want.

Unfortunately, the church is sometimes guilty of this. Advertising Jesus, heart transformation, life change, and inner peace, but what people get once they buy isn’t always those things.

We advertise Jesus but sell religion. We advertise relationship but sell rules.

We’ve inadvertently pulled a bait and switch.

The Nashville Statement

A couple days ago, a controversial document was released called the Nashville Statement.

I found out about it after it started trending on Twitter and a few people I follow were tweeting about it. There was a lot of hate being thrown around, so I felt like I need to search for it and read it myself.

For those of you who don’t know, the Nashville Statement is supposed to be a “unifying” document created by and signed by Protestant church leaders on sexuality and marriage. In it they write 14 articles, each article states something they affirm and something they deny (both related to each other.

After reading this document I have a few thought I’d like to share:

1) I think the basics of what they said in the Nashville Statement isn’t any different than what has been affirmed or preached by most Protestant pastors (especially Baptists). I’m pretty sure, no new doctrine has really revealed in the release of this.

2) However, I feel the language they used in the statement was not only strong but I can understand, how from a certain perspective, it can seem very ignorant or even bigoted. Reading it is like reading legalese, which is how most denominational doctrines or individual church bylaws are written. But I totally understand how a non-church-goer and even the average church-goer see this and only see condemning language in this.

and 3) Let’s be honest, the timing of this is awful. On top of there being a major natural disaster the home state of many of those who signed, but it also being right on the heels of Osteen getting shamed into opening his church for refugees in Houston
I am fully aware that many in here AND many that signed that document are not fans of Osteen, but from so many people all they see is a Christian pastor unwilling to open his mega church for those in need, then many other Christian pastors condemning gays and transgendered.

I don’t care if this day was planned ahead of time, you can delay the release of this until after Houston is no longer waist deep in water, if only to not give people the reason to call them heartless, hypocrites, or say they only care about telling people what they can’t do.

In the end, what is written in this document is extremely controversial and while the core I believe most of what they affirm and deny, I feel like by putting it on paper like this make it seem like grace has any place when it comes to sexual sins.

If you feel like this document is condemning towards you, as a Christian- I’m sorry we have made you feel this way. You are still loved, and while you still a sinner, guess what, so am I! And your sin is no worse than mine. God still loves you and his grace is bigger than any sin we can commit.