…that God is both real and good. Behold:
That’s fresh bread, peanut butter, Brie, candied bacon, bananas – all drizzled with chocolate.
Thanks to Justin.
If there’s one thing thing that the internet needs, it’s more people giving their personal opinion on this Chick Fil A story. So here we go. You’re welcome, Internet!
I’m not writing to explain in great detail why Chick Fil A is right, why Chick Fil A protestors are right, or which group is composed of narrow-minded bigots hell-bent on destroying the world. It’s been my personal experience as a conciliator that calling people bigots doesn’t move the conversation forward.
I’m writing for two reasons: (1) To explain why supporting one thing doesn’t necessarily mean that you hate the other thing, and (2) to explain why, at the end of the day, I’ve made my peace with the fact that you might think I’m a backward-thinking idiot. It’s worth it to me.
First, does supporting what we’re calling “traditional values” or “traditional marriage” mean that you automatically hate homosexual people, America, etc? My answer is no. Here’s my story explaining why.
I’m a Christian guy married to a girl. My understanding of how marriage works is that marriage is an allegory of Jesus and the Church, meaning God’s people. It’s a picture that Jesus loves us and will never forsake us. Marriage is suppose to be the same way. A husband should be fully devoted to serving his wife through thick and thin and vice versa. In the Bible, marriage is between a guy and a girl. That’s my understanding of marriage. I think that’s a beautiful picture and I like it very much.
As I said, I’m a Christian. What does that even mean? To me it means this – I believe in God, who is Love and who is good, I believe God made Creation, and that God made humanity “in his image”, which means we have lots of God-like traits. These include creativity, the capacity to love, a certain amount of power, etc. Somehow, through humanity’s decision to do bad rather than good, we separated ourselves from God. God provided us a way back to him through Jesus. Jesus somehow reconciled us back to God through dying. (I don’t understand how it works. I’m not a master theologian.) If we want to be reconciled then we can be. I also think that’s beautiful and I like that.
A person who is a Christian is obligated to love Creation like God does. You can basically sum up the Christian life as “Love God and love each other.” That’s pretty much it. Now here’s where Chick-Fil-A comes in. One reason that a lot of people are upset at Christians is because by supporting “traditional marriage” they are therefore not supporting gay marriage and gay rights. They are being backwards and bigots. Jesus loved people, He didn’t condemn people!
Ok. Let’s do this. Correct, Jesus did love people. God loves people, he loves everyone, he wants everyone to be reconciled to him! Sometimes what we might be missing is that a lot of the way that Jesus loved people in the New Testament was by helping them learn about being reconciled to God. He told them to repent from their old, sinful ways and instead obey God. (This is the same God that created people and loves them.) Jesus called out a lot of people. Rich people, religious people, people being mean to others, people living “a life of sin”, etc. Since God made us, it seems like he knows what’s best. And so when we live out what’s in the Bible, that’s our best life. When we want to be redeemed, God will redeem us. That’s as good as it gets.
If I believe that’s true, that God can offer redemption to us, people who do evil and bad things but want to be good, what kind of person would I be if I didn’t share that Good News that you can be redeemed? If I think that the New Testament in the Bible is true and I don’t share it, wouldn’t that be the biggest pile of hate possible? That’s like having a life jacket and looking the other way when someone is drowning.
Let me pause here. I understand that you can have 1,000 objections to my trail of thought. Here are some of them:
I’m happy to discuss those privately if you want. I’m not addressing them here simply because that’s not the point of this particular essay.
In sum, I’m saying that I support “traditional” marriage and I don’t hate gay people. In fact, the only reason I’d ever speak up about Jesus and God is because I believe that it’s all true and I REALLY WANT YOU TO BELIEVE IT AS WELL. It’s the best thing I know and I want to share it. The redemption of Creation isn’t the kind of thing I’d sit on and keep to myself, even though I’m shy and an introvert. I disagree with you but I don’t hate you. I’d love to spend all eternity with you. The only thing I truly hate is traffic. Not you. Even if you are in traffic. Even if you cause traffic.
That brings me to my second point – I’m ok if you think I’m a backwards thinking idiot. Ideally, I want you to know the truth that I’m awesome. But I understand if my personal beliefs and values seem stupid to you. I also want you to understand that the reason I support Biblical marriage is because I think it’s a beautiful picture of how God loves us. I disagree with you but I’m not against you, I’m on your team! Same side! That’s why I’m willing to risk being labeled as a mindless, hate-filled bigot who doesn’t understand modern culture, the Bible, Jesus, name it. Even if you think I’m weird, know that I’m a friend. I believe in something very strongly and I want you to, too.
Let me break it down: I love food, and food don’t love me back.
The more I enjoy a food, the more likely it is that food will have me rolling around on the kitchen floor. Crying, clutching my gurgling stomach, and asking the heavens why my fat pants are now tight. I don’t even have muffin top anymore, I have mushroom cloud.
You know, me, I’m a guy who likes to get to the bottom of things. Especially plates of nachos, but more on that later. In an effort to understand why most of the food I love hurts so good, I’ve kept a running, categorized diary of everything I eat. Here are the categories:
American Gladiator: I’m probably a couple of pushups away from being cast in The Avengers.
Good: Satiated, perhaps a little “full”.
Hmm: Did I eat too much? Maybe? My teeth feel weird, and I’m a little sluggish. If you try to tickle me, you might get a “sound byte”.
Gross: I feel like I need to take a nap and a shower. And my jeans may need to be unbuttoned if I’m sitting. And leave me alone.
Nuclear Apocalypse: Pray!
And now, let’s see what goes where:
American Gladiator: Vegetarian taco salad, boring (Kashi) cereal with almond milk, Veggie Delight sub from Subway, Amy’s burrito, water, Avocado sandwich
Good: Banana, Veggie Delight sub from Thundercloud, jalapeno cheese kolaches
Hmm: Dos Equis beer, Chili cheese garlic fries, Shipley donut, Miss Vicky’s jalapeno chips, crackers, instant oatmeal
Gross:Dark beer, candy, Apple Jacks, cake, Whoppers (I only had three!), Pumpkin bread + a saad, grilled cheese + chips + candy, cake balls, generic Oreos
Nuclear Apocalypse: Chicken strips and french fries from IHOP.
What does it all mean? How do jalapeno cheese kolaches not make me feel gross? Why was I eating fried chicken from IHOP? I welcome any and all advice from you amateur nutritionists out there.
Last weekend, we visited some good friends up in the Metroplex. The main event of the weekend: The Texas State Fair. While I consider myself to be a diehard Texan, I have to admit that I had previously never been to the fair. Probably because of this guy:
Wow. Big Tex. This guy is creepy. He is either the non-organic reincarnation of some sleazy old cattleman, or he is a Trojan horse delivered to Texas by Oklahoma. Either way, I never stood directly in front of him.
I overcame my fear of Big Tex because of one thing: fried food. For years, I’ve been hearing stories of a glorious treasure trove of weird and amazing fried foods. Fried pizza? Fried Oreos? Fried beer? I want to go to that.
Last Saturday, my dreams came true. I got try all of the following fried foods:
Fletcher’s Jalapeno and Cheese Corny Dog (A+): I didn’t cry when I ate this, but my vision did blur for a little bit. This freshly made, gooey, spicy hunk of mystery meat was so delicious that I wanted to flip over the picnic table at which I was sitting. I would’ve, had my bride not been sitting on it. I cannot recommend this item highly enough. Unless you have high cholesterol or you are trying to look like shirtless Ryan Gosling. Because this won’t help.
Fried Oreos (B): Was it tasty? I guess so. It was kind of like when you eat brownies that haven’t quite set yet, except that it wasn’t real chocolate, it was Tootsie Roll chocolate. They kind of made me feel bad about myself.
Fried Ice cream (B+): I don’t even understand how this works, but I ate some of it. Tasty, but kind of like ice cream with a churro base. I don’t love churros. I am, however, intrigued by Charro.
Fried Ice cream + Fried Oreos (A): I don’t understand how they combine so well, but it works.
Fried Frito Pie (A+): It’s like a gooey, extra crunchy tater tot. I wasn’t sure how this would work, because how do you fry something that is already a giant mess? The answer is to turn the gooey mess into neat, little hush-puppy sized fried balls. These were like a Latin hush puppy. By themselves, a solid A-. With sour cream and salsa? A+. Since the fair, I have had daydreams of shoving fistfulls of these into my mouth. Then my stomach hurts, even though it was only a daydream. Or was it?
Fried Beer (F): I shook my head in disgust when I ate this monstrosity, this abomination. Beer? Great. Ravioli? Delightful. Fried food, see the rest of the post. So how do you combine these things to make a horrible, horrible “food”. The answer is that you don’t. Let me back up. I had no idea what to expect when I ordered fried beer. I was thinking funnel cake coated with beer instead of powdered sugar. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Here’s what happens. They take a pasta-looking thing similar to ravioli, inject it with skunky beer, fry it, and then pump old nacho cheese sauce on it. That is wrong. You bite into and then get a squirt of hot, nasty beer. It basically taste like vomit (hot, acidic, etc). I applaud the “audacity of hope” that combining these great loves could create something great. I weep for the result.
In sum, the Texas State Fair was pretty great. I saw a robot, some people running around with swords, weird food, and lots and lots of carnies. I don’t know what else you could look for in a weekend.
Long John Silver’s and scary movies have much in common. First, I generally understand that they’re not for me and I’m better off avoiding them both. Second, once a year or so they sound really appealing so I’ll partake on a whim. Third, they both result in: frightening trips to the bathroom, sleepless nights, days of remorse, and well-meaning declarations of “Never again!”
We live in Round Rock, Texas. It’s located right outside of Austin, but I don’t think it’s fair to call Round Rock a suburb, since it’s been around since the 1850s. We love it here. The people are friendly and diverse, the food is good, and there’s fireworks every Friday. If you ever come and visit, I’ll probably drag you to a few of my favorite places:
The Blue Oak Grill: This is a local, family-owned restaurant. It’s very Southern. Chicken fried steaks, table-sized nacho plates, etc. Blue Oak is probably most famous for their cornbread made with Round Rock honey. Our sphere of friends frequent it, so we’re here at least a couple of times a month. Some of our friends are here a few times a week, and one of our friends lives here. Not really, but kind of. Another nice thing about Blue Oak is that they stock Texas beers.
Star Co. Coffee: I’m not usually a big coffee drinker, but I love this place. Star Co. is located on Main Street in historic downtown Round Rock, which automatically makes it fantastic. Plus, they only have fair trade coffees, they have live music twice a week, and they don’t mind hosting our bi-weekly men’s Bible study.
Junior’s: Junior’s is a bar and grill also on Main Street. They’ve got live music every night of the week and plenty of beer. The back patio/biergarten area is a great evening hangout.
Round Rock Public Library: I spend pretty much every Saturday morning here. Guess where it is? Main Street! It’s a basic library, but the location is great and I love being a part of the local bookworm scene. (Yes, there’s a scene.)
Dell Diamond: Home of the Friday night fireworks, and the Round Rock Express, the Texas Rangers’ minor league team. It’s a gorgeous ballpark, and even if you don’t like baseball, you’ll have a good time people watching and enjoying the Texas sunset. Caveat – it’s miserable if you’re sitting by first base and it’s 109 degrees.
Basically, Round Rock is awesome, and I’m happy to show you around. So come visit.
The diet I was trying was too hard to keep, so I switched to an iPhone app that tracks your calories, exercise, level of work activity, mutant abilities, etc. Using that I app, yesterday I was at:
So I’m going the right direction with a sustainable diet. Mundane, but good!
I had another week possibly going the wrong way. Gained a little less than a pound and kept the same waist. Since those are my only two constant metrics, I’m not sure if I gained some muscle from physical therapy and the lawn work I’m allowed to do, or just drank some extra water, or what.
Of course my goal isn’t to reach a magic number, but to intentionally work towards a higher level of wellness.
Since we moved last week and didn’t have a fridge for four days, this week’s holding pattern is acceptable, but I’m looking to make a big push this week.
I’ve just finished reading For the City, a book co-authored by one of my church’s pastors, Matt Carter. In it, Carter mentions that he wants to live in such a way that that at the end of his life, he has no doubt that what he accomplished could only be done through God’s power.
“Are you living in a way that requires God’s supernatural power for your calling to be lived out?” he asks.
My answer is a simple, “No.” How sad is that? I’m just kind of hanging out. Coasting.
I’m also reading Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek. In it, he starts with what seems like another pretty easy question: “What excites you?”
I had to sit and think for a long time (I’ve been coasting), and I realized that my answers don’t have much to do with working or life goals or self-actualization or anything like that. I’m excited about friends, creativity, and God saving his Creation. And, of course, alcohol.
What do those have to do with each other? I think everything.
Because in the end, this will be the reality of all space and time:
“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
I’m excited about the right things, but my actions don’t necessarily reflect that. But I want them to. I want to be living in a way that acknowledges that God is for us. I want to be for my neighbors and co-workers and the Creation all around me.
So, after thinking about current station in life, I set the following goals for myself:
That sounds like a life worth living.
It’s Friday. That means it’s casual day. Things are a little loose. A little lax.
That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to make nachos with old cheese from the office fridge.
My stomach hurts.