Christianity, Alcohol, and Self Control

I recently read an article that infuriated me to the point that I had to share my own opinion on it.

Here is the article:
http://www.crossroadschristian.org/blogs/blog/12806077-can-a-christian-drink-alcohol#.VBUMDFODpQz.facebook

Thoughts like this drive me crazy! It is, once again, narrow minded thinking blaming the wrong thing. Is drinking to the point of blacking out crazy and irresponsible??? ABSOLUTELY. Is driving under the influence horrible? Yes. Personally, I think that anyone caught DUI/DWI etc are not punished enough in the United States. I have felt this way since I was 18 and I don’t see myself changing my opinion on that. I will never support or defend someone that gets arrested for DUI. With that being said, the alcohol didn’t cause this behavior, the persons inability to have self control and monitor themselves caused the behavior.

Let’s look at it from the flip side. Let’s take a male or female that is so shy or introverted that they have difficulty talking to others. When they consume an alcoholic drink, it relaxes them a little allowing them to be part of the conversation better. Because of their relaxed attitude, they make a couple new friends the night they are out. Over the course of the new friendship, they invite one of them to church. The friend agrees because they realize not every Christian is a narrow minded, pious jerk. That friend comes to know and accept God. All because a Christian was comfortable enough in their Christianity AND know how to exercise self control to behave themselves while being out in public and consuming a small amount of alcohol. With this scenario, would any Christian say alcohol served a negative purpose? Of course not.

The problem is, Americans LOVE hot messes. They glorify the crazy. They focus on the train wrecks and ignore the sensible. That is why we tend to hear all the extreme situations and the normal situations are too boring so they are never discussed.

I can say that I have never been drunk a day in my life, so I am not saying these words to promote my own behavior. Do I drink? Rarely, but I do have a glass of wine, champagne, or mixes drink from time to time. My actions don’t change. I am well aware of my setting and my behavior. I maintain control of my person.

I have seen the horrible after affects of those that consume too much alcohol. I have, sadly, seen abuse because someone was drunk. I watched a friend lose his fight to live because of a repeat offender driver under the influence. To lose a friend at 18 in such an unnecessary way is a memory that stays with you forever. With these tragic moments, I didn’t blame the alcohol, I blamed the one consuming the alcohol past their ability to control themselves and their actions. THEY are responsible for that, not the alcohol.

We have to STOP accepting the excuses and start challenging those around us to be responsible for their own actions. That also starts with each of us taking responsibility for our own actions, our own decisions, learning from our mistakes, and stop putting the blame in the wrong place.

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My Organized Religion Rant of the Day

I am a Christian. I do not hide the fact that I do believe in God or a higher spiritual being. What my rant
today is about is Organized Religion and the problems resulting from bad ones. As I was going through different social media sites today, I came across an article about a mega church that was closing due to financial difficulties because of “negative press”. This “negative press” that the church is referring to was all because the leader of this church said women’s vaginas we’re good for nothing other than being a home for a man’s penis. Yes, you read that correctly.

Pastor (their term for him, not mine) Mark Driscoll is reported as saying “ultimately, God created you and it is His penis. You are simply borrowing it for a while.” He went on to say “knowing that his penis would need a home. God created a woman to be your wife and when you marry her and look down you will notice that your wife is shaped differently than you and makes a very nice home”.

The article went on to say some other things including why a man should not be gay because of how the penis fits and why one man should not sleep with another man’s wife because that would be like stealing or breaking and entering. I have included the article at the end of this post for everyone to read.

Here’s The first question that came to my mind; how in the world did this man become a pastor? No I know it is easy for anyone to slap the pastor title on their name, but it made me wonder how he got people to support him. He founded the church, which again, anyone can start a church. It’s pretty simple really. The church is in Seattle, which is known for it’s open minded style. Again, a plus for Seattle, but still not sure how he had so much support.
He described his style as “theological conservative and culturally liberal”. As I read that, my thought were….WTH does that mean exactly????

This man was not just a pastor of a regular church… This church is
considered a mega church. That means he had followers upon followers believing in what he was preaching. He has been invited all over the United States to preach as well as to London England to speak to over 4000 people at any event.

It is said that he used a lot of preaching about sex and crude comments. He grew his church by preaching to “horny ” single people.

At some point, I have to wonder why so many people just followed his teaching and preaching. Was it because he said he was a pastor and they just excepted it? Was it because he talked in a language that fit what they wanted their own “church” to be like? It really makes you wonder.

No, the thing that really frustrates me is that because of his comments it makes it hard for people to understand that sex still is not a bad thing to discuss in the church. In my studies for my business, I have read and met with many Christian couples that do not communicate comfortably or at all when it comes to things of a sexual nature. Should that be fixed? ABSOLUTELY! Should it be fixed the Pastor Mark Driscoll way? I do not believe so. He does, however, have some very good points in his book “Real Marriage”. Do I think he’s a pastor and extolling the virtues of a sound Christian leader? No. Do I think he could be a strong sex educator? No, not until he understands women are more than a home for the penis. He is setting healthy sex education back too many years with that way of thinking.

Another thing I found interesting is that former and current church leaders are going against him and accusing him of “creating a climate of fear through his verbally abusive language, lack of self-control, and arrogant domineering attitude”. So…did this all happen overnight??? Was he at one time a super nice guy? Oh wait, or is it easy to attack the guy for his attitude when things aren’t going great? That is another issue I have with organized religion. It’s easy to hold hands and sing Kum be Ya (I am not sure if that is spelled right) when the numbers are growing and the money is rolling in but the minute things go south it is everyone attack the leader. He didn’t change! They just don’t want to be seen as supporting him but they were all about supporting him when it was good for them.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not believe every Church is bad. Just like anything, you have the good, you have the okay, and you have the bad. What I get frustrated with is the fact that so many people blindly follow teachings of one just because they say they are a pastor and those around them are cheering him or her on.

To my Christian friends and readers…. I urge you to challenge those that you are listening to that have a leader role. Do you not just blindly agree and cheer them on because it sounds good or because others are doing it. Look into it for yourself. Do your homework.

To my non-Christian friends and readers…. Please do not use this as a reason to bash those that believe. I understand and respect your position as well.

As I said at the beginning, yes this is a rant about organized religion but it is also a plea to the good pastors and church leaders out there do not take this man’s issues and use it as an excuse to not talk about healthy sexual communication amongst your married church members. We have to encourage that! It will help the marriage stay strong!

Here are two of the better articles about this man:

Driscoll Controversy

The Frisky – Mark Driscoll

My visit to K-9 Closet in Waldo, MO

I realize that many of us are guilty of not exploring the area closest to our home. I have been making an effort to change that. I have driven down Wornall in Waldo many times and noticed a business titled K-9 Closet. Whenever I see it, I think, I need to check that place out….but I never do; until today.

I parked in the back (plenty of parking and easy to access) and walked around to the entrance. The location is small, but tastefully laid out with some nice items. I was greeted immediately. I was going to just look around, but as I saw cute Halloween costumes right up at the front, I decided to inquire about how large the costumes went up to. I was told X-large, which didn’t work for me, so figured I would just look around. I started to chalk the store up to another froo froo dog place that caters to the small dog owner. The associate, seeing that I didn’t seem satisfied, inquired as to what I was looking for. After explaining that I was looking for a boy/girl costume that the girl one would be big enough for Bella, my Neapolitan Mastiff, and the boy costume small enough for my Jack Russell Terrier. She took more information from me, including Bella’s measurements, said she would talk to the owner and one of them would get back with me. She went on to explain that the owner was also the designer of all of their collars along the wall and the photographer of all the photos hanging all over as decorations.

Let’s talk about the collars first. There was a multitude of colors, designs, and thicknesses. In addition to that, there was three styles as far as getting the best fit and control of your dog. In addition, I was told that I could request any color/design fabric I saw made into any of the styles they offered. I LOVED the fact that they had thick collars in really cute, “girly” colors. When you have a large dog, that is a big deal because so often, the larger dogs have to settle for a mean look, i.e. Skull and crossbones, spikes, etc or dark “boy” colors. Sometimes a basic pink, but nothing as cute as these collars. I didn’t see a lot of leashes but the associate told me they could also make those to match the collar. (I am regretting not getting her name. If I go back in there and she is working, I will update this post)

The collars are reasonably priced for the styles and colors. A little more expensive then your average collar, but they can be customized, made locally, and appear to be great quality; all traits that warrant spending a little more. I found a couple fabrics I liked but told the associate I’d like to bring Bella in to see the color against her fur before I had the collar made for her. She was very enthusiastic about that and said they love when the dogs come to visit them. I am hesitant because the store is so small and Bella is so big, but I will take her in to look at collars and then maybe take Zipper in at a different time. I won’t do it at the same time, that would be too much for that little store!

I continued looking around and the associate chatted with me some more about their products and shared personal experiences with some of the product. She had a big dog as well. They had some adorable toys, reasonably priced. Not the huge mark up you see in most small businesses. I spied these cute lips and long tongue dog toys that I couldn’t stop going back to. I eventually ended up buying them!

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I looked at their clothing line (I’m a sucker for a cute dog coat or sweater). Zipper has so many but Bella only has one that fits her. They had an adorable pink/black thick winter coat but it only went up to an x-large. Too small for Bella but I would have bought it if it had been available. It was one of the cutest girl dog coats I had seen.

The store also has a wide variety of treats, the typical manufactured ones and some adorable home made ones. They had birthday cakes, cookies, rice crispy treats, just to name a few.

Going back to the photos I mentioned earlier….looking around, I was impressed by all of them. Being a hobby photographer, I appreciate photos that catch my attention. What I noticed the most was how happy and lively the dogs appeared to be in the photos. The photographer caught the spirit of each one. They were bright and cheerful scattered tastefully around the store. One thought I had was….I wonder if she could find a way to capture all three of my babies (Luke, my horse, is my third) in one photo? Hmmm, I may have to ask if she expands beyond dogs! The owner and/or her merchandisers did a great job showcasing the variety of things they offer while maximizing their minimal space without giving it a cluttered feel.

As I was walking up to the counter to pay for the two toys, I spied the food that Bella eats out of the corner of my eye. I asked the associate how much it was and we walked back to the food area. It was comparable to what I was currently spending and asked about the type of food Zipper eats (they eat two different kinds). Imagine my surprise that they actually carried it! Up until today, I only knew of one pet store that offered it in town. The price was about the same. (In fairness, I believe one food was about $1.00 higher and the other was about $1.00 less than where I currently purchase it). I am so happy to know I have another choice to purchase it so depending on what area of town I am, I can pick up dog food. That is a big deal when the hours are limited and locations may not be right near where I am shopping. I also appreciated that she genuinely seemed to care that one price seemed higher and said she would pass it on to the owner.

I was finishing my shopping and went to pay for my new dog toys. The associate gave me a goodie bag with four fairly large dog treats to take home to my babies. I was pleasantly surprised as they weren’t the typical small boring samples stores give out.

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I thanked her. As I was leaving she thanked me and reminded me that I would hear back from them regarding the costumes.

I went out to my vehicle and found them on Facebook, liked their page, and tweeted about them.

I will definitely be back. I’m happy I took the time to stop in and visit this cute Waldo business.

Link to K-9 Closet