Saturday, February 14, 2015

Singles Awareness Day?

Valentine's Day is upon us, and of course, the internet has been filled with quotes, pictures, and memes about love, romance, and relationships. You go to the grocery store, and pink heart decorations are superfluous. Why, good old Spotify is even suggesting love song playlists to listen to. How sweet.

Valentine's Day is seen as a wonderful holiday...except for those who are single. How about all those poor single people who have to be alone on a day about love? So tragic...or is it?

I've seen people bemoan their lack of a girlfriend or boyfriend before, but it typically increases around Valentines day. Many seem to treat singleness like a disease (and I'm not just saying that because I am single). Maybe some people find this hard to believe, but I'm single by choice. Our society seems to think that if you are single, you are somehow less of a person, not capable of being liked by the opposite gender, and therefore possessing no merit whatsoever. This is not so.

Our society seems to think that if you are single, you are somehow less of a person, not capable of being liked by the opposite gender, and therefore possessing no merit whatsoever.

Then there are those singles who band together and form, “Singles Awareness Day”, on Valentines Day. Those who observe “S.A.D.” really just end up throwing little pity parties/hey I'm available hangouts.

Or, some take things in the other direction, and spitefully scorn the entire concept of love and romance. Their "S.A.D." day becomes a celebration of the individual, and an abandonment of other people. 
In both these cases, the focus is all wrong, and it's not about love at all, but on the self. Valentine's Day just seems to be about celebrating your relationship status, or bemoaning it.

Valentine's Day just seems to be about celebrating your relationship status, or bemoaning it.

Singles, seriously. Pull yourselves together. It's not a tragedy if you're single. And being single is far better than riding the dating roller-coaster that everyone else does in our culture—throwing themselves away to each new romantic interest. Singleness is a great and unique time of life where you can devote everything solely on God. Don't be “S.A.D”.

Contentment is elusive, even for those who are in a relationship, even for those whom are married. We're fooling ourselves if we think getting a gf/bf, or getting married is the answer to all of our woes. If you're not content now, you won't be when you marry either. Contentment doesn't come from possessions, be they material objects or a relationship status.

I don't know about you, but I think this notion can be rather depressing.

What? Even when I'm married I won't be content? OH NO! I'm DOOMED! What hope is there?

However, we are not doomed to perpetual discontentment. Reality is much better. Since contentment doesn't come from possessions or momentary pleasures, we can be content no matter the circumstances, as Paul points out in Philippians 4:11-12. We can be content always, because contentment comes from living the way we were created to, and we were created to love God and love others. We become content when we seek the good of others, rather than seeking to satisfy ourselves.

The Lord is our shepherd, and we lack for nothing, not even when we're single.   

We don't need a "S.A.D." day to highlight the mythical plight of singles. Those without a "significant other" aren't left out of Valentine's Day. If Valentines Day is really is about love, then it's a holiday that is just as relevant to singles, as it is to married folk.

Love—as Jesus taught it—is willing the good of another person. It's doing good for others even if you gain nothing. Doing good even if it hurts you. Love is sacrifice, and everyone needs to have love, and practice the love that Jesus practiced.

Valentine's Day is for singles too.So, this Valentines day, don't focus on your relationship status, don't be S.A.D. Instead, focus on Christ and His love. Be reminded of the incredible sacrifice He made for us, and be inspired to sacrifice for others!

Have a happy Valentines Day, and find someone to love!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Blog Under Construction

Hello Readers,

I am temporarily putting my blog on hold while I transition from Blogger over to Wordpress. This process may take some time, so it could be awhile before I post any new content. However, I do have over 150 published posts, so if you haven't read all of those yet, now is a good time. Haha!

In the meantime, I will continue to write, so when my new site goes live, I'll have a bunch of new posts ready to go. If there are any topics or subjects you would like to see me write on in the future, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments.

Thanks for reading!
- Reagan

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Dating Is Legalistic

If I were to say, "Courtship is legalistic," would you be shocked by such a claim? Probably not.

We’ve all heard people say that courtship, and/or courtship advocates, are legalistic. To some extent, this is true. While I haven’t met any legalistic courtship believers, I have heard plenty of stories about them. Additionally, anything can become a form of legalism. Any belief, any idea, any thing can become an idol or source of legalism.

However, there is a “system” which is far more legalistic, in general, than courtship: recreational dating. Yes, recreational dating is legalistic.

Now, perhaps, you may be shocked. You don’t hear people claim dating is legalistic very often, if at all. Before I go into just how dating has become a form of legalism, first we need to define terms. What is legalism after all?

There seem to be three forms of legalism today:

1. Good works and/or obeying the Law must be done to attain salvation
2. Good works and/or obeying the Law must be done to maintain salvation
3. Looking down on other Christians who do not hold to an individual’s standard of holiness.

This third form of legalism is the sort of legalism most commonly thrown around today. I have never heard of anyone claiming that you must court in order to achieve or maintain salvation, but if they exist, that is pretty peculiar. However, we do have courtship/betrothal advocates being labelled legalistic because it is believed many of them look down on Christians who do not court.

As I said above, this is possible. Courtship and/or betrothal can become idols. They can become legalistic. That being said, Dating, and it’s loyal supporters, are far more guilty of this form of legalism. While courtship opponents are quick to point out that courtship is not a system to be found in the Bible, they forget that dating is nowhere to be found. In fact, the dating practices of today would have been considered scandalous during biblical times.

While I think courtship advocates do need to be careful, I think it is the courtship opponents, and supporters of dating, who really need to look themselves in the mirror.

While I personally believe that courtship can look very different from person to person, many dating activists religiously cling on to certain aspects of dating, and believe that you must do things their way, or else you’re a weird, legalistic buffoon doomed to never marry or “marry the wrong person.”

5 Ways Dating is legalistic:

Monday, January 5, 2015

Love Is Manly

When I was growing up, I always thought of love as being girly. Our culture portrays love with big red hearts, warm fuzzy feelings, and physical displays of affection. These are all things girls are generally more easily drawn to. "Love" and being "manly" seem to be diametrically opposed. This is a big reason why my young self vowed to never marry. 

Love in our culture is shown as being soft. Being nice. Not hurting anyone’s feelings. This is the kind of love that comes more naturally to females.

Certainly, this feminine side of love is real, and important. However, this is not all love is. Love is also masculine. Love isn’t always elegant, nice, or pleasurable. Love is sometimes harsh, tough, and uncompromising. Love is manly too.

This of course doesn’t mean that all women are tender whereas all men are hard and uncompromising. On an individual level, people—men and women—differ and vary quite a bit. In general, however, there is a distinction. There are two sides of love, one side women more readily express, and the other side men more naturally express. We all need both.

However, in the church today—and the culture as a whole—the masculine side of love is often ignored and even demonized. Frequently, this “manly” side of love is criticized as being “unloving” or “un-Christ-like” and this is because we only see the feminine side of love as being legitimate. It’s just fine to tell men to “get in touch with your feminine side,” but you don’t so often hear women being told to “get in touch with their masculine side.”   

We all need to embrace the fullness of God’s love, both the masculine and feminine aspects.

Friday, January 2, 2015

I Hate You Because You're Confident

In our Post-Modern world where truth is relative, a curious phenomenon has developed: people don’t like you if you are confident about your beliefs. It’s very strange. These Post-Modernists are confident that you are wrong for being confident in your “false” beliefs, just as they are confident that there is absolutely no such thing as absolute truth.

It is cool to be a skeptic today. Doubt equals wisdom. If you express confidence in your beliefs, then you are dogmatic, judgmental, legalistic, and a slew of other derogative terms. Of course, without God, this makes sense.

If you don’t believe in God…you really can’t trust that you know anything. If we all just evolved by accident in the primordial soup of Earth’s ancient oceans, if we were just cooked up by the flaming prehistoric meteorites slamming into Earth bringing with them the “ingredients for life,”  if we were just dead material shocked to life, ala Frankenstein, by lighting or whatever it is atheistic scientists are now claiming allowed life to form from non-life…then we can’t really trust anything.

If we evolved randomly, then we can’t really trust our own reason or intellect. We can’t trust that we really know how we got here.

With no God, we can’t really trust our senses. How do we know that what see, hear, feel, taste, and touch is really real? Indeed, some religions have arisen to tell us that this world is not real.

We live on a big ball comprised of particles we can’t see arranged in different patterns which give us all the different materials and substances we can see. We fly through a near vacuum at mind-boggling speeds, orbiting a gigantic nuclear-power-plant of a fireball…or so we believe.

We can’t know anything for certain. Even Scientists will say Science doesn’t prove anything. Science is merely the process of observing the natural world. Based on the patterns we find in our observations, we create theories and laws about how the natural world usually works.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Top 10 – My Most Popular Posts

2014 has been a great year of blogging, and was also probably the most difficult year I've ever had--in more ways than one. However, overall, all of the difficulty and changes have been very good.

I wrote most posts in the past year than in any previous year, so to recap 2014, here are my top 10 most popular posts:

(click on the images to visit the posts)

10. No Hugging; Now What?

A light-hearted follow-up to my series on why I don’t hug girls, seeking to find a healthy alternative.

9. Emotional Purity –Part 1

A post introducing my series on emotional purity, and why I have personally come to support the concept. 

8. I Am A Sexist

My awful confession that I think men and women are different, and created for different purposes.

My friends at Freejinger had fun with this one.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Waiting For Life To Start

Life in middle class America is simple.

Generally, you are born to parents who want you to be happy. Your childhood is spent getting spoiled and taught that money isn’t all that matters in life

Then you get older, and you start going to school. First it’s just half a day, and you’re in a comfortable room with lots of bright colors and toys. You have a teacher who always smiles and talks to you like she’s expecting an ice cream truck to drive up any second and hand out free ice cream to everyone.

Then you go to school for the whole day, but at least you have two recesses. And then only one recess. The toys disappear. Creative writing time is eliminated. Story time is eliminated. And then recess falls by the wayside too.

Next the windows start to disappear, replaced by barren walls or covered up by heavy blinds. The desks shrink. The markers and crayons go bye-bye. Heck, some students seem to never even be able to find a pencil.

You still have some writing, but it’s only for teaching the mechanics of English. If you happen to take a Literature class, you will read such marvelous works as the depressing and pointless “Catcher In The Rye,” or something as mind-bogglingly dull, inconsequential, and meaningless as “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” I think they have you read these books in school to crush any possibility students may gain an interest in reading.

Middle school only matters in that it prepares you for high school. High school only matters in that it prepares you for college. And college only matters so long as you are able to get a good job, and by “good job”, we of course mean a “high paying” job.

Getting a high paying job matters because then you gain status and can buy all the things you want. Why? Because this is what will make you happy. Right?

Isn’t that odd? As children we’re told, “money isn’t everything,” but you'd better do well in school so you can go to a good college, so you can get a good job, so you can make a lot of money, so you can buy a lot of expensive things. Schools eliminate all of the activities and ideas which encourage you to break free of the mold. All you need to be successful, all that really matters, is learning math and science so you can make a lot of money. Your life doesn’t really start until you get that job and start making that money. Everything else is just a build up for that stage of your life, right?  

Monday, December 22, 2014

Stop Giving Me Things!

With it being the Christmas season, there is of course, is going to be a deluge of gift-giving. Of course, among all of the gift giving and receiving, we try hard to communicate the message that it is “more blessed to give than to receive.”

As a child, I always thought of this as a nice saying, but of course, no one actually believed it, or could really experience this as being true. No, I really do like getting presents, thank you very much. You’ve probably seen those videos on youtube of little girls and boys screaming and jumping up and down over getting something they so desperately wanted. Yeah, that was me.

But, somewhere along the way, I realized this was wrong. I should like to give more than I like to receive. So, my young-self theorized, I must not appear to enjoy receiving presents too much. And for my next birthday, I tried it out, appearing very apathetic over the gifts I received. This resulted in a rather unpleasant conversation with my mom, and I remember her explaining to me that I should be more grateful.

Yes, many times, receiving gifts has felt like a lose-lose situation for me. To this day, receiving gifts makes me uncomfortable, and I don’t think I am alone in this predicament. Also, I am not just talking about Christmas or birthdays, but receiving gifts in general. Why? Is it because I’m just so humble? 

“Oh, no. Please don’t give me anything. I don’t deserve it. Please let me be. I must go back to bemoaning my wretched self.” I don’t think so.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?

As it is for most kids, Christmas time was my favorite time of the year growing up. Everything changes. There are lights, Christmas songs, making gingerbread houses, fun Christmas movies, and best of all, lots of new toys!

I was always the first one up Christmas morning, and always dazzled by the sight of our family-room filled with beautifully-wrapped presents, all filled with new and exciting things just waiting to be discovered. Yes, Christmas was the best time of the year.

I never thought much about why we had Christmas, or what all of the traditions and practices meant. Everyone celebrated Christmas…or so I thought. 

Once while visiting a great Christian family, I was horrified to discover that they did not celebrate Christmas! WHAT? WHY? How sad their children don’t get presents Christmas morning! My parents explained later that they believe we should treat every day the same, and consider every day as holy, and seek to celebrate God every moment.

Okay, that makes sense, I thought, but why not treat every day the same…but also get presents?

As I grew older, Christmas slowly began to lose its luster for me. More and more things began to bother me about the holiday, such as the hustle and bustle, the stress the season seemed to bring, and the over-commercialization.

Since then, I have also learned more sinister things about the origins of Christmas. Indeed, there are some Christians who believe we should not participate at all in the celebration due to its pagan origins.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Wife, Please Go See If That's A Murderer

Feminism’s crusade against Chivalry and all things gender specific has been overwhelmingly successful. At one point in time, for better or worse, there were clear gender distinctions. The husband was the provider, and the wife managed the home. The husband was the protector, and the wife was the nurturer. If there was a potential murderer/stalker person parked outside your house, the husband would investigate, not the wife.

 Not anymore.

After a day of moving and unpacking, the sun had set. No street lights left the road in blackness. The moving truck was parked in front of our driveway, and I sat in front of it in our car. As I was waiting for the truck to move so I could pull our car into our drive, the neighbors began to come down their driveway in their car. Their drive met our street between where I was parked and the moving truck. Before the neighbors could reach the road, they stopped.

The light inside their vehicle turned on, and I saw a man and a woman talking, I’m guessing they were husband and wife. After a few seconds, the wife got out and began to walk toward me. As she approached, I lowered my window.

“Hello!” I said.
“Are you with the people moving in?” she asked. I replied in the affirmative. “Okay, just making sure,” she said, then walked back to their car and they drove away. So apparently they were worried I was some kind of stalker or thief staking out their house or something, and yet the wife went to investigate instead of the husband?

This is very small example, but I think this situation represents the cultural confusion we have today surrounding how men are supposed to treat women. The Feminist ideology steeping our culture has imposed upon women the lie that they do not have choices to make; that they can “have it all” and not have to face the consequences. Not too long ago, a man never would have had his wife go investigate the mysterious car parked in front of their house. He would have investigated himself, partly because men are typically better equipped than women to handle potentially violent situations. More importantly, because it is the husband’s job to love and protect his wife, not because of anything she has or hasn’t done, or can or cannot do, but out of respect for the mere fact that she is a woman, and his wife.