The Current State of Alpha Males (My Thoughts)

Anyone that has been following my entries for the last few weeks, might notice that I talk about being “Alpha” and reclaiming a sense of manhood. And for me that not only is for myself, but for others like myself that have cerebral palsy or other disabilities. I believe it to be a vital component, that men with cerebral palsy know and understand who they are, that they can be confident and have a deep sense of grounded masculinity. Even if in spite of not being able to accomplish certain “manly tasks” due to certain physical limitations. To be frank, I believe that the church has failed in this way, because they unknowingly focus on the abled-bodied men while sub-consciously passing over those who are disabled.   

I don’t think that Churches do this purposely, but rather they just don’t think about the reality that life just might be different for some other men. Hell, most churches don’t even have distinct ministries for the special needs community. Though, this blog is not to rag on the short comings of the church, but rather to call to attention of the state of “Alpha Men”. To be honest, I’m not really pleased. Most of them seem truly into themselves and only want to put others down. Which isn’t what an alpha male actual does. Why? Because they are secure within themselves that they don’t have to do that. They may firmly disagree with ones take on an issue, but they don’t purposely set out to go put someone else down because it makes them feel better.

Most of the alpha males that I see on the internet, seem to be hell bent on making fun of people that believe in God or subscribe to a religious world view. Which really is no better the new-atheist crusade that emerged several years ago. Again, if claim to be alpha, why seek out to make fun of someone? Why not confidently disagree without being so self-righteous?

Another problem that I have with some alpha males, is the fact that some of them just want short term relationships with women, only to move on to the next. Not me, nope. The most alpha thing a man can do at times is to commit to the right woman. No matter how hard things got. Furthermore, most alpha males are so focused on the physical attraction of a woman, that they put that over the mental-emotional and spiritual aspects of a woman. In my life currently, yes I do want to be with someone I am attracted to. Yet what’s more important for me anyway, is seeing if the woman that I potential want to be with. Is in fact secure in her emotional-mental and spiritual components of her life. Because that will carry over far above anything physical, though I do believe that the physical is an important component as well.

I think there’s room for a new way of A.M. to emerge or at least reforming what an A.M. actually is.. That’ll come in part 2 though!

A Christian Stoic- Me?

Not really, but I do like a part of Stoicism or rather a definition of it:

the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint.

In college, my senior year I took a crash course in philosophy, and loved every moment of it. Particularly weighing other branches of philosophy against my own Christian world view. A lot of the different philosophies and even religions, try and make sense of human existence and suffering. growing up around the Buddhist perspective. The thought of reincarnation was once cool to me, because I would never really die, I would just come back in another human life… Or something else. When I truly began to understand what reincarnation was, I understood it as endless cycle of paying past debts and sins. If you did not make amends for your past in some fashion.

I just did not like the idea of not knowing if I would have done enough to write my own wrongs in my life. Furthermore- I couldn’t wrap my head around the concept that suffering was an illusion. Or that there was really no rhyme or reason to it. It just was… What spurred me onto the Christian perspective and following Jesus, was that I could see from the beginning that the world was the way it was because of sin.

On top of that Jesus even says that life is going to be hard (my own words- John 16:33). At least, with these two ways of understanding, I could wrap my head around why the world was the way it was. Better yet, someone that not only says that right out of the gate, but transcends it and over comes it as well with his death, burial and resurrection. I accept that as truth, because God has shown me his love in the actions and character of Christ.

Moreover, I know that I am not strong enough to absolve or atone for my own sin by myself. For as long as I have been trying to live this truth out, by the grace of God. I have been learning ways to handle adversity and suffering in life, in its many forms. That not only speaks and points to the heart and character of God. But the fruit of the spirit, that enables me to stand up as a man.

I look to how Jesus conducted himself as a man, within the pages of the new testament. Christ was a man- a God-man that was in control of his emotions. Always slow to anger, and when he did show anger, it was always calculated. He had a spine to him, wasn’t afraid to stand up to the religious big shots of his day. He was okay breaking away from people, to embrace solitude and divine connection with his father.

As I recall scenes from Mel Gibsons, Passion of the Christ. I can recall Jesus being calm while the Roman guards led him away. They beat him to a bloody pulp, mocked him, reviled him. And there he stood, silent in the face of the agony that was about to be set before him. He didn’t make a sound..

(By now if you’re still reading this, you might be thinking, get to the bloody point sir!) To me, some of the characteristics of Jesus seem very stoic, and as I have stumbled upon the definition of stoicism above. I have found that it has filled me with a new level of strength and even hope. As well as a way of conducting myself as man. Life has and will bring pain and adversity. But its how we deal with it that makes it all the difference.

A lot of us freak out when things don’t go our way, or have a level of ease. We lose our tempers, say things we don’t mean and sometimes even get violent… But, in reality that is nothing good or worthy that comes from that. So instead of doing all of that negative garbage. Why not look at adversity and suffering in a new way? When frustration comes our way, when pain comes our way. How about simply acknowledging its presence,

The Spiritual Side of Fasting

Fasting is the new thing in the health and fitness. People are either doing intermittent fasting , prolonged fasting or even dry fasting. Which means no water at all. As I mentioned in a previous entry, intermittent fasting is something that I have been practicing for several months now.

And to be honest with you, I love it! I typically eat between 7 AM and stop somewhere before 4PM. And don’t eat until the next morning. Plenty of water is consumed in between, on average I’m pulling anywhere between 16-20 hours. The longest I have fasted is a full 24.

The health benefits of I.F. for me, have been improved mood, gut health, better sleep, much less joint pain, more energy and so on. And again, I love this practice, but what some people don’t realize, is that the practice of fasting is nothing new. Ancient religions have been practicing fasting for thousands of years. Though in many religions, fasting is typically dry.

One of the biggest components when it comes to fasting, particularly in the Christian tradition. Is to bring us back to the understanding that we are not sufficient in and of ourselves. But that God is all sufficient for his people. What happens for in my own fasting and spiritual practice, is that everything comes to the surface for me. Meaning that all the areas that I know I need to improve, things I need to deal with and or repent of come floating up.

It’s as though, fasting is the water that brings things to surface, when we humans try to drowned them out. Fasting lets me know that I am not as in control as I allow myself to believe. It allows me the understanding, that I haven’t arrived and have a long way to go. It beckons to utter the words, “Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner”.

I highly encourage a lot of people to fast, especially for the reasons mentioned above. Start slow and work your way into longer windows of fasting. The health benefits are great, but know that there’re deeper, more satisfying reasons to fast if you’re willing to give it a shot.

Is Nutrition The New Religion?

Quite possibly…

Let me explain,  as humans when we discover something that works for us, we get really excited and filled with passion about it. We then want to evangelize about, because in our minds we believe the results that we’ve had will be the same for the next person.

We find all the ways to defend our nutritional convictions against others who might have a differing view. Its not always a simple disagreement or variants of opinion, it can be down right ugly too.

On social media, I constantly see vegans spewing fire and the more meat based community and vise versa. It’s so crazy! It’s become almost no different than a popular atheist having a heated debate with a theist.

Shouldn’t we be pumping the brakes a bit? I think so! We argue and defend our nutritional stand points, as though we are defending what one believes to be an absolute truth or fact about life or even the after life.

Stoooooop!

Nutrition is a temporary element to life, does it matter? Yes it does, what you feed your body matters. But it should in some ways be a personal path way for how you live your life and the legacy in which you want to leave behind for future generations to come.

When you come upon the last breath of your earthly life, I highly, highly doubt that the last though we have will be “My nutritional convictions was everything to me…” Nutritionally speaking, people are so damn different, some people love their fruits and greens more than I do.

Personally speaking, I believe that my body does very well, with a more meat based/carnivore approach. But I refuse to look down upon someone who chooses a more plant based diet. If that works for a person great, as long as they feel in their heart of hearts that they are thriving to their highest level, awesome!

On the other side of the spectrum though, there are people who’s bodies don’t respond well to a more fruit and greens approach. And that should be more than ok! If, as a professional, I have a client who loves a plant based approach, is not my job to shove my own conviction down their throats.

My soul objective is to work with whats good for them as a person, which is also a very complex journey to embark on. I can show people, as to why I believe that a more higher protein diet might be more beneficial in some ways. But to the degree that a person has free will, it’s up to them to decide what  is right.

Again, we aren’t arguing for a canonized authority on nutrition, the end all be all, alpha and omega of nutrition. Entire countries have sadly split over religion, and while it may very well be an extreme jump. If we are not carful, our stances on nutrition may slowly but surely do the same thing. Even more so, people choose to disassociate with others, because of a chosen nutritional stance, which is utter madness to me.

Food is vital to health, we all need to strive to be healthier, in order that we may live a full and healthy life. But it not something that we can use as a means to have social or moral superiority with.

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But I’ve Sinned Too Much (Grace Part 2)

The other day I was writing in my journal, about how I simply could not understand how God could be so loving toward me. How deep and wide his grace is for me, how!? I have clearly sinned far too much in my life, I am far too prideful, stubborn and absorbed and have clearly out sinned the grace of God…

Except, I haven’t, you haven’t and we cannot exhaust his grace for us. If you are in Christ, your sin has been removed as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103). We are new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:27).

The problem becomes, when we can know this in our heads, but we fail to live as if we are out of our hearts. We know it mentally, be we live as though we are still condemned. Yet scripture tells us, that there is NO condemnation when you are in Christ (Romans 8:1-1)

There is no condemnation for us, no guilt, no shame! But I still struggle, you say, yes me too, I believe that we are struggle in our own ways. And anyone who says that they no longer struggle I believe is a liar. Furthermore, if a person is fully healed and does not struggle with his or her sin nature any longer. Then they need to speak up and share their secrets.

For the the only way I have learned to combat my former self, is to renew my mind with the truth and love that Christ offers me through his word.

You might even think that there is no way, you could have victory over the besetting sin in your life. whatever it is. And so you think, there’s no way Gods grace is big enough for your situation, but I tell you that that is a lie the enemy wants you to believe.

I believe that the grace of God is big, far and wide, that you can complete wreck your life, and God’s grace would still be more than enough to cleanse, re-create your heart and sustain you.

Consider the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43)

Not much is know about this man, he might have had an entire life of stealing, cheating and lying has way to get what he wants. And in the last moments of his life, he begs the Lord to remember him in his kingdom.

What happens inside this man? In the final moments of his life, I believe that the holy spirit softens this mans heart and opens his eyes to see the Christ that is suffering beside him and for him. And so in other words he, says, Jesus have mercy on me a sinner.

The common reply to this is:

So your saying I can screw my life up and God will forgive me?  Well, yes and no. We just saw that Christ can forgive the man on the cross, who was asking to be remembered. Yet that was only by the grace of God to begin with. And even though Gods grace can make anyone new, I do not believe that God is saying to go make a disaster of your life. In fact, I would submit that he wants us to live a better life. One in line with him.

I’m telling you that the grace of God is so good, is more amazing than anything else in the world. It can make everything new in your life, regardless of what your prior life has been. But it is always amazing because it will set you on a pathway to a new destiny.

For his grace to us is this, when you and I are in Christ, it as though we have never sinned. For the father see’s the perfect image of his son in us, therefore the father see’s us as he see’s his beloved son.

There is hope,

don’t give up the fight.

Because he hasn’t given up the fight for you!

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Gods Grace

Gods grace is the single most beautiful, amazing and life changing gifts in my life and the world around us. Jesus Christ is the perfect, beautiful and amazing embodiment of that. His grace is all that I am and all that I have. Without his grace I am utterly lost, like a homeless soul begging to be let in to a warm home or begging for scraps.

gods-grace1His grace has changed my life, grace has rescued me from myself. Grace has given me the ability to discover my true self, it has given me the ability to live free from within and grace has taught me to smile regardless of what circumstances may be put before me.

The apostle Paul said that Gods grace made him what he is (1 Corinthians 15:10), the apostle Paul is most famous for his conversion in acts 9. Before his conversation, he hated and persecuted Christians, he had them thrown into prison and even killed.  Paul was a man who new the Jewish tradition inside and out, he even followed with utmost care and perfection it seemed. Though, he was a deeply religious man, he did not know true inner peace or who he really was or meant to be.

In my own spiritual journey, that following the commands of the Lord, is far more difficult when I am trying to do them out of my own strength and religious piety. But when I am operating out of a place of love and grace, things are more easy and light. Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

You might be thinking: Okay, well how does one begin to operate out of the heart beat of grace? Great question, but I will first tell you that, at first, grace will not feel comfortable or even very “loving” why? Because grace has to break through the resistance of your mind, heart and being.

Again, this might be very comfortable at first, because God in his love, has to break through your pride, your self-reliance, your will, your desires everything. Basically in love, the Lord has to break you down to build you back up. He makes you a new creation.  He gives you a new mind, heart and will.

God did this in my own life, when he graciously allowed me to encounter his son Jesus. He melted me, he made me see all that I ever longed for and was longing for. He made me see, just how miserable I was and how horrible I was at playing god with my life. More importantly, he showed me that only he could be the satisfaction and peace that I so deeply longed for.

Feeling and knowing his amazing grace, spun me inside and out in the best way possible. I was happy and truly smiled! What I learned though, over time and actually on countless occasions, is that grace is much more than a feeling, but a true state of being, a deep anchor that a child of God can hold onto in the midst of life’s most violent storms.

No, I don’t always feel grace, but I have learned that it is so profoundly sufficient. Some days I am reminded of the sins of old, and the shame and regret that comes with them. Somedays I am so desperate to feel his grace, as though I am some sort of addict. I’m crying out for it.

In this time, Christ cries back to me saying I am the embodiment of grace! His life, death and resurrection is the all the grace I need, not a mere feeling. When I cannot feel the grace of God, he reminds me of what he did on the cross for me.

One) He took my place on the cross, and died the death that should have been for me (and you).

Two) He took my sin, shame and guilt. And in a great exchange, he gave me his perfection and made righteous in the sight of his father.

Three) While on the cross, he was momentarily separated from his father, so that you or I never have to be.

Four)  The resurrection of Christ, means that we have died to our old selves and that we have risen with him. Furthermore, it means, we will have a resurrection of our bodies when he comes again.

This is the only assurance we will ever need, in regards to his grace towards us. Even if we never saw another shred of evidence. Christ’s actions on the cross are more than enough evidence to show us the depth, width and breadth of his grace for us.

 

 

Don’t get bitter-Get Better! The Annoying Truth.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase: Don’t get bitter getter better, if you’ve found it to be slightly annoying, that is more than okay. However, it’s been coming to my mind the last few days, and as annoying as it can be. I believe that the phrase or quote has truth to it.

First, bitterness is nothing more than carrying around excess emotional, mental and even spiritual weight inside us. It robs us of joy, fun, sleep, makes us cranky and not fun to be around. For many of us, we have had relationships go wrong, been screwed over in some ways or saw someone we don’t like get the upper hand in life so to speak.

It drives you nuts I know, especially with social media, it’s easy to see the lives of someone we don’t like all happy, acting as though everything is fine. Meanwhile, we’re still pissed that they hurt us, and rightfully so. I’m not trying to make smallness to anyones pain.

Over the last year, I have had a few people screw me over in various ways, and you know what? It hurts and it pisses me, and somedays I would like to give them a piece of my mind. But here’s the thing, they probably don’t care and aren’t even giving it a thought.

So what I left with? What are you left with?

Two options: Stay where were at: Bitter, angry, pissed off, hurt and wanting to smacking someone or a group of people silly. Or… Or, we can let it go, for the better quality of life. Letting go of the hurt, anger and frustration. This then, doesn’t mean that you justify what a person did, it doesn’t even mean you forget it. But it does mean accepting the harsh reality, that the person that is most stunted in forward progress is YOU and ME.

I’ll say it again, most people don’t care that you’re hurt, angry or pissed off. They mostly only care about themselves. Unless, unless a person comes to you and is truly remorseful, then the context can be a lot different. So at the end of day, we are stuck with ourselves.

Get better: As I said above, we can learn to gradually let go of the wrongs done to us, for the improvement of ourselves. We can ponder any mistakes that we could have made, and learn to improve upon them. We can apply discipline in our lives, in the name of setting boundaries, so that we don’t allow others to hurt us or take advantage us whatever it is, ever again.

You and me, we only get one shot as this earthly life. So why not spend it on the relentless pursuit of getter better in every single area of our lives. Not being weighed down by past experiences? We soar greater in life, when we have less to weigh us down.

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How CP Led to My Happiness!

“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?” -Isaiah 45:9, New Living Translation

Snapshots of My Conversion
As someone who was born with cerebral palsy, this was one of my hearts most loaded questions. After all I just wanted to know what it was like to be like everyone else. To be able to run, jump, walk and do the things that normal kids/ people did. Doctors told my parents that, one of two scenarios would unfold in light of me having cerebral palsy. One) I’d grow out of it and two) I wouldn’t be able to do much of anything on my own.

Thankfully my parents are very stubborn and refused to believe any of the doctors outcome. Over time I gained weight and strength, as well as finding escapes from the confines of my wheel chair and leg braces through being raised in the martial arts and strength training, thanks to my father.

Still though, as a young boy, I had to endure the pain of various operations on my legs, hips and spine. Each operation, requiring a year or more of recovery and thus not being around peers my age and being confined to a bed, with minimal outside interaction apart from going to therapy and the doctors. As a young boy, I couldn’t help but ponder the age old question: If there was a God, why did he allow me to be this way? Why so much pain and suffering? As a kid, I was raised with the concept of reincarnation, thus the probability that I could come back as a new person with a new person.

Yet even that I was very skeptical about, in all honesty, I didn’t know if God was real, good or loving. In short, until I was 17 years old, I was an agnostic and yet deep down I wanted there to be something more and greater than myself. I only was suppressing the truth, as the apostle Paul states in Romans 1:18, the biggest catch was that in my own heart, if he was real that I wanted nothing to do with him. What I didn’t know, what was that through all the suffering, anger, bitterness, jealousy, depression and envy. Was that the Lord, in his grace was already affectionately drawing me to himself.
What I Have Learned
He is always in control: As I have grown in my faith journey over the last several years, I have found immense comfort and joy in his complete and utter control over my life. The words of Ephesians 1:3-11 “3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us[b] for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known[c] to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. Simply put I interpret the words of Ephesians 1:3-11 to mean, that he was in control, that he knew that in the midst of such suffering and darkness. That he had already set me apart, not only to the praise of his glory but that I may be a living reflection of love and grace to the world.

I/we are loved and not mistakes: The father has loved me so well, through his son Jesus. When the holy spirit softened my hard heart, I quickly understood how wide and deep and how vast was his love for me. I was humbled in knowing, that when he fashioned me in my mothers wombs, that I was not some sort of divine-cosmic accident, but that even in spite of having cerebral palsy, I was still fearfully and wonderfully made.

And neither are you. Look to the gospel of John 9, Jesus’s disciples see a man who was born blind and automatically ask, why this man was born the way he was. Was is his sin or the sins of his parents? Jesus says neither sinned, but that this man, was and is this way so that his glory might be revealed through him. We must truly cling to these realties. For I do not believe that I, nor my cerebral palsy is a mistake, but something that had to go through the authority of God first and foremost.

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I am not a mistake and you certainly are not a mistake either, for God has great lavished such an amazing love upon us. And is not a stranger to our pain, but plunged into suffering for us on the cross. Therefore, our Lord is not someone who has to seem like a stranger in our pain and darkness, but is one who is our deepest anchor and hope. If you find yourself, as I have, in great darkness. The arms of Christ can and is your greatest comfort. Not every day will be sunshine and rainbows. But in him is true satisfaction, love and hope in spite of how great the suffering.

What Defines You?

How we answer this question, is very vital. For it it makes up a vast majority of how we function in daily life.

First, what are we NOT?

We are not our disability, if you have one.

We are not our mental illness, if you have one.

we are not our grade point average.

We are not our sexual orientations.

We are not our political party.

We are not our past failures.

We are not our success.

We are not our body image.

We are not our relationship status.

On and on we could go.

Our core identity, is founded upon being made in the image of God (Genesis 1). Now I know that some might take issue with that. But for me, it wasn’t until I discovered how much God loved me, that I ever truly knew peace. It was then that I stopped the endless hunt for something to fill me up or satisfy me. Money is a blessing, but that can never bring us lasting satisfaction.

All of us, are on a hunt to find what gives us a sense of worth and purpose. For some of us, that’s children, status, money, sex, power. The reality is though, that may satisfy us for a while, but those things will all leave us empty when they are taken from us. And they will be!

Knowing that our worth, value, purpose and self-esteem is founded upon the Lords image in us. Thus allows us to be able to not only realize our true selves, but to see ourselves in  healthy and balanced way. It also allows us to endure the hardest of circumstances, knowing that God is in control and our truest satisfaction and joy.

And until we come to that understanding, we will be, as  saint Augustine says: Restless until it (our hearts) rests in you.

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The Thorn In My Side (Dealing With Anger)

I’m going to come out and say it, what haunts me the most is anger. It doesn’t take long for me to lose my mind, all the discipline and self-control go out the window. I hate it about myself, it makes me feel so ungodly and not mirroring Jesus Christ.

I hate the way anger makes me feel, it makes feel all the more frustrated that I’m angry in the first place. It makes me body feel like I’m going about my day, as though I am carrying around heavy amounts of weight on my body.

I try and close my eyes and take slow, deep breathes in an attempt to calm the storm inside me. I try and remember the peace and joy that is found in Christ. I try and remember that he has authority over the storms that surround us (Mark 4:35-41).

Jesus calm the storm inside me I pray under the breath, help me to act and love like you do. Even when people and circumstances annoy me, help me to know that you are Lord over everything in my life. Anger can very much be a two-edged sword, on one hand, it can be directed to fighting back against evil, with a holy anger.

The Lord, says that he is slow to anger, and abounding in faithful love and truth (Psalm 86:15). Note the word slow, the Lords anger is controlled and builds up over time. And to be sure, yes, the Lords anger will one day be poured out. But still, his anger is calculated and controlled. He simply doesn’t fly off the handle at a moments notice.

But I think there’s something to the reality, in which the Lord says  Vengeance is mine (Romans 12:9).  Why does he command this?  Because he doesn’t want anger to be the controlling factor of our lives. Again, the Bible doesn’t say to ever not be angry. For I just showed you that even God himself is slow to anger.

Moreover, scripture be angry and do not sin (Eph 4:26) how is that even possible? Again, this is where self-control and dependency on the Holy Spirit is crucial. Holy anger is being angry for a just cause, not the ill tempered person that lashes out and brings harm to others.

It is possible to be in control of oneself, when being overcome and frustration. For example, I might be annoyed with a person or person’s in a particular situation, but that doesn’t mean that I”m going to take out my anger on everyone involved. It takes extreme amount of discipline and the willingness to apply yourself to the process.

Some might argue that,  it’s just apart of some peoples genetic make up. But I’m not even willing to let them be used as an excuse. People can change. I certainly can change. It’s a matter of A) Admitting you have a problem B) making the steps needed to change C) Seeking forgiveness from God and others and D) laying aside every excuse that you have, as to why you can’t change. And actually believe that change is possible, because it is.

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