Friday, November 12, 2010

Gay Marriage

A friend says to me, "So Billy, I noticed you follow politics and also are involved in religion, so what do you think about the whole "gay marriage" thing? For it? Ban it?"

So I says...

Well in answer to your question, I am torn between my idea for a right and functioning civil society and a desire to follow Jesus Christ. This is difficult in this situation because I believe according to the Constitution that there is no valid reason for gays not to be allowed to marry. Despite the fact that this nation was founded by a Christian majority, a deist minority, and in all likelihood had no intentions for setting up a system where gays could be allowed to marry, these same men did set up a system where such a thing could legally happen. Remember, they probably also never intended for women to vote or for blacks to have equal rights either :-/

So no, under the Constitution I can see no reason that gays should not be allowed to "marry"...but that brings up another question. Why do gays want to get "married" in the first place? I think first and foremost the term marriage should be used in its original connotation: a union under God sanctioned by the church, not as a function of the state. As it is gay partners have the same rights and protections in some states as plenty of married couples, and yet for some reason they insist on being recognized under a religious term.

I don't think gays should be married just like I don't atheists should be married...should they get the same rights and functions as a married couple? Absolutely, since there is no constitutional reason why they shouldn't. But why religiously recognize a union between two nonreligious individuals? Fix the term I say, and then progress from there.

Religiously I am quite obviously opposed to gay marriage. It is in direct contradiction with the written word of God. However I do not judge, nor is it my place to judge, ANY actions done by non-Christians in this world. If a man wants to engage another man sexually and he is not a Christian, why not? He is living by a completely different set of standards than Christians live by. However, if he is a Christian, and if he fully believes that Jesus Christ came and died for his sins, to be free from ANY kind of sexual immorality (be it homosexuality or anything else), than yes he must make a conscious effort to rid himself of this "desire". This will not be easy, and by no means is any man perfect, but he must daily and willfully struggle against this desire which the Bible recognizes as sinful. Fighting sin however is not done in the flesh, but through the Holy Spirit, who empowers us as Christians to follow Christ even though our bodies are constantly rebelling against us.

Paul puts it this way: "So death (being sin) is at work in us, but life is found in Jesus Christ." We are imperfect creatures, and we all sin (homosexuality is just one type of sin), but through the blood of Jesus we are free to follow Him, and love Him, and be more like Him in every aspect of our lives. He will not judge us by our sins anymore, instead He will judge us by how we lived our lives after we accept His purity into our lives.

Boom! Gay marriage solved 

Monday, November 1, 2010


Spectator or participant? Is it better to watch, study, and give commentary on the great works of other or to strive to do the great works yourself? And for that matter what clarifies greatness? Mankind seems to have divided greatness up into categories: there are great scholars, great composers, great authors, great generals...all conquerors in their field to some degree or another. And they are all famous for the most part. Who can say who is greatest among the greats? Comparing a Bach to a Belisarius or a Hemingway to a Peyton Manning would be like comparing apples to oranges. Their common thread is greatness, if nothing else.

How does one become great? By being one particular thing. It's interesting to note that some of the world's "greatest" men and women display some of the most appalling and gaping personality flaws. Hemingway shot himself and was a chronic narcissist. Jefferson owned slaves. James Bond had/has (the cheeky English bastard never dies after all) numerous affairs ;) Being a person of greatness does not make you great, simply excellent at one thing. So how does one live a truly great life? By excelling in all things.

The Bible provides some interesting thought into this topic - nothing. For all the literary examples of great men peppered throughout the Bible, from Moses to David to Paul, the one common thread among them is selflessness. In fact many times these great men purposely took measures to avoid having greatness thrust upon them. Moses was all  but forced to return to Egypt. David consistently spared the life of the one man who was trying to kill him, and the one man stopping him from becoming king of Israel. Paul used his considerable power and influence in spreading the Gospel to earn a prized spot in prison. He would later be executed. When the Bible does talk about greatness it is always in association with servitude. To be the greatest, learn to be the least. After all what does Jesus do when He comes on the scene? Rather than use his power to wrest control from Rome, He chooses poverty and homelessness. He washes the feet of fisherman and cavorts in the company of prostitutes and society's outcasts. Ironically, these great men excelled at more than just one thing. They excelled in life.

In Proverbs we are told to live simply. Paul tells us as Christians to be a boon on society, to be productive, to be faithful in our labor and loving to friend and foe alike. We sow charity not discord. And we live simply in adherence to the calling of our Lord and His son Jesus, who likewise lived simply using his talents for the good of others.

The call to greatness is strong within the American psyche, and while this nation truly is a great one, the way in which its citizens choose to strive for greatness makes all the difference. In a nation where corporate scandal has become the norm, evil is being called good, and the line between black and white has given way to an era of moral gray, I earnestly pray that the inner cry for greatness creates a generation of servants instead of schemers. Be excellent in how you live, not for what you do. By all means strive for excellence, pursue your studies with passion, your work with diligence, and your renown will increase in some small or large capacity. But do so with the knowledge that true greatness isn't being an Olympian, or a rock star, or a Senator. It's using your God-given talents to best of your ability for the service of others. You can pursue greatness in one of two ways: I will strive to pursue it through the latter.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

All Is Vanity

Sometimes I like to think that what I am doing actually matters. That in the long run my activities and pursuits will make a difference in my life and the lives of others. In this I may probably be far off the mark.

A wise man once wrote that all the strivings and machinations of mankind can be deduced down into a single word: vanity. Imagine if you can a world without vanity. Would there be beauty, modern art, neo-Classical architecture, empires, or...make-up? I would argue that the chief objective behind the majority of the world's so-called beauty is vanity. One man seeking to establish his name, his works, and his glory above the rabble. And yet the term has achieved a negative connotation in today's modern society. Our culture is obsessed with individuals that reek of this kind of vanity and yet make every effort to avoid the term in and of itself. Why is that? Why can't people just open up and admit to the world that they. are. vain...

In his memoirs, Albert Speer, chief architect inside Hitler's Third Reich, speaks to the vanity that wove itself into the pompous and bombast designs of Hitler's new Chancellery, Reichstag, and palatial palace. It's dimensions were enormous, with the new government building designed to house several American Capitol buildings within itself. Yet what Speer ultimately found, and what most individuals who are likewise engorged upon their own self-worth often find, was that colossally large buildings (or ego's) are hideous to behold, a blemish upon the landscape, and produce the opposite effect of what was intended. Instead of beauty, repugnance. Instead of joy, loathing.

I am guilty of this. So often I strive to achieve for the sole purpose of getting...bigger. Which is ironic because I am already a very little guy. Perhaps if I got X job, my life would have value, maybe if I did Y workout plan I would finally achieve that look that I think might make me happy, if only I go to Z number of parties I will finally be popular...but to what purpose does this vanity exist? I often find that the more I achieve the larger the disparity is between my happiness and the sense of value I get for accomplishing a vain pursuit. I got the job. Hooray! Now I can...what? Make money, feel better about myself, buy that car that I always wanted?

We have been raised as Americans to believe that we should always be striving for the bigger and better. This individualistic mindset is not wrong, simply misleading, because it assumes that once we have achieved, that once we have succeeded, then at the end of that very long tunnel is tremendous satisfaction and joy. And yet we know this is not the truth. There is a reason why money can't buy happiness, and why the world's most ostensibly successful people have such low self-worth and joy. Despite what our culture tells us, we will never find satisfaction through vanity. In fact when we get what we want, when ourselves have become so inflated by success and power and numerous other vain pursuits, it is then we feel that creeping despair and futility of the life we knew take hold. The world and all of it's appeal is based on a system of hollow vanity that leads to nowhere but misery.

I am dumbfounded that I still strive to excel in a system that I know leads to nowhere. My hope is that one day I will live for others, that my ambitions originate from a desire to better mankind rather than to better myself. In a world where people vainly look for ways to make themselves happy, maybe looking for ways to make other people happy could actually make a difference. Maybe then I'll be doing something that matters. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why I Started This

Good question. And I have no real reason. I could care less if anybody follows this or reads this and I rather hope they don't, because in all honesty the title of this blog is quite true.

As a writer in grad school I have found that a major source of inspiration to my writing (and reading) consists of good bourbon whiskey and/or possibly chai tea. Since I don't really feel like putting the word "chai" in my blog title, I figured bourbon would be the next best thing, and besides who would really want to read about my rants after I get all hopped up on too much...tea. Exactly. It is is ludicrous. Bourbon on the other he makes me say infinitely more than my friend chai ever could. And yes, my bourbon is a he.

There are few inanimate objects in this world that can truly be called a "he". Cars, ships, planes, motorcycles, guns, even women themselves...all "she's". And who really knows why. I'm assuming since they are all things that guys like to ride, we feel infinitely more comfortable, and far more straight, riding "she's". But, occasionally there are things, albeit things that men have no real need to straddle, that can be affectionately referred to as a "he". A good bottle of bourbon is one of these things, and with his inspiration, I may from time to time get on this blog and jot down my feelings.

I started journaling this summer in a rough patch where life had seemingly dealt me deuces and...tres's (?)...instead of aces and kings. Needing an outlet I formed what can only be defined as a prayer journal/book of bilbob's feelings, all highly emotional and terribly boring to read about. My feelings as they are written down in that journal, look like the last wishes of a dying man, which unless that man is famous or infamous, is just downright depressing and of no use to anybody whatsoever. I will try my best to spare you, whoever you may be, from that kind of malarkey in this blog.

Anyways a bit about me. I am young, male, and have no common sense. I am all of these to a fault. Because I am young I am impetuous, because I am male I have an overly developed libido which frequently gets me into trouble, and because I have no common sense I have no real safeguard on being young and male. O, and I lose things, like compulsively. So in essence, I am your typical American guy.

But hey, the dude abides.

On a final note for this initial posting, it must also be noted that I am unashamedly religious. I am a Christian, a true one, and if you ever have any questions about that, or if this blog seemingly goes against what you think that faith professes, than by all means, let me know. And I'm assuming if you found your way to this page by accident or even by choice, that you at least know my real identity. But perhaps I'm being naive...

This post was written without the aid or betterment of the fine bottle of Bulleit Bourbon sitting on my desk...