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My Transformation from Catholicism to Christianity


cross_4_youHow many times do you recall as a youth being advised, “Never talk about Religion and Politics“?  Assuredly, like most of us, probably more times than you have fingers and toes, yes?

Yet there comes a time in each of our lives when we reach a plateau of sorts that represents a plane of existence, comprising our ideals, core values, fervent beliefs and yes, religious and political advocacy.  You may reach the plateau at any age, however, typically, and more often than not, it will be some time after you’re out of the K-12 school system.

“Truly, it is completely normal and entirely expected that we will (and should) be challenged about our beliefs, for it is in these “Moments of Truth” when we learn more about who are; as sons and daughters, as husbands and wives, as mothers and fathers… most importantly, as spiritual beings.  For if our beliefs are never or seldom challenged, we lose focus, motivation, self-awareness and yes, direction in our lives.”

st_peters_basilicaAnd without question, my childhood was no exception.  Born and raised a Catholic, I regularly attended church, was educated for five years in a Parochial elementary school, served as an Altar Boy, learned the Mass in Latin, and of course, was instructed in the constructs, requirements, expectations and directives of living as a Catholic.

I began to seriously question, for lack of a better word, the validity of Catholicism as contrasted to other “alternatives” within the Grand scheme of the world, even universe.  Keeping in mind this is MY personal journey; upon inquiry, discussion, research and comparison, the Catholic Religion emphasized an inordinately large amount on finances/”dues”, spent an equally small amount of time on the Bible, and ubiquitously created the mental hierarchy of Church, Priest, Catholicism and lastly, Jesus Christ (in that order).  Needless to say, this troubled me in a deep and huge way.

bibleAnd then, I began to read the Bible on my own.  I began to personally experience Jesus Christ in the most wholesome, reverent and meaningful way, like I had never envisioned before.  It was as if I had just discovered that Santa Claus (Catholic Church) was not the real deal.  It caused me to feel betrayed, angered, frightened and anxious about my future.  In short, it challenged my core values to the point of nearly destroying my sense of self, value and being.

I have always been, and am, however, a Survivor.  Throughout my life, I’ve trusted my instincts and my gut, to analyze, make decisions and move forward in my mortal journey.  Truthfully, my transformation from Catholicism to Christianity occurred well into my 30’s, as it simply took my faith that long to mature.  And I remain confident in my path, who I am, who is Jesus Christ, what our relationship has become, and what my expectations are of myself to effectively and successfully live life as a Christian and Child of God.

Am I perfect?  HARDLY.  I struggle, like everyone else, with the sins of humanity.  Yet, that realization does not hinder nor prevent me from striving with every breath I take, to live my life in His image.  Do I have guilt as a father for not having done a better “job” raising my children as Christians?  EVERY DAY.  Yet, that reality, when examined, yields the conclusion and belief that every human being has a Free Will and uses it to form their own thoughts, make their own decisions, create their own behaviors, future and certainly, their personal accountability for their life.

Celtic_Eternal_LifeAs a father, I provided the toolbox and attempted to teach my children (and myself) how to use the tools of life; compassion, integrity, accountability, motivation, enthusiasm, reverence, humility and forgiveness.  Now, it is their choice which tools to use and how to use them; or whether to use them.

Does the Catholic Church serve a purpose?  Absolutely, as a resource about Jesus Christ, history, self-discipline and community.  My most trusted reference, however, is the Bible, for it represents the unequivocal “Word of God” and when viewed holistically, is the ultimate Book of Life.

I am a Christian and I live to become exclusively like Jesus Christ.  There is no other.  I humbly ask that you pray for me as a Christian to continue down the righteous path.  God Bless You all in finding yourself; in finding Peace, Love, Joy; in finding your Savior and Salvation.  There is definitely something in the water.  Be well.

Resurrecting The Forgotten Family – Check It Out


Family ConceptNever in the recent history of the world, have we witnessed the unprecedented destruction of society, culture and security, as we do now.  Religious and Ethnic persecution, Politically-motivated violence, social media attacks, Suppression of Freedom of Speech, Corruption in our Government.  Seemingly unrelated issues, however, share a common thread of substance; the Core Family Unit.

At the dawn of civilization, the family unit was the basis for survival of self as well as the species.  It was characterized by rules, heterosexual reproduction and safety (food, shelter and clothing).  Enamored with nurturing, albeit crude, the family also served to educate the young, much like animals educate their offspring.Family_Caveman

Progressing throughout recorded history, the family unit, let’s just call it the family, has evolved in function, form and features; yet, regardless of the changes, always served as the bedrock of social and cultural life and was revered, sought and protected because people understood the critical nature of the family to survival, legacy and individual reputation.

Toward the Industrial Age, families became larger, primarily due to the functional need to support the family farm in agricultural pursuits.  Once again, survival was paramount and acknowledged by all.  Love, not a subject of casual conversation in the public at the time, remained at the core of the family as it was considered to be the “X” Factor of sorts and the “right thing to do” with respect to how adults were expected to behave and interact with each other.  What a concept, yes?

Let’s fast-forward to today.  The traditional “family” is disrespected, ridiculed, demonized and undermined at every crossroad including television, media, government and education.  Make no mistake, the destruction of the family as the core instrument of society and culture, has consequences; significant consequences.

“At the heart of the dismantling of the family, are sexual deviance/perversion, violence, and Godlessness.  Together, these behaviors have become hallmark mindsets of our generation that collectively serve to undermine the family as the core and biblical unit of our species as human beings.  They serve to impact our future in the most adverse scenario.  Continuing to follow this path, we will ultimately lose our identity as children of God and only recognize ourselves as physical and mortal organisms.”

Family_ChristianTo combat this trend and destructive energy, we must change the way we think about the family.  We must restore its reverence and meaning and we must painstakingly strive to protect and secure its future.  And the way we will accomplish this goal is to change our personal thinking and bring back God into our lives.  God and faith in Him are the antidote and foundation to the elimination of immorality and the downfall of society.  Sin is our enemy, not God!  God is the cure.

Any person with a logical mind that has studied the Scientific Method, knows about simple Cause and Effect and Root Cause Analysis, as the basis of effective problem solving.  What we face now in America can be objectively and logically identified and understood, if we are willing to acknowledge and accept the responsibility to understand that each of us are a part of the proPower_of_Prayer_1blem.  Most importantly, that each of us are equally the key to addressing and resolving the problem.  It is not the job of other people to fix it, but rather, it is everyone’s job; it is Your job and it is My job.  WE MUST OWN THAT RESPONSIBILITY AND MINDSET.

And the way we approach this problem aligns with the way we approach our lives.  Invite God into your life.  Submit to His Presence as the Divine Father.  Learn how to live in His Light, Obey His Instructions for mankind and promote that mindset to others.  Let your actions serve as testimony to the Truth.  Let the Light of God shine in your life and permeate the world.

Economic bondage, SSpiritual-Journeypiritual Decay, Health Issues and Decaying/Toxic Relationships, along with all of the afflictions of this world that have plagued our species, originate and are manifested, as sin in direct relation to our ability (or inability) to think, act, behave and consciously choose God’s way of life.  We must deliberately decide to follow God and rebuke sin.  It is clearly an All or Nothing scenario.

The tools to accomplish this transformation include prayer, role model emulation, love and compassion for others.  The visible by-products of these efforts will be enhanced self-esteem, dignity, integrity, respect and inner peace.  I call these things our Spiritual DNA.  Over time, the adoption of this new mindset will cleanse our minds, spirits and souls and will demonstrate to the world around us that we choose God as our savior and redeemer.

Only then will things begin to get better.

Only then will the quality of our lives improve.

Only then will eternal life and salvation be once again within our reach.

Only then will we be saved.

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The Fight For Your Soul – Has Begun


Blurred_People_WalkingIn the rush of everyday life, a person’s perceptive tendencies can be dulled by all of life’s distractions, resulting in a blurred and reduced awareness of reality, of events, of connecting the dots in everyday life to be able to recognize patterns, trends and Truth.  As a Christian, one believes in the words of the Bible, in the history of it, the matter of fact of it, the prophecies of it; the present and future reality of it.

At the same time, however, we live our everyday lives the best that we can, we parent our Biblechildren the best that we can, we do our jobs the best that we can; we live as Christians the best that we can.

“And that is precisely what brings us to The “Elephant in the Room”, and the obvious question directed at discerning whether we would actually be able to recognize, or perceive, if the prophecies in the Bible have been, and are, unfolding and occurring right in front of us, without our even being aware of it.”

Horses_ApocalypseAdmittedly, not an expert in the Bible, this author is aware of the concept of “End Times” and the associated characteristics that accompany it.  Undeniably present and real in today’s world, several, prophecized events or indicators of the End Times include:

  • A Rapid Accumulation of Knowledge (Internet)
  • Violence and Sexual Immorality (Hollywood / Gay & Lesbian Lifestyle)
  • Earthquakes (Steadily Increasing Frequency and Magnitude)
  • Christians being Killed because of their Faith (Radical Islam / ISIS)

These are the more obvious and observable indicators of the End Time Prophecy in the Bible.  Connecting the dots of these and other events or realities is a difficult task at best, however, these trends are indisputable and occurring in the world today.

The Lord's PrayerRegardless of one’s willingness to acknowledge or accept the relevance and reality of this belief, a specific approach each and all of us can take in our own lives is:

  • Regular and fervent Prayer
  • Genuine effort to become more familiar with the Bible
  • Sincerely work to live our lives to serve as examples for our children and others to witness
  • Obtain Personal Gratification from living a Righteous life
  • Strive to spend 10 minutes of Reflection on a Daily Basis
  • Leverage opportunities to help others and demonstrate good will
  • Promote Optimism and Positive Action toward others
  • Regularly practice Forgiveness
  • Consciously avoid thoughts of Revenge, Immorality and Irreverence

In short, many people have become out-of-focus and living as zombies, and have become immune to the world that surrounds (and impacts) them, focusing exclusively on the “routine” of life, striving to maximize opportunities for leisure while minimizing controversy and conflict.  What gets lost in the process, however, is our fundamental, our predestined purpose for being here; to help others, to learn about ourselves and to prepare for eternity.

Find your faith.  Be a Christian.  Don’t be a zombie.   Be well.

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The Everyday Christian


GoldenGateBridgeThere is a term in business that serves as a “how to” approach to problem solving and it focuses on the difference between a desired state and current state.  In other words, this is the vision of where we want to be versus where we are.  It is appropriately called a “Gap Analysis” and it defines and measures the gap between present reality and a desired future reality.

One might wonder, “What does a Gap Analysis have to do with being a Christian?”  At face value, perhaps not much.  If you view and contrast, however, the vision of humanity and life that Jesus aspires each of us to achieve in the Bible versus our reality as sinners struggling to behave Christ-like; amazingly, a Gap Analysis approach may be very apropos.

Part of the struggle to live as  a Christian, walking in Jesus’s path, is being able to visualize Bibleand encapsulate our thoughts, actions and behaviors in a way that emulates the “rules” of God as Jesus lived.  At the foundation of Christianity lie the “Ten Commandments”.  Let’s begin by labeling them as the desired or future state.  Aligning our lives with this desired state constitutes compliance and fulfills the requirements of Christianity, albeit a perfect existence, virtually impossible to achieve as we are imperfect by definition.

As the Golden Gate Bridge was created (constructed) in 1937, it served one monumental and macroscopic purpose, to bridge the gap between San Francisco and Marin County in California.  Prior to its existence, traveling 4,200 ft over water to reach a destination (desired state) may have been considered impossible to achieve; much like living the perfect Christian life in accordance to the Bible.

Helen_Keller_Quote_3And much like the Golden Gate Bridge transforms a perceived impossibility into reality, Christians can benefit from this example to effectively move toward the desired state (living in accordance to the Ten Commandments as defined in the Bible).  This can be accomplished by adopting a perspective of maintaining focus on the end-goal or destination, and not becoming overwhelmed or preoccupied with other things, while progressing toward it.

We are many times distracted in life by seemingly monumental issues and goals, that when placed in proper perspective, are in reality, insignificant.  Issues like technology, social norms, leisure, peer pressure, group-think, etc. which over time, unguarded, become false gods in and of themselves.

“The bridge that can effectively transform this perceived impossibility into reality for Christians, is realistically, a collective set of practices that work together to create the necessary synergy to overcome hurdles, face failure, recognize success and realize Christian principles.  As the Golden Gate bridge is constructed of many materials, each serving a specific function, the Everyday Christian must likewise employ several approaches to yield the desired state.”

Integral to this end are Prayer, Reflection, Forgiveness, Humility, Kindness, Obedience, Respect, Discipline, Faith and above all, Love.  As the Gospel of Thomas indicates, “the Kingdom of God is inside of you, and it is outside of you.  When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living Father.  But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty, and it is you who are that poverty.”

A life of humble, authentic and sincere means can easily become a more significant presence and example of Christianity, than one of importance, recognition, fame and financial means.  It is always intent that is paramount as opposed to method.  What matters most is what dwells within your heart.  Indeed, these are the “Living Years”.  Be well.

Related articles

Living in the Shadows – No More


Midwest_AmericaGrowing up in the Midwest, like many red-blooded American adolescents, I was born and raised a Christian, more specifically, a Catholic.  In realistic terms, it meant going to church on Sunday (and Church holidays), being an Altar-Boy serving mass, attending Parochial School, receiving Sacraments (Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, etc.).

But perhaps, the most far-reaching and impactful aspect of being a Christian was learning about, accepting and Believing in God, the Bible, the Ten Commandments, Heaven & Hell, Angels, Miracles and the like.  At times, it was downright interesting, bordering on fascinating.  Most people accepted you for who you were and subsequently, your spiritual life went largely uncontested by others.

ManitowocAs a child, open to learning new things, willing to accept concepts at face value, being able to decide the truth of things and contemplating a logical result, God really didn’t seem that much of a stretch.  In fact, considering the history of the world, cultures, society and the awareness of other “religions”, it appeared to me that many of the primary belief-systems had quite a bit in common with each other.  At a bare minimum, each worshiped a “Supreme Being.”

Life was good, things made sense, people appeared grounded, confident and for the most part, good-natured.  Everyone was generally concerned with each other’s welfare, safety, etc.  In essence, people were civilized.

Manitowoc_DowntownSomewhere along the line, however, beginning in the 60’s, maturing in the 70’s, running rampant in the 80’s, spiraling out of control in the 90’s and then, off the charts at the turn of the century, people began changing their focus inward, toward self-indulgence, worshiping False Gods (technology, entertainment, celebrity, drugs) and eventually, sin itself.  It’s as if people believed God had gone on vacation or had stopped “being” God.

As I’ve matured, I’ve come to realize that Life has really become, anything but simple.  People have collectively and largely, become morally weakened, stressed, frustrated and fearful that God has abandoned, or worse, “left the building”.  It’s as if the bright light at the end of the tunnel, eternally shining as a beacon of hope, direction and support, had mysteriously been vanquished, snuffed out and replaced with Darkness, uncertainty, fear and turmoil.

Our indomitable Christian Spirit had been broken and the Hope for true Life and a future in Heaven became dim and precariously vulnerable to extinction.

In hindsight, it’s no wonder atheism has grown, same-sex relationships have blossomed and genuine concern for each other as human beings and Children of God has all but become a thing of the past.  What was once considered an “R” rated movie is now an unfortunate norm on daily and weekly network and cable television series.

Broken_FaithWe have effectively been “downgraded” as a species, no less, by ourselves; and a likewise, self-inflicted and universal lack of faith.   What was once the majority in the United States, i.e., Christianity, morally grounded behavior and values; has now become viewed as “out of touch”, old-fashioned (emphasis on old), and lame.

Pretty grim story thus far, yes?  Well, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t need to be that way; unless you truly wish it to be true.  Each of us creates our own future by our free will, choices, thoughts, behaviors and actions.

Returning to that young Catholic boy who went to church, prayed every night before bed, served mass on a weekly basis and wondered in awe of the Goodness of God and the notion of a magnificent future in Heaven…  that boy has grown up and matured into an insightful, caring, confident man, rooted in faith, who REFUSES to cave in to the moral corruption and decay of society.

I have never been, am not and will not be nor view myself as a victim.  To the contrary, my future is secure, my purpose is clear and my actions demonstrate my confidence in what awaits me after my physical body expires.  Believe me, it is BEAUTIFUL!

white_lily_and_crucifix.jpgPerspective is a much maligned word, previously confined primarily to drawing, art and geometry.  For me, perspective has become a foundational brick in the wall of my Faith.  It is an essential element by which understanding of God, life, purpose and most notably, self; is very possible, realistic and visible, i.e., REAL.

I’ve lived and experienced too many “coincidences” in life, too many exceptions to the rules, too unlikely a circumstance to naively think and/or conclude there is no God, no eternal life, no miracles, no Angels…  no Accountability or Consequences to sin.

To the contrary, God (simply) is, Heaven (simply) awaits us, evil (simply) attempts to devour and consume us, and Love (simply) conquers all.

“I’d rather live my life believing in God and then die, to find out I was wrong; than to live my life in a forlorn mental capacity, believing that life is but a cosmic accident, waiting for the “end” and then die, to find out I was wrong and missed the entire lesson that God Himself intended and designed for me to experience, learn and grow in spirit.”

Wizard_of_OzTo each person that calls him/herself a Christian, I challenge you to step out from the Shadows of your fears and your life; and publicly proclaim your belief in God and His way of Life, to your spouse, parents, family, friends and those close to you.  Begin living your life in a manner for which you can be proud, when the “Exit” sign is illuminated at the end of your journey/path.

All it takes is a bit of Courage, Heart and Wisdom.  Be well.

Courage:

Heart:

Wisdom:

The Interview with God


If you have never seen this brief video, I recommended watching it as it will, at a minimum, spark and provoke deep thoughts about human life, and at a maximum, remind you of our very limited knowledge of our life, the universe, and beyond.  Enjoy!

All comments and dialogue are welcome.  Be well.

Note: Go to Fullscreen, turn up your volume and choose HD for an amazing experience

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