Donny's Ramblings


5 Comments

Did Jesus Exist?

Have you ever had someone challenge you as to whether or not the man we call Jesus Christ actually existed?  Have you had doubts of your own about His existence?  Today I listened to a radio broadcast on the matter with Trent Horn from from Catholic Answers Live (click here for the article about it).  In it, Trent shares information and has conversations with callers on the topic of Jesus’ existence.  If you’re a Protestant listener who has issues with certain Catholic Doctrines – as I do – don’t worry!  The information shared is not from a “Catholic” perspective, and shouldn’t conflict with your beliefs in any way.  This audio file simply shares information that you will undoubtedly find interesting and useful on the topic of Jesus’ existence.

Click here to listen:

After listening:

  • For more information on the writings of Jewish historian Flavius Josephus on Jesus, you might find this wikipedia article interesting.
  • For more information on the writings of Roman Historian and senator Tacitus on Jesus, you might find this wikipedia article interesting.


20 Comments

For Me, It Takes a Toothbrush

Along the Sacramento River Trail

A view from the Sacramento River Trail: my favorite place to converse with my Creator.

Last night I wept, snot running down my face and dripping off my chin, for a period of about 4 hours. It wasn’t fun and I really didn’t like it. At least not then – not while it was happening. This morning I see it in a different light, because it’s times like that, when my soul cries out to God and to others, when I feel a toothbrush at work inside.

Some of those close to me sometimes question whether I’m fully letting Jesus inside to clean things out.  I know that I am. It’s just that I don’t think He wants to magically make everything perfect. I think He purposely works on issues slowly so that I understand them better. He isn’t just taking a fire hose and spraying the place out… He’s taking a toothbrush and slowly deep cleaning. I sometimes feel like others need to see fire hose evidence in order to believe a work is in progress, but I am more than overjoyed with the toothbrush. Perhaps you, dear Constant Reader, aren’t the type that needs to understand things about yourself like I do, but I want to know… I want to understand… I want to get it. I feel that is going to be a big part of any future ministry God may have for me: identifying with others who have gone through the same things I’ve gone through and maybe being able to be used to help others “get it”.  For that to happen I need to reach that place myself.  Slowly.

My cockiness is melting away.  I am realizing I really don’t know much.  I’m not nearly as smart as I thought.  I’m enrolled in Seminary and want to be used by God, but I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever have anything to say to anybody.  Perhaps that’s all for the best? Perhaps that’s the only way to be if God’s words are to be spoken and not my own?  I feel inadequate.

In the two weeks of 2006 between September 11th, when I knew I would no longer be in “the business”, and September 25th when I finally asked Jesus to take over, I wanted instant answers and solutions to all the anger and bitterness and questions I had about Him, Christianity, and people. I tried to strike a deal with God that if he brought those answers I’d give him my life. He didn’t respond at all. He was silent. On September 25th I finally understood that it wasn’t that He wasn’t willing to answer my questions, He just wasn’t going to do so all at once. He has been very faithful with slow answers. Some of them even in dreams. Most of them through something I read and then ponder, or something someone says to me that I ponder while prayerful, or through ideas that form when speaking with Him along the Sacramento River Trail, my favorite place to converse with Him.

This slow rate is purposeful, and I am loving the journey.  I am content in the knowledge that change will continue.  I am not asking for speedy results, because I am realizing the value of “one step at a time” results that really have a chance to sink in.  Does this make any sense?  It is lovely what’s happening.   But I do wish those closest to me would reach the place where they, too, realized that all these things they think I need to let God heal – the bitterness… the anger… the constant questioning – I AM letting Him in to heal.  Again, it is purposely slow.  And maybe some of you might even be who He uses to point out what’s next, but I need those who are close to please be patient, because this is a one-thing-at-a-time situation.  Lots of time went into the damage, and lots of time is going to be required to toothbrush it away.


3 Comments

Focusing on What's Important

We all get so easily distracted by petty things and ask the wrong questions. That’s what hit me as I read this:

Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”

Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong questions. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over.”

Of course, we all know the outcome of that story: Jesus healed the blind man’s eyes so he could see.

I still have goosebumps, literally, from his words. “You’re asking me the wrong questions. You’re looking for someone to blame.” That is just SO like us. Like ME. Asking the wrong questions, and looking for someone to blame instead of searching, while the sun shines, for the work that I COULD and SHOULD be doing.

Today I’m going to try my hardest not to look for someone to blame. I’m going to keep my eyes open and try to see the work that needs done. God help me see it.

(more and more, I’m becoming a Jesus Freak)


6 Comments

Focusing on What’s Important

We all get so easily distracted by petty things and ask the wrong questions. That’s what hit me as I read this:

Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”

Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong questions. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over.”

Of course, we all know the outcome of that story: Jesus healed the blind man’s eyes so he could see.

I still have goosebumps, literally, from his words. “You’re asking me the wrong questions. You’re looking for someone to blame.” That is just SO like us. Like ME. Asking the wrong questions, and looking for someone to blame instead of searching, while the sun shines, for the work that I COULD and SHOULD be doing.

Today I’m going to try my hardest not to look for someone to blame. I’m going to keep my eyes open and try to see the work that needs done. God help me see it.

(more and more, I’m becoming a Jesus Freak)


28 Comments

What You Look For, You Will Find

At least 5 days a week I walk the Sacramento River Trail. If you’ve been reading very long you know this. These walks are my time with God. I learn a lot on The Trail.

Where the trail crosses behind the Elk’s Lodge there’s a beautiful place to sit and look out at the river. I’m sitting there now, writing this blog post from my iPhone using the WordPress Application I recently mentioned in another post.

I also mentioned a Bible Application provided by LifeChurch.tv for iPhone users. Since it was released I’ve incorporated it into my morning walking routine. I sit right here on this bench, stare out at the river, read a few passages, think about them a bit while watching the boats pass by and repeat that process until I’ve read through at least one chapter, often more. The computer nerd in me really loves being able to read multiple versions of the Bible on my iPhone.

This morning I’ve read through 3 chapters of John and found an answer to one of my never ending questions. I’ve read this chapter many times before, but I guess the time is just right today because it finally sank in.

In my blog post to “Carrie the Atheist” awhile back, you might recall that I voiced several of my concerns and questions with the Bible. One of those questions has to do with the ability of the writers of scripture to recall what Jesus said to them. Few of us can remember word for word the conversations we had just hours ago, yet the writers of the Bible are trusted to recall conversations with Jesus from decades before they were written down?

Here’s what I found this morning:

In John chapter 14 verse 26 Jesus is quoted as telling his disciples that when he is gone, the Comforter that he will send will, amongst other things, “bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

The Donny in me would bring up objections on how using this verse to prove its accuracy is pure circular reasoning. But the Comforter and I converse quite a bit on this trail, and on this day I believe this answer was meant for me to find. I choose to accept it.

What you look for you will find.

Next on my list? Those men who met in the fourth century to decide which books to include in our Bibles and which to toss aside… I’d like to believe they made the right decision. Dear God, please shed some light on this for me.

photo

photo


1 Comment

Choosing Christianity Shouldn't Be Based on One's Opinion of Christians

Reposted from a local message board I enjoy perusing…

Originally Posted by Benztech:
I’ve spent several hours today David trying to find Christian scripture that specifically advises Christians to tolerate religions other then the Christian religion. I had a very difficult time.However, it was very easy to come up with multiple scriptures from almost every other major religion on Earth that specifically instructs that they tolerate or honor another mans faith.In the instances where I did find Christian scripture such as, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, goodwill to all people. (Luke 2:14)”, in the Christian explanation or attitude this seems to imply, “goodwill to all Christianpeople”.My question, Do you believe that Luke 2:14 applys to Mormons, Scientologists, Buddists?

I sincerely hope you don’t blow me off here, because I am genuinely troubled.
And depending on your answer I feel I owe you a great apology, or if not, this would be an exercise where you might gather some personal insight as well.

If I may give you a little history here so you won’t question my sincerity.
It might also explain why recent conversations have been so intense and penetrating.

There was much spiritual conflict in my youth being from a Christian (Baptist) and non-Christian (Jewish)family. Almost entirely these conflicts came from the Christian side. Ultimately, this left me on my own to seek spirituality.
Fortunately, I relyed on morality and I’ve been fortunate in my choices in life.

In recent years I’ve been looking, trying to find a spiritual house where I can be happy and comfortable.
I’ve shared this with a close friend who is a devout Catholic and he has been working on me for a couple of years now.

David, I have to be very honest with you here. This Christian intolerance of other peoples faith has me very worried.
From the intolerance my Baptist grandmother had for my Jewish Grandmother. To the intolerance my friend has towards other faiths, including other Christian faiths. To your own intolerance towards Mormons, Scientologists, and probably others.

Indeed, it seems Christians have a problem not only with non-Christians, but with other Christians as well!

I have to reaffirm that if this intolerance is part of the Christain faith, that’s fine, G-D bless all you Christians. I will tolerate Christians and respect and honor your faith. But at last it will narrow my search for a spiritual home considerably.

My Response:

This was directed at David, but may I respond as well?

First of all, you’ll notice that some Christians are indeed intolerant. It is my opinion that this is the case because they’ve been told that there is no other acceptable way of attaining salvation other than what they believe. They confuse “tolerance” with “acceptance”, not realizing that to be tolerant does not mean one has to be in agreement.

Some truly want to help others, and they think that if they do not get through to those they are attempting to help, they’ve failed and lost a soul to eternal torment. They take this very seriously and make all efforts to save as many souls as they can.

I’ve begun realizing that intolerant Christians make up the minority, but receive the majority of the attention. This is the same with just about any “negative” in the world. We hear about kidnappings and people killing each other, but we don’t hear so much about all the every day human kindnesses that are extended around the world.

In the past I have been very vocal about all of the things I hate about Christianity. Now I realize that being judgmental of the judgmental… is still judgmental. I can sit around and complain about Christians not being what they SHOULD be, or I can get in there and do my best to follow Christ.

Choosing a religion to fill the spiritual void inside should not be based on the actions of those who follow that religion. Christ isn’t always well represented by those who claim to follow Him, but HE lived an amazing life full of amazing teachings that are very relevant to this day.

Just earlier today I was talking to an acquaintance online. He told me he was looking into Buddhism. When I was producing porn I looked into Buddhism (and several other religions). He was open to hearing why I chose Christianity. Here is part of my reply to him:

The things I like better about Christianity rather than Buddhism is that in Buddhism attaining salvation comes from worldly sufferings, universal brotherhood, peace and non-violence. Jesus taught that salvation comes from His (God’s) grace and then he calls us to brotherhood, peace and non-violence of our own free will and out of love for others. Salvation is then no longer based on works, but rather on the grace of the creator. Good works are not the goal, they are the result of loving both Him and our fellow humans.

Buddhism tells us that Nirvana is when our soul is freed of materialism. Jesus says pretty much the same thing: give up all your material possessions and follow my teachings, loving everyone, feeding the poor, taking care of the widows, etc. They really are quite similar when all the Christianese is removed.

If I remove all the negatives implanted in my mind by the actions of idiots who have done a poor job representing Christ, I clearly see that for me it makes the most sense to follow Him. It also happens to be the EASIEST religion in the world. Grace, rather than works, results in “nirvana” or salvation. When the reality of how HUGE grace really is sets in, our lives change and we become better people. LOVE is what changes us.

When deciding where you fit in, please consider the fact that you have the power to improve the perception of those around you in regards to your chosen path. Instead of being scared off by what you perceive to be poor Christians, for example, you could resolve to be a stellar Christian.


2 Comments

Choosing Christianity Shouldn’t Be Based on One’s Opinion of Christians

Reposted from a local message board I enjoy perusing…

Originally Posted by Benztech:
I’ve spent several hours today David trying to find Christian scripture that specifically advises Christians to tolerate religions other then the Christian religion. I had a very difficult time.However, it was very easy to come up with multiple scriptures from almost every other major religion on Earth that specifically instructs that they tolerate or honor another mans faith.In the instances where I did find Christian scripture such as, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, goodwill to all people. (Luke 2:14)”, in the Christian explanation or attitude this seems to imply, “goodwill to all Christianpeople”.My question, Do you believe that Luke 2:14 applys to Mormons, Scientologists, Buddists?

I sincerely hope you don’t blow me off here, because I am genuinely troubled.
And depending on your answer I feel I owe you a great apology, or if not, this would be an exercise where you might gather some personal insight as well.

If I may give you a little history here so you won’t question my sincerity.
It might also explain why recent conversations have been so intense and penetrating.

There was much spiritual conflict in my youth being from a Christian (Baptist) and non-Christian (Jewish)family. Almost entirely these conflicts came from the Christian side. Ultimately, this left me on my own to seek spirituality.
Fortunately, I relyed on morality and I’ve been fortunate in my choices in life.

In recent years I’ve been looking, trying to find a spiritual house where I can be happy and comfortable.
I’ve shared this with a close friend who is a devout Catholic and he has been working on me for a couple of years now.

David, I have to be very honest with you here. This Christian intolerance of other peoples faith has me very worried.
From the intolerance my Baptist grandmother had for my Jewish Grandmother. To the intolerance my friend has towards other faiths, including other Christian faiths. To your own intolerance towards Mormons, Scientologists, and probably others.

Indeed, it seems Christians have a problem not only with non-Christians, but with other Christians as well!

I have to reaffirm that if this intolerance is part of the Christain faith, that’s fine, G-D bless all you Christians. I will tolerate Christians and respect and honor your faith. But at last it will narrow my search for a spiritual home considerably.

My Response:

This was directed at David, but may I respond as well?

First of all, you’ll notice that some Christians are indeed intolerant. It is my opinion that this is the case because they’ve been told that there is no other acceptable way of attaining salvation other than what they believe. They confuse “tolerance” with “acceptance”, not realizing that to be tolerant does not mean one has to be in agreement.

Some truly want to help others, and they think that if they do not get through to those they are attempting to help, they’ve failed and lost a soul to eternal torment. They take this very seriously and make all efforts to save as many souls as they can.

I’ve begun realizing that intolerant Christians make up the minority, but receive the majority of the attention. This is the same with just about any “negative” in the world. We hear about kidnappings and people killing each other, but we don’t hear so much about all the every day human kindnesses that are extended around the world.

In the past I have been very vocal about all of the things I hate about Christianity. Now I realize that being judgmental of the judgmental… is still judgmental. I can sit around and complain about Christians not being what they SHOULD be, or I can get in there and do my best to follow Christ.

Choosing a religion to fill the spiritual void inside should not be based on the actions of those who follow that religion. Christ isn’t always well represented by those who claim to follow Him, but HE lived an amazing life full of amazing teachings that are very relevant to this day.

Just earlier today I was talking to an acquaintance online. He told me he was looking into Buddhism. When I was producing porn I looked into Buddhism (and several other religions). He was open to hearing why I chose Christianity. Here is part of my reply to him:

The things I like better about Christianity rather than Buddhism is that in Buddhism attaining salvation comes from worldly sufferings, universal brotherhood, peace and non-violence. Jesus taught that salvation comes from His (God’s) grace and then he calls us to brotherhood, peace and non-violence of our own free will and out of love for others. Salvation is then no longer based on works, but rather on the grace of the creator. Good works are not the goal, they are the result of loving both Him and our fellow humans.

Buddhism tells us that Nirvana is when our soul is freed of materialism. Jesus says pretty much the same thing: give up all your material possessions and follow my teachings, loving everyone, feeding the poor, taking care of the widows, etc. They really are quite similar when all the Christianese is removed.

If I remove all the negatives implanted in my mind by the actions of idiots who have done a poor job representing Christ, I clearly see that for me it makes the most sense to follow Him. It also happens to be the EASIEST religion in the world. Grace, rather than works, results in “nirvana” or salvation. When the reality of how HUGE grace really is sets in, our lives change and we become better people. LOVE is what changes us.

When deciding where you fit in, please consider the fact that you have the power to improve the perception of those around you in regards to your chosen path. Instead of being scared off by what you perceive to be poor Christians, for example, you could resolve to be a stellar Christian.