How To Be A Christian Without Being A Jerk

Faith in real life

Who Am I?

March 2nd, 2021

This is not me…

I am not centered on politics. I am not a Republican or Democrat, though I do vote. I am not centered on physical appearance. I am in favor of not stereotyping, scapegoating, or discriminating on physical appearance and so I don’t center my life on race, body type or physical capability.

This is me…

My primary meaning in life is centered on being a Christian, seeking the good of others within the range of my influence, and it is lived out primarily as a husband, father, father-in-law, and grandfather. The life mission I have through these filters is to seek the truth at all possible cost, with courage and consideration, and lead others to do the same.

Ultimately, I am not responsible for everything that happens around me, but I am completely responsible for my attitudes and actions towards what happens around me. This becomes a vocation I have as a student of the Master Teacher, Jesus, and I work in a congregation and live life in this way as a model and teacher and student with those who are my extended family and new friends I connect with along the way. I also “practice” what God is doing to me and through me, primarily in my neighborhood and day-to-day “joy-starting” with those I come into contact with in my local community.

 

 

 

 

 

The “Fine People” Hoax

February 15th, 2021

Pursuing the truth is a difficult venture. Not because of some postmodern shibboleth that “there is no such thing as truth; it is all a matter of perspective”, or something like that. But I can think of two reasons I may not speak the truth, though it is my intention. One, I have biases that may cloud my truth-seeking, and two, I may honestly think something is true, only later to realize I was wrong.

This is why Jordan Peterson’s Rule #8 is so helpful in “12 Rules For Living”-

“Always Tell The Truth or At Least Don’t Lie.”

Lying is intentional and destructive. It is no accident that lying makes the top ten in the commandments. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” It is no fluke that Christ himself gives a nickname for the devil, “The Father of Lies” (John 8:44).

I am a prude when it comes to lying. I don’t always tell the truth, but I don’t lie. Lying is my number one pet peeve of sin. My “life vision statement” or whatever we called it back in the 90′s has been, and is, the same in 2021.

“Seek the truth at all possible cost, with courage and consideration, and lead others to do the same.”

With  this personal disclosure, you can understand why I am slightly perturbed by the state of public discourse. It is, perhaps, irredeemable. Corporate media has the goal of making money. Politics has the goal of getting elected and re-elected. Social media has the goal of making money if you are monetized, or at least being popular if you are not. It’s not evident that any of these goals has much to do with seeking the truth.

So, what is the most destructive lie repeated in recent time? For me, without a doubt, it is the “Fine People” Hoax of 2017. President Trump was speaking of the protest rally in Charlottesville, VA over whether a statue of Robert E. Lee should be removed or not. Historians, and those who considered Robert E. Lee an important historical figure, were protesting against the removal. Other groups, some self-identifying as KKK, neo-Nazi’s, Antifa and such, were there, as well.

President Trump voiced his condemnation of the violence that was perpetrated. He clearly said there were fine people who were on the side of keeping the statue in place, and fine people who wanted it removed. “Fine people on both sides”, in other words. He clearly condemned the “hate” groups like neo-Nazi’s, KKK, and Antifa, and made it eminently clear none of them were part of the “fine people.”

Then the Democrat Party intentionally lied about this, saying President Trump really calling neo- Nazi’s and KKK, fine people. Corporate media supported them by lying about what the President said, and doctoring the video evidence, leaving out his condemnation of the KKK, neo-Nazi’s and other hate groups.

This lie was perpetrated from that point on. It is one of the most destructive public narratives concerning the racial unrest in the US from that point until now. This lie was continually used to try to cast aspersions on President Trump’s racism, and more importantly to me, the alleged racism of all those who supported him. As one who seeks the truth, this was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. The Democrat Party and corporate media were attempting to spin that people I love and admire, people of integrity and good will, were racists and “haters” because they were Republicans.

Disclaimer: As a registered “Democrat” at the time, I was troubled by many of the party’s positions. I remained Democrat, though I would simply vote for some Republicans when I thought they were a better choice. But, in a large part, due to the “fine people” hoax, I formally left the Democrat Party. I didn’t become a Republican, nor did I vote for Trump, but I could no longer be supportive of this deceit.

Now fast forward to the latest election. According to President Biden, this lie was what launched him into seeking the Democratic nomination for President. President Biden knew it was a lie and still spoke of it as a call to seek the Presidency. As a pastor, speaking of one’s call takes on powerful meaning, and to purposely use this lie to make oneself look noble, this was beyond the pale.  Then the President used this lie in his campaign speeches. Kamala Harris joined him in repeating the lie, as well. I was outraged. Then it continued in the Presidential debates.  Actually, I lost respect for anyone who continued this lie to try to split people apart on racial grounds, in particular during such a sensitive time in our country. Yet, this continued all the way until the second impeachment proceedings of last week.

The Democrat House Managers of the impeachment proceedings used doctored evidence, troubling enough, but then they included the “fine people” hoax. They showed the standard doctored videotape of President Trump commenting on Charlottesville that corporate media continued to show.

Then, the truth was finally exposed because the defense team of President Trump showed the authentic, unaltered video of what the President actually said.  As this was an impeachment proceeding, corporate media was compelled to broadcast the truth for the first time. Along with other doctored false evidence, the Democrat House Managers were exposed for all to see.

Now, I am not naive enough to think President Biden and the Democrat Party members who perpetuated the “fine people” hoax for political gain will admit they lied and ask for forgiveness. But, I do expect my friends and colleagues who were caught up in this lie, and publicly supported it, to do just that. This lie has brought untold damage to racial relationships in our country, communities, and families.  Yes, politics is not pure, and you can continue to support President Biden and his policies in spite of this lie, but you are also compelled to tell the truth about it if you publicly supported it.  And please, for your own integrity, and the sake of all people, if President Biden ever lies in such an egregious and damaging way again, I hope and trust you will call it out.

On Mass Murder…

August 12th, 2019

With the recent mass murders in our nation, there are reactions that include this one expressed in a LA Times headline, “Two Massacres and No Answers”. As an absolute statement this headline is accurate. Each mass murderer is a unique human being who has choices as to how they to live their lives. We don’t know why people specifically choose to act as they do. We don’t have definitive answers. But we do know there are insights into these murderers, even some commonalities

The most obvious way a murderer will give us insight into what they did is by letting them tell us. They may leave a suicide note/ confession/ manifesto/social media evidence/ etc. This is certainly an insight toward “answers”.

Other than what the murderer’s say themselves, there are also key insights toward “answers” from a spiritual ands psychological dimension. From Sandy Hook to Columbine to the most recent cases, there are commonalities.

Spiritually, these murderers chose to not want God in their lives. None of them were committed followers of the ways of Jesus. Obviously, “love your neighbor” and “love your enemy” are not part of their experience.

Nihilism is the worldview of many of these murderers. Rejecting there is any meaning to life. Rejecting any religious or moral principles, except one. In many of these mass murders, the perpetrator has become a god unto themselves.  Most often these murderers exhibit the “unholy” trinity of behaviors Jesus and the Bible most often speak against. These three responses to life provide the recipe for pure evil: Arrogance, deceit, and resentment.

Arrogance- You are the god of your own universe.

Deceit- You tell yourself lies, deceiving yourself into thinking that you are the only one who is right. You live this deceit with those around you.

Resentment- Your conscious anger toward the world, perhaps your subconscious anger toward yourself, where all of this anger builds up into pure resentment and eventually contempt. Contempt is where you don’t consider other people as worthy of existence.

Psychologically, once again the unhealthy trinity of arrogance (“narcissism”) deception, and resentment. The best psychological insight I have received on this topic is from clinical psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson. In his book, Twelve Rules for Life: An Antidote For Chaos, Peterson speaks about the “why?” when it comes to the despicable behavior of mass murderers in his Rule #6, “Set you house in perfect order before you criticize the world.”

Rather than summarizing his insights, you can listen for yourself. I am including this recording of Peterson reading this chapter. Also, there is this interview clip, where Peterson gives a brief review.

 

Why Politics Isn’t the Answer…It’s About The First Commandment

August 28th, 2018

The Ten Commandments are about love. Loving God and loving your neighbor. Working for the good of God’s ways and working for the good of your neighbor.

The First Commandment.

“I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.

“You must not have any other god but me.”

We notice immediately God emphasizes freedom. We worship a God who sets free and delivers from bondage.

So, if you don’t want that God what god would you choose?

Something that brings you back into bondage again?

Who would want that god?

The god of bondage?

Homer Simpson said, “Alcohol is the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.”

Well today this sounds like politics.

In the mainstream world today, everything is politicized. As if politics is the center of the world.

Or, ‘politics is the cause of and the solution to all of life’s problems.’

No, actually politics is bondage. Trying to seek solutions to the world’s problems using human means. Good luck on that. If we choose not to follow God and his agenda, we are left with the bondage to relying on humanity to save us.

Your god is simply that thing you place the most trust in.

Martin Luther said it this way.

“We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.”

Your God is that which you focus on, that which you rely on. If you trust in anything other than God, your god simply doesn’t have enough power.

Sorry to have to tell you this, but President Trump is not the Messiah and he’s not the Antichrist.

He doesn’t have all the answers and neither do those who would “Resist” him.

Even though our media and our universities are working full time to convince us that they have all the answers, they know what’s best for us, this is worshiping a false god. We have to “Just say no.”

In today’s world we have to say “No” to the false power we attribute to our political agendas in order to say, “Yes to God.”

But, why do I have to say no to other things to say yes to God?

We can’t believe 2+2=4 and that 2+2=5 is also correct.

We can’t say God creates us, rescues us and empowers us, and then at the same time believe some other power does these things, as well.

God demands we love him alone.

And if we choose any other God other than the LORD our God, this will not only destroy us, but our neighbor will have to pay.

Beginning with the closest, most intimate neighbor. Our own families. The next passage of Exodus 20, after the first commandment, explains.

“I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.”

That seems clear to me. God specifically comes as Jesus to carry out his mission to rescue and restore the world.

Logically, it makes sense to follow Jesus. It makes sense to pass down his message and model it for the next generations. There may be other ways to know the things of God other than through Jesus, but, what if I’m wrong? I may have just screwed up  the life of my kids and their kids.

Practically it makes sense to follow Jesus. Just take the Christian worldview and live out any part of it. Don’t take revenge, for instance. Or, work for the good of your enemy the way Jesus would if he were you. Work to relieve innocent suffering.

You see, Christianity matches reality better than any other religion or philosophy when it is actually practiced. Go ahead and try other ways if you must. But, if you are open enough and honest enough, you will always end up with the truth of Jesus.

But, if I don’t surrender my life to God’s ways, and don’t really attempt to seek him, there will be hell to pay. Hell to pay for me and hell to pay for the rest of you.

The first commandment.

 

You Can Connect With My Content In These Place

April 11th, 2016

I am currently experimenting with a social media consultant and am generating much of my work to my church website. Here are places you can find content I am creating.

lifehouse.la (the congregation where I serve as senior pastor)

personal Facebook page

church Facebook page

Facebook page for my book, Reboot: 70 Life Lessons With Dallas Willard

Facebook page for my Grandpablogger blog

Grandpablogger.com (my grandparenting site)

joystartshere.com (I write for Life Model Works)

davidhousholder.com (I podcast for Life & Liberty Magazine)

 

Taking Disciplinary Action Against Breathing…

November 11th, 2015

I saw this email sent out by the Missouri University Police Department:

 

To: MU POLICE
Subject: Reporting Hateful and/or Hurtful Speech

To continue to ensure that the University of Missouri campus remains safe, the MU Police Department (MUPD) is asking individuals who witness incidents of hateful and/or hurtful speech or actions to:

 

  • Call the police immediately at 573-882-7201. (If you are in an emergency situation, dial 911.)

  • Give the communications operator a summary of the incident, including location.

  • Provide a detailed description of the individual(s) involved.

  • Provide a license plate and vehicle descriptions (if appropriate).

  • If possible and if it can be done safely, take a photo of the individual(s) with your cell phone.

 

Delays, including posting information to social media, can often reduce the chances of identifying the responsible parties. While cases of hateful and hurtful speech are not crimes, if the individual(s) identified are students, MU’s Office of Student Conduct can take disciplinary action.

 

What is wrong with this?

 

It is a meaningless email.

 

There is no human being living today who has not internalized what someone else has said to them as hateful or hurtful. Add to this you don’t necessarily know the intent of the communicator and whether they intended to bring out either of those emotions.

 

I find what Timothy Keller says about this genius. In The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness he writes:

 

“The ego often hurts. That is because it has something incredibly wrong with it. Something unbelievably wrong with it. It is always drawing attention to itself – it does so every single day. It is always making us think about how we look and how we are treated. People sometimes say their feelings are hurt. But our feelings can’t be hurt! It is the ego that hurts – my sense of self, my identity. Our feelings are fine! It is my ego that hurts…My ego would not hurt unless there was something terribly wrong with it. Think about it. It is very hard to get through a whole day without feeling snubbed or ignored or feeling stupid or getting down on ourselves. That is because there is something wrong with my ego. There is something wrong with my identity. There is something wrong with my sense of self. It is never happy. It is always drawing attention to itself.”

 

Also, there is no human being living today who has not purposely said something hateful or hurtful. We are broken people without exception.

 

In summary, there is no one alive who has not had their feelings hurt and there is no one alive who has not said something someone else internalized as hurtful.

 

If the University of Missouri Police Department wishes to draw this to a logical conclusion, 100% of all students, faculty, and staff on the campus, including the officers themselves, will be subject to disciplinary action.

 

Actually, this email is the equivalent of saying,

 

“To continue to ensure that the University of Missouri campus remains safe, the MU Police Department (MUPD) is asking individuals who witness incidents of breathing to:

 

  • Call the police immediately….”

Helping the Hurting

September 10th, 2015

At the church where I am pastor, we are hosting a conference for the national Stephen Ministries team. These ministries provide training for one-on-one Christian care giving for hurting people.

As we are hosting the conference, a letter was sent out from me to 1500 congregations in the LA area inviting folks to consider attending. One of those letters reached Bethany Baptist Church of West Los Angeles. The pastor, LA Kessee spoke with one of our Stephen leaders, Vickie De Blasio, about the struggles occurring at his church. Just recently, they have had 13 deaths in their congregation!

Overwhelming, but the people of God are there. Bethany is sending folks to the workshop, but our Stephen leader, Buzz Brown decided we could offer more. Four of us traveled down to their church on Tuesday. We did a mini “taster” workshop for their congregation including help with dealing with grief, healthy healing, and visiting folks who are grieving.

The people of Bethany were such gracious hosts and interacted greatly with us as we shared our experiences and the experiences of other Stephen Ministers from LIFEhouse. What a blessing to see God at work connecting two communities of brothers and sisters in this way!

As LA said, “Can I get an Amen?”

Everyone is invited to attend this workshop September 19, from 9-1 p.m. If you are interested, here is the information.

How To Be A Christian Without Being A Jerk

Faith in real life