Premature Celebration

One detail that was glossed over (or semi-glossed over, depending on which post) was that our baby Victor was born prematurely. This actually makes raising children more convenient and more terrifying at the same time.

A premature baby is still thinking like he’s in the womb, which means their entire life involves one of a few rudimentary elements, and typically with way less crying involved than a full-term:

  • Eating
  • Pooping
  • Whining about uncomfortable things like heat and cold
  • Whining about not feeling comfortable about getting burped
  • Whining about being alone with nobody around
  • Whining because nobody has heard him whining for a while

For all of you folks who consider a baby a lovable bundle of joy with unfettered affection and cuteness, you’re all wrong (except for the cuteness…sometimes).

Life Tip: If you value a decent standing in popular society, don’t ever imply that babies are anything but pure perfection. Their immaculate nature cannot be questioned even when they’re spreading their immaculation all over your best shirts.

The truth is that a baby is quite a carnal creature. They are literally thinking about nothing but themselves, and have a phenomenally short-term memory that vaguely remembers that making loud noises fixes problems.

This loud-noise-fixing-problems solution is fine without a capacity for language or finer motor skills, but thankfully our 2-week-old has now surpassed some of my past bosses in temperance and restraint and absolutely nothing else with stuff.

Life Tip: If you value a decent standing in most of the work world, don’t talk poorly about any idiots you used to work for. Even if it was 10 years ago, their IQ is par golf and their leadership skills aren’t fit to lead a parade, everyone is an especially talented and gifted flower with all the potential that a unicorn’s puke can launch over a rainbow.

Nevertheless, our life slogs onward as we fulfill our doody. Here are a few gleanings of wisdom to bear in mind as a parent:

1. Throw your plans out the window as soon as you’re a parent

Everything in a child’s life is unpredictable. This is normal, and your parenting skills are more tested based on your adaptability than your preparedness. Preparedness is a matter of handling Child #2. Probably.

2. Don’t expect anything except fatigue and disorientation

Sleeplessness is natural for new parents. It feels unnatural, but that’s only because the human body wasn’t designed to wake up every 3 hours to screaming. It also is normal to have to do everything that new parenting requires without a whole lot of confidence, but that also is a jarring study in instinct and learning whatever your own crappy parents never bothered to tell you (now grandparents).

3. Parenting is successful only through connectedness

Our friends and church family have been vitally necessary for us to persist against all improbable odds. They’ve given us moral support, physical help, advice and a metric buttload of information. If it weren’t for them we’d be discovering new ways to ingest legal things to get an illegal experience from it.

All in all, being a parent is wonderful (or so I’ve heard), minus the initial investments, which is what we’re currently doing. When we’re not trying to maintain the small new human, we’re trying to survive on our own.

Imagine a low-maintenance custodial job. Every 3-4 hours someone barges into your office screaming incomprehensibly for you to clean or maintain something. The client stays screaming at you making your ears bleed until you do what he was trying to get at. This is newborn parenting, except that there’s never a day off, most of your paycheck is withheld for about a year and you get publicly shame-stared for bringing the miniature person along when they decide that Their Highness wants a wiped hiney.

That’s not completely true. A baby in public merits about as much attention as one could want. Apparently, the best way to magnify this experience is so common through Facebook that only a few baby photos has everyone screaming “pics or it didn’t happen!”

Amidst this chaotic rhythm, I’ve been making headway in that eternal question “what do I want to be when I grow up?” Since I done growed up, I’ve been brainstorming a few avenues to go that can keep my Honey Dumplings and Junior from suffering from defoodration:

1. Wait on God

Ah, the waiting, the endless and wonderful Waiting On The Lord that all believers love to do. This is a great thing to do, but good night it’s hard!

Technically, everything that happens has been permitted by God, meaning that whatever door opens is the one He wants for us, but you can’t steer a parked car and a mossy stone doesn’t gather rolls.

2. Mooch off the government

I’ve had a difficult time taking from my Uncle Sam, largely because he’s a bit of an Indian giver. He’s there for me, but only as long as I’m demographically of a certain persuasion. He sees me when I’m sleeping, he knows when I’m awake, he enforces when I’ve been bad or good but I’ve been good for goodness sake.

Apparently my family’s desire for self-sufficiency is offensive to those who love the government, so that’s all my well-tuned and overactive sense of restraint and privacy will express on the matter. Needless to say, this is a last-resort, but more on the principle of freedom than any sort of pride.

3. Vend Experience

I’ve been kicking around ideas to turn my Philosopher Accountant dream into something viable. It would involve seminars/webinars/stuff that give just the straight dirt on about every self-help issue that really matters.

This will take a ton of work, along with a good handful of others who share the vision, but it could be done. Right now it’s a matter of figuring out if it’s worth the effort, and filling out this survey will help tremendously on that!

4. Do something else

I’ve been kicking around ideas for a courier service and an art business with my wife as well, but it’s hard to get traction without feedback. Of course, being a new father makes brainstorming more of a general brainclouding.

There’s always a good idea that hasn’t been discovered yet, and I’d like to hear it if you’ve got it. The world is my oyster, and like real oysters it’s unlikely that I’ll succeed. However, since God has been guiding us this far it’s reasonably likely that we’re not going to fail yet!

Family Tip: Don’t just hope for miracles, live by them!


Baby Steps

The last time I shared a thing, our life was rudely shaken by my wife’s compulsive twitching. Her assets were seized by an OB/GYN doctor, and then he did a sew-sew job on tying up all her loose ends.

Family Tip: The best way to keep a family together is through superglue, but nobody ever takes my advice.

Once her discharging stopped and she had recharged enough, our baby Victor-poo (emphasis on poo) was discharged and our actual charge of the baby had enlarged.

There’s a reason it’s called “child rearing”. It has a lot to do with the rear. Feeding should be 8 times a day and 2-4 ounces per feeding. That chestmilk/alienfood has to go somewhere, and successful feeding will involve burping them to allow for digestion to travel one way. Butt I digress.

The first steps of parenting are actually pretty darn easy. The only thing you lose is sleep and the only things that change in your life is your furniture, friends, sense of responsibility and personal hygiene.

A church is most accurately defined by the love and connection of its members. My Hoggy Waddles and I have lost count of how many people have swung into our lives to support us, encourage us, feed us, clothe the baby and educate us on the finer points of keeping the small person alive and free from doing things that burn the house down.

Parenting Tip: I’m completely kidding about the fire thing. That doesn’t happen until 16 months.

All seriousness aside, having a child is awesome! It’s Greg & Vicky: The Remix. You get to see all sorts of funny little quirks that you never realized were genetic, and then you start seeing them immediately try to imitate the ones that aren’t!

Life Tip: The easiest way to have an easy time parenting is to be a boring person. The child will have the personality of a Pet Rock™ and will only need occasional watering and feeding.

The challenges would probably be there, but my Gummy Wubbers and I have a pretty dang adequate relationship, and therefore we only argue once a day about something our sleep-decrepit brains have decided to cook up for the sake of keeping each other awake.

Everyone says that it’s only the beginning, and it’s clear that raising a child is a bit like purgatory. However, like the mighty Sisyphus, your greatest efforts are never enough. Unlike Sisyphus, it’s all worth it. Or so they say at least.

Family Tip: Parenting is a never-ending cascade of misery and joy with no break in between, a bit like pet ownership or Volkswagen ownership.

Hey, Baby!

After the two of us deliberating the insides of my eyeballs for a few hours, we are now conscious enough to create ideas with thoughts and formed connections to a greater purpose.

Life Tip: Consciousness is rarely overrated, unless you have a crappy job.

Our lives have been entrenched in the hospital-shaped box, but it’s been a good sort of entrenched:

  • Vicky Wiggums’ health is improving. She can now use the bathroom like a young person and is able to walk like a spritely old man.
  • Baby Tot’s health is improving. He was hypoglycemic when he came out, but hasn’t had any IV sugar for the past 24 hours, and the only concern is that he keeps getting food in through his face.
  • I’ll be able to run a few errands, including getting this kid a certified birth with a certificate to prove it, making my hygienic level presentable to the average hobo, and paying off a few bills while I’m out.

With parenting, I’ve already learned a few lessons, if you other human beings are interested:

1. Parenting is EXTREMELY short-sighted

If you are a parent, you aren’t going to be concerned about the next five years. This is simply by virtue of the fact that there are 8,496 things to do between then and now, 45% of those things are brand-spanking new to you, 28% of them don’t really matter because of unforeseen circumstances that will change the situation entirely and 10% of them are things you already know that you don’t know and know that you can’t know until you know from having to know through experience.

2. Parenting either fixes dysfunction or aggravates it

Okay, imagine you’re hanging out smoking weed or doing something else legal and equally stupid. Then imagine that someone hands you control of a stray dog kennel. Obviously that is an added responsibility that you’re going to have to figure out what to do. If you’re a big waste of space you’ll do nothing and let the dogs go feral inside their cages before they break free and ingest the local population, but if you’re a reasonably responsible human being you will rise to the challenge and become all sorts of a dog lover over time.

The same thing applies to parenting, but it has the added advantage of that person looking half like you and half like the person you had intimate relations with. This magnifies the involvement you’re going to have with them, and also brings out your need to change in response to the little bag of needs bundle of joy.

3. Parenting is all about failing

If you want to be a parent, you’re not allowed to be a perfectionist. Most new parents fail to recognize this, and imagine a pristine antiseptic-filled paradise of edutainment and developmental toys as far as the little gremlin’s eyes can see.

Pay close attention to the second child onward. Have you ever noticed that the eldest gets treated like Prince Wants-A-Lot while the other kids are given slightly better preferential treatment over neighbors’ kids? This is for a reason.


All in all, to be a parent is to have failed, to have a strong dose of reality, and to be admitted into a fraternal part of society regarded as weather-worn, hardworking and socially inept. It’s worth the cost.

Infantile Thinking

One of the more keenly dumb parts of life is the fascinating way we tend to forget how easily life becomes routine for us. Ironically, a pregnancy should imply a complete cessation of routine, but we somehow forgot about that in the highly practical and day-to-day-mindedness of my Hummy Vicks and I.

Life Tip: If you ever feel like nobody cares about you, miss a bill and you’ll remember that someone was thinking about you.

As you all may have known, my Honey Badger has been gaining a sizable amount of weight in the only socially acceptable way possible in this country: by feeding a second person inside of her. This second person came out on my birthday, making one less date I have to remember.

Since many of you want to know what happened, I’m writing this, but please don’t judge the inferior writing style. I’m very tired, she’s exhausted, we’re in a hospital and it’s hard to catch sleep with some uncertainties still playing out.

This whole thing started Sunday morning as my Wifey Snippers and I woke up to go to church…

April 9, 8:00 a.m.

She had spent the prior evening with a migraine, and had what seemed to be the typical fatigue that I had come to expect from carrying around two people. In fact, she was feeling so horrible that I had to make breakfast (a feat I do rarely because she loves turning inedible things that you can buy at a food store into really tasty things).

9:45 a.m.

While we were driving, her eyes rolled up and to the left and she started looking up and to the left. My initial expectation had been that it was a stroke, but thankfully it was a seizure. About a minute later I was able to get to the church parking lot and call for help after I got her laid out on the ground. It was a simple matter of waiting with instructions from Don, the EMT helicopter pilot that goes to our church.

Health Tip: If you have to choose between a seizure and a stroke, go for the seizure. However, everyone still thinks you’re a horrible human being for saying that’s a better option.

10:00 a.m.

Two other ladies who go to our church, Kara and Susan, are OB/GYN nurses, and clarified that she was suffering from pre-eclampsia, also known as high-blood-pressure-induced-seizures-during-pregnancy, for short. Vicky was fading in and out of consciousness, and the ambulance had loaded her onto the stretcher. The EMTs were confronting me with a decision. Susan and Kara wanted her to go to Loma Linda University Medical Center, but the EMTs wanted to drop her off at San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital.

Loma Linda was 25 miles away and had all sorts of fun and fancy gizmos that keep people from dying in exotic ways, especially with their children’s facility, which specializes in death-defying whatsits for humans that can’t be trusted by other humans to operate heavy machinery. San Gorgonio, on the other hand, was only 2 miles away and had very little in the realm of things that prevent weird dying.

I had to make a decision, and I had the impression that my Wummy Nummys could be easily transferred to Loma Linda after getting her stable in San Gorgonio. This is not how hospitals work.

Bureaucracy Tip: Wherever you enter the large maze of checks and balances will demarcate where you can go and how you can get there, meaning the best thing to do is to assess the end result long before the paperwork is filed to get there. This never happens.

10:15 a.m.

My Funny Monkey was admitted, semi-conscious, and they started her on a magnesium sulfate drip. Right away Susan and Kara saw issues with the protocol, since the Standard Operating Procedure seemed to be “first make sure the mom is stable, then worry about the baby” while anyone with OB/GYN background will hold it as “the mom and the baby need to be taken care of as equally important, so it’s case-by-case”.

The political battle raged on as her risks for another seizure fought against the baby inside her. Susan and Kara saw that there were tremendous risks to my Hummy Gumby, and they were concerned at the nearly lackadaisical effort of the hospital staff.

11:00 a.m.

Through a stroke of sheer divine providence, inspired through the church we were inconvenienced to visit today praying for us, one of the OB/GYN nurses came to the rescue in expediting the decision on my Honey Fluffers. After a barrage of tests and some observation, it was clear that her blood pressure wasn’t stabilizing, and the OB/GYN doctor didn’t feel comfortable with moving her to Loma Linda.

I came to the next crossroads when he said he needed to do a cesarean section. This was a difficult decision since my Gooby Nutters was barely conscious and she hated the entire concept of it. However, her life and our baby’s life hung in the balance from the risks of further seizures, so I decided I’d save her life now and let her kill me later.

12:00 p.m.

The entire experience of this unfolding of events finally hit me. Thankfully, there were about ten people supporting me in various ways. I was overwhelmed with the reality that I had compromised what my wife’s wishes were, and it was a heart-wrenching realization of failure.

Normally I regard myself as a strong individual that sticks to his guns, but when the crap hits the fan nobody comes away smelling good. As much as we wanted a birthing center, the constraints of reality make the ideal a long-distant lofty dream that can never be attained, and it is foolishness to persist dwelling on it.

1:00 p.m.

I was with my Hon-Hon-Bunny-Gun while they prepared for her to have the c-section. It was surreal seeing her in the most physically debilitated way I could have imagined, and it was hard to maintain my composure. Since she was 36 weeks pregnant, this was going to be a premature baby, and my only solace was in intentionally not thinking about worst-case scenarios (premature baby that dies outside the womb, me being a bachelor dad, etc.)

2:00 p.m.

The next hour was filled with the relaxing experience of waiting to see if my wife and child would live. Thankfully, there were about eight people all supporting me through it still by being with me.

3:00 p.m.

The baby was delivered, and the gender was finally revealed to be a boy! On top of that, he was crying and doing all of the normal baby things that healthy non-premature babies do, like breathing without tubes and being a healthy color.

4:00 p.m.

The new battle was over my wife. She had had another seizure on the operating table before the c-section, and the doctor had said that she was clotting poorly. I had a chance to see her right after the surgery in the recovery room, and she looked worse than I’d ever seen her in my life!

After I left her and got back into the waiting room, I broke down. I started to sink into a depressive state until Bambi, one of the people from church, gave a hard smacking-to that woke me up from my downward mental spiral. I went to be with my son, even though I wanted profusely for my wife to see him and be with him first.

6:00 p.m.

They finally transferred my wife upstairs to the intensive care unit, which meant that she could have visitors. Unfortunately, I had to wait a half hour until I could see her, and the ICU’s waiting room chairs are far less comfortable for napping.

One powernap later, I was with her and she seemed significantly better than in the recovery room. Because my wife needed more attention and the baby needed more intensive care, they were slated to both transfer to Loma Linda. Unfortunately again, we had to wait for a bed to open up for her.

11:00 p.m.

After transfer paperwork, transferring her to a stretcher and a whole lot of waiting, she was finally admitted to Loma Linda. I followed in my car, and one of my pastors, Mark, went with me.

April 10, 1:00 a.m.

The baby was in good shape when I checked, my wife was alive and fine, but all 3 of us were clearly tired out from the experience. Everyone left for home and I slept on a very uncomfortable chair next to her.

4:30 a.m.

Every 30 minutes to an hour woke both her and I up for something diagnostic. It took me about 15 minutes to get to sleep in that awkward chair. Thankfully they moved her to another unit and carted in a bed for the two of us. I knocked out within seconds of touching the bed.

8:00 a.m.

I woke up again, visited the baby again, and tried to continue alleviating the mess of paperwork and tasks that were being handed to her. From then to now she’s had to juggle breast-pumping every 2-3 hours, overwhelming swelling from the surgery, difficulty moving and the pain of doing it all with an IV stuck in her arm.

Life persists onward, and the challenge of how it plays out is more connected to its duration than its severity. The capacity to create a philosophically pleasing experience out of our story is inadequate, since life doesn’t always play itself out like a story. Some endings of stories aren’t happy or sad or even meaningful, they are often simply forcing change.

Parenting isn’t what you expect, if you’re not a parent. Its very essence is unpredictability, which is both absolutely terrifying and unbelievably thrilling at the same time.

We’re not out of the woods yet. She’s still in the hospital, and I’ve still got quite a few things to do before we leave the hospital. However, we have each other, God has us, and nothing else really matters.

The Tragedy of the Common

The last time I posted, my Glitter Hampers and I were dealing with a cat that couldn’t keep its rear end still and strangely (and slightly entertainingly) bizarre control issues from my Crunchy Muffins’ parents. For those of you recently tuning in, this has been painted onto the current backdrop of us having a -1 month old baby still baking and my current capability to work being hindered by a lack of financially beneficial employment.

Often, the reason people tend to not communicate is either because they have little to say or they have too much to say. In the case of the past 3 weeks, we have had both. It has been both a time of growing for the two of us while at the same time a short season of a whole lot of bupkis.

Friends Tip: Sometimes friends don’t get back to you because they are simply flaky. Other times it’s because YOU’RE flaky. And yet, other times it’s because you’re not getting the hint that they don’t want to talk to you. Even when you stay outside their house with binoculars, they don’t respond to you. Leaving presents on their doorstep with handwritten notes of love doesn’t seem to work either, and don’t even TRY to talk to their children…

Before anything else, you should probably know that Mr. Poopyfur doesn’t live with us anymore. He saw our screen door open one day with all of the adorable outside wildlife, and one accidentally-left-open door later (honest!) he discovered the Call of the Wild™. He came back about six hours later, but by that point we were done grieving him, and he immediately revoked his indoor/outdoor cat status when he came back for the litterbox and ignored the food we gave him.

However, the experience didn’t leave us with a bitter edge. Unlike dogs, which are wolves trained into perpetual adolescence and would starve without humans, cats pretty much do their own thing and only stick around because we keep feeding them to keep the various pests away. In our case, the mice problem continues to pose a threat, but not since I realized that mice come through holes that are mouse-sized and took preventative action against it. Now, we only have to worry about the scratching and clawing of half-starved mice in the ventilation system instead of on our countertops, and it’s a much more enjoyable experience than Craft Time with Cat Waste.

Pet Tip: The lowest maintenance pet one can own is a Pet Rock™, and it’s probably the most rewarding, since it can also be a guard rock (throwing it), a foliage rock (moss), a door stop, a pillow and a hat!

God has proven Himself time and again, and our growing poverty has been a testament to it. It seems like we don’t actually get to see Him work unless we have the incapacity to finance everything through our own means!

Of course, this is probably just an American problem more than simply an “us” problem. It seems that in a typical prayer meeting, there are only a few particular things that people seem to ever pray for:

  1. “God, [I/someone I know/my pet] has [medical condition]. Please let them [not die/get better]!”
  2. “God, [I/someone I know] needs a job. Please give them a job in [industry].”
  3. “God, [someone I know] doesn’t know Jesus. Please make them a Christian!”
  4. “God, [I/someone I know] has [something about school]. Please make them [success in school].”
  5. “God, I’m really lonely, give me [a future spouse/relationship]”

Apparently, the way that we’ve been reading our Bible, the following are much more effective:

  1. “God, you know the situation, so let your will be done. Give me strength to accept hardship and suffering.”
  2. “God, you know what I can do and want to do. Let your will be done about where you want me to be.”
  3. “God, use me to minister to [person]. Let them know who you are through me and speak to them through your Holy Spirit.”
  4. “God, I’m going to do my best and entrust the consequences to you. Give me strength to accept what happens.”
  5. “God, you made me want [sex/romance/relationships]. Give me strength or give me a solution!”

Prayer Tip: You don’t look spiritual enough when praying unless you use lots of words. The more words, the more spiritual you are! Also, make sure to repeat certain phrases like “Fathergod” and “Ojeezus” over and over to prove how much you love Fathergod and Ojeezus.

The common thread among most American prayers is “Lord, please fix this thing. You can fix this thing, and we really want this thing to be fixed, so please fix it if you’d really like to.” On the other hand, the prayers in the Bible seem to be more along the line of “Thank you, Lord, for being in control. This thing is bugging us, so let your will be done to either fix it or grow us or whatever the heck you want us to do with it.” If you look at the persecuted church, you’ll discover their prayers mirror the latter.

Our financial indigence has given us some rather profound realization of another truth: we’re stingy receivers. We’ll give freely as others need, but it’s hard for us to take things from others without expectation of being able to give something back. This is pridefulness under a nicer title. Again, it’s probably not just us.

In the middle of all this poverty, we’ve both had another fun distraction to keep us entertained with family drama. I’m not talking about Bill Shakespeare’s portrayal of the story of a man named Hamlet, who was busy making a plot unfurled, all of them more despicable one after the other, the worst which would make your blood curdle. I’m talking about the type of behavior that would get someone fired or arrested if it wasn’t kept in the family.

My Honey Booger took my dad’s advice, and decided to have a discussion with her parents on the grounds of clearing the air. Apparently, they desire to only cloud the air with further brain farts, as the meeting 2 weeks ago demonstrated that they see her more as property than as a daughter, and a few days ago they decided to show up uninvited to visit my parents’ house again to gather more evidence learn more about their daughter whom they want to control talk to.

In the mix of this, my Bobo Beepersniffers and I have been diving deeply into a very specific passage in 1 Corinthians 5. This passage is also echoed in Hebrews 6, 2 Peter 2 and a few other places, but I’ll give you a quick summary of what we now believe:

Jesus warns about the yeast of the Pharisees 4 times across Matthew, Mark and Luke. The yeast is, put simply, hollow religiousness. When someone calls themselves a believer and at the same time devotes their lives to something that isn’t God or behaves in a truly despicable way, the entire body of Christ’s duty is to not associate with them anymore. Failure to do this will yeast up the whole congregation.

Unfortunately, this truth doesn’t resonate often with the flavors of Christianity that make a mega-church, and for the sake of “keeping the peace” many Western spiritual leaders have neglected their duty for generations in leading up this very important housekeeping part of our walk in Christ. This has led to all sorts of heresies, church-wide swindlings, unrepentance in the church culture and an overall worship of something that is only Christian in name, which doesn’t have a place in God’s Kingdom.

Now, this isn’t talking about “carnal Christians”. Unlike new believers, these people know the truth and at the same time excuse their actions under some pretense of God’s grace, but are completely unrepentant. They bring shame and condemnation on themselves and everyone they associate with, since they create a mockery of what following Jesus really means: a consistent acknowledgement of personal failure and a glorying of God’s devotion and power to create a sense of purpose and security that is literally alien to this world.

I bring up all this theology to clarify the next part of our story. After my Froggy Turtler met with her parents, we realized that there was literally zero repentance of any aspect of anything in how they may have potentially mis-parented or misstated or hurt any feelings. In fact, there wasn’t even a willingness to understand the words coming out of my Greeny Cheesy’s mouth! After much discussion, prayer, deliberation and thought, she did the most loving thing 1 Corinthians 5 showed her she could do: she gave them over to Satan in the hopes that their soul would be redeemed in the destruction of their flesh.

Spiritual Warfare Tip: Everyone acts like spiritual warfare is The Exorcist, but it’s a whole lot more common than that. In fact, you’re reading this with a strange bias because spiritual warfare is happening to you RIGHT NOW!!! EVERYONE FREAK OUT!!!!!

…or we can just accept that anything “common” in our minds is actually a big spiritual battleground that works best in Satan’s defense if we don’t really keep that in mind (Ephesians 6:10-12)

Though I’m not speaking according to anything biblical, I’m personally convinced that spiritual connections are built upon shared dwelling of ideas, and curiously my mother has started showing behaviors consistent with my Hoppy Scotchers’ mother. She recognized it before me, since I grew up with it and treated it like “just mom’s dumb shenanigans”, and the shared realization that both of these older women only abide by truth by the coincidence that it serves some benefit to a relationship and abide by lies in the same proportion drove me to also give my mother over to Satan.

The details of what will transpire from this aren’t clear yet, but we’ve both washed our hands of the mess. As unfortunate and inconvenient as our relationship to them is with them being our immediate biological family, we both follow a God who decided to create a family out of a patchwork quilt of demographics and backgrounds.

I’d like to discuss more in-depth some of your views against this matter, since this is obviously a controversial issue:

  1. This is extremely unloving! Obviously you two should rot in hell, since the God I serve can’t condone this sort of division among family!
    • Matthew 10:34-40 makes it very clear that division among family is not just possible, but very likely. Like anything else that we have to give up for the Lord, if there is even a moment’s hesitation against giving it up then there’s a clear idolatry going on somewhere. I’ll follow the Lord, even if it means my family alienates me, and that includes my wife and children. How about you?
  2. Once saved, always saved! The Bible makes it clear that nobody can be removed from the Book of Life! How can you make the claim that [dude] who was a pastor could have become an unbeliever?
    • Put simply, Romans 1 condemns us all right away. I’m not getting into the whole “were they saved or not?” argument, since that doesn’t really matter. The logical points are as follows, and Christian or non- is a deeper matter than I’m getting into:
      1. They know plenty about the Bible and God’s word to not be unknowing on what they’re doing
      2. They’re doing crap they shouldn’t be doing, and are working hard to hide it instead of fight it or avoid it
  3. But what about ministering to them? These people have clearly fallen off the wagon, and they need support! You callous cad! Can’t you see that they’re hurting!?
    • I don’t deny that they’re hurting. In fact, their pain and continued rebellion should be a big red flag, since God is known to constantly use pain to our spiritual advantage. These folks I’m talking about will often abuse any kindness that comes their way, and looking pitiful is a great way of getting free sympathy.
    • Also, this doesn’t necessarily mean “sever all ties”. It simply means to sever all recurring and routine ties, and the point is more a matter of severing all lifestyle connections that would actually belie sharing life together with them. As it stands, Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner together might be okay.

All in all, it’s been a bold and intense experience for the two of us, and the Lord has already been blessing us with many healthy relationships with many other people that heal the rift that has steadily been growing between myself and my mother as well as my Gummy Tubers and her parents.

Family Tip: Dumb family dynamics are best dealt with using bold tactics. It makes you the enemy, but it’s more entertaining watching everyone squirm by not trying to address the elephant in the room that you shot a week ago and hear the justifications:

  • “Oh, that’s my new Glade™ Tropical Dead Elephant Summer plugin! Do you like it?”
  • “No, that’s just the maggot-inspired carpet, it’s a part of the flooring we remodeled with a while back.”
  • “Wow, take a look at this non-elephant-related view out this window! It’s so nice to not have anything large and rotting in here! It’s so nice out there I think I’ll (gag) open this window really quickly!”

Finally, a call to action to all you beloved readers. One of the most difficult parts of being poor is the loneliness, since paying for fun things is usually less important than things like eating or getting to and from places, and the two of us have been cooking up ideas for a Christian-based program to help the poor by educating the non-poor about how to actually help the poor. If you’re interested, check out the GoFundMe page or privately message us if you want to help in money or non-financial ways.