Testimoniac

Being a Christian in the United States has been a pretty sweet deal up until the past few years. It wasn’t just a social club, it also provided the advantage of resume-building affiliations and the opportunity to feel like a good person while blending into a nameless morass of a large congregation!

However, the worldly benefits of self-labeling as a Christian have quickly devolved into a punchline, and will likely become a matter of public shame within the next decade or two around here.

One of the more prominent awkward situations that comes with a half-assed salvation is the “testimony talk”. If you’ve grown up in the Church, you’ll know this situation instantly:

LEADER-PERSON: So does anyone want to share their testimony about how they came to know Jesus Christ personally?

(awkward silence)

LEADER-PERSON: How about you, Mortimer?

MORTIMER: Um, well, my parents told me to believe in Jesus when I was 4, so I repeated the prayer, and that changed me forever.

LEADER-PERSON: Okay! Anyone else? Would you like to share, Thad?

THADDEUS: Uh, I was at a high school camp and prayed to receive Jesus so I could go back on the waterslide.

Sound familiar?

The most accurate dictionary definition for testimony is “a public recounting of a religious conversion or experience”. This means there should be more of a story, and it should play out like most good stories:

  1. Things weren’t good
  2. Something changed
  3. Things got better

The trouble is often not with the stories as much as it is with the people the stories are based upon.

There is a distinct category of “Christian” that makes up the majority of the demographic. I’ve been one, my Wifey Stickums has been one, our baby person is likely going to phase through being one. Since this category doesn’t seem to have a name, I’m going to call this group Lifers.

Lifers are the product of a combination of several privileged situations:

  • Good American parental supervision that enabled a strong grounding in solid Christian values
  • Conditioning and reinforcement that prevents seeing the uglier sides of the world
  • A network of people that provides fantastically small experience about extramarital sex, drugs, alcohol, addiction and breaking the law
  • Support from family and friends that prevents the need to straddle the law or suffer extreme poverty

The Church doesn’t seem to talk about this cultural phenomenon because there’s no way it could have existed in Bible times.

Since the Bible doesn’t cover this, it’s never talked about in many churches. And, since we like to congregate with people who are like us and have the unfettered freedom to choose our churches, some churches are made of 99.9999% Lifer.

Being a Lifer isn’t necessarily a problem outwardly, but it wreaks havoc on your spiritual walk without the proper precautions. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. To be a Lifer means you have no experience with the world you’re in. As “spiritual” as that sounds, it means the only place you can feel safe is inside the bubble of church, when the Holy Spirit inside you and Jesus Christ’s coming should be the first consolation to your heart. (1 Thessalonians 4)
  2. Lifer lifestyles are needlessly constricting and can be insanely judgmental. The ones who’ve believed rock music, rap music, dancing, watching Friends, wearing pants, using makeup or getting an ear piercing are sins are mostly Lifers who forgot that there’s a difference between personal understanding of morality and what is a universally immoral action (Romans 14)
  3. Lifers fail to understand the scope of how much God is loving and in control. Since most Lifers don’t get dredged through the ugliest parts of what this world can offer, they tend to over-react to the challenges of life and fail to give open-minded thought to anything new. (Matthew 6)

According to Scripture, being lukewarm is one of the most spiritually dangerous places to be, and Lifers possess all of the knowledge of truth without a whole lot of application of it. Anyone born and raised “Christian” with the knowledge of the values therein will invariably become a Lifer.

If you are a Lifer, however, all is not lost! Anyone raised in a healthy Christian home has to endure this naive and silly stage, and there are a few easy ways to get out of it:

  1. Make friends with non-Lifer Christians. They’re out there. They’ve snorted angel dust, smoked crystal and served time for it, or maybe they’d do party lines and could drink anyone else under the table, or they might have been top-level executives consumed with the bottom line. As you get to know your church, these people will be the ones that seem just a tad…odd from the rest of them.
  2. Get out more. The world is cruel and difficult, but not every single person in the world is that way. Find some secular or other-denominational friends and get to know them. Eventually they’ll either convert to Christ or despise you, and that’s a necessary experience for your own spiritual growth. If it’s still uncomfortable, then let’s just call it “lifestyle evangelism”.
  3. Open your mind to new things. Go read Nietzsche, then take a chaser of Lewis to see the contrasting ideas. Watch Boyz n the Hood and Google whether that crap is real. Learn about gay or Mormon culture and discover how well-perverted Satan has crafted it to imitate Christ’s command.
  4. Break from the pack. All of this is offensive to Lifers. Get ready to stand for your convictions, since it will offend the neophobic. It’ll be a bit like when people convert to Christianity, but far weirder. Some of those people are apostates, but don’t worry too much about which ones are, since that’s God’s job later. (Matthew 13:24-30)

We’re all running a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) and it’s hard to gauge others’ lives. Lifers started the race more easily than most others, and it’s necessary to finish it, but that requires more determination about it. A good testimony is a byproduct of some good running, and it should as flexible and changing as a resume or Facebook profile.

As a Post-Lifer, I have had to live with drug dealers, call my mother out on her salvation, go through a few dozen jobs, live homeless a few times and leave a few churches upon theological grounds. However, it’s made me stronger, more faithful on the Lord, slower to speak and more joyful, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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We’re Racist

Normally I like to stay out of political issues, but recently this situation has gotten so silly that I have to weigh in on it.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m not racist. I’m not subconsciously racist. If I was, then I wouldn’t be a white guy with a black wife and a half-breed caramel baby.

Recently, my Hammy Whammers and I saw The Century of the Self, a BBC documentary that outlines the progression of marketing and social engineering practices that have brought us to this modern day of self-entitled pansies that believe in rights while disregarding responsibilities.

To summarize, the 4-part documentary goes into extreme depth about how Freud’s theory was catapulted into public use by Edward Bernays through the founding of the public relations industry. The idea was to guide people’s primal subconscious urges towards things that could benefit them, such as a radio or car. The rise of excessive individualism through the hippy era halted that approach, but then shifted into marketing based on an identity instead of an actual product. Finally, the idea moved into all of American politics with Reagan’s idea of self-interested lowering of taxes and capitalized in Clinton’s policy of promising everything under the sun.

The appeal to baser desires works well in politics and business, and this has shown itself most prominently in the recent presidential election. There was more vulgarity, insulting, hateful vitriol and saw more false promises made than any other in my lifetime. My Flappy Wingers pointed out that the president who won that election was effectively tapping into the baser desires being shown by our current head of state.

The trouble with this is that selfish people have a hard time accepting that other views are valid, and productive politics these days seems to disregard the philosophical or practical validity of the opposition. Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals (Hillary Clinton’s mentor) clearly outlines the most effective approach for shifting blame onto the opposition.

The line from the media is approximately “Trump is evil, people who follow him are deluded, and it’s a baffling reality that he somehow got voted in”. However, lately the leftist mindset seems to be “[insert person] is racist”. Whether it’s our President, Uber driverswealthy people, white people in generalthe economy or people who buy raw cotton, the rhetoric has gotten a bit out of control.

A fascinating watch is a short hard-left video from some random Facebook friend-of-a-liberal-friend-share-and-repost-if-you’re-a-true-American-or-you-will-die video called White Supremacy. If you’re anything like my Yummy Cleaners and I, your bandwidth sucks, so here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

White supremacy came around from 2 factors. The first was that colonization of new areas by Europe had them wiping out indigenous people, and Europeans thought they were better than other races for that. The second was that at the same time the scientific revolution came around categorizing the crap out of everything. That feeling of superiority created a field of “racial biology”, and though it’s been debunked white supremacists still believe in it.

Today, white people are afraid subconsciously of diversity and feel threatened by it. They feel no sense of community, identity or purpose, so they all band together to fight diversity. There are 2 cures for this. The two things that can fix this are that the white people need to understand how privileged they are and there needs to be more money put towards anti-hate nonprofits.

If you’re a liberal and believe this, you have successfully expressed your originality by listening to exactly what your college professors told you without assessing whether it makes any sense. If you’re a conservative and don’t understand how people can think this, then you’re a racist.

This entire idea is presumptive. It makes white people out (specifically white heterosexual males if we’re being specific) to be the cause of all society’s ailments.

In order to be fair, I think I’m going to provide an equal or greater perspective:

Problems with people came around from 2 factors. The first was that we all were born with a sin condition that makes us desire evil as much as good, and often even more than good. The second was that sometime in the modern era some very intelligent people made a lot of money by putting consumers each individually at the center of the universe. That feeling of superiority created a crowd of self-entitled individuals all thinking their opinion matters because the television and school system told them it does, and though life will prove it otherwise leftists still believe it.

Today, leftists are afraid subconsciously of accepting humanity’s sin condition and feel threatened by it. They feel no sense of community, identity or purpose, so they all band together to use hate speech against people they call “hate speakers”. There are 2 cures for this. The two things that can fix this are that the leftists need to come to an understanding of how depraved and corrupt our sinfulness really takes us and there needs to be more love put towards them to show that Jesus Christ is a far superior way.

Cute Story

As you have probably noticed by now, the byproduct of my Stocking Stuffers and I was a small human, and that has been the focal point of sundry tasks. Since we keep feeding it, our Peanut has grown into a Watermelon, and his capacity for being interesting has exponentiated to the point that it entertains us. Mostly.

Watermelon still turns into Ogre Baby when he doesn’t get what he wants, but we’ve learned to roll with it.

Parenting Tip: The more a baby cries, the less sympathy you have for it. The parenting is complete when it’s nothing but a dull buzzing noise. The secret is to add a drumbeat to it in your head and turn it into music.

  • EDITOR’S NOTE: I don’t advocate letting a child cry forever, but unless you’ve had one you’ll never discover the joy of a child crying for literally no reason whatsoever. #hatersgonnahate

Along with Hammy Wingers going through the normal routine of losing post-pregnancy weight (of which I haven’t discussed for reasons) and Watermelon slowly becoming Jackfruit as he discovers the meaning of “fingers” and “hair” through oral exploration, my career has taken a twist for the fun.

Christ followers should treat our careers as a different means to an end than the rest of the world. The end of a worldly ambition’s job is a steady enough paycheck, with the work experience being the means to an end for a bigger paycheck later, ultimately culminating in a retirement where the kids never call or visit and there’s enough money to pay to die with dignity.

On the other hand, a Christian’s end is for God Himself. As a Christian, working for money is obviously good, but it’s all God’s money and the job God gives you is His as well, meaning it’s all essentially a matter of management of God’s assets, and to get paid from a company is simply the organization being the middleman.

These conflicting philosophies make the workplace culture strange for Christians, since the endeavor for a paycheck comes from completely different angles. On the one hand, sustainable work is necessary for a non-Christian, since their ambition revolves around the kinda-mighty dollar, and the Christian sees the work itself as the worship to God Himself (Colossians 3:23).

Work Tip: The secret to successful office work is to merely look like you’re working. Thankfully, the deluge of emails and meetings that plague a typical office worker can cancel out any productivity you may have hoped to achieve. If you’re really good, you can spend all day talking about how much other people actually got done!

To segue into a related topic by jumping off the overburdened back of this one, let’s talk about the concept of “working yourself out of a job” for a minute. Good parenting, great management and all successful leadership is built with the end result of creating self-sustaining modules wherever you tread. Though this creates a fundamentally beautiful work of art in management and delegation when done right, it pretty much makes what you do redundant over time. Most people avoid adapting and sabotage that self-sufficiency they inspired, but a select few will change with it and ultimately grow from it.

In light of that, my contract with UPS has ended, but in the proudest way I can imagine. I was able to successfully turn a lightning-fast work environment with just-try-things-and-ask-questions-because-training-takes-too-much-time management into a read-this-written-procedure-and-then-try-things-and-also-ask-questions-because-training-takes-too-much-time management. I make it an endeavor to leave everything I touch better than how I found it, and this situation was no exception.

One exception to that rule, however, has been the ongoing conflict with my biological parents. They treat me so distrustfully that I’m starting to think I was adopted and genetically engineered to look like my dad. The one convenience of having step-parents is that the rampant psychological issues predominating your parents doesn’t have a genetic link. However, I try to make the best of it, and that’s what you’re reading, so there you go.

Family Tip: If you have a psychologically abusive family, just do the opposite of them and psychologically neglect your own or spoil them filthy rotten. I’m not telling you what to do, just what you’re statistically likely to do if you don’t sort that crap out inside your own noggin.

A few moons back I told my parents that their intentional hiatus needed clarification, so I set out September 1st as a contact-again date. On the 1st I sent a directly worded message saying that we’d like to get in touch with them, but they will have to respect our boundaries.

In light of that, they wanted to meet with a mediator. I consented, and we met with a counselor Wednesday the 13th, and here’s more or less how it went:

COUNSELOR: Mmkay, let’s start. What do y’all want out of this whole thing, mmkay?

DAD: I want reconciliation.

MOM: Me too.

VICKYPOO: I want to know what’s really going on, without any false perceptions or lies.

ME: I want everything to make sense about actions versus what’s being said, since I know there are discrepancies between them.

COUNSELOR: Mmkay, that’s good, so what’s the big issue, mmkay?

ME: I can’t trust my mom, and now that my dad has indicated clearly that he trusts my mom, I can’t trust him either.

COUNSELOR: Mmkay, so how does that make you feel, mom?

MOM: (tearfully) I feel…pain (quivering lip)

COUNSELOR: Mmmmmmkay, so… about what?

MOM: (lip quivering) I just… (tears)

COUNSELOR: Mmkay, well, how did everyone else feel about this?

GREG, VICKYPOO & DAD: (apathetically) Meh, we’ve seen this before.

COUNSELOR: Mmkay, we’re going to need at least a dozen sessions for this to work out right, mmkay?

DAD: We can’t afford that.

COUNSELOR: Mmkay, so is everyone better off from this?

ME: Kinda, as long as there isn’t any drama.

MOM: What do you mean, drama?

ME: I mean that we need to talk about things reasonably and without barfing emotions at each other.

MOM: So I’m supposed to be an unfeeling robot with pure logic and speaking in a monotone?

VICKYPOO: No, it’s about giving the data. I’m his wife and I have to do that.

MOM: So I’m supposed to give up all emotions? (attempting a trigger that used to work on me)

ME: No, but if you think that, then you’re allowed to. When you don’t want this soap opera, come see us.

After the emotional shock of it and retrieving Watermelon from our amazing friends Kyle & Morgan that kindly babysat him, we had to think deeply on it. After we concluded that my father has been perfectly groomed to bow down to an un-submissive wife that we cannot connect with unless she gives permission, he emailed a well-intentioned note to us:

Hey. Just wanted to say I really enjoyed seeing you guys last night. I really miss you guys and Victor and look forward to the time when we can all get together in the future. Love you.

This was nice. Sweet and to the point. Apparently my dad wanted to reach out to us, and that’s how he did it. We’ll park this for a while and see what happens in 3 months or a year or whenever.

Unfortunately, that’s not the end of the story. Today, he sent out something that belied something far worse:

Greg and Vicky.

I reread the email I sent you and realized that I had not included Mom’s input or wishes in the note. She would love a relationship with you guys as much as I do, but my email did not reflect that and I am sorry.

Since we have reset our marriage, I realize that Janet is the most important person in my life. God has placed her there and that is where she will stay. She encourages and supports me in ways I didn’t realize. We plan on happily living the rest of our lives together in peace and unity.

That said, there can be no relationship with you guys unless that includes both of us and both of you. Period.

We both realize that we are not needed in your lives. You have found surrogates to replace us and we understand that. We are grateful that you have found those people for friendship and support. If we are able to establish a relationship in the future, it will be healthier since it won’t be out of need, greed, or loneliness. We too are invested in many others lives. God has blessed us with each other and many friends, and we lack for nothing. God is good.

We would enjoy being part of your lives, but if you would rather we weren’t, we can deal with that also.

Let us know if you want to get together at any time to talk, or be included in any events in the future like holidays, etc. We are always open to spending time with you guys.

Since there is a psychoanalytical goldmine here, let me provide some context for each paragraph:

I reread the email I sent you and realized that I had not included Mom’s input or wishes in the note. She would love a relationship with you guys as much as I do, but my email did not reflect that and I am sorry.

Why the apology? If my mom wanted to send an email to me she could have, but her cowardice out of fear of being caught in something knows no end. My dad was apologizing for her, not us.

Since we have reset our marriage, I realize that Janet is the most important person in my life. God has placed her there and that is where she will stay. She encourages and supports me in ways I didn’t realize. We plan on happily living the rest of our lives together in peace and unity.

I agree with the “most important person in my life” bit. That’s marriage. However, my mom hasn’t respected my dad for as long as I’ve been born, so the rest of that rhetoric is meaningless. Of course, if one has to repeat the idea that they will have “peace and unity” for the rest of their life, it makes you wonder how much they actually believe it. This is the start of legalism: abiding by the letter of the law without listening to the spirit of it.

That said, there can be no relationship with you guys unless that includes both of us and both of you. Period.

That logic is fallacious, largely because it presumes that Honey Scramblers and I are endeavoring to pull them apart. Aristotle phrased friendship as being two souls in one body, and God designed marriage to be a mega-friendship: Friendship Deluxe Edition, so to speak. You know what’s also in good friendship? Trust!

We both realize that we are not needed in your lives. You have found surrogates to replace us and we understand that. We are grateful that you have found those people for friendship and support. If we are able to establish a relationship in the future, it will be healthier since it won’t be out of need, greed, or loneliness. We too are invested in many others lives. God has blessed us with each other and many friends, and we lack for nothing. God is good.

This is a breakfast of scrambled guilt with a side of religiosity toast and hatingly garnished with a sprig of shame. There end up being a few factual errors in the paragraph:

  1. We never found “surrogates”, we moved on to being independent individuals. If you ask anyone at Venture Church or Centerpoint Colton, we are seen as equals and co-workers in Christ more than anything else.
  2. If God has so blessed you and you don’t need us, why the insistence on re-sending the email in the first place?
  3. The entire tone of this sounds more like my mom than my dad (trust me on that one)

We would enjoy being part of your lives, but if you would rather we weren’t, we can deal with that also.

Let us know if you want to get together at any time to talk, or be included in any events in the future like holidays, etc. We are always open to spending time with you guys.

The tone of this one implies the exact opposite of the prior paragraph, which is discrepant enough to feel wrong about but not legally valid enough to stand up in a court of law, which is how my mom communicates.

This whole thing becomes “we don’t need you, but we want you, which is why we’re reaching out to you more, because we don’t need you, but we want you”. Since they both despise being called out on things and their son has a public life, this creates a dilemma. They believe I condemn them for their actions, when that’s the shame of their own responses to my intention to entertain and inform.

Nevertheless, my Waddle Woofers and I press on. As of right now until they change, my parents are dead to me. Ben Franklin once said some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75, and it seems to hold true to both sets of our parents. Baby Watermelon Victor will never get a chance to know his grandparents because all 4 of them refuse to be known.

The wonderful positive aspect of this is how God can use this unfortunate circumstance. Jesus indicated that if we lose any family for the sake of the Gospel that we’d get it back 100 times over (Matthew 19:29), so let’s review what that Gospel thing is. We hear it often behind the pulpit along with this Jayzus character, and when it’s especially colorfully expressed includes talking about Hellfar and Bremstone, but I don’t think many people really know.

The Gospel is, effectively, a story of redemption and change. The 4 Gospel books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are merely Gospel accounts. There are millions more where they came from, including the story of Greg Laurie, Sam Childers, and Otto Koning (to name some of the more absurd ones).

As people, we’re already changing constantly from our own development. The science of it is that you currently have more in common with your friends right now than the version of you 10 years ago or what 10 years from now will look like. With all of that changing, why not let the God of everything micromanage it for you to something nice?

My parents and my Snuffy Wuffy’s parents aren’t submitting to God for a multiplicity of reasons. A large part is fear, a big portion is shame/guilt and some healthy strokes of codependency. There are also a host of trust issues and repressed unspoken evil desires at play as well. They can’t give it to God because they refuse to, but you don’t have to be like them.

The irony of life is that the things that concern us are the things we choose to concern us. I’m not worried about the temporary unemployment because God has never let me down in providing the needs. I’m not anxious over this child mixed into it because God made him and loves him more than I could possibly ever love him. My wife is right alongside me on this. The only difficulty is in contending with the negatively changing extended family that our biological instincts inspire us to reconnect with, but I imagine that’s a bit nicer than the state declaring your trust in God illegal, right?

Christian Tip: You can usually see the spiritual quality of a group based on the subject of the prayer group’s request. If it’s cancer and coping with deaths, that’s shortsighted but a healthy arrangement. If it’s about the persecuted church in other countries, stay there until God rips you away from it. If it’s about pets, singleness and passing exams that weren’t studied for, run. Just run.

Much Taboo About Nothing

My Jammy Juicers and I have been floating through life swimmingly, and it has been a tremendous exercise in patience. I don’t mean we’re particularly impatient over anything in general as much as the fact that the anticipation for the brewing uncertainties regarding my family and my career has me on pins and needles and my Snuffy Cuddlers has to go along for the ride.

One of the most prominent impatiences regards the tiny person we are mutually responsible for. I sincerely look forward to the day that the child can say “dearest Father, I appear to have an unfortunate circumstance regarding the soiling of my pantaloons that must be tended to immediately to rectify my current discomfort” instead of “WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHhhhhhhh…(inhale)…WAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!

I don’t care what non-parents say, a baby will often cry for no explicable reason. One of our recent discoveries is that when my Yummerkin Smellywelly sneezes when he’s napping he’ll wake up startled and cry his head off until we have to remind him that he’s not dead with caressing and soothing noises.

Parenting Tip: If you haven’t had children and think you understand them, make a hearty contribution to the overall knowledge of society by freely volunteering to personally service an industrial-grade power box. You obviously have a clear intuition above your years and will be doing them a favor even if they don’t know it yet.

One of the ways we rock ourselves to sleep is by researching the myriad subjects that will someday be necessary and prudent for us to know when the child’s cuteness/trouble ratio inverts itself. Most notably, my Wicky Moomoo has recently run across a documentary series about vaccines and an article about how a father should never let the baby sleep on them through the endless gossip chain/advertising social engineering of Facebook.

Since we’re relatively new parents with crappy parents of our own, we’ve never been exposed to the run-of-the-mill thoughts and philosophies of modern parents before now, but we’re now knowledgeable enough to weigh in on it. Since I’m the Philosopher Accountant and have just remade my website to add more content in the new future, why don’t we do that now? Sound good?


To start with, “parenting” as a definition has changed over the years. Way back yonder, before we had laziness enhancers like computers or electricity, parenting was simply:

  1. Get the child to adulthood alive

Once the infant mortality rate started shifting and social structures started becoming more fluid, the definition was added to:

  1. Get the child to adulthood alive
  2. Give that child as many opportunities to succeed as possible

The second goal was a bonus for the first definition, but it then became the new standard, and typically the shame of an “unsuccessful child” would keep “bad” parents in check.

However, in the past few decades a new trend in what a parent absolutely must do has emerged:

  1. Get the child to adulthood alive
  2. Give that child as many opportunities to succeed as possible
  3. Keep that child safe from all harm

This seems logical, right? Obviously protecting your child is important, and keeping the child safe seems vitally necessary to maintain their well-being. Unfortunately, it misses the whole basis of what good parenting is about.

Goal 1 is absolutely necessary. Caring for the child is an obligation. Goal 2 should come out of love, and can definitely be driven by selfishness and all manner of horrible dysfunction, but can be theoretically justified by how useful the child becomes. However, Goal 3 has some inherent problems.

First of all, to protect a child from all harm is logistically impossible. Between the curiosity of a child, the sin nature in them, their inability to register things like depth perception and danger and their complete stubbornness to attain what they want without much regard for their circumstances they are destined to get hurt.

Second, Goals 2 and 3 are incompatible. If you read my 100,000 Tips on being a successful person, you’ll discover that both the pain of failure and the necessity of risk are absolutely necessary to be successful at literally anything. This means that safety-conscious parents will eventually have to either sabotage that child’s safety or that child’s potential for success.

Third, it creates an idolatry of children that goes beyond anything reasonable. It’s one thing to desire a child to be the next Colin Kaepernick. It’s completely another to forbid them from doing what they love out of some statistical unlikelihood (i.e. less than 5%) that could theoretically kill them. Every time you get in your car you’re playing Russian Roulette with a 645-shooter.

Now, I’m all for safety and protecting children. Children are our greatest asset and responsibility and we must treat them with a crappy attempt at the care and love that God gives us. However, good parenting starts with giving roots and is later about giving them wings.

At one point in society, it was reasonable to send a four-year-old to walk to the grocery store to buy milk and eggs. The reason why was because children were regarded as new people that would transition to the full biological capacity of an adult within about 12 years and everything was working towards that end purpose.

I’m not saying we need to adopt that stance fully anymore, but we certainly should learn something from our ancestors. When that child is “helping”, let the kid actually help! Yeah they’ll suck at it and yes they’ll sweep dust onto the cat or smash their fingers with the hammer, but they’ll learn from it and grow.

The discouraging and terrifying trouble with all of this is that very few parents are willing to speak up. Hyper-paternalism makes an implication that a set of parents that speak up on this matter clearly don’t care about the welfare of the child or are unfit parents or some other vaguely definable term that permits legal action by a liberal institution.

I myself see Victor as a gift from God. He has already taught my wife and I patience and has brought us together more intimately as we trust the Lord more wholly for his upbringing. I’m not out to raise a child; I’m trying to raise a man. I get 12 years to do it and will get another 6 bonus years to teach him if I succeed in that.

I don’t want him to be the next President of the United States or follow in my path; I want him to believe and be true to himself in spite of the conflicting stories society throws at him. If that means that I someday have to desire he becomes a Christian or hope he’s only wanted in one county at a time, then that’s between me and God.

I do my best, but I will fail, and I’m okay with that. Keeping him safe is important, but someday I won’t be able to, and I live today in light of that. How about you?

 

 

All Fired Up

In the greatest possible way, my wife and I are indebted to Christ.

God has been providing every single thing we need. We’ve been kept healthy, strong, capable, financially independent and, most recently, not dead from 4th-degree burns.

On the subject of debts, my Squishy Leper and I are doubling down on them, turning the frivolousness of enjoying life and its pleasant things into tangibly paying off the crap Proverbs 6:5-style that we shouldn’t have accrued to get the educational background we wouldn’t be using.

Pro Tip: It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. Your ability to fight serial killers isn’t as useful as pretending they don’t exist until they go away.

Just this morning I called the fire department about a non-figurative fire that was burning outside the property we inhabit. This was on the tail end of Banning’s literal firefighters literally putting out a literal fire, so they were probably literally exhausted. Nevertheless, they tirelessly put out a small fire to prevent it from becoming a large one. The feeling of having your name in the paper is nice; not seeing your home rapidly convert to heat energy is nicer.

Physics Tip: Since entropy guarantees all matter will become heat energy someday, pyromaniacs are simply doing us a favor #progressivethinking

Along with the blessing of staying alive, staying alive, our child has been a tormenting crying ball of misery that we can’t fix wonderful lovable immaculate bundle of joy. My Kissy Woom Wooms has taken to the role of mother like a female bear to another bear she birthed, and has been learning valuable lessons in how to be content not rip her hair out.

Parenting Tip: Crying babies shouldn’t be dropped, thrown, kicked, suffocated, lynched, mugged, treated, touched or held. Anyone who tells you otherwise is obviously a communist.

In the midst of this trial blessing I’m working steadily at my career. Supervising is a nice line of work, but has the mildly unfortunate downside of getting screamed at by random unhappy people because of a petty problem that is almost always never your fault. Being honorable and direct helps, but there are still some people out there that make it unsurprising who won the presidential primaries.

Breaking News: Donald Trump won the presidential election against Hillary Clinton. Since power is sexy, bad hair is now sexy.

In other news, the 3.5-month hiatus with my parents is finally wrapping up. I don’t know what will come next, but I foreshadow them dishing out plenty more bad boundaries drizzled with some freshly cut blame accompanied by a side salad of strange expectations with a dressing choice of bickering, invalidation or rejection and saving room for a dessert of shame.

Because I’ve had distance from them, it’s given me plenty of time to think. If we take away the insufferable noise that comes from the small person that keeps staring at us, I’ve had a net amount of some time to think. Since my Funky Spoiler has been listening to my ranting tirades of woe and teenful angst without expressing the inherently obvious reality that my head is broken, it’s given me the liberty to conclude things without consulting my shame first.

Therapy Tip: Simply telling someone to stop something won’t work. You have to make sure they hear you say it, then lovingly and mercilessly punish them in whatever way you can to disincentivize them from even thinking of doing it again.

In the dysfunctional roles of Hero/Mascot/SilentChild/Scapegoat, I have grown up in the confusing position of being both the Hero and the Scapegoat. Pulling double-duty in upholding other family expectations sucks giant lollipops, but to carry 2 roles does something deep inside you that makes grown men cry and asteroids land.

At any given moment, I was treated as the immaculate answer to the entire family unit’s problems or the unholy abomination doomed to travel this world bringing chaos and ruin wherever I went. Sometimes it was both.

Marriage will change you, and so will parenting; it won’t be in a good or bad way, you’ll just be different. Dysfunctional families, on the other hand, don’t want change. Change is both an uneasy risk and a grand adventure, and perspective is what drives that view.

Success Tip: If your friends say “don’t ever change”, then don’t change. That way you can always remember that you were justified in your bitterness that they asked for it while they out-succeed you.

On my Wobbly Toppers’ side, she still is hearing nothing from either of them. Apparently they’re so excited about how well we’re doing that they don’t want to disturb our happiness with their bitter approach. It’s rather thoughtful when you think about it (tear).

Nevertheless, life carries on, dumb family coming back around or no. It seems like the more we keep feeding the miniature person the bigger it gets. I imagine it’ll stop soon, but I’ve heard that it’ll keep growing for at least a few more months before it slows down growing.

Family Tip: Your family roots often go deep, which is why it’s good to axe the deep questions to sort it out.

Trauma Off-Center

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words take years of therapy.

As much as successful living provides meaningful and enriching experiences, the lifestyle of a former emotional abuse victim yields intermittent bittersweet sensations that run the risk of souring everything good in the world.

Family Tip: The best way to deflect emotional trauma is to blame everyone around you. Not only does it make them all feel like you, it means they can share in the experience of feeling like a worthless piece of garbage!

This troubling feeling will haunt you for years after those losers go to meet the Lord, but it comes out in uniquely different ways for different people.

In my past, I would simply have a massive existential crisis every time my childhood was triggered. I was raised to become ineffectively philosophical at the first sign of conflict (don’t ask) and then crawl inside my head until the secrets of the universe and, therefore, the conflict were discovered. It didn’t work, but it did give a nice Brain Age: Misery Version workout. Obviously it’s hard to have friends with that kind of behavior.

On the other hand, my Hummy Wummer Kippers would simply pretend to be a statue with all the fortitude and wisdom of a possum defending itself against an oncoming 18-wheeler. Friends were easy to come by with this technique, but in the same way that goldfish have an easy time finding loving owners.

Friend Tip: If you ever become someone’s “pet friend” don’t worry! All you need to do is become successful in a way they haven’t attained yet and you’ll be back to being without friends in no time!

All of this not-contacting-the-organisms-that-spawned-us-for-reasons has promoted tremendous growth, and I’m happy to say that we are significantly in the emotional black starting off Q3 2017. Our friendships could never be better, we both share in all sorts of self-respect, and projected estimates indicate that the small human with us will far exceed the past’s benchmarks.

However, in the midst of all this gaiety, the two of us are still contending with some fascinatingly uncomfortable new paradigm shifts.

Gregtopia is still filled with landmines all over. I could be talking about chili powder with my Dovey Blubber Foofs and will recall how she will prepare amazing food that my mother’s sexism found disgraceful. Thankfully, I now have landmine-resistant sandals, so the turmoil leaves within about 10 minutes.

On the other hand, Vickzchniastan has a few deactivated nukes sitting around her playgrounds and municipal water systems. Last Saturday, for example, we visited Laguna beach (which she used to love) and she hated it for multiple reasons (because she now hates it). For her, though, she now vacuums up the radiation with an EZ-Nuke shopvac, so the trauma only lasts about 12-60 hours at a time instead of at least a week.

In all of this shifting and changing and rearranging and reinventing, we both forgot what we like doing!

Though I enjoy writing and can video of the YouTubing, I don’t know what angle to go at it. The worst part is that I have about 5 choices to choose from:

  1. Make a video series about whatever the heck comes to mind, inspired by Adam Ruins Everything and my website
  2. Write something fictional that has likely been done before
  3. Write something fictional that probably hasn’t been done before
  4. Write a non-fictional account of my 35 jobs in 12 years
  5. Write a non-fictional account of the cult-like culture of marketing

At the same time, my Shooby Dooby is also having a creative slump:

  1. Making jewelry and other woman-targeted decorations
  2. Make books from scratch, magic and love
  3. Make and modify clothing for small people
  4. Make decorations for houses, mobile homes, RVs and tents
  5. Illustrate and draw random things

Pro Tip: The best way to achieve all your goals is to do nothing, since you can always succeed at that.

No New Adventures

One of the troubles with daily life is just how daily it is. As much as it would be nice to resolve all things immediately, God decided in His infinite wisdom to not let our dumb little impatiences and inane requests ruin the experience He meticulously crafted for those who He has called His children.

My job has been going quite well, and after years of desiring a coveted title followed by about 6 months of no longer caring about it I have now progressed in career capacity to the official work environment of “supervisor”.

Employment Tip: Your boss is just as human as you, but their authority comes solely from the fact that they can make you deeply consider your career decisions if you make them angry enough.

Now, granted, I’m working in a temporary position but, God-willing, I will be transitioned into a more permanent role. This doesn’t bother me too much, since the way I’ve discovered this role was by the pure fluke chance of God’s provision via random chance, but that’s a story for another day.

This job has forced my Scooby Bumpers and I to really really slow down on our life decisions. It’s amazing what a little bit of normalcy can do to your ability to relax!

Relaxation Tip: Never relax all the muscles in your body at once. If you do you’ll get a heart attack and large brown mess, in that order.

In this relative normalcy, God has Trumped our comfort zones and been draining the swamp. It hasn’t been very Hillarious, and we can honestly say that our congress in rectifying our feelings hasn’t reached a resolution.

Politics Tip: Fat people on Facebook are a reliable form of mass media, and even with the political discourse as heated as it is I don’t give two Pence worth about it.

Several months ago, God stomped out my selfish desire to be a missionary. In my ambition to over-zealously compensate for my horrible upbringing, I forgot that God needed to be glorified for it to happen. The current season has solidified this realization by teaching me to “tend the sheep” like Moses before I scale upwards later, though it’s a wife and son in this case instead of a bunch of dumb animals.

On the other end of the family chromosome mix is my dear Tubey Floobers, and recently the battle has been connected to discovering massive trust issues brought about by her mother. The trouble with trust issues is that it’s kinda hard to tell someone they have trust issues, and that has been a strange bickering and fighting ordeal loving and intimate connection between the two of us.

Logic Tip: Don’t bother wasting your time calling someone a liar or a hypocrite unless you have an audience. They always build a paradox to keep their facade real inside their mind. This statement is false, and you’re an idiot for thinking it isn’t.

Thankfully, we’re moving forward, but man God has a sense of timing that’s irritatingly slower than ours! At least the baby is getting bigger from all that food, and a bigger baby means a larger food bill, so that’s not necessarily a better thing.

So, overall, not much happening, except that we’re just carrying on in this season of dullness. Obviously, this isn’t to say it’s going to stay that way. Right now we’re still playing catchup with my past unemployment.

The great thing about saving money is that you get a chance to not die because someone in the payroll department took a vacation to visit Anchorage for a few weeks and left the temp without many instructions on how to carry on the work. The downside is that once you do acquire a means of gainful and legal money-making, it takes a few months to get back to living off of your prior paycheck.

Once money becomes more of a thing, we’ll have more fun and do more other things that take money, but for right now it’s simply waiting and getting older and closer to dying without doing all 354 things we want to do.

Family Tip: If you don’t like taking care of babies, just wait 3 years and they’ll stop being babies. It also is safer if you don’t wash them, since it can protect you from throwing the baby out with the bath water.