Friday, January 27, 2012

being "that guy"

i read a lot of news.  a LOT of news.  i probably read more news than any human being should be subjected to.  whether it be world issues, national issues, sports, technology, music, the asteroid that's coming close to earth at 10:25am today (see cnn), or opinion pieces, i have a curiosity that can't be quenched for what is going on in our world.

i also read the comments attached to news stories on the interwebs.  sometimes, people chime in on an oversight in the article or point readers in another direction on a similar subject, but more often than not, the comments feed is nothing more of a battle ground for those who have two radically divergent perspectives on a topic.  

they can get quite passionate about their point of view.  so passionate that it becomes almost poisonous.  sometimes it can be entertaining depending on the topic, but more often than not i find myself getting mad at how polarizing some of these commenters can be.  they're so emotionally attached to what they believe in that their words become weapons.  nouns become bullets.  verbs become daggers.  adjectives become bombs.  all their words crafted together to become an offensive or counter-offensive that have the potential to destroy a person's perspective about life, their country, their heroes, their gadgets they can't leave home without, or anything else that can be held close to the heart.

even in religious articles, men and women engage in a sort of nuclear war about whether it is good or not to have faith.  i don't need to get into great detail here, but the volley back and forth between those who claim to not believe in any god and those who love Jesus are especially infuriating.

and when i read a comment that makes me close to becoming green rage monster angry, it makes me want to comment back to bring civility back to the conversation.  i want to tell atheists that they don't realize they worship what they believe they understand like it is a deity.  i also want to tell fellow Christians to suck it up, take the persecution, stop using the Bible as a weapon, and let the world know that we are Christians by our love for one another and not how literally we believe in our Scripture.

and then i have to stop myself from commenting, because by doing so, i become like them.  i become "that guy".

"that guy" is the person trolling around on message boards making comments that makes another person's blood boil.  i don't want to be "that guy".

"that guy" is the follower in Jesus that makes the effort to post how zealous he is for the Word and his God that he makes a well intentioned comment to an audience who mostly doesn't want to be fed another story about sin and their need for Jesus.  i don't want to be "that guy".

"that guy" is the person who petitions for civility in a public setting so that all our opinions can be heard to the point we make those who exercise their right to basically be jerks to get on their soap box.  i don't want to be "that guy".

and maybe i'm being "that guy" right now with this post.  but if i am going to preach the love of Jesus, i better be filled with so much of His love and His spirit that it overflows on to others.

i also better not judge those who don't believe in Jesus because that's not my job.  and if someone who doesn't believe is convicted of how sin manifests itself in his/her life, i hope that they know that it is the Spirit talking to him/her and convicting him/her.  i just simply want to love on others as we are all called to do.  that is the guy i want to be.  and no amount of posting comments on news sites can ever do that for a population at large that i don't know personally who are deeply passionate in what they believe.

and maybe you're reading this and i don't know you personally.  but i want to get to know you.  i want to know what makes you tick.  i want to know your fears.  i want to know what you keep close to your heart.  i want to know why you are the way you are, and i want to exchange all that with you, because the currency of the Kingdom is the relationships that we have with one another.  i learned that from a friend a few years ago.  you can't learn that from a public posting on the internet, as i have learned from too much reading.

comments from strangers hold no value other than the emotions that are attached to them, which those turn into verbal gunfire and does nothing more than get people riled up.  for all of us, and me especially, there is no substitute than being the guy on the other end of a conversation with real people, listening and loving, and only speaking when it's backed up by how we love.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

it's been a while....

i looked at the last time i published a post.   it happened to be right before i got married.  man time flies....

since marriage, remi and i have moved to greenville, oh.  what toledo is to restaurants per capita, greenville is to corn and soybeans surrounding it.  if we wanted to go to a restaurant that we were used to back home, we would have to travel either to dayton or richmond, in.  otherwise, there's maid-rite, which is a sandwich place that resembles sloppy joe's but not as sloppy.  it holds a nostalgic place in the people's hearts here, as it is one of the oldest establishments in the city.  we ate there within the first month of living there.  it left much to be desired.  i'm not saying it was bad, but being used to drowning in a sea of gastronomic choices in toledo, my expectations were too high for what i consumed.  to be fair, there are other restaurants in the city limits, but there are only two or three that we'll go to for food.

and in the four months we've been living here, we're slowly but surely making friends.  we have a group of people that we regularly hang with.  they're becoming like family to us, which is what we need since we're more than two hours away from our families.  besides, Jesus redefined family while suffering on the cross in john's gospel as the author and Jesus' mother watched.  the brevity of what He said to them should not be lost on us, as we are called to be children of God, and we are all brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, mothers and fathers in Him.

in the midst of making friends here, i have now opened my eyes to see that i have taken for granted all of the friendships i've made in toledo.  i must confess that i have been a bad friend and brother and i apologize to all of you.  i pray that in time we communicate more frequently and with the intention of being Jesus to one another.

so until then, i will be more vigilant to blog more often.  i believe you should know what is going on here in greenville and what the Lord is doing in remi and i and through us.  be on the look out for semi-frequent blogging from me.

Friday, March 11, 2011

it's the end?......already?........

according to family radio, it's the end of the world as we know it.

and i feel fine.

really, i feel fine.

i realize i'm coming off as sarcastic, but truthfully, i feel fine that the end is nigh.  it's been nigh for the past 2000 years.

i mean, never mind ignoring that Jesus said in matthew that only the Father knows the day and the hour that he will make all things new on this planet and He's not even in the know.

never mind that paul wrote a letter to a church in greece to tell them that they need to continue working and stay away from those who used Jesus' coming as an excuse to look at the sky every waking hour.

never mind that the founder of family radio predicted the end of this age at least three times and has gotten it wrong.

but what i find intriguing about all of this is that the man is so sure that may 21, 2011 is the day that every believer will be raptured home before the world is destroyed five months later by looking for signs and coming up with mathematical formulas.  he's so sure of this that he's supplied people with rvs, t-shirts and tracts with this gospel plastered all over it.  he's so sure of this that he's endangering the credibility of the Bible by saying that it's in there and it's a guarantee.

and what is most frightening, he's so sure of this that he's risking making the Body look foolish if/when he turns out to be wrong.

but if he's right, and that's a big if, then there's nothing to worry about.  we'll be home with the Lord and everything will be made new again.  we will all be worshipping the True King in the new Jerusalem, laying down our crowns and communing with the Father in all His Glory.

and that is why i feel fine.

but if may 22 comes and we're still here, then that's not going to stop me from living as if His Kingdom is already here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

a blog in the life of Bret Smith

hey all, this will be the spot for blogs, opinions, rantings, or whatever it is you want to call it.  consider this an open forum for whatever is being discussed such as faith, books i'm reading, or stuff that i'm currently living through.

i may also post chapters in my novel on here, which is titled "average joe".  it's about a guy who owns a coffee shop, but it really isn't about him.  it's really about his friend who falls in love and told in the coffee shop owner's perspective.  it's still in progress, and i have a lot of progress to go.  i'm hoping after my wedding i will have a lot more time to write and develop the story.

so hopefully appetites have been whetted (or whet, i'm not sure the past tense of that word), and i look forward to posting stuff.  i actually have an idea i want to work on and may have it up tomorrow.