Have a great Friday my friends. Thanks, as always, for visiting and reading.
This drawing, “September Abstraction 2014,” is the Card Of The Month (COTM) because I dreamed that it would be. I know weird but … look at it. It’s kind of dreamy :). I like this design a lot and always feel a sense of peace when I look at it. It also seems to be a mix of classic and new “abstract” art.
If you’d like, you can order some extra (or on their own if you aren’t a member of the COTM Club) safely and securely through the PayPal button below.
If you would like to support Randy.Today and my artistic/writing efforts by joining the COTM, there is a video at the bottom of the post (or near the top of the sidebar) to explain how to join that as well. The video features my site before I made the latest color changes (and added a skinnier pic to the sidebar #laugh :))… but the sign up process all works exactly the same.
The cards themselves will not have the title and copyright lettering on the front with the drawing. It will simply be the design and my signature. The title will be on the back of the card, and as usual the inside will be blank. Envelopes are provided with the cards.
I will take orders up through Sunday and place the printing order on Monday September 22nd. Hopefully I will have the COTM cards in the mail to you all on Wednesday August 27th and start shipping out the individual orders Thursday and Friday after that.
To order some of the cards please select the quantity from the drop down menu below and then click the PayPal “Buy Now” button. If you would like a quantity that is not represented please contact me and I’d be glad to fulfill the number of cards you’d like.
Here is the video explaining how to join the Card Of The Month Club
This photo was taken August 19th, 2003 at the Spy Museum in Washington DC. I was SO afraid of communism! (not) Can’t you tell?! I was told by a staffer that if I didn’t quit taking pictures I would be asked to leave the museum.
This was the start of my taking pictures in various DC venues and getting in trouble for breaking the rules. On one trip, I was told in no uncertain terms by Capitol Hill Police that if I took one more picture I would have my camera confiscated. I thought their tone was rude. I said, “I didn’t know I couldn’t take a picture in “the people’s” Senate building. The officer pointed to a plaque maybe three feet away that I hadn’t noticed. It said that flash photography would hurt the paintings. I turned beet red. #ShouldNoticeThatKindaStuff
Then one time I was wandering around trying to get an artsy weird angled pic of an American Flag outside some building. A police officer came up to me and brusquely said, “WHAT are you doing sir?” I thought that was a stupid question and I said, “Apparently I am trying to get a good picture of that flag.” I just kept on snapping pictures. He stood in front of me and blocked my view. “Sir, I am going to have to ask you to reconsider taking pictures here because it looks conspicuous. You are taking pictures of the Department of Justice Building. ” I didn’t realize it, and figured it out later, that I was taking pictures of the outside of John Ashcroft’s office (the Attorney General then). Since it was only a couple of years after 9/11, it wasn’t the best idea to be taking weird angle photos outside of the Attorney General’s office. I must have turned beet red again because the cop’s tone changed, “so you understand why I am asking you to stop?” #YesSir #Oopsy I am still not sure that I didn’t have a right to take those pictures, but I agreed that it did look “conspicuous” so I stopped.
And that’s the story behind the photo
Last week a religious activist went on a syndicated Christian radio talk-show and accused me of several acts against the church and God. Their response was a negative bias-driven summation of three posts: here, here, and here. The talk-show host agreed with him, and did not stop him when he charged me from afar to “repent of apostasy” and apologize for selling out and confusing the Body of Christ.
Neither of these folks contacted me about their charges before gossiping on a national radio program about my motivations for supporting civil gay marriage equality. As a result, I feel no need to break down the show and respond to every accusation. I obviously do not agree with their judgments or conclusions.
In this health and fitness update my total weight loss amount is a little scary, and I talk about resisting the urge to commit a felony. I hope you find this entertaining. Thanks to those of you who have been a great encouragement during this journey.
A consistent question I got after my post last Tuesday asked if I was truly, explicitly, saying that I supported gay civil marriage equality. The short answer is yes.
Now for the long answer
I thought that my previous post should focus on my experience, my change in opinion concerning past public policy work, and apology. I also thought that my support of gay civil marriage equality was implied and obvious. Regardless, I planned to write this post after that one anyway. For those that want to read the first post for some background and more on my personal views of marriage, please click here.
Now for today’s topic …
In the past, I used to quote Francis Schaeffer to justify my public policy activism by saying (emphasis mine);
“True spirituality covers all of reality.” – A Christian Manifesto, Francis Schaeffer
Today, I still believe that is true. However, I have learned that cultural religious activism shouldn’t define my spirituality in public policy reality. In the past, I willingly adopted a set of talking points, and modified my testimony, to fit the conservative culture war’s methodology and end game … not the Great Commission. To be clear, I did this because I genuinely believed it was the right thing for our country. I was wrong, and that is why I apologized in last Tuesday’s post. I also apologized for my work in public policy (among other things) last year.
Here is today’s health and fitness update! The above graphic gives all the current stats as of this morning. I am very excited to have lost anything because it has been a roller coaster of a week.
First we had the long Labor Day weekend holiday. I went to Alan & Leslie’s Monday and as always mucho delicious food was consumed. I didn’t go crazy but it was all rich and tasty! I went to work out that night but found the gym doors locked when I got there. I was four minutes late! They shut down early that evening for the holiday. So, right off the bat I missed my first workout of the week.
I need to start off by saying that the foremost benefit of God’s grace is in the atonement afforded through the finished work of Christ. His incarnation, going to the cross in our place, and rising from the dead transcends any “list.” It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway because I adore Him, Jesus is the most amazing thing about Grace. He, is the greatest benefit of having received God’s grace.
Now, to the rest of the post …
One relational benefit of grace is to meditate on the finished work of the cross with wonder, not shame or condemnation. This will deepen our relationship with God.
When we ask our Savior exactly why He went there for us specifically we will experience an outpouring of love from Him, not anger. It’s not difficult to imagine why He would go through all that for humanity with all the evil, sickness, and tragedy in the world. However, the atonement of Christ is also very specific for us as individuals. The Holy Spirit used this meditation as a new Christian to help me fall deeply in love with Him. Also, considering the cross is also not a quick “lesson learned” to check off of our spiritual enlightenment checklist. It is true that Jesus is no longer on the cross and doesn’t ask us to camp out there, but meditating on the personal meaning/application/significance of the Atonement will forever be relevant to us. There isn’t a time when this focus of meditation is not appropriate. Each time I consider what He has done, I fall deeper in love with Him.
Another relational benefit of grace is that now I am free from God’s law, I don’t have to live under the judgment of others.
Other’s judgments only have power when I allow them to have that power over me. In Christ, other’s curses do not have to go from their lips into my soul. Those bitter seeds die before they ever hit ground. Now, that I understand the loving favor of God toward me, I don’t need to try and manipulate favor with others. Of course I care and would like for people to like me :). But, truly, I don’t need others to “like” me in order for me to have a personal sense of worth or to love them. Their judgments don’t prevent me from seeking to see and love them as God does. Whether we agree or not, even on major issues, does not devalue either of us in the sight of God. That is what I choose to focus on.
From the video description:
“A Conversation With Jonathan Merritt” – “The God who created us is better than the God we created.” – “Jonathan Merritt is an award-winning religion writer who serves as senior columnist for Religion News Service. He is also a sought after speaker and author of several books, including his most recent “Jesus is Better Than You Imagined.” In this interview Jonathan discusses the disunity of the Church, the voice of the Church, church leaders, how to handle gray area issues, sexuality, and much more.”
This is a long video but well worth the watch. Jonathan is very thoughtful, challenging, and even a bit provocative. Definitely worth the watch.