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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Rant #2

Two in one day? Yes.
The second rant today centers on the topic of giving in America (And should be shorter than the first rant).
That's right, philanthropy. Yay! Actually, I am just going to point the finger at myself:
Here is a conversation between me, and...me:
"Hey Nicholas!"
"Whatsup, me? Dawg, you handsome."
"Yup."
"So, you sure like giving gifts, huh?"
"Yeah, it makes me feel all fuzzy inside."
"But, admit it...sometimes you get pissed when you don't get anything in return."
"NO!!! ...yeah...sometimes."
"And admit it. When you put money in the offering box, or if you think about giving money to a charity...sometimes you wonder what everyone else is giving, don't you?"
"..."
"And if people with equal means to you don't give as much, you judge them, don't you?"
"I really hate talking to myself."
"But it gets better: even people of lesser and greater means than you...you judge them in their giving, too, huh?"
"Yeah, sometimes. You suck."
"Yes, you do."

Anyway, I seem to not be alone in this problem. I have to admit, though, it is quite difficult to keep one hand from knowing what the other is doing (that is either a reference to an Archie Bunker comic, or a Bible verse). It seems the culture here has us more worried about what others are giving (or the good others are doing) than what we ourselves are doing. Also, sometimes humans worry that others will see how much they have given, and will think they have not given enough.
It is in all these categories that I encourage you to follow my own mantra, one that has served me well, that is, when I remember it:
Fuck everybody.
That's right, everybody.
No, not literally! What I mean is: Who cares what everyone else is doing? Do you think God cares in relation to you? Of course not. God wants you to do your best. He does not care about your best in relation to everyone else. Everyone else does not matter, in this regard. It seems some of us would rather point the finger at other people for not giving enough as a substitute for giving any of ourselves. This don't cut it.
To relate this to my previous post, you have to do what God wants you to do. At the moment, he might want you to give $50 to little children in Africa with no water. He may want you to give it to a family you know, so they can pay a bill. He may want you to buy a video game, because he wants you to relax, and learn and understand the spiritual advantages of being knowledgable in the realm of zombie-eradification. Sometimes, you just need to rest.
The point is, you have to do what God says is best for you. If your friend gave all his spending cash to the poor this week, and you used your money to buy Sideways on DVD, you don't have to feel guilty, plus, your friend should be keeping his mouth shut, anyway, because he is not supposed to be talking about it. This last phrase is about as Biblical as you can get.
Matthew 6:3-4 "But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly." (New King James Version) Gee, I think those letters might be red.
On the other hand, if all you do is spend your money on you, I would find it hard to believe you are operating in God's will, though, as the whole purpose of this post points out, it is none of my, or anyone else's business what you give. You have to do what God wants you to do.
Fin

8 comments:

John T. Meche III said...

Ok Nick, I agree on this one, but what's your theory on cursing? I need to hear that one eh?

Nicholas said...

My theory on cursing is that it is wrong, it probably should not be done, and I need to cut it out. I always struggle with Paul's statements on "coarse language" and foul humor, but at the same time, I wonder exactly what he meant. I very, very rarely use profanity in conversation, though, but sometimes, when I write, I can't think of anyway to get my point across stronger. This is a personal flaw, I guess.
Also, when I came up with my mantra, I was in a very low place, and, since it worked so well, haven't replaced it, as thinking "screw 'em" in my head just doesn't have the same impact.
But, I wish I had a better understanding of the issue, to be honest, and I also wish I had more self-control over my mouth when I drive.
I think I had something else to say, but sleepy. Good question, though.

John T. Meche III said...

Byt the way, it wasn't meant as an accusation. I've had a big struggle over whether or not the F,S,A,D, and B bombs are really bombs...I mean obviously when you use God's name in a profane way, it's a sin...but these others...have nothing to do with it, and it's the heart that counts. I mean do i sin less when I tell someone "Screw you" or "Forget you" rather than "F*** you"? All three have the same wrongful heart behind them. SO using any word with malice toward your brother is wrong. So there's nothing in those words themselves that is wrong. Does God wish us to live to please society's cultural subtlties or His will. Obviously, His will comes before these, so we're back where we started with the question: "Is cursing a sin?"

Jon said...

Hey I haven't read the rants yet, but I wanted to post a response to your ridiculously long name on xanga. It's so freakin long that it screws up the alignment on my blogs. I've lost like half an inch of horizontal screen space for my blogs because of your silly name. I don't like that/you very much.

Nicholas said...

Hey, there weren't any other names that weren't taken. Actually, I don't want to even have an account there, b/c all these accounts are confusing me. Is there a way to just comment on stuff there as a guest?
I posted this on your Xanga, too, just because I like to make you read things twice.
Sucka!

Jon said...

Ok just read rant 1 and rant 2. Both awesome. Agreement with both... to an extent. Rant 1: The only thing I can think of right now that I wish you would have included/talked about was when God said that it isn't good that man should live alone. He said that in the garden didn't he? I think so. Anyways, not that he is dependent on a woman for happiness, but God did put them here for us didn't he? haha, just kidding. But I do really really agree with you on the whole bit about the church making such a HUGE deal about the whole thing. Like when a certain unnamed preacher at our church told a certain unnamed man that it was ok for him to get married (special context here being that he is in his fourties and already been through one marriage). I mean maybe God wanted him to hear that, I don't know. I have a really hard time having an opinion on things like this without judging people. That's bad. In fact I think that's a bad habit I have with a lot of things, I judge people a lot. Sorry. Anyways, rant 2 was equally good and agreable... actually I just forgot what it was about. Ok part two next.

Jon said...

YES! So giving, right. I think you pretty much hit the nail on the proverbial head here. It ain't none ya damn business what I do with my money. I guess in a way it's good for the Pastor to look at the tithing record, but to judge people and refuse them certain services the church provides based on that information I think is wrong... maybe. I mean, wouldn't that be just like the old catholic church and buying indulgences? "If you tithe then you can be a part of the close knit church community, if not then you can't come in for consuling or be on the worship team." Not that anyone has said those exact words but pretty close I think. Anyways, I guess you went to some of the Glenn Miller services huh? Is this in some way tied to something he said? Me and my mom talked about a bunch of stuff like that today in the car, mostly about the whole muslim thing and the whole (completely unrelated to muslims) "they should be shot!" thing. Anyways, I think some of that is whack, but whatever, God is God, not me.

Jon

Nicholas said...

Thanks for the comments, yo!

First,yes, I agree, man should not live alone...on the Earth. Imagine, if you feel like it, a society with no women. Have you ever been in a junior-high school class with no girls. I have. The results ain't pretty. But, I see what you're saying. I don't think this neccessarily accounts toward all men, though just mankind in general...wait...you just said, "haha, just kidding." Crap. Nevermind.
Anyway, no, nothing in these rants has anything to do with Glenn Miller. I wrote them both before he ever even arrived in Baton Rouge. But, pertaining to him, and everything else you said, it is extremely hard for me not to judge, as well. I only went to two of the services this weekend, honestly just to be seen physically (which is another bad thing, in itself), but Glenn Miller (and this has no bearing on him personally, I mean, I don't even know the guy) preaching, and my listening just don't seem to be compatible. I think I may have actually subconciously (that's a lie...consciously would be the truth, and drop the "I think") scheduled my Germany trip to perfectly be gone for the whole eight days he was here last time, on purpose. Terrible, I know.
In fact, and I'm sure you have noticed, I think I know EVERYTHING, so listening to anyone that is so sure of themselves who is not ME is next to impossible for me. So, I think I definately have a problem. But this is my blog, and I am not going to be secretive about my opinion:
What if they have a problem, too?
Yeah, but I am going to take the high-road on this, and not criticize ministers for all the reasons we both know we should probably not criticize ministers. Instead, I'll say this, and leave the rest up to your imagination:
Well, anyway, blah, blah, I'm the best, blah, isn't my opinion awesome, blah, blah, you want to make love to my mind, yes? Blah, blah!
We both agree that tithing is supposed to exist, though, right? I mean, I'm as sceptical as anyone about anything, but I do think you're supposed to do that, it's just, as we apparently both think, this is a matter between God and us.
There is that passage where Jesus stands over the offering basket, but He does this to illustrate that the widow who gave the mite gave all she had, while rich people who give a block of gold may be actually giving less because they got ten trillion blocks of gold, right?
Then, we've got the whole Anninias and Saphira (prob. butchered the spelling) deal, but I always took the offense as they lied to God, not just that they stole from him (though, that's obviously not right, either), but this is just my big fat opinion (and I could really use a really smart person who has pondered this story several hundred times to seriously disect it for me in a literal, as well as figurative context, as well, as it's one of the things in the Good Book I have a little trouble getting) anyway.
Hey, the new Starflyer 59 is awesome (as expected).
I'm sorry, I had to change the subject really quick to make myself stop blabbing.
Celine Deon?