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Procter & Gamble and urban legends

October 1, 2019 Leave a comment

procter-and-gamble-logo

Proctor and Gamble’s logos…

As I get older, I often think of urban legends and how often even Christians are fooled.

This first example isn’t one of those, but it makes me chuckle.

Recess time in sixth grade at Maddera-Flournoy Elementary School in Beeville, Texas, in 1985 was a great place where all kinds of crazy urban legends were cultivated. Except, in our days of innocence, we didn’t know they were fake, what the term “urban legend” meant, or even what the term “innocence” meant. If asked, I’d say “innocence” is what a person pleaded when they didn’t commit a crime.

In the group I hung out with, one kid came up to us with this crazy story. All the “family” members of Texas Chainsaw Massacre were captured, tried, convicted, and executed. Executioners lined them up and then fired M-60 machine guns at them, killing them all.

“And when the grandpa’s head spun away after it was shot off the body, he kept mouthing the words, “Revenge…REVENGE!!!” the kid said.

Of course, it was all fake. Dad had told me that TCM occurred somewhere near Poth, Texas, but I later learned he was joking. The movie actually was filmed outside of Austin and the story itself based not on a group of Texas cannibals who liked to barbecue the innocent, but loosely on Wisconsin murderer/body snatcher Ed Gein. He never was executed for his crimes: Gein died in 1984 after having been declared mentally insane and ordered placed in a mental hospital.

And then, sometime around high school, another the second example. This one riled many Christians.

“Don’t buy Procter and Gamble products!” someone said. “I heard the president of Proctor and Gamble was on The Phil Donahue Show. He confirmed that he’s a Satanist and that 10 percent of his profits go to the Satanist church.”

Some of us even saw the bearded, starred, sinister-looking P&G logo and it confirmed for us the rumor.

Of course, the rumor took on a life of its own. Before long, the P&G president was on the Donahue show wearing all black, along with goth lipstick, black fingernails and black hair, and placing a curse on any professing Christians as he said, “Yesssss…I AM a Satanisssst…25 percent of my earnings to my masssster, Sssssatan himself! Hail Satan!!!”

Churches soon started boycotting P&G with some even placing on the bulletin board a list of P&G products. Some wondered, after the boycott, what would they have in the way of cleaning and laundry products?

And then, reality hit.

P&G, which later changed its logo, denied any connections to Satanism. Phil Donahue released a statement saying nobody from P&G had ever been on his show and even listed what had been on his show on the day suggested.

Through my own research I later learned that while it has different branches with varying beliefs, overall Satanism is actually an atheistic faith. Some on this planet do worship Satan. However, Satanists (according to the FAQ on their official website) don’t believe in Satan, nor do they believe in God or in an afterlife. If there’s a deity they do believe in, it’s themselves.

As a Christian, I do believe in God and in the existence of Satan. I often think Satan laughs himself silly over how incredibly gullible humans can be, particularly Christians. The rumor, according to old news stories, apparently started out of products distributor Amway, ostensibly out of an effort to weaken P&G’s brand name so it could complete against the Cincinnati-based conglomerate. P&G even sued four Amway distributors and won a settlement. Apparently when Proctor and Gamble heard of churches showing lists of the company’s products to boycott as to avoid rendering unto Satan what belongs to Satan, they decided it was enough.

If only Christians would do as much research as they are commanded to diligently search out truth in the Scriptures.

The 2020 presidential election will soon be upon us. As an independent conservative, I know whom I’m voting for. However, I’ve seen new rumors on the internet. One states that—gasp!—Democrat presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s real surname is Herring and not Warren. It also says that fellow candidate Pete Buttgieg’s real surname is Montgomery.

Just a little research shows that Warren’s maiden name is Herring and the maiden name of Buttgieg’s mother is Montgomery. Nothing to see here, folks.

If you’re going to be passionate about a viewpoint, make sure it’s factually correct.

Richard Zowie has been a Christian for almost 38 years. He’s not as dumb or naïve as he used to be, but he feels he still has much to learn. Post comments here or email them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com

Do you serve God or a god?

January 18, 2019 Leave a comment

Years ago, a college friend told me that he no longer believed the New Testament was God’s Word. Too many changes over the centuries, most of them for political reasons.

Oh, brother, I thought. Using that logic, how can we really know Plato really wrote what’s attributed to him, or that Hammurabi really created those sets of laws, or Percy Bysshe Shelley didn’t plagiarize someone else’s work?

Is your faith in men, or is it in God?

This was a friend who led a prayer group at college, was studying for the ministry, and seemed to truly love the Lord. He served God then, and now, I’m afraid, he serves god.

Sometimes life beats us up and we react accordingly. Some are resilient and bounce back, some aren’t. Others simply were never really strong in their faith and easily get choked by the thorns.

This friend reminds me of what God asked Moses in Genesis 18:14 in one of the world’s great rhetorical questions: “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?”

In Matthew 23:35, Jesus says, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

Either God lied or He didn’t. Either He preserved His Word or He didn’t.

Post comments here or email them to: richardstwoshekels@gmail.com

God prefers perfection over deep pockets

I remember in the first few years of the new millennium, working at a Christian radio station, listening to the commercials and talk shows. One of the popular topics of discussion was a book called “The Prayer of Jabez.”

I’ve never read the book, partly because I have a Jovian backlog of books that I want to read. This includes books I own, along with books that I sometimes check out at the library but can’t get around to reading. However, the synopsis seems like this: In 1 Chronicles 4:9-10, Jabez asks God to bless him, and God chooses to do so. Just like that, God will bless us if we only ask. Today, it’s a message similar to what Joel Osteen preaches.

One of the most wonderful Christians I know is a man who prays regularly, attends church regularly, reads the Bible and knows a great deal of Hebrew and Greek. This friend a few years ago also filed for bankruptcy and lost his house to foreclosure.

My friend says: “God’s not as interested in giving us stuff as He is in perfecting us.”

The idea, I suspect, is that we’ll enter into heaven with less spiritual growing to do. And as for being wealthy, how easy is it for even a wealthy Christian to place their faith in their bank account?

Post comments here or email them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com. 

Jesus Christ, savior, practical joker

March 30, 2014 Leave a comment

I am very convinced that, on a few occasions, the disciples yelled, “Jesus!”

No, not to take His name in vain, and not to call out to him when in a storm, in quicksand or because they were trying to get his attention. Instead, here are two examples:

Peter, at a wedding, takes a drink of wine–only to discover that it’s turned back into water.

Matthew, when looking for a lamb to slaughter for a meal for Jesus and the 12, stares in shock as the lamb says in perfect Aramaic: “PLEASE don’t eat me. I taste BAAAAAAAD!”

In both cases, the reaction was likely: “Jesus! Would you PLEASE stop doing that?!”

In both cases, I imagine our Lord doubled over, laughing.

Jesus probably also told His fair share of jokes. (“So the Rabbi tells the rest of the Sanhedrin, ‘That was no Samaritan woman! That was my WIFE!'”)

I see it this way: Jesus had a very busy schedule. There were no planes or cars, so He walked most places–save for riding on donkeys or other animals. He probably got very little sleep and had days where he had to: teach, teach and re-teach the disciples; deal with the Pharisees and other religious leaders who refused to see the obvious about Him; heal the sick, provide food for those needed; screen potential disciples; comfort the heartbroken, and on, and on, and on.

What better way to boost morale among His disciples and relieve stress by having a sense of humor?

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

How should you read the Bible?

December 28, 2013 Leave a comment

I can describe “how” in two words:

In context.

Those on the right who quote passages in Leviticus to condemn homosexuality should also be aware of passages that describe what we’d consider odd, inexplicable Mosaic laws dealing with slavery, sex and what animals were fit and unfit for food (if you love bacon, guess what–it would’ve been considered unclean).

Those on the left who quote passages in Acts to justify socialism or communism should also be aware of what the Bible says about not eating if you haven’t worked or those who take for themselves what others have earned.

I do believe the Bible is God’s Perfect Word, but I also believe that some rules God gave at various times were exclusively meant for those times and those particular circumstances.

For now, as I read, I consider the audience, the customs of the times and whether the command qualifies as an absolute from God or something He chose for that time.

Richard Zowie lives in the Texas Hill Country and is a reporter for the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post. The views expressed in this blog posting do not necessarily represent those of the Standard newspaper staff, editor or publisher. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Ever try to imagine eternity?

March 10, 2013 1 comment

Ever try to imagine eternity?

As a young boy, I tried and it was pretty scary.

For some odd reason, I would imagine New Jerusalem as a spinning carousel that would float higher and further away, never ending. It kept doing so long after it seemed like time had run out.

Even as an adult, I will try to imagine eternity. The results are not quite as staggering, but it’s still a lot like trying to imagine Calculus when your mathematical understanding ends at simple addition and subtraction.

I think the simplest way to understand it is that our minds are not fully equipped to understand the wonders of heaven or the everlasting endlessness of eternity.

And, believe it or not, neither can Chuck Norris.

Richard Zowie has never counted to infinity, and he’s pretty sure Chuck Norris hasn’t either (although Richard is a HUGE fan of both Norris and Chuck Norris Facts). Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Why I am no longer an Independent Fundamental Baptist, Part 1 of 4

February 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Some may read this blog title and wonder, “Is Richard still a Christian?”.

Yes, of course I am.

Others might wonder, “Is Richard backslidden?”

Frankly, I feel more alive as a Christian now than I ever have been.

While I don’t believe God programs certain people to accept Him and others to reject Him, I also do not believe salvation can be lost once attained. And, I also don’t believe that only specific denominations are true believers.

I still consider myself a Baptist, meaning that I believe baptism should take place after a person has reached the age of accountability and has received Christ, and I believe a person should study the Word of God and live a responsible, temperate life. However, I no longer consider myself an Independent, Fundamental Baptist (From here on out, we will abbreviate it as IFB).

Let me start with my background.

I became a Christian when I was eight. After my oldest sister left Mormonism (my parents did not regularly attend church), we attended an IFB church in Alvin, Texas, a town about 20 miles southeast of Houston. Then, we moved to Beeville in South Texas and after about two years attending what I’d consider a Southern Baptist Church, we again attended an IFB church.

In those days, the rules were: short hair for boys, no earrings or necklaces. Clean cut. One Baptist minister, whom I will not name, preached a revival service and announced: “Any man who wears an earring probably wears lace on his underwear!”

For women, they were to guard their modesty and wear dresses, skirts or culottes. No pants, not even Capri pants. Many wore no makeup; some men referred to cosmetics as “fake-up” and “mass-scary”. Hair had to be long or, if cut short, lady-like and easily distinguishable from men.

In the home, the husband was the ruler, although he was gently encouraged to cherish his wife. Many men took this to mean they were the boss, the absolute ruler of their home. This, not surprising, led to many having children living secret lives of rebellion as they grew restless having to share their parents’ IFB convictions that they themselves did not share.

In general: no movies (you might be going to the movies to watch the G-rated movie, but how do others know you’re not there to watch the R-rated one instead? Hmmm?). A strong discouragement of television, no alcohol, no tobacco, no drugs, no rock music, no country music, no music with a beat. No contemporary Christian music: no Steve Green, no Steven Curtis Chapman, no Amy Grant, no Carman and no Michael W. Smith (One famous IFB preacher referred to Smith as “Michael W. Smut”). I imagine some even disliked Rich Mullins because he grew his hair long. A David Benoit-style sermon on rock music was sure to include a story about how the beat of rock music was similar to the drum beat used by primitive African tribes to conjure demons.

Dancing? Forget it. Not even ballroom dancing.

Some would add: No fun, no kidding!

And when it came to the Bible, King James Bible only. Not King James Version, since the term version implies there are other acceptable Bibles to read in the English language. There was no room for the New King James Version or the New International Perversion. One friend at college grew up in Germany and often carried with him a German Bible on campus; there very possibly may have been some who murmured, “How come he doesn’t use a King James?!”

And, speaking of college, I attended Pensacola Christian College. To say there were strict rules at PCC is like saying Baptists love potluck meals. After college, I served four years in the Army. Initially, that was a culture shock for me since I went from sheltered church and sheltered college to the military. Lots of my fellow soldiers, drank, smoke, had tattoos and body piercings. Some didn’t believe in God, some had ideas of God that must’ve originated from a marijuana-induced haze while others couldn’t have cared less.

After the military, I attended an IFB church in Texas that wasn’t as strict (the pastor’s wife wore slacks at times), but the pastor still took time to warn us to not listen to music of the style of Madonna, AC/DC or Hootie and the Blowfish.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Why I am no longer an Independent Fundamental Baptist, Part 2 of 4

February 14, 2013 Leave a comment

That being said about my background, I offer this observation: the purpose of IFB, what many might call an ultra-bland, neo-puritanical lifestyle, is to eliminate all sinful elements that would deprive you of being a godly Christian, having an intimate understanding of the Scriptures and having an intimate relationship with God. Sadly, it has turned out to be more about control. If control runs amok without accountability, it results in a cult.

Also, while we were encouraged to study the Bible and ask questions, ultimately it was up to your pastor and church leaders to decide for you what is acceptable and what is sinful. One couple who taught Sunday school resigned from a church I attended rather than sign an agreement stipulating what they could and could not do in their private lives. Others choose to follow without question, even if their church leaders or pastor have no formal Bible training and show it by mispronouncing words in the Bible or showing a consistent inability to understand Bible contexts.

Often I’d see things that, now, leave me speechless. Once during a revival, there was a minister who, as he warmed up early his sermon, took off his suit jacket, removed his tie and preached in his white, short-sleeved dress shirt. The sermon was about continuing in the faith, and somehow, the subject shifted to how women dress.

LADIES,” he thundered in a gravelly voice that reminded me of a used car salesman yelling out all his special deals during a 30-second television commercial, “Deuteronomy 22:5 still means the same thing today that it meant thousands of years ago!”

Any IFB woman knows what this verse says: “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” (King James Version)

The verse is interpreted to mean women should not wear pants; ostensibly, men should also not be cross-dressers or transvestites. The fact that Deuteronomy 22 has lots of other verses the same Baptists probably don’t heed, and that fact that many Christians and non-believers alike probably don’t realize that Mosaic Law consists of an intricate network of dietary, moral and ceremonial laws are blog postings for another time.

That being said, I recall a few years ago taking pictures of a church carnival. A woman wearing modest culottes rode down an inflatable slide. And, for about three seconds, her culottes rode up, showing off her thighs and underwear. I did not get a picture of that and if I had, I would have deleted it. I was too busy marveling that a woman riding down the slide in jeans or capris could have been more modest than the woman wearing “women’s attire”.

One very wonderful female Christian friend I know tells me she hates culottes.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Why I am no longer an Independent Fundamental Baptist, Part 3 of 4

February 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Over the years, as I’ve grown, matured, made mistakes and have stumbled here and there, and have come to one conclusion: while there are wonderful, godly people in IFB circles, I find many of the rules to be personal preferences that have magically evolved into Biblical convictions rather than being true, Bible-established convictions. I also see a culture where it’s far too easy to let others think for you instead of growing in your faith, developing a close relationship with God and allowing God to work in your life.

Christianity should not be primarily about following a set of rules. It should be about learning to develop a closer relationship with God and then, as that relationship matures, you see right and wrong from God’s perspective and better understand how to read, interpret and explain Scripture. In this imperfect world of imperfect churches and imperfect Christians, the rules often tend to be manmade. Granted, there are absolutes and clear Biblical teachings on various subjects, but there are also areas God chooses to be silent about. I suspect those are the minor issues left up to us to decide for ourselves.

When I first moved to Michigan, my family and I temporarily attended a non-denominational Bible church while intending to find a strict Baptist church. We found we liked the Bible church and stayed there. Lots of wonderful people there. Some guys in the youth group wore earrings while many of the women wore jeans on Wednesday nights and slacks on Sunday morning (especially if it was winter).

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Why I am no longer an Independent Fundamental Baptist, Part 4 of 4

February 14, 2013 1 comment

Why I am no longer an Independent Fundamental Baptist, Part 4 of 4

I don’t see God as a Supreme Being who wants robots to follow Him. We are created in His image, but we are all unique. Each of us has our own DNA (except, of course, for identical twins). We have our own personalities and eccentric ways. Myself, I love ducks, love to cook and eat gourmet food, love to get myself in an energetic mood by listening very loudly to Van Halen, and I love to wear a necklace that represents something about me and my background. I also have an off-beat sense of humor that I make no apologies for. Some might think of me as far too exuberant. I approach life the way I cook: I like food with different ingredients and with spices (this morning, I made scrambled eggs with onions and arugula and loved it). I like to explore and be different. While I don’t drink, I don’t make an issue of others doing so as long as they are responsible.

I currently attend a Regular Baptist Church (equivalent to a Southern Baptist Church or a Bible church) with my sons. The church’s youth pastor looks to be working on a beard, and he had that facial hair while recently preaching. Lots of women wear pants, and lots of men dress casually, even on Sundays. And the Word of God is preached, and there is a friendliness I have seldom seen in other churches!

In my DVD collection are PG, PG-13 and R-rated movies. My favorite movie is the R-rated Heat, where Robert De Niro plays a career criminal who, in a different lifetime, would’ve easily been best friends with the police officer (played by Al Pacino) who’s trying to arrest him. I like contemporary Christian music but also like secular. I very rarely drink but someday out of curiosity might try a tequila sunrise. I also own an empty, skull-shaped vodka bottle, not because I like vodka (I don’t), but because I love to collect unusually-shaped bottles. Someday I’ll add to the collection an 1800 Tequila bottle since I like its very-geometric shape. I’ll also collect a maple syrup bottle that’s shaped like a maple leaf.

My Bible reading? I own four Bibles: a King James, a New King James, an English Standard Version and a New American Standard. I use the ESV and NAS primarily as reference materials and, frankly, do not like the way the NAS reads. Primarily, I read from the New King James. My two youngest sons read from the New King James and from the Holman Study Bible. They were late bloomers in reading, so I prefer to encourage their reading by giving them a Bible in a contemporary language.

I am hoping to move back to Texas this summer. Sorry, but I will not be attending an IFB church. Any church I attend will either be Southern Baptist or a Bible church. Those are the speeds of Christianity I prefer these days and I feel those are the ones where I will grow the best in my walk with the Lord.

What should you do? Seek the Lord, abide in His Word and go where He leads. Maybe you will attend an IFB church, maybe not. All I know is this: one size does not fit all in Christianity.

Richard Zowie currently attends First Baptist Church in Vassar, Michigan. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Understanding God’s Will as Mrs. Robinson says goodbye

November 20, 2012 Leave a comment

I began my freshman year at Pensacola Christian College in the Fall 1991 semester. For Speech Lecture class on Friday mornings, Mrs. Robinson would often speak. She was clear and concise and very likeable. I enjoyed hearing her speak. Once, she spoke affectionately about her husband’s adorable habit of hanging a shaving razor from the toothbrush holder in the bathroom. The way she paused, I could tell she adored him. I had also worked with her husband that summer and knew he adored his wife as well.

That year, she was in a play called Our Hearts Were Young and Gay. I forget the character she played, but I do remember at one point she spoke in a flawless French accent.

My second semester for Speech 102, I tried to get one of her classes but, unfortunately, the only time she was available was either when I had other classes or when I had to work. I did get to meet her, for the first and only time, to review a monologue I had to do for class. She was extremely helpful.

Mrs. Robinson and her husband were people I never got to know closely, but I found them very fascinating. I friended her husband on Facebook and then read his posts about what they were doing. Most recently, they were trying to get a coffee shop going and had plans to use it in some sort of ministerial capacity.

And then, tragedy struck as Mrs. Robinson got cancer.

I read the updates, prayed and hoped things would improve. Finally, earlier today, her husband posted that she lost her battle.

My initial thought was, Dear God, why is Mrs. Robinson deceased but a certain retired hedonistic NBA basketball star still alive?

One friend, Stephanie, made an excellent observation: “Look at the life she lived.”

You know, quality versus quantity.

Mrs. Robinson was well-liked, well-loved, well-respected, by all accounts a very kind person who went out of her way to help others.

In other words, the type of Christian I fail at being on a daily basis.

I wish I knew what to say to her husband and their two sons, but I don’t. There are personal tragedies and pains God allows to happen that we simply won’t understand this side of eternity.

One thing I firmly believe is that God’s Will for mankind is a vast montage, a myriad of information. If placed in written form, it could easy fill our galaxy, maybe even the universe. It consists of countless trillions of pieces. If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll get to see two or three pieces in our lifetime.

After 31 years as a Christian, the only thing I know about God’s movements through man is that it is twofold: 1) Allow mankind maximum opportunities to receive Christ and enter heaven and 2) Allow mankind maximum opportunites to not only grow as Christians, but to encourage and edify others.

No, I don’t know why God allowed Mrs. Robinson to die at such a relatively young age. I also don’t know why He allowed a college friend, Terry, to die from cancer in his late twenties and leave behind a wife and young daughter. All I know is He is in control and that there is a reason.

And until I get to heaven, that is all I will know.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Listening to your instincts

November 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Wouldn’t it be nice to sleep in today? I thought as I lay in bed, thinking of how nice it would be to get more sleep. I’d slept about eight hours and enjoyed catching up on sleep. Recently, I’d been working two jobs, taking care of my sons and rehearsing for a play. I averaged about five hours of sleep a day. I seldom took naps just because there was too much to do.

But then an instinct gently reminded me that I needed to take advantage of a Sunday morning off (I work today from 2:30-11 p.m. at the gas station) and that I’d regret not getting my boys into church. So, I got up and asked them how they were doing. Fine, they said.

We live only about a mile from church, so getting there isn’t the problem. If my car isn’t working, big deal: we can always walk.

So, we went and I heard great, encouraging messages in both Sunday School and in church. I wrote down Bible verses on encouragement, spiritual intimacy with God and comfort from God. I also signed my sons and I up for the church’s Thanksgiving dinner (we’re taking mashed potatoes and gravy). My sons had a good time.

None of that would’ve happened if I’d allowed the devil to have his way.

You know exactly what I’m talking about.

When the devil tickles our ears, it’s that warm instinct that encourages you to sleep more, or tells you that you’re too poor to tithe. For the lost, it’s that instinct that tells them the salvation message is a simple solution for a complex problem, that there are countless religions, how could Christianity be the true one, or that there’s always next Sunday to make a decision.

Next Sunday, of course, never comes as lifelong procrastination sets in.

Today I also reminded myself the importance of daily Bible reading and will work on reading the Minor Prophets until the end of the year and then take another try in 2013 at reading The Word chronologically.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Marathon vs. Sprint

November 14, 2012 1 comment

Amazing how Christians can be. I can think of two Christians at college that seemed destined to go nowhere in life. One left after a semester because he didn’t like PCC’s rules and the other seemed to teeter on getting kicked out due to his attitude.

Both are serving the Lord now. One ministers through music and the other is a pastor who blogs.

Then there are the Christians I knew growing up and on-fire Christians I knew at college who are not only no longer serving God, they question their faith. One who studied for the ministry tells me he no longer thinks of the New Testament as God’s inspired word. In high school, I knew of a young man who was absolutely on fire for God. Today, his walk seems much less so.

If there is a way to describe it, I’d say it’s because Christianity should be lived as a marathon and not as a sprint.

As a sprint, it’s easy to burn white-hot bright for about five years…and then fade into cold darkness.

As a marathon, you pace yourself and purpose each day to do the basics: read the Word of God, spend time with God, talk to Him and let Him talk back to you. Sometimes it’s through the still, small voice, sometimes through something in the Bible that speaks to you in capital letters, and sometimes it’s through intuition.

I’ve been a Christian for 31 years; ever since the age of eight I’ve been on my way to heaven. Frankly, the finish line marking the entrance into heaven doesn’t seem any closer today than it did back in 1981. Ironic, since my death or the rapture could happen at any time. At times, it’s like I gasp for breath as I complete yet another lap and groan at how much further there is to go.

Please don’t give up. The worst thing is to look back upon your life and utter these two words: If only

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What does this Christian think of ‘Prometheus’?

October 3, 2012 Leave a comment

This past summer, I treated myself to a movie at the theaters. One of my all-time favorite movies is the sci-fi thriller Alien, so when I heard that Prometheus was a prequel, I decided to watch.

Prometheus, directed by Ridley Scott (who also directed Alien), is one of those films that you really have to see a few times to really grasp all its nuances. What it strikes me as is a vivid, but hardly exhaustive explanation of events that took place before Alien. We also learn from the film that a human-like alien race apparently created the human race, perhaps in the form of dropping seeds off on earth and letting them germinate and evolve. Basically, it’s what I’ve heard Dr. Richard Dawkins speculate how mankind came about when pressed about the countless problems within evolution and the countless unanswered questions. I suppose that’s more plausible to him than just admitting a supreme intelligence created it all.

Some did not like Prometheus because they felt it presented a premise that shattered the tenants of Christianity. To me, as a Christian who believes in intelligent design and has lots of questions, it is science fiction. A fascinating film at that.

Do I believe there is intelligent life on other planets? It’s possible, considering the billions of galaxies out there. I doubt we’ll know until heaven just how majestic God is in His creation. Maybe there are other worlds with humans or non-humans. I suspect that for now, God has deemed it unnecessary for us to learn directly about them. 

Or, maybe we are alone.

For now, I watch Prometheus and Alien and count them as one theory and go from there.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

When God tries to get your attention

A few Sundays ago, I was woken up at 8 a.m. by a text message. That morning, due to not having done laundry and being too tired from working a lot, I was planning to not take my sons to church. Again.

The text was from a Christian friend, a lady who’s in her mid-twenties but conducts herself like she’s in her mid-forties. Very precocious spiritually and socially. She told me she felt the Lord leading her to contact me to see how I was doing.

We texted back and forth and I told her about my frustration of being out of church due to being very tired all the time. She politely suggested to me that my responsibility was to raise my sons up to be in church.

Wow.

We did not make it to church that morning since the boys had no clean church clothes, but I sat there and thought about this friend. It really was if God was using her to talk to me. And to get my attention.

Last weekend, while work kept me from church, I arranged my sons to get a ride to church. Both said they had a good time.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Do cliques exist among Christians? Yep

April 26, 2012 3 comments

For those reading this who don’t know me, here’s a quick description of who I am: a quirky writer who sees the world differently. I’m clumsy. Convention often bores me, and for some my sense of humor is far too esoteric. I am lousy with my hands, don’t smoke, don’t drink or don’t do typical “guy” things.

I became a Christian in 1981 at eight, but over the years still struggled to find acceptance. I wore clothes that weren’t stylish. I didn’t wear my hair in stylish ways. I was still discovering myself and often told non-sequitur jokes or made non-sequitur comments. I had strange obsessions (ducks, pens, certain movies, baseball). I didn’t know it at the time, but I’m actually a mixture of both ADHD and Aspergers. Attending Baptist churches in my teen years, I always felt there were some people who didn’t accept me because I didn’t behave in patterns they were accustomed to.

After attending a public high school and often feeling out of place outside my close circle of friends (Bob, Lorin, Joe, Valkena and Sean, to name a few), I shifted gears and attended a Christian college. Even at Pensacola Christian College, while I made many wonderful friends, I also felt a strong sense that some there did not accept me or even try to, simply because I’m different. 

Years after PCC, as I began to understand more of who I am and why I say and do the things I say and do, I decided to re-connect with lots of former PCC classmates at a website that was a chat board. Everything was open for discussion. And some of the biggest things open for discussion were how bad the administration had been, how many backstabbers there were and how wrong the college had been in its rules, doctrines and theology.

And after a few years of being on the board, it became apparent to me that I would always be an outsider due to my different sense of humor, my perspectives. Some were kind, many were very antagonistic. I left, concluding that in their overall rudeness and condescension, they were no different than the elite, “evil” administration they condemned.

And so was the case in other Christian circles. My soon-to-be ex-wife a few years ago told me my sense of humor caused some at our church bewilderment and wondered how she put up with it all the time. Well, if they’d bothered to get to know me or ask, they would’ve learned humor is my stress reliever. And at the time, I had a lot of stress in my life. They didn’t ask, because, well, men aren’t supposed to be high-strung or exhuberant. They are supposed to be assertive, be able to fix things, go hunting, and so on.

During my separation, I did something I’ve always wanted to do and got involved in a local theater. Currently, I am a member of the Clio Cast & Crew and for the past month or so have been rehearsing for a part in the play A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.

And for this amount of time, I have had the time of my life as I’ve been surrounded by wonderful people who seem to accept me for who I am. Some are Christians, some probably are not, but what I enjoy is that I feel far more at ease among my fellow castmates and director and assitant director than I do among many conservative Christians.

And, yes, many of the above lean more towards the left politically while I remain an independent conservative.

It’s amazing to me just how easy it has seemed for me so far to gain acceptance in this group despite my issues, and how frustrating it is that I could go into the average church and probably be labeled different almost immediately. It’s almost like among thespians, diversity is not only accepted, it’s celebrated.

I suppose this shouldn’t be surprising: one song says that if Jesus showed up in the average church today, some parishioners would gripe that His bloody foot prints were staining the carpets. As my friend Lisa pointed out, others would gripe that Jesus’ disciples reeked of fish.

I take comfort knowing from the Bible that God often worked with the outcasts. Abraham had trust issues. Moses hated public speaking and probably stuttered. Jacob was a con man. David was the youngest son who probably wasn’t taken seriously by his older brothers, and later he would become an adulterer and murderer. Jesus’ ancestral bloodline contained incest, prostitution, murder, ungodliness. Paul had anger issues while Peter was very impulsive. And yet, God loved them and worked with them all. What is important to God is that we desire to follow and serve Him and make Him first in our lives.

The Bible gives us a set of clear rules to live by, and while these rules are important, sometimes the lines blur and subjective views of conformity magically turn into Biblical convictions, God wants a relationship with us, and as we get to know Him, we start to see things from His perspective.

And one thing I believe is God loves us despite all our quirks and flaws.

Richard Zowie has been a Christian for 30 years and is still learning. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Reading the Bible, finishing Job, Psalms and Proverbs thoughts

January 18, 2012 1 comment

To paraphrase the famous Wolf Brand Chili commercial: How long has it been since I’ve updated this blog…[brief pause that’s not long enough for anyone to respond]…well, that’s too long.

2011 saw me do something I hadn’t done probably since graduating from Pensacola Christian College in 1995: I read the Bible completely through. About 66 percent of the time I read daily and the other 33 percent I either didn’t read or had to catch up and read several days’ worth.

It obviously is better to read every day so you can focus on quality rather than quantity.

I’ve read of some Christians who read 20 chapters a day and others who read the Bible cover to cover in a month. Perhaps someday I’ll try that, but at this stage, the more I read, the far less I retain and comprehend. After all, the Bible’s not a Archie comic book. When you read in Romans about faith and salvation, each chapter seems like it should broken down over a week’s time…

Today, I finished reading the Book of Job as, in 2012, I’m reading the Bible chronologically. Fascinating book. Job was a godly man who lost everything, wrestled with the question “Why?” while his friends accused him of having unconfessed sin and pride. After all, God never punishes the righteous, does He?

Wrong.

I think of one godly friend, Terry, who while in his early 30s died of cancer. He left behind a wife and young daughter. I don’t know why and won’t know until eternity. Maybe this planet simply didn’t deserve him.

Job learns two things from a discussion with God: 1) Job isn’t not God and 2) Job is going to have to trust God. While the first two chapters indicate why Job went through what he did, nothing at the book’s end indicates Job knew why. It’s possible he did, but it’s also possible Job had to wait until heaven to find have his “Why?” question answered: Because God simply wanted to prove to Satan that humans serve God out of love for God and a desire to know Him rather than how much money and possessions He gives them…

A friend suggested I read Psalm 5 recently. It reminds me of that advice from PCC given to us from Pastor Jim Schettler about reading through a Psalm or Proverb every day. I figure through diligence you can read through both books twice in a single year. Granted, the Psalm 119 is long, but there are several Psalms that are shorter than I am (for the record, I’m about 5’8″).

Richard Zowie is a Christian writer who feels it’s best to be a Christian first and a writer second. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

12-1-2011 Adventures in Bible reading

December 1, 2011 Leave a comment

This past week has gone surprisingly well as I have managed to do something I haven’t been successful doing in the past: getting up early and reading the Word.

Unless you count the euphoria of rising early for a vacation or Saturday mornings getting up to watch Bugs Bunny cartoons, I have never been a morning person. But yet mornings are really the best time to spend with God. Early mornings when nobody else is up.

So, I’ve reminded myself that by getting to bed at a decent hour, I will have an easier time getting up early to spend it with God.

Currently, all I have left until the end of the year is the Minor Prophets and Proverbs in the Old Testament and then Acts and Romans in the New Testament. It’s been a bumpy ride, but it’s looking like 2011 will be a year in which I read the Bible completely through cover to cover.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Things I suspect in Christianity, theology…

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

I don’t claim to be right on any of these. Instead, they are just some things the creative, overactive part of my mind suspects…

…Whenever you don’t feel like reading your Bible or going to church, chances are excellent there is something about you that scares Satan to death…

…I believe the Lake of Fire exists on a planet in a distant galaxy. Perhaps that dark planet…

Astronomers estimate that this planet (seen here in an artist’s conception) is darker than coal and has a surface temperature of only 1,800 degrees.

…Speaking of astronomy, had Adam and Eve never sinned in the Garden of Eden, I suspect by now we’d be colonizing other planets, possibly even ones outside our solar system…

…I suspect God sees all the world’s events–from the Garden of Eden to the final battle at the end of the thousand-year millennial reign–happening all right now on some type of theological matrix. As I type, God is seeing Moses leading Israel through the Red Sea. He’s also seeing those who’ve taken the mark of the beast screaming at the scorching heat…

…I believe that if we as Christians were to see heaven right now, it would make almost no sense whatsoever. The finite trying to grasp the infinite?…

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Caught up again, then a little behind

August 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Sometimes I think my Bible reading could be summed up by this television theme song

I was about two weeks behind at one point on my Old Testament reading, then got completely caught up both, and then the procrastination and sleep bugs hit and tonight I’ll have three day’s worth to read to catch up.

One thing I am looking to add is reading from the Psalms each night. Starting next year, I may even break it down further and, every day of the year, read a Psalm or Proverb. Psalm 119, of course, would be split up into about four days.

What is it that makes it so difficult to maintain consistency? We just get too busy in our own lives, perhaps. And, of course, the devil is always there to let us know of the many other things we could be doing with our time…surfing the internet, sleeping, eating, relaxing, watching TV, visiting social sites.

In an effort to get caught up on my reading, I “read” through the entire Book of Joshua. No, I don’t recommend that. The quantity versus quality approach to Bible reading never is successful. Spiritually, you feel far better when you relax, focus and read.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.