Chick-fil-A Controversy

Often people tend to disagree because they see things differently, even though they are looking at the same thing.

For example, I see a homeless person, and instinctively wish to help. Others can walk by that same person, and say “He brought upon himself his own misery. I won’t help.”

Two people see the same thing…. but feel differently. The question is, who is right? Should the homeless person be helped, or is he guilty of his own actions and does he deserve to remain helpless?

Let me use the previous analogy to explain how I feel about what is going on with Chick-fil-A. I have read Dan Cathy’s comments. In a nutshell, he says “I don’t support gay marriage, and I want to protect traditional marriage”. I see those words and think that he has an opinion, nothing more. Others see those words and say “He is anti-gay. He hates gays”.

I personally don’t see hate in those words. It is an expression of belief. For example, I don’t believe that people should drink alcohol, period. Not even a drop. But that doesn’t mean I hate people who drink it. I just don’t agree with their actions. The reason this gets so twisted in the discussion of gay-marriage or any issue pertaining to homosexuality for that matter, is because unlike my previous example, the gay community don’t feel like they are “choosing” to be gay, but that they are gay.  So, it’s like me not agreeing with drinking alcohol, but someone comes up to me saying “I was born with this condition that requires me to drink alcohol regularly”. Now how do I respond to this situation?

I only brought up the example in the previous paragraph because THAT is the real discussion. The real question that everyone wants answered, but no one talks about. The real question of whether its a civil, religious, or political issue, is whether or not we are talking about people who are “born” a certain way, or people continue to choose to live a certain way. I won’t attempt to address that topic here, perhaps another day.

Back to Chick-fil-A. I don’t believe Dan Cathy meant any hatred in his radio interview. I just think he gets sucked into the group of people who DO hate, which is unfair. Yes, there are people who don’t support gay marriage who are hateful, bigoted, and judgmental. But let’s give Dan Cathy the benefit of the doubt, since he never used the word “hate” in response to his questions in the entire interview.

But what about the groups Chick-fil-A funds? Aren’t they anti-gay? Doesn’t that mean he hates gays? And is intolerant? Again, two people see the same thing and view it differently. I view the “Marriage and Family Legacy Fund” (one of the organizations Chick-fil-A donated to in 2009) as a fund whose purpose is to pay for media campaigns that promote traditional marriage. I have read their executive summary. You can google it. Others, however, see the group as “anti-gay” and “hateful”.  So Chick-fil-A is either donating to a cause that is not filled with hate, or donating to a cause that IS filled with hate. Which is it? Again, people interpret it how they want.

There is much more to be said about this all, but to be brief, I would like to conclude with a religious theme.

The questions raised above “Who is right?” and “Which is it?” can be answered in many different ways by  many different people. Essentially, the same question can be asked of all matters. Is whole wheat good for you or bad for you? Is the Catholic church true, or is the Baptist church true, or neither? Are tattoos appropriate or not? Are gays born gay, do they choose to be gay, or is it a mixture of both? Is sex before marriage appropriate or not?  On and on the list goes…. what is right? Which is it? Who is right?

Do you see the problem? The world spins around each day in a “war of words, and a tumult of opinions. Who..is right? Or are they all wrong together?”

I believe that one must come to know truth by knowing God. I believe that if you really want to know,  He will reveal to you the truth of all things. Pray and ask, and you can know. If you don’t know who you are praying to, pray anyway. I believe that God exists, and that He knows all truth, and reveals it to His children. Were it not so, this war of opinions would be irrelevant, because there would be no truth, right, wrong, or any standard by which to govern our world. I believe there is right, wrong, truth, and law. And I believe that only the humble seeker of truth and happiness will find the answers.

What do you believe?

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Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire.

If you have not yet read the “Purpose” tab, please do so. The aim of this blog is to involve open discussion about belief. Positive discussion, not debate or argument.

Last week’s post was about belief in God. I testified of what I believe Him to be, and a few of you commented on your relationship to God as well. We all have had different experiences with God. Each of us are unique, and naturally we all have our own personal relationship with Him. I wish to speak today about how we communicate to God. This is a basic concept, but practiced extremely differently amongst people throughout this world.

I had an opportunity to live in an extremely diverse city in the United States. Jacksonville, Florida, is unique for this reason: it is the home to refugees and immigrants from all over the world. Just south of downtown is an apartment complex called “Sable Palms”. It is off Emerson Street, just East of Hendricks, right by a delicious barbeque joint. I have met everyone in that complex, because I used to go there all of the time. Every door was a new experience, because everyone that lived there was from out of the country. I ate ostrich legs there with a Burmese family. I spoke with a Persian woman named Shannaz who got into a wreck at Taco Bell in the drive through. I met some Vietnamese youth who played the guitar, a Liberian pastor,  a drunk from Bosnia, the list goes on and on! I mention this experience because no matter who they were or where they were from, they all had a concept of prayer. I offered to pray with all of them, and no one denied. They were always receptive to my offering to pray with them and for them. I feel the same way when people ask to pray for me. They may be of a different faith, but to know that someone is communicating with Deity on my behalf is empowering.

Prayer is such an amazing form of communication. I believe that prayer is essential to getting to know the God that we worship. In Sable Palms, some of the people I met would often tell me that they don’t pray out loud, but that God knows their thoughts. While it is true that God knows their thoughts, why not talk to Him? It is such a humbling experience to accept the fact that you need help, that you don’t know, that you lack the faith, the courage, or the ability, and to plead with God for help. In a sense, prayer is work. It requires effort to stop what you are doing, focus your mind and heart on God, and talk. But I believe that certain blessings require work on our part, and prayer is the start of that.

As I mentioned before, I believe God is my Father. I find comfort that I can communicate to my Father through sincere prayer, and I know that He is listening. He will answer me according to His time and will, but He does listen with love. It has been said that prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. I believe that that is true. I pray to know God’s will, and I try to align myself with it.

To those of you who are reading,what do you believe about prayer? How do you pray? What meaningful experiences have you had with prayer?  Please share in your comments below.

The title of this post comes from a song written by James Montgomery. If you would like to listen to the song, click here.

Higher Power.

If you are reading this, please click the  “Purpose” tab and read it to understand exactly what this blog is about. If you share this blog with others, have them also read the “Purpose” page. This is important to maintain the integrity of this website and to accomplish the goals of the same.

Our nation, every single day, requires that students in schools recite the pledge of allegiance. Well, I don’t actually know what happens anymore. Some schools require it, some allow students to remain seated if they believe differently, yada yada yada. As far as I know, it still mostly happens. This mundane, repetitive and often inconsequential start to each school day has been the subject of some fierce discussion. Why? Because in one obvious way, it is a statement of belief. We say “One nation, under God“. Interesting, isn’t it? Children beginning at age 5 are daily required to affirm their belief in a higher power. The pledge of allegiance shouldn’t cause any problems. It doesn’t define the God, state his (or her) name, or demand a particular form of worship. The end of the pledge itself defends its neutrality towards God.. with “liberty and justice for all”. Even if you don’t believe in God, you can believe in something, let’s say “science or reason”, call that God, and the pledge of allegiance is the same. “One nation, under <insert your understanding of God>, indivisible…”

When you recite the pledge of allegiance, though, no matter what God you believe in, you are affirming that there is a higher power. It’s “under God”, remember? Something is in control. Something, somewhere, governs us, even if you believe it is simply science.  I believe that there is a higher power. I believe it is a person, and even more so, I believe that that person is my Father. You may feel differently, but I think that the most endearing form of higher power imaginable is one that loves me perfectly, desires my happiness, and is constantly seeking to help me progress. I believe that He loves me, and that He knows me. I won’t even mention Him without using capital letters, just out of respect! I pray to Him, and I know He will answer. (Prayer will likely be next week’s topic, in case you were wondering).

What do you believe? What “higher power” do you serve? What is he/she/it like? How did you come to believe in that higher power? Can you think of an experience when you felt   that higher power’s presence in your life? Please share your comments below. Remember, every one who reads is encouraged to engage by stating what they believe below. No one will be ridiculed, argued with, or hated. (If your comments are of that nature, say goodbye to this blog:).  We are all here to learn, and to listen to what you have to say.