Monday, December 16, 2013

Sorry that a persons death inconvenienced your commute...First World Problems!!

Today, there was a fatal car accident just outside of the town I live in.   It brought traffic southbound to a halt for hours.  Tragically, a man died...others, seriously hurt.  As I read some Facebook posts tonight, I was saddened to see how "inconvenienced" people were by someone's death.  Are we that entitled of a people, we can't wait long enough for such a horrific event to be worked through?

That person's family will never see them again.  You had to wait a couple hours to see your loved ones, and maybe you won't get as much sleep tonight...that family won't sleep tonight.  Are we in that much of a hurry?  What are we doing? 

Tonight I got to serve dinner and give a message at the local Union Gospel Mission, afterward I drove to a local grocery store and joined some friends who were ringing bells to help raise money for the Salvation Army.  The folks we served at the UGM and I'm sure many of the peeps that receive services from the SA, would have loved to sit in your warm, leather upholstered seats, listening to music while you share your vexation and disbelief. 

So, I'm sorry that a human beings death brought you some inconvenience...maybe tomorrow will be a better day for you.  In the meantime, perhaps this video of First World Problems will remind you of how ridiculous we've become.  I hope your commute is better tomorrow...

Friday, December 6, 2013

Robinson Cano and the world of Mental Illness...

As a life long Seattle Mariners fan, I was excited hear the headlines this morning, "Cano and Mariners agree to $240 MILLION!!"  No, this post is not about the craziness of paying someone insane amounts of money to hit a ball and round some's about providing a glimpse into the world of mental illness.

Most of my life, my dad battled mental illness (bi-polar/shizo-affective disorder...was the most recent diagnosis).  I grew up visiting my dad in and out of mental hospitals and all that they entail (watching him in struggle in straight jackets, being tied to beds, receiving extreme doses of anti psychotic drugs that have the affect of making someone a living zombie...literally the walking dead).  Before my dad would receive a 3-4 month stay-cay in our state mental hospital, he would go through weeks, sometimes months of manic, paranoid, delusional, and grandiose behaviors.  

I couldn't help but smile today, thinking that if my dad was still alive, he would have called me and said either "Rhyan, I'm moving to Seattle...the Mariners just hired me to help coach Cano!" or "I'm moving to Houston, the Texans offered me a coaching job." (In light of this mornings Houston Texans firing of Coach Kubiak) When I was younger, it was a bit harder to navigate such delusional calls, that would often lead to frustration...but now that they don't happen anymore, perhaps the "crazy" thing is, I sure wish they did!

He used to walk into the local police department and ask for his business cards so his peeps could contact him in his "undercover detective" work.  He went to a local high school one morning and announced in a class room that he was the substitute that day...the contracted teacher quickly called for help!  

When I would go to the local food bank with him, pick him up in all hours of the night at the local downtown bus-stop or any given destination of his walking pleasure, he had great friendships with the local transient homeless population...they were friends.  I learned more from my dad and his mental illness than I could have ever imagined...I learned that in light of HUGE state and federal budget cuts, and continued lack of local resources, folks with mental illness have fewer and fewer places to go.  Families are often at a loss of what do with their loved ones who suffer from such agonizing and difficult (to say the least) mental disorders...often they lead to abandonment, and you know, while I don't agree with it, I sure understand it...the ugly side of mental illness; threats, behaviors, manipulation, and more...are sometimes a living hell.

I'm not sure why I felt compelled to write this...perhaps it's the impending two year anniversary of the sentencing hearing for the transient young man who beat my dad to death?  Maybe it's the holiday season, and the memories that come with wishing my dad was still here and knowing that there are hundreds and thousands of families all over the country wondering what to do with their loved ones who are doing everything they can to estrange themselves from the very ones who care about them the most?  Maybe it's my hope for a world to be more empathetic and caring for those who battle mental illness?

My dad would call me at all hours of the night, sometimes to yell, sometimes to offer a threat, and sometimes to tell me that the lucky number for the day was "3"...I don't get those calls anymore...but I sure wish I did!!  Maybe this spring, I'll head up to a Mariner's game in his stead.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Top 7 things that people think are in the bible (and totally ARE!!)

What a great time in the history of humanity...the creation of the blog has been a such a gift on one hand and absolute curse on the other.  I recently read a blog post titled, Top Seven Things People Think are in the Bible (That Totally Aren't)

I know, that's actually quite a simplistic view.  If you want to do a word search on what's in the bible, then by all your self.  But, to refute some historical truths of the church because you don't find word for word proof-texts in your eisegesis, then I think you may want to be hesitant at best.

So, here is my humble, subjective response...drum-roll please, The top 7 things people think are in the bible (that totally are).

7. The So-Called "Rapture" - According to the scriptures, there actually will be a final resurrection, and we will be caught up some how?!  Jesus will come again.  Do we know! Will there be a tribulation before he comes or after...up for debate.  But indeed, there will be a Rapture or Final Resurrection (I Thessalonians 4ff).  We will be "caught up" = Rapture.  It's actually in the bible...crazy!  I hope I'm not driving a car when it happens...

6.  God Hates haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies ( posts that say things aren't in the bible that actually are), and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers ( posts that refute other blog posts, I'm repenting as I type)....God's a hater, according to the bible. (Proverbs 6:16ff)

5.  Everything happens for a reason because God uses all things for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his PURPOSE (Paul wrote that...not Rhyan)  My dad was murdered 2 years ago...beaten to death by a young transient, who is serving 20 years in the WA state prison system for Murder 2.  I don't know God's purpose or REASON for this, but I do know I actually got to live my faith out for the first time in my life in a real way.  When I was tucking my kids in the several nights after my dad was stomped in the head repeatedly and left for dead, I said to them, "THIS is where we live our faith our...where we actually love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us."  God's purposes...reasons, are not mine to decide, but I sure know this side of it all, I am more empathetic than I've ever been before, I understand the Gospel better than I've ever understood it before...maybe there is a reason for everything?!

4. God is in control...this is called, the Doctrine of Providence, tons of theological peeps have written on this topic (Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Hodge, Barth and many more...) it's the idea above all that God sustains, redeems, creates, etc...all things (John 1, Hebrews 1, Colossians 1, Nehemiah 9, Ephesians 4) to name a few places that speak of God being in's there, boom!

3.  We must accept Jesus into our heart as our personal Lord and Savior because the scripture talk about the idea of confessing Jesus is Lord and when we do and believe it in our hearts then we will be saved...Lord and Savior.  Paul went on more to say this crazy thing that Jesus would actually dwell in your hearts through faith, but wait...THERE'S MORE!! Jesus said some how in the mystery of this all that the Holy Spirit would be with us and be in us, AND that those who love Jesus, the father and son will come and dwell ("Make our home!") in's the greatest gift of the Gospel...the mystery as Paul says, "Christ in you!"...maybe that's ambiguous, sorry, I'm Presbyterian!

2  Jesus died for our sins...this is called the Doctrine of Atonement (specifically substitutionary atonement)...there's a few years of history behind this one, you could prob get a pretty quick and insightful list of scriptures by simply doing a google search on "Atonement of Christ".  Perhaps the biggest scripture that we refer to on this comes from Romans 3 and's the whole idea of the wages of sin being death but the gift of God being eternal life in Christ, that crazy notion that we were sinners, but Christ died for us (for our sins presumably) because when we were his enemies we were reconciled by the DEATH of his Son...some how, the bible talks a bit about Jesus dying for our sins, there's this one verse that actually says, For Christ died for sins...(I Peter 3:18).  You remember that one time you said, "Show me where it says that!" #justdid

1.   God helps those who help know what, I'll give you this one...I'll actually take this moment to respond to the idea that God doesn't give us more than we can handle.  Some of the blogs I've read, one especially around millennials and the church, argued the idea that God doesn't give us more than we can handle isn't actually in the bible to which I say...actually, the concept comes from Paul's assurance to the peeps in Corinth that "God...will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear."  I'll give you it's not word for word, but the principal remains...

For what it's worth... #:D