Why you should stop praying, and start meditating.

Does prayer “work”?

“Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.] 14 [“For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. 15 But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.” (Mat 6:9-15 CSB)

Praying was something that I was always taught to do. Even when my parents did not attend church, we still prayed. Prayer was always thought to be thanking god for what we have, and requesting from god the needs of our life that we feel like is out of our hands. It is believed in many cultures that prayer has “power” to change ones circumstances. I am sure if you have been alive for very long at all you have heard of the fire-proof “prayer chain” that churches love to get started for an ailing member, or family/friend of a church member. Yet, as we all know, calamities fall on both the “faithful” and the not so “faithful”. Religious people ascribe this discrepancy as a mere misunderstanding of god’s will in our lives, or the old “God works in mysterious ways” statement. In a 2014 Pew Research study they found that 55% of Americans pray daily. While 23% reported praying “Seldom/Never”. Even more interesting to me was the study of the different faiths that practice praying, and the frequency with which they pray. The highest two faith groups that prayed at least daily were Jehovah’s Witness, and Mormon’s (90% and 85% respectively). While Evangelical Protestants came in at 80%.

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Not to mention the fact that even when you go to completely different religious beliefs you find that 69% of Muslims pray “At least daily” , 51% of Hindus pray the same, and 43% of Buddhist pray the same amount of time. I ask for those that “know” that their prayers are working, do the Muslims prayers work? Do the Hindus prayers work? Do the cult followers of Mormonism’s prayers work? After all, it is only your god that is the “right” god, correct? I suppose we could do like Elijah the Prophet did in 1 Kings 18 and have a duel where the preachers of Christianity go up against the preachers of Islam/Buddhism/Hinduism. Hell, we could turn it into a TV show, imagine the ratings. This is how 1 Kings 18 describes the events in vs. 21-24:

Then Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If Yahweh is God, follow Him. But if Baal, follow him.” But the people didn’t answer him a word. (22) Then Elijah said to the people, “I am the only remaining prophet of the LORD, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. (23) Let two bulls be given to us. They are to choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and place it on the wood but not light the fire. I will prepare the other bull and place it on the wood but not light the fire. (24) Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of Yahweh. The God who answers with fire, He is God.” All the people answered, “That sounds good.” (1Ki 18:21-24 CSB)

I love the boldness of Elijah as described in the Old Testament. Wouldn’t this be the easier way to determine all of this madness? Let’s just see which God answers the prayers! How simple is that? However, you and I both know that no one is going to take that challenge because we are in 2018 where we can have ACTUAL records of events occurring, and ways to detect frauds. There are people like “The Amazing” James Randi who has dedicated himself to debunking these “miracles” that preachers claim to have performed, or Christopher Hitchens, or Richard Dawkins, or Dan Barker. It is just not the reality of our situation. The furthest extent of evidence that we have that prayer “works” are simplistic situations that happen such as “My great aunt was about to die, the doctors said their was no hope, we prayed, and she made it through”. However, I can guarantee you that these events happen in every culture, including non-christian cultures. In this story above from 1 Kings the prophets of Baal fail to call down fire, but “Yahweh” of course performs with spectacular results. I just have a feeling, these sorts of “miracles” are only going to be read about, not seen with our own eyes (maybe because they didn’t happen).

So what about mediation

In an article on Psychology Today, Christopher Bergland goes over some top-ten results of mindfulness and meditation, and I have listed them below: (Source: 10 Ways Mindfulness and Meditation Promote Well-Being)

  1. Enhance Brain Performance
  2. Promote Creative Thinking
  3. Alleviate Stress
  4. Curtail Anxiety
  5. Increase Compassion
  6. Decrease Likelihood of Depression
  7. Minimize Chronic Pain
  8. Lower Risk of Heart Attack or Stroke
  9. Help Cancer Recovery
  10. Relieve Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

I do have to admit, their is no opportunity to do really cool tricks like calling fire down from heaven (1 Kings 18; 2 Kings 1; Luke 9:54), or calling bears out of the woods to eat children (2 Kings 2:24), or parting waters (Exodus 14). Nor is their a direct opportunity to cure an actual illness (James 5:13, 16; Mark 11:24; 1 John 5:14-16). However, their is scientifically backed results of meditation and mindfulness that shows its helpful effects on the body, good effects.

What does this have to do with prayer

Many claim prayer has benefits to ones life, and I would argue that the only true effects prayer has on a persons life would be the results you see above. However, there is a downside to certain religious beliefs, and in turn, prayer, that you could not possibly see with meditation and mindfulness. Prayer, as you see in the prayer offered up by Jesus in Matthew 6:9-15 at the start of this blog, is all about “God”. It is about honoring god, it is about praising god, and it is about serving god. When people ask the question, “Why does my belief hurt anyone”, I often think about ideas like prayer that show how/why it hurts not just others, but even the person so confidently making the claim that their faith does not hurt them. Prayer is, in essence, meditation and mindfulness. No matter what culture/religious belief you subscribe to, how you pray is often described in terminologies very similar to meditation and mindfulness. It would seem obvious that the only actual benefits that could be derived from prayer would be the same benefits if one removed the “god part” of the “prayer” and just meditated. Unfortunately, what prayer removes from meditation is a sense of self-worth and self-guidance. You determine your destiny, you determine your worth, not others, and certainly not some invisible being. The idea of Christianity (and I am aware other religions) is that you are not worthy, you are not “good enough”, and you need “Jesus” to “fix” you. In addition, you are not allowed to seek out what you want for your life, but instead to somehow figure out what an invisible, mute being wants for your life. You could look to the Bible, the Koran, or your Pastor, but that would get very confusing if you looked too deeply (see Author of Confusion: The Book for more on the confusion of scripture, and varying beliefs). If your “prayers” are not answered you must consider what you might have done wrong, or whether or not they were being asked from a humble servant, or my personal favorite “were you asking for what you wanted, or what God wants for you”. If “God” is only going to respond to your prayers in the way that it has already determined, then why bother praying? Prayer simply takes away from all of the benefits that you could receive by simply meditating.

Some additional sources on meditation and mindfulness:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/why-can-t-i-get-better/201401/meditation-and-mindfulness-part-i-calm-abiding-meditation

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/use-your-mind-change-your-brain/201305/is-your-brain-meditation

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201504/mindfulness-the-power-thinking-about-your-thinking

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When the Locker Room is in the West Wing

“And we should get on to much more important things and much bigger things.” –Donald Trump, then GOP Nominee for President during the second Presidential Debate via New York Times transcript.

The 2016 election has long passed, and we are now almost a year into Donald Trumps Presidency that has been constantly marred by President Trumps tweets, outlandish statements and actions. No different were his days as a Presidential candidate though. The most bombshell statement came from President Trump during a 2005 Access Hollywood tape that everyone and their sister has heard by now, where Donald Trump is overheard making a comment about grabbing women by the “p****”. When this tape surfaced, Donald Trump, and unfortunately many other “men” defended these comments as “Locker room talk”.

When Donald Trump was asked about these comments during a Presidential Debate with CNN he claimed that he did not do these things (I hope not!), and then continually pivoted to other topics, ultimately making the claim, “And we should get on to much more important things and much bigger things.”, and in that moment many felt as though “locker room talk” and “more important things” apparently needed to be discussed. Until the #metoo movement of 2017, this has largely been how this country and the world really has responded to the sex problem of us men in society. There are currently 130 million girls not being educated, according to several sources, across the globe. This is, in large part, due to the view of women as second class citizens in almost every corner of our world. Whenever the man that admitted to making those claims is elected to be the President of the United States it sends an alarming message that we have more important things to talk about then the oppression, and objectification of women. Maybe to make this easier for some people I should say, the oppression and objectification of another human being is being dismissed as less important then other issues. Presently, leaders from across the world have made a commitment to have girls educated for a full 12 years by the year 2030. I personally find that to be a ridiculous timeline, this needs to happen much sooner. I recently read a story in TIME magazine by Malala Yousafzai, titled Who Runs the World? Girls!. This was a wonderful story about several young girls reality where they are practically traded through marriages, and removed or even never allowed to be formally educated. In America there is a long-held, deep understanding as women being “barefoot and pregnant”. There are still cultures here in America, particularly in the south, where women are encouraged to get married, have children, and be a homemaker. While, in some circumstances, this is genuinely what a woman wants, I would attribute this to manipulation then a woman’s actual choice. I personally do not think that a marriage certificate should be issued for anyone under the age of 21 at least (yes both individuals must be 21). I have no understanding why a woman, or man should be allowed to enter into a contractual obligation with another individual before they can have a drink of alcohol. Many in our country look at marriage as a binding institution that, outside of adultery (and some even question that), should never be dissolved. A woman’s role, in many societies, is to follow the leadership of her husband. This archaic teaching, combined with the access to marriages at a young age, leave women in this “first-world” country to be oppressed without even knowing it. I realize that many couples have a story of meeting at 18, or even in grade school, then marry at a young age, and die married. I do not doubt these stories one bit, however I feel like if they would have been required to wait until 21 to be married it would have made that outcome indifferent. Basically, if it was truly “meant to be” (another blog for another day), then waiting until 21 would have changed nothing. With most insurance companies for parents being willing to carry their children well into their 20’s, and to file on taxes, why does someone need to get married before they are 21? I believe, that removing that opportunity for a man to tie down a woman contractually (whether that is his mindset or not), would encourage women to pursue a career and/or education first. I truly believe that “knowledge is power”, and women are already remarkable without the access to education.

When it comes to the oppression and objectification of women, the easiest route to destroying this disease of men is access to upward mobility in careers, equal pay, and access to education. A woman needs to know that her body is not what is required to succeed, but her abilities, in the same way as a man. However, unfortunately right now in our society the way a woman is discussed, and treated shows that a woman’s body is all she has. While upward mobility, equal pay and education are pivotal in this culture changing; I know that without the “Billy Bush’s” (the Access Hollywood reporter that was heard laughing at Donald Trumps remarks) growing a spine, there will be slow progress. I have this crazy idea that there are more “Billy Bush’s” then there are “Donald Trumps”. I do not think that Donald Trumps comments are normal “locker room talk”. However, it is those of us who laugh at these comments, and dismiss them that are harming this progress. We have never said the things that Donald Trump stated, but we laughed at the statement from our “cooler” buddy, we kept quiet when the WORK e-mail (even the “af.mil” e-mail) that had pictures of barely clothed women came across our inbox, we shared in the stories of the women we had crazy sex with (even if they were most likely made up stories) to “fit-in”. No, we are not sexual predators, we are not rapist, we are not even disgusting men (as our talk makes us seem), we are worse then that, we are spineless men. We have to be willing to step up and speak out when women are treated this way, often without any women present when it is spoken (go figure). Are you willing to stunt your growth in a company by calling out your supervisor for making a sexist comment? Are you willing to risk being black-listed, demoted, given a low EPR (Enlisted Performance Report) when that Chief Master Sergeant makes that degrading comment about a woman Airman who just walked out of the room? Are you willing to allow your manhood to be questioned when you show disgust towards another man when he makes a comment such as “yea, I’d hit that”? Please explain to me how self-restraint is not a mature character? These “men” need to be called out. Women need to be given opportunities outside the strip clubs, the porn sites, and the kitchen! Donald Trump “men” need to be put in their place. Locker room talk needs to be removed from our culture. Unfortunately, the locker room has moved into the west wing of the White House. In 2020 we need to make a stand. I do not mean the women either, they can make their stand, and I know that they will. I am talking about all real men. We need to boot this disgusting animal from the oval office. He needs to move his locker room back to Trump Tower.

The godless Pastor,

Billy J. Crocker

My hope for you for 2018

The year in review: The good

2017 has been an amazing, joyful, liberating, hurtful, divisive, difficult year. I started this year with an amazing gift from K9s for Warriors, receiving my service dog, Dozer. I was on a waiting list for her for almost two years, and you can read more about what she has meant to me in my blog post, My pill bottle wears a vest. I was thrilled to see the progress she helped me make with so many symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, OCD, and depression. I ended 2016 not sure how much longer I would be able to hang on, and now I feel like I cannot see far enough into the future. I became a lot more active on my blog writing, which is something I have wanted to do for a very long time. We hit over 1,000 visitors (THANK YOU ALL!), increased our views to over 3,000, and over 29 countries viewed this website, including very freethinking oppressed countries. Our top 5 countries were USA, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, and Malaysia (in ranking order). We have over 300 followers between subscriptions to the blog, follows on Twitter, and likes on Facebook. It has been a great year for this blog. We moved to North Carolina during this time, which provides a lot of inspiration for writing, it is a beautiful state.

Over 29 countries viewed this website, including very freethinking oppressed countries.

What I learned

In looking back, we should only seek to learn lessons, not dwell or wallow in self-pity. On that note, in 2017 I learned what I believe for me. That has been a tremendously good thing. I introduced myself to people like Julia Sweeney, by watching her monologue; Letting go of God.  I watched a documentary on “The Amazing Randi”, about a magician James Randi, who staked his reputation on debunking magic tricks, psychics, and even an evangelical “Preacher”. I learned who George Carlin is, and found out subsequently that he unfortunately passed away. I have now watched the majority of his stand-up work, and it brings me joy to watch the way in which he articulated what so many of my thoughts were about religion. I have reconnected with my brother who has been out of my life for over 20 years, which has been phenomenal, and I am looking forward to that relationship continuing to grow. I read, and I read some more. I have always loved to read, but I would filter my reading based on my preconceived notions of what was “worth” reading, and what was not. You want to know what was not worth reading? Anything that questioned the idea of god. In case you didn’t know, that is a lot of f****** (for my PG readers) material. Let me give you an example; at the beginning of the year I started to read The God delusion from Richard Dawkins, and only about two chapters in I put it down, and immediately sought out Christian approved responses to this book. Only wanting to hear what was wrong with the book, and why I could safely dismiss it as garbage did little to satisfy my longing for the truth. The way in which I worked my way back in was actually through somewhat middle-ground material. I guess what I mean by that is moderate believers. A good example would be Rob Bell. I admire Rob Bell for being willing to step out of the box, and consider an alternative way to believing in god. I read his book What is the Bible?, which created a lot of controversy and judgment from the mainstream Christian crowd. I read Karen Armstrong’s A History of God: The 4,000 year old quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The most convincing book that caused me to walk away from my beliefs, which I held for 21 years of my life, was the actual Bible (The Holy Bible in ESV, CSB, HCSB, NIV, NASB, and yes even KJV). It was once I started to consider the inconsistencies in scripture, and the major implication differences between denominations that my beliefs really began to unravel. That was the moment I became The godless Pastor. I was at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary when the light went on for me. That was scary. Trying to hold back from coming out completely, I just started asking questions, and pressing myself to look beyond my labels which I had, and society had placed on myself. Once it became clear that simply moving outside of my initial comfort zone, and clearly the comfort zone of my circle of influence, it seemed inconsequential to go ahead and declare my atheism, which I did in the blog Dear Friends and Family,. During this time I also stumbled upon one of, if not the game-changer book, godless by Dan Barker. Reading his story, and his background, I immediately connected with his history. I then re-read the entire book The God delusion by Richard Dawkins, and my mind was blown. From there, I continued to read, and I was, and am continuing to read everything. Like a bird that has been in a cage its entire life being released into the air, I am spreading my wings into territories which I never even considered. Unfortunately, this decision to be open about my beliefs has not been as inconsequential as I have hoped. I have lost a lot of people in this process, and had very hurtful things said directly towards me. I hate that this decision to be open about my beliefs, and to call into question others beliefs has caused so much divide. However, mixed in with that I have had so many people reach out to me personally and thank me for doing this. I have had many people, even current Christians, confide in me their appreciation for my blogs, and my boldness about what I am learning. While I have lost some people, I have gained so many others that I would have never met if it hadn’t been for my blog. All in all it has been a wonderful, amazing year.

2018 reading list

I honestly do not know how you could enjoy writing, and not enjoy reading, but for me it is my escape. I love to read. I want to share with you what my reading goals are for this new year, and encourage some of these books to you.

1) The Seven Decisions, by Andy Andrews

2) The Mind of God, by Dr. Jay Lombard

3) The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander

4) Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari

5) The Lynching, by Laurence Leamer

6) Cosmos, by Carl Sagan

7) Parenting beyond Belief, by Doug McGowan

8) The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins

  9) The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson

  10) Science in the Soul, by Richard Dawkins

11) Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, by Yuval Noah Harari

12) The Holy Bible, by multiple human authors

Check these books out, and let me know in the comments if you plan on reading any of these with me during this new year.

2018, a hope

My hope for all of you in this new year is that you are able to think critically, and without walls. May you always be willing to look outside of the black and white box the world tries to put us in, and look in the gray area. That is where the best of everything is. READ, I cannot overstate this enough, read, and read some more. This includes religious material. Read magazines, books, newspapers, etc. I have found I need the tactile feeling of actual pages to turn, and so e-books are not my friends. However, whatever floats your boat, have at it. I just want you to think. If this means you become stronger in your religious convictions, great! If this means you walk away from all of your religious convictions, great! As long as you do it for YOU! My last hope for all of us, including me, would be that we would figure out a way to realize that we are one of 7.6 billion people (even more co-species), and empathy needs to happen. We need to start caring, and caring more about the other living, human beings, and other species then we do our religious convictions. It is in your hands, my hands. We are individually responsible for how this next year will pan out. So, let us get a spark in our ass, and start doing. Let’s do this!

The godless Pastor,

Billy J. Crocker

Roy Moore, Al Franken, Donald Trump, and Jesus

“…Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Gen 3:16 ESV)

Definitely Author of Confusion series worthy

What is it with sex? Obviously, if you are doing it right, it should be pretty awesome. However, the obsession that our culture has with sex is ridiculous. As much as conservatives want to paint liberals with a broad brush of “Hollywood sexualization”, they are not, and have never been immune to this issue. Look no further this past week then Roy Moore, Alabama Christian conservative running for office. What makes this so hard to watch, is the inability of the Republican party to get a handle on this situation. The people have already spoken, with Sean Hannity as their spokesperson that it is the victim that should be demonized and accused, while Roy Moore should be able to keep on running for office. Why not, right? Across this world, sexualization is a reality. Is the god of the bible clear on how we should be with members of the opposite sex? Is the god of the bible our clear moral compass so that we can know what we should do about this problem? I beg to differ. Let us take a look at some of the scriptures available to us:

In Deuteronomy 28 we read about the blessings of following the “LORD your God”. In the next several verses God goes on to decree the punishments for not following the “LORD your God”. One of those punishments were the following, “You will become engaged to a woman, but another man will rape her.” (Deu 28:30 CSB). Over the course of the entire bible there are several instances where women are treated as second class. This verse in Deuteronomy shows that apparently god would choose to use a woman as a form of punishment. It is the man who has done “wrong”, because it is only the man that can make decisions, according to the bible. However, it is the woman that will be apart of the punishment, in the form of being raped. I honestly cringe when I read this verse, and I wonder, “what the hell?”. The reality of the scriptures is that when it comes to issues such as slavery, and women, there is no greater example of this whole book being made up. Here is what I mean, when you think of sexism, who do you usually think of? Men, if I can make an assumption here. I am not saying that in todays world that is the only place it comes from, but definitely during biblical times, sexism was from men. Men, specifically white men ruled all. So, it is, in scripture that you truly see the author(s) for what they truly are. The author of the bible is not a supernatural god, but men. All of the censuses in the bible are only directed at men (Num 1:1-2; Num 3:15, 28). Only men could be priest (Lev. 6:14-18; Lev. 21:9). So on and so forth.

Yea, but this doesn’t mean the god of the bible would support rape, or sexual objectification of women, right?

As I have already mentioned earlier, Deu. 28 not only supports rape, but uses women being raped as a sort of justice token for the wrong that the man does! Wow!?!?! Not only does he support rape, but it is clear that throughout scripture, women are clearly, and outright objectified as pieces of property, or as sleazy men say in modern times “a piece of ass” (1 Sam. 18:27; Ruth 4:5; Deu. 22:28-29; Jer. 8:9-10; Exo. 21:7-9). Here is one for you; a woman’s menstrual cycle is a cursed thing (I am sure most women would not disagree), and it requires a sin offering, and referred to as her “unclean discharge” (Lev. 15:29-30). Like seriously!?!? WTF!?!?! You created the problem “God”! Now, they are required to bring a sin offering because of this? Hang on a second, my head is spinning.

You may say, “Ok, but that was the Old Testament”. That is true, I have only mentioned OT verses, but you do realize that the NT puts women as second class citizens as well, right? In I Timothy 2:11-14, Paul declares to Timothy, “11 A woman should learn in silence with full submission. 12 I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to be silent. 13 For Adam was created first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed.” (1Ti 2:11-14 CSB). Then in 1 Timothy 5:14, Paul states, “Therefore, I want younger women to marry, have children, manage their households, and give the adversary no opportunity to accuse us.” (1Ti 5:14 CSB). Whether we are talking about the OT, or the NT, the god of the bible unfortunately objectifies women.

So, what does this have to do with Roy Moore, Al Franken, and Donald Trump

During the election of our 45th President we witnessed around 14 women come forward with sexual assault allegations towards then, GOP nominee Donald Trump (Source: Video, Chicago Tribune). The response from Donald Trump was threatening a lawsuit, and an immediate comparison to the Democrats support of Bill Clinton during his sex assault allegations brought against him. The response from Christian evangelicals, his biggest base of supporters, was outright demonization of the victims, and full support of Donald Trump. After all, he was chosen by god to lead this country to prosperity. With the allegations against Roy Moore, an Alabama Senate candidate, we have another instance of demonizing the victims, (Source: ABC News) and multiple references to “Satan’s attack” against “God’s children” from several of his ardent supporters. Al Franken, a Democrat senator, and former Comedian is of course being treated completely differently by the right-wing conservatives. Conservatives have wasted little time in painting Al Franken as a typical liberal, godless, immoral man. If only Al Franken was more in tune with “God” then maybe this would not have happened. The reality, of course, is that all of these instances of sexual assault allegations are serious, and beyond a response of simple apologies, which few conservatives have given. Instead, these men do need to step aside.

The connection to god is not seen, and that is because god has nothing to do with this problem. Obviously, my reason for believing this is because I do not believe that god is real, but even for those who do, it must be recognized that god (or lack thereof) is not the common factor. A persons being a theist, a Catholic, an atheist, Methodist, or Southern Baptist simply has zero to do with their morals. I know that this is hard for many to accept because of the connection that Christianity claims to morality, and being the source of morality. Morals has to do with our culture, and our culture, both with god and without is corrupt. Whether you look in the church pews or the bar stools, ethics problems reign. The most common culprit being men. Whether this man is white, black, Hispanic, or other race or ethnicity, if this person is a man, chances are he is the culprit of sexual assault. The Bureau of Justice has a report out that shows that “Female victims accounted for 94% of all completed rapes, 91% of all attempted rapes, and 89% of all completed and attempted sexual assaults, 1992-2000.” (Source: PDF File from BJS). The idea of a woman being second class unfortunately transcends generations, religious beliefs, races, nationalities, and any other category. The recent #metoo campaign on social media has led to many women coming forward with sexual assault claims, and I could not be more proud of these women for being this bold and brave.

“Female victims accounted for 94% of all completed rapes, 91% of all attempted rapes, and 89% of all completed and attempted sexual assaults, 1992-2000.” (BJS, 1992-2000)

It is very personal for me

I am a victim of rape from a family member when I was only around nine years old. This rape was from a home that claimed Christ as their champion, and had plenty of crosses on the wall. I was ashamed, and embarrassed, and unfortunately nothing was done in response to my admission of this when I was very young. I became extremely sexually confused following this event, and have always struggled socially with this weighing on my heart and mind.

Now, while I am a man, I was one of the few male victims of a violent crime. Here is the reality though, violating someone sexually, should be met with extreme punishment. This steals something from a person that can never be given back, no matter what punishment is given. I have a three year old daughter, and two boys, so my wife and I will have to face this problem head on. I believe, that just like males are often the perpetrator of these crimes, males must become the defense against these crimes. We must speak out against this sort of behavior. Across all male cultures like the military, construction, news outlets, comedy, sexual innuendos, derogatory imagery, and language has been accepted. The time for that sort of behavior to end is now. We all must speak up, and speak out against this sort of behavior and make it clear that we stand behind anyone who wants to come forward with this private, and difficult admission. Obviously, these claims need to be investigated, and if found to be false, that person should face a penalty because of the way it ruins it for the truthful claims.

Make no mistake about it, we must be the voice of reason, not a holy book from 2,000 years ago. Instead of looking back, we need to look forward, and change the culture, starting today. No matter our sexual orientation, gender, nationality, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, we all need to come together under this issue. We should all be able to join hands in denouncing sexual assault in any form, including the “innocent” language and sexist language that our culture uses on a regular basis. I look forward to the dialogue on this, and I hope to continue to see support behind every #metoo person who has the courage to come forward. I would hope that my daughter would have the future freedom to succeed in life without the objectification of her body. I would hope that my sons will have the respect of another person, to honor another persons body, and to always get consent. I can only hope that if I am willing to be apart of the solution. Thank you for your patience through this blog, I know it was kind of all over the place. My thoughts were racing.

The godless Pastor,

Billy Crocker

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Featured Image Photo Credit: NBC News

The big deal of sexual sin is for believers

“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

Paul, A.D. 55, to the Church at Corinth (1 Co. 6:18-20, ESV)

The talk of traditional marriage has taken a back seat these days, apparently from the lack of political conversation on the matter after several legal reversals of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), and the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” military rule on homosexuality. In some ways this a welcome result. It has always been disappointing for me, at least, to see the vitriol with which “Christians” would defame those who were promoting homosexual marriage and the lifestyle of those in that category. While I understand the slippery slope concern; that somehow accepting of homosexual marriage will lead to further sexual sins, that is not really the point here. The point is about the realization that we have never been asked to focus on anyone’s sin except those who are already Christians.

All throughout the New Testament when “sinners” were addressed from Jesus, while the sin was acknowledged, grace was shown consistently. The scripture here from Paul to the Church at Corinth is often used as an example on why these “heathens” need to leave their sin and turn to Jesus. Other verses on this topic come to mind as well obviously; the Bible is full of them. However, only when it comes to Christians is the idea of sexual sin being a much deeper sin discussed, including in this verse above (note how Paul describes his audience as being people with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit). Before a person accepts Christ, there is a consistent treatment of all sin as equal. It is only when a person becomes a follower of Jesus, that sins seem to start going into different categories. Now, I am not trying to say that this is unequivocally the way it is 100% of the time, but in context with all of these verses together it is clear that God does not expect someone who is not a Christian to be holy.

Let me put it another way. The only judgement that comes to a non-believer is just that, they do not have a relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ. However, it is with Christians that this issue of each and every sin is called out, judged, and even punished (habitual unrepentant Christian sinners were excommunicated from the Church). The only command that God gives us as believers in reference to our communication with non-Christians is to show love, grace, and mercy in the same way in which God has showed that to us. I am very glad that God did not require me to get my act together before I became a Christian. Most of the time I don’t even have my act together now, after becoming a Christian. I am truly, a work in progress. If I am expected to have grace extended to me as a Christian, who has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (as this verse from Paul describes), then why would not even more grace be extended to those who are outside of the fellowship of the Lord.

In closing, I do not think that our “anger at sin” is geared in the right direction. The world is expected to be sinful. You and I as Christians; we are the ones expected to be holy. I do not know about you, but I fail at that pretty regularly.

Blessings,

Billy J Crocker