Honestly Thinking

Honestly thinking (& rethinking) about God, the universe, and everything in between

Honest Random Musings #1

One of my biggest fears in writing this blog is that it would keep me from taking the time to complete my book.  Unfortunately, that fear has come true.  Therefore, to avoid spending an inordinate amount of hours writing major thesis points for individual blogs, I am starting a much simpler series I call “Honest Random Musings.”  This is the first as a begin to refocus some of my time on the book.

A major part of my job is to do pre-scheduled phone calls every week with well-known speakers, authors and occasionally celebrities.

As an extreme introvert, this absolutely terrifies me.

I really like people – I just don’t like talking to them.  Or more precisely, it’s very excruciating trying to come up with something to actually say.

And as my fellow introverts will attest, phone calls are the worst.

This is compounded by the very fact that the people I am talking to are known for their incredible speaking abilities.

It’s like sending someone into a real war zone naked and armed only with a rubber band gun and no rubber bands.

In the end, I actually end up enjoying the phone calls because it involves some pretty amazing people, and I think I miraculously manage to pull it off okay.

But every once in a while the person on the other end either forgets about the call or gets held up in a meeting or has to reschedule.  When that I happens, I confess I silently shout to myself a very relieved, “Yes!”

And every time I first start dialing, I hope it happens again.


Several years ago God shared with me that I have an easier time hearing him than others do.

This came after complaining to him that he gave me a passion for changing the world but forgot to give me the ability to actually speak.

He told me that’s because it’s easier to get people like me alone to listen to him.

What I thought was a handicap was actually a gift.

Now before you think I’m an egomaniac or suffering from delusions of grandeur let me say: 1) everyone has the ability to hear God; 2) everybody has something that’s easier for them than others; and 3) it’s actually one of the most humbling…and embarrassing…things I’ve ever heard.

Because the truth is…I suck at hearing God.

Not because God doesn’t give me the ability, but because I’m too self-centered to actually listen.

You would expect someone who hears easier from God to be out there battling wits with the world’s greatest minds, or be the guru sitting at the peak of a summit that people climb to see in order to hear great wisdom, or at the very least be getting rich off of making bets on horse races (though I doubt God would really honor that).

But the truth is I spend too much time worrying about this or that, sleeping in, checking Facebook, bingeing on Netflix, or writing blogs to actually take the time to listen.

It’s like if that 3 year old kid who can shoot baskets showed up at the NBA as a grown up one day but never took the time to practice the actual game.

There are many people who hear better from God and way more often than me, not necessarily because they have a natural gift, but because they actually have the passion and discipline it takes to do it.

Here I could be learning all the deep secrets of the universe from the very one who knows and created it all, but often I’m far more interested in finding out what happens on the next episode of Walking Dead.


I fully believe that every human being on this earth, regardless of race, religion, sex, orientation, age, social class, or national origin, is worthy of dignity, love and respect.

But when I read about some type of tragedy in the news one of the first things I find myself doing is looking to see how similar the victims are to me or my own family.

If it’s a white protestant middle class family from America with kids around my age, I’m much more likely to express compassion and concern.  The more differences there are or the greater the distance  the easier it is to write them off.

While I get the whole psychology that it’s easier to empathize with the ones most like you, sometimes I wonder if ultimately much of our compassion is really just concern toward our figurative selves.


Several months ago I actually became atheist for a day.

Not because of some type of crisis but because in my pursuit of honest thinking I’ll often allow myself to entertain all possibilities.

That particular day I came to the reality that everything that I’d believed really could be wrong and thought, “Oh fudge.”

I spent the rest of the day examining everything I knew about the universe and everything I’d experienced, not in an attempt to re-convince myself but in an attempt to be realistically honest.  In the end I could come to no other conclusion than that there is a God and that he was most clearly revealed through Christ.

But it certainly was an odd day of rethinking.


As a child I had a very active imagination.sleestaks

I had imaginary monster friends that would help me out and looked a lot like the Sleestaks from Land of the Lost but without the horns or bulging eyes.

There were also bad guy monsters who were headed up by a regular man who wore a suit and had bushy eyebrows and reddish/orange hair.

I have no idea where I got the look for this man from but I always saw him as my sworn arch-enemy.

As I grew older and learned about the concept of the end-times he began to take on the form of the Antichrist.  I even wrote an apocalyptic short story about him in high school.

Though I knew he was imaginary, I always had this sense I would actually run into him someday.

It’s been well over 30 years and, to be honest, I’d completely forgotten about him until I was recently watching some video on the internet.

There on the stage was a reddish/orange haired presidential candidate who’d I’d seen many times before and even written about.

But this time when he stared straight into the camera, I thought, “Wait.  That looks just like him….

“Oh, crap.” *

 

*Note:  No, I am not suggesting Donald Trump is the Antichrist.  I am merely honestly sharing with you the fact that the sudden realization that the man I have been writing and warning about for some time looks astonishingly like my childhood imaginary arch-enemy freaked me out a bit.

3 Comments

  1. Mary Heydenreich

    May 29, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    I can’t help but wonder why some of us see him as the scary person he is and some see him as their savior!

    • Steve Baldwin

      May 29, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      It is fascinating and anyone who knows me knows I’m the last person on earth who goes around pointing out things that aren’t there, but there is this verse:

      “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Matt 24:24.

      It’s at least interesting to say the least. And I guess the only way to know anything for sure is to see what happens in November and next year.

    • If you don't know, look it up

      May 29, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      Like you, Mary, I wonder that too. I’ve read the articles on what he says and does and the comments after them with growing concern, read more articles analyzing why people specifically ignore the obvious in supporting him –and articles and studies about that phenomena in general– until I had a reasonable understanding of the psychological tricks people play on themselves to get to the point that what they want to be true takes over and dictates reality. I understand the idea of the longing for things to be different enabling transformation of whatever he says into something quite different and the vehement insistence that he really meant that and that he “will take care of us”. That kind of blindness happened to me once, just once, about something entirely different and in a different fashion.

      Immediately after realizing the reports on the radio were about a real situation early on 9/11, not some kind of War of the Worlds scenario, I flashed into absolutely mindless suoer-rage and insisted “we have to go over there and bomb them flat!!”. Most of us agreed. One co-worker asked me, “Who exactly are you going to bomb?’

      Just like that *snap* I “woke up” and realized what I’d been doing. And the worst of it was, usually it was ME who served as the calming reasonable influence when people around me went nuts.

      I know it doesn’t sound the same as what’s happening with Trump supporters, but I think it is. Something has become so important to them that they’ve suspended their ability both to get a good look at the original situation and think it over clearly, and to take in facts and change their view based on the new facts. Thankfully, I hadn’t got so far as to lose the second part of that, but if someone had not stopped me and made me wake up right at the beginning, how far would my blindness have gone?

      It was a good lesson for me at the time. Emotions are important and part of clear thinking. But going to far with either emotion or logic to the detriment of the other is a bad idea. Always stop and examine your own heart and mind. Recall that “they” and “them” have a background, history, culture, concerns, realities you may never have perceived. Seek the “why” behind the action. Act when you need to, but be sure you need to if there is time. And always honor the “others'” right to be wrong because someday you will be them.

      But I still cannot fathom, honestly, HOW so many people can excuse, explain away, and dismiss so much hatred/bullying/downright ugliness in Trump’s speech and ignorance/inexperience/foolishness in his proposed actions should he be elected. I guess all we who do perceive these things can do is to try to help people “wake up” by pointing out facts and asking questions (“Who exactly are you going to bomb?”).

Join the discussion. Please tell me what you honestly think. My comment policy is simple: you are welcome to disagree with me or others on here as long as you do it with respect (no insults, personal attacks, etc). Of course, if you'd like to tell me how awesomely wonderful my points are then you make my unofficial favorite commenter's list. ;-)

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