Jesus didn’t care about being nice or tolerant, and neither should you

Originally posted on The Matt Walsh Blog:

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There is no shortage of heresies these days.

If you want to adopt some blasphemous, perverted, fun house mirror reflection of Christianity, you will find a veritable buffet of options. You can sift through all the variants and build your own little pet version of the Faith. It’s Ice Cream Social Christianity: make your own sundae! (Or Sunday, as it were.)

And, of all the heretical choices, probably the most common — and possibly the most damaging — is what I’ve come to call the Nice Doctrine.

The propagators of the Nice Doctrine can be seen and heard from anytime any Christian takes any bold stance on any cultural issue, or uses harsh language of any kind, or condemns any sinful act, or fights against evil with any force or conviction at all. As soon as he or she stands and says ‘This is wrong, and I will not compromise,’…

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Rascal Flatts – What Hurts the Most

I saw you.

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In the Ring

What do you do when the only thing you can comprehend is how much it hurts? To whom do you turn when the only person who could help is the one who is inflicting the pain? How do you go on trusting that everything will be okay, when you’ve been knocked down so many times that it seems it would be easier, less painful, to just stay down? At what point do you surrender?

Answer: You don’t.

You get up off the mat. You learn from your mistakes, and then you use the knowledge you have gained to fight back. You switch things up and change the game on them, and you remember to this time keep your gloves up. You refuse to give in to the cries of your aching muscles and bones. You give it everything you’ve got left, and if you must go down, you go down swinging.

The greatest revenge is success.

You won’t find that lying on the mat.

In the Sky With Diamonds

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It’s been three years since I last was up there, but every time I pass by down below, I become overwhelmed by the memories, and reassure myself of my intent to return. On lonely nights I walk down to the end of the hallway in my mind. I push through the heavy brown door and climb those two short flights of stairs to the landing, wondering if I will be rewarded by the sight of some small piece of trash or cardboard stuck in the door, holding it open just a crack. Or maybe the lock will be taped over. While it wasn’t always the case in reality, when I picture it, that big metal door is always open.

I step up once, then twice, and cross the threshold. My eyes adjust to the darkness as I am met with a blast of the chill, late-fall air. My favorite black boots crunch the gravel beneath them as I step out onto the roof, and my breath rises up before me as I make my way to the edge. I sit on the black railing there, and holding on, I lean back and look up.

While anyone who has spent much time in Syracuse knows that the sky is overcast more often than not, on the roof in my memories, it never is. The sky is an inky bluish-black speckled with diamonds. They seem close enough that I could reach up and just pick one like an apple from a tree, and then pull it down and hug it to my chest, absorbing its energy and light.

I pull myself back up on the railing and look out at the surrounding city. This is my favorite spot on campus. You can see everything from that rooftop, but no one can see you if you sit in just the right spot. Up there, you are isolated from everything and everyone, except those who are special enough for you to share it with. Up there, everything is magic; the night, the breeze, the peaceful silence. And when it snows, it is the most beautiful sight you could ever see, the flakes dancing around on the wind to a silent waltz, encasing you in your own personal snow globe.

I always tell myself I’ll find a way to get back up there before I leave this place, but deep down I know it’s a lie. For me, there is no way back to those stolen moments, save by that precious hallway in my mind.

An Experimentation with the Second Person

“Always be prepared.” That’s the Boy Scout motto, and while you’d thought you’d come prepared for anything, you realize now just how stupid that motto is. How can you possibly prepare yourself for every unforeseeable eventuality? The world could end tomorrow due to an alien invasion in which the Martians would come down and vaporize all of mankind into oblivion. How would you prepare for that?

Okay, so maybe your situation isn’t quite as bad as all that, but you’ve been stuck in the woods for hours with no food, no contact with the outside world, and as of about, oh, an hour ago, no patience. And on top of all that, you’ve lost Ryan. To put things delicately, you’re fucking screwed.

A simple camping trip. That’s how it started out. You and Ryan have been planning this for weeks, and even now, you still can’t figure out what went wrong. You drove out to Webster Point, where you left your truck and hiked off into the wilderness with what should have been enough supplies to last you a week. You fancied yourselves modern-day Jack Londons, or Chris McCandlesses, didn’t you? “Ooh, look at me, I’m headed off into the wild, tee-hee!” No. The minute it starts to rain, what do you do? You throw a hissy fit and have to stop to make camp. Except, oh wait. You left the motherfucking tent in the motherfucking truck!

Flashlight? Check. Junk food? Check. Reading material? Check. Tent? Not check. Not. Fucking. Check. Who goes camping and forgets to bring the tent? You do. Why? Because you’re dumbfuck. You’re a dumbfuck, and you will always be a dumbfuck for the rest of your life—which, as it happens, probably won’t be very long. You’ll probably die out here in the middle of nowhere. Congratulations, you are officially the world’s most pathetic excuse for a Boy Scout.

God only knows what happened to Ryan. At some point between the map being ruined by the rain and the bear taking off with what was left of your food supply, Ryan disappeared and you haven’t heard from him since. Maybe he made it out, went for help. Who knows? You certainly don’t. You don’t know anything. You should just curl up in the dirt right here and wait to die.

Wait. What’s that? Is that…Ryan? Coming through the trees? It is! And he’s got something! Is that…Burger King?! What…?

“Dude, where have you been? I went back to get the tent, stopped to get some lunch, came back and you were gone. We were literally like ten minutes from the truck.”

“Wait, what? Seriously? …How did you even find me?”

“I heard you shouting. Something about dumbfucks?”

“Oh. Yeah. Never mind that. …Got a Whopper in there for me?”

Please

If this is real, let it be forever.

If it is a dream, pray, let me sleep.

If this is a game, then let me be the winner;

And if this is sin, please forgive this poor sinner.

If this is fate, let it be as written.

If it is fallacy, may it lead me to the truth.

If this is love, then let it be of the divine;

And if this is life, oh please, let it be mine.

Calling All Mozarts

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The past century has seen many advancements in science, technology, and both women’s and civil rights in the U.S. While there is no doubt that these things include numerous positive changes our society needed to make in order to uphold our fundamental American principles, lately I have begun to wonder whether we are quite as “advanced” as people like to think. Sure, we have iPhones and computers and the internet. We have cars and planes and televisions. My question, however, is: Are these things really helping society? Are they really the products of so-called “progress”?

There was a time when people walked everywhere. A time when people didn’t have to force themselves to exercise, simply because they exerted themselves by going about their daily lives. There was a time when people could talk to one another without their noses pressed to the touch screens of their phones. They could sit quietly and patiently, without constantly needing something to entertain them. Today, you can’t go anywhere without nearly being walked into by someone distracted by their cell phone or iPod. I know my own attention span has shortened significantly over the past ten years, and I don’t think it’s mere coincidence. The fact is, people just aren’t “here” anymore. At least not mentally. They’re always elsewhere, and it’s because of our supposed “progress” as a society.

Gone are the days of the Mozarts and Monets. Gone are the Shakespeares, whose words could wring our hearts dry, our eyes weeping out all emotion. The focus of society has shifted from earning success and respect to just expecting it. From my personal observation, people seem more self-absorbed, less concerned about honor and reputation, but more concerned about personal gain. “What’s in it for me?” seems to have become the anthem of youth. People have become whiny, lazy and entitled, shocked by the idea that they might actually have to EARN something. When did America go from being “the land of the free” to “the land of the free stuff”? When did “We, the people” just become “Me”? Everybody wants something, but nobody wants to have to work for it.

A hundred years ago, we had masters. People would spend their entire lives perfecting their craft, working towards completing their masterpieces. Sure, we have geniuses today, but I can’t help but feel that their skills are wasted. I mean, do we really need glasses with computers for lenses? Sounds dangerous to me. How can you pay attention to where you’re going?!

What ever happened to culture? What happened to the artists? What happened to the musicians–and I mean real musicians, not Justin Bieber and his auto-tuned pals. I mean, are we really supposed to look up to these people? People who spend half of their time in court or jail, and the other half claiming to be “artists,” pretending they have real talent? These are not role models. They are just models of a once-great society that has dramatically devolved.

It is time we recognized the fact that not all of society has gone uphill this past century. They might not have had the internet in 1913, but at least they had class. At least they believed in something other than themselves. At least they did not rely on others to give them everything they wanted or needed. They worked for it. They earned it. They abhorred the idea of a “nanny state,” or handouts, or the demonization of success. Those people should be our role models. Theirs is the society we should strive for. One where Americans do not shame their great country, but exemplify its glory as the finest on Earth.

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