You know what the difference is between a democrat and a republican? 

Absolutely nothing. 

Both are products of their circumstance. 

Both have developed world views, beliefs, and convictions based on the circumstance of their upbringings and personal experiences.

Both can be Christian, Muslim, atheist or any other religion they choose to be. 

When you hate the person opposite of you simply because they don’t have the same values as you, sadly it only reveals that your insecurities prevent you from admitting error. Your pride prevents you from admitting to your lack of perspective.

Both sides have been conditioned to believe what they believe because of their life experiences and that is something that can not be taken away from any of us. That is something that is truly human. 

Whether they were loved as a child or abused. Whether they have families or live alone. Whether they were afforded opportunities or had to make their own way. Whether they were academically successful or persevered by street-smarts. 

We only perceive of a difference because we have bought in to a two-party system. You may agree with this system or you may not, but wherever you fall, it is not meant to pit us against one another. 

The hurtful things you say about one party, true or not, can easily apply to the other. Most can agree that many politicians are corrupt or strive for self-interests. This is not a trait limited to one side. 

These two parties are put in place to represent the unrepresented and effect change in our country. They are civil servants and when it’s working at it’s best, parties cross the isle to work together to better our nation. 

When it’s at its worst, we see what we see now. Hatred, spitefulness, arrogance, and misinformation. You calling a democrat stupid or a republican racist, does nothing but reveal the state of your heart. A heart that lacks long-suffering, a heart that lacks self-control, a heart incapable of empathy. 

I don’t foresee this upcoming election playing out much different from those in the past, but we can all do our part. We can vote, we can cheer on our candidate of chose without slandering others, and we can, most importantly of all, listen to the voices that sound different then our own and earnestly try to understand their perspective. 

The simple saying “when you point your finger at someone there are three pointing back at you” seems applicable here, but not in an action of self-accusation, but rather self-evaluation. What are the unhealed emotional wounds you’re dealing with that cause you to lash out at others who believe or act differently than you? Is this an attempt to control something when you feel out of control?

Being misunderstood can be incredibly frustrating, no matter what party you identify with. So let’s stop and think before we proceed to misrepresent someone else, because in doing so, you ultimately misrepresent ourselves. 

19. Kuh-Row-Key

For the longest time, even up through high school, I thought the word karaoke was pronounced kuh-row-key. It wasn’t until I met my wife that I was corrected. 

How I went 17 years saying this common word in such an uncommon way seems outlandish, but really it’s not all that unusual. Like many things in life we learn by doing things wrong and then being corrected by those we love and trust. 

I had seen the word numerous times, but I hadn’t heard it spoken all that often. Sounding out the letters in my head, I came to the aforementioned conclusion.  

So here I am, driving along with the love of my life in 1999 as we pass a kid’s pizza restaurant with a sign out front that says “KARAOKE.” I look to Christina, my girlfriend at the time and in the most embarrassing, redneck way say “oh look, they have kuh-row-key now.”

She, looking flabbergasted asks, “what did you just say?” I felt the blood rushing to my face wondering how I must have unknowingly humiliated myself. Sheepishly I repeat “Kuh-row-key.”

She graciously corrected me and we had a good laugh about how ridiculous it was that I had made it that long I’m my life saying a common word so horribly wrong. From that day on, I was sure to pronounce karaoke correctly. 

Now I could’ve taken it personally, or stubbornly chosen to to say it wrong for the rest of my life, but because of the relational equality we had, I took it to heart and made an asserted effort to better myself. 

Many times in my life since then when I’m presented with new information I didn’t always receive it so easily. Many times I would pridefully reject constructive criticism.  However, in those times I have learned a valuable lesson.  

That lesson is that being right isn’t nearly as important as I once thought it was. Having good character and choosing wisdom and truth over being first to be right was much more sustainable in the long run. As well as less humiliating when my boisterous attitude came back to haunt me. 

In this age of political toxicity, where even something as unprecedented as a global pandemic can be politicized by internet sleuths and conspiracy theorists, it is of upmost importance that we can walk away from these squabbles with our character intact. 

The lack of control we all feel right now may lead to the strong temptations to grasp at straws in an attempt to control the spiraling world around us, if nothing else, at least the narratives we believe. 

We could even go as far to shame one another for being uninformed or fearful of the unknown. We can try to boaster what little information we gathered from a google search or a video on Facebook and try to present it as gospel truth. 

Times are tense. Some have more time on their hands and some have less. We are all navigating this new norm and doing our best to rationalize its impact. 

In hindsight, when we look back on this, no one is going to remember how right or how wrong you were, but rather how you treated them in the midst of the chaos. 

Were you patient, were you kind? Do you show grace and empathy during a time of crisis that none of us truly understand?

If there is anything I hope to convey in these words, it’s that being right, means nothing to those around you unless it is presented with compassion. 

18. Fear Has Two Faces

When the world starts burning, people either panic or become complacent. Let’s discuss.

15. Top 5 Embarrassing Stories

The say vulnerable is valuable, so here goes nothing.

12. Marriage Story

A love story, cautionary tale, and a movie you won’t be able to look away from. The is less of a review of the movie and for of a therapy session.

4. I’m Sorry

I am seeking forgiveness.

The Patriarchal Lie

My mother led a life that would be considered a much more traditional experience for a woman. My wife leads a much more modern mother’s life, holding down 40 hours and raising children. Both women have been instrumental in forming my worldview of the opposite sex. Because of that I haven’t had to entertain thoughts of women being lesser than men, much past the cooties stage of life. 

I acknowledge our differences, but I’ve never thought one or the other is more capable. I couldn’t imagine going through life or raising my children to believe that they are allowed to judge someone’s value based on their gender. I respected my mother and admired her strength and her ability to teach me to be empathetic to the needs of the world around me. I also respect my wife for expecting me to be equally as involved in our kid’s lives as she is. At the same time teaching me to feel safe when doing the things others may deem a “motherly duty.”

Nothing frustrates me, in such a specific way, as men who write women off based solely on them being female. Or men who think it’s okay to keep their children at arm’s length when it comes to caring for them physically or emotionally. All family dynamics are unique, and they should be, but if you think you are owed something because of the gender-lottery you’re ultimately an outcome of, you need to seriously consider doing some soul-searching. 

Think of what we could accomplish as a society if we could simply move past the patriarchal lie we’ve succumb to for generations. It is not hard to point out the hypocritical attitudes of those who smugly stand by their uncomfortably bloated viewpoints, but change starts with the ones who can identify it and pivot.

A Song Made Me Feel Something

Today a spoken word song made me face a reality I’ve been avoiding and hope to continue hiding from. Sometimes art is so personal that it can travel over your heart strings and be translated in the process. I could never know what caused Broken World to write what they did, but I still felt it. Not what they felt, but rather, what their interpretation felt like to me.

I am incapable of putting these feelings into words. Listen and maybe you’ll feel something too.

An Open Letter to Christians

Dear Christians (of who I claim party to),

Please stop embarking on petty feuds with people who are different then you. Not changing your profile picture nor eating a chicken sandwich is in anyway a demonstration of compassion. This “us against them” mentality will never work, neither is it biblical. Christ gave us the freedom to choose, so please reciprocate this chose to others.

Your public demonstrations of disapproval, albeit passionate are not compassionate. Your distaste, ignorance and counterculture stance is prevalent without your perpetuated outspokenness. There will forever be issues you can not agree upon. Instead learn to resolve your differences peacefully and lovingly.

You must learn to not perceive every outsider’s worldview as a personal attack on your beliefs. The defensive position you so quickly assume is unfitting to your faith that you so proudly stake a claim in. These tactics may challenge your pride, but in the end are a sign of your true strength. Your intentions should always be to teach truth and demonstrate love.

a love story

Marriage isn’t all that bad, this is for all the haters out there…