It’s Okay To Doubt Your Faith

Yes, if you have doubts about your faith, that’s okay. Actually, it can be good!
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Huh?
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Yes, it’s healthy to have doubts. I think within some sectors of the church, a heavy emphasis is placed on believing the right things, and having the correct head knowledge in order to have a healthy faith. The problem is, to some extent, we can’t really control our beliefs. We can’t just choose to believe something, even if we want to.
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Belief can be defined as, “trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.” Perhaps one might say they believe in the existence of God, for example, but if they don’t place their trust, faith, or confidence in God, then they don’t really believe (even if they feel they believe, or say they believe).

If someone said they believed that it was going to snow, but went out in shorts and T-shirt, then they didn’t really believe it was going to snow, or perhaps they have a desire to experience hypothermia, or possibly frostbite.
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In order to have true belief, that belief has to influence our actions. Sure, we can sometimes make ourselves believe things if we try hard enough, but sometimes we need more evidence. I would really like it if ice cream was good for you, but no amount of believing is going to change the chemistry. I would need some new evidence or data to influence and change my beliefs.
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In the same way, sometimes we need more evidence to believe in God or a certain doctrine. This is good, after all, we are instructed to love God with all our mind, as well as heart and soul. Nowhere in the Bible are we asked to make a “leap of faith.” Faith is to be founded on knowledge, not wishful-thinking.
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If someone doubts the existence of God, or some doctrine, that is perfectly fine. We should frequently doubt what we believe, otherwise, we run the risk of deceiving ourselves or being close-minded. We want to follow the truth wherever it leads, and question everything. Yes, even our faith.

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Are Homeschoolers Socialized?

“One of the most persistent criticisms of home-schooling is the accusation that home-schoolers will not be able to fully participate in society because they lack ‘socialization’,” began an article in the Washington Times. I’ve had the privilege of attending public schools, and participating in homeschooling. I even did both at the same time for many years. Have I only been half as well socialized as I could have been?
Indeed, “socialization” is often the biggest concern cited by those unwilling to homeschool their children. Is there good solid evidence for believing your child will end up unable to cope with our complex society as a result of receiving his or her education at home?
Are homeschoolers socialized  - a dual enrollee responds
First off, what exactly IS socialization? Here are a few definitions:
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  1. The modification from infancy of an individual’s behavior to conform with the demands of social life.
  2. A continuing process whereby an individual acquires a personal identity and learns the norms, values, behavior, and social skills appropriate to his or her social position.
  3. The act or process of making socialistic.
It sounds to me like the first two definitions are what most people are concerned with when they throw out the word, socialization.
I sure hope they don’t mean the third definition, although that is quite possible, seeing as the public education system was founded by socialists. (See Weapons of Mass Instruction, John Taylor Gatto)
In general, those who fear un-socialization from home-schooling, or use this fear as an argument against the model, are using the word in the sense that—by home-schooling—your children will not be well adapted to the traditions and rituals of society, and that your children “will not be able to fully participate in society,” or that they will not learn from society how they are supposed to act, and thus, will be abnormal and/or miss-out on societal experiences.
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No one wants that for their children, right?
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On a more extreme level, some may fear that homeschoolers will be so un-socialized that they will be paralyzed by fear or uncertainty when they eventually leave the nest and have to face, “the real world.”
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Is it true that homeschooling results in a lack of socialization?
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Well according to the definitions of socialization above, no. Everyone receives some form of socialization. It is a “continuing process” and a “modification from infancy”. Everything in our lives influences how we are “socialized”. Everyone receives socialization, or another way of putting it, everything that happens to us shapes who we are, and how we interact with other people. This is branded, “socialization.”
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And yet, some have the idea that homeschooling results in a complete lack of socialization. This idea is propagated by the myth that homeschoolers spend their days, “locked in their room, studying in the dark,” as one acquaintance of mine assumed I did after I turned down an offer to attend a social gathering. I corrected him, pointing out that, “No, I don’t study in the dark because then I can’t see. I leave the lights on.”
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However, does my turning down this offer make me un-socialized?
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I Promised Myself I Would Never Get Married

When I was little, I vowed never to get married. Love was all mushy-gushy, and unmanly. I couldn’t get married and look like a softy! After all, girls made no sense, weren’t good at sports, and of all the colors in the rainbow, they had to like pink. Pink! No, I would never get married.
I was told by adults “That’s what they all say” and that, “You’ll want to when you’re older.” I scoffed at these remarks. These people had no idea how dead-set I was against getting married. Yet at the same time, a sliver of fear would creep into my mind. What kind of trauma could possibly make me want to get married as I increased in age? I would not let this happen. I promised my 5 or 6-year-old-self that I would not get married, no matter how much I may want to in the future. Image was everything, and I was too tough to ever desire the mushy-gushy.

Never get married

I grew up. While my thoughts and feelings toward marriage and females slowly evolved and changed over time, the end result was the same. I didn’t want to get married. The idea of being tied down to a family was very unappealing. I liked the idea of being alone and on my own my whole life, and it was much more appealing than having to deal with the responsibilities of marriage. It was a very selfish mindset.
I had also become quite accustomed to being different. Love was so cliché. I didn’t want to fall in love and be married like everyone else. That was too mainstream (I was a hipster before it was cool to be a hipster.)
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While I knew marriage was kind of an important thing, I didn’t see the beauty in it. It still seemed like way too big of a commitment for me to make. However, I was not alone in my belief. I hadn’t met a single other guy who liked the idea of commitment or marriage, yet by high school, they all had girlfriends. They were dating without even so much as a hint of desire to commit. They were dating for themselves, never considering how to will the good of the girls they had claimed. It was all about taking as much as they could out of the relationships, having fun, and creating new perverted conquests to brag about during lunch or in the football locker room. I got a first-hand idea of what the world’s idea of love was, and it disgusted me.

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When Christians Find Joy In The Sin Of Others

We love heroes, but even more than heroes, we love to see heroes fall. As a culture, we can’t get enough of our joy in sincelebrity news gossip. We especially love it when a Christian celebrity falls. This lends validation to the fantasy that God doesn’t exist, and therefore we are not responsible to Him for our actions and lives. It’s not surprising when non-Christians rejoice in the sin of Christians.

 

It makes sense when the world celebrates iniquity; what doesn’t make sense is when Christians do the same thing.

 

I have been appalled at the way many Christians will rejoice when a Christian leader they don’t agree with is exposed to be guilty of some heinous sin. Just like the world, they find this Christian’s sin to be validation that everything they taught was false. While this is a genetic fallacy, there is a deeper issue here.

 

How can we as Christians celebrate the sin of another, let alone a member of the Body of Christ?  It’s like some are just waiting in the bushes for a Christian leader to fall so they can assure themselves they don’t have to listen to anything they said. This is not love, and it is not how we as Christians should respond.

 

When we rejoice in the sin of others, we reveal we have not love, but jealousy in our hearts.

 

As Paul informs us in 1 Corinthians 13:6-7,

 

 “[Love] does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

 

Even if we do not agree with the teachings or beliefs of a particular Christian leader, to wish their downfall as the result of a devastating sin is pretty darn sickening. Not only does the fall of any Christian harm the Christian Faith as a whole, but it causes terrible destruction in the lives that particular Christian affected.  Yet rather than mourning these tragedies, many Christians have responded with glee. They are not expressing the love of Christ.

 

The frequency of which Christian leaders seem to fall is very unsettling. It’s frightening to consider how many may be living a double-life, and to realize that we ourselves are capable of the same thing if we seek to rely on our own strength rather than Christ. Because so many have failed, there are numerous amounts of Christians who have come to the conclusion that it isn’t really possible to live the way God calls us to live. All we can do is keep saying we’re sorry.

 

Yet this isn’t too surprising either, since it really is impossible to live righteously—on our own. As soon as we stop relying on God, we will slip. We are all sinners in need of forgiveness and sanctification. What is surprising is how many Christians will cannibalize their own, even those who make the same mistakes they do.

 

I’m not sure which is more disturbing. How many Christians fall, or how many Christians applaud their demise.

You Changed Your Relationship Status; Let’s Throw A Party

We’ve all seen someone change their Facebook relationship status to “in a relationship” before. Typically, this change is accompanied by a cozy picture of the happy couple. (Aww!)We also have all seen the common reactions that go with it:
“Congratulations!”
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“I’m so happy for you!”
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“Aw, you guys look so cute!”
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This is so great, right? Two people committing to love each other no matter what and agreeing to spend the rest of their lives together. It’s so beautiful when two people get in a relationship!
Wait, what? In a relationship? Not married. Not engaged. In a relationship? What does that even mean?
What are we congratulating people on when they get “in a relationship”?
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I have lots of relationships. I’m in relationships with a lot of people and no one has ever congratulated me. Why not?
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Why Do We Want People To Like Us?

To elaborate on my previous post, When Speaking The Truth Makes You A Target, what is stopping us from speaking the truth? Why do we hold back?
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When it all comes down to it, the motivation behind our failure to boldly speak the truth is fear. We’re afraid of something. In our daily lives, this fear manifests itself most commonly in the fear of what other people will think of us.like us cover
Now where does that come from? Why do we care so much about what other people think about us? Evolutionary biologists would say we have an instinctive need to feel accepted because it helps ensure our survival. If we conform and make sure we “fit in” and people like us…then our chances for survival are greater. While these biologists have correctly observed that our desire to be liked by others is instinctive, they have over-stepped their bounds of expertise and are making philosophical conclusions based on their scientific findings.
Regardless, in our everyday lives, I don’t think we are motivated to “fit in” and be liked out of a sense of self-preservation. Most of us are not in danger of dying if people dislike us because of our beliefs. Now, in other parts of the world, this may be the case, but in America, we are allowed freedom of speech (for now.) So what is it we fear? Why do we want other people to like us?
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The Arsenal: Re-Launched!

It’s taken awhile, but my new site has finally arrived! It’s still a bit of a work-in-progress, but it is functional now! Woo!

Re-Launched Arsenal

During the transfer from Blogger, the formatting for my posts was lost, so as a result, many of my old posts are currently in drafts. However, I will be updating them and then re-posting them as soon as they are finished!

 

I will also have plenty of new content coming out as well, AND! I’d also like to have more guest posting, so stay tuned for details on that.

 

Additionally, make sure to sign up for my newsletter to receive all my lastest posts, special deals on books and products as they become available, and unique content!

Subscribe to my newsletter!

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Some other updates: 
  • My ebook, Misunderstood Modesty, is coming along! I’m about 1/3 of the way done with it.
  • Be sure to check out my family’s new website on family home business and discipleship, CoastalConservatory.com
  • Kingdom Pen has been rolling along, and we will be launching a new contest tomorrow!
  • I will be recording, mixing, and mastering the debut album for the Long Family Singers, and will be getting started in June!
  • Life is crazy busy!!!
What is new with you? Any big events or projects you’re working on? Share in the comments! 


Don’t Worry; I Won’t Touch Your Daughter

I wrote another guest post over at The Long Way To Go! Consider it an update/conglomeration of my hugging articles.

Hello, my name is Reagan Ramm, and I don’t hug girls.

I know, I know. I’m a terrible person. You see, this because I a morbid and irrational fear of touches or being touched. I am a socially awkward and damaged person who needs help getting over the trauma of my past to be able to touch and be touched again…

Won't Touch

Umm…no. Not exactly.

Contrary to what some believe, I do not refrain from hugging the opposite sex because I have Aphenphosmphobia, or because I am a cold-hearted person. Within some Christian circles, physical touch is very common. I, and many others like me, are not so comfortable with this, and here are a few healthy reasons why.

 

Click here to read more!

Love Is Manly

When I was growing up, I always thought of love as girly. Our culture portrays love with big red hearts, warm fuzzy feelings, and physical displays of affection. These are all things girls are generally more easily drawn to. Girls like to draw little hearts on their school books, and more readily enjoy romance in movies or books. “Love” and being “manly” seemed to be diametrically opposed. This is a big reason why my young self vowed to never marry.
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Love in our culture is shown as being soft. Being nice. Not hurting anyone’s feelings. This is the kind of love that comes more naturally to females.
 
Certainly, this feminine side of love is real, and important. However, this is not all love is. Love is also masculine. Love isn’t always elegant, nice, or pleasurable. Love is sometimes harsh, tough, and uncompromising. Love is manly.
 
This of course doesn’t mean that all women are tender whereas all men are hard and uncompromising. On an individual level, people—men and women—differ and vary quite a bit. In general, however, there is a distinction. There are two sides of love, one side women more readily express, and the other side men more naturally express. We all need both.
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However, in the church today—and the culture as a whole—the masculine side of love is often ignored and even demonized. Frequently, this “manly” side of love is criticized as being “unloving” or “un-Christ-like” and this is because we only see the feminine side of love as being legitimate. It’s just fine to tell men to “get in touch with your feminine side,” but you don’t so often hear women being told to “get in touch with their masculine side.”
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We need to all embrace the fullness of God’s love, both the masculine and feminine aspects.
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How To Guard Your Heart

Hello dear readers!

I had the honor of being asked by the Long family to write a guest post for their blog, The Long Way To Go, this week on the subject of how to guard your heart. Below is a portion of the article, but make sure to go to their site to read the rest!How To Guard Heart

“Guard your heart!”

I’m sure you have heard this phrase before, and you might also have found that it is easier said than done. How exactly are you supposed to guard your heart?

Disclaimer: I am writing this article under the assumption that you desire emotional purity, and to save not only your body, but also your heart for your future spouse. If you don’t believe in emotional purity, this article might not make much sense to you. However, if you do desire to save yourself, then it is my desire that this article help you to obtain that goal.

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