Hi. My name is Matthew, and I am a "toxic" saint. I struggle with my faith [love] at times, and my head (I ask hard questions) sometimes too. Sometimes I struggle more than I love.
I came here simply to keep my mind (and my typing finger) active. I am not "lonely" because I have a wonderful wife who loves me (she is my best friend), two girls, and we are also in the process of adopting. I think my self-esteem is pretty good most days. I am a stay-at-home dad.
My true desire is to simply have an intelligent conversation about my life, my experiences, my faith [love], and my sometimes lack thereof. It's nice having someone to "bounce" things off of during the day... that is a little older than seven. My evenings and weekends are usually pretty full. I'll talk about anything. I have a cat, a dog, a car, a truck, a house, kids, a wife, guns, and have had 4 RVs. I like pizza and I don't like most veggies. 8^) "Gun control" is being able to hit your target.
I like to talk with folks that can share without feeling compelled to "get me told" go all religious on me. I have lost two children. NOTE: If you like to debate, I can do that ...but it tends to make me quite aggressive and blunt in my writing style. Moniti estis!
That being said, I will not delete this topic if you make me angry, hurt my feelings, disagree with me, don't take what I say as The Gospel, reject my advice, don't want my prayers (see below), or even if you make me cry. 8^) I expect the same.
That being said, my IQ is 137. I hold a BA in Criminal Justice (I know, it should be Criminal Punishment or Victim's Justice) and a minor in Sociology. For the record, I think Freud was half nuts. I changed my minor from psychology to sociology for that reason. I tend to think like a lawyer. I come from an educated, christian background. I like short sentences. 6^)
Attack my ideology if you like, but not me personally. If you think that you are God's gift of revelation/teaching, you will probably grow to hate me (which is fine by me). However, you can save me some time (and a red finger). Simply hate me now (I'm toxic) and go talk to someone somewhere else. 8^)
More about me? I have two "learning" disabilities, ADHD (can you tell) and dyslexia. However, I still know how to read The Bible for myself (with a fondness for the NA 26/27 Interlinear). I also know how to think for myself. I probably WILL NOT believe anything you say that The Bible says, unless it really does ...within The Writings "best evidence" context (and I do check everything).
Best evidence... "as close to the original as possible."
Because I can read, I am also aware that The Bible contains glosses. I am also aware that there is ongoing work to try and determine what the original text was. I am also aware that there are thousands of discrepancies, and that the original text is lost. What we have is only close. Look it up and see for yourself.
I'm much more concerned with how Jesus lived His life, than what is recorded that the apostles and disciples did after He left. I try and follow him, not them.
I will NOT believe that you hear God's voice every minute of every day. I used to think I did, and it lead to personal pride and [almost] the destruction of my life. Therefore, I will not receive any "word" you speak into my life. Jesus is The Word that I am interested in, and I have already received Him. 6^)
You are NOT welcome to pray for me ...unless you ask first, and I agree. I promise I will never "pray" for you (you know what I'm talking about). I totally reject those type of prayers. 8^P
Hi. My name is Matthew, and I am a "toxic" imperfect saint. PLEASE DO NOT reply to this post ...unless you think you can handle that. I always have Netflix. 8^)
Sorry for the extreme lack of information.
More? When we first moved in, like I said... the house was barely livable. As you can see from the picture, there is loads of work to be done. The house had been mistreated and was also vandalized by the previous owner. (I have no idea what the junk is that appears to be running down the front of the house.)I won't even start on how bad the carpet was. Think, needs-to-be-cleaned-before-it-can-be-burned type of a situation! 8^P
Anyway, the aforementioned neighbors came over to the fence the first pretty day (we purchased at the end of winter last year). After talking with them, I said, "Anytime you see the girls playing outside, feel free to come over and play outside if you like." Simple, polite.
That simple, polite invitation to play in our yard IF we were outside, turned into a slow, creeping, full on home invasion! As the summer got hotter, they slowly wormed their way indoors ...and then I never had any peace. I was now taking care of four kids, all day long. Also, the more "at home" they felt, the more disrespect I received.
And they just kept coming... I even started getting calls first thing in the morning! 8^P
Also, our daughter was almost never invited over there. It was all one way. NOTE: Their family lives with the grandmother. It is her house! This guy is raising two children, totally in his mother-in-law's home!?! 8^O
Then there was the "our son wants to date your daughter" thing that came up. THEY WERE SIX (at the time) for heavens sake!!! I explained that my folks raised me to not date until I was ready to marry (courting) and that was what both my wife and I wanted for our daughters. That didn't go over well either. There was even a lecture on how "innocent" it all was...
Oh, and one more thing... when my children marry, I actually want them to move OUT! 8^)
Finally, my wife requested they not come over until invited. That was when things really started getting weird. There was actually NO CHANGE! We just started always saying "NO!" when they would ask to come over. Then the leering and pouting started. The more we tried to normalize the friendship craziness, the more my wife got mistreated.
That being said, I have a high tolerance for noise, especially if it is children's happy noise. My wife is Aspergers, and she does not. A lot of noise puts her into fight-or-flight mode. She needs quiet sometimes.This was all explained.
Nothing. No change whatsoever.
For me, the last straw was when their oldest boy found my pistol, stuck it in my face (I'm not joking) and asked, "Is this your gun? Is it loaded?" Well, these folks hunt all of the time. I have no doubt whatsoever that that kid knew exactly what he was doing, and how dangerous it was. Later, I had a conversation with his mom. She said that she was uncomfortable with the boys coming inside because I have a pistol. I said (real calmly) "Okay." ...then went out (after talking with my wife) and got ANOTHER one! 8^)
To tell you the truth, I wanted to lay guns all over the place! I wanted to decorate for Thanksgiving and Christmas with them! I wanted to weld them on the fence, put them on the roof, and mount a turret on the shed! If I had ONLY known it was so simple!!! 8^)
But still there is the leering and pouting thing, anytime we go outside and they can't come over...
Oh, and now I'm a "jerk" (according to that little boy). I can only assume that that is coming from the mother because I won't hide my pistol better ...so he can come back inside and invade my house.
I guess I need to define toxic for them. 8^)
I'm afraid that the neighboring kids situation is way out of my league.
For the house, the outside looks in good shape and it looks like there is crawl space. Most of my houses were on slabs. Two of them were in Michigan and had basements. One of them had a deep basement with foot high windows. The Wyandotte house's basement was about 4' in the ground and 3' above ground. The 1st & 2nd floors were the living area while the top floor was an attic with access thru a bedroom closet. We liked the Wyandotte house the best but it was 1100 miles from my wife's family. It was the only house we made money on. When we went to sell it the realtor had a Bible on his desk with a large last supper picture on the wall. He didn't list it saying that the Lord told him we would sell it. We put an ad in the Detroit news and it sold to the 1st caller on the 1st day of the ad for 3 times what we paid for it.
I was surprised by how little elbow room you seem to have. Both my Michigan houses were on small lots, but they were corner lots so I still had some room around me. Just more sidewalk to shovel when it snowed.
My wife was sifting through articles, magazines, and the like the other day and came across something I copied 6 or 7 years ago. It's an essay titled "Where Went the Neighborhood" and is available online. It is apropos to this discussion. http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=18-04-024-f
I am sick. 8^( I'll get back to this when I get to feeling better.
You are correct, there is a crawl space under that one front-most room. However, the rest is a full nice and dry basement. It is my work/tool/man area. 8^) So, in this aerial view... The bright green line denotes our property/house. We have a driveway on the "close" neighbor's side (the bigger grey roofed house on the left) and a detached garage (bottom left corner). Ours is a corner house, so there is an alleyway (pictured on the right) that keeps our neighbors off of us.
The little red outline is the neighbors yard. The blue line denotes the leering zone. 8^)
That was very well worded. I guess what I got out of the story Jesus told, that is often called "The parable of the Good Samaritan" (don't even get me started ...fictitious rumble-grumble argh!) was that our "neighbor" is the person that we see that needs help, and that we can help.
Do you think that's too simplified?
Slow reply. Out last weekend on a guy trip with my boys. The youngest races Soap Box Derby. God dropped that in our lap last year. It's a fun story with plenty of sermon illustrations. But nope, not going into it! ("Sorry," he whispered.)
No, I don't think your take is too simplified. It's just one part of it. I think the two main points are first, that Jesus is wanting to break through the scribe's (our!) pretensions to superiority, that we would think we would be the passerby who would give aid. Thus he says:
We like to put ourselves in the sandals of the passersby, trusting that we who do not know the names of the people on our own street would take sufficient notice of the man in the ditch to save his life. It does not occur to us that we are the man in the ditch. We are the sinners. We are those who long for immortality but who are destined to die.
Second, and more to his main theme which is illustrated primarily with his description of the Canadian village, we neither have nor are neighbors to anyone anymore. Take for example the paragraph:
If some delinquent child should venture onto the street before his male or female parent has returned from the commissariat, and bust up his knees by falling from his bicycle, he can cry all he wants. Nobody will hear him. The society of women is no more. There are no mothers who are not your own mother, and your own mother is not around, and, if she is around (let the truth be told), often enough she is no great shakes either. You are an appendage, or appendix, to her career, and you know it.
"The street is silent." It's a heart-achingly depressing vision. Of course it is not this way everywhere (in America anyway), but I'm guessing it's more the norm than otherwise. We live in a small pastoral country village. Those four words easily conjure up romantic notions of neighborliness. But even here, while people are nice when you run into them, the country lane is silent. I spoke once with an elderly man who grew up here. He spoke of how the kids used to be out every day, running around and playing from yard to yard. Not so anymore. It can get downright depressing to think much about it. S-l-o-w-l-y we are beginning to be neighbors to a few folks, but it just ain't like it used to be. That's Esolen's point.
Getting back to your neighbors: to be sure there is wisdom to be heeded in Proverbs 25:17. But I would suggest that here at least you have neighbors, as difficult as they may be. And I have in mind here the leering kids, not the parents. Their kids obviously are not learning wisdom at home, but perhaps they can learn it through their neighbors (you!) as you set appropriate boundaries while still showing hospitality. As Esolen says, "a life of rubbing elbows every day... is a life we cannot be fully and joyfully human without." Have you considered the possibility that in these little wretches' hearts they somehow understand this and, knowing that they can't find it at home, they might be finding it at yours? Actually, I think we all understand what Esolen's saying. Whether we attempt to do anything about it is another matter entirely.
You know... just the other day my wife was out walking. She came across a 12 year old boy that was crying. He asked if he could use her phone. She brought him to me.
As it turned out he had been "jumped" by some other kids (that he knew) while out walking. I brought him in and dialed the number he requested.
He wanted to wait outside, so I sat with him and simply talked (listened mostly) to pass the time... and to make sure he was going to be okay/safe. By the time his dad had showed up a few minutes later, the boy had told me what had happened. I encouraged him to tell his dad everything, and he pretty much did while I listened. To see this child's heart blessed me, and all I did was listen...
Shortly after I moved back to PA, a fellow purchased the house next door to mine in Johnstown. To be truthful, I was still getting settled back into my own house. Well, the guy is 6'2", had long hair, a beard, a Harley, an AK-47, a big dog, and a moving truck FULL of tools and stuff. I looked out my window and simply saw a man that needed my help. I'm still pretty strong for a 45 year old, so out I went. It took us three days to unload everything!
That man later decided that he wanted my house (it has a really big kitchen). He is in the process of buying it. He calls me his "Brother from another mother." We are friends. He is/has been a true blessing in my life. AND, he has now helped me move too! 8^) ...and all I did was lend him a hand...
So I spent a lot of time in church. I can take folks from Genesis to the maps. I really loved a good Evolution Vs Special Creation [Intelligent Design] debate. I even moderated a BBS forum under that topic for a while. I taught children's church, did christian scouting, missions, and even did the children's and youth "pastor" bit.
Looking back, that wasn't Jesus. Oh, it looked great. It sounded wonderful. BUT the only true impact I really had was always outside of the church. You know, the lonely boy I took out for pizza after church ...or the child I simply listened to (or held) while they talked or cried.
So He was/is there. Jesus. I just didn't take the time to see Him. Fortunately, He saw me...
Oh, and one more thing... I'd love to hear all about what a "soap box derby" is. I know about the "pinewood derby" thing, but not soap box. 8^)
Only one word to all of that: Amen.
It's the All American Soap Box Derby. Gravity racing in a car you and your kid builds. The 75th World Championship in Akron, OH is this summer. http://www.aasbd.org
I just got my eldest off to school... and I must say, "WOW! The soap box derby looks really cool!"
My dad and I did more common things... like cutting firewood, clearing brush, mowing the "yard" and raking leaves for recreation. 8^) We did have our own creek... and a tree "house" (some boards from the dump).
I grew up on ten acres. The land had us, to a certain degree. I don't want that for my girls. I still have to mow, but we only have one tree in our yard (I call it an apple stick), and we have an electric fireplace (for ambiance). 6^)
I also make it a point to never do "yard work" on the weekend. If it's not done by Friday evening, it can wait until Monday!
In actuality, we did do some "fun" things growing up. We went camping (once) in a VW Van. We went fishing "a lot," and every now and again we went swimming in the Arkansas river. Once a year we took a day trip to Dogpatch USA, Silver Dollar City, or Magic Springs. Mostly, we ate really good cooking! 8^0
After I decided to become a cop (I totally get the keep-the-kids-safe thing) I lost 100 lbs and began jogging. I eventually got into weight lifting and became a YMCA fitness instructor.
You know, I even turned sports into work! 8^P
ANYWAY, I never really learned how to have fun. I know that that may sound strange, but when your life revolves around yard work and schoolwork ...there simply is no example set there. Everything was duty and/or responsibility...
My wife grew up living one big party! Her dad's gauge on how life is going is based off of one question, "Am I happy?" The good news is, that we both acknowledge that we need the balance of the other's upbringing.
So, our girls have their own bounce house, more toys than necessary (that they have to keep picked up), and lots of fun with their mom... and some with me too. 8^)
Anyway, it looks like you have found something that is educational, teaches responsibility, creates loads of quality time, and is really fun! AWESOME!!!
I guess maybe I didn't know there was such a thing! 8^)
The majority of Soap Box Derby World Champions (at least in the past 10 years, I believe) have been girls. The reasoning is that they tend to be more fearless and have a more deft touch on the steering. Hint, hint.
There actually is a lot of work involved with racing SBD. It's gotten to the point where I have to balance out that time with other incentives to the older brother who doesn't race and recently complained about the time spent with the younger (it's almost a Cain and Abel thing). The elder wants to be a falconer, so where I had—before SBD entered the picture—told the elder that it was something he was going to have to fully own (and thus learn to work to afford it), I am now offering matching grants to the falconry fund for the SBD registration fees incurred at each race.
SBD IS fun. In Akron last year I got to ride down the race track in an adult-sized car. It made me wish I had done it when I was a kid.
We have about 3 acres and I know what you mean. But on the other hand I'm working towards getting a few goats or sheep or both to do the mowing (fortunately 2 of the acres is a wooded "hollar"), and to let the boys learn more responsibility in taking care of animals. We started with three chickens which has been great fun. They're pretty much pets and act that way, even the rooster.
Talk about diverse interest! A Soap Box Derby guy and a falconer (had to Google that one)! That is amazing! We never did anything [growing up] that would cost money, other than get animals.
When we first moved to the ten acres (I was seven or so) we had an old tri-colored beagle. She was extremely loyal. No matter where she was, or what she was doing out in the woods, she always came running when we called. One day she simply never came home.
For a long time we remained without a pet after her. Then, one day I won a chick at a church on Easter. Well, that started us on the path to getting all kind of animals. We ended up with a slue of chickens, four ducks, four geese, several rabbits, and untold guineafowl (boy are they interesting). The problem was, every so often we would get raided by dogs. We lost a lot of our birds that way.
I had one Rhode Island red hen that always somehow escaped those raids. She was very smart, was my friend (followed me around like a puppy) and eventually died of old age.
I eventually ended up with a dear, and a squirrel as the two most exotic pets I ever had (I still want a raccoon some day). 8^) After them, we found some cats ...and I eventually got another dog. I wanted goats (their milk is wonderful) but my folks didn't like the idea of them climbing on everything. They are wonderful at keeping underbrush eaten down (our neighbor had goats) and will eat anything green that they can reach.
I'd say go for the goats! 8^D
Anyway, my parents were never one to let animals in the house, but when I married ...my wife had always had an inside dog. I had [by then] taken to having a psychotic attack cat. (I also tried a ferret, but they stink!) For a while we had two dogs (a Pit Bull and a Min Pin). We were selling our house, and someone left the gate open. The Min Pin got struck by a car, and the Pit Bull wouldn't leave her... and got struck too. 8.^(
We adopted a beagle (that bit my daughter in the face) and were given a psychotic ragdoll cat. We ditched the beagle and got a Min Pin mix. That's pretty much the combination we like to keep. I like psychotic attack cats (declawed of course) and my wife likes to keep a dog around ...for the cat to chew on. 8^) The cat we have now (my ragdoll was stolen) is black, and is the most hyper cat I have ever had. She will attack anything that moves! Catnip actually calms her down!?!
Over the years, I can say that pets have added much joy and pleasure to my otherwise boring life. 8^)