Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Book of Questions: 003

The Book of Questions (by: Gregory Stock) is just that - a book of questions. The only answers are the ones we, the reader, come up with on our own in isolation or with a group of friends. These are guaranteed to shift the conversation with loved ones in whole new directions. For me, I decided to take it upon myself to slowly, but surely, go through the entire book.  There are 292 questions. This could take awhile.

Question: If you had to be obsessed with money, sex, sports, religion, or food, which one would you choose?

This is a good one. Perfect for a fireside chat with family and friends. Although, if in the company of Christians, which I hope you are more times than not, I think it's an easy answer. Or is it? On the surface, religion may be a good, solid answer. I guess it depends on your definition of obsessed. I know people, or have known people that could be classified as being obsessed with religion. These are people I have found that have pigeon-holed themselves to certain beliefs and have shut off any differing opinions, suggestions or in fact truths that go against their religious beliefs. I don't know about you, but I think this question could spark a lot of interesting conversation. My suggestion? Stock the wood shed beforehand.

I thought about, for the sake of my young readers, leaving out the sex from the list. However, I feel it's important that young people hear my thoughts on that topic as most will be or already are in a pre-marital relationship.

I will tackle each topic one at a time.

Money: Not the root of evil by any means. You've heard it before. It's the LOVE of money...or the obsession of money that the enemy loves to sniff out. I think about money a lot. I don't have much. But here's where some people can get trapped and start justifying and rationalizing their situation. Danger Ahead! It's easy to think, "When I have more money, I will tithe more or sponsor a kid in Africa or perform more random acts of kindness." That justification is fake. The truth is most people that do this know it to be fake, but desperately hope that excuse will get them through. The fact is, this type of thinking has just as many roots of evil as the love of money does.

There is nothing wrong with having money. There is nothing wrong with having nice things. But having and your attitude towards those things makes all the difference.

The truth is, I have an obsession with money. Not for any of the reasons above, but I do think about it a lot. It's a major stress in my life. Bills are hard to pay. Finding enough money to buy a new pair of shoes is...nearly impossible. Don't misinterpret this. I'm actually not complaining. The Lord has always provided for us and I have faith He always will. To prove my faith, I have already thanked Him for the day financial stress is behind us. In the meantime, I need to focus on tithing more and just giving of what I have and not waiting until I have it.

Obsession of money is not my choice.

Sex: I have changed my mind about what I was going to write about here. I will say a few things though. First, I don't believe in premarital sex. I don't judge people that have, but for me, I don't agree with it. I think it's a gift for a husband and wife and if you obsess to be intimate with your spouse, then, if in a healthy way, there's nothing wrong with that. I kinda think God wants us to obsess over being intimate with our spouse whether verbally or physically. Obsess may be the wrong word and if it makes you squirm a little just remember that I'm answering the question. That's why I'm using that particular word. I would prefer the word longing. To long for your spouse is much healthier sounding, I agree.

Relationships need to reach a spiritual level of intimacy where you get to know the true identity of your partner. If you're jumping into bed with someone first thing, you've already consummated the relationship and frankly, messed up the order of how things are supposed to happen. Where do you go from there? I'm not saying relationships can't be successful, but there is something special in waiting for marriage.

I'm NOT saying I'm better than anyone else for having waited until marriage. I get it. I don't agree with it, but I get it. We make mistakes, but just like with money, it's the attitude you have that matters. What is your attitude towards your mistake? Are you going to learn from it? I believe that no matter what choices you've made that God will bless you and your spouse.

For those that are reading this that are teenagers, talk to someone about your concerns and thoughts towards premarital sex. Be sure to talk to someone that knows the emotional effect it can (and most likely will) have on you. Talk to someone that cherishes the fact that they've waited. Talk to someone who didn't wait, but wishes they had.

I will end by saying this. I cherish the fact that the only person I've been with is my wife and I'm the only person my wife has been with. If that's not you, I'm not judging. I've decided a long time ago to set the bar really high for myself and I in turn have set a high bar for my girls. Why such a high standard? Think about it. What kind of father would I be if I didn't? Will they screw up? Yup! Have I led a perfect life of no mistakes? Not even close. But to reiterate what is probably the most important thing being said here, it's the attitude upon which you face your mistakes.

Final thought: The unhealthy obsession is the obsession of thinking that sex has to be part of a premarital relationship. It's an important part of a marriage, but it does not have to be part of a premarital one. 

If this section bothered you in some way then...get over it. It's a fireside conversation for crying out loud.

Sports: I love sports. Not as much as I used to, but I still love the Phillies (although the next couple of years will be trying). I miss playing softball and enjoy the occasional (twice a year) game of tennis. I'm still perturbed that just because I annoyed my soccer coach in high school by coming to talk to him during his lunch he decided to bench me all but fifteen minutes of my senior year. I get it. Lunch time for teachers is precious. But, really? I digress.

The obsession of sports makes no sense to me. At all. I obsessed over my baseball cards when younger, but that's the extent of it. I have played softball with guys that made the sport their life. Ummm...hello?! You have a wife and kids and yet you work all day and play softball every single night! Get a life! Now you're divorced and probably don't see your kids. Hate to say it, but they're better off. What kind of person puts a sport ahead of everything else in their lives? Sometimes the tether of the enemy is very visible.

What also drives me nuts is all the predictions that are made on those redundant pre-game shows. People get paid (more than teachers) to state why this team will win and why this team will lose. Really? I thought that's "why we play the game." I thought the donut-loving lady singing signifies a game was actually played. How many times have their been upsets? And yet you're so confident you know who will win.

I don't obsess over sports because to me it's just a game. They are all just a game. Do I fill out a March Madness bracket? Sure. Do I obsess over it? You know the answer to that.

One day later...

Moment of truth. Upon further reflection, I suppose there exists a bit of obsession. Proof: The fact that every time Ryan Howard strikes out with men on base I want to hurl something through the window.


It's not my favorite word. I feel a lot gets lost in "religion" or from being "religious." Being that it's difficult to explain, I may leave you hanging a little hear. I prefer the word spiritual. And as spiritual as I am, a lot is lost on me when it comes to Biblical interpretations and such. Right now in my life, I don't feel a calling to be a pastor, although I do see myself being a speaker of some sort. I would, however, consider seminary just to have that background knowledge of the Bible and historical perspective. Pastor John usually incorporates the history behind his sermon topics and by doing so, adds a lot more meaning to the lesson.

Being obsessed with religion...doesn't sound healthy, but I guess it could be. Depends on interpretation. I think when we become obsessed we are closing off a part of us that doesn't welcome change in our hearts and minds. Then there's people on the opposite side of the spectrum and believe everything they hear.

The bottom line: My spirituality or my Christianity comes down to one thing and yours should to. Regardless of your opinions on the hot topics, your faith is about your personal relationship with Jesus. Not saying they aren't important, but obsession can have us thinking it's about the rules. Rules can lie to us and tell us that's what we need to do. Following rules will earn our way to heaven. If you believe that then I say to each his/her own. No judgement. For me, it's my relationship and my belief in Christ that will get me to heaven.


I love food. It may sound elementary, but pizza is amazing. Although last year at some point I was at Glory Days and I ordered the most amazing burger I had ever eaten. A reuben burger. Oh. My. Gosh. To obsess over this would be easy and I admit there have been strong cravings since, but for some reason it was taken off the menu.

With that said, this is an easy one. It's beyond obvious as to why obsession over food is not healthy. Of course it's different if you're on a strict healthy diet, but what drives me nuts is the fact that healthy food is SO expensive. And who says it healthier anyway. You're telling me eating a whole package of Oreos every day drenched in milk is not healthy? Yeah, I don't get your reasoning. How could something so good, something that's easily on the top ten greatest inventions of all-time be bad for you? Okay, I'm kidding. A little.

This one is a no-brainer. I would never choose to be obsessed with food. I'm heavier than I've ever been right now and  to lose just two pounds is proving to be most difficult. The Oreos may have something to do with it.

Wrap Up: Here's what I obsess about. I'm obsessed with becoming a better person. Husband, father, friend, brother and none of that happens without a solid, proactive...let me capitalize that...PROACTIVE relationship with Christ. It's a struggle living with me sometimes. No, I'm not quoting my wife here, but rather myself. I've set that high bar and I see that high bar in every encounter and interaction. Perhaps it has set me up for failure because it's difficult to obtain and sustain such a position. But I welcome failure. Failure is healthy. Failure strengthens. Failure proves we woke up and actually did something. BUT! It's all about attitude. It's all about what you do when you fall down. Yes, we've all heard it. We get up! BUT! Think about this: while still down, before you get up, there's one thing you need to do. Pray. Thank the Lord for the failure and thank Him for the day that you will be successful. Don't wait until you are successful. Show your faith by thanking Him now.

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