It’s 2007 and I’m getting stabbed by a needle three times a day. 

My wife and I are separated and do our best to pass our months old daughter back and forth. We both want to spend time with her but it’s hard when I’m doing a case study and can’t leave the hospital where I’m staying. The words peek in every now and then, showing their brave face before scurrying back down the rotten hole my brain has become. I’m depressed and in need of faith and hope and something good. I’ve been cheating on my wife with her best friend for the last 7 months. I’m a mess.

I stopped fighting against the blackness long ago.

Read my newest article on Bedlam Magazine here. And thank you for reading.


It’s a well-known fact that I watch entirely too much television (28 different television programs at last count). But because my taste in all things in pop culture is perfect and unassailable (lol), I want to share a few lesser known shows that may not be on your radar but you shoulddefinitely be watching.

Check out these five shows and thank me later.

Read the full list of 5 TV shows you should be watching on Bedlam Magazine here. And thanks for reading!

They say life is a journey—which is kinda awesome because it makes me think of the band Journey and Steve Perry’s awesome poof mullet and suuuuuper tight jeans.  That dude was righteous on every level.

Anyway, we each have a journey we’re walking, a story we’re living as we progress through each day. Sometimes our journey is a happy one filled with good times and laughter; other times, it’s full of heartache and shame and just wanting to give up. Whichever is true of your current state, you and I are on a far-reaching journey—a story that doesn’t end until we’ve let our last breath slip from our lips.

If you and I were to sit down and discuss the intimate and vast details of my journey thus far, we’d need several hours. It’d be soaked with tales of deceit and depression, of faltering virtues and flawed logic, of pain caused and pain received. But looking back–because our precious hindsight is so perfectly clear–I can see each roaming step I took led me to where I am now—happy, fulfilled, content, and following a calling I ignorantly ignored for years. No, the mistakes I made—and there were plenty—aren’t forgotten and ignored, but each one, despite my best efforts, led me to something good, something worthwhile.

Find the rest of my newest article on Bedlam Magazine here, and thank you for reading.


It’s this big, bad, wonderful, stupid, dangerous thing that builds us and shapes us. It moves us and drops us and shakes us. It wraps us up and comforts us right before throwing us off of a cliff while cackling like a maniac. This dumb life is what molds us and often breaks us. It’s what makes us into who and what we are. Life and all it’s done to us is what causes to react to everything in our own certain way.

And it’s because of this life that each of us believes differently. Like our Sunday School teacher always told us, we really are all special little snowflakes. Aren’t we just the best?

Read the rest of newest article on Bedlam Magazine here. Thanks for reading!

Last week saw the Supreme Court of the United States legalize marriage for every citizen, regardless of sexual orientation. In response to this landmark and monumental decision, conservative Christians everywhere took to their social media accounts to bemoan the choice and the state of the Church as whole. Once the White House, buildings, bridges, and other monuments around the country began lighting up in rainbow pride, things had reached peak bellyache as conservatives looked for any win they could get, even claiming lights shouldn’t be politicized (dead serious, this was in one of my feeds…). By the time a local Walmart had rearranged their summer flip-flop display into a tapestry of pride colors, the Church was under attack and the world was ending.

Now, those of us with a more progressive state of mind know that this SCOTUS decision was a very good and very right one. Why? Because we choose to see people and souls rather than issues. We worry more about loving the world rather than proving to it that we’re right and they’re wrong. But a large swatch of Christians feel the opposite. They feel their Church is under some sort of attack and is being persecuted. Why? Because things are changing and moving away from the way they think they should be.

And they’re wrong.

Read the rest of my newest article on Bedlam Magazine here. Thank you for reading.

I need your help figuring something out. I’m trying to decide who it is that decides what’s acceptable in society. Who decides how our lives are supposed to progress or not? Is it a single person, or is it a group of people like in that movie, The Skulls (don’t shake your head at me; you watched it too. Joshua Jackson? Paul Walker? Instant classic)? I desperately need to know this because whoever it is making these decisions for society deserves a swift punch to the throat. And that’s putting it nicely. They’re causing a lot of undue stress for some of my people and I’m not a fan of all that bull cuss.

In today’s world, there is a certain way adulthood is to be approached. If you’re “smart” about it, as soon as you graduate high school, you pick a career at the age of 18 (what?!), and then spend the next four years in college, learning all you can about your chosen field of study. Then, once you’ve graduated college in four years or less (IT CANNOT BE MORE THAN FOUR YEARS!), you are to immediately find a job in said field, spending the next 40 to 50 years working and advancing in your field of study. Along the way, you also should have found a mate of some sort and produced 2.5 children with them. You also must buy a house in a quiet neighborhood all while possessing many leather-bound books that make your home smell of rich mahogany. And bonus points if you can squeeze a Prius and/or minivan into that equation. It’s really all very simple.

Read the rest of my newest featured article on Bedlam Magazine here. Thanks for reading!

Our world needs a new kind of Christian, and it needs it soon.

Because the old way doesn’t work anymore. Lines are being drawn, hate spewed, and anger thrown, all from Christians fighting for what they believe is right. This is an antiquated form of Christianity, and more so, it’s a sort of Christianity that simply does not work. Souls aren’t recruited into the church doors with this sort of behavior. We don’t show the love of Christ by denying pizza and cake to people we don’t agree with or by mocking the immense bravery of Bruce Jenner. No, that’s an old, broken form of Christianity that’s on its way out, and rightfully so. Because it is in no way God-like. It’s just Christians, being brazenly human with no regard for light or faith or witness.

Our world needs a new kind of Christian now, today.

Read the rest of my newest article for Bedlam Magazine here. Thank you for reading!

I do this thing where, ever so often, I go through my phone and delete everything I don’t need or want anymore. Photos, videos, apps, phone numbers–anything expendable is X’d out and sent to the way of the do-do bird. Why? Because I need the space, people. Apple, in all its infinite wisdom, has decided their operating system should take up nearly half the space of my 16gb iPhone, so now I have to pick and choose what it gets to stay and what gets sent to the metaphorical dump. And while it can be difficult and even painful to let certain things go, it’s necessary to clean out my phone every now and then. Why? Because it’s a relief to see I still have 2.0gb of free space on my phone. I’ve got room to use and play with. I have space.

Our lives are no different (bet you didn’t see that segue-way coming…). Jobs, school, God, family, significant others, friends, church, blogs, social media, side projects, special projects, hobbies, all of these things take up some amount of assigned space in our lives. Only, we have a limited amount of time and space to fill, and if we aren’t careful, we run out of that given space over and over again. Our job or family or lover or special projects eat up too much of our time and energy, and suddenly there’s no room for anything else. We’re all filled up and not in a good way.

Read the rest of my newest article on Bedlam Magazine here. And thanks for reading!

Oh, the temptations we face. Those sneaky so and so’s.

Every freaking day, as we do our best to walk through this life with our determined purpose, we are, at any given time, inundated with little bits of temptation; and they come from all sides.

They can come from that good looking guy/girl we see and want to jump bones with or from that sweet looking cupcake calling to us from the bakery’s window or from how easily it would be to steal from our employer. They come from that drink we know we shouldn’t have or those pills we know we shouldn’t eat. Temptations are everywhere and though that word and its meaning usually have negative connotations, temptations can actually be both good and bad. The temptation to help someone who needs it is as palpable as the temptation to cheat on your significant other. It’s a feeling and a pulling away. In the simplest definition, temptations are an attempt at distracting us from some sort of commitment, one way or the other.

Read the rest of this article on Bedlam Magazine here. Thank you for reading.

You should know some things about me.

I’m a cheater and an addict and a bit of a slut. At least I was those things (though, once an addict…). Those things are a part of my story. They’re who I was and what I did.

I cheated on my pregnant wife with her best friend. And not just physical cheating but emotionally cheating, which some say is worse. I separated from my wife and one-month-old daughter to continue the long con of being with the woman I loved. It didn’t last, because things like that rarely do.

I ate up to ten beautiful, high dose pills a day, hoping to dull the pain and shame and grief I felt from the disappointment I had caused in myself and in others. I wanted to feel something good for once. Something warm and welcoming. My world didn’t offer that then, but those pills gave it all in abundance and I drank it in.

I slept around. AROUND. Jumping from one night lover to the next. There was acceptance and desire there. I felt wanted in those beds, and for someone who’d never received much affirmation growing up, those things meant everything. And so I chased and fell and slept. And it was all very shallow and false.

Read the rest of my newest column on Bedlam Magazine here. Thank you for reading.

It’s easy to see the title of this article and expect some sort of click bait and switch prose flowing beneath. After all, that’s what our internet has dissolved into. But this isn’t that. The title is true to my feelings and what follows.

Because I’m a Christian and I’m tired of talking about God.

I don’t want to talk about how good God is or what all He’s done for me, though I am thankful. I don’t want to witness to the unsaved or even go to church most Sundays. I don’t want to discuss that which relates to God or faith.

To give some context, I was raised in the Church, a son of a preacher man. Services, prayer meetings, outreach, youth events–no matter what or when it was, if it was related to the church, I was there and I was enjoying myself. My friends were Christians, my girlfriends were Christians, everyone I knew held a reserved seat in a church somewhere every Sunday morning. This was my life and I enjoyed it, thoroughly. I loved God and I knew He loved me. We had a good relationship and talked often.

Smash cut to present day and some things have changed.

Read my newest article on Bedlam Magazine here. Thank you for reading.

I’ve been struggling lately.

Over the last few days, the weight of things has pulled me down to a depth I haven’t been to in a while. And it hurts. My chest is tense and my head low. It’s a struggle to slap on that ready-made-smile I’ve presented for so long, because some days, you don’t want to push through the pain for the sake of others. Some days, you just want to be.

That’s where I am right now. I just want to sit and to be and to let the darkness win for a bit.

Read the rest of my newest column on Bedlam Magazine here. Thank you for reading.

This week, a Baptist preacher’s sermon went viral when he used the book of Leviticus to call for the mass genocide of all LGBT citizens. Not only is this mortifyingly hateful and ignorant, it’s also backward, inept, and counter-productive. Because whether this man realizes it yet or not, the Church actually needs the LGBT community.

It would seem today’s Church and its saints have cornered the market on hate. And this would be merely disapproving if it didn’t directly contradict the edict handed down from God for us to love first, fight last, and hate never. Because that’s what we’re supposed to be doing but seem committed to the opposite. We can see it in viral videos of ignorant preachers, scrawled all over social media, and in the comment sections of our favorite websites. Anger, hate, and sanctimonious righteousness, all put forth in the name of God.

Read the rest of my newest article on Bedlam Magazine here. Thank you for reading.

Music has a way of reaching into your chest and gripping your heart tight. At least some of it does. That’s how I feel when I listen to certain songs. They dredge up memories and feelings I’m not too keen on remembering and experiencing again. Most notably are the offerings of one William Fitzsimmons. The dude can write a sad song, y’all. So much so that I have to watch what kind of mood I’m in before I let one of his songs play. Why? Because his songs are associated with a time in my life that was full of romantic pain and self-loathing.

There’s one song of his (“They’ll Never Take the Good Years”) that really guts me, even now. Except, I don’t know why that is. I’ve let go of the person that pain is associated with.

Read the rest of my new An Honest Man column for Bedlam Magazine here.

I’ve started tearing through The Walking Dead lately. And when I say “tearing,” I don’t mean like with a piece of paper. I mean like a walker ripping through your face like it’s butter. I’ve watched three and a half seasons in the last week, and I plan to be caught up to the current season when the new episode airs this coming Sunday night (no, I’m not caught up yet, so shut your spoilery mouth).

As my wife and I have plowed through the series thus far, I’ve picked up on a few life lessons that can be applied to our lives, even when we’re not facing a worldwide apocalypse that leaves us sweaty, gross, and scared for the rest of time.

Let’s dive in and see what we can learn from Rick Grimes and his dirty dozen.

Find the rest of my new article on Bedlam Magazine here. Thanks for reading!

I spend a lot of time on my phone. I basically live on the thing But then again, I’m what’s called a millennial, so…duh. Between texting my wife, brothers, and friends all day, running Bedlam with our staff, handling social media for a band or two, and straight up being addicted to the Twitter, my day is spent diving into the bright black screen on my iPhone. And that’s okay. I don’t have problem with that, and this certainly isn’t some pretentious article about looking up at what’s around us or whatever. You’re your own person; you do you, boo boo. Besides, I’ve seen trees and grass and the sky or whatever. They’re terrible and boring (Not really, God. You killed that whole creating everything thing. Kudos). I’d rather stare at my phone and see what’s happening in this magic box brought forth by science and egotistical geeks obsessed with one-upping each other (looking at you, Samsung and Apple).

Read the rest of my newest article on Bedlam Magazine here.

I introduced my wife to Friday Night Lights recently, and to my relief and excitement, she loves it. She loves the drama and the familiarity and even some of the football. We powered through the first season’s 22 episodes in less than a week and show no signs of stopping until we’re done with all five seasons of the show. And to be honest, it’s nice to share something I love with someone I love. I get to watch the show again, but in a different context. My first time through the series, I watched as a single guy and new father who didn’t know what he was doing with and in life (still don’t, really). But now I watch it as a husband and a seasoned dad, and as someone who understands our world and culture on a deeper level than I did 7 or 8 years ago.

Read the rest of my new article for Bedlam Magazine here.

She disappeared on a Thursday night. She was showing a house in the falling light to a buyer claiming cash. To a realtor, that’s the white whale. But there was no buyer and there was no cash and there was no whale. There was only the vanishing of a mother and wife and friend.

The news of her absence hit quick the following day; so it goes happen when the missing is pretty and blonde and white.

Find the rest of my new article on Bedlam Magazine here. And you can follow me on Twitter here.

Thanks for reading!

Let’s just cut to the chase right from the top and agree that no, love cannot fix us. It may wreck us and cause us to get our crap together, but it can’t fix or correct who we are at a cellular level. But that doesn’t stop movies, music, and everything in-between from trying to shove the idea of healing love down our throats anyway. The question is why do we choose to be suckered into believing it from time to time. It’s cuz we’re suckers. That’s why.

Read the rest of my newest ‘An Honest Man’ column at Bedlam Magazine here.

Have you noticed there’s a distinct difference between experiencing anxiety and simply being anxious? Yes, one describes the other (in theory), but when we say we’re anxious about something, that usually means there’s a certain situation causing us to be anxious. Maybe your classes aren’t going as well as you’d hoped or the thought of giving that huge presentation at work is causing nausea. That’s being anxious. But dealing with anxiety, that’s more of a daily, all-encompassing thing, isn’t it?

Read the rest of my new article on Bedlam Magazine here. And follow me on Twitter here! Thanks for reading!

Over the last week, the subject of discipline as it relates to children has weighed heavily on our nation’s mind and in our discussions. NFL star Adrian Peterson is the cause of this influx and examination of the subject due to his being indicted for child abuse. It’s alleged Mr. Peterson beat two of his sons with a switch to the point of leaving bloody and bruised welts on their bodies (photographic evidence has been provided to authorities to support these allegations). Of course, like many of our generation who grew up being disciplined with a heavy and often forceful hand, Peterson maintains that he was simply doling out needed punishments so that his sons could and would learn the difference between right and wrong. Holding to the old adage, he refused to spare the rod in an effort to keep from spoiling his children.

And for this, Adrian Peterson was wrong.

Read the rest of my newest article for Bedlam Magazine here. And thank you for reading!

TRIGGER WARNING: This article contains strong themes, including a discussion of rape, sexual abuse, and rape culture which may not be suitable for all readers. Please read with caution.

There’s an old trope that’s been used for decades in TV and movies. Our hero, a hard, distant man who has very little time or patience for anyone, partners with an opinionated woman who takes no grief from him. Regardless of their mission or success rate, one thing happens over and over again: The man decides it’s time for them to be together and so he grabs her, and though she tries to fight him off, he kisses her. She tries to fight him off at first, but eventually, this show of masculinity melts her frozen heart and she relents, folding into his arms and kissing him back with everything she has. It didn’t matter that she resisted or that she wanted little to do with him in a romantic sense; he put his mouth on her when she didn’t want it and this made her become something more pliable and accessible. His forcefulness is what made her give up and give in.

Read the rest of my new article for Bedlam Magazine here. And follow me on Twitter here. Thanks for reading!

On November 4th, 2013, I got married, and then on November 30th, 2013, I had my wedding. If you’re keeping score, that means I’ve been married for almost ten months now. And while I could wax poetic on the benefits of being married to your best friend/the love of your life and what happiness such a venture brings you, I have but one piece of advice for those contemplating marriage:

Don’t do it. Do not get married. Just…don’t.

Read the rest of my new article on Bedlam Magazine here, and follow me on Twitter here. Thanks for reading!

We’ve all been through crap when it comes to life and love and everything between. This can lead to confusion. That’s where I come in. I’ve been through it all, from top to bottom and back to the top and then back to the bottom again. Name it and it’s likely I’ve been through it. But I don’t mind talking about it. If it helps you guys avoid the same boo-boo’s I made, then I’m good telling my story.

With that mission in mind, I do my best to host a bimonthly Q&A type column where you guys can email ( or tweet me your questions about life and relationships and everything else, and I do my best to answer them without sounding too much like an idiot (harder than it sounds).

On to this week’s questions . . .

Check out the newest edition of my Q&A on Bedlam Magazine here.

As we’ve established in posts previous, I am not a particularly good Christian. I believe in God and do my best to remain loyal to what I know truth to be. I do try. But I forget to pray and read my Bible and not cuss or have wayward thoughts. In all honesty, I don’t really have my ish together when it comes to the Big Guy upstairs, but I know that He knows that and I like to think He appreciates that I try at all. At least I’ve moved beyond what I once was, yeah?

To understand me is to understand that I am the byproduct of a very dogmatic culture. Serving a strict God who was Judge first and loving Father second. Looking down on the dirty rotten sinners who refused to follow the teachings of my church and instead only preached love and acceptance and grace to those who had fallen away. Poppycock. And while this existence, this belief, wasn’t fostered by my parents or family–they are the antithesis of those beliefs–it was fed to me by those who . . .

Read the rest of my newest piece on Bedlam Magazine here. And you can follow me on Twitter here. Thanks for reading!

I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately, well before Robin Williams supposedly took his own life. Because that’s what people with the depression disease do; we think about dying and what it would be like and the relief we could have if we just stole one quick moment to snuff out our own light.

One thing most people don’t know about me is that I don’t cry. I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I cried over anything; death, loss, failure, disappointment–nothing makes me cry. But Monday night, I laid in bed and thought of the pain and weight that Mr. Williams carried and remembered how I’d almost taken my own life one night back in 2007 and I cried. I cried for him and I cried for me and I cried for everyone who’s ever felt the need and desire to end their story before it’s finished being told. I cried at the memory of the gun’s cold steel touching my tongue and remembered how it tasted. I cried at the mere thought of what my daughter and family would have gone through had I pulled the trigger and ended it all right there. I cried because I know that now, today, in this very moment, and I cried because it will probably always be there.

Read my newest article for Bedlam Magazine here. And thank you for your support. Fight on. Fight on.

I’ve been through the ringer again and again when it comes to relationships. I’ve been through hook ups, marriages, divorces, and break ups, and I’ve learned a lot. Most of the lessons were a result of my own stupidity, but regardless, I’m willing to pass those lessons on to you so that you can avoid the same mistakes I made.

With that mission in mind, I’ll be hosting a bimonthly Q&A type column where you email ( or tweet me your questions about life and relationships, and I do my best to answer them without sounding too much like an idiot.

Today’s questions run the gamut of subject matter and truly tested my knowledge and experience, which I enjoyed.

Let’s get to this week’s questions.

You can read the rest of my new column for Bedlam Magazine here. Thanks for reading!

The internet runs this world; we just live in it.

As our culture relies more and more on the almighty world wide web, we expand our horizons and social circles through the likes of social media, forums, and comments sections. We meet and interact with people we would never have come across if progress been halted after the horse and buggy. But here we are, lots and lots of different people sharing the same massive–and at the same time, tiny–space. As such, we become familiar with thousands and thousands of people who don’t think, act, talk, or believe like we do. They were raised in different circumstances and have come to follow a different path than we do, and this can often times lead to friction, anger, and even confrontation. Really, it’s just another part of our web-based world now.

Read the rest of my newest article for Bedlam Magazine here. Thanks for reading!

As humanity has grown and progressed, we’ve found better and more exciting ways to live our lives. We travel faster and more comfortably; we eat better tasting and more sanitary meals; we medicate ourselves in safer and more sophisticated ways (RIP the act of bloodletting with leeches…); and now we communicate quicker and easier thanks to satellites, cell phones, and all things technology. And as we’ve grown and progressed, we’ve found better and more exciting ways to entertain and satisfy the basic human need for a physical connection and completion. Basically, we’ve gotten better at finding ways to get our rocks off…except when it comes to those of us who are married, apparently.

We all know the old married trope: husband and wife are too tired/busy from jobs, kids, finances, other obligations to worry about connecting on a physically intimate level blah, blah, blah. Instead, the fiery passion that once burned so brightly between our legs has now whimpered and withdrawn itself to nothing more than the miniscule flame licking the end of a match. How do we get it back? More importantly, can we get it back? In short, no.

Just as humanity has grown and progressed, so do the people who are in a relationship. Even if we aren’t married, we grow comfortable with this other person and we quit trying. We redirect our relational efforts into our jobs, our family, and a million other commitments. Maybe it isn’t intentional or on purpose, but unless we’re mindful of where all of our time and effort go, we forget to invest in this person we’re sharing our lives with. If they did marry us (suckers!), neither of us is going anywhere, so we can give our attention toward other things, right? No! Nope! Negative! Like anything, a relationship cannot grow and become nourished without effort, attention, and time.

And that’s why all couples should be firm believers in sexting (hopefully we’re not naïve enough to believe unmarried couples don’t have sexual relationships).

Sure, you can make an effort in other ways by surprising them with lunch or scheduling a night off to take each other out, but what’s better than being bored at work only to have a racy text or photo from your lover pop up on your phone? The answer: not a single thing. That shows them you care. That shows you’re thinking about them and want them; a feeling some long-lasting couples have forgotten.

The best part of occasionally engaging in a little playful digital seduction with your partner is that it doesn’t take a lot of effort or planning, while still providing the maximum benefit. It tells them, “Hey, here’s a naughty selfie that says I’m thinking about you, but also to remind you how hot I am and how lucky you are to be with me,” and that’s something we all need to be reminded of more often than not.

Sexting and the like shows investment in your relationship and that you haven’t forgotten them. You’re proving to them that you not only still have an adventurous side, but you’re ready to use it to rip their clothes off as soon as you both get home. And that’s a shot in the arm just about any relationship could use from time to time.

Now, I’m sure there are some of us who are hesitant to engage in sexting or other debaucherous things because we’re not just that kind of person or are afraid our rather racy messages and photos could get loose and escape out into our digital world. And those are perfectly justified hesitations. Of course, you should never do anything you’re uncomfortable with, so find other ways you can show your partner how much you care for them and want them. And for those worried about losing their sexting efforts to the world wide web, those advances in technologies we discussed earlier have made it possible for your messages to be erased forever after they’re received. Services like Cyber Dust will simply delete your messages for all eternity without caching them. See? Humanity has you covered once again.

The point is that there are a thousand things that can go wrong in your relationship. Don’t let a lack of interest or sexual spark be your relationship’s undoing. Man or woman, husband or wife, whatever your role is, put forth some effort and show them some skin, tell them what you want to do to them, invest in them and in yourself. Most of all, show them you want them and are committed to them and what you have together. That’s passion and commitment. That’s effort and dedication.

And those are things a relationship just cannot live without.

You can follow me on Twitter here. Thanks for reading!

In our audience-driven culture, it’s hard to put a finger on what someone believes. We take advice and guidance and direction from pop-theologists on Twitter, Facebook, and the rest of the internet because they have a following so they must know what they’re talking about. But it’s rare for someone of note to put their personal beliefs right out in the open for everyone to examine, dissect, and combat. It’s safer for them to hold their faith to their chest and keep it to themselves. Even among those of us who don’t have large audiences of readers or followers, we’re hesitant to state what it is that we believe or Who we have faith in, because we don’t want to start arguments or lose friends or be challenged. We’d rather protect our “brand” and simply be known as a Christian who has no specific affiliation or allegiance.

I’ve fought this inclination myself for years; first as someone who struggled to build a personal readership and now an audience for a site that isn’t just me but over 20 other writers, editors, and graphic designers all striving to foster the truth of a fearless community. And as the founder and chief of such a movement, it’s my responsibility to set a standard of gutted faith and fearless stances. But stating the intricacies of your beliefs isn’t done. Not today, not now. Better to strive for winking ambiguity and innocent omissions of truth to maintain your persona, your brand, your audience. Better to be seen as a generic Christian than to be slapped with a label and fed to the naysayers. Will I do myself, my company, and my following a disservice by claiming what it is I specifically believe about God, His Bible, and salvation? Will people still listen and take my writing to heart if they know for certain we don’t agree on a theological level? I don’t have the answers to those questions. But what I do know is that we do things differently here at Bedlam and my faith is one of the most intimate things about me. I’m not a great Christian, and some would argue I’m not even a good one. I’m once divorced and twice married; I cuss too much and pray too little; and I carry scars of addiction, suicide attempts, and the recklessness of a wounded heart. But I also know I’m forgiven. And that’s why I carry my faith so closely. In the end, it’s all I have.

Read the rest of my newest article on Bedlam Magazine here. Thanks for reading!

We are our parents’ children, the byproduct of what they instilled in us as we grow. They departed their wisdom into us as our minds and bodies developed, shaping who we are as we grew into adults ourselves. And as we matured, life and the experiences it handed us shaped us further into who we are now. The things we go through, the things our parents went through, our dealings with the world, our parents’ experiences as they grew, all of this is poured into us and molds us into who we are and what we become. Sometimes, this is a good thing because our parents are decent folks who love people and show kindness to others and we’ve had our own pleasant walk through life, void of anything too life-altering. But too often, our influences hold maliciousness and hate in their heart toward society or even groups of people, so we’re raised and shaped to believe the same way. Our heart and mind and soul are conditioned to believe that which has been ingrained in us from birth and so it festers inside us. Or perhaps we’ve faced circumstances with society or groups of citizens that leave us with bitterness in our teeth. Regardless of how it happens, we witness hate and prejudice infecting and affecting us, leaving us angry and broken.

Read the rest of my newest article for Bedlam Magazine here. Thanks for reading!

Let’s start by making this single thing abundantly clear: you can get it.

You’ve been told you can’t. You’ve been told you’ll never come close. You’ve even been told you don’t have what it takes. But you can, you will, and you do. Sometimes it feels like it’ll never happen; things aren’t going the right way, you keep falling short, you can’t seem to catch a break, luck is never on your side. And that makes sense because life is like that sometimes. But keep the faith, cuz you can get it. You can.

“It” is your dream, your passion, your purpose, and it’s yours for the taking. For the getting.

It doesn’t matter that this mantra, this subject has been worn thin. It’s a cadence we all need to be reminded of more often than less.

What we tend to forget is that we live in a world that provides us every single thing we need to be a success.

Read the rest of this article on Bedlam Magazine here. Thanks for reading!

As you crawl closer to 30, you can’t help but look back over your life and see all of the decisions you’ve made, both good and bad. You see the loves you’ve lost, the jobs you’ve declined, the chances you should have taken, and the TV singing competitions you shouldn’t have tried out for. You see it all. Some of it you regret, some of it you don’t. But really, that’s just life. We can’t go back in time and change things; we can only do our best to make wise choices and deal with the consequences of those choices, the good and the bad.

But what if you had someone who was willing to point out some of the mistakes they’d made and show you how you can avoid them? Wouldn’t that be so kind of them? Wouldn’t you feel like buying that person a new phone or maybe an NBA franchise? Sure you would!

At 29, I’ve made enough mistakes to last me until I’m 58. I’m on my second wife and I’ve had a kid.

Read the rest of my newest article on Bedlam Magazine here.

Isn’t it awesome when a sex scene pops up in a movie or TV show when you least expect it? Especially when you’re sitting next to your grandma, hanging out, having a good ol’ time, and then BAM! Hot, sweaty, writhing bodies are dancing across the screen and suddenly you’re shouting Bible verses while you rifle the remote at the screen, hoping to shatter it into a billion little coitus pieces. Granny may have a heart attack but at least things won’t be awkward between you guys at Thanksgiving this year. Ahh, good times.

What is it about steamy sex during movies or TV shows that makes things so gotdang uncomfortable? Oh, that’s right, it looks amazing. There’s perfectly toned hott people with killer tans, great hair, and even better bendiness tossing each other around, breathing all heavy and what not, while we sit there, wondering if grandma will get hit with too much debris if we just dive out the window right quick. It’s all very sexy and good and nice.

But here’s a not-so-secret secret about sex.

Read the rest of my newest article on Bedlam Magazine here. Thanks for reading!

One of the things I love to do more than anything is give stuff to people. It makes me feel really good, which may make me a bit selfish: I don’t give for you, I give for me.

Anyway, in that spirit, I’m giving my latest book, We Are Not Hoodlums, away for free on Amazon. Just go to the below link and you’ll be able to download the book for absolutely no charge.

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Read the rest of this offer and grab your free copy of my latest book on Bedlam Magazine here.

In his wonderful 2009 book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller made sure each of us knew we had a story to live and to tell. Whether it was biking across the USA like Donald or jumping off a dock with your whole family just as a special way to say goodbye to friends and guests like darling Bob Goff, this book enriched the lives of so many by issuing in a culture of storytelling through the living of our lives. It began a movement that is still going strong five years later.

But while Mr. Miller’s book focused on how to improve our stories and how to make them better moving forward, what to do with the story we were living yesterday or last year or a decade ago was left unaddressed. What are we supposed to do with the failures, sins, and complications we lived and experienced back when we were struggling to understand who we are and where we were going?

For most of us, our past isn’t something we can be entirely proud of. Back there are addictions and complications and sins and regret.

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Read the rest of my new article on Bedlam Magazine here.

Did you know a bad haircut can ruin your life? It’s true. I know because I’m currently sporting the absolute worst haircut I’ve ever had in 29 very long years on this planet. Not only did it ruin my day, week, and month, but it’s been over two weeks and I am still complaining about it. Seriously. Ask my wife. She’s so sick of hearing about it, she puts me in a timeout anytime the word “haircut” comes out of my mouth. And you would you like to know whose fault it is that I look like a drill sergeant from Arkansas’ 39th Infantry Brigade? Why, it’s mine of course.

I take my hair and its care very seriously. It’s actually my fifth best feature, so I do what I can to take good care of this mane God blessed me with. This being the case, you would think I wouldn’t be too willing to try a new barber on a whim, right? Well, I’m not that smart so you’d be wrong.

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You can read the rest of this article on Bedlam Magazine here. Thanks for reading!

There’s a little known band called The Republic Tigers that deserves far more recognition than they’re able to claim. Their last full LP release came way back in 2008, and one could even argue that their robust indie rock sound came a few years too soon. If they were just peaking today, they’d be on every alternative and indie station from here to New York and back to LA.

In one of their better efforts titledGolden Sand”, the Kansas City outfit discusses what it means to bear the responsibility of wanting to affect change. “Who am I to make some sort of difference?” they ask in rhythm. The charge culminates when the lyrics ask us to turn our bleeding hearts into some bleeding hands, to take that which we’re passionate about and actually do something about it. And that’s where words written way back in the early 2000’s strike at the heart of us today.

Read the rest of this article on Bedlam Magazine here. And you can follow me on Twitter here. Thank you for reading!

Depression is a fickle thing. Often times, it’s nowhere to be found and life is scrumptious and full. And in those times, there is no shortage of smiles and laughter and love. In those times, we are void of brokenness and pain and weighted hearts. But then it comes roaring back, looking for a fight. It’s in those dark and dastardly moments that we discover what it means to be empty of faith or hope or light. It’s then that we know what it means to be dragged to the floor by the weight that rests in our soul.

It can be difficult to watch someone you care about suffer with depression. We do our best to hide it, to masquerade it as phantom sickness or exhaustion, because we are shameful of the darkness that haunts us. Our shame isn’t a choice we make, but one that comes naturally and uninvited. So when our bleak eyes and heavy head are noticed and brought to the attention of our loved ones, we find ourselves turning away in passive distaste for the spotlight. Seeing our shame, discovering our curse, being privy to the black secret that runs through our veins, this can cause pain and heartache of your own. After all, who enjoys watching someone they love suffer?

Deciding how or if to approach those of us in your life who are depressed is not an easy or coveted choice by any means. It’s easy to assign yourself the guilt you feel is required to explain why your loved one suffers. But you must remember that our suffering is not a result of something you’ve done or said and made come to pass. Relieve yourself of that weighted burden. Instead, know that the heat we carry in our chest and mind and heart is no one’s fault, especially not our own. We are simply afflicted with the darkened shadow of depression.

Read the rest of this article on Bedlam Magazine here. Thank you for reading.

For the last five months, I’ve been creating absolute bedlam in my life.

It all started at my wedding in November. Some friends and I realized just how many talented people we were close with. We were writers and editors and graphic designers. We were an army, just in our small group of friends. So we began hashing out an idea.

Eventually, that idea became my new mission in life.

Since November, my friend, confidant, and leader, Jayson Schmidt, and I have been recruiting, building, and developing that idea up to this point today. Right now. This very instant.

We’ve brought on incredibly talented people and leaders like Cassi Clerget, Jake Dudley, and Coleen York. We’ve sold these people on the idea of a family and gained their trust through the idea of creating bedlam within the online community. We have a staff of 17 now, all fearless people with hearts that seek after God and the wellbeing over others.

Together, we form the Bedlam Family.

What is Bedlam exactly? Allow us to explain.

bed·lam [bed-luhm]
1. a scene or state of wild uproar…

We will not be adding to the noise.

Welcome to Bedlam Magazine. We are the place where faith and culture meet, and we embrace the chaos that comes from not having it all figured out. Faith, people, culture, these are the subjects and souls that hold our focus and inspire our content. We don’t pretend to have all of the answers, but we’ve experienced enough to know we should be asking questions.

Starting March 31st, we will be fearless in our confronting of the issues and problems that face our world today. We will say what needs to be said and discuss what needs to be discussed, whether it is socially and religiously acceptable or not. We don’t believe in exclusion or prejudice. We are and will be for everyone, regardless of sex, race, belief, or orientation.

At Bedlam, you will find a family that will love you as you are and support you as you search for the person you wish to be. We are not here to simply inform, inspire, or entertain; we are here to make a difference.

We are Bedlam Magazine and we will not be adding to the noise—but we will be causing a commotion.

Sincerely, in God and faith,
The Bedlam Family

That’s us. That’s Bedlam Magazine. It’s the only place you’ll find my words online after today. As Editor-in-Chief of this new venture, I’ve sold my soul completely to the idea of creating a new place where everyone can feel safe and welcome. I want my words to be a part of that from now until the time God tells me otherwise.

So keep an eye on us. Come March 31st, we’ll be entering the fray for good; rousing debates, stepping on toes, and causing a commotion.

We’ll never incite or insult with malicious intent, but we will stand for what is right and speak truth to power. That’s our calling and we are not easily shaken.

I am Bedlam. You are Bedlam. Together, we are all the bedlam that will cause a commotion of fearless truth.

Join us, won’t you?

You can follow Bedlam Magazine on Twitter here (and check out the #iambedlam tag) and please pass on to your friends and family. God bless you.

bedlam announcement

It’s annoying when a Christian doesn’t have a sense of humor about their faith. Whenever someone says something funny or insinuates a slight against God, the Church, or Christians in general, they get their proverbial panties in a bunch. Suddenly they’re out on a tirade full of defense and handing out do-not-stop-do-not-pass-go-do-not-collect-$200 passes straight to hell. Maybe they’re that protective of their faith or maybe they’re just defensive of something or Someone they love. Regardless, when a Christian is unable to laugh at themselves or the faith they hold close, it makes them seem aloof and out of touch.

But here’s the irony of it all: the Christian faith—the beliefs you and I hold so very fast too—are completely and absolutely absurd to a comical level.
Think about it for a minute. We believe this great big omnipresent, omniscient Presence who lives in the “sky” created the solar system with a whisper, men from dirt (ahem…), and women from the rib of a man.


Wait, wait…it gets better. An angel that God kicked out Heaven is now His archenemy and does whatever he can to make believers sin so that they’ll spend forever and ever burning in a lake of fire.


If we’re good and don’t sin and love everyone, we get to spend all of eternity in a fantasy world full of gold, rubies, pearls, and mansions. It’s all very Narnia on an acid trip without a budget.
And while all of these descriptors are obviously a simplification of our faith, it doesn’t make us (or our faith) any less of an easy target. What we believe is fantastic in a fairytale kind of way to the naked eye (or faith). So much so that it’s all too simple for those who don’t believe the way we do to poke fun at us or make jokes at our offense. Sometimes they’re funny and sometimes they’re extremely rude and mean-hearted. And honestly, we can’t control it because that’s just part of life.

We believe in the fantastical…and we’re okay with that, because that’s where our faith comes in.

Sure, on the outside, God, Heaven, Hell, the Devil, and the concept of sin seem absurd and purely fairytale, but we believe it’s more than that. We believe the existence and very being of God is centered in love and grace. We believe He saves us from our sinful nature by relieving us of our faults and sins and missteps. And a big part of that is being secure in our faith in Him.

So when someone makes a joke at the expense of Christians or our faith, it’s okay to laugh. Really, it is. God doesn’t mind if we laugh. He doesn’t even mind if we make jokes of our own. Sure, there’s a line between joking around and being disrespectful, but laughter is a gift from God and a having a sense of humor doesn’t pull you further from the will and grace of God. You can laugh at yourself. You can laugh at your faith. You can even laugh at God. He doesn’t mind. And if you think God doesn’t have a sense of humor, you obviously haven’t ever seen a duckbill platypus or white people try to dance.

So don’t be afraid to laugh. Don’t be afraid to engage with the naysayers. Show them most Christians understand that we believe in the fantastical, but we do it with grace, security, and aplomb.

We can be secure in our faith, and it’s time we laughed like it.

Thank you for reading. You can follow me on Twitter here.

Jealousy is written and talked about quite a bit these days, especially within the narrative of Christianity. We hear in Sunday sermons how bad it is for our heart and soul and spirit. We read in articles and on social media how it affects us and drags us down to disreputable places that are hard to recover or come back from. And these sermons and articles and tweets and posts are correct: jealousy is a dirty rotten sin/feeling that does far more harm than good.

But what seems to be missing from the discussion is just how good the presence of jealousy can be for us (for the purpose of this article, we’ll restrict our definition of jealousy to a professional and social one and not one of romance).

It’s true that jealousy can have a negative effect on us, but it also has a way of inspiring us and pushing us to a point of action.
A friend of ours earns a book deal with a major publisher for their new novel and jealousy rears its ugly head. Suddenly, we’re not okay with letting our own book gather dust. Instead, we’re busting out 5000 words a day and sending agent queries out like a mad person.
A band we know personally signs with Sony or RCA and suddenly we’re reaching out to every entertainment lawyer and musical licenser we can find on Google, simply because we’ve been inspired to do something about our lack of success thus far.
We’ve been called to action by that feeling of envy and we’ve allowed it to prioritize our desires to succeed. Instead of letting that jealousy eat at us and bring us down, we give it permission to ignite a fire in us and put us to work. Jealousy has become a benefit rather than a hindrance. In reality, it’s the best possible reaction to a feeling with such negative connotations.

I’ve written before that jealousy is simply a part of the human condition. Like it or not, we’re going to be envious of someone or something at certain times in our life. It’s letting that jealousy fuel our own dreams and aspirations that decidedly beats the ugly monster and puts it to work for us. We don’t let it rot us from the inside out. We make it sweat and earn its place.
Maybe some of us handle jealousy better than others, but if each of us will take the inevitable jealousy and turn it on its head so that it’s pushing us forward rather than dragging us down, we’ll be moving in the right direction.

Follow me on Twitter here. Thank you for reading.

This article consists of thematic elements and scenarios and may not be suitable for all readers. Please read with caution. Thank you.

Imagine for a moment that your skin is covered in tattoos.

Every little bit of you is covered in ink, from face to foot. But these permanent markings aren’t there by choice; rather, they appear at random to symbolize the many trials and triumphs, failures and finishes of your life up to this point.

There’s a prominent 26.2 on your calf from the time you completed your first marathon. Musical notes adorn your forearm to signify your deep love of music and its power it holds in your life. The word “victim” is branded to your back from the time he wouldn’t stop, even though you begged him to. Place after place, time after time, words and drawings and testaments are born onto your body to signify who you are, what you’ve been through, and what you’ve accomplished. Because of these brandings, it’s hard to hide your secrets and even harder to hide your pain. These tattoos give you away, shining in the light of life and alerting everyone to exactly who you are and what you’ve been through. You aren’t able to shape and shift and construct your image because these markings are a part of you for forever and always. They can’t be scraped away or removed with a laser. You’re exactly who the tattoos say you are, nothing more and nothing less.

Now imagine that those tattoos aren’t visible parts of your skin, but rather invisible scars and mementos adorning your heart and psyche and personality. Those same brandings are only visible to you because only you know exactly what all you’ve been through and what you’ve accomplished. And still, they make you who you are and shape the person you become.

That allusive scholarship you won swells you with pride when you happen to think on it. The art you create loosens your heart and sets your spirit free and makes you fearless. The assault you experienced at a young age hardens you and tears you down every time it’s brought to mind. From the day of our birth to the day we’re a part of now, we are built and shaped by that which we’ve experienced and accomplished. Whether we’ve hidden them deep, whether we think on those instances with fondness or a sickened stomach, we are constructed into the sum of our life’s equation.

If we aren’t careful, we become what time and circumstance allow.

We can crash through our lives in anger and resentment, a meandering force of simmering pain. We can allow our past to influence who we are and ruin what we become. We can allow it to shape our friendships and falter our relationships. If we give them permission, those tattoos of life lost and pain gained can be the deadliest force imaginable wrecking a path through our lives.

And yet, each of us are allowed to be more than that. We’re more than the divorce we went through at the soft age of 22. We’re made of more than the rape we experienced before we’d even had our first kiss. We’re better than the drugs we’ve swallowed and chaos we’ve caused. We can push past the pain and circumstances of our past so that they aren’t allowed to build us into something bitter and dark. Instead of surrendering to those hurting times, we can give those tattooed scars to God and allow Him to wipe them from our hearts and minds. We can give Him those markings that brand our lives and allow Him to build us into something made whole and beautiful.

Maybe our scars hurt deep and spread wide. Maybe we’re not ready to forgive and move past that which hardens our heart and bruises our mind. But He is there, waiting with healing hands, ready to wipe away that which hinders us. All it takes is a step in His direction, a mumbled prayer of submission and requested relief. He is there for us today, tomorrow, and forever.

Are you ready to have those tattoos removed?

You can follow me on Twitter here. Thank you so very much for reading.

*this article has been updated to include a warning of thematic elements and scenarios.

My two brothers and I grew up under parents who were very careful about what kind of movies they allowed us to watch. Because of this, we became familiar with the old, expansive works of Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin, William Powell, Grace Kelly, Bob Hope & Bing Crosby, Abbott & Costello, and Gregory Peck; the grand movie stars of old Hollywood. Late into our Friday nights, black and white films would flicker in our eyes and guide us to sleep. Films like The Seven Year Itch, The Thin Man, Roman Holiday, and a thousand others. They were simple and entertaining. And for the most part, they were innocent.

A large staple of our viewing library was the catalog of little Shirley Temple, the short, blonde, curly-haired child star of yesteryear. Her movies were fun to watch while actually being funny enough to make us laugh. She could sing and dance and had impeccable comedic timing, even at her incredibly young age. There was something capturing about her, something I struggle to explain even now. But she was an entertainer and her films kept her audience engrossed even 50 years after they were first released. There was something special about that little movie star and the entire world saw that.

And yet, when I checked Twitter this morning, I was incredibly surprised to learn that Mrs. Shirley Temple Black (her married name) had passed away during the night at the age of 85. To be honest, I wasn’t surprised that she had passed; I was surprised she was still alive. As I’d grown and my taste in films matured, I lost interest in her films and moved on to more modern fare. I’d lost track of her—rarely, if ever, hearing her name in the news—as we do with our childhood heroes. But now that her name and work has been brought back to my attention, I can’t help but reminisce about all of the worthy experiences I had because of the films she was in. They were (mostly) bright and warm, welcoming even. I will always associate the films of Shirley Temple with a time of innocence and happiness. Before life got heavy and complicated, there was Shirley Temple, laughing and singing and entertaining three young Texas boys who weren’t allowed to watch much else. For that, I will always hold her and her work in the highest regard.

So, to Mrs. Shirley Temple Black, thank you. Thank you for being wonderful and timeless. Thank you for using your fame for good instead of selfishness*. And most of all thank you for giving me movies I can safely pass along to my daughter.

You will be missed.

*She served as the US ambassador to Ghana starting in 1974 and Czechoslovakia in 1989 among other diplomatic services.

I have a problem with feminists.

I wish they didn’t exist.

I wish feminists didn’t exist the same way I wish NFL draft prospect Michael Sam hadn’t announced he was gay and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t have his world-changing dream. Maybe I’m wrong and maybe I’m out of line, but it’s all God’s honest truth. I wish the world was rid of feminists and proclamations of sexual preference and fighters for freedom.

I wish none of those things existed because I wish so very deeply there wasn’t a need for them.

In this 21st century, equality has made leaps and bounds from where it once was. Slavery has been abolished in most advanced societies and people of all race, color, and designation are, largely, looked upon as equals and counterparts.

And yet, under thin, shambly layers of civilization and respectability, the ugliness of prejudice and inequality still run rampant, especially in the United States. Homosexuals are associated with the outcasts, racism is prominent, and women still fight to be regarded as the equal of men. Even today, in the year 2014, where technology races ahead of us and the human experience is more intelligent and less complicated than ever before, we look down on those who act and believe different than us.

And we Christians are more guilty than most.

For one reason and a thousand others, some Christians hold fast to what they believe are the old world ways of yesteryear. They hold men in a higher regard while viewing women as the lesser of the two sexes. Men and women of different color or descent are looked down upon and made to feel less than worthy of the attention of the lily-skinned believers. Homosexuals are ridiculed and attacked with viciousness and scripture as so called “Christians” hide their hate and prejudices behind a God they quite obviously don’t understand. That they consider themselves preferred before and above another human and child of God—whether because of their gender or sexual preference—when the Bible they flaunt so bravely speaks to the opposite doesn’t seem to bother them.

The bare fact of it all is that every single one of us, regardless of race, gender, or sexual preference, are wholly and completely equal in the eyes of our God.

Women stand side by side as equals and counterparts to men in God’s eyes (and probably above us in some areas…) because having a penis doesn’t give someone more worth than someone with a vagina.

A person with skin tinted in colors other than white are not worthy of less because of that fact, and that certainly doesn’t mean they are limited in how God can use them. We fail to remember this far too often.

Gay men and women are not less than their straight brothers and sisters simply because they’re gay. No, we are all found equally guilty in our sin and in our failing of Him.

So no, I don’t like that feminists exist, because I wish so badly that men and women alike would accept and appreciate the fact that regardless of gender, each of us was and is created wholly equal, none greater than the other.

I hate that racial prejudice is still so prominent that our first non-white President wasn’t elected until the year 2008 and is still attacked first by his skin color rather than solely on his merit as a leader.

I hate that a man coming out as a homosexual is met with disdain and professional discourse (according to Sports Illustrated, 90% of NFL teams already knew Michael Sam was gay and had dropped them down their draft boards because of it). Why can’t we Christians lead the way in accepting and loving a gay individual as our brother or sister in love and in God? They are not different than the rest of us who fail God every single day. We are not holier or closer to God than them. We only wish that was the case.

I can’t pretend that I think these words will change the world. Those rampant prejudices against gender, race, and sexual preference run too deep and too angry. But I can stand up and say that I am not above anyone else because of I’m a white man who loves someone of the opposite gender. I can stand up and say that I truly respect women as my exact equal. I can say that I love and respect everyone, regardless of the color of his or her skin. I can say that someone being sexually attracted to their own gender doesn’t make them less worthy of my respect and God’s love and mercy.

Maybe things won’t change and maybe this is just the way things will always be. But we can show the world how true followers of Christ are supposed to act and react. We can love and respect every person, every soul, wholly, completely, and without prejudice or reservation.

I’m taking a stand for equality and respect through the love of God. Join me.

Guns. Beer. Sex. Fighting. Sports. Pickup trucks. Chopping down trees. Hauling the chopped down trees with the pickup trucks. Building some things. Tearing down other things. Avoiding emotions. Having a penis (and erectile dysfunction, according to the commercials during football games).

These are the things that make a man what a man is supposed to be. At least that’s the idea today’s culture would have us believe. According to them, if you have the anatomy of a man and you’re interested in the things mentioned above, you’re a man, son. Plain and simple.

And yet, not so much.

A man isn’t a man simply because he has the equipment being a man “requires”. A man isn’t a man because he has sex with a lot of different women and drives a really big truck. A man isn’t a man because he shoots guns, drinks beer, and refuses to acknowledge the presence of ~feelings~. No, it’s all much more intelligent and honorable than that.

A man is a man because he does what’s required of him with courage and honor. A man is a man because he accepts his responsibilities and does so because it’s the right thing to do. A man is a man because he sees women as his exact equal and not someone who is to serve him or pleasure him. A man is a man because he accepts the help he needs and does so with a thankful heart. A man is a man because he shakes off the “manly” expectations of patriarchal society and instead does what is good and right and respectful. A man is a man because he defends those who cannot defend themselves, standing in direct defilement of those who consider a man to be one who is ruthless and centered in self. No, a man is more than that.

We are more than that.

A man is he who loves fiercely and readily welcomes the emotions of a full and bursting heart. A man is he who speaks honestly and without hesitation, standing bravely for what he believes, regardless of cost or sacrifice. A man is he who works righteously to keep his promises, and when he is unable to keep them, he accepts the responsibility of his failure and tries harder the next time. A man is he who treats people the way he wants them to treat him, not the way they do or have treated him. A man is he who shows up time after time, day after day, because he is trusted to do so and he covets that trust. A man is he who gives wholly of himself, to those who have and those who have not, because he realizes giving will always be better than receiving.

And it’s likely you know all of this. Either you’ve read it or heard it all in the past, and I hope that’s the case. But let these words serve as your reminder that a man isn’t made of sex and trucks and guns and beer. Rather, he’s made of love and sacrifice and bravery and honor. And while our society will keep selling the idea of the rakish, sex-fueled man, we can know that we are more than that. We require more and we give more. We aren’t based in diesel fuel and beer, but faith and courage. That’s what makes us men. That’s what makes us worthy of the title of “man”. And every single day, we work and love and give to earn that title again and again.

Follow me on Twitter here. Thank you for reading.

by Jhason Smith

“….regard the patience of our Lord as salvation;” -2 Pet. 3:15a

How amazing is it that we have a God Who is patient with us? This is one of the most beautiful expressions of His love towards us, His children. We are all products of His patience, masterpieces of His will (Eph. 2:10).

In the Bible, we read of no one “running with God;” but rather, they simply walked – (Gen. 5:24 [Enoch], Gen. 6:9 [Noah]).

I feel that hidden within the patience God exercises with each of us lies something extremely valuable that we can all glean from, but can be easily overlooked. In this, I am all too familiar with the bondage that comes from drowning in your own guilt and shame when you have “failed” God. I cannot tell you how much time I have wasted dwelling on the thought, “God is disgusted with me” or “He’s so upset with me,” after I made a choice to indulge in any given vice of mine. I knew that He loved me, and that He forgives me, but that still didn’t help with the emotions of feeling as if I was a complete failure every time I returned to my sin. And yet, every time I failed, He was there, standing firm, patiently waiting. This too turned into a weight of its own that I dreaded facing. Not only was I dealing with the fact of coming to Him and admitting my faults (as if He was unaware of them in the first place), but explaining it to the epitome of faithfulness and love that this world will ever know—all while retaining the fact that He would still be there afterwards and wouldn’t dream of abandoning me. Like kicking a cute puppy that loves you over and over only to watch it return to you again and again with a wagging tail, beaming with excitement.

“How can it be that He’s patient with me when I continue to do the things that I know I shouldn’t?”, I would ask myself.  When I would dwell on the image that this paints of the Almighty God not frantically running away in disgust every time I sinned, but simply standing still with His loving gaze fixed firmly on me, deep down, in my honesty, I found that it made me uncomfortable to accept. I began to see that this was the same for other Christians as well.  But why? What I realized shocked me. I discovered that what I truly wanted was anything but His patience. I found that I wanted Him to run. I wanted to feel that He was upset with me. Out of the depths of my heart, these thoughts echoed loudly. But to my surprise, and to my defeat, in the middle of my sin, He wouldn’t move, not a single inch.

The reason why Christians have a hard time easily accepting that God is patient with us in our darkest moments is because His patience uncovers a lie hidden deep within our hearts that we secretly believe. A lie can be told so much that, eventually, it will begin to sound like the truth. And when I would find myself returning to the filth of my sin, I would hear within myself the countless lies that would convict me of being a hypocrite, a liar, a failure, and worthless.  Time after time, the wrong things began to sound right, and I began to unknowingly accept them as truth, building layers upon them in my heart.

This was the source of my discomfort when I would think about God’s patience for me in my weakness. I felt that I didn’t deserve it. In my mind, I knew that grace was a free gift, of which no man could earn (Eph. 2:8-9), but with my heart, I felt this desire that wished He would express His disappointment in me. But, no matter how hard I wished, it never happened. And it will NEVER happen. Because If God abandoned us in our sin then it would affirm the lie that deep down we wish with all of our hearts were true; that we are a disappointment, unable to overcome, dirty, and worthless person.

By believing this, we are asking God (who is Truth) to become something that He cannot; a lie. And He will never do it.  Not even for the ones He loves the most—His children. So then, what is His patience telling us?  If my lie told me that I was two-faced, a disappointment, and was never going to be victorious; and all that it would take to prove this was for God to “give up” on me, then in Him staying, with great patience towards me, it proves the exact opposite. His patience proves to me that I am cherished, holy, and valuable. I am His beloved, His child. I am victorious, righteous, and clean through Jesus Christ. What a beautiful way of expressing His love to us. I thought for the longest time that the only reason He was patient was because He was waiting for me to become a better, holier person. But I’ve come to realize that He patiently waits because I already am His best. God isn’t patient with us; God is patient for us. The true intent of His great patience towards us is not to tell of how great He is, but how valuable we are. And that is the truth.

Wherever this post may find you, cease trying to fix yourself in order to return to the presence of God. Instead, simply come, which is His only requirement [Matt. 11:28], because it is the presence of God that fixes you.


Jhason and his wife Brittany have been married since January 2013 and live in the greater Nashville, Tennessee area where they are both youth pastors at Eastgate Creative Christian Fellowship. They also possess a big passion for the worship music of the Church at large and desire to see people have a deep encounter with God in worship. They are actively involved in their church’s worship team and seek to express a new sound of worship that ministers to the hearts of people and introduces them to the heart of God. Jhason is 23 years old.

There’s a deliberate carefulness that invades a loving relationship. We’re careful not to say and do things that anger or hurt our partner, and they (hopefully) return the favor. It isn’t a practice founded in fear or loneliness, but rather in love and respect. We love and care for this person, so we want the best for them, doing our best to help them avoid any unnecessary annoyance or pain that may originate through us. And yet, as deliberate as we are in caring for our partners, keeping a careful balance of fairness and equality is practically impossible. Because just like life, relationships—and especially marriage—are wholly unfair.

Once we’ve been attached to another soul for any significant length of time, we can begin to see how much compromise and sacrifice are a part of our relationship. From where we live to where we go to church to where we eat dinner, each decision we face as a couple has the potential to drive a divide between us and our romantic counterpart. So we compromise and we do things we don’t want to do, all for the sake of keeping the peace and strengthening our union. It’s a vital part of a successful relationship, because without it, without the willingness to compromise and sacrifice our own wants and needs for those of another, there is only anger and confrontation and bitterness left. But because of this, because of the need and requirement of relenting our will at times, relationships can become ghastly unfair, especially if we begin to feel like it’s been a long while since we’ve gotten our way. But that’s okay.

No one ever said that a relationship should be fair. No one has ever said decisions are split 50/50 down the line, no matter what. Because they’re not and they never will be. Unless we’re adamant on keeping score on who does what when—a practice that is strongly discouraged by anyone with half a brain—there will never be perfect balance in our relationship. There will be times when our partner requires more of us than they’re able to give of themselves, just as there will be times when the opposite will be true. It’s that willingness to give unselfishly of ourselves that gives our relationship the strength it needs to last. It isn’t always easy to bite our tongues and relent on something we want to do, but uncovering the wisdom of when to fight and when to offer a preemptive surrender is a byproduct of learning what allows a relationship to strive rather than flounder.

At their core, successful marriages and relationships are about regularly surrendering to one another through mutual respect. They’re about putting our partner wholly before ourselves when it matters and when it doesn’t. They’re about giving first and taking last. And while that may mean the balance of our relationship leans to one side or the other, when both individuals commit to giving wholly of themselves to and for each other, that balance is often restored, giving the relationship more strength and deeper purpose.

Marriage and relationships aren’t fair because absolute perfect balance can never be present. But if both souls can commit to approaching the union with respect and a giving heart, the sacrifice of compromise won’t seem like much of a sacrifice. Instead, it’ll be a part of life that we do willingly and with a full, passionate heart. If both parties can accomplish that, if they can both reach a point of actually wanting to place their mate before themselves, the relationship will be beyond reproach. And in life and love, this should be our eternal goal.

Following me on Twitter here. Thank you for reading.

Why does what I have to say matter?

When I really think about it, there are very few topics, if any, that I will ever cover that have never been covered before. Rarely am I going to say something that someone else hasn’t already said. Of all the writers, bloggers, authors, speakers, etc., out there, what I write and how I write is going to pale in comparison to others’ impeccable giftings, talents, and passions.

Am I cocky to think my words have a place? Am I naive to believe my writing actually holds value? Am I childish to say my journey without a doubt needs to be shared with others?

I’ve completed one English course that could count for anything. I don’t know all the rules of grammar. My punctuation is far less than perfect. I write with how I feel, which can sometimes be anger or sadness. I wear my heart on my sleeve.

Anything I say, someone has already said it better or will do so in the future.

Am I being realistic or trying to use these excuses as a cop out? I could easily share blogs and pieces from other people that I believe in, forfeiting my own thoughts, feelings, and string of words.

Perhaps I’m mistaken, but I have to believe I would be doing myself and others a disservice if I were to start believing all of that. Surely suppressing what I believe to be a valuable part of my being isn’t the answer to the occasional doubt that tries to creep through my heart.

Because I do not write, but rather, I am a writer. I do not come up with words. Words flow out of me like the air I breathe. I begin to struggle functioning properly if I fail to write down what is on my heart and in my mind.

I will not let my past, present, and future pain be in vain. I will continue to share my life, laughter, tears, pain, and experiences with others. I did not go through what I went through just to leave it in the past. I went through it to grow, and hopefully help and love on others in a way I would not have been able to before.

Maybe two people will follow my journey faithfully. Perhaps 300. Maybe one day 5,000. But I musn’t allow that to be my focus, because if it is, on the days that I get no likes and no comments, the discouragement I feel will begin to override the purpose I know I have.

My focus needs to be on speaking with honesty and humility. My writing needs to be vulnerable and raw, allowing others to feel what I feel and know they aren’t alone. My focus needs to be on God, who gives me the strength to be open and the purpose that provides me with encouragement and fulfillment.

Writing is not something I do but part of who I am, and my story deserves to be heard. And in whatever way suits you best, I believe yours does as well.

I believe we can make the world a little brighter with the beauty of our words. So let’s push past the insecurities and discouragement. Let’s go further than the limits that we have put on ourselves. Let’s speak in the best way we can; truthfully, and let’s do it unabashedly.

You can find more of Rebekah Richardson on Twitter here and on her blog here.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that I couldn’t necessarily classify myself as a good Christian. I’m a Christian, sure, but perhaps not one worthy of emulating.

And then I began to wonder…

What is it that makes us a Christian in the first place?

Is it how we behave or the things we say? Is it the thoughts that pass through our heads or feelings that escape our hearts? Is it the movies we watch or music we listen to?

Being a Christian is supposed to mean being Christ-like. But somehow I can’t believe Jesus would’ve sat all the way through The Wolf of Wall Street like I did, what with Leo snorting cocaine out of a hooker’s butt crack and what not. He probably wouldn’t listen to St. Lucia’s ‘Before the Dive’ like I am right now. And He probably wouldn’t allow the same thoughts through His head that scatter through mine on a daily basis.

So if so much of what I do and who I am isn’t exactly Christ-like, in what way am I a Christian?

Perhaps it’s because I believe in the death, burial, and holy resurrection of a Savior worthy of worshipping. Perhaps it’s because I believe in and have experienced the same Holy Ghost that filled the upper room in the book of Acts. Maybe it’s because the righteous faith I maintain in the God of Abraham and Isaac is the same faith that allows me to crawl back to Him again and again, sin after sin, failure after failure. Or maybe it’s simply because I claim the moniker of “Christian” and no one has challenged me on it yet. Quite honestly, I do not know.

What I do know is that the term of “Christian” has taken on a very loose definition in the recent past and I am the chief offender. Now, someone like me who consumes whatever type of media he wants and does whatever he wants and says whatever he wants can still call themselves a follower of God and no one has a problem with it. There is no discipline. There is no exclusivity to the term “Christian” anymore. Anyone can claim to be a Christian. And maybe that’s not a bad thing (any step toward God, even if it’s as simple as claiming faith in Him, is a step in the right direction).

In the end, the title of “Christian” is nothing more than a means of notifying the world of one’s faith. And yet, as most of us know, faith without works to back it up is dead and useless. So while it’s important that we’re proud of our faith and claim as such, it’s what we do with that faith that means the most. It’s conducting ourselves in honor of our faith and belief that is what’s weighed most diligently. It doesn’t matter what we call ourselves—Christians, Zionists, or what have you—it matters how we’re affecting this world day by day, soul by soul. Because, as we know, it doesn’t always matter what we say, but what we do. That’s what will leave the biggest impact and mark on our world, not our words but our actions. That’s what will make the biggest difference for the Kingdom of God.

Maybe we’re not good enough Christians to rightfully claim that title right now. Or maybe God doesn’t care what we call ourselves as long as we’re striving to be and do better by and for and through Him. If we’re cutting away the things that separate us from Him—the unGodly movies and music and thoughts and actions—we can crawl ever closer to doing and being what He requires of us.

And as follower of Him and His Word, that should be our aim, from top to bottom, day in and day out, forever and always.

Amen and hallelujah.

You can follow me on Twitter here. Thank you for reading and passing this article along. I appreciate it more than you know.


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