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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

For Posterity

Some things must be said for posterity’s sake. It’s not because you are hoping to change anyone’s mind on a given subject, or make them see the situation from a different angle. Let’s face it; for the most part, people have cemented themselves so thoroughly to a position that nothing save a bulldozer will move them from it. They know what they know, and no amount of evidence to the contrary will change their minds.

Healthy debate is dead and buried, and the level of polarization is such even among believers, that if you dare point out the holes in their hypothesis, well, then you’re just an agent of darkness, working hand in hand with Beelzebub himself, having pretended at being a Christian for the last three decades so that you can muddy the waters.

We will no longer allow for the possibility that someone’s views or position on a certain topic have changed over the years, even though we boast about belonging to the faith that is all about a transformational experience wherein we no longer think as we once thought, among other things. Nope, once a cur always a cur, even though all evidence points to the contrary. We know what we know, and will not let pesky things like facts detour us from our stated position.

Recently this current president spoke at the march for life rally in Washington D.C., live and in person, something no other president before him has done. Even though we’ve had staunch pro-life supporters in the white house before, they usually recorded a message and played it for the crowds, but none had shown up in person thus far.

The speech itself was an ode to the beauty and preciousness of life, insisting that each life was a gift from God and must be treated as such.

The more cynical among us would be quick to insist that this was nothing more than a political stunt; red meat for the base, something to pacify a certain demographic. If this were the case, he could have easily recorded a message, as have all other presidents before him, and more likely than not, the demographic would have been just as pacified.

Understand that from a purely political standpoint, making a personal appearance at something as polarizing as the march for life, is not in this president’s best interest. His base isn’t going anywhere, and between any of the candidates running on the other side and their insistence that it’s perfectly fine to kill a baby while it’s crowning, and the stance this administration has taken, the choice is a no-brainer.

The fact that he made an appearance at the march for life, will likely be used as a cudgel by those whose biggest fear is that that the supreme court will overturn Roe V Wade if he wins another term, and his advisers are politically savvy enough to have pointed this out, yet he showed up anyway.

I understand it’s easy to roll our eyes, and mutter I doubt he’s changed his position under our breath, but again, those pesky facts keep stacking up, pointing to the reality that there was a heart change after all. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.   

Sunday, January 26, 2020

If You Build It

I know what you’re thinking, and no, I haven’t grown nostalgic over Kevin Costner movies, nor have I gone back and watched Field of Dreams. I wasn’t about to say that if you build it, they will come, but what I am going to say, what this entire essay is about, is the truer adage, that if you build it, you must feed it.

Sometimes you can build something, and they will not come. Empty business, restaurants, music halls, and countless other things prove the veracity of this. If all it took were building it, then Pan Am airlines would still be in business, and Howard Johnson’s would still be the premier hotel chain in the nation.
A more apt truism than if you build it, they will come, at least in my estimation, is if you build it, you must feed it. Whatever it is that you are trying to build, if it isn’t constantly fed, it will either contract, grow sickly, and die or begin to eat itself.

If someone starts a business, I take no issue with them trying to build it as big as they could. I have no quarrel with big dreamers, because when a big dreamer puts in the effort and achieves what they dreamt of achieving, more often than not it is impressive, and comes close to defying logic. The world needs big dreamers because, without big dreamers, we wouldn’t have skyscrapers, transatlantic flight, the internet, or dare I say, even flushable toilets.

What I take umbrage with, however, is applying the dream big business model to ministry. I’m sorry, but ministry and business are not interchangeable. Yes, you might run the finances of a ministry like you would a business, being accountable, keeping records, and being above board, but when you start to plan the growth of a ministry out and implement worldly schemes in order to achieve this result, it becomes something other than what it was intended.

I have known quite a few ministries in my life that blew up only to flame out because the growth was inorganic. Once they got big, they had to continue feeding the machine in order to stay that way, and what they began feeding it became less and less spiritually nutritive. The pressure was on to continue providing content, and if God was silent for a stretch, well, they still had to throw something up; otherwise, the natives might get restless. It became a vicious cycle that always ended in the same manner, because whenever something is of human origin rather than divine origin, it rings hollow, no matter how much you try to spiritualize it or deliver it in King James English.

Ministry is a calling; it is not a business. If God calls you into ministry, then God will be faithful in providing all that you need in order for your ministry to function at the level He intended, and be as big or as small as He intends it to be. It’s not up to you to manufacture growth. Your only duty is to be faithful to the calling to which you have been called. The rest rests on God’s capable shoulders. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Lords of Ash

Ever wonder what became of those bratty kids that went around stomping other children’s sandcastles at the beach or tearing down their building blocks at the playground? You know the type, the insufferably narcissistic kid, the entitled kid, the kid for whom only two options existed: either he possesses the toy or the toy must be destroyed. Either he gets to choose what happens to whatever he determines belongs to him by right or privilege, or he would rather choke the life out of it, and set it ablaze so no one else could have it.

Well, if you’ve ever wondered what became of such children when they grew up, wonder no longer. Evidently, they became members of congress whose actions confirm that they’d rather see it all burn to the ground than have a decent economy and a working government that they are not in complete control of. They would rather lord over the ashes of a once vibrant, living thing than being removed from the levers of power. It’s as simple as that!

When you cut through all the pontification, the self-righteous bloviating, the sanctimony, and hypocrisy, it’s all about the fact that they no longer have power, and that is something they cannot abide. Either they get power back whether by hook or by crook, then in their eyes all will be right with the world, or they claw and tear at the foundation of this nation with their bleeding fingers until it’s nothing more than a heap of rubble, something once impressive, but no longer.

Do as we want, say as we say, because if you don’t, we’re going to tear it down anyway. Bend to our will, or we will take a crowbar to every institution in this country because we don’t have the requisite neurons bouncing around in our skulls to consider the consequences of our actions, or the precedent it sets. The single-minded pursuit of a goal without regard for collateral damage or unintended consequences is dangerous. If today is all that matters, and if they don’t get their way, they are threatening to burn it to a crisp, maybe these are not the types of people we should be entrusting with matches and gasoline.

For those who understand the intent behind all that’s been happening in the governing bodies of these United States, seeing people who would likely begin to burn and blister at the sight of a cross attempt to heave themselves upon moral high horses is both sad and comical. It’s not that they don’t have a leg to stand on, they don’t even have the nubs the legs were attached to anymore, but they persevere nevertheless because they cannot live with the notion that they are no longer in control of your life.

I’ve been told that sort of power is addictive, seductive, but also caustic to the soul. When by the raising of a hand, or the signing of a name, you can control the fate of some three hundred million people, it’s the power trip to end all power trips.

The handful of virtuous souls still in government want to abide by the founding principles of this nation and allow the people as much freedom as humanly possible; those not so virtuous want to control every aspect of your life, down to how large of a soda pop you can get at a gas station, or how many times a week you can have a burger. The more finite the control, the greater the control, and the greater the control, the easier it is to manipulate the masses into doing your bidding. Pretty soon they’ll take your kids away just for insisting that gender is binary, or that homosexuality is an aberrant sexual perversion. Oh wait, they’re already doing that. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Twisted Heart

It was supposed to be the watershed moment. This was it! Now or never! The nation, nay, the world would finally know that anyone inclined to support the second amendment was nothing more than a brute, a barbarian, a Neanderthal, a knuckle dragger whose only recourse is violence of the worst kind.

The talking heads on television were giddy with anticipation, already taking bets on what the body count would be, likely starting an office pool on how many dead and how many wounded. This could only end one way: with violence and bloodshed and gore.

Why were they so certain of this? Because this is who these people envision you to be. This is who these people think you are, and in their twisted heart, they believe they can will you into being that grotesque caricature they’ve cemented in their mind’s eye.

It doesn’t matter whether the person is black, white, or mulatto, young or old, male or female, when they hear second amendment supporter, what they see is a camo jacket, a trucker hat, bandolero bullet belts, black teeth, a cheek packed full of chewing tobacco, and a tattered copy of the Bible and the constitution somewhere on their person. Their bias allows them to see nothing more than a caricature, and because all they see is a caricature of what they think someone should be, they believe wholeheartedly that the only feasible outcome is the worst possible one.

Yesterday the people of Virginia woke up from their stupor, and though the horse is already out of the barn due to their indifference and ambivalence, they are attempting to right the wrong. They are trying to remedy the situation, and make it known that they will not stand for living in a police state, where a college student with a lisp and a clipboard will knock on their door demanding they turn over their guns; otherwise, they have SWAT on speed dial.

The media was hoping and praying to whatever ghoulish god they pray to that the demonstration would end badly, and if anyone had gotten as much as a paper cut it’s a guarantee that they would have made it look as though this was a repeat of Little Bighorn. They did their best. They tried to gin it up, they tried to fuel the flames, they heightened the anticipation, but to their great dismay, nothing happened. Nobody got shot, nobody got stabbed, nobody got trampled, pepper-sprayed, hit with a bike chain, clubbed with a bat, punched in the throat, or poked in the eye. Except for people picking up after themselves, and cleaning up the trash, nothing of note happened in Virginia, even though thousands upon thousands of people carrying and brandishing evil firearms were gathered in one place.

I know! Blow me over with a feather. Law-abiding citizens being law-abiding. Next, you’ll tell me that lava is hot, and ice is cold. I mean, come on, is this an upside-down world or something?

If anyone thinks this will be the end of it, they are mistaken. This attempt at eroding constitutional freedoms will continue, and every time we fail to be vigilant, we will inevitably abdicate power to those who think they can run your life better than you can.

Virginia was a test run, and the pushback they got was unexpected. They were hoping they could make lemonade out of lemons, and loop someone bleeding from a thigh wound for the next two weeks, but alas, the average citizen is not the bloodthirsty, violent time bomb they think him to be. The average citizen just wants to be left alone to serve his God, love his family, work his job, pay his taxes, and yes, defend his homestead if it came down to it. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Object Lessons

For the past week, both of my girls have had the sickies. That’s what we call being under the weather, not feeling quite right, or as a well-known cold medicine likes to describe as sniffling, sneezing, coughing, and achy. It’s not quite the flu, but it is flu adjacent, to the point that there has been a fair share of sleepless nights, an overabundance of whining, and a general state of unrest in the house.

I am a firm believer that everything in life can serve as an object lesson if you are willing to view it from the right angle. I’ve had time to think about this between runs to the supermarket for more Kleenex and chicken noodle soup, and once again, I’ve concluded that few things in this world can highlight not only the love God has for us but how we ought to approach Him, than parenthood.

Whether you’re a mother or a father, whether your children are young, or they’ve moved on to have families of their own, I am certain you remember those moments when your kids were sick, when they caught a bug or came down with something that only time could remedy.

Especially for the younger of the two, there isn’t much one can do except keep them hydrated, make sure they don’t spike a fever, and wait it out. It’s taxing, and by the end of it, your nerves are frayed, but the gratitude you feel when it’s finally over and they’re not sniffling, coughing, refusing to eat, and clinging to you as though you were a life raft in a stormy sea is immeasurable.

There was not one instant throughout this entire week that I would not have gladly traded places with both of my daughters, and taken on the full berth of their illness just so they could have some relief. Seeing them coughing and sniffling hurt me more than having to cough and sniffle myself ever could.

Another thing that stood out is that comfort could only be found within close proximity of either myself or their mother. The younger one gravitates toward her mother more, and the older one toward me, but both of them seemed to calm down and do better when we held them, or cuddled, or laid in bed with them reading them a story, telling them a story, or playing rock, paper, scissors until the onset of tennis elbow was undeniable.

Proximity to the Father will make even the most difficult of circumstances tolerable if He is truly our Father, and we know Him as such. His presence gives us comfort; His presence gives us peace. His presence takes away the pain, but only insofar as He is our father indeed, and not in name only.

While I disagree with the regurgitating of the trope that God wants you to be wealthy and healthy with a full head of hair and a mouthful of teeth, I do believe that God desires to be ever-present in our lives, and by His presence make the struggles of this life bearable.

He is our Father, and though sometimes He will not take away the pain, He will always be a comfort and a balm.

My daughters have the horrible habit of putting toys in their mouth even though both their mother and I have told them time and again they ought not to. I know exactly where they picked up the bug they did, and when, because when I saw the younger one put a plastic piece of orange in her mouth mimicking eating it in a local children’s play area, my heart sank, and I knew that there was a good chance she’d get sick from it.

God tells us what not to do in His word. He repeats it time and again, trying to make us understand that it’s for our own good that certain practices are forbidden and prohibited. Yet, like my daughter, we often disregard what we are told, then have to suffer the consequences of our actions.

God doesn’t abandon people, or break their hearts, or betray them; people do; the selfsame people we’ve been warned not to trust, or surrender our hearts to, yet we do it with disturbing consistency. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Not Aging Well

Some things get better with time. Certain cheeses, wine from what I hear, even an aged steak will make your taste buds stand up and take notice. The older something is, chances are time has increased its value, unless we’re talking about the last thirty years where everything was either made in China or bought at Ikea; those things don’t retain value, never mind an increase in value.

For someone under twenty, thirty years might seem like a lifetime, ancient even, but I’m talking about really old things, like an 1800’s carved mahogany writing desk with clawed feet and pearl inlay, painstakingly hand-tooled by men of a time when such craftsmanship was admired and aspired to.

One of those masterpieces will set you back a pretty penny today, and even with the onset of furniture you assemble at home then brag about how you did it all by your lonesome, some appreciate the detail, the work, the patina, the history, and everything else that Ikea can never replicate.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, some things do not age well, and it doesn’t take long for them to spoil, go bad, become worthless, or be proven fallacious. The list of things that don’t age well or that time is not kind to be far longer than that of things that get better with time. From that new car that just lost 30% of its value once you drove it off the lot, or those nifty bellbottom pants that you were sure would never go out of style, to disco music, leeching, crinoline dresses, powdered wigs, the list is inexhaustible. The thing about time is that it proves things out. Some things stand the test of time; others crumble into dust.

This is doubly true for predictions, whether they are of a certain date, like all the hubbub over Y2K, or Harold Camping’s ill-fated insistence that April of 2011 is when we should all stop paying our bills because come the month of May we would be feasting at the banquet in the sky, or of a certain imminent event like, I don’t know, off the top of my head, World War III.

I hate beating a dead horse as much as the next guy, but this particular one needs a few extra whacks for posterity if for nothing else. It’s been less than a week since we were all supposed to lock ourselves in our bunkers and dive headfirst into a bucket of potatoes au gratin compliments of the Jim Baker show. This was it! The end was here, and at best, we had time to kiss our loved ones goodbye and see one last sunset without the backdrop of a mushroom cloud.

It used to be that when an individual predicted something of this magnitude and time proved that it was either wishful thinking or something wholly of the flesh without an ounce of divine revelation, they’d slink away for a few years, lick their wounds, hopefully repent, spend some serious time in prayer and seeking the face of God, then return to the public arena.

Nowadays, someone can be wrong today, not apologize for scaring people into heart murmurs, not acknowledge they were wrong, then come out with another apocalyptic, extinction-level prediction for tomorrow. Even though they sometimes preface what they say with I feel, or I believe, or I think I heard from the Lord, they are bolstered in their foolishness by a handful of others whom I’ve dubbed the I bear witness choir. You know, every time someone ‘has a word,’ they’re the first to bear witness, no matter how outlandish the word might be.

Either it’s from the Lord, or it’s your opinion, and if you say it’s the Lord, it better be. How will we know? Time. Time will reveal the truth of the matter more thoroughly than anything else because if you tell me the Lord told you we’d be glowing in the dark from nuclear fallout by mid-January and now I have to scramble to find a Valentine’s day present for my wife because it didn’t happen, allow me to either call you a liar to your face or declare that you did not hear from the Lord. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Forced Narratives

There is artistic license; then, there are outright lies. There are poetic flourishes, adjective laden descriptions, and then there are fabrications, creations from whole cloth of things that never happened, and virtues the individual you’re attempting to canonize never possessed.

The media in this country wants a war, and they are doing their best to push the nation towards it. It’s not just because it’s good for ratings, although it is, it is because they believe the only way to remove this administration from office in the next election cycle is dead American soldiers.

Sure, if it bleeds, it leads, but that’s just the icing on the cake. The real goal, the real purpose, is to do away with the bad orange man who mocks them openly and has effectively exposed them for the propagandists that they are.

Unfortunately, the media did not get the third world war they were hoping for, the whole edge of your seat atmosphere fizzled, and the entire thing de-escalated to the point that the focus is now on the downed Ukrainian plane, to which the Iranian regime has owned up to shooting down accidentally.

It’s not for lack of trying on their part mind you; they did their best to present a bloodthirsty terrorist as a cross between Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Mickey Mouse, a lovable, affable, ever selfless soul whose only crime was making the cotton candy he gave out to impoverished children too colorful. They were beside themselves, incensed, nay dare I say enraged at the thought that the people would not demand vengeance, swift and bloody, for the untimely demise of the most huggable soul on the planet.

Farfetched as this may sound, do your research, and you will see that if I am exaggerating, it is negligible. From the war hawks in government to the talking heads on television, and yes, even the newly minted Facebook prophetic figures, they really, really wanted this war.

So what’s the point of this musing? Actually, there is more than one point. The first, and most obvious is that no matter how much the powers that be try to force a narrative, no matter how much effort they put into achieving their desired outcome, God is still in control, and what was foretold will occur only in His timeframe.

The second less obvious point is geared more towards those who self-identify as prophetic, gifted, or in receipt of divine revelation: make sure it is! Make sure it is prophetic, make sure it is divine revelation, and not just a gut feeling or something you deduce will play out in a certain fashion. You are just as guilty of forcing revelation, as the media is of forcing a narrative.

Just because Drudge says it’s war, it doesn’t mean God confirmed it, and if Drudge is already saying it, it’s safe to assume that whatever revelation you think you’ve received is more likely to be the conclusion of a probability matrix you went through in your head than revelation.

I’ve said this before on occasion, and I will likely say it again, but God does not compete with the local news for the breaking headline. Prophecy, by its very definition, is a foretelling of an event, or events, far enough in advance wherein it seems improbable, and even impossible at the time of its delivery.

We’ve been scared so many times, and for so many reasons, we’re on the brink of suffering from adrenal depletion. Every other day it’s either a war, a new disease, a rogue asteroid, a black hole, an experiment gone bad, an experiment gone right, global warming, global cooling, giants, killer nanorobots, population control, rabid squirrels, pole shifts, cooling sun, warming core, and the list goes on.

We spend so much time afraid of dying that we never really live, not acknowledging that death comes for us all, whether we fear it, or accept it as part of this journey called life. God doesn’t warn of things to come so you might live in fear; God warns of things to come so that you would not fear the unknown, redeeming the time, and understanding that being a finite resource, you must place the requisite value on it, and not waste it as though it meant nothing. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.