Body of Dust

Searching and learning; a disciple of God. A journal focused on my spiritual growth and my relationship with God. I update as often as I feel reasonable, and feel comfortable sharing these experiences.

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Location: Fort Myers, Florida, United States

I'm 20yrs old living in Southwest Florida and attending Florida Gulf Coast Univ for my second year.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Christian Influences and Focuses on the Internet

Over time on the internet, I have come across two websites that I feel are absolutely brilliant and what people need more of today. One is a Christian gaming community, and the other is a program and community that brings a fight to the presence of lust and pornography in the modern world.

TEAMSOC.net
First, I introduce to you TeamSoC.net. This is a internet group that I have been involved with for over six months now, and become a contributing member of their community. I play games online, one of them being Halo. Eventually, I came across one of their three gaming servers, and really appreciated their focus on God, fellowship, and enjoying a friendly, a clean, and overall great time. I've met such a great number of friendly gamers through this community, and over time became a member of their 'clan', the Soldiers of Christ (their tag is '}SoC{'), known as }SoC{Clay (previously VtmnR). Their website includes a number of things: a forum for all kinds of discussion, both spiritual and non, an online Bible study that takes place on Thursday nights through a program called TeamSpeak (which is available through downloadable .wma's, too), a resource for those interested in the Christian faith, and by far one of the best communities of Christian gamers I have seen online! This is what I feel the youth of today are in need of, a place where they can meet online, play a game with fellow Christians in a clean and focused environment, and get involved with their relationship in Christ! I feel very fortunate and blessed to have found them, and I sense amazing works and things happening through them.

XXXCHURCH.com
There has been controversial and conflicting discussions concerning this site, XXXChurh.com; it refers to itself as the '#1 Christian Porn Site', so you know your finding something really unique at the startup. XXXChurch.com is a very interesting website that deals with the sin of lust, adultery, and pornography in a very radical, unique, and (I believe) effective manner. Two young Californian pastors (Mike Foster and Craig Gross) felt a calling towards dealing with pornography and masturbation, something they both feel has been overlooked or shunned by churches of the faith due to it's ugliness and also because everyone has faced it before, and leaders are not willing to discuss it open and publicly. They have taken this mission to fight pornography up by themselves, with the help of others, and with plenty of negative feedback coming from both secular AND Christian society.
Their site does have a very 'hip' or 'young' appeal to it, and they chose the three x's in their name as a method to direct those searching for pornography on the internet to their site, instead. Their mission is stated as:

'Our mission is to make people aware of all the issues about porn and for Christians to be accountable and to get their crap cleaned up. We also want to help and give hope to those who feel there is no way out and are drowning in porn.'

And they do accomplish this in a number of ways. They have made visits to porn conventions to send the message to pornographers and the business that Jesus loves them, too. They have made free software that acts as an accountability program that keeps you in line, in relation to your selected friend to watch your activity online.
I know this struggle against sins of the flesh, and I praise this site for it's work against this overlooked problem of society. This is the first of it's kind that I've seen myself, but they have linked with other movements that are online, that you may visit through their site.

Those are two site that I feel the people of today, especially the youth but not overlooking any other age, need to be aware of today. There is a way to get help and build a relationship in Christ, and these are two that can really help.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Been a Month, in Need of Update

Lately, I'd say the past two weeks can be summarized as a rollercoaster, in ups and downs, and some unnecessary twists and turns.

I am currently involved in a Contemporary World Religions course at FGCU, the school I attend. I find this course and it's lessons so intriguing and I'm interested in the material. One of the sections probably threw me off my balance, and led me into a spiritual test, and it involves the Asian beliefs of Taoism.

Now, I don't feel that I am in any position to teach the beliefs and positions of Taoism, but I'll explain what I think is important to me:

A) There are no absolutes in Taoism, no ultimate good or bad, it's all blended in. This idea is summarized with the common symbol of the yin-yang. I felt I understood it more with a story: A man owns a ranch, and one day his last horse had ran away into the forest. His neighbor, feeling sorry for the man, paid a visit and mourned for his loss. But the rancher only said, "We don't know what is bad." The next day the horse returned, with seven more horses from the forest, making his ranch stronger than ever! His neighbor again paid a visit and congratulated him, but the rancher said, "We don't know what is good." The next day, the ranchers son was playing with the horses, and rode one of the new ones from the forest. But he was kicked off, and he fell to the ground, breaking both of his legs. The ranchers neighbor came to mourn again, but the rancher again said, "We don't know what is bad." The next day, the army was going to war, and came to the rancher's home to take his son, but they couldn't because of his injuries. So, the son was able to stay home, with his family. -- Kind of a long story, but I felt it was the best summarization I could find. BTW: they have no concept of 'sin'.

B) The Taoist do not 'label' such great, mystical things, like God or Heaven. They feel that to give these things names, that they lose them. I can't really explain this, but this is what I was told.

In hearing these lessons, I was brought to question things about Christianity, mostly concerning the absolutism idea. Also, why there are so many different religions on the Earth, when Christianity claims that there is one true God, one true faith. While discussing with friends, I was led to a theory. In short: there are two absolute forces, one of good and one of evil. They go by many names, and are seen in many ways, but they are all the same two forces none-the-less. In creating these different religions and ideas, they had formed different ways that allows the world (and it's amazingly different people) to find them, somehow. After realizing this, I felt a very mystical paranoia, typing it, sitting in my chair. And I dropped it from then on, closing Pandora's box.

In the following days, I had talked about this theory with friends, and one had begun testing it, in the best way it could be done, in friendship and care. In doing so, I realized I was looking for answers in all of the wrong places, that I shouldn't be looking outside of the faith so much, in search for these answers. I should focus more on what I am so involved with, spiritually. So, I've begun a hardy prayer and study session, focusing on these questions of mine. I'm 'wrestling' with God.

Thanks Mark.