Archive for 2010

Love Not Hate

Posted by Doug White under Spiritual

I’ve mentioned the Westboro group in previous posts.  As many know, this is the group that somehow feels called of God to protest at funerals of military soldiers.  Not to protest a war but to protest homosexuality and in some cases abortion.  However, homosexuality or abortion had nothing to do with why the soldier died at all so their desire to protest at these funerals has always been an extreme mystery to me.

I found out that this group was coming to Sioux Falls this weekend.  Is there a funeral happening?  Nope.  Instead they wanted to protest at other churches and on Monday they’ll be protesting at a school.  You know – a school where children go, because this group has no courage to actually make a stand for their beliefs unless it is against defenseless individuals.  Called of God indeed…

Because of this, I felt that I needed to do something to show my disgust at this group and so I went along with a group of people in the city and took part in a counter-protest called, “Love not Hate”.  We created our own signs and stood across the street from this Westboro group at each of the three churches.  We made our signs funny.  For example, mine was “God loves Star Trek, but He’s confused by LOST”.  A friend of mine had, “God Hates Leftovers” and “Will Tweet for Food”.  Just silly signs to add a little levity to a sad situation.

Did we stop this group or even get them to change their mind?  No, and we never expected to.  But what we did do was take a small amount of hate and turn it into a positive filled with love.  This was the first time I had every participated in something like this and it really affected me.  I saw so much positivity by our group of people – which at one point seemed like it was 300 strong – to counter the hate that their group brought to our city.  I am extremely proud of this city I live in and their response today.

I am a Baptist and have been most of my adult life.  The Westboro group calls themselves Baptist and that disturbs me greatly, because they represent nothing about the Baptist faith that I find worthwhile.  Does the Baptist faith teach that homosexuality is a sin?  Absolutely.  Does the Baptist faith teach that abortion is a sin?  Again, yes it does.  Do I feel that both are sinful?  Yes, and in regards to abortion I am unmovable on how much I am against it. 

But here’s where I would draw the line – never would I consider standing at a funeral or a church where people are trying to peacefully assemble or mourn a loved one and spew such hateful things to those people.  Never.   It goes against everything I have ever learned about what Christ represents.

I am sure there were people in that group that have lifestyles I do not approve of.  And to some degree I really couldn’t care less.  I would much rather be there than with a group that hates everyone and shows such evil contempt for people.

What amazes me about this group is that they somehow feel excluded from the very idea that we ALL are sinners.  There is not one sin that is more heinous in God’s eyes than any other.  If you lie, or cheat or steal than in God’s eyes – that holds the same weight as committing murder or some other supposedly bigger sin.   Because every sin is a black mark and therefore all sin merits the same response from God. 

God’s response was to send His Son down for us and to take all that sin and wash it clean away with the sacrifice of His Son’s life.  Not just the sin that happened at that moment either.  All sin of every believer is washed away for good.  Since all of my sins were committed in the future from when Christ died, He not only sacrificed Himself for my sins in MY past, but all the sins in MY future.  That’s overwhelming when you think about it.  It doesn’t make me think I now have a ‘free ride’ and can do as I please; it makes me wish and pray that I can be a better individual and servant of Him. 

I was reminded several times today of the story in the Bible about the prostitute who a group of people wanted to stone for her actions.  Christ came up to her and started writing something in the dirt.  He didn’t tell them to go ahead and kill this woman; instead He said that those who haven’t sinned should throw the stones at her.  There are some that speculate that the things He was writing in the dirt were the names of those in this group that had actually participated in the very sin they were getting ready to kill this woman for!  If true, that is very interesting to me and noteworthy.  Afterwards when the people who wanted to kill this woman had left, did He start chastising the prostitute for her life?  No, instead He just told her to go and “sin no more”.

That speaks volumes to me.  It isn’t up to me to change anyone.  It’s up to me to be the best I can be and do what I believe God commands of me.  And by doing so, it will hopefully make others want to do the same.  And all of that is done not by anything I do, but completely through God.

There’s no changing the Westboro group either.  But I hope and pray that by taking the small stand I did today that I can show others that not all people of faith are the same and that some of us truly wish to be the best Christians we can and to help others know more about the true Jesus Christ.

My Ideal Weight

Posted by Doug White under Personal

For the better part of my adult life I have been overweight.  Although I did try to remain active in various physical activities I could not get a handle on my weight.  I had tried to “diet” at least twice in the last 10 years with no success.  I would get to a certain weight and plateau and nothing could get me past it.  So I’d give up. 

I had entered a point in my life where I had just accepted that I was going to stay the weight I was until I died.  However even that didn’t turn out to be true as this year I started gaining even more weight!  I had issues with my knees and my leg and was taking medication for blood pressure.  My doctor had even recently increased my blood pressure medication.

I was at a doctor’s office having my leg looked at when he suggested that it was time to try a better diet.  He suggested Ideal Protein.  Having tried the dieting routine before, I was skeptical but my wife talked me into meeting with a lady here in town to discuss the process.

My biggest concern was reducing my intake of soda.  I have been a very heavy drinker of soda since I was a young man and was drinking at least 3 – 4 bottles a day.  I had tried several times to stop before and the headaches that come from caffeine withdrawal were too tough for me to bear so I’d start drinking soda’s again.  Anyone who doesn’t think soda can be as addictive as a cigarette really doesn’t know what they are talking about.

The lady who we met with explained the Ideal Protein program to us.  The diet would consist of two packaged meals and one snack that they provide.  Breakfast would be one of their meals, lunch would also be one of their meals but with a salad and vegetables and supper would be a meal of your choosing as long as it was just meat and vegetables (and a salad if you want).  Then the snack you would eat later on in the evening. 

Because all food that contained sugar of any kind were not allowed, several foods were off the table.  All fruits, vegetables such as corn and carrots, breads, you name it; those were not part of this diet.  This also meant that soda would have to be eliminated.

To do this, they had me drink a Pepsi One which doesn’t have real sugar in it; it has Splenda, which is an acceptable sugar for this diet.  But I could only have one a day.  Surprisingly, after that first week, I felt encouraged enough to stop drinking soda altogether and the first night I had NO headaches whatsoever!  My wife and I are convinced that the reason I had no headaches was because this diet also uses sea-salt and that salt helped me get past my withdrawals to caffeine.

So the first week, I get on the scale expecting to have lost three or four pounds and surprised myself when I noticed I had lost TWELVE pounds.  In one week!  From that point forward, it seemed that I would lose roughly a pound a day!  I hit my plateau weight and just kept on trucking right past it.

Over the next 16 weeks I continued to lost weight at a decent pace and by the time I had completed all phases of the diet I had lost 80 pounds!  I learned a few things too while on this diet.  For example, I found out I enjoyed eating asparagus, something I had never eaten before.  I also could eat a salad and not have to have a ton of high calorie dressings on them to enjoy them.  There are many dressings out there that are calorie free and taste just as good.

My health improved as well.  By the time I was done with this diet I had been taken completely off my blood pressure medication.  I felt better and had more energy than I’ve had in a very long time! 

There may be many that are hesitant to get involved in a diet such as this due to cost but if you factor in all the money you spend on “junk” that you eat, you may find that you really aren’t spending all that much more money than a diet like this costs.  And isn’t your health worth spending a little money on?  If you are struggling with your weight, I would seriously suggest to you to look into Ideal Protein and give it a try! 

Now that I’m off the diet, the biggest test for me will be as to whether or not I can still maintain my weight.  But being done with the phases of this diet doesn’t mean that I have free reign anymore to eat any old thing that I want.  I believe that I have learned my lesson and that my eating habits will be more restrained than they have in the past. 

Below are a “before” and “after” picture of me on this diet.  These two pictures alone I hope to use to keep me incentivized to never get again to the point I was this spring.  I do not ever want to put that much strain on my body and my health ever again!  


I am proud to be a Christian.  I have been one my entire life.  True Christianity is a good thing and I take great pride in the fact that the teachings of Jesus Christ are positive in nature and are meant to bring out the best in people. This is why it bothers me to no end when people pervert those teachings into something that is far less than positive. 

I’ve discussed in great detail my disgust in regards to the Westboro ‘church’ and all they do.  There is nothing positive about their message.  It is not Christ-based, it is filled with hate.  It is unfortunate that these individuals will not realize until it is too late just how futile their hate is.

I am no less equally disgusted with what is going to happen on 9/11 in Gainesville, Florida in another supposed church and another supposed pastor.  I will not call this man a pastor myself as this is reserved for men I respect.  Terry Jones, a man who leads a supposed church in Florida, has decided that to honor the men, women and children that died on 9/11, his church is going to burn the Qur’an – which is the central religious book of the Islamic religion. 

Let’s get the typical arguments out of the way right away.  Of course, being that we live in the best country on this planet, with the most freedoms afforded to its citizens, Terry Jones has the right to burn any book he wants.  Freedom of speech is afforded in this way just as it is afforded to the Westboro group as well. 

Additionally, people have had the freedom to denigrate the Christian faith as well in a myriad of ways.  There are people who have taken the cross and put it in a jar of urine and called it art.  People have made movies mocking Christ and people have paid good money to see that.  All this was also done in the name of ‘free speech’.

Doesn’t change the fact that in every case, what was done was completely 1000% wrong.  In each of these cases, none of them were done with pure motives, they are done with the idea that it is a good thing to try and ‘shock’ people.   

It seems to me today that some people think that their right to ‘free speech’ ensures that no one will react negatively to their actions.  That ‘free speech’ only applies to them.  We do live in a great country that allows us to say pretty much whatever we want.  But it doesn’t allow us to say things – and not have to deal with the consequences of what was said.

Terry Jones behavior is not done out of Christian love.  It is not done to honor those who have died and it is not done to illustrate the greatness of our free society.  First and foremost, his actions this Saturday are being done for…fame.  He’s now become world-renowned.  His event on Saturday will bring instant media attention to his church and that is truly all he wants.

Mr. Jones is apparently not wise enough to realize that his actions will cause the extremist elements of the very group he is supposedly standing against to rise up and hurt fellow Americans.  He’s either not wise enough or the fame he craves so badly causes him to just not care.  We’re talking about real lives here.  Not lives in a video game, but real people who are going to cease to exist because this guy wants to get some attention.  Every life lost because of this will be on his head and his alone.

I am equally opposed to the building of a mosque in New York near the World Trade Center for similar reasons.  While the group who wants to build one has every right to do so, it is so inappropriate to do so and is causing people who had immeasurable pain thrust into their lives 9 years ago to be hurt once more. 

But, I believe the situation in Florida is so much worse.  This is an aggressive act that like I said before will cost people their lives.  The mosque in New York is an offensive act that does seem designed to purposely hurt those who’ve already suffered, but whether it will cost people lives is unclear.

Religion and spirituality are supposed to be a positive thing designed to enrich your life and those around you.  Yet here we have two situations that are tied directly to two different faiths causing nothing but pain and suffering.  I can’t speak for the Islamic side of things, but in no part of the Bible that I read did I ever see Christ advocating such behavior in people. 

Having the right to do something does not make it right to do.