Some time ago I met a really interesting guy through the blogosphere, Joey Guido. Joey and I have corresponded for a couple of years on a variety of subjects. Recently we’ve been twittering back and forth about the Bible. I asked him if he wanted to take this conversation public. He graciously said, “Yes.”
How did you and Paul connect?
I found Paul soon after I began writing my blog. I was looking for other daddy bloggers to connect with, and Paul had just posted an article about a date night with his daughter. At the time I didn’t know he was a religious man, I just admired him for his dedication to his family. I began commenting on his blog, and eventually we started longer dialogues via e-mail.
You are a blogger. What’s your blog about?
Dad stuff. The “guts” of being a modern-day dad. Exhaustion, discipline, goals, how we treat our kids and brain development to name a few topics. It gives me and other dads a place to be heard and to express what we’re experiencing.
I do my best to go beyond the basics and cover big picture aspects of a dads’ life – like how yelling at our kids can cause permanent brain damage.
Paul said you’re a very spiritual man. What did he mean by that?
Well first of all, I’d like to thank Paul for asking such easy questions (lol)! How to answer this…
I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school, but I was taught more about guilt and being a sinner than I was about spirit and love. I still remember being more interested in the girls at church than I was about what the priest had to say. It was all so regimented, ritualistic and stale at my church. It didn’t have any life in it.
I was pretty faithless for many years until I stumbled upon American Indian spirituality, which made a lot of sense to me. It spoke to my heart about family, loyalty, understanding and getting in touch with a higher power.
It’s knowing that there is something bigger than me that is supporting me in every way imaginable. Most importantly, spirituality is opening my heart. I’m sorry I don’t have a better answer, it’s so hard to put into words because it has become part of who I am, how I live — I don’t even notice it functioning.
I do believe there is one God (what I call Universe) and that we each define and speak to God in the way that works best for us. There is no right or wrong religion (as long as it’s peaceful and not harming anyone). This is God we’re talking about, and God is everything. There’s no reason why he can’t be Jesus AND Buddha. I don’t understand why people have to compete, and fight over who’s God is real. Why can’t we all be right and live peacefully?
When someone says, “I’m a Christian” what do you think?
That is both a simple and a loaded question. It totally depends on the context of the conversation and where we are. I know many people that are Christians and I respect them and their beliefs very much.
But when I think of Bible literalists, I get kind of uneasy. That’s when I find an oversimplification occurring with God and the Bible. Many people, not just Christians, fall into the trap of taking themselves out of the equation. They take away their interpretation and decision making and put everything into God’s words. Sure, “thou shalt not kill,” is a no-brainer, but The Bible was written thousands of years ago! Context and meaning has changed. We were given free will to make decisions for ourselves.
For instance, there are literally four lines in Proverbs about the rod as a form of disciplining children. Yet it has become an acceptable discipline used my millions of parents. Hitting, spanking, paddling – it’s just wrong.
One of my readers mentioned that a Shepherd never actually used the rod to hit his flock, but only to guide them and keep them from drifting off the path. This sounds like a much more human (not to mention productive) form of “discipline,” where our children are taught positive life lessons instead of fear. What if that’s what those lines in Proverbs meant?
Jesus was a man of peace and forgiveness. I don’t think he would strike a child, no matter what the child had done. So why should we?
Why are you asking Paul these questions about the Bible and why did you guys decide to go public with this discussion?
I find what I’m reading interesting and I am curious as to how much of it is “direct translation” from God, and how much of it has been manipulated by man for their own purposes. Remember, somebody had to write this stuff down, and they probably had issues.
I think the Bible, no matter what stance you may take on it, is a legendary book that deserves studying. So many people follow it, how could I not want to understand it and learn from it?
Speaking plainly, Paul is a professional and I respect him. When he speaks about God & Jesus, I feel that he is speaking in a way that creates a universal language – no matter what your religion. It doesn’t matter that I no longer practice Christianity. Paul’s words make sense and they don’t judge or offend. Talking about it publicly allows both of us to learn from others, as well as each other.
How much can you bench press?
Are we talking Nautilus or free weights? Have I had a restful sleep, or has it been interrupted by crying children? Either way, not much…
Paul speaking now…
Alrighty! Now you know Joey! He’s a good guy and even though he won’t hit a child, he can lay some smack down on theological trash talkers so let’s all be nice! I’m looking forward to these conversations and we invite you to jump in too!
The fun will continue until we answer all the questions, or Joey figures out we don’t have all the answers, or we just get tired of the series. We’ll see!