Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Your True Self: Who Are You?

Yesterday, I was speaking to an atheist and I asked her, "Respectfully, why do you focus and write so much about something you don't even believe in?" And she gave me an answer I didn't expect. She wasn't angry, she wasn't trying to question her 2% of "what if there's a god" -- she was simply fed up with religious people hurting anyone who fails to fall in line with their exact beliefs. The mere fact that most religious folks will say "my" religion and "my" god as well as "believe what I believe or you're going to hell" is all associated with their ego. The ego thrives on being superior above all those who don't think, act or believe as they do. The ego needs to be "right" and the ego needs to tell their "truth" -- even if there are no factual bases on their "truth". It's just a faith built system that people feel comfortable believing in. Even though I believe with all my heart and soul that God is real and that I do believe in the trinity-based faiths -- I will not say "I'm right" -- nor will I tell someone that their fate is a fiery lake in hell. The best way you can pull someone toward your belief is simply by your behavior. Your actions, your words, your example -- they will all show someone that you walk the walk, because let's face it: talk is cheap.

But, talk is also apart of our behavior. The tongue is very powerful. What we say can either make us or break us. Even those who are trying to be nice while having such a rigid belief may say, "Oh, I'll pray for you honey." It almost comes off as sarcastic, as if they had an "in" with the big guy upstairs. God's followers are one of the biggest reasons why many people tend to stay away from religion. Their identity is tied into the whole concept that they are God's child and that they need to convert people over to their religion to get brownie points. Think about it: if I convert you today over to Christianity -- I will honestly say I would be thrilled. But not because I'm gonna get some award by God, but because Christianity isn't as scary as most of His followers make it out to be. Most Christians will want to convert you in order to get in good with God. He said, "Spread my message across the world," and what better means to do it than by the greatest tool of all: the internet? Hey, you don't even have to travel by donkey across the desert. 

What is your identity if it's tied up in God? Who are you? In my belief, God lives within us. God occupies 90% of "my" brain. (See how I didn't say your brain.) But that's not an ego thing, that's just my belief. If I am conscious enough, I can catch the sin or "dysfunction" of my brain which operates all of my actions. So for me, that would be the conscious of "GOD" -- because He who lives in me is greater than he who lives in the world. I'm sure you have heard of that scripture before and it makes total sense. If we tap into God -- in our minds -- if we can turn and look at our chatty brain that never shuts up -- then we have the conscious of God. So it's like we have two entities within us: our mind and our Being which is "God". That's why they call it the battlefield of the mind. It's a constant struggle and conflict between good and bad. Remember those cartoons that had a devil on the left shoulder and the angel on the right shoulder? I believe it's kinda like that. 

Have you ever heard that term, "We are not of this world"? It's basically saying that this world we live in -- this life we live -- it's all so temporary before we enter and pass over into the realm of unconditional love and light, which is also referred to as "heaven". Here's what I mean: I am not of this world. Materialistic things do not matter to me. I always tell my wife, "I'd rather live in a shack with someone I love rather than in a huge mansion with someone I can't stand." Life is too short to live for materialistic things. They have no substance to them. For instance -- I suffer from anxiety and depression. If you were to give me 10 million dollars, I would still have anxiety and depression. No amount of money in the world will give me constant joy as to being in line with God. Granted, I would definitely have an adrenaline type of short-term happiness and yes, that 10 million would help -- but you'll find me still suffering, possibly even forgetting about God at some point due to the major distractions. I don't want to have my identity tied up with something that can be taken away so quickly. 

And that happens. 

If your identity is all about having a nice house, luxury cars and brand name clothes -- you will always have to live up to everything you have reached for. But who are you once those things are taken away from you? I often wonder what I'm truly attached to. I thought about this yesterday and I came to the realization that my attachment is mostly due to "my" family, "my" dog, "my" writing -- and sadly, "my" followers. I feel very blessed to have many followers, but who am I if I only had 1 follower? Who would I be writing for? Who am I? Just a person who types a buncha' words for nobody to read. I would feel close to worthless, or perhaps quit writing since it seems to not be helping anyone. Or is it about my own ego? If we attach ourselves to what we do for a living, then what happens once we lose our jobs? We become jobless or unemployed, to which some people equate to "worthlessness" -- or not contributing to society whatsoever. We need to be doing something for the world, whether or not we are reaping the benefits. But what if we are and we still don't maintain that ultimate "job status"? Are we still worthless? Don't we mean more than our jobs, our careers, our existence here on earth? Don't we all have a purpose? 

The other day I was talking to a good friend of mine. She's absolutely stunningly beautiful. (Wow, lots of adjectives!) She wears brand name clothes, always keeping up with the trends and also obsessed with working out. She's a great person and loves her family and friends. She always tries to help people, but doesn't realize that some things are just not important to some people as they are to her. For instance, I know I need to shed some pounds, but I've never really obsessed over it. I am more focused about keeping up with my overall health -- like my numbers, cholesterol, blood pressure and so on. Being thin isn't a priority to me -- never was. It's not that I don't care about myself -- it's more about being happy and not tying my entire identity with a "perfect body" or a "perfect face". If I get a wrinkle or two (or three) -- I'm leaving those wisdom lines to flourish. If I gain weight, I'll get my yoga pants out. (Ha) -- That's what they're for, right? She suggested that I should work out with her (as a way to get my ass to the gym.) I mean, I could, maybe I should, but right now it's just not a priority. But my question is, if a person who ties their whole identity with their outer appearance, (good looks, nice body, no wrinkles) and one day, they start to see their body and face change due to degenerative aging -- then who are they? And what are they going to attach their identity to then? The ego needs a place to land. They will then become a "victim" of age and lacking outer appearance. Some will hide and become worthless in their mind because that's who they were.

Going back to my attachments -- they're not better than anyone else's. For instance, when I say, "my" wife, "my" family and "my" dog --- what happens if one day I lose them all? They are my sense of self. They are the reason why I live. Maybe loving people too much is a bad thing? My identity is taking care of my family, like cooking for them, taking them to the doctors or just loving them -- period. What would life be like for me if I lost them all tomorrow? Have you ever heard someone say, "They took apart of me with them when they left," -- whether it be through death or by a breakup? When somebody says something like that, it means that they tied their entire identity with the person(s) they loved. I'm not saying to be some distant lover or family member -- but who are you when all is gone? Will you survive without your partner or family members? And what about when a person suddenly dies (usually by heart attack) soon after their spouse dies? Do you know that there is actually a term for that called, "The Broken Heart Syndrome"? Most survive it, experiencing chest pains and things that mimic a heart attack, but some actually do die from losing a loved one. 

I wrote about my experience with The Broken Heart Syndrome in this article.

I experienced this three years ago when my dad passed away. It happened about six months into my grieving period (which is normal) -- and I started getting horrible chest pains, to where my heart definitely responded to what I was experiencing. I'll never forget one morning being in my kitchen and grabbing a glass of water. I sat on the stool next to the counter trying to just wake up. I started getting these these horrific chest pains that just blew me right off my stool. I was on the floor holding my chest with these jabbing pains that wouldn't let up. When the ambulance came, they gave me a little beta tablet of nitrate to place under my tongue in order to see if I was having a real heart attack. They took my vitals and everything was just wrong. The EMT guy looked at me and asked, "Is the pain going away?" And I was relieved that it was. "Yeah, it's gone." But not relieved when he yelled into his radio, "Not good! She responded to the nitrate! It's her heart!" I had to stay in the hospital for a few days. The EMT guy who helped me was the same guy who had to bring my father out of his house for the very last time.

The breakdown of The Broken Heart Syndrome:

Breakdown of a Broken Heart Broken heart syndrome, also called stress-induced cardiomyopathy or takotsubo cardiomyopathy, can strike even if you’re healthy. (Tako tsubo, by the way, are octopus traps that resemble the pot-like shape of the stricken heart.) Women are more likely than men to experience the sudden, intense chest pain — the reaction to a surge of stress hormones — that can be caused by an emotionally stressful event. It could be the death of a loved one or even a divorce, breakup or physical separation, betrayal or romantic rejection. It could even happen after a good shock (like winning the lottery.) Broken heart syndrome may be misdiagnosed as a heart attack because the symptoms and test results are similar. In fact, tests show dramatic changes in rhythm and blood substances that are typical of a heart attack. But unlike a heart attack, there’s no evidence of blocked heart arteries in broken heart syndrome. In broken heart syndrome, a part of your heart temporarily enlarges and doesn’t pump well, while the rest of your heart functions normally or with even more forceful contractions. Researchers are just starting to learn the causes, and how to diagnose and treat it. The bad news: Broken heart syndrome can lead to severe, short-term heart muscle failure. The good news: Broken heart syndrome is usually treatable. Most people who experience it make a full recovery within weeks, and they’re at low risk for it happening again (although in rare cases in can be fatal).
I never thought that there was such a thing out there until that EMT guy explained it to me. I then researched it and was shocked to find out that it was real. So in my case, losing my father was a huge deal, not only because I loved him, but I lost a sense of my "self" in him. I lost my safety, my "tough guy" -- my protector and my mom's "Pit Bull". I lost all of our inside jokes and the way we interacted. I lost a sense of my own personality when I lost him. And it's strange, because sometimes my sister will look at me and say, "Oh my God, I just saw Dad in your eyes!" Some of the things I say or do mimic his behavior. And that's okay. But trying to untie the linked identity to people, places or things can be hard to do for anyone.

So think about the things that you associate your identity with like, "I'm a police officer," or "I'm a doctor" -- what if you lost those identities?

It's like boiling salt water and letting it evaporate.

Who are you? 

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Blood Moon Eclipse, September 28th -- Is It the End of the World?

Years ago, I learned more about God through religion classes. They taught me about Jesus and all of the stories that were in the Bible. I learned about the Ten Commandments and of course, "right" from "wrong". I went through communion and confirmation, mostly robotically and merely doing it because I had to. But I already knew God, (so I thought) and from what my mom taught me. Back then, I only thought there was one God that was believed both by Christians and Jews. I didn't know about any other religion besides the rule of not worshipping any other gods other than my "own". So "my" religion became my "truth" and as hard as I tried to obey every command, I found out that I was only human...like everybody else. As I grew older, I didn't realize there were more "truths" within one religion. I didn't understand why some Christians believed "this" while others believed "that". There were divisions within the trinity faiths: Catholicism, Christianity, Lutheran, Baptist, Pentecostal, and more alike. Some prayed to saints while others only focused on Jesus. Born again Christians never wear crusifixes because they want to focus on the symbolic salvation -- not Jesus' brutal death up on the cross. I was reprimanded for wearing a crucifix at one of our Trinity Assembly churches. I was more or less "given a lesson" if you will, about how not to wear an actual sculpture made of gold of a "dead Jesus". But, isn't Jesus always alive? Isn't His death the reason we're saved? Why are we sugarcoating what He did for us -- why are we minimizing his great sacrifice for everyone?

Later in life, I learned that by identifying God or Jesus by a materialistic symbol or envisioning Him even as a human figure would limit my understanding of God altogether. I realized that God was within me and not so much about praying and asking, "God, are you here? Can you hear me?" I believe that the 90% of our brain is occupied by God. That's why most of us haven't tapped into that portion as of yet. We still see God as some illusionary man-made figure that's not around unless we call upon Him. But this is only what I've learned and now believe. I sincerely believe we can have heaven on earth -- not in the sense of all of us dying and then God gives us a "real" new earth. It's different. It's a change -- or "shift" in our consciousness.

On September 28th, this coming Monday, the blood moon will appear. Not only is it the harvest moon, but there is also going to be a total lunar eclipse. For the trinity religions, this may signify the "end of the wold", and in the Bible the blood moon is referred in the book of Revelations.  There have been so many misinterpretations of the Bible that it sometimes gets frustrating to even have a set "religion". I have been seeing more and more people turn to atheism, because of all of the contradictories that religion and its followers have to offer.  But is it more about the religion or the followers? Followers of a set religion fight over their own beliefs! "Well, this is right and that is wrong, and that's that," type of mindset. And that's what it is: the mindset. We are so incredibly focused on mind-based religions -- the ones that conflict with everything that is spiritual. This shift that will be happening on Sept 28th has always been happening, but more so now. We are forced into evolving -- to what extent, I'm not sure. An esoteric shift like this one can only be felt by very few religious people. Many spiritual people will feel it and notice it. When you sit and read about religion, you are reading a manmade script that your mind is totally engrossed with. Rules, regulations and a whole lotta' contradictory. But when you read with spirit behind it -- pray and meditate before you open a bible -- then the truths come out. It has more meaning. It speaks to your own spirit -- your own inner being instead of your mind.

There are times when I write about my faith in God, that I encounter all sorts of animosity from other Christians. They're defensive and angry. I've offended "their" god. I have mocked "their" god. Anything that has an "I", "my", "mine", "our" -- is a form of egotistical behavior. They've equated their god into a form identity -- making him out to be some sort of huge "man" in the sky instead of having God right here with us now, in our hearts, in our minds, in our souls. If God was within them, they wouldn't be so defensive. By witnessing all the ugliness that Christianity (or its followers) had to offer, I went to seek out other means of learning about God and it wasn't the conventional way either. I learned that God isn't only found in our churches, but He's everywhere and always with us. You don't have to act "religious" in order to have a perfect spiritual alignment with Him. You just have to be human with a whole lotta' faith. And this is where the shift begins.

The old earth will turn into the new earth. Look at our pope for example. He is a progressive teacher of the truth who isn't condemning people to hell, but saying, "Who am I to judge?" Recognition of same-sex marriage has become legal in all 50 states. More and more, people are seeing that gender plays a small role in the bigger scheme of things. We're genderless when it comes to passing on into a new world with God or in "heaven".  The realization that "love is love" has recently emerged and there are some Christians who are very upset over this. Once again, they're defensive because they feel we are mocking "their" god --- more so, we are mocking their ego. By simply saying that homosexuality is not a sin, their ego has identified that if it isn't a sin, then perhaps they are homosexuals as well. So the defensiveness behind it is only about their own selves -- not about what's "right" or "wrong" -- because there is no right or wrong, there is only unconscious and mindless flaws or "dysfunctions" in life.

The great shift is here, whether you feel it or not. I'm choosing to remain open-minded, receptive to every single change, loss and gain. I'm letting go of attachments, and clinging onto more substantial matters in life. It's funny, because I ran into a wonderful woman who tailors my clothes for me. Even though she's Jewish, she is extremely opened about religious topics of any kind -- more so "spiritual topics". It was recently her "new year" and she said, "Do you feel it? Do you feel the shift?" And I did. She was shocked that another person was conscious of it.  There's some kind of change in the air -- and I'm not talking about the change in the weather -- but a shift in our spiritual consciousness that allows us to learn more from a more spiritual realm rather than just black and white text that says "right" and "wrong". It's much deeper than that.

Do you feel it?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wake Up & Live -- Isn't That What It's All About?

With all of the wonderful clich├ęs and platitudes that I can possibly throw at you like, "Life's too short," "Enjoy the moment," or even, "Now is the only time you have," -- it's become more of an empty mantra than it is an actual practice. We seem to plaster them up all over our Facebook walls and Twitter accounts, and most have yet to even use the advice that was given. I remember my wife had her parents over for dinner. I cooked a nice dinner and we were enjoying our conversation afterwards on the couch. I had placed all the dishes back into the kitchen and then headed back into the living area to chitchat over wine. Madelene decided to go back into the kitchen to wash the dishes and then come back out to talk with her parents, who she rarely sees. I took notice because her absence was felt, so I took it upon myself to walk inside the kitchen area and said, "The dishes can wait. Your parents are leaving soon. Talk to them." It was at that moment when Mad just gave me this look like, "You know what -- you're absolutely right!" She threw down her dish towel and headed back in to enjoy their company.

But isn't that what it's all about?

I'm not saying to neglect things that need to be done, but check your priorities sometimes. If I'm cooking and I have guests over, I usually ask them if they can hang out in the kitchen with me with so I can enjoy them. It doesn't have to be so complicated. I was talking to a good friend of mine yesterday about enjoying the moment with your loved ones. She and I discussed many instances where we both found ourselves wondering where our priorities truly were. For example: I'd rather buy $200 worth of food for a BBQ or dinner with friends and family as opposed to running out to the mall to and getting a pair of $200 boots. For me, I am buying quality time -- it's not the food so much -- it's the enjoyment of family and friends. People ask me why I post so many food and cooking pics up -- and that's mostly due to my cooking blog and my love for cooking -- but the event itself is more important. It's the people who ate my food. Food brings people together. While growing up in an Italian household, everyone would be gathered around the table for a 2pm Sunday afternoon traditional dinner. My mom did that out of love.

And isn't that what it's all about?
My Sundays are everything. My wife works long hours and sometimes the entire weekend. So when we have a Sunday off, she's constantly on the go-go-go-get-this-done-now type of person. She never stops. So last weekend I said, "Don't worry about the light installation in the kitchen today or the junk that has to be removed outside. Let's just go to the farm market and take the dog to the park and try a new restaurant." We ended up having an amazing day because she dropped everything to create new memories with me. And I still have yet to call that junk removal guy -- but it'll get done. It's not about procrastinating to the point of neglect, but to not procrastinate on living your life. Huge difference. Sometimes we forget that there is so much out there while we're dusting off our furniture or organizing our cabinets. "Well, somebody's gotta do it," -- but somebody has to live their life too. Balance.

Isn't that what it's all about?

If we're so out of balance that we can't even enjoy moments with our loved ones, most likely depression will set in and it'll appear as a must "to do" list every single week. Whatever you do on a regular basis becomes your routine. Routines can always be broken, if the will is there. I said to my wife once, "I don't want to be sitting in the same chairs out on that same deck in our golden years saying, 'Yeah, we shoulda' did more while we still young had more energy.'" I don't ever want to regret life or living it the way I want to. And another thing to point out is -- if you hate your job so much and the bulk of your time is at a place that is less than perfect for you, then can you possibly be happy at all? I didn't want to be stuck in a cubicle for 8-12 hours a day. My choice to write was a challenging feat. It took nearly 7 years to see any kind of income plus the freelance editing I do behind the scenes. I can work any time I need to, whether it's 9am or 9pm. People seem to think (or assume) that it's not a "real job". So then what is a "real job"? Doing something I can bitch and moan about? Doing something I absolutely hate to do? Is that "real"? I turned my passion into a career, so that it no longer becomes "work". I had passion for something.

Isn't that what it's all about?

If you lack passion for anything you do -- it'll never line up for what's truly meant for you. I've heard so many people poke fun at me of how I have so much "free time" -- when actually, I just work the hours I need to and then live my life the way I want. I get to cook for my family and get errands done so that my wife doesn't have to. As long as I am paying my bills and doing my job -- nobody has a right to tell me otherwise. In fact, (or to brag a little here) -- I am debt free with a high ranking credit score. Though I'm not rich, I am richer than most wealthy people because of the lack of debt.  I love what I do in life and for some people, that irritates them. My point is: never count someone else's money. Never judge what they do or what you think they're 'lacking' in life. What may seem "unconventional" to you may be the entire world to them. And these days, it's hard to find anyone who can truly say, "I love what I do!"  Or better yet: "I love life!" Say everything you need to say to those you love, do everything you can possibly do with your loved ones and friends and never forget to enjoy this present moment -- "the now" -- don't let it slip by because there's a pile of dishes waiting to be done. Love one another.

Again, isn't that what it's all about?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

"We Don't Like Homosexuality & We Don't Have to Accept It! That's Our Human Right!" --Your Fellow Christian

When I was little, I used to sit under this Japanese fir tree with a huge blanket and listen to my music. It was my favorite spot -- still is. Every single time I hear "The Logical Song", it reminds me of my favorite place in the world. For some reason, that song brings me comfort because it reminds me of a time when there wasn't any worry, fear, anxiety, stress or depression. I was genuinely happy. The words as I hear them today still resonate with me: "When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful, a miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical. And all the birds in the trees, well they'd be singing so happily, joyfully, playfully watching me." As a kid, I rarely listened to lyrics. It's the tune that brings back the nostalgic memories. As I grew older, I began to listen to the lyrics a bit more. It struck me that this song, these lyrics, were my life. And although I was never "sent away" -- the words still resonate with my being an adult and learning about different things, religions, politics, and so on. "But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible, logical, responsible, practical. And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable, clinical, intellectual, cynical. They're are times when all the world's asleep, the questions run too deep, for such a simple man. Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned -- I know it sounds absurd, but please tell me who I am... Now watch what you say or they'll be calling you radical, a liberal, fanatical, criminal. Won't you sign up your name, we'd like to feel you're acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable!" 

I truly never thought that having faith in God would be so complicated as I grew older. I didn't think I would have to defend myself or feel made ashamed of who I am. I struggled many times with wondering "who I am" and feeling less than "holy" by other people who prayed to the same god as I did. So I took my "religion" and converted it into a personal relationship with God. It was then I found the miracles that built the foundation of my faith. I started writing a journal about it and found that this journal became a book after some time. Soon after publishing my book, A Prayer Away From Healing, I discovered a new relationship with God that much stronger than the "religion" I belonged to.  I started to become much more open to new ideas, instead of relying on texts that were written many years ago which had been translated over 5,000 times. I started meditating on the Word of God instead of just reading it word for word in black and white. The words came alive and it was no longer a "book of rules" but a book with an amazing history with power in it. It was a book to guide my life, instead of a book to terrorize my life. I spend at least 2 hours per day meditating and praying while reading scriptures. There is no doubt in my heart, in my faith, that God is real and that God excepts you as YOU -- not as others try to expect you to be. And with that, comes acceptance of yourself in God -- to see yourself the way God sees you: amazing, perfectly made, flawless, vulnerable and yet very powerful. 

Many Christians read the Bible blindly. Of course, they can say the same about me. One gentleman was trying to convince me that the scriptures in Romans, which speaks about lust and passions of the flesh was only about same-sex relationships when it clearly states that they were fornicating with anyone, male or female. It did not indicate anything of a same-sex committed relationship. Premarital sex for both heterosexuals and homosexuals is seen as a sin -- so are we all going to hell? Sodom and Gomorrah was about rape and not about homosexual sex or relationships. People have twisted these scriptures to fit their prejudices and hatred towards those who live different lifestyles. A loving and intimate union between two people is none of anybody's business to begin with. So why are we sticking our noses in the cracked doors of other people's bedrooms? Historically speaking, the Bible condemned interracial relationships and marriage, as well as our legal system. It was illegal for interracial couples to marry a little over 50 years ago. Women weren't allowed to vote. People's cultural prejudices have wreaked havoc on other people's lives for decades. As the song states, many Christian conservatives scream and yell out, "Liberal" as I go on sharing my thoughts and faith with the world. 

Over on my Facebook account, I share my articles with everyone and especially to those who struggle with their religion vs. their sexual orientation. I get quite a few supporters as well as your haters. One lady named, Laura Jane Fifield left a little hateful message for us. Let me ask you this -- does this sound like a loving Christian message? Or does it sound like she's more prejudice than anything else? She writes (and I corrected her typos for your viewing pleasure), "We don't like homosexuality so stop trying to shove it down our throats. It's that simple. We don't want you married in our churches and we don't have to want nor accept it. That is our right as a human being so get married on a beach or somewhere else that's nice. If the Australian government makes gay marriage legal, then gays will be allowed to marry in our churches the one place where us Christians can get away from the things we don't want to accept. Now is that fair? I don't t think so! God said it's an abomination and that's whatI believe to be true. End of story. End of discussion. I don't like same sex relationships and I never will and no that doesn't make me gay. If you don't like drugs or people that do drugs, does that mean you're a junkie? Your theory is stupid." 

Thank you, Laura. Let me ask you this... How many people in your church sit in the pews every Sunday morning like clockwork who have yet to admit their hidden sin? How many people have divorced in your church? How many people have had premarital sex? At what point does bullying other people about their sexual orientation make you feel more superior to everybody else? I believe that whatever you put up online, you should stick by it no matter what. If you say you love God -- spread it around like wildfire! But what if you post something that you may regret later on? What if you post something as hateful as your comment to me? And what if, your child becomes gay in 15 years and looks at the things you wrote? What will that do to them? No, I don't think you're "gay". I truly believe that you are angry -- very angry -- with either yourself or your life's situation. What makes someone want to tear down another person? If that was a "loving" message -- wouldn't you rather invite the "sinners" to your church and help them find God? Even drug addicts need saving too, but instead, you sort of brushed them off to hell. 

The hypocrisy in many Christians seem to take hold of their thoughts, their actions as well take away from their relationship with God. Their mission to try and stop same-sex marriage has become primary focus these days. I cannot believe all the supporters that Kim Davis has. I mean -- doesn't her sin count as much as our "sins"? Even the Westboro Baptist Church made fun of her for continually sinning due to her ongoing new marriage. But see -- I don't believe that her new marriage is a sin since that's listed in the Old Testament. The scriptures referenced in the New Testament like Matthew 19 where it says that the permission of divorce was under a ban but declared that putting away another partner to marry another person would be considered adultery, but not in cases where there was infidelity. Do you really think that our lives are that "black and white" where we are condemned to these complicated rules by numbered scriptures that have been recorded years and years ago -- that have been translated 5,000 times? 

Is is that simple? 

And now my favorite song: The Logical Song. 

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Are You a Good Person Only Because You Feel Like God is Watching Your Every Move?

There are so many beliefs and non-beliefs out there in this world. Some pray to Jesus, some pray to Allah, some lean toward Buddhism while others simply have no one to pray to at all. Have you ever had the chance to speak to an atheist before -- I mean, an "active" atheist who pursues it like a religion? I've come across quite a few and had a less than desirable experience with them, only because they would say things like, I wasn't intelligent enough to realize that my God is just a big fairytale. I get it, but the insults just kept trickling in. One gentleman happened to be a former priest. To me, for someone to actively pursue a role in atheism tells me that there is still some small percentage of "what if" -- perhaps, "What if I'm wrong" type of questioning. To me, that's a very scary place to be in. But then, years later, I met (not in person) a writer named, Emily on Periscope who does these brilliant broadcasts all about atheism. In fact, her blog is here if you want to check her out. Today she even spoke about near-death experiences. She discussed the mechanics of our brain when we die and what other people believe or -- the "accounts" that they've had. Some met Jesus while others felt a loving type of energy. I mean -- it's all up for interpretation, right? And who's to say one account is "wrong"? If they saw it, whether it was their brain shutting down or if they were entering a new world -- who are we to judge?

But God -- how scary would it be to think that there was nothing at all after all this craziness? You know what I admire about atheists who are 'do-gooders' and those who are genuinely compassionate? It's their ability to help others or to do amazing things without the expectation of a gift from their "gods". There are many Christians that are walking around doing "good" and hoping for their "favor" from God. I mean, okay -- it's fine if that's their only motive, but how genuine can a religious person be if they're only doing nice things because they don't want to burn in hell? I wonder what their true colors would appear as if they knew or found out that there was absolutely nothing waiting in the afterlife. How would this affect their behavior? Would they finally unleash the beast inside? Or would they still keep on doing good things in this world? Kind of makes you wonder... And what about Christians who condemn other Christians out of "love". Is it out of love or is it out of their fear of not rounding up the rest of the world to praise Jesus? We're supposed to "spread the word" -- not shove 10 pound bibles down people's throats.

It gets more complex than that I'm guessing. What about when our loved ones die? There's gotta be something out there! There can't be just a big mass of nothingness? (Can it?) And if they are gone -- completely and spiritually, or wait -- there is no spirit -- then they're just a pile of dust now? We can't wrap our minds around that concept that our loved ones just died out like a big chunky Duracell battery. There's gotta be something more to this "life" and "death" thing. Or is it just that simple? I mean, plants live and plants die -- but do they have a soul? "Talk to your plant" -- but is it because of my carbon dioxide levels that make em' spring up? It certainly can't be my breath after eating a garlic pizza.

So then what makes life live on?

Why is your god better than my god and why must we fight over something that can never be proven? Why is my sin worse than your sin? Why do people still do bad things if they know that their Father in heaven is watching them? Do they have faith that He's really watching? Or is it that small percentage of atheism that makes them do whatever it is they please?  You surely remember this: "You better watch out, you better not cry, better not pout, I'm telling you why...Santa Clause is coming to town..." And on and on -- "...he sees us when we're sleeping and he knows when we're awake. He knows if we've been bad or good -- SO BE GOOD FOR GOODNESS SAKE!" As kids, we grew up believing in Santa Clause as we did believing in God. Let that sink in for a moment. And boy were we good kids on Christmas Eve. "Yes mommy, I'll go sleep right away!" So we jumped under the covers, too excited to even sleep because well -- GOD was coming down the chimney with "gifts" for us because we were "good". Hmm, similar concept right?

So my question to all of you is: what makes you do good things for other people?  Is it because you're just a good person by nature? Or is it because your religion makes you believe that you should be a "good little boy or girl"?

Want to comment? Come over to my Facebook page. Would love to hear your thoughts...

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Some Claim Homosexuality is a Psychological Disorder, But the Same Study Has Been Done for Homophobic People

I'll be the first one to admit I'm batshit crazy, but being a lesbian has nothing to do with that whatsoever. I have come across several Christian conservatives who were so homophobic, that they claimed that homosexuality is a psychological disorder. I have also heard the same with our transgender community being "psychologically deranged". Let me ask you this: the time and energy it takes to even hate on a particular group speaks volumes itself. Why would a Christian conservative be so intensely focused on homosexuality, that they feel the need to claim it's a mental disorder? I've even heard some Christians state that homophobia doesn't mean a "fear of homosexuals". You can read that again if you want. When Christians are faced with a threatening nature to their own very shortcoming, they get pushed into a corner and then lash out. I truly and sincerely believe with all my heart that homophobic behavior is a result of being a closet homosexual. Whether or not you agree with me, let's just take a look at all of the right wing antigay conservatives who have either been caught on some gay cruising site like Grindr, or who have been caught using Ashley Madison committing adultery. I'm sure you know who I'm referencing to.

Isn't THIS a psychological disorder?
So check this out --- I found this article online that suggests that straight people who are homophobic are psychologically disordered. It reads, "A new study of universitystudents in Italy revealed that people who have strongly negative views of gay people also have higher levels of psychoticism and inappropriate coping mechanisms than those who are accepting of homosexuality. This doesn't mean that homophobic people are psychotic; rather, psychoticism is a personality trait marked by hostility, anger and aggression toward others. But the study does suggest that people who cling to homophobic views have some psychological issues, said lead researcher Emmanuele Jannini, an endocrinologist and medical sexologist at the University of Rome Tor Vergata."

And aren't most antigay Christian conservatives hostile? They're not correcting you out of love -- they're trying to convince you that you're a pervert because they have much more perverse bones lying in their own closets.

So the article goes on to say, "Earlier research has found homophobia to be a complex subject, with some studies suggesting that people with visceral negative reactions to gays and lesbians often harbor same-sex desires themselves. Other studies, though, contest that idea, and suggest that homophobic people are truly averse to same-sex attraction. Other factors — such as religiosity, sensitivity to disgust, hypermasculinity and misogyny — seem to play a role in anti-gay beliefs, Jannini and his colleagues wrote in an article published Sept. 8 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

But no one had ever looked at the mental health or psychopathology of homophobic people. In the new study, the researchers asked 551 Italian university students, ranging in age from 18 to 30, to fill out questionnaires on their levels of homophobia as well as their psychopathology, including levels of depression, anxiety and psychoticism. The homophobia scale required participants to rate how strongly they agreed or disagreed (on a 5-point scale) with 25 statements, such as: Gay people make me nervous; I think homosexual people should not work with children; I tease and make jokes about gay people; and It does not matter to me whether my friends are gay or straight.

The students also answered questions about their attachment style, which categorizes how people approach relationships. The "healthy" attachment style is known as secure attachment, in which people feel comfortable getting close to others and having others get close to them. People who are insecurely attached, on the other hand, might avoid intimacy, become too clingy or desire closeness but feel uncomfortable trusting others.

Finally, the students answered questions about their coping strategies— defense mechanisms people use when they face unpleasant or scary situations. Defense mechanisms can be healthy ("mature") or unhealthy ("immature"). A mature defense, for example, might include regulating one's emotions and not depending on others for validation. Immature defense mechanisms might include impulsive actions, passive aggression or denial of a problem."---read more of the article here.

Periscope shot of the hypocrite.
Last night I was tinkering around with Periscope -- a new way to interact with people "live" on the internet. It's sort of like a live podcast, but it's a one sided "Skype" type of program. Some people have meaningless scopes about whatever while others have serious discussions -- even controversial ones. People can write in their little comments and the person scoping are able to respond verbally to them. It's my new addiction. Anyway, last night I found a black man Periscoping about how gays and lesbians should just "RELAX". That was his entire message. He felt that gays and lesbians were on TV too much and that there are way too many gay and lesbian scenarios on TV.  While I believe there aren't enough gays and lesbians on TV, he seems to be disgusted by the amount of exposure we have. Umm, does he even know that it's legal for gays and lesbians to marry in all 50 states now? That tells me that it ought to be an equal amount of exposure. But is this really about the exposure or more about his prejudices? I asked him what he thought about slavery in the bible and how interracial marriages were denied only 50+ years ago. He said, "Bullshit," and went to Google the info and came up with a nonchalant statement like, "Well that's entirely different."

Is it? 

He then insisted that being gay or lesbian is a result of being mentally ill. He said, "You're not born that way -- you choose this because your mind isn't right!" So then I asked him, "Did you choose to be straight?" And he said, "Of course not!" He basically answered my question. He was so angry that the gay community were all 'up in his face' and that they're coming out more and more. I told him plain and simple, "Get used to it because we are the norm."  He lashed out and started using words like "It's disgusting" and "it's perverted" while his wife laughed in the background. I asked him how he felt when his own race was shunned -- when his own race wasn't allowed to walk into a simple diner to have a cup of coffee or when busses forced them to sit in the back seats. He had nothing to say about that. It saddens me that someone who was once shunned just like us seems to think they're superior to us. We faced similar struggles and yet he's taking his liberty and throwing stones at people who are just trying to live their lives. It has nothing to do with him. If he doesn't want to associate with "the gays" -- then don't. It's that simple.

It all boils down to hypocrisy. How many times do antigay nut jobs get caught with their pants down?  Their deep-seated angry towards homosexuals is what you need to look at just to prove that it's a psychological disorder. As I've said before, what we hate in ourselves is what we hate in other people. And while that holds a lot of truth to it -- people will try to repress their feelings for a few reasons. 1. They're just cowards. 2. They're married or in a relationship. And 3, they fear their family and society will shun them. See, those who have bravely come forth with their sexuality have nothing to hide. We don't hate anybody because we're not repressing anything -- we're not repressing who we truly are. We're not telling people, "Hey, you're an adulterer because you got a divorce!" But now we do because we're defending ourselves against people like Kim Davis who had 4 divorces and yet she denies same-sex couples marriage licenses because of her own cultural prejudices. That type of hypocrisy is a psychological disorder. Anger is a psychological disorder. Intense hatred, abuse, bullying and tearing people down are all psychological disorders.

Am I way off on this?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Congratulations! You've Just Won a Guilt Trip to Jesus!

Right off the bat, I just want to state that I'm a Christian. I believe in the trinity: God, the Son and the Holy Spirit. My relationship with God is personal and beautiful. No one can tell me otherwise. Many Christians have different interpretations of what "Jesus" is like -- of what "GOD" is like and of course, what the Scriptures mean in the Bible. Some people believe that if you are not reading the King James version of the Bible, then you are being misguided and getting a misinterpretation of God's words. Many people like myself prefer the New Living Testament (NLV) so that I'm not sifting through Old English texts, in hopes of reading it correctly. Between the thousands of translations, interpretations as well as misunderstandings and don't forget, the cherry picked passages to "set things in order" by conservatives -- it can get pretty frustrating when it comes to "religion". The Bible itself can appear as a scary book with God's wrath and the destruction of cities for their "sins". There are many stories in that book that some have failed to understand.

Gays and lesbians often hear the story about Sodom and Gomorrah.

As the story goes, God says that He's going to destroy cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, if two angels cannot find any good people within the towns. Once the angels arrive, a kind man named Lot invites these angels into his home and entertains them. This angers the cities' men, and the men rallied outside of Lot's home, wishing to do "perverse actions" to these male angels. Moments later, the two cities are destroyed by fiery rain. Many anti-gay Christian ministers use this passage to say that this is an example of God’s wrath against homosexuality -- as if the men of Sodom were all gay, and all trying to "be gay with" these male angels. Historians and sociologists tell us that gang rape was a very common form of brutal humiliation of the subjects, in the ancient Western world. The Sodomite men did not come to Lot’s house to have monogamous, committed, loving relationships with the male angels residing there. They came to rape these angels. Now to be fair, a commenter over on my Facebook page said that I failed to leave out an important part of this story. When Lot offered his virgin daughters to be gang raped instead, but the angry men refused and demanded his sons. This is still not homosexuality. First of all -- what is rape? It's not about sex. It's about anger. These men wanted to rape and humiliate -- and the most humiliating act would be doing this to Lot's sons.

Stories and passages from the Bible are often misquoted and misunderstood. Here's the thing: you cannot promote Jesus in anger. You cannot represent Jesus in your own guilt and bitterness towards those who infuriate you. I've said this before, but what you hate about other people is exactly what you hate in yourself. There's a psychology behind this mindset. When I receive comments like, "You're wrong" and "You're going to hell for being a sick pervert" -- I picture Jesus saying this to me. Can you imagine if Jesus was running around calling people sick perverts and tormenting them with the fate of hell? Whatever happened to Jesus: the forgiving, most loving and caring Father that sacrificed his life to save us from our shortcomings. Faith alone, a true loving relationship with God and a heart for other people is what God wants.

No one will ever be saved by “obeying the law” — as it says in the scriptures...

Galatians 2:15-16 —You and I are Jews by birth, not “sinners” like the gentiles. And yet we Jewish Christians know that we became right with God, not by doing what the law commands, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be accepted by God because of our faith in Christ - and not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be saved by obeying the law.

This passage is not to say, "Oh go out and hurt and kill people," -- it's saying that we are all imperfect and will never be sinless, which is why Jesus offered his life for us. If we don't believe that He has paid the price in full, then what do we believe in? It's like mocking his entire sacrifice and saying, "Well, I don't think it paid the entire price, I still think we need to be perfect."


Do you know what Jesus said the greatest commandment of all was?

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it -- thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

Of course I had to use the King James version for those who would yell at me for picking out the "easy scriptures". (You're welcome.) When Christians feel guilty about their own shortcomings, it's normal for them to want to correct other Christians if they feel they're doing something wrong. It's not out of love that they're correcting you (even though they insist that it is) -- it's out of fear. They fear their own fate, and when they see Christians "sinning" in their eyes, or interpreting sin to be something that's truly not a sin -- their own guilt kicks in from being brainwashed from bigoted ministries who incorporate this type of teaching. And let's face it -- most bigots are Christians. How sad is that? I mean, you have the KKK as the extremist type and you have Christian fundamentalists with conversion gay ministries (pray your gay away type of ministry) that tries to conform society into a more of a "moral civilization". Oftentimes, being adamant of "curing homosexuality" stems from their own fears of being homosexual themselves. Most of the time, it's not their fault -- they've been brainwashed to think that homosexuality is just as bad as bestiality and pedophilia. They compare homosexuals to rapists and murderers as well. They ask, "What next -- will they want to marry their pets?"

I had a gentleman named, Austin Lucas email me privately just to let me know that he prays that I haven't gone too far and that I'm living a lie. I would be living a lie if I married a man without the love behind it. That to me wouldn't be fair. Austin said that I "hate God's truth". No, I just don't go by his so-called "truth". So because I don't follow "his religion", I'm called a "liar". This is not said out of love -- it's said out of his own guilty conscience of possibly having a huge basket of skeletons in his closet to hide of his own. He doesn't want to save anyone -- he wants to bully those who disagree with his religion.  When men feel such rage against homosexuals, it threatens his own sexuality. They use religion to 'set the record straight' -- or at least, try to.

The other day, a commenter named, Ginette Stewart Green compared me to another blogger. His name is, Joseph Sciambra.  His profile reads, "Former gay porn star who now speaks out against the evils of pornography." So let me show you what I'm being compared to. One of his blurbs reads, "Somehow, I barely survived and after a decade of living as an unapologetic gay man, the bottom (literally) feel out of my world. Too sick to even crawl, I was carried away to a place of safety; at the time, I was anemic from years of continuous rectal bleeding, my anus had recently prolapsed, my immune system was shot from too many antibiotic cycles that were becoming increasingly ineffective against a repeated string of STD infections, at 29, I had lost my looks and no longer existed at the center of attention in the bars and discos, but found myself relegated to the periphery – haunting the darkened and seedy halls and lavatories of the sex-clubs and bathhouses. Most of my friends had since died of AIDS – so, I had little left to live for. Only, for some reason I couldn’t even begin to comprehend, the Lord took pity on me; and, as he did with the woman caught in adultery, not to mention the countless other social rejects, lepers and hopeless demoniacs – He said little, but He saved my life with a simple gesture of kindness: sending away those who sought my destruction and forgiving me of my sins; instantly dispelling confusion with the promise of healing." And don't get me wrong, I'm glad he is out of that reckless lifestyle -- but it wasn't about homosexuality -- it was about promiscuity. People confuse a loving relationship with sexual addiction, and that's sad.

Joseph's story is not about "homosexuality" more than it is about sexual addiction. Huge difference. People perceive gays and lesbians to be promiscuous and only after one thing: sex. Look at this older couple on the right who got married? Do you think they're "perverts" or just a longtime couple looking to make their union official?  I'm not perfect, but I have never once gone into a sex club or bathhouse (if there were one for women) and I have never had random sex with strangers. I don't have a porn addiction nor have I made any pornographic movies. My monogamous marriage with my wife does not include these strange sex romps (although it may need a little boost -- neither here nor there), but why would people compare my marriage to sexual addiction than just a union -- a family unit -- with someone of the same gender?  Religious people can twist so many perverse things just to make people feel guilty so that hopefully, they'll come to Jesus. But it's not even their motives to bring you to Jesus -- it's their own "good deed" for the day to bring someone to their "god". It has nothing to do with you per se, but everything to do with their guilt -- their inner conflict with their own struggling sins. Why do you think so many Christians focus in on homosexuality? Why do you think they're condemning you and then getting angry when they see that you're not following their god? The angry Christians are the most amusing ones because they're incredibly transparent.

So next time you are faced with a bigoted Christian telling you that you're going to hell, ask them to open up their closet. You don't need their guilt-ridden trip.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!