This is one of those years where several odd thoughts cross my mind. Here they are in no specific order: Is the manmade global warming theory true or is all this crazy weather just a part of natural climate change? Were the Mayans onto something? Are the crazy events and weather phenomena connected to Biblical prophecy about the end times?
If you expand that view to the past few years, our world has experienced earthquakes, tsunamis, drought in some places and flooding in others, numerous large wildfires, derechos, increasing numbers of tornadoes, and even record heat and cold in differing parts of the world. We have experienced this type of weather for many years in the past but I don’t think we have experienced anything so extreme in recent recorded history.
Some of this may be due to the fact that we are an ever-growing global community and are more aware of differing weather phenomena now than at any point in history. I do agree with this concept but that still doesn’t explain the existence of so many records being broken. This week the region that I live in is supposed to see temperatures that we have not reached since the 1950’s. We have not experienced substantial rain in months and are going through a tremendous drought while we last year we were battling flooding. Colorado is so dry that they are fighting wildfires and Florida is flooding.
I’m no expert and I honestly do not have an answer, but I do find the weather rather disconcerting. Here are my thoughts about the questions I asked. I believe in protecting the environment – in recycling, reducing the amount of fossil fuels that we waste and treating nature with respect – but I just don’t believe in manmade global warming. I attribute these disasters to natural climate change. Whether we like it or not, our world is in a state of atrophy and I believe that these occurrences are just a part of the hostile environment of a dying planet. I don’t propose that Earth is declining at such a rate that it will die soon, but as things go from order to disorder it begs to reason that we will experience major shifts in the weather. I also don’t bank too much on the whole Mayan theory. From what I have read there really isn’t much to the superstition and it’s all a bunch of hype. That hype can make us notice things more and causes us to jump to conclusions.
I do believe and follow the teachings of the Bible. I am really no scholar when it comes to Biblical prophecy though. I am not going to declare this as the last days because I honestly have no idea. I will say this however – no matter how long the Earth remains or what happens tomorrow, I am comforted in knowing my life is in God’s hands. In the midst of the drought or the storm I have a heavenly Father that listens and answers my prayers. That is very comforting in such trying times.
I have blogged in the past about how much I would enjoy getting paid to go on vacation and then write about my experiences. I love travelling and writing, so this would be a wonderful marriage of two of my greatest passions. I have yet to me offered such a dream job, so I just did the next best thing – went on vacation and then wrote about some of my experiences when I returned. Last week I focused much on our trip to Disney World. That is not all we did on our vacation and I will be taking some time to inform my readers about other parts of our vacation soon. I feel like I need to officially wrap up my blog about our Disney vacation, so I am dedicating the rest of today’s blog to my memories of Disney World.
One of the greatest things that came out of our trip to Disney was the memories we created together as a family. One of our last days we witnessed a family who either left a shop without their pre-teenage daughter or she wondered into the shop. They were in the middle of a war of words as we passed. I am not sure who was at fault for the separation of the parents and child but based upon the parent’s rebukes, the full responsibility was being placed upon the daughter’s shoulders. To say they were angry would be an understatement as would stating they were furious. They were explosive and it was one of the few times I witnessed the crowd moving away. I realized that it had to be quite traumatic to lose their daughter and that every possible emotion had arisen during their frantic search, but all that could go through my mind was how that very moment would define their vacation at what is proposed to be the ‘happiest place on earth.’ At that moment I was extremely tired and my feet were aching but I pledged to make the most of the remainder of our trip because I wanted to leave with wonderful memories.
We had a good day and got to experience some wonderful times together. It was a time for bonding and we became a closer knit family as a result of our experience and out attitude. For a vacation to be a success in producing fond memories you must enter it with the right attitude. You can vacation at any dream destination and have a horrible time if you expect to have a horrible time. We faced toll roads, torrential downpours, sunburns, aching muscles, etc – but they were all part of a wonderful memory that I would do over and over and over again. I celebrated the rain, we have been experiencing a drought where I live. The toll roads were a nuisance, but a gateway to adventure. The sunburn and aching muscles were the result of too much fun. My attitude was to enjoy my vacation and bond with my family and that is the results I obtained. Had I went with a negative attitude, I would now have negative memories. Instead I am filled with memories of carrying my daughter who is still young enough to carry, meeting Mickey Mouse, riding thrilling rides and getting to experience my son and daughter’s joy on their first roller coaster rides! We laughed, ran, waited in line together and just enjoyed the freedom of being together in a joyful place. It was pure excitement and I have memories that will last a lifetime.
My biggest piece of advice for going to Disney World or any vacation is to expect wonderful things to happen. Make good memories. Take you camera and snap it every time you have the opportunity. Don’t argue or fuss and make the best out of even the bad things that happen. If you heed my advice, you will have a smile on your face as you look back upon the time you and your family were running in the rain to ride down Splash Mountain.
Make the best out of each day.
If you subscribe to this blog or read it on occasion, I have a question for you.
What type of things do you enjoy reading about? I am looking for some subject matter to cover in the future and would like your input. Just leave me a message in the comments section and I will see what I can put together for future blogs.
I am also excited to inform you about a new addition to the Stratoblog. My friend, Courtney Hill, wrote some blogs during my vacation. Courtney has agreed to become a regular blogger on the site and will be posting on Thursdays. I look forward to reading the content Courtney will be providing.
Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read the blog. I look forward to hearing your feedback!!
This is my third blog on this subject; please click the following links to see the other blogs:
Blog 1 Blog2
1. Plan your attire: I learned that June is a good month for rain in Florida. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, we enjoyed the rain and took advantage of the shorter lines it created. If we were not dressed appropriately, however, we would have been miserable. We planned ahead and bought sandals with nylon straps. (Good sandals for this being in the sun and rain include Keen and Chaco). You want sandals with nylon straps because they can get wet and dry quickly. We also wore high end sandals because we wanted to be as comfortable walking as possible. Our children wore Keen sandals (which I saw many people at Disney wearing) while Julie and I wore Chaco sandals due to their superior arch support. Don’t get me wrong, our feet hurt, but not as bad as they would have with inferior shoes. My advice is to not wear tennis shoes, unless you enjoy the sloshing of water as you walk. It’s also a good idea to wear quick drying clothing and make sure you take rain protection. We wore ponchos that we purchased at Disney. We knew to pack some but forgot – Disney ponchos aren’t cheap, so remember to pack your own. The advantage to a poncho is that you can pack it when you are not wearing it.
2. Take a small backpack: When talking to others we realized that we would need to take stuff into Disney. We purchased a small backpack and decided that we would carry everything in that bag. (This worked great until we started buying souvenirs. You may want to pack an empty bag inside your main bag to put souvenirs in). We packed snacks, our ponchos, the camera, and other essentials in the backpack. Most of Disney’s rides have a storage compartment for bags, so we never found ourselves needing to hand it off and alternate who rode what. The backpack was very handy.
3. Strollers: Our children are 8 and 5 and neither one ever uses a stroller. We were advised to take one because the walking is so strenuous, but opted to not take in a stroller. I would make the same decision if I had it to do all over. I noticed that those with strollers had a difficult time. Many rides require that you park your stroller in a stroller lot, so you are then forced to carry the child and all the stuff you had in the stroller. Navigating a stroller through a large crowd can be very difficult and many people don’t yield to anyone – including those with strollers or in wheelchairs. My daughter did get very tired one night and I carried her quite a bit, but I still prefer that over hauling around a stroller all day. It was just extra exercise for me. Our situation is different. Some people have more children or younger children and need a stroller. If you do need on, plan ahead and be flexible because you will have extra requirements.
4. Buy Souvenirs at the End of the Day: I mentioned that we bought souvenirs. Most days we bought our souvenirs at the end of the day. We just took mental notes of what we wanted and got those items at that time. This prevented us from hauling around extra items. We did have a situation where we were in a gift shop in middle of the day and would not be returning to that area, so we purchased some items there. (They had sales, which is abnormal for Disney). We did, consequently, carry those items with us for the rest of the day and wished we had an extra backpack.
That’s all for today, but I still have a ton of information about our trip to share. This may go on for days. ;) - Tim
Yesterday I wrote some words of wisdom based on our recent experience in visiting Walt Disney World for the first time. To read that blog, please click here. I am continuing that thought with some more information on our experience. These are things that we learned from one trip which does not make us veterans by any means. I do think, however, that these experiences may be of assistance to others planning a trip to Mouse Land.
1. Know What You Want Before You Go: I do not recall ever putting as much work into planning a family vacation as I did this one. We were blessed to have a travel agent who offered her services free of charge to help us plan the trip and I can definitely say that she was very helpful. When going to Disney, you have a laundry list of decisions to make. Will you stay at one of Disney’s resorts or somewhere else? How much money are you willing to budget for the trip? Will you add a meal plan or try to bring your own food? If eating at Disney, will you schedule character meals? If so, which ones will you schedule and when? Are you going to each park or just certain ones? If going to each park, will you purchase a Park Hopper? The questions go on and on and on. Do not plan to just show up in Orlando and figure it out because that just will not make for a very memorable or enjoyable experience. Also, Disney isn’t very close to Orlando when you figure in the traffic and toll roads. It’s pretty much become a city of its own, which makes going to Orlando somewhat of a misnomer. Start visiting Disney’s website and start talking to everyone you know who has visited Walt Disney World. The more information you can gather prior to the trip, the better. Learn your options, decide what you want to do and make your plan. This is one vacation requires much planning.
2. Think Ahead: Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your Disney vacation. Try making all your reservations as soon as possible. If you reserve things early, you can start making payments for the trip and have most of it paid before you even go. Not worrying about how you are going to pay for the trip you just went on is a good feeling. We paid almost our entire Disney trip prior to embarking on our journey. We also took $250 on a prepaid Disney card and some cash. We did not worry about money while there because we had already paid for the trip. This is very freeing and helps you enjoy the trip even more. Also, making your reservations early helps you assure you get the hotel you want, the character meals you want and frees up time to plan out your schedule when you arrive at Disney.
3. Do what is Best for You. We opted to stay at a Disney resort (Port Orleans Riverside – which I highly recommend) and took advantage of their meal plans. This worked well for us and I would not do the trip differently. There is something extra special about staying at Disney and we did not need to worry about our meals because they were already paid for. We were able to take full advantage of Disney transportation and also got extra perks for staying. This was not the least expensive route but we worked it into our budget. I will state this, the meals at Disney are astronomical, so if you don’t have the money to do a meal plan, don’t plan on eating at Disney because that will cost you even more. We also opted to visit every major park – Animal Kingdom, Epcot, The Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We did this all in four days. My one regret is not planning for 5 or 6 days. We did almost everything we wanted – to see how visit my first blog – but we exhausted ourselves. It would have been better to have more time and paced ourselves more slowly. Part of planning ahead is figuring out what works best for you.
4. Be Flexible: You will not be the only family at Disney and therefore will not be alone in having an agenda. Your agenda will at times compete with many other people’s agendas. Relax and enjoy your trip. Realize that you are not in a competition with everyone else to get on a ride or see a show. You are a part of a larger community. You may need to skip a ride due to the line and visit it later, or you just might need to sacrifice a ride or show altogether. Don’t let that ruin your trip, but go with a determination to be flexible. There were a couple rides we really wanted to go on but had to sacrifice. I was just thrilled that we were actually able to do about 95% of the things we planned, which was a surprise to me because I went with the expectation of only getting to do about half. Another advantage to flexibility is making the best of your situation. The longest line we waited in was for a ride called Soarin at Epcot. Instead of fuming, we spent our 90 minutes talking to the other patrons and joking around with them. I actually think I had more fun waiting in line than I did on the ride itself. I guess you could say my attitude shaped my altitude – pun intended. =)
If you plan on going to Disney, make sure you PLAN on going to Disney. It really is a great experience and I definitely recommend going, just make sure you take time to plan in advance so you are not frustrated throughout the trip.
My family recently went on vacation to Walt Disney World. It was our first family vacation to The Happiest Place on Earth. One trip does not make us experts, but we did learn much from our adventure. Today I am beginning a series where I will be sharing some of the secrets we learned. If this blog goes viral, they may no longer be secrets, but I think it will still be helpful information. With no further ado, here are the tips we garnered.
1. Go Left: Prior to embarking on our journey to the eternal land of happiness we enlisted the advice of a Disney specialist named Lauren. Lauren provided us with some of the greatest advice we could ever hope to receive. Here is what she told us, ‘most people naturally move to the right. In just about everything you do, you will see the crowd go to the right. Go left. You will be able to beat the crowd by making this one move.’ She was right. When we got to a theme park, we went left and got to several rides and attractions before the crowd ever arrived. We rode Pirates of the Caribbean without waiting in line and were even in very short lines for Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain at the Magic Kingdom, we hardly waited at all to see The Lion King at Animal Kingdom and rode several rides at Epcot without waiting by implementing this one piece of advice. We spent very little time in lines during the first half of the day and were hitting the previously busy attractions after much of the crowd had already left. We also found that the crowd typically went into the right line or the right door, so we went to the left lines and left doors and would often get ahead by making that one move.
2. Rain is your friend: If you go to Florida in June, expect rain because it is the beginning of Hurricane season. Many people fear rain and have been doped into believing that water will cause them to melt. I blame it on The Wizard of Oz, but it just seems to be the attitude of many people. Read this statement three times: Rain is your friend…Rain is your friend…Rain is your friend. I wrote it three times because I knew you wouldn’t go back and reread it. Buy some ponchos and plan for rain. Florida can get hot, so a nice shower is a way to stay cool and get more Disney for your money. Let me explain by sharing our own experience. It rained some every day we were at Disney, but it rained the most on our day at the Magic Kingdom. That was the day for which we had planned and anticipated for years. We were not going to allow a torrential downpour ruin our plans. We had just finished a princess dinner at The Grand Floridian and noticed that it was raining cats and dogs, so to speak. We had to make a decision – scrap our plans for the remainder of the day, wait it out, or view the rain as a blessing from above. We chose the blessing route and returned to the park. As we re-entered the park we noticed something interesting. There was a mass exodus from the park. We were going against the flow… but we were the ones entering the Magic Kingdom. Rachel had been begging to ride Splash Mountain again so we went directly to that ride. One would reason that people would not shy away from a water ride in the rain, but that assumption was wrong. The ride was empty and running. We literally went straight in and had a log to ourselves. It was like the ride was opened just for us. We spent much of that afternoon in short lines and really enjoyed our time. None of us ever melted. The rain was our friend.
3. Use the Fast Pass Wisely: Disney has a system called the Disney Fast Pass. For someone who has never been, it sounds totally awesome. You go to the Fast Pass station, scan your park ticket (which more like a credit card) and it gives you a ticket for the ride within a certain time slot, 3:30-4:30 for example. You come back to ride at some point during that hour and either don’t wait or you don’t wait long because those with a Fast Pass are given preference over those in the Standby line. There is a catch, however. You can just run from line to line and collect a ton of Fast Passes. There are restrictions, so it’s best to get one for a ride/attraction that you really desire and that has long lines. You will be very frustrated if you get a Fast Pass for It’s a Small World and are forced to wait in the standby line for Splash Mountain. Thanks to this system, we rode Kali River Rapids and Kilimanjaro Safaris in The Animal Kingdom for example.
This is the first of several blogs one what we learned at Disney. I hope that our experience will be of value to anyone else planning an upcoming trip.
Today’s blog is going to be very short as I have returned from vacation and now have a mountain of work to complete.
I want to say thank you to my guest bloggers Todd Williams and Courtney Hill. Their work was a breath of fresh air for the blog and I am looking into forming some type of guest blogging schedule for the future based upon the great response to their entries.
I also want to apologize for the gap in blog entries. There was a miscommunication between me and one of my guest bloggers. I will be inviting him to write some blogs in the near future because I believe he was looking forward to the opportunity.
Our family vacation was wonderful. We spent some time at Walt Disney World and I will soon be writing a blog about everything we learned at Disney. We also spent some much needed R&R time on the beach in Melbourne, FL. We created many great memories that will last our lives. There were definitely some trying moments, but I would definitely repeat this vacation because it was just so awesome. I have been going through Florida withdrawal over the last few days and may need to join a group or something. Is there a Floridaholics Anonymous chapter anywhere here in Illinois? I’m not sure, but I may need to start one if it doesn’t exist.
More to come tomorrow… Until then, ‘see you real soon.’
Tim (Mickey Mouse Fan) McSwain
If you’re anything like me, you often struggle with your level of contentment with your current circumstances. You may often wish for something more, something different, or sometimes you may even wish things would return to the way they were. It seems to be an epidemic in our culture to simply be dissatisfied with what we have, no matter what it may be. The usual advice we get is to reach higher and ambitiously pursue the next logical step up the ladder. David deals beautifully with this entire thought in a fairly obscure Psalm that is only 3 verses long...
O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, Or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord From this time forth and forever. (Psalm 131)
David’s adversaries had accused him of desiring the throne of Israel and of ambitiously seeking to take power for himself. But here, David expresses the desires of his heart, and we can learn so much from him. In verse 1, David explains his true feelings about this whole situation. The truth is, David didn’t desire power. David was not seeking after the throne. He was simply being obedient to God. It’s almost as if David was saying that he has been perfectly contented all along. He was very happy as a shepherd, which was the lowliest job in the kingdom.
Then David paints a beautiful picture of the stillness and satisfaction of his soul. He compares himself to a weaned child. A child that is not weaned will root around restlessly, searching for mother’s milk, frantically wondering the whereabouts of his next meal. But a weaned child is at rest upon his mother and is no longer worried about survival.
This is the way we should be. We must not ambitiously seek to climb the ladder. We must not seek after the power of a position or the glamour of a large ministry or a particular status in life. We must rest in the arms of our Master. When He moves us, we move. When He calls us to some “great” position, we go. When He leaves us as a lowly shepherd, we have complete joy. Why? Because our lives are not tied up in the things of this world and we realize that God will provide exactly what we need at every single step along the way. So, when we live in this way, we can confidently affirm along with David, “Hope in the Lord, from this time forth and forever.”
I was recently speaking to an atheistic friend of mine regarding religious faith, specifically Christianity. In the course of our discussion, he made a statement explaining why atheists are so suspicious of people of various religious faiths, which in America is most often a Christian of some stripe. This is what he said…
“Well, when it comes down to it, the decision to follow God is a completely emotional one... which is why atheists are critical of the Christian's faith… every conversion experience is based on an emotional response: 1) fear of eternal damnation 2) gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice: the reason people "love" Christ is because he died for them while they were still sinners 3) loneliness and conformity”
The argument which he was making was related to the way Christians debate various issues. As I’m certain you’re aware, atheists are students of logic and empiricism. They prefer to argue within this realm because it is their area of comfort and they place no value on anything that can’t be explained with empirical data. There are Christians who also think in these terms, to be sure, but his observation is that it’s frustrating to discuss these things with Christians because, as he believes, their conversion to this thinking and their way of life is primarily based upon strong emotions, leaving them unable to engage in logical dialogue without having the conversation devolve into emotionalism. In other words, at some point the Christian will leave logic and make a leap of faith, in his opinion.
There is a level at which I agree with my friend, and certainly I know of people of faith who fit this description. I have troubles in dealing with people like this myself at times because they seem to place little value on reason. However, the issue I take with my friend is in his statement that the conversion experience is based purely upon an emotional response.
I would never suggest that there are not emotions involved in a conversion experience. However, speaking from my own experience, it was not emotion that changed me or “hooked” me, so to speak. It was a move of God. This is what I expressed to my friend, who, by the way, has had a religious experience of sorts in his own background. My statement to him was that He has never truly known God or experienced the wholesale change of thinking and desires that God makes in a person’s life. That is my argument. God changed me, and it was not due to cold chills, heart palpitations, or good feelings. Yes, there were emotions involved. Yes, I was made aware of the possibility of eternal damnation, of God’s love for me and sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for me, and yes those are, in part, emotional appeals. But I would submit that without a direct working of God within me, all of that would have simply remained hypothetical and unreal and wouldn’t have accomplished the real work that was needed, which was a change of my being. I know this isn't a satisfactory answer to my friend, but I'm just being honest about what I believe has happened within me, and that is based on the evidence I see in my own life.
I would further argue (to both atheists and Christians) that no purely emotional religious experience can help someone to persevere in faith in this life. Emotions will carry you for short periods of time, but when difficulties arise, a decision or conversion based exclusively upon emotions will fail you. Only a genuine work of God will sustain a person in those times, which are inevitable in the life of every person. And actually, that is why I believe atheism ultimately fails. It’s easy for an intelligent person (and most atheists are “high IQ” individuals) to make statements and arguments, but when the storms of life come and the explanations are gone, an atheist is only left grasping for something he can’t quantify, which leads to despair.
D. Courtney Hill
I’m not much on making political statements or even entering into political debate, but some of the recent discussions I’ve had with people and witnessed between others regarding the Gay Marriage issue currently facing our nation has had me at least lightly entering the fray. In the process of this, I’ve discovered that one of the most common accusations from the gay and lesbian community and their supporters is that anyone who believes redefining marriage to allow gay couples to marry must, by definition, be motivated out of some combination of fear, hate, and bigotry. I do not believe this is the case and I’d like to explain my own personal stance here in this blog today. Perhaps it will help people to see where I believe “most” Christian people are coming from in this debate. Bear in mind, there are people who are motivated out of fear, hate and bigotry. I just don't think most Christians fit into this category, and I will strongly disagree with any Christian who engages in personal attacks or displays hatred and bigotry toward anyone, even in the heat of debate.
First of all, I want to dispel the notion that disagreeing with redefining marriage must be based on fear, hate, and bigotry. This accusation is often unfounded but is still leveled against Christians because it is such a strong rallying point for public outcry. There are certainly people who are made uncomfortable by homosexuality, without question. It makes me uncomfortable, I will admit. However, I’m not homophobic. I also have no hatred for homosexuals. On the contrary, I have great compassion for them. As a person who is the recipient of God’s grace myself, and having also dealt with my own sin and needing ongoing repentance, I am keenly aware that these struggles are genuine. It may seem an affront to homosexuals for me to say this, but I hope and pray for their deliverance from this lifestyle. I care about them as people. I do see homosexuality as sinful and self-destructive behavior, just as I see other sins in the same way. Sexual sin (whether homosexual or heterosexual) is mentioned in Scripture as having particularly damaging effects on the individual, a sin against one's own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18) My feelings toward gay people, therefore, is that I have compassion for them and would even offer to help them if possible, to pray for them and counsel them if they would be interested. Many do not see themselves in need of any help and certainly not in need of any deliverance, but my purpose here is to simply explain where I’m coming from. I have no desire to force my views on anyone.
In light of this, it should also be known that I am not motivated by a desire to withhold rights from people. I do not have trouble with a person who has been a faithful friend or partner being allowed to visit their significant other in the hospital. Others may disagree with me, but I don’t even have an issue with gay couples having other legal rights afforded to married couples. It's the redefining of marriage that troubles me most.
Now, here is why I have an issue with gay marriage. It dishonors God. When I look at Scripture, I see that from the beginning, God created them male and female. (Genesis 1:27) It is also clear that marriage was the first institution founded by God in Genesis 2:24, where the writer says… “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” It is clear that the marriage relationship is foundational to God and that the family unit is intended to be the primary building block of society. Jesus Himself reiterated the importance of this relationship in Matthew 19 when He is explaining the reason for forbidding divorce. In addition to this, this foundational institution of marriage serves as a symbol of the relationship of Christ to His Church. In Revelation 19, the Apostle John says, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” This is the picture of the marriage feast of the Lamb to His Bride, the Church.
So, when I say that I’m against gay marriage, it is based upon the depth of meaning that marriage itself has to me and to my faith. I am not against people or against relationships. My thoughts are deeply rooted in my desire to honor God. If God defined “marriage” as between a man and a woman and instituted this relationship as the foundation for human society, then to redefine the word to include homosexual relationships is simply wrong from a Christian and Biblical perspective. I also believe that when a nation “officially” declares God to be in error in defining marriage, they are declaring themselves no longer in need of His guidance and care, and can certainly expect that there would be consequences to follow, which I would like for all of us to avoid, regardless of our sexual orientation. This is where I’m coming from and, while I certainly do not expect all to agree with me, I would hope that we can reasonably discuss these issues without things devolving into some kind of angry rant or name-calling, something which I simply refuse to do.
In closing, let me just add this: what homosexuals do in their own lives is their own business. I disagree with it and agree with Scripture that it is sinful, but it is their right. I am not against people loving one another and being committed to one another in any way. I do not mind civil unions nor any of the rights afforded to couples who engage in them, if the government is so inclined to extend these rights. If you really want to boil it down to the bottom line, here is what I would suggest might make the entire thing go away. Don’t call it “marriage.” Call it something else. Call it a civil union. Call it anything besides marriage because that is the real hang-up for me and I'd suggest it's likely the same for most Christians. Redefining something God has defined does not honor Him, and that’s my concern above all- honoring God.
D. Courtney Hill