My Coming Out

Dr, Gary, Davis, NakedPastor, coming out, honesty, Jesus, Clueless, Christian

@nakedpastor

My Coming-Out

            No, no, not that kind of “coming-out.” Something much more basic. But WHY now? Well…—

Over the course of EMPulse releases I’ve received numerous questions asking, “Who are you?” My kids would tersely answer, “Dad’s weird.” Nonetheless, I believe it is time for a tad more revelation about— me.

I am Gary West Davis, son of Earl Carlton Davis & Florence Adelaide Davis, brother to Carol (Norton) Davis, (a fact she regularly denies). I was born in inner-city Baltimore in the days when my dad worked for the railroad, my mom, for the new Social Security Administration. I, like all the other kids, joined a teenage gang. No big thing; we were all in one.

When dad received an appointment from President Eisenhower to head up a Congregational Sub-Committee on the Future of the Maritime Seaways we moved to the Baltimore suburbs so he could commute to D.C. more easily. For the first time in my life I experienced a suburban high-school. THAT was a real eye-opener. I could even go the bathroom in school without fear of being beaten up by a rival gang. Nice.

It was during these days in HS that I began to be concerned about our society, the world situation, and my place in it all. So I joined The Young Socialist Society (read Communist Party). I did things in those days of which I am not proud. But I wanted to make a difference. I wanted social change.

At the same time I was investigating the Christian faith, mostly because of the cute girls I found at church. But I turned my back on God when an overly-pious friend told me that real Christians don’t go to movies. He was clueless! I left the church for the next 3 years.

It was during my studies in Philosophy at college when I again confronted Christianity on an intellectual level. After 2 years of trying everything under the sun, I had no more arguments against the Christian life-philosophy. I gave up with the words,“I give up! I can’t fight You.” Thus began my life-long discovery of what this Christian thing, and the rest of life, is all about.

During my 3 years in seminary a local pastor took me on and challenged me on every aspect of my life. Fortunately, he was ruthless and didn’t put up with any of my crap. Thank God.

Today, after five graduate degrees, I find myself a writer, a trans-cultural communications consultant, and a counselor helping people get from A to B. Through it all I have pursued life with a passion that few have the privilege to do so. And it’s far from over!

I have THREE CORE VALUES. First, my relationship with myself; my personal integrity. I maintain it with great gusto. Second, my relationship with my family; my incredible wife, Starr, and my two kids, Joshua and Bethany, and now their families. And Third, my relationship with the God who made me— Jesus Christ. My devotion to Him is not up for discussion. [Yes, philosophically, some doubts remain; but only concerning certainty vs. certitude. Experientially, it’s a whole other story.]

So as you read any future, or past, EMPulse releases, remember that I am a man of passion, of relationships, especially when it comes to those in need, and of a deep devotion to my Lord. I still love single-malt Scotch, Volvos, and giving monthly gifts to my wife. So ends my coming-out; for now. More dirt later.

 

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

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Get your passion on

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, Sir Richard Branson, Virgin, PassionPassion. That driving force within that will not allow you to give up. It’s that tenacious voice that screams within, “No matter what, I will, I MUST, do this one thing!” It can be a call to arms, a commitment to excellence, an unshakable compulsion to complete a task:  it might also be a deep heart yearning for a man, a woman, a love between friends that is a life-time commitment.

To be sure, passion, of any kind, can be twisted. It can be twisted into revenge, seething inner rage, or a deep evil desire to cause harm to another; like ethnic cleansing, terrorism, erotic murders, etc. These are perversions of passion. Still passion, but of the darkest kind. Don’t go there. It will inevitably consume your strength, turn your mind into a shadow, and hollow out your soul.

A proper passion is not like that. As billionaire/philanthropist Sir Richard Branson once said, “There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions in a way that serves the world and you… .” [Founder of The Virgin Group- Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Records, & 400 other companies.  He has always been one of my heroes.]

My passions, like my commitments, run deep and long. Many people see passion as a sign of weakness because it is an emotion. I’ve never understood that. Are people afraid of their passions (vs. feelings)? I don’t know many who have experienced a cerebral kiss. Sounds yucky. Personally, I would rather find someone who is truly passionate about what they believe than someone who is generally compliant, in the middle, indecisive, passive.

Every decade of my life has produced a mantra that guides me. My present one is—

Honor God, honor people—and make a difference.

            So if you are passionate about something, anything, you are well on your way to making a difference. [Or to becoming a great kisser.]

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christian, Christianity, Edge, Edges, Balance, innovate,Are you on the cutting edge? How do the edges of your life box you in? You need a sharp edge. Don’t go over the edge. Pushing the edge of the envelope. Edgy. The edge of tomorrow. The edge of extinction.

Pick a phrase— edges are at every corner of our lives. Some are boundaries, protecting us from going over the edge. Others leave paper cuts (ouch!). Other edges cut our steaks, or kill our adversaries. Or, metaphorically, draw us to move forward, daring us to test our limitations. Other edges cut dividing lines between families, peoples, countries, and ideologies. In one way or another, we are all on the edge of something.

My personal preference is to be on the cutting edge as much as possible— an innovator, rather than a late adapter. Not that I have to have the latest and greatest; rather, I like to create the future before it gets here. That’s all.

Someone once said to me, “Gary, you never seem happy with the way things are.” I responded, “Why thank you.” He retorted, “No, I meant that as a criticism.” I had taken it as a compliment. Different side of the blade, I guess.

What are your edges? Do they box you in? Cut paths where there are none? Or leave you with paper cuts? Whenever you try to cut through society’s crap, you are bound to get a little scraped up yourself. Is it worth it to you? Is it worth it to make a difference? To be on the next cutting edge? To make a difference?

Maybe you do not need to be an innovator. [Which tends to have a high risk-factor.] But please, don’t drag the rest of us into the “safe,” good-ol’-days of our past. Those edges are dull.

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Viral Infection

 

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, Christianity, Viral, Infection, Runny, Nose‘Tis the season for summer colds; viri, if you please. In the last couple of weeks I have had two of them— one in my sinuses, the other on my laptop. Actually, ONE in my body, and 555 on my laptop. I was at the point of despair. I could not be productive because of “malware, viruses, Trojans (probably a few Spartans too), and worms,” and I could not breathe or think clearly because of the, er, mucus. It was disgusting, to say the least. Now, all is well!

Why is it that such small widdle infections shut down our bodies and render our electronic selves null and void?!? It’s just not fair! I want to live a vibrant, productive life; not one run down from some microbe impossible to see even under an electron microscope (die, you sucker!), let alone by some hacker’s idea of fun. (May the computer-gods have mercy on their foul deeds.)

But isn’t that just the way it goes sometimes? We make these great plans for our day, our life, then we wake up one morning with a runny nose; or our computer gives us so many pop-ups and redirects that we just want to chuck it against a wall!?! Does infuriating ring a bell?

It has always astonished me that the evolution theorists don’t seem to be talking to the chaos theoristsLeft to develop on their own, things do NOT improve:  they get worse, like a teenagers room. Left untreated my virus would run its course and run me down. Selah. Left unchecked, my computer virus would render my faithful widdle waptop useless. Selah.

Things are not getting better.

Certainly, we have great advances in medical technology, protecting the environment, improving the quality of life, even in constructing faster and more versatile computers. But, overall, would you say our world is a better place? My runny nose and CNN seem to indicate otherwise.

Don’t get me wrong, these modern technologies and discoveries make my life easier and more productive every day, except for the recent 555 invasion. But we seem to have regressed to a phase of human development where individual power, national and/or religious rights, and the struggle for world dominance has supplanted civil, humanitarian respect for our fellow inhabitants of this planet.

Some people cry out “Why can’t we all just get along?!? Good question. The answer isn’t so pleasant.  Want it? At its core? Here’s my version—

We have turned our backs to the principles God set down at Creation

and decided we knew how to run things better than He does.

Thus, virus infections in both man and machine.

Just brilliant!

  Gary

Four-Buck Bourbon

Dr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, Christianity, Bourbon, Cheap, Value First, a disclaimer— I am not a Bourbon drinker, let alone a connoisseur. But when a friend of mine told me he had bought a $4 bourbon, I assumed he meant a glass of the stuff. He did not. He meant the whole bottle. For four bucks! That’s $4.00! Four ounces of STP Gas Treatment costs about the same— by comparison. Octane Boost is $7.50.

But this was an entire bottle of Bourbon for $4.00. My interest was piqued! So I turned to the Internet to discover what could possibly be that cheap. After perusing a few sites it seemed that the unanimous conclusion was a certain brand that will go unnamed because I do not want to go to jail. A number of bourbon drinkers described it as “tasting mostly like dirt.” Blended, no less. I decided sampling it was out of the question.

Thus, philosophically did I ponder— What is the purpose of Four-Buck Bourbon? I came up with these possible options—

1.      To get totally plastered! Cheaply.

2.      A gift for that special relative.

3.      A Car-Starter on a cold winter’s morn.

4.      Cheap octane-booster.

5.      A De-greaser.

6.      Weed-Killer.

7.      Flavoring in even worse coffee.

8.      Cough medicine.

9.      A Molotov Cocktail.

10.  Self-initiated suicide. (No reports on success rate).

More realistically, I pondered— Why would anyone buy Four-Buck Bourbon? Other than a few of the ideas above, I could only deduce two—

1.      To get plastered…, again.

2.      You could not afford STP Octane Boost.

These same philosophical questions arise when many of us choose what we really value. We tend to settle for group-think; what the majority believes. “I’ll have what he’s having.” We settle for the cheap instead of doing the hard work of considering the issues, the morality, the implications, the ramifications and effects on other people.

Actions DO have consequences. Make sure your actions are worth something. Don’t settle for the Four-Buck Bourbon level of contribution to the needs of our world. And if you DO drink Four-Buck Bourbon, my apologies; and my prayers.

 

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Building Blocks

Dr, Gary, Davis, Christian, Clueless, Christianity, Building, Blocks, Build up, Most of us know the things that wear us down, that tear us down. Chronic car problems, an over-demanding boss, tension at home, “teenagers.” But what about the things that build us up? Being content one evening will not strengthen you for long:  turning in for the night with a sense of accomplishment, night after night, will do more for you than almost anything else imaginable.

So allow me to offer a list of some of the things that have, and still do, build me up-

1.      Accomplishment.

2.      Healthy relationships.

3.      Restoring broken relationships.

4.      One good, yea verily, great, friendship.

5.      Being loved.

6.      Loving someone.

7.      Sharing your pain with someone else.

8.      Crying.

9.      Resolving issues.

10.  Giving to others.

11.  Self-care.

12.  Admitting, and facing, your guilt and failures.

13.  Identifying and defining tightly that which fulfills your passion.

14.  A sense of purpose

15.  Time alone.

16.  Forming an open, transparent relationship with the God who made you.

17.  Times in deeper realities through prayer and imagination.

18.  Difficult situations.

19.  Difficult people.

20.  Working hard.

There are probably many more things that build me up, but one in particular I MUST mention or go unwisely amiss of any advice I might offer. Spending time, both quality & quantity, with my wife Starr Lynn Davis.

For what it’s worth,

  Gary

Ripples

Dr, gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, Christianity, effects, affected, relationshipsRemember sitting on a summer beach letting the water roll in— letting it wash over you in its salty brine? Did your eyes follow the surf as its ripples returned to the sea in currents and eddies? Never the same twice, but always the same ripples…, returning to the sea.

I often ponder the similarities between those ocean ripples and the effects I might have on another person. How do the ripples of my life choices affect the currents, the ebb and flow of the lives I touch? Hopefully, the way I live and relate with others builds them in their lives; hopefully, their lives start to reflect some of the same ripples that have trickled through my life.

For I am the result of countless friends, mentors, critiques, counselors, and even enemies. I have not been one to swim under the ripples that pushed toward me; rather, I have learned to flow with them, for a while, until I learn whatever lesson is carried by that ripple.

That being said, it must also be added that sometimes those ripples had to build to the level of a tsunami for me to ride along with it. We all fight the tides of life that threaten us, that want to push us off our course, and I was no exception. Now…, not so much. This has probably come from being churned up in the surf far too many times.

Whatever stage of life wherein you find yourself, whatever dire or laudable circumstance, you are making ripples for everyone you know. What kinds of ripples are you leaving in your wake? Do they buoy up a person, or just about drown them? Does your family enjoy and respect you, or fear your return from work? Do your employees see you as a hard task-master or someone who empowers them to greater performance and joyful sacrifice? As you meet passersby do you smile at them, or appear stern and even threatening?

You need to know the kinds of effects you have on the people that surround you. Is it building and uplifting, giving them the thrill of a surfer riding the waves? Or are your ripples more like the pounding surf in a hurricane, bringing destruction wherever its waves land?

The kinds of ripples you leave in your wake are your legacy to your family, your grandchildren, your community, and to this planet. Leave good ones! For what it’s worth,

  Gary

insufficient evidence

Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christianity, Christian, beliefs, evidence, values, known, Let’s start by considering the opposite of insufficient evidence—namely, sufficient evidence. The question put to us is simple, “Would there be sufficient evidence to convict you of what you say you believe?” or, “What repercussions do your values have for the way you live?”

Certainly, Navy Seals can boast ample evidence that their actions bespeak of a deep belief in “God & country.”  (Their motto is Ready to lead…, ready to follow. Never quit.) People of deep religious faith generally could be convicted for their faith; there should be sufficient evidence. (If there is not…, well.) There is probably a Gallup survey that asks “To what extent do you follow through on your commitments?”

Yet in our Western, postChristian, pluralistic world there seems to be more of an inclination toward tentative commitments and cautious relationships. The fear of being known has regained unusual ground in a culture longing for safety. There has also been a rise in the fear of being wrong, or making the wrong choice or decision. Therefore, many of us never fully commit to anything. We have prenuptial agreements, escape clauses, termination parachutes, etc. We are a people who do not like to be pinned down or labeled; Christian, Republican, Conservative/Liberal, even male/female.

Part of the reason for our hesitation-to-commit is our fear of being hurt. It is our fear of being rejected from “the group,” or our insecurity stemming from our own historical observations that commitments are simply inconsequential. So why make them? We have fed this innate fear that, if we make a mistake we need to cover ourselves; we need to provide an escape route that will free us from the whole mess, the marriage, the contract, the bond. We fear being hurt so much that we don’t fully give ourselves to anything, or anyone, anymore. We always need to protect ourselves— a way OUT.

Therefore, we can never be pinned down on what we hold dear, what we value, or what we believe:  it’s just safer for us that way. Or is it?

Without sufficient evidence to hold us to any belief system or set of values we may have escaped the wrath of some other group. We may have avoided another deep heartache. But we have also demolished our own core. We have morphed its solidity for mush, its certainty for wishy-washy equivocation, which is about as inspiring as tan wallpaper.

If our leaders, and ourselves, do not hold positional beliefs and values strong and clear enough to convict us then who have we become? Insufficient evidenceis the descriptor of weaker men who do not want to be held accountable for their actions.

Let’s stand up and be counted—  even if it costs us our lives.

‘Nough said,

  Gary

Playing God

Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christianity, Christian, God, Playing, reality, pride, self-centered, atheist, beliefPlaying God. How many of us do this unconsciously every day of our lives. Of course, if you are an atheist, you cannot play; there is no one to impersonate. But if you are anything else you have probably wanted to be God in some situation or another. Sometimes, for the good—as in saving a life or preventing a disaster:  other times, for your own selfish control—you just want things to go your way. Everyone else be damned. This last reason is the most likely explanation why you are not God. You’re not that good at playing Him. It’s always too much all about you.

            Too many of us believe that playing God is about exerting absolute power over things. Some of the men I know try to do this in their immediate families with varying degrees of disastrous results. Fathers want to be dictators or drill sergeants, yelling out commands with unquestioned authority. Thank God He isn’t like that. To the contrary; he actually tells us what He wants from us, so there will be no question.  Psalm 51:16, 17 puts it best—

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;

You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.

You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

Basically, outward shows of worship do not compare in any way with an inner understanding of our place in the universe. But why broken?” Really?!? Do any of us truly need to ask? Our propensity to play God is only usurped by our arrogant assumption to become God, at least of our own little realm.

            So thus do we come to play God with everything and everyone around us. Our species has a natural proclivity to assert ourselves. We are restless. We cannot wait for definition or direction; we must determine our own direction with only a casual glance to the impression we may leave on this planet, in the universe, or on other creatures. It truly has become all about us.

            We become the God we reject and complain when others will not play the game our way. And so follows war, cultural degradation, family dissolution, and a re-writing (in many forms) of the internally inscribed moral-code; for there is no one left to constrain us…; but us.

            Really!

            Though I am but one man, one human, of one species among many, I do have a sense that I am part of something far greater than myself. And though I do dare to play god at times, in my own little universe, I am always mindful that I am but a small player in a grand scheme, designed by Someone much more omnipotent than myself.

            So the next time you are tempted to assert your manhood, or your womanhood, or your position or authority over another, do so from the perspective that you are no greater than the God of the Universe dares allow you: and prostrate yourself before Him. Next to me.

  Gary

Mystery & Mysticism

 

 Dr, Gary, Davis, Needinc, Clueless, Christianity, Christian, science, mystery, awe, universeWe’re missing something in Western culture. We’ve lost a sense of awe of amazement, of wonderand reverence. We’ve settled for scientific discovery as a finding in the natural world, be they earth-bound or galactic. Though the scientists, biologists, geneticists, astronomers and medical researchers who uncovered them are far more thrilled than the rest of us, in general, outside the scientific community; we have come to accept discovery as commonplace— as if we have been doing this since the inception of the universe. Not so.

             Though the Ancients may have been visited by extra-terrestrial beings to start them along their path of technology, in more recent days, say the past 2,500 years, we have come to rely on innovation and invention. A rudimentary scientific method was initiated by Parmenides in the 5th century BCE. The “scientific method” as we know it, was formulated almost entirely by Galileo Galilei in the 16th century; his question-hypothesis-speculation provided us with an even more precise approach through which to screen and test our findings.

            Still, there is something missing. It is that sense of mystery when we gaze into the heavens. With the naked eye we cannot even see their end:  with a telescope, a little deeper; with the Hubble Telescope, deeper; a radio-telegraph, even deeper. Wouldn’t you think that measuring something 45,000,000,000,000 light years away might provoke a sense of awe onto the gazer? How far away is that, actually? Well, try this— http://scaleofuniverse.com/

If we could use the world’s largest electron microscope, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, we would see the order and accident of the universe at a minutia level, far below the atomic level. Coupling the breadth of the universe with the order and accident at the 0.0000000001 yoctometric level (quantum foam & string theory stuff), it should be observably obvious that the universe, this earth, and our own bodies are very intricate entities.

But with these incredible measuring devices where is the mystery? Where is the awe and amazement? As science uncovers more of the complexity of our world, be it across the universe or within the electron of an atom, it seems, to this writer, that there is little probability of it all staying in balance through mere coincidence and chance. The survival of the fittest hypothesis seems just too simplistic.

Is it possible that the mystery and awe have been there all along? Just not discoverable with our measuring tools. Rather, it is within the human spirit, of which we all partake; but also for whom this universe was created. It has been said that God creates: we measure. Maybe our past mystical experiences were not merely flights of fancy after all; but rather explanations of what we had actually seen, yet not measured. Mysticism unmeasured.

If it turns out that We are what all of this is about, then there will truly be a time of celebration and rejoicing…, not to mention our great humility and contrition.

For what it’s worth,

Gary