I love cereal. I mean I really enjoy eating cereal. My favorite is Coco Puffs. I love the fact that because of the shape and airiness of the little chocolate spheroids the milk gets chocolaty while the cereal stays crunchy for a good amount of time. Compared with Coco Pebbles, who’s oblong pebble-like shapes while making the milk even more chocolaty, they just can’t stand up to the milky moisture. Leaving the cerealer with a soggy mess. Someone brought up Count Chocula to me the other day, yeah, not even in the same league. The marshmallows only hinder the breakfasting experience for me.

My wife finds it odd that I enjoy a bowl of cereal at night. She thinks it questionable that instead of a piece of pie or cake, cookie or brownie I would prefer to partake in spooning a nice bowl of cereal covered in chilled 2 percent into mouth. We sometimes discuss what we think the origins might be for my love affair with the contents of the brown box postered with that crazed bird. I can only logically conclude that growing up my mother supplied us with cereal. I can remember having plastic containers in the knee-high cabinets under the yellow and then green kitchen counter. I remember too my sister eating all the marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms before I could enrich my taste buds. Perhaps that trauma has lead to my present day aversion to cereal containing marshmallows? And who can forget the toys enclosed in plastic contained with in? Digging around the cardboard box while cereal overflows the tabbed box top? Man, cereal is fantastic!! It’s funny what we take from childhood.

Reflecting on growing up is something I have been doing a lot of and in my moments of reflection I have realized that God has graced my life with a great mother. Not many people can say that in today’s day and age but I can. While my childhood wasn’t always perfect and my family is filled with dysfunction, my mom was and is always a good mother. I’m blessed to have her. I think as my faith in God grows so to does my admiration for my mother and the struggles she has endured in her life. Also, as I am drawn closer to God by Jesus the holes left by my father are being filled. The ripples of pain left from broken promises, locked bedroom doors and divorce are starting to disappear into the vast sea of eternity and I truly believe that this healing and forgiveness is only possible through faith.

My mom is actually quite brilliant and I think my younger sister might be as well!!! Not that my brother and I aren’t smart. We were all taught to think and reason on our own and encouraged to learn and be creative. As I said, we were so fortunate. At the same time, and I only speak for myself, the biggest questions were still left unanswered as with most of my generation I think. In the past few weeks I’ve been trying to watch some videos on various websites like spikedhumor and youtube. I see a ton of “religious” related short films and the like so I thought it would be fun to take a look at what my generation is thinking about faith. I wish I could say I was surprised at what I saw but I wasn’t. Most of the videos have been pointed and fueled by skepticism but it’s not the actual videos that concern me, it’s the comments left by the viewers.

I found that most of the comments came from an atheistic point of view and focused on denouncing Christianity. Not denouncing all religions but focusing on Christianity! Some were well thought out and based on some principle but most were lashings out. The few comments made by people of faith were done with anger and distain out of ignorance, hardly coming from a true Christian faith point of view. Many used cusswords and in sum told every non-believer that they are destined for an endless life in hell.

This past Sunday my pastor spoke about reaching out to people and forming relationships. I have a huge heart for people so this message in particular I felt. Again, attributed to my mom that all three of her cherubs have compassion for people!! This is part of why I wanted to start this blog. I truly feel that I have found the most amazing thing and I want to share it with everyone especially my family. I want to try and live the rest of my life in a way that is tolerant and respectful. I want to experience true, unhindered relationships with people. I believe that part of the answer to the meaning of life is to form meaningful, real relationships. Relationships with not only people similar to our selves with the same beliefs but people who are vastly different than us in every way. I also conclude that it is in these relationship we find some evidence of God.

So many people, and I was one of them for twenty-five years, have very little knowledge of what it truly means to be a Christian. Many are running from and fighting something and don’t even know why.  These comments coming from self professed Christians committing everyone to hell are not helping matters at all. Most people, Christians included, have not spent any significant amount of time reading the bible. And I in no way consider my self to be an expert in this area. I don’t spend enough time studying for sure but from what I have seen and read I believe that living by the standards exemplified by Jesus Christ is a better way to live. That’s why it saddens me to see comments being viewed by the public that are claiming to be from a Christian point of view but written by someone who is not at all representative of Christ. These people in no way represent my faith and I want to yell that to the world.

I have an inkling that the reason so many of my generation are non-believers is because their only exposure to Christianity comes from the evening news and internet postings with rants from fundamentalists or people who are just somehow missing the message. Even further than that I think maybe the reason so many of my generation are left searching for something they can’t describe is because the modern day thought has left God out of it’s musings. We’ve been taught to argue and resist against God with out knowing who and what it is we are arguing and resisting. As a result many are left with MBA’s and PhD’s but still unfulfilled. God has been tossed to the side by our society and with out God’s presence the meaning of life and purpose go too.

Steve Turner’s “Modern Thinkers Creed” has so aptly expressed what is being taught in the halls of our most respected houses of higher learning. “Here is the creed for the modern thinker. We believe in Marx, Freud and Darwin. We believe everything is okay, as long as you don’t hurt anyone to the best of your definition of hurt and to your best definition of knowledge. We believe in sex before, during and after marriage. We believe in the therapy of sin. We believe that adultery is fun. We believe that sodomy is okay. We believe that taboos are taboo. We believe that everything is getting better despite evidence to the contrary. The evidence must be investigated and you can prove anything with evidence. We believe there is something in horoscopes, UFO’s, and bent spoons. Jesus was a good man just like Buddha, Mohammad and ourselves. He was a good moral teacher, although we think basically his good morals were really bad. We believe that all religions are the basically the same, at least the ones we read were. They all believe in love and goodness. They only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God and salvation. We believe that after death comes nothing because when you ask the dead what happens they say nothing. If death is not the end, and if the dead have lied, then it’s compulsively heaven for all except perhaps Hitler, Stalin and Chingis Khan. We believe in Masters and Johnson. What is selected is average, what’s average is normal, and what’s normal is good. We believe in total disarmament. We believe there are direct links between warfare and bloodshed. Americans should beat their guns into tractors and the rest of the world would be sure to follow. We believe that man is essentially good-it’s only his behavior that lets him down. This is the fault of society; society’s the fault of condition; and conditions are the fault of society. We believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him and reality will adapt accordingly; the universe will readjust and history will alter. We believe that there is no absolute truth, except the truth that there is no absolute truth. We believe in the rejection of creeds and the flowering of individual thought.”

As a by product of this thought my generation is not only growing up in a fatherless society but a Fatherless universe as well. No mother stands a chance, even one as exceptional as mine. I wish everyone could have had as great a mother as I have, who bought them cereal and instilled the values of education, creativity and openness. Unfortunately not everyone has been as fortunate as my brother, sister and I. And not everyone enjoys a nightly bowl of cereal while reminiscing of their youth, good times and bad. However a healed heart, peace, gratitude, forgiveness and grace only found in the cuffed hands of the Lord is offered to us all.



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4 responses to “Cereal

  1. Rheanna

    Baby, this is so awesome!! You make me so proud to be your wife!! I love you and cannot wait to be a part of the great things God is going to do through your life!!

  2. nanis

    This is a well thought out and inspiring post. You seem to be moving forward in your quest for knowledge about the meaning of life, and I am impressed.
    Just remember, there are often many versions of the truth, and none is less true. What’s true to you is clearly making you a better and stronger person. Other people may take a different road, and arrive at a different place in their quest, but still attain fulfillment.
    I am so proud of you, and love seeing you on this positive road. Rheanna is right. It, and you, are awesome.

  3. Clare Stella

    Jon, This is really interesting and thought provoking. You certainly have been influenced by one of the best people I know (your mom) and your love for her is evident and beautiful in your writing. I think it is obvious that you have found a structure that answers many questions for you.
    I agree with you that some folks hold themselves up as Christians while at the very same time they are awful to others. That is not my definition of Christianity.
    Something is definitely wrong with today’s society. There is very little respect for anything! I see so much of this in my job at the treatment center. The young addicts don’t respect their parents, their God, and even their own body/self. They are lost souls.
    I enjoy reading your thoughts and think my kids would agree with you about the importance of a good bowl of cereal.
    Keep writing!
    Love, Auntie Clare

  4. nanis

    I wanted to add that I love your description of the joy of eating a bowl of cereal. I’m a Cheerios girl myself, but the way you talk of Cocoa Puffs makes them sound yummy!

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