Archives For Religion

strong_jesus

JESUS HAD A SIX PACK

(Edited from posted in April 2015)

Since I was a little boy and as far back as I can remember, I’ve always had a strong belief in God and something “bigger than me and this world”.  This was so much so that in High School I began to question everything I was being taught in the Catholic church, and set out on my own journey to “find God”.  That search for “truth” continues to this day, but one very practical thing that never really made sense was how the world has portrayed Jesus, which has been a very frail, skinny, white, pale sickly looking man who anyone could take down with one punch to the face.

I believe in a very different image of Jesus Christ, one that I feel should have been adopted a long long time ago, and it’s based on very practical observations.  I believe that Jesus was not frail or sickly, but rather a very strong and fit man with dark skin, strong forearms and biceps, resembling a very fit and toned MMA fighter of today.  He probably didnt’ have the physique of a bodybuilder, and may have been more lean, but by all means had more muscle and endurance than most of us.  How have I come to this conclusion?

JESUS WAS A FISHERMAN

The fisherman of today have it pretty easy compared to the days of Jesus.  There were no motorized boats or machinery that lifted nets and brought fish into your boat.  Lots of rowing by hand, pulling up nets by hand all day, every day.  Unloading the boat of fish, packaging the fish, pulling the boats in, etc.  A complete work out like this every single day would have to keep these guys fit and toned.  The exaggerated depiction of Popeye’s forearms was not just the creation of a cartoonist, as I’m sure that fisherman developed huge forearms from all of this work.  In addition to all of the manual labor that kept them fit, take into account their constant exposure to the sun which probably kept them nice a tanned all year round.

 JESUS WAS A CARPENTER

Carpentry today can’t compare to the work involved in the days of Jesus either.  Because of my circular saws, miter saws, jig saw, and my dewalt cordless drill, I can build in minutes what it probably took hours or days for them to build back in the day.  And the energy exerted would be minimal.

If Jesus needed to build a table for someone, he had to manually cut each piece of wood, shave each piece by hand, and perform tasks that required strength and arm pressure.  Wood work back then was not easy work and I’m sorry, but if you do your research on the many different facets of wood work back then one would have to come to the conclusion that these craftsman were building muscle while working.

JESUS ENDURED HIS EXECUTION BECAUSE HE WAS PHYSICALLY ABLE

Without going into detail about every task involved with being a fisherman or carpenter back in that day, I would hope that you can see how easy it would be to come to the conclusion that Jesus was not what the world has described to us for so long.  I feel that one of the major reasons that Jesus was able to endure what he did during his crucifixion was due to his physique and fitness.  The “frail” Jesus wouldn’t have made it past lashing #4 or #5, and yet Jesus withstood 40 FREAKIN LASHES with a weapon that was designed to rip his skin off!

Add to this the beat down that he received from the soldiers, the fact that he had to carry his own heavy cross to his own execution, and then having huge railroad type spikes driven through his arms and feet.  The strength needed to continuously try to pull him self up and position himself to breath easier required a strength that the little white sickly Jesus simply wouldn’t have been able to handle.  Many of us would have been dead before even making it to carrying our own cross.

JESUS WAS A BAD ASS

As you sip on your coffee this morning, prepare for lunch, or even as you make plans for this coming Easter Sunday, remember that the man behind the Easter holiday was plain and simply a Bad Ass.  Whether you believe that he rose from the dead or not, Jesus was a real man who walked this earth, and history supports the fact that he was executed in one of the most gruesome ways possible.

His message was just as real, which in a nut shell was one of LOVE and FORGIVENESS.  If you take anything away from the story of Jesus at least take that.  Learn from his selfless life of Love and walk in it everyday.  He gave us so many great lessons and tools to use to live this life and his story has stood the test of time and will continue for centuries to come.

Have a Great Easter everyone and eat lots of BBQ this Sunday.  *smiley face here.

@hectorgarciahtx

 Photo artwork from Tjokorda Bagus Wiratmaja

lessonoflove2_blog

A Lesson in Love:  Part 2

Christmas Day has come and gone but because Christmas is more of a season rather than one day, we still have a full week of celebration to take advantage of.  No one knows the exact day that Jesus was born but as I stated in Part 1 of this series, history outside of the Bible supports that Jesus was a real man, with a real message that walked this earth and changed the world.  His impact is so much so that the entire world celebrates a season that exists only because of his birth and not to mention that his birth and existence also affected our entire dating system i.e. BC (before Christ) and AD (after his death).  One cannot celebrate this season / holiday without acknowledging this man and his message and though many try, kicking and screaming, it’s almost impossible to do unless you take a plane trip to the desert and hide for a couple of months.

At the core of Jesus’ message to the world is LOVE and if you read and filter everything that he taught through that love, it would all make a lot more sense and provides a lot more meaning.  When Jesus came onto the scene the area that he lived in was looking for a new leader and king and Jesus appeared to be the perfect candidate.  He had the opportunity to take on a political position of power and strength but that’s not what he was here for.  His purpose was to “love” a world that was hurting, a world that was not in need of more politicians but one that was in need of healing and direction.  He was hear to give the world what they needed, not what they wanted and that message of hope and love is something that we all need.

There’s a scripture in the book of Mark that says:  “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45).  Again, if you filter just this one verse through “love”, then you would see that the message here is to put others first and serve others more than ourselves.  This is not just advice for different instances, but it should be a lifestyle.  Could you imagine everyone living a life of humility focused on putting others first?  What kind of world would this be if we walked like this?

This is why Christmas is so special, it’s a time of the year that makes people want to give and do “good things”.  There are so many organizations that exist simply for the purpose of giving to the world this time of year.  For example, one organization gives away hundreds of brand new bicycles to children of low income families, which is awesome, but why can’t we do something like this year round?  Why do we only serve huge Thanksgiving meals to the needy and hungry in November?  Why do we only buy gifts for our family and friends because a once a year holiday dictates that we do?  When was the last time that you gave a gift to someone for the hell of it, simply because?

“Walking in love” and “serving” one another is a lifestyle, and the idea of Christmas should be year round.  Let the new year involve lots of serving and laying your life down for your friends, your family, co-workers, and even people you don’t know.  Let the next time you buy someone a gift be for absolutely no other reason than simply cause you were thinking of that person or wanted to show your appreciation for them in your life.  I personally feel that if I always walked in love with the goal of putting others first, I would have been spared many mistakes I’ve made in life over the years.  I can only learn from those experiences and do better today and tomorrow.  I will choose to follow my own advice and walk in love and live like it’s Christmas everyday.  Trust me, serving others in not just for those receiving, but ultimately it will benefit you more than you know.

Merry Christmas.

@hectorgarcia

 

 

 

bike

HECTOR’S SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS: PART 4

Today is the last day in the series that I’ve been writing called Hector’s Search for Happiness.  I hope you guys have enjoyed it and that somewhere in this stuff you’ve found something to take to heart and chew on.  My ultimate goal in this and in anything that I write is to encourage and build you up.  My life isn’t awesome everyday by any means and I have my share of daily struggles, but just like anyone else I want to be happy and I want my life to matter.  Your life matters and I believe that every person on this earth has a purpose.  Figuring out that purpose should be your daily mission and in doing so I feel that you will learn a lot about yourself, which brings me to my first list for today which is Loving Yourself.

HAPPINESS IS LOVING YOURSELF

I’ve traced my life back as far as I can remember and I don’t think that I ever really struggled with self esteem issues.  I don’t feel like I’m a great looking person and I do have about 10 – 15 lbs to lose around my waist line, but my confidence doesn’t come from how I look, it’s just the way that I’m wired.  For some, self confidence will come naturally while for others it has to be taught and developed.

If there was one ultimate source for happiness I feel that it will come from how you feel about yourself.  This can come from how you view yourself physically to how you feel about your purpose in the world.  This morning the comedian Amy Schumer was on the Today show and she talked about how walking in self confidence has not always been easy but that she has found her stride and she is doing what she can to encourage others.  In Amy’s words she’s not a “skinny” person and in one of her comedy bits she describes what goes on under her clothes as a lava lamp, where everything just moves around all lazy and slow, waiting to be released with the unzipping of the back of her dress.  It’s great that she can make fun of herself through her comedy and she does a great job of using humor to lift people up.

If we can learn anything from Amy it’s that size doesn’t matter and it’s all about what’s in your heart.  Who you are as a person is more about what’s going on in the inside that what the world sees on the outside.  I have encountered some very shallow people in my life who are beautiful people physically, but unfortunately lack substance and heart.  While on the other end I know people who some may say are overweight and not that physically attractive yet they have hearts of gold and are making a difference in the world.  Those are the people that I want to know and those are the kinds of people that we can learn from.

Focus on finding your place in this world and surround yourself with “beautiful” people with “beautiful” hearts.  Build one another up daily and in doing this it will undoubtedly help you with your own self confidence.  Also, don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others on social media, which can be one of the biggest confidence killers.  Know that everything that we see online is not the real world and your friend’s photos of how awesome their life is and how happy they are on vacation or at the beach is not the whole story.  If you’re not careful you’ll find yourself comparing your life to others and beating yourself up because you can’t post amazing before and after fitness photos from your bathroom.

HAPPINESS IS RIDING MY BIKE

When I was 12yrs old and we moved to Spring Branch into some huge new apartment complex called Afton Village.  I give the apartment name because I would love to hear from anyone who lived there as well back in the day.  That place was seriously it’s own little city and I have some great memories from that one year of living there.  One of my fondest memories was seeing BMX freestyle in person for the first time in my life.  I remember walking through the complex and being stopped in my tracks as I saw someone playing around on their bike about 100 yards away.  I was mesmerized by what I was seeing and it changed my life forever.  Not long after seeing this my mom bought me my first BMX bike and I rode the hell out of that thing.  I slowly began trying to do whatever tricks I saw that guy do at Afton and by ninth grade I become one of about 20 other BMX flatland riders in Houston.

I can truly say that my bike changed my life.  I loved riding and it was my passion throughout high school and I feel that it kept me out of a lot of trouble.  Me and my friends spent hours and many late nights on the weekend riding in parking lots and learning new tricks.  I remember coming home from school, not being able to wait to get on my bike and hit the park tennis courts to master that one trick that I had been trying to learn for the past 2 – 3 months.  I had found a passion and something I truly loved and it made me happy.

There were several years in the 90s where I abandoned my BMX bike and got into mountain biking and even had a short stint as an aggressive inline skater.  LOL, yes, I skated and I would have to say that I became very good at it, buut by 1998 I caught the BMX bug again and picked up where I left off in 1990.  Since then I haven’t slowed down and riding my bike and being involved in the cycling community is a passion of mine that makes me happy.  I’m sure I’ll be riding around this weekend so keep an eye out for me and don’t run me over.

Friends, love yourself, love others, find your passion and run with it, do what you love and do whatever it takes to be where you’re supposed to be, don’t settle for anything less than what brings true happiness and change the world around you.  And if you don’t own a dog or a bike, get your ass out there this weekend I find both.  That will be your homework for the weekend.  Trust me, you’ll be a very happy person by Monday.

Happy weekend.

@hectorgarciahtx

 

 

 

 

redcoat

BETTER.

Everyday we wake up to a world that seems to be striving to be better at something.  I have friends who are professional BMX riders and I see the effort on a daily basis to become a better ramp rider or flatlander.  I see friends working to become better cyclists or become faster sprinters.  My Instagram is FULL of people striving to have better bodies and bigger muscles.  Scroll through your Facebook feed and you’ll see all of your friends working to be a better artist, smarter student, better cook, and even a better latte art master.  We should always be striving to be better at what we love, but I want to encourage everyone today to not only be better at “something” but to be better people in general.

The last couple of months have been life changing for me.  A series of events have taken place that made me “catch my snap” and help begin a journey that has inspired me to not become better at “something”, but to be a better man and person.  I won’t share my entire life story in this blog post, but I will say that life has not been easy for at least the past 10 – 12 years.  Many don’t know that I was married for 12 yrs, which unfortunately came to an end about 6 years ago and it was only after that marriage that I began seeing “things” in myself that I didn’t like and needed to work on.  There have been many challenges and struggles over the years, and though I don’t like the outcome of many of them, all I can do is learn from them and work to be “better”.

Being a “better person” will be different for each person, but in the end it’s about improving who you are for yourself and to others.  I know that I have a big heart and have a lot of love to give but I also know that I have or had some personality traits that can sometimes get in the way of being a better partner or friend.  I can look back at my failed marriage and see where I went wrong and see the many many ways that I was selfish, and that continued into the next relationship.  Not to say that I was the sole reason for the marriage failing, but I do take responsibility for my part.  These flawed personality traits also translated into how I handled friendships and even work relationships.  It’s not until someone calls you out on this or until you go through a situation that “slaps you in the face” that you finally “get it” and truly develop an interest in seeing real change.  That’s where I’m at now and all I can do is embrace it.

FORGIVENESS

As a result of recent situations, I felt led to reach out to friends over the last several weeks who I feel I may have offended  in the near past and did the same with others close to me.  Some were receptive, others I never heard back from, but I did what I felt I needed to do.  It was just the beginning of my desire to “make things right” and be better.  I’ve always been the type of person that wears his heart on his sleeve and sometimes to a fault, but in the end all you can do is have an open heart, apologize and forgive, and leave it at that.  What those people or the recipients do with it is then up to them.

One thing we can do to become “better” is to learn to forgive more easily and be quick to apologize when needed.  My latest situation put me in a position that allowed me to completely put my pride down and become as transparent as possible.  I had nothing to lose and in essence this is how we should walk daily.  Pride is ugly and it can hinder so many things in our life.  It will keep us from speaking what we really feel and in turn prohibit real change and real expressions of our feelings.  It can also keep us from following our hearts and making important moves in our lives.  We see it all the time in movies, that typical scene where someone steps up as the “hero” , puts their pride down and says “F this!” and puts their heart on the line, drives full speed to the airport in hopes of catching that person before they jump on a flight to Paris.  haha.  This is a scene from the ending of “Family Man” with Nicolas Cage.  Good movie, get it on Netflix tonight.

MAINTENANCE

Right now my truck is running like crap.  It’s in need of a good tune up and for those that know a little about trucks / cars, I think that I need to change all 8 of my coil packs.  Until I take care of these and a few other issues it’s not going to run right and might even leave me stranded somewhere.  Like our vehicles, we too as human beings need regular maintenance and “tune ups” and this can come in the form of counseling, therapy, or just some good one on one time with solid caring friends or family.  I have to give props to my core circle of friends who have been a great source of support and have shown true friendship.  I owe them so much and as part of becoming “better”, I have to remind myself to reach out as a support to them as well.

I’m a firm believer in therapy and not ashamed to share that I’ve been going regularly to my therapist for the past several weeks and I love it.  My friends have been great but you don’t want to exhaust them with your crap and wear them out.  Yes, sometimes my friends amaze me and provide some of the most awesome advice and perspectives, many times leaving me feeling like there isn’t any need for my next therapy session.  However, it’s not until I’m sitting there on that comfy couch in her office that I realize how much I needed to be there.

Whatever it takes for you to get the maintenance you need in your life, find a way and follow through.  We are not meant to walk through life alone or making decisions in our own understanding, and there’s so much that our solid friends, family, or a good therapist has to offer.  Take advantage of it and also be that person to others.

BETTER

Whatever it takes to be better, do it.  Read, learn from friends, build one another up, get plugged in to a good church, pray, go to seminars, or go on a retreat.  Men, surround yourself with other wise men, ones that will lift and build you up, and women, do the same.  Women tend to do this naturally anyway, but if you don’t, capitalize on those around you that can be that mentor or strong woman who will speak truth to you and give you good counsel.

In the end, let’s all just strive to be better.  Better friends, better partners, better husbands and wives, better parents, and most of all, better human beings.  Love one another, serve each other, lift one another up, and live a life that puts others first.  If we all lived this way I don’t see how we could go wrong.

Have a better day than yesterday.

@hectorgarciahtx

lent

3 LENT SUGGESTIONS THAT WILL CHANGE THE WORLD.

A few years ago I wrote an article expressing my disagreement with the ritual called “Lent”.  As someone who was raised Catholic this ritual was something that was forced on me and as I got older I felt like it was unnecessary and full of man-made attempts to please God.  Read the article “Lent – A Ritual Worth Giving Up”.

I feel the same way today, but I do understand that for many, this is important and many people sincerely use this time to make sacrifices in their attempt to “please” God or feel better about themselves.  With that in mind, I’d like to suggest a few options:

EAT MEAT EVERY FRIDAY

One of the main traditions and “rules” of Lent is to not eat meat on Fridays.  There are a variety of explanations for this but nothing real solid that I could find.  So why not just eat the meat on Fridays and do something more meaningful each Friday that you CAN explain.

For example, make it a rule to volunteer at a shelter or dog rescue each Friday.  Or make it a point to purchase an awesome meal each Friday for a homeless person or family in need.  And yes, make sure that meal has lots of meat in it, cause meat is soooo good.

Whatever you choose to do, do it because it has meaning and do it with all of your heart.  You’ll feel much better at the end of the day.  God isn’t going to strike you down because you eat meat on Fridays in exchange for doing something much more lasting.

GIVE UP FOR GOOD, NOT JUST FOR SEVERAL WEEKS

I remember racking my brain as a kid, trying to figure out what to “fast” during lent.  Some of my family would give up beer, some chocolate, others would give up smoking, etc.  The strength to to give up these and many other “vices” by participants in this ritual is fueled by the fact that they will soon have a taste for them once again in just a few weeks.  Many family members who gave up drinking would be the ones who got the most drunk at the Easter BBQs.  Very funny to say the least.

If you’re going to “give up” something, why not do it for the long run.  For example, if you’re giving up smoking for Lent because you know it’s not good for you, why just give it up for a few weeks?  Why not forever, especially if it’s an addiction?  If you’re cutting down on eating because you feel you’re overweight, don’t just cut down for lent, make a lifestyle change that lasts forever.

CHANGE THE WORLD AROUND YOU

As I stated in my first suggestion, Eat Meat on Fridays, these next few weeks would be much more rewarding if participants changed focus off of themselves and put it on others.  Look for needs around you, at work, at school, within your family, in your cycling groups, at your local bar, at your church, etc.

Don’t just give up something for the sake of giving it up.  If we should give up anything it should be selfishness and the best way to do that is to focus our attention on others.  Wake your neighbors up to the sound of you cutting their lawn one morning and when they ask why, you tell them because you can.  haha.

The elderly lady who lives down the road from you has a house that needs work.  Gather some friends one weekend and offer to make those repairs at no charge.

Rescue  and foster a dog.  There are so many strays in the city and all you have to do is drive around for a while and you’ll find one.  Take him/her in and nurture them as you work to find them a permanent home.  Maybe you’re their new home.  Who knows?

Whatever you end up doing, do it because it impacts the world in a better way.  Do it because it makes someone smile or happy.  Do it with love and do it just because.

Happy Lent.

@hectorgarcia