Mitchell Richards [Words]

Month: August, 2011

Free Blurs: Download a FREE copy of my book

About a year and a half ago, I self-published a book called “Definitive Blurs”. It was a joy to write and to get a response from so many people about the book. It was definitely a huge part of my life and just proved I want to keep writing for a long long time to come. As a sign of appreciation to you, the people who read my blog, I want you to download a copy of “Definitive Blurs” for absolutely free.

Seriously…

Free.

You don’t [have to] do anything. But, if you would like to, there are a few things I would really appreciate you doing…

1.) Subscribe – subscribe to my blog via email. On the home page of MitchellRichards.com, scroll down a bit and on the right side of the page there is a link to subscribe to my blog via email. That way, every time I update the site, you will get an email with a link.

2.) Share – tell your friends about the free book, and about my website. Send out a tweet or a Facebook post or two with a link to my site telling people about the free book.

Again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I’m in the process of another big writing project that I’ve only told a few people about, but it seems to be a wonderful idea and a great long journey ahead. In the meantime however, I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Feel free to upload it to your Kindle or digital book reader of choice, it is a PDF file.

Just right click the link below to save the file.

Thank you, and God bless.

Definitive Blurs [by Mitchell Richards]

And, just as a reminder, physical copies of the book do exist. You can buy them on Amazon for $15 or on Lulu for $9.

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Weird Belly Buttons And The Image Of God

I don’t really buy into that stuff in the Bible that says we are made in the image of God.

I mean…I believe it…I just don’t know why.

If I’m made in the image of God, then God must have a weird belly button, you know, not really an innie or an outie.

I guess I get what it’s saying though, maybe its more of a metaphor or something, like God was just letting us know in advance that he isn’t an alien or something. It also covers that whole “virgin birth” thing, if God is the Father, and Mary is the mother, it would have been even more weird if Jesus came out as a half-human/half-God-alien/fully God mix.

I suppose that I have to make light of being an image bearer of God because I don’t know how else to respond to it. It’s a lot of responsibility and pressure. Responsibility and pressure I don’t really care to have. I mean…think about what it actually means to be an image bearer of God…

Yesterday I got a hair cut and it ended up being a lot shorter than it has been recently, but it looks good. When I got home, I shaved my face with a razor. Sort of a big thing to do it with a razor because I never shave with a razor, I usually just use a beard trimmer without a guard on it fr that manly 5:00 shadow look that, since I can’t grow a beard, seems to last a week or so.

But I hadn’t shaved with a razor in a couple of years probably, and when I was done I looked in the mirror I saw my face and it reminded me of my dad’s face. The way my upper lip hangs over my lower lip a little bit, and the slightest hint of a double chin. Even my hair sort of looked like his, minus the touches of grey. I think everything else on my face, save maybe my ears, comes from my mother though. I looked in the mirror and saw an image of my father in myself. It was kind of a weird realization.

As you may or may not know, my relationship with my dad isn’t exactly peachy. He worked a lot when I was growing up and needing a dad the most. My grades started slipping right around the time he started working a lot overseas and wasn’t at home that much. I have wrote many things about my father, and all of them are kind of in the negative sense, how I can trace back a lot of things to him on why I suck at living. I went through stages with my father:

When I was little, I adored him, I would always want to go to the airport to drop him off and pick him up on all of his trips. I always wanted to talk to him on the phone when he called. But the more and more he worked, the more and more it hurt. To a boy, I didn’t see it as my father leaving to take care of us, I saw it as my father leaving me and my brother to fend for ourselves. So eventually, I just shut off all emotion to my dad. I stopped going to the airport and stopped talking to him on the phone. Even when he was home, I would ignore him. Soon, I started to drown out the memories I had of my father and I together too, because I wanted nothing to do with him. In the past, I’ve gone as far to say to other people that my father was “never there”. But sometimes, when I am doing random things, I have this moment where I remember my dad and I doing something when I was little, or I remember some dumb little song that he would sing to me. Now, my dad wasn’t around as much as I wanted him to be, but I had become so obsessed with hating my dad that in my mind he was never around.

It’s taken a long time, but things are looking up for my father and I. Nothing is perfect, but we have patched a lot of things up in our relationship. I have forgiven him, and he has forgiven me for holding grudges against him. Things are good between us.

But still, when I look in a mirror and see my father, it still weirds me out a little bit because I know my father, and I am not my father, in good or in bad, I am not my father.

So when the Bible says that I am made in the image of God, the Father, it weirds me out too because the same thing can be said, I am not my Father.

When I look in mirror and see my dad, it reminds me that I cannot escape who I am, that his DNA is inside me. The more time I spent with my father over the last couple of years only reaffirms that I am his kid, we have similar facial expressions and sayings, we both like good handcrafted beer, and just weird things like that.

When the Bible tells me I am made in the image of God, it’s like looking into a mirror and ever so briefly catching a glimpse of the Father’s face in my own. The more time I spend with Him, which I will admit seems to dwindle every year, the more I realize I am his kid. I think God and I laugh the same way and have the same smirk when people annoy us.

There are chunks of my life that I erased my father from my memory, and the same could be said about God too. I am not the person I imagined myself to be when I was all into Jesus. Being raised in a little southern Baptist church, going to church camps, wanting to be a preacher. I’m not that boy anymore, and sometimes I blot that image of myself out.

The weird thing about God is, even though I’m not the man he intended for me to be, I still hold His image. I’m still His kiddo whether I want to run away or find comfort in His embrace.

And just like the relationship with my dad, my relationship with God is complicated.

I can erase and forget memories, but it doesn’t change my image. I can hate my dad/God and run away, but it doesn’t change my image. I can get upset. I can lash out. I can lament. But it doesn’t change my image.

The truth is, my dad was always there when I needed him I just didn’t think he was. He may not have flown in from Russia or somewhere to help me with my Algebra or anything, but he was putting food on my table. He’s got me out of quite a few jams in my later years, and for that, I am very thankful and proud to bear his image.

I’ve noticed in coming to terms with my father that I treat God in a lot of the same ways. I’ve ignored him and his advice, and gone through that angsty stage where I feel like I know everything and can do everything on my own. I’ve abandoned Him and said he was the one who abandoned me.

But every time I see myself…I see God in there somewhere.

And since I am made in His image, I have the ability to overcome, through Him and for Him. Maybe God made us in his image so that we could find rest and fresh air in the fact that we cannot do this alone. That we come from a heritage, a bloodline, of people before us that couldn’t do it themselves either. Maybe He did it so when we glance in a mirror we see the face of God for just a moment, as if He himself were just winking at us to let us know he is there.

In the image of my dad, I get the good and the bad traits, that’s just life, and I’m ok with this,

In the image of God though, we get all the good stuff…the grace, the redemption, the peace, the rest…all of it. And, even more importantly, we all get it, everyone of us, as image bearers of the Creator. So even when we see ourselves and our friends and family broken down, we must remind them that they are the image of God. We must remember that we are children of the coming Kingdom.

The Life And Times Of Elmer Fudd

There is a special place in my heart for Elmer J. Fudd, the infamous speech impedimented hunter of “wabbits” from the classic cartoon series “Loony Tunes”. I think we have many things in common, not just our affinity for grilled cheese sandwiches, but also the way we find ourselves chasing after things.

For those not familiar with Elmer Fudd, shame on you, but here is a crash course in my cartoon counterpart. He is kind of a clumsy, bumbling and stuttering hunter. He spends his days chasing rabbits, more specifically Bugs Bunny, and on occasion Daffy Duck. For the most part, his goal is to kill Bugs and make his famous rabbit stew out of him. Bugs, however, doesn’t have stew on his mind and usually outsmarts the dumber Elmer into falling for his own traps and generally just being one step ahead of the hunter. The often outsmarted Elmer only gets more and more upset and confused as he his bested repeatedly by Bugs.

But you see, Bugs is the good guy and Elmer is the bad guy, it’s not even a grey area. Elmer is the sworn enemy of Bugs and as children we instinctively know that we cheer for Bugs when he puts his finger in Elmer’s rifle to have it explode when he pulls the trigger. We know to cheer for Bugs when he cross dresses as a beautiful woman to lure Elmer away from hunting rabbits, like a furry siren.

The entire feud between the two, with very few exceptions, is based solely on Bugs getting the best of Elmer.

And this is all fine you see, but for some reason, even though he is the bad guy of the story, I find myself drawn to Elmer Fudd. I relate to him being constantly defeated. He always gets back up and he always continues the hunt.

I think Elmer and I would hang out a lot, swapping stories about the ones that got away. In almost all of the cartoons I’ve watched of Elmer hunting Bugs, there comes a point in the story where Elmer actually has Bugs in his hands, he has his hands around the neck of the prize, but somehow Bugs always weasels his way out of danger, and usually has Elmer de-pantsed before Elmer knows what has happened. I’ve actually seen one episode where Bugs is in the the pot being made into a stew, yet he still gets away.

It’s this kind of chasing where I think I relate to Elmer in, the chasing and often times the catching of the things we desire most in life. Like for me, I have a certain list of goals, things I want to achieve in my life before I die or before I turn 30 or before next year. In my mind, I think I chase after these things a lot, but in reality, I think I spend most of my time sitting in the hunter’s lodge, if you will, talking about all of the goals I have achieved in the past, or more likely the dreams I almost achieved, knowing that they all outsmarted me and slipped through my fingers.

Or maybe it’s my relationship with God, spending my days chasing after Jesus, trying to find him and trying to find myself in his story. I’ll sneak up behind Him most days, tip-toe to his little hole in the ground, alert the audience to be quiet because I think I’ve found the Jesus I’ve been hunting for, put my gun in the hole and pull the trigger only to have Jesus himself standing behind me, munching on a carrot or a loaf of bread or something, asking me “What’s up?”.

Or maybe it’s my creativity, I’ll spend my days looking for and romancing ideas out of the sky. I’ll sit down at my computer with a head full of ideas and just start typing things, but the screen never says what I want it to, the words never come out as I want them to, but before I know it the next chapter is almost complete, it’s in my grasp, I just have to break its neck and we can all have stew, but it will charm me into letting it go.

Or maybe it’s overcoming sin, fighting off addictions, or falling for the traps Satan lures us into. What’s the old saying? Keep our friends close and our enemies closer? If you’re like me, you are in a constant battle with sin and temptation where it’s a chess match. One week you are fine and everything is great, but for the next 7 months you get trapped and fall into your sin. Then you’ll have a good couple weeks, and then for the next 6 months you suck at it. You chase freedom all the days of your life, and maybe sometimes you’ll even have it in the pot, ready to be cooked, but sooner or later it gets the best of you and you falter yet again.

Damn you Bugs Bunny. Damn you.

We chase and we chase and we chase, but all for naught. You and me, Elmer, we’ve got a corner on the market of broken dreams, sins, chapters without resolve, and stew-less dinners.

I think Elmer is actually the hero of the story because he never gets what he wants. He get’s teased by what he wants. He gets beaten over and over again by what he wants. But he never gets what he wants. He spends his whole life chasing after one thing, and he never gets it really. It sounds ridiculous, but I think we are supposed to sort of cheer for him too, because I think Elmer is you and I in the story. In some way, we want him to finally get Bugs and we want him to win. His character goes through so much torture and conflict, he has to win at some point, right?

If I am to learn one thing from Mr. Fudd, it is to be relentless. He never quits. He never turns to alcohol because he isn’t happy. He never gets depressed because he isn’t having rabbit stew for dinner. He just wakes up every morning, puts on his hat, loads his gun, and goes to get what he wants and in my opinion, what he deserves.

So whatever your Bugs is, creativity, searching for God, searching for your purpose, overcoming sin, there comes a point where you will feel beaten. A general rule in writing stories is that in order for your character to get something good, to attain his dream, he has to go through hell or it won’t matter to the reader if he gets it or not.

I don’t think being lazy about writing is hell. I don’t think being trapped by petty sin is hell. I don’t think not saving up enough money to go on vacation is hell.

So maybe I’m not ready just yet. Maybe I’m not ready to give what it takes to get what I want.

Elmer, I think you’re ready. Invite me over when the stew is done and tell me how you did it.