Category: Democrat

God

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In everyday conversation, people say “God” a lot.

A few say, “Oh my God,” “Thank God” and “Praise God.”

Some say, “For God’s sake” and “Good God.”

Many people use it in vain.

People use the term to direct God to damn someone or something to hell. As if they could direct God to do their dirty work for them.

I am not perfect by any means, I’ve used all of these terms. Probably more than I would like to admit, even to myself. As I have grown older, I try to avoid using the name “God” in any form in my daily conversations.

Most times, I can only whisper “Oh, God” in grief, regret or horror.

I could only softly whisper “Oh, God” when I watched the horror of something that I see on TV or hear about. Among many other examples, I whispered it when I witnessed 9/11. The same when I heard of the shootings at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Vegas concert massacre and the Living Tree Synagogue reached me.  I softly whispered them again, when former students of mine died so young to addiction, or when I lost close friends to cancer.  I said it when one of my closest friends died by their own hand.

“Oh, God.”

I’ve whispered these words far too many times in my life.

Lately, I’ve been wondering what people mean when they say, “God.”

Actually, I’ve been increasingly concerned about who people think God is. 

The source of my concern is not the growing religious pluralism of America. Neither do I spend time worrying about how to think about God in order to get into heaven or to stay out of hell. 

Instead, I’m convinced that what we will make of our lives together on this planet will be guided by our idea of God. Not all ideas about god are a good reflection of what or who God really is.

If you can do whatever you want and live any life that you choose then I am not sure that you have a good idea of who God really is.

Scripture’s long and winding testimony makes it clear that we humans can make a wreck of things when we harbor a distorted and even toxic idea of God.

All of us have inherited a fractured world. We face broken hearts and disease, poverty and racism, hunger and greed, vicious governments and deadly addictions, garden variety personal sins and genocidal violence.

This is the world you and I inhabit.

What we are going to do about it will depend on our idea of God.

For some people “God” is a supernatural being. For others a higher power. It could be money, power, fame, or their substance of choice.

History and the daily news are littered with individuals and tribes of people and nations coping with the world’s chaos by finding somebody to blame. A scapegoat to vote off the island, to lock up, to lock out, to crucify.

Whether these people believe in a supernatural being or not, they’re adopting strategies remarkably similar to those who seek to enlist or at least to appease an angry, blaming, punishing god. Their “god” is wrathful, and they need to do whatever it takes to stay on its right side, including throwing somebody else under the bus.

I’ve witnessed people defending the actions of our political leaders all in the name of their chosen god. I’ve also witnessed people attack these same political leaders with the same god in tow… blaming all that is wrong in this world on them in the name of their god.

Jesus came to show us that God isn’t like this.

Jesus came to change our mind about God, not to change God’s mind about us.

When we follow Jesus’s example, we are leaning into our true selves as the image of God. Jesus put it this way: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

Jesus healed the sick, ate with outcasts, and fed the hungry. He taught us to forgive, to give the shirt off our back, to love even our enemies. This is the image of God on planet Earth. And that image comes especially clear in the cross. There we see simultaneously God’s relentless love and the cost of that love. God suffers with the world to heal the world.

Jesus died on the cross. He was a threat. A threat to the Roman Empire’s view of God.

The Romans executed him. Jesus knew it was coming.

That’s what Empires do. They eliminate threats. 

And nothing could be more threatening to a militaristic, status-craving, power-driven, possession-obsessed Empire than someone who says that God blesses the poor and the meek. The weak and humble. Jesus resisted the might of Empire with the compassionate reign of God. 

Yes, the Romans killed him for it. But they couldn’t really take life away from him. He had already been giving his life away. 

He had been giving his life away for the sake of the world from the moment of his birth. His life was the perfect embodiment of healing love. The perfect image of God. Even and especially in his dying, Jesus showed us who God is. Who we most truly are. That’s what the Bible means when it says that God created us in God’s image.

I hope that my life, when it is over, in its best moments at least, says that God is love and points them to Jesus Christ.

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Silence Speaks When Words Can’t

It’s been over two years and I still have so much that I have wanted to speak out about.  So much “stuff” I wanted to vent over.  As hard as it might seem for some of you that know me… I didn’t say or write a word.   I said nothing at all. I stopped commenting, I stopped trying to get other people to stop causing division among my friends and family.   

I’m a little sorry about that.  I’m a little not.  Silence Speaks

Silence speaks when words can’t.

I am at a place where my usual fly-off-at-the-mouth (or fingertip) doesn’t seem so hard to control anymore.

I am so happy that I have not posted on Facebook my feelings about politics and the current condition of our nation or my feelings about the team up north. I am much better prepared to ease the thoughts that go through my mind.  I realize that my words are just that… my words.  I needed to take the time off.  I am no longer “triggered” to spew my opinion at every post I disagree with.

I needed to be silent about those issues… I needed to push the keyboard away when I was tempted to comment.

However, I am still discontented, wearied by a heaviness in my soul. I am done with the noise, the squabbling, the violence, the hate.

I look back to a time when social media was a place of pleasantries, pictures of our children and grandchildren, posts of sharing music we love, or the recipe to make a loaf of freshly baked bread.

There is no value to social media anymore. No one is changed by the things we post.

That doesn’t stop people from posting things just to stir the pot. 

I have read where people say they are trying to inspire thought. HImage result for social media sucksowever, when it comes to social media you are just reaching friends that either already know and agree with you or you are a post away from losing that friend because they disagree with you.

What I have discovered is that social media is used like weapons of mass destruction. It doesn’t matter who or how many are affected by the carnage of the hate… the only thing that matters is their opinion and their ability to say it.

In the meantime, family members are caught in the crossfire.  I know that members of my own family have “blocked me”, “unfollowed” or “unfriended” me on social media.

Is it worth it?

I am keenly aware that by writing this post, I am adding to the noise. I see the irony… writing about the evils of social media by posting on social media.

Where and when might I draw a line in the dirt, claiming my side of thinking? I’m wondering if there is any worth in drawing that line at all?

Image result for opinion over politicsRecently, a local FACEBOOK group that focused on news about my hometown was overtaken by a few people who posted multiple times a day political memes and articles.  Pro-Trump, Anti-Trump… attacks on the Repubicans and attacks on the Democrats. It was all there.

What followed was hate speech towards each other.  People I had known my whole life started spewing hate towards other friends, it quickly got really out of control. Everyone was posting and no one was listening. I am sure that friendships were damaged… some to the point of no return.

All of these people posting things to a group of 6,000 members as if their opinion would change the direction of the nation. The only affect it had was ruining lifelong friendships, causing family members to not talk and in-fighting in our small-town.

It hurts me to think that people are so “triggered” that their opinion is more important than family and friends.

When the line is drawn, we stand toe to toe, speak our thoughts, never thinking to listen. In truth, should we not be listening before we utter a word? Before we draw that proverbial, decisive, divisive line?

When I turn to the wisdom in the book of Proverbs, much is said about the tongue.

There is more hope for the fool than for someone who speaks without thinking. Proverbs 29:29

The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap  the consequences. Proverbs 18:21

Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4

This past week, spirits were crushed, lives diminished, freedoms obliterated. Why? I believe in the heat of anger, in the heat of being right, in the heat of the-only-sin-that-we-never-forgive-in-each-other-is-a-difference-in-opinion-quote-1drawing lines in the dirt, not one person thought to listen before they spoke or posted their hate-filled speech.

My experience tells me that most people who call for tolerance are the least tolerant people I know.

Friendships lost… family in-fighting. For what? Your opinion? What makes me wrong and you right? Is it worth it?

As in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson… “The only sin that we never forgive in each other is a difference of opinion.”

I have a friend on FACEBOOK that is a pastor. No one locally mind you, just someone who used to live in my hometown. He posts daily about his disdain and hate for Trump. Always stirrring the pot. For what? To cause division of the people of from my hometown? Doesn’t he see that the influence does not change a thing in the big picture but causes so much destruction in the little. For me… the little (in this example) is more important than the big picture.

I do not want to give anyone the impression that I am against free-speech. We all have the same rights to say what what we feel.  And yes, you have the right to express your opinion. However, is it worth it when it will cost you friendshps and possibly family members?

Words can speak life and words can speak death. Before we choose to speak, andImage result for just because you can doesn't mean you should jump into the fray of divisiveness, wouldn’t we all be better off if we listened before we speak? Or at least realize the consequences before we speak?

Because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Because you feel 10-foot tall and bullet proof behind a keyboard, just remember the consequences of it  when you post it.

If we are standing on the side of Christ, our words should be life-giving.  If we are standing on the side of Christ, we speak truth with love. Sometimes that means we speak more truth and love by our actions and not mere words. At the end of the day, I want to be standing on the side of Christ.

Silence speaks louder than words. Listening speaks louder than words.

 

 

 

 

My Own Worst Enemy

I have an enemy that I deal with daily.

I face it constantly.

The battle with my worst enemy will continue till the day I die.

My enemy is not the Democrats, nor is it the Republicans.

It’s not the President.

It’s not Clinton, Obama or Bernie Sanders.

My own worst enemy has nothing to do with politics.

It’s not the Russians.

It’s not North Korea.

It’s not Iran, Iraq or Afghanistan.

My enemy is not an Atheist. 

It isn’t the Muslims or Islam.

My enemy isn’t ISIS, Nazis, anarchists.

It’s not the liberals or conservatives.

My own worst enemy is not CNN, MSNBC or Fox News.

It’s not FACEBOOK or Twitter.

My enemy isn’t homosexuals, transgenders or bisexuals.

It’s not Black Lives Matter or the Trumpsters.

My enemy is much more insidious than any of these. 

Much more deadly and dangerous.

For you see…

My own worst enemy is…  ME.

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(Paul speaks very clearly in Galatians 5 about our battle against the enemy within…ourselves.  All too often we look to others, or things, to be the source, the cause (and usually the blame) for our sins and our problems.  Although sometimes there can be external forces, ultimately all responsibility lies at our doorstep.  Our greatest battle is truly against our own flesh, the sin nature that resides in each of us.  So, in fact, our worst enemy is ourselves.)

 

 

Fear and Loathing in 2017

As we enter 2017, I am astonished about the level of fear and loathing among us.

I guess I sfear_and_loathinghouldn’t be.  It has been the theme of 2016.

The angst is palpable.

Many people fear the future.  Fear based upon speculation and the unknown.

In an age where most media sources are proven to not be trusted, I cannot believe how many people base what they believe on biased information and on an agenda to be close minded… even though they claim to be open-minded and free thinkers. The internet is full of “fake news” sources, all designed to skew a person’s belief and perspective.  It is intentional and calculated. And most of all… it is effective. 

Many people base what they believe to be true based upon what they hear on a podcast or read on Facebook.  Their news sources and range of perspective is narrow. Meaning that they are all listening to the same biased podcast or source. They believe that they, themselves are the smartest person they know or at least the smartest in the same room as them. Anyone who disagrees with them are considered unintelligent and ignorant.

Do these people ever consider that all they are doing is adding to the fear and loathing?

An example of this is the latest news story of “voter fraud” in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.  I cannot tell you how many people were convinced that this was a “true” story.  After Jill Stein raised over 7 million dollars (twice what she spent on her campaign) to do a recount in those states.  We know the results of those re-counts… Trump actually gained votes over Clinton.

I could go on and on about all the different aspects of this past election year and the fear and loathing that is out there.

People are having a hard time with accepting the truth.

All of us have trouble accepting a difficult truth. It’s human nature to see what we want to see, especially when the truth makes us uneasy. But acknowledging and exploring the truth can liberate us and lead to greater opportunities. 

One of the great challenges of life is just the simple task of living in this moment, living a “present tense life.” There are two great enemies of accepting truth. One is “the fantasy of what could have been,” and the other is “the fear of what might be.”

Let me address each one of these for a moment.

The fantasy of what could have been– We all live our lives looking back to the past or ahead to the future. It’s rare that we live in the present tense. One of our enemies is the “fantasy of what could have been.” We will often look with a longing for a change because of our present adversities…

“If only I had married the other person,” or “If only I had finished college,” or “If only I hadn’t made that horrible mistake” then life would be great.

Thoughts race to alternate present reality because of our dreams of “if only.” Dreaming about what could have been can be a wonderful diversion, but it’s ignorance of the reality of truth.

The truth is that there is no “if only.”

There is only what is.

Accepting truth’s that you don’t like is one of the hardest things to do.

Dreaming about an alternate life that would turn out different is a fantasy that brings nothing good to our present situation. It only makes the “now” harder because our fantasy solutions would have eliminated our real dilemmas and the need to trust the Lord with our real problems today.

When you are tempted to visit the land of “if only” make the decision not to go. It’s a trip that only brings disappointment to what is your life right now.

The fear of what might be– The other problem I see many struggle with is “the fear of what might be.” They are experts at worrying about something that hasn’t even happened yet. As it pertains to Donald Trump, he hasn’t even been sworn into office and people are wailing and predicting doom.  It happened with Ronald Reagan too.

Those fears and impending doom never came to fruition.

If you are living in fear of Donald Trump… your faith is weak.  You knowledge of the Bible is soft, or at least became soft.  Do you really think that electing Trump as our President is a surprise to God?

There is no way any of us can see the future, so for us to worry about it before it ever gets here is a clear lack of faith in God to care for our tomorrows. It also shows that people have stopped reading their Bibles and have based their beliefs and perspectives on other sources. 

 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”   Matthew 6:34

Jesus clearly said, “don’t worry about tomorrow.” He knew we were tempted to do this, and warned us against it. Fear of what might be often keeps us from walking with God and trusting him RIGHT NOW. We miss the joy of a walk with God in the present tense.

We each must live a present tense life intentionally. The distractions of fantasy about the past and fear about the future will easily get our attention away from a walk with the living God right now. I mentioned the word “walk” intentionally. It’s the word that the Bible uses to talk about our lives of faith. The Bible calls it a walk because there are some wonderful present tense elements to a walk that will help us stay focused on the now.

A walk demands a destination, but it can only be done one step at a time, one foot on the path toward the goal, one decision at a time to reach the goal. A walk demands a present tense life. That word, walk, often helps me get back to “now.”

control-what-you-can-controlThat is why God implores us to keep our eye on and press towards the mark of following Christ.  If you are so worried about the future, you obviously do not want to accept what the Bible says about the future.  It’s in His hands.  I cannot worry over that which I cannot control… those are the things I need to trust God that He has it under control. 

As you go through each day of 2017, living your life and find yourself buying into the temptation toward fantasy or fear, stop for a moment.  Focus on things that really matter and what you can do to control them.  The balance is trust and dependence on God to take care of the rest.

It is then called having “Faith” and not fear and loathing.

I hope you truly have a great year and I hope that all of your fears are tempered by a loving God and that our faith grows deeper in Him each day.

Conclusions

Let me just say something that, apparently, some people still haven’t considered:

Your opinion on Facebook doesn’t matter. Neither does mine.

I have spent the last week or so on a self-imposed Facebook break. 

What a relief it was. 

It is something that I will probably continue… but on my own terms.

It surly will not be because of the reason I took this one. I took a break from Facebook because I posted a generic status that some people thought I took an “unfair” shot of criticism because I questioned of some posts that they posted.  I did not name names. I got called out because I had dared to post something that “implied” that I was talking about someone or someone they knew.  

I guess I could have understood that, had I posted names and called them out directly, I should have expected the backlash. But that wasn’t the case. I guess people feel that their opinion, comments and status trumps anything I post and that specifically my posts always are talking about them.

I guess free speech in a Facebook world only applies to those that deem it so.

So, I took a week or so of doing some research and to try to gain some perspective.  The more I read and the more I thought about it, I have come to some conclusions. But before I post these conclusions, let me say for the record, you don’t have to agree with them.  I will not apologize for them and I certainly will not back down from my right to post them.

CONCLUSION #1 

If you choose to emotionally blast out your political perspective online, I promise no one is listening and you’ll never change a person’s mind from a Facebook post.  

It is futile.

All you do when you post your political perspective is just stir the pot.  No true debate or honest reasoning can be found in a Facebook post. You are asking for a response. You are opening the door to disagreement.  Defend your own battles if you post it.  This should be acknowledged by everyone that has a FB account. 

You post something… you have to be prepared for the disagreement.  Quit being so thin-skinned that you get offended when someone disagrees with you.

Is that what you are looking for? Are you just looking for people who agree with you?  If it is your true heartfelt belief or perspective, why are you so defensive? I say, agree to disagree.  State your disagreement and move on.  Why do the defenses come up so quickly?   

For many people, this is so difficult to handle.  It is why we have heard from college campuses, where they need “safe” speech zones because people just can’t handle when someone has a different opinion and that they may be wrong.  If you want a safe zone on Facebook, edit out the ones you disagree with until your news feed looks more like an echo board of your own thoughts. Feel free to edit out the ones you disagree with until you’re surrounded by people who are just like you.

CONCLUSION #2

I will not block or delete anyone on Facebook who disagrees with me.  

I may block you for other reasons… inappropriate language or posts, but not because I disagree with you.   

Let’s face it, it’s loud out there.  It seems like everyone has something to say and Facebook is where they say it.  Our news feeds are littered with articles, posts, and images from all types of people. 

We wonder why we’re so divided.

I know what you’re thinking, though: “It’s my feed, I’ll block who I want.  I shouldn’t have to be offended.  I don’t have time for that.  Life is too short.  I only want to see what I want to see.”

So… please block or delete me if you can’t handle what I post.  It’s ok.  I am a big boy.  I don’t expect everyone to agree with me.  I can handle it when someone doesn’t.  I don’t offend easily. 

Apparently many people do.

CONCLUSION #3

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe!  – Albert Einstein

People are stupid.

We all act stupid at some point.  Yes… including me.

Now before anyone thinks I am calling someone specific stupid… I am not.

It’s just that, unfortunately, some people act stupid most of the time.

We live in the age of sound bites, Cliff’s Notes, tweets and slogans. We live in a world where American attention spans have been constantly dwindling for the last couple decades. This isn’t totally our fault; partly it’s because we’re constantly bombarded with more news stories and advertisements than ever before.  We have a generation that receives their “news” from Facebook.  That is the extent of their “world view”. 

One would need to be very concerned if they determined their political views from their Facebook feed.  https://i2.wp.com/www.psychalive.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/cell-phone-addiction.jpg

Yet… here we are America.

Based upon my Facebook experience, I am convinced that we live in a society that has more information at their fingertips yet people have no world view that matters. We have “smart phones” but stupid people.  As smart and educated as you may think you are, you cannot with 100% certainty believe you know everything. It’s impossible because it’s impossible to know everything. I am always amazed at the level of self-importance people place on themselves.  I read posts from people who for their entire life have never traveled as far as 100 miles from their home, except maybe for a week or two of vacation or mission’s trips. Suddenly they are experts on the world and diplomacy.  They convince themselves that they know the ins and outs of government and have a solution for all. 

So no one can call me a hypocrite, I consider myself to be a fairly educated and logical person. I have a degree and I have worked in ministry and I’ve worked in the public sector. (I have a wide variety of experience, in other words.)

Yet with all of this experience and learning under my belt, I am still clueless about many, many things, and I know it.  To me it is a waste of time to argue or make assumptions about things one cannot know for 100% certainty.  There are aspects about politics that I will never understand.  Regardless how many hours I study or who teaches me.  It simply doesn’t matter if I know all the answers.  The most important aspect of any real truth in life is what I do about Jesus Christ.  Did He exist?  Is He who He said He was? Did He pay the price for the forgiveness of my sin on the cross? Can salvation be found in Him?  My commitment is to have faith and believe that He said who He said He was and to accept Him into to my life as Lord.  Everything else really doesn’t matter. That includes all aspects of politics. I don’t need to know everything and I most certainly don’t.

CONCLUSION #4

Facebook is infested with trolls.

Attention from half-truths and shallow talking points are what these people feed off of.  They post to get a rise.  They are keyboard warriors trying to get you to bite at their click bait posts.

These people don’t deserve our attention; they’re just antagonists.

Antagonists are against the norm. They don’t want rules, or at least not rules that apply to them.  Rules for you are OK.  They just want to fight and prefer it to be unmediated.

That is exactly the platform Facebook provides. It’s a place where people feel comfortable making huge rhetorical leaps, without facing the challenge of having to back it up.

There’s no magical government agency that surveys Facebook statuses for people’s input. There isn’t any Facebook fact-finding agency that evaluates all posts to see if there is any truth to them or not.  Buyer beware.  If you make the mistake of clicking on one of these posts and you comment that it is wrong, or at least disingenuous, you’ll likely get an earful from a troll.

CONCLUSION #5

Political debate is not a function of Facebook.

Up until about mid-2009, I used to regularly engage in political discussions with people on Facebook. I enjoyed debating people. However, I stopped.

Every now and then I’d read an ignorant statement or a regurgitation of official government propaganda and I’d be tempted to throw in my two cents. I would like to say that I always held my comments and did not respond to them but I can’t. Usually I would come to my senses and exercise some self-control. (Usually)… but last week I bit the click bait and commented. I paid a price for that.

When you’re talking politics, the zealots and the gullible really come out of the woodwork. I always come across several conspiracy theorists and the “my political party is always right” party adherents.

I have zero patience for people who toe their party line as a gut reaction. To me, this shows a lack of critical thinking and a lack of consideration of other people’s viewpoints or beliefs. It’s very selfish and very lazy. This is true whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat, a Libertarian, liberal, conservative, anarchist, communist, or something else.

If you can’t even entertain the possibility that you might be wrong, why even converse with others? If you already know everything, what more is there to learn? Of course, this point of view is absurd.

With Facebook, there’s no fact checking or moderation; it has turned into a place where people come to blast opinions at each other and then walk away after pissing off their friends. They do not have to “prove” anything.

Instead, even if your friends disagree with you, Facebook should be used to maintain your friends network, not destroy it.  Coming online to burn bridges with people who are your friends is a waste of your time.

CONCLUSION #6

The most intolerant people I know are those who say they are tolerant.

Respect is a two-edged sword, I have lost a lot of respect of people who I would call my friends and I am sure several people lost respect for me, too, and I’d be dishonest to say anything different.

I am sure that some have or will soon block or de-friend me. That is fine with me.

Discussing aspects of politics can be frustrating, tedious, and useless, all at the same time. I can become very angry at people whom I otherwise admire and respect very much. There’s enough negativity in the world without adding to it. Anger can be useful, but you know what’s more useful? Is choosing to not argue and allow people to have an opinion… even if it is wrong.  That goes for everyone involved with what gets posted on Facebook.

Allowance for tolerance is needed on both sides of an issue. 

Moving forward, I will post what I want.  I do not need anyone’s permission.  If you don’t like what I post, send me a text, an email or whatever you want.  Just don’t try to suck me into the soul crushing and fruitless black hole of Facebook political debate.

Again, just because I disagree with you doesn’t mean I am wrong. It also doesn’t mean you are right either.  More importantly, because I choose not to argue on Facebook, doesn’t mean I don’t care, or even that I’ve given up having a discussion.   I just want to do it in a different setting. I’ll still write about what I believe and issues occasionally on this site.

To put it simply, arguments about politics are fruitless and empty. 

Nobody changes their mind because of a facebook post.

Facebook is not the source of truth.

It should be just about friends.

 

Hillary, Bernie, Ted, The Donald and God

I have watched the politics of these days play out in front of me… so much posturing and people speaking their opinion on things that most of them do not understand. 

I see a lot of fear in the comments made by many of these people.  The words go https://i2.wp.com/gdb.rferl.org/A6A5A683-AB53-4E5F-BB53-C1C70E3202A9_mw1024_s_n.jpgsomething like this, “We can’t let that candidate win.  Our country will never be the same if they win!!!” 

Now… let me make this clear… the purpose of this post is not to promote or disparage any of the candidates running for president.  They do that pretty well all by themselves.  My decision was made a long time ago on which candidate I will support in the coming election.  I am of the personal belief that almost everyone who is going to vote has already made up their mind as well. 

I keep hearing the volume get turned up over the past few weeks of the campaign and it all becomes a mishmash of meaningless drivel and catcalls of who is lying more than the other person.  I have come to the conclusion that what is driving all this rhetoric is a fear that reveals a poor understanding of who is really in charge.

To think we have 8 more months of this.  It’s exhausting.

This has been an election cycle that has brought out the worst in people.

And this “worst” applies to EVERYONE. 

NO ONE gets a pass on this.

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have given people a chance to do and say pretty much whatever they want to any person they wish.  As a result many people do a lot of things which they would never contemplate doing in real life or face to face  – and it seems more prevalent because there are so many platforms for people to use in expressing their opinions.

Both political parties – Republicans and Democrats – are known for getting carelessly carried away with name calling when stakes and tensions are high in the political arena. Regardless, there is no excuse for this type of name-calling that has surfaced, especially if you are a Christian.

What you speak are not just words.  They mean something.  They reveal something about you.

In the last 24 hours, I have been called ignorant, judgmental, a moron, uneducated, naive, racist, stupid, a woman-hater, a hypocrite, a bigot, a pinhead,  an idiot,  a rape-loving, gay-bashing wing-nut and a slew of other names that are not fit for repeating on this website. 

All while getting lectured by an 22-year-old college student enlightening to me on the failures of George W. Bush that have caused ALL of our current problems and the finer nuances of the political process. Informing me how great Obama has been and that I am un-American and I represent all of these names if I don’t support Bernie.

This phenomenon occurs when someone becomes ten foot tall and bullet proof when addressing others on FACEBOOK.  It is a common practice for them to make bold statements, on the internet, knowing there is no way to be held accountable.

If you’re selling anger and scorn against conservative Christians, the market is hot.

Now for the record… I do not offend easily.  Pretty much you can say what you want to my face and I can handle it.  At work, I hear bad language all the time and I do not wear my Christianity on my sleeve to the point that I get offended at the drop of a hat.  So I want to make clear that these hateful words were not written specifically towards me, but were thrown in my direction and posted on Facebook last night.  These words were posted to anyone who supports anyone other than Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton. 

The saddest truth is… that most of these words but not all were posted by a young man who calls himself a born again Christian.

Whether or not this young man is a believer or not is not mine to judge. 

God will do that one day. 

However, I wanted to so much respond to his rant and express to him that I had t-shirts that were older than him and that I wasn’t the person that was so naive. 

He was all of six years old when George Bush took office and what possible life experiences could he possibly have that would give him the unmitigated gall to lecture others about George Bush, Obama, Hillary, Bernie, Trump or the political process.

I wanted to go “Chuck Norris” on him and give him a piece of my mind… but I didn’t.  

As a matter of fact, the only comments about politics I have made in the previous months leading up to tonight were to make sure you voted.

I have held my tongue… I am glad I have.  I have learned long ago that NOTHING changes by your political posts on FACEBOOK.

It makes me wonder whatever happened to common sense among those in politics and those who make it their business to opine about politics and politicians.  The incredibly ill-received and offensive comments about rape and abortion that were flung from politicians during this election cycle are among the most horrendous assertions I have ever heard.

Shame on each and every one of us who have been unable to control their verbal outbursts, as well as their written feelings during this campaign season. 

That goes for EVERYONE… Christian’s included. 

Our Facebook and Twitter accounts do not give us free rein to say whatever we want without ramifications.  There is a price to be paid and each one of us are going to have to give account to God for our actions.  I found it enlightening that after an hour or so of just berating and tearing down Hillary or Trump supporters (depending on your position) some of these same people were trying to post comments about how great  God is and He is in control. But you surely wouldn’t know that by their earlier posts. 

I want to desperately scream for everybody to just take a deep breath and play nice.  I want to tell them to take time to censor yourself… learn some self-control in how you respond.  Others read and do judge you by the comments that you put out there on Facebook and Twitter… you can’t take them back.  Once posted it is out there for people to read what is truly going on in your head and in your heart.  What I have read is hate… and you can’t cover that up by posting a “spiritual” comment a few minutes later.  They do not offset each other equally.

Being incredibly insensitive and unnecessarily offensive in your comments sets a bad example for all.  It ruins friendships and it divides families.  I have had to make the sad choice to delete some people off my friends list because of their comments over the past few days.  These include people who I hope are embarrassed at what they posted in the heat of the moment.  However, for me, I saw really what was in the hearts of some of my friends and it scares me.  I do understand that mistakes happen,  I have made my fair share and I know that I am not perfect but I have to take a stand somewhere.

Furthermore, the entire world is watching those who claim Christ as Savior and many people are embarrassing themselves and their testimony for Christ.  I hope they learn to express their strong, differing views in a way that shows the world that as believer’s  – with their right to free speech – can express their political differences respectfully no matter which side they are on.

News Flash!!!  God is not surprised by or wringing His hands in fear over the political process that is going on in America.

Do not automatically assume your support of a candidate is equal to God’s approval.  There is a BIG difference between God’s approval and what He will allow to happen. 

We need to measure politics and policies by God’s unchanging character and revealed truth.  For those who wonder where we are headed as a country, I don’t know where all of could lead.  It will keep all of us up some nights I am sure but remember not all is lost.

Questions arise when fearsome things happen.

Fear is natural.   We ask ourselves what’s next?   What will happen to us?  What are we supposed to do in times like these?  How did God allow this to happen?  It is during times like these when we have no real understanding as to the “why” and all we really want is answers.

Now I don’t know the answers why things like this happen.  I know that they have been going on since the beginning of time.  Throughout the ages God has allowed these type of things to happen. 

It is not for us to question.

I think that during these times we have to remain confident that God is indeed in control and understand that He has a plan.

God’s redemption and God’s presence are the reasons we need to trust God and  understand that He is control.   In the midst of difficult days, the reassurance of God’s redemption for the future and His presence in our lives will sustain us during the trials at hand.   Do not fear because our today’s and tomorrow’s are all taken care of.   God has a plan and He is with us. 

I think these ripples of chaos are only the first glimpses of what is tohttps://i2.wp.com/www.mikaelakate.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Mikaela-Kate-Are-You-Ready.jpg come.

The Bible is clear about what is going to happen in the end times.  There are those who are predicting the end of times, however, I will not go there. I am not one to make predictions. Mainly because I believe that Jesus Christ could come back at any time… maybe even today.

The Lord’s coming is closer than it has ever been.

The question is are you ready?

 

 

 

My Hope is Built on Nothing Less

I am so thankful that this political season is coming to a close.  I am so tired of all the commercials and all of the hype and all of the lies.  It almost makes me not want to vote. 

But I know better.

I’d really love to not care nor talk about politics and focus on what’s really important, like my grandson and how I love the latest  picture of him with food smeared all over his face or a long-winded complaint about the Cleveland Browns or my work schedule for the week. 

I would love to talk about these things…but I can’t.

Because most things in our life are based upon politics.  Politics affect the safety of the food that I bought and is pureed for my grandson.  Politics affect how much time I get to take off work. Politicians decide which roads will be repaired, how much to pay the traffic police to clear up accidents and what kinds of cars are safe for driving in.   Politicians have control over the air quality that I breath and they have control over the resources available to rescue workers if I get in an accident.

To pretend that politics has no role in our lives is to be blind.  Democracies work because everybody gets to have a say in the direction of their country and that direction shapes every aspect of our lives. The person I am today would be very different if I had grown up under different leadership in our country.  There is no me without politics.  There is no social media without politics, because there is no social fabric.

To think we can act like we don’t care who wins this election is to fool yourself.

Not caring seems cool in high school, but twenty years from now, many of you (who didn’t vote) people are working 60 hours a week just to make ends meet may make you re-think your perspective. 

Being vocal about not caring about politics and not voting might garner you some “yeah! I’m so sick of it too!” comments, but politics matter

What kind of a country do you want to live in?  What kind of regulations do you want, what kind of services do you want, what kind of economics do you want, what kind of – everything – do you want?

Being above politics and not voting means that in twenty years, your world will have passed you by and you have nobody to blame but yourself.

So take the responsibility and vote.

Now don’t get me wrong… I do not hang all of my hopes and dreams on who is elected.  Far from it… I am confident of this very thing… That my hope is built upon nothing less than Jesus’ blood and His righteousness.

I am reminded of these words:

“Jesus Christ, is the same yesterday, and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

I love how the Word of God can bring such encouragement and clarity right when we need it.

In 10 words, my heart was gripped with the fact that we serve and worship a God that does not change.

I cannot put my trust into any politician.  They will change…Jesus Christ never changes.

We have a God that is absolutely sufficient in Himself and a God who is never caught unaware, off guard or lacking in anything. The reminder that our Savior, who conquered sin, death, hell and the grave over 2000 years ago, is the same everyday…regardless of how this election turns out.

What a great encouragement for the child of God to know, that we can rest in the faithfulness of our unchanging God.  The outcome of this election will not change God.  I am not sure what you may be facing or what uncertainties may have you feeling trapped in fear, but may the circumstances that you are standing in not overshadow the fact that your God, revealed to you in Christ and in His Word has not, and will not change!

Be encouraged that in a world that continues to change and in a world that is so uncertain, ONE thing never does, and that is Jesus Christ. Take a moment today and celebrate that fact and may the Spirit of our unchanging God awaken us to recognize how awesome our God is. God bless!

May this be your prayer for your life… that your hope is is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and His righteousness.  Now… GO VOTE!!!

Know Your Enemy

We are in a war, but it’s not the war we are trying to fight.  In most cases, we really do not know who our real enemy is.

It’s not a battle between Republicans and Democrats.

It’s not a battle between conservatives and liberals.

It’s not a battle between Christians and Muslims.

It’s not a battle between gay and straight.

It’s not a battle between “us” and “them”.

These are the battles we are fighting in the Christian world we live in, but they are the wrong wars, the wrong battlefields, attacks against the wrong enemies. 

This week we fought a battle that many made into a war.  I believe that it was the wrong war to fight but none-the-less,  Dan Cathy, the CEO of Chick-fil-A,  had stated his opposition of gay marriage.  This started a battle among those that agreed and those that opposed.  The outcry from those that disagreed, took the stand that as a CEO of a major company such as Chick-fil-A, he had no right to express his feeling nor was he allowed to spend his money to support groups and organizations that were against gay marriage. It became more about his beliefs as opposed to what the battle was really about.  It was, in my opinion, a battle about “free-speech” not gay marriage.

What followed was a call to support Chick-fil-A by standing up for your beliefs by purchasing a chicken sandwich.   Most critics said that we as Christians and as a church failed to show love to those we disagree with. While I agree we missed an opportunity to show love… wasn’t this really about free speech? The freedom to believe in what one wants to believe?  It just so happens that this event was based upon a comment about a belief about gay marriage. It could have been about anything but it became all about gay marriage and our chance to “show love”. I am not sure if it was a “failure” of the church as some stated.  I would say it was a missed opportunity to do something more than reduce the chicken population. There is a distinct difference between “failure” and a “missed opportunity”.

The Christian world I live in has chosen to fight the wrong war, focus on what is not the enemy,  oppose what isn’t the real problem at all.  All the while the real enemy prospers and smiles at our foolishness.  He has masterfully misdirected our attention at the wrong things. We are indeed in a war…I pray we realize who the real enemy is and focus our attacks in the right way, with the right weapons at the real enemy.

Our battle and our war is not against the gay community.  Jesus showed love to sinners and was “despised and rejected” by most. We could have done nothing except try to show love to the gay community and do you think that would have made it a victory for the church if that message would have been rejected by almost all of them? God’s dealings with the gay community over history has not been one that I would say is filled with tolerance but that is another discussion.

Maybe we should have a had a day of volunteer community service to show our support for free speech… because that is what this was really about. How long of a line of volunteers do you think that might have been? A lot shorter I presume…because people wouldn’t have got a chicken sandwich at the other end of the line.

God hasn’t changed his views.  He still says marriage is between a man and a woman only.  He still says that sex outside of marriage is wrong.  He still says that homosexuality is sin just as lying and stealing are sins.  Even as I type this I know I will be the subject of our inverted morality and be called a bigot, someone opposed to “marriage equality”, but I’m not.  I view the world right side up and refuse to agree with those that try to turn the world upside down around me.  

There is still evil and good,  dark and light, bitter and sweet and these things  do not change simply because the culture doesn’t like the way God describes right and wrong.  Yes, I realize I live in a culture and world inverted by sin, but I still have to declare to the world around me that all of this is upside down.  This is not the way God wants us to live.  Nor is it the war that God wants us to fight.  Even if the upside world around me doesn’t like to hear it said it’s still upside down and inverted from the way God designed it.

We are taking swings at the symptoms and not at the real enemies.  We find ourselves boxing shadows and completely missing the real enemies among us.  It is a war of the worlds, but not the one we fight now.  Here’s the real battlefield, here’s the real enemy.

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”           -Ephesians 6

I’m sure our real enemies are thrilled with the shadow boxing we are doing….swinging at what is not the real enemy at all…and all the while our unseen enemy continues the fight.  

Our battle in never with people, let me repeat that….our battle is never with people…it’s always spiritual and with an enemy unseen.   If that enemy can get us to focus our attention on the wrong battle, the wrong enemy, the wrong battlefield all the better for him.

In this world of misplaced wars, I pray we see what the real war is about, who the real enemy really is and how we are to respond.  The real war is for the souls of men, the real enemy is the devil, and the proper response for us is love and prayer.  Those are the “weapons” that will change the culture around us and deal a death-blow to the enemy’s plans.

The real battlefield is spiritual.   The real war is spiritual.

And the real war is fought in prayer and with love for others, regardless of their sin.

“Never Can Say Good…Bayh”

Maybe it’s just me…but you can almost hear the beat of that old Jackson Five  song: “Never Can Say Goodbye”.

I have attached this video for your listening enjoyment while you read the rest of this post.  It will be the best part of it.

Evan Bayh, the Indiana Democratic Senator, has announced that he too is quaking in his boots and suddenly deciding not to run as beleaguered Democrats are quickly realizing their arrogant posturing this past year has stirred up a political hornet’s nest that is likely to bring most of them down.

I have tried over the last few hours to come up with something positive to say about my fellow Democrat Evan Bayh…and I can never find anything good to say about him.

Senator Evan Bayh

While Bayh is only the latest and certainly not the last to realize that America’s anger is real, some Democrats continue their Little Big Horn mentality in holding high the liberal banner as countless arrows fly. They have re-doubled their endless attacks on Sarah Palin, tea party supporters, conservatives and their ilk.  How long are the Democrats  going to assume that all of these “tea-parties” and Scott Brown’s election is just a blip on the map of politics.  These are major concerns, with major consequences to their party.   I believe that they are in denial.  I do not see the leadership coming from the democratic party now…I see them falling back on “playground” politics of blame.  Making  issues about failed Bush polices will get them nothing but a Republican majority real soon.   If they continue to deny that they have serious problems in the leadership of the party then I am to assume that they are too blinded by self righteousness.

The once foaming-at-the-mouth Bush bashers have now morphed into “Palin Impalers” in what can only be termed a cult of hate of the first magnitude.    Not only is she constantly belittled as dumb and stupid (a tactic the Bush bashers honed to perfection), she is also portrayed as leading her moronic followers and fellow conservatives lemming-like off hate-filled, gun-toting, Kool-aid drinking cliffs toward political oblivion. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

As a Democrat since 1978, I am finding it so hard to read and listen to fellow democrats cry and whine about Dick Cheney and his “so-called”  hatemongering.   During the last five years the Democratic party did nothing but tell George Bush how much they hated him, his policies and Cheney.  Nothing that Bush did was right in their eyes.   Harry Reid, the Democrat Senate Leader even told school children that Bush was an idiot and the list could go on and on.

The issue of bi-partisanship is a one way street for most Democrats.  They want the compromise of a few republicans in order to pass their agenda but are they really willing to compromise themselves?  I do not see anyone in the democratic party willing to do so.   So they cannot cry foul because the Republicans are not willing to come to the table and work with them.  I  hear my fellow democrats whine about the fact that the Repubs won’t “work together” in a bi-partisan fashion. Why would they expect them to?   They (the Democrats) have jammed everything down the throats of the American people, without any regard to working together.  In the democrats self-righteous position of the majority,  they are the ones that do not understand nor appreciate bi-partisanship.  The Democrats cannot have it both ways.   They cannot criticize, spew hatred for the last five years and then cry foul when it comes back at them.

They have done this to themselves…in their attempt to put Bush in his place, they have alienated themselves from the American people.   Make no mistake, if Scott Brown’s election is any evidence…the worst for them is yet to come. Blaming Bush and Cheney no longer will pay any benefits to the Democrats cause.   Stooping down  and playing the blame game is over.  Bush…Cheney….is old news, let’s move on.

While the now departed “Never can Say Good… Bayh” was often portrayed as a moderate, almost conservative Democrat by the overtly liberal faction of the party, neither Democrats or Republicans will miss his weak-kneed stance on tough issues.  Yet, Bayh has, perhaps, seen the lipstick writing on the mirror better than many others.

The message is this:  “the weak and liberal need not apply”.   The American public has had enough of this foolishness. Both Democrats and Republicans need to shut up and listen.

That is why Sarah Palin scares the Bee Jesus out of both sides.

And that is…

Just Me.

Obama, Broadway and the Bada Bing

Maybe it’s just me… but I don’t think Obama gets it.

I think our President made a mistake by having date night in New York.   After knowing that additional employees were laid-off indefinitely by GM and other companies earlier in the week, our President decides that keeping his promise to his wife was more important than the economic crisis that faces America.  He promised the Queen that after the campaign, they’d take in a Broadway show, and darn it, he meant to keep that promise.  No matter what the sacrifice or the cost to the American people.

Taking a look at this whole fiasco, I feel like I am watching a new episode of the Sopranos.  No…the series did not end in that diner…here is proof.  A whole new cast is set for this new season…

President Obama  lives by his own self interests…he does not have to live to any standard other than his own.  He just dictates how everyone else will live their lives. (bada bing)

How much did it cost?  He is not telling… nor is his staff.  With the help from the Washington Times…let’s take a look at this a little closer…

In an odd twist left unexamined by the media (no surprise here), the White House on Monday said it simply would not release the cost of President Obama’s weekend jaunt to New York City, where the First Couple had dinner and caught a Broadway show.   Spokesman Robert Gibbs, keeping the White House press corps in stitches, as he always does, said the Obamas would have preferred using a commercial airline shuttle to New York and back, but the Secret Service would not allow such unprotected travel.  (bada bing)

And that was that.  No further probing; asked and answered; time to move on.  And move on he did…right into this little video release of Obama telling us that the sacrifices already made would be for the better life for our children.  I find it hard to accept that Mr. Obama is  really concerned for their future considering the 10 trillion dollar debt  he has placed on the heads of our children and grandchildren. (bada bing)

Who exactly is the “we” he refers to?  Surely he isn’t referring to himself.  Where is the sacrifice that “he”  made?  Maybe he and Michelle did not get an extra bag of peanuts on the flight.  (bada bing)

That was, of course, an ironic element of the trip.   In February, Obama scolded corporate executives (while also costing Las Vegas some $130 million) when he said: “You can’t get corporate jets. You can’t go take a trip to Las Vegas, or go down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers’ dime.” (bada bing)

Did he not take the trip to New York on the tax payers dime?   Is there any thing different about this than our criticism  for the excesses of corporate America?  Why are we not upset about this?  Union and Non-Union employees are being laid off by the thousands and yet they will continue to blindly “vote” for the democrats…the same democrats that are telling you now to sacrifice…but remember that sacrifice only applies to you. (bada bing)

The media response of the trip has been tempered, with the exception of village idiot Chris Mathews of Hardball on MSNBC.   He rants and raves about the “disdain” and “lack of thought and culture” of George Bush.  That in itself was the reason that the trip was acceptable for the tax payers to foot the bill.   Mathhews claims of “cheap shots” of the Republican party for being angry of a President that has “Interests”.  I agree he has “interests”…  his own selfish interests. (bada bing)

Wake up people this is all happening under our noses.  Is this really the change you wanted?  Are we really better off?

One early estimate (from the New York Post) put the cost at $24,000. Absurdly low. The Daily Mail in London threw out another number — $75,000. Sure, three times as much as the first estimate, but still probably spectacularly low. Remember, joyriding Air Force One around for a few hours over Manhattan a couple months ago cost $250,000, so the cost of the weekend trip was likely not likely that low.

While the White House is simply refusing to say how much taxpayer money it spent, here’s a helpful way to calculate the cost of the trip:

First, the First Couple (and entourage) flew from the White House to Andrews Air Force Base — three choppers (two decoys), if the Marines stuck to standard operating procedure (and they are sticklers for SOP). That means dozens of men and women — radar, communications, mechanics, crews, everyone, perhaps 100, who knows? — were involved. (A batch of tagalongs must’ve taken a taxpayer pool of vehicles out from the White House to AAFB, since it took three jets to get the gang to NYC).

Second, the president moving on a Saturday takes a full operation at and around the White House, dozens and dozens of people. Maybe they’re all on salary, so that didn’t likely cost much. But all the cops involved — D.C. police, uniformed Secret Service officers, Capitol police — were probably paid overtime, even double time. Probably, again, 100 personnel or so.

Then there were the jets — at least $24,000 for the three aircraft used to ferry the Obamas, aides and reporters to New York. The Obamas’ jet, a Gulfstream 500, served as Air Force One.

Third, a C-17 had to fly to NYC to put in place a full motorcade (at least a dozen vehicles, maybe more). The military cargo plane may have taken up at least two, but maybe three, more choppers to fly the whole party from JFK to a Wall Street landing zone, where the motorcade was waiting. If not, the choppers flew there solo (White House veteran reporter Mark Knoller of CBS Radio wrote recently that “The VH-3D that serves as Marine One consumes about 1,200 pounds of fuel per hour.” Ouch. (bada bing)

Fourth, driving through Manhattan is an expensive exercise. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of NYPD have to be stationed all along the way, shutting down roads, holding back pedestrians. There were police cars involved, dozens of motorcycles, and the ever-present NYC ambulance (oh, don’t forget that the White House doctor also probably went — with all his gear). The city likely gets reimbursed by the White House for the cost (they usually do). And they were all probably getting time and a half (the NYPD overtime budget is extraordinary).

Fifth, the United States Secret Service (USSS) had to scope out the whole thing, then station agents all over — sharpshooters, undercover agents, etc. — at a huge cost. Who knows if they were on overtime. And if you think they went up Saturday morning, think again. They were likely in NYC upwards of a week before, planning the whole evening, every second of every movement. They had to map out five movements — from JFK to the Wall Street LZ, then a motorcade to the restaurant, then another motorcade to the play, then a final motorcade back to the LZ, then a chopper flight to JFK, before the First Couple and crew jetted back to AAFB for another chopper to the White House.

One thing is known — The Obamas picked up the cost of dinner costs and their orchestra seat tickets, which cost $96.50 a piece. So if the whole thing cost $250,000, the Obamas offset that by at least a few hundred bucks.  Phew.

Thank you Mr. President for your sacrifice…(bada bing)

I don’t know about you…but I think our President just doesn’t get it…or maybe he does…

Either way, I believe we are in more trouble than we have ever could have imagined.

But then again, maybe it’s just me.