Category: religion

Who’s Your Friend?

picture of US and Israel flags hanging side by side
Symbol of Friendship

We attended a high school sports event between a Christian high school and a Jewish high school. Both are upper scale, suburban schools and the event was held at the Jewish school’s gymnasium. The facility is fairly new, and was built on land located in one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in the Atlanta area.

After we entered the gym, I noticed right away the American flag and the Israeli flag hanging side-by-side from the ceiling. At this point in time, especially this year when Israel is under attack by Palestinian terrorists it seemed an appropriate gesture.

At first, I took it as a symbol of solidarity between two allied and friendly nations. I felt good about that.

Prior to the game, The Star Spangled Banner was played. We all stood at attention with our hands over our hearts.

Then the Israeli national anthem was played, and I felt a bit uncomfortable. Many in the crowd were apparently there supporting the home team, and stood at attention with their hands over their hearts. I simply stood  respectfully and wondered what was going on.

Were the Jewish home crowd putting their religion and race ahead of being citizens of the United States of America? Were they showing their support for their Jewish brethren in Israel and all they were going through?

I noted the equal height of the national flags with the USA flag was on the left. That seemed OK, and it turns out that this is within the protocol of flag placement according to several organizations that are concerned with things like this. However, the timing of the national anthems was not. It is traditional that the American national anthem be the last played at events where multiple nations are recognized with their anthems.

My final decision is that any breach of protocol was not intended. The event was a friendly sporting exercise pitting Christian kids against presumably Jewish kids. It was a girls volley ball game, and I assure you the kids were not thinking about religion, but it was all about spiking the ball

The parents and spectators cheered for their kids, and applauded respectfully for the other team. It was a genuine American event.

Something Is Going On Out There

picture of Barack Obama playing pool
President Obama at Work

You can call it destiny. You can call it magic. You can call it prophecy. Whatever you call it, there’s some real stuff going on.

The President of The United States is talking about being impeached. Since he is the only one talking impeachment, does that mean that he has secret guilt?

The Congressional House of Representatives is threatening to sue the President. The Senate is not doing a damned thing.

The Russians are messing with the Ukrainians. The President of The United States refuses to give aid to the Ukrainians. They are not afraid to fight the Russians, and with a little help in arms and intelligence, they can beat the Russians. Where is Barack Obama? Wazzup with this?

Islamic terrorists are still murdering people. Muslims around the world don’t care.

The ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant) terrorist group, a derivative of Al Qaeda, has managed to take over most of Iraq since the United States military left that country. ISIS is funded from a number of sources and is ideologically much more extreme than Al Qaeda. They have announced that Christians are targets, and either must leave the country, convert to Islam, or die. Who is there to prevent this from happening?

The US economy is not improving. The employment rate has increased, but the number of full-time jobs has decreased. More people are employed part-time than ever before. We know Obama likes to mess with the economy, so, why is everything he does wrong?

Central American illegal immigrant children are welcomed with free food stamps, free schools, free medical care, free transportation to relatives homes, and free legal support. Africans, Europeans, Asians, and South Americans have to spend thousands of dollars over many years to gain legal entry into the United States. Why do you suppose this is?

US citizens are the most spied-upon populace in the world with the NSA, IRS, SEC, FCC, and FEC monitoring private email, private telephone conversations, political contributions, and shopping habits. If you sponsor a non-profit, conservative educational group, the President of The United States has approved your financial and regulatory harassment.

Just ask Lois Lerner.

Yes. There’s something going on out there. Or, not.

Something is missing in this world, allowing chaos to dominate where once there was leadership within and from the United States of America.

There is not a leader in the White House, and this a major domestic and world-wide problem.

  • Where is our leadership we need in tackling economic problems?
  • Where is our leadership when it comes to bringing a decent resolution to immigration and border problems?
  • Where is our leadership when it comes to working with a fractured Congress?
  • Where is our leadership when it comes to challenging the hegemonic designs of totalitarian leaders like Vladimir Putin?
  • Where is our leadership when it comes to fighting international Islamic terrorism?

Indeed, where is the President of The United States when so many problems bedevil the nation and the world?

Say no more. Just look at the pictures in the news. Campaigns and parties are on the President’s agenda. Work? Not so much.

What Did Phil Robertson Do Wrong?

First of all, he opened his mouth in an interview run by someone who would try to trap him into saying things that would be easy to misinterpret.

Secondly, Mr Robertson talked about happy black people when he was growing up. That’s what called Jesse Jackson into the act. My problem is that I understand the man, having grown up in the same time, and similar cultures. My difference is that I had an advantage in that I grew up in a city. Everybody, including blacks, had shoes in the city, but not in the country.

As a matter of fact, my father bought my shoes and clothes at a Jewish owned department store called, “The Black And White Store”. The marketing strategy was obvious, to sell to the poorer white community, and to the black community. This was something the large department stores in downtown Memphis did not do.

Phil Robertson grew in a rural community, where the swamps were a major feature, and furnished part of the living for poor families in Louisiana, both black and white.

It was part of the old South where economies during he Civil War had been devastated, homes and farms were burned, and legislative barriers to trade between the southern states and the northern states were the norm. The entire US southern states were in abject poverty from the time of the end of the Civil War until the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Of course, these economic deprivations were not only visited on white southerners, but black citizens were acutely affected. Reconstruction greed of the northern states knew few boundaries, punishing all living the south. A crying shame after the Civil War is that the anti-slavery advocates in the northern states paid little to no attention to the condition of black America after their freedom from slavery.

So it was that in Phil Robertson’s childhood in the 1950’s and 1960’s, he was probably just as barefooted as the black kids with whom he saw and communicated every day. How can I say this? Even though I was born in the City of Memphis, I still visited kin in the Mississippi Delta where poverty was still the normal in living for millions in the deep South. I was witness to these conditions.

So, before you get off criticizing Phil Robertson, you might want to take a look at what almost everybody in the Old South had to do, black and white, to get along. White people were way better off, but if you were an elementary kid, or even high school kid, you really didn’t know all the facts and history of that society. Opportunities were stolen from black and white, alike.

It is a rewarding thing today to look up and down my street in the Atlanta Georgia area and count the number of black families with whom we are friends. My best neighbor, ever, is a black family. Our kids grew up together, and they are welcome in our house, or our daughter’s  wedding.

We have discussed some things about our racially motivated society, and I have no fear that our mutual love and people and our Christianity will overcome any problems that might arise. I believe we have come a long way.

This Phil Robertson thing will blow over, soon. Nobody will learn anything from it.

What If Jesus Doesn’t Come Again?

If Jesus doesn’t come again that would mean a broken promise. That would un-hinge the entire Christianity thing. Big problem.

This brilliant subject came to me this morning, and it occurred to me that I had never doubted the scriptures at all. As far as I was concerned, Jesus is coming again. This promise was made about two thousand years ago, but we have not seen our Redeemer since.

So, if we are waiting for the Second Coming and it never happens, just when will we as individual Christians figure it out? Yeah, I know this is some pretty loose philosophical thinking, but it is my thinking.

If Jesus does a no-show, does that mean no eternal life? Does it mean that He doesn’t sit at the right hand of God? What about those pearly gates. Will they still be there? Will St Peter get tired of waiting and go out to a permanent lunch?

Christians take everything on faith. That’s a pretty important concept. Everybody, every day takes much of life on faith, like faith the banking system won’t fail, or faith the old Ford will start once more to get them to work, Some people say they don’t believe in God, but put their faith in science. Science gets an overhaul every few years as new discoveries are made, and old beliefs are trashed. I don’t think it would be smart to put one’s faith in science.

Is the Second Coming  just a ruse to keep little guys like me going to church, giving money, and witnessing my faith to the world? If when year after year Jesus doesn’t come, does this mean that I have fallen for a Jesus trap? Am I like the misbegotten souls who hide away in caves waiting for the end of the world?

When I became a Christian I didn’t do it for insurance on the off-chance that God exists. When you become a Christian, you are in it lock, stock, and barrel. You are in for real. That’s why we believe the second coming will be real, even if it happens long past our lifetimes.

We know what to expect.  That is what our faith demands.

65% Of Democrats Favor Gay Marriage

From Pew Research:

Percentage of populations favoring gay marriage:

Democrats – 65% (2008 – 50%)

Independents – 51% (2008 – 44%)

Republicans – 24% (2008 – 19%)

The referenced Pew research polls show that favorability of gay marriage has increased substantially over the last four years (2008 to 2012).

The gap between Republicans and Democrats has widened, and so has the gap between Republicans and Independents. Politically, this would suggest that the Republicans suppress talk about gay marriage during the election, but I doubt that will happen.

One speculation in the Pew article is that the reason for the increased tolerance of gay marriage may have to do with a more tolerant attitude toward homosexuality in general. This has apparently taken place over a long period of time, and not just in the last four years.

My purpose for publishing this information is not to get the same old arguments going about gay vs straight, but to ask the question, “Should Republicans make a big deal of the Democrats new policy of advocating gay marriage in the Presidential election?”

What do you think?

What Happens After We Die?

The answer depends upon whom you ask. To accommodate any after-life scenario, you have to believe in some sort of spirit quality of your being. There you have it, spirit or no-spirit. That’s the first step. After that first step, things get a little cloudy.

I will never forget that Saturday Night Live skit where, as people died, they were sent through a long tunnel towards a bright light. When they arrived at the bright light, it was a white-on-white waiting room, and a big voice instructed them to get in line, and “Take A Number”.

Of course, the allusion was to the idea that after-life was pretty much like regular life. You would be subjected to all the frustrations of a regular, hectic, commute-to-the-city-in-rush-hour existence.

There are psychics out there that claim to talk to dead people, and I think you have to be very careful. It seems to be a popular scam.

Psychics claim to be able to talk to dead people’s spirits. So, where are all those spirits when they are chatting with your expensive psychic? Is there, indeed, a cosmic waiting room?

Christians believe that those who believe in Jesus Christ will go to be with Him, and most call this place, Heaven. Others will be on the next train to somewhere else, most likely the Biblical Hell. There is no mention in the Bible about a collection room, or a stopping off place.

To believe in psychics, we have to give the “cosmic waiting room” concept validity. The dead must be in a place where they are free to speak.

Do you really think the dead are able to talk back from Heaven, or Hell? The Bible tells us that we will be singing praises to the glory of God. I won’t have any time to talk to a mere psychic, so please, don’t expect any talk-back after death from me! On the other hand, even though Hell is a busy place, I would imagine that pretty much everybody in that place would be anxious to talk to the living about avoiding a hellish ending. This does make some sort of weird sense.

A big problem with our conception of death is time. The Bible erases the idea that time will exist. After all, we will be spending eternity wherever we are, and time is meaningless in that context. Our physical concept of time will not apply.

Considering everything, I don’t believe there is a cosmic waiting room after death. I don’t believe there is a train, or moving sidewalk that takes you toward a bright light. There may be bright lights, but I believe that after you die, things are pretty much instantaneous. There will be no  concept of time.

After we die, we will, indeed, meet our maker.

I don’t believe in psychics. There may be some other explanation for their claimed conversations, but I don’t believe they are talking to the people they claim.

I will stick to the old-time religion. After death, I will meet God.

What World Do You Live In?

Picture of a duck in the water.
Duck picture from Wikipedia

“She is like a duck. She gets up in a new world, everyday.”

This is what my Dad said about one of my cousins. My Dad was right. My cousin never lets the bad things in life get her down, and is always in a good mood. It is like she shakes off her worries every night, and gets up the next morning  with a whole new attitude.

There are people who spend their days worrying about the basics of life, and we need to recognize this and help them.

There are also people who spend their days worrying about all the little things that can affect them. These people can avoid a lot of their worry.

I think most of us are caught in between, having times of depression and worry, interspersed with times of security and happiness. Maybe that is a good definition of happiness, not worrying about things.

Having spent a career as a salesman, I know that one’s fundamental attitude about life will determine whether you are happy and successful. Life is all about attitude, and you can choose how you see things. Sometimes, we encounter defeats and losses, but your attitude determines how you are ultimately affected.

Life is also about perception, how we perceive ourselves, and how others perceive us. If we encounter life each day with a positive attitude and a willingness to work our problems, others will perceive us as happy, successful people. Success breeds success, and you will find yourself going from one successful encounter to the next, all because you started the day with a good, positive attitude.

What can you do to get yourself into that positive attitude each day? There are many ways to do this.

You can think positive thoughts. That’s a good start.

Dale Carnegie classes have an exercise that will get you going. Just repeat the words, “Act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic…” while performing vigorous exercise, and you can achieve two things. Your pulse rate is physically quickened, and because your blood is flowing a little faster, your mental processes are kicking into a higher gear. Try it.

Another piece of wisdom from Dale Carnegie, and countless others, is to pray. Ask God each day to shoulder your worries, and give you the confidence to fight and win the countless little battles you will encounter. By the time you run into a big problem, you will be way ahead of the game. Prayer can work miracles.

Dale Carnegie was a tremendously successful person, and his career was spent making others understand how to be happy and successful. This was due in no small part to Carnegie’s Christianity. Therein lay the source of his success.

I choose to live in a world figuratively full of sunshine and happiness. I love each day, and enjoy the blessings that inevitably come my way. I pray that I am not a worry to others, for healing the sick, and  I pray for competency in our political leaders. Yep! Since they are in office it would be nice if they did the right thing, occasionally. God has a lot more influence in those cases than I.

What kind of world are you living in? I believe most people are happy most of the time. Maybe that is because I don’t like to hang around people who gripe and complain about their situation.

Life is too short to spend your days worrying about things you cannot control. That’s God’s job.