Friday, June 30, 2006

Rule of Fear

I have not been very happy with our present administration, nor have I applauded our law makers, and the third branch of our government, judiciary; always seems inaccessable and out of touch, so with all that being said, and hopefully, still within the border of free speech, I have decided that I needed to be a bit more compassionate about the situation. I pray for our President and our decision makers, but often, I find myself asking G~d, "how much longer . . .?" or "why can't they see . . .?" and the one that I am finally getting some insight to is "what is he thinking?" And then I was suddenly overtaken with a wave of compassion for the guy. I mean come on, he's waged global war on terrorism, sitting at an all time low in popularity, and an all time high in deficit, and I found myself feeling his pain. What a deal in the middle of my feelings about his presidency. He is a fellow baby boomer, after all; he was raised with the same fear mentality the rest of us were. You see, the 50's were a time in which we had everything to fear and our government would protect us. We were told "Communists" wanted to take over everything, and there was the BOMB. In vacation Bible school, we pledged allegience to the flag and the Bible, and I don't have to tell you which was first. We were read Grimm's fairy tales and then told not to be afraid of the dark, our parents would keep us safe. Well, they were the ones reading the books to us. I was one of those kids, whose mom had a horror story for every occasion. I grew up in Kansas and before I was 10 years old, I had been told the true story of "In Cold Blood." I was in the primary elementary grades when I heard the story of J. Paul Getty's grandson. And I was not the exception. I've heard from other boomers, the local horror stories they were told. And we got to hear these while hearing about the wonder years of the previous generation, or how easy we had it, depending upon the age of our parents. And my childhood didn't warrant the same fear or need of protection that I'm sure the wealthier households actually required. This made me realize, the guy grew up with the same fear campaign the rest of us did, only maybe moreso. His family was wealthy. So, he's afraid and when real men from Texas are afraid, they take action. That's why he has the consituency that he has. The boomers that have transferred their fear of Communists to terrrorists, the old ladies that used to be mothers reading bedtime stories and the men that just know something needs to change! Apparently the majority of America is comfortable to be motivated by fear, at least according to the 2004 election results, and he has all those people to answer to.
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Dichotomies of Humanity = Similarity of Opposition

A two-fold title to frames this blog addressing double-talk and double standards.
As I read and listen, I am amazed at just how many opposing sides sound the same or utilize the same techniques, all the while they are judging the "opposing view or belief." Stay with me, here for just a minute as I share my view of the two. First, we have the fundamentalists, and basically fundamentalists of any religion ultimately sound the same. It doesn't matter whether we are hearing quotes from al Qaida and Hamas leaders or TV preachers; they are sounding the same - those that disagree with them, do not deserve to live. Ah, the warmth of fundamentalism. I tend to sound like Rush Limbaugh when he refers to something he doesn't adhere to, which just proves my title again, at any rate; we have the basic similarity amongst the "funny mentalists." And while we are holding ourselves above the barbaric practices of the terrorists, as we discuss them teaching their little boys to kill, has anyone listened to American preschoolers and what they are talking about? Little American boys are all about "killing the bad guys" too, but we in America call it "playing and imaginary," and the bigger boys play video death games which are called "virtual" not reality, until it happens in the local high school. Just how long has our civilized society paid to watch violence, while we; of course, are disgusted by the barbarism of other distant places?
Now, on to the politicians and the media. I had originally thought about drawing the similarity between the republicans and the democrats, but I would only be repeating about 6 kajillion blogs around the internet and most of the evening news. So, suffice it to say, I now refer to the only difference between the politicians as "r'aristocrats" or "d'aristocrats." I would much rather give notoriety to the method that both media and politicians abhor in each other and that would be SPIN. Politicians tell us what they want us to believe and the media shares the view in which they are attempting to lead us. So, basically both the politicians and the media appear to be operating on the premise that they are dealing with idiots that will believe whatever we're told and simply need to be told what we are to believe. And both the media and the politicians are flat getting bold about it, as they don't even attempt to veil this approach any more.
And last but not least are the mega-church and the secular humanists. Now, you may say, what? There is nothing similar, ah; but there is and there are so many similarities. First, there is the "how it makes me feel" mantra. Whether it's church participation or education, they truly do express their superiority and they both make the fundamentalists look humble in that area. Next, we move on to the materialism of the two beliefs. The mega-church calls it blessings and prosperity and the humanists call it self-actualization, but the majority of the American economic base lies in these two groups, because the American economy is based upon instant gratification, disposability, perpetual motion, and credit, again the similarity. And I think the most humorous simlarity I have found is the utter disrespect they have for each other's similar lifestyles and co-dependency upon their support networks. Whether it's mega-church or licensed and degreed professionals, the girl-friends all still have to get together and talk about what someone else is doing wrong and the men all get together and discuss what's in the way of their vision of success, and they show up to event after event in their minivans and SUVs talking about their stressed out lives, all the while; seeming reassured that they infact have "all the answers."
And without a doubt, there is a sad similarity between all of these mentioned. They have just enough knowledge of the Bible to deny the literal applications personally, while demanding accountability of others.
And the servant of Adonai must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, . . . In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; . . .

Friday, June 16, 2006

A Kinder and Gentler . . .

Remember the words of our current president's father when he had the title? He was referring to the state of our union and that he envisioned a kinder, gentler America. Well, we aren't. The rest of the world does make a few valid points. We are rude. I realize I'm rude when I'm in a hurry, people I deal with are rude when they choose to be and that is something that certainly isn't getting any better. Remeber when the "customer was always right?" That is no longer the case, either, and the people that are offering customer service don't even remember when that was a motto in business. I think our "America" is not getting kinder or gentler because our religion has gotten meaner and greedier. The big time preachers are sporting their own jets, so they don't have to deal with airport security, and the mega-church is teaching materialism and feel goodism, no matter the cost, because materialism is what makes people feel good when the plate gets passed. I was reading about Ann Coulter's latest book, released on 06/06/06, and in the words of the SNL church lady I wondered "could it be, satan?" Ms. Coulter is the woman that also wrote something about how to talk to a liberal if you must. No point in writing a book about talking to a religious right-winger, 'cause there's just no talkin' to them! Now she feels that everyone needs to embrace her ideas of Christianity, and her approach seems much the same to me, as the clerics of Islam. In one of her statements, she felt the leaders should just be killed and their subjects converted to Christianity. Interesting concept, but the leaders to whom she refers, are already implementing that very method for their desired religious results. A staunch evangelical republican shared some frightening comments about those that disagree with their own views. And then, there were headlines from Jerusalem that there were "two righteous gentiles" honored for their protection of Jews during the holocaust. Only two righteous gentiles over half a century ago; is that the viewpoint of Judaism? We will not have a kinder and gentler society until all of our cultures and societies give up their mean, condescending religions, or TBN comes up with a sinner's prayer that can be said between "ready, aim, fire!"
He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Reality of Life in the Perception of Mainstream

I can't believe I am writing such a personal blog, today; but I am. An acquaintance of mine died this week. He was an interesting individual that in many ways, I admired, but in other ways, I saw myself and my own struggles. I didn't ever get very close to him, but I don't think he or I got very close to most people, and I will refer to him as a friend. We had similar backgrounds, we would both undoubtedly be labelled religious fanatics, and found ourselves business owners in the same town. Neither of us were from that city originally and I don't know if he felt the same exclusion that I did, but somehow I think he might have. I know there were views that we held that always kept us out of mainstream, yet never drew the two of us to a personal indepth discussion. When we moved, I had even sent an invitation for him to visit. Funny, he was the one individual from that town that my husband and I genuinely extended a specific invitation to our new place. It wasn't the usual exchange amongst our friends when we shared our new address and the general "keeping in touch plans." I have called him a friend and I have cried several times since hearing of his death, but he never responded to our invitation. This man was a high achiever, intensely motivated, but I felt he never allowed himself to enjoy the "rewards" of his effort. I'm not going to analyze or become philosophical, because I believe that would disrespect his memory. I'll leave the philosphy to the lazy pseudo-intellectuals, because he certainly was not that. I think analysis is best left with those involved in the pseudo-science cult of psychiatry and psychology, as that seems to be a special codependent combination of "supplanters" and "seekers." My friend never seemed to find solace in the "wisdom of man." I do know my friend wanted to know G~d and wanted to please G~d; and like me, had been introduced to condemning religious teachings that dog people for a lifetime. My friend jumped off a bridge into the river, but I really do not believe he died of suicide, I believe he died of exhaustion. The circumstances in which his body was recovered do not align with the usual findings in these situations. It is my heartfelt belief, rather than to die, he merely wanted to leave behind, the life that was silently towing him under. I know in my heart, the river was symbolic of mainstream, with no easy access for many of us, and even fewer that just 'get out' while they are still alive. Now, religious views all differ, when someone completes suicide or dies by a choice they might not make in different circumstances. But who can judge as to whether depression, exhaustion, or sorrow are any less fatal than cancer or organ failure? I firmly believe my friend has truly found G~d and come to receive the comfort he couldn't find in this life, and has finally allowed himself to be embraced in the arms of G~d, who is love.
Herein is love, not that we loved G~d, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Operating on a "Need to Know" Basis

I believe I first heard this criteria in chaplain work. When I was serving as volunteer chaplain for the state hospital and the police department, the term began to be used readily. It basically meant, they appreciated my time, but I should not consider myself privy to anything, other than what was determined by them for me to "need to know." That worked very well for me, as I could not be held responsible for what I didn't know. So, "need to know basis" was the best way to offer some assistance to the people at the mercy of the system while appearing to respect the control issues of the authorities. It worked very well for the time I served, but I have a different opinion when it comes to my rights as a citizen. Now, I realize I'm just a tax payer without a major axe to grind on some tolerance topic, so my rights are limited, but . . . I think what happened last week was just odd, at best. I realize now, we must all be paying for the privilege of operating on a "need to know basis." I had to find out on the "streets" of the internet reading news from other countries. Did you know that the Washington Post reported that General Michael Hayden has been sworn in as the new CIA director, and it was reported in the news in other countries, but CNN and FOX didn't seem to find it newsworthy? Or perhaps, this news didn't meet the "need to know" criteria. I feel, it is my patriotic duty to "need to know" this stuff, or at least have access to it, here in the US. It just makes me wonder how many other matters are just being run through and not mentioned. Well, actually, I believe this takes all the wonder out of it. I would have blogged about this on my usual Friday afternoon, but in my attempt to check my information, I found my computer locked up after my searches for information regarding General Hayden. It seemed that I crossed the line of "need to know." So, will the "need to know basis" be a law of reciprocity? Why does it seem we do not need to know who the new director is, or that General Hayden has become the new director, but our government "needed to know" phone records and obtain warrantless wiretaps. And all of that is within the law. How do we know it's lawful? Because the ones obtaining the records told us it is within the law. Well, I feel the name of the person that has the authority to invade my privacy and the power to enforce all sorts of "lawful" inquests is something I "need to know."
For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them,

Blog Archive