Friday, December 26, 2008

Out of Town Again

Well, I guess I better tell you guys that I'm going to be out of town again. I guess I've been away from the computer at times for a few days at a time over the Holiday Season, but now it is going to be an entire week. We are leaving town Tomorrow for Southern California and will be down there for a week. Aside from visiting with family and friends and having our normal New Years Day bash with relatives, I guess we're going to the Rose Parade this year. My parents have bought us all tickets to sit in the grand stand to watch the parade. They rented a limousine and everything, so I guess we are really going to "live it up".

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Judge Not, That ye' Be Not Judged

I just wrote something on Griper's blog that sounded like it could be another post. I thought I might repeat it here for those of you who visit me that may or may not also visit Griper. I wrote it in response to a Christmas Poem Griper posted by George R Sims. I guess it's called "Christmas Day in the Workhouse". Griper entitled his post "Christmas of Long Ago". It is a poem about the Hypocrisy of doing good deeds for the wrong reasons, while not having any real love in one's heart.

Many people have decided not to go to church because they have seen Hypocrisy there. In response to this, I've heard it said "Just because the mouse is in the cookie jar, this does not make him a cookie.", so also "Just because someone goes to church, this does not make him a true Christian."

Since I tend to interpret a lot of things on Blogs Politically, I felt moved to add that Just because someone is a Republican, this does not mean that he necessarily cares about the poor.; or put another way, Just because someone is a Republican, this doesn't mean that he's a rich snob that does not care about the poor.

But then again, perhaps this same thing could be said about the Democrats as well. Just because someone is a Democrat, this does not mean that he necessarily cares about the poor., nor does it mean that he doesn't care and is controlling or lazy.

Griper seemed to think that I was changing the subject from Christmas to Politics, yet what is true in every day life is also true in Politics. Christmas is about love for our fellow man and this includes love for those who have different opinions than ourselves within Politics.

We are to love without Hypocrisy. This means doing it for the right reasons and it also means not judging those around us. There are several verses that come to mind in relation to this. I have listed some of them below...

"1) Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2) For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Matthew 7:1-2, NIV

"21) You, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22) You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23) You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?" Romans 2:21-23, NIV

"3) So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment?" Romans 3:3, NIV

"41) Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42) How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite; first take the plank out of your eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Luke 6:41-42, NIV

Getting back to the Political side of this, some Democrats care more about either control or the desire to be taken care of and some Republicans are guilty, just as they have been accused, of caring only for the well being of the rich and not the poor. We need to be careful, though, that we do not Stereo Type each other. Some Republicans do care and others do not and the same exact thing can be said about the Democrats.

It does no good to deny the Hypocrisy and Selfishness that can exist on both sides. We all need to ask God continually to search our hearts and purify us of all wrong motives.

It does no good to Stereo Type. It does no good to behave in ways that justify these Stereo Types. It does no good to judge and point fingers. It does no good to scream and vent our anger. It does no good to refuse to compromise on anything at all.

This comment is aimed at who ever is listening. Republicans; Democrats; I'm talking to both of you! Would you please both just knock it off!!

Fortunately, there are good and sincere people in both parties and these are the ones who need to work together for the good of the whole country and all of mankind.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Twas the Month Before Christmas - Meaning of Christmas Lost

Well, the good news is that even though I've been so busy with Christmas that I was wondering if the last post I did was going to be my only post in the month of December, I've been receiving some really good Emails that I absolutely must post. The first is a poem about how attitudes are changing towards Christmas.

*Twas the month before Christmas*
*When all through our land,*
*Not a Christian was praying*
*Nor taking a stand.*
*See the PC Police had taken away,*
*The reason for Christmas - no one could say.*
*The children were told by their schools not to sing,*
*About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.*
*It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say*
* December 25th is just a 'Holiday'.*
*Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit*
*Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!*
*CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod*
*Something was changing, something quite odd! *
*Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa*
*In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.*
*As Targets were hanging their trees upside down*
* At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.*
*At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears*
*You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.*
*Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty*
*Are words that were used to intimidate me.*
*Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen*
*On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton!*
*At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter*
*To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.*
*And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith*
* Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace*
*The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded*
*The reason for the season, stopped before it started.*
*So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'*
*Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.*
*Choose your words carefully, choose what you say*
not Happy Holiday!*
Please, all Christians join together and
wish everyone you meet
Christ is 'The Reason' for the Christ-mas Season!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Subtle, Less Obvious, Handicaps

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. What can I say? With Christmas and the new puppy, I've been quite distracted.

For the inspiration of this Post, I have a new comer to thank that just happened to drop by one of my earlier Posts through a Google Search. His name is Cenk and the page he visited is "Shay's Day - Inspirational Story". I guess that it's not so much what he said that inspired me, but the fact that he visited and commented on an earlier Post and thus got me thinking about that Post again. In doing so, I was reminded of something that I thought of saying relating to the subjects of Handicaps and yet never did say it until now.

The story in the linked Post is about baseball and the reaction of a couple of kids to a handicapped boy, yet sometimes on my blog, I like to compare everything to Politics and even though I never did that with this Post, now that Cenk has caused me to revisit it, I have remembered something that I always wanted to say and never did.

In the world of Politics and Capitalism, there are all sorts of Handicaps. Some are severe enough to earn a person Disability Payments. Others just cause people to not do quite as well in the job world as someone else with a higher IQ or with certain God Given skills that assure their success as long as they put out the necessary effort.

I became very keenly aware of this reality when I was in College. With my slow reading and inability to multitask, I had to study more hours than most to achieve the same results. The fact that I graduated with a degree is no less than a miracle. The average class load is 16 Units, but every single time that I tried to handle that much, I ended up dropping back down to 12 Units because that was all I could handle. Consequently, it took me 5 years to complete the goal, instead of only 4. Many students take on full time jobs while going to school. This was not even an option for me because I simply do not posses the mental capacity, nor the energy required. I was often physically sick as it was, even though my schedule contained less than many other students.

I'm not saying that success does not take human effort, cause it does, yet there are those in our society for which massive amounts of effort does not pay off the same as for someone else.

Some people would use this reality as a justification for Socialism. I don't agree that Socialism is the way to go, nor do a agree with those who make a career out of welfare, yet I am sympathetic enough to those who are weak in some ways that I do not agree with some extreme Republicans who seem to want the Government to be so small that Government Assistant Programs are almost non-existent.

I always remembered something that my father once said in relation to getting assistance, or in this case, I believe it was Educational Scholarships. He said, "If a person is poor, he will be O.K. because he will get the Scholarship. If a person is rich, he will not need the Scholarship because he can afford to pay the Tuition, but if the person is Middle Class, he is really screwed because he can neither get the Scholarship, nor Afford to Pay the Tuition."

Actually, this works the same way with Handicaps. If a person is severely Handicapped (or at least enough to be defined as Retarded/Mentally Challenged, Maimed in some way or so Emotionally Disturbed that it is Diagnosed as a Psychiatric Disease), he can get Disability. If a person is not Handicapped at all (or is actually Significantly Gifted), he will not need the Disability, but if a person is only mildly Handicapped (or not quite as Smart, Efficient or Energetic as the rest), he is screwed because he can neither get the Disability, nor Succeed in a Capitalist Society.

I believe that the above linked story about Shay is not just about how we treat those who are handicapped in some obvious way, but also about how we treat anyone who is weaker than ourselves, such as some of those who are poor. Are we willing to help them or do we just judge them automatically as lazy before we've even taken the time to hear their story?

One of my most Favorite Posts that is listed on the right is the one "Lessons for the Strong and the Weak". In this Post, the Strong are told to be Humble, Don't Judge and Give to the Poor, and the Weak are told to share whatever talents they have no matter how small, don't lose heart and don't give up.

I told you of one of my weaknesses, now I will tell you of one of my strengths. I have the ability to sing. Oddly, my brother can't even carry a tune. Not only do I sing, but harmony is second nature to me. The difference between me and my brother is not because someone taught me to sing and he was deprived of the same training. I wasn't even taught how to do harmony. I was doing that as a child and it was second nature to me.

What I found really strange later was not that I had this ability, but that other people didn't. I'm really amazed at times how common it is to walk into a room or a church where people are all singing in unison and once I add a harmony, I'm the only one doing so. How odd it is that God wouldn't pass this Gift around more than He has. This really puzzles me, yet I tell you the truth. It wasn't through effort that this ability has occurred.

Another thing that frustrates me is how rare it is to find an energetic, highly efficient person who actually realizes that they have a God given Gift.

And then there is a highly common phrase that people throw around that isn't even accurate. I'm sure that many of you have heard and possibly even said "If I can do it, anyone can." Well, what if I was to say that "If I can sing Harmony, anyone can."? This sounds like a humble statement, but really it is not because it denies that there is any God given Talent involved and assumes that the credit goes to our efforts and our efforts alone. When this really gets confusing is when Talent and Effort is combined, yet even if the Effort is significant, this still does not negate the reality of the Gift.

I guess the one verse from the Post, "Lessons for the Strong and the Weak", that keeps coming back to my mind in relation to the Strong is 1 Corinthians 4:7, "For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?" (NIV). This Scripture could not possibly ever be repeated too many times, for it is something that we so continually forget.

Another thing that is worth repeating is what I said earlier about the story relating to Shay. I believe that the above linked story about Shay is not just about how we treat those who are handicapped in some obvious way, but also about how we treat anyone who is weaker than ourselves, such as some of those who are poor. Are we willing to help them or do we just judge them automatically as lazy before we've even taken the time to hear their story?

In closing, I'd like to thank Cenk again for commenting and bringing me back to one of my earlier Posts.