Tag: religion

On the hunt for Xanadu, Brigadoon or Wonderland

On the hunt for Xanadu, Brigadoon or Wonderland

There is a dichotomy that exist in most folks that I know.  That is where to live and why?

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Most young folks want to live in some loft downtown somewhere with access to food, entertainment and the arts.  I am guessing that being around others in their age group doing the “in thing” or whatever is in vogue, is the cool thing to do.

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Even us folks with a little “experience” behind us want to have access to some sort of night life.

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The trick is to juxtapose the nightlife with the serenity that one needs to have a healthy mind and lifestyle.

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The perfect example of this is the movie Doc Hollywood.  In this movie he finds himself going from the city life to the small country life of some small town that if you found; you might think that you had fallen down the rabbit hole or perhaps ended up in Brigadoon!

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Often we take refuse in such places through the literary efforts of a few authors who too long for such a place and create them.  We also find them in some movies.  Turner Classic Movies has the draw that they do because they are from a simpler time.

Xanadu was such a movie that brought the dreamer together with dream.

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We hear often that the grass is always greener, but is it?

Technology to a large extent has made “generic” those things that set some things apart in the past such as the small town from the large town.

I remember hearing live gunshots from Vietnam over the radio.  While the war or whatever we called that was a world away through technology, it was now coming from my radio making it very real.

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Today “this very blog” may be read by anyone, anywhere in the world, who has access to unfettered internet. Today you and I can share ideas that not too long ago were controlled by governments wishing to use their media for purposes of propaganda. Many governments around the world still do.

During WW2 the different governments used such things to get people to get squarely behind them much like different football or baseball teams from the days of high school or college.  Kill or Crush or what have you was often the slogan before the “big game.”

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Today with technology, people around the world can actually talk with others and learn that we are more alike, than different, that what we think we know and believe, may not be true.

Religion among other things are often the tools used to divide people and get them to get on-board and thus relegate people to slavery.  If I can control your input; I can affect the output.

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There are days however when I just want to un-plug.  I don’t know about you, but television has just about been something that I do not watch.  If I watch an hour a week that is probably too much.

Why you ask? 

Let’s look at why.  Firstly you must know that most of what is on the tube or now the flat screen comes from the uber-liberal left.  Hollywood is the propaganda machine of the millennium.  From sitcoms to movies some writer who has an ax to grind and writes his or her “beliefs” into the script.  Now some sentence condemning the GOP coming from a well-known respected   actor even though it is a show will carry a lot of weight with many viewers who don’t happen to know who the VP is but, they will remember that sentence and they might even think it is fact.

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Unplugging from TV is a good start however; being totally unplugged means that I don’t know what is going on unless I happen to read news from many different sources.  Even from Russia Today there is some modicum of truth.  The trick is to read enough news from enough sources to actually be able to read between the lines.  If you are too unplugged you run the risk of becoming xenophobic and thus will believe most anything that you can be convinced is true through hook or crook.

If you read the news as I have suggested and are dogmatic about it all of the stories will make sense, the why’s and the how’s will come together in that ah-ha moment.  I am not saying that you should not have a religion but I would be suspect if that religion calls on you to give too much of anything including your time.  Think for yourself.  If you let others think for you…. “Hello Stepford wife…. Is dinner ready and my feet need rubbing, don’t talk just bring me a beverage and wait patiently for my next command… “

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Does the small town with the gourd festival really exist?

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Does such a place where man values his fellow man exist today, here in this country?

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Does it exist in any country, anywhere? Are we all so self-absorbed that we really don’t give a damned about our neighbors or family?

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I read a story recently where a man was visited by CPS because he allowed his children to play in a park and then walk the mile from the park to their house.  The man was from Germany and recently came to this country.  His children were 9 and 12 and they were in DC.

When I was young I could wander the neighborhoods all I wanted, without fear of being abducted. What happened?

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I like technology but I must admit that I still like the feel and touch of a book and newspaper.  I enjoy that tactile experience of flipping a page and I even like the smell of some magazines.

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I like the smell of fresh cut hay and even though it might make me sneeze, that is okay!  There is something to be said for sipping ice tea on the front porch waving at the neighbors or listening to the birds.  Life goes by and we miss it!

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We have so many screens from so many different devices!   From the laptop to the desktop to the tablet and even the smartphone not to mention some hand held game, we have ample distractions.

On a recent cruise I was rather delighted when none of the signals to my smart devices were active!  At the dinner table we actually talked, without the distraction of odd noises emanating from purses or pockets.  For 90 minutes it was simply us talking about the day, and what was going to happen tomorrow.

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Maybe that is the ticket, live on board a cruise ship and only catch up with the world when you come into port.

The people of this world are predictable and are going to do what they are going to do with or without you.

The rich will continue to get richer by taken advantage of the privileges and relationships that their status affords them.  Whether it is by breaking or bending laws, or creating new ones just for them, that is the way of the world not only in this country but I suspect every country.

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The poor will continue to do what they do because that is what they know.  The rest of us well, we will continue to pay for the rich, and the poor, because that is all we know.  While we detest being taken advantage of by those that should not we know that some really need assistance and we don’t mind a hand up offered to them on our behalf.

Animal Farm should be required reading before we ourselves end up being considered parasites by those in power.

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-Best

Are you called?

Are you called?

Are you called? Is this God that some worship, real?

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Let me preface this blog by saying that I am not, and hope to never be one of those “Bible Thumpers” that the South is rife with.

01-creationist-bible-thumper-e1282174135888 Yes, yes I can and as any thinking person would, should!

There is a time and place.

Shopping in a local store during the day an elderly man approached me. “Do you know Jesus?” he asked!

Immediately my red flags of “crazy person alert” sprang into action looking for places and or reasons to leave.  This guy was probably 80-ish, about 5 foot nothing and was sporting the “old man shuffle.”  Having gotten over my first reaction and sizing this man up as someone who had either escaped the home or, who was “thumping and imaginary bible” or as someone who was genuinely concerned for his fellow man ending up devoid of our savior.

After listening to him for a moment I elected to think more of the latter and not so much of the two earlier choices, besides; “I could move much faster than he had he gotten totally nuts.”

As it happened however he was “preaching” to the choir.

Firstly I have never met a stranger.  If you are nice to me, I will return the favor and kind.

I have always been a “good person:”

Can you be a good person without god? Some would tell you yes, and some would tell you no.  If you have read many of my blogs, you know that I am not a fan of preaching speculation as fact.  The answer is that “I don’t know.”

The religious ilk would tell you that you cannot be a good person without god. God is responsible for everything good and the devil for everything bad.  That dichotomy to me is too simplistic of an answer much like “Jesus” is most always the correct answer for any question asked in Sunday school.  Not buying it.

At my earliest remembrances, God has always played a pivotal role in my life.  I did not always realize that it was God doing it.

The most expensive .50 cents:

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While visiting my grandfather one summer, there was a stash of coins placed on a piece of furniture and before we departed, I took 2 quarters.  I was not aware at the tender age of 4 what theft was, or that had I simply asked; my grandfather would have most likely given me the whole amount of what was there, he was that kind of person.

Before we got home from Minnesota to Texas, I was lamenting what I had done.  Why, I was still not sure, I just sensed that what I had done was wrong.

You must understand that in the 1960 .50 cents was a lot of money.  That represented a good handful of candy from the local Stop and Go! Never however; was candy so bitter to me. Had I traded my soul for candy?

The theft of those two quarters plagued me through my childhood.  Had I confessed my crime I am not certain what my parents would have thought or done, and had I had the opportunity to confess to my grandfather, I know now that he would have embraced me and told me not to worry about it.  That however is now, fifty some odd years after the fact.

I say fifty some odd years later because I never confessed my crime.  Not catholic so no asking some “father” for forgiveness.

In my late teenage years my grandfather came to live with us.  His neighbors reported to us that at the age of 84 he was up on his roof repairing some damage to it.  My parents could not stomach the idea of him falling or getting hurt and nobody would know.

After he was moved in, I went into his room when he was out of the house and placed some coinage on his desk.  The pain of the theft of many years ago was lessened but, strangely enough; returned some years later!

Actions have consequences:

It was not too many years after arriving at our home he passed away during the night.  I grieved for him for many years.  Every Saturday night I would come into his room, and he and I would watch wrestling together.  He would get so excited yelling at the TV screaming, “kick him!” or some other armchair quarterback commands!  I knew that it was all choreographed acting but, if he thought it was real, so be it.  It was simply quality time between him and me. The rest of the family seem to tolerate him but I genuinely loved him.

Years after his death that damned .50 cents haunted me once again.  I would argue that I paid it back many times over, “stop worrying about it!” I would tell myself.   Still, to this very day I still think about it from time to time but, not with the usual pain that it once caused me.

You see, everything that you have ever done was supposed to happen as it did to teach you something.  I truly believe that.  In a dream, which I still remember to this day were the undeniable instruction to let it go, it was a teaching moment and you would not be who you are today had things transpired differently.

You could argue that my subconscious was talking to my semi-conscious as a defense mechanism or you could argue that God was playing a role.  You could even argue that it was the spirit of my grandfather.  I will never know on this side of heaven but, I am finally at peace with it, and any other transgression that I have perpetrated in my life.  The lesson was to learn to forgive myself, and if I ever found myself in that situation again, asked for forgiveness from those that I have “trespassed” against.

Truthfully, that .50 cents has done more to dissuade me from ever even thinking about doing something that is not upright.  The price is simply too high!

Some will read that and laugh at my stupidity.  “It was only fifty cents for crying out loud!”  To me it was not the money but; the simple fact that I took that which was not mine.   If you are one of those laughing at this, I suggest self-examination.

Were you ever a teacher’s Pet?

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One of my favorite teachers was my fifth grade teacher.  She was very impressed with me for some reason.  I was I guess “teacher’s pet” but I never intended to be, nor did do anything special to get there.  In the fifth grade we still did “show and tell.”

At that age I was in the middle of teaching myself electronics, as I was fascinated by radio and TV!  How could a man in some distant location speak into a microphone and his voice come through some small tinny speaker many miles away!

How could a movie or news program be transmitted from one place and show up on the TV screen and how did making moving pictures actually work,!  I was 9 and there was no such thing as cable.

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I was not aware of the first satellite for TV, fax, radio and phone but in 1962 the first one was launched by name of Telstar.  Live audio from the Vietnam War was broadcast over the radio.  Some reporter was there as live machine gun fire could be heard in the background.  I was entranced!

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Today we have a wealth of information a mouse click away.  Back then, you had to get to know Dewy.  I did.  During show and tell I would give “lectures” about the things that I was studying. Not to show off but, I found it fascinating and why not share that with the class.  I still remember one day explaining how radio wave propagation worked, complete with diagrams, names of the different layers of the atmosphere and how they were affected by the sun!  I actually remember explaining what “refraction” was and how radio waves “skipped” off of the different layers.  That was not my first such lecture, and this one she had invited the principle to sit in without my knowledge.  At that time I had never met him, and dismissed his presence as I went about “doing my thing.”

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To quote Humphrey Bogart, it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.  For the rest of my fifth grade and through part of sixth, he and I were friends, a truly good man.  He passed that year and the school went from Webb’s Chapel Elementary to Neil Ray McLaughlin Elementary, which it still is today.

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On the last day of that fifth grade class I was asked if I would like to come up on that following Monday and assist her with cleaning out the storage room, and organize things for the next year.  No thinking was required.  Monday morning I showed up early and spent the last and final day with her.  Before parting she offered me a present.  This present was an unexpected Bible of the King James Version with an inscription from who it was given by, and to whom it went.  I don’t think many other version existed then, thinking back, I think I know how she got the idea.

Easter of that year; we were all asked to draw what Easter meant to us.  I was a budding artist, even back then so I put all of my juice into creating the happiest looking fluffy bunny with psychedelic eggs in a basket and with some on a “trail” on a bright spring day.  I even remember playing the song in my mind as I was working “Here comes Peter Cotton Tail….” As I was putting the finishing touches on my masterpiece my song and vision of what I was drawing was shattered as I heard one of the girls sitting next to me start to snicker.  As more of the others started to snicker I looked up to find they were snickering at me and my “creation!”

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What was so funny?  As I looked around the room the vision of what they drew is still indelibly etched in my mind! Every one of their pictures were macabre, dark with a black sky and some bearded white guy with blue eyes on a cross.  It was Terrible! Is this what Easter meant to so many?  Instead of a favorite “candy holiday” they thought that some guy nailed to a cross was what it was!  It was clear at that point that I was un-churched, and I was mocked by the entire class.  If there were any other bunny’s in the room, they quickly disappeared; as I was the first one noticed.

As the teacher came back into the room to find the laughter and the mocking of my Bunny, she quickly took control of the situation.  The moment passed by the next day, but not for me.  That stayed with me even to this day.  I don’t hold them in contempt; it remained relevant as I learned that one cannot afford to be so wrapped up in one thing that they are no longer part of this world. The Munster’s were popular in the day and I envied Grandpa, and his basement; with all of his laboratory stuff and even the trap door!  Things are easy to understand and wrap your head around; people, not so much.

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That summer I plowed through the bible which I still have to this day.  The Bible had the distinctive smell of leather and the paper was so thin that one had to be really careful with it. I have to admit that King James was a little hard to read and understand; truthfully I understood little of it.  My favorite book at that time was Psalms, with Proverbs running a close second.

Gaining a basic understanding of Christianity that summer, I was no longer susceptible to the “Christian” traps of the world of which I lived.

So, was I called or pushed?

As I read the Bible I found some of the things in there; “crazy talk!” I went about studying it, making notes about how the flood , the ark.and snakes that talked! I reasoned that snakes could not ever talk and where did Cain’s Wife come from?

The flood has been scientifically proven as impossible and… Lets talk about the ARK!

One of my Church of Christ friends told me “you just have to have faith.”  BS!  Having faith in talking snakes and why the hell would God put a fruit bearing tree in the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve lived and then forbid them to eat of it?  That to me is like giving a child a big red sucker and say, don’t eat it. Crazy talk!

Another told me when arguing the age of the earth that it was a little over 4 thousand years old and I the scientific minded person retorted, have you ever heard of Carbon dating?  “That has been proven to be not reliable!”  What about the dinosaur bones?  “Don’t you think that the God of the universe could create those bones and put them there?”  For what purpose would he do such a thing? Blank stare…

Firstly, carbon dating is incredibly reliable.  What kind of Kool-aid was this guy drinking?

One argument with a preacher of the Church of Christ, why don’t you have music in your church?  “Because the bible tells us to make beautiful sounds with your voice.”  What about celebrate with the harp, the trumpet etc.?  “We don’t go by the old testament.”  What!  The Old Testament is a preface to the new, complete with prophesies foretelling of events to come, they go together!  “Well that is the way that we believe.”  End of argument, end of story.  Here, drink some of this purple drink and then it will all make sense.

The simple facts are that Science and the bible must necessarily be juxtaposed! If God created all things or had a hand in it, he must be the greatest physicist, scientist, biologist etc. that ever was and is; or it is all evolution, from ooze to youze, and there is no God!  Science and God must necessarily co-exists!

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Many people over the years have become strong Christians by way of trying to de-bunk Christ.  The problem is that many had a hand at writing the bible and while some take it completely as literal “the world was covered by hundreds of feet of water,” science has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that it never happened. Noah made this huge ship 500 some feet long, without a rudder, and put two of every kind of animal in it, and lasted through massive storms for over a year!

Nice story but, scientifically impossible.  Wooden ships of that time “the copper age” leaked like crazy.  There was no caulk in the day so the boards were made with trees and shaved with copper tools to fit together and lashed with rope made out of plant bark.  Looking at the technology of the day found in a well preserved ship, there is not a possible way one could have been made that size with what they had to work with.  It simply could not be constructed to be viable.  Secondly, a boat built like that without a rudder would capsize in any kind of rough water.  Again science today has proven that time and time again.  So how do we reconcile Genesis? Allegory.

It is a story meant to teach principle, not history.  How many people get lost in such things and therefor don’t believe anything in the bible? Staunch supporters of “every word in the bible is factual history and was spoken directly by god” need to give it a little more thought. There is a dichotomy between some “believers and science types.”  Some science type toss out God and the bible as that which is written for those with low IQ or low cognitive abilities. If it brings you comfort and you don’t mind tossing away 10% of your money, and time to propagate a myth, have at it.  I am off to hunt for the “god particle.”

Conversely, some religious types take the bible as the end all be all to everything and do not know anything of science and do not want to know anything of science.  Why?  Because their “faith” is so weakly constructed that they fear that learning anything about science, would threaten it. Or, they are simply too damned lazy.

The Truth is the Truth:

If you don’t have the intestinal fortitude to look at all the facts; me personally, I discount you.  One must look at all of the facts through an unbiased eye and put them together.  Once you learn the total truth, embrace it and talk of it boldly.

I once was trying to speak with an overly religious person about science.  I asked him if he had an open mind.  He said “sure, I have an open mind, as long as it does not conflict with anything in the bible I am open to discuss it!”  Holy Hannah, you have got to be kidding me!  Take the blue pill my friend and don’t waste any more of my time.  That is probably one of the most ignorant sentences that I have ever heard.  If your faith is so weak that you will not consider that what you “believe to be true” in fact may not be true, “You are deluded!”

Safety in numbers:

There is currently well over 3000 different denominations of Christianity!  Tell me, how the hell does that happen?

For years the early church would not allow you to own a bible.  They ordered them destroyed.  Why?  Because you are too stupid to understand the bible as written, so they must spoon-feed what they want you to believe.  That is how the early church screwed up.  That is why we had the reformation as Martin Luther read the bible for himself and said “Whaaaaat, this does not gel with what we are taught.” It was in fact a way to control the masses.

So, he was most probably the beginning of the problem of the 3000+ and the self-aggrandized “all knowing preachers” spewing who knows what from the pulpit.  The good news is he put light on the real problem that the early church was corrupt, ignorant and most probably consisted of megalomaniacs!   You must know that the early church was not only a church, it was the school and the government, a taxing authority.  If they control what you know along with your spiritual knowledge and kill anyone with a dissenting view as a heretic, they are pretty much in control of the world, or their part of it.

Finding a church is not easy.  It must be scriptural based.  If they teach anything that is not in the bible they are in error.  If they add things like “you shall not drink,” they are in error.  “You must not dance or wear jewelry,” they are perverting the bible, and you should find another church.  Man cannot saddle their preferences on you as sin, or blasphemy, or what have you, if it is not in the bible, it aint so!  They in fact will be forced to pay a special price for perverting the text, according to scripture.

As long as they preach from the bible, and nothing else; they are good to go.  Everything that they teach must come from the bible, if it is not, you are wasting your time and worse, you are being lied to.

There is money to be had from faith.  Sadly there are preachers out there that will tell you only what you want to hear and not what you need to hear.  If I only tell you good things that make you feel good, you will come back every time the church is open because you feel good when you leave.  Conversely, if you are uncomfortable in the pew, you will either not be a regular attender, or you might look for one of these “feel good” churches.

So those churches that are multi-million dollar churches, what do you think that they preach?

The smaller churches that are struggling, why is that?

As a side note: a church is not a building but, the “saints that are in it.”

If you struggle like so many of us to understand the bible and who you are you were most likely called.  If you think that you are a good person and don’t need to wake up early on Sunday to go into a building full of hypocrites’, the chances are good that you have not been called yet, or you are denying the call.

The absolute bottom line is to do your own research.  Question everything.  Don’t take my word or anyone else’s word for it, do your own research!  You must know what you believe and why you believe it!  If you start the process, sooner or later it will all become clear to you.

To those that disagree with something here, By all means comment. I will happily discuss anything on any of my blogs but keep in mind, if you are terse, I will most likely not give you the time of day.  Respectful discussion is always welcome.

-Best to you and those that you care about! 

Copyright 2015 Timedok All rights reserved.

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We The People, Man or Sheep and God?

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Pondering that phrase for just a moment, one has to ask; just who are these “we the people?”

In order to answer that simple question, one must first know the person in the mirror, who are you? What do you stand for “if anything?” Why do you stand for that? What do you believe and more importantly, why do you believe it?

Frequently I ask people who profess a belief in God, why do you believe that there is a god? (Hint: I just do, is not an answer.)

The issue at the heart of the matter is simply this, if you cannot articulate why you believe in what you believe in, you can be easily manipulated. In fact, if you are a religious person and your faith is not grounded on solid principles and facts, and your understanding of scripture vs what someone tells you; When you most need it, it may not be there. When something happens to shake it, it could very well be shaken! Know why you believe what you believe.

When I ask the simple question “why”, it pisses people off. Why is this person a perfect candidate for this office over that guy? Mostly their answer is curt and they cannot respond intelligently; because there is no intelligent answer. They have chosen a team whether it be red or blue and the rest of the reasons be damned! That line of thinking has us $16 Trillion in debt and climbing!

Since we the people are a competitive lot, we are being played by those who understand who you are, better than you do. They understand how to play to your emotions, instead of your logic. If they played to your logic, they would loose as that would make you think. They would prefer that you don’t think. (Just drink your beer and watch your sitcoms and of course your Football, leave running “ruining” the country to us!)

They win by playing to your emotions and they do that by pointing out all that is wrong with the world and convince “we the people”, that it is the other guys fault. Which of course is not true; truth be known, it is the fault of a flawed system, and an apathetic country that has a broken “give a damn.”

So here is your challenge; next time one of your friends tells you how great their guy is, ask them why do they think that. Avoid getting excited, avoid profanity and finger pointing. Calmly and rationally ask, “Why do you think that?” The odds are good that they will not know why, and dismiss you as a trouble maker or use the phrase “we should not discuss politics, women’s-lib or religion,” as those subjects are too volatile. Note that I used women’s lib, as that was the phrase back then in the day, when this phrase was crafted, the real issue should be abortion.

The reason I want you to ask why is this, if enough people ask why, a small percentage of those asked may actually “think.” If enough people “think,” this country would be a much better place, and I for one want to leave it better than I found it. Don’t you?

These topics should be debated in the open and frequently. If we as a people cannot have an open discourse on these topics, we are doomed as a people. Why, because we can be manipulated. If these topics are used to scare people, “manipulate through fear,” than the assholes win!” If we openly and honestly discuss these topics with logic, rather than emotion, it is like turning the light on in an otherwise darkened room to prove to your child that there really is no monster under the bed. If we understand the topics and deal with them then “they” loose power over us.

Gay marriage is another hot button to manipulate the masses, and race is another. Don’t buy in to the company line, it is crap! Most people don’t give a dam about gay or straight. Love is great wherever you find it. Just don’t do it in my living room! A straight couple would use discretion and so should you. And race, Holy crap that issue died in the 60’s. The only people screaming about race are the black activist and certain Hollywood self-appointed assholes! This country needs someone to heal it, not to further divide it, stop with the race bating! I would hazard a guess that the largest racists out there are the ones screaming the loudest! Tune those assholes out too! Do not give them power over you! They don’t disserve it.

Don’t let small minded people stir the pot or have power over you. The majority of American’s are not racist, and are in fact ok with the issues talked about. Are there a few who have issues, certainly, but they are their issues, not yours. Don’t marry their crap! Don’t buy into the left’s rhetoric to scare the masses; it is simply that, crap!

There truly is a war on babies not only in this country, but in the whole of the world. Some babies are killed because they happen to be “a girl.” Some are killed because they would be an inconvenience, and still yet others are killed because the person had unprotected sex and is a child herself and does not want mommy and daddy to know that their little girl did the nasty with Bobby down the street. News flash, your parents were kids once and most probably made similar mistakes. (Have you ever done the math as to how old you are vs. how long mommy and daddy have been married? Oh wait, they don’t teach math anymore.)

I digress, Mistakes are a human condition, killing your baby is a mistake that will haunt you. You will have to live with your actions, for convenience sake, for the rest of your days, which would be far worse than telling your parents that you made a booboo albeit a big one. The guilt will either consume you and drive you to seek therapy for ever,( which is not cheap) or you will rationalize your actions away, several times a day until you build a habit of rationalizing that, and other bad behaviors as “ok.” The hard thing to do is often the right thing. Besides, your parent’s look of disappointment will disappear when the grandchild is born. They would have to be monsters if there were any other reaction. Parents love (or should love) their children unconditionally. If we were “persona non grata” for screwing up as a child, than maybe CPS is a better option.

Instead of throwing millions of tax dollars at planned parenthood (a baby killing machine,) maybe we should invest in a CPS type related business that provide safe places for mommies who made a mistake, and who happen to have the misfortune of having monsters for parents.

It is time that we should discuss these topics; we should debate them on their merits. They should not be political fodder as they currently are; they should be something that each state deals with through their constituents and the democratic process.

The issue with this is that each of these topics are so emotionally charged! That is why they are perfect tools for manipulating you. We need to shine the light on them, one by one and remove the emotional element from it and see it for what it is. It is only than can common sense be applied.

As children, we are manipulated by our emotions by our parents, teachers and other authority figures. Guilt, fear and the promise of reward, will manipulate most people. “If you do that you will get spanked, if I do this I will get candy!” “If you don’t go to bed, Santa will know it and will not bring you presents!” If you speed you will get a ticket. If you drink and drive you will go to jail (which you should,) and if you sin, you will go to hell for all eternity! Really? Do they ever stop manipulating you? Once you understand how you are manipulated guess what, you take the control away from them. And how do they control you again….”right, through your emotions.”

BTW any Christian should know that we are saved through the Grace of God, Jesus died for your and my sins and knowing this and confessing this will most certainly save you from that toasty place dreamed up by Dante.

Some religions/churches manipulate you in this fashion. When the coffers are lean they preach this.. Malachi 3:8 – Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.. Then it becomes time to guilt you, or play to your compassion for the starving kids in the Congo, help pay for someone’s kid that wants to go on some mission trip to the UK, as there are evidently no Christians there. This fund or that fund is getting low, please pray about it, and see what “god” calls you to do.

Last time I prayed about it, I distinctly heard a voice telling me to get money up for a mission trip to Hawaii, as the surfers there evidently really need to hear the word… Yeah right….

“Free advice here; before you go to church, write the check for the basket. Then leave the checkbook at home.” If you are like most people, donations are a budgeted item, and we are charged to be good stewards of our money, that includes what we give to charity. Don’t be guilted into giving more than you can afford. People are human, and without realizing what they are doing, will manipulate you through any means to reach a desired outcome, even if it is into your pocket book, leaving you in a bind. If your preacher or church has a habit of doing this, find another church. The preacher man is no closer to God than you are. He is in fact no more perfect than you are. He has studied the bible more than you, perhaps, understand church doctrine better than you, “perhaps,” but his prayers do not get to God any faster than yours. He in fact has no direct line to his Holiness! He is simply a man and he puts his pants on one leg at a time just as you do. You can respect him as your spiritual leader, but do not worship him, and realize that he has flaws, warts and an ego. There are more than enough tools out there to understand scripture yourself, look for the truth for yourself! One question you may want to ask your preacher, rabbi or what have you is… , you guessed it “why?” Why did you become a preacher, etc….

Some will say that they were called, but I find that answer too easy. Something else happened in their life somewhere in the past that led them here, which is ok; it is just one more way that one should know themselves. If I am to trust this man with shepherding me spiritually; I really need to know that he knows himself. Once you know who you are, than and only than can you be honest with yourself; and others. Honesty and Truth are two valuable commodities that are far too scarce in this world.

One of my pet peeves is going into a sanctuary, trying to get into the right frame of mind and spy on the wall one of those large thermometers made out of paper, with $$ signs on it. We are this close to our goal…. I am reminded of Jesus turning over the tables of the money changers and I too, develop righteous anger, and I depart! The sanctuary is just that, a sanctuary from the trappings of this world, and should not be a place of worldly things…in this case money! Money is nothing more than a tool, and end to a means. If your church is about money well, you should probably find another church. The only way to change bad behavior is not to accept it, or acknowledge it. Vote with your feet!

The truth can be daunting; it may not be what you expected. One must not look for the truth already “knowing what the truth is” but understand that it could be something totally different than what you expect. Use the scientific method, build a hypothesis from what you know, and what others may tell you; and then seek to prove it. Whatever it turns out to be, embrace it and move on.

C.S. Lewis set out to prove that there was no god. Through the process, he found God and is now one of the heroes of the faith! I can’t say this enough, Seek the truth!

Know why you believe what you believe. Find the truth and embrace it, no matter what the truth is. Remember that the “truth has no agenda, people usually do.”

-Best to you and those that you care about!