What is Our Mortality?

At any second, we stand on the edge of our own mortality and we wait.  Unsuspectingly, we wait to plunge into the depths of the unknown.  All humankind is poised for this moment, and as we wait we can choose to occupy our time with the world as we perceive it, or we can search intrinsically and find the depths of the meaning as to why we wait with baited breath for the moment when we shall enter the unknown.  I’ve known family members to be here one minute and gone the next, with nary a moment’s notice to collect our thoughts or to say our goodbyes.  I’ve had people in my life who enter like the wind and leave just as suddenly, and although they’ve not past from this life, they are removed from mine as if they were.  Then there are those people, whom I love, who have chosen to remove themselves from my life, as if they were already gone, allowing time to hammer the nails of the proverbial coffin which was once our relationship.  All the while, I wonder why it has to be this way, and if I just give a little they will most assuredly come back.  However, this isn’t usually the case.  People leave for one reason or another, and their absence, no matter how big or small reminds us all of our mortality and what little time we have to make a difference in the lives of those we touch from day-to-day. 

When I was thirty-five, I being a ridiculous thinker, moved within myself and begin to think about what my life meant so far, the fact my life was potentially a third of the way completed, and how quickly the years had moved past me all the while giving me moment after moment to savor if I were just willing to open my eyes.  As the thoughts continued to roll over and over in my mind, I cautioned myself not to take a knee jerk reaction to the events in my life as if I were on a sitcom, but instead to patiently begin a movement towards a life’s purpose and goal.  My eventual goal was to realize the light of joy in my life and move towards this goal.  The goal was an eternal existence with God, which is easier to say than do, but I’m a pretty stubborn person, so anything I do takes time and patience before I ever begin.  More often than not, when I don’t exhaust my time thinking about something, I usually mess up whatever it was I was trying to accomplish in the first place.

The first step was to remove myself from the dramatic plays which went on in my head, and live a drama free lifestyle focused on those things which had purpose and meaning in my life.  This of course sounds simple, until people get involved, and a sense of belonging or obligation begins to get in the way, and then what once sounded so simple takes on a convoluted tone obscuring the original goal.  Much like our society, people feign the existence of love and altruism, but they do so without the principle understanding of objective truth, so their subjectivity tends to mare what would be a pure accomplishment and goal seeking life towards the transcendent.  In other words, they let life get in the way and life is a hell of a mess sometimes.  So, this was my goal, to focus on three things and in this order, God, Family, and handling my business.  These very real foundations of life seemed to have become less important to me for some reason, and I was determined to change this.  Though, I wanted the change to become a real change and not a knee jerk reaction, bound to become a passing fad in the potential future years which would come.  This was terribly difficult for me!

American actors Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Thomas C. Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez, and Patrick Swayze on the set of The Outsiders, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

To begin, from the earliest times I can remember, my friends and I would talk as boys do when parents aren’t around, and we would do so in the most vulgar ways.  This has carried over in my adult life, and at times when anger strikes especially, I can cuss like a sailor on leave, and to this very day I’m still working on removing those words from my vocabulary altogether.  However, when everything we see on television is one curse word after another, the haze of doing the right thing becomes harder and harder to see through.  Although, this isn’t the worst thing a person can do, it is a perfect example of the type of struggle I have seen day-to-day for years on trying to put God first.  Trying to pray or meditate in a day, for a busy person, is like trying to stop a race to ask for directions, it’s just not going to happen.  However, this pace we live our lives is a very fleshly, worldly, and man-made desire.  God, as far as I can tell, doesn’t want the excuses we would undoubtedly try to provide, as to why we didn’t do what we knew needed to be done, but instead action is what is needed.

Magnified illustration with the word Action on white background.

Action, a word in action, so full of meaning in our own lives, it has the potential to conjure up all sorts of images in one’s mind’s eye.  I know when I see people in action, it somehow inspires me to act in ways I never thought would be possible, good or bad, but watching people in action inspires.  This is why what we watch is just as important as what we do.  Faith in action inspires us to do the works God intended for each of us to do, but actions based solely in sin or even partially cause us to justify the works of man as being more important than God’s Will.  Which is why we are bombarded with intrinsically evil works today, and told we must believe this new way of life, or we are subject to intense scrutiny, and being reasonable people we don’t want our lives upended over something which will be forgotten shortly, or do we?  This is the line in the sand, folks, this is the moment in our lives where the divergent paths of sin and saint must cross.  Now, I’m not saying I’m a saint by any stretch but God sees our struggles and holds us up so we might endure the pain life throws in our general direction.  Those of us, who would rather not struggle at all and continue to move down the path of the sinner bring sadness to the eyes of the one who created us.

How long can we do this, before the sin in our lives takes a toll on our very being, before our desire is anything but the Glory, God has promised?  Our culture seems to be at a crossroads as we speak, we see derision among every facet of society, and those who would desire moral and truthful lives are shouted down into an oblivion (or so it would seem) and forced to face a society where seeking God becomes a lonely road of superstition and make-believe.  This is what our culture would have us believe, but this has never been true.  God is very real, there are more reasons to believe than to be an unbeliever, and the challenge to anyone would be to prove God doesn’t exist.  It can’t be done, likewise I can’t prove it either, except for the overwhelming miraculous, spiritual, historical, and faithful beliefs I’ve seen and know about to convince me God is very real and very much wants us to take our mortality into consideration when we walk our personal path in life. 

Seeking God in all we do, helps to create in us an awareness of love within every fold of life as we take those steps of faith.  I currently work with many professional people who neither openly pursue a life focused on God nor do they entertain conversations where God might be the main topic.  Most of them are intelligent young professionals, who have been fed a steady diet of ego laden fodder and they’ve begun to believe what another person has told them.  I’ve seen some treat other people with so much disdain, I became incredulous at the event unfolding before my eyes.  It was like life imitating art, as if they saw themselves placed before a movie camera and they were acting out a dramatic scene.  A couple of thoughts entered into my mind while watching this unfold, the first being my own culpability in allowing such behavior and also my own behavior over the years in just such a situation, and the second was an immediate awareness of the thinness of words as opposed to action.  There is the word “action” one more time.  I knew, almost immediately, my words if uninteresting to them, would fall on deaf ears, and I wouldn’t get anywhere with their current perceptions of life.  However, my actions, in love, would carry the strength of the angels in a movement to destroy the hardness of their hearts.  Believe me, there is a lot of harness, I feel sometimes as if I’m making no progress.  Tough is usually not a strong enough word to describe their total desire to unto themselves rather than the Will of God.  This is what we are all here for, to find the light, and then to lead others to the light we’ve found.  While standing on this precipice of life, awaiting a forever with Jesus, we should realize the need to tell what we know before it’s time, but the way we can tell our story and what we see is through the loving action of patience and charity.

This is where we’re at, a life meant to be lived once, and a life meant to example to others where the paths we seek in mortality will go.  Sin is everywhere, the more aware of God we become, the more we revile the sin which surrounds us and as pervasive as this sin is, we desire to tell others.  Much like telling a teenager about the pitfalls of life, most people choose to find the sin themselves and likewise have the hubris to believe it won’t cause detriment to them like it did so many others.  I’m not one to preach a gloom and doom topic of conversation, but I do believe in a world which exists either in dark or light.  Our desire to touch sin, because we’ve no longer turned to the light, puts us into an existence of greyish hue.  Life becomes dull and sullen as the darkness begins to overtake us and less of our world becomes visible. 

The danger of life and our mortality comes from living the word of God, and not turning our very backs on the truth (no matter how uncomfortable it makes us).  As far as I can tell there are some major topics of discussion which plague our society, and I think I will discuss more in the future, but to this point as I type issues like transgender, homosexuality, definition of family, politics, and faith are all such hot button topics, just talking about them seems to cause riotous behavior among some folks.  For the record, I don’t presume to judge or dictate the path a person should take in life, but I will express the focus of what sin is and what it does to our lives no matter the simplistic justification and baseless ideologies which are thrown to explain.

Since our mortality is so prevalent, embracing any type of sin is a matter of life and death for hell is a place where we must request entry but heaven is gate open because of the love in our hearts and the purity of our souls. 

As this New Year begins to take shape, I encourage everyone to stop focusing on tomorrow and forget about yesterday, today is what you have.  If you’re inclined to seek God, know on this day you might be sent a personal request to meet God.  Are you prepared to be in the very presence of love and goodness?  If you died today, where do you think you would go?  If being with God is of the utmost importance to you, but you’re not living a life worthy of this importance, how serious are you really about being with God for eternity?  Morality isn’t a chant performed weekly at mass by unaffected and uninterested people.  Morality is the presence of mind and spirit acting as one to attain recognition of Jesus Christ, and the sacrifice made for our souls and then to marry the understanding of our sin as it relates to God, the very nature of being itself especially as it relates to the silence which exists in our very hearts.  Become a moral person if you’re not, be the example of a moral person to those you can see are seeking the light of Christ, don’t turn from the wretched, they need your patience and your love so they can tear away the fleshly coils and chains of man, and realize the beauty in which God lovingly sculpted their soul before they were born in to this world. 

If you have a story or something which has been weighing on your mind lately, unburden yourself not through words, but a recognition of action and your very own mortality.  As morbid as it is to contemplate, realize we will all die at some point, but the difference between those who turned away and those who embraced God, is a distinct perception of joy.  The distinct perception of joy will brighten the colors we see, increase the passionate emotion we feel for everything, and the enrichment of life will be such, and we barely have words to describe the fulfillment of life’s needs on absolutely every level of your life.  Your family will be blessed by your actions, you will appreciate your family on a more granular level, and as much as you live, so too will the people who are blessed to be with you every day.  May God bless you and your family!!!

God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!!!

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A Point of Light In Our Darkness

Today, I was unfortunate enough to watch legislative hearings, where legislators grilled a cabinet secretary about the function of their department.  The Secretary was pummeled with question after question and barely allowed to answer as time permitted.  The people asking the questions were unkind at times and harassing at other times.  Their political anger was in full vitriolic pace with their fellow legislators and as they pursued an avenue of blame and discontented hegemony over the Secretary, their motives were on full display.  They positioned themselves to stand upon the mountain of morality, all the while deluding themselves as Don Quixote did, hypocrisy seemed to be the flavor of the day and they were taking full advantage of the speaking supremacy they had from their elected offices.  One couldn’t help but feel sorry for the position the Secretary was placed, especially when questions about the law and pursuant policies to enforce were questioned and even ridiculed.  The Secretary is at the behest of the President, but is still required to maintain the disciplined behavior of law as it pertains to federal function.  The very people who were deriding the Secretary for following the law, to the letter, are the very ones who can change it to suit whatever desires they want.  I’ve always heard a phrase, “don’t kill the messenger”, utilized between kings to accept the poor news given and not to punish the one giving the bad news.  However, it seems as if history isn’t a lesson our elected officials take into consideration.  Perhaps common sense isn’t either, but the one glaring and worrisome direction I do see is vengeance, hubris, and a dark desire to ambition at the destruction of all around.

Vengeance, a terrible word, which conjures up scenes from movies whereby the heroin is tempted to walk down this dark road, but inevitably reaches the light and doesn’t lower themselves into such a pit.  Though recently, our entertainment options have showed an embrace of such behavior towards the dark as some misaligned prospect to accept hate and sin as par for the course.  Though, sinking to the very level of the sin we despise is the recipe for destruction of our lives and our souls.  It just doesn’t come with a surgeon general’s warning, “may cause destruction of soul if you continue this path”, but the warning is there and it is real.  Our culture seems to totter on the edge of destruction at every single point in our existence, and although some might say this is life as we accept it, I would argue, it doesn’t have to be this way.  Sin isn’t good, it isn’t healthy, and pursuing avenues where we accept sin as something we must live with is standing on this precipice where we risk everything to embrace an earthly life rather than the heavenly.

As the legislators continued to punish the Secretary, who I would add held their ground to my amazement, I became aware of an entertainment industry phrase, “jumping the shark”.  A term coined when the sitcom “Happy Days” became so unrealistic and willing to do anything for ratings, they had the character, Arthur Fonzerelli, wearing a leather jacket and on skis jump a shark while maintaining an aura of coolness.  To say the least, even for people who enjoyed the show, this was too much.  The ridiculous nature pushed upon the viewer became too much and shortly thereafter the show was cancelled.  Although the government our culture elects isn’t a television sitcom, it is still adherent to the whims of those who watch them perform their duties.  Which isn’t above reproach, especially due to the nature of their elected offices.  They are and always should be held accountable for their actions in office, but what happens to the quality of elected officials when subjective morals and beliefs begin to take hold in a society so willing to accept anything other than the truth?  Chaos is a good word, but one which suits the environment better is ambition, people so willing to reach their ambitious goals they throw caution to the wind and rush towards this goal.  In previous years, at least as long as I’ve been alive, I’ve seen politicians conceal ambitious goals as a manner for polite politics.  There are smiles and maneuvering which creates posturing, but with this comes a strategy and tactics which our culture has come to know the very nature of politics.  The duplicity our politics has reached on both sides of the aisle is one of destructive properties.  As a culture, when we are asked to give our opinions about politics, usually nothing good comes from the question.  Most of us think of politicians are liars, corrupt, cheaters, duplicitous, schemers, ambitious, liars, and generally awful individuals.  Though, is this really a fair depiction of the modern politician?  If I were to go out on a limb, I would say no, this is a depiction of the minority of politicians, but the vast majority desire to do good in the position they hold and wish to do good for the constituents they represent.  This appears to be changing, at least before my very eyes.  I was watching people yell at one another, push their ambitious goals on the crowd gathered, and treat a fellow human being with vitriol for something which if taken apart, they were more to blame than the person being questioned.

The politicians “jumped the shark”, and by my estimation, we as the people who elected them can see it now.  The politicians no longer seemed concerned about appearances, but instead they are pushing their agendas and warped sense of morality on those of us who find an objective authority and are increasingly more conflicted with rules and regulations which run counter to our morals and belief systems.  If we just accept this, like many already have, and we just accept misaligned principles with our very own, then were like the legislators are more to blame than the people we question.  Suddenly, this world begins to close in on us a little, the truth becomes very uncomfortable and we have little or no alternatives.  We can choose a path of righteous indignation over acts of a deplorable nature, but when face with a true reality, we are staring at ourselves.  Our society is the way it is because of us, change begins with our actions in a desire to affect changes more suitable with our desires for moral and ethical laws and behaviors.  Our problem comes when we listen to those with no direction, pull us into the quagmire of detail to create justification.

Currently, our world seems to be overrun with a sudden explosion of immigrants seeking “asylum” from governments and local conditions which are oppressive and dangerous to their lives.  The Christian doctrine of faith dictates to all Christians, our fellow man should always be precious to us and we are to give aid where possible (Luke 10:29-37 “Good Samaritan”).  This is also important to recognize the sovereignty of a nation, a nation is built on the acts of the people, in either the creation or defense of the nation.  So, what to do when thousands of people seek to flood a border for safety, a better life, or a new start?  The question is a quagmire, but one which cultures have sought to answer for ages.  However, more questions arise from everything asked, and nothing which can be solved here today or tomorrow or perhaps in our lifetime, to think we can solve the problems of the world, especially problems which have plagued generations of people amounts to an arrogance only to be rivaled by the mountain of ambition we seek. 

The answer to most questions, especially of this nature, is accountability, the reaction to any event whereby we accept our role in the events and outcomes.  As much as the country should treat people appropriately, we must also consider the actions of the individuals seeking asylum, the actions of the areas they are fleeing, and the roles both country’s play in regards to immigration.  When we fail to approach the proper accountability, we fail ourselves and the very culture we’re a part of, plus to mention we fail our race.  We become nothing more than animals at this point, and our humanity is in question for its abhorrent stance against our fellow man.

Our hubris and arrogance seem to get the best of all of us.  Those of us who seek ambition, seek power, control, wealth, and an all-encompassing desire to embrace the flesh of this world rather than the spirit.  We become slaves to our desires, and no matter the lessons of the past, we are certain we are better than the failures before us.  Currently the question of socialism and communism have come about, a desire to realize a utopian society, where an equality of outcome can finally be realized, and we can all live our lives in harmony.  Suddenly I see the scene from “Animal House” when John Belushi smashes the guitar against the wall, and this is what I want to do when I hear such ridiculous notions of utopia.  Utopia doesn’t exist on this earth, it is a fallacy of desire and argument because man exists and where man exists, so too does free will, and with free will man has the ability to sin.  Which is what has happened every time a socialist experiment has been tried and failed.  Any proper history book will explain the enormous death toll which has been realized at the desire to have a utopian experience, but what is worse is the glaringly obvious examples of non-communistic and socialistic environment and the lack of death cause by the hands of those enlisted to create the utopia.  Russia, China, Germany, Italy, and Venezuela are examples of needless deaths caused by the hand of a ruthless dictator/government.  Yet we have to realize, if everyone is to get the same sized pie handed out to them, who controls the person handing out the pie?  Who determines the size of the slice and when it is to be sliced?  People who desire to have control, such as many in our political culture today, believe they would run everything better than the despots of centuries before, and where they may try failure is always around the corner and hubris is our lesson for this.  The less we have people telling us what to do in our lives, the quicker we become autonomous to ourselves and we will seek the objective truth and authority which has always existed.  When we rely on other imperfect and sinful human beings to make a rule of living for us, without consulting the objective truth, is the quicker we seek the path we walk littered with mistake after mistake eventually leading us to a understanding of failure and doom where we no longer care.

When we’ve finally reached the pathway of destruction, where we no longer care, our laziness to put the blame on another becomes the hypocritical crypt we enclose around ourselves and we then reside our fate to the decision of others.  Who wants to live like this?  Who wants the destruction of our souls and lives left to a person who neither cares if we ever existed at all?  When I watch the legislators eviscerate witnesses over a pursuit of ambition, I see this happening, I see what appears to be a dark future for all of us, but this is what it’s supposed to look like.  The reality is, we can change what we see, we can change the path we walk, and we can no longer accept the person whom we elect to be an immoral agent for darkness rather than light.  The solution starts with God always.  If we elect someone who neither believes in God, no a life after this very one we live now, we should worry.  Seeking God tells me a few things about the person I want to represent me.  The first being, they answer to a higher authority, which is to say, they are less worried about the rules here and more about the eternity they face, so in action their behavior and decisions will reflect an eternal desire to be with God.  Second, their desire to be with God makes for a moral path walked daily.  A person who has neither a desire to be with God or follow the will of God, has neither a moral path to walk or cares to walk it at all.  The atheist who purports morals is lying, they are following behaviors with a selfish goal to attain, once this goal is reached or they find no purpose in this path, they will abandon it as soon as they can.  Third and final point is how can we trust the actions of anyone when they determine themselves as their own personal god?  It never worked out well for the Greeks, why would it work out well for us?  Joking aside, a worrisome situation occurs when anyone believes themselves to be the sole ruler of their destiny and the sole arbiter of judgment of their destiny.  By my own experience, I would stay as far away from this paradigm as is humanly possible, because this is a pathway to destruction.  These are the people who will begin wars, who will kill millions who they find as threatening, and who will take the world down for the desire to control it.

I hope in some of my words I’ve conveyed a silver lining in a world filled with perceive doom and gloom.  With God, even in the worst of times, we always seek the light.  I had a conversation with my wife yesterday, and I came along with a great analogy.  Imagine we are locked into a room, no windows, and in complete darkness, but directly across from us is a pin-prick of light, barely visible, but yet still there.  The light we can see, when we place our eye next to it is almost searing, but when we step back, we can barely see it once more.  This is how our world is perceived most of the time, we stand on the opposite side of the room, sometimes even turning away from the pin-prick of light, but it is still there.  It still exists, and just because it isn’t how we want it to be or as bright as we think it ought to be, this is all based on where we stand and whether we’re looking for it.  The fact it exists alone is a measure of the existence.  Goodness and morality exist in this world, there are many people who embrace this objective measure of life, but we too often turn our heads from this light to focus on what is dark.  The mere presence of these people prove to the existence of this pin-prick in the room of darkness we exist in.

For many of us, this is difficult to imagine a world which is filled with the reflective light of God, but this is only because we’ve never bothered to turn around and look for it.  Seek God’s light, seek God’s voice, and know you were put on this earth to control the decisions you make and not have someone who is adverse to your life in more ways than one control your life.  In the pin-prick of light which is surrounded by the darkness we are in, one cannot deny the light exists, because we can see even the smallest point of light can illuminate the darkness we seek to hide in.  God bless you and your family!!!

God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!!!      

Is Our World On a Wobble?

Our world at any second stands on the brink of destruction, we set poised to face annihilation by people who stand as abject rulers to either prosper a period of peace or anarchy such as those despots of the early 20th century.  We are awash in seas of supposition, where one opinion is as common as the other and everyone has the answer and no one has an answer.  Our streets are overridden with crime, our jails are overcrowded with the criminal.  Our society is a paradox within itself, we castigate those who would commit a crime (especially against us) and yet we purport the need for timeless chances of opportunity especially for the most egregious of sins.  Our politicians rank at an all-time low in the confidence department, and yet we tell them to vote their conscious on whatever vote they participate in.  Our media is so egregious in their decisions to tell a subjective truth, our cynicism reaches new lows of perception when we understand their points of view are based solely on the need to make money.  Christian churches are on the decline in attendance, largely because there is a growing sentiment of exclusion, of boredom with what is perceived as antiquated, because culture has demanded religions of thousands of years conform to ideologies existing for less than a decade.  Finally, our family foundations are eroding faster than we can comprehend, our society has written a new definition of what should be considered a family and why it should be considered a family, and culture’s need for inclusiveness has embraced these changes as though they were the goose which laid the golden egg, and in some projective manner they can see their fortune’s star rising.  Although, belief in the devil isn’t a popular one anymore, it doesn’t mean he isn’t set on the destruction of each and every one of us.  Look at the most basic forms of our society and see how they are in shambles and torn from the very fabric of the love we desire.

The love we seek in life is as basic to us as breathing.  Look at anyone who was forced to live a life seeking love but never finding it.  The history books are replete with examples of tyrants who turned away from love and even our society at large now has an attraction to those who would seek personal gain over altruistic unselfishness.  This machine is so large, I would imagine, like myself, most of us don’t have a solution to stop it.  Like shouting into the storm, our voice won’t ever be heard, our common sense understanding of the problem will become lost in the myriad of other problems we will face in a single day or week.  We can’t slowdown of course, because slowing down is like stopping and stopping means our attempt to get ahead in this life has now become defunct, and for anyone who’s ever lost a job or been on the rough end of a job search, this is an awful place to be.  Bills pile up, stresses increase, our own self-identity is questioned leaving our self-esteem in tatters.  Stopping must never be allowed, a rest is all we can give ourselves, and even then it’s more like a nap.  We work in jobs we don’t necessarily like, we create paradigms of justification for poor decision-making, and above all we risk losing those things which have the potential to give us the most joy in life.  Our family. 

Our families are there to support us, to guide us through those tough times we choose to endure.  Our families seek to prevent us from making monumental mistakes and hurting ourselves as well as others, but what our families should do above all else is love us.  They love us with unconditional responses binding us in eternity.  Those family members wither when we choose to turn away from them, when we castigate them for not thinking everything we say and do is of a solid gold nature, and yet we deride them for not following us like lambs to the slaughter.  We punish them through our passive aggressive natures and diminish their self-worth by blaming them for failing to love us the way we envisioned, rather than the unconditional means with which they offered us.  Their willingness to stand by our side at any level of a storm, indicates their love, our willingness to push them away for failing to know what we are thinking or to have the courage to tell us “no” is like abandoning a child on a cold night to fight the devil alone.

Here is where our society has diminished itself to, a ripping apart of the fabric within our families and culture, to give us a perception of no hope.  As if we hang by a string, above a chasm of uncertainty and despair, knowing within ourselves, one false slip will send us into the abyss never to return.  Nothing could be farther from the truth, nothing could be more false, and as a great deception many believe the lies told on behalf of the devil. 

Where then do we go, if where we are at is so bad?  First of all, slow down, stop, and look down.  Recognize, the power to move the mountain is in the faith you have in God.  The ability to realize a joy and a peace at the very center of your being, at the very nature of our soul, is the embrace of knowing God is there within us.  God sees what is happening to each and every one of us, and the culture we create.  Compassion is what is needed, the love of all people is warranted, and the ability for us in our love and compassion to say “no” to each sin we encountered is a must.  I know people who are hurt, who are alone, who are dismayed, and who are just plain angry in life.  I was each of these at one point or another, and I can say with experience, there is a light, there is a truth, and there is a love seeking us all if only we would look up from the shadows and recognize what it is.  All cannot be made to fit our desires, but we can all be made to recognize the purpose needed in a single step we take every day.

Our society seems to be bound for hell in a handbasket at any second, but is this really true?  Look at the details, where the devil is in them, there is also a second and more venerating portion.  The portion of God, who is the very nature of being itself (as Thomas Aquinas makes in Summa Theologica), the portion of the tragedy we face as the blessings we are given as a result.  From the most simplistic desire to help, to a point of truth which won’t fade or be destroyed, regardless of the attempts to do so.  So is our world actually on a wobble, yes and no.  It stands to wobble and destroy all, concerning those who seek truth within themselves, but for those who find God in all things, the wobble is an effect of a faithless rabble hoping to upend those truths set forth for each and every one of us.  Take for instance, the vast number of vocal Christian beginning to stand up for their faith, the movement is inspiring, the number of people willing to stand up and resist the media machine bound for destruction grows by the day.  Look at the programs which minister to the down—trodden or to the incarcerated, they grow as the believers of Christ dig in for a spiritual fight against an unseen enemy.

Some say, we should turn away from a modern age and become centered on the principles we know.  St. Francis of Assisi, considered by some to be the finest example of a Saint, renounced what he was promised for a life of struggle and poverty.  Even when Jesus is asked by the rich man what he still lacked, Jesus instructed him, in order to be perfect he must give away all his possessions (Matt 19:21) undoubtedly scripture inspiring a young St. Francis.  So, is this the answer?  Maybe for some, maybe for those who seek a life, embracing these very understandings is what they need.  For those of us with families, what do we do?  We can’t very well give away all our possessions and quit our jobs?  No, this would be most irresponsible and foolish.  Taking a story literally can sometimes be the best medicine, but looking into the essence of what was being conveyed carries with it the ability for all of us to become “fishers of men” as Simon/Peter was beckoned with by Jesus on the shore of the Galilee.  (Matt 4:19)  Our desire to stop this machine, this massive wheel of society which turns unforgivingly towards, what seems an impending destruction, requires every person, on a singular scale to walk in the footsteps of Christ.  This is to say, to embrace what he was doing on this earth, to understand the Lord of all made himself small that we might understand his love for us, and even unto death we watched in agony, and knew his life is what we must go towards in all we do.

In all we do, in all we see, we must put God at the very top.  This instructs us to place God as the focal point of our lives, especially the role of the family as it pertains to all we do as we interact with those who are so willing to unconditionally support our lives and decisions.  From this most basic level of understanding, from the singular actions we take each day, an up swell begins to occur.  The hedonistic life/lie begins to erode itself, because a lie is nothing more than a movement of the shadows to fool us into believing a truth cannot exist.  On the day when our earthly life ceases to exist, we are alone with our creator, we are looking into the face of God, and we are subject to his love.  We, through our life and the choice made, have determined if we embrace who loves us, or we beg for entry into a pit of ice and despair which seeks to burn us in our solidarity and sinful desire to put self above others especially God. 

When we can begin to make decisions which suit us and our lives with a purpose larger than life itself, love, then we can begin to order our lives in just such a way as to lay a foundation of principled decisions.  This will manifest itself in such things as elections, what money is spent on what entertainment is provided, and the influences our culture embraces.  When enough people are willing to just stop watching, voting, and participating in a lifestyle full of poor choices, we will find even the most hardened of businesses will have no choice but to capitulate.  The people, the consumers, the voters, the every person has the power to change what is happening, but without the presence of God in our lives, without resting our weary hearts in God’s goodness, we will follow the machine to perdition.    

It took me sometime to realize just what I had standing before me, a life full of love, if I was just willing to accept my own arrogance as the hindrance preventing me from realizing the depths to which I must go in order to fully know a joy so warming and kind as to be a spiritual nurturing like none other.  A truth which is so resolute, I can know no other truth, and a reality so sobering, I cannot turn my head to anything else no matter how hard I try. It wasn’t until I understood what was standing before me, did I realize, how disjointed I’d become in my pursuits of self.  An alignment of painful realities set my focus to stand before what I know to be truth, and to shout it from the roof tops if possible.  Since I’m a very private person, my blog was one of the first steps in this process, exposing a truth of sin in my life and a dereliction to faith was the only way I knew I could, through action, represent a redeeming quality of love.  This isn’t to say, I’ve mastered anything yet, I see the path I must walk, and I find it difficult to stay on the path most days.  However, when my foot steps onto the gravely pebble laden path, I sense a rightness and centeredness to my life, which makes my heart leap at just the thought.

This Christmas season, starting the 25th of December ushers in another wonderful time in our lives, a rebirth of our lives after a winter of darkness and cold.  God is light and in him there is no darkness (John 1:5), in the light there is warmth and in this warmth we find a loving desire to fulfill those life choices which help to purify us, that we may walk in Heaven, during the cool of the evening, with God.  Many programs on television seek to tell us to be kinder, more helpful, and generous to those who need these loving behaviors, but most often they don’t say why.  For many, being compelled to do one thing or another, should have a sense of purpose not just an idle command from people we neither know nor would trust to do anything in our best interests.  So in this instant, they are right to try and help guide us towards a sense of compassion and charity for all, but the reason is Christ.  The reason is the will of God is something so wonderful, as we should never stop ceasing to seek the pathway to God’s goodness.  There is nothing which is as pejorative as a person who might have the power to affect a loving change in the life of a single person and chooses not to out of a sense of self-reliance.  So, if faced with a situation where giving your last dollar, your lunch, or your time give it for God nothing more and nothing less.  Don’t let a fear of the unknown debilitate your sense of right.  If you’re already doing this, then please pray for those who need your action and guidance, that they may find your kindness by direct or indirect action.

For unto us a child is born, (Isiah 9:6-7), our world isn’t wobbling, it is where we placed it.  With every action you take, seek to put this world in a direction more suitable to love in Christ, more suitable to seeking the objective truth in everything you seek, and more suitable to embracing those who seek and embrace but are too afraid to say it aloud.  May God bless you and your family this wonderful Christmas season!!!

God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!!!

Should We Not All Be Equal?

In our modern cultural circles, a hubris arises, and within the context of social order we find people creating paradigms of equality.  Sometimes, these consist of economic equality (socialism), or social and economic equality (communism with socialistic economies).  The hubris which comes from such day dreams, is a continued approach which determines their efforts will surely succeed in triumph, even though every major attempt has failed prior to now.  Their one underlying question, “Shouldn’t we all be equal?” finds enthusiastic ears willing to force an equality of outcome for the purpose of subjective justice.  There are few things wrong with this pursuit though.  I want to briefly touch on them, so I can put into perspective, equality as an outcome is the most unjust outcome ever deigned as a solution to the problem of poverty.

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First, let’s tackle the concept of what poverty actually is, and why “the poor will always be with you” (Matt 26:11).  There are sectors of every population, either by circumstance, choice, or condition which remain below an acceptable societal standard for economic subsistence.  By choice, they choose to work in a job which pays very little, either because a lack of education, or by societal barriers placed on them from poor choices (e.g. prison record preventing someone from working).  At any rate, choice is a factor larger than is capable of describing in many cases.  Sometimes, a circumstance, a loss of job or debilitating injury, without a financial security net, causes induced poverty.  This again stems from an indirect choice, but ultimately wasn’t the choice of those who succumbed to the poverty conditions.  Finally, as a population’s wealth increases, there will always be a poverty level well below and average income distribution, but as the standard of living increases so too will the standard for poverty.  Take for instance, the poverty level has increased, in the U.S. for a family of four by over $20k in the last fifty years.  Whereas other, less industrialized nations, still have a poverty level below the US 1968 poverty level.  So, what does this tell us, subjective standards of poverty as based in the position and placement of local analysis.  The poverty stricken people now, live better than the poverty stricken people fifty years ago.  This isn’t to imply, charity is going away, but instead to give familiarity to the paradigm of subjectivity to explain the perspective we find ourselves in, in today’s world.

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Equality of choice, is a foundational need for every society.  The choice of whether or not to seek ambitious desires, to protect one’s life, to speak against injustice and so forth.  What culture, all across the world seems to be struggling with is those with and those without, as a means for cultural destruction!  It is argued, those who make exorbitant wages shouldn’t, and those who make very little, should make more, but very often when pressed as to why this social manipulation should occur and poor answer is given.  Social equality, must be a measure of the choices a society makes in regards to an individual’s choice, for instance, the choice in what secondary education is sought.  Perhaps and equality of prospect, in one’s decision on how to grow wealth; in our culture, with a little extra money, anyone can invest what they have, at a risk, and potentially grow their wealth to increase their own standard of living.  The key to understand is, at their risk, everything is at your risk. Your health, your wealth, your, faith, and your family’s sense of direction are always at some risk, but this is the benefit of choice, the ability to make a decision which will either benefit or create detriment for yourself and those around us.

Equality is a subjective term, a term which in today’s lexicon, and with it carries a negative connotation, as in the “have’s and have not’s”, but more importantly it assumes an objective authority determines the measure of equilibrium to determine right and wrong.  With so many people denouncing traditional methods of objective stances, such as morals, ethics, and societal norms, the landscape is moving rapidly with little or no thought given to such dramatic decisions.

When I was a bright-eyed teenager, set to put the world aright with all of my ideas, I knew the past regimes of the Nazi’s and other socialistic economy nations had failed.  Though, the Utopian concept of a “needs” being provided for by the state, wasn’t altogether unappealing.  My mentality at the time was one of relativistic ideals, which is to say, I wanted everyone to have what we as a society considered to be basic standards.  So, let me stop there and at least give one argument for experience.  There is a reason, young people should not make decisions which affect millions, they simply don’t have the experience needed to weigh the decision(s) properly, within the context of life and general experience.  The man I was at 28 was a completely different person than the perceived man I was at 18.  The ideologies I purported were just simplistic explanations bent on watering down complex issues in order to make them more palatable for myself and the people I talked with.  At the end of the day, I was asked a question about perceived rights as they related to the choices we make, in my arrogance, I fell head long, into the trap.  His question was simple, why is it ok to take from people who’ve worked hard for their earnings, and give to others who haven’t.  Now, simplicity aside, this is what he boiled it down to.  A legalized version of theft, and once I started looking at the rippling effect of people taking what I have worked so hard for, because the state said it was ok, is as evil a proposition as using tax dollars to pay for abortions.  At any rate, a decision to give our earnings should be ours to make, and the more consistent we are about standards of giving, the more expectation certainty people will have with what they should have and shouldn’t have.

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The largest charitable organization in the world is the Catholic Church, but this is overshadowed by the complex and disgusting issues of abuse within the church.  However, context once again is key to understanding the whole issue.  First, to place equality on all people in the church, and expect all people to act according to the equality of status is silly at best.  When one person or a group of people act heinously, is it fair to condemn a church with a church body of over a billion people?  Is it fair to hate America because of the actions purported upon detainees at Abu Ghraib, or is it wise to lump an entire group into one contingent, much like I did as a youth with my desire to fulfill ideologies as a means of explanation?  The equality comes only in perception of who we are and why we’re here, but this is where equality is no more.  Some people are meant to be kings, and some are meant to be the King’s servants, where is the equality now?  If a king serves his people as a good steward, is not their life better and are they not capable of being joyful in God?

Equality, seems to be and ideological imperfection, as a result of poorly thought out ideals translated into even worse contextual pitfalls.  To say we are equal, is only true when describing the human condition; we are all human, we all seek life and a way to live life which meets whatever expectation(s) we see fit for our lives.  This is where equality ends.  Some people are born to affluent families and continue the affluent life, passing their wealth on to their offspring and so on and so on.  Some people are born lowly and poor, in conditions which neither seem fair nor right.  Equality has nothing to do with this, choice has everything to do with it though.

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Choice is a confounding and yet simple concept, a choice to do one thing or another can have ramifications which last a lifetime, or the choice of another might be the deciding factor over how we respond to a specific situation.  The affluent family may be this way because of the decision by some previous generation helped to foster an increase in wealth and further their affluence, or it could be just sheer luck which allowed for just such a circumstance.  The choices of the poor family could consist of poor job choices, poor money management, and in some cases a family unwilling to do the hard work to ensure future generations would no longer be poor.  In many cases the results of what we see today in either affluent or poor sectors of our societies are as a result of choices made years ago.  Choices which were given to us out of equality, but by making the choices have created two different paradigms.  The first being the paradigm of the poor, an inequality is realized because the rich have what is desired, a way to pay for things.  The second, is perfect equality, because someone, somewhere along the line, worked hard and put into motion the circumstances laid before the world at the time of the perception.  On any level though, taking what is rightfully someone else’s either by inheritance or by choice, is absolutely wrong.  Of course, the examples used are not everyone’s opinion, nor are they the only opinion, but they are an opinion which validates those in our culture who wish to right a perceived wrong by committing wrong choices themselves.

The hard truth to all of it is, we may never be wealthy, or celebrated for our contributions in life or to our society at large, and in a world where everyone makes a video, writes a blog, does something to get noticed, it has become harder to achieve a subjective standard which keeps moving constantly.  A standard which sets into motion, seeming obtainable measures of success, but at the very same time indicates working to achieve those measures is a matter of opinion rather than the standard.  Placing ourselves at the behest of the proverbial mob indicates we no longer want to make decisions for ourselves, and essentially we want someone to make these decisions for us.  If we don’t trust the neighbor down the street, who else is there, I bet you guessed it already, the government.  A figurative body which seeks to legislate our lives, but neither has an inkling of faith nor cares who you or I are.  A body, which is notorious for making poor decision, and a body which creates counterproductive measures of law to restrict the citizens it is making decisions for.  For instance, I pay my taxes every year, but I have no way of knowing what my tax dollars are going to.  I have no way of preventing further tax dollars from being misused, except by election (there’s your equality), and no matter how hard I try, if my candidate isn’t elected, decision made for me by the newly elected official, may run counter to anything I want or think is correct.  My equality comes from the right to make the decision, not the decision itself or the outcome, and in the heightened atmosphere of charged anger and perceived inequality, people now want to force equality on every level, this is nonsense.

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If we are to live a life of joy, and focus on the light of Christ, we need to remove the notion of equality from our minds as results are concerned.  We have what we have because of God’s Graces.  Look at your spouse, your kids, your entire family, and realize without God, there would be nothing.  If anyone of us were wrongly convicted of a crime, and nothing we said or did would remove this burden from us, what then do we do?  Do we give up on life, or do we work harder?  I have never been to prison, so I can truthfully speak to the conditions of the prison and its inhabitants, but at the same time, I can legitimately speak of anyone else’s condition or circumstances.  I can only speak of which I know, and every time in my life, where hard choices were to be made, my principles and morals given to me by God, my parents, and my spouse have allowed a resolute focus on God’s love to allow joy to permeate throughout everything I do.  Regardless of any shortcoming I seem to meet as a result of another’s decision, I’m not looking to create an equal playing field, I am looking to enrich my understanding of God through the struggles I face.  He walks with me in every step I take, he never leaves me, if this isn’t something to be joyous about nothing is.

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When we focus on those things in life which actually have some meaning, and matter at the heart of what’s important all the other stuff in life seems to melt away into a trivial pursuit of self.  Can’t you remember a time where you were worried, possibly about a loved one, and when you found out they were fine, you realized nothing else in the world mattered at that moment.  Not whether, a wealthy person made more money than yourself, or if you didn’t get something you believe everyone else did.  Instead, your love transcended your ability to worry about the stuff of this world, and carried you to a place where all becomes clear and allows an embrace of your love with the love of another, as God lifts both of you up.

I hope the pursuit of equality in everyone’s life is a pursuit of love, and a measure of making sure opportunity to love is available, it is the only one which matters as an equal choice in our lives.  If you’re ever unsure about your pursuits of equality, think about the understanding needed to perceive the condition of another person, if after you’ve placed yourself in their shoes, walked the miles, and still see a measure of inequality, then love and discernment has granted you a special place to ascend.  Always make good choices, and stop worrying about the perceptions of another, except those things which cannot be changed, and know either by choice or by circumstance we’ve all been equally placed in our positions by God.  May God bless you, and your family!!!

 

God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!!

I Do Not Wish to Offend

Over the last few weeks, I’ve read stories about celebrities, public figures, and the everyday person offending groups of people over something said or done.  In some cases, the comments which were made, were done so many years before, and of course said in the context of spite, comedy, or insensitivity to an unknown audience many years in the future.  As this is becoming the case for everyone, we are now expected to find three paths of behavior resulting in a simple choice.  The first, we can play a character in our own lives and never truly let anyone see who we are, in a subjective attempt to play a game where the goal is moved constantly and we’re bound to lose at one point or another.  Second, we can exude a spitefulness towards the game, and in the process, still lose but now we are disliked immensely, except for those who’ve also taken the same stance.  Finally, we can choose to walk away from a game which is neither a measure of who we are, what we stand for, or a need to validate to a single human being why we are who we are.  These three paradigms, present a challenge for each one of us as we attempt to live in a world, where a prospective boss looks up social media accounts, in order to determine worthiness of employment.  Perhaps, those people who wish to dig up dirt on anyone to find any semblance of imperfection.  Whatever the reason, we’re seeing lives ripped to shreds in a matter of minutes which took years of hard work and dedication to build.  So, when people didn’t wish to offend, but inevitably did, is there more of a need for admonishment of the offending party, or a greater need for the offended to understand context and character instead.

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I’ve been blessed in my life with a wonderful family, who fights and grumbles like any other family in this world.  However, one thing I noticed was, although we are offended by one another, we get over the offense rather quickly and move on with our days, our lives, and making more memories where possible.  Why doesn’t this work for everyone else though, why do we choose to continue to be upset by those around us, or at the very least continue to be offended at every word uttered in distaste or disaffection towards what we hold to be important?  I think the problem we’re facing as a society is comfort, which isn’t to say, we shouldn’t be comfortable, but in our comfort, we’ve become sore bored as a society we rebel against anything which pushes us from our comfort.  Take for instance, the exhausting utilization of wording to meet the needs of the public, without a realization of hypocrisy which happens because of this need.  Black Americans have been called every name in the book some very bad, and some more appropriate to a desire for formality, but none of which ever are a pure description of who they are.  Many years ago, the term “African American” was introduced into the lexicon of our vernacular as a means of placation to assert an area of origin, and then we saw this occur throughout races and cultures widespread.  It has now become accepted practice to assume the origin of a person by their physical features, and then assume they want to be called by a place of origin.  However, my ancestors came from Northern Europe and I have no desire to be called Northern European American whatsoever, and I can’t imagine many other people would like this either.  Simply, I am fine to be called American if a moniker of obvious title must be placed.  Though, the hypocritical nature of our society rears its ugly head once more.  I’ve been called white, whitey, boy, cracker, honky and all nicknames associated with white since I was a kid, but it was simply verboten in my family to doll out the same retaliatory wording to anyone else.  The duplicity with having a society which is allows certain members to utilize offensive language as a sub-cultural allowance, but prevents others from using the same language because of this cultural exclusion and offensive rhetoric is a ludicrous notion of duplicity.

So we come to the first of the three paradigms, duplicity, when we act one way with one group, but are completely different with another group.  This is to say, we think we can be two or more people and the transition will be seamless.  Unbeknownst to us though, most everyone can see through a charade of duplicity with little or no effort.  I’ve known black and white people who’ve been appropriate when in mixed company to avoid using words where they would be offensive, but when around like minded individuals, they have no problem using words which are offensive and derogatory as a means of expression.  To be clear, they are not right for having two faces and being savvy enough to know when one face is needed over another.  It makes them a liar in the context of omission by action.  Would people be as nice to us if they could be inside our heads?  Isn’t this a question, we should ask, as a general rule to ourselves, when it comes to appropriate action?  However, one larger question should be lurking around as well; why do we have such a confluence of different appropriations if one is considered better than another.  Stereotypes, exist for one reason or another, they exist because we as cultures and subcultures desire to compartmentalize the people we meet, as if to place and ideological circle around them, and categorize a group as good, bad, indifferent, or hated.  Once again, this is morosely wrong behavior, but as humans, we seemed programmed to do it.

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Most of our needs to supplant poor behavior with good behavior, comes from a societal pressure to get along rather than bucking a system of objective checks and balances.  Though, recently in the last few decades, objectivity for purpose of living good lives has been replaced by subjective pursuits of unfulfilling qualities like fame, fortune, beauty, attention, and power.  All of these pursuits have been around since man walked this earth, but they’ve taken on a more sinister turn in the last century.  They’ve no longer become a hidden pursuit, instead, we’ve gilded them in a luster and shine which promises everything we ever wanted, and when we scratch the surface, we see the ugly truth of emptiness on a rotten landscape.  This lends itself to the second paradigm, the desire to spite the entire world for failing to be what we expected it to be.  This is never more apparent than when looking at comments about the Catholic Church and the awful behavior of priests in the past, from the inquisition to the abuse scandal.  The vitriol which flows towards the church and those who help guide it, has in some ways taken on a life of its own.  However, in recognition of the bad which has been brought on so many innocent victims, a failure to see all the good displayed in the name of Jesus is a misaligned argument.  In other words, only attacking what we don’t like, without and understanding of what we do, presents an unbalanced argument and breeds an atmosphere of anger set to destroy us if we fail to resist it.  Good news though, God’s imprint rests in our hearts, and resisting the lure of anger and evil is only a matter of will and the desire to do good works.

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Anger and resentment, to emotive reactions to a world which seems to be changing by the second into something we neither recognize nor understand.  This anger and resentment is born out of fear and a disillusionment of expectation which comes from the pursuits of empty desires our cultures encourages and even pushes us to celebrate.  If we don’t accept what is presented to us, the first reaction is shame and ridicule, the second ostracizing those individuals for failing to fall in line, and finally defamation of character and standing as a means to crush them.  Some folks, don’t have the power to do such a thing, and wouldn’t want it at any rate, but their expectation disruption causes them to shout and wail against those things which have changed, those things which prevent them from recognizing life as they have always known it to be.  Finally, with perceived lack of voice, they hit the media air waves and spew anger onto the virtual hi-ways of the internet cultural forums, media.  There they “slam”, “crush”, “destroy”, and create “catastrophe” in their wakes.  Though, all of this anger is much like a circle, and never-ending spiral descending down into madness and destruction of both themselves and the society to which they claimed to care about so much.  The problem with the anger is, it’s a cancer which will metastasis those areas not already touched by unmitigated anger and if no one stands in defiance, we will all be sucked in.

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Finally, our final paradigm, the hardest of them all.  Walk away from the cultural expectations and the perceived outrage.  Eventually, we all will see, although someone speaks tones of anger, exclusion, or general inequity, we don’t have to accept it.  We don’t have to bow to poor behavior, we can simply stand in opposition, but at the same time, will the good of the other.  This is to say, we can pray that the light of Christ will shine upon the darkness of their shriveled and angry hearts.  This is what the great deceiver hopes we all do, decline the light and shrivel in weakness as he overtakes what is left of us.  However, standing up means to oppose those who would deny us our free will as a matter of choice.  We don’t have to say anything which would offend another, but if we did, and we apologize, this should be enough.  If our actions cause the harm of another, and we are fully to blame, then we do what we can to make what was broken whole again.  Relying on someone else to make us sorry, fails at a result of societal implications.  It then becomes the fault of another, and this is what got us in this decline in the first place.

When I was taking a class, many years ago, I heard a professor speak about the epidemic of lawsuits which seem to plague our society today.  His simple and profound response to this was, “Christians don’t sue” (Matt 18:15-17), understanding the context of life and who we are in this life is a matter of perspective of our desire for eternal life.  Which is a fancy way of saying, be careful what you do in this life, you will reap what you sow, and if what you reaped was degradation and humiliation it will be brought back upon you in the same manner.  My father, many years ago, was faced with a situation from a less than noteworthy contractor.  This contractor built a retaining wall for him, but did a poor job in its construction, and the wall was beginning to shift.  My father, considered legal implications with the contractor, but decided against it.  In my conversations with him, I counseled him to accept the unfair nature of the event, and we would do whatever he needed if the contractor failed to do what was right.  At the end of the day, the matter was fixed without the need of the legal intricacies involved with suing one person over another.  However, I do realize this is probably best case scenario, it doesn’t change the fact, to stand up means a disciplined response where we neither fight nor flight from the situation staring us in the face.

Be Still

Be still your angry heart, contemplate your actions as they begin to boil beneath the surface, and quite the storms which create in you a restless desire for destruction of your enemies.  There are those who do wish to offend, those who would like to see nothing more than the utter destruction of all who oppose them, but this is something left for them to sort out with God, not you.  You’re not the arbiter of life and the dissemination of proper subjective morals.  Instead, you are the reflection of light which God places upon you, but much like a mirror reflecting the light of the sun, when it is moved the reflection is lost.  We are much like the mirror, until we can be still and deliberate about our actions, contemplative and kind, compassionate and charitable, the light will never stay with us for long and we will serve to be more annoying to the recipient of the reflection than a help.

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I do not wish to offend, I wish to thank.  I do not wish to offend, I wish to care for.  Offensive behavior doesn’t require defensive reactions, instead it requires silence and contemplation.  If some would accuse this of cowardice, I would prompt them to read the Beatitudes, especially “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth”.  Even Jesus own words to his disciple, “Those who live by the sword, shall die by the sword”.  It begins with you, it begins with me, and it begins with our actions to be better.  We must look to those people who came before us, and recognize their insistence of standing firm.  It isn’t about an offending anyone, it is about walking away from a game designed for your destruction, while entering a world created on life and the love which extends from each and every one of us.

I will confess, after reading the comments from the posts the other day, I was disheartened by the vitriol expressed out of ignorance and malice.  I wanted to comment and set the record straight, but I neither had the words to express nor an inkling of just how to do it.  I realized, the people expressing their anger were of the second paradigm, and nothing I could ever say would change their minds into something I perceived as being correct.  I spoke with my ever wise, wife, and she agreed with my decision, and after sleeping on what I read, I came to a conclusion which put my heart at ease.  I was reminded of a phrase from a book, Stephen Prothero, “God is Not One”, where he tells an anecdote about a southern black church and the conversation between the pastor and one of his congregation.  The parishioner indicated their lack of belief in God, and with great care the pastor’s response was simple and profound.  “That’s ok, he believes in you”.  This granule of knowledge put my mind at ease, because it reminded me, we’re all on our own journey to find the light.  Some of us, are way off the path, and in their confusion about their life and expectations of life, or rather where the path of light is, they have become anger and willing to lash out at anyone who reminds them why they are despondent.

Prince Harry

In our attempts to live our lives to the fullest extent, don’t offend, don’t do anything which would prevent another person from realizing their own path and the light of Christ which they desire as you do.  We are all loved by God, and their path is as important as ours.  If they choose to be offended by love, charity, and kindness, then this is something they must deal with and all you can ever do is accept what is.  What is!  A simple phrase to examine for each of us, the cross we bear.  Which is an acceptance of not the cross we carry, but the cross we are nailed to, and the irascible ending we must face. Christ, was the first, he hung from the cross, and yet his words were not of despondent hate, vitriol, cursing, or questioning.  They were full of love, compassion, and understanding for the very people who wished to experience his destruction.  Would they have continued to do so, if they realized he was the Divine God incarnate in man, hanging before them?  No, probably not, so therein lies the greatest of human mysteries, if you knew what you were doing was a mistake, would you keep doing it?  I would contend, as eternal life matters, “no” you would cease immediately.  Everyone is on their own spiritual journey, although they believe they want to offend, I believe if they knew what you may know or what those who have found God’s love knows, is really they do not wish to offend.

Perspective

In my own life, my offensive actions were brought back to me, and I never wanted to offend anyone.  I did though, and as I go through my life, I must recognize when people are saying what truly offends me, I have to remember, either they are in a circular paradigm of confusion and anger, or they are where I once was and need guidance, much like I had to show them a pathway of compassion.  I pray God blesses you and your family!!!

 

God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!!!

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Truth2Freedom's Blog

The mindset in postmodernism is that objective truth does not exist. But in post-truth, the person believes that objective truth exists, but they subordinate truth to their preferences, or their comfort. In other words, one doesn’t care that truth exists or what the truth is if it doesn’t line up with one’s preferences. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" - George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. Faith in Jesus Christ is our response to God's elective purpose in our life. These two truths--God's initiative and man's response--co-exist throughout the Bible. The gospel is "the message of truth" because truth is its predominant characteristic. Salvation was conceived by the God of truth (Ps. 31:5); purchased by the Son, who is the truth (John 14:6); and is applied by the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). To know it is to know the truth that sets men free (John 8:32). Believers are people of the truth (John 18:37), who worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and who obey the Word of truth (John 17:17). People have rejected, neglected, redefined, and opposed God’s truth for centuries. Some cynically deny that truth even exists or that it can be known by men (John 18:38). Others foolishly think that denying truth will somehow make it go away. Truth determines the validity of one's belief. Believing a lie doesn't make it true. Conversely, failing to believe the truth doesn't make it a lie. The gospel is true because Jesus is true, not simply because Christians believe in Him. His resurrection proved the truth of His claims and constitutes the objective basis of our faith (Rom. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:3). Truth is our protection and strength (Eph. 6:14). Throughout history, people have tried everything imaginable to gain favor with God. Most turn to religion, but religion apart from Christ is merely a satanic counterfeit of the truth. At the heart of every false religion is the notion that man can come to God by any means he chooses--by meditating, doing good deeds, and so on. But Scripture says, "There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). That name is Jesus Christ, and we come to Him by confessing and repenting of our sin, trusting in His atoning death on the cross, and affirming His bodily resurrection from the grave (cf. Rom. 10:9-10). There is no other way to God. False religious leaders and teachers talk much about God’s love, but not His wrath and holiness; much about how deprived of good things people are, but not about their depravity; much about God’s universal fatherhood toward everyone, but not much about his unique fatherhood toward all who believe in His Son; much about what God wants to give to us, but nothing about the necessity of obedience to Him; much about health and happiness, but nothing about holiness and sacrifice. Their message is full of gaps, the greatest of which leaves out a biblical worldview of the saving gospel and replaces it with the worldview of postmodernism with its dominant ethical system of relativism. The Bible describes mankind in the end times: “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). Spiritual answers cannot be deduced by human reason alone (1 Cor. 2:14). It’s not that spiritual truth is irrational or illogical, but that human wisdom is defective, because it’s tainted by man’s sinfulness, and unable to perceive the things of God. That is why the Bible is so important. It gives us the answers we can’t find on our own. It is God’s Word to mankind. Scripture is divinely revealed truth that fills the vacuum of spiritual ignorance in all of us. Post-truth is the word of the year for 2016 and also the philosophy of the day, According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. In a “post-truth” world, people make choices based on emotion and experience rather than objective fact. So in a post-truth world, truth is irrelevant. What exactly is a post-truth culture? It’s a culture where truth is no longer an objective reality. It has become subjective. It’s what’s true for me—my beliefs, my opinions, determine my truth. So in our post-truth culture, man determines truth. Man makes himself the ultimate authority. This starting point, which rejects God’s Word and the idea of moral absolutes, makes truth subjective. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Christianity is grounded in objective truth. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Objective truth exists because we have God’s Word. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Thy word is truth” (John 17:17), and Paul and James describe the Bible as “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18). The Psalmist says, “The entirety of your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). Jesus Himself said, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). When Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6), He wasn’t expressing His personal belief or opinion. He was speaking the truth, a fundamental reality that doesn’t change from person to person. It doesn’t matter if our culture thinks all roads lead to God. The truth of the matter is “no one comes to the Father but by [Jesus].” This blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell

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