Category: Current Events

“Can’t We All Just Get Along?”

2004 vacation 095It is increasingly evident that the American people are becoming disenchanted with our political system and politics in general. I’ve heard from many people who are equally disappointed with both of the major parties yet recognize that third party candidates accomplish nothing more than remove votes from one of the two major monopolies… I mean parties.

There seems to be more concern for the the party than for the good of the American people. There also seems to be greater effort among politicians in maintaining a “job” than achieving progress in the governing process.

Each party and the candidates therein appear to do little more than disparage opponents with acerbic rhetoric, half-truths and out right lies.

What concerns me the most is that the parties and candidates and delegates seem to be mired in a culture of mean-spirited hostility and are either unable or unwilling to make drastic changes to a system that is honest, respectful and bi-partisan. They drank either red Kool-Aid or blue-Kool-Aid and they are thus inextricably fused to their party platforms.

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There is a reason that we have different political parties; we have different opinions and values but just “hocking phlegm-balls” all over people who disagree with us or who embrace different priorities conflicts with the purpose of a democratic republic where everyone has a voice, everyone’s opinions are valued and considered and where solutions for the common good of ALL citizens is the supreme priority. It’s as if we are trapped on George Jetson’s conveyor belt, unable to get off and all I want to do is cry out, “Jane, stop this crazy thing!”

I was inspired to write this post because in one day, two different people voiced there independent frustrations on Facebook both saying essentially the same thing, we are tired of childish rants and raves by idiotic politicians who only do what serves and suits them with no respect for the needs, feelings or opinions of others.

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“On Gun Control”

2004 vacation 095(Note: This post will not sit well with many of my closest friends whom I dearly love but, just as we have the right to bear arms, we also have the right to share our opinions.)

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  -Second Amendment-

“Guns don’t kill, people, people kill people”. While acknowledging the truth of that statement let us please consider the following…

Cars were created to transport people or cargo from one place to another. When misused they can be dangerous.

Alcoholic beverages exist to augment or accent a culinary experience. When misused it can be disastrous.

Guns were created to destroy a target. Whether that target is a piece of paper, a block of wood, a metal sign, a deer or a human being, guns launch projectiles with the sole purpose of causing destruction. The design of the first firearm was intended to provide superiority over the hand held weapons being used at that time.

With that said, the use of weapons by responsible, law-abiding citizens for recreation is relatively harmless. But even in recreation the objective is to destroy something even if it is a harmless clay pigeon. The notion that guns are no more dangerous than cars, alcohol or knives, in my mind does not stand up.

The argument that countries with strict gun control laws see an increase in knife attacks, as a reason to dismiss gun control is so ridiculous that it is laughable. Not that it isn’t true, no doubt it is but it is no stretch to consider that a significant number of those knife attacks would have been shootings had there been more access to guns. After the recent shooting of students at Umpqua Community College one advocate suggested arming all students. That is nothing more than a massacre waiting to happen.

If faced by someone standing 25 yards away intent on doing me bodily harm I would prefer he had a knife rather than a gun.

I would also like for gun rights advocates to acknowledge that the initial intent of the Second Amendment was to equip a “well regulated militia” for the purpose of community security particularly in the absence of any organized law enforcement. It also took into account the fact that a nation’s own government could be a malevolent enemy as was and in some cases still is the case with tyrannical monarchs and / or dictators.

Our founding fathers were unusually visionary but I wonder if they could have foreseen automatic assault rifles. The Gatling gun was still 70 years away from being invented.

I don’t begrudge responsible citizens exercising their constitutional right to bear arms but the rationalization that guns are not any more dangerous than many common household items is ridiculous and potentially reckless.

(For statistics on guns being used for homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings click here.)

“Black And White In A Gray World”

2004 vacation 095 - Version 2In the 1980’s Christian singer, Leslie Phillips sang “Black and White In A Gray World” describing the challenge of living with a distinction between right and wrong in a world that is becoming increasingly ambivalent regarding good and evil.

I do not advocate a gray world but we should acknowledge that there can be different shades of both black and white.

What do most Christians really know about Islam? We are quick to point out verses from the Qur’an calling for violence against “infidels”. I acknowledge the existence of such verses but can we really judge the entire religion and its practitioners based on these hand-selected passages?

Have we forgotten the murders of abortion doctors, the bombings of abortion clinics (Granted these have largely declined in recent years) and beatings of homosexuals all in the name of God?

How do we respond when a new skirmish in the Scripture Wars erupts with…

“’Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”  1 Samuel 15:3

If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:13

As Christians, we understand the contextual application of such verses but it is difficult to generate a solid position regarding handpicked verses in the Qur’an when we see how our own Scriptures are misquoted, misused or simply taken out of context. It would serve us well to recognize that all religions have their own “Westboro Baptist Churches”.

The Muslims I know personally are devout and they are kind, peaceful, friendly and often exhibit a warm and welcome sense of humor. They choose to live in the United States because they want to peacefully practice their religion in a nation where all religions are free to worship according to the dictates of their particular creeds and scriptures. They are fully accepting of me as a Christian and respect my devotion to Christ. I am quite certain that they don’t believe that I will go to paradise upon my demise but they are supportive of my devotion to my faith and to my Savior. I can accept that. I don’t have to affirm heaven as their eternal destiny in order to respect them as people created by God, loved by God and worthy of respect.

Should we be any different in our treatment of the practice of other religious observers when there is no violation the laws of our land?

I am not naive – ISIS and Al Qaeda among others have clearly revealed a clear and present danger but doesn’t mean that we should paint all Muslims with the same brush.  We are to consider them individually through the lens of God’s love.  We need to follow Jesus’ council to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves”.

“On Gum Control”

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2004 vacation 095I love Seattle! Few cities have the character and unique charm of the Emerald City. Some might even describe our fair city as quirky. Where else can one find a giant cement troll “hiding” under a bridge? I know of no other city in America that displays a 20-foot statue of Lenin; not John Lennon, Vladimir Lenin!

One of the quirkiest features in Seattle has to be the Market Theater Gum Wall known locally as simply the Gum Wall. Located Post Alley just a few steps south of the iconic Pike Place Public Market the Gum Wall is exactly what one would imagine. Standing fifteen feet high it stretches  50 yards and is an artist’s canvas where patrons of the nearby Unexpected Productions Theater began sticking their chewed gum around 1993. The tradition stuck. Public Market officials named the wall a tourist attraction in 1999. In 2009, the Gum Wall earned the distinction of being named one of the world’s “five germiest tourist attractions” second only to Ireland’s Blarney Stone.

Some people consider the Gum Wall disgusting and unhygienic. Others find it quaint and endearing. Then there are those of us who say “all of the above”.

When I initially heard that the Gum Wall was going to be pressure washed on November 3 of this year for it’s first ever cleaning I was mildly disappointed but was then relieved when it was revealed that the cleaning was not the end of the Wall and that once it is clean the tradition will begin again.

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People are a lot like the Gum Wall. We are at once unhygienic and disgusting as well as quirky, unique and endearing. Fortunately, God sees us as the latter. Some see us as one or the other and others label us “all of the above”. Every so often, whether physically or spiritually, we can all use a good cleansing affording us a fresh start and return to our life experience anew.

“So, I Guess I’m Purple”

2004-vacation-0951.jpgThe death of “ism” is exceedingly liberating.

Somewhere in American history, Republicans were painted “Red” and the Democrats tinted “Blue”. Republicans aligned with conservatism and Democrats sided with liberalism. (Of course, they have traded positions from time to time.) Based on this palette I have euthanized my “isms” and assumed the color “Purple”.

My blood may be RED but not RED enough for Fox News junkies and my alignment with the RED Party withers daily. My one-time connection with the BLUE Party as an 18-year-old was merely a rebellious reaction toward my very RED parents and didn’t survive a full term.

My individual opinions are unique treasures.

I oppose abortion – RED.

I oppose the death penalty – BLUE.

I support conservation – BLUE.

I support infrastructure progress – RED.

I advocate for the second amendment – RED.

I advocate reasonable gun control – BLUE.

I cheerlead the search for alternative energy sources – BLUE.

I drive a vehicle that is lucky to yield 20 MPG – RED.

I love Jesus Christ – REDDISH PURPLE.

I respect a Muslim’s right to worship openly in America – BLUISH PURPLE.

Politics frequently inspire division so I endeavor to avoid bitter and futile discussions on the subject. However, responsible citizenship requires one to participate in such muddy conversations in order to further the social and cultural common good. To do so one must occasionally dance into the political ballroom in order to be aware of the issues that affect society .

A possible next step would be to invent new words like “Libervative” or “Republicrat”.  But for now…

I am free! Color me PURPLE!

“What Lives Matter?”

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Black Lives Matter!

White Lives Matter!

Brown Lives Matter!

Yellow Lives Matter!

Red Lives Matter!

Cops Lives Matter!

Gay Lives Matter!

Straight Lives Matter!

Unborn Lives Matter!

Unwanted Pregnant Lives Matter!

Women’s Lives Matter!

Men’s Lives Matter!

ALL LIVES MATTER!!!

“I came that you may have life, and have it abundantly.”

-Jesus Christ-

“Dichotomy”

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Can east meet west?

Can right meet wrong?

Can love meet hate?

Can light meet dark?

Can wet meet dry?

Can holiness meet debauchery?

Can life meet death?

Can eternity meet now?

Can right meet left?

Can cold meet hot?

Can yes meet no?

Does yin meet yang?

Can right meet left?

Can sky meet earth?

Can right meet might?

Can comfort meet pain?

Can friends meet enemies?

Can earth meet heaven?

Can injury meet healing?

Can peace meet war?

Can judgment meet mercy?

Can heaven meet hell?

Can people get along?