Recently we have been saturated with stories about people expiring. I see it in the news, hear it on the radio and its all over social media. People are dying. This is not new by any means, but what has caught my attention is how numb we have become. It seems that human life has lost its value to some extent. Yet specifically some life seems more valuable than others. Let me explain.
In the last decade or so we have been introduced to terror attacks. Not the act so much as the name, but because these acts have now been given a specific name, we hear about them more and more. We have seen school shootings, beheadings, suicide bombers, abortions, and your every day run of the mill murders.
I say all this not because I am shocked or alarmed by all this, but rather.... just the opposite. I am indifferent. I am not moved or overly appalled. I have become numb. I have started to recognize the fact that people die every day. From the beginning of time, until the end of the world as we know it people will be born, live and at some point unbeknownst to them - they will die. Some in their sleep, some in their cars, their homes, their schools, in random restaurants, on cruise liners, in jail cells, in prisons, bathrooms, and in gutters. It is sad, but it is as real as the four walls that surround you now.
So what. Whats the point? What does my being numb to the loss of life have to do with you? Everything. Because I hear you talk. I read what you post on social media. I have seen some of the same movies that have watched, the ones that make sure that the body count is more about numbers than names. I live in the same society that you do, and it should alarm us. But does it? Do we care?
Last weekend a woman whom I do not personally know but who is known in my circle of influence lost her husband recently. If you desire, you can read the whole story here: http://www.andyandcari.blogspot.com/ . She will be raising their two young boys from here on out without their Daddy. While I did not attend the showing or funeral, and I did not talk with the family or Cari herself I was still surrounded by people who were talking about Andy. 'The Captain' as the family calls him. This was one single life lost that will have a ripple effect from now to eternity. One man, one family, infinite possibilities. He made on obvious impact on many peoples lives.
Does anyone every say your paranoid after a conversation goes from the surface into something obviously much deeper? Are you the person who gets the awkward looks from people when you tell them what you honestly think? Do they make faces when you suggest an idea that is not accepted in common circles or agreed with by the mainstream thought process? Have you been labeled as a conspiracy nut or worse? If so, relax in the fact that you're far from alone.
Let me take a guess as to how some of your thought processes work. Friends, co-workers, fellow members of this group or that bunch are engaged in a conversation about something they saw on the 11 o'clock news last night or read on the internet earlier in the day. They believe that they know all that is to be known on the subject because they are too lazy to investigate the information that was given to them or, they trust ever so blindly the source they have been following for years. You over hear something said that is either blatantly wrong or just presented as the only side that is morally correct.
And it begins.
You stop for just a second. Just short of an eye roll you start to think of how to say something. Then you start to wonder if what you're about to say to this person or group could possibly change the nature of your relationship with them forever. You debate interjecting a different line of thought at all, or just nodding and smiling while the whole time thinking 'these people are sheep'. You take a deep breath and make your decision.
Or are you the person on the other end of this scenario? Who usually takes things at face value and doesn't like to think too much about issues, because lets face it, who can really know all that's able to be known about any given thing at any given time anyway? You also trust that the TV wouldn't lie to you. After all its been such a good friend fr so many years. Nor would the government or any other major business entity. After all, you play the game just fine. You follow the rules, stay in line and trust that things will all work out fine. You've made it this far after all.
This one will likely be more for myself than for anyone else, but if you have kids, it may still apply.
My son is now 15 and my daughter is 9 going on 14. Every day I have interaction with them in some way shape of form, as does their mother. My wife and I were married a year before my son was born, and he was a blessing and a miracle to say the least, but that is for a different post.
I have been noticing how my son's voice is not what it was last year at this time. How he has outgrown his mother and is pleasantly able to carry on conversations about deeper things, but his favorite topics are still featuring some game or 'toy' he and his friends are currently involved in. My daughter has started interjecting her opinion into nearly everything that concerns her. She is trying out her independence wings, with some tyrannical objection from the higher ups. Namely my wife and myself.
My wife and I have tried to do right for our kids in their upbringing but do not have to look far to see areas where we would like a re-do. We have tried to teach them to honor God, respect the authority, appreciate the nation they were born into, and to think for themselves. Basically. And while they have bucked the system the whole way, for the most part they get it. They understand that we are not their friends, until certain criteria have been met. You do not raise your voice to your mother, you are careful the words you chose when speaking to any adult, you have responsibilities that if not met will result in consequences. In short we are their parental educators first, and then maybe their friends. Basic stuff it would seem.
But is it?
Why do I believe that pro sports is fixed? While I always enjoy this conversation over coffee with any number of different people, it never fails to surprise me how the vast majority can name ten bad calls that their team had games lost on, but do not remember a pair of bad calls that won the game for their team. Perhaps some just blindly follow a team (or player) and forget about the game itself. I always ask them, do you watch the game or do you watch your team? Usually they consider these one in the same, but they are certainly not.
Up until about 5 years ago I believed like the majority of fans do, that its all just played out on the field from week to week. Then someone suggested that my team, The 6 time Super Bowl champs, had been given a ring when they played Seattle in the Super Bowl XL game. I scoffed at them, and then they said something that changed it for me. "Go back and watch the game without your team bias. Watch the calls, watch the non calls, and then tell me what you think."
Well I did that, and the skeptic was born.
I noticed things that, had I been pulling for the Seahawks, I would have been livid. From there I started watching all games in a different light. Honestly before this time I watched my team and the local team (Colts) and that was about it. Then I started into fantasy football and I watched more games. Games that I really didn't care about. I had no dog in the fight. These were the ones that were easiest to spot things in. From there, I started to ask why? Why would they fix games?
Ask yourself that, and the answer is obvious. Money.
I just returned from a 10 day vacation with just my wife and myself. We were accompanied by another couple sans their kids as well. We had been planning this get away for nearly a year and as the days drew nearer I must admit I was excited, but my over all feelings where sort of 'I could take it or leave it'.
We were escaping the confines of the cold mid-west. We were leaving behind us the responsibilties of our jobs, the taking care of our home and autos, the bills, and our kids were being taken care of as well. We were about to be forced to unplug from our computers, phones, TV's and the routine we all call 'the daily grind', and yet it didn't seem to really hit me.
Why? Why wasn't I jumping out of my skin excited?
While watching the commercials during the 'big game' a number of observations were made by a few of us setting together in the same room. We noted the humor that most adds took to try to use a joke to jog your memory later. A couple used a more serious spin to try to tap into the psychological avenues. While other toyed with sorrow and anger. They all were using emotion, over fact and logic to try and sell you their item. Well some used logic, but only as a secondary measure. Lets face it, we tend to feel about something before we care enough to do anything about that something, right?
Then there were the two adds that seemed to be telling us how to feel about a certain issue, but they were both making points opposite of each other. Yet we were supposed to embrace and support both sides. How can this be? Maybe you didn't catch it. Or maybe you just don't see it the same way. What am I talking about you ask? Let me explain the commercials and their basic sought after emotions.
In the first commercial we see children being asked to do things 'like a girl'. They ask little boys, who instead of acting like they were running a 'normal' way, throwing a ball a normal way and 'fighting' a 'normal' way the boys were seeming to act out what appeared to be a 'silly' way. Then they asked little girls the same thing and they responded and acted as if they had been asked only 'how do you _____'. That is to say, that as girls, they only do things the best they can. Not in a silly way or a different way than a boy doing the same things the best that they can. Obviously the point is made that boys and girls are the same, and to say that a girl does things differently. The point being made in the add is that girls are not able to do things the same way boys are, or so we have believed for countless generations because of our sexist upbringings. They want you to see how degrading it is to say someone does something like a girl. How degrading it is to imply that boys are somehow created different and therefore better or (dare I say it) superior at some things. We are led to believe that this is false. That to say a female should ever submit to a man in any way shape or form is outrageous.
Then there was the second commercial. It was for a new movie coming out soon that was based on a recently popular book. They share the same title: '50 shades of grey', perhaps you have heard of it. The week following the 'big game' the morning show my wife watches had a special segment on it everyday that week, so I presume you have heard something about it by now. While I personally have not read it I have talked with a few people who have. I ask them generally what its about. Their general response is the same, though the number of words and choice of words are often different depending on where they stand on many social issues (those who call themselves a Christian and those who do not usually). The book is about a rich, older, experienced man and a younger, 'innocent' woman. They are attracted to each other and start a relationship. Only this relationship is marked with this man dominating the woman and the woman submitting to him. Oh and there are lots of sexual escapades.
I already know that many of you will take offense to this description. To the words that I chose to use to describe what I have been told the book is about. I also know you're upset I left out the 'love' fluff that is in the book as well. I did that on purpose. The purpose is to point out why this book is different from so many other 'love' books. Because what sets it apart is why it is so popular and controversial. I could go on, but I will not.
Jesus, during the Sermon on the Mount, teaches his followers a simple yet monstrous lesson about God. (Matt 7.7-8) "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened." A great reminder as to the loving relationship between God and his children.
In the last few days it has become apparent that I am to refocus my intentions with my God in one simple yet monstrous area. That is the action known as meditation. Now before you start to imagine me folded up like a pretzel with incense and candles burning asking you to take a seat, just put those images to the side for 5 minuets and consider with me, a few points.
We have been told that meditation is the way to inner peace. Which is true, but meditation is also big business don't you know. A Google search for 'meditation techniques' will offer you over 4 million results to ponder. Which tells me two things. 1. People want to know how to meditate, and because of this: 2. People want to find more 'inner peace'.
Oddly enough you will find 400k options when you search for the definition of meditate. Lets look at the basic definition.
I for one can't pinpoint when it started happening per say. I can look back at a number of things that transpired years before I was born but its hard to pick one point when things started to unravel. Perhaps its just my age (43) and therefore my actual knowledge of actual visible history. Maybe its just my perception, but from where I am sitting I can no longer say that this is a united country.
In my state (Indiana) the state government passed a bill called the 'Religious Freedom Act'. You can view it here:
The bill is a hot topic currently by all those who support the rights of the LGBT crowd and those who appose big government. On the one side you have a group who wants any and all freedoms afforded by law available to them. On the other you have a group who does not believe religious freedom stops once you enter the work place. The debate oddly enough seems to be going off of emotion by one side more than fact. The LGBT crowd is calling the bill discrimination and the legalization of intolerant bigotry. What they fail to realize, or more likely do not care to recognize is that this bill is a reaction to certain lawsuits that have been popping up in different places. Such as these:
I am getting pretty tired of people telling me what I think, what the Bible says, how shallow minded I am, how I am a bigot, a sexist, a homophobe, and a racist because I have a differing opinion on any given topic. Here is the thing, just because I don't agree with you does not mean I hate you. it doesn't mean I am talking about you behind your back, in fact it doesn't even mean I care that much about what you think about my opinion. We can be on different sides of many issues and I can still call you friend.
However, instead of assuming you know and understand what I think and why I believe the way I do, I would challenge you to open yourself up to the idea of some talk over coffee or a milkshake. You know, dialogue. Which means 'to take part in a conversation of discussion to resolve a problem.' The problem may not be resolvable, but the idea that we have no common ground almost always is.
I must warn you though. I don't like to work in the realm of treating emotion, theory, or popular opinion as fact. I like to discuss evidence. I prefer evidence when it supports a point of view. I really love evidence that supports a point of view that is based on logical, realistic possibilities. They can be a little cray cray, but they must be somewhat plausible!
Because here's the thing, I know my side of the fence pretty well. However I can only see a little ways into the other side of the fence and I am curious as to what goes on over there and why you will not even consider the options on this side of the fence because I try hard to consider both sides of the issues before making any personal conclusions . Sure its completely possible that we may never see eye to eye on whatever subject it is we tackle, but lets face it. Without real talk about real issues that we are serious about, how good of friends can we be? How are we ever going to be able to be available to help one another if we can't look each other in the eyes and say 'Yea, they're crazy on this and that, but I love 'em anyways!'
So if you're curious, and willing to actually talk about our differences of opinions, I would love the opportunity to dialogue with you. I must warn you though, I don't know everything there is to know on any given subject. I don't claim too, so understand that because of that truth I have no problem laughing at myself. Or others for that matter. Life is too short and we are way to far apart for having so much in common. What do you say?
Whether you self identify as a man or a woman, as black, brown, or white, we are being told that it is all fine and good. Which, if you think about it is a perfectly awesome idea!
We all have seen the pictures of the before and after of trans- (Bruce/Caitlyn) Jenner. How at 65 years old a person who won gold metals competing as a man many years ago has in the past few years determined that he was in fact feeling more and more like a she. So now he has undergone numerous surgeries to become a she. The world view of this has been celebration. Touting the idea that anyone can determine there own true identity! It is their 'Authentic Self'. After all in some states schools no longer have restrooms labeled male and female, they simply have unisex or 'gender neutral' bathrooms. So regardless of what actual plumbing one was born with, you can enter and use either bathroom you chose. Certainly its likely that only persons equipped with specific plumbing will be using the urinals, but they are open for all to enjoy. Trans Jenner does not have the ability to reproduce, nor has he ever experienced a single menstrual cycle, yet they want you to call him a she. Seems a little presumptuous and disrespectful to those who were born 'women' to me. So we are asked to embrace the ideas in our heads over the realities of our chromosomal scientific makeup, and this is being touted as social forward thinking. Yipee.
We have recently been introduced to a woman who was born white, but has been living as a black woman for the past number of years. Not just living as a black woman, but finding employment specifically based on her chosen identity with the NAACP. She was the president of the chapter, and was doing a bang up job of revitalizing the group. Then, it came out that she was not black. She merely self identified as a black woman. Now you might think that based on the embrace of trans-Jenner, she would receive the same sort of accepting affirmation and celebration. Yet there are many who say this crosses the line. You can read an interesting cover on this story here:
The good news is, that Whoopi Goldberg and Raven-Symon from 'The View', two black women with fairly liberal viewpoints have said that they are OK with Ms. Dolezal's decision. You can see/read there thoughts here: