Does Any of this Really Matter?…05/17/2017

I remember a time when people were so mad about who had been elected president that dumb news stories, whether they were true or not would get posted. I got so tired of it, that I unfollowed people on my Facebook or just stayed off of it for a time. Fast forward 8 years and now I see it again.

I’ve gotten cynical about the whole political scene. Most of which is done for show on TV. The 24 hour news channels eat it up or make it up so that they can sell advertising.  Most people don’t realize that they are basically being sold to those to the advertisers.

I’ve long subscribed to the saying, “If it bleeds, it leads,” to the whole of the news media. I try very hard to pick and chose my sources carefully, and then double and triple check them for facts left unsaid, or left out, because all the journalists are political operatives with a byline.

I see friends and family being lead down the path. I was there a long time ago. I turned a corner about halfway through Bush 2’s second term, realizing all that was happening. I tried to tell people that they are being used, but to no avail. As humorist Scott Adams says (I’m paraphrasing here), they are living in their own movie, and so are we. I’m not adept to being a persuader. I have to be careful with who or what I listen to. It is possible that if I look at Facebook too long, I’ll get depressed. I’ve pretty much stopped looking at twitter. I listen to a new deconstruction podcast, which helps to lighten my moods, because they are pretty funny, but my moods still swing.

As I watch the news, there are those that tell me that I’m irrelevant. That my opinions don’t matter, because I am privileged, judging me before I even open my mouth, or do anything. The pendulum swings, “fight the (blank)!” The pendulum swings back, “fight the (blank we said was good before)!” I’m beginning to realize the meaning behind the book of Ecclesiastes. “Meaningless! Meaningless!”
    says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.” – Ecclesiastes 1:2 (NIV)

Fight, fight, everything is fight. What about Love? I realized recently that nobody wants to love unconditionally, because they don’t want to love those that wronged them, the original sin. They say they follow Jesus, but really they follow Moses (the law). And now we have fallen into the time of the book of Judges (Everyone did as they saw fit).

My Dog Showed me This…01/28/2017

About a year ago, our household acquired a young male dog. He was a year and a half pit/boxer mix. He was hard for me to train. Over time he has gotten into the groove of his pack (our family), and is much better behaved than when he showed up. 
There are a few things that I haven’t been able to break him of. Getting into the bay window, and barking at other dogs, and trying to dominate my female black lab. Mia is 13, and is still pretty active for a geriatric dog. In fact, when Niner is bugging her and biting at her, her teeth come out. Niner knows to respect his elder, well sort of. As I’ve studied dog behavior, he’s still trying to assert himself ahead of other dogs in the pecking order.
I see lots of protests online, and ignorant blow back between lots of people. The problem that I see, if you look at it from non-spiritual lens, we are doing the same things as my dogs.
If, for a moment, you recognize that we humans are biologically, animals. The fights online are nothing more than us fighting for dominance within our pack. A lot of the women’s rights issues, are overlooking the evolutionary thoughts that are ingrained in our species. It’s not to say we shouldn’t allow women the same rights as men. Rather, the progressives that think there is no God, overlook their same belief of evolution. That we are no different from the social orders of other mammals.
I guess that’s why I’m believe in a God that says He sees neither male nor female. Jew or Greek. Just people. That we all have a spirit, that he has imparted to us. We are more than animals, fighting for pack dominance. We should be striving for a kingdom here on earth, where we, like God, see neither male nor female. Jew or Greek, or for that matter, black or white or hispanic or…
I think that other christians fighting for the rights of others, need to remember this fact. It would help with their patience and the somewhat incendiary attitude that I see online.
As I have seen it, love is what is needed. As Jesus said, love your enemy. Anyone can love your neighbor. Love the unlovely. This goes both ways. It’s one thing to be prophetic and critique society. It’s another thing to go around and label people without knowing them.
I know this goes against the pack mentality, but then again, we are more than animals.

Does Jonah Apply to us Today?…09/19/2015

I was driving around recently, as I was looking for some shots of Boyne City, and was listening to the podcast from Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, MO. They have been doing a series on some of the prophets in the Old Testament. Which got me to thinking about a few of them, when I felt like we were being given the sign of Jonah (Matt 12:38-42, and Luke 11:29-32), when Jesus was talking to the pharisees. It felt like we are missing the point on the sign of Jonah, if you stop reading a verse too short.

A lot of people stop at the verse that says (from Matt 12:38-42, The Message), “Like Jonah, three days and nights in the fish’s belly, the Son of Man will be gone three days and nights in a deep grave.” And while this is true, there is more to this section, like the next verse: “On Judgment Day, the Ninevites will stand up and give evidence that will condemn this generation, because when Jonah preached to them they changed their lives. A far greater preacher than Jonah is here, and you squabble about ‘proofs.'” Other translations are very similar with the next verse in Matthew about the Ninevites condemning this generation. I think as Stephen Grabill says in a recent Seedbed video, that the church is struggling with not being the dominate force in the culture. So we have become like Jonah. The church currently comes across as loveless, like Jonah, and would rather see our “enemies” destroyed, than repent and be saved.

So many times in my Facebook feed, I see angry Christians with their conservative bent, sharing articles that seem more like they would prefer their enemies smited, than loved in to the kingdom. If you look at Jesus who says, “take up your cross and follow me,” but little do we realize, that if we follow him, we may have to die, literally, to do his will. This may mean to challenge the status quo. However, the church isn’t into challenging it, but rather would put out anyone that doesn’t hold together with the health and wealth gospel (notice that is with a little g) afraid someone is coming for them, when they rarely step out and look at the systemic sins of our society. You know the systemic sins of society, slavery, lack of justice, or when there is justice, lack of mercy. Fear of the foreigner, etc.

I also have liberal friends that would rather that the conservatives be smited, than loved into the kingdom as well. So many times the P.C. bullies talking about microaggressions, while they use just as hurtful and words and tactics on conservatives.

Part of the problem is they all listen and put their faith into the fear mongering stations of the cable news system (and I mean all of them, from MSNBC to Fox News) which constantly spout half true, superficial stories meant to make you cower under your blanket with your guns, if you are conservative, or your drug du jour to numb you if you are liberal. They say they are there to inform you, but they are all accountable to large corporations, bent on making money and if they threaten to pull their money, then stories are whitewashed.

But what do I know…

Wait a minute!? I thought the Dems were supposed to increase government pay

Follow this link and you will see a just released story about how the President is proposing a freeze on federal pay. I don’t have a problem with that. However, I find it funny that there have been those that I work with in the past, who vote Dem for pay raises and not Rep. When the opposite has happened in recent memory. That’s why I’m an independent. Neither party interests me. 

My Political Leanings

This is how I have been feeling and vote as of late.

My Political Views
I am a centrist moderate social libertarian
Right: 0.32, Libertarian: 2.72

Political Spectrum Quiz

Tired of the Hot Air again

I’m getting tired of the distractions and feel that I need to vent, because the gate keepers of the media, both left and right insist on talking about things of no consequence. What am I talking about? I try to remain balanced in the things that I read so that I can see issues from both sides. I don’t care whether it is left or right that has proposed it. I care if it would work and be beneficial. As I wrote in an earlier post, I have drifted to become libertarian in thinking.

The problem that I have with the politics currently in play is the ad hominen attacks not just from the right, but the left. I think that it was a little funny that there were teleprompters in a classroom for the President, but do we have to constantly hear about it? And now the left, as if to get even, says did you see Sarah Palin with her crib notes in her hand?  Oooo, burn. I have stopped watching news tv, because they are all running on entertainment. Looking for the ratings. I don’t want reporters editorializing as they report. I want them to ask hard questions. I unsubscribed from Blogging for Michigan because they continued to play blame the other side politics and use sexual terms for people they disagree with.

I don’t need celebrities telling me what to think, or worse, telling me that I’m unintelligent. There is dangerous divide of us versus them happening in our society. It doesn’t matter who started it, but it must end. Compromising in Congress shouldn’t be about who can take money back to their district, but truly finding the middle ground and work out the best deal to both sides.

I know some people that have attended some of the tea party protests. They aren’t, “intellectually malnourished,” and don’t necessarily subscribe to the right wing fringe that gets quoted in the papers and on MSNBC by Mr. Olbermann. I found the Tea Party Convention unimportant and slightly offensive so I didn’t watch it. The tea party movement looks more like a movement of folks at the local level. I’ll be watching what my local reps do so that I can see if I want them out or in.

Besides as a Christian (a Christ follower), I want to walk in love and help those that need help and healing, like Jesus did. From that, we might actually solve problems.

Why I am more libertarian…

I think that this is one of the reasons. Not that you shouldn’t regulate some things, but when you want to switch grapes and the government won’t let you…three-grapes

West Michigan becoming Western Pennsylvania?!

male-student-slabI caught this article in the GR Press the other day. It looks like the Manchester Bidwell Corporation (a non-profit) will be entering into a triangular partnership with GRCC and the GRPS. They have formed the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology, which as the website says:

Expose people to an inspirational atmosphere and they will be inspired.

It almost sounds too simplistic, but it works. And it all started back in Pittsburgh with a man named Bill Strickland and the idea that environment can change people, their attitudes and their lives.

I saw Bill Strickland speak a few years ago about the Bidwell Training Center and wondered how something like the could come to Michigan. Well, here it is in Grand Rapids!

Grand Rapids poised to develop ‘triangular’ partnership to help impoverished students | Grand Rapids News – –

Tired of the Hot Air

HotAirBalloon1Recently, I have been reading things about the politics of the country, and I have to say that it has been going in a depressing direction. I’m not talking about politically, but the fact that there is little civility in the process. As a kid, there was Watergate and then the country floundered for years. When I was in high school, Ronald Reagan became President and by a such a resounding margin that it looked like the Democrats wouldn’t recover. However, after Pres. George 41, we elected Bill Clinton, twice. Those 12 years, I felt that there we gradually walked away from the discussion and drifted toward the dissonance of hot air on both sides of the spectrum.

So where do I lie on the spectrum? In the middle. I have voted for Republicans and Democrats. I have described myself as a little right of center, but when I take quizzes I’m left of center.

I recently listened to a pastor talking about the fact that Christians should do things to bring healing, but the political scene had devolved into each side making a caricature of the other and shredding the caricature. I’m tired of it.

I read a blog about state politics from from the Democratic side of the aisle and about 1/4 of it is good, with 3/4 hot air. Notice, I didn’t mention Republican blog, they were all hot air. That’s why Michigan is in the mess it is in, hot air from both sides. We are floundering.

So I’m tired of Glenn Beck, Bill O’reilly, and Rush Limbaugh. I’m tired of Keith Olberman, Chris Matthews, and the Daily Kos. While they all may have good or interesting points from time to time, or they may catch the others in inaccuracies, they all yell and create hot air on both sides of the spectrum.  An astronomer that I watched during a Q&A for a book that he wrote mentioned that if we could get rid of the hot air on both sides, maybe we could have a conversation.

I get tired of Jimmy Carter insulting me by calling me racist if I disagree with a policy, or others from the left calling me a teabagger (a sexual insult) if I go to a protest.  I get tired of the Republicans using me because they think my protest against the current ones in power will help them.

I read today,

“We’re being out-Alinskyed by the anti-Alinskys”- Ben Jealous, NAACP president, on the ACORN story and other conservative Internet exposes.

I had to look that up what was being Alinskyed? I found this link on the rules for radicals.  Read the link to understand it fully, but suffice it to say that this dude came up with ways to confront the powers that be. I’m not sure, but I almost feel like we in the middle need to rise up and confront the fringes. If you have something constructive to say, say it, and be part of the conversation, if you have hot air, prepare to be confronted.

The Right’s War on Science…Not!

John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) posts articles on his blog about environmentalism’s extremes and provides a bit of commentary as well. The first article in the post that I have marked was interesting because I keep hearing about this war on science, but when it comes down to it, there isn’t.

“For six and a half years under President Bush,” Senator Hillary Clinton told an audience in October 2007, “it has been open season on open inquiry.” Senator Edward Kennedy, in an April 2007 speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, bemoaned the many ways in which “the truth is taking a beating” under conservative influence in Washington. One popular recent book on the subject is entitled The Republican War on Science; another, by former vice president and Nobel laureate Al Gore, is called The Assault on Reason.

But beneath these grave accusations, it turns out, are some remarkably flimsy grievances, most of which seem to amount to political disputes about policy questions in which science plays a role. Ethical disagreements over the destruction of embryos for research are described instead as a conflict between science and ignorant theology. Differing judgments about the proper role of government in sex education in schools are painted as a quarrel between objective public health and medieval prudishness. A dispute about the prudential wisdom of a variety of energy policy alternatives is depicted as a clash of simple scientific facts against willful ignorance and greed.

The American right has no desire to declare a war on science, and nothing it has done in recent years could reasonably suggest otherwise. The left’s quixotic defensive campaign against an imaginary enemy therefore has little to tell us about American conservatives-who, of course, do have a complex relationship with science, though it is not the one the left seeks to describe. But if this notion of a “war on science” tells us little about the right, it does tell us something important about the American left and its self-understanding. That liberals take attacks against their own political preferences to be attacks against science helps us see the degree to which they identify themselves-their ideals, their means, their ends, their cause, and their culture-with the modern scientific enterprise.

I have heard the same things from Democratic leaning scientists whom I respect, such as Neil deGrasse Tyson, a noted astronomer. When asked the question at a forum in Los Angeles, he responded with, and I’m paraphrasing, there is no Republican war on science.

Read the whole first article.  You can read the second and third articles as well, if you want.