31 January 2015

The Power Of Words

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

A fool spurns a parent’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.

The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not upright.

Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise.

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.

The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.

A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

Folly brings joy to one who has no sense, but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course.

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply – and how good is a timely word!

The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but gracious words are pure in his sight.

The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.

The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.

Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise.

Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.

Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor.

- passages from Proverbs 15 regarding words and thoughts

Words are powerful. 

To you who believe; the world and all of creation came into being by the Word of God.   

Mind your words carefully.

29 January 2015

Sell Sell Sell

If you’ve read some of my blog posts, you already know I like to listen to conversations happening around me.  It is difficult to not hear a sales pitch or some drama when quietly working and not having a conversation yourself.

I learn a lot listening to conversations.  I sometimes hear beautiful gems of wisdom, great advice, love and compassion in people’s words.  Other times, I hear sad sales pitches that are ‘sold’ as investments which demand a monthly payment to ‘be invested;’ the inverse of an investment.  An investment pays you every month.  An investment doesn’t demand a monthly payment.  In the real estate world, such an ‘investment’ is called an alligator.

So I’m hearing a young man telling another young man how he’s involved in 401ks, life insurance, debt solutions and a bunch of other wonderful financial services.  He’s asking his friend to fork over $500 to start with monthly payments of at least $100.  I hear him tell stories of tragedy which some victims could have been avoided if they would have had the insurance he’s selling.  He’s a salesman for sure.  I shouldn’t be listening. 

It is painful when I hear someone speaking as if they know what they’re talking about.  This used to be me when I was dealing in real estate or talking about stock market trading and all financial schemes in between.  I could talk a great game and easily convince people I knew it all.  But I found a little piece of my soul would go missing every time I would put money matters over things which spoke to my heart. 

In a world where people worship money, “cash is king.” 

But in a world where people are conscientious and don’t view others as an opportunity for themselves, God’s conscience is King.

28 January 2015

Brakes And Breaks

I was sitting at one of Long Beach’s trendy coffee shops facing the street when I see a puppy get run over by a massive box truck.  The puppy seems to have gotten away from his owner.  The manner in which the puppy ran away with its leash attached looks like something had scared it.  The box truck came to a quick halt perhaps due to the screaming of the dog owner and onlookers.  Behind the two tall rear right tires I see the dog writhing in pain and shock. 

I get up and go outside to see if I could help in any way.  I can see the puppy’s front right leg is broken with bone exposed and some bright red blood spilt on the ground.  The rest of the body seems to be in order.  There is no blood coming from the mouth and the animal is quite calm now.  The lady owner is crying and running back and forth between her chair outside on the sidewalk and the puppy in the street. 

I notice a man with a heavy accent leading the effort in comforting the dog and asking for specifics like towels, water and for the nearest animal hospital.  I tell the dog owner that it seems the animal will be okay as there doesn’t seem to be any body or head trauma.

At the end of all the drama, I thanked the gentleman who was quick to think, act and exude leadership.  Instead of identifying where I suppose he could be from, I’ll simply say he wasn’t a natural born citizen.  His help spoke against the manner which media dehumanizes foreigners and how viewers easily follow that train of thought.   He was glad to hear my acknowledgements and I was happy to have mentioned it. 

27 January 2015

Excuses Easily Justified

The other day on my visit to my elderly grandmothers at their elderly care facilities, something struck me to the core.  I overheard a woman crying on the phone with someone.  She was asking them whey she was in that facility. 

Prior to this, I walked into my grandmother’s room and saw this woman eating her dinner-time meal.  She asked me if it was breakfast or dinner.  She said this because she couldn’t tell due to the food being soggy and having the texture of over-easy eggs and not the pasta salad it was.  I did my best responding with a smile and saying that it was dinner. 

I was sitting with my grandmother when I happen to hear this woman speak with someone who had just called on the phone.  I began to think of the reasons why both my grandmothers are in such a place.  I thought about the financial issue.  I then considered the care issue.  I also considered how everyone is ‘living’ their lives and how today, looking after the elderly has been sub-contracted out to others; it is a multi-billion dollar industry.

I further thought about the excuses both I and my relatives have made regarding our 95 year-old loved ones.  ‘Living your life’ was one of them in reference to me when I still lived with my maternal grandmother.  ‘Professional care’ was another one.  But the underlying reason no one mentioned was selfishness.  Another term was inconvenience.  Yet, because it is a business and doctor’s recommendations are considered gospel, the individual conscience desensitizes itself when leaving their loved ones in the care of strangers.  Folks seem consumed by their pursuits, not able to look after the elderly.  Perhaps it’s fear that the mortgage won’t be met and their Amerikan dream may take a detour.

26 January 2015

For The Money

Recently I viewed a documentary about the man the teevee show “Breaking Bad” is based on.  I typically don’t follow mainstream media programming.  I heard about the show via social media and public billboards.  Aside from the obvious of broken families, prison time and the thousands of addicts, I heard something from the man’s mouth that is usually accepted as a typical draw in life.

The man expressed how, although earning a decent living from working construction, he made more money making methamphetamine.  This was the motivation for him to quit his labor job and focus on making this addictive synthetic drug. 

How many of us can relate to his confession?

“Relate” in terms of pursuing things which bring more money.  I don’t mean ‘relate’ as in selling drugs to replace a regular job or business.  Perhaps this pursuit to make more money is simply a given or a natural attraction for people.  I’d like to mention something beyond the obvious.  Isn’t the question of whether something is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ usually ignored in pursuing more money?  We see this slippery slope with so many people.  Usually people justify their occupation with the need to make more money.  The question whether their pursuit is actually ‘right’ or ‘wrong,’ besides being ‘legal,’ is typically ignored.  It is interesting how society can legalize some activity while it is arguably immoral.

It is legal to lend money at interest, but some see past the easy money and realize interest is wrong and mathematically insoluble.  Abortion is legal and some doctors earn a living from this procedure, but some folks see abortion as simple murder of someone not yet able to defend themselves. 

What are some things you’ve done for more money which, when soberly and honestly looked at, was not good or right?

23 January 2015

We Are Mirrors

Every single day is an opportunity for great things.  Minimally, the individual can learn at least one thing on a daily basis.  We can learn about ourselves, about the world, about others, life in general, etc.  And I don’t mean learning that everyone puts on their pants one pant leg at a time ( unless you are like some cartoon character ).  Not to make little of the trivial things, for even in the mundane can we realize something profound, insightful, revealing or humorous. 

I think life is about learning, growing, realizing, accepting and adapting. 

This week, I had to accept the fact that I made a mistake in what I said and how I reacted to my wife.  It took me quite some time to ‘get over’ my own emotion and pride before I was able to see the hurt I caused my dear wife.  What was something so insignificant and silly I turned into a wedge between my wife and myself.  I am ever so grateful that she doesn’t hold a grudge longer than I do.  I learned quite a few things this week about myself, my wife and the chapter of marriage in general. 

I realized that I can be so petty about the silliest of things.  I can become a six-year-old in a matter of moments.  I realized that my wife reflects me; my emotional state, my demeanor and my choices.  This is great when it is ‘good’ I am putting out.  When I’m having a ‘moment,’ this is scary… and my responsibility and role becomes evident.

I learned that my pride isn’t something that will most likely ever go away.  Pride is something I need to constantly acknowledge; accepting my pride so I can humbly see is key… accepting my faults before they befall others.

22 January 2015

Who / What Are You?

Identity / ˌīˈden(t)ədē /  late 16th century ( in the sense ‘quality of being identical’ ): from late Latin identitas, from Latin idem ‘same.’

In psychology and sociology, identity is a person's conception and expression of their own ( self-identity ) and others' individuality or group affiliations ( such as national identity and cultural identity ).

Throughout my life I identified myself with quite a few identities; Catholic Altar Boy, Professional Bass Fisherman, Motocross Racer, Military Soldier / Fighter Pilot, 18-Wheel Truck Driver, Motorcycle Police Officer, Rock Star, Actor, Real Estate Investor, Stock Market Trader, Sovereign Rights Advocate, Revolutionary; I actually was most of these.

Coming to terms with these identities, I’ve attempted to answer the question as to why I had chosen these ideas.  At the age of 23 I decided to be born-again in the Name of Christ.  Yet another identity was adopted; Disciple of Yeshua.  With this identity, the idea of being one of all the children of God comes to heart and mind.  It is arguable that this identity of being a disciple or a child of God is man-made as all the others, but I don’t think nor believe so. 

The extensive list of identities I aligned myself with have to do with popular and desirable vocations in Today’s westernized society.  All of those identities bring with them a touch of honor or ‘coolness’ in being something which not everyone can ‘be.’ 

On the other hand, the identity of being a disciple or child of God doesn’t really bring with it much honor in terms of popular acceptance.  If anything, it brings ridicule and criticism.  What this identity does bring is the ability to see past all other identities in accepting everyone as children of God and not as their perceived identities would divide them.

21 January 2015

Cold In The North Pole

Polarize / ˈpōləˌrīz / verb

1. restrict the vibrations of ( a transverse wave, especially light ) wholly or partially to one direction.

2. cause (something) to acquire polarity.

3. divide or cause to divide into two sharply contrasting groups or sets of opinions or beliefs.

You’ve most likely heard the term “polarizing” when hearing political opinions or policy in the media.

It is interesting to realize that prior to a person hearing ideas or opinions having to do with religion, politics, ethnicity, culture and so on, that person’s mind is mostly a blank slate.  Can a newborn baby automatically be any political or religious term from birth?  Does the infant ‘know’ such things?  The fact is that infant is like a clean canvas prior to being touched by a paintbrush. 

We have all been influenced and ‘painted’ in a certain way. 

Have you noticed when certain terms are spoken either in the media or in conversation that the mind of the listener fashions itself around already ‘painted’ notions?  This is the product of the ‘polarizing’ effect that certain words, themes and ideas have. 

Although each of us have a sense of right and wrong of what can be considered good as opposed to bad, we have been painted to accept things as wrong instead of right and things as bad instead of good. 

Next time you feel yourself being swayed into a manner of thought about others, remember that those whom the media paints as ‘enemies’ also breathe in very much the same way as you do.  Those who the media says are ‘against’ you also have life in their blood.  Those who you may have been raised to ‘hate’ or look at with suspicion also may have had a similar upbringing in painting you in a negative way. 

20 January 2015

Empty Chairs At Empty Tables

Last Saturday evening I took a walk through my neighborhood.  I visited a couple of grocery stores, a local bar / restaurant, two coffee shops and walked the trendiest block in Long Beach; 4th Street between Cherry and Junipero. 

Aside from the good exercise from my nearly two-hour journey, I was able to take note of some interesting things.  I noticed how every location offered a different thing to people, but in each one community was being realized. 

The grocery stores had folks buying their necessary food items.  The employees were helpful in asking customers if they help.  At the bar, I ran into a friend who was celebrating his birthday.  He was happy to see me as I was to see him.  At one coffee shop, live jazz played by a four-piece band was heard.  What a delight for listeners to hear tunes and enjoying the moment of creativity and sonic bliss.  The other coffee shop I walked through had a full house listening to stand up comedy.  Although the topics were not to my liking, there was community there nonetheless.

There were two large buildings I noticed which were empty and locked this Saturday night.  They had signs outside with the invitation “All Are Welcomed Here.”  What struck me was that the option to be there wasn’t available to the community.  There was no sense of community happening in them as was elsewhere.  It is said that community and service grows and originates in these places, but not tonight.  I’ve noticed many times passing these same buildings in the past them typically being closed and not ‘open for business.’  I think these places should be opened and offering a good reason to be occupied.  If places such as these are not available, then what truly is their purpose?

19 January 2015

Grateful To Be Favored

Favor / ˈfāvər / Middle English ( in the noun sense ‘liking, preference’ ): via Old French from Latin favor, from favere ‘show kindness to’ ( related to fovere ‘cherish’ ).

/ noun /

1. something done or granted out of goodwill, rather than from justice or for remuneration; a kind act.

2. friendly or well-disposed regard; goodwill.

3. the state of being approved or held in regard:

/ verb /

1. feel or show approval or preference for.

What is it to receive ‘favor’ from someone?  Have you ever experienced special treatment from someone? 

Here’s a place where the term or sentiment of what “favor” means is expressed:

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.  Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”  - Proverbs 3: 3-4

I started to really consider the favor God has shown me.  Although I am fallible, not perfect and fail miserably in a variety of ways, I must acknowledge and stand in awe of God’s favor for me.  The nature of His favor is not because I deserve it.  I didn’t ‘work’ for His favor because no man can ‘earn’ or ‘work’ for God’s favor.  It is a gift freely given from Him as the definition of the word describes.

I considered His favor after an exchange I had with a stranger on social media recently.  In short, I was surprised to read the vial and hateful words a stranger was unleashing on me.  I have ‘felt’ such hateful emotions and, at times, I have unleashed hatred in the same way I received it.  Because of God’s favor, I choose to favor His Way above my own.  His favor grants me gratitude.

17 January 2015

One Way Is Right

Killing people using criminal activity ( like unpopular terrorizing attacks ) or using politically sanctioned criminal activity ( like popular military terrorizing attacks ); do these methods teach people, beckon obedience and bring peace? 

If these methods worked, the world would already be at peace.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

Capital punishment, coup d'etats, police brutality and human methods of ‘justice,’ do these methods stop people from doing wrong?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’  But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.  If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.  And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.  If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.  Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

Man’s way fails, comes up short, leaves others hurt and leaves a trail of injustice confused as justice.

God’s Way succeeds, completes, leaves people whole and leaves a trail of justice called righteousness.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

How can the world recognize love, truth and peace when love, truth and peace is not applied?

With God this is possible.

16 January 2015

Sorry Charlie, I Am Not You

I am NOT Charlie Hebdo:  I don’t purposely try to instigate, offend, humiliate or irritate others. 

If I know that a certain thing I do or say offends my wife, how loving would I be if I do or say the offensive thing every time I see her? 

If I truly “loved my enemy,” would I constantly point out all the negative things about them I don’t like? 

If I am to love my neighbor and treat them as I would like to be treated, would I instigate, offend, humiliate and irritate them?

Freedom brings with it responsibility. 

You have the ‘freedom’ to offend your loved ones, but is it wise, loving or responsible to do so?  Haven’t you caught yourself after you’ve unleashed some unwise words and sentiments?  That remorse and sorrow you felt exists for a reason.  It means that although you may have spoken the truth, the manner in which you unleashed your truth may have done more harm than good. 

I was looking through the images that Charlie Hebdo produces and I wish I hadn’t.  They have the right and freedom to do it, and I have the right and freedom to call it as I see it to be; depraved. 

The freedom some have in expressing themselves exists so they and their issues can be identified.  How else can one define and identify what depravity is unless the likes of Charlie Hebdo exist?  Also, how else can murderous religious zealots be identified and defined if those perpetrators didn’t exist? 

Me personally; I wish neither existed.  But my personal responsibility is to not forward hate in any form ( whether in cartoons or through religious rhetoric ).

There is a proper and loving way to show others their faults without instigating, offending, humiliating or irritating them.

15 January 2015

The Tail Of Two Tales

The tail of two tales; Boko Haram and Charlie Hebdo.

Isn’t it interesting how ideas like “freedom of speech” support the blatant instigation of others?  Is being insensitive to religious beliefs and purposely instigating cultural sensitivities signs of a mature and modern society?  

Does the bully help or hinder the bullied?

It’s interesting how some issues make headlines while other issues are ignored.  The last few weeks we’ve heard about Charlie Hebdo.  Most of the world, regardless of cultural or religious slant, has condemned the attacks and rightfully so ( condemning murders of any sort regardless of the reasons / justifications is right ).

Have you heard about Boko Haram and their bloody atrocities?  Boko Haram’s atrocities are being done in Nigeria, not in western ‘civilized’ places like France.  Is this the reason they are not on the mass consciousness?  Are the victims of Boko Haram less innocent than the employees of Charlie Hebdo?  Are the thousands of Africans butchered by Boko Haram less valuable than the Jewish casualties in the French grocery store? 

Why aren’t “world leaders” protesting in Nigeria? 

Can one judge clearly according to the truth and not jump onto bandwagons to support war or ostracize people of a certain religion or culture?   Do the murderous deeds of Boko Haram and the French culprits represent the billions of people of a particular culture or religion?  If it did, the feared “jihad” would've wiped out western civilization by now.

Does the Westboro Baptist Church or the Inquisition of the Catholic Church represent the billions of people of that particular culture or religion?

If war truly brought about peace, wouldn’t we have had peace in every corner of the world by now? 

If the news media spoke the truth without prejudice and without bias, wouldn’t we have been educated enough to serve people’s needs as we would like to have our needs served? 

If we were not led by the nose to believe already framed media arguments having hidden agendas behind them, wouldn’t we have thrown out the hired hands in political office by now? 

Love your so-called enemy.

14 January 2015

Faithlessness In Politics

It is interesting to see religion’s role in politics.  Sometimes religion is used as a convenient tool.  Other times, religion is the medium of thought and decision. 

Recently I saw a politician’s invitation to answer questions come onto my FaceBook feed.  This particular politician wanted to discuss;: cowardice, Charlie Hebdo and radical Islamists.  What was also mentioned was “the war on terror.”  I found it as a grand opportunity to make some valuable points.

I asked if Yeshua Christ would drop bombs onto religious extremists or would He instead love them.  I wrote some other thought-provoking and soul-searching things.  The response from the politico and from his fans was interesting to put it mildly. 

He mentioned a Catholic doctrine that justifies war.  He also wrote that Hitler was not stopped by love but by a superior war effort.  That was it; no further discussion.

The fans responded with religious rhetoric.  Most shared their brand of religion and political view.  We all have a perception, as do I, so I tried my best to read where they were writing from.  I continued to stress “love your enemy” and “bless and do not curse” and “turn the other cheek,” asking where these became “bomb them if diplomacy fails” and “attack them before they attack us” in the context of the U.S. being a “Christian nation.”  The Inquisition was a departure from “love your enemy,” so the Catholic doctrine response falls flat for me.

Another thing I found interesting was that the politician’s sole response garnered ten times the “likes” my initial point made.  I know popular sentiment doesn’t equal truth or what is right, but it is always interesting to see popularity trump common sense. 

No one has been able to show Christ changing His mind, but justification and human logic continues.

13 January 2015

Be Fearless

Unfortunately, fear is very real.  I had a conversation this morning with a gentleman that wanted to know what system of belief I followed before delving into topics of politics and religion.  We have spoken several times before, but after the latest media fear-mongering, he is cautious.  During the conversation, I could tell he was worried if I was a Muslim.  I told him my particular upbringing and explained to Him that I was in fact a “Muslim.”  I further explained that the term ‘Muslim’ is derived from Islam, which literally means “in submission to God;” the manner in which Abraham was submissive to God when tested to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God.

I further explained that the unfortunate manner in which certain words are used and the context in which they are used easily divide otherwise like-minded people.  I told him I was Christian due to the faith that I have in the risen Christ.  I am Muslim because I submit my will and life to God like Abraham did.  I am Buddhist because I am conscience of people and nature all around me.  I am Jewish because I put my faith in the One and Only God Almighty; Creator of heaven and earth.  I am Hindu because I aim to see the variety of ways God works in life and how He teaches us in so many ways. 

Words made by men can be divisive.  Yeshua called His followers “disciples” which means students / followers.  But we have today Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, Mormons, etc.  God calls us to be His children, but today we have varieties of man-made religions. 

We are all, by blood ties, sons of Noah. 

Science has proven we all descend from a single line. 

We are one, just Like God.

12 January 2015

To Pic A Thief

I was a vigilante yesterday.  I was with my wife at a retail store and our task was taking pictures of the store’s layout and clothing labels.  As we wrapped up and said goodbye to the employees, I notice a guy sneaking out of the store with a handful of clothes beneath his oversized jacket.  The door alarm is triggered.  I immediately realize what is going on and I swiftly step outside after him.  As I am turning on my digital camera, I yell out “hey!”  He glances back before running full speed into the parking lot.  I had my sandals on ( as usual ) so I sort of glide into the parking lot after him, snapping pictures of him as he jumps into a waiting getaway car.

I am not too familiar with the parking lot.  I was there a year and a half ago looking at the same building prior to it becoming the retail store we visited today.  I can see in the distance there isn’t an exit onto the street.  I can tell the car is going to come back my way.  So I run in a different direction towards the only logical exit this thief and his accomplice could use.  I hear my wife yelling to me in the distance to be careful not to get run over.

I get a few good pictures of the car and a clear zoomed-in shot of the license plate.  My adrenaline is pumping.  They turn the corner and are gone.  I start to laugh at how silly the thief looked.

I show the pictures to the manager and describe the two suspects.  He mentions how he is trained to not get involved.  I then realize I could have been shot over some discount merchandise; food for thought.

09 January 2015

One For The Road

On my way to one of the local places I frequent to get work done, I come across a man standing on the sidewalk asking me for some change so he can buy a bottle of vodka.  The gentleman is much younger than I and doesn’t look like he’s been living on the street.  He’s speaking with another gentleman who later turns out to be a relative of his.  The solicitor says the alcohol helps him.  He was also attempting to gather enough money from his relative for his ‘medicine.’ 

After he finishes his initial pitch for money, I say I cannot contribute to his cause.  He responds saying that at least he was honest about it.  I said his honesty is more like denial in thinking more alcohol is a solution to whatever the real problem is.  He is already intoxicated and the noon hour has yet to arrive.

I find this occurrence to coincide with what my thoughts were on my walk this morning.  I was recollecting someone I knew who had battled with alcoholism for years.  For years they hid their issue from me and many others.  I remember speaking with them at times and it was like someone else was speaking through them.  Their mannerisms, their words and their actions continued to the extremes until the law caught up with their lawlessness.  Logic and understanding seems to fail the reasoning behind such self destruction. 

I’ve had my bouts with self destruction and almost triumphed in destroying every relationship around me and every good thing I had been blessed with.  I almost numbed my mind and heart to the point of excusing my negative thoughts.  I had brought about my troubles.  I had no one to blame but myself.  I chose to stop hurting myself and live.

08 January 2015

Amerikan Sniper

Every so often a gem of honesty can be gleamed from mainstream media.  I was watching an epic movie staged in second century Rome recently where this question is asked: what is Rome?  The response from another character in the movie was: Rome is an idea.  Can anyone argue with that?

I sometimes pose the same question in political discussion when people desire to defend Amerika and justify her continuous wars.  I ask; what is Amerika?  Usually there is never a response to the question.  When there is a response, it is usually personal and filled with propagated mantras and an invitation to move out of the country.

I also ask: what is an Amerikan?  Why is Amerika always seen as ‘good’ and moving forward while the rest of the world seen as ‘bad’ and moving backwards?  

I dare answer the question: programming.  History books narrate justifications defending government efforts.  Popular movies are produced to romanticize war and a ‘just cause.’  News media promote certain talking points while ignoring condemning facts.  Narrative promoters are deified while detractors criticized, but arguments rarely meaningfully answered.  

Much like the person born into a particular religious culture finds it difficult to look objectively past their programmed upbringing, so does the Amerikan patriot have a hard time making sense of their ‘Christian nation’ while Christ preaches “love your enemy.”  Their illogical duality isn’t questioned.  Instead, all actions are justified.  Religion becomes a drape to hide behind and faith is seen as words memorized.  

Dropping bombs in the name of a god while condemning those who don’t believe in your god is quite the mental stretch of believability.  Could you blame others for not embracing a god who says one thing but always does another?  As you can tell, religion is also used in the program. 

07 January 2015

Placebo For Freedom

To the Jews who had believed Him, Yeshua said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

- John 8: 31-32

The latter part of this passage “the truth will set you free” is used quite a lot in reference to ‘truths’ which bring about ‘freedom.’  I’ve seen it used in political discussions a lot.  I acknowledge there is a lot of ‘truth’ to be uncovered in politics, but let’s search for what exact ‘truth’ is being discussed in context here.  This particular message is not talking about politics but something which is later explained to the audience.

Taking the passage point by point, we read a specific message made to people who happened to have believed Yeshua.  Much like the phenomenon of the Placebo Effect, very miraculous and amazing things happen when belief / faith is applied.  This is very much the case when considering ‘who’ Yeshua is and believing His message(s).  

In context, Yeshua is speaking with a Jewish audience comprised of religious leaders who are questioning and doubting ‘who’ He says He is, besides ‘what’ He’s saying.  I’d like to point out the first point of the passage which speaks about faith.  

Have you noticed if someone doesn’t believe something, it is unlikely they will ‘see’ or realize anything past their doubt?

Yeshua declares to those who believed Him:

- if you hold to My teaching 

How does one hold onto a teaching?

- having held to the teaching, one would be His disciple 

Like an internship or simply a title / by association?

- one would then know ‘the truth’ 

What truth?

- that truth would set them free 

Free from what?

Seems to speak to experience producing an understanding.

06 January 2015

Beyond Your Enclave

I see quite a broad spectrum of people where I currently reside ( Long Beach, Kalifornia ).  On any given day I could see people from every corner of the world, or at least descendents of people from all corners of the world.  Culturally, they are all “Angelinos” or suburb-brats.  Politically speaking ( and to put people in a box ), most could be left-leaning, liberal and desire to be left alone to pursue what they do.  

On a recent journey out of town, my wife and I traveled through Las Vegas.  We stayed in nearby Henderson, Nevada and also nearby Boulder City, Arizona.  On the road to and from those areas, we encountered people from all over the country and the world.  We heard several languages being spoken when walking around the Las Vegas strip.  We, like practically everyone else there, were tourists; taking pictures of things and ourselves with things.  It wasn’t until we would return to Henderson and later in the week to Boulder City that we would encounter the locals and would realize the local cultural, ethnic, economic and political climate.  

Sometimes when staying too long in a general area, one may begin to forget that the rest of the world ( or the state for the matter ) is not like where you are from / currently live.  I would have the same realizations when traveling into northern California, especially the countryside.  I would run into California farmers which could have been mistaken for Midwestern farmers.  

Much how city folks may have an idea of what country folks must be like ( perhaps from the likes of movies such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre ), I’m sure country folks may also have an idea what city folks must be like ( Escape from New York ).