Life Was SO Much Simpler

Life was so much simpler – when we were less informed.

With the advent of social media and electronic delivery of news, we are instantly aware of things that would have taken hours, days or even months to filter down to us. Life (as we used to know it) moved at a slower and happier pace. Reaction times to news or events barely crawled along. We had to roll out the morning paper or listen to morning radio or TV to hear about national or world events. Things took time to soak in. Once things were known interactions between people happened face to face or voice to voice. Discussions were had around the water cooler or in the break room. We interacted with one another on a person to person level. We were a much more tolerable people because of that. Interactions with friends, co-workers or relatives included every other aspect of life, and not just about the most recent political scandal or salacious affair in Hollywood. We were rounded in our dialogue.

Today the war of words is hateful, spiteful and full of half-truth and innuendo. No longer do we spar or duke things out with multiple rounds to determine the clear winner. Both parties of any argument people now go for the jugular within seconds. We don’t talk things out with honest conversation or debate. We pass judgment immediately based on “clear” lines of distinction. Those differences are usually spelled out with two simple letters – D or R. If you are a D you are labeled immediately as a wacko left-wing commie radical with not an ounce of patriotism in your body. If you find yourself with an R next to your name you are branded as a right-wing extremist bible-thumping gun-toting intolerant hater who thinks refugees should be pushed off of the boat.

In the real world both sides have a handful of people that go to the extreme in their views (left or right). But for the most part our society has a mix of ideas and values that make us land somewhere  between those two dreaded letters. A distinct problem with social media (and instant messaging) is the fact that whoever is the quickest, sharpest and craftiest deliver a stinging message that’s portrayed as pure and honest fact.  The ones who get the most attention are those who yell a quick unverified half-truth, peppered with underlying deceit and deception.

Political correctness has gone amuck. If you dare say anything about race, religion, national origin, sexual preference, or anything that is a social hot point you risk your fortune in a matter of hours. It doesn’t matter if what you say is true or moral. It only matters that you have no right to inject your belief system, especially if it steps on toes of any special interest group. And those “special” groups garner less than 5% of our entire people group.

I consider myself a technical progressive. And that’s a feat for someone my age (early sixties). Many of my peers have only given up their flip phones after the carrier no longer supported their dated technology. I am all for the latest and greatest wireless remote applications that automate everything. I’m waiting for the day that an app can buy, season, cook, and hand feed my food to me (that day is coming!).

But how can we roll back the information age to a saner, kinder and gentler time?

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Democratic Bickering Resolution – 101

I avoid political things nowadays (on social media and other places).

But everything political, governmental or social issues are now IN OUR FACE  – and controversial to the core. Current topics and issues in our country are dividing and conquering us. We are becoming bitter enemies by things we believe or state (either out loud verbally or by posting to some form of social media). We are in one continuous slug fest with family, friends and co-workers.

Considering the technology that we enjoy in 2017, have you ever wondered why we’ve not really heard much about solving our governmental and voting differences by doing so using the available technology and being able to vote electronically?

What if we could solve all of the bickering within a matter of days or hours by simply casting an electronic ballot on issues? The electorate could truly have a voice, and a quick one at that. From referendums or new proposals for laws WE could make real decisions on issues facing our country. Our representative form of government needs serious tweaking.

This could be our answer!

Such a plan could be done at every level of governing. Local, state and national elections would all be done this way.  I know there would be naysayers of every persuasion that say this is unfair and that poor people would not be able to cast a vote or it would be a burden on them to do so. Correct me if I am wrong, but most of the panhandlers on the street corners and even people living under the bridge are quick to whip out their smartphones when they need to. In 2017 you are going to be hard pressed to find someone who does not have some form of current electronic technology, usually in their pocket or purse. We know that because of government programs that have given away such phones to people “in need”.

So I propose that every level of government devise a way for people to be able to vote on issues electronically. It would be quick and sure. If handled with all of the security and safety precautions it would be an honest and precise process. And voting totals could be confirmed after a simple keyboard request to tally the results.

Of course the key to the success of such a plan would be in on the front end – the vetting process. Before you could get a login and password to vote as a bona fide and registered voter, you’d have to prove several things.

  1. Prove that you are a citizen of our country (electronic copies of birth certificates) 2. Prove that you are still alive (easy through social security number verification). 3. Prove your residency for your voting precinct. Getting all parties to agree on what is required to prove you are eligible to vote will be the biggest fight you’ve ever seen. But once this is resolved and set in stone the real decisions of democracy could be determined quickly and accurately.

I truly believe this would be a fair and equitable way to make up or down decisions. And one of the BIG benefits of such a plan would make it easier for many people who claim to be disenfranchised for whatever reason would be able to be heard. And that could happen easily. But as with everything, the devil will be in the details.

Voter apathy in the United States has been a sad thing to watch.  But with the advent of the internet and things like social media people are now engaged in current affairs like never before. I say that if you take a guy (or girl) who has never voted before in their life and show them a current hot button revision of our law that they could make their voice be heard by a simple electronic vote that would take less than 5 minutes of time from the comfort of a recliner, I’d say we could increase greatly the number of participating citizens. And they could be involved in every decision at every level of government.

I know that such a plan could be easily done AFTER some very heavy lifting required to get us out of the current mode of operation that we languish in. But the results could be realized in short order and implemented without months and years of red tape and delay. If only we would consider making this change.

We really need to stop all of the bickering and fighting and name calling. We are better people that what we see in the news (fake or not) and on social media. The truth is we are not a very social society currently.

We need real and lasting change from our elected representative government types. We (the people) need to be the ones deciding things in this country and not a bunch of loose cannons that vote their own consciences on every conceivable thing – that WE face.

I welcome comments and suggestion about such a proposal.

Intentional Pursuit of the New Year

I’ve not had a chance to do any writing lately. The holidays are a hard time for me to be reflective or be creative with my thoughts. There’s just too many distractions!

Going into a new year I find myself somewhat bored. Following a heavy grind of work, parties, gifts and family gatherings during the holiday season it can leave you in a state of “I don’t know what to do now?” With us all, each new year should come a renewed sense of purpose and resolve in some or many areas. Each year I hear less and less about other people’s New Year’s resolutions. I think people are tired of stating their goals or changes only to find themselves a few days or weeks bemoaning how they’ve failed. But in reality is a good practice to have needed changes implanted in your mind that you may be wanting to accomplish? Perhaps it is to just live a healthier life by changing an eating habit? Or maybe it is simply the desire to be more intentionally active? Something as simple as a needed garage cleanout can be just the sort of thing that helps you get off of dead center and give you a renewed sense that you’ve done something worthwhile and different – for a change!

For me I have many a task before getting my landscape and exterior back in shape at my home. Having had a tornado devastate my property a little more than a year ago, I have a myriad of tasks to do in my yardscape. The cleanup process has been an ongoing thing for over a year. And that is still happening each time I step foot outside. I keep finding random roof shingles, nails, metal and just about everything else under the sun in my yard and beds. I keep telling myself – it just takes time.

There are certainly relationship issues that could use refining and updating. Just like physical work outside, there are times in relationships with co-workers, friends and relatives that require pruning, fertilizing and watering. Doing such things will make your life blossom in some of the same ways that your horticultural world also benefits. Perhaps you’ve reconnected with an old friend? Going to lunch with them (intentionally) will help you reconnect and strengthen each other’s lives. Perhaps your relationship with your spouse could use some tilling and growing. Even after many years of marriage I find myself realizing that my bride needs my attention just as much now as 43 years ago.

So for the new year I would encourage anyone listening to reflect on where you are and find areas of your life that can use some work. Set goals on what you’d like to change for this year. Make concrete plans for those changes and make a total resolve to make them happen. Don’t take no for the answer when you want to be lazy in accomplishing these goals. Be intentional in everything you do. Get up earlier than normal and get more accomplished than you even think you can. Make it a good year with positive desires and goals. Make someone happy about themselves. The end result will be that you will find that you were the one that’s benefitted more for your intentional plan for the year.

Now – I need to get up and moving.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The “New” Morality

 

It seems that almost every day now we are faced with some new moral dilemma.

Regardless of the issue, the foundations of traditional moral value can be heard creaking and cracking beneath our feet. Many of the truths we’ve always accepted as the basis for our society are being challenged like never before. More changes have taken place in the moral arena in the past decade, than in the two hundred years before. The values that have been the support strings in the fabric of our country are now being condemned and disposed of like smelly trash.

The methods of presenting these “new ideas” on us is done now with the straight and bold  “in your face” and “shove it down your throat” style. The new villains are those if us who cry foul . Whatever new change being railroaded on our society is done so with no remorse or regret. Changes are proposed and changed many times with no regard for finding the majority opinion about the subject. For the 99 percent of us who do cry out (publicly or privately), we are quickly labeled and dismissed as fear mongering hateful right wing extremists.

The NEW morality is in actuality NO morality at all. The definition is amoral – meaning having neither right or wrong values but landing somewhere in the misty haze of nothingness. It is comparable to noxious fumes that have little or no odor. But nonetheless any deadly gas will put you in an early grave.

With each new day we hear the flush handle jangled as our Judeo-Christian way of life swirls round and round the toilet bowl of the America we once knew as it washes down the drain. To say our country is sliding into an abyss is such a great and powerful understatement. Whether we like it, or admit it, our very way of life is being torn from side to side and top to bottom.

Complete censorship is on our doorstep. We face a future where our every word will be subject to the cry of the microscopic vocal minority. We soon will live in a world where we cannot have or express an opinion about any person, place or thing unless that point of view is dripping in acceptance and inclusiveness. As a free people we designed our society to have the ability and liberty to think the way we want yet without trampling on those same rights of everyone else. We can and should have the right to differing views and be able to express those views without fear of reprisal and condemnation. Rather than having majority rule, we are being plunged into a time where each and every special interest group self proclaims that they are in control and will take the reins of power if left unchecked. And the land that we will live in will be wide open, wild and grisly.

History has shown clearly that governments ruled by dictators, tyrants and self promoting fools does not work. A democratic world view is very different in every respect than a socialistic kingship ruling class. The governing ways of the latter repress free thought and seek to force on the masses a viewpoint held by such a small percentages of the populace.

The above mentioned plan has been perpetrated before. It does not work. And the saddest part of this story is that sane and civil people seem to be sitting idly by while our society crumbles before our eyes. The oldest group of our ranks know what is right and what is wrong. They can articulate those values and show the flaws. But that generation of people is already being shut down and silenced. Their views are not valued or respected.

The under 30 crowd really don’t know who to believe. They seem to be swayed by every new populist idea that comes along. They’ve been told lie after lie so many times that believe and embrace them. In reality, they don’t have experience enough or the wisdom to separate truth from fiction. One day they will wake up and realize that the things they expected from life will not even remotely resemble what they had in mind for the new world.

God help us!

James – Faith that Works Even in my Pain

Pain. We all experience it.
 
I’ve been following a book study about life’s trials. As I glean new things from this study I am reminded of things that I’ve learned in the past from personal experience about pain. New and unlearned things are objective and not yet understood fully until experienced. Learned things are events or seasons in life when we’ve experienced personally the truths that this study reveals.  

Here’s a question for you. Do you believe that God has a purpose for pain or trials that we experience in this life?

In the New Testament the book of James it tells us in chapter 1 that God wants us to bear up under trials. Trials in our lives come in many forms. Family, work, marriage, and financial issues, just to name a few all seem to find their way to our doorsteps. There are normal human responses to the various pains or pressures we are dealt. Faced with serious challenges, one of our first responses is to run or escape. Seems to be the best thing we can think of. Just run.

Secondly we often just moan and complain about our plight. For those of us who believe in the creator God, we usually file a complaint directed him. We ask him why he’s letting this event or situation happen?

A third common response to trial is to blame someone else or some other circumstance for our trial. We just can’t accept that we are stuck smack dab in the middle of trouble, when the trouble may have been brought on by our own wrong decisions. Deferring or projecting our pain onto someone else seems to ease our pain, but it then creates a bitterness in us that is projected to others.     

Humanly speaking we have these normal responses. But in the spiritual realm we can choose a supernatural response, as the book of James tells us to employ.  The passage from James tells us that the testing of our faith produces steadfastness. Steadfastness is a big word for a number of things. The result of taking God’s route is that difficulty in our lives can “do its full work”. That means if we hang on, God will use the problem for our good. It seems to go against our nature. But following the advice from James will produce good is us.

 Benefits of staying the course include learning loyalty, faithfulness, commitment and dedication to completing tasks. Staying the course makes us stable and complete. I don’t know about you, but many times I don’t feel stable and far removed from being complete! The end result, James says, is that we can perfect, complete and lacking in nothing. That’s what it says! Read it.

Now for something from my own life.

I’ve had two separate and distinct seasons when I was in severe pain. Not physical pain, but emotional distress and tons of accompanying worry, fear and doubt.  These periods persisted for extended periods of time. The first was not of my own choosing and seemed to take on a life of its own that took me through very dark days. Regardless of how I tried to change or escape it, the problems just kept going and going. It seemed that my life would be changed forever and the pain would never stop. 

My second season of trial and pain was of my own doing. I just plainly took a wrong path. I wiggled, squirmed and tried everything I could to remove myself from the situation. But it seemed the more I tried to escape, again it only got worse. This trial lasted for an extended period of time too. My own devices and plans to change and escape did not work. God had to pry my fingers from this trial so that I could finally rest in his provision and grace.

Peace can be found in obedience. God gave us a book of instructions. But many times we just don’t take the time to find the answers already provided for us. We can have more fulfilling and complete lives when we turn to the book of the ages for help in times of need.

Life is hard, but God is good. He has a perfect plan for us, if we will only allow him to work. We must learn to remove our hands from the wheel and let our God drive and direct us. Seems only fitting that the God who created us, could be able and willing to lead us to a life of fulfillment and joy. Living like this is another example of Living Life to the Full.    

Charting Unknown Waters

OK. I just started my journey into the unknown. The uncharted waters of life in my sixties began yesterday. I guess I must have thought that yesterday I would have somehow “felt older” or that my memory would suddenly disappear into the abyss or something else drastic might happen. Well I’m still here today and alive and relatively well (for my age!).

I’m really enjoying life these days. In some ways I’m coasting down life’s highway. But in other regards I am still squeezing out from my resources of memory and experience to eek out a survival in the corporate world. Most days it is still an adventure for me. And other days it seems to have the word “drudgery” attached. But all in all, I’m still having the time of my life and getting the job done in the best way that I can.

I treat my own job and duties with the same sense of drive and determination as if it were my own personal business to care for. And it really is. Perhaps it’s just me, or my generation, or my upbringing. I am hoping it is not just a generational thing that will someday be gone forever. Having this type of mindset should really be the norm and not the exception. Some day I really do hope that someone else will pick up my mantle and carry forward with the same sense of pride and care that I’ve come to enjoy and expect from myself. My faith has played a crucial role. 

Sometimes we sell short the generations behind us as being uncaring or lazy. As with any generation I’m sure there is some of that at play. But I see a bright future in the midst of some shaky and dark things in this world when I see innovators and those that are “up and coming”. Our followers will certainly face new and different challenges in every aspect of life. But I look forward to seeing if what my generation modeled will be repeated or built upon, in new and exciting ways of innovation.

As I begin the fall of my life, my calendar and some days my body still screams that it really spring time. Away with the dead of winter. With anticipation we watch the explosion of newness in everything around us as the plants wake up and start singing. And with the new chorus comes color and beauty and tons more oxygen to fill our lungs again. The whole process is refreshing. Seasonal change is one of the wonders of life (and death). It’s a stark reminder that out of death can spring forth new life.

So even though my driver license now says I’m older, I refuse to fall prey to the dullness and negativity of getting old. I choose to be happy and fulfilled and complete. And out of my own “deadness” I look for new and green and colorful life as I travel toward the winter of my days.  

Trying to Understand the Liberal View

I’m trying to understand!
My upbringing in Dallas, Texas was smack dab in the middle of the so-called bible belt of the United States. The Bible belt was and is a microcosm with a diverse mix of cultural values that have been embraced for a number of generations in the south.
My wonderful parents instilled in me a basic understanding of right and wrong. Also instilled in me was a basic respect for authority at every level. I knew instinctively that I would always be subservient to someone, and many times that would be applied to my relationship with an employer or other authority over me that controlled some part of my life. I would be lying if I didn’t say some of the required submission to authority didn’t stick well in my craw and I mumbled about it every chance I could, at times. But the facts remain that I was and still am subject to the authority of greater powers than myself.

 

I think about a lot of different issues just in the course of any day. During our most recent election cycle I was deep in the mire of keeping abreast of every event or newsworthy tidbit related to the election. I listened to a lot of facts about both sides and sifted through the facts and disseminated fact from fiction the best I could, and as carefully as I could.

Although the candidate on the “right” side of the debate was not my first choice, I resigned myself to the realization that he was the better choice of the candidates we were given to vote for. My guy was not as conservative as I would have liked him to be, but he had faith and family values and virtues that I admire and embrace in my own life. But the rest is now history and we know the outcome didn’t appease the conservative voting block of the nation, of which I count myself a part of.

As I’ve surveyed what’s happened in the past few years I’ve learned some invaluable lessons that I didn’t think I would ever be faced to learn. Like the fact that our society has changed. And in my own opinion these changes have happened in rapid succession in recent history, perhaps over the past 10 years. Having lived through the many changes of the 1960’s and the social revolution that took place then, I compare what’s happened in the past several years to the 60’s in some ways, yet in a deeper more drastic and dramatic way.

Until the past decade I didn’t really think of myself as a true conservative, until I realized what a large difference there is in my own values contrasted to the “new” way of thinking about everything. And, dang it, I find myself really as far right as you might be able to swing. This thinking is really deep seated and very dogmatic.

I’ve tried to think about and embrace, in some way, the thinking of those who have turned the apple cart up on its side to include morality, trustworthiness, and the overall view of fiscal matters at every level. I know that in every generation some of the accepted practices and beliefs are altered, toned down or even flat ignored and changed. Some of this is a generational cycle that bucks the norm, but at some point that pendulum swings back in the other direction, at least to some degree.

But from what I’ve observed (and this is open to debate) I think our society has been and continues to make significant changes to what I call the “liberal way”. What troubles me greatly is the fact that there no longer appears to be middle ground. No serious debate occurs between both sides with any negotiable outcome, left or right. It seems that when the majority view (or voting block) leans to the left, there is a complete and utter ignoring of any alternative view or proposition toward the right. In previous generations this was called “stonewalling”. But stonewalling happened so as to prove a point, so that middle ground could be achieved.

The atmosphere of our current age (liberalism) is that “they” will change things to “their” way of thinking and will not compromise or take any part in the “right’s” positions or view. They will not even consider them, whatsoever. If this is really true, we have a serious problem in our society that is not easily remedied. From the view of the right, it appears that we are on a collision course and even though every red flag, bell, whistle or other warning signal is being used, the course of our destinies will not be changed. It is utterly and ignorance of truth.

That is what I see. I would hope that this is only my view of things, but I’m afraid that we are perilously close to a full collapse in our society on every level. Unless the powers in control do not come to some place of discussion and serious debate and concession we will be forced to take a road that will not be a fun or smooth ride. Considering the great and many strides we’ve made as a people in every form of our society might be greatly diminished or destroyed. What Americans love and expect could be gone.

Think through and decide you own convictions. Give future generations a chance to carry on our precious liberties. Speak the truth to those you know and car about. Stand up and be counted. Vote in every election and vote for people who share your values and convictions. Don’t waiver and give up. Stand strong and be counted.