Long before I became familiar with the academic debates concerning calling God “Mother,” debates that I am now currently a part of as a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, I was being raised in a household where I instinctively understood that the divine presence was manifest in the loving hands and arms of mothers, and most especially in the life of my grandmother who raised me. My grandmother’s kitchen was a theological laboratory where she taught me how to love people just as naturally as she taught me to make peach cobbler and buttermilk biscuits. I watched and listened as she ministered to the sick and the lost, with a Bible in one hand and a freshly baked pound cake in the other, despite having no official ministry role.
I knew that if God was real, if God truly loved me as a parent loves a child, then God was also “Mother” and not only “Father.” Only years of dogma and doctrine force you to unlearn what you know to be true in your own heart, demanding “Father” as the only acceptable appellation and concept for God.
Source: Why God Is a ‘Mother,’ Too | TIME.com.
God is love. There is no doubt about it for me that is the primary definition. Although I myself lacked a loving earthly mother I see that love manifested all around me.
Happy Mother’s day….
I have chosen the crabapple tree in the front yard as my inspiration theme for this Sunday. I just love watching things come back to life after a dormant cold season. The horses across the street are wintered someplace else. This was the first week they were back.
For all men being originally equals, no one by birth could have a right to set up his own family in perpetual preferences to all others forever, and though himself might deserve some decent degree of honors of his contemporaries, yet his descendants might be far too unworthy to inherit them. - Tom Paine in Common Sense, 1776
I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. — Thomas Jefferson
But, you know, we have these entrenched entities – and I’m talking about both Republicans and Democrats – who believe that when you’re elected to office, you become some kind of member of the aristocracy, and that anyone who challenges you is attacking you and is unpatriotic. This is foolishness. — Benjamin Carson
We are the only real aristocracy in the world: the aristocracy of money. — George Bernard Shaw
I thought I would bring up some quotes about aristocracy as the inspiration for this Sunday. Some would deny an American aristocracy but obviously these quotes would not share that belief and neither do I. But they do account for a full range of privileged classes all the way from kings to the monied classes of aristocracy. Being blue collar in my roots I am just no fan of inherited or monied class.
When many of these words were spoken there was a rather stringent inheritance tax in place. In some cases it was as much as 80%. This meant each generation had to find its own way in the world and could not depend of their families to provide wealth for them. Of course now that the 1% hold so much power in this country they are trying to hold on to all they can. so now they try to re-label the inheritance tax into the death tax and even have some outside their monied group parroting that phrase for them. The old saying about power corrupting can also be said for inherited wealth; it absolutely corrupts.
We’ve lost something as a nation when we can no longer look at one another as people, as Americans, and — for people of faith — as brothers and sisters. Differing opinions have become worst enemies and political parties have devolved into nothing more than petty games of blame….
It is not about Right and Left — or merely about partisan politics — but rather about the quality of our life together. It’s about moving beyond the political ideologies that have both polarized and paralyzed us, by regaining a moral compass for both our public and personal lives — and reclaiming an ancient, yet urgent and timely idea: the common good.
Source: On God’s Side: For the Common Good – Jim Wallis | God’s Politics Blog | Sojourners.
I always look forward to the weekly emails from Jim Wallis about our times. The words above from his March 29 emailing which I believe strike at the heart of our current problems. They seem to be the core cause and solution to our problems today. We are no longer able to view those who differ in their political views as Americans like us. Our politics has devolved into nothing but a petty game of blame. I don’t know exactly how this happened but I kind of have an idea of some of its causes.
Rush Limbaugh came on the national political scene in 1988. His rhetoric shocked many of us as blatant bigotry and hatefulness. He is plain a simply a school yard bully on the national scene. But it seems bigotry and hatred sells as his most recent contract was for $400 million for an eight year period. That money has spurned hundreds of look-alikes over the years. I simply can’t understand how Mr. Limbaugh became a major spokesman for the GOP. I can’t understand how so many who call themselves conservatives are so fearful of denouncing his rhetoric? He has been married four times; seems to have no family values, and shows a putrid disrespect for almost everyone. Is that really the face that conservatives want to be identified with? I think not but they seem still listen to him in great numbers and “ditto” almost anything that spews out of his vulgar mouth.
Fox New came on the national scene in 1996. It is very obvious that Rupert Murdoch who owns this media is very much in the same mindset as Mr. Limbaugh. MSNBC came into existence in 1996, some say as a response to Fox News but in a much smaller framework. These three things I think are the major contributors to the reason we can no longer look at one another as fellow Americans but instead now as the enemy. I like to call these contributors the “Limburger Affect”. It put a putrid stink on all our political processes!
I pray that something can happen to allow us to get back to looking at the quality of life in both our personal and public lives. If only we can get back and “reclaim an ancient, yet urgent and timely idea: the common good.
I have ever deemed it fundamental for the United States never to take active part in the quarrels of Europe. Their political interests are entirely distinct from ours. Their mutual jealousies, their balance of power, their complicated alliances, their forms and principles of government, are all foreign toys. They are nations of eternal war. — Thomas Jefferson –Letter, 11 June 1823 to President James Monroe
Even though the words of above were penned over two hundred years ago I believe they are just as valid today as they were then. The only difference is maybe I would now add the Middle and Far East to the list. One of the major things that has gotten us into so much trouble and cost us so many or our children’s lives is our getting into the quarrels of other nations. We just can’t seem to mind our own business. We have replaced the nations of Europe with our mutual jealousies, our balance of power, our complicated alliances such that our original reason for founding this country have been lost to us. We seem to now be a nation of eternal war…..
You must be the change you wish to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi
For here we are not afraid to follow the truth wherever it may lead… Thomas Jefferson
Remember, we learn nothing by speaking. St. Francis of Asissi
I thought I would pull up three inspirational quotes from some of my heroes for this inspiration Sunday.
Gandhi was a man of simplicity. He lived his life with very few luxuries. But his words were full of riches. We can’t just complain about something in life. Doing only that is a worthless task. Instead of complaining work to find a solution.
Thomas Jefferson left a huge legacy of writing for us to learn from. He spent his life as a seeker of truth. He questioned everything. Like me, that got him in trouble with some.
I bring out a quote from St. Francis of Asissi in honor of the new pope. Even though I am no longer a Catholic I wish him the best of successes.
Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours. -Swedish proverb
I don’t know many Swedes I guess so I don’t know if any of them actually live by this proverb. I briefly had a Norwegian roommate in college and he definitely liked to party with his friends. I can’t imagine another proverb that has so many lessons of life in it. I wonder where it came from.
Of course all of us Christians know about the Book of Proverbs in the Bible. There is a lot of wisdom in those words, or at least in some of them. But some are downright scary. What is a proverb? Here is what Wikipedia says about that:
A proverb (from Latin: proverbium) is a simple and concrete saying popularly known and repeated, which expresses a truth, based on common sense or the practical experience of humanity. They are often metaphorical. A proverb that describes a basic rule of conduct may also be known as a maxim. Proverbs are often borrowed from similar languages and cultures, and sometimes come down to the present through more than one language.
I guess I will have to do some studying on American proverbs. About the only one that comes to mind right now is “A bird in had is worth two in the bush”. But as far as proverbs go I think I like the Swedish one better. Fear, gluttony, whining, complaining, hating seem so endemic in our society today that maybe we should hijack the proverb above and try to put it in action.
I wish I knew who originally penned these words. They are inspiring indeed.
My inspiration for this post comes from various quotes but has the same theme. It is easy to sit back and complain about this or that. We all do it and I am certainly no exception. But just complaining about something seldom has the effect of actually resolving what you complain against.
Here are some words from those much more famous than I am regarding this topic:
I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts. ~John Locke
Well done is better than well said. ~Benjamin Franklin
The punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of worse men. -Plato
To give up the task of reforming society is to give up one’s responsibility as a free man. -Alan Paton
When you are right, you cannot be too radical; When you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. -Martin Luther King, Jr.
The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality. -Dante Alighieri
Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility. -Sigmund Freud
Anyone who has watched movies, and that surely is almost all of us, know that when certain scenes come up there is always very dramatic music in the background. One of the strange things about me being deaf for more than 25 years now it that my brain just doesn’t remember what music sounds like. Even though I don’t remember the sounds the fact that it was dramatic music still remains. When the soldiers landed on Normandy the dramatic music boomed. Whenever there was a seemingly life changing event on the silver screen there was always dramatic music in the background.
It’s funny how life just doesn’t align with movies. One of the most dramatic times in my life was when I went deaf. There was just no music playing for that event. As a matter of fact the only sounds I heard with the ringing from my still present tinnitus. When family members have died no dramatic music. But I do remember some pretty good organ music on my wedding day. Let’s face it life in the movies is just not the same as life in general. We just don’t have music to emphasize to us that a dramatic moment has occurred in our lives.
But one thing I have learned in my old age is that life is what happens when you are planning for something else. I am a planner; that is just my nature. So, I spend quite a bit if time planning our annual vacations and such. But I have come to realize that I plan for maybe 10% of my life while letting the other 90% sort of just happen. We have to realize that life happens to us 24/7 and not just those time we dream about or plan for. Spending time on the toilet everyday is not something we dream about but it is just as much a part of life as any other event. Don’t disregard the simple things in life, they, whether we like it our not, are where we spend the majority of our time.
I want to close this post with a quote from a great theologian and author C.S. Lewis from the 20th century:
“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.
WHY?? I ask that a lot, especially when it comes to how we choose to live our lives.
I simply can’t understand how we Americans are so fixated on flexing our muscle throughout the world when we have so many thing that need repair in our own country. It is almost as if we are willing to sacrifice our own well being in order to exercise our power. We must realize that the world didn’t assign us to be policemen of the world, that was a choice we made, often times much to our own detriment.
Since I hold on to Quaker roots I understand that I am more averse to aggression than many in my homeland. I understand that much of our culture is based upon violence and domination. I understand that this type of a world view dictates an overwhelming military superiority. I understand these things but I just don’t accept them as the way they have to be.
We claim to be a nation based on Christian principles. When I read the Bible Jesus tells me very clearly that means we are to love God and love our fellow man. These are the two foundational laws of that religion. God did not put nation barriers on that list. Our fellow man is a worldwide concept; maybe even beyond our little globe? The dichotomy of being an aggressor vs a Christian is troubling to me.
If only we could take some advice from one of my heroes Will Rogers and tend to our own business instead of poking our guns and military might in the rest of the world we might just be able to fix some of our own problems. Why do we need to continually make enemies of the rest of the world in order to give ourselves some sense of security? When will we understand that often times flexing our muscles in the world is a cause not a cure for our insecurity?
If we must be fixated why can’t we fixate on curing our own ills. We let many of our citizens go through life without sufficient healthcare because we have not figured out how to dispense it efficiently. We have more of our citizens under lock and key than any country in the world. Why can’t we figure out the root causes of that? In order to maintain overwhelming military superiority we let our education system fall behind much of the world. Why do we allow guns to destroy much of our society? Thousands die every years due to suicides with guns. Thousands die because of random violence with guns. Thousands die due to gun accidents. It just makes no sense to me that we continue to ignore simple solutions to this problem.
Why are we so fixated on solving the world’s problems when we have so many of our own to look after?
But I’m just a simple guy so what do I know…..
A DECALOGUE of canons for observation in practical life:
1. Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day.
2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
3. Never spend your money before you have it
4. Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap: it will be dear to you.
5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.
6. We never repent of having eaten too little.
7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
8. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.
9. Take things always by their smooth handle.
10. When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.
When we think of lists and country founders Ben Franklin most often comes to mind. So when I came across this list from Thomas Jefferson it got my attention.
Source Blog: Twenty-something « Cristian Mihai.
I believe that young, inexperienced writers set out to write the words they think the world desires to read. The words the world needs. When they gain a bit of experience, they set out to write the words they desire to read. And that’s a pretty big difference.
I’m not sure this applies to me now, but when I was younger, I wanted to use all my ideas and characters and put them into a single story. I thought that’s how masterpieces are made.
With experience you realize how precious ideas are. You store them. You also realize that in order to write a story you need just one idea.
Some write as if the world is going to end tomorrow, and some as if the world is never going to end.
I enjoy reading blogs of those who are looking at the front end of life instead of the back end. Many of my regular blog views are about those in retirement. Of course that is natural for me since that is where I am. But it is enticing and reflective to see how a twenty-two year old views life on his blog. I must say that for the most part he is more optimistic about the future than I am. No big surprise there; that has been going on for probably centuries.
I have Christian Mihai’s blog on the right side of mine. I know I might get more hits if my blogroll were much larger. I do read at least a dozen blog postings a day. But for whatever reasons I choose to only put those blogs that inspire me in one fashion or another. Christian is one of those types of blog. I am fascinated that some of his posts are filled with too much wisdom for someone so young. The above is one of those posts.
I admit that I don’t know very much about Romania where he lives and I don’t know much about his life. Maybe that is one of the reasons a twenty-two year old can inspire me. Don’t get me wrong here, many of his posts are typical of someone that age. That should not be surprising as twenty-two years olds are really pretty typical across the world. They all struggle in one sense or another with becoming adults. They are all naive in their own ways. It is obvious that Christian wants to become a famous writer some day and I will not be surprised when he actually accomplishes that goal.
Closing out this post as it began, I enjoy reading words from those who are at the opposite end of life’s spectrum than I am. It keeps me young at least in a minimal sense. I can relate to so much this young man is going through in his life. I too was somewhat a moody young person dreaming about the future. I could give Christian some words of advice but somehow I kind of think he needs to discover things on his own…..
Unemployment Rate by Education Level
In 1992, the BLS began tracking unemployment rates by education level. Highlighted below are the unemployment rates for the following four groups…. All groups consist of individuals 25 years old or higher.
|Education Level Achieved
|High School Grad
or Associate Degree
It is no secret that the lower the education level the higher the unemployment rate. We are told that employers are out looking for people to fill their jobs and there are just not enough qualified applicants. When I grew up in the 1950s and 60s a young man could graduate from high school and if he had the connections could get a job in one of the auto factories in the area. It was a good paying middle class job. But then came robotics and foreign competition.
I’m not saying that robotic or competition are a bad thing. In fact I think it is just a normal progression through the industrial age. A hundred and fifty years ago a young boy with no education could plan on making some pretty good money by signing on to a moving cattle from Texas to Kansas City. Those jobs like the factory jobs of my generation naturally disappeared with the advent of the railroad. It is just a matter of progress that the good paying jobs of one generation are not the good paying ones of the next.
The fact that to get a good middle class job in today’s world takes something beyond a high school education is just to be expected. But, a basic problem is that our education system just hasn’t kept up with the demand for more intelligent workers as evidenced by the above numbers. This fact really shouldn’t surprise anyone. Our kids generally are just not getting the education needed for today’s jobs.
So, how do we as a country change the culture of our education system to meet the demands of the 21st century? I have never been involved in this field other than as a student but I have been exposed to some of its participants. From the teachers I have met personally it seems that the majority of them are pretty naive in the ways of today’s businesses. For the most part they are arts majors fresh out of college. Most spend their entire careers inside the educational system. If we hope to continue to compete for the middle class jobs of the world we will need to entice those who have a working knowledge of the jobs available today and a big part of that is math, science and especially computer savvy teachers. We need teacher at the high school level who have experiences outside the educational system. I don’t think that is happening to any degree right now. At least not in my local school district.
I know many teachers read this blog and I am not trying to put you down in any way. From your comments I know how difficult a job it is to be a teacher in today’s world. I know that a big part of the problem is in the home of the students. But we must face facts that our kids are generally not equipped for the middle class jobs of today.
The abundant life does not come to those who have had a lot of obstacles removed from their path by others. It develops from within and is rooted in strong mental and moral fiber. – William Mather Lewis
All of us want to have an abundant life. That is we want our life to be full and meaningful. We want to make at least a slight difference because we were here. I believe that the quote above is at the root of making that possible. Although I am not a parent I’m sure that all parents out there want their children to have an abundant life. But as the quote insinuates it does not come from having all the obstacles removed from our paths.
Obstacles and corresponding adversity is what builds character. When you are given life with the proverbial “silver spoon” you develop a very shallow sense of reality. Many of the upper echelons of our society like to chant about the “entitlements” that our country provides to those on the other end of the economic scale. They claim that giving someone something they haven’t earned just drives them to expect more. There is certainly some validity in that argument but what they seem blind to is that many of the elite are doing the same thing with their children. When they remove all the obstacles from their children’s path they are leading them into an “entitlement” mentality. We can look back at history to see how this played out in the royal families of Europe. History shows us that many of the “entitled” kings had lost all sense of reality of how their subjects lived.
Most of the great people in society grew up with adversity and obstacles in their paths. It is what made them strong. We should not deny our children or future generations by removing all their obstacles in life.
I got to thinking the other day that I spend quite a bit of time blogging. I presently maintain two very active blogs (this one and another related to being a follower of Jesus). In the past I have run six blogs at the same time. Am I crazy or something? When I got right down to it I realize that blogging is now my creative outlet.
My body continues to degrade as the months go by. While I am still a pretty active guy I find I have more and more pains and conditions as time passes. When I was in the corporate world I designed and implemented software tools for an engineering division. When I retired from that I opened a cabinet shop and designed and built dozens of different hutches and such. Those were my creative activities. Now that I am retired and with a dwindling body I chose something a little less physical. Even though I am now old my brain continues to travel at a mile a minute. I have spent my life asking “why” and I expect that will be the last word out of my mouth.
As I have mentioned I have always loved writing; it has always come easily for me. I think that if I had had an impassioned guidance counselor in high school I would have likely chosen a literary field of endeavor instead of the technical one. I wonder what my life would have looked like if I had chosen that path? I read books at an early age and reading has been a lifelong activity for me.
When I went deaf twenty-five years ago much of my daily person to person interactions ceased. Daily chit-chat became nearly impossible. I could not get into discussions about the topics of the day with others. Blogging allows me to do that again. It has become my virtual “ears”. Where others can call a friend and talk whatever is on their mind I do that now via blogs. I am an impassioned altruist now and blogging also allows me to reach out to others with that message. I hope I get through to a least a few with my messages.
At its foundation writing for me is my creative outlet. It allows me to express myself in way that I can’t or maybe wouldn’t do otherwise. I guess I am still a pretty creative person as I do blog a lot! Thanks to everyone who occasionally listens…..
I want to add one further thought about fear while it is fresh on my mind. There is another basic emotion that outweighs fear as being more destructive to any person or society and that is hate. What little hate I have been exposed to in my life truly scares me. It is a dark side of life that I don’t ever want to get to know on anything but a superficial level.
Every once in a while I will glance through my spam queue on this blog to get a feeling of what the trollers are ranting about. Ninety percent of the time what they seem to say is based on fear or hatred at one level or another. It seems that hatred is endemic in their lives. I’m sure they expect me to hate them back for their mostly spiteful words they call me but in reality I try my best to do just the opposite. I pray that they find some peace in their lives and that their hatred does not consume them as it seems to do to so many.
It troubles me that so many people in this world seem consumed by fear, anger, and hatred. I believe that all three of these emotions are critically linked. Much of the feelings that probably start out as fear develop into anger and then finally caustically end up in hatred. I don’t believe that hatred is something that any of us are born with. Love and hate are choices that we make in our lives. Most chose some level of love but unfortunately some poor souls go the hate path instead.
It seems impossible to even begin to have a dialog with those who are driven by almost any level of hate. I just don’t want to be exposed to even the superficial level that I find in some anonymous comments. If I thought there was even an iota of a change to ameliorate some of the hatred I sometimes see in that queue I might be tempted to begin a dialog with some of them but from past experiences I have found any attempt futile. That is why they automatically end up on the spam queue.
Fear and especially hate are such destructive emotions it is down right scary to be exposed to it. It is truly the dark side of life! I’m sure this post will bring out a few of those who are filled with hate. All I will say to you is that I love the person who is underneath that veil of hatred if only you would let him out once in a while you would see the world is not as dark or scary or evil as you are convinced it is.
These last four posts have been emotionally draining for me so I am going to try to stay on the light side for a few days. God bless all my readers, even those who are currently filled with fear, anger, and hatred…..
I want to pencil in my first thoughts of the State of the Union address last night before I start reading what the pundits say.
- Overall it was a good address - He covered much of what I deem important to our country. I wish he had mentioned something about work to rein in healthcare costs. Single payer system like much of the rest of the world has is the most efficient. But since that is not yet possible here I wished he had targeted something to control our current system.
- Education for the 21st Century - I liked what I heard but he could have been more forceful in his words. We definitely need almost a paradigm shift in how we educate our kids. As he said we need to do a better job of preparing them for today’s advanced technology middle class jobs. I was struck by the fact that Germany and other countries high school degrees are the equivalent of our tech school degrees. We definitely need to catch up in that area. Every kid need to be able to go to college if they want to put in the work to be there.
- Putting us back on top with Technology R&D - This is probably the most important thing he can do for our economy. In the past much of technology R&D was done at the university level through government funding. We have let the EU take the lead in many current areas because we have cut public spending in R&D.
- Immigration - He didn’t push the envelope in this area because it appears that the Republicans are finally willing to do something about this. Make a little progress now and the push for more later.
- Gun Regulations – I admired his gutsy stands here especially since the GOP seems to be totally entrenched in doing absolutely nothing in this area. It was gut wrenching to see all the families of victims in the galleries with pictures of their loved ones lost to gun violence. I don’t know how anyone Democrat or Republican could not have been emotionally moved by that site! It saddened me to see most of the Republicans sitting on their hands while the gun violence victims were standing above them! Are they really that afraid of the NRA?
- Infrastructure – This seems to be a common thing for Democrat Presidents and a common resistance for a GOP congress. It is a well know fact that our infrastructure is crumbling. I really don’t understand what the Republicans solution in this area is; like many things they just seem to be against so many things but with no solutions of their own. I do wish that some president would bring the equivalent of the REMC to the rural areas of this country for Internet access. Many of us are still restricted to very very slow Internet connections and limited cellular capacity. Until high-speed Internet is available to all there will be an ingrained inequality in the country.
I also watched Senator Rubio’s counter-speech and here is what came across to me.
- He seems like the typical Republican of the day. I was expecting more from him. He seems to be a man of reason but that didn’t show up in his speech. Some of the things he said against President Obama personally were cheap shot to me. He didn’t need to go down to that level.
- The same old line – I am getting tired of the Republican line that if we dared to increase the minimum wage then millions would lose their jobs. That line has been proven wrong again and again over my lifetime. It is about time they retired that tactic to the trash heap of time.
- Invoking Fear – The main thing that hit me about the overall speech is that it was all about invoking fear in all of us about how the country will go down in ashes if the Democrats get their way. That seems to be a very common theme throughout the GOP. It was downright shameful to me to hear him say if we let them (Democrats) have what they want then our raises, benefits and even our jobs are in imminent danger. I wish Mr. Rubio had answered the question that since corporate taxes have been at all time lows and profits are at all time highs in the last decade or more and while CEO pays has gone through the roof why have the average guys wages actually decreased over that time?
Sorry for the length of the post but this is a weighty topic for us. That’s it for me. Now I will go on to see what the “experts” say….
This is my last post about fear at least for a little while. It has run its course in my mind. I want to finish up here with some personal thoughts about fear and the consequences of fear. I will then close out with a fear that I just can’t seem to understand.
I must say that I am generally not a fearful person. That is I don’t rise each day being in fear for what it will bring. I don’t anticipate the bad things that could happen to me each day. Don’t get me wrong, I know fear has its proper place in each of us. We must be aware of dangers around us. Soon I will be getting in my car and heading out for one of me weekly volunteer times at a local soup kitchen and homeless shelter. When I get in the car I will not be going 100 mph down the State road between here and there. Two kinds of fear will prevent that from happening. One is that I would likely get into an accident and the other is that I would probably get a reckless driving ticket.
I know I have to be aware that many in the shelter where I am going are felons and some are probably mentally unbalanced to one degree or another but that does not mean that I must avoid them or carry a gun to protect myself from them. I have learned over the last nine years that these guys are pretty much like all of us except maybe they made a mistake that landed them in prison or caused them to falter under a drug addiction. Many have tattoos that would intimidate some. Yes, I must be aware of possible danger but it will not prevent me from seeing them as friends and needing a little help in life. I will see them as children of God, just like me.
The type of fear that I really can’t understand is in the fourth definition in the first post on this series and that is the “Fear of God”. Yes, I am very aware that God holds my fate in his hands from second to second. I know he is an awesome God with powers beyond my comprehension. But I also believe that he created me in his image and has an agape love for me. Love for, not a fear of God, is the driving force in my life. Yes, I am in awe of God and all I can really do is to try to return some of that infinite love he has for me back to him by doing things that he told me to do and that primarily is to love Him and to love my fellow-man, all of them. Everything else I will leave to his grace. It will be up to God to decide what my state will be after I leave this earth but that does not strike fear in my heart.
Ok, that is it on the topic of fear for me. I hope you weren’t totally bored by my mini-dissertation…..
This is a continuation of the topic of fear and how it drives so much of our country and world.
I have been cruising some of the “gun rights” websites lately. The reason I am paying attention to this group is to try to understand the thoughts and mentalities of the people in them and how fear appears to play such a strong part of their adamant refusal of any kind of gun regulation.
It appears that many from this group have a basic fear of their fellow citizens. They just don’t trust anyone they don’t know. They see bad guys around every corner. They think they need a lethal weapon to protect their families for the almost imminent invasion of their homes. In other words they are a paranoid group with a very negative view of mankind. They see the worst in everyone. They call those of us who are not driven by their overwhelming fear naive as to the real world. They say we just don’t “get” it.
Most of the other ninety-five percent of us outside these gun rights groups see all the damage done to this country by the preponderance of guns in our culture and we can’t understand why the gun rights groups can’t see what their almost idolatrous attachment on guns have done to our country. We see all the innocent people being shot down daily on our city streets. We mourn all the seemingly unending massacres happening today and mourn all the loss of so much innocent life. We see the unending supply of guns in this country purchased with drug money flooding across the border into Mexico making the drug cartels even more powerful than the police.
But I think one of the most basic differences between many of the gun folks and the rest of us is that at one level or another, we are more likely to help out a stranger than to point a gun at him. Our first inclination is to give someone that seems down on his luck a helping hand. We just don’t have that underlying fear of the unknown or unseen that they seem to have.
We are a country that is currently divided into many different factions and many of these opposing groups are primarily driven by fear. They see everyone they don’t know as a possible attacker. How do we convince these fearful people of the damage their obsession with guns is doing to all of us?
From past experiences one thing you won’t hear from this group is an admittance that they are fearful. They will proudly say that guns eliminate their fears because now they can take out anyone who will surely be attacking them. Fear is such a powerful motivator for division and mistrust.
Am I putting all gun enthusiasts in the same basket? Absolutely not! I understand that there are many, if not most, who are willing to have things like universal background checks and some sensible gun regulations. But, like it or not, the leadership of the NRA is currently the face of all gun owners. Until the responsible owners come out from behind that group they will continue to be identified with that radical organization.