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I try to follow my hero’s advice and like everyone but this is one of those times that proves difficult to do that.  Balancing the budget on the backs of the poor is a very spiteful way to even try to accomplish that task.

 

Cobwebs_on_fenceI used to think that the phrase “leaving well enough alone” was a wise one but I am just not too sure of that anymore. It could mean that I just don’t want to change or maybe I don’t want to chance losing something for the benefit of others. Leaving well enough alone was often the phrase used to continue with segregation in the 1960s. The logic went that the Negroes were happy as they were and would never be able to compete with the whites if they were not kept separate. So the logic went, segregation was as much for them as it was for the white population.

Christian dogma seems to be another one of those areas that some demand to leave well enough alone. Many are stuck with very outdated and disproven logic as the basis for their beliefs.  They have latched on to a particular belief and let that dominate over everything else. They see any change as a threat to their existence.

Another similar phrase is “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. Being that I spent a thirty year career with AT&T and its various forms I am very aware that this phrase was used as a reason to not break up that monopoly in 1983. With hindsight I am now convinced that while it wasn’t broke by the knowledge of the times, breaking it up was for the overall good. I can’t imagine the advances that we have had in this area were even possible in the old hierarchical structure.

I’m not saying that there are never times when we should just maintain the status quo but to just leave things as they are for the sake of not changing is definitely not the answer. We should always be striving to do things better than we are. This applies to almost all aspects of our lives including our spiritual lives.

So, in the end leaving well enough alone just does that, it keeps some just “well enough” but never better.

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2014-03-27_14-59-31We all know that yelling “FIRE!!” in a theater is against the law and can cause a lot of harm. We are told even as children not to do that sort of thing.  Another area of this type are those that try to incite a riot by prodding and encouraging violence. That one isn’t quite as well published as the first.

The school yard bully gets a lot of attention these days. We, at least most of us, have little tolerance for him. But another type of threat that is perhaps just as bad is the instigator. You might know him by other names like provocateur, agitator. This is the guy who tries to get two people or groups who disagree on something to attack each other verbally or physically. He wants to see blood.

As I have mentioned before I am by my very nature a very non-violent person. I have only physically attacked one person in my life and that was when I was about six years old.  I think I gave my opponent a black eye but I am not sure. I can’t even remember what we fought over but I do remember the kid who instigated our brawl. I soon made up with my friend but never had much to do with the guy who caused us to fight.

Now to the core of this post. There are people out there that make millions of dollars as professional instigators. They try their best to incite a virtual riot. They egg people on to keep them on the edge of their emotions. They purposefully pit one group of people against another. The most visible of this type of bully is Rush Limbaugh and the Fox and MSNBC news channels.

These folks make millions of dollars every year screaming about the opposing party. They spend hours trying to dig up anything they can find to raise our ire. Sadly there are millions of people who have one of these outlets on throughout the day. They are thoroughly brainwashed with a very partisan message of their agitators. No, I don’t think brainwashed is too strong a word for this tactic.

I will admit that I was once at least to a small degree one of those folks who would tune them in. I got my daily dose of how those in a particular political party are nothing but hateful idiots who are set on destroying our freedoms.  When I finally reached “critical mass” on politics and decided to give it up almost entirely I did not realize the emotions these instigators caused me.

Now that I am limiting my exposure of politics to a brief morning glance at somewhat neutral websites and the PBS Newshour I have come to know a much more peaceful and satisfying lifestyle. Now don’t get me wrong here. I realize that there are folks in the political realm who have very different worldviews than I do. I will continue to oppose their tactics but without the vitriolity that comes along with these news sources.

 

If there is anything we resent God for more, it is being outside of our understanding. We want God to be a like an omnipotent train conductor; completely in control but completely predictable. This is why one of the most glaringly obvious aspects of God’s relationship to us goes unnoticed, untaught, and often contradicted. We want to think God is completely consistent, and that everyone is treated the same way. However, the truth is that God actually changes how he interacts with us based on *gasp* our own behavior.

SOURCE: What If God is Pragmatic? | Yaholo Hoyt | Red Letter Christians.

Short Memories…

April 12, 2014 — 1 Comment

2014-03-02_16-18-10“The short memories of American voters is what keeps our politicians in office.” – Will Rogers, 7 April 1930

That and very uninformed, some might say ignorant, voters….

Hunt Out The Good…..

April 11, 2014 — 2 Comments

2014-04-06_17-29-10“Hunt out and talk about the good that is in the other fellow’s church, not the bad, and you will do away with all this religious hatred you hear so much nowadays.” – Will Rogers, 11 March 1923

This quote hit home with me especially after my recent post about Pope Francis and the poor. There was one sad creature who tried multiple times to put in some vile words about the pope in particular and Catholics in general. It is obvious that he has nothing but hate for that group of people. Of course I did not let him have his say on this blog.

But then again, sometimes I do the same thing but to a much more civil manner. I see all the wrong-headed things going on in various church denominations and I point it out as how not to do “church”. Maybe I should take Will’s words to heart sometimes. Christians by their very nature try to look to Jesus Christ for examples.  Maybe I should start these types of posts out by first talking about the good they do (if I can find it). :)

I think what Will is trying to say is to find some common ground first and then gently point out the differences second….

2014-03-20_09-06-16Tesla’s campaign to sell its electric cars directly to consumers shifted into high gear this week as state lawmakers debated Tesla-related bills while powerful auto lobbyists braced for a fight. In New York, a measure designed to ban Tesla from opening new stores passed a key hurdle, while in Arizona, lawmakers pushed a bill to make it easier for Tesla to sell its cars without establishing a dealer network.

The escalating conflict underscores Tesla’s role as a disruptive force in the U.S. auto industry, not only because the company’s cars don’t use gasoline engines, but also because Tesla is trying to upend the dealership-franchise model that has underpinned the automobile industry for decades. That model — and laws protecting it — emerged in the 1930s as a way for automakers to build a national sales and service force and help foster local economic growth.

SOURCE: Tesla’s War With the States Shifts Into Overdrive | TIME.com.

I have mixed feelings about the above topic.  This is kind of like a David/Goliath type thing. The little dealership guys are being squeezed out by the big corporations the same way as WalMart is squeezing out local retailers.  But size is a relative thing. Yeah Telsa is probably bigger then most auto dealerships but it is very small compared to its other automotive competitors. It is also pretty easy to see that those who own local or regional auto dealerships are usually much wealthier than the rest of us.  It is not uncommon to see mufti-millionaires auto dealer owners.  So David/Goliath is a relative thing.

Realtors are also in this type of corundum. When I sold my house in New Jersey it never actually went on the market. My realtor happened to have someone waiting for my type of house. When we closed on the house the realtor received a check from me for almost $18,000 for two hours work or so.  The only ones who even come close to that hourly wage are big time surgeons and some CEOs  :)

The other example in my part of the country is in liquor distributorships. If you can land one you are assured a big annual paycheck. They are given out mostly as a political favor by State level politicians.

I don’t know but it seems like these sort of things need fixing. We should be able to buy direct and bargain with others for what are currently set as “standard” fees. Wages for most of us haven’t changed much in the last decade or more so the little guy needs all the help he can get in today’s world even as a consumer.

 

Thank Heavens…..

April 10, 2014 — Leave a comment

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Thank heavens that he couldn’t find a gun…..

2014-04-09_18-54-55After spending $43 million on residential renovations, German bishop Monsignor Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst was suspended. On Wednesday, Pope Francis accepted the bishop’s resignation….

Francis has called on his priests and bishops to be models of sobriety in a church that “is poor and is for the poor.”

SOURCE:  Why Pope Francis accepted the ‘Bishop of Bling’ resignation – CSMonitor.com.

I continue to be amazed by the words and actions of Pope Francis. He seems to be very serious in making the church into the vision of its founder.  The source article is about how he “accepted” the resignation of a German Bishop who was lavishly spending money of his residence including a $20,000 bath tub!  That item seemed to be the breaking point even for the bishop’s flock, if bishops in fact have flocks.

From this and other posts about the Pope, it seems he is really shaking up things in Vatican City as well as throughout the world. His comment that the church “is poor and is for the poor” is almost earth shaking in it simplicity and its fundamental turn from its past. One of the things I seem to criticize the most about religious institutions is how much they spend on lavish cathedrals and such. That seems to be very contradicted by Jesus and even the early Christian community. Stating that the church should be poor is radical concept indeed for those folks in Rome. I hope some of it sticks into their mental attitudes. I don’t think God really cares whether we take communion in a fancy silver goblet or a simple clay one.

I wonder what all those cardinals are now thinking that voted to make Pope Francis their pope? Are they saying “we have created a monster” or are they saying “it’s about time”. I hope it is the latter….