The above graphic gives a pretty simple view of yin and yang.  The characteristics on the left side are Yang and the right side Yin. As indicated a healthy balance is required for a happy life. Too much of either Yin or Yang is toxic. I must admit that I have modified this graph in that I removed the words Masculine and Feminine and replace them with Yin and Yang. In the Asian culture Yang is identified as male characteristics and Yin as female. Things are changing in that part of the world but it is still a very gender segregated world. The U.S. has been quickly, at least to this American male, moving away from that stereotype for most of my lifetime.

All of us have a blend of the traits shown on this graphic.

Personally I can very much identify with the following Yang traits:

Analytical – My analytical mind is what made me a superior software developer in my work life. I was able to break down difficult projects into their elemental parts.

Singular – “I am who I am” is kind of a sub-theme of my life. I don’t mind, in fact I somewhat relish being different from others. It makes me ask questions where others would simply go along with the crowd

Rational – I am very much a rational being. I don’t automatically buy into beliefs or creeds simply because someone tells me to. I must be convinced that they make sense in the “real” world.

Determined –  My wife says I have a “single-purpose” mind in that I devote almost total attention to the task as hand. Being deaf helps me some in this area. I am not distracted by as many outside annoyances as many are.

Goal-directed – In my mind goal-directed and determined are peas in the same pod. I can very easily focus on one particular goal to the exclusion of almost everything else.

I can also very much identify with the following Yin traits:

Emotional – I wear my heart on my sleeve so to speak. I frequently cry as movie endings. Well at least “old” movie endings. They don’t make movies like that anymore it seems. Some say when emotions flair reason disappears; I don’t see it that way.

Passionate – I am very passionate about certain things in life.  Being a follower of Christ is something I take very seriously. I am also passionate about justice and equal opportunity.  I am also passionate about writing and reading. In fact, because I am deaf I spend most of my waking hours reading in one form or another.

Empathetic – Some times I let my passions and emotions take over my life. I am often very forceful and definite in expression of my beliefs. In those times I come across as a “pain in the ass” to some because of my emphatic qualities

Allow for “flow” – I am not stuck in my ways but am open to seeing things in a new light. I try to embrace change rather than fight it.

Creative – I like to think of myself as a creative person but sometime get discouraged because I am not as creativity as I would like.

I believe I have a good blend of yin and yang but probably lean more yin than most men. Next time I will start on an extended view of the differences between America and Asia when it comes to yin/yang.


May 29, 2014

2014-05-21_08-34-27“You are right there’s been a lot of freeloading, but the freeloading has been by the biggest financial institutions who got bailed out by the American taxpayers, who broke the law and were never held responsible,” Warren said.

“Here’s the key part — nobody went to jail for any part of this,” Warren continued. “The only people in America today who go to jail are regular folks. Big financial institutions get out there, they launder drug money, they violate the law, and still no one is held accountable. I think that’s fundamentally wrong.”

SOURCE: Elizabeth Warren Reveals What’s ‘Fundamentally Wrong’ About The People Who Go To Jail.

Oh Elizabeth certainly has a way with words. I wish she were as popular as Hillary.  She is an intellectual as Obama is but I won’t hold that against her, at least right now. Her actions in the Senate, if you can call anything in the Senate action, shows that she practices what she preaches.

Why are all the criminal indictments taken against poor and middle income folks? Why are all the “upper class” (I use those words very loosely) seem to be immune from any jail time? I see recently where Credit Suisse was recently fined $2.5 billion for helping the 1%ers hide their income from the IRS.  Attorney General Eric Holder said no bank is too big to jail but actually no one went to jail. $2.5 billions is a lot of money but evidently not to the banking companies as they announced that the money for the fine will cause a slight decrease in the quarterly profits!

My Republican friends seem to be so obsessed with poor people gaming the system and freeloading but then they totally ignore the freeloading by the biggest financial institutions. As Elizabeth said not one person went to jail for any of those things that almost caused the collapse of our country. One of the reasons I heard was that it is just too expensive to indict these millionaires as they would draw out the proceedings for years to come. What an excuse!!  I, and I hope most of you, also think that it is fundamentally wrong to allow someone to be above the law simply by their financial wealth or power status.

I would love to see Elizabeth as president. I know it won’t happen because Hillary has an almost lock on the Democratic ticket. I kind of think Elizabeth would look very much like that pesky Republican of a little more than one hundred years ago. Teddy Roosevelt took on the elite of his time and for the most part beat them. They were called robber barons then but the things they did were pretty much the same as these guys are doing now.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to see if Elizabeth could manage what he accomplished?

Something needs to change in the country soon. Our middle class is evaporating before our eyes. When it is gone and the financial elite are back in almost total control it will be hard to wrench power from them.

Wounded Souls….

May 28, 2014

Christians have a presumption against war as well as an obligation to help heal those who suffer its consequences.

2014-05-17_10-56-06The above title and words come from a Sojourners Magazine article by Gregg Brekke in the April 2014 issue. I have made it clear on most of my blogs that I am pro-peace in almost all regards and of course that makes me anti-war. All the wars and conflicts that the U.S. has fought in  my lifetime have not had any long, or even medium term, consequences. If they had not been fought at all nothing much would have changed.

The big war of my generation was Vietnam. Because of my hearing loss I was not drafted into fighting in it but I did lose several good friends in it. That war claimed 55,000 American lives and many more thousands in psychological and emotional duress. Even today after almost 50 years there are still those of my generation who can’t get loose from their experiences in Vietnam.

I would add a list of all the wars we have been involved in since Vietnam here but that would take up most of my self-imposed 500 word limit for this post. Thousands and thousands of  young American lives have been lost in our meaningless wars. Being a follower of Jesus, it is clear from his words that he was against all forms of violence. I very much align with those thoughts. Does that mean I am against those who fought in those wars, either by choice or were drafted? Absolutely not!! As the quote above says we followers of Jesus Christ have an obligation to help heal those who suffer from war’s consequences.

The article from which this quote comes goes on to cite  examples of those injured and killed by war. PSTD is a new acronym explaining an age-old condition. You can’t expect anyone to come back from war in the same way they left. The very act of killing in the name of your government and in defending your life in those circumstances changes everyone exposed to it. Some return much more damaged than others. Some don’t return at all.

As the article says veterans can be the biggest allies in advocating for peace. They have been exposed to the ugly realities of war. I feel very deeply and emotionally for the wounded souls who have fought in our wars.  It is up to us as Christians to do everything we can to ensure that help is there to heal those who have been grievously injured both physically and emotionally. We need to make it very clear to them that while we don’t condone the wars that they might have fought in we will do all we can to understand their pain and to help them overcome it.

2014-05-12_08-16-57The spokesman for South Korea’s defense ministry told reporters in Seoul on Monday, in an unusually confrontational comment, that their northern neighbor exists solely for the benefit of its strongman Kim Jong Un and is not a real country

SOURCE:  South Korea Says North Korea ‘Must Disappear Soon’ | TIME.com.

What is truly sad about Korea is how one dictator and his privileged, although wacky, son have prevented the reunification of Korea for so many years. I’m sure if somehow they could wrestle control of the country from this egotistical young man that Korea would go the way of Germany and become a very prosperous whole country.


2014-05-16_08-56-27So we’re going to start in 1941-’42, right in the middle of World War II. And the reason for that, you see a lot of the mixing here. Now, these dots that you see on the screen, they represent individual members of Congress and how they vote. Over on the blue side is more liberal, over on the right more conservative, and the higher up you go is the more orthodox they voted, whether conservative or liberal, and voted together as a party.

2014-05-16_08-57-25So, you see a lot of people mixing and a lot going further down the line. But then, when you move 20 years later, to 1963-’64, when the civil rights legislation passed, you start to see some divide. And — but you do still see some mixing, which is people talk about Lyndon Johnson being able to get civil rights through because he was a Southern Democrat and was able to get some of those Southern Democrats over.

Move ahead to the 1980s, and you see people talking about, oh, Social Security reform, they’re able to do so much on that. And that’s on large measure because there were still some people in the middle. Now, 1995-1996, right after when the Republican revolution happened, the Gingrich Contract With America, and now you start to really see this divide start to set in.

2014-05-16_08-58-29But you see a lot more Democrats there still moving sort of toward the middle, some Republicans as well meeting in the middle. And now when we look ahead to where we are today to 2012-2013, and look how far apart the two parties are. And it’s going to get even worse. That’s the one thing we know this time around.

SOURCE: Midterm races showcase widening political divide.

This was a very interesting segment from the PBS Newshour recently that shows the political divide in this country from the end of WW II up to recently. I have always suspected that the political divide was growing throughout my lifetime but it is still hard to believe how partisan as it has become in the last few decades.  My biggest question in this area is WHY?? What Changed?

What has happened in the last 60+ years to cause people to separate from each other as they have.  One observation is that it is pretty obvious from these charts is that this divide is considerably deeper in the conservative camp than on the liberal side. There are still some blue dots at the lower parts of the most recent graph where there is basically none on the red side and the distance between the two groups is growing. If the Tea Party had its way they would not even appear on the same graph.

Why have the people who most resist change separated from the rest of us to the extreme extent they have? Why has it become fashionable to dislike everyone you don’t agree with? What happened to the concept of agreeing to disagree? I could speculate on the reasons here but I won’t. I want this post to be one that makes you personally think of the possibilities. As soon as I would put forth my opinions the post would likely become a dividing point between us.  While I don’t usually shy away from that challenge I want to do so this time.

Please take a moment to consider why we are now so divided and what would it take to see each other as fellow citizens instead of enemies to be conquered…..


Fear vs. Love….

May 25, 2014

A theology based on this fear seldom inspires great acts of compassion and service. When we live in constant fear of divine rejection, we focus all our attention on securing our survival. Sadly, this self-absorption only leads us further from love. Fear and love are incompatible. Fear indicates our distrust of the one who claims to love us. A child trembles when a parent threatens, “If you don’t behave, I’ll send you away.” A wife is terrorized when a husband warns, “If you leave me, I’ll kill you.” Human beings cower when God commands, “Serve me, or I’ll damn you to hell.”

Where fear is encouraged, love withers. Human beings cower when God commands, “Serve me, or I’ll damn you to hell.” Where fear is encouraged, love withers.

Gulley, Philip; Mulholland, James (2009-10-13). If God Is Love

I will admit up front that Philip Gulley is one of my favorite authors. His Quaker roots and belief align with my current worldview.  There are some branches of Christianity that base their doctrine and dogma on the fear of God.  I at one time found this theology to be somewhat enticing to bringing people to Christianity.  Fear is one of the strongest emotions in humanity.  Much of what our current political parties do is based on fear. They use it because they know how powerful it is.

As cited by Mr. Gulley above fear and love are in reality almost opposites when it comes to human emotions. It is inconceivable that a God who says he loves us with one breath would then condemn us to an eternity of torment with the next one simply because we might be too ornery to accept his love. I have thrown away the concept of fearing God for the idea that God loves us with agape love and will eventually, in his own time, take every one of us into his arms.