A New Low… And What To Do About It.

This is the day of the year that we are supposed to reflect on the year just past and look to what we want to accomplish in the new year starting tomorrow. That is what this post is all about.

It seems that every day that passes now results in the Oval Office integrity sinking into the gutter further and further. Someone has actually taken the time to document that its current occupant has lied over 15,000 times in the last two years. I don’t think I can be exposed to his dishonesty much longer. As my fellow blogger John Pavlovitz said

2018 has been a long decade!

Maybe it is time to just ignore everything that is happening in politics and particularly inside the beltway? I am 72+ years old and if my genes prove true I have about five more years on this earth. Do I spent much of that time lamenting the ugliness of our times or do I fold into myself in a more reflective mode and just appreciate every day I have left?

Plainly speaking “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired!”

I know I said I was going to stay optimistic in spite of these times but the fatigue factor is just too great. Things need to change for me. That is what I have been contemplating these last few days of 2018.

On another note, I have spent probably hundreds of hours on my photo portfolios putting them online only to see less than one view per day. I have come to the realization that no one is really interested in old people’s pictures or the stories around them. Do I shut that down and try to find something more satisfying to pass the hours previously dedicated to them? That is what I am studying on.

I know much of this talk here is due to depression creeping into my life once again. That seems to naturally happen in the winter months but it is more severe now than usual. I don’t want RJsCorner to become all about gloom. These are the questions I will be trying to answer for myself in the days ahead. If you have any suggestions I would be happy to hear them.

Crusaders For Jesus…

I want to end this fatiguing year of 2018 on a positive note about Jesus’ church. First of all, I want to celebrate all those thousands of congregations and religious leaders who have become the crusaders for Jesus in an otherwise very polluted spiritual world.

The term Evangelical has become widely accepted to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing when it comes to spiritual matters. Their true agenda is man-made and very political in nature. But there are folks like John Pavolitz, Shane Claiborne, Philip Gulley, Robin Myers, Phyllis Tickle, Gregory Boyd, Harvey Cox, and Diane Butler who among many others stay true to Jesus’ words. They are true crusaders for Jesus in a time desperately needing them. No, they don’t get the press that Franklin Graham, who destroyed his father’s legacy, gets simply because they don’t resort to screaming falsehoods as he often does.

Another person who I want to single out in this regard is Pope Francis. He is stubbornly intent on putting the teachings of Jesus back to front and center in the Roman Catholic church. Yes, I recognize that the hierarchy of that establishment pretty much turned their backs on a sexual predator scandal. I also recognize that an establishment of that size has its institutional players who look out primarily for themselves and oppose much of what the Pope is trying to do.

We must always recognize that the Pope and all the aforementioned names here are human beings with their own frailty and biases. There are none that are infallible.

Finally, although I can’t name them there are very likely thousands of congregations in the US among the 350,000 or so out there that focus on Jesus’ words and reject all the man-made things that have wrongly been attached to him. I am convinced that they are a thousand points of light that will eventually take the church back to where it belongs. I celebrate them all at the end of this very tumulous year.

Austerity

The quote below got me to thinking about the “Common Good”. Does that term even mean anything now? Is Austerity now a permanent part of the world society?

Austerity simply means a lack of investment by societies in themselves, in people, in public goods. Things like healthcare, education, transport, energy, retirement, decent jobs, incomes, savings. The problem is that all those things are what underpin the stability of societies, by ensuring that prosperity is something that is realized by all — not just something greedily seized by a tiny few.

Source: How Austerity Ripped the World Apart

If you look it up on Wikipedia you will find that the term “Common Good” is also referred to as “general welfare”. I seem to remember some words about that.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The general welfare is part of the bedrock of our Constitution, so why is it seemingly forgotten now? Where are those who are promoting investments by societies in their citizens and their general welfare? Why must all the money flow to the top?

It used to be that providing for the public good was a Democratic Party thing, but I’m not so sure it is anymore. Like the GOP, the Democrats have been morphing into something very different in recent years. They now seem to be the party of almost solely representing every minority that they can find. What about the rest of us?

The Republicans are now the party of fear and pull-back. They think their future is in going back to an impossible time when things weren’t so complicated. They used to be about limited government and fiscal responsibility but now that the 1% pretty much control things in the GOP they have morphed into something else. What about the rest of us?

Where is the party that champions the public good and investment into our society and its future? Why has the constitutional right to healthcare, education, and infrastructure become abandoned principles?

Mind Your Own Business!

SOMEBODY IS ALWAYS TELLING US IN THE PAPERS HOW TO PREVENT WAR. THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY IN THE WORLD TO PREVENT WAR, AND THAT IS, FOR EVERY NATION TO TEND TO ITS OWN BUSINESS.

Will Rogers 

It’s been a while since I have posted a quote from Will Rogers who is one of my primary heroes in life. The words above were written almost a hundred years ago and maybe things are different now, but the idea is still a valid one. I know that the world is much more connected now than then. Lindbergh had just made is a solo flight between NYC and Paris, television hadn’t been invented yet, and long distance calls were expensive and not terribly reliable. We were just not as connected as we are now.

It seems when someone coughs in the Middle East now the price of gasoline goes up fifty cents.  In Will’s day when something happened in Europe, it often took days for that news to appear on our doorstep. Whatever happens in the world now we seem to know about it almost instantaneously. 

We are more connected now but we could have avoided many of the wars in my lifetime if we had just minded our own business.   “Minding your own business” is pretty good advice in other areas of life. I kinda think it relates to my pillar #7 of “Live and let live”. There are just too many of us today who think it is our duty to tell other folks how to live their lives.  As far as I see it, if what they do doesn’t affect what I want to do, then I should mind my own business. 

I might shock you, but I am not embarrassed to say that this is one of those areas I agree at least to some degree with Trump. Why are we so entangled in the Middle East? It used to be it was because of the oil. But since we are now almost self-sustaining in that area we don’t need their oil as we once did. Let’s let the folks in that part of the world try to settle their own differences. We don’t need to be involved in everything.

How about you?

The Thing About Facebook

Is it just me or is Facebook getting pretty annoying lately? It puts stuff on my screen that I haven’t asked for and the potential friends it suggests are often downright gross. I am a seventy-two-year-old guy who is WAY past puberty and has NEVER visited an xxx site, but for some reason, they think their suggestions to the right would be good friends for me?

I am a software guy so I understand all this stuff is determined by algorithms, and it is obvious that those algorithms need some serious adjustments. I am really annoyed by these types of things as I know it is really just lazy or underfunded programming and lax system testing.

On a side note, I am going through the same type of annoying problems with my DirecTV viewing. Ever since AT&T bought out the satellite provider and proceeded to redo the user interface it has been nothing but problems. Recorded lists seem to randomly disappear and much has changed for the worse. Most of Facebook’s problems are due to releasing software changes before they are adequately tested and that is the same case here. I just don’t need these types of frustrations in my life now and would drop DirecTV entirely if it weren’t for my wife’s addiction to her Law & Order, and Criminal Minds programs she watches multi-times a day.

Getting back to the original issue, a big part of Facebook’s problem is probably how the unhinged people in the world have found ways to game the system for their own devious advantage. I imagine that the friend suggestions come from people other than the ones in the photographs. Some are just nasty/paranoid people, some are likely Russian trolls sewing discord, and some are just kids who are trying to maximize their “friends” count. Whatever the reason Facebook needs to somehow reign them in or all us decent folks just might leave in droves. 🙂

Happy Holidays

I am not one of those Christians who complains that I am no longer allowed to say Merry Christmas. That statement is a cop-out if you ask me.  Of course, I can say Merry Christmas but I also recognize that there are many others around who celebrate this season in a different way.  To all of those friends of mine, I would like to wish you a very Happy Holidays.