I Think It’s Time For A Divorce..

canstockphoto2610264.jpgcrayon-banner  I imagine the title at got a few of you to click it.  No, although I have sometimes thought about it, it is not about me divorcing my wife of 32 years. I kinda think it is time to start thinking about a divorce between Red and Blue America for irreconcilable differences. I am just not sure if we’ll ever listen to each other anymore let alone come to any agreement on compromise. Our flag is becoming too tattered to even recognize anymore. Its time for a change.

It’s time to start getting ready to go our separate ways and that is what this series of posts is all about. Before I get to a how we do this let’s talk a little about how we got here:

Red America’s solution to everything seems to be to take us back to the States. We tried that solution over two hundred years ago. It was called “The Confederation of American States” where each state was actually almost a separate country with their own laws and regulations. The early founders discovered that type of rule totally unworkable. Red America’ mantra is survival of the fittest. They believe those who accumulate wealth have no more responsibility toward society than those who have nothing.  These  Red America beliefs are very foreign to those in Blue America.

Blue America desperately want healthcare for all, much the same as the rest of the 1st world countries. They think that government, yes even the federal government, is to do the people’s business.  It is to make sure that we all have the same opportunities in life. To do that educational opportunities must be available to all. They think that  we are all in this together and each shares responsibility for the other. Blue America is definitely a brother’s keeper place. The Blue America beliefs contain WAY too much empathy for Red America.

I think we can point to one particular point in history where the abyss between Red and Blue America started and that is in the early 1980s. It is when Ronald Reagan flatly said that government is not a solution to our problems but instead the main reason for them. That started the ultra conservative fringe in America and has increased dramatically since then. Now the abyss in almost bottomless. No one seems to be able to see across it anymore.

Flash forward to today where we have a president that no one could even imagine thirty years ago. He is the epitome of “self-centered”. Nothing matters to him if it doesn’t directly benefit him.  He viciously trashes anyone who dares to criticize anything he says or does.  It seems that RedAmerica loves this guy while Blue America despises him.

It’s time for a divorce due to irreconcilable differences.  Next time I will start giving you  my solution to a successful divorce between Red America and Blue America.

If you feel like getting into this swamp water, post a comment…

In Case You Wondered…

Being a regular viewer of the cable TV show American Pickers I am very aware that people collect just about everything in the world. Being as how the USA is driven by consumer spending it’s not surprising that we have some of the biggest collections in the world.

In case you were wondering there is even a museum in Madison Wisconsin dedicated to a mustard collection. Who would have thought!  But it is quite a fascinating place to visit if you are in the northern hinterland.  Here is a sampling of what they have.

As usual click on any picture to see a larger slideshow view

 

Green Bay Railroad Museum – Part 2

ISOA Banner    Last week I showed you some of the amazing art at the Green Bay Railroad Museum. This week I will focus on the mighty engines and such.  Here are the pics for your browsing pleasure.

As usual click on any image to see a larger slideshow view

“Don’t Confuse Me With The Facts”…

I am becoming more and more convinced that the title of this post should be the theme of the Trump base.  Their hero continues to lie, attack and poison everything he touches and they just ignore it.  Don’t confuse me with the facts… yeah that fits.

Fake news is often the topic with the liar in chief so I’m sure he has seen the article below:

canstockphoto45579151.jpgHorner, whose fake news stories often went viral on Facebook and Twitter, told The Intersect, a Washington Post blog, last year that Trump supporters were especially susceptible to being fooled. “My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time,” Horner said. “I think Trump is in the White House because of me. 

“His followers don’t fact-check anything — they’ll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist.”

Source: Fake news writer in 2016 presidential election found dead | TheHill

This quote was by a self proclaimed fake news writer. He got his kicks out of making up stories and then seeing how “Trumpsters” propagated them across the Internet without ever questioning their validity.

Yes, many of Mr. Trump’s Twitter rants are about fake news. How ironic is that since he would not have his current job if fake news  and some very naive voters hadn’t help put him there.

My View Of The Bible — Part 4 .. Misguided Beliefs?

This, the fourth post on the Bible centers around where I see some others may have gone astray in regards to their beliefs surrounding  the Bible.

  • Some have replaced the Holy Spirit with the book called the Bible... They put so much power in the Bible and so little in the Holy Spirit. Compared to the others in Trinity studies there is very little in-depth theological study about the Holy Spirit. The main exception to that might be  the Society of Friends otherwise known as Quakers. They treat the Holy Spirit as a very equal member of God’s team. Jesus had very clear words about just what the Holy Spirit was going to do for us after he left this earth. Many Christian denominations today seem to downplay our relationship with the Holy Spirit.
  • The Bible is about God; it is not a replacement for God...The Bible is a valuable document in trying to understand the nature of God but it was never meant to replace God. This idea goes back to a recent post with the question of why Jesus did not write a book? Jesus did not write a book because if he did then we lowly human beings would end up having a relationship with the book instead of with God. God intends each of us to have a personal relationship with him. I believe that sometimes the Bible actually gets in the way of that relationship.
  • Every word in the Bible are Jesus’ words… This is just simply something that I can’t conceive. With my study of just how the Bible was assembled in the late fourth century by a council directed by King Constantine it is very clear that there is a very human element in the creation of this book. To say that every word written by the Apostle Paul came directly from Jesus is to deny some of the very words of the Bible itself. Paul states in some of his epistles that some words were simply his opinion and were not necessarily inspired by God.   I personally take some of the words of Paul to simply be that of a crankety old bachelor putting out his personal opinion. There is certainly nothing wrong with that since his letters were written to human beings with particular problems that Paul addressed. Yes, they are important to the history of the church but they are not from God’s lips.
  • Everything in the Bible is literally and absolutely true… This belief causes some to deny other aspects of God’s revelations. We can learn nothing in this world unless God allows us to learn it. And this includes scientific things like carbon dating and geological strata and yes, even global warming. Much of scientific discovery today adds weight behind one interpretation of the Bible in opposition to another interpretation. There is nothing wrong with that.
  • The “Slippery Slope” is one of the most misguided beliefs… This belief goes like this.  If you can’t believe absolutely every word in the Bible then you must throw it all out as unbelievable. In other words if you can doubt anything then you will eventually fall down a slippery slope where everything is doubted. I have gone round after round with some on this topic with some fellow Christians. But, as the saying goes “you can’t reason someone out of a position that they never reasoned themselves into”.

Hinterland Beauty

ISOA Banner   For this artsy Saturday I wanted to give you a simple picture that I took about ten years ago while traveling through the middle of our country. I don’t really recall exactly where it was taken; it could be almost anywhere.  But I think it shows the beauty of the country. The general saying is that 50% of the people live within 50 miles of a coastline. While the oceans are beautiful, those folks are missing another type of beauty if they don’t visit the hinterland once in a while.

Hinterland Beauty.jpg

This Is Houston, We Have A Problem..

2017-09-26_16-07-46.pngTexas is famous for their lack of regulations and for this discussion that means that they allowed thousands of homes around Houston to be built on floodplains. Of course most of the devastation from Irma is a direct result of that decision.  It is kind of ironic in a sad way that a State who almost hates the federal government now comes to it with hat in hand asking the rest of us to get them out of the problems they caused. Texas claims to be able to take care of themselves so maybe we should just let them do that now?

Lest we forget the consequences of the lack of Texas regulations, I want to go back to a report by the New York Times of the tragic explosion in West Texas in 2013:

Texas has always prided itself on its free-market posture. It is the only state that does not require companies to contribute to workers’ compensation coverage. It boasts the largest city in the country, Houston, with no zoning laws. It does not have a state fire code, and it prohibits smaller counties from having such codes. Some Texas counties even cite the lack of local fire codes as a reason for companies to move there.

But Texas has also had the nation’s highest number of workplace fatalities — more than 400 annually — for much of the past decade. Fires and explosions at Texas’ more than 1,300 chemical and industrial plants have cost as much in property damage as those in all the other states combined for the five years ending in May 2012. Compared with Illinois, which has the nation’s second-largest number of high-risk sites, more than 950, but tighter fire and safety rules, Texas had more than three times the number of accidents, four times the number of injuries and deaths, and 300 times the property damage costs

Source: New York Times May 9, 2013

With Texas being the execution capital of the world and hate safety regulations it seems pretty clear that they just don’t value life as much as most of us. I know Texas prides themselves on not have regulations about floodplains and pretty much everything else.  So, why should the rest of us have to pay for their recklessness? That is the question of the day for me.  They need to live with the consequences of their actions.  It is as simple as that. Or at the very least tell them next time you are on your own…

Green Bay Railroad Museum

ISOA Banner Yes, I know that the heyday of the railroad is long past but I am one of those who believe they will return again in all their magnificence sometime in the future.  They are just so much more eco friendly than the millions of interstate trucks that currently dominate our highway system.

The point of this post is about a recent visit to the Green Bay Railroad Museum. It is a massive place displays dozens of the giant engines of the past. If you are in the area it is well worth a visit.

Here are some pics for you. This group is of the art work and some of the artistically inspired photos I took. The big engines and such will come next week.

As usual click on any pic to see a larger slideshow view

Medicine Is An Unsettled Science..

canstockphoto28789734.jpgI don’t think there is anyone around who thinks we have all the answers when it comes to medicine. There have been and will continue to be major breakthroughs in that field but that doesn’t mean that our current knowledge is not to be believed.

We don’t go to a witchdoctor for our health care needs because medicine is an unsettled science.  So, why do some allow this convoluted logic to drive their beliefs around climate change. They say climate change is an unsettled science so we want to wait for more answers! Yes, there are between 1-3% of scientific paper in the climate change arena that say it is bogus.  But lets remember that scientist in any field love to disagree with each other. That is just the nature of science.

I know the climate change deniers have pretty much made up their minds about this issue and are not open to any discussions. It’s kind of like “Don’t confuse me with the facts” issue now. Looking at life, there is virtually nothing that is 100% certain. canstockphoto30575391 Everything is shades of grey. I love trying to get into the minds of those I have disagreements with but on this issue that seems impossible.  Due to my Aspie characteristics being a very logical person is who I am and seeing logic in the climate change deniers seems impossible.

Some say it is already too late to ameliorate the effects of climate change, it is going to happen now no matter what we do. I don’t know but it still wouldn’t hurt to change our way of thinking about carbon based fuels.

 

Le Clair – Antique Archeology

ISOA Banner   We visited the Memphis Antique Archeology store in 2016 and a couple of months ago we managed to get to the original store in Le Clair Iowa. Having a DVR we watch this show when we are eating dinner.  It has become a tradition here in the Walters homestead.

The Le Clair store is much smaller than I imagined it to be and of course none of the stars of the show were there but it was worth the visit.  We stayed the night at a hotel facing the Mississippi River and thoroughly enjoyed the small town. It has some very unique places to eat.

Here are some pictures of the store, another post will come soon to give you more details of the town itself.

As usual click on any picture to see a larger slideshow view

Altered States..

canstockphoto44046673.jpgWho wants to totally live in our hectic world today.  I have seen too many of my friends give up on our times and say they want out.  That defeatist attitude seem to be taking over our world especially with the current Oval Office holder in charge.

It seems that all of us need to get away from today at least for a little while each day. We need an “Altered State” that we can escape to. Somewhere where the world doesn’t seem so real. Just what that altered state ends up being depends on the person. Some like one thing, some like another.  Here are some of the choices:

Alcohol – Some can’t wait till the end of the day when they can have their beer or shot. Of course this remedy is not a new one. People have been doing that for as long as we have existed.  Those folks on the mythical TV show Blue Bloods must go through gallons of the stuff daily.  Even the police commissioner on the show regularly takes a shot or two in his office.  He NEEDS his altered state. Some of my personal altered states include an occasional beer or wine but that is less than one a week thing.

Cigarettes –  I know a thing or two about this altered state as I was a smoker for over twenty years! It has been twenty-five  years since my last one but I still remember how nicotine helped me forget some of my worries. My wife unfortunately still puffs on her cancer sticks even after three heart attacks and bout with lung cancer.

Coffee – Caffeine is another altered state drug that millions use.  If it is not multiple cups of coffee a day or a six pack of Mountain Dew then it is another special drink loaded with the drug.

Marijuana – This is an altered state that is coming back into its own.  It used to be legal and then it wasn’t. I see more and more States (no not that kind but the 50 in the USA) are legalizing it once again. Even though I was in college in the 1960s I never tried the stuff then or since. I don’t personally know how “altered” my state would be if marijuana was my choice but I suspect it would mellow me out and don’t we all need our dose that in these current times.

Opioids – These are the tragic altered states that have become an epidemic lately.  Mostly this is due to over prescribing heron type drugs by doctors. Opioids just alter your state too much but maybe not if we have to really go through four Trump years…  Before you hit the flame button I am joking…

Let’s close out this post with some sobering thoughts. Maybe if we spent more time outside our altered states we might just be able to prevent the things that make them necessary.

My View Of The Bible –Part 3.. Other Views

Now that I have told you what I believe about the Bible I will go over a short list of things that are somewhat widely accepted by some twenty-first century Christian denominations but of which I basically disagree. Most of these topic titles are  from texts of discussions I have had with Christians. I put them in a special category here because they were so deeply felt by others.

All the words in the Bible are the words of Jesus (ie.  every word and punctuation mark comes from God). This title came from a person fairly high in the LCMS Lutheran organization. He used this statement to refute my belief that some of the Bible writing were not meant to be taken literally. To me instead of enhancing the rest of the Bible I think he was really degrading the actual words of Jesus.

Nothing is required of Man to be called a disciple of Jesus– Those who oppose this concept call this statement “Cheap Grace”. Anyone who has read even a few of my postings here know that this is one of the very sore points for me. To the ones who believe this I often come back with the statement that if that is true then we should eliminate the New Testament entirely and simple jump from Jesus’ birth directly to his death and resurrection. If Jesus did not expect anything from us “poor miserable sinners” then why did he continue to teach his apostles and us through them lessons about living on this earth? To take any responsibility of our existing on the earth away from us is almost to say that God creating the universe was unnecessary. At the very least it is to say that Jesus wasted his breath during his three year ministry as nothing he said makes any difference.  Those are fighting words to me 🙂

One verse negates other verses.. For people who say they are literalist when it comes to the Bible to then latch onto one verse and seemingly forget others is a mystery to me? Most of the logic for “nothing is required” comes from one sentence in the letter of Paul to the congregation of Ephesus.  That verse Ephesians 2:8 is as follows: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast”.  These words from Paul, who never sat at Jesus’ feet nor seemed to understand much of his teachings, when taken alone seem to be a powerful  reinforcement of the belief that nothing is required of us. But if they are put in the context of many many of Jesus’ messages they take on a different meaning. And then there is James, the brother of Jesus, who makes it very clear that, from his brother he was taught that faith without works is a dead faith. When I look at all the words of Jesus I cannot negate them simply because of this uttered sentence in one of Paul’s many letters to a troubled congregation.

My interpretation of the Bible is the only correct one…. In my opinion this is one of the most damaging aspects of biblical beliefs.  Some are absolutely convinced that they alone know the true heart of God and anyone who disagrees with them is simply wrong!! An example of this are those who believe in the 24 hour version of Genesis go on to disrespect those who believe in the day age version. To some extent I am personally a victim of this practice but that is another story. When we continuously divide ourselves over personal interpretations we do a great disservice to God!

Serene..

For this artsy Saturday I want to put up a picture from my many visits to northern Wisconsin.  I don’t really remember exactly where this one was taken as it was in 1998 and there was no GPS at that time. But to me it absolutely reeks of serenity.

Northern Wisconsin.jpg

A Follow Up…

Given my last post was about the “repenter” of Times Square I thought I would follow it up with a quite different version.

click on any image to see a larger slideshow version

 

Looking back on the posts this week it is interesting to see how they are all linked by common threads.  I definitely wasn’t disappointed by the crowds and revelry on Times Square that Saturday night. 🙂

Times Square Repenter..

When we were in NYC the last time we rented a hotel room very near Time Square. It was pretty expensive but since this was probably our last time there we deemed it worth the costs.  For those who don’t know it Saturday night in Times Square is all about partying. Thousands turn out to celebrate one thing or another. And then there are always a few to have a different agenda for that night.  That is the topic of the picture below.

I have seen this picture hundreds of time since it was taken in 2014 and almost every time I wonder what kind of a life the person at the center of the picture has? I always imagine he is really not that much unlike the Evangelicals who currently occupy the fringes of the Republican party. They seem to think, at least to me, that we should all go through life with a dark cloud over our heads since we are all such dreadful sinners. Life is not meant to be joyful or fun, it is meant to be lived in fear of the wrath of God.

I suspect this guy spends many Saturday nights trying to convince the Times Square revelers to feel guilty about their celebrations.  Yesterday’s post was about my disappointments in life. Sometimes they get me down but I imagine a life spent telling everyone that there is no joy in this world is much much much worse.

In light of yesterday’s post about disappointments, this guy totally disappointed me because far too many take him as the face of Christianity and that could not be further from the truth… how disappointing that he is spreading that message…

Times Square Repenter.jpg