The Best Thing About ‘American’ Christianity

Diversity For decades people have been prophesying about American Christianity’s demise. Church attendance is dropping, our culture is becoming increasingly immoral and the president is probably the Antichrist. Various pundits, experts and research groups have seemingly made a living predicting American Christianity’s downfall, and yet, while Christianity has become extinct in numerous parts of the world, it continues to live on—and sometimes thrive—within the United States….

There are faith communities for those who are conservative or liberal, egalitarian or complementarian, Calvinist or Armenian, traditional or modern, young or old, Norwegian or Cuban—you get the point. We often view are differences as a bad thing, as a sign of disunity and mistrust, but we serve as a sort of system of checks and balances. American Christianity is a beautiful patchwork of unique characteristics, all united in Christ, challenging each other, holding each other accountable and complementing our various strengths and weaknesses.

SOURCE: The Six Best Things About ‘American’ Christianity | Stephen Mattson.

I am a very strong believer that what makes the U.S. so unique is our diversity. Most of us celebrate our differences without attacking others who think differently than we do. I firmly believe that our ability to do just that is what make for our longevity as a democratic country. I am in awe of our founding fathers being able to create the framework to make that happen.

I celebrate diversity in most things but I have seemed to lack that facility when it comes to my spirituality. I have not been able to understand that it is also a strength when it comes to why we continue to be for the most part a nation aligned with Christian values while so many other countries are quickly falling away.

But I came to this game to have something to live/play, not something to offer/justify; to find the Teacher within, not teach others that they’re ignorant of the importance of an ideal; to belong with others united in comraderie, not divided by heritage or heredity. 

SOURCE: http://www.quakerquaker.org/profiles/blogs/the-quaker-game-of-life

Like my Quaker friend in the quote above come to this game play and not to justify my existence. I hope some of my words here are taken as teacher and not to just push my ideals on you.

Diversity Is More Than Race….

Diversity

To some the word diversity is a threatening one but I hope most of us realize that as a nation and even a world diversity is to be celebrated. It means that we are different from each other. It means that we have different approaches and perspectives to life. It means that it is not a boring vanilla world but a multi-colored rainbow. 😉

To many, if not most people, diversity means different races of people. But another big part of diversity, at least in my mind, is our physical condition. I like to think that as a deaf person I  add to the diversity of our world.  There are only a couple of million of us in the U.S. We add knowledge that others without our condition can never fully understand. Another part of diversity certainly includes our social standings. Diversity is more than about the color of our skin.

Diversity is about each of us being interested in different things.  Some enjoy music and even among that group some like opera, some like rap, some like rock-and-roll and maybe there are even a few more like me who like folk music.  Some of us are more creative than others even to the point of being considered eclectic if you will. Diversity is just being different from each other. It is something to be enjoyed. It is something to be celebrated.  We should never fear someone simply because they are different from us.

But I’m just a simple guy so what do I know….

Falling Behind ….. Again

Source: Survey: U.S. global competitiveness falls again – USATODAY.com.

The United States’ ability to compete on the global stage has fallen for the fourth year running as confidence in the country’s politicians continues to decline. The finding is from an annual survey from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Of the top 10 nations, the Netherlands and Germany have moved ahead of the U.S. The U.S.’ ranking dropped two places to seventh this year, the WEF says.

It is sad to see that the U.S. is falling behind in yet another metric. Our manufacturing base is quickly dwindling. Almost everything we buy now comes from outside our shores.  Our healthcare cost us more than any other country and still we die younger than many. Our military eats us so
much more of our resources than any country on earth. We are building up massive debts to maintain our “policemen of the world” status.  Our general happiness level continues to decline year after year. Are we on the backside sliding down on being a global leader? Will we be the 21st century version of Great Britain who lost superpower status so quickly a century before? I don’t know the answer to those questions but I do know we need to address the underlying problems.

It is interesting to discover from the source article that Germany and the Scandinavians have moved ahead of the U.S. in global competitiveness. Of course as I mentioned before both of these countries that have a strong middle-class due to stiff government regulations on their industries. They are also some of the highest taxed since they have strong social programs in place. Scandinavians are known to be the happiest and the healthiest countries on earth.  Perhaps part of that is because of marijuana being legal?  We might find out if that is true soon enough 😉

I try to find a silver lining in all my dark clouds in life so here goes. We are still the world’s largest economy and our status as a global innovation powerhouse is firmly in place. We are still the most diversified population on earth and for the most part we celebrate that diversity. That is probably one of our strongest points as a country. We need to be constantly building from that.

But there is a significant portion of us who just don’t go along with that celebration idea. Unfortunately many in that group are among the current power and money holders in our land.  As Ayn Rand taught them they want to separate themselves into “makers” and call everyone else the “takers”. They want to blame all our problems on the “takers” when in reality much if not most of it resides with that very small and elite group. As evidenced by our current congressional fights they want to divide us into small fractured groups battling against each other so that they can maintain their hold of power. We have to do whatever it takes to wrestle our country away from the nay sayers and give it back to ordinary people. That is where the true power should reside.

Power to the People…..

source:  Nonwhite voters and changing values make 2012 election pivotal – Los Angeles Times.

The 2012 election marked the point at which a new American electoral coalition solidified its hold on politics, one built on the country’s growing nonwhite population and on cultural changes that have given younger voters of all races a far different outlook on political issues from that of their elders.

It is still not clear just who made up the majority that swept President Obama into a second term and seemingly muted the Tea Party’s power in today’s politics. But it is obvious that the $1 billion spent by the 1% had little effect on who won elections. It is obvious that the common people, many of color, gained power from this election cycle.

The old rural white, mostly southern, men are running scared. They now make up the majority of a shrinking GOP so it is panic situation for them. They are signing petitions to secede their States from the Union.  They are running about as scared as the McCarthy Republicans after they fell from grace in the 1950s.  If they can’t accept that our nation actually celebrates diversity then good riddance to them. Let them hunker down in their bunkers.

The vast majority of the current national office holders in the GOP are also old white men. It is exciting to see so many women even if they are all of the other party going to the Senate next year. I hope they bring a new perspective to that end of Capital Hill. Women are now the majority in this country and in my mind the sooner they also become the majority in congress the better. Many of the grumpy old white men who now occupy those offices need to retire.

One group of voters that have dramatically increased in the last two elections are the young people. That is the most exciting news to me. Those under twenty-nine make up the largest increase in those who voted in the last two presidential elections and that is a good thing. Now if they also can just take over more of the seats in our congress maybe gridlock can become a thing of the past. It seems young people just don’t have the political baggage that us older folks have.

Of course people of color also came out in groves in this and the past election. I celebrate that also.  Many of them steadfastly stood in hours long lines in Florida and Ohio to vote.

The Grand Old Party (GOP) is indeed living up to its middle initial and becoming old.  While I myself am an old man I celebrate all these new voters. Diversity is what makes our country different from most others in the world. We should all be celebrating that fact. When the GOP sets out to stifle, instead of encourage, the vote in order to win elections they are putting a stamp of doom on their party and for the most part they don’t even seem to realize that fact.  I hope they wake up soon.

But I’m just a simple guy so what do I know….

Its About Time — Whites Account for Under Half of Births in U.S.

source: Whites Account for Under Half of Births in U.S. – NYTimes.com.

After years of speculation, estimates and projections, the Census Bureau has made it official: White births are no longer a majority in the United States.

I bet the racist blogs this morning are white-hot, pun intended, talking about this article! But for myself I say it is about time. I think that our strongest point as a nation is our diversity. We generally don’t have one segment of society having total say on the rest of us. Now I am not inferring that the tyranny of the majority doesn’t, or hasn’t, reared its ugly head in the U.S. but generally those periods are eventually overthrown by the vote.

Just look at other countries to see the fierce partisan divide between Sunni and Shiite, between Muslims and Jews, between this or that.  We in the U.S. are just too diverse now for that to happen. There is one caveat to that however and that is the growing disparity between the 1% who currently control the vast majority of the wealth and the other 99% of us.  I am confident that some day this grossly imbalanced fact will the ameliorated hopefully by the vote and not by violence.

We as a country celebrate our diversity as we rightly should. Let us pray that the partisan divide that is so visible in other countries never happens here again. Let us remember that we are now all minorities in our great country.