Monday, October 31, 2016

I Tell You.. Do As I Say Not As I Do

This election has been one of the most polarizing events in my lifetime.  In fact, I have seen friends get to heated over this election cycle, that they have unfriended friends and family members over who they are supporting.   Now I don't want to talk about either of the candidates.  Neither is perfect, both have flaws, as do we all.  What I want to focus on is the behavior of many brothers and sisters in Christ this election cycle.

This election, I've seen Christians share, post, say, and do things I would have never thought I would see.  I have seen Christians do and treat others in ways, they would never raise their children.  Now you might say well, I see the other side doing the same thing, and in part perhaps.  The difference, those on the other side, are not shouting at the same time to be self-proclaimed evangelical Christians.

Never before have I seen such hatred for one candidate ignite and fuel a community which basis their faith on treating others as they wish to be treated, showing compassion and a light into a dark world. As someone who studied Theology, I am intrigued to see behaviors so backwards to a teaching held near and dear, yet be so accepted toward someone running for the highest office in the land.

Shared from a Christian friends Facebook page
Growing up, I witnessed Christians holding each other accountable for acts that went against Christian beliefs in the church.  I was taught that Christians were to act in such a way that those who do not believe see something different in us, and seek out why. I do not have any issue with someone standing for what they believe is right. My point is the way we go about that. We forget others are watching... and those others include non-believers.  This election has showcased why more and more younger Americans are turning against the church. In fact an article out just this weekend highlights how more young folks connect with Marx than the Bible.  This scares me, but do I blame them?  As a Christian, I am ashamed of seeing some the rhetoric and hateful things Christians are saying against someone running for President.  

Now, don't get me wrong, I have no issues with someone who is passionate about who they believe the right person to lead this country.  I too, have found myself involved in this election cycle much more than in the past.  And I too, believe one of the two candidates could do more harm to this country than good.   There is a difference in believing passionately about something, having an educated debate, and those that are spewing hate, including calling some horrific names, and even suggesting the idea of killing one of the candidates.

Where have we gone when this type of behavior is acceptable in the church?  Where are we as a community, where we insist this country was founded on Christian/Judaic values have gotten this far into the gutter because we dislike a candidate so much.  How is it this behavior that we call out as "radical" in other faiths is somehow acceptable in ours?  Have we gotten so closed minded in our thinking that we cannot even put ourselves in someone else's shoes

Have we forgotten the Greatest Commandment?  Have we forgotten how to be that light shining showing a difference in us? Have we forgotten as followers of Christ, God is in control?  I truly hope as this election comes to a close, we all can take a very hard look at ourselves.  Are we adding anything insightful? Are we encouraging a civil debate, or are we just fueling the fire with more hatred.  I ask you, is this the type of behaviors you want your children to mimic or see as acceptable in our future generations.  If so, truly only God can help us.  I for one, do not want others who look at me to think this is how Christians act... I want them to see something better in me than this.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

We Need to Get Back To The Greatest Commandment

It seems anymore that each week brings a new issue in this country that has folks choosing sides. This past week, once again, gay marriage and religious freedom has become that issue.  I have seen posts on both sides of the issue, debating and supporting Kim Davis, the clerk in Kentucky, stating her moral beliefs out weigh the oath she took.  

Now I think this debate is much more about religious freedom, rather than gay marriage, and that's where I want to keep my focus.  If we take the issue at hand, we need to look at a few things.  

  • Does someone who holds public office, and takes an oath to uphold the laws of the land still have the right to claim religious freedom?
  • Does the States rights, law or the State, outweigh federal law and ruling?
  • Finally, would those up in arms, be supporting the clerk the same way if her faith was different and her belief prevented her from performing a different part of her duties?
So lets take a closer look at these, beginning with the first bullet.  If we allow Kim Davis, to claim religious freedom, on this issue, whats stops someone from claiming religious freedom and not allowing women to vote if they believe women should be seen or heard?  What would be next, someone who is vegetarian or vegan, refusing to sell hunting or fishing licenses because it goes against their beliefs?  We all have choices in life. Most of us have been faced in life and career in doing things we don't want to.   We make choices, to either concede and do the job, or move on.  I think if we take the topic out and just let the reasoning stand on its own, its obvious that this is similar.   

On the second bullet, we are a land of state rights, but we are also one land.  Yes states have the rights to govern themselves, and determine what is best for those living there..  We are however a country where movements have changed the laws of our nation until a ruling federally and laws at the national level become the law of the land.  We have seen this before, with equal right issues, abortion, and women's right to vote as just a couple examples.  We have now seen that with gay marriage.  Some will also state though, that the court mandated this decision and it's not a law.  These same folks claiming this, need to review the book, they quote claiming gay marriage goes against their teachings.  Please review Deuteronomy 17:10 which states that His people need to respect and follow the decisions of the judge in the land that God chooses them to be.  This country is also governed by the Constitution, not the Bible.  We are made up of a land of individuals and our government reflects our eclectic makeup.   Lastly, if you still believe this decision was made by the courts and not the people its time to except public polls on this issue. if a public vote happened today, the majority of people in this country now supports this equality issue. 

Lastly, lets examine those standing with Kim Davis, claiming this is Christian persecution.  I keep wondering if I would see these same Christian Leaders standing next to Ms. Davis if she was of a different faith, and was not fulfilling her job duties based on her religious beliefs of that faith?    From little things, like arguing over  Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays, we have heard comments and complaints from Christian leaders constantly who are saying Christians are being persecuted in this country today.  Now, I consider myself a Christian and a follower of Christ, but I also find it hypocritical, that every time we run into someone who believes differently than we do as a faith, we claim we are persecuted.  The great thing about this wonderful country we live in, is that we are able to freely choose and live our lives the way we choose.  People do things all the time that I may not agree with, however, if they are not doing harm to others, what concern is it to me how they live their lives?  Need I remind you this country was built out of the belief of live and let live. Somehow those who have risen to be the leaders in the Christian faith, have become some of the most hypocritical people I can think of.  Anyone who disagrees with their viewpoints or teachings is persecuting them.  They seem to forget, Jesus himself  called out the priests for their hypocrisy. Christ also taught us that we cannot judge non believers by the same standards as believers.  We are to live in a way that shows His love through us.   How have we gotten to the point where we damn everyone who lives a different lifestyle?  This is not the faith I was raised in, and it saddens me so many seem to believe this is the only way to be Christian.  Need I remind you, Christianity is losing ground tremendously in this country to other faiths or those who choose no faith at all.. No wonder when we all we do is judge instead of showing love. 

We need to start living by the teachings we claim to hold as truth, and realize only one Supreme Being has the right to judge us and others in how they live their lives.  We need to start showing love, compassion, and understanding toward folks who believe differently.. We need to start loving our neighbor as we love ourselves... After all , isn't that the greatest commandment?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Words Matter...

Being in a position of power sometimes means taking a stand for what is right, not just what is popular.  I remember when I was the DES Coordinator in Montana of having to take a stand against what I, and others felt was the wrong direction.   There are consequences  to every action. Speaking up cost me a couple opportunities in Montana... yet opened doors eventually elsewhere.

These days many don't think about that before they make a choice, or when they say something. We are even taught a little rhyme about sticks and stones yet words will never hurt.  They reality is words hurt, and the words we choose paints a picture of not who we are describing but really of who we are...

Over the past many months, and for that matter few years there has been a cavern opening up in this country. There is not a day that goes by, where you open your news sources, and do not see headlines that use labels, and I'm not talking about registered trademarks.  With all the hate in the world these days.. I began to think,  does it help or is it like pouring gasoline on the fire when the media cannot report a story without using labeling words like black, white, gay, transgender, Christian, Muslim, Islam?  Especially in the early stages of a news story with so many unknowns, is this good journalism?

Don't get me wrong.  We have a race issue in this country... We have an ethnic issue in this country.  We have a sexual orientation issue in this country. We have a religious issue in this country...   In a country built on being the melting pot of the world, that divide is growing, not shrinking.  This melting pot is not working... Each and every difference is not being absorbed by others to create a new cohesive stronger solution. Instead we are seeing reactions as they violently fight against each other until explosions happen.

Now I grew up in Montana as a 4th  generation immigrant to this country.  I thought I never knew racism. I thought this  because I didn't think it resided in my small little corner of the world.  I later realized how naive and wrong I was.  We didn't have many people of other ethnic backgrounds, people of color or other religious beliefs, but I always figured this was someone else's issue because of how they were raised. We had our own prejudices and looking back it was just as vile as what I saw on television regarding other parts of the country.

We must face facts.  We are not born with hate in our hearts for people who look, act, worship, and believe differently than us.  This is taught over and over, generation after generation, by the words  we use and by our actions in how we treat others.  As I mentioned I grew up in rural America, and outside a little bullying, never faced living in a society where I felt threatened just because the color of my skin, or who I worship, or my sexual orientation.  I never grew up knowing people hated me because of things I had no control over.  I know I can't speak for someone who has walked in those shoes, however I do know, that until we stop using those words and those labels, and start raising generations that respect each other and our unique differences for who we are that will never change.

They say you cannot teach an old dog a new trick, well maybe but we can teach our younger pups differently by self consciously making choices that stop the cycle of hatred.  So I ask the media to do their part.  Report the news!!   Without labels that only enrage one part of the pot against the other.  Report the news accurately worrying less about being first but being right.  Report the news without presumptions and speculations.  Lead with headlines that paint the proper picture not a half truth like was done with the bail set for the individual who shot nine innocent people in South Carolina.    I ask you to report the news!!  I ask that you think more about how and what you write will be taken instead of what it will do for your bottom dollar.  I ask you to help be part of the solution, not the problem, and I ask you to help make this melting pot truly that.. A place where we all can recognize and appreciate what makes us unique and embrace our differences peacefully.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Stop the Hypocrisy!!

Ronald Reagan said He didn't leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic party left him..  Well I can honestly say I feel the same way about today's GOP.  I will admit, I've been leaning this way for sometime. Tonight however, while scrolling through my Facebook feed and seeing Huckabee's take on gay marriage while supporting Duggar, Santorum stating the Pope has no right to speak on global warming, and Perry stating that what happened in South Carolina was caused by drugs not guns  were the final straws to break this camels back!!

Today's GOP has become infested with hypocrites who quote scripture to fit their views, while condemning any suggestions that differ than theirs.  They are more than willing to pick and choose what scripture to use to validate their point while overlooking other verses and commandments they break daily.  They have become the party that knows better than experts, science and yes even the Pope.. hmmm  Curious when they will take on God Himself!!

The Republican party that I knew, believed in smaller government, and allowing individuals the opportunities needed to prosper.  These days, they are much more interested in policing what folks do in the privacy of their own homes rather than fixing issues that keep shrinking the middle class and causing the divide between the wealth and those in poverty to spread like wildfire.    Instead of working on policy that helps the working class prosper,  they would much rather focus on social issues that do nothing but tear this country apart.

Regurgitating old talking points that have been long proven false do nothing but spread hate and do nothing of building that light on hill.  It's well known and scientific fact the Global Warming exists and our dependency on fossil fuel has sped that up.  It's been proven around the world in other modern societies that socialized medicine is beneficial for everyone.  It's well known we are the leading country that promotes the freedom to own guns, yet we have the highest crime rate in the world where guns are used.  We have the largest percentage of a population incarcerated of any of the free world.   They fight against immigration changes forgetting that everyone except those of Native American heritage are immigrants in this country.

They have become the party that stand by known child molesters, while claiming gays are trying to recruit your kids.  A party that believes marriage should be between one woman and one man only yet overlooks the affairs and multiple marriages of the party's leaders.  A party where those wanting to lead this nation will speak up on acts of violence occurring all too often in this country, without knowing all the facts and without a willingness to actually work on fixing whats causing them to happen.

We will run around the world and send our troops to overthrow governments in the name of protecting the people yet we wont address our own homeless and hungry population.  A country where we do everything we can NOT to support schools and keeping kids in them.  A country that will send our young men and women overseas to protect us from enemy attacks yet we do almost nothing to provide for them upon their return.

So in the words of President Reagan,  I am not leaving the Republican Party, the party left me!!  Allowing the Tea Party to hijack the foundation of what this party stood for and be replaced by by far right winged radicals that will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who do not believe the same thing they do is destroying this country.

Until this country comes back to the middle and decides we all need to give a little for the better of EVERY person living in this melting pot of a country and works at healing the racial divide, takes care of every veteran, properly funds education, takes a serious look at gun control, and puts the working class once again ahead of corporate loop holes. and greed, I cannot support or find myself aligned.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Frankly Congress I'm Fed Up

So this afternoon, Congress once again failed at the one job they have.   To come together and provide a government for the U.S. that is in the best interest of the ENTIRE country... Not the Democrats, not the Republicans, not the white, male majority, nor one of the many minorities that help make this country great, but the ENTIRE United States of America.

Once again a portion of our government is coming to a standstill, basically because of the immigration clemency granted by President Obama. Over the past several years, these shutdowns have cost us millions of wasted dollars and helped make us the laughing stock of the entire world.

This time, the shutdown is effecting the Department of Homeland Security, including FEMA, and TSA to name just a couple.  Parts of our government that we cannot afford to shut down.  All while Congress continues to collect a paycheck.

This constant lack of ability for our representatives to come together and actually work together to move this country forward instead of just fighting the other party HAS to come to an end.  What happened to doing what is in the best interest of the country, not just your party to win votes in the next election.

Personally, I am so tired of these situations.  How sad that our government has come to this point that the party is put before the country.  I say we fire them all... and re-elect no-one in 2016.  Time for a new direction, but then again, maybe I'm just being Frank!!