Clarity from Reflection

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Reflections upon ones own past can provide clarity and direction that can be attained in no other way.  When we look upon where we have been, we can gain a greater perspective of where we are going. 

Do we allow our mistakes to interfere with our future? 

Do we allow our success to catapult us into greater success or does our success stifle us with contentment? 

Do our heartaches of the past prevent us from fully loving again? 

Do we take the love we have been given for granted or do we realize the blessing we have received in someones love for us?

And most importantly, do we recognize God’s blessings in our lives?

As we consider our New Years resolutions and the goals we will set for ourselves, may we also reflect upon our past to create a better future.

Fascism in America and the intolerance of free speech

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Fascism has come to America. The degradation of true tolerance and equality in the United States have taken us down a path where the freedoms of all Americans are being trampled.  The extreme intolerance of the far left have transformed them into the very group they originally despised and fought against as they have attempted to eradicate from our society the very equality and tolerance they claim to fight for and defend.  The lefts intolerance of the viewpoints of anyone who disagree with their view of the world and how it should be will erode all the progress any of us have made in true acceptance and tolerance of others.  The cry of tolerance and equality from the far left have nothing to do with either, for they neither tolerate those who disagree with them nor allow for equal treatment of anyone who disagrees.

The recent suspension of Phil Robertson for his personal opinion and belief regarding homosexuality is the prime example of this intolerance.  Phil Robertson made a personal statement as to his own personal beliefs that drew ire from the far left, yet it is the far left who is showing the intolerance here.  Society is expected to accept those who stand in support of the LGBT movement and allow them the ability to freely express their own opinons, yet they are trying to deny this same right of those who believe differently.  This is fascism plain and simple.  Do not fool yourselfs for it is a dangerous path we walk when we deny anyone the ability to agree or disagree with anothers opinion. 

We experienced a similar scenario with that of Chic Fil A’s Dan Cathy’s personal comments regarding the same issue.  Again, the far left immediately trounced demanding an apology and retraction.   They wanted an apology for anyone having a different opinion than that of their own.  This is neither tolerant nor equal, for when has the left ever been asked to apologize for their opinion on anything? nor should they need to!

Throughout our history, Americans have disagreed on many things and many outspoken voices have brought us at times closer to acceptance and tolerance of others.  While many have disagreed, they have been given a voice to express that disagreement.  The reprisal against anyone who thinks, believes, or speaks from differences of opinion will never bolster the oppositions argument.  It will however destroy the freedoms of us all.  We are walking a dangersously thin line when the intolerance on either side tramples on the right of others to believe differently.

 

Atheists and Christmas

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Every time an atheist  takes the name of God in vain, they invalidate their own arguments.  As they celebrate and enjoy the Christmas and Easter holidays they do the same.  So why is it that an atheist wants to remove God from these holidays, when they are celebrations of the Savior Jesus Christ?

I have friends whom are Jewish and do not celebrate these holidays.  I have friends whom are Muslim and do not celebrate these holidays.  Why then do atheist’s have such a strong urge to not only celebrate these holidays, but remove all symbolism attached to these days they by their own arguments have no belief in?

Atheist’s do not celebrate Eid Mubarak, nor passover, nor Hanukkah.  Why Christmas?  I have heard all the arguments that Christmas is not the same as it originally was and that it has been commercialized, or that it is based upon pagan traditions.  That argument is weak and holds no merit, if this were truly the case then why do non christian religions not celebrate them? 

Atheists have taken to attack primarily Christianity and its beliefs and traditions.   I find it amazing that they want destroy these holidays for Christians by removing the very reason for the season when they claim no belief in the very reason for them. The other irony is that it is ONLY the atheists that want all references to Christ removed from these holidays, yet my Jewish and Muslim friends will all wish me Merry Christmas as they understand and respect my beliefs, as I do theirs. While my atheist friends get quite agitated and irritated by any reference to Jesus Christ during Christmas, they seek to remove all nativity sets and religious music from the holidays.

I will never ask that my friends whom are atheist ever be forced to participate in any religious celebration.  If they do not believe they do not need to celebrate these days with us.  I have other friends who choose not to, yet respect this day as a religious day for me.  I expect that the atheists do the same.  I wont make them celebrate a day they do not believe in.  Besides, for them to celebrate these holidays invalidates their arguments.  I would never ask them to ever do that. 

Childhood Memories – A bucket of sand

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One of the most memorable stories of my youth involved a beach.. a cousin… an uncle… and a bucket of sand. My dad convinced my cousin Marilyn during a family vacation to California to sneak up behind my uncle Gail with a bucket of sand…  My uncle Gail always wore cowboy boots and jeans… and here we were at the beach and he was sitting down watching the kids play in the water… he didn’t suspect a thing although he should have known better. Marilyn who did anything Uncle Dave asked dutifully obliged my father and dumped this bucket over Uncle Gail’s head… while my dad videotaped it of course…   Imagine the laughter as we watched a teenage girl in sandals outrun a cowboy in his boots on the sandy beach as he chased her until he couldn’t run any more….  He never did catch her…

A moment to ponder; Facing the Judgements

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Moments spent pondering creates opportunities for us to learn and be taught by the spirit.  Many times these quiet moments of reflection allow me the ability to resolve issues and challenges I may be facing.  Recently I dealt with someone from my past that has been extremely judgmental of me and the issues I have faced in my life.  A moment to ponder this morning provided extreme clarity on the issue.

A judgmental individual is a stigma that is difficult at best to overcome, especially for individuals whose holier than thou attitudes have created extreme duress and difficulty for others along the way.  Try as one might to move beyond that reputation, every future encounter with someone who was on the receiving end of a judgment views that person with extreme prejudice, and almost certainly never to trust again.

This weekend I had to opportunity to bump into a local dentist of ours who lives in the neighborhood and at one point we attended church together. Just over ten years ago while my family was being torn apart from some repeated affairs of my ex, this individual assisted my ex in hiding the affairs and in preventing me from seeing my son for some time.  During this extremely difficult and challenging time, as i dealt with the heartache of another affair, the desire to see my son and the desire to keep our family together which we did for another 3 years, this neighbor became very judgmental of me as I fought to keep our family together,  I watched as I would walk down the hall at church to see him notice me and walk to other way.  He was my dentist for a short time prior to this and I soon found it impossible to get an appointment with him.  I noticed that he became indifferent with many people around him and began to treat others equally as poor as I was being treated.  I watched him as his anger got out of control in a basketball game and he picked another player up by the throat and choked him, while pinning him against the wall.  It appeared that this man’s world too was falling apart.

I struggled with this for some time.  I wondered what I had done to this person, whom I considered a friend both in and out of church.  Someone whom I had respected over the years.  I am certain that he too may have been facing his own demons.  Over the years, this has bothered me greatly.  I must admit that at times I wondered if he too may have been having an affair with my wife. Maybe he hoped that she would leave me and he could step in.  Over time I dismissed these ideas and attempted to move on.  I stopped by his office once or twice, trying to open doors again.  He would have nothing to do with me.  I still have no idea what I may have done that so deeply offended this individual.  I could think of nothing.

Sunday I bumped into him again.  A decade has passed and I am no closer to understanding this than I was when it was fresh and he and my ex were close friends.  I had personally thought that I had moved past it, then he did the same cold calculated move as always in the past.  He looked at me, said hello to my mother and without a word to me turned and walked out the door. The coldness towards me that came from this man would refreeze the polar ice caps.

I have thought much about this encounter this week.  At first I was angry with the arrogance and judgmental nature this man has and continues to  display towards me.  Then I took a moment to ponder and pray.

On my drive into work this morning, after I had said my prayers to forgive again and move on, in the quiet moments in the car a thought entered my mind.   Maybe he is not being arrogant or judgmental at all.  Could it be that he is so deeply ashamed of his actions  over all these years that he does not know how to react and his shame drives him from my presence?  Maybe this man is carrying a burden from past events that prevents him from being able to face someone he has wronged?  Maybe facing me brings back unresolved and possibly unrepentant issues from his past?  I do not know.

I do know that what I felt today was significant.  I was able to see someone whom has judged and treated me poorly for all these years in a different light. One where maybe what i interpreted as him being judgmental was actually his sorrow and shame for the past.  There are always two sides.  I in fact over the years began judging him based upon the judgements I felt coming from him.

My eyes were opened this morning.   I wonder when we stand before God, how many of us will feel the shame of our unrepentant actions and be like my friend, unable to stay in the same room or look upon him, as my friend was with me.  How much heartache  will that shame bring when we face our God and not some neighbor, or some stranger.  “For inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my bretheren, ye have done it unto me.”  We will have a sudden knowledge of all our past actions towards others.

I know I see the world differently today after a moment to ponder.