Thursday, December 23, 2021

I believe, why don't you?


 On the day before the day, of Christmas Eve, that would be the 23rd for those of you who are still trying to figure that one out; I would like to put into perspective what it means to be a Christian. 


Being a Christian from the perspective of ME, Richard Taylor, your Blog Friend, or at least a reader of my ramblings:


The simple definition is: one who believes in Christ.  There are two types of believing however, there is believing in the person of Christ and then there is the believing Christ.  They are not the same.  Believing in Christ is a much more simple process and similar to understanding that the person of Christ was real, did exist and has some historical relevance.  


Understanding the reality of His existence is very important but, believing Christ takes a leap of faith that many are unwilling to take.  I may believe something or someone but fail to follow that knowledge for a variety of reasons.  


Christ for Christians demands that we believe that Christ spoke the words of eternity under the authority of His Father and our Father, God, the Almighty, and with those words outlined our purpose of life, our requirements and processes for achieving not only salvation but to live with God and Glory in His Eternal Glory.


I believe Christ spoke the words of God, established His Gospel and provided the commandments that we all need to follow to be called “Christians”.  I also believe in the person of Jesus Christ, the same who was born of Mary, through divine conception.  Don’t ask me to explain that process or any of the other miraculous events during His life, but I believe and so should we all. I can't explain how electricity works, how do you expect me to provide insight into water into wine?


Belief is a fundamental process of becoming more than we are.  We sacrifice the finite and variable “truths of mortality” for truths that we cannot fully comprehend but are more real and more substantive than any facts, assumptions or theories that we are barraged with during our lives.  


I have often quoted myself in stating (do I have to put quotation marks when I quote myself?)  “Most people are wrong about most things, most of the time”  yes I actually made that up, or should I say coined the phrase.  In life most of what we learn is tenuous at best and will eventually be updated, altered or forgotten as we try to progress through our lives.  We are building upon sustainable facts and we are improving our view of our mortality, but, when it comes to immortality we know nothing and therefore need to rely on belief to sustain our efforts to reach that which we believe to be true.


One example is the subject of Death.  We know we are all going to die, but no one knows what happens to our lives, our memories, or spirits when we stop living.  I believe we live on.  I truly believe and live my life as if that belief is a constant reality.  We believe because we have been commanded to believe, given glimpses of an afterlife derived from the words and life of Jesus Christ, and I believe in and believe Christ, the Son of the Living God, even our Heavenly Father.  


Most of us know that the person Christ was born in or around April or May and that Christmas day is not His real birthday, but we celebrate December 25th as the Holiest of Holidays within the Christian world and since that day was presented as a day for Christians by Constantine as a way to unify the various religions of the world, I follow that day to celebrate the birth of MY LORD And SAVIOR.


An interesting side to the Christmas Holiday occurred when I was visiting my Son in Japan just prior to Christmas, I don’t recall the exact year but he was 21 or so.


The Japanese, especially in Tokyo go all out during Christmas except, I think, their use of XMAS is more appropriate to this story.  Everywhere you looked there were elves and Santa Clause, presents and trees, music filled the shops and streets.  XMAS was everywhere, people were laughing and singing, dancing, the streets were filled with shoppers and gawkers but one thing was missing.  Except for this one thing it was a perfect XMAS.  There was no Christ, no Baby Jesus, no substance of the “real” Christmas that take our souls toward God.  This was an XMAS, without Christ.  Similar to what is happening in our society.  Christ is being forgotten, dismissed and replaced.  


They may believe in Christ but they have no belief that Christ mattered, or sacrificed his life for us.  


I believe Christ mattered, I believe that only Christ can intercede with God for our eternal benefit.  It is CHRIST, His life, His Gospel and his promises that I believe in, that will ensure my Salvation.  


Thank you God, in the name of your Beloved Son, Jesus Christ.


Amen


And just for those who may not think I'm serious: I really, really, really do believe Christ is the Cornerstone of my life, and I pray that I can live up to His expectations of me.


Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Civil War .... Again?

 

Stories about the Civil War in our Country during the 1860’s have always intrigued me.  I was fascinated by the conflict and the often irrational views as they were opposed, vehemently, to those of the other side, on both sides.


My views regarding what I thought I understood about the Civil War were consistent and rational, logical and predictable , as were the thoughts and motivation of those in the South.  But when one compares the attitudes that prevailed during the Civil War you may be surprised at the similarities of how we think and react in relation to the events of today.


I have a sister, we are fairly close due to shared experiences when we were young, but her views and mine on a variety of topics are as different as night and day.  I am just as stymied by this divide than I am when I try to understand the chasms of differences that existed, and caused the Civil War between the States.


I love my sister but I cannot condone or support her views. Her opinions and her motivations do not agree with mine, especially in relation to what constitutes the foundations of this Country of the United States of America.


This is not simply about my sister, I have always been at odds with her and she with me regarding our politics, our motivations, and the process in how we develop our opinions and facts.  But like our relationship, there are hundreds of thousands of relationships just like mine that find it difficult to express our concerns over the differences in our basic thought processes.


Where I see a white wall, she sees a green one, where I see political chicanery she  sees normalcy.  We are literally at odds about the very foundations of life and freedom, about choice and responsibility, and to be honest I don’t know if there is a solution that will assist in bridging the enormous gap between us.  


My opinions and life choices have created a Moralistic pattern for me to follow, and I’m sure my sister has done the same.  The real dilemma is in how we interpret those moralistic patterns: What is good, what is not, what is right or wrong, and what is moral and what is acceptable as a society? 


I don’t want to rationalize my belief by making compromises, and neither does she, primarily because we both think we are morally correct and by compromising we would have to weaken our own foundational principles.  I do however, believe in an absolute Right or Wrong, especially when it involves Morality.


When the Civil war started, thousands of families had to grapple with the engulfing divide that was spreading from community to towns and to cities, everyone had to decide where they stood.  Fathers and sons, brothers, sisters, daughters and mothers were all affected by this strangling divide that was literally tearing the Country apart.  


Based on recent conversations with my sister, that same divide that affected the civil war era is affecting this country as well.  I have to imagine that I am not alone with this debilitating condition.  There are perhaps millions of families and individuals who are faced with these terrible choices.  Free speech, is it available to everyone equally?  Religious freedoms and the ability to assemble based on your religious beliefs, do you see this as an issue?  Government overreach that limits all of our freedoms and choices to some extent and most recently the forced application of power to mandate by threat, the vaccine at first and perhaps other things as well.  


There was no easy way out of the rift that developed over slavery and States Rights, and there is no easy way out of this current and growing divide.  When the “truth” behind an issue is marginalized by unsubstantiated pseudo-facts and the ever changing policies cause us all to question, even the most basic of steps, there is no way to completely understand which step, if any, should be taken, that’s called chaos, and when a system is chaotic, the outcomes are almost always chaotic and disruptive.


My relationship  with my sister has not improved because of the differences in our political and social views but I can envision a time, in the not so distant future, that those differences will force one of us or both of us to either stop talking about things we don’t agree, or we decide to chose to not  talk at all, or more realistically some middle ground that neither of us would feel comfortable with due to our polarized opinions; similar perhaps to Abraham Lincoln when he was willing to allow the South to continue with Slavery as long as they would stop their push to separate from the Union.  He was willing to sacrifice his moralistic principles on the issue of Slavery in order to save the lives of the thousands upon thousands of soldiers, on both sides.  The South said no, and the war continued as we all understand.

  • Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861

“In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to ‘preserve, protect, and defend it’.”



Those in the South thought that they could not efficiently survive economically without slaves and therefore they were fighting for their survival.  The reality is they could have survived and those that broadened their outlook, soon realized that it was possible, but they had to be forced to change, hence the Civil War, at least that aspect of the war.


One example that came out of my discussion last night with my sister is her belief in a strong presence of White Supremacist.  That topic of discussion did not go well.  She was adamant regarding the existence of these White Supremacist, literally disregarding all my proposed facts and logic to counter her belief that our country was riddled with these Racist Hooligans'.  It only got worse when I mentioned that, if there are White Supremacist in our Country, they are found in the Democratic Party, and it is not found in any degree of statistical relevance within those who claim allegiance to the Party of choice and limited government, the Republicans...That’s when she hung up on me.

  • Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863

“Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came …. Fondly do we hope — fervently do we pray — that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.”  


Here is my question:  Since we already understand the causes and results of the Civil War, and we understand the bloody and savage cost of those types of conflicts, is there a way to uphold the God given truths of this Great Nation and find a way to help others see the light of their dysphoria?   Or are we destined to fight for our freedoms, fight and perhaps die for our liberties in hopes that our victory (similar to the victory of the North over the South) will be enough to bridge these gaping lapses of understanding and finely move forward?





Friday, December 3, 2021

An American by any other name ...

Because of the rift between the Left and the Right, and just so there is no misrepresentation here I’m referring to the liberals and the Conservatives, or the Democrats and the Republicans.  I know that the line of designation between these two warring parties, and all those who associate with either one is tenuous and wavy, but most people seem to fall into one camp or the other by choice.


One way to think about where you stand is to compare what you think and believe, and what you would like others to think and believe.   


Since we have a Constitution and a Bill or Rights I think it would be appropriate to use the Bill of rights as the rubric for comparison.  Although the following is my opinion I do believe that my opinion has a basis for most Americans; so here we go:


First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Over the past few years it has been evident to me at least, that the free exercise of religion has been curtailed, especially during the COVID outbreak.  Churches, mostly conservative, not all but most,  who were forced to close, members of those churches were told to stay home and not peaceably assemble, all while riots and “peaceful demonstrations'' were allowed in virtually every major city.  Free speech has been curtailed, primarily for conservative speakers on college campuses, just because non-conservatives demonstrated and the colleges and universities capitulated, stifling the free speech of some….not to mention the social media groups who limit speech for some and allow others free reign.

Second Amendment

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

One side wants to take your Arms and the other is trying to protect your right to keep and bear Arms,  Hazard a guess who is who?

Third Amendment

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner; nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

No comment.

Fourth Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

No comment

Fifth Amendment

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

No comment

Sixth Amendment

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed; which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.  

I don’t know enough about the law in relation to this amendment, but it seems to me that we are skirting a few issues in relation to due process when you look at the outcomes of some of the police shootings and their following prescribed procedures and still be found guilty.  Another example could be the Rittenhouse trial and how obvious it was to me that he was innocent and should never have gone to trial.

Seventh Amendment

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of common law.

No comment

Eighth Amendment

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

I don’t understand this one.

Ninth Amendment

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Also, this one I don’t understand. I am going to have to do more homework on these that I do not understand...

Tenth Amendment

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The overreach of the federal government has been pervasive and troublesome.  With Biden proposing that the feds can pry into your bank accounts, without your permission is the first that comes to mind.  The mandates for inoculations for COVID or lose your employment is another obvious overreach.  

The Feds want to install a national election process and remove that responsibility by the states.  A national healthcare system is another example of overreach.  There are others that I do not know about but it is clear to me that our constitution is clear on this matter.


The point of this exercise is to demonstrate by comparing our Bill of Rights to your individual beliefs.  If after reading the above you agreed with the Amendments as written then you are a pro-Constitutionalist, however, if you find that you do not agree and want to change the provisions of the Bill of Rights then you are by definition NOT pro American.


Those on the left routinely disregard our laws, as in the recent rash of crimes that deal with individuals and groups who steal under the $1,000 limit and are not prosecuted.  There are also the states, like California who have released thousands of criminals of all kinds back onto our streets, because of COVID.  


Then we look at the border issue and the recent court decision to reinstate Trump's “hold in

Mexico” program that was ignored by Biden for over a year, allowing hundreds of thousands

of illegal immigrants into our country, including thousands of Afghans, flying them into cities

at night.


Are you an American or are you one who wants to change America into something else? If you prefer something else I propose you start your own "America", somewhere else, there is a whole world that agrees with you, at least according to you, so have it, but Don't Tread on Me.