Everyone needs to stand down!

I went to China many years ago for the first time. I was told how the government would possibly jail us if we were seen/caught giving out bibles. I was anxious about my visit because of the news stories I heard about China. I was sure someone would turn us in. However, the people were shockingly different from what I expected. They were hospitable and went over the top to accommodate us on anything we needed.

Similarly, the people in our country are perceived to be crazy. Our news outlets do not accurately represent who we are as a people in because of the government’s self-serving rhetoric. Our leaders openly push and represent views that are shocking…killing babies or separating them from parents or relatives. Their goal is to keep us at odds with one another by fear.

But their claims of the evils of America are NOT the Americans I know…conservative, liberal or moderate. The majority of the people I know want peace, justice and success for the people in our country. We have hearts and want the best for our fellow human beings.

We get caught up on social media espousing our views but we still go out day to day and help others even contrary to what others declare elsewhere. What else can we do??

How do we focus on THAT? Like the people in China, let’s shock the people we meet in our lives with our love and kindness. This will overwhelm the preconceived notions we have against one another.

How about we stop focusing on the detailed specifics about fixing the entire country to suit our beliefs and just be sacrificially giving to others? Then, shut the hell up about everything else. I imagine wanting the best for others will propagate the results we want rather than attacking each other.

We can continue letting fear drive us, or let love overcomes all things. Ever read 1 Corinthians 13?

The Online Persona

The internet is all fake. If you were wondering.

The internet is full of news that is top news one day and a retraction the next. How do we even know what to believe and what not to believe? Anybody can post anything anywhere and declare it news. On top of that, everyone’s in the habit of deciding what’s trustworthy based on their own bias. I read quiet a few news sources throughout the day and the contrast between the reported stories is striking. I have to glean what seems to be facts and piece together some semblance of truth.

With the stronghold social media has on the internet, social media and internet have become almost synonymous. Social media has become a smorgasbord of news stories, personal anecdotes, social causes, political opinions, cat pictures, and other loads of crap. I particularly like the stories with “Share this with EVERYBODY” which usually means it’s BS. I honestly believe that the most transparent posts I read are from the friends that I would have to say lean toward being bipolar. One minute they post something interesting. The next minute they’re cussing someone out or posting a passive-aggressive against we can only guess who.

Then, the social medias are full of social justice warriors known by their passionate posts and blogs. They rally the troops to some cause with a post, all their like-minded friends like it, they share it, maybe comment strongly, and then everyone goes back to their coffee at the trendy, air conditioned coffee shop. 

What about trolls? What purpose do they play in the internet world? Lately, the majority of those I see labeled as trolls are people that disagree with an opinion or point out a flaw in a article or post. I have been called a troll on multiple occasions because I asked a question to clarify a post or comment in groups that I am part of. I honestly wanted more info but apparently that implied something unacceptable to the masses.

So if this chaos bothers me so much, why do I keep coming back? I come back because it is like watching a NASCAR race. I have no interest in NASCAR other than watching for some big wrecks and then maybe seeing a pit row fight. I don’t have enough interest to care who wins. I want to see the comments where nut-bags argue about any little thing and I hope it develops into a major spat with name calling and berating. I want to see some WWE trash talking that ends up with one participant unconscious and unable to respond.

trainwreck

Oh, yeah. I do read some spiritual stuff.

Have you never read in the scriptures…?

It’s vital to our Christian walk that we read our Bible. However, reading the Bible goes hand in hand with applying what we read. Sometimes that might mean that we need to act but other times we just need to recognize truth as it applies to life around us. One time Jesus told the Pharisees and Sadducees that they could tell the weather by the look of the sky but “you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”(Mt 16:3) And He told them very plainly, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me.”(John 5:39) Later, Jesus warned that a time would come when even the elect would be led astray by false christs and false prophets(Mt 24:24). They will probably know scripture very well but won’t recognize that those charlatans are not the Christ. The only way we can learn to recognize truth is to make a habit of reading scripture and applying it to life. Jesus told a parable about some evil tenants to the priests and elders and then asked them their verdict regarding the tenants to which they responded, “put those wretches to a miserable death!”. They weren’t able to see that Jesus was talking about them. They had just judged themselves because they didn’t recognize the truth from scripture that applied. Jesus marveled, “Have you never read in the scriptures…?” and he quoted the passage that applied, Psalm 118:22-23. Surely the priests and elders knew Psalm 118? As we know, they were not in the habit of applying.

Matthew 21:42

Forgetting Jesus http://wp.me/p2FKbD-8V

I Need Guidance

I’m at the hospital hanging out with my father-in-law. He seems to be doing better.

I’ve been up here a few times and am a regular at Starbucks, the cafeteria, the crappy coffee machine in the ICU waiting room, Robert’s ICU, and the Emergency room.

Navigating the halls between all these is not intuitive. I usually cut through the Emergency room for a little people watching on the way to ICU. The only way I can make it to ICU is by following the signs. On a few trips around the building, I did’t pay attention and ended up going past my turn. When things don’t look familiar, I have to go back to check the last sign to get back on track, and sometimes even remind myself where I was going in the first place. Even if I don’t pay attention, as long as the signs are there, who can be against me?

Similarly, my mobile phone and Google can answer most questions and find directions to just about anywhere in the world in a few seconds. I can draw my phone in seconds and leave my brain in energy save mode.

Life events tend to wake you up!

“You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”

Life in the Raw

As my father-in-law slows down to the end of his life, I have conflicting thoughts. This may tie into my lack of compassion post; maybe not.

I’m sitting beside Robert as he struggles to stay alive. My mind wonders. When will I be on the beach again? I’m watching Modern Family, pretty funny. I took Hattie home because she felt ill. I would like a beer. I miss my dog. We haven’t got to hang out much this week. But then, here’s Robert dying.

I think I struggle with compassion but I’m not sure what I’m struggling with.

As my mind wanders, I worry about my wife and the rest of the family. Everyone will handle the end differently.

I’m sitting in my car taking a break and listening to the Eagles Desperado.

My struggle is that this is a man that has modeled life in a fashion I’ve never experienced. He was steady and never excitable. He was always focused. His attention to detail was amazing to me. I felt like a bum in the presence of a master.

But here we are in ICU watching the clock. Outside of the miracle I’m praying for, there’s just time.

My wife is sleeping in the waiting room and I’m in my car now listening to the Eagles. “There’s Gonna be a Heart Ache Tonite”. My comfort for the moment.

There are very few people I’ve learned life lessons from: my ex’s father John Reaves, my dad Billy Murray Sr., and Robert Gatlin.

All lessons from these days forward are unforeseeable.