Democracy: Bought and Paid For.

9 09 2012

The idea of reciprocity is as old as the idea of a social code. It is in our nature as people to help those who have helped us. This is as true for people borrowing sugar from a neighbour as it is for the politicians taking huge campaign contributions from the rich and powerful. Campaign financing gives birth to lobbyists. They will get you re-elected if you promise to look the other way. It is bribery and fraud and the way government works.

1)      No country for poor men: as it stands now, a candidate must either be independently wealthy or backed by huge interests to get elected into any office much less the presidency. Millions of dollars is what is needed to have your voice heard, however whose voice are they using when it is bought and paid for. It is a voice that is free to promise the world to get elected as long as that voice has no intent of actually implementing what it has stood for. All people of talent and vision have no chance of getting elected because they can neither afford nor get backed to run in the first place.

2)      Scratchy scratchy: Say I am a father who campaigns to my family that huge birthday parties would be had by all if I am allowed to be Dad. Now when the birthday rolls around I am not there because I am down the street helping Bob with his kid’s big party because Bob helped me buy my house. Is that going to seem fair to my family? Did I do the right thing? No, but hey I had to pay back the favour. I have in fact lied to the people who put me in the role of Dad to pay back the person who holds something over me.

Now imagine I am a senator and I ran on the promise that I would create jobs in my constituency by having infrastructure built. I build the infrastructure but use a bid from a business that contributed to my campaign but is in another state. So I supplied the infrastructure (birthday party) however I am not creating jobs for my state but for a company (Bobs’ kid) . The laws of reciprocity and you owe me can work no other way.

As long as our choice of leaders are dictated, not by the best ideas but, by and for the best lined pocket then we will keep getting more of the same.  Money corrupts the very idea of a true democracy because those who take feel the need to give. However, what if they didn’t have to take?

What if elections were won on ideas and not glitz and broken promises?

What if the ideas of the candidate were summed up in a platform letter and then distributed to all voters where they will emphasize their record and their beliefs and it is on that alone where the populous made their decisions?

What if huge contributions were seen as the bribery they are?

As it stands now, no candidates will meet all their campaign promises because they will never be allowed to! They are controlled puppets who have to sell their voices to get heard and their souls to get elected.

Your thoughts?





Democracy is Dying

8 09 2012

To sell freedom for the masses is the only attempt they have of creating the mirage of America. Politics in the USA has become nothing more than a spin doctored truth that is for sale and leaves all ignorant. We lap up the conventions as if they are saying something new and prove our partisanship by which “news station” we watch. I was thinking on that point this AM while having my morning coffee and I thought, “if we are supposed to be gifted with a free press and that press is supposed to inform us of fact on the ground, then how can we have different facts depending on the station we watch?”

The harsh truth is that the news today is a gambit of unintelligent propaganda meant to indoctrinate and not educate. Truth is seen through the ideas of media moguls who pay the bills and therefore create the news. If you are a conservative and that is the truth you want, you watch Fox. If you are Liberal and that is your truth you watch MSNBC. If you are in need of no news of consequence you watch CNN. Truth is not in what actually happens in the world but how they tell you it happened and why it is the other sides fault. There are three Truths as I see them in this election that are doing nothing but perpetuate ignorance and destroying the political landscape of the country. They are as follows:

1)      Individual thought is dead: The idea of any political leader standing for the people in his/her constituency is laughable. The people that are going into office are not interested in you but the party. The fear of being seen crossing the isle and working with the other side is tantamount to treason (especially for republicans). They will be lambasted, given no backing in the next election and will eventually be replaced with some automaton that will toe the party line. I say this because for the last 2 years the congress has been plugged with a wall that will not allow anything to pass. They don’t care if they are doing, or not doing, what the COUNTRY needs but only care about what the party needs. At the end of the day, this does not create jobs, educate children, are help people at all. They stymie the needs of the people for their own job security.

2)      The twisted truth: We spend way too much time tied to these news outlets with their spin doctors telling us what we want to hear and not what is said. The campaigns message has not changed and they are just speaking to what they have been saying for months. However, what they say does not matter. What the reporters say they said and how they twist it to the stations philosophy is what matters. So the corporations are spending Billions to Lie to us and we lap up the partisan-soup. Republicans and Democrats are all American and while the country falls apart around them, they fight as to whose fault it is and have no interest in fixing it. A bridge or jobs are not created by arguing WHO IS RIGHT, they are created by leaving the politics of division at the door and doing WHAT IS RIGHT.

3)      The political spectacle: The amount of money that is pouring into this race is to me staggering. There are real people suffering in the country and houses being repossessed and children starving. But who REALLY cares right? Over the primaries and the general election there are Billions spent getting the person into office, or I should say Party into office. All the stump speeches are the same and all the news stations say what their owners and supporters want them to say, so why is there speech after speech after speech saying nothing new. If you want to know what the person running stands for, read the party election platform. All the info is there. Watch a speech but the whole speech, not the snippets the news wants you to see. Make a decision and Vote. This reminds me of the movie Gladiator when Russell Crowe’s character looks at the audience and screams, “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED”. These news stations are not informing the electorate but infotaining them. Give the money to those that are suffering in real life, please.

As I said, media is twisting and creating truth and the partisan divide is becoming a wall that will never be able to be traversed. In the end, American’s suffer while their leaders are stumping for the camera and not for your well being. An informed electorate is the backbone of a democracy. So get informed by research and looking for information that is true and not this partisan tripe.





Quantity in the Unquantifiable.

26 08 2012

I have a beautiful beach where I live. My question is, since I can’t count each grain of sand, does that beach stop existing? I realize that some would say that is a pedestrian argument and of course it exists because we can see it.

I can not see someone’s headache so does that mean that it does not exist? Of course it does because they are in pain.

I can’t “see” God healing others so does that mean He isn’t?

Here is how I see it:

We seek simplicity to describe everything. We seek answers we do not comprehend to explain fact. We study doctrine to explain all. We only realize misunderstanding through damage. We have whole faith in answers written somewhere. We build on the mistakes of our predecessors and feel the answer is now found, much like our predecessors claimed.

This view I am describing is the worldly view of some non believers and how surprising is it that it sounds identical to the ideas some people have of faith. So therefore, are we not all chasing unicorns?

The idea of praying for those who are ill is ridiculous in the eyes of some. To reach into your heart and to trust god is akin to holding your breath while drowning. Good start but pointless in the end.

They say, “God can’t heal.” But I say, “Really?”

Is awareness not healing?

Is His work on my tendency to envy not healing?

Is my realization that I am not the superiority not healing?

Is empathy and love for those who suffer not healing?

Is the fact that he took me, as I was,  reached in and opened my eyes to my gifts and released in me an idea that my needs are not paramount, no healing there? He heals.

Just a thought. Your thoughts?





Polemics: Us vs Them.

24 08 2012

When someone imagines the conversations between Believers and Atheists, they tend to cringe and look for popcorn and a good seat to watch the show. The conversation, however, is not the issue; it is the tenor of the conversation that sets divides. Whether a believer of God or a non-believer is not the issue, but the reactions we have towards each other that is the issue.

Polemics has a way of creating an environment where the other side is completely wrong because you hold the trump card. Polemics denies rational and pure discussions of opinions layered behind rightness. Atheists I have spoken to have the same “trump cards” that they play when the conversation of faith arises (and I used to play the same cards before God found my heart). Faith sucks because of the crusades (BAAM), and the inquisition (SLAP) and the intolerance of Homosexuals (SLUG) and a myriad of other one-punches that they have defined their opposition on. Conversely, I have heard people of faith use the same tactics. You are just a sinner (PUNCH), if only you knew what I know (POP), and my favourite, well you are going to burn in Hell (SLAM). All are polemic; all are condescending; and useless in my eyes.

Neither side can exist on the platform that the other side is ignorant, stupid, close-minded, or worst of all, a sum of all we disagree with about the other viewpoint. Not all Christians believe that homosexuals are people to be disenfranchised and belittled, just as not all atheists see Darwinism as fact. It is the action of grouping people as “others” that allow for us to lump all into one. We don’t see the individual person but the label.

So I stand here,

God is not flawed but humans are.

God is not flawed but what we do in his name can be.

Therefore, I must say to all the atheists I know and talk to, that the God I believe in is beautiful, perfect and always present. But religion is not always those things and it is our brokenness as humans that have allowed us to hurt others in His name.  Religion is man made, whereas God made man.

I want to see the person and not the label. I would love to be able to have conversations on beliefs and opinions that are not clouded in reactions and dogma.

Let us sit and talk while playing cards; no Trump allowed.





Vows Unbroken

21 08 2012

Singular wounded souls wander,

vetting the world’s needless calls.

But in the arms of your future,

true calm and beauty falls.

 

Duality becomes one heart,

two rings become one hand .

No powers to pull them apart,

for the vow is not of this land.

 

This is not a commitment to happiness,

this is not a refuge from pain .

This vow is a promise of endurance,

in moments of both sun and rain.

 

So as we embark on our journey sacred,

and the toiles of life remain.

The rings have steeled our convictions,

for two souls have unity gained.

A. Vogelsang





Created or Creators?

19 08 2012

There are many who question what it is to be a Christian and the answers are where lines are drawn and sides are taken. I do not want to create a line; I just want to speak to what I feel in my heart and pray about often. I think to be Christian is to place God ahead of ourselves and start to wrestle with the pitfalls of being human. To seek redemption for all we are and to work on the issues that God places on our hearts to see. It is to work with each other because we all have issues and we see them in others but some don’t want to, or can’t, see them in themselves. To say I am broken is to say I am human. To work on my brokenness, and the brokenness of others, through fellowship and love, says (in my heart) I am Christian. That’s what I see Christianity being. Therefore, who creates our world around us? Who shapes what we feel and strive for?  Who or what do we love? If the answer is ourselves than we see ourselves as creators; if the answer is God than we opt for created.

We can elevate ourselves to be creators of our world and thus put ourselves in a place of superiority. Our wants grow in step with our egos. The more we have the more we want for to attain material things is to clothe ourselves in the expendable. Empty hearts and unfulfilled elation follows. To base our stature on the expendable creates a definition of ourselves that never goes beyond mere appearance; more, how others perceive us. Leaving us shimmering gold on the outside but rotting and bound to taint from the inside out. I spent many years rotting while trying to keep a nice shine on the outside so no one would see what lay beneath because we live in a culture where to feel is weakness and to not have control is to have nothing. When I thought I had control I tended to lead myself into the wall over and over.

The created value Him; creators value chattel.

The created suffer; creators make others suffer.

The created love others genuinely; creator’s love because they should for their own good.

The created admit weakness; the creators shield it with bravado.

The created seek His authority; the creators think they are authority.





The Scales of Faith.

12 08 2012

Out of the four things Jesus asked of his disciples that we talked about today: hearing Him, turning to Him, trusting Him,  and following Him,  I would have to say trusting God with all of me is the hardest to do. In fact, I think we all may struggle with that.

Picture our faith in God as a scale in a bathroom. To truly meet the four things discussed today we must be able to stand with two feet on the scale; not one foot or half our weight but all of us. We must trust God with all our weight which is the culmination of our entire being.

Can we ever fully step into the scale of faith? Are we capable of relinquishing control in our minds to put it all on God? I can put on God the need I have for control about the things I truly can’t control. I can’t control the speed of the car in front of me so I learned, through His grace, to stop letting it bother me. Same can be said of how fast the line is moving at the store or bank, and roll with it and being peaceful while some squirm. Does that mean I have put my need for control on God? Or have I simply put my impatience on Him?

Control is insidious because it stems from fear. Fear is the one thing we can’t rationalize and therefore we try to position it away from us. In doing this we show our comforts as strengths, in the hope of overshadowing our fears in the aggregate. Strong battlements do nothing to fix the hole in the middle, they just protect and hide the hole; in turn clouding the whole of who we are.

So what can we do as a faith community that will help to place our full weight on the scales, fear and all? If I had that answer I would love to let you know but alas I do not. I know for myself, recognizing my fears and finding the source of the fears through prayer has helped me but in a way it only helps me and not others who suffer and think they are alone.

Maybe God has placed us in this community so we can realize we are not alone. Maybe God has asked us to share with each other and grow as a community in love and discipleship. Maybe we are incapable of standing on the scale of faith as individuals but as a community, through communication and openness, we can stand strong on the scale with two feet and no crutch.








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