Monday, March 30, 2009

Extortion by Any Other Name

Here is a little piece from the book Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Sure does ring a bell...

"And yet --- he thought --- through all the generations of political extortion, it was not the looting beaurocrats who had taken the blame, but the chained industrialists, not the men who peddled legal favors, but the men who were forced to buy them; and through all those generations of crusades against corruption, the remedy had always been, not the liberation of the victims, but the granting of wider powers of extortion to the extortionist"

Example #1

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Beach

The sun is shining and it is a beautiful day. I sit just five minutes from the wind swept atlantic ocean and a long walk along the beach. Of course, I should want to go walking on the beach, but it is just not the same without my special someone. She loves the beach and has drug me unwillingly to the crashing sun baked landscape as long as I have known her. It is sad being here without her; it just is not the same at the beach without her, so I just don't go. Hopefully, my next in earnest trip to the beach will not only be with her, but with my son also. I cannot wait to see him playing in the sand, rustling up some dead creature from the waves, getting ticked at momma for having to sit still long enough for the suntan lotion bathing. That will be a happy day. Until then....

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Festivus?!?!

One of the conversations I had this week...

Me: Have a Merry Christmas.

Confused: Hey now, that's not the most
politically correct thing to say.

Me: Would you rather I say Happy

Confused: No, I would rather you be yourself.

So, as I sit and write this, I wonder if the person that I was conversing with is antiChristmasestablishmentarianist, or was she just providing insight into her companies policy regarding wishing someone 'Happy Holidays' rather than 'Merry Christmas'. Whatever it was, I was astounded at the answer. 'No, I would rather you be yourself'. So profound. Who are we to sit around telling one another what someone else should say? Is Christmas not an actual day? It may hold significance to some people, but if it holds no significance to others that does not mean it has ceased to exist. You cannot just make it go away. However, the same applies for the other celebration days. Why would I get upset at someone telling me ‘Happy Hanukkah’? If I do not hold that holiday dear to my heart it does not mean it does not exist. I get over it and say ‘Happy Hanukkah’ back. Do I want them to have a bad Hanukkah? If someone holds that day sacred, let it be. Should I get upset if someone tells me have a good Tuesday? Info on Tuesday from Wikipedia

The name comes from Middle English Tiwesday, from Old English Tiwes dæg, named after the Nordic god Tyr, who was the equivalent of the Roman war god Mars, and
Greek god Ares.

In Latin, it is called Martis dies which means "Mars's Day". In
Romance languages except Portuguese, the word for "Tuesday" is similar to the
Latin name: mardi in French, martes in Spanish, martedì in Italian, dimarts in
Catalan, and mar?i in Romanian.

The surviving Celtic languages preserve the
Latin names,[1] although none of these languages are descended from Latin.
Tuesday is dé máirt in Irish, Meurzh in Breton,[2] dydd Mawrth in Welsh[3] and
Dimàirt in Scottish Gaelic.[4][5][6]

So, someone wishing me a good Tuesday is really telling me to have a good Nordic god Tyr/Roman war god Mars/Greek god Ares day. Yet I don’t get upset, and I am not the only one.

What I really think this gets down to is that some Christians feel that they should use Christmas activism as a vehicle to spread Christianity. That is fine if effective. But… last time I checked, all this force feeding of Merry Christmas down companies throats has done nothing but make people mad. It makes Christians mad when companies make a ‘happy holidays’ policy and non-Christians mad when a company makes a ‘Merry Christmas’ policy. How about this, don’t make a policy at all. Just let people be who they want to be. Non-Christians are like moths drawn to light, not anger. Christ did not force feed himself on us, he offers himself to us as a gift. We are drawn to His light and all we have to do is ask. We should take his example and try our hardest to emulate it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The God of Jazz

A couple of weeks ago I went to see Medeski, Martin and Wood (MMW) (there is a song by them in the music playlist below!) in concert at the Bijou Theatre in Knox-viz-negas. They are a jazz band that provides a little bit of everything; traditional jazz grooves, acid jazz, modern jazz grooves, Jamaican sounds, Cajun sounds…the list goes on and on and on. The thing is, you will never hear one single song that has any one of these elements throughout the entirety of the song. It was a great show, well worth the money; especially considering it was in a small venue and I didn’t have to beat anyone down to get a parking spot.

As I was sitting there listening to the show, I thought about how God reveals himself to others in Music. I thought about it for a few minutes, and then it dawned on me. Now, superficially, MMW may not seem to be the most ideal band to sit and analyze in such a manner; but, in reality, it is a great example of the different ways God deals with the world and with individuals. For example, many of their songs will have one of the trio laying down the backbone of the song while the other two are doing their haphazard free-style jazz thing in the background. God shines even during the storm. Then all of a sudden, the three players will blend together all in harmony with no discord or musical confusion. God brings you through the storm by bending the will of others into His own harmony. But the thing is, it doesn’t stop...the players go in and out from free style to melodic, back and forth, just like our lives. We have times when everything around us is going crazy while God sits there and provides us a beacon to look to, a still small voice to listen to. In the end he is always there, you just have to tune Him in while tuning the distractions out.

You see this isn’t the most perfect example. I have given the impression that the haphazard free-style side shows do not add to the music. But that is what makes MMW so good. While at first the sideshows seem to be disjointed completely from the underlying melody, they are truly adding depth and breadth to the music. They are making the song better, just not in the most conventional of ways. God does the same sometimes. He uses the tough times to make us better people. He uses the discord to bring emphasis to Him, the perfect melody. If only we can see the discord for its real worth, we can then recognize that it's not necessarily a bad thing after all...

Now, if only I could come up with something for acid/experimental jazz

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Yin and Yang

My wife was written a blog about some storms that came over our house the other day. She has had terrible experiences in the past with storms. She has been in multiple tornados. Once when in Atlanta at Six Flags a tornado hit the theme park parking lot as they were walking to their cars. They made it out OK with minor injuries to her family. Nonetheless, she has every reason to be wary of storms in general whether there is tornado activity or not. In her blog she mentions her fears and how during the storm the other day my son actually dozed in her arms as they were sheltered in our hall bathroom. My son's apathy towards the storm gave Sara a mental picture of how God holds all his children in his arms and protects them. Because of this we should have nothing to worry about, right? Well, here is a prime example where a lot of us listen to the word of God and acknowledge it but do not let His word rule our lives. We should trust all to God and know that whatever comes our way, no matter the situation, God will turn our hardships into something that turns out to be beneficial to us. Imagine that you are in the middle of a crisis or foresee an upcoming crisis. You could, and should, go through the many different possible scenarios and determine which scenarios are the worst. Typically, you will then attempt to alter the situation as to minimize the damage. Once this is done, you could take one of two paths. The first path is one where you worry about your decisions, struggle internally about the what-ifs you may have missed, etc… The other path is one where you accept your analysis and reaction to the upcoming events and you let the proverbial chips fall where they may. In all reality, you will balance the two paths during the situation. The yin and the yang of these two approaches will ensure that we maintain safety as well as mental stability. The problem is when we allow one situation to rule completely over the other. God tells us not to worry and to fear nothing. But, he also sent John the Babtist to prepare the way for Christ. How can God not worry yet send someone to prepare for a future event? In reality, he is telling us to prepare, but don’t worry about it. It is a very hard balancing act to follow. My philosophy is that when you have done your best you have done all you can. I struggle with attempting to find better ways to do things. One may call it worry; I call it trying to find a better solution, I am a scientist... But, in the end, I try to give all my worries to God and know that all will come out to the benefit of the Kingdom and I will become a stronger person by going through those trials. Now, I will admit, this may be a little self serving. Am I as a person ignoring difficulties because I want something good out of it? No, we should embrace hardships because that is exactly what He wants us to do. God wants us to be better people. In everything. He wants us to prevail in all of our everyday tasks. Whether it is the most menial job or the most important job in the world. That means home life with your family, life at your job, interactions with others you don’t know, church life and your own spiritual life. I have been told before that sometimes you have to humble yourself such that you can allow someone else to be a blessing in your life. We are all out there trying to pour our lives into others in order to help them. Do not take away someone else’s opportunity to bless you. This also applies to God's blessings. He wants us to accept his blessings as if they are gifts from a Father and you are a young child with no misgivings over accepting His blessings. By doing so we not only are abiding in God’s word, but you are also going to improve many other aspects of your life. Less worry means fewer health problems. It allows you to focus on things that actually matter in this world; those things God has asked us to do. Do not be afraid to accept God’s blessings. You may not like how they come, but they still come, and they are still God’s blessings!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My First Father's Day

This is my first father's day and so far it has been special to me. For those of us not in the military, this (and mother's day) is the only holiday that exist's because of something that we actually did. Up to this point in my life, I have been giving gifts and love to my father...but this year I am on the receiving end as well. But, you know, the gifts mean nothing. My wife, as she has a habit, made a handmade card for me. In it, she had written what Carter would say to me today, if he could say it. She translated those huge grins Carter gets when I come into the room into words that describes the adoration only a 4 month old child can have for his father. She fleshed out my son's feelings for me and made me realize how great it is to have a child. I thank my wife for her efforts to make father's day special. Oh, yeah, she also has bought me tickets to go see the Braves play with one of my friends. :p