Make the New Year Count

calvin-hobbes-new-years-resolutions
Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right
Oprah Winfrey

It’s that time again when people make their New Year resolutions.  The most common that I hear are to eat better, exercise more, or quit smoking or drinking.  All of them seem to be about self and not about others.  I think that when we look ahead to this year we should look at making decisions that will have an impact on someone else and if it helps us to then that is a double bonus.

I have a few suggestions that might help us all.

1) Cut down the arguments on Facebook, Twitter and your other social media sites.  Everyone has a right to their opinion don’t be mean to them because it is not yours.  And before you post a meme, check out the facts behind it.  I’ve often found them false and do let people know when a meme is deceiving or an outright lie.  Sometimes that starts a fight.  “Learn to walk away” I tell myself, “Learn to walk away.”  No one is going to change their mind unless they want to, fighting only makes them more defensive and less willing to listen to you.  So learn to walk away.

2) Help someone.  We all know people who are in need.  Do something for them.  Don’t just tell them that you are praying for them. Sure that may lift their spirits, but put your words into action.  Help them with their needs.  If you can’t fill those needs, find someone who can.  But I am betting that you can do it.  You can send a card, you can clean a yard, wash some dishes or baby sit their kids.  Make a difference in their life.  It will be more rewarding than anything you can think of.

3) Don’t look down on people.  To many times I hear people talking bad about that bum on the corner asking for money or the single mom who is struggling to control her kids, or that person that doesn’t keep their house perfectly clean etc.. etc.. I could go on about what people complain about.  It does not help them or you.  You don’t know what a hard life or day that they have had. Instead, try to be sympathetic to them or whatever they are going through.  Each of us reacts different to situations and just because you think would handle it better doesn’t mean that all people do.

4) Volunteer somewhere.  This could be at your local place of worship if it is involved in community outreach that does not involve evangelism, the food bank, homeless shelter, pet shelter, etc… There are lots of good places you can help out instead of spending time on yourself.  Spend it on and for others.

5) Give that $1.  Often a store will ask if you want to donate to a cause when you are buying what you have come to purchase.  Give a $1, it won’t break you and it will help so many people or animals.

6) Make a friend.  Recently I read a story about President Lincoln who received a letter asking for a pardon from someone without the normal letters from influential people.  Mr. Lincoln asked if this person had any friends.  “No sir, not one.” came the reply.  “Then I shall be his friend.” Said Mr. Lincoln.  Be that friend to those who have none.

7) No road rage this year, in fact control your anger wherever you are.  Instead pray for that persons safety that just cut you off and for the safety of those in their path.  Maybe they are rushing to the hospital because their mom just had a heart attack.  Maybe they are rushing to pick up their child who is sick.  We don’t know.  Maybe they are a jerk, but treating them the same does not make your day or their day any better.

8) I’ll leave this one up to you.  There are many other ways you can make this a better year.  Feel welcome to drop an idea here to help someone who may read this page.  Have a Great and Happy New Year!

Christian…. Why vote only Republican?

god_is_not_a_republican

My Country is the world, and my religion is to do good.

Thomas Paine “Father of the revolution”

Many years ago I was asked by a woman in my church, “Who did you vote for?” Without giving me a moment to answer she continued. “You did vote for Bush, after all he is the Republican.”

Well, that got me thinking, “Why do many Christians believe you have to vote only Republican?” This was the way that I grew up but why? The two main issues that are normally stated are abortion and homosexuality. I understand that their reading of the Old Testament condemns homosexuality and so does the book of Romans. Abortion is never outright condemned, but Christians do believe that life is precious and shouldn’t be ended “prematurely” by man. God gives life and only God should take it. (Which makes me wonder why many of these Christians back the death penalty.) It is curious to look at what Jesus says and that he never mentions either of those subjects even though they were happening in his day. Do you think Jesus thought they weren’t all that important of issues?

Furthermore, will Rick Perry , Jeb Bush, Bobby Jidal or Ted Cruz do anything to stop abortion or prevent people from being homosexuals? (like that’s possible)Reagan nor either of the Bush presidencies did much and neither will any of your Republican hopefuls. To me, they simply seem to be using these issues to get elected and therefore using you.

What about the other issues? What about the poor? Jesus often talked about taking care of the poor. What about health care? Is that taking care of the poor? Which party really takes care of the poor people in this country? Which party is trying to get health care to the needy? Which party voted for equal pay for women? Which party wants to raise the minimum wage to help the poor?

What about creation? ( environment) Who passes better legislation or repeals it? Do Christians know which administrations have done the most good or harm for God’s Earth? Or do they both give in to big business and screw creation?

Is not education important to Christians? Is mandating “No child left behind” good or bad? Do you just guess or are you involved in education? What do you know about Common Core and what teachers have to go through? Who cuts help to schools or to libraries? Is that more a Republican or Democratic thing? Do you pay attention?

How about the war? I understand defending your country, but isn’t Jesus the “Prince of Peace?” I also understand defending the weak and helping your neighbor, but is that being accomplished? So, which party will do what is right? Who will start helping people by not bombing another?

Jesus often spoke about the dangers of wealth and power. Are our candidates above this, or corrupted by this? Does either party do anything without consulting the people who gave them the Money to run? Which candidates are in the hands of the Koch brothers? Which are in the hands of Unions? Have you asked these questions?

On this note, what about the deficit? Are we voting for candidates that promote being responsible with our money or those that promote spending more than what we have and running up our governments credit cards and loans? Reagans economic policies of do it now pay for it later taught Americans it’s ok to rack up your credit card bills. It was also responsible for the biggest non war deficit in American history.

What about purity and honesty? Does either party promote this? In my lifetime (40 years) there has been political scandals and corruption associated with every administration. (except maybe Ford) Watergate, Iran Contra, Monica Lewinsky, Spygate to name some of the bigger ones.

Can a person truly say that one party is more Godly than another? Everyone of our presidents has claimed to be a Christian, whether from the Democratic, Republican, Federalist or Whig party. It is clear that most of them were not.

In the past 46 years we have had a Republican president 28 years and a Democrat 18. Is our country more “Godly” or “Christian” because of the leadership of Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or either Bush’s? During the Obama, Clinton and Carter years, did we become less Godly? I don’t think so.

So I ask, why should a Christian vote only Republican? What do you think?

http://truepoizonblogs.blogspot.ca/2014/09/im-long-time-registered-republican-who.html

Are we different yet?

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana

December 7th 1941, a day that shall live in infamy. This attack was a start of Americans being scared of Americans. Because the Japanese attacked the U.S., Americans assumed all Japanese must somehow be evil and placed them into internment camps for the length of the war. What if today a small group of individuals did something horribly wrong and we blamed the entire race or group? We took their property and rights away and jailed them for simply being themselves. They couldn’t help being that way.  It was nothing they could change and no matter how long they had lived in America they were treated as if they were the enemy.   If something like that happened today, would we stand up for those oppressed, agree with the oppressors or keep silent?

History is full of people being oppressed because of a few people doing something wrong.  In the past decade Americans have learned to hate all Muslims because of 9-11.  Americans throw out hate towards those on welfare because of a few that abuse it.  We spew out hated words against illegal aliens because they don’t come here legally but the government sure doesn’t make it easy to come here.  By the way our ancestors may not have been invited either.  If you are like me and your ancestors came from Europe then it is quite possible that your ancestors and mine conquered the land, driving the Native Americans away and killing many in the process.  I bet if you were to talk to many illegal aliens they would tell you they are here to find a better life.

Americans are not always the nicest in the world.  We had to have a war to end slavery; we rounded up all the Cherokees and marched them off their land because white people wanted it.  We haven’t given equal rights to African-Americans and women until the last 100 years.  And I still think we have a long way to go with that.  We ignore atrocities in some countries because they have no oil, global positioning, or usefulness to us but invade others to “protect our interests.”

I believe that this bigotry or prejudice comes because of fear.  Fear of people who are different.  And we all know that “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” (Yoda)  We look different, act different, worship different, have different customs etc…  Abraham Lincoln once said “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”  What if we took that approach instead of the hate/fear approach?  It is easier to sit back and condemn others.  It is much harder to get to know people and to learn where they come from so that you understand why they believe what they do.

I grew up in upstate New York.  If I had continued to live there I would not have learned this because I would not have had to learn a lot.  From my birth I was taught what people living in my area believed.  There was no big culture difference from family to family.  But then I moved to Indiana and then to Ohio. I moved from the country to the suburbs.  To different cultures to people who were different.  Not because one was better than another, but simply different.

Today I have friends that are white, black, Jewish, Christian, agnostic, Atheist, homosexual, heterosexual, young and old.  Some have money and some do not.  I also have many female friends but that may be because I teach and there are certainly more females in that profession.   Wherever I have gone I have been able to make friends.  I think mostly because I have learned to listen to them.  In college, people I barely knew would ask to talk to me about their problems and I always took time to listen to them.  Most of the time I felt like I had no idea how to help them, but they always thanked me for listening.  Think about what kind of difference we could make in this world by taking time out of our day to get to know those who are different from us.  What if we were to listen to their problems, not to fix them but just to be there for that person?  I bet we would find that no matter what religion we followed, what race we were, what areas we grew up in that we would not be that much different.  Try it, you might actually like it.  And others.