Archive for November, 2018

With the 2018 midterm election just days away, I offer the following recommendations for the voter’s consideration:

  • VOTE! Just do it! Yes, your vote matters. Our democracy is based on our right and responsibility to vote.
  • DO NOT LET ANYONE SCARE YOU INTO A DECISION ABOUT WHERE TO CAST YOUR VOTE! Fear is used to manipulate voters. Do you want to let yourself be manipulated? Get a well-rounded view of the issues that are most concerning.
  • Ignore political advertising, propaganda, etc. on social media. Most of the time we don’t know where the content originates. Social media is where the Russians messed with the 2016 election by originating hot-button postings.
    Remember, if you pass something along in Facebook, Twitter, or whatever, you have taken ownership of it. Do you want that responsibility?
  • Ignore TV advertising by PACs and SuperPACs (those ads with fine print saying something like, “by XYZ and not affiliated with any candidate,” or related language). The rule of thumb is–ignore any ad in which you cannot determine who has created it.
  • VOTE!
  • Ignore TV advertising by candidates. Whether a candidate says good things about themself or slings mud at an opponent, what they say will almost surely be cherry-picked bits bereft of the context that fills in the whole story.
    Also, we live in an age in which we no longer need joke about politicians’ dishonesty as lying is now in fashion and made quite acceptable by example. How can any of us watching a candidate’s TV ad know that they are truthful?
  • VOTE!
  • The choices we make should reflect our ethics. Therefore, take a moment to decide what kind of ethics you want to be remembered as having. You have two choices:
    a. Utilitarian Ethics — at its best, this ethic can be described by asking the question, “What decision leads to the greatest good for the most people?” However, most of the time our natural selfishness and short-sightedness leads us to practice this ethic under the rubric, “the end justifies the means.” Over the last few years, utilitarian ethics has acquired the crass description of “hold your nose because what is promised is worth it.”
    b. Virtue Ethics — this ethic asks, “what kind of person do I want to be and what decisions do I make to reflect this?” In other words, the end does not justify the means and it matters how we get from a concern or desire to a reality. Virtue ethics makes it unnecessary to hold one’s nose. Typically, virtue ethics seeks the good always, but prioritized the common good.
    Each of us will vote informed by our ethics, therefore it might be wise to take a moment to make sure you can live with them. If you have to hold your nose, can you defend the smell?
  • If you want to be known as a person of integrity, vote consistent with your ethics.
  • VOTE!
  • Be open-minded and willing to cross party lines if the best candidate is on the “other side.”
  • When discussing the election, or anything related to governance and politics, unload your pre-determined proclamations, shut-up and listen, and give the other person respect enough to constructively converse with them. This is a lot more difficult than simply presenting a list of your hardened opinions or refutations, but the work is worth it.
  • VOTE!
  • The news media IS NOT the ENEMY OF THE STATE. Historically, it has been totalitarian and fascist regimes who either denigrated or manipulated the media in order to control public opinion and hide the worst of their offenses against their own people. A vital and unencumbered news media is a crucial safety feature in our democracy as it provides transparency into the government who exists to serve us.
    Take a critical look at all news media to understand any bias, but make your own analysis–don’t let anyone else make it for you.
  • VOTE.
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America–October 2018

Posted: 2018/11/02 in Christianity, Church

[This was first posted on Facebook on 28 October 2018]

America, October 2018 — division, derision, deceit, & desperation for a better world — Today’s epiphany is that the Church …
… does not exist merely as a retreat and ancient rock of stability in an unstable world,
… does not exist merely to remind us that God loves us and Jesus saves us (if we need weekly reminders, we haven’t been paying attention and need to look at our trust in God),
… does not exist merely to entertain with great music and arts,
… does not exist merely to give preachers a pulpit for eloquent and articulate (and occasionally inspiring) oration,
BUT the Church DOES EXIST in order to SHOW THE WORLD A GLIMPSE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD…
…where grace, peace, love, community, compassion, care, generosity, courage, truth, forgiveness, reconciliation, and justice are the rule of the day.

BTW – the church is full of real people. One of them may hurt you or at least make you unhappy. Your pastor may not do whatever spirituality you want in the way you want it.
So what! If you claim Christ as your Lord & Savior, then you might try seeing past these to the bigger, more important calling of being part of that glimpse of the Kingdom that offers hope to the world. Just because the world has forgotten forgiveness doesn’t mean that we who follow the crucified Christ have done the same.

Lord, have mercy. Brothers and Sisters, let’s change the world! Lord, have mercy.