Friday, February 20, 2015

Some thoughts on some thoughts



"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.  By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. 
 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’"
Mt. 7:15-23


About a week ago, the President attended and spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast.  I didn't listen to it, but read about it in the paper.  I saw that the former race car driver, Darrel Waltrip gave his testimony.  Then I noticed that the Dalai Lama was in attendance.  I thought to myself, "Oooh, THAT'S gonna rub some folks the wrong way." But then again, I'm not the sort to freak out over that sort of thing.  My second thought was, "Well, that's awesome!  I'll bet you $10 that the Dalai Lama has never actual heard the Gospel presented before."  God moves in some pretty clever ways.

Actually, the fact is that plenty of non-Christians have been invited, including King Abdullah II of Jordan back in 2006 when Bush was still President.

Well, it turns out I was wrong.  People didn't freak out over the Dalai Lama being at the prayer breakfast.  No.  Instead they freaked out over this...


When I first read those lines in the paper, it didn't rub me the wrong way at all.  In fact, it didn't even raise a pulse.  Those are simply sad, historical facts.  In America and the rest of the world, Scripture has been repeatedly twisted and warped to justify all sorts of evil.  And it's still happening.  The President was simply quoting history.  What's the big deal?

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A brief aside here: If you think all of this is ancient history, you are fooling yourself.  Take a gander at this link about Bob Jones University in S. Carolina.  It was founded as a VERY Fundamentalist college back in the day.  Up into the 1970s, it still forbade Black Americans from attending.  Once they were allowed in, no inter-racial dating was allowed.  When I was in Bethel College in the 80s, I saw a story from there about a girl who was half black and half white.  The school made her sign a sheet to decide what she really was before she could attend an event with boy of the Cracker persuasion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Jones_University

Beautiful.  
And all of this based on some truly pathetic interpretations of the bible.

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So anyway, the President speaks an uncomfortable truth.  No big deal I thought.

Oops.  The next thing you know, social media, FOX, "Christian" leaders, and of course greedy power brokers, are having a field day.  The picture at the top of this post is from Reince Priebus, the head of the Republican National Committee.  I first saw it on Facebook yesterday.  He's no fool.  He knew instinctively how to capitalize on gullible, angry, professional President haters.  And the sad fact is that many, if not most, of these haters are people who call themselves christians.

David Brooks is not a believer, but I've heard him speak on this many times, and I thought his response was spot on...

(BTW: If you want some fun, watch the clip through to the end.  Shields pops a bolt over dumb people who don't believe in vaccinations.  LOL.)



If part of the core of Christianity isn't about acknowledging our sin and seeking redemption, what is it?  Have not all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God?  I can assure you that at this point in my life, I have made enough mistakes before God that I fully understand King David when he wrote, "For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me." (Psalm 51:3) I am no longer ashamed to admit them.  If you want details, I'm not terribly shy about that either...but it might make your ears smoke.

Shouldn't nations be willing to do the same?

The President simply told the truth.  I honestly don't understand what the offense was.

Except...

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"I don't want to see religious bigotry in any form. It would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it."  Billy Graham

"Christians should never have a political party.  It is a huge mistake to become married to an ideology, because the greatest enemy of the gospel is ideology.  Ideology is a man-made format of how the world ought to work, and Christians instead believe in the revealing truth of Scripture."  Chuck Colson 

It's not exactly a secret that the church in America has been sold out to far-right politics in most respects.  When I talk to many, if not most, non-christians, they just assume that since I am a christian, I must be a Republican and probably a TEA-Bagger at that.  How in the world did that happen??????


For the record, I do tend to vote Republican the majority of the time.  But I'm not blind.  I'm not wedded to the idea that I am doing Jesus a favor by voting for his ordained party.  I'm strictly independent.  In fact, I reject the idiotic labels of "Liberal" or "Conservative."  Those are man-made
 philosophical constructs with all of the inherent flaws and falleness that comes with them.

When someone says to me, "Yeah, I'm a Christian and a Liberal...Conservative," what I hear is, "Yeah, I'm half a Christian."  I'm pretty sure that that bible warns about taking on worldly labels.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's perfect will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Romans 12:2


The church in America is massively compromised thanks to politics, particularly far-right politics.  The Left has some of it, but not nearly as much.  I'm uncertain why that is the case.  Perhaps liberals tend to be more secular to begin with.  I don't know.  But for some reason, the church in America is kowtowing to extremism on the Right like a dirty, little whore. (Blunt, but I mean exactly that!) The result is that the purity of the Gospel has been compromised and seriously harmed.

The church in America, either through willful ignorance or shear gullibility or just plain stupidity, has allowed itself to be played and used by politicians, and by those out to make a buck in the media.  If you spray a little Jesus-gloss on whatever you're saying, witless American christians will buy it.  It just breaks my heart.

I know sooooooooooooo many Christians who allow themselves to be influenced by godless, wicked people like Ayn Rand (Militant, Jesus-hating Atheist), Glenn Beck (Mormon), Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity (Gas bags out to sell commercials to masses of sheep) and it makes me weep.  It's one thing to know what they say.  It's entirely different to embrace their ideas.  It's the equivalent of saying you're a Believer, but when it comes to your sexuality, you embrace the ideas of Mick Jagger, Hugh Hefner and Dan Savage.

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The movie, "American Sniper," has been out for a while now.  I haven't read the book or seen the film. Apparently, it has sparked some controversy.  I'm not a pacifist.  War is an ugly business and ugly things happen in it.  However, if you want to see what ugly truly is, watch this next clip.

I don't really care what Michael Moore has to say about anything.  I get a kick out of his movies, but I know from the start that he's loaded it with all of his biases.  Apparently he had some comments about the movie.  FOX news knew right away how to make some money off of that.


I had never heard of this talking twat, Todd Starnes, before this.  He impressed me!  I had no idea that anyone could fart out of their mouth as long has he does here...


If that isn't a perfect example of a complete perversion of Scripture, I don't know what is.  To take my Messiah, my KING, and treat him like a prostitute makes me absolutely LIVID!  That man is NOT my brother in Christ!!!!!!!  No one who follows Jesus would EVER say something like that.  That man is a fool and nothing less.


I highly doubt he even believes what he is saying, but he knows it's good for ratings.  And there will be so many "Christians" who agree with him...

"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 1 Tim. 4:1

And so it has begun...


Avarice and greed are gonna drive you over the endless sea.
They will leave you drifting in the shallows,

drowning in the oceans of history.
Travellin' the world, you're in search of no good.
But I'm sure you'll build your Sodom like I knew you would.
Using all the good people for your galley slaves.
As your little boat struggles through the the warning waves.
But you will pay, you will pay tomorrow.
You're gonna pay tomorrow.


Peace

Joe

Thursday, February 19, 2015

"Rebel, Rebel"



"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did to me."
Matt. 25:40

"Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy."
Ez. 16:49


A week ago today, I received one of the greatest compliments of my entire life.  I was politely asked by my former employer to shop somewhere else.  In other words, I have been un-officially banned from shopping at the Cub Foods store where I was employed until last July.  My crime?  "Recruiting."

As of last July, I found a job with Lakewinds Natural Foods.  http://www.lakewinds.com/  I had been flirting with the idea of getting a job there for a long time, and was routinely encouraged by others there to try and apply.  So I finally did.  Turns out, they are making me into a butcher.  I'll never get rich, but I'm happy.  The people I work with are great, fun and extremely knowledgeable.  The majority of customers are very nice and fun to work with.  PLUS, as a co-op, the way they treat their employees is AMAZING!

Let me give you some facts as a background, then I'll explain the main thrust of this post.

Cub Foods: The one I worked at is owned by Jerry's Enterprises as a franchise.  The rest are owned by Cub Corporate and Supervalue.

In 2008, our limp and flaccid joke of a Union signed a contract with the company.  We had a hiring freeze, a wage freeze and we all had to take a one week UN-paid vacation.  The week after the contract was signed, each store spent over $100,000 on camera systems to help spy on employees.  I should add that all of the department managers received their yearly bonuses, too.

In the past month or more, I found out that the company has been doing whatever they can to not provide health coverage for it's part-timers.  Two of them are friends of mine.  One has given over 20 years to that store.  The other is a young mother with two children who has worked there for 6-7 years. How did the store reward their loyalty?  They cut their hours so they didn't have to provide insurance.

I think the only word for something like that is DESPICABLE!

(Believe me, I could go on with many more true tales.  But for time sake...)


LakewindsA Co-op is a member owned business.  I wont bother going into all of the details, but if you want to know more about one, here's a handy little video...


There are three stores in our co-operative.  We sell "All-Natural" products, which means we wont knowingly sell anything that has nasty dyes, extra chemical crap and the like in them.  99% of all of our vegetables are organic, and so on.  You get the idea. (Don't mistake this for a health food store.  You can still buy 100% organic pop-tarts that will still make your butt big.) I also like it that co-ops support local farms and businesses.

Anyhoo, There is quarterly profit sharing for the workers, a very nice discount on products, benefits, generous holiday pay...even though we close early, anyway, on days like the 4th of July.  There is even a yearly co-op picnic in which they shut the stores down for everyone.

But better than that, the real kicker are the people.  I'm sure there are some jerks hiding somewhere, but thus far I have yet to meet someone who wasn't nice, interesting and so on.  It's hard to dislike a group like this.  Here's an odd one for you.  Our C.E.O. of sorts is named Dale.  On the days before Thanksgiving, he was in our store and others.  He spent more than a few hours back in our meat dept. slogging out turkeys and helping customers.  I will often see him bagging groceries for customers and bringing them out to their cars. (When was the last time you saw a C.E.O. do that?)  Best of all, he knows the name of every single worker in the stores.

(I could go on with this, too.  But for time sake...)

So now that you have some perspective, you can understand why I began to preach the Gospel of Lakewinds to friends of mine who were stuck at Cub.  My old manager was always good to me, so I feel terrible that I may have hurt him.  However, I have friends that I care about.  I see them in a situation where they are being taken advantage of, not being allowed to thrive or progress, being treated like a bean to be counted instead of as a person.  I know a better place for them.  Do you think I'm NOT going to tell them??????

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I believe in the "Free-Enterprise" system.  I think it is the most natural economic system for human beings, ever since a caveman told another that he would trade his tomatoes for the other guys beaver hide.  I'm not opposed to anyone being wealthy or a company being profitable.  However, it strikes me that there are moral and ethical ways of doing that, and there is also an evil way.

Whatever their faults, Trader Joe's, Costco, Lakewinds, The Wedge Co-op, and others have found a way to make money and treat their employees right.  In fact, it can be easily argued that treating your employees right is a good way to make money, because you save money by not constantly having to retrain new people.

And then there is Walmart, Cub Foods and so on.  I think you can tell a lot about a place by the way it treats it's workers...the least of these.

There isn't much I can do to make a huge difference in the world.  But I'll do what I can.  If I helped a few of my friends get out of a bad situation and into a better one, great!  I can't say that I've ever "Stuck it to the Man," before.  But it feels pretty good.

If doing the right thing means that I'm asked to shop somewhere else, fine.  I'd do it again, and again...and again.  I can always buy toilet paper at Target.





Peace

Joe

P.S. Considering my deep feelings on this one, I thought this post was extremely mild.  :)