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Monday, September 29, 2014

It changes EVERYTHING!

   I was watching TV one night when the commercial for MiO water flavor enhancer (see video here).  For some reason I saw the commercial differently that night.   I thought about how faith in Jesus Christ changes EVERYTHING.   Like the commercial where each time the person adds a little more MiO to their glass of water their personality changes along with it, so also God works INSIDE of us and changes us from within if we let him.   Paul talked about how in Christ we are a NEW creation .. the old is gone .. the new has come.  We have seen story after story of people whose lives have changed because of their faith in Christ.   Some change over night...others take years.   But change comes none the less.  Not the kind of "change" put on election signs or bumper stickers which only entail changes in political rules and control.   This change is REAL and unexplainable.   Like the man in the picture who turns into a black cowboy by the end who has been changed to the core of his DNA so also God through water and the word in baptism changes us.   We are no longer the same.

    Maybe the changes might not be visible to those around us like in the commercial.  They may not even visible to us either.   But God sees it and that is all that matters.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Allergies and Toleration

    A few years ago a study showed that children who are exposed to dirty environments like barns and hay fields are much less likely to develop allergies later as adults  (see allergy study).    The reason for this is that children's immune systems are much more active in their early years and by being exposed to MORE allergens they become less likely to develop allergies (which are really cases where the body over-reacts to an allergen to remove it from the body).   From the study, doctors proposed that putting our children in a allergen-and-bacteria-free-bubble their first 3 years does more harm than good to them (explains why my brother who grew up in the city has more allergies than myself who grew up in the country).

     So also, one could make the same argument in regards to political correctness and the concept of
toleration and being offended.   We all too often hear of cases where school teachers and principals make decisions on ending some school activity or dress code because some child might be offended.   In the effort to protect these children's feelings or emotional states a long list of banned activities is created and enforced with Nazi-like strictness.    This PC-bubble-wrap we engulf our children in will only hurt them more in the future as adults as their minds have not grappled with differences in behavior, style of dress, political views,  religious convictions, language or mannerisms.   Like our bodies re-actions to allergens (foreign substances the body does not recognize), these children will grow up LESS tolerant of differences rather than MORE tolerant.    Our jobs as parents and adults dealing with children is NOT to shelter them from the world, but instead help them to understand it and accept it.    If we take away every opportunity to expose them to these differences then we have done them a major disservice.   After all, wasn't that the whole purpose of the desegregation of schools back in the 60's and 70's?   Wasn't it to expose them to different kids from different neighborhoods?  

All that seems to have been forgotten now.

    Take for example the case of Lt. Col.  Sherwood Baker of Rochester NY who as told he could not walk on school property dressed in his Army uniform.   A school official said that they ban all military uniforms from on campus as it might "confuse some children and some might be offended by it".   (see article here ).   Let's imagine that such a child did exist on the high school campus.  and that boy or girl might be offended by a military person (their parents may be leftists who think all military is bad) and it may cause them to be angry inside as they walked to their next class.   But that boy or girl might realize that in their next class they have a test or quiz coming up and they need to focus their attention on the job ahead rather than on the military person walking down the hallway.   Their minds just re-enforced an important ability to staying on task and staying focused.   They also learned to not let their emotions rule them and to "tolerate others of different views".    Had the father gone home and changed his clothes, that boy or girl would have been robbed of the opportunity to learn those invaluable life lessons and abilities.  

They would have missed a chance to grow into adulthood. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

All joking aside...

   I love a good laugh as well as the next guy (often my wife and kids make fun of my laugh when I get going... too loud I guess).  Comedians for ages have made fun of their leaders and I think for the most part that is good.   Even in the first century,  Rome joked about their emperors.   Take for example of all people: Nero.  He fell in love with one of his male servants so much so, he had the lad castrated and then performed a mock marriage ceremony between himself and the servant.   The joke around Rome after this was:  "Too bad Nero did not have mother like this" (meaning Nero would never have been born).

   The late great Johnny Carson took mocking leaders to a whole new level.  His late night monologue was heard by millions of people and it was said that when Johnny mocked you in his monologue, your career as a politician was probably over (or at least on its way out).  This was no better shown than when Johnny mocked then President Nixon's Watergate scandal.  It was only a few days later that Nixon was resigning from the office.

   Where I draw the line, however, is when comedians use their comedy to make light of issues that are not light at all.   Having people laugh at the demise of other people who are trying to stay alive is not funny at all.  Recently Stewart used his show to paint the Israeli's as being unfair in their treatment of Gaza.   Making Israel look unfair that they can protect their people with their "iron dome" and Gaza cannot, even though Hamas in Gaza is launching rockets constantly at Israel and using schools and hospitals as human shields to protect their rocket launching facilities.  As the Prime Minister of Israel put it:
"Israel uses rockets (iron dome) to protect its citizens while Hamas uses citizens to protect its rockets".
    By making people laugh at these attacks, Jon Stewart and others like him create an illusion where
everything (including relentless bombing of Israel by Hamas) is a joke and no one is being hurt or killed in the process.  His viewers are thereby lulled into not seeing the real seriousness of the problem.   If  Stewart lived in 1938, would he be making light of  Kritallnacht ("Night of Broken Glass") when the Germans forced the Jews out of their homes and businesses into slums?    Would he joke that Jewish window repair people became overnight millionaires??  Would he joke that the Jews were in the process of selling back their new homes in the slums for more than they were bought for?   

     Sadly, we have become a society where it seems that nothing is serious anymore and our young people are so misinformed.  Many of our young people treat shows like Colbert and Stewart's as semi-news shows in which the news anchor presents the days issues in a light hearted format that is easy for their sensitive and drug-infused brains to assimilate.  Sort of like when a mother bird regurgitates its stomach contents into the baby birds mouth so he can more easily digest it so also Stewart and Colbert take very serious subjects and dumb them down for their audience to receive.  To see this, you only need to watch on-line videos of young people being questioned on our college campuses about our world's events and see that many have no clue what-so-ever on what is going on around them.  Many of these young people will say with pride that they get their news from watching Jon Stewart on Comedy Central.

  To them the world is a joke and their audiences laugh as the world burns.