What is Good and what is Evil

Sunday, January 28, 2024 11:46 | Filled in Uncategorized

People today think that it is passe to think much about the teaching of religions and I have to say some of the religions that have been created  can be pretty wild and crazy to my way of thinking, but there are some basic ideas that have historically been presented to us that make sense even in our times and circumstances.  The past can still speak to the present.  Recently, I came across a passage (Philippians 4: 8), which says, “brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these”.

I have been thinking about this, especially in the political arena.   What I see is hatred, prejudice, cruelty and greed for power and money.  Do voters think this is acceptable in this modern age?   We have definitely fallen from grace, seemingly having little concern about the historical virtues that have kept humanity from constant wars and finding human evil acceptable.  Maybe this is why we are having so many wars around us (I have heard there are 28 and counting).  People have fallen into the trap of thinking that these base human emotions are to be tolerated or unaddressed and we just have to live with it.

My thinking is that we all have a responsibility to be truthful, honorable, just and caring in all actions in our lives, and if so, the whole world could be a better place to live in.   Our present problems are not new.   G. K. Chesterton wrote, “When duty and religion are really destroyed, it will be by the rich”.  I see that this is still true, with big business striving for only profit at the expense of their workers, making health care near impossible to afford and cutting pay to make more profit for shareholders, owners and top executives.  This is turning people more into slaves than productive and thriving citizens.  The wages and benefits to workers have been slowly cut away from them and now people are stressed financially and this must be ended.  Americans must focus on what can enhance the nation and it’s people, not on greed and profits only.

 

One would think that our legislative branch of government in the U.S. would be able to function to provide for the American People, but this is not so.   For example, the Republican party wants to be the only party in the U.S. (they do not want to share governing with Democrats),  their proposed leader acts like a Nazi, they want to ban immigrants, cut taxes for the rich, restrict voting, end diplomatic ties with allies and basically see government fail.  The reason is that the government of the U.S. has historically provided for the prosperity of it’s citizens, with health programs for those in need and maintaining civil rights for it’s citizens.  In other words, the U.S. government has used taxes and revenues to aid the welfare and smooth functioning of it’s citizens with improvement of lifestyles.  However, this may come to an end.  Human greed for power and money have invaded our legislators (for some are being paid by big business to make policy) and is destroying the country and the trust of it’s people.

Some politicians are acting like puppet masters, telling people lies to get elected.  Evangelicals are being manipulated and thinking that they are voting for a candidate that represents their values.  I think Evangelicals need to look to the New Testament rather than the vengeful Old Testament.  They are either followers of Christ or something different.  For it says in Mathew 25:31-46

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, …

 

Do those who call themselves Christians welcome the stranger (imigrants for example, for all our origins have been from elsewhere at one time), or fair and generous in giving to those in need.  Christ loved and cared for the people around him and it is said in 1 Corinthians 17-20, “Whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one Spirit with Him.”   I would rather look to this beauty, encourage it in others and see evil be rebuked for what it is.

 

 

 

Visions of Fatima

Sunday, June 4, 2023 14:19 | Filled in Inspiration, Travels

I recently went to Fatima, after thinking about it a long time.  Portugal is very beautiful and one of those beautiful areas is around Fatima.  It is believed by many to be a site where The Blessed Mother of Christ visited 3 shepherd children (Francesco, Jacinta and Lucille).  There is a spiritual beauty displayed by many and a physical beautiful that adds to making this a special place.

Fatima is easily reached from Lisbon by bus, and the spiritual structures that have been built there are very near to the town and a short walk from the station.

 

The Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, Fatima

The Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, Fatima

Inside the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary is where Jacinta and Francesco have been entombed.  Also, the inside is vast and there is a image of Our Lady’s Visitation.

 

Burial site of Jacinta and Francesco, Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, Fatima

Burial site of Jacinta and Francesco, Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, Fatima

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Brittany Travels: Part 3

Thursday, May 11, 2023 14:24 | Filled in Travels

We decided to go as far as Brest and then return to Nantes for our airfare home, and so we continued.  As always through Brittany, one is astonished by the beautiful scenery and the creativity of the people.  So, we continued to be entertained on our travels and enjoyed every moment.

Pont-Aven again was a favorite of mine with it’s interesting architecture and scenery.

Historic Home in Pont-Aven

Historic Home in Pont-Aven

 

Different Styles, Pont-Aven

Different Styles, Pont-Aven

 

Thatched Building, Pont-Aven

Thatched Building, Pont-Aven

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Brittany Travels: Part 2

Saturday, April 22, 2023 11:15 | Filled in Travels

From Vannes, we traveled north to Quimper, visiting small towns that sounded like they would be interesting.  Every place had is own unique feel and experiences that everyone enjoyed.  The days just got more interesting as we wandered serendipitously.

Pont-Croix was one of our first encountered on this journey and while there viewed some trolls and a open market.

Church of Pont Croix

Church of Pont Croix

In this church I was able to hum a few Gregorian chants, for it has great acoustics.

 

House Museum in Pont Croix

House Museum in Pont Croix

 

Countryside of Pont Croix

Countryside of Pont Croix

 

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Brittany Travels: Part 1

Monday, January 23, 2023 12:28 | Filled in Travels

Last October, some friends asked us to organize a trip through Brittany with them, to celebrate their marriage and extend their honeymoon adventures.  They wanted us to travel with them and this sounded like a fun adventure for us all.  We had been in Brittany years ago with another friend and had a good time with fond memories and I would suggest Brittany as a great place to go for all good experiences and we had many.

We started out in Nantes, which is the birth place of Jules Verne, and where the creativity he invoked still remains.  Following you will see some of the beauty and creativity of Nantes.

A Fascinating Shopping Mall

 

Instant Gallery

 

The Duke’s Palace

 

Stretched Gargoyle

 

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America’s Choice – Democracy or Fascism

Wednesday, August 17, 2022 18:39 | Filled in Inspiration

It’s a little hard to imagine what kind of government exactly our founding fathers wished to establish, but they did understand the risks of having an absolute powerful figure deciding regulations and laws over their lives.  They had been colonists of a King and they knew they did not get a fair deal with that type of government.  Today, we seem to be in a conundrum as to which type of government we can be satisfied with.  On the one hand, the Republican Party has put all their eggs in the basket of Donald Trump, a charismatic person who seems to say whatever he thinks people want to hear to get their support, stirring up their emotional grievances, with other Republicans trying to favor his supporters with promises to be extremely conservative with restrictive ideas about many social issues.  Then there are the Democrats who are both conservative and liberal in their approaches to life solutions, but who cannot agree totally which direction to go to better the conditions for the American People.  There are also many who are not affiliated with any party and can decide their consciences with choosing policy and candidates they find most effective and reasonable.  There are choices to be made and they are very serious ones, for American will either affirm their belief in Democracy and freedom of choice or will be told what they have to do by a Fascist style state run by the Republicans.  Germany and Italy faced similar fates in the 1930’s and we seem to be going in a dangerous political direction.

Many rational people have been amazed and appalled at some of the radical and ridiculous statements some politicians and citizens have been making in the last few years.  It seems that some radical conservatives want to go backwards in time with hateful and discriminatory speech.   If someone is not like them they think that they must be of an evil nature.  There are many Republican candidates that seem to be feeding off of this radical conservatism thinking they can gain votes by feeding into people’s emotions of discontent, and there are many politicians who should be ashamed of this manipulation.  People must realize how they are being manipulated and controlled by their emotions.  Logic is always superior to uncontrolled emotions and reason can be a more dependable life tool.

News reports used to be a source of truthful and factual information that provided us a link to our own citizens reality and the world’s.  Now, we have emotional displays that are called news, like Fox News, that seems to only want to rile peoples’ emotions to move them to listen more to narratives that are false, and provably false, to give them more viewing customers.  This to me is a scandal and a crime against the American People who deserve the truth and not lies.  Sometimes I think that people are not living enough in the real world to know what truth is.  The loudest voice is not always the most truthful, as we saw with Hitler, Hugo Chavez and Donald Trump for example.  Unfortunately, many people are swayed by someone who sounds forceful and in control and says what they want to hear.   They do not think about people who are not in their community, or like them and who might have different ideas about life.  Christians should take to heart the examples of Christ, who was understanding, forgiving and always bringing forth what enhanced people lives; not judging others with hateful actions.

Unfortunately, the Republican Party has shown that they do not support the needs of the American People.  What is important to them is the power of the Republican Party to control government and the lives of people.  If they take over control of American, Americans will lose their freedom of choice in so many ways.  Voting will be restricted, healthcare will be lacking, freedom of lifestyle will be outlawed, workers will be paid less and will be closer to slaves, because Republicans will be supported by money coming into their coffers by companies willing to pay big donations for legal favors, and will not want to pay much for workers.  This has been going on already, but when the Party takes over all but the Party members and their supporters lose.

Do Americans still believe in the good of Democracy and self expression or do they want one Party to take over.  A one Party systems is Fascism or Totalitarianism, and has shown itself to be a failure for people in the past.  Please, don’t let Democracy die out in America.  The World needs a country to look up to as an example of a Nation For The People.

A Peaceful Place

Monday, April 12, 2021 16:25 | Filled in Uncategorized

Before the covid pandemic came into it’s full swing in Portugal, we were able to visit a beautiful peaceful place up in the mountains called Talisnal.  This is an area that once raised cattle, then the area was planted with trees and the people left the area.  However, today there are these interesting old schist stone houses that are being repaired and used as vacation homes and tourist rentals.  It was very quiet when we were there, but can be a bit busy with the tourist season.  We found it to be so peaceful and the hiking around the area was beautiful and good exercise.

 

The town of Talisnal, PT

Walking through the town was a delight for the interesting buildings and walkways.

 

Talisnal streets

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The Lie That Roared

Sunday, January 24, 2021 12:52 | Filled in Inspiration

Most of us were taught when very young that it was wrong to tell a lie.  However, we also learned that sometimes telling a lie would get us out of difficult situations or might lead to an advantage to ourselves.  In other words, we can get the perception that lies can selfishly give us something more advantageous than when telling the truth.  Unfortunately, we have been hearing a lot of this in politics to promote political candidates for future elected positions.  It is not a new practice, and the public must remain observant and vigilant to realize these deceptions.

 

Joseph Goebbel made an observation (which was extensively promoted by the Nazis) that, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.”   This sounds like the many lies that Trump used to manipulate his followers.  They trusted him as their leader, that he would truthfully lead them into a good direction for America.  This, of course, would work on their sense of patriotism.  How could he lead them in a wrong direction?  How could he have led them into storming the Capitol and seeking destruction?  He could shield them only so much and when the shame was done, he would take none of the blame for his part and would place it solely on his followers, and the lie was revealed  to the whole nation.

 

It was noted at the time of Hitler that one of his primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.   This sounds like what we have experienced recently with the Trump/GOP administration.  The lies were promoted to gain an advantage for a party and to denigrate those that they were against.

 

Yes, there should be consequences for people who lie and drag others into the lie, and here is a list of people who promoted that lie and must live with the consequences and will never be trusted, for liars are seldom believed after their lies:

Ex-President Donald Trump                                              Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama                                Donald Trump, Jr.                                                                 Congresswoman Jody Hice of Georgia

Eric Trump                                                                               Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee

Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri                                     Congressman Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi                       Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas                                                   Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia

Senator Rodger Marshall of Kansas                                 Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia

Senator Mike Braun of Indiana                                          Congressman Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina

Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin                                  Congresswoman Lauren Boebert of Colorado

Senator John N. Kennedy of Louisiana                           Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger of Tennessee

Senator Toumy Tuberville of Alabama                            Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma

Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming                              Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Senator Rick Scott of Florida                                                                                             of Washington

Senator Scott Perry of Pennsylvania                                 Congressman Tom Tiffany of Wkisconsin

Congressman Scott Fitzgerald of Wisconsin                   Congresswoman Elise Stefanick of New York

Rudy Gulianni

There are probably more, but there are others that know better who they are, and I hope in the future these and others will think again about lying to the American people and will make amends for what they have done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Death of the Republican Party in America

Saturday, November 21, 2020 12:46 | Filled in Inspiration

The Republican Party was established officially in 1856 with their first president elect  being Abraham Lincoln.  The party was established in the northern states with an abolitionist theme, support of labor unions, with economic reform (including  higher taxes) and generally with liberal changes in mind.  You say how can this be?  Well much has changed since then.

 

When Ronald Reagan came on the scene, much was changed to advantage business as opposed to the populous, and this was continued under other Republican Presidents.  Many social programs were de-funded, along with education, and the Republican Party has slowly become one to promote big business, less government control and less regulations, so profit can be had no matter what damage it may create for the country, its land or its people.

 

Today, the Republican Party seems to be against the welfare of the American Citizen; they want to de-fund most social programs, de-fund  education, restrict voting of citizens ( this also includes mail tampering and mishandling ballots by a Republican placed administrator, for this happened with my ballot mailed from overseas not being delivered to the election offices), privatize anything government run, loosening environmental laws and generally reduce taxes for big business and take money from these companies to do their bidding (via lobbying and campaign funds).  Not that Democrats don’t do some of this, but this is not their core focus.  The Republican party looks to liberate people to pursue whatever they wish to in living their lives and making a profit, like the Libertarians not wanting government to get in the way, however, they do not consider that there are individuals, for whatever reason, who are not able to take advantage of normal living arrangements.  There are people with physical and mental difficulties that have been for years ignored and many times put in prisons or left to be homeless.

 

Young people of today are looking to their future; being more aware of climate change, desiring better affordable educational opportunities for their children, mindful of the needs of environment protections and they have a willingness and desire to make the changes necessary.  If the Republican Party is not willing to change, look to future needs of these future voters, they will cease to exist.

 

Presently, the Republican Party have many supporters who believe in conspiracy theories and live, it seems, detached from reality.  There are some Republicans who are conservative and find this hard to live with, and it is understandable.  They are under the pressure of a President that has a charisma to con people into thinking he is telling truths to them, but most of the American people have figured out he has been lying to remain in office and will say anything to remain there.  Unfortunately, some Republican Senators are doing the same to keep a party in power, not to promote the welfare of the country.  This will be the death of the Republican Party.  It will die because it does not value the American People and the rules of a Democratic Nation.

“The Hitler Play”

Wednesday, November 11, 2020 10:51 | Filled in Inspiration

Lately in politics we have seen a style of political practice that has not been seen much since Hitler’s political style of the 1930’s.  You are familiar now with the raised voice, the stern looks, the expected obedience and loyalty and the focusing of one’s emotions on hating other groups.  Sounds familiar….yes?  Many political leaders are using this style to gain followers and support around the world.

 

Well it worked well for Hitler.  Why not try it now since most of those who lived through the Hitler era are no longer here.  Why not grow another set of “groopies” to follow other totalitarian leaders.  It can work and it has, because people are not paying attention and, of course, some people are very gullible and can’t seem to resist a good lie that feeds their fears and beliefs.

 

Many people are afraid of the present situation, there is a pandemic, wages are so low that people can not afford to provide well for their families (sometimes having to work several jobs to make ends meet) and many fear the uncertainties of the future.  Some people are not very resilient, they cannot handle change or the unknown and need social support, while others are not as affected by uncertainties, they make opportunities.  However, what we  see today are people telling us that we must behave in a certain way or else all will go wrong.  We are told to hate others that are different from us, be judgmental and condemning.  Some don’t think this is a problem.  For if you were from their tribe you would think and do things the same.  What some people don’t realize is that we are not all the same, we don’t need to be in a tribe and that is OK.  We don’t need to live in a plural state with only two ways of thinking.  And not everyone thinks they have to follow the crowd, nor is the crowd their best support.

 

I think one needs to look inside to know what is good and the right thing to do.  Most of us humans have a conscience and can figure what is good, can realize that we are dependent on others to some extent, yes, but most of us have a sense of what human decency is and how it can be expressed.  This is important for our survival and human decency expressed by all will be the way to our survival.   Stop “The Hitler Play”.