Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tolerance Tested

After nearly twenty years in the faith, the term "tolerance" is not new to me, by any means. It's one of the very first precepts of Christianity that is taught. In part, it’s an acceptance of who, or what, a person, or thing is, based on it’s own merit. I have tolerance for someone because we are all created equal, and all have the right to life liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, providing that pursuit causes me no harm or threat. I’m tolerant of something, because it, in and of itself, presents me no harm or threat.

Judgment is another word we learn about in Christianity 101. The dispensation of it, and that rightly so, belongs only to the Creator. The reason being this, when I consider that it is impossible for me to see into the heart of a man, and to know why he does what he does, I understand why judgment isn't mine to dish out.

I've used a parable on many occasions to illustrate my point. Two boys, both dressed in scout uniforms, who might be observed crossing the street in the assistance to an elderly lady. An observer, watching from a distance, might observe, because of their actions, how much they both look like "fine young men", and might assume they were representative of a common history.

But in actuality, it might very well be that one of the young men, having been born and bred of means, and having therefore the benefit of all proper teaching, would consider that what he was doing was actually a bit of a bore to him. A chore, if you will, simply for the benefit of the badge he might win for doing "his duty". His motive ulterior in nature.

It could also be considered of the other young man that he came from a lower standing in life. Maybe, from a dysfunctional family where he was abused, or never taught to respect his elders. So he never had. Consider for this young man, that helping this elderly lady across the street was a challenge, as well as a milepost in his change from selfishness to charity. His intention was benevolent.

Though the action itself might rightly be judged as equal in both instances, the intent is a whole different issue. Thus, why we have neither the right, nor authority to judge. We can't see the heart of a man to know "why" he does what he does. All we can see is the moment.

My faith also teaches that because I am not in a position to accurately judge someone, I must be tolerant of their actions. And, in so much as those actions don't cause me too much grief, that isn't a hard position to take. But tolerance sometimes turns into a sacrifice. And sacrifice is one of those two edged swords that cuts both ways.

Consider this. Scripture says that I should "love my brother, as I love myself". To the world, that sounds pretty difficult to comprehend. But to the Christian, it shouldn't be all that hard to determine the depth of the meaning. This is described in the Greek as, “phileo love”. Brotherly love, based on respect and regard. It's not the tender, emotional love I have for my wife, which is “eros”. Nor is it the unconditional love my God has for me, being “agape”.

Phileo love says we are equals in the sight of God. Reciprocity being key. It says in my heart, and mind, I love him, I respect him, I have regard, or concern for his well being, and because of this, he deserves all I can offer.

This kind of mutual consideration is what builds up our capacity to tolerate one another's differences. Be that opinion, religion or ritual. A difference in the color of skin, direction of faith, of determination of goals, all comes as no great hurdle. If we have the common trust of reciprocity.

It does not, however, say that he has the right to “take” my life, or even cause me harm because I am commanded to be “tolerant”.

And that’s where we are with this whole Jihad business. I’ve studied a good bit of scripture, but I’m no theologian. I have however, spent my fair share of time at the knee of some really well versed individuals who are. One of those men being an apostatized Muslim. I learned a great deal about the Islamic faith from him, and why he chose to convert to Christianity. I can tell you his decision was all about love, or the lack thereof.

You see, the Islamic faith is based on the precept of obedience, rather than love, or grace. If one follows Islam to its obedient end, the only reward is superficial. It has tangible meaning in this life, but has none of the eternal elements that we enjoy. If you are obedient, you get the girl, or several, and the knowledge that Allah really digs you. If you aren’t obedient, it’s off with the head, arm, foot, tongue, whatever. To get to this great place, you have to step on other people in pursuit of this “obedience”. You consider that anybody unlike yourself is an enemy. And not just an enemy to glower at over the fence, but one to conquer.

Christianity, on the other hand, offers an eternal salvation through the Sacrifice of a Loving God. And it is a gift. It’s not something that can be earned, or achieved. It is freely given because God loves us enough to give it. And we love Him because of Who He is, and not the giving of the gift. It says that if people are unlike us, we are to be tolerant of them. We are invoked by scripture to attempt to bring them this “good news”. And we can try as many times as is prudent.

But it is also very well stated, as in Mark 6:11, that “whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them.” Which means, if they ain’t picking up what you are throwing down, knock the dust off your boots, and boogie. Take no remnant of what they have, or own, just leave.

So here’s the deal. After considerable study, of both my “religion”, and that of the Islamic people, I can see no reasonable expectation of any of this reciprocity that I’ve been speaking of.

I’m not interested in watering down what I believe to be true so that it fits well on the palate of someone who is bent on my ultimate destruction. People can say what they want. The media can downplay the differences between Christianity and Islam all they want. But just like arguing whether a mean dog will bite or not, sticking your hand out to test it is stupid. For that matter, that hand has been stuck out, and bitten, on too many occasions. So many so that I’m left to consider the statement, ”true stupidity is defined by following the same path, on multiple occasions, and expecting it to get you some place different each time.”

Islam is not about religion. It’s about control. It’s about controlling everybody. That’s what jihad is….for the sake of revenge, attacking the caravan and taking everything it owns, and putting everybody on it into subjugation. Period. And just because people want to believe it’s just another form of religion, just doesn’t make it so.

I haven’t figured out why the hell our “liberal leaders” are bent on going to bed with this faction of human society, yet, but I can tell you this, it ain’t gonna be no sleep over. These people want to steal All the covers. And they can do it too……if we let them.

As for me and my house, we will “continue to” serve the Lord…..not Allah, Mohammad, or anybody else who chooses to cow toe to the drivel they dribble…… Barry, you hear me?!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

An American Soul

The Cherokee Indians claim that the land has a soul. That it lives, and breaths with the pulse of the people that depend upon it for survival. Coming from a strong Cherokee background, and having lived, and worked, in 46 of the continental states, I believe this to be true. I also believe that God, that Great Spirit, created this earth, and all who dwell upon it. Jesus truthed that when He came back, the first time, it was for the purpose of that Holy Spirit to dwell among His people. This I believe as well. It's not a far cry for me to believe therefore, that the soul of this great land dwells in the heart of every person who loves her, calls her home, and cares for her.

And this I do. With great pride, and determination. And it grieves my heart to think that the soul of this land weeps for the lost integrity of her children.

An integrity that was birthed in the hearts of men determined to produce a nation where all men would have the chance for freedom, prosperity, and the pursuit of happiness. I firmly believe that although the means sometimes may have appeared questionable, the intention of these men to develop a free nation, remained pure.

It is sad to think this "pursuit of happiness" has been bastardized into a "pursuit of entitlements". It is reprehensible that laziness, and apathy on all our parts, has lead us to hire thugs, cutthroats, shysters, and downright liars to handle our representative and leadership affairs. And yet, it isn't my purpose here to complain about what we have let be done. For complaint, without input of a solution, is nothing but that...complaining. It is ineffective, serves no practical purpose, and in effect wastes time, and resources, that could be better spent elsewhere, correcting the original problem.

So here's the deal. Up until 9/11, I couldn't give a rat's ass who was POTUS. The closest I came to paying attention was in the early eighties when Reagan was my commander in chief while I was in the Marine Corps. I can count the number of times on one hand that I have voted for a president. I did my very best to "not pay attention" to anything political. "What", I would say, was the point? Nobody "up there" gave a rat's ass about me, mine or how it all affected me, why shouldn't I reciprocate?

But when Clinton took it under the table, I started paying attention. I mean, really? So I voted for Bush. And when the planes flew, I was damned glad I did. I don't think we've had a president since Reagan who would have had the moxy to do what he did. Unfortunately, he allowed some left wing armchair bandits to sway his resolve, and subsequently stopped short of the ultimate goal. Which should have been to completely destroy the enemies capability of waging war.

And now...I said, and now! We've got the current administration advocating a complete showing of the throat. They want us to give it up for head gear, prayer rugs, mosques on Broadway, five dollar gas, Christ out of our lives, kids with full body pat down searches, naked body xrays of old ladies and pin-up girls, taxes up the wazoo, hippies camping out in the parks, screaming "gimme, gimme!", foreign aide, foreign oil, foreign debt, and garden Nazis, of all things. Just what Is an American to do?

I'll tell you....hunker down and do what we always do. Fill a pipe, pack a breach, and wait till they're close enough to see the whites of their eyes. Why "wait"? First, because sometimes it's not always easy to identify the enemy. Although, in this case, that's becoming more clear as the days go by. Second, we can't afford to waste resources with "misses". Make every shot count. Lastly, when they drop, you want to be close enough to make sure its permanent. Like I said, we've been here .

But, here's the thing, "It isn't enough to just think about what must be done, we must "do" it. Be prepared though, because while the first may require only some effort, the second may cost you your very life." We've been there before as well.

Getting back to some solutions though, instead of just complaining.

Prior to this recent "paying attention" I mentioned above, I would have taken at face value just about anything anybody in the media said. I mean, really, we are brought up to believe those that lead, tell the truth. In my naivety, what the media presented as leaderships words, unless I had some sure fire way of personally refuting, I believed.

Unfortunately, like the tyrannical regimes of days gone past, that was self serving propaganda dealt out by monarchies, and dictatorships, for the ignorant masses. Masses who believed that just because some stuffed shirt living up on the mountain told them that they were a lesser person, it was true. Simply because that person "had", and they "had not".

But reformation does occur from time to time.

I recently read an article that compared the social networking tactics of Luther, a fifteenth century monks' distribution of his '95 thesis, to the effectiveness of our current day social networking. Luther, some of his printing press buddies, along with a hand full of like minded merchants, was able to distribute his thesis across Germany, and then all of Europe, in just a matter of weeks. This distribution of the gospel message to the "ignorant" masses, in a pamphlet form, enabled the message of equality in the Creators eyes, to be clearly preached to those that, previously, had been convinced by their "masters", that they were less than equal.

That knowledge, if you will follow the thread, lead to insurrection, revolution, reform, and eventually a Diaspora of like minded people, fed up with oppression, that fled the European continent, braved oceans, wilds, and weather, to populate a new land, fresh for equality. And there, they started this great nation, based on the principles of that Gospel.

This time, we're not leaving. We're gonna stay right here, hunker down, wait till we see the whites of their eyes, and stand our ground.

But first, we gotta get it together, together. And that's where the social networking comes back into play. Yesterday we were listening to a media that was telling us only what those that live on the hill wanted us to hear. And we were the dumber for it. Today, we're talking to each other on a minute by minute basis. We're hearing things from hometown Americana that we've long been lied to about. We're hearing back channel whispers about why things are happening, and when. And these things are bringing to mind cold hard facts about how we are being screwed by those charged with leading us through the quagmire of world politics. Not only are we being sold out for our leaderships personal gain, the heritage we've fought to protect for the last two hundred plus years is being thrown under the bus.

I don't want to be put on record for advocating blood in the streets...yet. For the wisdom of the ages says "give peace a chance", but when the benevolence of a caring people is mistaken for weakness, a boot in the ass is sometimes the only solution. As they say, "there's more ways than one to skin a cat".

An armed and educated populace is a dangerous one, for a government bent on tyranny. We've never been invaded from outside, and for the same reason. But through the insidious process of "boiling a frog", we are being lulled to sleep through luke warm theology, piss warm lies, and the mercury light warmth of socialist security. We are, in fact being slowly eroded from within by the very ones paid to protect us.

I'm thinking that's about to end...for the soul of the American land, the people that inhabit it, and the heart that beats within them both, in life, and in spirit, cries out for justice. A justice long locked out of it's courts, classrooms, and churches. A justice that just might be heralded in, not by trumpets, but by tweets..........