Monday, October 31, 2011

There's nothing common or mundane about your job.

As a teenager growing up in Southern California, one of my first jobs was busboy at a restaurant chain in my town. I actually enjoyed the job except for Sundays when the church crowd made their grand entrance, shortly after noon.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a Christian and I love the catholic church (the universal church of Christ comprised of all believers worldwide). But, I am embarrassed by the behavior of church-goers who frequent restaurants after church on Sundays. Their behavior in many cases is a stumbling block to the servers who wait on them. It certainly was to those that I worked with for a few years. Most of them had nothing good to say about the Sunday church crowd.

But, I digress…back to the point I was starting to make--I would do my best to make sure that each table was spotlessly clean. Now, to do that I had to use hot, soapy water. I remember other busboys and waitresses who would clean a table with cold, greasy water because it was easier than frequently refilling the bucket with fresh hot soapy water. Who would want to sit down at a table covered with a film of grease, all because a busboy was too lazy to do his job correctly?

Something else was at work in my psyche as I bused and cleaned tables. I was not cleaning these tables for the next customer who would be seated, but rather, I was cleaning each table for Jesus. I know this can sound “hyper-religious” and maybe crazy, but that was my mindset.
North Beach, Burlington, Vermont around 1945

A few years later, when I was living in a commune in Burlington, Vermont (that’s another story for another blog post), one of my jobs was janitor for New England Telephone in Burlington (before Bell Telephone was broken up by court order). My job was to take a garage broom and sweep the garage floors as well as clean the bathrooms and offices of 2 garages in So. Burlington, Vermont.

At first, I hated my job because it seemed that I had no sooner spotlessly cleaned the garage floor than a big line truck would roll in with more snow and mud, messing up the garage floors I had just cleaned. On some days, it seemed like I couldn’t get ahead. I grew to resent these phone linemen and their trucks, even though they were the reason I had a job in the first place!

One day God gave me an attitude adjustment and reminded me that I should be pushing the broom for Him rather than Bell Telephone. That was my epiphany regarding that job and work in general. My attitude did a 180. I started pushing the broom for Jesus and started cleaning the break room and the toilets for Him. Not only was I happier, but I also started accomplishing my entire routine in record time, doing what had  taken me 8-hours, in about 4-5 hours yet I still received pay for 8-hours.

However, my thoughts on work as service to God pale in comparison with those of Brother Lawrence (a Carmelite monk in Paris who lived from 1614-1691). Brother Lawrence  was assigned to work in the monastery kitchen, where, amidst the tedious chores of cooking and cleaning at the constant bidding of his superiors, he developed a new understanding of spirituality and work. He writes, “Men invent means and methods of coming at God’s love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love…and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God’s presence. Yet, it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of Him?”

For Brother Lawrence, “common business,” no matter how mundane or routine, could be a medium of God’s love.

Brother Lawrence felt having a proper heart about tasks made every detail of his life possess surpassing value. "I began to live as if there were no one save God and me in the world."

Brother Lawrence came to realize that he cooked meals, ran errands, scrubbed pots, and endured the scorn of the world alongside God. One of his most famous sayings refers to his kitchen: "The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.”

The work you do today DOES matter to God. It can be done as an act of prayer and praise to God. You don’t need to wait for next Sunday. Start praying to God today by doing whatever work you may feel like you’re stuck doing, to the glory of God.  

Whatever the daily grind, it certainly can’t be as bad as scrubbing pots and pans for years like Brother Lawrence was assigned to do.  We need to do whatever we’ve been given this day for His Glory as a prayer and an act of worship to the One who created us and has blessed us in so many ways.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Disbelief: "You wanna run that by me again?"

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” What does it mean to “believe all things”? I think that in context, it means that love sees the best in others or gives the other person the benefit of the doubt, choosing to believe the best about them not the worst! 
However, the Apostle Paul is not saying that love is gullible and believes everything and does not exercise qualities such as wisdom and discernment. What he is saying is that love will believe well of others unless convinced otherwise. It seeks to put the best possible construction on another's words, actions, etc.

At the risk of sounding “uncharitable,” here is a list of things (or people) I don’t believe:
  • Evolution. (Where’s the missing link?)
  • Global Warming (I know that experts like Al Gore, Brad Pitt & Britany Spears will disagree with me, but there are several thousand scientists who haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid, and they are not following the money).
  • Attorney General Eric Holder. (I never believe him when he is testifying before Congress, and I don’t believe he is concerned about justice for ALL Americans. In fact, he’s evidence enough for eliminating the Justice Dept. which is an oxymoron.)
  • Pres. Obama. (He said he won’t rest until every American has a job--Except for his weekly golf. And all vacations. And trips to the burger joint with Joe. And campaign stops and TV interviews.)
  • Ministers at conferences when they tell you how many are attending their church or how many were saved at some rally. They always inflate the numbers (This is referred to as “evangelistically-speaking”). This same thing happens when denominations list their overall numbers for worldwide growth, conversions, baptisms, etc. Inflated numbers every time.
  • The published numbers for poor people in America (We are told that 1 in 6 Americans is fighting hunger). We have redefined poor. They  have 2 flat-screen TVs, own one or more cars, eat out at McDonalds, have an Xbox system, Sony Playstation 3, etc. Do I really believe there are poor people in America. Yes, but not the high numbers published in news stories by advocates (who make their living by inflating the numbers). A better understanding of real poverty is a visit to India or Ethiopia, Africa.
  • Politicians when they say they want to “help you.” It’s usually the other way around, they want to “help themselves” at our expense,
  • Affirmative action. Instead of taking race into consideration when one is considered for a job or entrance to a university, we need to look for the one who is best qualified, be they male, female, black, white, Indian, Asian, etc. AA leads to preferential hiring and reverse discrimination.
  • Political Correctness. This is a tyranny against the freedom of speech so that no one is ever offended. This is an attempt to limit our thoughts, words and actions.
Here’s what I DO believe:

  • The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Bible. He created this earth, all that is seen and unseen. He created man to have dominion over this earth.
  • Yeshua (Jesus Christ). He is the Son of God, the Messiah, the Chosen One. He is the first and the last, the Alpha and Omega. Apart from Him, nothing was made that has been made. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no man comes to the Father except by Him. He is full of righteousness, grace and mercy.
  • The Bible is God’s revealed word to us. We need to devour it. The Bible contains the words of life itself. God’s Word of instruction gives us understanding, wisdom, hope, strength, direction, happiness, integrity, and ultimately leads us to eternal life.
  • Israel. God chose Israel to be His people and His land. His steadfast love toward Israel and its people endures forever. He has given Israel to His people the Jews, who have descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Because of His great love toward His people, the Jews, He brought them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, to the land we now call Israel and gave them this land (their Promised Land) as an inheritance to them. God calls Himself the God of Israel, the Holy One of Israel.
  • In God’s plan and purpose for my life this day. My life does have purpose. He is ordering my steps and leading me in the paths of righteousness and goodness for His name’s sake. Even when bad things happen, my Lord is still at work and He never drops the ball, never forgets about me, never stops loving me. He is worthy of my praise and my life.
  • In the end, God wins. 
How about you? What do you believe?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Are Smart Meters Dangerous To Your Health & Privacy?

The other day, I spoke with a woman from Idaho who was forced to abandon her home two years ago, because of the installation of a smart meter which caused her all kinds of health problems. At first, I thought “this woman is a nut”, but as I listened, I realized that she was on to something and her issues carry some serious weight.

We (that would be you and I, and the public at large) need to stop and take some time to consider these SMART METERS which are being FORCED upon us by President Obama's Dept. of Energy, IBM, Siemens, and your local utility companies. 

What is a Smart Meter?
Nearly 9 percent of the electric meters in the U.S. are smart, and more are on the way. But those smart meters may be a lot smarter than you think -- and know a lot more about you than you might want.

"The idea behind a smart meter is that it communicates information to the utility," Kevin Doran, a research professor at the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute at the University of ColoradoBoulder.

In an interview with PRI’s Living On Earth, Prof. Doran stated: "In theory, the utility can also use that pathway, if you will, to send information back to the consumer. The utility company could charge more for peak times, or it could even turn off appliances when they're not being used but could be saving electricity.Information from smart meters could help utilities manage energy more efficiently, but it could also be used for more nefarious purposes. 

My concerns:

·    Not only can your utility company (electric, water, or gas) monitor your energy use, but they can also RATION your use if they choose to, or they can penalize you for useage during peak periods. For example, if during the summer, it’s 96-degrees outside and you choose to keep your thermostat set at a comfortable 70-degrees,  the power company might demand that you set your thermostat no lower than 74-degrees and they could actually prevent you from going any lower in temp. Also, they could penalize you with a much higher rate for use during these peak periods.

This rationing is akin to what took place in the East European countries under Communism. I visited Romania in the early 1990s, and was informed that all their heat and electricity was centralized; it flowed from the center of the city (Bucharest) to the rest of the region. In many cases, under Nikolai Ceausescu (Romanian president from 1967-1989), Romanian citizens froze in their homes because they were only given enough heat to keep temps at 34-degrees. Sometimes the government would not turn on the heat until the middle of December when it was already below-zero temps. Also, Romanian citizens were only given enough electricity to light one or two 40-watt light bulbs, never mind trying to run an appliance or television.

·    Privacy issues. Each appliance in your house is being designed to send back information to the utility company under the guise of using energy more efficiently. But these chips and the smart meters can be used for more nefarious purposes. This data holds information about when you arrive home, go to bed, watch TV. Smart meters can be hacked, and someone in your neighborhood who has issues with you could hack into your smart meter and increase your electric or water bill.

·     We are told that smart meters will reduce our energy costs, but homeowners in Bakersfield and Fresno, CA., saw a dramatic increase in their electric bills after smart meters were installed. There is NO evidence currently that smart meters lower your utility bills, it’s just the opposite.

·      Health issues. Smart meters are causing increasing numbers of physical problems for consumers including headaches, heart palpitations, ringing in the ears, sleeplessness, pains in various parts of the body. There are numerous reports of fires beings started by faulty smart meters which have taken the lives of the homeowners.

 What should you do?
  • Get informed. Ask yourself why there is a current moratorium on smart meters in Marin County and Santa Cruz, CA. This is home to “green activists” who are concerned about energy usage and its effects on the environment, but now they are also concerned about the effect of smart meters on humans.
  • Call your utility company (Electric, water, gas) and ask them what their plans are for smart meters.    Tell them you are opposed to the installation of a smart meter on your home until they can assure you in writing with factual evidence that smart meters are safe.
  • Write your senator or congressman and tell them you want a moratorium on smart meters. Tell them you don’t care for the invasion of privacy or the ability of the government to control and mandate your energy usage from your smart meter.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The day I walked away from the protest movement....

Anti-war peace rally. Polo Fields, Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, Nov. 16, 1969

Reading about the Occupy Wall Street protests, I am reminded of my own short-lived participation as a “war protester” at the Vietnam anti-war rally in San Francisco on Saturday, Nov. 16, 1969. 

As a college student, I was drawn to this rally even though  I wasn’t certain as to where I stood on the Vietnam War, having recently opened up LIFE Magazine and shocked to see the image of a childhood friend killed in action in Vietnam.

Being a Christian, I was undecided as to whether I was a pacifist or if I believed in picking up arms to defend oneself and country (I've since reconciled this issue). 

I found myself, along with others from college campuses all over California, I marching in San Francisco with 100,000 others to end the Vietnam War.

Abbie Hoffman
However, it was at the post-march rally in Golden Gate Park as we were being entertained by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young that I received my epiphany.  It occurred during a political diatribe from Abbie Hoffman who had gained fame as one of the Chicago 8 arrested a year earlier at the Democrat Convention in Chicago and well-known for several books including “Steal This Book.” I heard Abbie ranting about President Nixon and his vice-president, Spiro Agnew. At the same time, the rally organizers were taking up a collection to pay the bills. My friends and I coughed up some cash to throw in the bucket headed down our aisle. At that same moment, I couldn't believe what I had just heard. Abbie Hoffman was telling us to  “Off Nixon. Off Agnew.” I knew that this was code for “Kill Nixon. Kill Agnew.” 

It was then and there that I walked away from the anti-war movement which wasn’t about peace at all. It was headed up by angry demonstrators who clocked in for protests at 8 in the morning and clocked out at 5pm so they could watch themselves on the evening news. These same protesters who called for peace in Vietnam didn't even have peace between themselves and their families, or anyone else, especially those with whom they disagreed.

Because of past experiences and maybe some acquired wisdom, I view the Occupy Wall Street protests with a jaundiced eye. One thing I know for certain is that the media is propping up OWS. Many in the media have been telling us for a month that the OWS movement is the left-wing equivalent of the tea party. The vast majority of tea partiers made it clear that their paramount goal was smaller, limited government; they showed up for peaceful one-day rallies, sang patriotic songs, cleaned up after themselves and went home. The OWS mob is unclear about their objectives; they've overstayed their welcome and they have no intention of cleaning up their mess. They are spoiled children who figure that mommy and daddy will come along after them to clean up the mess they are leaving behind.  

The Occupy Wall Street protest has a definite anti-semitic focus, with signs like:“Blame Jewish billionaires.” One Fox news writer likened the OWS protest to a cross between “Lord of the Flies” and a Phish concert. One other distinguishing characteristic that sets  OWS apart from the Tea Party is their endorsement by the Communist Party USA and the American Nazis.  Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on which side of the political spectrum you’re on), the Tea Party has yet to garner any endorsements from these two Left-wing, anti-capitalism, anti-democracy organizations.
In closing, I think these young people have been brainwashed and poorly educated  with their heads stuck in the sand, totally ignorant of the facts. Here they are protesting the Wall Street bailouts when in fact, it was Congress’ Tarp funds which bailed out Wall Street. 

Those who believe in capitalism wanted to let the free market run its course. Conservatives don't believe that any bank or institution is too big to fail, including our federal government. 

These protesters should be marching in front of the White House or marching through the halls of Congress or they should be protesting the outrageous college tuition they are forced to pay. The biggest scam today is academia where tuition has increased many times more than the price of a gallon of oil. 

Instead, these young skulls full of mush are giving government and the vaunted halls of academia a "free pass." Why? Probably because most all of them believe in big government. They all vote Democrat. Most of them, if they vote at all, will be voting for Obama in 2012 and while they want to be heard, they don’t want to shine the spotlight on the true cause of our nation’s economic woes, President Obama and Congress. In that sense, they are pawns serving Obama and the Democrat Party. Just as I did years ago, they would all be better off to pack up and walk away from this misguided protest.

Occupy Wall Street protester interviewed by British journalist

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bonhoeffer: The man who stood up to Hitler.

Maybe somewhere along the way, you've heard of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He gave us several great books including "The Cost of Discipleship." It's ironic that I should read a book about Bonhoeffer after reading David Platt's Radical, because Bonhoeffer was a radical in the truest sense of the word.

As I read Eric Metaxas new biography: "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy" I became acquanted with a complex Christian who was an academic, teacher, son, brother, friend, pastor and a man who lived his faith. Throughout the book Metaxas shows how Bonhoeffer's decisions were guided by his faith. Bonhoeffer lived out his faith in his daily life. 

Here in the 21st century, we live as Christians in America without much opposition. We are not forced to make hard choices or life and death decisions. We are not really persecuted, really and truly, we aren't. 

How would you or I handle some of the decisions that confronted Bonhoeffer on a daily basis? Do we lie to the Nazis, or do we give them information that leads to the deaths of innocents? Do we obey our nation's laws, or do we defy them by leading Jews into safety? Do we fight in Hitler's army, or do we refuse, knowing that we will be beheaded and leave our family destitute? These are some of the questions that Bonhoeffer and other believers in Nazi Germany had to answer, and their response doesn't fit our nice little Christian stereotype. The Christianity depicted in this book is hard-core, rubber meets the road kind of faith and trust in Almighty God.

Metaxas has clearly done his homework and given us as much information about Bonhoeffer as is possible through personal letters, essays and the recollections of others.

Bonhoeffer was raised in an affluent family of German intellectuals where success was assumed. He was afforded the opportunity to travel and advance his education. Dietrich chose the nonintellectual pursuit of theological study. Bonhoeffer became one of the leading voices of the German Confessing Church in the 1930s challenging the state authorized and often anti-God church of the Third Reich. 

Bonhoeffer refused to accept the German position regarding the Jews which would eventually lead to the extermination of over six million Jews by Hitler's Third Reich. He took a stand early on when many Germany's were acquiescing to Hitler and even turning their backs and a deaf ear to the cries of their Jewish neighbors. Bonhoeffer took no thought for his own well-being. In fact, on four different occasions, Dietrich could have escaped from Germany and settled in the U.S. or England as an esteemed professor-theologian. But, as Bonhoeffer felt that he had a destiny and even if it ended in his premature death, he could not shrink or run from it. 

Bonhoeffer's resistance eventually led to his participation in a conspiracy to assassinate Adolph Hitler leading to the failed Stauffenberg plot of July 1944. In the aftermath of this attempt of the Fuhrer's life, Bonhoeffer and other conspirators were arrested with Bonhoeffer. He was executed by Hitler during the last days of the war in April 1945.

Let me close by saying that I am attracted to these kinds of books because they hold up a mirror to my own life and I am forced to ask myself, "What would I have done?" "Would I have stood up for my Jewish neighbors, at the risk of my own life?"  I am afraid that at times, I think I may not have behaved as nobly as Bonhoeffer. For that, I ask God's forgiveness and seek to be strengthened in my faith so as not to love my life and to be willing to stand for righteousness regardless of the cost. 

I believe in my lifetime that we as believers may be forced to take a stand against evil that could cost us our lives. 

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy introduced me to Bonhoeffer whom I grew to know as well as any friend of mine. He is my brother in the faith and I am thankful for his courage, conviction and faithfulness. His legacy is one that will inspire and challenge me in the days to come. I look forward to embracing Bonhoeffer in heaven.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Book Review: "The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture" by David Mamet

It's time for a book review. I've been reading lots of books and this is my political pick (at least for this month).  I'm always attracted to books where the author has experienced a change of mind or some epiphany. Here, David Mamet writes about his change of mind and heart regarding liberalism.  

David Mamet, the acclaimed playwright, screenwriter, film director and essayist, famous for such films as The Untouchables, The Verdict and Wag the Dog, has written a book which is irritating the Left. Mamet, a former leftist,  pulls no punches as he describes his daring escape from the “liberal plantation.” If some had their way, he’d be lynched for this delicious expose of the Left.

Mamet writes: ”For the Left, Government is the water in which they swim, the underlying belief of their lives. Government is not merely one of the ways in which humanity may be convened to order its various affairs (the others being Religion and the Free Market), but the only way. Liberalism is that religion, which for the Left, replaced Religion, for which the prime purpose of Government is to expand Equality, which may also be stated thus: to expand its own powers. For if Government is not only good, but the only source of good, why should it not be elaborated and empowered to address any and all issues?”

I found this book fascinating. Why would a Hollywood and Broadway icon risk his career and livelihood by writing this book which methodically eviscerates liberal beliefs? It's career suicide. He's risking his future livelihood with the publication of this expose and that gets my attention. I'm always interested in those who are willing to put everything on the line, to risk it all for what they truly believe.

He writes about how we go to college to be brainwashed by liberal and Marxist professors, and we are trained to parrot the right responses so we will get the right grade. Then, upon graduation, we realize that the only way to recapture the security that we felt in the university setting is by being part of the “accepted group.” That accepted group which gives you identity is liberalism, and as long as you buy what the Left is selling, they love you, but the minute that you start to think independently and question some of their beliefs and arguments, you are shunned and treated as a “non-person.”

Regarding liberalism, Mamet writes: “The great wickedness of Liberalism, I saw, was that those who devise the every new State Utopias, whether crooks or fools, set out to bankrupt and restrict NOT themselves, but others.
 For example, President Obama said, “The individual at some point, must be able to say, 'I have enough money." But will Mr. Obama, when he is out of office, say this of himself, and of the vast riches he will enjoy? One must doubt it.”
The sad irony is that very few liberals will read this book and even in that, Mamet is vindicated because he argues that liberalism doesn’t endorse independent thought. The Left is nothing more than a herd mentality handing out “gold stars,” “Academy Awards,” “Emmys”, “Pulitzer Prizes” and even “Nobel Prizes” to honor those who keep the faith, liberal-style.

Next post: Another book review about a man who risked it all, including going to the gallows, hung by the Nazis because of his writings, beliefs and actions.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Is God Fair?

(Before you read this, if you haven't done so already, scroll down and read my earlier post on this subject of fairness: "That's not fair!")

Is God fair? Is FAIRNESS an attribute of God? If you mean "fairness" where everyone is treated the same, then the answer is no. 

Let me give you two examples from the Bible so you can decide for yourself whether or not FAIRNESS is an attribute of God (an attribute is a quality or characteristic of a person). Trust me, there are many more examples than these two I am offering up today.

For your consideration (thank-you Rod Serling), I submit example numero uno:

In Genesis 25:19, God tells Rebekah that she will have twins, and that the older will serve the younger. Before her children were even born or had done anything good or bad, God chooses and says that the older (Esau) will serve the younger (Jacob). Why? In that day, the first born was the leader of his family and received a double inheritance. Before they are ever born, God decides that the inheritance will go to the younger as well as the birthright. Now, where is the fairness in that?

Example 2: In Matthew 20:1-16, Jesus tells a parable about a landowner who hired several shifts of men to work in his vineyard, promising each of them a denarius (which is thought to have been the daily pay for a Roman soldier).

At the end of the day, all the workers received their denarius, regardless of whether they had worked only an hour, or had worked the entire day. The workers who had been hired first thought they would be given more than the others. But when they were given the same, they began complaining to the owner of the vineyard.
They said, “The ones who were hired last worked for only one hour. But you paid them the same that you did us. And we worked in the hot sun all day long!”

The owner answered one of them, “Friend, I didn’t cheat you. I paid you exactly what we agreed on.
Take your money now and go! What business is it of yours if I want to pay them the same that I paid you?
Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Why should you be jealous, if I want to be generous?”

The workers who worked hard all day for the same pay as the one's who only worked an hour, thought their employer was being unfair. He felt that he was being kind and generous by paying the late-comers the same rate of pay. This is our God. He doesn't act based on fairness. He is gracious and generous, and His ways are far above our ways.

We think in terms of fairness, He thinks in terms of grace, mercy & justice. We think in terms of getting our fair share and making sure we aren't cheated out of anything that is rightfully ours. God thinks in terms of being a servant who does not complain but chooses contentment. This is a far cry from the ranting and ravings of the mobs protesting against Wall Street. They are wanting their fair share. But what is their fair share? What's your fair share? What do I deserve apart from God's grace and mercy? What have I earned? What do I deserve apart from eternity in hell? That's what we all deserve. Apart from that, everything else is the grace and mercy of God.

In 1 Timothy 6:4-8, Paul is giving instruction to his disciple, Timothy. He says that anyone who opposes his teaching is arrogant and lacks understanding and such individuals will stir up arguments and bring about division, slander and evil suspicion because their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth (sound like anything you see going on today in Washington DC, or in NYC?).
Then, Paul leaves Timothy with this:

6 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.
7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. 8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. 

I am thankful that I serve a God who is not FAIR, but He is JUST and full of GRACE and MERCY. He chooses and elects. He chose Abraham out of all the men on earth at the time. He chose tiny Israel to become a nation, His people, His prized possession--out of all the nations on earth. It's always God's call and He is sovereign and His thoughts and ways are higher than ours. He sees the big picture, even in my life.

Knowing this, I will not lobby for "fairness" but for God's goodness and mercy. Moving forward, I want to take on each new day with contentment, trusting God to take care of me. I want to be seen as a servant to others, not a victim, or angry malcontent. I want others to know that my God is gracious and loving, and He will take care of me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

That's Not Fair!!

Have you ever heard someone say, "That's not fair!" Of course you have. Maybe you've said it yourself. Today, in our government schools, alongside the values of diversity and multiculturalism, there is also the enshrined value of "fairness."

I don't know who defines what is fair or what isn't, but it's everywhere you look: In our schools, in our government, in the entertainment industry, in sports. And here is the sad state of affairs. All this effort at "fairness" is doing nothing to make us a better people or nation. It's counter-productive. 

Life isn't fair. I've known that for a long time. When I was a kid, I often wondered why I had freckles and fair skin while other kids had bronze tans. Why did I have to lather up with 60 spf sunscreen just to go to the beach for a few hours while my friends with natural coppertone tans never ever got sunburned? My friends would call my bottle of sunscreen "bar-b-q sauce" and they were right. Without it, I would become red meat.

I wasn't very good in sports but I knew other kids who were all-round athletes. Any sport they tried, they excelled at it. Where's the fairness in that? Why wasn't I born with good looks? They say that if you are good-looking, you will be given advantages, basically a place at the front of the line throughout your life. So why wasn't I born looking like Brad Pitt? Where's the fairness in that?  Why wasn't I born with a silver spoon in my mouth? Why am I 5'9" and someone else towers over me at 6'4". In our society, being tall is admired. Have you ever heard a girl say that she was in the market for a guy who was short, fair and ugly?

Don't tell me that life is fair because it isn't. But, I accept that fact. Unfortunately, there are many in our country today who want to cry "foul" over unfairness or injustice. They take it upon themselves to make life as fair as possible. While they're at it, if they could figure out a way so that I could have a killer tan and great looks, I'd give it some consideration. But I digress....

One example of this foolishness at "fairness" made the headlines last week: The story of Demias Jimerson, the 11-yr old who scored too many touchdowns for his school's undefeated team, so his principal invoked an obscure rule which limits Demias from scoring if he has already scored three touchdowns and his team is ahead by 14 points. Why do Jimerson's teammates need to be protected from this awesome display of talent? 

Once again, this is an indictment against the government "educational" system which permits the truly gifted to be held back to make the rest feel better by not being challenged. At least their self-esteem will remain intact. Under the guise of fairness, the children at Wilson Intermediate School in Marlvern, Arkansas will never have the chance to achieve greatness because the bar is being lowered every day, just to make it "fair." The principal, Terri Bryant, is doing his best to shelter his students from the real world. 

We have a President who believes we all should pay our "fair share" of taxes. But who determines what's fair? The government? Do you want Uncle Sam deciding what is fair and what isn't? It's not the government's job to determine what is fair but rather, what is just. Where is fairness mentioned in our Constitution or Bill of Rights? It's not there. But we have a government that has invoked all kinds of legislation in an attempt to promote fairness. 

Some examples that come to mind are:

  • Title IX (which supposedly leveled the playing field, giving female students equal access to sports). However, 2,200 men's athletic teams have been eliminated since 1981, and thousands of male athletes have been prohibited from participating in college sports and men's scholarships and coaching positions have evaporated. This law that was originally intended to prohibit discrimination against women is now discriminating against men. What's interesting is that this gender proportionality doesn't apply to the arts or music. 
  • Affirmative Action (The government's attempt at leveling the playing field for blacks. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked out all that well. It has become more of a stigma for blacks than a blessing. After all, do you want a black surgeon who was the product of affirmative action doing your heart transplant? Think about it?) The foolishness of Affirmative Action was on display recently in Atlanta when we learned that teachers and administrators in 60% of the Atlanta's public schools were fixing grades, changing grades, changing D's to B's, C's to A's if an effort to boost their standing. IMHO, Atlanta is an "affirmative action" city and that scares me, and makes me wary of the quality of anything that comes out of Atlanta, except for maybe Coke Zero.
  • EEOC (The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). These guys make sure there is no discrimination, and that everyone plays fair. Again, they are the arbiters of "fairness." If you have a certain skin color and are fired because you were a lousy worker, or just plain dumb, you can go to the EEOC and file a discrimination lawsuit. If you don't get your old job back, you can at least walk away with a settlement and a pocket full of cash.
  • NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) Speaking of pockets full of cash, these guys are in the pockets of the unions. The National Labor Relations Board is alleging that Boeing violated labor laws by locating its new 787 Dreamliner facility in North Charleston, S.C. For years, Boeing has operated predominantly in Washington state, where it has invested billions of dollars and created thousands of jobs. Why are the unions and the NLRB trying to shutter this plant in S.C.? Because South Carolina is a "right to work" state. You don't have to join a union. So here you have the NLRB, a government agency trying to dictate to private companies where they can do business, and all in the name of "fairness."
I could list other examples, but your eyes would glaze for today, I'll leave it at that.  

In my next post (on Saturday), I will attempt to answer the question: "Is God Fair?" What's God's take on the issue of fairness? Where did Jesus stand on "fairness"? Stay tuned...and until then, be fair and play fair.