On Wednesday… November 5, 2012

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On Wednesday it’ll be over.

The extravagant spending, campaigning, stumping, accusing and attacking will officially come to an end. Another Presidential election will be on the books, marred by some sort of controversy, with disgruntled parties on both sides–but yet, some sort of concession speech being given before morning’s light.

Although the pundits would love to tantalize you with the possibility of a hung election or other types of boorish conflict, it more than likely will pan out in some way and we once again will have an occupant for the Oval Office.

I don’t care. It doesn’t affect my life.

There are those who will find my two statements to be short-sighted, apathetic or even stupid. But I am not short-sighted, apathetic and try my best to escape stupidity. I just understand that a political solution and an arcane concept of the “balance of powers” has led us into a situation in which people have learned how to manipulate the system instead of using it wisely.

If Barack Obama is re-elected President, I will have continued my work as an adult through eight Presidents. A victory by Mitt Romney would make it nine. Honestly, none of these gentlemen have ever helped me in my mission. I have granted them the spotlight while I have continued my simple task, providing my own illumination.

I know that on Wednesday I will be propelling two ideas that I have shared all of this year and are really at the heart of my message ever since I was a young fellow of nineteen year.

  1. NoOne is better than anyone else.
  2. Jesus came to make God human, not to make humans more like God.

I can have fellowship with either political party, any atheist, any religionist or anybody at all–as long as they will lend an ear to these two precepts.

Of course, no political party will allow the notion of the equality found in the assertion, NoOne is better than anyone else. Their very existence demands supremacy.

No religionist is going to remove the mysticism of the pursuit of the “Godhead” in favor of the humanity, heart and teachings of Jesus. It’s just the way things are.

I am not discouraged; I’m just a realist. But I do know that if religion continues to propagate its supernatural vision absent human application, the ranks of the faithful will grow leaner and meaner. And I’m fully aware that as long as dominance, bullying and a caste system exist in our society, we will never be able to have peace and a free exchange of ideas.

So let them vote. Let them decide. Let them believe that they are changing the course of history by placing one person in an office to execute legislation and direct a nation. The truth of the matter is, the destiny of the United States of America lies in whether we can learn to greet one another with civility, pursue creativity and make sure that all our spiritual endeavors have a practical, earthly outcome.

Without this, politics battles and religion rattles.

On Wednesday I will continue my work. I enjoy the lot given to me because I can do it quietly and the fruit is obvious by the results tendered at the end of the day. I do not look to Washington, D.C. for my salvation. I do not look to heaven for the same. I daily work out my own salvation with a bit of fear and trembling–a fear that I’ll be distracted by the din of worldly noise and a trembling over how fragile we are all made and how easy it is to miss a quality moment, tied up with silly details.

I think you will find that which ever one of these men becomes President, your life will go on pretty much the same. So if you’d like to join me in believing that NoOne is better than anyone else and contending that Jesus did not come to earth to turn men into gods, but rather, to make God more human, I will guarantee you an exciting, thrilling journey–with exploits that always seem to bring the kind of results that please the heavens and satisfy the earth.

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Testing the Repair … September 6, 2012

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Confusion is a bad thing. It tends to make us frustrated and lazy. It should be avoided. But how can you avoid confusion without either developing some sort of “pie in they sky” philosophy, or walking around so disgruntled that you put the entire human community on edge?

Here’s what I do–I relate everything to me. I know that may sound arrogant, so let me qualify. I try to envision any situation in the world around me and compare it to something about me or something I’ve experienced.

So when people talk about education, I pursue learning and personal instruction in matters that will enlighten me and make my choices more informed. When people talk about food and healthy selections, I go to the grocery store and look around for things that fall within the spectrum of what is considered to be nourishing, and from those particular possibilities I grab my personal favorites to form my diet. When people talk about God, I envision a father much like myself, who through trial and error is trying to do the best for his children in instructing them while continuing to love them at all times.

So when they talk to me about politics and business, I don’t let my head spin with a bunch of statistics being offered by both Republicans and Democrats, who are promoting their cause and agenda. Instead, I like to take the situation happening in our economy and apply it to my own life–thereby getting a deeper understanding. Let me hush up with the explanation and give you an example.

I told you earlier in the week that I was “leaky”–that is, my radiator. Well, it turns out it needed to be replaced. Now, I don’t know much about radiators, so I contacted some friends and asked their opinions. You might call them my “advisors.” I got four different outlooks on the issue.

One friend insisted that I needed to take it to a dealership because they were the only ones who completely understood my vehicle, and I shouldn’t enlist some local repair shop, even if it cost me more to go to the big guy.

Another of my counselors asked me if the van was presently leaking. I explained that some friends in South Lyon had put some Stop Leak in it and that it was not dripping any fluid at all. He just laughed and said some variation of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  I think it was, “If it don’t leak, don’t plug it.”

A third friend I conferred with said I should go out and get it welded, or sautered, or whatever they do–get it repaired. It would be cheaper. For after all, he said, there was no need to throw away ninety per cent of a good radiator just because ten per cent was being fussy.

And the final person I spoke to thought I should go to a junk yard, find an old van and remove the radiator from that vehicle and place it into my transportation–because it would be cheaper, even though I would have to put on my rummaging shoes.

Please understand, I took all four perspectives into account. Each one of them was pretty sure he was giving me superb advice. I suppose I could have taken each particular maneuver, applied it and achieved some level of success. Instead, I pursued a fifth option.

I found a reputable repair shop and had them put on a new radiator. It was expensive. I realized if I paid all that money for the radiator and it ended up not working very well or something else broke down in the next few weeks, I would be compiling great financial turmoil for myself and probably end up looking pretty stupid.

Bold maneuvers always put you on top of a mountain, where it’s hard to escape being peered at by the congregation below. So if I bought this radiator and it went well, within a few weeks I would be so happy that I was cruising along without fear of my Stop Leak giving up its “stop,” or my junkyard radiator being junk, or my repaired water holder being irreparable, or paying even more by having the reassurance of a dealership.

I had to risk looking stupid to give myself a new, fresh opportunity. Even as I drive down the road today, heading towards Indiana from Michigan, I am not out of the woods. Every mile is a test-drive of my decision on how to repair my van.

The holes in the radiator were not my fauilt.I don’t feel guilty that the problem came up. I don’t feel responsible that it occurred “on my watch” instead of the time-clock of the former owner. I just want to make sure that I give myself the best chance to resolve the situation, even though my wallet took a hit and I put myself in a vulnerable position, where if something else goes wrong, I might just end up looking stupid. Remember–“smart” is often “stupid” which survived the trial. Do you see my point?

I think the same thing is true in our country. The last thing in the world we need in the US of America right now is an election. What we really require is a revival of common sense.

We need our teachers to instruct in subjects that will prepare the students for a real-life situation in this twenty-first-century global economy.

We need corporations to stop sitting on profit margins, contriving new bonuses, but instead, taking the good old-fashioned capitalist risk of venturing into new schemes which will require more employees.

We need politicians to stop campaigning and start considering ways to make ideas functional, even though often when you implement them they may seem scary at first because you do not know if they will actually take care of the repair.

And we need ministers and spiritual people in this country to stop plugging religion and give us the impetus and motivation to believe that “NoOne is better than anyone else” and that we are the only “we” that is available at this time in this season for this situation.

What do I think about America? I think we decided to do something four years ago, as a nation, by a majority, and now we’ve got a little “buyer’s remorse.” As I drive along today, I am hoping that my choice on how to repair my van is going to hold up and work. Any good American should be feeling the same way about the choices we’ve made to repair this country and its economy. It doesn’t mean other things won’t come up. It doesn’t mean we won’t need each other for further counsel–to tweak the solution. It just means that sometimes, all you can do is choose the best you can and then work with your best guess.

I do not condone either party or support either candidate. I know this–as in the case of the radiator on my van, every choice I made had its good points and bad points. I made a choice. Yes, I gave my van a stimulus program. We’ll see if it works. And if it doesn’t, I’m going to need those friends who gave me their input, to help me find a way to reclaim a new solution. And if it does work, I need to humbly bow my head in prayer and thank my Father for being merciful to this child.

It’s time for Americans to stop fighting. Hang in there with each other; make some subtle changes–but test out the repair. It took us eight years to screw up the economy–and the people who did it weren’t bad. It’s just that their repair didn’t hold up. But since it took eight years to get in trouble, I don’t know whether we can expect to escape in four.

  • What we need are people who will believe without demanding that their opinions be supreme.
  • What we require is faith in one another.
  • What we don’t need is to tear our nation apart over tiny points of legalism and end up with too much to prove for any good to come of it.

So here I go–my confusion about the United States has been clarified by a decision I had to make this week about a radiator. Am I right? Am I wrong? I won’t know until I test the repair.

But I do know this–whatever happens, I won’t blame anyone, including myself. I’ll just take the next better idea that comes along, thank whoever gave it to me, and make it my own.

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If I Were a Republican … May 10, 2012

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If politics were farming, the farmer would rise from his bed in the morning, sow salt in his own field and by lunchtime, be complaining about how the former landowner had ruined the property. By dinnertime, at a fundraising banquet, he would be asking everyone to vote for him as “Farmer of the Year,” having never planted one seed.

Just my opinion.

But setting aside personal assertions and convictions, let me take one day and tell you what I would do if I were a Republican.

  1. I would take specific responsibility for my part in the present “Bungle in the Jungle.” The beginning of this century was a difficult time in this country and decisions needed to be made–some of which were overwrought. No one really denies that except when they want to portray that they are squeaky clean and the other side is stained with guilt. Any Republican politician who would take on the specific errors that were made during the previous eight years of administration and isolate them off, while temporarily ignoring the faults of the adversarial party could look like a freaking genius.
  2. I would keep the discussion on governing and stay out of religion. A quick opening of the history book will show you that whenever religion and politics have mingled, the results have been dastardly, if not lethal. Governing demands the ability to see the view of all of your citizens instead of trying to climb the Tower of Babel, to look down on the hapless masses who are lost, without a savior. Traditionally, the elephant is the symbol of the Republican Party. The creature has big ears and a long nose. The Republicans would do better to focus on their ears, to hear, and stop being quite so nosy. Is it possible to be a good Christian and be a politician? It is if you know when to render and how to render–like Jesus said. What I believe cannot be what I enforce. The minute it is, it is no longer true faith–it is legalism.
  3. I would discover a historical sense. If I were a Republican I would stop trying to be the party of Ronald Reagan, and rather, emphasize that I was the party of Lincoln. Ronald Reagan, like all Presidents before and after him, found his own unique way to place our country deeply in debt. But Abraham Lincoln did three things the Republican Party could still use–and advertise–instead of allowing the Democrats to claim Honest Abe as one of their own.  (a) Lincoln taught the sanctity of the union over the preeminence of state’s rights; (b) he freed the slaves even though he, himself, was hardly absent bigotry or misconceptions. Why? Because it was the right thing to do; and (c) he used government to keep the people in power instead of allowing corporations and business to control the issues. If I were a Republican I would talk more about Lincoln than Reagan.
  4. I would stop the battle between men and women. I do not understand what politicians think they’re going to achieve by continuing to propagate a struggle between the genders in our species. Any party that comes along and generates equality between men and women, and refuses to join into the foolish cultural battle of the struggle between the sexes will gain the respect of both sides. You can’t win an election with just men. And you can not win an election with just women.
  5. And finally, I would focus on finance. If you really believe in the free enterprise system and smaller government, favoring businesses to prosper instead of going into bankruptcy caused by the difficulty of obtaining start-up cash and high taxes, then stay on point. The issues of abortion and gay rights will not be settled in a political campaign. They will be discussed and ultimately concluded in the judicial branch of our checks and balances. So drop all of the pretense of self-righteousness–and focus on money. Do I think the Republicans have an advantage over Democrats with this issue? If they don’t naturally, they surely can promote it as such. If I were a Republican, I would never stop talking about the economy and the steps necessary to return us to a sense of responsible capitalism.

Absent of these five steps, the Republican Party greatly resembles the organization of our moms and dads, with no understanding of the current top forty. My parents were staunch Republicans. But all of my brothers became Democrats, except me–who is apolitical. The party loyalty did not continue to the next generation. Why? Because it appeared that the organization was always defending instead of leading.

So if I were a Republican, I would strongly invoke the name of Abraham Lincoln as I led our country forward to the aspirations of even greater freedoms for its people. Of course, I’m not a Republican, and if I were, they probably wouldn’t listen to me anyway. But I thought you might be interested in some of my thoughts, although they are just as valuable and worthless as everybody else’s. To be completely fair, if you will allow me, I will take the position tomorrow of explaining what I would do if I were a Democrat.

Of course, as I have stated before … I am not.

I have always made a rule in my life to never go to any party that doesn’t have refreshments. 

  

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