“Let’s You And Him Fight”

This post condenses the magnitude of my mulling this week. I hope my thoughts sound somewhat reasonable to you.

I’ll start with a comment I read by one US political campaign manager: “Far too many campaigns aren’t talking about governing but just telling you who to be mad at.”

Yes, election fervor is in the air. Voters in our province go to the polls Monday to elect our government for the next four years. We as a church body across North America received an encouragement recently to be prayerful and to speak respectfully about all candidates and the present or future government.

Earlier this week I read an article about one US political candidate. In her ads she blasted away with a military assault rifle to make her point that “socialism does not belong in America” and “we need to blow it away.” According to the article, the threats she was uttering against the opposition party caused her opponent to fear for his life and leave the state. Not exactly democratic.

But politics have always been volatile and speeches are always anti-the other guy. Also, the media presents its own version. However, I did take note of, and have been pondering a statement she apparently made on Facebook:
“We need strong conservative Christians to go on the offense against these socialists who want to rip our country apart.”

Since the Bible says, “the servant of the Lord shall not strive, but be gentle, apt to teach, in meekness instructing those who oppose them…” I do hope some believer will step up and explain to this woman that Bible-believing Christians are NOT all about blowing away their political opponents. Mention that there are strong conservative Christians on the other side, too.

Socialism isn’t the Enemy; it’s simply one of the systems we may happen to live under as we pass through this world. Historically, blind hatred is what really rip countries apart. Resentment of the existing government, selfishly wanting power or assets, unjustly targeting certain groups as STRANGE, as the ENEMY — these things lead to “Let’s you and him fight” hate speeches and violent actions. Then haters of those hate speeches make retaliatory hate speeches, calling for defensive action to combat all this hatred. The merry-go-round starts to spin furiously, throwing bodies off right and left, leaving the land in a shambles.

Mahatma Gandhi was right: “An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind.”
The Apostle James was right: “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” – Chapter 1:20.

James goes on to say, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” Chapter 3: 17-18

Later I spotted another article saying that these vociferous politicians and agitators are actually the minority, that most citizens are standing aside and watching all the hoopla, quietly making up their own minds. Now that’s a comfort!

Followers of Christ all over the world are praying for their governments and their fellow Christians. We especially remember Christians in the US at this time and pray that the peace of God will rule in their hearts and minds, come what may.

Christians have lived under Jewish rule, the Roman Empire, Constantine, the Holy Roman Empire, the Dark Ages, the Reformation. They’ve been governed by monarchies, democracies, fascism, socialism, communism. Some systems made life pretty hard for them because leaders and systems chose to persecute Christianity. With God’s help the Christians carried on living for the Lord and so will we, whatever the ruling government may be.

Ragtag Daily Prompt for today: STRANGE
Fandango’s FOWC: MAGNITUDE

This Constant Call to Judge

My Thoughts on Facts, as Presented by Pro-s and Anti-s

Another attempted coup against the government of Prinstonia has been thwarted. Inside sources report that a group of anarchists calling itself the Citizens’ Coalition launched an attack yesterday but the National Army were successful in routing the rebels and restoring order to the country. Prime Minister Jerimeau, appearing in a news conference this morning, lauded the swift action of the National Army to avert anarchy.

Another attempt was made yesterday by the Citizens’ Coalition to oust the dictatorship now governing the country of Prinstonia. Inside sources report that the National Army, in a bloody battle for control, ruthlessly crushed the attempted coup by Coalition soldiers. Prime Minister Jerimeau, the tyrant who has been holding the country in an iron grip for the past five years, appeared in a news conference this morning, obviously gloating over the victory.

You be the Judge. Which report are you going to believe?

Every day readers around the world are bombarded with news, actual happenings infused with carefully crafted opinions. Daily the media invites us to pass judgment on situations we know little or nothing about. Journalists and editors offer their opinion on what’s going on and how sensible people should feel about it. Thus they bring public pressure to bear on — and usually against — any government or decision. However, the pressure generated is based almost wholly on what’s been written by said journalists and editors. Forty years ago my husband commented that the Press considers itself the official opposition, and in the time since, I’ve seen that to be true.

In the account above, Prime Minister Jerimeau may be a tyrant – or he may be a half-decent sort who truly has the welfare of his country at heart. He may be ruthlessly clutching at power – or he may be trying hard to hold together the various rebellious factions in a quavery sort of peace. He may be lining his pockets – but that in itself doesn’t mean he’s out to crush his people. A stable country where the citizens can go about their business without fear is always going to be better off, even if the big cheeses have mansions and the PM has his own private jet, than one in constant civil war.

Are We Living in an Anti- Age?

Doesn’t it seem these days that if anyone squawks about being oppressed by their rulers, people are more inclined to be sympathetic than skeptical? I get the impression at times that news articles are more apt to support anti-government, anti-status quo groups than voices from the pro-side of things. In any country, at any time, there will always be the dissatisfied “if we were in charge we’d do things right,” types – and the media seems only too happy to find them and air their vitriol. But they’re feeding us the news we want. “Looming civil war” sells. “Everyone’s content” is so hohum.

I wonder how much our inclinations have been shaped by the anti-establishment, anti-status quo, anti-materialistic thinking of the ’60s? We know there must be law and order – we and our own cushy lifestyle would not survive long in a war zone. But do we still have a bit of that 60s sentiment running through our veins that inclines us to favor rebels? And is the media giving us regular infusions of the same?

Examples in history show that rebels who kidnap and murder to destabilize the current government are very apt to continue the practice once they do get into power. Also, though they are certain they could do so much better at running things, rebels seldom have a clear plan for the future — except to wipe out all the last guys.

A Few Historical Examples

No Proposed Plan:
Prior to the US Civil War the Anti-Slavery league had noble goals and great rhetoric. The cause was just; things needed to change. Feeling of compassion were fanned and many Northerners were truly concerned about the suffering victims. More philosophical sorts considered slavery a blot on the country; it must be wiped out. However, it seems no one had a “where to from here” plan, either for restoring the shattered American union or bettering the lot of the now homeless, jobless, landless, illiterate, former slaves. They were mostly left to shift for themselves as best they could in a very hostile environment.

An Idealistic But Untried Plan:
During World War I the Russian government was in a disastrous downward spiral and the peasants were starving. Along came Vladimir Lenin, anti-monarchist, anti-bourgeoisie, enthused about Karl Marx’s brilliant plan for a utopian society based on share and share alike. However, when put into practice, communism just created a new bunch of tyrants and an oppressive, ineffective government.

The “We’ll Get It Right” Plan:
Prohibition had actually been tried in the state of Georgia in the late 1700s. The law was rescinded after seven years seeing as folks kept right on drinking; farmers found operating a still more profitable than farming; juries were lenient toward offenders; rum-runners from nearby states were making mint. Had the Temperance leaders circa 1900 studied this and taken to heart the results, they could have saved North America a LOT of woe. Or maybe they did know, but decided, “We’ll do it better and it will work this time.”

Yes, the big pushes behind the anti-drinking movement, the churches and the Womens’ Christian Temperance Movement, were very optimistic about their ability to reform human nature. And they were actually doing a good work of promoting temperance — until they took it into the political arena. They meant well and thought legally turning off the tap would finally stop the thirst for liquor. They never dreamed that Prohibition would so foster organized crime.

Sadly, Christians are still far too inclined to push plans they feel will benefit mankind and refuse to accept what the Bible says about non-Christian thinking, that it is “not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Coming from an non-Christian background myself, I can testify that making Christian moral rules for people who are not Christian is a kind of self-delusion. You kid yourself that “In our country we don’t allow…” while the average Joe just finds ways around the rules.

A Current Example of Compassion But No Plan
In the past few years I’ve seen many stories about the plight of children caught at the US-Mexican border. Accounts of “children being ripped from their parents’ arms” – though some workers in that area do question whose children these really are – and now being held in detention centers in Texas. I’m seeing a lot of criticism and condemnation of the US govt and the President, but no practical fix-it for this sad situation. Should they just turn all those children loose to fend for themselves? Hall them all across the border and dump them? Allow all those illegal aliens to reclaim their children and make them US citizens, thus sending the signal for more to come?

I have many questions about all this. Why did these people suddenly start coming? Who led them to believe they could now successfully sneak into the US?
Somebody has created this unique situation; what was their motive? Was this sudden influx somehow a cleverly engineered plan to force, or embarrass, the US administration?
What if all the concerned, critical Americans would rather offer to take in, and be responsible for, these children? Like foster care? Would that help?
This would show genuine compassion rather than simple anti-Trump vitriol. But there are so many children in the US foster care system now that need homes, too. Alas, it’s all beyond me!

Being Overfed Isn’t Healthy

In our day we have so many conflicting voices, so many people pointing us this way and that. This pressure adds a lot of stress to our lives as we’re almost forced to decide on issues we know so little about. We’re being “fed” – and sometimes the fare is toxic, giving us heartburn and high blood pressure. But just because the media wants to feed us doesn’t mean we have to swallow everything they’re offering us. We can resist emotional pleas that overlook so many factors. Generally, it’s best to reserve judgment until we’ve done some serious digging to find the facts.

Sometimes we have to hit the OFF button. Knowing my own limitations, I can’t have the weight of the world’s woes pressing on my mind and be an emotionally healthy person.

Didn’t Catch it in the Newsroom

Good afternoon everyone — at least that’s where we are at in our day. Thanks to streaming we were able to listen to a church service in Quebec, part of one in Manitoba, and our own here in Sask. Now we have a brilliant blue sky and warm sunshine, the birds are dragging sticks and straws to various nests, and I’d best send out my response to today’s prompt.

Do I dare ask if you’ve tried the new editor? Yesterday I was reading several other bloggers’ thoughts and experiences with this complicated new Block Editor. Not many sweet notes in their song; so far the chorus sounds more like “Aargh…Why! Why!” My own gripe is that I have to go through my post and Justify every single paragraph — one by one — and then I can’t see that it has been done until it’s published. Aargh.

The Ragtag Daily Prompt, contributed by yours truly, is JOURNALIST. Do hop over and check out the links to see what others are posting about this subject. There’s a wide range of interpretations here.

Now, here’s my contribution:

In his book, A Way With Words, ©1979, Canadian newsman Bill Cameron takes a light-hearted look at some of the journalistic bloopers he’s seen in his day and suggests ways writers can clarify their writing. No more, I saw the fox run through the field looking through my binoculars.” 🙂

One thing he mentions is that a reporter should follow an order and always state at the beginning of the story what it’s about. Here’s the opening line of a story once printed in the Regina paper. How did this one sneak past the editor?
“An intricate breeding style, developed through a boyhood hobby, is fast turning into a full-time vocation for a Kantsay district farmer and his wife.”
The reporter does explain a few lines down that said farmer and wife were having great success at breeding and raising some type of livestock, but Mr Cameron thinks that lead-in produced many a chuckle.

Here’s another, from a Saskatoon paper’s editorial of bygone days:
Speaking of expensive frills in modern houses, the writer explains how “dining rooms were once considered necessary because the old-type kitchen was not suitable for eating.

Don’t panic, dear readers. I haven’t heard of any Canadians who actually tried to eat their kitchen.

Mr Cameron stresses that every writer “should look over everything they write with the most critical eye they can muster. Read it over. Read it out loud. Better, have a friend read it over to you.”

After all, to air is human — and your Spell checker will miss a few, too.

He admits that sometimes they get a great lead to an article and can’t use it because it would be in such poor taste. For example, When J Edgar Hoover died, a fellow editor in the newsroom suggested as a lead to the obituary, ‘The death of J Edgar Hoover has left at vacuum at the FBI’. It gave them a quick chuckle, but they knew it wouldn’t be well accepted.

Do you think journalists and editors in our day ever reject a story because it’s in poor taste?

Rosy Outlook in the Distance

Good morning everyone,

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is ROSY HUES

I arose just before 6 am this morning, but the rosy hues of dawn were long gone. The sky was bright, the birds going about their business, and the temp was just above freezing. But the predicted high is 25 C and the sky is blue above us: the makings of a warm spring day.

Perhaps the prompt-giver was thinking of other ROSY HUES — figurative ones — which I also thought of this morning. A few days ago my husband informed me his favorite book store in the city plans to open next week, along with other stores. Access limited to fifteen people at a time, but still.. The dawning of a new era.

one by one restrictions lift
people begin to breathe
to move about, to gather
cautiously at first

stores open their doors
employees take their places
the world faces a new dawn
its
rosy hues
still in the distance

Dawn.analogicus
             Image by analogicus from Pixabay

Flags at Half Mast Today

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is FLUTTER

Our news media today is aflutter with news of the recent tragedy here in Canada. Our flags at flying at half-mast and our hearts are sorrowing this morning as we read the details of the worst mass shooting in Canadian history: seventeen innocent people in Nova Scotia plus the suspect shot to death.

For Canadians the incident is doubly shocking and grievous, partly because something as senseless as this would happen in some small Nova Scotia communities — no one yet has any idea what triggered this rampage — and worse, because the killer went out dressed as an member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, our cross-country law enforcers.

Can flag. half. pixel1
Image: Pixel1 — Pixabay

The shootings began about 10:00 pm Saturday evening when a Dartmouth denturist named Gabriel Wortman, age 51, wearing full uniform and vest of an RCMP officer, went out to shoot people. He’d painted his car to look like an RCMP vehicle, and in one case he stopped a car and shot the occupants. He set fire to his own building and several others and shot the occupants as they fled.

According to news reports, Portapique is a beach-side town of about 100 residents on Nova Scotia’s Cobequid Bay, about a 90-minute drive from Halifax. The suspect owned two large properties on Portapique Beach Road, where the shootings started on Saturday night. The gunman then left this area and drove to a couple of other towns, was finally shot and killed around 9:00 am yesterday morning at a gas station in Enfield, NS. One officer was also killed in the effort to stop the suspect.

Our hearts ache for all these people and their families, including the troubled man who saw no better solution to his problems than to commit this deed.

I’ve given a very loose sketch here, you may well have read about this in your own news, and more details will be available as investigators piece the story together. And if anyone reads this who’s been directly affected by this horror, please accept my deepest sympathies.

Sunday morning my husband and I listened to messages from two different pastors, Pastor Hank from his home in Quebec, and our local pastor Warren. Later in the day we heard two other inspiring talks, a speaker from CA and one from MB. Then gospel songs from two different small groups — all thanks to Listen to church.com — giving us hope and courage in these uncertain times. Conversely, more details were trickling in about this tragedy in Nova Scotia. Such a sad contrast!

Those ‘To-Do’ Resolutions

Ragtag Daily Prompt word this morning:  NEW BEGINNINGS
Word of the Day challenge:  RESOLUTION
The Daily Addictions word for today:  STOP

Good morning everyone!

I see we have a fine choice of seasonal prompt words this morning, reminding us of the resolutions we’ve made this week. Good news for my readers: my one resolution this year is to ALWAYS preview my posts before hitting PUBLISH. Maybe I can weed out those devious typos that want to creep in.

START WITH A LIST

I’ve read a couple of different articles recently saying that if people want to work smarter and accomplish their goals, they should make a To-Do list every morning. According to these time-management experts, making a list is the best way to zero in on your priorities. Even if you don’t get through the list, they say, even if your day gets sidetracked, it’s still advisable to set down on paper the things you want to accomplish. And keep it nearby, where you see it often. This help you to sort out and focus on the most important tasks.

I believe it. I’ve been told by some very efficient people that they make a To-do list every day. In fact, some people have their days and weeks regulated FlyLady style. As in, every Monday: one load of laundry; vacuum this room; wash that floor; clean this closet. And so on through the week. (I imagine the rule is: no hobbies, no blogging until these tasks are done.) This system becomes an ingrained habit and you never have to wonder “What am I going to do today?”

I’ve never been a list-maker. Yes, I usually think every morning of a couple of goals for the day, but I tend to waste time on fiddly things. Looking back, I’ve found that on days when I’m preparing for something special like dinner guests or a trip, and make a To-Do list first thing, I have gotten much more accomplished. But usually I tend to meander through my day with only a few vague goals.

So if I want to make a NEW BEGINNING, I can start with the worthy RESOLUTION to make a To-Do list every morning. Join the Fly-Lady and organize my week. STOP wasting time and work at accomplishing some main goals.

Sigh… Like the proverbial “Lose ten pounds,” this resolution has been made different times and abandoned. This system clashes big time with my attention-deficit tendencies and I end up just hoping there’s a place in this world for disorganized, inefficient, and scatter-brained people. 🙂

MY WEEK SO FAR

This week has definitely been a drifting one with no big accomplishments. My sister’s death still seems unreal, for one thing. I keep thinking, “It just can’t be! Surely she’s still there and we’ll see her the next time we go that way.” Also, “Why didn’t we talk a lot more? And talk about the important things of life?”

Also, on Monday I started feeling an infection coming on. I was hopeful for a quick recovery but was feeling so weary when we were shopping in the city Thursday. By evening I knew the infection was winning and I needed to see a doctor, so I went back to the city yesterday. You know how it goes: sit for two hours at a walk-in clinic; spend two minutes with the doctor; he verifies the problem and gives a prescription.

This antibiotic is amazing stuff! Kicked in right away. I hadn’t realized how ‘blah’ I felt until I started getting better and my energy started coming back. So maybe today I can tackle that To-Do list.

PRAY FOR RAIN

My petty worries are trifles when I read what’s happening elsewhere. This week blogger Frank Prem has been posting poems about the fires in Australia, the smoke blanketing his own community. I’ve looked online and seen maps — and was horrified to see they are fighting fires all over the continent. Read one of his verses here.

My heart aches for them — the lives, the homes, and all the flora and fauna being lost in those many blazes. I’m thankful that Canadian fire fighters have been sent to help combat this catastrophe, and praying for rain in Australia is high on my priority list these days.