Posts Tagged ‘community’

From Me to We

October 11, 2010

When we are having problems in our relationships with other people, whether it is in a church, our workplace, our community, or even in our families, the problem is usually experienced as my dissatisfaction with your actions.  I am unhappy, because you are doing something wrong.  I think that we would be better served if we would shift our focus from our personal perspective to a shared goal.  Instead of asking “How can you make me happy?” or “How can I get my way?”  We should ask “How can we make our situation better?”  How can we make our church better?  Our workplace better? Our communities, and our families better?

In seeking solutions to common problems we need to shift our thinking from me to we, from thinking of our personal needs and goals to thinking of the needs of the group.  Problems that exist in a group setting are not my problems, they are our problems.  Solutions then should focus, not on me, but on we.

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Why Muslims Will Celebrate On 9/11

September 9, 2010

Muslims will celebrate the end of Ramadan on 9/11.  Ramadan is a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset every day.  The end of the month is celebrated with a special holiday called Eid ul-Fitr.    The Muslim calendar is a lunar calendar so the actual start, and end, of the month moves through the Julian calendar.  This year the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan falls on 9/11.  That is unfortunate, because some people will probably misinterpret the celebration.  It has nothing to do with the destruction of the Twin Towers.  If you had just finished a month of fasting, you would probably celebrate too!

Judging Judges

August 25, 2010

This November, in Iowa, three of the judges that made the decision to allow gay marriage in Iowa will be on the ballot.  The people of the state are given the opportunity to ratify their appointment, or not.  This is an opportunity to express how we feel about their work.  It will not change any laws, but it may send a message about what the majority of the  public thinks about their decision.  This could make a difference in what happens in other states.

The Iowa Supreme Court  created something new in our state by allowing gay marriages.  It is my opinion that the judges exceeded their authority.  I am glad that I will have the opportunity to express my opinion with my vote in November.

It Is NOT Hate

July 22, 2010

Recently, Kenneth Howell,  an adjunct faculty at the University of Illinois was removed from teaching the two classes that he taught on Catholicism.  He had been accused by a friend of one of his students of “hate speech”.  Specifically, he had stated that he agreed with the Catholic doctrine that homosexual sex is immoral.

So he was fired for saying he agreed with Catholic doctrine?

What happened to religious freedom?

What happened to free speech?

What happened to academic freedom?

The case is under review and I certainly hope that he is reinstated.

Perhaps it would be better if it was called a sin, rather than immoral.  Calling it a sin would clearly identify it as a religious position.  We all know that we have religious freedom in this country.  No one accuses the Mormon church of  hate speech for their position that drinking caffeine is a sin.  If you don’t believe it to be true, it shouldn’t bother you.

Of course, Dr. Howell has no control over what the Catholic church teaches. They have their position.  He was hired to teach the class.  He has the right to  believe in what Catholicism teaches.  He has the right to say so.

It is not hate.

4th of July

June 29, 2010

Our community does a great job celebrating the 4th of July.  The day begins with the Noon Lions sponsoring a pancake breakfast at the community center.  Hundreds of people will choose to participate in this event.  Then the town sponsors a parade, normally starting at ten o’clock.  The parade is well attended with crowds lining the streets.  The children are especially excited about the opportunity to gather candy, lots of candy.  Then there are a variety of food booths and activities in the main park.  Those activities normally run into the afternoon.  For the evening fireworks display we drive over to the next town where there is a huge party going on.  In the park and around town, thousands of people are grilling, playing games, buying still more food at more concession stands and generally having a great time.  The fireworks display is outstanding.  Even the huge traffic jam is peaceful and friendly, no honking, as everyone tries to find their way home .

The only problem is that it can be a really long day. 

This year, since the 4th is on a Sunday, the schedule is a little different.  The parade will be at six o’clock Saturday evening, not Sunday morning.  I think that everything else remains the same.  It should be a good time.

Reduced Freedom

March 31, 2010

The passage of the new health care bill will result in many more people having coverage.

Whether they want it or not.

The bill will require companies to provide health care coverage, or pay a fine.  Either way it will increase the cost of doing business in the United States.  That cost will be passed on to customers.  It will also be one more reason to send jobs out-of-country, where the cost of doing business is cheaper in many ways.

The bill also requires individuals to purchase health care coverage, if they do not have it provided, or pay a fine.  Yes,  there will be a subsidy, but for many people, the subsidy will not cover the cost.  It will be one more added expense for people who already are having a difficult time.

Comply or be fined.  Those are the options, and it is a reduction in our freedom to direct our own lives, and our own businesses.

Common Courtesy

March 29, 2010

What has happened to common courtesy?

I just finished watching an interview on television, never mind who it was specifically, I have seen others just like it, and much worse, in the last few months.  In the interview, both individuals were frequently interrupting each other.  When interrupted, they both just kept talking.  I am not able to follow two people speaking at once and so did not get very much out of the exchange.

In my class, it is not uncommon for there to be people talking quietly among themselves during the class time.  Sometimes I will ignore it, and sometimes I will point out their rude and distracting behaviour, depending on how tolerant I am feeling at the time.  I teach an ICN class, which means that it is telecast by cable to remote locations.  I am told that at the remote locations, there is often a lot of talking taking place.  I am unable to hear what is going on at remote sites without a microphone being keyed, so I rarely address that situation.

I was brought up to understand some basic points of common courtesy regarding conversations.

1.  Only one person should be speaking at a time.

2.  Let the person who is speaking, finish what they are saying.

3.  Allow opportunities for response.

4.  Invite others to share their thoughts.

5.  Listen to what people are saying.

6.  Avoid vulgar or profane language.

7.  Stay on topic, unless it is agreed to move on to a new subject.

(Feel free to add some more rules in the comment section.)

In our country, there seems to be a trend towards rudeness.  I recognize that we have serious disagreements about many issues, but can we at least discuss them in a civilized manner?  Can we show, even the people who we disagree with, a little common courtesy?  Maybe, just maybe, they will return the favor.

Cut Back!

March 11, 2010

If an individual is spending more money than they make, they must either make more money or spend less.  If they decide to spend less, they will maintain the essentials and trim back on the non-essentials.

The same is true in the business world.  If you are not making a profit, then you need to remove non-essentials from your operating costs.  This can sometimes involve painful decisions.  It is important to make the right cuts.

The same is true with our government.  It is time to recognize  what is necessary, and what is non-essential.  It is high time to reduce spending in non-essential areas. It is not a time to be spending more money.  It is time to be spending less.

National Debt Reduction

March 10, 2010

I have an idea.

Personally, I think it is pretty good.

We have a huge national debt, with basically no repayment plan.  We just keep spending more money and racking up the debt and I don’t hear much talk about what we are going to do about it.

What if we tied political campaign contributions to debt relief contributions?

If you make a contribution to a political candidate, then, let’s say 50% of your contribution goes to the candidate’s campaign, and 50% goes to debt relief.

Furthermore, any candidate that leaves elected public service should surrender their remaining war chest funds to debt relief.

We really don’t need quite so much money spent on attack ads and telephone solicitation.

We sure could use some help paying off the debt our politicians have created.

Spiritual Diet

February 4, 2010

You do not lose weight by indulging the appetite!

This is the thought that occurred to me recently.  My wife and I are both dieting.  We were checking out at a gas station and there were some really good-looking sweet rolls on the counter.  I have a weakness for sweets.  I really wanted one, but the line mentioned above came to me and I was able to resist because I do want to lose weight.

I sometimes think that some Christians are on a spiritual diet.

In order to grow as believers in Christ there are three basic components.  They are good helpings of scripture, prayer and fellowship.  Now these things are available in individual servings, but they are best enjoyed family style… that means in church, in case you are missing my point.  Yet many Christians place church attendance very low in their set of priorities.  I have personally attended services every time the doors were open since I was a teenager.  I greatly value my time at church, and that was true for years before I became a pastor.  I firmly believe that it contributes greatly to spiritual growth, and also helps in the smooth operations of daily life.

Some Christians seem to be on a starvation diet.

How often have you attended church in the last month?

Are you losing the wrong type of weight?