Category Archives: Thoughts

Be The Change – yes you!!

So today is a big deal, I get it, we all get it. However today saddens me, from what I see online & talking to people it saddens almost everyone. Yes voting is important, however how we live our lives is significantly more important.

Somehow we as a society have arrived at a place where we are making a choice between two democratically (ish) nominated candidates that the vast majority seem to not want to have to choose between.

Is the answer to this problem to become more involved in the political world? To get in on the primaries & whatever comes before them?

No, that is not the answer. I don’t want to trivialize the political process (although it would be say for me to do so), the answer to our problems lies not in candidates or parties, policies or social media etiquette. The answer to our problem comes from changing the current state of society that we have all in one form or another played a role in creating.

In the information age we have some how moved past satirical humor to outright abuse. We have arrived at a place where we trivialize the denigration of ideas, of individuals. No longer it seems are we capable of compromise, openness and acting with respect towards dissenting ideas.

If someone has a different opinion to you or different values, that should be ok, that should be celebrated. There is obviously basic human decency and laws that need to be respected, but if the values of another are not that say for example, selling kids into slavery is ok, if they just hold a different view on taxation or healthcare or background checks for weapon ownership.

It is ok to discuss civilly & at the end of the conversation respectfully agree to disagree. You are not supposed to be an evangelist for your political ideology, you are suppose to help your fellow human beings have an open mind and come to their own conclusions, that is how decent society works.

Instead everyone seems angry, everyone wants a solution to a problem that they either cannot fully articulate or they cannot fully identify. This week & this year especially, everyone wants to lynch someone in Washington, whilst at the same time demanding they fix whatever it is we collectively feel is broken in our society. A society that celebrates focusing on anything negative whilst ignoring anything positive I might add.

In the times of Jesus, people missed the king of kings because they were looking for him to be a politician or a military general. They killed him for healing and teaching peaceful ways. You may not be a Christian, you may not even believe that Jesus walked the earth. Regardless, what is taught in his name in the bible is pretty much universally accepted as a good thing, that is – to love one another.

One of the saddest things about this election cycle, in fact in all of President Obama’s time in office, is the number of apparent Christians who are spreading a gospel of political hate instead of the gospel of Jesus.

John 13:35 says “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”

I promise I am not going to get too preachy or religious on you. However the one thing i know is that whatever happens in the election today, the answer to our country’s future lies with the people, not the politicians. In the words of my pastor last Sunday, On Wednesday November 9th the sun will still rise and we will still get to be the change, to love the poor and the marginalized.

Who am I voting for, am I even voting? It doesn’t matter! Not to minimize the importance, regardless of the fact that my one vote and one voice will make literally no discernible difference, it is still important. However people are treating this whole thing  like they do fantasy sports, so obsessed with the actions of others in an arena that they have zero influence. They then get mad at reality when their fantasy world does not go according to the script that only they know exists. We need to snap out of it, we need to be better.

Maybe instead of obsessing with the tv actions of a bunch of people we will never really know, with questionable intentions, we should go about being the change we want to see in the world ourselves. Maybe by making our local area better we could influence the wider area to be better.

Maybe, just maybe, today YOU can make the choice, not to complain, not to question someone else’s values, but to LOVE someone, anyone. Smile, be friendly, spread hope, because hope and love are infectious and beautiful. If you really want this country to be better than you feel it is today, that is exactly how you can do it.

Be blessed my friends. May you have peace, hope and love in your hearts.

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Hope & the Youth of Today

This morning my 10 year old daughter had a bit of a melt down because she only got 88% for mathematics on her recent progress report, not a grade, but a progress report. It was strange, because when I was a kid my parents would probably have done a dance if I got an 88% at anything, but for my daughter this was unusually low.

While it may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, it was a big deal to her, and thus it also is to me as her father. So we consoled her, we will help her and encourage her and do our best to enable her to reach her full potential, because my wife and I love her more than anything, that’s what parents (should) do.

This was right before I got in the car to head to Dallas where I would be leading worship this morning at The Lord’s Hand & Hearts ministries. It is a homeless outreach that feeds people’s bodies and souls, I have been leading worship there on occasion for a couple of years now. While I was in the car the thought came to me (you can decide how) that what I just experienced is exactly what God experiences with each of us.

When we fall or stumble, when we get trapped by our habitual failings, He doesn’t get mad at us, He loves us and He comforts us. He will be there for us to help us do better in the future. He feels our shame and tells us it will be ok. He has bigger and better things for us to come, if we will trust Him. 

At Solomon’s Porch today (the name for LHH’s Saturday Gathering) the message was delivered not by the pastor, but a group of young volunteers. 5 or 6 of them gave powerful testimonies, thought provoking, inspirational testimonies. Each of them had been through something and with the help of Jesus had come out of the other side and were moving in His kingdom to make a difference in the lives of the homeless this morning. It was truly beautiful, heart warming and soul filling.

I see a lot of “older” people (probably my age lol) complaining about millennials and the youth of today. From what I saw today I can assure you there the future is in good hands. Sure there are some less then stella people in that generation, just like every generation that has ever walked the planet. These children of God, just like my daughter this morning, have lessons to teach us all, directly or indirectly,

I’m not sure exactly where I was trying to go with this, I just felt the need to share a morning in the spirit. A light went back on inside me today, just like it did for several of the guests this morning.

Hope is a good thing my friends, hold on to it,

May hope, peace and love light your way today 🙂

What If?

What if, we the people decided to be the change?

What if, we the people declared we would be the hope?

What if, we the people decided that we are better together, regardless of race, nationality, ancestral origin, political, philosophical and theological differences?

What if, we the people decided respect and cooperation were better than hate and divide?

What if, we the people,  instead of following the example of our so called leaders, demand that they lead by our example?

What if?

My America

Let me tell you about my America

The land that I have always loved

It is not a land of a particular political party

Or a certain belief system

It is a cultural melting pot of the world

 

It is a place of hope & promise

The land of dreams

Dreams for all

Where anyone is welcome

And the only ceiling is that of your ambition

 

It is the land of the New Colossus

The land of liberty

The home of “Give me your tired, your poor

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 

That is my America

It is a good place

maybe the best place

 

In these crazy times

of arguments over solutions

Where hate is trying to overtake love

Maybe we should all take a look

At our own personal America

& hope that it is more than some political party & their ever changing ideology

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How about we take a look at the real problem?

The simple tag line of “gun control ” may be the single laziest summation of a problem of epic complexity that I have heard.

All solutions must begin somewhere, that somewhere should start with an honest analysis of the actual problem & from there difficult questions must be asked and answered with regards to how to make progress.

Let’s pretend you had a magic wand & could remove every gun from the world. How would that do anything to the real problems of hate, mental health, education, compassion & the basic lack of regard for human lives?

To paraphrase a friend; if you take away the gun from an angry asshole, you still have an angry asshole.

How would it change the fact that despite the fact that “all lives matter” minorities and those of “different” beliefs are treated differently & less favorably (in pretty much all countries)?

Should access to potentially deadly weapons be more restrictive? I’d say yes, in some ways at least. However you will never convince me that the solution to the hate problems in my 2 nations lie with this. There are plenty of gun controls in the UK, that didn’t prevent the murder of Jo Cox though did it? Or the riots in Marseille?

In my opinion, until the root problem is addressed, long term. The proliferation of domestic & international terrorism & hate crimes will only continue.
Until we get back to treating those we disagree with, with civility, respecting ALL lives & loving others as we ourselves would like to be, then we are going to be lost in these horrific news cycles.

Speaking of which, don’t get me started on my opinion of the for profit media’s influence on the current state of the planet…

Ps; yes I know that there will always be criminals & those with opinions & actions outside of the law (regardless of their profession). This is why we have laws and justice systems, society relies on these, we need to get back to them being reliable & trustworthy

PPS: You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Afraid For The Future

I’m no politician, no expert, I find the whole thing so utterly distasteful & corrupt that I try to stay away. I live my life the best I can (most of the time), enjoy myself & try to make a small positive impact in the world. Yet at times it is hard to ignore it all, hard to avoid noticing that my two home nations are at pivotal moments in their history. Britain voting to see if they should stay in the EU, it is beyond my comprehension.

The USA apparently going into an Election between 2 awful candidates, one untrustable & the other the embodiment of everything wrong with western culture. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe Hilary is above board, maybe every quote I have heard from Trump is fabricated – yeah right.

Sometimes it feels like we gearing up for world war 3?

Fear driven by selfishness & media lies is driving people to ridiculous extremes. How long do we have before someone hits the big red button?

Treaties like the European Union & NATO were formed to work together. To make the earth a better, safer more prosperous place for all. Sure people have taken advantage of it. Sure disingenuous people manipulate the decent of the world to their own ends, this history of humanity indicates this will always be the case. Are these good enough reason to give up?

Are the remarkably vocal minority, who seem to be growing so rapidly in numbers that they may not be the minority for long, are they really going to change the world into some desperate selfish arms race?

A world built around fear mongering & wastefulness? Focused even more on the 1% & burying the poor?

What if Britain really does leave the EU & then other countries follow suit? What if Donald Trump is actually voted to be President of the United States?

What happens next? A return to Empires? The beginning of world war 3? I don’t know, but if I allow myself to think about it I am truly afraid for the future.

Do I have a solution? No, just fears, hopes & this little old blog 🙂

Let’s make America great again! ……… Oh really?

One of the catch phrases that is doing the rounds this silly season, err I mean Presidential campaigning season, is “make America great again”. Which to me quite obviously implies that some folks believe that America in it’s current state is not great, however at some point in the past it must have been great, otherwise the statement would make no sense.

I guess a couple of advanced notices here. First, I don’t like politics, at all, the argumentative rhetoric and showmanship that surrounds it all disgusts me. I firmly believe that if the politicians actually focused on running a country and taking care of its people, the world would be a much better place, instead they wast all their time and our resources trying to win arguments that they may or may not actually believe in, just to win.

Secondly, I think America is a pretty great country, so much so that when I moved here from Great Britain, I decided to make it my permanent home, becoming a proud citizen, which makes me about as traditional of an American as a non Native American can get.

So back on track, I have been wondering exactly when this “great” period of time for America was, obviously it was nothing like it is today & thus we can start to eliminate some eras.

We are currently fighting a war (on terror) that we will most likely never win, so that eliminates the Vietnam era (1955-1975).

We have foreign policy that countries we deem too be a threat (Iraq, North Korea etc) do not like. So I guess that would eliminate the entire Cold War era (1947-1991)

1942 to 1945 American joined and helped significantly in ending World War 2. However from 1939 to 1941 that sat aside and allowed millions of the nations ancestors be torn apart by war and genocide. I am going to be generous and call this a wash. American was great, when it eventually decided to get involved, sitting on the side waiting to see which side to join though, maybe this is just a Brit writing, but that almost outweighs all the good they did when they eventually didi join.

The Great Depression was 1929 to 1939, I am guessing that is not the “great” that folks are referring to.

This follows on from the 2.5 year wait in World War one to join the allies. Again, I am completely impartial on this, I am British by birth and American by choice. I will always believe that a great many lives less could have been lost in each conflict if America had decided to join up earlier. However, that is by the by. You can’t be “great” and in a  world war, if you were that great then you would have prevented that war. So we have ruled out 1914 to 1918 then.

I am going to make a personal call on this one, but any country that  legally allows slavery can not be considered great, so lets get rid of anything from when the USA became independent to the Emancipation Proclamation (1776 – 1863)

It is not the President Obama era, because apparently leading the nation out of a possibly disastrous financial depression, reforming healthcare & fixing our relationships with most of the rest of the world is a bad thing. (2009-2016). Actually while I do support the President, not that he is not without a great many faults (he is human), but his era has seen the rise of the disgusting troll go from unacceptable to becoming the normal way one talks about the President. Apparently because he is not white & does not have a name that sounds like he descended from English middle to upper class, that makes it ok to be vile & ugly & spread hate and lies about the leader of our country. At least back in the KKK era you could spot these people by their white cloaks. Although you can spot them just as easily today with their Facebook accounts.

So by my calculations. This mythical great America was either some time between 1863 to 1918 Cowboys & the Industrial revolution, hmm, maybe, but I don’t think it would stand up to scrutiny. Or 1991 to 2009, gulf wars, 9/11, Presidential scandals, George W’s public speaking. Hmmm.

So what am I actually trying to say here? Ok, well here it is. America is a great country, it always has been and hopefully always will be. What we need to do is not make America great again, we need to make America even better. We need to take care of the country, magian our taxes and resources better, look after the people & help to look after the world. Most of all we need folks to take a chill pill, stop being so darned hateful and try to get along. Like the great Abraham Lincoln said:abe