Sunday, October 28, 2012

Be Heard

I don't know really how to say what it is I am going to try to say here in this entry. It's regarding an extremely touchy subject but somehow I feel compelled to write this. It is in regard to the election and the way I believe that causes me to vote one way or the other. So here goes, and I hope I make some sense.

I believe very strongly the following - that life is precious and should not be discarded lightly, and that God made men and women in His image, and intended for them to marry each other. These two beliefs I hold dear and believe that they are keys to a strong and healthy society for a lot of reasons that I won't go into here. I also believe that Jesus came to show the way to God. And Jesus was the ultimate example in sacrificial love and was full of compassion. Therefore to attempt to follow Jesus we must strive to be as He was, loving and compassionate. Very difficult task.

During this election period I have read posts on Facebook by people who are going to vote for Romney and people who are going to vote for Obama. I have heard convictions and beliefs on both sides and what a wonderful country we have that we have freedom of speech - but then again, do we really? It seems that there is an underlining current of discrimination and hateful remarks against people who hold the same beliefs that I do; abortion is fundamentally wrong and that marriage should be between a man and a woman. To hold these convictions these days puts you at risk to be called homophobic, ignorant, hateful - and all other assorted titles to demean your beliefs. I frankly am getting tired of it and I want to speak up. I have just as much right in this country to say no to something as others have to say yes. And in those issues, we must have healthy debate and opportunity to speak and elect others that share your beliefs. That is what our country is founded on - a form of government that has elected officials to govern for the people who elected them. Our country has many people of ethnic, religious and sexual persuasions, all of which have a voice and the power to vote. So let's stop calling names to people we don't agree with - and realize that it is arrogance that causes dismissal of others as if their strongly held convictions have less place or merit than your own, or are somehow ignorant and hateful. I do not feel hateful towards anyone. I desire that all would prosper and live in peace. I have an idea of how that could be done, and therefore I vote.

And so - we are on the last lap of this election. I pray that all would vote their conviction, and give respect to those who don't agree with you. For the people, by the people...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Words That Persuade

This morning while watching CBS Sunday Morning, an image of Hitler was shown for just a few seconds as a part of the current report. The report was about the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island in New York City. It was such an interesting report regarding the park and the length of time it took to complete it. The son of the architect who designed it actually brought it to reality. But because Franklin D Roosevelt was the President of the United States of America throughout World War II, a photo of Adolph Hilter was included in the report. When that photo flashed on screen, the evil in his eyes gave me a bit of a start - almost overwhelming the story for me. I began to think about how evil he was and how much power he had to do the things he did, but he did not do it alone, he had help. He was able to persuade others, many others, to join his cause. This line of thought started me thinking today about words and their power.

I love to write. I enjoy putting a thought together by writing. I have written in journals my whole life practically, starting at about 14 years old. I have volumes of journals still, even though Hurricane Ivan took quite a few away. I am sure the reasons I write are varied, but one motivation behind this activity of mine is to obtain some clarity regarding how I feel or what I see going on around me. I don't think I necessarily write to have others agree with me, I think it's more of a need to express. Regardless of motive, writing can be very cleansing, for myself.

But there are other human beings that walk this earth with an ability to destroy and create havoc, by their words. Hilter was obviously one of those humans, a person motivated by self-interest and vain power seeking. That really hit home with me today looking at that photo of him. The other day I saw a Haitian Creole proverb that means God and the devil exist together on this earth. For sure that is true with the selfless acts of many during that war but that the awful war had to happen in the first place. I don't even pretend to understand why evil seems to sometimes prevail - although I know there will be a time of accountability for all. What I guess I'm trying to say here is that sticks and stones can break your bones, but so can words also. It made me think about motives to speak and the effort we put into what it is we do say. I hope that I can give some careful thought to my motives before I speak, or write, to persuade anyone. In this election year, and especially because we are so close to the time to vote, I guess I'm thinking about what we say to each other and why we say it more than usual.

Below are a few scripture passages from Proverbs, a great book for getting some wisdom. There are many many verses in Proverbs regarding speech - check it out! I think I need a refresher.

Proverbs 11: 9 - With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous escape.
Proverbs 11: 12 - A man who lacks judgement derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.