Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Last Words

A week ago I finished a bible study series, with my youth, on the Seven Deadly Sins. Each week we met there was a confession time. Week to week the response to the confession time changed but was always centered around the forgiveness that comes from God. We have since started an accountability group where we meet weekly, confess our sins, then say; "In the name of Jesus Christ I forgive you."
My post today is a personal confession to you and a commitment.
First follow me on an exercise:
Thank about the political party you identify with: Democrat, Republican or Independent
(Stay with me here okay)
What issues are important to you?
Who on the opposite side of the political spectrum makes you angry, that doesn't understand you, that you feel threatens what is important to you.
(We all have at least one. We live in a politically divided country)
I know who one of my opposites of the political system is. He has angered me, made me feel less than and I have felt he does not understand me. And yet last night he challenged me, convicted me and gave me hope in less than 10 minutes. Below is a video I watched last night of Glenn Beck's Monologue in his studio. See, I have felled miserably when it comes to loving my neighbor, especially my Republican neighbor. All I can see is the difference and all I focus on is the difference. I have contributed to the political divide in this country and I don't like it. I am sorry for that and I want to change.
Before you scroll down to see the video you should know something. Glen Beck is unable to speak. He has learned that his vocal cords are paralyzed. But that did not stop him from revealing himself and his changed heart. He has opened his mind and heart to see things in a new. To see things from his opposite in the political system and it has endeared me to him. This video will challenge everyone who watches it, and that is good. When ever we become confident and secure in what we believe we need to be shaken up, and God is good at doing that. God did that to me last night with this video. so without delay, take the next 10 minutes to watch this video.

If Glenn Beck can change, then so can I, and you can too if you want to.
If I was to lose my voice tomorrow my last words would be:
"I Love You"
Why those words?
One, because I do. When I dig down deep I do love my neighbor, I just need to move past the political divide to uncover it.
Second, this world needs a lot more love. So no more good byes or see you later. If you work with me, you will hear me say, "I love you" Because if I lose my voice tomorrow that is what I want people to know.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Good Old Fashioned Phone Call. What ever happened to it?


I think with the age of the Internet the standard phone call is slowly disappearing. Why do I say this? Well simply, within 2 days last week I had two cousins, via facebook, ask me how my parents were and asked me to tell them hello. I replied back, "They would love to hear from you. Just give them a call." I also included their phone number, but not here. I am pretty sure my parents don't want calls from every person who reads my post. (But I could be wrong)

Even in our age of technology not everyone has a computer. "WHAT? You mean not everyone has a computer?" No, at least 2 people in this world don't and they would be my parents. I also know they enjoy phone calls from family and friends. How do I know this? Well, I call my parents almost daily and, without fail, if someone has called they tell me and I can hear the joy in their voice.

I get there is some convenience to Internet chatting but it does not compare, at least in my opinion, to hearing someone's voice on the other end of the line. Phone calls create a connection that just does not exist on the Internet and I can't for the life of me figure out why people would rather use Internet and me, to relay a message to my parents. I do know that these 2 cousins have phones.

Have you called someone lately? Have you asked someone via the Internet to tell another person hello? Pick up the phone and call someone. I am pretty confident it will brighten your day. I will continue to enjoy my phone calls to and from my parents because I know one day there will be no calls to make or receive from them.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Privacy vs Security

PRISM is a word that most of us have heard by now. It is the program that the NSA has used where all our email and phone calls are tracked. What is being debated since the leak of all this information is what is more important, being secure from terrorist attacks or our privacy. For me the privacy aspect takes be back to the 4th Amendment of the Constitution:

On June 6, an article in the Huffington Post exposed the extent of how far reaching the PRISM program really is. Here is an excerpt:

It must be noted that this is prior to the launch of PRISM in 2007. It is one thing to tap lines and follow emails of known and suspected terrorist. It is another thing to retrieve everything that happens across the internet.

I am not naive to think there is such a thing as complete privacy when it comes to the internet but I also don't believe that complete security exists either. I support my government and law officials work to thwart crime but only within the bounds set by the constitution.

I prefer my privacy over my security. Yes, I prefer my privacy over my security. I have complete confidence in the CIA and the FBI but I do not believe (and I could be wrong) that the government needs to track all my calls and all my online activities to stop a terrorist.

I am a law abiding citizen and until the Constitution is amended I will stand by the 4th amendment and require that law officials must provide a warrant to track my online activities. If I was a convicted criminal, that would be different. If you chose to break the law then you have every right to expect to lose your rights but when millions of Americans follow the laws of the land the government has no right to look into people's private lives.

So how much do I value my privacy? When I first set up my Facebook account in 2009 I read through the entire privacy policy of Facebook then put my settings on the strictest privacy settings. So tight that you will not find me on Facebook unless we are already friends on Facebook. Accept if you are the NSA then apparently you can.

I recently watched a series on PBS titled, "Constitution USA with Peter Sagal"
(The series is over now but you can get it on DVD for $29.99. I highly recommend this) But that aside the series impressed upon me how unique our country is and what we have in the Constitution is a very groundbreaking document. With that my rights are very important to me and even when the first Patriot Act was passed I was very bothered by it. For me if laws are passed by Congress that start to chip away at our guaranteed rights under the Constitution then I fear this Democracy we have in America, what makes us unique compared to other countries, will slowly slip away.

Yes, the Patriot Act makes the PRISM program legal, but is it right? It stands on shaking ground when we ask if it is constitutional. It is on shaking ground because no warrant was ever issued to me or any other American citizen, as far as I know, before tracking our phone calls and following our email. That for me is a violation of my 4th Amendment right and causes me to distrust my government and wonder if they are really doing this for my best interest.

So what about you? Do you prefer your privacy or your security? And why?

An Addendum:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

"Changing my Life"


I have no post for you this week but I want to share a post from a fellow blogger that I follow. He is a retired firefighter living in North Carolina. His post is about an author and  pastor that changed his life. Click here to read the post.

Regardless of how we grew up we do become a product of it. The challenge is allowing our faith in Christ to change us and learn to love our neighbor despite what we learned growing up.