Thursday, March 31, 2011

Current Address: Funeral Home

I am quite troubled that it is easier to find an obituary of a long lost friend than it is to find a current address. 

Here's what happened.  Some old high school chums and I have reconnected on Facebook.  It's been a blast, and we're all about the same except for the wrinkles and a few extra pounds.  One chum, Vicky, kept asking where Becky was, and did anyone know what happened to her.  Search after search revealed nothing.

Then, just recently Vicky Googled/White-Paged/you-name-it Becky's name again and found her obituary.  I mean, WTF, right?  We tried and tried to get a hold of her while she was alive, then whamo! she dies and suddenly we can find her quite easily.  

The worst part of the whole horrific experience for me was that while reading her obit I found out that her brother, my friend, had preceded her in death.  Talk about a sucker punch!

Let's just say Tuesday night was not the best night of my week/month/year.

You think you're gonna have fun on fb, you think you're gonna meet up with old chums, you think you're gonna connect.  But, you aren't prepared for the other side of the coin.  You don't think about death with fb.  You don't worry about finding an obit.  And, I blame memory.

Memories of our friends remain static.  They remain today as they were then.  They were our chums, young and fresh, and we laughed and cried and went through puberty together.  We told secrets and knew that our friendships would never die.  We thought we would grow up and live next door to each other, and our children would play together and we'd have BBQ's in the backyard and it would be a freakin' 60's sitcom.  

But, life is different than a teenager can imagine it.  Teenagers lack the experience and realities of life to project what future will appear for them.  That's why Teenagers have such trouble.  They look like adults.  They act like adults.  They think they ARE adults.  But, they aren't.  Not even close.  They are still children, and they have unrealistic expectations of what life will provide.

In some ways, connecting with my high school chums has led me to think like a teenager while interacting on fb.  I've been cavalier.  I've been profound.  I've been angry.  I've had unrealistic expectations of others and our friendships.  And, I've thought that everyone just continued as they were in high school, as they were as children.

But that isn't true.  We all grow up.  We become adults.  We have lives and our lives take twists and turns, and we find joy and heartbreak in unexpected places.  And, we love life, and it's totally different than the life we imagined when we were young and fit into the smaller sizes.  But it's our life, and we make the best of it, wherever we are in this world. 

But then, some of us die.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Islam Means Fear

First, let me say that I respect other cultures and religions and I am following my Lord's lead in loving thy neighbor as thyself.  Jesus told us to do two things: Love God and Love People.  Simple, direct and not-so-easy to follow.

Okay, so that's my disclaimer.  I have disclaimed.

Now, let's get to it.  Here's my problem with Muslims.  It's not that they practice their religion.  I'm glad they are free to do so!  It's not that they worship Mohammed (though, I feel that's quite misguided given what we know about him).  I'm glad they are free to do so!  It's not that they want to remain in an enclave.  I'm glad they are free to do so! 

Nope, it's not any of those things.

Here's my problem: It's that they want to IMPOSE their religious views on me, and you, and everyone else on the planet.

But, say the Liberal minded, they're just like Christians.

No, no they aren't.

Christians proselytize, we mission, we share our religion with others and we speak out in a legal manner when we feel the need to exercise our freedom of speech. 

HOWEVER, we don't kill for Christ.  No one kills for Christ today, in modern society.  However, Muslims kill for Mohammed today, in modern society.  Muslims kill for not following their religious edicts properly.  Muslims kill for not adhering to Sharia Law.  Muslims kill non-believers.

But, say the Liberal minded, not ALL Muslims, just radical ones, like radical Christians.

Okay, let's break that down into two pieces.  First of all, quite FEWER Muslims are speaking out against the radicals than the number of radicals who are committing atrocities.  Very few Muslims will say that Sharia Law is wrong here in the US.  Very few Muslims will go against what is being preached to them in their Mosques.  They may or may not believe the radical teachings, but they stay silent while horrible crimes against humanity are committed.  We see it in the news everyday.  It's happening here in the US, and it's explosive in the Middle East, Asia and other parts of the world.  

Christians speak out against fellow Christians doing wrong.  It's part of our our religion to do so.  We must, according to our religion, keep our brothers and sisters on the correct path.  It's our directive.  BUT, and here's where some Christians get off base: it's only for fellow Christians

Second, radical Muslims are not like radical Christians.  One or two nut jobs killing one or two abortion doctors cannot possibly be akin--FOR ANY REASONABLE MIND--to the vast multitudes slain by radical Muslims. 

Question, you will be put in a locked room filled with all sorts of weapons. Your hands and feet will be tied, but not those of your companion.  You can choose one of two mates: a "radical" Christian desiring to convert you, or a "radical" Muslim who knows you don't believe in Mohammed.  Choose.

How could anyone think that "radical" Christians are JUST LIKE "radical" Muslims?

When I see the pig farmer in Texas harrassed by the Islamic group who knowingly bought property next to him, but now claim that the pig farm is offensive to their Islamic religion, I fear for our society.  Because I know that the press will sympathize with the Muslims, and that will impact people's perceptions in a negative way against the pig farmer.  (Who has had a pig farm on that property for generations!)

When I see Canadian and US judges allowing the use of Sharia Law in their courts, I shudder.  This is insane!  To the US judges I say, have you NOT heard about separation of church and state?!

If rational minds do not prevail in these issues, then we are doomed.  I'm not saying we need to disallow peoples' right to practice their religion.  They are free to be Muslims in the US.  They are free to be Muslim.  They are free to practice Islam.  I'm merely saying we need to be careful.  Islam teaches to "convert and overtake, or kill and destroy," and that should scare the living pants off of any rational thinker in our society. 

Unfortunately, in the name of PC and Liberalism, it's usually the Christians who are demonized.

They say Islam means peace.  However, I say Islam means fear. 

They control with fear.  (If you don't agree with them, they'll threaten you, your children, your family.)  They overtake with fear.  (They move in and destroy good societies with threats, coercion and domination.)  They silence the rational minds in their own religion with fear.  (If you speak out you're not a true Muslim, and you're a non-believer subject to the punishment of Sharia Law.)  They keep the Liberals on their side with fear.  (Fear of not being "accepting" or PC enough, fear of being biased, and fear of being aligned with the most hideous of creatures known to a Liberal: "Christian white guys.")

Islam doesn't mean peace.  Islam means fear.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What's Your Right Hand Doing?

It's so easy for us in the States to get wrapped up in "helping Haiti (or insert desperate country here)" mode of donating, and then somehow the cause becomes about Stateside communion with our friends during projects to raise money or distribute goods. Noble, necessary and beneficial, yes of course, but detached and luxurious in ego-satisfying congratulations.

And then Haiti (or other places where horror is met with hope from God and brave people working for Him), becomes a nebulous blob of undefined suffering, and is not spotlighted by an individual terror that cannot be imagined by people who fret about too much to eat and have too much time to pour into electronics instead of people.

It says in Matthew 6:2-4: “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

I hate to sound a bit cynical (well, actually I love sounding cynical), but when all these groups get together to do their "giving" are they more concerned WITH whom they're serving than FOR whom they're serving?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pig Farms...Again.

So, the notion of us owning a pig farm came up again.  It's simultaneously the absolute silliest and most sane thing I can think of!


We are blessed with a great life, but one of the hardest things is deciding what to do when we grow up.  

I'm tired of the corporate games and the mazes my husband has to navigate to bring home a paycheck.  It's really outlandish, and I serioiusly think that Middle Schoolers are more mature than most people in Corporate America. 

I have found this to be true at many jobs I've had through my various careers.  Your work experience will be singularly dictated by the Emotional IQ of your manger and fellow workers.  Sure, HR can help you out and there are legal boundaries in which everyone must remain.  Still, the psychological level of your boss and coworkers will almost solely determine the quality of your work week.

Ever worked for a boss who has a chip on her shoulder?  Ever worked with anyone who would throw you under a bus to save their own skin?  

Similarly, the good exists, yes, the people who make our lives better and we're proud and happy to call them our managers, our colleagues and our friends.  They make work fun. 

But, people don't stay in one place very long.  They move up, they move on.  As my husband says upon losing such great synchronicity: "It was a fair time."  And, yes indeed it was.  But it's over, and we have to meet new fellow employees.

So, the subject of pig farms came up again yesterday.  It's just a thought.


Writing for the Creator

Sometimes I really feel God reaching through me when I write. Sometimes the Holy Spirit directs my fingers on the keyboard or pops a phrase into my head. Sometimes it feels as if it's coming from outside me, like God is directing me as if I were onstage.

I haven't really thought about that much. I just take for granted that's what happens.  Maybe I need to think about it more.

Where does my writing come from?

Me, in anger?  Righteous anger, or belittled anger?  Envious and greedy, or loving and caring?

I think I need to think more carefully about why I write, and what I write.

When I was younger and the Internet was new and fresh, I found I could spew all sorts of nonsense out there.  There are no filters in emails or posts or chat groups.  And, before the Internet I could write letters, because that's even more detached.  It was just my keyboard and me, and I could say whatever I wanted based on my feelings and emotion at the time.

Sometimes the angry feelings would fade and I would be left with my barbed words on a page, in a document on my computer, or forever out there.

Sometimes the lovely feelings would come, and my heart would nearly burst with joy, and my words couldn't come out quickly enough to fill the pages that needed filling.  And I would search and search for perfect words, often finding them or a good substitute.  Then, more than a few times, I would be frustrated by lack of stating my emotion perfectly.

My thought now is that I really need to pray before I write.  To ask for guidance from God.  To ask for the Holy Spirit to move me in a way that is pleasing and doing His will.

That doesn't mean that my writing will mamby pamby.  Jesus showed us how to behave, and despite the stereotype he was no wimp.  He was strong and righteous and didn't back down.  People misuse "turn the other cheek" as it didn't mean what we think it means (I'll discuss that another time, and I probably already have earlier in this blog).  Jesus was powerful.

I will pray that God leads my written words, as well as my spoken words and actions. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Unions Are Irrelevant

Dear Wisconsin Teachers' Union,

I would get on bended knee and thank God for the deal at which you all scoff! My husband is a contract worker, which means we get ZERO benefits. No vacation days. No health insurance. No pension or 401K matching. Zip.

Unions are irrelevant for white collar workers. In the old days they protected coal miners' and factory workers' lives. Today, they protect middle class pocketbooks.

Makes me sick when I write my $900.00 check each month for health insurance for my family.

Oh, and my husband's Great Uncle John L. Lewis was a national union figure and I can tell you that his goal was saving lives and improving coal miners' working conditions. Unions were noble then--it wasn't about padded pensions and luxury insurance plans.

Sincerely, Cat Lewis