#BlackLivesMatter, Terrorist Attacks In France, and Starfish

I have wanted to do a video blog for a while, and this seemed like the perfect jumping off place, even if it is out of my comfort zone. #BlackLivesMatter, terrorist attacks, and starving people in Africa. What can we actually do about all the problems in the world? Syrian refugees, assassinated police officers, Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump all have been in the national news headlines and cause fear and unrest, is there a solution? Here is a simple story about a boy and a starfish that helps me put everything in place.


One Nation Indivisible With Liberty And Justice For All

1940s Justice Society of America Comic

1940s Justice Society of America Comic

Many times I hear the Americanized phrase, “never talk about politics or religion in polite company.” I am sure this concept is intended to keep the peace, and in truth, if people are unable to be kind, considerate and thoughtful, maybe they should keep quiet. However, it seems to me, as a result of our screwed up media system combined with our infatuation for stereotypes, many of us (American’s) do not really understand what we believe, or why we believe it. If verbalizing these thoughts makes someone uncomfortable, embarrassed, or feel threatened it may be easier just to avoid conflict, and I respect that. But if the rest of us cannot politely talk about a controversial topic, how can we ever expect to bring about a positive change to our world?

For a number of reasons, one of my personal American Hero’s is Roger Williams. Even though he was instrumental in founding the Baptist Church in the United States, he was often labeled a heretic and a seeker (both of which I can intimately identify with). One of his signature positions was, if we do not create a high wall between church and state, the church will corrupt the government and the government will corrupt the church.

Whether a person is aware of it or not, we all develop forms of psychological conditioning. Statistically, this is a huge influence on an individual’s position on religion, politics, philosophy and just about every area of life. My parents were not über active politically during my childhood. I remember a few muted conversations about Nixon, Ford, and Carter, but it was not until Reagan got into office that I started paying attention to my surroundings. My father really liked Reagan, but thought he had too much Hollywood left in his system. Although I didn’t understand much about it, the topic was already important to me in 1988, when I participated in voting for the first time as an adult. In the primary I voted for George H. W. Bush because someone had told me not to vote for the other candidate (Pat Robertson) because he would not be able to separate church and state decisions. I am pretty sure I would still vote against any religious leader entering into office.

Why was separation of church and state so important to our founding fathers? If there was a clear precedent established to remove Christianity (or any other religion) from our formative documents, why should this be different today?


Get This Straight, I Don’t Mindlessly Stir The Pot!

I Believe...

I Believe in…

Recently, I was accused of being an “attention whore.” Yeah that was the specific phrase used by one of my friends. This comment was inspired by some of my recent Facebook statuses about Global Warming, Homosexuality, Calvinism, and Americanized Christianity. While at first I was agitated, I took a step back to do some introspection, and realized this person had a valid point. Writer’s do not always have the luxury to hear feedback and give an in depth explanation of a position or motives. In my zeal for knowledge, I may appear to be trying to get people riled, but on the contrary I am genuinely interested in what each member of my audience has to say. Therefore, I need to do a better job.

Those who know me intimately; know I am an equal opportunity offender. I will publicly criticize and express my disgust for Polly-parrot- bleeding-heart-liberals, clueless-conservative-Tea-Partyers, and the mindless-lemming-fundamentalists-Christians. Do I think everyone falls into one of these categories? Absolutely not! In fact, I have been pleasantly surprised and encouraged with the tenor of my Facebook discussions. Many of my friends are great thinkers, and have really good logic and use facts to back up their positions. Each time I am willing to listen, I learn.

Aristotle recognized three primary elements of persuasion thousands of years ago:

Each of us builds a worldview based on these basic elements, but the lines of defining right and wrong become blurry when people use different methods to come to different conclusions. I have no intention of slowing down my discussions on diversity. If it offends you, just ignore it and chalk it up to Paul on another vision quest, but if you are willing to be honest and share why you believe/think what you do, I will do my best to understand where you are coming from. I don’t have to agree with people to understand them.