Testing Christianity

It is so sad that Christianity is struggling today. There have been so many issues not confined to one group. The Catholics have been fighting sex scandals for years and this seems to be the most explosive. The United Methodists made decisions recently that may split the denomination. Episcopalians meeting in England were distressed to have same sex spouses barred from the proceedings. These are all mainline churches.

testing

The less united denominations don’t seem to have suffered as much since members who disagree just move elsewhere. However, over the years, they have suffered from what seems to be leaders who took advantage of them.

time for change

Christianity has been tested before. Usually it seems to help people assess what it means to them and what it is really about. The way it looks after this testing we can’t know. It may be radically different. Hopefully people will look deeply into their hearts and draw closer to the deeper meanings of that faith. All I know is that testing usually results in change. Hopefully for the better.

A group dictatorship?

This may not be a very popular thing to say but recently I have realized that we live in a dictatorship. It is no longer what it set out to be. When the people who govern the nation, even though elected, make laws that do not apply to them, raise their own salaries, have their own healthcare and retire with all the benefits they have been living under while in office then it is not a democracy or a democratic republic. It is a dictatorship by a group.

Dictatorship in this instance refers to an autocratic form of absolute rule by leadership unrestricted by laws, constitutions, or other social and political factors within the state. (I found this on the web with no attribution, sounds similar to what is happening.)

This is certainly not what the founders envisioned. They thought that representatives of the people would serve for a while and return home to their lives. There was no intention that they would live out their lives in government.

change now

Too bad it didn’t work out that way. The congress and senate have the reigns in their hands and there is no safeguard in the constitution to revoke the process. It doesn’t seem to be an issue for the Supreme Court, our third safeguard, but maybe it could be in some way. I am not a government expert but I have asked some who are if there is any way that the people can demand a national amendment by themselves. They have told me no. If this is so then the only recourse is revolution which none of us want.

I don’t see any way to dis-empower those running the show. And really, would you vote to take all these things away from yourself? The fox is definitely guarding the hen house.

The nation is so divided at this point I doubt that any consensus could be found and most people are too complacent to do anything. Somehow no matter party or any affiliation we must make some majors changes. This is an issue for us all.

We can no longer see ourselves as a “democratic republic” but an Empowered Group Dictatorship. What do we do now?

 

The Eclectic Car

In a previous post I mentioned the first car I ever had. My father bought it and I’m sure it must have been a bargain. Just having a car was a thrill…I didn’t care what kind of car. For me any car was a plus.

my car
A beautiful version of the car, Mine was old and battered.

Fortunately I was young enough (?16,17?) that the problems the car had were like an adventure to me. The car was a Willys Jeepster. It was not new and had some interesting challenges. It would not go over 50 mph unless you were going down a long hill.The seats were bolted to the floor so there was no adjusting them to reach the clutch and change the gears. I used a pillow to reach. There was a starter button in the floor (how many people ever heard of such a thing?). It was a convertible…you pulled the top up and down. It did not have windows…only side curtains. ?Isinglass? Before plastic. (Now you are getting how old I am.) We lived in northern Virginia and it was cold in the winter. There was no heat. My friends and I didn’t care a jot. We had transportation! In the winter we bundled up and sometimes rode with the top down when it was snowing.

The car’s idiosyncrasies gave us an opportunity to meet people. For a while the starter button in the floor did not reach something called the “starter connector” in the engine compartment. There were two options for starting the car. You either had an available person to put a piece of metal between where the starter button was supposed to connect to the starter connector so that it would reach or we pushed the car. Old cars started easily by someone pushing and someone popping the clutch. If we parked the car when in town we usually searched for an end spot so we could jump start the car if needed. We parked on hills when we could as just drifting down a hill would give us enough motion to start the car. We would also get help from people who stopped to help us. We met lots of boys this way.

teens

Once, in heavy traffic, I stopped for a red light. I didn’t realize that when stopping I pulled up on the steering wheel…..it came off in my hand. With great aplomb I pushed it back on and held it that way until getting off the road. There was a bolt that held it on and we managed to fix it.

The car met it’s final demise while we were in downtown Alexandria. We began seeing smoke coming from the front of the car and pulled into the nearest filling station. It was not the radiator but all the wiring in the front was merrily in flames. The station attendant raced out with a fire extinguisher and put the fire out. My father retrieved us and the car went “where the lost things go.”

This was life in a different era. It was not dangerous for young girls to wander around town and meet strangers. Most roads had speed limits of 50 mph or less. Looking back it seems it was a kinder era. Maybe not…I may have just imagined it that way.  I wish it were so now.

Too much!

Today my husband and I traveled to Mayo Clinic for a follow-up. As we traveled I notice the number of storage facilities we passed. What is wrong with us? We have so much stuff that it is big business to store it away. Surely this is the height of the ridiculous.

lotsofluggage

As a society we hoard. There are many stories about hoarders lately and most of us don’t have a house so full that we can’t walk through it. However, maybe we would if we didn’t have it stored away in a facility.

If the “stuff” is not wanted then we need to take it to the Salvation Army. They have the highest rating for actually helping instead of paying CEO’s. There may be people who need it.

I have recently been trying to clean out and pare down. I have way too much in my house. Quite a bit can be classified as trash and should be thrown or recycled. Some of it is going in boxes to take to help others. It is amazing what we can accumulate.

Seeing all of this reminds me that not only is my home in overload but that I can be too. What am I holding on to that I need to let go? So while I am searching through stuff I will also be opening doors in my mind to sweep out what is cluttering my mind.

mind-clean-sweep

We’ve always done it this way

done itYesterday I wrote about”status quo.” Today I have been thinking about it from a different perspective. The culture that most of us live in likes to maintain itself just as it is. In the US the congress and senate do not want to make changes. I know they realize that they are in a wonderful place and certainly don’t want to change. How I would love to make laws that I don’t have to follow, raise my own pay, decide on my own retirement and have health insurance that is better than anyone else in the country. This is a very negative sort of “status quo.” It is unfortunate that there is probably no way to change any of this short of revolution and that is not an acceptable option.

Lawmakers are not the only ones who like the “status quo.” There are many churches, synagogues, mosques etc. who also have a vested interest in no change. A religious facility is one place where your focus must be on what your faith requires of you and not on spending lots of money on buildings and taking care of yourself. For most faiths the emphasis is on others. It is important to put focus on the poor, the disenfranchised, the homeless and all those in any need. Just perpetuating yourself is not an option.

I understand where religion is concerned I am guilty of being a part of maintaining the “status quo.” It is so easy to slip into that mode. We convince ourselves that drawing people in requires beautiful buildings and that may be a factor. It is where the percentage of money goes that we miss.

There are, of course, many other institutions who maintain the “status quo” to the detriment of our culture but that may be another blog.

positive changeAll in all, just staying the way we “have always been” is not always the right path. Change can be positive even though hard.  Change is inevitable. Helping to make it good starts with us. Every change has a chain reaction. Do something and let’s make it good.

Just thoughts

memoryToday I cleaned my office. Until today it has been impossible to even walk through it. Literally! I should have taken a photo that I could post. This room was used for storing and wrapping gifts and it got completely out of hand. It is so nice to look around and not see chaos.

Life has been reasonable this week and I am glad. Things seem so much more normal. (if there is such a thing) Sometimes settling into routine can be boring but at the moment a little boring is good.

Several  bloggers have posted how difficult the season has been for them and I hope that things will get better for them. I have had my ups and downs but right now feels better. I will wallow in it for as long as it lasts.

art.jetson.hbWe are heading into 2019 and I can remember wondering if I would still be around this far into the 21st century. That may seem strange to most of you but if you were born in the first half of the 20th century it is not strange at all. I can remember reading 1984 and thinking it was so far in the future. I remember all the predictions of the strides in gadgets for the future and I want to know why I don’t have a flying car! I was promised one and I am disappointed.

I don’t think anyone foresaw the leaps in communication. If i heard anything about the impact of the internet (before it appeared) I don’t remember it. When I think that my grandmother was born in the 19th century it is hard to believe all the changes.

I hope that as we head into a new year that younger people (than me) will make communicating over distances a way to bring us closer together without losing the importance of being able to physically touch someone. We are social beings who need touch. It is critical to our well being. Without it we can end up with attachment disorders that can make our life and the lives of those around us horrible. Humans need bonding. We can’t let that get away from us!

International-hugs-day-January-21

I know this kind of relationship is difficult for some and that might be attributed to their upbringing. I hope that in the new year you may each find your comfort zone with another person and be able to get a hug when you need one.

The light is returning

overAt last! Christmas is over for another year. I love it but it is also good to be done with the busyness. It is also good to have the days spent at the Mayo Clinic done and hopefully only one more visit before he is finished. As a nurse I have been so impressed with the patient centered care and the organization of everything there. Appointments of any kind are on time. When in the hospital you can order your own meals at any time, within certain hours, and the food is delicious. It is medicine as ideal as possible.

Now I feel that I can move into my “new normal” doing court mediations and supporting my friends who are struggling. Unlike many people with anxiety and depression I don’t do well staying home all the time. I have to get out and be with people. I still need my down time but somewhere there is a happy medium.

sleep1I slipped on my routine during this time and I know I have to maintain it or else. Tomorrow will be day one of routine maintenance. Back to morning quiet, meditation and writing. It is so easy to slip from routine and so easy to not go back to it. I thrive on routine and hate missing it. That may be part of the getting old (I really don’t consider myself old) thing… getting stuck in my own ways but it sure feels good.

I hope that everyone survived the holiday and will continue to do so through New Year’s. This season is so hard for many people and I wish everyone peace and joy. Remember…the light is coming.

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