Friday, March 29, 2013

Freedom……. Is What?


With Holy week ending Easter, I wanted to pause for a moment and reflect of freedoms for a bit.  One of the key elements of the US Constitution is Freedom of Religion.  Some people have a hard time dealing with religions that are different then theirs.  Yet under this piece of paper, the Constitution, once can practice their religion.  Yet even today there are attacks on various religions beliefs, usually by another religious group.  There is also a group known as, Freedom From Religion.”  They have freedom in their title as do many other groups.  So what does freedom mean to people.

Personally I really do not know but I will speculated on my own perspective. 

Recently there have been reports from Egypt about religious persecution of the Orthodox Christians there.  Just the other day there was a story about an Islam group persecuting another Islam group.  Then there is always the battle of the Muslims and the Jews.

For me, I kind of chuckle at some of these conflicts yet they are very real.  The biggest fiasco for me was the Catholics and the Protestants of Ireland.

For one to live free, one has to let others live free.  Within this there are boundaries.  So often one group tries to impose their will on others.  This telling others how to live has been going on for centuries.  Yet when the United States was formed a new experiment ushered forth.  It basically said one had the freedom to practice their beliefs, within boundaries, without fear from others.  The history of the world up until that point, one could ridicule, mock and use religion for personal gain and or control from others.

Freedom is living a life without a fence but respecting the boundaries of others.

Beyond the utility pole is a railroad bridge over the gully.  In this area is where Bsgdad would of been. 

Animals are caged, for what purpose, personal pleasure?  Cattle are restrained by fences, personal space is marked by lines.  Territories are marked by posts and signs..  What kind of freedom is there living in a cage?  Having a fence around property?  How open would life be without these constraints.  Would there be a freedom in that?  Would choices be restricted?  Our very lifestyles become a self imposed restriction of small freedoms.  It becomes a self imposed exile from certain choices.  Lifestyles create an oxymoron of freedoms.

When Christ died on the cross, believers gained a new freedom but a freedom from what?  Read Martin Luther’s, “Bondage of the Will.”  There is a freedom of accepting the rules in the Bible, but it becomes a choice.  When one says you can not live that way, that freedom is lost.  Then a new freedom has to be perceived.  What choices have been lost or what choices have been gained.

Freedom is a never ending ideal that has to be articulated constantly.  To ignore freedoms and what it means to me is like becoming an ostrich.  Then that is a choice, go bury myself in the ground and pretend it is not happening.  So I have to ask myself, “Am I willing to let others live their lives within a framework of freedoms.”

Most freedoms in society were set for the majority of people, generally over 80%.  Look at Easter, how many different Christian groups are celebrating.  How many are being persecuted around the world.

Do not let others challenge your freedom, do not go into the cage door but honor and respect others for their beliefs.

Happy Easter….. He Is Risen…. Indeed He is risen.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Religious Fervor


About twice a year, special programs and shows come out about religion.  Two things come to mind, the big business of religion and the hate mongers. 

There are those who do not understand or refuse to understand and make all kinds of derogatory remarks about things they do not grasp.  Religion is probably one of the hardest things to get a handle on.  Where is the reality and what is myth?  No matter where things lie, there have always been those who want a higher power.

Religion provides a way of life for many, the Buddhist, the Muslim, Shinto and others.  Each has their own little ways, books, bibles, and holy items. 

Here in the US the dominant religion is Christianity.  Christianity is revered by some, vilified by others.  The current program on the History Channel about the Bible has brought out all types of comments.

Look at how much money is being made in the name of religion.  The mega televangelist are on the band wagon thumping for more money, the Christian booksellers are pandering their books all in the name of religion.  Oh there are others out there putting their hands out also.

Then there are the destroyers.  Oh look at the blood, look at the killing, the anger and the list goes on.  It didn’t happen that way, they will comment or it is not real.

One of the biggest things is the reality of life.  Religion is used to justify violent behavior or it is used to hide from the violence of life.

During the times of Christ, it was very violent.  The Romans ruled with an iron fist.  Execution by the Romans was very common and used to control the population.  Crucifixion was a common practice to eliminating people from society.  The Apostles in the Bible were disposed of in some pretty nasty ways.   Stoned to death, be-headed even sawed in half.

Man is one of the most brutal animals ever.  The violence of BC has not stopped.  Look at all of the dismemberments  that happen today.  People still hack up other people, chop them into pieces. They talk about gun violence but compared to a chopping, getting killed by a gun is pretty humane.

In the name of religion look at all of the holy wars that there have been.  The Crusades are among the more known, yet they are but a small bit of religious wars.  The Ottomans were some of the most violent religious zealots as they expanded the Turkish empire in the name of Allah. 

Vlad the Impaler, impaled over 30,000 turks along his border with turkey to stop the advancing Ottomans.

Today some north Africans enslave people, mutilate them and dispose of them in a variety of ways.

Then there is the Al Quada (sp) terrorists and their destructive element of other people.  Oh yeah and the Muslims like to detach digits or other parts of the human body.

Then there are the cults that spring up all over the world.

In the name of religion people are mutilated and others make bags of money.  Kind of chuckling at humanity.  Where’s our tolerance of others?


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Changing Times and Blizzards


In the beginning, it was overcast and foggy, the wind rustled through the barren limbs, flakes of snow smattered across the lines.  It was a somber time, a time to meditate and watch life for a bit, reflect on the past times.  Passage of moments edging onwards.  Clouds began to boil, wind was gaining volume and the flakes more numerous.

High noon, the skies were dark and splattered with white.  The ground was embracing a blanket.  Intensity of the wind gained.  Howling across the land, flakes dancing sideways.  White blanket fluttering off in to drifts.  Brown earth ushering forth, covered by ribbons of white, climbing ever higher. 

Roadways obscured by clouds of white boiling over them.  Icy sheen covered in slick white cloth.  Spinning flakes, swirling over windshields obscuring sight.  Highway shoulder a parking spot.  Time passing as the land changed to a blinding white.  Seeing no further ahead then the length of arm.

Into the night the screech of the wind drove the white flakes.  Slashing into the grasses, attaching to the trees.  Highway a white sledding trail, no huskies mushing.  Cars along the roadway, waiting for snow to stop, wind to cease.  High overhead the stars shine through, snow has stopped.  Wind shrieks again, blasting snow into objects in its path.

Sun rises on a clear day covered by the drifting snow.  Blinding for a bit, giving way to clear spots.  Wind does not abate, racing over the land.  Life is sputtering, animals in their burrows and dens.  Birds buffeted overhead, flying erratic into the wind.  Travelers braving the howling snow across the roadway.   Mounds of white, monuments to the call of nature.  And the clock doth tick on with a different beat.

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Now that the saving of time is back. Leave it alone.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Towns of Ghosts


The Great Depression left lots of empty shells on the prairie.  Towns boomed around the westward migration and the immigration wave of the late 1800’s into the 1920’s.  During the Roaring 20’s people were living high and fast.  It was prohibition and speakeasies, the flapper girls and gangsters.  Money was plentiful and easy to come by.  Self indulgence was the mantra of the day. 

Then came the crash of 1929, life was to change like no one could of froe seen.  People were going hungry, no jobs.  Dreams that had been built were being shuttered and left, abandoned.  Some small communities disappeared and are but a reminder on old time maps.  A few hung in through the 30’s only to decline with the coming modern age of the automobile.

Along some highways are reminders of these past days.  Small communities hang on but the shells of other days sit empty.  No longer is main street a bustling burg.  People seldom stroll down the sidewalks to go shopping.  Here one can walk the median stipe of main and not meet a car.

With time permitting, I like to drive off the beaten path and drive the streets of these little towns.  It offers a glimpse back into the past that has been glossed over by many or ignored.

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This neat old building had been a grocery store at one time.  There were not supermarkets back then.  From the side one can see the living quarters on the second floor where the store owner lived.  Wasn’t much long distance commuting back then.  With the two brick chimneys, it indicates that there was stove of some type, wood or coal probably.  The building was probably built around 1900’s.  There was no electricity back then or natural gas on the prairie.

On the sides can be seen the additions as the shop was expanded.  Maybe another business was opened next door.  It is fascinating to speculate on what when on in this little town 100 years ago.

On the roof one can see the modern conveniences added over time,  The utility lines for electricity, a television antenna and maybe central heating.

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Today it sits vacant, falling to the ravishes of time.  With the curtain and shades on the window it appears someone may of bought it and used it for a residence.  I have seen some people move out from the big city and buy places like this dirt cheap and fix them up.  It would make a nice large spacious home, great studio.  Not much racket and noise in these small towns. 

In silence the grand store sits awaiting its fate.

Monday, March 4, 2013



Commercials are a telling part of society.  They are directed a segments of people.  Oh, the purpose is to get people to buy things, support something or create an awareness, sometimes just support of a media.  The messages reflect a part of the group we live in.  So when I puzzled by advertising I have to ponder, what are they trying to say. 

Lately there have been a bunch of computer type commercials that just did not register with me.  First thing that came to mind was the generation gap.  Yup, I’m an old fuddy duddy….. hehe.  One of the common threads in them was the goal of deriving pleasure if one used their product.  Then I seen that in some other messages.  Indulgent pleasure was the message.  No work was implied, just use the stuff and be happy.  Self indulgent pleasure was such a common theme in so many other commercials.

It made me stop and wonder, what kind of new generation is issuing forth.  So many youngsters I interact with any more, ages mid 20’s to young teenagers.  Seem to be bent on pleasure only and the adults are there to provide this for them.  Its like the concept of putting something out to gain this is foreign to them.  I have seen some children treat their parents like servants.

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Then I see commercials pandering to the self indulgent.  Man is a pleasure seeking being but there has to be some work in there someplace to create these machines.  It sometimes comes across that people don’t grasp that somebody has to create these machines and it takes some kind of work to acquire the money to purchase them.

The entrepreneur that works and markets to these people will create a type of slavery.  These companies will have a great control over others.  They probably will become quite wealthy also.

Leisure time for some has become more important then work time but they expect to be compensated the same as those who work.  There have been leisure seeking people for eons, but most of them also were hard workers.

So I wonder where these people will find the money to sate their hedonism?

Ah, the pleasures of my life, sit and count snow flakes.


Your indulgence is…………. ?