Have You Ever Wondered? I Have.

Have You Ever Wondered?  I Have.

 

“Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on thee and I’ll forgive thy great one on me.” 

Robert Frost

 

 

This Blog may not sit well with some of my Christian friends.  It’s not intended to be offensive, or insulting.  It’s just a simple essay that is a result of my curiosity, a tongue-in-check poke at religion and all of its variations, versions, and interpretations. So, take it lightly and let your sense of humor show through.   Really, haven’t you ever wondered?  Come on, fess up.

 

I spent 12 years in parochial schools.  I became discontented with all the fear and guilt thrown at me by the nuns and priests.  In the years following high school I started to wonder, and I became curious if there was something else I could experience that was not so harsh.  I became curious as to why there are so many different interpretations of Christianity, so recently I took a spontaneous trip through my Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus and found no less than 13 names for “places of worship.”

>churches

>mosques

>synagogues

>pagodas

>temples

>stupas

>gurdwaras

>cathedrals

>sanctuaries

>chapels

>tabernacles.

 

All of which I imagine are structures of one type or another and probably range from old store fronts, to an ornate mosque, to a towering cathedral, to a tent in a field.  That’s a lot of different kinds of places to worship. I wonder if they are all necessary.  In 2012 I let my fingers do the walking through the local yellow pages and discovered 119 categories covering several denominations.  This activity didn’t explain why there are so many alternatives, but it made for an interesting journey.  Have you ever wondered?

 

 

Baptist, Catholic, Presbyterian, and Lutheran                                                   

 

The Baptists – now there is a versatile bunch of folks – they have 14 different sub-categories listed.  The Catholics have 8, and the Presbyterians have 7, and the Lutherans 6.  Those four total 35 religious groups making up almost 30 % of the 119 total categories.  In those four religious groups there are 35 different versions of what Christianity is supposed to be.  That is 35 interpretations of Christianity as taken from the Bible, the best selling fictional work ever written.

 

But wait; there are really more than 119, right?  We can’t forget the Jewish folks, or the Muslims, or the Buddhists, or Hindus, or Amish, or Mennonites.  They are all entitled to their version.  It’s a free country, mostly.  If you were to go to Wikipedia and ask for a list of religions you would get a list as long as your arm, maybe both arms. Hmmm!  It makes me wonder.

 

 

 

Church Names                                                                                                     

 

Some Christian churches, and I use the word churches to cover all the structures described above, are named in accordance with their geographical location such as:

>2nd Avenue Baptist

>Downing Street Lutheran

>Westminster First Methodist

>South Broadway Christian

>Platt Park Church

 

Most Catholic and Episcopalian churches are named after Saint this or Saint that:

>St. Francis de Sales

>St Joseph

>St Mark’s

>St Luke’s

>St John’s Cathedral

>St Ignatius

 

There are inventive folks in all denominations that just can’t resist a little showiness and have  such names as:

>Church on the Move

>Victory Church

>Good News Community Church

>Eternal Life Temple

>Vertical Church

>Lighthouse Church

>Highpoint Church

 

If I wanted a church, I don’t know that I would want a church on the move, or one that scores victories because that infers there must be a non-victor, or a loser.  Now good news is good, but is it the mission of a church to announce good news?  Isn’t that for newspapers and TV?  And, we all know there is no eternal life.  Isn’t that an oxymoron?  Next thing you know there’ll be a “Fake News Neighborhood Church,” maybe an “Alternative News Church.”  Right here in Denver we have a Marijuana/Cannabis Church, for real, yes we do. It’s called the International Church of Cannabis and has over 200 members. It’s on South Logan Street.  Go to this link and check it out.

International Church of Cannabis opens in old Denver church

 

Then there are those that tend towards the overdone with:

>New Hope Church

>New Beginnings Church

>New Song Church

>New Testament Church

>Living Word

>Living Water

>Living Hope

>Atonement Lutheran

 

Any name with a “new” in the title must mean that the “old” version wasn’t working and a new interpretation was needed.  It’s like advertising a new detergent that shouts – new and improved.  How do you feel about “Living” in a church name?  I guess it’s better than the opposite:

>Lifeless Word Church

>Dead in the Water Church

>Absolutely No Hope Church

>Stagnate Water Church

>Lousy Song Church

>Denial Luthern

 

 

Advertising                                                                                                         

 

There are some that get flamboyant in advertising their church:

>Warm Exciting Worship

>Advancing the Kingdom

>House of Joy Miracle

>Experience the Truth

>Relevantly Real Biblically Accurate

 

I don’t know about having a warm and exciting experience in a church, seems a little kinky to me.  Whose kingdom would be advanced?  Some of those preachers have advanced their financial kingdoms at the expense of those that follow them.  Does the word joy necessarily go with the word miracle?  Do you need both?  Wouldn’t a miracle be joyful anyway?  Oh yes – “Experience the Truth” – because what every other church has told you is not the truth, it’s a lie or an exaggeration.  What makes that particular church think it is the only one that knows the truth?  Hmmmm! It makes me wonder.

 

Free to Choose                                                                                                   

 

Everyone is entitled to their individual interpretation of what those ancient authors wrote and what beliefs they choose to follow.  All are free to choose whatever denomination appeals to them, or choose none at all.  In this country we have freedom of religion and freedom to worship whomever and whatever we choose.  But I’ve been wondering if any of those ancient authors have it anywhere near correct.  If they did, why are there so many different denominations, definitions, and interpretations come from one man’s teachings?  Hmmmm!  I continue to wonder.  Do you?

 

“There is but only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it.”  George Bernard Shaw

 

Apathy – Apathy – Apathy

APATHY – APATHY – APATHY

 

Robert B. Jordan, Resident Grump.

 

The 2016 General Election set an all time low for voter turn-out at 55.4%.  The highest turn-out in the past 60 years was 62.77% in 1960 according to The American Presidency Project.  In the 56 years between1900 and 1956 the average turn-out was 59.5% by The APP.  In 2016 there were 200 million registered voters – 92 million did not vote.

 

The United States Government is supposed to be a Government for the people, by the people.   Government actions, and inactions, have impacts on our daily lives in almost every way.  The wealthy have their way with the Government because they have the most gold, the poor and the average guy only have their voices.  Why do these two conditions exist?  Apathy is the main reason and complacency is a contributor.

 

We just don’t care enough.  Historically voter turn-out in both Federal and local elections are dismal at best. So, we get what we deserve.  Could it change?  Yes, absolutely it could change.  How?  Change requires every American citizen getting involved in running this country.  Sounds like too large of a task?  It’s too hard?  Can’t be done!  The sky is falling anyway so why bother?   Well if that is what you think, you are probably correct – after all you are what you think.  In this country we have an abundant amount of those negative thoughts by negative people.

 

I am not one of them.

 

I cringe whenever a politician stands up and says “It’s what the people want.”  I wonder if it really is what the people want, or is it what their big contributors want, or the lobbyist wants.

        Politician                            Lobbyists

 

Do the representatives you voted for know what YOU want?  If so, good job, well done – but you are in the minority, if they don’t know what you want, why not?  Do you complain, bitch, and moan about the President, about Congress, about how your standard of living has been affected, about same-sex marriage, about gun control or the lack thereof, about taxes, about the mega-rich not paying their share, about unemployment, about immigration, etc.?  In my mind you shouldn’t have the right to complain, bitch, or moan unless you do more than just vote – you need to participate in Government by the people.

 

Those that bellyache the most and complain the loudest are those that know the least about how the process is supposed to work – notice I said “supposed to work.”  It is supposed to be Government for the people, by the people.  Granted, we vote so that is participating, but voter turn outs are way short of what they should and could be.  And, voting is just part of the process; you are not finished with participating when you vote.  Voting either got your candidate elected to stand for you, or defeated and back to their day job.

 

If your candidate was elected, are they doing what you and all of your fellow voters want them to do?  You elected them, they stand for you, but do they know what YOU want?  How about the candidate you didn’t vote for but got elected anyway?  What are they doing?  Are they aware of your displeasure with them?  Have you told them what and how you feel on pertinent issues?

 

The “by the people” standard needs reviving, pumped up, practiced, and clung to.  How do you do it?  Where do you start?  Find out who your representatives are, and how to contact them, then go ahead and contact them, often.  Make your voice heard.  Tell them what you think, both good and bad.

In the past few months there have been numerous marches, protests, and speeches.  There are numerous ‘resist’ and ‘protest’ movements active today.  There also are ‘support’ movements that might suit you. Search them out and if they suit you, join them.

 

 

A couple years ago I tried to organize a movement I called “PARTICIPATE.”  It started with lots of enthusiasm, but only lasted a few weeks.  People were just too busy, their apathy took over.

If there was ever a time when participation is needed, it is now.  There is so much to say about so many subjects. How do you feel about the chemical companies lobbying the White House to scrap regulations on pesticides? How do you feel about what’s happening with health care? How do you feel about gun violence, and gun control?  How do you feel about young workers making less money than in 1975, after adjusting for inflation? How do you feel about marijuana, both medical and recreational? Do you know why marijuana was made illegal? How do you feel about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange?

 

There are 168 hours in a calendar week.  Let’s assume that:

  • You sleep 56 hours a week
  • You work 40 hours a week
  • You spend 10 hours a week commuting
  • You spend 12 hours on weekend chores
  • You spend 21 hours eating

That would leave 29 hours for whatever.  Don’t you think you could devote 30 to 45 minutes each and every week communicating with your representatives?  How powerful that would be if each one of you, plus three friends, and each one of them had three friends, and each one of them had three friends and so on.  Yes, it can be done.

 

Let both the Federal and local Governments hear your voice.  Get involved, discard your apathy, your efforts will pay off – It works!  Get your dictionary and your thesaurus out, and then think through what you want to say.  Don’t be nasty, or profane, just be honest and true.

 

“Well done is better than well said.”  Benjamin Franklin

 

 

Visit these sites. Hold down the Ctrl key and click.       www.Govtrack.us           www.maplight.org

 

 

Things I Want

 

Did you ever want something?  Well here are a couple dozen things I want, today.  

I’ve always wanted something or other depending on my age and the situation at the time; a VW bus, a Nehru jacket, a lava lamp, some bell bottom jeans, a guitar, some blue suede shoes, a double breasted suit, out of the Army, all my family healthy and happy, the latest hot golf clubs and the ability to use them. Once again I’ve found some things I want. As I shuffle through my 83rd year these wants are compelling, don’t you think?

 First and foremost, above all others, I want my wife to have her health; to be rid of the Pulmonary Hypertension, to be rid of the Diabetes, to be disease free, strong, happy, and healthy.

I want fewer and shorter commercials on the TV.  Good Grief there is more commercial time in an hour’s program than there is program.  The majority of the commercials are just plain ignorant, they insult me.

I want to choose which cable channels I get.  I don’t have any use for 90% of the channels I am forced to have, because they are a part of a package, so I pay for channels I never watch.

I want packaging I can easily open.  Cereal boxes, cracker boxes, plastic wrapped products, plastic containers that open without seeking the scissors, or a knife, or the pliers.  Most cereal boxes do not open so that you can easily close them again.  Those little cardboard tabs tear and are useless; plastic packages that say they are self sealing again, not always.  How about bottles which require a body builder to open?

I want to talk with someone who speaks clearly in English when I call a company’s customer service department looking for some help, or registering a complaint, someone I can understand and have an intelligent conversation with.  I don’t care if they are foreign I just want them to speak so I can understand them.

I want waiters and waitresses to stop asking me, “how is everything?”  Hell, I don’t know, I didn’t have everything.  I just had what I had, not everything!

I want clerks to stop saying “Have a nice day.”  That is way too iffy and weak.  I prefer “Go make a nice day.”

I want young boys to hitch up their britches, so I don’t have to see their underpants.

I want children to put down those electronic devices from time to time and go outside and play.  Make snow angels, play hide-n-seek, play kick the can, build a snow man, play on the jungle gym, ride a bike, play baseball in a vacant lot, play jacks and hopscotch, play tag and blind man’s bluff, build a snow fort, get muddy.

I want politicians that are actually interested in what they are doing, not just trying to keep their job.  Politicians that can sit down across a table, and solve problems in the best interests of the people they represent.  I want them to stop the divisiveness and the adversarial attitudes.  Stop the acrimonious postures, the combative behavior, and govern to my advantage and yours.

I want people to turn off that irritating, boom-boom music coming out of their automobile that makes my ears pound, assails my senses, and makes my automobile vibrate.

I want mass shootings to stop. I want little children, and innocent movie goers, and shoppers to not die at the hands of someone mentally disturbed.

I want the mentally disturbed identified, and helped before bad things happen.  I sure don’t want them to be able to buy guns.

I want the best brains in the country to solve poverty. Every person that wants to do better, be better, should have that chance.

I want somebody to figure out education.  It’s been 385 years since our first school opened in Boston.  385 years and we still struggle with how to educate our kids, which by the way is the absolute most important task we face – yes THE most important task.

I want automatic weapons to go only to the military. I want background checks on all gun sales, and the purchaser to pay for the background checks.

I want the NRA to wise up, step up to reality, and stop hiding behind the 2nd Amendment which they distort.

I want religion to get out of Government.  There is supposed to be separation between church and state, and for very good reasons, but it has crept back in.  And I want the Government to get out of the bedroom, and all the other places they don’t belong such the bathroom and women’s bodies.

I want science to be better treated and recognized in Washington DC. How can a politician’s theory or opinion outweigh the majority of the scientific community?

I want wars to stop.  I want the conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere to cease, as well as the genocide in African countries.

I want everyone, including the Government, to get away from my Social Security and Medicare.  I earned them, I paid for them, stay clear.

I want the corporations, and special interests, to stop running the country.  I want government of the people, and BY the people.

I want more manners, politeness, and respect in our everyday lives – rudeness, anger, and discourtesy to disappear.

I want capitalism to be fixed.  I am a capitalist, I believe in capitalism, but it needs some tweaks and changes.  A valid and functional capitalistic system needs a little Democratic Socialism.  We already have Socialism in our society, but we need some different avenues.  Greed has taken over. The bottom line success for Capitalism cannot solely be individual greed.  Capitalism should create jobs, provide for work at decent wages, and help restore dignity to people.

I want whoever reads this to be safe, healthy, and happy.  “May your smile be contagious and your happiness outrageous.”

Hells Bells, what I want really isn’t too much to ask, is it?  How about you? What’s on your list?