Category Archives: Blogs & Blogging

Politics and Civility

eyeseeyouOkay, I get it, a bunch of Americans don’t like Obama.  You have made your point clear.  A bunch of Americans didn’t like Bush either.  In both cases, the muck-throwing has been prodigious!  Shame on us!  How fortunate we are to be citizens of a country where they don’t lock you up or knock you off for criticizing the president/prime minister/king or dictator.  If we lived in one of these nations, a bunch of people would now be behind bars or deceased.

How privileged we are to be able to vote for the president and congress (the Supreme Court is another matter).  Come the next election, we can vote-out those we disagree with and vote-in those we think better represent our values.  Historically this is a new paradigm bestowed upon the world by the Mother of Parliaments and not every nation is ready or able to live within this concept.  Yes, we are indeed fortunate to live in a nation governed by and for the people.

In a couple of years, we will be able to express our opinions of Mr. Obama and his party by voting in an election.  We can go to the polls and fire those we disagree with.  In the meantime we can make our opinions known in letters to the editor, blogs and in the various forms of social media.

Unfortunately, what I have been reading across the political spectrum is distressing.  Never have I seen such hatred and invective.  So much of it is offensive, disrespectful, divisive and downright ungodly.  Some of it is simply false.  And, to make matters worse, too much of it comes from people who call themselves Christians.

It is possible to disagree without spewing hatred.  The lengths to which some go to express their hatred is astonishing…especially from those who should be known for speaking the truth in love…whether that truth is related to the gospel or any other subject.

How would you like to live under a Roman emperor or a cruel king or governor?  Well, as a matter of history, Christ and his followers lived in such a time.  And yet, we fail to see them respond with anything but Godliness.  About the strongest language I can recall is when Jesus called Herod a “fox” (Luke 13:32)  I challenge you who claim to be Christians to re-read some pertinent passages.

John 19:10-

  • ·         Pilate’s authority (when he reminded Jesus that he had authority to crucify him) was given to him by God.

Romans 13:1-7

  • ·         All authority is from God and we are to be subject to them.  We are not to resist their authority…to do so is to oppose the ordinance of God.
  • ·         Authority is a minister of God to you for good.
  • ·         It is necessary to be in subjection for conscience’ sake.
  • ·         We are to render tax, custom, respect and honor to whom it is due.

1 Timothy 2:1-4

  • ·         We are to pray for kings and all who are in authority.
  • ·         We are to pray for them that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
  • ·         This is good and acceptable in the sight of God.

1 Peter 2:13,14

·         “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.

1 Peter 2:17

·         “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.”

We live in a wonderful time when we can voice our opposition and act upon it in word and deed when we go to the polls.  But we must do it with honor and respect, praying for those in authority whether we agree or disagree with their policies.  It is high time we begin acting like the one we follow.

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Filed under Blogs & Blogging, Christlikeness, Comments, Current Events, Discussion, Freedom, Hatred, History, honor, Invective, Jesus Christ, Peace, Persuasion, Politics, Respect, Ridicule

Edit!

eyeseeyouTake this from a person who has made their share of writing boo-boos.  I rarely have a perfect first draft of anything I write.  I have learned (painfully) to carefully go over what I write and almost invariably discover something that would be embarrassing to publish.  This is especially critical when writing advertising copy destined be read by great multitudes.

Today I came across this example:

“Over time, this can add to unwanted weight gain that you do not want.”

A good, solid edit would have discovered this and restructured it.  Unwanted mistakes like this are something you do not want.

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Filed under Advertising, Blogs & Blogging, Editing, Humor, words, Writing

From Waterbed to Website

As readers of this blog will remember, someone stacked a pile of junk lumber in front of my shop.  In case you missed it, you can see it here.  All of it is destined for the fireplace or, in the case of the plywood, fiberboard, chipboard etc., the garbage.  That is, all of it except one board, which knew a former life as a frame for a waterbed.  It was pretty thick, crack-less and with only two knots.  So, I decided to do something with it.

I wanted a unique header for my refurbished gardening blog: “West Texas Gardener” and, since I am a woodcarver, I decided a hand-carved sign might be nice.  So, I set to work cutting the blank, sanding, routing, applying polyurethane, masking, applying the pattern, carving, staining the incised letters and, finally, outlining the letters to make them stand out.

As I carved, I remembered why I hate carving regular pine (as opposed to sugarpine which carves quite nicely).  It is an unpredictable wood, often brittle, and will sometimes “shred” under the sharpest of tools.  The knots are almost impossible to carve without them crumbling like a cookie.  But, I eventually finished the process, photographed it for my garden site, and I hope you like the result.

Another photo taken in the shop on the easel

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Filed under Blogs & Blogging, Carving, Home and Garden, Signs, Vegetable Gardening, Whitsett News, Woodcarving

Theft by any other name…

Some readers may not know that I also write a gardening blog: charamongarden.wordpress.com – soon to become “West Texas Gardener.”  I work really hard to write informative posts about raising vegetables in our challenging conditions (dry climate, alkaline soil, wind, and these days triple-digit heat).  I also read and subscribe to other organic gardening blogs. More and more I am seeing something that, when I was teaching, would have earned my students an automatic failing grade: plagiarism.  The practice of stealing someone’s research, writing, etc., and posting it in your blog without giving credit is reprehensible.  It’s simply another form of theft.

Recently, I read a blog and realized that the contents probably couldn’t have been the words of the blogger.  So, I took a suspect phrase, entered it into Google and voila!  There it was under the original author’s name.  Further digging revealed that several bloggers had made unauthorized use of the same article!  I re-read the blog I had opened just to make sure I had not missed the reference or the credit and, regretfully, it was not there.

To write informative blogs, we all have to do some research.  It is only right, however, to give credit to the sources of research quoted.  In the above case, the thief merely cut from the original author and pasted into his post as if it was his own work…no quotation marks, no footnotes, no nothin’.  I call it dishonest and lazy.

I read voraciously about organic gardening, especially if it deals with gardening in hot, dry climates and alkaline soils.  Information gleaned from years of research gets stirred up in my little gray cells, blends with my own experience and comes out in my writing, sometimes within the hour, sometimes years later.  But one thing I will promise you: I will not knowingly quote someone’s research without giving credit.  And, I certainly will not “cut and paste.”  That just wouldn’t be right.

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Filed under Blogs & Blogging, Good & Evil, honor, Integrity, morality, Quotations, Respect, Trust, Writing

Guilty of Being Too Gracious

Trey Morgan

If you don’t subscribe to Trey Morgan’s blog, you ought to.  He is a very thoughtful writer and preacher.  He preaches in Childress, Texas and if you ask me, they are extremely fortunate to have him.  I had an article all ready to post when I read this and thought I must share it with all my readers. Take my advice and go to his blog site here and read his past and present postings.  You’ll be blessed.  I was especially touched by his latest: A $2.99 Hug.

When he asked me the question, I knew I’d heard that type of question before. It was one of those, “What if a person is doing…,” questions that ended with, “Will that person get to go to heaven or hell?”He was calling someone’s morality into question, and I could tell by how he asked, he wasn’t really asking the question because he wanted to know, but because he wanted to trap me with the question. It was the same thing the Pharisees did to Jesus on many occasions.

My answer was simple, “That’s totally up to God. He’s the one who makes the decisions on who goes to heaven and who doesn’t.”

I could tell my answer frustrated him. Redness was building from his neck up to his face. “I knew that’s what you’d say,” he said with a frustrated tone. “I don’t even know why I asked you. You’re too soft on people.”

I smiled and told him, “I’m sorry, but I got out of judging business long ago. Who gets in and who doesn’t is not not my place to decide. But”, I told him, “If I’m going to err on one side or the other, I’d rather err on the side of mercy.” He didn’t like that much either.

I left feeling good about my answer. I still feel the same way today.  I think Jesus was a perfect example when it came to being gracious to others. Remember how Jesus acted around those whose lives weren’t exactly to what God wanted? A prostitute, a wealthy exploiter, a Samaritan woman with several husbands, a woman caught in adultery – all people that Jesus would have had a problem with their lifestyle. Yet all found grace and mercy from Jesus instead of condemnation. No wonder Jesus gained the reputation as being a “friend of sinners.” Maybe we can learn a lot about how to treat people by watching Jesus in action.

When I stand before God someday, if I’m found guilty of anything, I want to be found guilty of being too gracious, too forgiving and too merciful. I feel I have a better chance with God that way than I do if I’m found too harsh, too judgmental and too unsympathetic.

“You’re too soft on people,” that guy said to me that day. Well if too soft means too merciful … then I pray I’m guilty as charged!

“So you must show mercy to others, or God will not show mercy to you when he judges you. But the person who shows mercy can stand without fear at the judgment.”   ~ James 2:13


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Filed under Attributes of God, Bigotry, Blogs & Blogging, Christlikeness, Condemnation, Encouragement, Eternal Life, Good & Evil, Judge, Judgment, Judgmental, Preaching/Teaching

New Blog by Randy Becton

I am excited to announce a new blog by my dear friend, Randy Becton,  called “A Caring Touch.” Randy will be writing words of encouragement and comfort in his inimitable style.  He has posted his first article, “Old Books and Forever Friends” and you may enjoy it by going here.  These will be great articles to send to friends who are in need of an encouraging word.

Be sure to subscribe and spread the word!

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Filed under Blessings, Blogs & Blogging, Encouragement, Eternal Life, Faith, Friendship, Life, Love, Meaning of Life

Current Events and Concerns

Observing my blog stats over the last few days, a well-known truth has been freshly demonstrated: if you don’t post very often—people quit reading. But, that harsh reality seems to be balanced in my case, with having nothing much to say. Oh, I suppose I could find something on which to pontificate, but I tend to wait until I feel compelled to put pen to paper. Waiting until my labor is induced may not be often enough if I want to build a readership. So, in an effort to catch up, let me give you my thoughts on a number of current events and concerns.

Presidential Candidates — It seems a shame to me that, among potential republican candidates we are presented with a billionaire who has funny hair and fires people on TV, another man whose choice of a religion makes me think he might fall for anything and a woman who very few people seem to take seriously. Ya know what I mean fellow-mavericks?

The Federal Deficit – Every responsible businessman and householder knows you can’t spend more than you bring in or you will get in deep doo doo.  From the smell of things, I believe we are up that famous creek without the proverbial paddle.  As anyone who has gotten in over their head is aware, cures for this sort of thing are notoriously painful.  In the case of the United States it is a question of who will make the tough choices and who will bear the brunt of the pain.  Who will be the offenders?  Who will be the offendees? Someone must be cruel to be kind (in the right measure). Unless I miss my guess most of the victims will be those who didn’t have much in the first place.

The News Media – Is it really true that people demand to be told about the upcoming wedding of Bill and Kate every five minutes? Are we really that infatuated with the formalization of a relationship of two people who have been living together for years?  “Fairytale wedding?” Please, give me a break!  And is it really true that we don’t give a flip about what’s happening elsewhere in the world? I beg you, tell me what’s going on in Europe, Asia, South and Central America and Africa. Does it take disaster or war to draw our attention away from politics and Charlie Sheen?

The Middle East – The cultural differences are so vast between this region and the West that I despair of ever being able to achieve our stated goals. People revolt in a small middle-eastern country and proceed to ride around in Toyota pickups shouting slogans (I guess that’s what they are) and firing rifles and artillery into the air. Some insane religious fanatic in Florida burns a Qu’ran (what was he trying to accomplish?) and Afghanistan (where so much Western blood has been shed to set them free from the Taliban), riots (again shooting guns into the air) and wants to throw their liberators out. We should say, “You can’t throw us out…we quit!” and leave them to their hyper-active and reactionary insanity.

Political Parties – It seems to me that someone is going to have to care more about America than some party’s political agenda.  It reminds me of religious denominations whose adherents care more about “our side” than about the gospel and seeking and saving the lost. Our nation is facing several crises that will require true patriots to work in concert. Lobbyists, special interest groups, corporate interests and the like must be ignored until we have solved the problems they and their political cronies have created (for example Monsanto, one of the biggest corporate bullies, spent over eight million for lobbyists in 2010). Given the power of greed, don’t hold your breath.

OK. For all its worth, I have spoken.

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Filed under Asia, Blogs & Blogging, Culture Wars, Current Events, Islam, Middle East, Palestine, Peace, Politics, Random Thoughts, Revolution, Writing