Monday, April 30, 2007

Blessed are the Peacemakers, For They Shall Be Called... Liberal Hippies?

"You're a liberal hippie that endorses the anti-christ"--yelled at me by some random college student enraged by the very sight of my shirt with the logo seen below.


I've received several comments about this logo, implying that it's blasphemous, anti-christian, and endorses a one world order. So, I just wanted to set the record straight concerning this logo: what it really means and why coexistence is something Christians shouldn't fear, but should actively work towards.

Let's start with the definition of the word "Coexist"

"To exist together, at the same time, or in the same place.
To live in peace with another or others despite differences"
(Webster Dictionary).

Here's what COEXIST does NOT mean: to merge beliefs and ideas, to compromise or sacrifice one's own beliefs to achieve peace, to abandon dialogue about accountability, challenges, hypocrisies, persuasion, or conversion, and it definitely does NOT mean for all people to embrace a unified belief system to establish a ONE WORLD ORDER. In fact, coexist means the opposite of a one world order, because a one world order would contain no diversity at all. People would all live under the same form of government, religion, and culture. There would be no diversity or differences to coexist with! Coexistence implies existing amongst inherent differences that firmly remain.

Usually the word "coexist" is a far cry from the harmonious unification of all mankind singing Peace on Earth while sharing a Coca-Cola. For example, if a spouse describes their marriage as "coexisting with each other," that implies that they are not intimately intertwined or unified. It means their just not at war with each other at the moment. However, the current relationship between certain countries, religions, and political affiliations are so dire, that coexistence would be a step up.

The idea behind this logo is one that most Christians already know and do. The acknowledgement of God's gift of life to all human beings and the right to preserve that life until God deems otherwise is endorsing coexistence. Conceding that people possessing different religions, political beliefs, and social orders have the right to exist on the same planet until God deems otherwise is coexistence. Functioning in the same society with nonbelievers is practicing coexistence. To renounce coexistence would be to endorse the oppression, coercion, and execution of anyone who refuses to convert to Christianity (which is a horrifying "Hitleresque" notion). So, it is not such a radical notion for a Christian. Romans 12:18 commands us to live in peace with all men when it is possible. What does that mean? Just people that believe, think, and look like us? No, it means what it says, ALL men. That includes Muslims, Hindus, Jews, atheists, gays, etc. etc.

It's apparent that many Christians get freaked out when they hear people talking about living in peace because they assume that living in peace will automatically result in a one world order. That is only true if rejecting God and sacrificing our individual freedom to BE DIFFERENT from each other is the condition of peace. Allowing differences and living in peace DESPITE the differences actually prolongs a one world order. Once the world gets so irreversibly out of control with wars, violence, and atrocities because of conflicting religious and political beliefs, that will be when a leader will rise to power to stamp out all such differences in the name of restoring peace.

Forget even END TIMES stuff for the moment. Coexistence is the foreground for effective communication, which can lead to conversion. Isolation from and mud-slinging against those who differ from us Christians only widens the gap of true communication and the accurate depiction of the gospel. People's hearts will only be has hard as the stones we throw at them. Showing people the same respect that we want: to hold and practice our beliefs freely is coexistence and a vital part of demonstrating our faith. Coexisting works in conjunction with loving our neighbor as ourselves and doing unto others as we would have them do to us. It's striving to live in peace with all men as Paul instructs.

So, next time you see me with my "controversial" shirt, know that I wear it because I believed Jesus when he said, "Blessed are the peacemakers," no matter what they end up being called.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Yup. That's Me!

The Pied Piper. Without the retro 80's stockings or superhero cape, of course (Although, if it were socially acceptable, make no mistake, I would totally rock a cape). Anyway, hopelessly, irreversibly, that's me. I may not prance around random villages playing a hypnotic tune on a flute that mystifies rodents, but still, I assure you, I am the reincarnated Pied Piper. However, instead of rodents following me, it's canines. I love 'em. Always have, always will. That's how I acquired nine of them (10 if you count the neighborhood dog that spends most of the time at my house). Some, we adopted and others, well, adopted us. It seems every few weeks a canine in distress crosses my path and the Good Samaritan in me will not allow me to pass idly by (convictions are a pain in the arse sometimes). Something in my soul must call out to them because they know who I am and how to find me. They appear by my side at movie theaters, parks, parking lots, in the middle of the road, or even right at my door step! They know I can't turn them away. They know I must take them in or find them a decent home. Which brings us to this morning.

Actually ready and on time for church, I'm driving down Rt. 123 when the car in front of me slams on its breaks to avoid crushing the smallest dog I've ever seen. It was in the middle of the road, trying to eat whatever food residue was left inside of a paper cup. The car just barely missed the poor thing as it scurried to the side of the road. I knew if I kept going that it was only a matter of time before the little tyke got hit. If it was my dog, I would want someone to stop and bring him/her home (that whole "do unto others" thing can also be a drag). Whimpering and shaking, this tiny pup cowered as I approached. Once I calmed him down, he nuzzled himself in my arms and we set off to find his owner. Unfortunately, no one on the street claimed him. So, the little dude is here in my lap probably coming to the realization that he hit the dogie jack pot the moment this sucker picked him up!

Although I'm complaining right now, I find great joy in saving animals, especially dogs, from a tragic fate that comes from them living among our technological, industrialized world. Honestly, (and I know only true and somewhat crazy animal lovers like myself will understand this) there exists something profoundly satisfying in the silent connection between humans and dogs. Maybe it's their innocence and unyielding trust to place their welfare in our hands. Maybe it's the loyalty, the love dogs are able to give without judgment or hesitance. Whatever it is, the unspoken communication that occurs cannot be explained or duplicated, and in my life, it has truly been one of God's most treasured and personal gifts to me.

But besides, look at this face, could you have left this little guy on the road?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Mortality

Crumbled castles with rusted thrones
In the fallen ruins that remain
The vines of time entwine shattered stones
Mortal hands are powerless to change

In the fallen ruins that remain
A shallow shadow is left behind
Mortal hands are powerless to change
The finality of mortality is unkind

The vines of time entwine shattered stones
And crumbled castles with rusted thrones

Guarded Heart

Within the crystal ball, I see the snow
I shake and shake it, but I cannot pass
Your guarded heart is where I cannot go

How to free the captive, I do not know
Spoken bullets bounce off the nose-pressed glass
Within the crystal ball, I see the snow

Locked away, where whipping winds cannot blow
Your love is a prize that cannot be won
Your guarded heart is where I cannot go

Dwelling where there is neither friend nor foe
In the clear cocoon, you are safe, but numb
Within the crystal ball, I see the snow

When stifled water has no room to flow
At the gate, you will not bid me to come
Oh guarded heart, why won’t you let me go?

Grief defeats, I release the lonesome glow
I know your throne is beyond my grasp
Within the crystal ball, I see the snow
Your guarded heart is where I cannot go

The Remnant

In this concrete-clad forest
A carved tree trunk traps
The last remnant

The Autumn Reaper kisses
Frail widow branches
Sending their amber spouses
To open emerald graves
At last, the bare bark is clothed
By the looming shadow of a skyscraper

Autumn leaves and aluminum cans
Crunch beneath my fleeing feet
Before splashing into the cement river,
Whose current drags me home

Volunteers Without Borders

We've all seen it. Usually we've seen it during sleepless nights at three in the morning, hunkered down on our couches in front of the TV. I'm referring to the images of starving children, wounded souls, and devastated countries while a host pleads with his late night audience to donate 30 cents a day to support the afflicted lingering in the background. Maybe we listened, maybe it made us uncomfortable, or maybe we changed the channel to catch some of that marathon of Punk'd on MTV. Regardless of our reaction, we've all seen it.

On April 5, Nobel Peace Price winner Mary Lightfine gave a lecture entitled "Nurse without Borders" to GSC students in the Performing Arts Building about her work with Doctors without Borders. The students' first introduction to Lightfine was a projected photograph of her holding the hands of middle-eastern children. Many of the slides to follow were pictures akin to the ones on our late night TV screens. She gave a name to those faces and told the stories behind their suffering.
This woman has dedicated more than 10 years of her life living in countries ravaged by war, famine, diseases, and poverty, providing medical treatment to soldiers, civilians, and everyone in between. She has been shot at, threatened, and robbed. Regardless, she still sees the beauty in these places and cultures and the desperate need to aid them.

Lightfine reveals the character that pricked her curiosity about the world existing outside of America. She recalls, "Ever since the first time I saw Tarzan swing across my TV set, he planted a seed of curiosity in my brain. That seed grew and grew until after 16 years as a nurse, I woke up one day in Africa."

Behind her personal experience and pictures, there lies a serious message. The message that has become quite clich├ęd, but it could not contain more truth, that one person can make a difference. She told the students about a deadly worm that develops as a result of drinking dirty water in many of these poverty-stricken countries. But because of one person inventing a simple plastic tube with a cotton filter the problem has nearly been eradicated. A problem that was plaguing millions is nearly defeated by one person. That's powerful.

And this was precisely her point and her motivation for speaking around the country. This was the reason she started the organization "Volunteers without Boundaries," which provides the opportunity for people to serve the outside world and find their own calling.

Lightfine reminded that we, the students, "are the future leaders and inventors." She encouraged the involvement of GSC students in making a better world for the less fortunate, however that may take shape. Whether it's becoming a doctor, a nurse, a teacher, an inventor, or just pledging 30 cents a day before switching the channel to MTV. We can make a difference, and it is people like Mary Lightfine who prove it and remind others of it.

The Plight of Darfur

The nationally acclaimed documentary, “The Darfur Diaries,” was shown on the GSC campus on Feb. 26, followed by a panel discussion with Douglas Ealey, a professor of political science and religion, Amin Al-Midani, a Fulbright scholar and expert on Islamic Law, and Basmat Ahmed, a teenage Darfur refugee. The Black Student Association and Students for a Progressive Society sponsored the event in honor or Black History Month.

The people of Darfur have been plagued by warfare, bombings, air raids, rape, torture and pillaging that have resulted in over 2 million refugees dispersed throughout the neighboring country of Chad, the annihilation of over 2 thousand villages and the genocide of over 400,000 Darfur citizens.

During the panel discussion, each guest expounded on the dire situation in Darfur and how Americans can be part of the solution.

“The problem with Americans is that we do not know what is going on beyond our borders. We become prejudice and uncaring out of our ignorance,” said Ealey.

Ealey clearly expressed his view that America is indeed a great nation but also addressed the misconception that America gives the most foreign aid.

“While the U.S. considers itself a humanitarian-oriented nation, the U.S. gives more raw dollars than all countries, but gives the least percentage wise out of the wealthiest countries in the world,” explained Ealey.

Al-Midani tackled the inconsistencies existing between the corrupt government professing the Islamic faith, who are wreaking havoc upon the people of Darfur, and the actual Islamic faith.

“There is a contradiction between the Sudanese government and the Arab tradition. The regimes are driven by political agendas, not Muslim or Arab philosophies,” explained Al-Midani.

An emotionally-moved Ahmed recalled her beloved homeland now consumed in the chaos of war and oppression.

“Darfur was a wonderful, beautiful, friendly place before the war. The people are overcome because they are weak, without education and weapons,” said Ahmed. She desperately wanted to arouse involvement from the 45 listening people in the CE auditorium.

“This is the first time for me to speak about my hope. I hope everyone here could connect with another people from another place. My hope is that different people will rise up in one voice to demand the end of this war and oppression. It’s not just about talk and movies, we need action,” she stressed.

The documentary itself chronicled the plight of Darfur civilians terrorized by the corrupt rebel group Janjawid, who are equipped with weapons and money by the Sudanese government.
The documentary showed interviews with surviving refugees, most separated from their families, steeped in extreme poverty, without any options to harvest food or incomes. They live out their days in a sort of limbo, waiting to live or die. Food is scarce, malnutrition and disease run rampant, and shelter is a little more than tents consisting of sheets and sticks. Bugs make their homes on the crevices of children’s faces. Vivid nightmares make nights sleepless for many survivors. Children draw pictures of war and murder, the images that haunt them at night.
Once members of productive families, communities and tribes, Darfur refugees have been reduced to wandering nomads. Their only goal is avoiding exploitation and death in the constant crossfire of demented rebel groups and corrupt regimes.

After surviving the uprooting and dislocation, many refugee camps are determined to provide protection for the people. The Darfur Diaries follow members of the Sudan Liberation Army, a group assembled to combat the rebel group Janjawid and the Sudanese government.

“We are compelled to fight against the government for our survival,” explained one human rights leader in the Sudan Liberation Army.

An effort to revive education is also underway in many refugee camps. Classes are conducted within half-walls constructed from mud and water, often operating without textbooks or writing utensils. However, the lack of supplies does not impugn their will.

“There is no life without education,” said one refugee.

Darfur Diaries has been shown on college campuses across the nation. It was created to provide a window into another place and culture that is crumbling under the reign of injustice. To find out more information about this crisis and how to get involved in a solution go to: www.darfurdiaries.org.

A Dream Coming to Fruition

Even though it has been 39 years since the death of Martin Luther King Jr., his memory still holds the power to bring diverse peoples together, united in the vision of justice, freedom and equality for all.
On Jan. 17, Michael Thurmond, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Labor, lead the “Reflecting, but Always Moving Forward: Celebrating the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” event at GSC.
GSC President Martha Nesbitt graciously introduced Thurmond, noting that his efforts have contributed to the immense success of the Georgia Department of Labor. “It has the number 1 national ranking in helping the unemployed get back to work,” said Nesbitt.
Thurmond opened the remembrance ceremony by pointing out the fruition of King’s infamous dream.
“We, of different racial, ethnic, religious and political persuasion have gathered on common ground, under a common roof, for a common purpose.” Thurmond said.
The central theme of the event was to convey to the audience what King’s memory and dream mean for people today. Thurmond quoted from the last speech King gave before he was assassinated.
“’He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the Promised Land,’” recited Thurmond.
Thurmond compared King to the Old Testament’s Moses, who led the Israelites to the threshold of the Promised Land. Although Moses did not cross over, the people did. Thurmond reminded that the torch of racial harmony must continue to be passed on from generation to generation, if the human race is going to enter a discrimination-free “Promised Land”.
The context and tone of King’s last speech was akin to the Bible’s Samson, who stood between the mighty temple pillars, bursting with one last surge of strength to tear them down. Although the pillars of segregation came crashing down upon King, they came down nonetheless. The present generation of young people stands in the ruins with the tools to “build bridges,” as Thurmond put it, across the various racial divides that remain.
“We must continue to build bridges between blacks and whites, men and women, democrats and republicans,” encouraged Thurmond.
While King delivered the fatal blow to “enforced segregation”, Thurmond addressed the present problem of “self-segregation,” where each race, religion and ethnicity voluntarily separates themselves from those that differ.
“If you really want to celebrate Martin Luther King, introduce yourself to someone different. You should not leave this college the way you came,” challenged Thurmond.
Thurmond conveyed the necessity to engage with people of different racial, religious and political persuasions.
“America is finally becoming the melting pot it always bragged it was. It has the most diverse workforce in history, so we must learn to deal with people who are different,” he said.
In addition to honoring the life and achievements of King, Thurmond emphasized the legacy King laid before the future generations’ feet.
“We have come not only to celebrate, but to rededicate ourselves, so that his dream will become a reality,” closed Thurmond.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bono's Speech at The National Prayer Breakfast

Words that changed my life....

Not 'My Scene'

Have you ever heard the criticisms about Barbie dolls? That they give girls unrealistic body expectations? Or that Barbie is so drastically anatomically dysfunctional that an actual woman with Barbie’s figure wouldn’t even be able to stand up?

Barbie has been under fire since her debut in 1959 and the criticism only escalated with every generation of thinking women that followed. While Barbie does indeed perpetuate the blonde-bombshell stereotype that has unquestionably contributed to countless eating disorders, low self-esteem complexes, and the objectifying societal view of women, it is time to turn our objections towards a much worse adversary.

The My Scene dolls (also a Mattel product) and the Bratz dolls have taken the image of the female gender to an all time low. These dolls, which are targeted to females in the “tween” category (the age between children and teenagers), not only blatantly glorify the notion of women as nothing more than sex vehicles, but contribute to the ever-increasing sexualizing of younger and younger females.

Marketed to preteens under the guise of being “trendy” and possessing a “passion for fashion,” these dolls are decked out in nothing more than lewd hooker getups, complete with see-through fishnet tanks, thigh-high boots, mini-skirts barely covering their privates and gaudy makeup that would even make a porn star think twice. Girls traveling through the awkward process of puberty are too vulnerable and buckled down with uncertainty and self-consciousness to grasp the detrimental message hidden beneath their scantily-clad playmates.

While Barbie may promote unachievable beauty standards, My Scene and Bratz dolls encourage the outright sexualizing of preteen girls. If it is acceptable for My Scene and Bratz dolls produced for children to wear skimpy, suggestive outfits, then why would the girls who own them think twice about wearing such outfits?

These dolls only further the awakening of a distorted awareness of sexuality in girls who are neither old enough nor responsible enough to deal with the consequences that come from emulating the clothing, makeup, or mindset of this brand of demeaning trash. Innocence and naivety are already stolen from children too often as a result of premature exposure to media and products aimed toward adults; must we directly taint them with toys designed for their entertainment and admiration?

These irresponsible money-hungry companies display no concern for the marketing of superficial stereotypes and the degradation of women. My Scene and Bratz dolls just further spoon feed these damaging lies to yet another generation of young girls.

Civilized Killing

Ancient Arrows
Former slayers in the wars of men
Now mounted on the walls of their dens

Useless arrows
Too impractical for the modern age
There are easier ways to pierce a flesh-bound cage

Savage Arrows
Too barbaric for the modern man
You lack the dignity of the bombs in our hands

Hang, shrouded in mystery
Teach us something of our history

You are a senior citizen of war
Knocking on death's door
Lingering on life support
To induldge our indignant thrill

Show us how far mankind has come
While we polish our efficient guns
Those brutal savages knew none
Of the civilized ways to kill

Hang, shrouded in mystery
Teach us something of our history

More Than A Cause


At the risk of sounding like a naive Miss America Contestant or a Sally Struthers commercial, I'm going to address the AIDS pandemic devastating regions engulfed in extreme poverty, namely Africa. But why should Americans care about Africa? Well in an age where a "global community" is no longer a far-fetched concept, American citizens representing freedom, justice, and equality, should care a great deal.

I, as many, am guilty of fitting the bill of an "ignorant American," too complacent and comfortable in the bubble of my freedoms to grasp the dire injustices of the outside world. But change is calling.

Africa is a continent suffering from the most deadly health threat since the bubonic plague. Everyday 6500 Africans die from AIDS, another 8500 are infected, 1400 of whom are children. According to Jeffrey Sachs, a Harvard Economist, "there are currently 12 million orphans in Africa who have lost their parents to AIDS, there will 20 million by the year 2010 in Sub-Saharan Africa alone." Three generation old interest-clad debts sustain Africa's poverty and prevent governments from establishing capable health care and education systems.

All kinds of causes exist, important causes deserving attention, support, and action. The AIDS crisis is more than a cause, it is an emergency. However, we would never know it since the issue is consistently absent from the front lines of the news. Thousands of lives lost daily to a preventable, treatable disease for lack of money is a price that our integrity and humanity cannot afford.

How do we combat AIDS then? With an endless string of fundraisers and celebrity telethons? The 1980's Live Aid concerts raised an unprecedented $200 million for Africa. However, the rude awakening was that African countries pay that amount every five days in debt service payments! Obviously charity alone will not suffice.

But what is sufficient? Recently, a new approach emerged to solve the pandemic. Bi-partisan organizations like Jubilee 2000, Drop the Debt, DATA, and The One Campaign broadened political horizons past the scope of charity and incorporated justice into the equation of social economic issues. They petition The World Bank and wealthy countries to cancel the debts of the poorest countries. In 2005, the G-8 Summit canceled over $40 billion of debt as a result of such organizations. The One Campaign, in particular, does not ask for money from the public, but only their voice. I am more than willing to devote my voice to this emergency. The equality America symbolizes, idealizes, and aspires to must travel beyond our borders and cross the seas to our suffering African brethren. To lend your voice to demand social justice, go to www.one.org and sign the One Campaign petition. To find out more information about the African crisis go to www.data.org. I want to be part of a generation attempting to wipe out the spread of AIDS and extreme poverty. I hope you do as well.

"Who ordered the gratuity?"

"Who ordered the gratuity?!" I overheard this question as I dropped a check to a table of 10 people. A rude, cheap, and as it turned out, not very bright woman was rigorously checking every item. When she arrived at the item entitled "gratuity," she furiously questioned the rest of her party: "Who ordered the gratuity?! It's expensive!" The woman thought that "gratuity" was a meal. It's sad, but true. I was just thankful for automatic minimum gratuity for parties of eight or more.

Now, parties of eight are rare. Servers usually wait on tables consisting of 2 to 6 people, without imposed mandatory minimum tip included. Much too often customers do not understand the concept of tipping or why tipping is in place, let alone the socially acceptable percentage. These are the facts: Most restaurants only pay their servers between $2.00 and $2.15 per hour...before taxes. This is less than half of the minimum wage. When a person goes out to eat to at a restaurant, they are not only paying for their food, but also for someone to SERVE them, hence the term, server.

The price of the meal covers the cost of the food, not the service. The socially acceptable and expected amount for a tip is between 15 and 20 percent of the bill (15 percent being the bare minimum). When dining out, the food does not magically appear on the table, nor does the extra dressing, extra napkins, or that 5th refill of sweet tea. You get the point. The moment a customer sits down and gives their order to a server, the customer has employed them and is obligated to pay them for their service.

There are 2 million servers in America. They consist of single mothers, starving artists, and college students. It is a thankless occupation requiring long hours on your feet, short breaks, and a lot of "brown-nosing." Many customers view tipping as charity, when in reality tips are servers' earned wages.

However, there is a bigger issue here: bad or non-tippers perpetuate the spread of stereotypes. I have worked in 8 different restaurants in various states, and the same stereotypes are prevalent in all of them. In the dining area, servers are all smiles, behave politely, and kiss a lot of arse because they must, their jobs and incomes depend on it. Yet, once they disappear behind those kitchen doors, they enter a world of stereotypes: stereotypes based on age, race, religion, and even region. The reason for an inadequate tip usually gets pinned on one of those categories.
But why? Why are restaurants breeding grounds for stereotypes? Why do the same stereotypes exist in almost every restaurant across the country? Unfortunately, a few bad apples can ruin the entire perception of a group of people in the minds of servers. Servers' tips pay their rent, tuition, and puts food on the table. They depend upon customers to provide their wages. When that dependence is threatened by customers who are ignorant of tipping policies or just plain cheap, stereotypes and prejudices of all forms are born. Workers in any customer service field quickly become cynical about human beings, especially when their pay is affected. One can only be stiffed so many times before noticing a pattern in the so-called "types" of people that are often the culprits. Are these stereotypes warranted? Are there really certain ethnic, religious, or regional groups that are by nature or by culture cheap or ignorant?

My view is that a person's tipping habits have nothing to do with the validity of stereotypes. It is not an issue of race, religion, or region, but an issue of class. Tipping habits reflect one's amount of class, dignity, and respect for fellow human beings. The ugly truth is that stereotypes do exist and warp people's perspectives on various people groups. Are you helping to perpetuate stereotypes or proving them wrong? Whether you are a northerner or a southerner, black or white, a Christian or a Jew, your tipping habits will represent not only you, but people associated with you. Besides the fact that tipping is the proper thing to do, the right thing to do, it can also be a rebellion against existing stereotypes and a statement about the amount of class you possess. Bottom line: if you have enough money to go out to eat, then you have enough money to leave a decent tip. Nobody is too poor to afford a little class. So, "who ordered the gratuity?" You, the customer did, the moment you "hired" a fellow human being to serve you.

So make sure you pay up!

Greetings!

Hello Blogosphere. I am starting this blog to provide another venue for my newspaper articles, passionate convictions (A.K.A. pushy opinions), articles I find interesting, and other writings. Perhaps, I will comment on the happenings of my everyday life. I am 24 years old, and this June, I will be married six years to the love of my life, William. I've known Jesus for over 12 years now. He keeps showing me that He is bigger than anything I could ever imagine and that He'll always break out of whatever box I am trying to confine Him in.

Currently, I'm finishing up my second year of college, and I have loved every second of it. I've acquired an eclectic taste in music because music is revolutionary. I am convinced that music possesses the power to stir the soul, revealing all that is there and all that is not.

Recently, I have dedicated myself to reading books that convey perspectives that contradict or challenge my own. Honestly listening to and evaluating someone else's viewpoint, instead of immediately dismissing or demonizing any idea that contradicts your own, has sadly become an abandoned notion in the political, religious, and social arenas. This polarization breeds stubborn, narrowly- informed idealogues, reciting shallow platitudes and propaganda from their very small corners of the world. So, I have decided to break out of that mold on all fronts and investigate information on all sides. I found that not only did I need to reevaluate some of my thoughts on grey areas and take hard truths from unlikely sources, but I strengthened my unmovable foundational beliefs by investigating the criticisms about them. It stretched and deepened my beliefs about God, Christianity, politics, and on and on. So, this is the journey I am endeavoring on at the moment.

Whoever you are, those that have purposely or mistakenly stumbled upon this blog, enjoy and feel free give feedback!