You never know who’s watching…

Ok, here’s some crazy info for you.  It’d been a while since I posted anything, then put up a new blog entry a few days ago.  Tonight, I went in to check my stats, just to see if anyone’s reading.  To the 18 folks that checked out my last post, I thank you for taking the time, and hope it was worth your while.  OK, so two of those were probably me, and one was my loving and supportive wife.  So it’s probably more like 15.  Anyway, I noticed that since I started this thing, I’ve had 950+ page views!  Wow!  I would never have guessed I drew that much attention.  That got me curious–who are all of these folks?

The stat tracker I used to use shut down, so I’m stuck with the one resident on my host, which only shows what country the hits come from.  Guess where I’m most popular?  RUSSIA!  That’s right, more hits from Russia than from the US.

Since I have only publicized this through my Facebook page, I’m pretty sure my readers in Russia don’t know me!

Here’s all of the stats:

Russia (522)
United States (341)
Israel (47)
Malaysia (13)
Germany (8)
United Kingdom (7)
France (3)
Netherlands (3)
India (2)
South Africa (1)
The reason for all this international acclaim?  My best guess is that my posts with “Un-American” and “Christians …terrorists” in them came up on page 872 of a Google-search of some REALLY bored people.That’s all.  No deep thoughts.  Thanks for reading.  Maybe I’ll think something profound tomorrow.
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Modern English Definitions

We all know that language is constantly evolving. Here is my understanding of the new definition for several familiar English words in prevalent use today:

Liar: Someone who does not assent to my understanding of reality

Cheater: Someone who appears to have circumstances more favorable than mine who has not yet assented to yield their advantage to me

Truth: The understanding of circumstances that best suits my needs at the time

Justice: 1) Seeing all the cheaters suffer; 2) Getting the opportunity to make someone else’s circumstances worse than mine

What do all these new definitions have in common? They are all egocentric. These concepts are no longer defined by an absolute standard, but instead are defined by comparison with the speaker’s condition.

Narcissism is a related psychological concept. I’ve done almost zero research on this, but I propose that US society (collectively and individually) is suffering from some form of egocentricity or narcissism.

Check this list of narcissistic traits:

*An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges
*Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships
*A lack of psychological awareness
*Difficulty with empathy
*Problems distinguishing the self from others
*Hypersensitivity to any sleights or imagined insults
*Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt (if you’re having trouble envisioning this one, picture the response of any recently arrested public figure)
*Flattery towards people who admire and affirm him or her
*Detesting those who do not admire him or her
*Using other people without considering the cost to them of his or her doing so
*Pretending to be more important than he or she is
*Bragging (subtly but persistently) and exaggerating his or her achievements
*Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people

See our culture in these descriptions? See your friends, co-workers, neighbors?

See yourself?

If you don’t, you’re probably wasting your time reading this.

If you have this really heavy feeling in your gut right now, welcome to my reality.

In Luke 9:23, Jesus says: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Deny yourself–no wonder Jesus is having trouble finding people who want to be his disciple in America today.

In the Garden, the Serpent tempted Eve by telling her that eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would make her eyes opened, and that she would be “like God, knowing good and evil.” I don’t believe this means she would be able to recognize good and evil. Rather, I believe she would be able to define good and evil. Eve didn’t get in trouble for breaking God’s rule, she tried to take his throne! She was tempted (and responded to the temptation) to define good and evil from her perspective, rather than accepting and submitting to God’s definition. And no, I’m not just beating up Eve; Adam was right there, and joined right in. And so have I.

A lot of people in our country today are fed up with “those other guys”. Some are actually mad enough to do something about it.

I’m fed up with me. I pray that Jesus will do something about it.

I’m Un-American!

Yep, that’s right, I’m “Un-American.” I’m also a:

-RINO
-T-Bagger
-Lib-tard
-scum bag

and I have no integrity.

At least, that’s what people who have never met me think.

These commentors have made their assessment based on reading several posts I made in the past 24 hours. Ironically, all of my comments had a consistent message that I don’t agree with Joe Miller’s approach to contesting this election. However, I also stated that given the gravity of his allegations about voter fraud and intimidation, along with implied corruption in the state elections office, it is most appropriate that Mr. Miller’s case be immediately investigated by Federal authorities.

Regardless of my political persuasion, I first and foremost want to see justice. If his allegations are true, then we must know the truth and demand the appropriate legal remedies to punish the offenders and ensure a fair election with a just outcome. Conversely, if his allegations are found to be baseless, I want this same outcome so that there can be no question or at least no foundation for accusations of conspiracy.

Funny thing is, if any one of those who so callously labeled me had done more than 1 minute of research into what I was saying, they’d have quickly been able to identify my position on the candidates in question. I just chose not to state it explicitly, since I felt it had no bearing on the point I was making.

Guess that makes me Un-American, and in that case my accusers are right. Because if what I’ve witnessed this political season is any indication of what “American” has become, not only am I not “American”, but I’m diametrically opposed to being “American”.

I’m baaack…

OK, so this attempt at starting a civil discourse took a 12 month sabbatical…

I’m going to try again. I just read through the old posts, and it’s interesting that although the events that I commented on are a distant memory, not much has changed in our world.

Part of my motivation is to see if I can initiate and support a civil discourse around the upcoming elections. I’ve got opinions and biases. I admit it. And I’m hoping that I can sway the opinions of others through the use of effective dialog. I care about our country, and am concerned where we’re headed. I’m not going to stake my position out today, but I’d like to open the door for discussion. Feel free to comment here, or on my Facebook page, but let’s keep the discourse civil, informed, and respectful.

Why?

Because we need more rational dialog, not irrational diatribes.

Let’s talk to one another about the things that are causing misunderstanding, dissention, anger, fear, …

I’ve never read Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, but his quote (in the tag line at the top) has stuck with me. It’s Habit 5. A few points, if you don’t want to follow the link: Communication is critically important in almost everything we do, and most of us start by valuing our own position so much, that we want to make sure everyone else understands (and agrees with it).

I’m probablly the worst offender, but at least I’m aware of it, and will try to address it.

Back to “Why?”

My overarching goal is to get us all talking with one another. Not shouting at one another, not labeling, classifying, and condemning.

Mankind is the most complex being God created. Through the course of history, man has developed rich language to convey all the nuances of what is going on in our complex minds. We’re built to have relationships, with one another, and with God. The history of man is a history of advancing our ability to communicate, to relate, and to understand one another and God.

The last 20 years in America seems to be headed the opposite way. We try to capture complex thoughts in “sound bites”. We have taken most publications to the “People magazine” theory–reduce every concept to a story that can easily be read in one bathroom sitting (without your legs going to sleep). We try to distill complex social or economic problems to what can be fit into a 90 second debate response, or a 2.5 minute “feature story” on TV news.

The Lincoln-Douglas Senate debates of 1858 had the first candidate speak for an hour, followed by the opponent’s 90 minute response, followed by the first speaker’s 30 minute rejoinder! 3 hour debates! Seven of them! And newspapers across the nation printed complete transcripts. The primary topic of each was slavery. These two Senate candidates talked for over 21 hours primarily on ONE topic.

The issues facing our world today are arguably much more complex (not more important, but more complex) than slavery, but our politicians, our media, nor the general public are engaging in meaningful dialog. How can we hope to resolve issues if we don’t even take the time to understand them? What little time we do spend addressing them is focused with laser-like intensity on advancing our own positions.

I hope to change that. Here. And by doing so, I hope to change the world, to make it a better place. Pretty tall order, I know. Most would say “impossible”. But I serve a pretty big God. With him, all things are possible. I’m just availing myself to Him as a willing vessel, to be used for his purpose (hopefully while surpressing my own purposes and agendas!).

Plus, healthy, challenging, thought-provoking dialog is FUN!

Here goes…

Just what the world needs–another blog. I’ve been contemplating this now for a few months. I’m not exactly sure where it will go, or what it’s all about. But I’ve been told by more than one, that I should take advantage of the www to share my thoughts on people, current events, politics, economy, and world view.

Humor me, as this is a new medium for me, and I’m learning as I go (both the medium, and the message).