Guest Author: A Christian’s Take on Sutherland Springs

So, what can we, as Christians, do about mass shootings?  It is easy to blame the world around us, but the reality is, if the world doesn’t know about Jesus it is our fault.

 

♣ Guest Column by Steven Hart

In the event a mass shooting, the first reaction of the public, as in the case of any tragic loss of human live, is invariably one of unified horror and dismay.  Yet, as the days go by, grief fades, and as life resumes its former pattern, one question remains looming in the public mind: Why did this happen?  Were this only an isolated instance, perhaps we all could continue on, satisfied with a circumstantial answer.  “He was out of his mind!” or “He’s just a really bad guy.”  But when the news of mass shootings becomes more and more routine, the localized answers no longer suffice.  What we really want to know is “How can we prevent this from happening again?”  In our present society, two main answers to the question predominate:

The first solution focuses upon the instrument.  In order to stop mass shootings, we must keep guns out of the hands of mass shooters.  This solution works in theory, but is very hard to put into practice.  Some attempt to achieve this through artificial regulations such as limits on magazine size and mandatory waiting periods, but these do virtually nothing to stop any determined shooter.  Others focus on the idea of “universal” background checks.  The case of Stephen Paddock (the Las Vegas shooter), however, calls this logic into question, as he showed no foreseeable signs of instability and passed all background checks.  Other solutions have been suggested as well, but they all face the same inevitable reality: gun control measures cannot be truly effective at stopping massing shootings in this country without wide-scale disarmament of the American people.  This is not only a logistical, political, and constitutional impossibility, but it also works directly against the second answer to our original question.

Rather than focusing on the gun in the hands of the criminal, some choose instead to focus on putting guns in the hands of the potential victims.  As these people see it, we may not be able to stop the shooter from firing his first volley, but we certainly can stop him from firing a second.  Although this logic may be disturbing to some, it is more pragmatic than many of its opponents are willing to admit.  Indeed, once a shooting has begun, it is most often another gun that brings it to an end.  This being said, although this solution may be effective on a circumstantial level, it doesn’t offer a truly systematic solution to the problem.  Even if we were able to get a gun in every school, church, and public place, (and find able-bodied people to use and fire them) this still would not stop these shootings from happening in the first place.

  …the reality is, if the world doesn’t know about Jesus it is our fault.

I want to make it very clear that I am not attempting to summarily dismiss either of these two solutions.  Both side’s arguments have their merits, and any policy which could lower the number of deaths from mass shootings in this country is at least worth considering.  That being said, both of these plans really only deal with the symptoms of a greater problem, a problem that has its roots in our modern culture.  The reality is that 60 years ago, people didn’t just walk into churches in order to murder everyone.  This, of course, raises a very interesting question. What has changed in American culture such that people now choose, with increasing frequency, to engage in mass murder?

Before I attempt to answer this question, we must first stop to clarify the topic.  People have been murdering each other since the beginning of time.  Domestic gun violence has existed as long as have guns, and violent racketeering has existed (and will continue to exist) as long as it has been profitable.  These things, evil as they are, have existed in some capacity over virtually all cultures at all times since the advent of gunpowder weapons.  [Terrorism, on the other hand, is a more recent phenomena, but not one that is by any means endemic to American culture.  Heinous though it may be, it has its roots in politics and ideology, and thus its causes and motivations are relatively easy to track and understand.]

  A society without God is a society without hope, and a society without hope will inevitably become filled with bitterness and misery.

The shootings in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, alongside many others, however, are of an entirely different phenomenon.  In these cases, we have an individual murdering a large amount of people with no clearly identifiable personal or ideological motivation, other than perhaps a generic ire against society.  In common language, they are just ordinary people who appear to have “snapped.”  Although it is true that these shootings constitute only a tiny fraction of overall gun violence, these acts often appear to us the most heinous, as the victims are chosen not on the basis of any individual offense, but rather their membership in some greater segment of American society.

With this in mind, we can now consider the heart of the question: What has changed about American society, such that these shootings now occur?  There are a lot of possible causes I could point to – social isolation, bitterness, entitlement, etc. – but I think, for the Christian, the answer can be summed up with a simple statement: we live in a society that has forgotten God.  Some may reject this as mere truism, but I deeply believe this to be the heart of the matter.  A society without God is a society without hope, and a society without hope will inevitably become filled with bitterness and misery.  I am afraid that so long as society drifts away from the church, shootings like these will only become more and more commonplace.  Gun control and self-defense measures might be able to help, some, but ultimately, they are nothing more than painkillers.  What we are dealing with is a cancer.

♣  For if we save lives on this earth only for them to perish in the next life, what have we accomplished?

So, what can we, as Christians, do about mass shootings?  It is easy to blame the world around us, (“if only they knew better”) but the reality is, if the world doesn’t know about Jesus it is our fault.  It is our job to let the world know and experience the love of Christ.  So long as the Church sits on the sidelines, entering the public sphere to make its voice heard only on issues of petty politics, societal degradation will continue.  If we wish to curb the tide of nihilism in our society, we must get out and fight!  But we cannot fight bitterness and despair with anger and self-righteousness.  Our weapon against the forces of evil is the love of Christ and the truth of his Gospel.  If you are sickened by this tragic loss of life, the best thing you can do is love your neighbor and share the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For if we save lives on this earth only for them to perish in the next life, what have we accomplished?  For this reason, I urge you all, brothers and sisters, to live and preach the gospel with ever greater fervor, and when tragedy strikes, let your love and faith shine all the more.

 

♦Steven is currently a student at Cedarville University, a private Christian college in Ohio, where he is currently studying Accounting and Political Economy. In addition to his formal studies, Steven enjoys reading about history and philosophy, and analyzing current events through the light of his Christian faith.

Weaponizing Scripture, exploiting tragedy

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Weaponizing scripture, that is, quoting scripture and applying it out of context to attack one’s political enemies and to exploit tragedy for political brownie points, has become a ritual here in America. This familiar pattern has again emerged, with fervor, following the shooting at a small-town church on Sunday.

Like a metal beam which has been bent and is no longer structurally sound, God’s Word does not serve His people when it has been distorted.

So, what exactly did the apostle James mean… continue reading

 

 

The Roots Pt. 2: #BLM & the Movement for Black Lives

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Project 2, Post 6 – The Roots Part 2: #BLM and the Movement for Black Lives

Artistic Process:

As mentioned in my last post, I wanted to create an art piece full of movement, as inspired by my dream. After taping off part of my canvas as described in my last post, I pondered how I could actually create that movement. As I am always experimenting, I devised a plan. Using a second canvas, still wrapped in protective plastic, and a kitchen chair, I tried to create something of a backboard/bounce board. My goal for this design was to sling paint at the second, plastic-wrapped canvas in hopes of causing a backsplash to splatter out and onto my painted canvas below.

For those of us who truly believe that black lives do matter, the hidden goals and alliances of Black Lives Matter and the Movement for Black Lives are a devastating blow to our hopes and our values.


This is the 2nd installment of an in-depth series investigation into the roots and intentions of the “Black Lives Matter” group and the “Movement for Black Lives.” *If you have not read part one, please do so. Part one is important for understanding both my own motives for investigating these organizations, as well as for gaining full realization of the two groups discussed herein and their founding philosophy, along with fully understanding this international ideology. (You can read part 3 here.) (You can read part 4 here.)

In my last post I focused our attention to the issue of the family (#2), after I listed several declarations regarding Black Lives Matter and the Movement for Black Lives; all of which are centered in Communism (Marxism/Socialism). Those declarations are listed below.

My research had presented clear evidence about the #Black Lives Matter org.:

  • While BLM has exploited the deaths of black men as martyrs for their cause, the group’s goals and principles listed on the website do not include any mention of black men other than those transgendered (men living as women)…
  • The official BLM organization clearly seeks to erode the God-given and God-designed family as evidenced by multiple BLM guiding principles (to be addressed below).
  • The Black Lives Matter organization is actually just a Marxism (communism) front organization, using heated and misleading language along with wildly erroneous claims to enrage the entire black race so that blacks can be further exploited for political gains.

After visiting the website for “The Movement for Black Lives,” I have concluded that it too is a Marxist front organization.

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*In this post, I will present the biographical and financial evidence demonstrating the communist roots of Black Lives Matter and the Movement for Black lives. For the purposes of length, I will wait until my next post to present evidence of Marxism found within the specific goals and principles of these two groups as the groups have so presented.

Note: There have been various civil rights/racial equality movements across the years; not all adhere to the same philosophy or share the same goals. MANY of these movements have been honorable and productive. Others should not garner that same respect. Black Lives Matter and the Movement for Black Lives are not only connected with one another, but they also promote the same philosophy: “Radical Black Liberation Movement” (RBLM) or Black Liberation movement (BLM) for short. As such, from this point on I will simply refer to the Black Lives Matter/Movement for Black Lives organizations by their shared philosophical identify: RBLM.

COMMANDMENT 1: THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME

COMMANDMENT 2: THOU SHALT NOT CREATE AND WORSHIP ANY IDOL

Almighty God always punishes those who serve communism (socialism), as this philosophy shatters the first two of the Ten Commandments. God is replaced by the state and by humanism. This ideology becomes its own theology, religion to those who then worship and glorify this man—made false god.

Eric Mann, the Weather Underground, & Patrisse Cullors:

In 1969, Eric Mann – a radical communist leader/member of the Weather Underground (a splinter group from the radical, Marxist group Students for a Democratic Society) – and 20-30 of his comrades led an attack on Harvard University, accosting a small group of students, employees, and faculty. The invaders defaced and vandalized property and physically assaulted multiple people, while shouting “…we are liberating this building!” Erica Mann was soon arrested and charged with five counts of assault and battery along with several other charges for property damage and for disturbing a public assembly.

Following the blueprint laid out by several Marxist intellectuals before him, Mann believed that inner city blacks were key to inciting a revolution and ultimately overthrowing the government. Mann has one problem: he is white. Mann knew he and other communists must target the black community to effectively bring forth a black leader to set off the Marxist revolutionary dream.

“It would take almost forty years for Mann to see his vision spring to life and catch fire. That’s when he would meet an angry black, lesbian teenager named Patrisse Cullors who goes on to co-found the Black Lives Matter movement” (Stranahan, 2016). In Cullors, Mann found a willing, enthusiastic protégé he then shaped in his own ideological image. This is not Patrisse Cullors’ only communist/socialist tie, and the other Black Lives Matter/Movement for Black Lives leaders have Marxist loyalties as well.

*To examine the founders’ communism loyalties we can follow the money.

The Funding Structure Blueprint:

A tangled web forms the funding apparatus of the RBLM. Before we can follow the money trail and social alliances therein, we must first understand the carefully orchestrated structure of this brilliant funding system. The funding structure blueprint calls for the creation of a formidable mass of humanity organizations in alliance with one another to create the impression that a movement has a far larger following than it actually does, that the movement is far more mainstream and popular with the masses than it actually is. Often, foreign governments, such as the Russians, are the creators and puppeteers of a large number of these groups/movements. Some organizations are large, but many of the organizations are, in reality, only a website or a Facebook page. Black Lives matter, as clearly acknowledged on its official website, is one example of an organization that is not a true philanthropic/humanitarian organization: instead, Black Lives Matter exists as a website alone (or “online forum” as its founders call it).

COMMANDMENT 9: THOUGH SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS

(lie, deceive, mislead, conceal)

By covertly creating, funding, and then concealing the entities and funding behind FRSO groups, as well as other communist-aligned front organizations, the Ninth Commandment has been obliterated. Black Lives Matter and the Movement for Black Lives lies to all Americans and sells the black community as slaves to the Marxist cause: global communism.

On the surface, each of these organizations advocates different causes. However, the organizations are, in reality, all covertly working together for one main goal that surpasses all others: to end capitalism by overthrowing capitalist societies in order to rebuild an international communist state. In doing so, this mass of allied organizations acts as well-oiled dezinformatsiya (disinformation) machine. Unlike true humanitarian/philanthropic organizations – such as Heifer International, World Vision, or even the Humane Society of the United States whose funding is put into actions which yield real-life results, truly improving the lives of those these organizations seek to help  – the organizations within the radical funding nexus are most often little more than special interest lobbying entities (community organizers).

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DID YOU KNOW?

There were more people in Socialist Russia (USSR) employed by the disinformation machine during the Cold War than were employed in the Russian defense industry and the Russian army combined! The Soviets (the KGB) created numerous communist front groups, officially located outside of Russia around the world and all pretending to be independent entities, to purposefully deceive the West (especially America) as well as its own Russian citizens. A few of these communist disinformation groups were: “the World Peace Council (with branches in 112 countries), the World Federation of Trade Unions (with branches in 90 countries), the Women’s International Democratic Federation (with branches in 129 countries), the International Union of Students (with branches in 152 countries), and the World Federation of Democratic Youth (with branches in 210 countries)” (Pacepa & Richlak, 2016). Many of these front groups still exist today.

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Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO):

The co-founders of Black Lives Matter – Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi – all work for front groups for the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. FRSO is compiled of and covered by dozens of groups, and Black Lives Matter is one of the FRSO’s many projects. All projects and groups, as Nelini Stamps proclaimed, “…are actually trying to change the capitalist system we have today..” Stamps works for the FRSO front organization ACORN (which has now been rebranded under a plethora of different names).

*Below is a list of Marxist FRSO front groups funding the Radical Black Liberation Movement (Black Lives Matter, the Movement for Black Lives, etc.). (You can find more details on these groups here.)

Alicia Garza:

  1. National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), Garza: Special Projects Director, NDWA donations collected: $6,120,896
  2. People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER), Garza: Executive Director, POWER donations collected: $3,173,210
  3. School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL), Garcia: Board Member, SOUL donations collected: $2,083,750
  4. Right to the City Alliance (RTTC), Garza: 2011 Board Chair, RTTC donations collected: $3,337,500

It’s not possible for a world to emerge where black lives matter if it’s under capitalism. And it’s not possible to abolish capitalism without a struggle against national oppression and gender oppression.”

~ Alicia Garza

Patrisse Cullors:

  1. Dignity and Power Now (DPN), Cullors: Founder and Director, DPN is underwritten by Community Partners

“We’ve made it very clear that this is not just a conversation around cis, hetero, black men…”

~ Patrisse Cullors

Opal Tometi:

  1. Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), Tometi: Executive Ditector, BAJI donations collected: $873,100

“…I would argue that the international community faces 3 core challenges to advancing human rights. Those are: global capitalism, white supremacy, and the suppression of democracy.”

~ Opal Tometi

Other Communist FRSO front groups Funding and Allianced with RBLM organizations: (funding estimates provided if available)

  1. Advancement Project (AP): $54,572,286
  2. Movement Strategy Center (MSC): 2013 revenue of $7.5 million
  3. Black Left Unity
  4. Black Workers for Justice
  5. Causa Justa/Just Cause: 2013 revenue of $1.6 million
  6. Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ)
  7. Hands Up United
  8. Intelligent Mischief
  9. Organization for Black Struggle (OBS)
  10. Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee (RSCC) — *known for their pro-abortion “Hail Satan” chant
  11. Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)
  12. Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE): $22,745,894
  13. Soros Funds

 

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The founders, the funders, and the cohorts in the Black Lives Matter movement and in the Movement for Black Lives hide their true intentions from us, deceive us. They pretend to speak for black people, yet not only are their goals a direct contradiction to true equality and liberation, but there are also millions of black Americans (and across the globe) who do not share this heretical ideology. The RBLMs have sold off black lives as slaves to be used as pawns by their Marxist god and masters.

But why?

*In my next post I will discuss another devious element driving the Marxist cult and why socialism is so alluring. In addition, I will discuss several of the demands presented by the Movement for Black Lives and how these demands are embedded with Karl Marx’s signature communist/socialist signature.

You can read part 3 here.

 Sources & Further Reading Recommendations:

  1. Weikart, Richard (1992). Marx, Engels, and the Abolition of the Family. History of European Ideas, Vol. 18 (No. 5), pp. 657-672

https://www.csustan.edu/sites/default/files/History/Faculty/Weikart/Marx-Engels-and-the-Abolition-of-the-Family.pdf

  1. Pacepa, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai &Rychlak, Prof. Ronald (2016). Looming Disaster[E-Book Android Version]. Retrieved from wnd.com
  2. Black Lives Matter’s Real Agender by Rolans C. Warren
  3. Fineman, Martha Albertson (2001). Contract and Care. Chicago-Kent Law Review, Vol. 76
  4. Feminism, Communism, and the Destruction of the Nuclear Family by David Risselada
  5. Americans Buy Into Marxist Family Planning by Paul Kengor
  6. Reds Exploiting Blacks by James Simpson (Accuracy In Media)
  7. Black Lives Matter, Capitalism, and Communism in America(article and podcast)
  8. The Abolition of the Family by Larry Anderson
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  10. There is a better way to parent than the nuclear family by Vicki Larson
  11. Nuclear Family Privilege: Naming It ans Slaying It by Bella DePaulo
  12. The Truth Behind the Push for Criminal Justice Reform by Lee Stranahan

Project 1, Post 7: A Little Elbow Grease

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Reflection:

Holding a hard-bristled dish brush in one hand, I stared at my painting contemplating what I was about to do to it, to inflict upon it. I took one last deep breath and then began scrubbing my painting with ferocity and determination. I scrubbed – and I scrubbed – and I scrubbed – chipping away at the very paint I had purposefully laid upon that canvas. I chiseled away parts of the blue flower petals that I had so carefully composed.

I was on a mission to expose flecks of the aluminum foil squares that I had used as the foundation beneath my painting. It was actually working! It sure was not easy though. Actually, the entire scrubbing process required far more elbow grease than I had anticipated. It also took some time. Nevertheless, I began to be filled with more and more pleasure as the fruit of my labor began to be seen.

As I continued, switching off between arms after one became tired from scrubbing, I remembered a brief verse in the book of Genesis.

“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis, 2:15)

Wait… Adam had to work when he was living in the Garden of Eden? Yes, he sure did. We (humans) were designed by God to toil, to work (in many different forms of course). Even in Eden, life for Adam and Eve was not without effort.

Sometimes we can become discouraged at our constant toils, wishing life were an endless vacation. However, hard work is often a blessing in disguise. Work gives us pleasure and satisfaction in seeing the products of our labor. Work gives us purpose and a sense of self-worth. Work allows us to find a sense of value and pride in ourselves, often when we need it the most.

So, whatever you do each day – whether it is sowing a field, filing paperwork, waking repeatedly in the night to feed a crying baby, turning wrenches, raising children, flipping burgers, etc. – do it heartily. The fruits of your labor might not be seen right away, but in time you shall be blessed.

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3)

Artistic Process:

You have probably seen old buildings with paintings on the side. Although weathering and age have stripped pieces of those paintings away you can still see the integrity of the images. That was my goal in scrubbing my painting in order to allow the aluminum to peak through. I didn’t want to demolish my work, but instead allow small flecks of foil to add depth, texture and character to the piece.

Project 1, Post 6: To Pee or Not to Pee… It’s Complicated

Project 1, Post 6: To Pee or Not To Pee… It’s Complicated

Preface to Reflection:

In my last post I described my intention to paint “simplistic” blue flowers, as well as the fact that simplicity isn’t one of my innate artistic abilities. Well, my blue flowers have now turned out more complicated than I intended for them to be. Yes, my three, blue flowers are still somewhat simple, but far more complicated than I had imagined in my mind. This is often the case with my artwork.

Note: In my next post, I will test my original hypothesis and will try to UNCOVER the aluminum foil that I laid underneath my painting. I shall see if it actually works! Gosh, I sure hope that it does!!!

(Read the Artistic Process below the Reflection.)

Reflection:

It’s complicated…

In life, there are few issues that are simple, black and white, and straight forward. Most of life’s journey leads us down complicated paths and requires us to make decisions regarding complicated choices, complicated issues. …Such is true for the North Carolina “Bathroom Bill.”

Celebrities, sports organizations, large companies, politicians, etc. have decried North Carolina’s law requiring people use the restroom that coincides with the sex on their birth certified, which in almost all cases is one’s biological sex.

It’s discrimination! It’s bigotry! It’s hate!  –  Or is it?

There are several key elements/points one must examine to determine the answer to this question:

  • North Carolina state law was already in place prohibiting localities from enacting their own anti-discrimination rules. Thus, the city of Charlotte broke state law by doing so. The only reason the state legislature even acted on this matter was a direct response to a municipality disregarding state policy. This, the state has attempted to restore uniformity.
  • Why is it important for municipalities to align with the state? As a human development professional, it is easy for me to understand why. Humans being flourish and society too flourishes when there is a clear set of rules and expectations, called boundaries. *These are the good kind of boundaries that are vital for our well-being, children and adults alike. In government, the state sets a particular set of boundaries. It is important for municipalities to work with those assigned boundaries to prevent chaos within the state itself, ensuring civic/government functionality. For example, a state citizen may move from one city to another already knowing the rules. Sally won’t have to fear possible fines or jail time for breaking a law that she never knew existed simply by changing her address. Johnny won’t be able to move from one city to the other just so he can purposefully commit an offense that was illegal in his original city of dwelling. So, this uniformity guarantees accountability for all citizens and it also guarantees protections for all citizens within the state.
  • Subjective ideas driving laws ignores factual evidence, thus creating laws that were formed with little higher-level, critical thinking or considerations. Case in point, human beings are prone to taking full advantage of situations entirely for their own benefit.

Two examples:

  1. At a restaurant when I was 11 years old, I can remember my mother “identifying” me to the waiter as being 10 years old in order to pay the discounted meal cost for children “10 and under.” Did she forget that I was 11? I doubt it.
  2. At an event a couple of years later, I can remember my father “identifying” me to the Doorman as being 13 years old so that he and I could attend the event which prohibited children twelve years and under. At the time, I was 12. Had my dad mistakenly aged me up by one year? I doubt it.

These harmless examples show how every day, good, normally honest people will sometimes be dishonest for their own gain. Do you know anyone who used a fake ID in high school or college?

*The point is that it is foolish to presume anything contrary to the absolute, concrete fact that there would most definitely be people jumping at the chance to “identify” as one sex in order to gain access to the restroom used by people of the other sex simply for perverse, personal gain.

  • Privacy and Safety for All State Citizens: Fact- Men and women are physically different. Men are naturally stronger, even those who possess a slight, unassuming, physical stature. Fact- Bathrooms are closed, secluded spaces usually consisting of only 1 exit. It is entirely reasonable for women to feel uncomfortable and fearful at the idea of being alone in confined, isolated spaces with men who are strangers. Women are taken advantage of by men every day in this country, often in spaces incompatible with the ability for an easy escape.
  •  Fact- People like privacy. Apple refused to unlock a terrorist’s iPhone for privacy’s sake. Fact- Gender and sexual orientation do not always match. Many transsexuals are still attracted to people of the opposite sex, to the people of the very sex the transsexuals are trying to become. Thus, simply because a man is living as a woman does not mean he is not still very much “straight,” attracted to women. Given these facts, for the average person, changing in front of a transsexual still renders the same level of emotional discomfort, fear, and feelings of complete exposure as would changing in front of the opposite sex. So, would it have been acceptable for the state government to force modest citizens into humility and strip them of their integrity and privacy by requiring them to undress in the presence of the opposite sex? Should we all hand over our phones and most intimate moments to the government to put on public display? Of course not. Acting to protect the physical privacy and integrity of citizens should be understood as a highly valued virtue of any government.
  • Emotional Suffering from Both Sides: Transsexual individuals say they would feel uncomfortable using the restroom of their biological sex. I understand that. If a man were living as a women, I can easily see that using the men’s bathroom would cause someone fear and emotional distress. Yet, the same is true for the general population. Would it be wise for the government to demoralize the masses to appease a few? Is that just law? More importantly, is that a characteristic of a genuinely representative government, one that disenfranchises almost all of its citizens? Would a representative government only extend its empathy to a few?

Would a representative government rank and determine the innate value of its citizens by the amount of corporate money it receives? Does Apple determine your personal worth? Of course not.

  • Is granting special privileges based on subjective ideals about someone’s identify the only way to accommodate this small segment of society? No.

 

This is a complicated issue that has little, if any link to acceptance and discrimination- the black and white clarity that some would prefer us to believe. As a minister I feel it is my duty to point out the truths that are often hidden beneath the emotional hysteria of public outrage.

In conclusion, when considering – and I mean honestly considering – the above points I believe it is extremely difficult to deny the evidence that North Carolina in no way acted in a discriminatory, bigoted or hateful fashion. Instead, I argue that the state should be commended for its common sense, critically composed and conceptualized policy: a policy that far more adequately represents its own citizens than any pretend-policy that may possibly be proposed by the “vocabulary-stone” throwing, loud mouths attempting to degrade the very human worth of all who oppose their subjective, ever-evolving views.

I pray that the leaders in North Carolina will be given the strength needed to stay the course and that those so filled with anger and misinformation find the peace and openness of mind to consider the truths of some views contrary to their own. I also pray that all of us are able to understand and consider just how complicating some issues are and that we seek that information in order to be informed citizens. Amen!

The Artistic Process:

To add depth, I used bright, light blue and white to define the outer edges of the petals, especially where the petals overlap. To further accentuate this, I used deep, dark blue directly next to the bright blues and whites, giving the illusion of shadow upon the lower petals. To add a pinch of color variation, I used my fingers to smear yellow paint onto the petals in small areas. Later, in keeping with a contemporary-impressionistic approach, I used solid black to outline the flowers, adding a few black flecks upon the petals where desired. *Note: If you have difficulty with placing lights and darks, just reference a picture of a flower and focus on the shadows and brightest points on each petal.

In the background, I added tall reeds using long, smooth strokes. I brought in the yellow from the petals by creating the illusion of wheat/cat tails. Using quick, rapid, “conscience—free” strokes of the paint brush, I striped/flicked on the paint to create the feathering bristles of tall wheat grass.

Project 1, Post 5: From Blue Blobs to Blue Flowers, Having the Strength to Stay the Course

Project 1, Post 5: From Blue Blobs to Blue Flowers, Having the Strength to Stay the Course

Prelude:

I love springtime! My favorite color happens to be blue, so I decided on painting simplistic, blue flowers over my canvas’s background. I wanted to paint in the utmost simplest of fashions, omitting my usual artistic flares or intensities. First I simply laid out the general area of the flowers by painting a blue base color to form the general shape of three flowers.

Ah! For some reason it startled me! I can’t articulate exactly why, for even I still don’t entirely understand my sudden and strong emotions that my actions induced. I was just startled.

“Oh no!” I thought to myself, “I’ve ruined my painting!”

“What was I thinking?”

“I can’t do this right.”

Well, there is a well-documented and long, long history (from the beginning of time, really) of us humans acting based solely on emotions and feeling. This action of events has rarely lead us flawed creatures in the right direction. After all, emotions have a tendency to take over our typically rational selves and turn us into “non-thinkers.”

I realized, “Why am I questioning myself?” “Paige, you know how to paint a flower!”

“Why on Earth would you be second guessing yourself over this?”

Ding! Ding! Ding!

So, I charged onward, staying the course.

Reflection:

A lot of things in the world today evoke a great deal of emotions. Christians are typically very empathetic and our sympathies can often lead us to question our own Christian beliefs and can sometimes even lead us to act against our own well-being or against the well-being of others. The course of events in life and in politics can be very, very confusing. Sometimes we may feel at odds with our own religion, especially as the world and our society begin to replace basic Christian morals with new, “progressive,” worldly morals of right and wrong.

It is extremely easy for us to slip down the wrong road and allow our compassion and empathy for others to convince ourselves that we silly Christians had simply been misunderstanding the unchanged words of God and Jesus for over two thousand years.

This is acting on emotion. This same act can also lead us into a new kind of arrogance, as if we “new Christians” know better, are smarter and are the only all-knowing, true Christians. Ah, but BEWARE! There is no virtue in being arrogant and smug. Nor is there any virtue in assuming the word of God can be deconstructed to conform to any set of ever changing worldly ideologies.

Instead, we Christians must stay the course, steady in His truth.

This is not an easy task. So, I offer the following scripture as a bit of encouragement and guidance to help you stay steady on your feet and on the true path of the Lord: (1 John, 2:15-17)

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world – the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride of riches – comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God will live forever.”

Artistic Process

First I laid out the location for the three flowers using a medium blue base. I did not focus on the precise shape of a flower, as those details take away from the freeing element in artistic process. Next, I used a darker blue from the same blue-toned family to add variation. This was done using free, quick strokes from a medium-sized paintbrush. I made sure to leave the lighter, base blue color visible around the edges to form the illusion of petals. I made sure not to apply the darker blue in a uniform way. God’s natural world is not uniform. In real flowers, the positions of the petals and the direction of lights, as well as things like other leaves that might obscure the light, create a varying shade within each individual flower petal.  Instead of getting too caught up in where the darker blue “should” go, it is important to remember that you can always paint over it.

*Next, I will be adding more depth to my flowers…. The process continues!