There is no God 2015-25

There is no God      2015-25

I read a news article today, on the Huff Post site that said, an actress, Julianne Moore (age 55), stopped believing in God after her mother died from a bacterial infection. She then said that she started therapy in her early 30’s due to being incredibly unhappy. She further stated that there is “no there” there, and continued with something about “structure” and that it is all imposed. She goes on and states that “we impose order and narrative on everything in order to understand it. Otherwise, there is nothing but chaos.” This all sounds a little strange, but maybe I should consider the source and circumstances.

That in itself is a sad story, but hearing it all stated as it is, is also, sad. I will not dwell on her life, which sounds like it has its problems or at least did. This reminds me of what I have read about C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) and his life. He had a similar experience and became an atheist, at age 15, after his mother passed away after an illness. Lewis prayed and prayed and he determined that there was no God because his mother died after many prayer sessions he had with God.

Lewis converted to theism in 1929 after talking with J.R.R. Tolkien a colleague who influenced him in doing so. I guess what I would like to show is the fact that many people turn from God because of “things” or “Life’s” happenings. The statement, “There is no God”  from sadness or private thoughts that make the person change their beliefs. OR, it could be that there was not a definite relationship with God in the first place. The list could go on as to the why’s of disbelief.

To those that have similar episodes in life or continued ones, I highly suggest reading the works of C.S. Lewis. He became, besides a Christian again, a Christian Apologist. This is where one attempts to present a rational basis for the Christian faith, defending the faith against objections. It is said that Paul the Apostle, in the early church, was in fact, an apologist, as well as many of the early writers of Christianity.

I have told many that I myself was not a Christian, until I got married. My Aunt Norma insisted that I join the church when I was a teenager. I joined after a 2-3 week course or catechism type thing and that was it! Even after I was married I was basically going through the motions and not really committed to God or Jesus Christ. I guess this is where I can say, “I did not have a relationship with God then.

Did I proclaim, “There is no God”? No, I did not! I just did not pursue the quest of finding Him or reaching out to Him. I have stated in the past,  that Christmas, to me, meant gifts, and Easter was a time of chocolate and marshmallow chickens and that was basically what I saw or as I was brought up. To those that do not allow their children to experience the teachings of Jesus, the Bible, and all the stories that are told in it, I think that is sad also. I can now look back and know that I missed something. I was always at a disadvantage of unknowing of the stories. It is too bad that Aunt Norma did not ask my mother to allow me to learn as others did around me.

Is there a God? I say, I do not just believe so; the fact is, I do not just believe there is a God, I feel that there is absolutely a God!!!!!!  A little convoluted, but that is what I believe. Can I prove it? I could make some claims like C.S. Lewis, a Christian apologetic, did, and perhaps in the future I may attempt to do so. Right now, I will say that I have a relationship with God and Jesus Christ.   Also, I have a story that I will tell in the future that I experienced, which makes me believe in what I believe.

I can only pray that those that have had bad experiences in their lives can overcome those times and reconnect with the God that comforts, consoles, and is always close to those that have those feelings. God does not wave a magic wand to make things the way we want them to be, but He is there always, His presence is near, always. This may not be enough for some, and that is also sad, for those that have the quest of more.

Den Betts – Jan 2015

Racist 2015-24

Racist    2015-24

The word racist only goes back to about the mid 1930’s, actually, or about 80 years ago. This word was used in regarding the Nazi theories at the time and NOT about other things such as skin color, heritage, culture or what is common today. This term replaced other words such as racialist from around 1917 and way back to 1871 were the racialism word came from then. This is just a little history to mount my discourse on the today word, racist.

Someone who I can still call my friend, named Henry, is an avowed racist and proud of it; I think. Henry does not care if anyone knows this, and I now feel, he will let you know why he thinks this way. I might have known this, or believed it, and did not want to bring it up, but he was saying goodbye to me from a visit after having breakfast and he blurted it out.  I was secretly appalled in hearing this or at least hearing him state the obvious.  Did I know this before – no.  Did I believe it before –yes.  He confirmed it to my face and I think he was waiting for my reaction.  I did not react!

I did not react and I am embarrassed to say so. I could have told Henry, just what I thought and believed and that would have definitely ended a relationship of friendship; I think. He might not have been concerned if that happened, because he also said he is what he is and doesn’t care what others think of how he believes and acts.

OK, that is Henry. I then ask, how many of us have a Henry lurking in the background that we know? Do we accept them as friends, family or acquaintances or do we do something else, like not reacting to them and their beliefs. Or, I ask, how many of us have similar thoughts ourselves, in a way, at times? Or not! It is sometimes easier to put up with than argue with, but is easy the way to not do something?

I feel it is about time that the Henry’s of the world start to fess up and admit they are somewhat slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress and backward in today’s society. Henry would or might say he is living from his life’s experiences. I think that is BS! He might have been exposed to a multitude of people that he thinks, made him racist, but he is ignoring the other balance of society that is also out there, that he doesn’t address.

We as a society are exposed to some people that the media shows as representing the whole of a particular group. The Ferguson, NYC, and Cleveland deaths are examples of both sides of the equation, in recent happenings. I do NOT want to go into these three horrible things, but I do use them to show how we, in today’s society are affected by them. Notice, I did NOT say how I feel about the three recent episodes involving police, just said they were horrible things….  I might expound on them later in a blog, on how I feel overall.

I have written an article about various subjects and am getting ready to throw them out to the world to read and in the reading by others; I will have exposed my inner thoughts about them.  I bet you can hardly wait-ha-ha…..  I have to get the guts to do so, and I am not ready right now…..

I firmly believe there is NO, repeat, NO reason for racism today, or in the past, for that matter. What and why people did in the past does NOT give anyone an excuse for being a racist. Some could use an incident as an excuse for saying they are racist and many do so. Others can use past happenings, such as slavery, as an excuse for being or acting as they do today, but that is not right either. Living in the past with your thoughts about something that you harbor in your mind, is like allowing yourself to be stagnant in life with not much growth. It might be time to drop it and move forward in life. Racism is a cruel way to be shackled in the past without an escape to the future life of enjoyment of others that live around us. What happened in the long (or short) past must NOT be the reason for our thoughts today, simple as that. We CAN learn from the past, but the past is not something to have control on us today.

Peace,

Den Betts

Exclusion 2015-23

Exclusion    2015-23

What the heck is exclusion and how does it pertain to everyday life? Asking Mr. Webster, he said that it is the act of barring, prohibiting, omitting, or rejecting and that sounds like drastic things to do to others. I wrote a post about being judgmental and said I would follow up with this post about exclusion and am therefore doing so now.

I then ask – if anyone has had this happen to them in their life, being excluded? I have, and it is NOT nice to feel that you are being ignored, or worse, in a negative way. In one instance in my life, I was, not made to, but did feel like I was being excluded from a group for reasons that were not fair to me, but that is another subject in the future. Let me say this: It is not right to exclude others and it sure in heck is not right to be excluded by others either!

I was reading a book on spirituality for a book study group, where we went over and somewhat dissected different portions of the book.  In it, a statement was made about exclusion. This was in regard to being excluded by a religious group towards those not in the community of the same faith.

Church groups?

This can be a touchy subject for some, or for certain groups. Do we look at OUR group or community as being the correct one, the better one, the one and only one?  That can happen, and I hope your group does not feel that way or present yourselves as such. How can we have an open door policy and say we welcome ALL if we exclude certain people?

How do you think a church community would welcome these following two types of people? The first type would be three convicted persons where one was a rapist, the other a pedophile, and the other a person convicted of homicide. All three were convicted and served the time that was made by the judge. Now, think of three different people in the same church that have done the same actions, but are unknown to have committed the same acts. Would people of the church exclude any of these?

This is somewhat of a no brainer. If we do not know that the second group committed the acts, how could this fit into the equation?  In the first group we might or may not know of the acts, but let us say we found out, somehow.  Some would have a hard time with the pedophile one, but some would give an honest response to the other two suggesting they did their time and paid back to society for their crimes.

I then ask, would we as a group, really include the three convicted ones into the fold? Some probably would not answer the question, basically, because we do not really know. We know how we feel but might not be able to speak for others in the group. That is an honest answer, I feel.

Those are somewhat more extreme examples, and there are better ones to contemplate that would be more of everyday occurrences.

Someone I know went to a church that was of another faith. It might have been a wedding. Anyhow, he took communion and when he went up to the altar to commune, someone in the back, pointed him out and loudly said, “He is taking communion and is not a ——— (meaning not someone of that faith). He felt embarrassed, because his religion believed that if you can take communion in your own church, you can take it anywhere.  He also felt excluded and ostracized.

I tried to explain that the church rules dictated that he was not allowed to take communion in that church because he was not a member of that faith. He did not understand why not, and it did have a meaningful thoughtfulness to him about that religion then and probably still does. Quoting someone, again, that I respect, On the other hand, a commitment to rules to the detriment of a person’s relationship with Christ is also not helpful.”

Rules dictate!

We as society members have different ways of believing things and sometimes let the rules dictate just how we react with one another. Maybe, we should change the rules! I look at rules as guidelines that you can follow. I said, “can follow” not MUST follow. My church has statements and messages that give this guidance to those that follow the religion, but they are not classified as rules. A friend of mine told me that our church hierarchy has sort of a “washy- washy” attitude, regarding certain things, in what they put out in those statements, and I feel I agree, somewhat, at times.

The thing is, they (the hierarchy) made a stand but gave leeway to those that read their statements and to either follow or not follow what was written. If you follow them, great and if you do not, so be it. At least you will know what you do is either well thought of or not, by the higher ups. Will you be excluded if you do not follow the guidelines?  I doubt it very much and that is why I like the statements overall. They give us an idea of what the church I follow, believes in, even though the overall practice of following what is written is not a mandatory dictate or rule. I believe that many faiths and holy places of those faiths are not really following the dictates of God, but instead the dictates of human leaders that made the decrees.

Peace,

Den Betts

Sun 2015-22

We take the sun for granted at times! It comes up in the East and sets in the West; quite normal. It gives off light and heat, which it is supposed to do on a regular basis. We can, at times, see ourselves on the ground, as a shadow of ourselves. Our Earth revolves around it yearly giving us the seasons of life. Take the sun away and we become – – – – . 

                                      Sun      2015-22

The Sun, the giver of life

Sending out its rays to Earth

This orb, that crawls across the   sky,

Throws off it light, with all its might

Shafts filter through the spreading tree boughs

Making diamonds that sparkle in the lakes and ponds

Heat   waves shimmer off  black asphalt roads

Causing distant far mirages to appear

Many colors stab through   the clouds

Bathing us in a rainbow of hope

The Sun, so high up above

Long may it shine…..

Den Betts

Always-Never 2015-21

                                              Always-Never   2015-21

“When faced with a dilemma of stating something and meaning it and using the words Always or Never it is somewhat dangerous at times.  We tend to say things with emphasis and those two words can get us in trouble.  Someone will remember when I did something that I said “I never did that” and just the opposite with always.   I now try to keep my declarations neutral and never say those words and always do so. Yeh right!”

Two words said sometimes that are not so true,

When you use “always or never” as an absolute.

Always is “all the time” without a perchance,

It is used when you want to convey a stance.

Never use never when you mean once in awhile,

Cause never means never and is hard to reconcile.

We tend to exaggerate and not really mean,

Those things we say when we are full of steam.

It is meant to hurt ands hurt it does, friend,

To those we say it, in ways that offend.

So never say always, unless you mean it,

And always say never if to your benefit.

Den Betts

Judgmental 2015-20

Judgmental     2015-20

What a word, Judgment! How many of us judge others on a regular basis? How many of us would admit doing so? Good questions!  Why do we judge, if we do?  I would think, there are reasons for this act.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” This is as written in the Bible in Matthew 7. This sounds pretty clear as a religious saying.  So, why, again, do we judge others?

I think that it is stating for us not to judge hypocritically, for it also goes more into detail. I believe it is saying —don’t be self-righteous in your judgments of others. If, in the religious context, I judge someone else for their sinning, I might be judged for sinning even worse; don’t know.

People that state they are Christians have the thought, sometimes, that they are imposing their views on others. It is more so, when it is done by Christians who speak out against behaviors and lifestyles which they look as “sinning” and is considered to be terrible towards God. Heaven forbid!! I believe it is only God that can judge, or will judge others and we could well do, by leaving the judgment to Him.

Our society lives by the rule that what we do is either good or bad and perhaps, it is up to the individual to decide what is right and wrong. I think the religious fanatics who are intolerant are looked at as being judgmental if they take their religion seriously and say something about what they believe. That is normal, but at times, taken to the extreme., such as the Westboro Baptist so called church. (Why did I add that last bit to the sentence?)  The problem with that thought is where those that are not religious then look at ALL the religious as being judgmental. Walt Whitman said, “Be curious, not judgmental.”

How can I judge someone for swearing, when I do so at times, unwittingly? What I may have verbally, or silently said, after smashing my thumb with a hammer is still swearing. So, there I am, standing with a dripping and bloody finger and later saying things about someone else for swearing, for whatever reason. Just isn’t fair, is it. Is swearing, basically, taking the Lord’s name in vain, and vulgarity is plain bad language? I had a talk with someone recently and that is what he believes, anyhow.

I just looked online and found that there has been much written about the subject. There are so many trains of thought about this, with many referring to religious verses and statements. That is ok with me, but I think of the normal, everyday, way of life of treating most everyone with respect and mentally trying to live in the shoes of others and experience what it feels like at times.

Stereotyping people is a way of judging and to do so rather than looking at the other as an individual person and not part of the whole that is being compared to, is more than just important. We can realize that the other faction can judge us as well, so, by trying not to judge is a step in the right direction.

Using any prejudice towards another is another no – no.  By being prejudiced towards someone based on skin color, religion, or any other reason, is opening yourself up to be judged. I know of one person, who is an avowed racist and when they speak towards another person of color, they themselves are opening up themselves to be judged for the actions or thoughts. It could be they just don’t care, but if enough people called them on it, they might change, because of their being singled out.

I was at a breakfast meeting the other day and the subject of “Exclusion” came up. I will react to those things said, at a later time, but will reference this one about judgment. An anonymous quote is “I am grateful that I am not judgmental as all those censorious, self-righteous people around me.” Is this not the way many of us think at times? Well, some of us, anyway…………..

Thank you for taking the time to read this; it is appreciated! You are welcome to give me your thoughts about this subject or any that I have made or make in the future.

Den Betts

Candle 2015-19

Candle         2015-19

 

A blind man sat on a barren hillside, at noon;

Holding a small lit candle near his lap.

Nobody journeyed to see him or inquire,

The daylight absorbing the candles rays.

He sat and waited, and sat some more,

It seemed forever – each passing hour.

Discouraged and sad he prayed to God,

To help him, and to help them find the way.

A miracle occurred that was more than just rare,

An eclipse; his candle becoming a bright beacon.

People looked up and saw the light up above,

Went and gathered around its glow.

The man told them of the meaning of faith,

And how believing can make a happening occur.

Such as turning the light of one small candle,

Into a guiding light for those in darkness.

One small candle, one ordinary man,

Making a change for many or for few.

Den Betts