Archive for February 2019

OpenBook-Grand Delusions of Global Change   Leave a comment

Lyndell Williams

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#OpenBook

What have you done to make the world a better place?

Nothing. Seriously. I’ve done nothing to make the world a better place, and neither has anybody else.

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This planet is vast with numerous societies and cultures. No one person can make everything better for everyone. We can positively influence our social spheres and may even have some impact on others, but never in totality.

That’s not life or the world works.

That being said, there are things I’ve done to try and affect positive shifts in cultural mindsets in ways that increase the potential for positive change.

I’m committed to combatting systems of racism and gender oppression inside Muslim communities and the broader society.  I’ve created a space affording Muslim women to engage in learning about their faith outside of the typical androcentric environments offered by Muslim institutions.

They are the focus on their instructor in a series…

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Posted February 26, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Open Book Blog Hop – February 25th   1 comment

Stevie Turner

This week the topic is:

‘What have you done to make the world a better place?’

Hmm…I had to think about this one.  I think I’ve helped in a small way by doing the 10 things that I’ve listed below:

  1. Raising two sons to adulthood to be productive members of society.
  2. Never chopping down trees just because it’s  Christmas (such a stupid idea to bring what was a live tree into your living room and decorate it with gaudy trash!).
  3. Filling up 4 bird feeders in our garden with peanuts on a regular basis.  Flocks of birdies have found them.  It’s a place for them to hang out.  Okay, the grass is full of shit, but hey…
  4. Never embarrassing myself or my family by being drunk in a public place (or at home either).
  5. Writing novels to entertain readers.
  6. Helping patients whilst working as a medical secretary in a hospital…

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Posted February 25, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Road to Hell   8 comments

Feb 25, 2019

What have you done to make the world a better place?

Rules:
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2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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I have deep and abiding distrust of people who try to make the world a “better place”. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Good intentions and a belief in our own morality has led to some dark, dark, DARK places. Che Guevara wanted to make the world a better place. Not kidding. Read “The Motorcycle Diaries.” Pot Pot thought he was making the world a better place. The Crusades started out as well-meant effort to protect Christians from Muslim aggression and morphed into something quite evil.

People who view themselves through the lens of good intentions cannot imagine that their good intentions might lead to bad places when imposed about large swaths of the population. They rarely imagine that they could be pawns in someone else’s game. They cannot imagine that their high ideals can be manipulated or repurposed by others in ways that negate their good intentions. They are (often) unwilling to acknowledge this and refuse to develop any sort of nonsense detection. They tend to think they are so well-intentioned, that the will double-down on the approaches they’ve taken and the commitments they’ve made and it all-too-often leads them to justify abuse and to take an “ends justifies the means” attitude. Consider Prohibition, the invasion of Iraq, and the century of forest fire suppression that came before the massive forest fires in recent years. Just a few examples where high-minded individuals with the best of intentions paved, walled, roofed and furnished hell and caused immense suffering.

I actually pray that God saves us from do-gooders who want to make the world “a better place.” My “better place” might well be your “hell on earth” and the reverse most assuredly will be true.

I think I have made the world a better place. Someone might read this article and say “hey, shes right” and commit to a life of voluntaryism instead of statist control of their neighbors. See, better place.

I try to make the world a better place by not actually trying to do that. It’s a kind of silly meme – the “vast liberarian conspiracy to take over the world and leave you alone” but I mostly subscribe to voluntaryism – the idea that I can inspire you with my life choices and offer to exchange resources, but I can’t force you to do what I think is best for you. I try to make the area within my personal space a better place. I control that and I should. But I have boundaries. I don’t control you and I shouldn’t. Yeah, sometimes I wish I could fix you, but ….

I recognize I live in a fallen world populated by broken people, who are not unlike me. We delude ourselves into believing that we who are oh-so-broken can make the world become a better place. That is deity level work and we’re not capable. Only God can make the world a better place to live. That humbles me and because I am humble before the Greatest Force in the Universe, He can use me in small ways to make the world a better place one or two people at a time.

I have volunteered my time at a homeless shelter and the local food bank, cleaned the streets of my town, taught English to the foreign born and suppressed my claustrophobia to enter the local jail to work with the incarcerated. I give a sizeable chunk of my income to charitable work through my church and directly to Samaritan’s Purse and Heifer International. I’m now starting to move into mentoring younger Christian women, particularly those who are struggling with family addiction issues.

I’ve spent a lot of effort in educating people from my blog about voluntaryism, faith, and the history of human beings asphalting the road to hell with the bodies produced by good intentions. I host discussions on my Facebook page designed to teach people to debate without hatred and rancor, to see the other sides of an argument and not think the people espousing them are evil or stupid.

And whenever God gives me the opportunity, I share the gospel with the willing, because I know in my heart that the world will never be a better place without Jesus Christ.

I have no intentions of imposing my good intentions on anyone else. I believe in voluntary exchange. If something I do, something I write, how I live my life, inspires someone else to make their personal life better, then I have actually made the world a better place without building any roads to hell.

Posted February 25, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Public Schools Are A Lot Like Prison   Leave a comment

aurorawatcherak

Image result for image of school as a prisonThe other day, Kiernan and some friends of his were talking about being bullied in school. For Kiernan, this was a while ago. He made it stop by breaking the law. The kid was actually bullying Kiernan’s friend because he is an Eskimo. Kiernan and Tim walked off campus, let the bully follow them and then Kiernan socked the kid in the nose. He knew we’d have his back, union legal insurance all greased up, if necessary. The parents of the kid he socked didn’t call the cops, so I guess the kid learned his lesson … as did the bully I hit in the head with my metal lunchbox back in the third grade … only in that case the cop took one look at how little I was compared to how big the boy (who was picking on the littler kids I’d been asked to walk home) was…

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Posted February 19, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Open Book Blog Hop -18th February   1 comment

Stevie Turner

This week the topic is ‘What was your best ‘drop the mic’ moment?’

I must admit, I had not heard that phrase here in East Anglia, UK.  I’ve heard of ‘Taking the Mick’, but not ‘Dropping the mic’.  However, my US blog-hopper friends quickly translated it for me as a kind of ‘glory’ moment that you experience when you know you’ve nailed it.

Okay, well… I had to wait a long time for my glory moment – I’d say about 20 years.  It all goes back to when my sons Leon and Marc were aged 16 and at the point of leaving school.  Neither of them wanted to go to university; in fact all Leon wanted to do was play computer games, and all Marc wanted to do was play his guitar in the garage along with several hirsute, unwashed musos that you’d never want to come across on a…

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Posted February 18, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

Recovering Stone-Chucker   8 comments

Feb 18, 2019

What was your best drop the mic moment?

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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I guess it depends on how you define a “mic drop moment.”

Those who have followed my discussions on Facebook know that I don’t advocate for shutting down conversations, so quite often, when I could have a “mic drop”, I choose to let it go. I think mic drops are (mostly) arrogantly executed by people who believe they’re right and are unwilling to hear any evidence to the contrary. That’s not me (most of the time). I do believe I know some things a lot of people don’t know (and, I’ve tested that theory a bunch, so I have evidence to support my suspicion I’m right), but I like seeing a broad range of discussions and points of view. Sometimes they change my mind, mostly I’m hoping I can change their minds. If I do a mic drop, I’m shutting down that conversation and that rarely, if ever, changes anyone’s mind.

But I do have them occasionally. Often it’s not intentional. I’m a quippy person in my everyday life and I’ve gotten into some verbal sword-play and I’ve said something that caused the other person to go – “hmm, I can’t think of a comeback”. Since it’s not intentional, I don’t keep track. I don’t glory in it. I kind of think it was a failure because it stopped the discussion. A few times, though, I’ve had that person come back to me and say “You had a point and I changed my mind.” Good, but half the time, I can’t even remember what I said.

I had one to share with people on gun control (it really was a glory moment), but I changed my mind this morning after my pastor’s sermon mic-dropped a bunch of people in the congregation and I thought, yeah, there’s my topic.

The Bible is unequivocally clear that Christians aren’t supposed to participate in sin and I try to live my life accordingly. It’s been 27 years ago in December since I’ve drunk alcohol – not because I have a problem with alcohol. I’ve always been able to stop at one beer, wine, whatever and I’ve never really needed it to have a good time. But I take seriously that if I cause my brother (or husband) to stumble, I am as guilty of his sin as he is, and so, I chose to give it up and I don’t regret that. I don’t judge anyone for their ability to handle an adult beverage or two, it’s just that someone in my household can’t, so I judge myself accordingly. It certainly wasn’t a sin when Jesus turned water in REALLY GOOD wine, but it would be a sin for me to drink it because it stands a good chance of dragging my husband into what is truly a sin for him.

I also don’t cheat on my husband and that includes reading (or writing) books that have detailed sexual encounters in them because I take seriously Jesus’ admonition that if you commit a sin in your head, you’re as guilty as if you committed it with your body. I don’t judge you if you can read (or write) such books and feel fine in your marriage. It would be a sin for me. It might not be a sin for you. If you’re worried about it, consult your Maker, not me.

Lest you think I’m as pure as the fresh-driven snow, I’m not, and I don’t pretend to be. I slammed a lot of caffeine before writing this article, for example, and my heartrate informs me that is not treating the temple of God (my body) with the respect it deserves. I also still have some weight I’m trying to lose and that too is a desolation of God’s temple (my body). My lack of self-control assures me I am a sinner just like everyone else. My sins are just more socially acceptable than some people’s sins, but God isn’t a socialite, so I am without excuse.

Romans 2:1-11 is an interesting passage – I won’t post the whole thing here because it’s long, but it basically says (after talking about non-Christians in Chapter 1) – “Christians, you are sinners too, and you have no excuse for judging those who are non-Christians because God doesn’t see shades of grey when it comes to sin. And you will be judged if you treat non-Christians as if you are better than them because you’re not.”

My overindulgence in caffeine is not better than my husband’s past overindulgence in alcohol … just as an example. The teller of “white lies” is as much a sinner as the murderer. In God’s eyes, we’re the same, sinners one and all. The only thing that separates Christian sinners from non-Christian sinners is that Christians have accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf as salvation. He bought out our slave contract, in essence. WE didn’t do that. He did and He did it for the whole world, we’re just the ones who have accepted it. Anyone else wanting to join us is welcome … by me anways and certainly by Jesus … but more on that in subsequent paragraphs.

Now, understand, paired with other passages of the Bible, this passage is not saying Christians are supposed to join the non-Christians in their sin. No, we absolutely are called to be a counter-cultural movement within society. But we are absolutely wrong if we think that makes us better than those who compose the cultural tide we’re swimming against. We’re all wading through the same cesspool, it’s just Christians have heard that rescue is upstream, not down.

The mic drop here is that many many conservative Christians are judgmental stone-chuckers and I’m not really innocent of this charge. I’m a recovering stone-chucker. It’s taken me a long time to get to the point where I can look at people who commit sins, clearly know that they are committing sins, commit to not joining them, and just say “Yeah, your choice, I’ll pray for you.” This doesn’t mean I condone their sins by any stretch of the imagination. Just as I am still working on learning not to make excuses for my own failures, I am not going to white-wash the world around me. There is a lot of crap in my culture that I know makes God’s heart bleed for my fellow humans and so I (try to) refrain from those activities because I don’t want to embarrass my Heavenly Father, but there were a lot of people in the congregation this morning who walked out trying to justify their own stone-chucker behavior. I could see it in their eyes. They were a little pissed at the pastor, but in reality, they were more than a little pissed at the word of God, and that’s on them – that’s their sin and I’m called to not join my fellow Christians in their immorality either.

So, I didn’t do that. It was done to me and to the people sitting around me by a man (our pastor) with an incredibly tender heart and a son sitting in SuperMax lockup. Do I think my pastor might be a recovering stone-chucker? Oh, yeah! And, I know people in my congregation who are WAY bigger stone-chuckers than I am (some of them have recently written letters to the editor so that we know how judgmental they are) — but God doesn’t see it that way. In His eyes, my little tiny pebbles of judgment are the same as the meteors some of my fellow church-goers hail down on secular society. There is a fine line between recognizing that something is a sin that Christians shouldn’t participate in (and choosing not to participate even when there are big consequences for our refusal to comply) and using that knowledge as a bludgeon against an unbelieving world. I AM CALLED to NOT PARTICIPATE in the world’s folly, but I am NOT called to try to make the world conform to my morality. I’m supposed to be a spiritual salmon, swimming upriver, but not trying to change the river’s course. Let the river go where it will. I know my destination.

So, the mic got dropped on me this morning and I am without excuse. And, as with all mic drops, now that I’ve been rendered without defense, I get to decide what I’m going to do about it. Not “What am I going to do to other people about it”. Judgment of others is always the temptation, right? No, I must decide “What am I myself going to do with this knowledge?”

Posted February 18, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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She’s No Hamilton   Leave a comment

by Randal OToole 02/15/2019

http://www.newgeography.com/content/006224-she-s-no-alexander-hamilton

The Antiplanner might be behind the times, but has anyone else noticed that it is the Democrats who are playing the role of Alexander Hamilton — the conservative who wanted to centralize government and concentrate power in New York banks — while the Republicans are playing the role of Thomas Jefferson — the civil libertarian who wanted to keep economic and political power decentralized? I always wondered why Lin-Manuel Miranda picked such a conservative historical figure to be the hero of his left-leaning musical.

Now we know. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal is going to cost tens of trillions of dollars, but she just blithely says we’ll pay for it “the same way we paid for World War II”: “The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments and new public banks can be created to extend credit.”

The complete article is available at the link above.

Posted February 15, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in cultural divide

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