Who am I?

Who Am I

Life on this earth, as we know and understand it, is not a permanent thing. We are born, we live, and we die. There is no exact timetable in that process. But it does bring up many, many questions as to the why of our existence. Life literally begs the question, “Who am I?”

Now, it would be quite natural for me to launch into an exhaustive expose, from my perspective, concerning the purpose of why we are born, why we live, and why we die. Suffice to mention that the answers to those questions are readily available to those who diligently seek truth. However, that is not the primary purpose of this post. Instead, I am offering a mind-bender for you to ponder.

I want to briefly touch on how we view ourselves in comparison to how others view us. I would also like to suggest that neither of these viewpoints is ultimately correct. Your perception of yourself, at best, is inaccurate. And, yes, that expensive shrink you visit each week does not perceive you accurately either – not even close.

Continue reading “Who am I?”

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The Ghostwriter

ghost_writer

It would seem appropriate, in this halloween season, to write about ghosts & goblins. But, is that what a ghostwriter is?

According to Wikipedia:

A ghostwriter is a writer who is hired to author literary or journalistic works, speeches or other texts that are officially credited to another person.

Those lofty words spoken by Barack Obama, during his two terms in the presidential office, were predominantly written by someone else. Yes, apparently Obama is an accomplished writer, having been a former editor of the Harvard Law Review. Nevertheless, the majority of his public speeches were written by an army of ghostwriters under the supervision of a Whitehouse Director of Speechwriting.

Have you ever heard of Jon Favreau or Cody Keenan? I didn’t think so.

Yet, the entire world was mesmerized by the content of Obama’s speeches and his skills as an orator. The people behind the scenes did not receive the public credit due them.

That is the life of a ghostwriter – all work and no credit given.

As a former professional communicator, I have had my fair share of speech and article writing on behalf of another. I was paid to do a particular job and had to be satisfied with that alone. Yet, it has never ceased to amaze me how CEO’s, Directors, and Politicians alike have accumulated mass followings based on their lofty words – the content or literary emphasis being the brainchild of someone else.

Another creative area similar to ghostwriting, is the photographic works that individuals produce. Often those works are produced by individuals for the companies that employ them or are directly commissioned by government. Personally, I have had considerable work published and/or displayed in public spaces that I will never receive credit for. All credit and copyright belong to either the company(s) that employed me, or are the public property of government. That is the nature of commissioned works of art, at least in my neck-of-the-woods.

It may seem that I am a little bitter about that – truthfully, I am not. But, I do visit the aforementioned places approximately once a year or so. I wander through the halls of these majestic public buildings searching for photographic works that I had something to do with, in whole or in part. What was done in “secret” as a ghost photographer is sufficient for me 🙂

Now that I am considerably far removed from the hustle and bustle of the work world, I am quite content. I had invested a significant part of my life in being a ghostwriter and a commercial photographer. I have no regrets.

As an amateur blogger, I do not feel the pressures of corporate deadlines, nor the need to be overly concerned about content. Grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc. are secondary to just having fun.

Whatever tickles your fancy. Have fun  🙂

The Ethics of Giving & Receiving

Preface

I think most people in our society understand that when a person gives or donates something of value to another person or organization, that transaction is done with no expectation of anything in return.

In other words, if I give something, a material possession of mine, to a friend, I have absolutely no expectation of a return favour. That gift, which my friend has received, is theirs to keep, and to do with as they see fit.

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Turning a blind eye…

San Juan
San Juan, Puerto Rico before hurricane Maria. f/8 @ 1/200 second. ©2017 Bruce Kraus. All rights reserved.

Have you ever wondered why the US and Canada have so many social problems in spite of the fact that the aforementioned nations are some of the most prosperous in the world?

Good question. Obviously, there is no easy or simplistic answer to the complex social problems that we experience. But, there seems to be a whole lot of pointing of fingers going on each and every day of our existence. If we are honest with ourselves, the person we see in the mirror each morning is often guilty as charged.

Who is to blame for all the heart wrenching social problems of North American society? Well, the short answer is – we are. Each and every one of us, regardless of ethnicity and race, religion, gender, and so forth, is responsible for the society that we live in. We are indeed our brother’s or sister’s keeper.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 ESV

On the grand scale of things, it does not appear that we are doing a very good job of benevolently and selflessly watching over each other. Honest self-evaluation has a way of silencing our own pride and arrogance. How wonderful we see ourselves and our accomplishments often has no bearing on reality.

Although I have chosen to tackle some complex social, cultural, religious, and political issues and problems in my writing, I am painfully reminded that one person can only do so much in terms of informing, enlightening, or influencing others. I am thankful that, in the final analysis, I am primarily responsible for my own sphere of influence, most importantly, my own real life interpersonal relationships. How I live my life DOES affect others around me for better or worse.

Sometimes, I feel really small and do not think that I have much to offer to this often incomprehensible North American culture and society. Invariably, God has a way of reminding me how dependant I am on His grace (undeserved favour) and strength each and every moment of my life.

Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT

There is a time and place for everything under the sun (Ecclesiastes 3). Recently, I made a choice or decision to wait on God, for wisdom, strength, and direction to take over the next decade of my life. We all need purpose in our lives and purpose demands long-term planning.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps Proverbs 16:9

Whether or not that includes a continuation of my writing and posting on WordPress is a question I need to settle. I am somewhat troubled about my direct involvement on social media. Sometimes I think it is more like the Show & Tell events of my childhood school years, rather than serving any useful long-term purpose. I do take some satisfaction in sharing about God and His ways, as I understand Him. I am just not sure anyone is really listening.

Time has a way of solving the most perplexing issues in our lives. As for me, it is time to wait upon God for some answers.

The choices we make today become who we are tomorrow…

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A Place of Solace

A Place of Solace
Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia. f/2.8 @ 1/15 second.

It’s hard to imagine why any couple would simply sit quietly, huddled closely together upon the icy-cold granite outcrop, despite the howling gale and the tumultuous roar of the mighty Atlantic crashing against the rocky shoreline.

But that is exactly what my wife and I undertook one early evening in mid-August of 2014. It was a charming, itsy-bitsy place called Peggy’s Cove, situated along the rugged coastline of Nova Scotia. We almost had the quaint little locale all to ourselves. Only one straggler was lollygagging on the lee side of the statuesque white lighthouse. The octagonal tower, with balcony and lantern, has stood proudly upon the granite rock for over a century, guiding troubled and weary sailors through many a stormy night.

Our place of solace was almost desolate, barren of the hordes of tourists that visit during the daylight hours.

We envisaged ourselves to be ageless, timeless, listening to the rhythmic ocean waves pound upon the rock, like nature’s drum echoing in the hidden alcoves of an eternal mind. As the ethereal light began to vanish, I turned around and took a snapshot of that frigid, unbreakable place of many secrets. It was an idyllic place, a halcyon that brought us peace.

Just a stranger and a pair of prairie landlubbers, never to pass a word. There would be no salutation amongst shadows in the fading light.

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Strange Bedfellows? Muslim Immigrants United With Social Conservative Christians Against Abortion

In all of Prime Minister Trudeau’s political doublespeak concerning the partisan policies and actions of the Liberal Party of Canada, I do not think that the twirling pirouette in a pink shirt saw this one coming.

Trudeau’s policy of fast tracking Muslim immigration claimants in Canada has produced an unwanted side-effect that progressive liberals did not count on. The majority of Muslims coming into Canada hold very conservative family values and are generally opposed to abortion. And they are not afraid to go public on the issues.

When it comes to the practical application of Trudeau’s policies concerning women’s issues, diversity seems to apply only to women who subscribe to the current politically correct liberal ideology. In other words, if you are a Muslim woman in Canada that holds to socially conservative values, i.e. against abortion, especially sex-selective abortion, you essentially have no voice on women’s issues in this country.

According to 21-year-old student, Palvasha Qureshi:

As a young woman growing up in Pakistan, I saw firsthand what happens when girls are not counted as equal to, or as valuable as, men. For that reason, sex-selective abortion concerns me, and I am not alone in that worry…this government likes to claim that it values diversity, and it attempts to showcase that by accepting many immigrants and repeating the mantra that “diversity is our strength.” But does Trudeau not understand that many new Canadians, immigrants like myself, have pro-life and socially conservative convictions?

cbc.ca

Qureshi’s pro-life views mirror the current position of the Roman Catholic Church and Evangelical Protestants in Canada. This effectually aligns the ideologically different Christian groups with socially conservative Muslims on pro-life issues. United together, they may prove to be a powerful voice for the sanctity of human life and the unborn in Canada.

Strange bedfellows? I don’t think so.

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