Haters gonna hate? A lesson in tolerance towards dissenting ideas and opinions.

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If you have been around the block more than once, like I have, then you know that society has a way of rehashing things over and over again. History often does repeat itself, and as people, and entire generations, we often do not learn from our own mistakes over the span of time.

Continue reading “Haters gonna hate? A lesson in tolerance towards dissenting ideas and opinions.”

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Who’s Calling the Kettle Black?

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In our present society, Christians, not to mention other religious groups, are often accused of being overtly Apocalyptic. In the minds of the avant-guard, the apocalyptic scenarios, as depicted in the Bible, are mere foolishness. After all, the starship Enterprise will soon be built, and society, as we know it, will forever be changed.

We will explore the outer reaches of our universe and discover that we are not alone. After all, aliens really do exist, both friend and foe šŸ˜‰

Recently, someone close to me asked me the same question. Why are Christians overtly Apocalyptic? I was actually somewhat amused by her question and instinctively knew where her presupposition would lead us in conversation. Instead, I countered her question with another question.

Why is the world, or society, so apocalyptic?

After all, society is fascinated with the subject(s) of invading aliens, the supernatural (including the demonic, the occult, and witchcraft, etc.), and natural disasters of epic, planet extinction proportions. The proposed science and politics of global warming/climate change are reaching a near critical stage. The planet does not have enough arable land and food to feed our ever-increasing population. Meteors will collide with the earth reducing humankind back to the dust from which we came. We will destroy ourselves with our own technology, including the weapon systems that were originally designed, at least in part, to end WW2 – Ā not create another world war.

The feverish pitch of impending doom for our planet and the extinction of the human race seems to overshadow just about anything that is good and right in life. Don’t believe me? Turn on your TV and watch the “news”.

In my opinion, our culture is so afraid of death that we really do not live.

Sure, an ever increasing number of people have just thrown in the towel, out of sheer hopelessness, and are drowning their minds in alcohol and mood-altering drugs.

“Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 1Corinthians 15:32

Lets throw caution and common sense into the wind. After all, life is hopeless. Or is it?Ā I don’t know about you, but I made a decision a long time ago to be a follower of Christ. I want to live – to truly experience life in the fullest sense of the word.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

I want to live and not die, in order that I might declare the works of the Lord. I want to shout from the roof tops that HE is RISEN! There is hope for each and every one of us. As a believer, I do not fear death and look forward to a bodily resurrection. I live my life with great expectation of the second return of Christ.

In the meantime, I purposely choose to live my life to the fullest, in spite of my own human frailty and the fearful expectations of a world that does not perceive hope. False messiahs will continue to arise leading many to their own destruction, but I will endeavor to live a life of peace and contentment regardless of all the “noise” around me.

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10a NLT

The choices we make today become who we are tomorrowā€¦

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Critical Thinking vs Being Critical of Others

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There is a considerable difference between possessing good critical thinking skills and being overly critical of others.

Critical thinking should not be confused with being argumentative or being critical of other people. Although critical thinking skills can be used in exposing fallacies and bad reasoning, critical thinking can also play an important role in cooperative reasoning and constructive tasks.

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Learning to Truly Listen

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My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27 NLT

I cannot speak for others and their own unique personal experience(s) with any degree of objective certainty, but I can write about my own lifetime subjective experience. From the time I was a young child, I sensed the presence of God in my life. Everywhere I looked and everywhere I turned, there He was. I saw God in the majesty of nature, in the wonders and beauty of living things, and even in the icons and bigger-than-life murals of a Roman Catholic church in the small town I grew up in.

Over time I came to recognize that still, quiet voice that was ever present with me. I recognize today that it was God Himself that was communicating to me, not with an audible voice, but within the hidden parts of my innermost being – my soul or spirit.

Some would say that was merely my conscience speaking to me – I will not dispute that here. I will say that I wish today that I had been quicker to respond to that still, small voice on a more consistent basis than I did. Even back then, I wrestled with what I heard as conflicting voices in society to do good or to do evil.

Entire volumes have been written in the history of the Church, and in the annals of modern psychology concerning those two conflicting voices of good or evil. As a follower of Christ, what I am referring to is the difference between hearing the Spirit of God versus hearing the spirit of this world. I will leave the interpretations of the human mind and consciousness to those who consider themselves more qualified to do so.

I have often used the analogy of a genuine twenty dollar bill and its counterfeit to describe the dichotomy between the Spirit of God and the spirit of this world. My spouse has worked in the banking industry for several decades. She has been well trained to recognize and distinguish the difference between a counterfeit $20 and the real deal. When one handles the real thing, day in and day out for a long period of time – it is easy to spot a fake or an imposter.

Her experience with the genuine assists her to identify the counterfeit in an instant.

So it is with those of us who have walked with God for a long time. Because we know Him in relationship, and are quite familiar with the scriptures (the Bible) and often the history of the Church, it is easier to discern the fake, the imposter, the counterfeit voice of the spirit of this world (i.e., Satan, the demonic, and the world system that is under their influence, domination, or control).

Over the last few weeks I have been writing short posts about music that has influenced and, perhaps, shaped and moulded my life. I am well aware that much of the music and artists I have mentioned would be considered to be an anathema to the staunch fundamentalists in the Church. To the aforementioned, most of the music and artists that I have briefly written about would be considered secular and not sacred. How the aforementioned groups differentiate between the sacred and the secular is subject matter for another post.

Suffice to say that I generally do not dichotomize between secular and sacred music. I do not go on a hell-bent crusade to analyze the character, lifestyle, and purpose of individual artists and the obvious or hidden meaning behind their lyrics. I simply listen to the spirit by which they communicate by song. I instinctively know that which is of God and that which is not.

Nevertheless, I truly listen…to their pain and suffering, their disappointments, their broken relationships, their search for meaning in lifeĀ and the inevitable ups and downs of living. I also listen to their joy, their happiness, and their understanding of the meaning of life and God.

I am firmly convinced that one cannot truly understand our present time without understanding our past – our shared history.

And, so, I have begun a journey to understand my past, my generation, and the often prophetic words of musical artists that have led us (at least in part) to where we are today. If I truly have any realistic expectation of communicating with those of a new generation, the Millennials, I believe I must have a comprehensive understanding of my own generation, my past, our shared history.

This is undeniably quite difficult for me as I do not really consider myself to be a Baby Boomer, nor can I sincerely identify with Generation X. I am part of the high school class of 1977 – a generation born in no man’s land who neither experienced the prosperity and security of the Boomers, nor the uncertainty and displacement of the Gen X’ers in North America.

In the final analysis, the aforementioned are just labels or markers to assist sociologists et alĀ to identify and categorize the sociological aspects of unique generations of people. I am not convinced that, when God looks down from the heavens, He sees it quite like that šŸ™‚

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Are You Content Creators or Content Regurgitates?

Are you one of the unique individuals on WordPress that actually creates their own content? Do you take your own photographs and video? Do you write your own articles and poetry?

Social media is bursting at the seams from regurgitated content. Content, often of a silly or rather useless nature (memes, twitty tweets, etc.) or even false information (the polarized left-wing and right-wing media) is repeated over and over again without the individual posting it analyzing or even comprehending what they are posting. Facebook and Twitter are full of such nonsense – do we have to tolerate it here on WordPress? I think not!

If you are one of those people that merely regurgitates content, i.e., repeats, restates, recites, or parrots someone else’s words, ideas, images, etc., on a regular basis, chances are that many (including me) will unfollow you soon. If you think that reposting literal volumes of regurgitated content on WordPress will make up for your lack of creativity, laziness, and general lack of intelligence, you are sadly mistaken.

Please do us all a favour and stick to FaceBook and Twitter and leave WordPress to the content creators, whoever they may be.

Harsh words? Perhaps, but I have made up my mind a long time ago to no longer suffer fools.

Once again, it is time to clean out the closet of clutter that attempts to dominate my time and energy. Once a year, I go through my online social media accounts and ruthlessly remove followers who have not meaningfully contributed to my personal life in any significant way.

Last year alone, I pruned away approximately 60 “friends” on Facebook and shut down my Twitter account altogetherĀ (no choice there – it was infiltrated with undesirables). I also removed certain people on WordPress that were, essentially, content parrots.

In case you question my analysis and methodology or consider this post to be disingenuous, please consider the fact that I have personally posted almost 400 original articles on WordPress in less than one year. Some of those posts are images and video, but the majority are articles that have taken me significant time and effort to research and write each day.

It has been a pleasure reading the many articles, including the photographs, artwork and video, from numerous people on WordPress. As one who embraces a rather eclectic approach to life and living, I do value the many different people, cultures, and countries represented on WordPress. I cherish the unique ideas and perspectives of others concerning matters of religion, philosophy, politics, the arts, etc.

If you are an original content creator that is willing to step out of the ordinary into the extraordinary – you have my attention.

Cheers!

The choices we make today become who we are tomorrow…

 

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Groupthink: Is that a Disease?

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Introduction

This Ā article and definition was originally published at the McCombs School of Business, University of Texas web site. Ā Entitled, Ethics Unwrapped, the web site is a treasure trove of terminology and definitions in the academic realm of ethics.

Groupthink

Groupthink occurs when peopleā€™s desire to maintain group loyalty becomes more important than making the best choices. People often find it hard to think and act independently in group situations. According to psychologist Irving Janis, groupthink is ā€œa deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment that results from in-group pressures.ā€

Group members often suffer overconfidence and hold an unquestioned belief in the groupā€™s competence and morality. Dissent by group members may be discouraged and even lead to expulsion from the group. Because people often want to avoid these punishments, they remain silent. This creates the illusion of agreement or unanimity in the group.

Groups may also reach decisions, including moral judgments, which are more extreme than any single member of the group originally supported. Unfortunately, if groupthink takes hold, group members may not even question ethically dubious decisions and actions. For example, some people say that the Bush administrationā€™s decision to invade Iraq because of non-existent weapons of mass destruction was due to groupthink.

Indeed, groupthink can cause us to value harmony and consensus over independent judgment, and can lead to unethical behavior.

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