Three Kinds of Leaders

Leaders
Courtesy Australian Anthill.

I have met three kinds of Leaders in my lifetime.

  1. The Leader who is all fluff, but no substance. They are liked but not respected.
  2. The Leader who is part fluff, and part substance. They are neither liked nor respected.
  3. The Leader who is no fluff and all substance. They are not liked, but are well respected.

Which kind of Leader are you?

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A liberal’s true wretchedness is revealed in their words…

It can rightfully be said that a liberal’s true wretchedness is revealed in their words. Take a gander at what has been said publicly over the last few days on social media and the liberal news outlets.

Hayley Geftman-Gold, former VP at CBS said that she was “not even sympathetic” to victims of the Las Vegas shooting because “country music fans often are Republican.”

Hayley would later go on to apologize for her cold and nonsensical statement(s):

“Earlier today I posted an indefensible post in a Facebook discussion thread concerning the tragic Las Vegas shooting, a statement I sincerely regret. I am deeply sorry for diminishing the significance of every life affected by Stephen Paddock’s terrorism last night and for the pain my words have inflicted on the loved ones of the victims. My shameful comments do not reflect the beliefs of my former employer, colleagues, family, and friends. Nor do they reflect my actual beliefs — this senseless violence warrants the deepest empathy. I understand and accept all consequences that my words have incurred.”

According to a CBS spokeswoman, Geftman-Gold, “who was with us for approximately one year, violated the standards of our company and is no longer an employee of CBS. Her views as expressed on social media are deeply unacceptable to all of us at CBS. Our hearts go out to the victims in Las Vegas and their families.”

If you commit the crime…you do the time.

Do you really want to be associated with “friends” that think, speak, and act that way? Almost no compassion, zero tolerance for opposing viewpoints, and a cavalier attitude towards human life.

To add insult to injury, the icky liberals are crawling out of the woodwork claiming that they feel sorry for Hayley and that she is a “victim” of freedom of speech.

Oh, for the love of foosball. Are these people certifiably insane? What slimy rock did they crawl out from under?

Like an invasion of cockroaches, the liberal mindset just never seems to go away.

Unless, of course, one is fearless enough to squash them one by one.

And, please…don’t resort to the same sort of violent mentality of groups like the Antifa et al. Fight incomprehensible evil with the truth. The inked quill is mightier than the sword. Combat evil, like the aforementioned, with words of wisdom and NOT VIOLENCE.

Yes, I know, it is really hard to be tolerant and respectful of individuals and/or entire groups who hate God and country. No one said that this would be an easy task, did they?

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Share the Road: A Legal Right?

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When it comes to honouring the legal rights of cyclists on the highways and byways of North America, it is a grey area at best. While cyclists, in my home province of Saskatchewan, have many specific legal rights to the road (i.e. are considered to be legal vehicles or vehicular traffic), the general public does not always perceive it that way. In my opinion, a few motorized vehicle operators, especially in the city of Regina, would just as soon run us over, than yield to a slower moving vehicle.

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Many motorcyclists have the same issues with less-than-courteous or dangerous automobile drivers within the city. The exorbitant increase in insurance premiums (due to automobile-motorcycle accidents) by the provincial insurance monopoly, Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI), has forced many motorcyclists, especially sport bike riders, to sell off their now heavily depreciated motorbikes and quit riding altogether. I was one of those “insurance cost” casualties, bit the bullet, and quit motorcycling indefinitely.

As strange as it might seem, Harley riders and road cyclists have more in common than each group realizes. I often get a “low-five” by a passing guy or girl on a cruiser or sport bike. It is almost like we have a shared love for padded shorts, the open road, and an equal dislike or loathing for SGI. Birds of a different feather flock together?

Leather and spandex is a little kinky 😉

Sounds silly, I know, but over the years I have been the object of a whole lot of flirting by women, clad in leather, straddling their Harleys. I usually just stand there, feeling rather naked in my skin-tight spandex kit.

“Hey…honey…are you a Racer? Love the shorts…and the colours…do you know Lance Armstrong?” 😉

I just smile and try not to turn fifty shades of red.  I am probably old enough to be their father!

But…I digress…

Recently, a fellow cyclist (Randonneur) and friend, in his Seventies, was assaulted on a bike path in the city. The outraged attacker started swearing and yelling that a #%%%* cyclist has no business on the bike path, and proceeded to push him into the bush. The cyclist was laying on his back, somewhat shaken up, when the attacker came at him a second time. A well placed “kick to the nuts” ended the unprovoked assault in a split second. It was the attacker who was now lying on the ground in agony. The cyclist remounted his bike and just rode away.

I was astounded at this story, and equally surprised that the long-distance cyclist did not report the incident to the police. More disturbing was the fact that a pedestrian did not think a cyclist had any right to be on a bike path (now known a the Regina Multi-use Pathway). Bizarre…really bizarre…what kind of person would attack a seventy-year-old man on a bicycle?

You can see where I am going with this…

Cyclists in my neck-of-the-woods are damned if they do and damned if they don’t!

If I had a dime for every motorist who has %$$@@ at me for cycling on the road, I would be a wealthy man. Retaliating by shouting back or giving them the middle-finger-salute only serves to enrage an already out-of-control motorist.

Anger management….

It is a no-win scenario for a cyclist to take on several tons of steel, and the arrogant driver knows it. We have all heard of stories where an angry driver, succumbing to road rage, had turned around and ploughed through a peloton or group of riders intentionally, seriously injuring or killing the cyclists.

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To be continued…

Moving Towards a More Tolerant Society

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I have managed, over time, to develop a courteous association and friendship with a young woman on social media. We have never met in person, although, from time-to-time, I think about her as I would my own adult daughter(s). I genuinely do care about her well-being and that of her family as they start a new chapter of their life in North America. We share a love for reading, writing, and history. We value the liberal democracies that we live in, and tend to look at modern culture, religion and politics from a moderate point of view.

Although we have grown up in remarkably different societies, we share a strong interest in understanding the world that we live in, including the desire to step out of the ordinary in order to truly understand the extraordinary. For a young woman, she possesses an incredible amount of wisdom and grace, pointing to many positive influences in her life including, perhaps, immediate family and friends. It is almost as though I know how she thinks and feels  – a kindred spirit as it were. We may not always agree on various aspects of modern culture, politics, and religion, but I value her directness, honesty, and that ever-so-British politeness.

I think that is what tolerance is all about – learning to listen to the points of view and perspectives of others without being dismissive and/or judgemental. It is when we genuinely care about the lives of others in a personal way, that the dividing walls of gender, race, religion, country of origin, politics, etc., come tumbling down.

I may have developed very strong convictions and beliefs in the religious and political arenas, but God help me if I neglect to LOVE another human being. Alas, this is where the rubber meets the road – loving others and exercising tolerance for individuals and whole societies that differ from our own.

There are many views of love and an equal amount of opinions on the subject. The love that I am referring to is something I am still working on – a work in progress, so to speak.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

Recently, I read an excellent article, an opinion piece by Fareed Zakaria, published on CNN in June of 2016. Fareed could rightfully be considered as a moderate, who attempts to correctly differentiate between Islamic terrorists and ordinary Muslim people. Fareed, in discussing the current conflicts, asks the question:

How can we bring an end to this?

And then provides a succinct answer:

There’s really only one way: Help the majority of Muslims fight extremists, reform their faith, and modernize their societies. In doing so, we should listen to those on the front lines, many of whom are fighting and dying in the struggle against jihadis. The hundreds of Muslim reformers I’ve spoken to say their task is made much harder when Western politicians and pundits condemn Islam entirely, demean their faith, and speak of all Muslims as backward and suspect.

I tend to agree with him. Islam is not a stagnant belief system any more than Judaism and Christianity. Muslims around the world do want to reform their faith and modernize their societies. When one takes exception with Islamic terrorism, and works towards the peaceful coexistence of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in society, they are moving in the right direction. We may not concur on various elements of our respective faiths, but we can live in peace and mutual prosperity, demonstrating tolerance, respect, and love towards each other.

Utopianism you say? I know…I get a lot of flak from friends and foes alike when I publicly espouse the ideals of freedom of religion and conscience in society. Yes, I lean towards being an idealist who expects great things, not only in myself, but in others also. I hold on to the biblical concept that “we are our brothers keeper” wholeheartedly, and try to extend the same grace towards those outside of my own inner circle.

I am also a realist and truly understand, from my own life experience, how difficult it is for even like-minded people to mesh together in a continual peaceful coexistence. Nevertheless, if the Jewish and Muslim people of the Middle East could peacefully coexist for hundreds of years (before the tragic wars of modern times), there is hope for North American cultural, religious, and political plurality.

Fareed Zakaria said it best:

But if America is about anything, it is the idea that people should be judged as individuals with individual liberties and rights.

I agree with his sentiments. If that makes me a Liberal, so be it.

The Willow Tree: Part Two

The Willow Tree:Part Two on Vimeo.

Without a doubt there is no shortage of images, video, and stories on social media espousing the extraordinary and the mundane. For me, life is about the simple things that combine and/or synchronize together into the complexity of life.

As a conservationist, I have always been fascinated by our natural environment and silviculture in particular. Our forest resources, whether natural or in a horticultural sense (i.e. the willow tree in my back yard), are renewable. If we treat our environment with respect and care, each new generation of our respective families, not to mention greater society, will benefit greatly.

The large willow tree in my backyard was cut down because the trunk had split, probably due to old age, and the willow tree was threatening to come down on the roof of our house, or perhaps the fence between us and our neighbours. It is conceivable that the majestic tree could have lived for another decade, but the risk of the perpetually strong prairie wind blowing it over was no longer acceptable.

According to one of the team members of the company that we hired, the wood chips will be recycled as ground cover for new trees and shrubs in private and perhaps public areas in the city. The useable firewood will likely be donated to someone in need.

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Motorized and hydraulic stump grinder in action.

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Butterflies are free to fly…

 

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Children understand the delicateness of freedom. Photographed in the river valley near Hamilton, Montana. © 2017 All rights reserved.

Sweet freedom whispered in my ear
You’re a butterfly
And butterflies are free to fly
Fly away, high away, bye bye

Written by Bernie Taupin & Elton John

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Happy are the PeaceMakers

“…evangelicals have more in common with conservative Roman Catholics than they do with liberal Protestants.”
 
As one who is culturally most comfortable amongst Catholics and yet holds to many evangelical doctrines or beliefs, I must admit that my choices and worldview are a bit of an enigma. I have invested the better part of my life walking that thin line between these two sociocultural and religious groups in order to bring peace and focus on that which unites us rather than divides. This has often put me at odds with the hard right or left thinking of both groups, yet I have remained true to my sense of calling to be a peacemaker and mediator, not only between these two diverse Christian groups, but between a predominantly secular humanist Canadian society and Christianity.
 
True peace can only be achieved on the basis of truth and not falsehood, exemplified by tolerance and respect for others who have been created in the moral image or likeness of God.
Tolerance and respect are ideals, that if we are truly honest, are ideals that we all falter or fail at from time to time. But, we should never give up in our pursuit of these noble ideals.
 
God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9 NLT