Similar Outcome With A Different View . . . I Thought We Were Smarter Than This.

Cartoon credited to Pinterest.com. This image is being used for Criticism, Education and/or Research. I derive no financial gain or benefit by from this image.

When I wore a younger man’s clothes I was fascinated with the workings of the world around me. I looked for reasons and explanations for almost everything. I confess that I am a cause and effect guy. Not much that happens happens by co-incidence for me.

Last week we needed to attend a funeral along with the services and viewings that are a part of that. As with most funerals there are some particular traditions to observe and so on. What I came away with was a recognition of how much many mainstream religions have given up concerning the customs and the passion they once demonstrated supporting their individual religious choices. I am not trying to be critical or judgemental but close scrutiny does help to satisfy my thoughts and understandings of why we, as a community of human beings, have struggled with lifestyle changes and how we have exchanged a belief in a higher power for the pursuit of money. Money has become the new ‘God’ for many. In the summer on my way to the church of my choosing I see the Beer Store parking lot full of cars and playgrounds filled with parents and kids practicing baseball or soccer or football. This would be at 9:30 in the morning and I wonder why they stopped going to church or how church became a non-consideration.

As I am want to do I pick my spots and ask folks how come they don’t go to church anymore. Almost to a person, they said they don’t have to go to church to believe in God. I, being me, don’t or can’t let that answer stand so I would plod on. Eventually most people said they had lost faith in the church-that churches were not safe places to be anymore either spiritually or physically. Many added that churches had become more focused on money and bricks and mortar than on providing guidance. In a word–that they were no longer relevant. Since fewer parents attend church, kids have virtually no idea of the institution and the role it can play in the safety, stability and balance of the community they live in.

I see a strong connection between the disconnect from church and street violence, the growing disregard for acceptance of one another as free human beings and everytime we give up or are asked to give away another of our religious tenets we move further away from equality with all others.  Not preaching here-just sharing observations.

Churches have done a TERRIBLE job, in my view, of dealing with controversy and adversity. What is happening now (the growing number of churches that are closing shop) is absolutely a crisis of their own making. But what is left is a vast hole in the spiritual center of our Christian based humanity-a safety net of sorts. The village church was, if no other place existed, a place of safety, warmth, companionship and trust. Not so much anymore.

If we look at politics and political parties we see the same thing has happened there. Fewer people are voting, many have just given up the idea of experiencing any sort of responsive and accountable government. That lets people like Donald Trump gain an almost impenetrable grip on the power buttons and how we conduct ourselves in the world. The current fiasco south of us is almost ‘coven’ like in terms of how it goes about its business. The current system has all but destroyed any public faith in the institution of government with the child like tantrums of a very sick man. He could easily take us to the brink of destruction either internally or externally. Either way his behaviour has been anything but presidential. The Republican Party itself should be ashamed of what they have allowed to happen. The belief that many around the world had in the US as a government of some reason and balance is evaporating at an alarming rate. What has happened to the south of us has managed to instill fear and despair in the hearts and souls of the majority and there now is a disarming trend of apathy among those who deserve much better. But more importantly there is now a hole in the center of the citizenry that is growing by the day. Everyday there is a fiasco of some kind that further threatens the stability and the beliefs that some still held that somehow this nightmare would end-soon. That hope is fading quickly along with hope.

Sounding familiar? What’s next is dealing with the blindness of those who believe that the next generation is somehow going to benefit by the stubbornness of our educational institutions. Said institutions refuse to acknowledge that our children are being left behind when it comes to how and what our children are learning, and how irrelevant much of what passes for public education really is. They will not be competitive or successful in a global marketplace under the current system.

ISIS and all the other radical groups who would see the ‘free’ world perish wont have to do much to be victorious in the current struggle for power. Actually if they just step aside for now and wait us out we are well on our way to imploding.

And I thought we were smarter than this.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best and thanks for stopping by, Jim

Comments welcome at:  jim.lifechoice@gmai.com  OR  jimcloughley.com

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I’m Just Sayin’ . . .

Blue Eye Perspective

(Photographer Unknown To Me)

People either love getting involved in a debate/discussion about the need to separate the business of the church from the business of the state or they try to stay clear of the topic altogether. When I listen in on discussions that others are having I am struck by the passion that many bring to the table. Usually the conversations swing around to represent each others’ personal philosophy. It gets personal. Questions get asked: ‘Do you really consider yourself a ‘Christian’? What is a Christian anyway? What right does the church have to tell me what to do?’ Do you really believe that the church provides the best moral compass for us and our children? What about all the sexual abuse stuff that is happening in the church? Then someone responds by asking–‘Do you really think that our elected officials and government folks aren’t and haven’t been caught in scandals abusing sex trade workers, child porn rings, fraud, theft, stealing right out of the public purse? Whose better than who? Of course what does any of this have to do with anything connected to separation of church and state–absolutely nothing but this is how easily the topic gets diverted–it brings a great deal of passion and heat.

I have some thoughts and information that I can share:

–One very striking coincidence I have noticed since we have continued to limit the presence of ‘God, church and church teachings’ in our daily lives has been our general move toward becoming a more hedonistic society. The increases in the incidence of violence and the denial of others rights have become more than a cause for concern. I’m just sayin’ . . .

–Vatican City is likely one reason why the separation of church and state is a fallacy. VC (Vatican City) has never been separate and will never be separate from the political scene that is the world stage. There are 1.2 billion adherents connected to the Catholic Faith most of which would follow the direction of the church council regardless of what was being asked of them. These folks are spread world wide meaning that they are ingrained in the politics of small villages to huge cities around the globe. They hold political offices and are expected to adhere to political doctrines regardless of their religious convictions or affiliations.

–The Pope is, according to several dictionary explanations, a dictator. A dictatorship is often considered to be a ‘political’ description. BEFORE people come to burn my house down let me say that I am not anti-pope. One has to admire the man for all that he has done and for withstanding the stress of the office he holds. I’m certainly not suggesting, in any way, that he is other than the guy who runs the show for the ‘Church’. But by the true sense of the word he is the absolute ruler of the Faith and certainly of the Vatican itself. His word goes. He decides and creates policy–a very political thing to do.

–Remember–the Vatican–Vatican City (estimated population 900-1000 people)–is, for all intents and purposes, a walled state with it’s own security, intelligence and police force, it’s own political structure, and it’s own work force where, by the way, only Catholics are allowed to work. That smacks a bit of discrimination to me although I understand why this is but none-the-less it is a political issue that has not been discussed or questioned. It is political by it’s very nature. The Vatican exists inside another city which is located in another country. VC has declared itself neutral when it comes to armed aggression as it did during the war. The Vatican explained that it declared itself as neutral, not to pick or defend a particular side or issue but rather to not offend any of its membership around the world–rather political as well.

–The Vatican has a seat at the United Nations, a pretty political group if I’m not mistaken, with all the privileges of a member state but it does not have a vote. It can’ however’ weigh in on political matters as can anyone else. By doing so they are still able to exert pressure or sway opinion.

–Regarding world politics the majority of world governing bodies have accepted and recognize the Vatican as an Independent State–a political designation.
–I can’t attest 100% to this next point, of course, but I wonder how many Vatican intermediaries have participated in sorting out world treaties or have been arbitrators in behind the scenes negotiations and even peace settlements??

–The UN has described the Vatican as an “Absolute Elective Monarchy” and the Pope as an “Absolute Monarch” the only such designation in Europe. He does possess TOTAL POWER considering Church and State issues.

There are other examples of when world issues blurred the lines between religious interests and political interests but I think that the Vatican and it’s ‘arrangement’ satisfies the assumption that there is no separation of Church and State that exists. Not really. Governments and churches have agreed that they will not ‘publicly’ spit in each others’ eye. Speaking of eyes the picture that I attached to this article represents the wary eye of churches and governments alike when paying attention to what and how each goes about doing their business. Let’s stop pretending that there is a line that defines where one stops and the other starts. According to history churches have been political beyond the 1300’s and they will continue to be involved in the politics of the world. I’m just sayin’ . . .

That’s how I see it, Anyways

All the best, Jim

As always please feel free to comment. You can send your comments to me at either: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com OR jamescloughley.com

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