Saturday, July 21, 2012

Our Culture of Violence

During my childhood in Shawnee, Oklahoma, an early Saturday afternoon movie was the norm.  Several of us young guys from the neighborhood would go to the Hornbeck Theater and watch a cowboy movie.  The Hornbeck played cowboy movies for kids our age and only early Saturday afternoon.  I think the movie cost me (well, Dad) a dime.  Those western movies featured our heroes: Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Arthur, Roy Rogers, Red Ridder, Lone Ranger, etc.  These were the good guys who always got the bank robbers.  After the movie we would run home, got our play guns, holsters and cowboy hats then we acted out whatever we had been watching.  It was great fun as we played cowboys all over the neighborhood.  I recall those experiences as I watched and read about the horror that happened in Aurora, Colorado, where a young man killed and wounded so many in a theater showing the premiere of the Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises.  What we watch or put into our minds and imaginations, can too easily become reality.  We tend to act out what we watch.  There is too much violence, i.e., shooting, rape, hitting, porn, cursing, war, torture, etc. in our culture and it is readily available for our imaginations via television, movies, Internet, songs, etc.  When we put violence into our minds then violence is more easily acted out.  When we watch or listen to violence our conscience becomes numb and eventually we are no longer even aware of its impact on our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, actions, etc.  I pray for the victims in Aurora, Colorado.  I also pray for the daily victims of our culture of violence who probably don't even realize that we are also victims.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Rains and Advice

The rains have arrived! They came about 4 o'clock this Sunday afternoon and the temperature dropped quickly from 101 to 87. We've been in a drought and heat wave for the past week or so. My neighbor across the street is putting on a new metal roof and when the rains came he didn't stop working, just yelled, "This is wonderful." Another neighbor decided to go for his walk in the rain and Judy has moved to the front porch. You might think we've gone nuts enjoying the rain and cooler weather.  Tomorrow our friend and financial planner will go with me to see my brother's Attorney. Bobby's Attorney is a lady who specializes in special needs. Bobby's Special Needs Trust needs to have some changes. I'm pleased there are people who know how to write Trust documents, understand the details of the law for special needs folks and financial planners who know how to handle some Trust money so that Bobby continues to be eligible for help. These two friends are like the rain and cool weather--they make a big difference. There have been too many times when I tried to handle things on my own without professional advise. I tried to do the best I know, which too often turned out to be not the best. That independent spirit, which might also be pride, can be like our hot, dry weather--not much grows except frustrations. It is wisdom to know when to ask for help. "...wisdom is found in those who take advice" (Proverbs 13:10b, NIV.)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Grandma's floor lamp

Grandma Landon loved to read.  After the work was done on the farm and in the house, she would read.  Her favorite was the Bible, but after that she loved western novels, especially Louis L'Amour.  When their time came, Grandma and Grandpa moved willingly into a nursing home operated by Mrs. Duck.  Grandma told Dad that their room light wasn't good for her eyes when she read.  Dad purchased a floor lamp that had a curved arm that enabled the light to be adjusted so that it was just over her shoulder.  When my granndparents died, that floor lamp went to my parents home.  After Mom died and Dad moved in with us, that lamp came with him.  When Dad passed away in 1997, I cleaned up and painted that lamp.  It now sits at the end of our small counch in the computer room.  Whenever I'm doing a lot of reading, I like to sit under that old floor lamp of Grandma's.

Legalized self-interest takes a hit

This week the Supreme Court, by a surprise majority, upheld the major tenants of "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."  This is a wonderful name for a piece of legislation which has unfortunately been labeled, Obamacare.  I'm very pleased with the Supreme Court's decision.  Like many citizens, I've been displeased with all of the stalemating happening in our legislative branches of government. While reading Trevor Hudson's book, Signposts of Spirituality and I saw the small phrase "legalized self interest."  As soon as I saw that phrase I thought that describes many situations but certainly my critique of present-day government.  The leaders in government are working hard to take care of themselves and their supporters and that is legalized self-interest.  I'm grateful that The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed the Supreme Court assessment.  With the new law, my health care sysstem will probably change and I may have to pay a higher premimun.  Nevertheless, it is good because it is a law based on morality rather than self interest.  In my judgement based on the teachings of Jesus, quality health care for all the citizens of our nation is a moral issue.  Legalized self-interest has taken a hit.