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Defining a Hero

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A while back I wrote Defining a Monster (click here for link to post), this is my follow up:

My 5 year-old nephew runs into the room slamming his fists to the ground, pretending as though he were the star of an action packed blockbuster. Our masked vigilante valiantly fighting the evils of the world that’s located inside his vivid imagination with his staggering height and built muscles, which also only exist in his vivid imagination. He’s still at the age where he thinks that finishing off his potatoes will bring instant results to his muscle mass. I remember being little and constantly thinking of stories in my head, I look at him and just think of the wheels that must be turning. The momentary bravery it takes to fight the elusive “bad guy” that he’s created, and then the innocence of the hero that suddenly needs milk with his brownie and pizza.

As we entered the new year, I noticed a lack of excitement that normally accompanies the determination that somehow gets harpooned into our souls when the clock strikes midnight. It was as if we spent all of 2013 sailing closer and closer to Cape Horn, and as we stood on the ship deck counting down the minutes to midnight we contemplated the dangers of the waters soon to be traveled. Instead of the ball dropping in time square, we saw the high winds, the sharp rocks, the daunting icebergs; all of the dangers ahead would surely find us to be inexperienced sailors in well over our head, and they would undoubtedly take advantage at every possible turn. I don’t think it’s a secret, 2014 is not a number known for its coming joys for America.

Since the new year we have faced insurance difficulties, as well as an updated projection from the CBO for what we should expect for future full-time job loss due to the ACA. The expected numbers more than doubled, and the part time epidemic is set to take hold due to insurance regulations.  Additionally, yet another poor job report was released last week that seems to prove the pessimistic economists to be prophets. I’ll definitely be talking about some of those issues in the coming posts, but today I wanted to do something different.

I am not always the most delicate in my deliverance of opinion. I find the truth to be best when it’s laid out bare; admittedly, concerns over the brittleness of eggshells rarely infiltrate my mind. Reason is of the utmost importance to me, to a fault I might add. There’s no denying that God has His hands full with me and my unbridled skepticism, I surely earn my place on the cross daily. Have you ever played 20 questions with a 5 year old? Now imagine your patience level by question 50. Now tack on a couple million questions and you might have a feeling for what God endures from this daughter of His.

Issues & debates are puzzles, puzzles need to be solved. Period. I have to shut that part of me down sometimes, followed by walking away due to the fact that shutting that part down is normally not a process I’m willing to perform twice. My tolerance level for discursiveness is not what one would note as “desirable“, for me it’s like taking the organized puzzle pieces and throwing them on the ground in an attempt to complete the puzzle. It doesn’t make sense. More so, I find that we are far too delicate in matters that call for unabashed truth, and often brash in matters that call for delicacy. It’s the human condition colliding with Christianity that I wrote about in my last post. So while some may charge me with being too critical of the Christian, “my own kind”, I’ve always been more apt to lean on the side of logic and ignore the social norms of Sunday night potluck positivity.

Growing up I loved things that glowed in the dark; stars on a ceiling, secret notes on black paper, etc. (Clearly I was meant to be a spy.) But I always remember those things being so dull when all of the lights were on. You couldn’t see them or admire their contributions to the dark in a fully lit room. We used to run and find a room that had no windows, the darker the better; every step into the darkness made the secret words on black paper easier to read, every bit of sun that disappeared made the stars brighter. Some may accuse me of dwelling on the negative, or obsessing with the world. That’s their opinion. I don’t dwell on the negative, I just care deeply about those swallowed up by the negative. I’m not obsessed with the world, I simply hurt for those in its grasps. And sometimes, I turn off all the lights and look in the darkness for that glimmer of light that refused to buckle in to the black. My admiration for those glimmers of light and how Christ used them outweigh any assumptions of my obsessions with the repugnance of the world in my mind. To be honest, I am filled with hope, overflowing with gratitude for my Savior, and breathlessly amazed at how He moves in this world. As the song goes, I pray that my heart continues to break for what breaks His.

SO, in honor of the approaching sharp rocks, I couldn’t think of anything more fitting than to write about a few men that saw danger and met it with heroic determination. In a world where Iron Man is idolized and Thor is worshiped, sometimes the most heroic of men go unnoticed. Right now I’m content with my nephew’s infatuation with Captain America and his powerful shield that brings down the evil that stalks the world, but someday I hope his adoration and interests are held by men who didn’t need a shield; men with hearts that shook the world more than The Hulk’s mighty fists ever could. The logic that appealed to the natural instinct of self-preservation in these men was trumped by the logic of human worth and hope, which is itself an act that defies the idea of a Godless world and speaks to the greatest form of proof for Him that we can experience daily. That is why sometimes it’s a good thing to acknowledge the dark.

We do not know what a Jew is, we know only men.” – Words spoken by Andre Trocme when asked by the Nazis to produce a list of Jews. Andre lived in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, France during the Holocaust. He, along with his wife, were responsible for helping what is believed to be over 4000 Jewish refugees find homes in his city. He, as the “spiritual leader”, encouraged the townspeople to do the work of God. He continued to tell his followers that when the Nazis came and took him away – for his refusal to provide a list – that they were to continue in the effort to save as many as they could. He woke up every morning to the realization that his life could end, or that he would be imprisoned, and everyday his ethical convictions drove him to continue. Thankfully, he survived the war and passed away in 1971.

Giovanni Palatucci was an Italian Police Official and chief of the Foreigners’ Office. He was put in charge of the Adriatic seaport of Fiume (Croatia). In 1938 the anti-Jewish laws were put into place, and he disobeyed said laws. He forged travel papers for hundreds of Jews so that they could flee persecution. In 1943 the government fell and was occupied by the Nazis. He was ordered to arrest the Jews and have them deported to concentration camps. Simply defying orders would have led to his termination and be of no help to the Jews, so he devised and executed a plan to have over 5000 Jews sent to a refugee camp that was managed by his uncle. He then destroyed records of all the refugees, and they were saved from the imminent doom that would have met them in Nazi concentration camps. He died at the age of 35 after being arrested by the Gestapo and sent to a concentration camp for his actions. He knew what his actions would cost him if exposed, and yet he charged ahead with a bravery that would put us all to shame.

Chiune Sugihara was a Japanese Diplomat. As vice-consul for a Japanese consulate in Lithuania, he kept his country updated on the actions of both the Nazis, and the Soviet troops. Once the Nazi invasion of Lithuania began, the Jews were scrambling for ways to escape the Nazis that were rounding them up like cattle. It is unknown how many Jews Chiune saved, some speculate that it was 5000, others believe a more accurate number to be 10,000. He was issuing visas to anyone that came to him, writing them for 18 hours a day, violating direct orders in the name of human compassion. Even while he was en route to the train station after being reassigned, he was handwriting visas and throwing them out the car window for desperate Jews. Many of the passports in the crowd were still unstamped when he boarded the train, so he threw his official stamp into the crowd for them to use. Hence why the number of Jews he saved is impossible to even try to calculate.

“I cannot allow these people to die, people who have come to me for help with death staring them in the eyes. Whatever punishment may be imposed on me, I know I should follow my conscience.” – Chiune Sugihara

Chiune Sugihara was finally recognized in 1985 for his heroic rescue of so many Jews. He passed away in 1986.

Does it not concern anyone else that these men disobeyed direct orders, put their lives on the line, one actually losing his life, and yet we don’t speak out about issues because we don’t want to be “divisive” with our dinner party friends? Does that not get to anyone else? Slavery, persecution, etc. are taking place all over the world, and who we vote for decides if we’re going to continue financially supporting those acts. You don’t even have to hide persecuted individuals in your home and disobey the laws of your country, you just have to say the truth! You just have to speak! Educate! Stand up for what is right!

In the next year many families will face financial turmoil. They’ll take on an insurance payment that is equal to, or possibly exceeds, the cost of a mortgage payment. They’ll cut, scrimp, and will no longer save. Is being low on money the worst thing to happen to a person? FAR from it. But this is just the beginning. Families will not be able to afford their deductibles, people will go without healthcare. Healthcare will continue to decline as it becomes less care and more of a conveyor belt health service. People will become numbers, elderly will be declined the care they desperately need. Businesses will start preparing for the ACA, jobs will be cut, unemployment compensation will be insufficient. Families will lose their homes or get creative in their living situations. These are just the facts that we have to step back and recognize them for what they are.

How many of us have heard (or said), “God is in control, I’m not going to concern myself with worldly issues.”?? I know I have heard it PLENTY of times.

The problem: The bible is full of action against evil.

God is in control, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a responsibility to be a voice for the voiceless. As I said earlier about my need for rationality, I look at the world and ponder the theory that silence from Christians is what’s needed, but I find that ideal lacking in any evidence that would substantiate its viability. I’m not asking you to spend this year hiding Jewish refugees in your walls, I’m just asking you to have conversations, to try and educate those around you. Speak the truth. If you don’t know what to speak of, then research the issues plaguing this nation, connect with those who know about those issues and ask questions so that YOU can spread the word. What our government is doing to healthcare has happened elsewhere. What our government is doing to guns has happened elsewhere. What our government is doing with police power has happened elsewhere.

All of those attempts to “reduce crime”, “increase affordable healthcare”, and “make the streets safer” don’t work. In all actuality, those supposed “efforts” make things far more dangerous, careless, and elitist. If you pointed to a wolf and said “that’s a sheep, trust me!”, I still wouldn’t approach the “sheep” because common sense says that it will kill me. Pointing to the ACA and saying that it’s affordable healthcare doesn’t make it affordable, nor does it guarantee that my family will receive healthcare; as a matter of fact, it does the opposite for many hard working families.

Prepare yourself for the midterm elections, learn about your candidates. Don’t just research their opinion on one topic that will benefit your wallet, research what they stand for and how it will affect the rest of the world. The powerful governments “elsewhere” were strengthened by a populous that only cared about themselves, let’s not be that populous. I’m going to make a good number of blog posts about some of the candidates. If you live in a state and would like specific information on candidates, please message us.

Take a moment to thank God for men like Trocme, Palatucci, and Sugihara. Our world can be a dim place, it can be filled with overwhelming hatred and a callousness that makes us weep for the innocent lives that become trapped within its grip for reasons unanswered. But there are heroes that forge through the darkness regardless of what lies wait in the shadows, those men exist in our world today as well. Would you have the fortitude to be one of them?

Enemy-occupied territory – that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign in sabotage.” – C.S. Lewis

-  MB

Hero

Defending Phil…Is it our fault?

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This weekend Phil Robertson made comments that don’t exactly line up with the current liberal narrative taking over our country like a hybrid form of the Black Plague. The comments that he made, while nonviolent, still lead to his immediate suspension from the #1 family friendly show in America, Duck Dynasty. Unfortunately while I understand the 1st Amendment debate, I also understand the 1st Amendment and realize that this isn’t much of a 1st Amendment problem. The overpowering government didn’t silence him, the overpowering media did; in both cases, their overpowering condition is our fault.

As a Constitution loving individual, while supporting Phil, I also have to support the rights of A&E to employ whom they wish to employ. So, I respect the rights of A&E and their ability to make whatever choices they want for their channel, even if it’s the suicide of the network, I stand in amazement over their silencing of a man who was simply asked his opinion and gave it. But then I remember how much of this is our fault.

Why, you may ask? Well, let me explain in story first…

So, every day when Amy gets to work, Bob slaps her as his morning greeting. For years Amy gets so accustomed to the routine of getting slapped that she expects it every day upon arriving at her work. She’s even started greeting Bob, “Good morning, Bob!” she states while she exposes her face in expectation of being backhanded. “Good morning, Amy!”, he kindly says while he leaves an imprint on her face. One day Amy shows up to work and Bob decides to punch her in the face, “HOW DARE YOU!”, declares Amy! Bob stands in shock at the surprise on Amy’s face. Months go by and Bob continues to coldcock Amy in the face during their morning exchange, over time Amy starts getting accustomed to his punching as well.

Well, Christian America, you’ve been punched.

In the groin.

But even worse, you’ve been excited and welcoming the slaps for years. You see, we’ve allowed the entertainment industry to take over our lives, manipulate us, depreciate us, devalue our morals, and dictate our Children’s beliefs. They didn’t sneak into our home when we weren’t there, we invited them, served them tea, introduced them to the family pet, did a little Karaoke… But as long as we post a “Keep Christ in Christmas!!” picture on our Facebook page at some point in the month of December, all of that is forgotten. You see, while A&E has the right to terminate employment with anyone they choose, Americans have the right to not support both A&E and those that advertise on their channel. While this isn’t a 1st Amendment issue, it should be a moral issue worthy of taking action.

Yes…I know that many of the politicians I support are calling this a freedom of speech issue, I personally don’t see it. But then again, that’s the beauty of this country, I don’t have to agree with ANYONE, and those reading this certainly don’t have to agree with me on that point. 

More than likely, when you’re not fighting the good fight for Phil on a Wednesday night, you are watching a show that is consistently throwing your morals on the ground, stomping on them, butchering them, burning them, dousing the ashes in acid, and then burying what’s left in a shallow grave now located underneath a 5000 pound concrete Buddha.

But it’s funny, right? So it totally makes it worth it, right?

What if I told you that the increased amount of sexual content in shows, movies and music is a way for the entertainment industry to slowly manipulate you into thinking that multiple partners is completely natural and acceptable? What if I told you that your continued viewership of such programs prove that they’ve been successful?! What if I told you that they have admitted to this?!?!

What if the government pays to get their anti-gun, pro-gay marriage, pro-meaningless sex, anti-religious rhetoric in shows because it actually works at whittling away at your sensibilities?

“Say wha?!

My Grandma serves to be quite a significant filter for entertainment. I used to laugh and chuckle at the shocked look on her face when she saw something ignorant, perverted or classless…now I envy it. But you see, once again, we’ve let them into our homes and let them change our perception of how we view quality entertainment. If you’re reading this and thinking “what a prude!”, it’s just another form of proof that what they have been slowly trying to do in our country has been successful.

So, like I stated above, this is not a free speech issue, contrary to popular belief; it’s a moral issue. See, nobody stopped Phil from saying his piece, and technically A&E didn’t silence him, they became unaffiliated with him. Sure, we could make this into a free speech issue, or we could accept it for what it is; a punch in the face that will be continued daily until finally we are used to it. We’ll sit down tonight and watch Scandal (ABC, who is part owner of A&E) while we vent on our phones about Phil. Why? Because the object of our need for necessary entertainment is much too great to sacrifice on the altar of common sense and standing up for what we would sorta, kinda, almost feel passionately about if it wasn’t for that new season of The Bachelorette.

Face it, we have the follow through of…something that doesn’t have very good follow through. We have moments of boldness, but then they die. And not slowly, no, not like “hey, you’ve got 6 months to live”, no, our boldness dies while our spine is yelling “STOP PLAYING ON THE TRACKS! WATCH OUT FOR THAT TRAI…never mind.

“I said “MERRY CHRISTMAS”, ya…I went there”, said with the tone of an egotistical new gang member that just completed his final initiation ritual for the Crips. Yet in June we’ll be saying “I try to stay away from politics, render unto Caesar or something, am I right?”… How can we expect to gain any substantial ground if our moral compass has the stability of that family member you “forgot” to invite to Christmas when they’re off their meds?

The truth – the whole ugly nasty truth – is that we have created this. We are a Christian nation that no longer stands up for ANYTHING. And it’s not even that we have a low attention span, it’s that we are ready and willing to carry the Cross until it gets heavy from the weight of previews for next week’s ground breaking episode of Revenge, or the weight of not causing waves with friends who like to share pictures of their dinner on Pinterest. The “Christian Nation” has become about as deep as a mud puddle with little to no moral outcry.  Seriously, people, it’s time to stand for something!

Us: “I once shared a picture of you on Facebook that said I followed you.” *tips head in pride, widens eyes ready to absorb the overwhelming approval*

Jesus: “Oh! Well then, that changes everything.”

No.

No it doesn’t.

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”

Oh yes, yep, that makes more sense.

Trust me, I’ve been there. Trying to weed the garden, figure out what glorifies Him. It’s difficult, and it’s an ongoing process. But if you want to change the world, if you want to change the morals, it starts by taking up the challenge and changing yourself to be more like Him.

To end, I sincerely pray that those “fed up” actually mean it, and that something as simplistic and mindless as a TV show – one that’s probably spewing out your favorite propaganda anyway – isn’t enough to destabilize your momentary steel spine. Rebuild and strengthen your moral code, start recognizing the propaganda on TV for what it is. That said, don’t boycott shows just to punish them, boycott the advertisers to do that, boycott the shows because you’re tired of them treating you like mindless drones that need thought guidance. And as I say in multiple other blog posts…

PICK UP A BOOK! (someday I’m going to have this tattooed on my forehead)

Finally, I conclude this blog post with one cute duck.

Image

Women, A National Treasure

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I took some time and prayed about what I would say in this blog post. I know that if I were to let loose on this subject I wouldn’t project someone who is approaching this in a calm manner, whatsoever! I am revolted over the war on woman propaganda that is floating in politics…I have SO many things to say, and will try my best to limit this blog post to a tolerable read.

Right now is the time of year that my family and I are all extremely busy with a business that picks up in the fall and during the Holidays. But in this process I am slowly making my way through what has so far been a wonderful book that was written by Chris Skates titled “Going Green”. I will post more about the book once I am finished…But I would like to post an excerpt that I thought of throughout the day today.

“See, the trouble with young ladies like you these days is you forgot what you are. Just like what I just called you. You’re a lady. Women today haven’t been brought up respected enough to remember they’re ladies.”

After explaining the downward spiral that our society has had on women, and the disrespect for ourselves that comes with society, the character named Ashley then asks the question “So what were we meant to be?”, Walter answers by explaining that she is a “treasure“.

Treasure, what a description. My friends have always told me that I hold men to a higher standard. I don’t find it cute, nor funny if a man makes a crude remark. I expect them to open the door. I expect them to respect me, and to recognize the respect I have for myself. Not as self loving, selfish, or self awarding…But because I AM a daughter of Christ, I have a dedication to my Faith that beckons me to understand that who I am is His creation, and I need to respect His creation.

We are told that we are equal. “Equal. Equal. Equal.” It’s what the media repeats, desensitizing us to what’s ACTUALLY happening. Yes, we have made ourselves equal, men treat us like they would their buddies…Sometimes less, because we DEMAND that we be treated the same, or like I said…less.

I don’t deserve the same as his buddies, I am a treasure…

I don’t deserve to be a reusable tool to fulfill his personal needs and then to be thrown away, I am a treasure…

I deserve to be treated with gentleness, with compassion, with respect…Like a treasure…

Men have lost respect in us because we have lost respect in ourselves. That in no way lets men off the hook, but I am tired of us crying over the death of Chivalry while we as women stand over Chivalry with blood stained hands holding a knife.

Michael Moore came out today saying, in essence, that ALL republicans hate the freedom of women. WOW. The hypocrisy is astounding. I have very liberal friends who think so little of themselves that they have given themselves out like a temporary fix for multiple men. They walk away with a broken heart and a little bit less of who they were every time. If I asked them “Do you feel treasured?” I know what the answer would be. Maybe in the arms of men who use them they feel momentary self worth, but when he walks away the feelings left cannot be described as “treasured”.

We turn on the TV and see Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez…etc. They preach on raising your glass and being the object of men. Very…individual? I think not. I meet women daily who are content to being exactly what these women encourage other women to be…objects.

The Pro-Choice supporters try to brainwash us into believing that being Pro-Life is anti women? What? If life begins in the womb, and we respect that life it has NOTHING to do with “hating women”, or a “war on women”…I take great offense by this. Their supporters even admit to the child being a life. Take Naomi Wolf, a feminist and Pro-Choice advocate…

“Clinging to a rhetoric about abortion in which there is no life and no death, we entangle our beliefs in a series of self-delusions, fibs and evasions. And we risk becoming precisely what our critics charge us with being: Callous, selfish, and casually destructive men and women who share a cheapened view of human life….We need to contextualize the fight to defend abortion rights within a moral framework that admits that the death of a fetus is a real death.”

So as women who respect ourselves, and in turn respect our bodies, and ALSO respect life, we are told we hate ourselves? I know some individuals are very uncomfortable with the comparison between abortion and the holocaust. Well, the only comparison that I will make today is on the worth of a fellow human. By Naomi’s own admission, it is a life, a human life…So then we are allowed to qualify one life’s rights to be more deserving than another? We ourselves make the choice to remove the most basic rights of a person for our own comfort? Sound familiar? Comparison validated?

Society tells men that because they don’t have ovaries they shouldn’t be involved in the abortion debate. I tell the men I know that they belong on the front lines. We were designed to be treasures, our children are treasures, men were designed to protect treasures. Men who stand up for life are men that realize their role, they don’t let the world define them, knock them down, and demoralize them out of the role God placed them in. Actually, that is the first question I ask most men I meet.

I could go on for HOURS, soon I will make a post on abortion alone…The higher suicide rates, attempted suicides, women’s emotional and physical health, the lies of Planned Parenthood concerning women‘s health…etc. The roll Planned Parenthood has played in sexual abuse, damaging the self respect of women across the US…etc. But for now, I will get back to the point of this post.

How is it degrading for women to support men who have the calling to protect women and their offspring? How is it degrading for women to respect innocent life? How is it degrading for women and men to find women as treasures, valued enough to protect?

Akin made a terrible statement, I agree. But while celebrities like Sandra Bernhard, Whoopi Goldberg, and Michael Moore condemn the ENTIRE right side of the aisle for his remarks, they are currently supporting a President who condones the actions of the Muslim Brotherhood against women. A group that treats women as less than dogs.

When did they speak out for the women raped at the occupy protests? Their bleeding hearts are only under the condition that they have the opportunity to ridicule those of us who TRULY do respect women in an attempt to manipulate you into believing what they are preaching. They find us weak. Where are they speaking out for the young girls who continue to be sexually abused while Planned Parenthood hides the deeds of their offenders? Womens rights? Where are their rights? Where are the rights for the baby girls that Naomi Wolf admits to being living human beings?

I will end this blog post with the following…

Women, I pray that we return to respecting ourselves. Be an ACTUAL individual, not the mindless drones that our main stream media would have you believe you should be. Don’t let women like Sandra Fluke try to manipulate you and speak on your behalf. Don’t let President Obama take advantage of you and treat you like a weak minded woman who can’t find her own truths. You are a treasure. You are an individual. Believe it. Live it.

Men, To those of you that stand for life…I commend you! For those of you who treat women with the dignity and respect that they deserve…I commend you! You were designed to protect the weak. You belong on the front lines of these battles! I pray that you encourage other men to do the same… We need you!

Christ told men to love women as He loves the church, as Ravi Zacharias says, this is the greatest compliment he paid to women…That women are as valuable to men as humanity is to God! When we look at Christ and the respect he had for women it is astounding. Let yourselves be treasured.

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” Proverbs 31.10

MB