Why I Don’t Have A Fish On My Car

en: Ichthus (fish, Christian symbol) in dark y...

en: Ichthus (fish, Christian symbol) in dark yellow; de: Ichthys (Fisch, christliches Symbol) in dunkelgelb (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t have a fish emblem on my car and probably never will. I have nothing against fish or what the Christian fish emblem represents nor am I judging or condemning anyone who does have one on their car. I am a Christian. I just don’t feel comfortable in representing my beliefs with a fish on my car. I don’t trust myself.

Just for reference, here is a brief summary of what the fish emblem represents. This symbol is called Ichthys or Ichthus from the Koine Greek word for fish.

According to tradition, ancient Christians, during their persecution by the Roman Empire in the first few centuries after Christ, used the fish symbol to mark meeting places and tombs, or to distinguish friends from foes.

According to one ancient story, when a Christian met a stranger in the road, the Christian sometimes drew one arc of the simple fish outline in the dirt. If the stranger drew the other arc, both believers knew they were in good company. Current bumper-stickers and business-card uses of the fish hearken back to this practice. —Christianity Today, Elesha Coffman, “Ask the Expert”

There is also a counter-fish emblem created to represent Darwinism.

Darwin fish

Darwin fish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since I don’t believe in Darwinism as it relates to Creation I will not have one of these emblems on my car either.

Maybe I am being too critical of myself or being too concerned about something that really doesn’t matter. Maybe not.

Paul says in I Corinthians 8:9, But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.”

He is talking here about not eating meat if it causes a brother or young Christian to stumble. At the time Jews thought the meat from many animals was unclean and forbidden. Even though there is nothing wrong with eating meat for Christians – our right – if doing so causes someone else to stumble on their own journey of faith because they believe this is wrong then we should have the maturity and respect to not eat meat in their presence.

If I cut someone off in traffic, don’t let them merge into traffic, or take “their” parking place and they see that fish on my car that is my witness to that person. All they likely know about me is I have a “Christian fish” emblem on my car so I must be one of “those Christians” then that supports some stereotype of what they believe Christians are, just ordinary hypocrites. I don’t want that to happen if I can avoid it. This can be applied to many different situations for Christians. Others that come to mind are drinking alcohol, attending R rated movies, and the words I choose to speak or write.

This is probably one of the few times I really do care what people think of me because as a Christian I am representing Christ to those whose path I cross. I do the best I can but am far from perfect. However those looking for a Christian to make a mistake, for some reason, want to hold others to a standard by which they are unwilling to measure themselves.

I know I am not responsible for anyone else’s thoughts or actions, only mine, but I don’t want to be the reason or excuse someone else uses for their thoughts or actions either if that can be avoided.

This principle can be applied to most any other group you could substitute here. When I worked for UPS one Christmas season they had a policy that employees could not wear a complete uniform home. We had to change our shirts before we left so we, as representatives of UPS, would not do something in that uniform that would disparage UPS.

It holds true for employees as well as employers and those in leadership positions, maybe even more so.

Knowing I am doing my best, with God’s help, to live as a Christian, helps me have peace of mind. That peace of mind helps me sleep well at night. However I do know I have and will continue to make mistakes in this journey called life. As long as my motives are pure I can forgive myself when I do make mistakes. I know God has already forgiven me.

If you don’t have that assurance and peace of mind yourself that is a choice you have made but one that can be changed today. Take a look here for 4 Steps to Peace With God. I promise you will not regret it and can be sleeping better tonight.

I pray that God will give me wisdom to know when to “not eat meat.”

Until next time…

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I Imagine NOT

Have you ever watched an episode of any of the various CSI or Law and Order shows on TV? If you haven’t I would be interested to know how you have avoided that. It seems like there is one on every network every night. There have been many to choose from, CSI, CSI New York, Law and Order (the original), Law and Oder SVU and CSI Miami are some that come to mind. I am sure there are or will be others. Which one really doesn’t matter. They all have the similar formats.

I have and do watch some of these. I watched CSI New York because I like Gary Sinese. I watched CSI Miami because I enjoyed the “dramedy” of David Caruso and that special moment when he removed his sunglasses and uttered those profound statements of the obvious.

What stands out to me is the imagination these guys that work in the crime labs possess. You can tell when the music track of the week starts we are about to see what they are thinking and learning from their lab work. They can re-enact the entire crime with a clarity and detail that is seen, well, only on TV or in the movies.

I have never really thought my imagination was one of my strongest qualities or talents. I suppose I do have one but I am a computer programmer so I deal with minute details of writing code or statements that tell a computer exactly what it must do in order to achieve the desired calculation, result, or output. I suppose that does require some level of imagination to imagine the desired result I am trying to achieve with the code I write. However, it doesn’t rise anywhere near the level of these CSI investigators.

I have always been in awe of and amazed of individuals that do possess such vivid and active imaginations. The people who create all of the attractions and rides at Disney Land and Walt Disney World are called Imagineers. They also amaze me with the things they come up with.

When we were building our house a couple of years ago I had the plans and visited the site almost every day to check on the progress, or lack thereof, but I still had trouble visualizing or imagining the finished product we live in today.

The difference in Imagineers and CSI actors is pretty obvious. On CSI they are “imagining” what a script told them to imagine. Actually, they are not imagining anything at all. We are just watching a video. I guess that would make the script writers the true creators of this imagination. The Imagineers at Disney are creating something new from a movie or concept and that requires true imagination.

I guess all I am really trying to say here is I have a lot of respect for those who do possess this type of imagination since I don’t possess it myself. I wish I did. You could call that imagination envy. I am an “imaginenvyer”. See, I can’t even imagine a good word there.

I am like Winnie The Pooh…Think…Think…Think…but nothing comes to mind.

I have trouble imagining what my next blog post is going to be about, one reason it has been so long since my last post.

I don’t have any profound meaning I expect anyone to extract from this post. Maybe you can imagine something. If you do, please let me know in the comments.

I guess I just wanted to let any of you out there who do possess the skill of imagination I respect what you are able to do an awful lot. If you have this talent and have never considered how lucky or blessed you are. Stop a minute and reflect on that. Not everyone can do what you do and some of us are envious. Be thankful.

Until next time…

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Size 13 Footprint

I received a Father’s Day gift this year from my son, created with “encouragement” from my wife. I have received many Father’s Day gifts over the years and I am sure many fathers have received a gift similar to the one I am writing about today.

However, I suspect few have received one in the same size as the one I received. You see, my son is 18 and has a size 13 foot.

Fathers Day Card_20140615

This gift marks a milestone for us. You see, this is our youngest child who is now away in college leaving us at home without children in the house for the first time in 27 years. We are quasi-empty-nesters. I say quasi because we do still have two children in college so they will be back pretty regularly until they finish college but they are gone now more than they are here and that will likely be a permanent condition.

We are now living in the second half of Proverbs 22:6, which says, “Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will stay on it.” TLB

For the most part, we are done with the first half of this verse. He is now older and free to make most day-to-day decisions on his own. We will now have to sit back and observe to see if we really did teach him to choose the right path.

I am as confident as one can be when looking into the future he will make wise decisions. Does that mean he will make wise decisions every time the first time? Of course not. That is how we learn the most and gain wisdom – from our mistakes and unwise decisions. As long as he keeps learning and not repeating the same mistakes then those experiences will just become learning opportunities. I do hope he can learn from our mistakes too so he doesn’t have to make the same ones we did.

Will we worry? Of course we will. If I answered that question any other way I would lose all credibility.

Will we pray? Absolutely! We will Pray without ceasing as we are exhorted to do in I Thessalonians 5:17. I think many parents really heed this exhortation when their children leave for college or move away. It is nothing new for us to pray for our children. The focus of the prayers just changes over time. I hope our praying will outweigh our worrying but I am sure the balance of those scales will move back and forth as we grow. We are still learning too.

Our prayer for all our children includes but also follows the more familiar Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths. 

Proverbs 3:7 says, “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”

This prayer will work in all situations for all of us.

Until next time…

Climate Change? Not so much

we-are-enterprise-logo-150x150I was looking at some of my previous posts on the topic of Enterprise and the Trust and Assumptions post from last September, nine months ago, stood out to me and I thought it would be worthwhile to revisit and see if any progress has been made in the current political climate in The City of Progress.

A lot has happened since last September. We have a new Superintendent of Schools and President of the School Board just beginning a new term next month. We also have a new city council president. They all have an opportunity to act on many of the suggestions mentioned in Trust and Assumptions. I am not presumptuous enough to believe they have to get their ideas here. They are just common sense suggestions.

I still believe they would help to build trust between the community and those serving as leaders on the school board and city council and minimize assumptions and rumors. The choice as it did nine months ago will be made by action or inaction by the school board, superintendent, city council and mayor. My hope is they will make a different choice than has been made so far.

Less Information

I did not think it possible but the amount of information we receive at school board meetings has actually decreased. It is practically non-existent and encourages assumptions and rumors to be created and perpetuated. That is partially due to the gag order put on community input by the interim superintendent last year but that is not the only reason. There is just no openness or “transparency”, an overused word lately, in their actions.  To quote Mrs. Jones from last June, “There are some things you just don’t know.” I agree and that will continue unless the board shares openly what can be shared with the public.

The individual board member saying call me or come talk to me is disingenuous at best. If there is information to share, share it at the board meetings with the people who are there to learn what is going on. That will get the same version of information to many more people and save your time as well.

Of the two meetings the city council does provide more background information but sometimes it seems they are in a race to get done by 6:15. There is room for improvement.

If continuing and ever-growing assumptions and rumors are their goal then all they have to do is maintain the status quo. If those in leadership positions want to effect change in the current climate of distrust and skepticism then that is their choice. The fact they have chosen, so far, to avoid providing the filler or in-between-the-lines information indicates to me they are happy with the current climate of distrust and skepticism and want to see that continue.

Here is some of what I wrote last September primarily directed to the school board but it is applicable to the city council as well.

Sharing Information

Sharing information – communicating – is critical, in my estimation if this situation is to change. The information would not have to be printed but that is one option. Another would be to use the News sections of the School Board web site and post information there or the board or individual board members could start a blog and share information that way. If I can do it anyone can.

The method is not the critical issue but sharing information is.

What could be shared?

I know there are some things that are not shareable to the public. I am not talking about that type of information. I am talking about filling in some of the gaps that do not get addressed during the board meetings or are not explained adequately…Updates for what is going on between the board meetings and maybe even some of the whys and methodology used to arrive at the decisions being made during the meetings could be shared also.

Will it even be tried?

This question was asked nine months ago and the answer so far is no. It has not been attempted. With Mrs. Jones taking over as the new board president next month, Mr. Donaldson just recently taking over as city council president and Dr. Wright just six months into her role as superintendent of schools now would be a great time to make such an effort if they have any desire to change the climate in Enterprise.

I really hope they do give this a shot. It would be amazing if we could get the whole community on the same page and working together again according to the principle expressed in this quote by Ronald Reagan,

 

English: A view of Ronald Reagan, the 40th pre...

English: A view of Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, as he delivers his Inaugural address from a specially built platform in front of the Capitol during the Inauguration Day celebration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.” — First Inaugural Address, January 21, 1981

I never thought I would be writing anything in support of climate change but I just did. I know the climate in Enterprise can be changed. It will take an intentional effort on the part of those in power now to start that process and then a willingness by the community to recognize and accept the effort as genuine.

If no changes are made the status quo will continue to roll on and the election cycle for 2016 will begin with many looking for new leaders in Enterprise.

Until next time…

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“…I will listen to you.” God

I was reminded of a scripture verse recently upon our son’s graduation from high school. I used it in my graduation letter to him as well as his sister two years prior but this reminder made me think it was worth sharing here too. You, the reader, will be the judge of that so let me know what you think.

My blog is named Peculiar Perspective because I often see life sort of sideways and I think this is another example of that perspective. I think there will be others to come in the future where the more well-known scripture reference is followed by a truth or promise that does not get as much exposure.

If you have any knowledge of the Bible or grew up in church as I did I am sure you have heard the verse often used at graduation time, Jeremiah 29:11 which says,

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

But how often have you paid attention to the next verse which I see as being just as profound? Jeremiah 29:12 says,

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” 

Not only does God know the plans He has for us, and those are very good by the way, but He reminds and promises us in the next verse when we get confused or begin to doubt His plan for our lives if we will only talk to Him, He will listen.

How awesome is that? The creator of the universe will listen to me? Yes He will…If you know Him.

If you have children don’t you want them to talk to you and won’t you listen if they do? God longs for us to talk to Him in the same way.

Do YOU know HIM? If so this is just a reminder He is waiting to listen if you will just come to Him and talk to Him in prayer. The most often way you will hear from Him is reading His love letter to you, the Bible. 350px-holy_bible

If you don’t know Him yet, take a look here at Peace With God and learn how you can know Him today and then you can claim this promise too.

Until next time…

 

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The Common Core Experiment

I have been reading about and studying this experiment called Common Core for some time. My initial hope was to develop some grand yet simple opinion based on this research that might revolutionize the world. However, as I have been unable to reach that simple conclusion, I decided to write about some of what I have learned so far and some questions still unanswered for me. I also want to provide resources I have found for you to do your own research and join me on this journey.  I welcome your feedback as that is another way I can learn more and we can learn together. This is one of the most confusing subjects I have ever seen in trying to discern who is telling the truth, who is not, and who is just trying to implement the program because it is a requirement to keep their job.

All that is at stake here is the future of our country. 

Just to be clear…so you will know where I am coming from on this issue I am a conservative so any time the federal government expands to take more control of issues that are best left to the states and local governments I am concerned and skeptical of the motives behind those actions. They tend to be mostly power and control related and not in the best interest of those the elected officials were elected to serve. This is one of those issues and I am skeptical that Common Core will actually be what their claims say it will be. What typically happens is these over-reaching initiatives, policies, or laws are graded on their publicly stated intent by their advocates and not the results produced. There is little or no accountability and adding more of our tax dollars is always the ‘fix’ needed. I am more concerned about the end result of this experiment and the goals not publicly stated being achieved.

Everyone, whether you have school-age children taking part in this experiment or not, needs to learn more about this experiment called Common Core. It WILL affect YOU!

The children in school now are those who will vote and lead in the future so what they are being taught matters to everyone, whether you have children in school now or not. I am not opposed to change or new ideas. I have worked in the computer industry for over 30 years and there are changes almost every day. Change is inevitable and can be good or bad. When the education and indoctrination of the next generation is at stake I think due diligence is warranted. I am not confident due diligence has been done for this experiment called Common Core. We are talking about the lives and futures of the children of the country now, not a new technological advancement. Despite claims to the contrary by its proponents, Common Core has not been tested before – It is being tested now with those in school now as the guinea pigs. Too many people are thinking ‘It is not my problem since I don’t have kids in school’ or ‘I trust those making these decisions have pure motives and are doing what is best for the children, and are not making decisions in order to receive more federal funds or fueling their own egos or political power.’

Investigate for yourself and make your own decision and then take action if what you learn warrants it.

Here are some things I have learned

1) There is no Common Core standard curriculum so you have to trust your state and local school boards to select the curriculum and textbooks that the children will be using. Do you trust your state and local board members enough to just let them make these decisions? There are so-called “social justice” lessons being taught in math and English textbooks by the examples used in both. These lessons might not agree with what you want your children to learn or your definition of social justice. Have you read any of your children’s math books lately? That, along with some of the new methods I have seen for solving simple math problems are concerns for me. 2) Development of a national curriculum is one of the unstated goals of Common Core based on the opinions of at least two educators involved in creating the standards who refused to sign the standards. 3) The Common Core State Standards did begin as a collaboration between states but $4.3 billion of federal stimulus funds called Race To The Top and waivers for states to adhere to No Child Left Behind were the carrots that prompted so many states to so quickly adopt these standards. Alabama did not receive any Race To The Top funds but did receive a waiver for No Child Left Behind. 4) College and Career Ready Standards is just another name for Common Core.

Here are some unanswered questions

1) Where are the dollars being spent? The $4,3 billion and cost savings from waivers granted for No Child Left Behind is going somewhere. They are apparently not getting to the classrooms or teachers as they are still required to hold fund-raisers or take donations just to have the basic supplies they need to do their jobs. Is the money going to administrative personnel, unions, textbook, testing companies, or political campaigns against any candidate who either questions or opposes Common Core? 2) In setting a standard for at least two unique groups of students, those who plan to further their education in college (College Ready) and those who plan to enter the work force or vocational school after high school (Career Ready), how can this be done without “dumbing down” the existing standards and corresponding tests? We have been told the standards are more rigorous and tougher. How can that be?

Surface Barely Scratched – Form Your Own Opinion

This has barely even scratched the surface and is by no means intended to be a complete discussion on this subject. I plan to write more later as I learn more. My goal for this post is to do what I can to bring more awareness of this subject to those who might not have been following it before or who mistakenly thought it would not affect them. If I have done that then this post has been a success. My goal for my blog in general is to encourage you to consider the questions, learn more, think for yourself and formulate your own opinion. Below are the resources I promised earlier where you can learn more about this subject yourself from both sides of the subject. This is not an exhaustive list either but is a good starting point to learn more.

Alabama State Department of Education

Common Core Issues

Alabama College & Career Ready Standards (CCRS)

Truth in American Education

School Official Explain Differences in Common Core and Local Resources

Reasons to Repeal Common Core in Alabama

Common Core State Standards Initiative

Stop Common Core in Alabama

Until next time…

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Time With Mom

Mom&Dad_1999 (2)I spent some time with my mother tonight.

If you don’t know me then you would say, “It’s Mother’s Day. Of course you did.”

However, my mother went home to be with the Lord 14 years ago yesterday. So now you are probably thinking, “How did you do that?” or “This guy is warped and needs help.” I wouldn’t argue with that thought myself. I am a little warped and can always use help.

Faith – Hope

My faith gives me a hope and assurance I will see all of my loved ones, who know the Lord as their personal Saviour, again, either when the Lord returns or when we die, whichever comes first. When you have someone close to you, such as a mother, father, or other family member or close friend die then that gives you a much more vivid view of and connection with Heaven. At least that is how it worked for me.

When I sing or hear songs about Heaven I have a real connection now because I “know” someone there. Of course I knew Jesus as my Saviour before she died and He lives there but this is a little different.

When I remember things I did with Momma that brings her back to me in a sense. It is just a memory but it is a good memory.

Good Memories

That is what happened tonight. To give you a little background here, when we were growing up on Sunday mornings in our house, while we were eating breakfast and getting ready to go to church, we always had the Gospel Music Hour (not sure if that is that is really the name of the show or not but that is not that important for my purpose here) on the TV. The two groups I remember as always or at least regularly being on that show were The Florida Boys and The Dixie Echoes.

Well, tonight we had the privilege to see The Dixie Echoes in our church and I was thinking about Momma. I know she would have loved it and it brought back good memories for me just thinking about how she would have loved it. It felt like she was here with me – in spirit anyway. It also reminded me of the time we did get to take her to a Gaither Homecoming concert in Tallahassee. Good memories.

So, as you have probably already heard or seen on some commercial on TV or Facebook post, if your mother is still with you here on planet earth take time to go see her or call her today. If you didn’t get that done today, do it tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that…etc.

If she is no longer here on planet earth I hope you have some good memories of her to think about today and you share the hope that I do of seeing her again one day.

If you have questions about how you have this same hope I have please visit Peace With God or ask questions in the comments.

I do miss Momma and know I will see her again one day. Thanks to The Dixie Echoes I was able to spend a little time with her tonight. On that subject if you do get the chance to see The Dixie Echoes take it. You will not be disappointed.

Until next time…

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Status Quo Rolls On

We-Are-Enterprise-LogoI was not aware at the time, but when I attended the July 30, 2013 Enterprise City School Board meeting I was watching a job interview or trial run. Apparently it went well for the job applicant as she was appointed to the Enterprise City School Board at the most recent Enterprise City Council meeting. If you need to refresh your memory too I wrote about her comments in that board meeting in my Overtime post last August.

I don’t know for a fact this was the case but what I post here is my perception of what I see. That is my perspective on what happened, whether it is peculiar or not I don’t know.

I also wrote about this appointment in my Partly Cloudy post, in January of this year. Here is what I wrote about this appointment:

There will also be a new appointment to the school board coming up prior to June of 2014. It may have already been made and just not be public yet. In any case, this is another opportunity for the Mayor and City Council to show whether they will continue the direction of the past or listen to the people they represent and make an appointment that would begin to lead in a new direction.

It is obvious to me by the title of this post what choice was made. You can form your own opinion.

What Next?

Since the status quo by those in power now is the best we can hope for as long as they are in power, what can those who have legitimate concerns and disagreements with this direction do? As I see it there are two specific actions we can take to bring about change Pray and Get Active!

Pray 

"Praying Hands" (study for an Apostl...

“Praying Hands” (study for an Apostle figure of the “Heller” altar) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prayer is a powerful action we all can take that will help. It will not necessarily change any of the current elected and appointed city officials’ mind or direction on anything. That is one possible outcome but I don’t have any hope or faith that will happen. God can still perform miracles if He chooses to but that is what it would take.

What does happen when those of us who believe in Jesus Christ and pray to God is our hearts, desires, and motives are changed to be more like God’s and that is beneficial for anyone who chooses to participate in this activity.

We should be praying for the people who make up the Enterprise City School System from superintendent to administrators to teachers to support staff. Many of these folks are under a lot of stress right now as they are just learning about the changes coming for the next school year now — new roles, locations, teaching methods, curriculum and standardized testing. They all need and, I believe, would appreciate any prayers we can give them. I suspect they will even appreciate prayer after all the current pending issues are known and resolved.

We should also, and this is a little harder, be praying for our elected and appointed officials, that God would give them wisdom and direction in any decision they are making. This will be hard, at least I know it is for me when I disagree with someone, but it will bring about a change in you if you are able to do it. I believe these officials would appreciate this also.

If you do not know Jesus Christ then my last post, I Am A Thief, has information that will help you get to know Him. He would love to hear from YOU.

Get Active 

I Voted!

I Voted! (Photo credit: Vox Efx)

If you don’t agree with the decisions being made by our elected and appointed officials the way to have an effect and bring about changes there is to get active and support a candidate that will more often support your beliefs and convictions. There will be ample opportunities to select an alternative to those in office in the next city elections which will be in 2016. If there is no one you believe will be that alternative there is plenty of time for you to investigate running for office yourself or encourage someone else to run.

Citizens for a Better Enterprise is one group I know that will be providing education and looking for and supporting alternative candidates. I am sure there will be others as well but if this group interests you find out more about them. If you have similar interests there will be many ways you could help. If not, find one that does.

That is the beauty of the country we live in and how change is brought about. As long as we have this freedom and privilege to cast our vote and lend our support to the candidates of our choice we should not take that privilege for granted. We should not always believe, “someone else will do it” or “there is not a candidate I agree with 100% so I am not going to vote.” If you are looking for that candidate he or she doesn’t exist. I suspect, if you are married, you and your spouse don’t agree on everything. We often have to make choices based on which candidate will support my beliefs more often than not. Staying home and not voting is just helping to maintain the status quo…again.

I do believe you should gather as much information you can about the candidates and issues before you vote, another subject I have written about lately in Maybe you shouldn’t vote but it is your responsibility to get this information for yourself. There is plenty of time. You could even practice by seeing what you can learn about the candidates for state offices on the ballot in the upcoming Primary and General Elections this year. Do some research and dig a little bit and go beyond the commercials and the latest news story. You might be surprised what you can learn.

Well, those are my thoughts and suggestions for today. I would love to hear yours.

Until next time…

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I Am A Thief

I am a thief, I am a murderer.

Are you a thief too? A murderer too? I am.

Cross & Sky Christian Wallpaper Background a G...

Cross & Sky Christian Wallpaper Background a GIMP edit of my original (Photo credit: † David Gunter)

My blog is called Peculiar Perspective and this might just be one of those but maybe it shouldn’t be. I have been a Third Day fan for years. I love their music, their ministry, and Mac Powell, the lead singer, just happens to be an Alabama fan so that works for me too.

There are many of their songs I like and could and probably will at some point write about here. However there are none that affect me more at this time of year than one call Thief. They have two versions of this song. The original came out as a live version on their album named Third Day in 1996 and is my favorite version. Third Day_Third DayThey did a studio version for their Chronology Volume 1 Album in 2007 as well. The words are the same. The sound is just a little different. Third Day_Chronology Volume One

I suggest you click on one of the links below and watch it and listen to the words. It will move you if you are a Christian. If you are not a Christian I think it can move you too if you watch and listen with an open mind, something that is rare these days but it can still be done.

A New Perspective

I liked this song before I ever really understood it. Let me try to explain. I like Third Day and their music and their “sound” so just for those reasons alone I liked the song. When I first heard it I liked it because it was different. I had never heard a song from perspective of the thief on the cross beside Jesus. I thought that is interesting and something I have never thought of that way, a new perspective.

It wasn’t until a few years ago when I really began to understand the gravity of what this song was saying, at least to me. That is when I realized I am that thief on the cross, as well as part of the mob yelling, “Crucify him”, as well as Judas, as well as Peter, when he denied knowing Jesus. If you listen to this or think of this story as the thief got what he deserved that is OK. You are right. However if you don’t also realize that we would all get what we deserve if it wasn’t for what Jesus did by staying on the cross then you are missing the point completely. It wasn’t the nails that held Jesus on the cross. It was His love for YOU and me.

Here are the lyrics for Thief by Third Day.

Thief

I am a thief, I am a murderer,
Walking up this lonely hill.
What have I done? I don’t remember.
No one knows just how I feel;
And I know that my time is coming soon.

It’s been so long, oh, such a long time,
Since I’ve lived with peace and rest.
Now I am here, in my destination,
I guess things work for the best;
And I know that my time is coming soon.

Who is this man? This man beside me,
That they call the King of the Jews.
No, they don’t believe, that He’s the Messiah,
But, somehow I know that it’s true.

They laugh at Him in mockery,
They beat Him till he bleeds,
They nail Him to the rugged cross,
And they raise Him, yeah, they raise Him up next to me.

My time has come, and I’m slowly fading,
But I deserve what I receive.
Jesus, when You are in Your kingdom,
Could You please, please remember me.
Well He looks at me still holding on,
And the tears fall from His eyes,
And He says I tell the truth,
Today, yeah, you will live with Me in paradise, woah yeah.

And I know that my time, yes my time, is coming soon, woah yeah.
And I know that my time, yes my time, is coming soon, woah yeah, yeah
And I know that paradise, paradise is coming soon.

Writer: POWELL, JOHNNY MAC / ANDERSON, SAMUEL TAI / AVERY, BRADLEY B. C. / CARR, DAVID / LEE, MARK D.

Here is a link to a GodTube video of the song with lyrics.

Thief by Third Day (Lyrics) - Live version

Here is a link to a YouTube video of the song with images from The Passsion of the Christ so some of the images are graphic.

Thief by Third Day – Passion of the Christ images – Studio Version

I believe the song speaks for itself but do have a couple of observations.

I am a thief, I am a murderer

We are all sinners. You may not think your sin rises to the level of a thief or murderer, that people who commit those sins are somehow worse sinners than you are. That is not true. God sees all sin, even a “little white lie” as sin. We are all sinners and consequently, we all need forgiveness.

And I know that my time is coming soon

All of our times are coming soon so if you are waiting for the “right time” that time is right now. We are not promised tomorrow so take care of this today.

No, they don’t believe, that He’s the Messiah,
But, somehow I know that it’s true.

I believe that somehow you know it is true too but might not want to admit it for fear of what others might think of you. That reminds me of a quote I heard from Zig Ziglar that says, “You wouldn’t be so concerned about what others think of you if you realized how little they did.” Don’t let pride or fear stop you from making a decision that will affect where you spend eternity. You will spend it somewhere. Where you spend it is your choice. My prayer for you is you will choose wisely.

If you have questions about how you can accept God’s gift of salvation for you, please visit Peace With God or ask questions in the comments. I will answer with what I know and would love to hear from you.

Until next time…

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Maybe you shouldn’t vote

Voting

Voting (Photo credit: League of Women Voters of California)

There has been much discussion about requiring a photo ID in order to verify your identity before you are allowed to cast a vote in an election. If you have been paying attention at least a little bit over the last several years you are aware of this. If not, then maybe you should be paying more attention. Alabama has instituted this requirement as law and it will be enforced during the next election coming up in a couple of months.

Many who oppose this law or requirement use the empty argument that this somehow discriminates against the poor or minorities. As a member of the white male Caucasian minority I do not see any discrimination in this requirement whatsoever. It should have been a requirement from day one in my opinion.

I suppose by this logic it is also discrimination to require a driver’s license to be able to operate a motor vehicle so we should do away with those. It is also a requirement to be able to board a plane so that is discrimination too.

Where is the outrage?

Where are the outcries for these obvious discriminations? You don’t hear any outcry for these because they do not directly relate to votes which either put people in power or keep them in power. Think about it. Is there any other logical reason that explains this claim? If so, please do let me know in the comments. I am always looking to learn something new and this would be a revelation for me.

I believe a photo ID is the bare minimum one should need in order to be able to vote.

Popularity Contest

Most people do not do the necessary research or homework about candidates or issues to be able to make an informed decision when they enter the voting booth. The sad fact is most people vote base on popularity, or how a candidate looks, or a particular party because they have always voted for that party, or the yard sign or billboard they see every day on the way to work, or what a candidate “promised” to give them – “A chicken in every pot.” That is one reason our country does not have the best leaders we could have. We do have what we deserve because of our actions or inactions or laziness in exercising our voting privilege.

We need more requirements, not less

I believe the requirements to vote and select those who make decisions that affect us all should be much more involved to show the person casting a vote at least has some knowledge of the current issues and candidates. I know this will never be enacted, based on the silly arguments and uproar over a simple photo ID, but it would produce a more informed electorate and that would, in turn, provide much more competent leaders and better decisions on the issues that come before them.

This is a test…a test to see if you are paying attention

Why not have 5-15 questions at the top of every ballot that would have to be answered correctly for the ballot to be counted? These questions could be checked by the voting machines and if not correct then that ballot would just be discarded.

The questions could be as simple as:

1. Who is the current President of the United States?

2. Who is the current Vice-President of the United States?

3. Who is the Speaker of the House in the U.S. House of Representatives?

4. Who is the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate?

5. Name one Supreme Court Justice.

6. Name one of the U.S. Senators representing your state.

7. Name your Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.

8. Name one of your City Councilmen.

9. Name one of your County Commissioners.

10. Name one of your school board members.

11. Name your mayor.

12. Name your state senator.

13. Name your state representative.

14. How many U.S. Senators are there in Congress?

15. How many state are there in the U.S.?

How would you fare if you had to answer these questions? You might be surprised at how many could not answer any of these questions correctly, yet they still vote.

It might not be easy at first but if you knew you were going to have these questions you would likely do a little homework before you headed to your local polling place, or choose to not go at all. That would be the purpose.

If you don’t care, don’t bother

If you don’t care enough to learn about the candidates and issues before you vote you should not abuse your voting privilege by casting an ignorant vote. This is where the term low-information voter came from. If low-information voters are electing our elected officials then there should be no surprise if poor or self-serving decisions are made more often than not.

These are just examples that could be used. The voter could be required to get a passing grade, 70%, or could be required to get them all correct for their ballot to be valid and counted. As I said before, I know this is not likely to ever happen.

That does not mean it should never happen. This would help eliminate the instances of people voting multiple times in the same election or votes being cast by people who are no longer living, most recently reported in North Carolina regarding the 2012 general election.

My hope in writing this is that anyone who reads it will not be a low-information voter, that you will take your voting privilege seriously enough to do your homework, learn about the candidates and issues that will be on the ballot and cast an informed vote.

Don’t be a low-information voter! Cast an informed vote or no vote at all!

Until next time…

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