Christian Protestant Worship Services

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On general Protestant* worship services
I’ve been around the block a few times so I am aware of, have attended, and have even led several styles of Christian worship-ritualistic services. The services generally have been derived from two basic groups, free-thinking and authoritarian. The free-thinking are at liberty to put on whatever type they chose and are flexible. The authoritarian are usually pre-set at the behest of some given authority and generally will be the same from place to place although some minor alterations may be allowed. The latter class can be and traditionally have been referred to as liturgical because they follow a set program of liturgy containing a set pattern of leader-community response order of worship. The free-thinking class has been customarily referred to as non-liturgical because changes occur frequently in the order of service but are in fact liturgical in the normal sense of the word. A more exhaustive analysis can be made but you get the idea.

Here is a list of general types of worship services knowing that there are mixtures:
1. High Church, strict liturgy. It is the same basic format on any given Sunday in any area of the particular church where it is an institutionalized. It will normally contain a brief sermon pre-published by the church institution by which the priest or pastor uses as the standard for the week. The scripture has been pre-selected with some commentary and the priest or pastor may add some remarks, anecdotes, etc. Traditional hymns are sung using an organ accompaniment, with choir.
2. General liturgical. The same as #1, with the pre-set scriptures as per a particular denomination or sect or as used by a number of churches. The sermon may or may not follow the scripture text but will be more or less a topical sermon depending on a pre-set theme of the week of the season. Traditional hymns are sung using an organ and/or a piano as accompaniment, maybe an extra instrument and a choir.
3. Independent liturgical. A set order of worship, the same each Sunday but the pastor chooses his own selection of scripture and sermon topic. Traditional hymn with perhaps a more modern non-tradition song, an organ and/or piano and maybe a small orchestra.
4. Modern, non-traditional service with no printed order or worship. However it is usually the same every week as to the order beginning with praise songs and modern Christian songs with a traditional hymn or two with a piano and/or an orchestra or praise band. All music is non-traditional with a small contingent of voices without choir robes. You will not see many suits and ties if at all. It is very casual and members are free to move about, may check their cell phone messages, shoot pix or videos and even carry own individual conversations.
5. Strictly non-traditional. These are the Pentecostalists and free non-Pentecostalists but with an highly emotional tone, referred to by some as holy-rollers. No set responsorials but congregation members can respond as they see fit at any time with shouts of amen, hallelujah, praise the Lord and sometimes dancing about. The preacher will preach his sermon with fervor, There may be some traditional hymns but mostly choruses and modern praise type songs. The services will be the same each week however as the congregation will be in worship mode as usual. An extended invitational period and/or altar call will end the service, sometimes with the laying on of hands and praying with individuals by the elders. Some churches will have a period of anointing with oil for the healing of the sick and the repentance of the broken hearted. Sometimes the term, revival, is used as the members are revived each week with renewed spiritual energy.
6. Military, hospital, prison, and other institutional services may include one or more of the above depending on the chaplain(s) employed to lead the services. In most cases they are shorter and more subdued depending on the institution.
7. Services for INFPs. The service I fit in and prefer. I’ll let you known when I find one.


(*non-Roman Catholic, Greek & Eastern Orthodox, etc)

© 2018. Chaplain Bob Haines
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What I Learned on Facebook Today

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(BTW, what i learned on Facebook today is the same as yesterday and no doubt will be the same tomorrow for about 70+% .  nothing new, nothing gained.  instead of taking all that time in the morning with your news feed, just read thru this note once a week and you won’t miss anything)

— OMG is a well-used acronym (if you don’t use it, your not a true blue Facebooker)

— a missing boy was found in an arcade claw machine (very important news, so parents you know where to look if one of your toddlers is missing)

— community pages advertise a lot of strange stuff

— seems like people use Facebook groups to gather material to write books. no doubt they use internet blogs also.  (not sure it’s plagiarism but evidently it doesn’t matter anymore).  OMG, BTW, wonder where all the meme image makers get those photos for their silly-ass annotations?  you put a cool pic on Facebook, chances are it’ll be lifted and used.

— very very very strange humor, like trespassers into one’s garden will be composted.. (people feel noticed when they go to sites and share 10 or more weird banners that are so outrageous as to be anti-funny)

— pretty pic of scenery which looks nothing like the real world (in other words, everyone is not happy with where they live, and they are dreaming the impossible dream)

— people die daily (prayers going up)

— many people are sick (prayers going up)

— many people’s family members are sick (prayers going up)

— many people’s close friends are sick (prayers going up)

— cat’s die (OMG, sympathy and prayers going up)

— dog’s die (say it ain’t so.  sympathy and prayers going up)

— people hate spiders and snakes (no prayers unless bitten)

— a guy was arrested after 13 years of not reporting to prison because he never received instructions to report, so he rehabilitated himself.  now he’s been arrested since he was never told to report and so he didn’t report. (i’ve seen that post 10,248 times.  everyone downloads the meme rather then share it so they can take the credit).

— someone had a lot of time on his or her hands and created a photoshopped pic of dehydrated water to make strange people post it to make other strange people have a chuckle.

— people post historical photographs of famous people, things, and events.  (i don’t know why, perhaps to impress friends that they found an old photo on the internet of JFK who was president of the U.S. for 3 years and was assassinated.)

— military veterans are deserving of special recognition (well, yes they are, but IMO [another well-used acronym] but they are not bona-fide heroes unless they went above and beyond the call of duty, IMO of course. in other words, IMO, not all military veterans are heroes.  just ask them, they’ll tell you.  of course some will fake being heroes.)

— many Fox News videos (above and beyond all other news agencies, but followed by ABC news in a distant 2nd place).  every time a friend posts a Fox or an ABC news article they lose a friend.

— speaking of friends, OMG chances are you’re gonna get a friend request from someone who already has 10,248 Facebook friends.

— men in denim built this land. men in suits destroyed it.  (the person who posted this was at work wearing a suit when he posted it.  also, he didn’t realize that the industrial revolution which, BTW (here’s that acronym again) really built America and was created and led by men in suits with lots of money, you know people like Rockefeller and his ilk.)

— lot of political posters about politicians, freedom, liberty, the Constitution, famous quotes by famous people (most of which the guy probably never said it or it was taken so much out of context so as to distort the true meaning of the context from which it was taken) — mostly of a satirical and sarcastic nature.

all Muslims and all Bible-toting Christians are . . . . . (fill in the blank)

— heard that one of my friends was down on his luck (i felt sorry for him, but if i went out of my way to try and help all of my friends who are down on their luck, i would be doing it 24/7.  prayers going up)

– (BTW, if your prayers are going up, in actuality, to the person on the other side of the globe, they are going down.  so which is it and which one is correct?  are your prayers going up or are the going down.  this issue might be something that you want to post on your timeline for debate so that everyone can reach an impasse, because in a FB debate, no one, and i mean no one is going to change their minds.  furthermore someone is going to get so PO’d that he or she is going to unfriend someone, and when confronted with it, going to say it was an accident and re-friend the person.)

— the energizer bunny was arrested and charged with battery (that one is kind of funny, but i do have a kinda warped sense of humor)

— someone posted the Mexican immigration laws which caused people like me to check google and snopes and wound up spending two hours to discover that no one knows what the hell they’re talking about when they make up s**t like that because it starts a 10+  year debate on the internet and both sides of the argument throw so much BS out on blogs, boards, twitter, FB, etc., only to wind up knowing that it’s impossible to find out what Mexican’s immigration laws are without going to a Mexican law library and spending another 10+ years searching for them.

— was reminded by several postings that all Atheists, Muslims, and Christians are wrong about everything (that is from the perspective of each other).

— lots of pix with hidden images and stuff on them for you to waste time trying to find and if you re-share it, you will have extra luck and God will bless you 3X more for having done so.  (BTW, everyone  can read that puzzle, so you’re nothing special and most certainly NOT a genius).

— someone is running for president 24/7

— lotsa useless scientific data that you didn’t know but which will not make one bit of difference in your life (it really impresses me to know that some of my friends are so knowledgeable, but in reality was very lucky to have a friend who had a friend who had a friend — back 231 friends — who found it on the internet while haphazardly searching for something else and thought it was cool and posted it to impress his or her friends and now that’s exactly what you are going to do — re-post it to impress your friends that you found something extremely unique and unusual

— if you eat meat, you are going to die and if you abuse animals, you are going to hell. (well you’re going to die anyway, but probably out live your vegan friend who posted the one about eating healthy, but as for abusing animals, ever kill a deer? deer, elk, and moose jump over cars.)  OMG, BTW honey and cinnamon will cure all ills.

— posts by foreign friends are mostly the same as American friends except they have changed the picture and translated the caption to their languages.

— old Christian prayers and sayings have been translated into Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and other languages, changed the word for God (Allah), and the Koran for the Bible and then posted into Middle Eastern FB groups as if they were ingeniously made up by the person who found it on a Christian web site, copied it and made the changes.  (of course, this is not plagiarism.)

— lots of pix of friends’ kids (makes me proud to have parents who are doing such an outstanding job of raising their kids and to know that their kids are smarter then the neighbors’ kids)

— several posts by conservatives that Muslims, in general, are violent by nature.  posts by liberals that conservatives are haters and vice versa.

— posts by conservatives who believe that Muslims are taking over America and going to establish Sharia Law and fly a Muslim flag over the White House.

— The English language is a complex language (so are all the other languages, except Hebrew)

— some selfies are just ordinary and some are photoshopped (which impresses me to know some of my friends are proud to show off their photoshopping ability. built-in filtering).

— 91% of selfies are by females.  1% of selfies are by Harley bikers.  8%, males, decided to try it but had trouble holding the camera steady.

— a cat and dog video, one of thousands on YouTube (it really is unbelievable how many funny pet videos there actually are).

— saw a quiz — didn’t do it

—  funny squirrel video (seen it before and didn’t watch it cas it wasn’t very funny the first time).

— learned that recipe posts are passe’ and getting scarcer.  i like recipe posts, even knowing that the person copied it off the internet, changed some wording, and claimed it as their own.

– Obummer stuff is also getting to be more rare.  (didn’t see one today).  tRumpster stuff has replaced it.  i prob may not be around in 2024 but it’s gonna be the same for whoever is elected president.

— hmmm, haven’t seen anything posted by some friends for a few days some for months, others for years (are they on vacation? are they burned out on FB?  are they quitting FB?  are they hiding their posts from me? did they unfriend me? maybe they died!)

— if  you’re a member of more then one similar FB group, you’re gonna see the same post by the same person in all of the groups.

— it snowed in late spring and people are fed up with the rough winter.  (in August when it’s damn hot, they will be craving cold weather).

— all holiday memes are re-cycled

— ABC News posts are nothing but tragedies- another reminder that all FB users are abnormal or very disturbed.

— FB users know more about God than God knows about Himself (Herself?)

— another reminder to leave the past in the past (BS!  i like my past and have fond memories and enjoy reflecting on nostalgic things.  i even remember the bad parts and how i learned many lessons even today by thinking about them)

— some friends are deliberately trying to make me feel guilty and miserable. (i don’t know why. maybe they have all the answers — but so does everyone else, except of course, me). seems that every FB user knows what’s best for every other FB user)..

— another banner that shows that there’s an ongoing battle of the sex’s

— another cat video!- everyone wants to live on an island, or on the beach, or on a houseboat, or in the mountains, anywhere but where they chose to live.  (OMG, BTW, they don’t want their new abode to have WIFI!  so how are they gonna post the fact that they want to live in the wilderness without WIFE???)

— wow, a chicken video

— a baby video

— i’m not a racist, but you are

— i miss my dad (who is  dead) and my mom (who is also dead), and my grandpa and grandma (they are dead also).  i post pix of my kids when they were young.  my kids are awesome. my  brother is awesome, and awesome sister (oops, sorry if you are an only child — you’re missing out and your parents should be ashamed for not giving you a brother and sister, or maybe blame God for not “blessing” you with a brother or sister — but we all know there’s a reason for everything, but we never know what the reason is.  maybe God just didn’t think you could handle it. anyway, have a “blessed day”)

— some of my friends give a lot of advice.  (some i need, some i don’t.  some i agree with, some i think is BS.  WTH  WTF  OMG )

— a pic of someone in Walmart (NOT!)

— weird looking car for rednecks

— another dreadful post about a victim of cancer (makes me sad as always.)

— a war post.  (what else is new?) (haven’t seen any drone attack posts in quite a while)

— all the various definitions of what a true friend is (as if there is a difference of what a friend is and what a true friend is.  i never could figure that one out.)

 

well, that is just 8 hours of selected stuff.  but believe me, it’ll be the same for the next 8 hours.  love it or hate it, but you’re gonna see it and laugh a little, cry a little, and get mad a little, but as they say, “that’s life” and it’s the only one you’ve got so might as well take the time up doing something and i recommend doing something that you enjoy.

— some more photoshopped stuff, some must have taken the entire day up (like this big waste of time which one or two friends will read all the way through and may or may not like and/or comment on and which will pass always as an act of futility.  OMG Bob, you really need to get out of the house!)

so a few minutes ago i got home from McDonalds, walked passed the washing machine, turned it on to do a load of clothes, walked in the house to put stuff away, forgot about the washing machine. just as i was finishing this blog, i heard it hit the spin cycle LOLOL or LMAO. decided it might be best if i go restart the machine and add the clothes.

— OMG, BTW there still is not a realistic emoticon for satire

 

© copyright 2014, 2018

all right reserved

don’t take my stuff without giving me credit 🙂  HA HA

BUT LIKE and SHARE IT!!!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Go and Sin No More

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There is a meme, in several different forms going around social media that reads, “Don’t judge someone just because they sin differently than you.” Most of the time, it stands alone with simple borders around it, sometimes appears to be a photoshopped church sign, or another image seeking to pitch for a certain audience. I have seen the saying in quotes on two occasions, one attributed to a well-known Christian T.V. personality, the other to a Islamic imam.   I thought that was interesting, but know full well, the creator of those two memes had a particular audience in mind.  Needless to say, it is anonymous, original author unknown.
I’ve seen the meme posted from various web sites and Facebook pages. I do not know where it originated nor do I know the reason why any particular person, group, or organization would post it on their timelines. I do have my suspicion when it is posted by a friend I know, or think I know well, or see its sponsored page from which it was posted.

Now then, the posting of the meme naturally leads me to its subject, to wit, SIN. Next it leads me to the question, “what does my friend, or friend of a friend, believe sin to be?
What exactly do they mean by the word, sin?  That is, what is their definition of sin? Is sin subjective, i.e.. is sin what they, themselves think it is? Or, is there some standard for what sin is? Furthermore, do they think they are sinning in a particular way and are they looking for an excuse to continue to sin? Hey, others sin, so I have an excuse, so don’t judge me for my sin and I won’t judge your for yours. In other words, maybe they are looking for a way not to be judged for their sin at all.

For some people, namely those who grew up in a fundamentalist religious environment but have opted out for a more liberal, live and let live, religious persuasion, maybe they are saying, “it’s okay to sin because everyone does it and if I don’t harm anyone else then it’s okay.” Well, at least they, by using the word, sin, they are recognizing that what they are doing is wrong? All this leads to the opposite of a subjective idea of sin, namely, is there a standard for sin, i.e. a moral code or some statement that defines it. Furthermore, is there a list of sins and even more so, is there a degree of sin by which some are okay and some are unpardonable?  Perhaps sin is, as noted by some Christian theology,  not specific acts, but a way of life, a way of life that separates one from God and, once atoned for sin (not sins), one is forgiven, may do specific sins in the future, but the way of sin, itself, has been forgiven.

As a person who has an academic background in classic philosophy, world religions, and Christian theology, I am aware of many answers to the questions posed above and aware of the many published treatises and commentaries concerning the subject of sin. I am not aware of the current sociological stances concerning (so-called) enlightened Baby Boomers or Millennials in general although, again, I have my suspicions of where they are coming from.

As a proponent of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as portrayed in the traditional four gospels of the New Testament, one specific vignette comes to mind. The recording of the event is found in John 8:2-11 (NIV translation/paraphrase)

At dawn He (Jesus) appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”  They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
          But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
          At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. Go now and leave your life of sin (lit. go and sin no more).”

You can interpret this passage from scripture however you chose. As for me, the first thing I will note is that this is not an inclusive teaching on sin, the consequences of sin, nor to the fact that everyone sins, how to be forgiven or redeemed for sin, and whether or not one is able to be sinless. However it is important to point out that, although Jesus did not condemn this woman, ala the law of Moses, and the standard of punishment for adultery at the time, He did recognize her action, i.e. her way of life, at the time as wrong, and told her in no uncertain way not to do it again, or in other words, “get a life sister.”

Thus, the lesson of this story might be that if you are living a particular way of life that is considered wrong, in this case by Biblical standards, then it’s best to leave it. There’s no excuse that just because others do it, whether condemned by a religious community, or allowed by the civil community, just don’t do it no more because it is sin.*


 

*Sin, or a way of life considered to be sin, perhaps addictive, and depending on the severity of the sin, although forgiven by God when confessed on a religious basis, may be rooted in the psyche for which some degree of psycho-therapy is needed for the cure.


© Copyright May 2016
Robert A. Haines, Chaplain Haines
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

young, naive, and missed opportunity

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i am, slowly, over time, reading the enthralling book, Devil in the Grove, by Gilbert King.

 

while reading, i keep thinking back to the time in the mid-1980s when i was a young Navy chaplain serving at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.  as i was making my rounds to various wards one day,  i discovered that Thurgood Marshall was an incognito patient on one of the sections that i covered. we often got famous patients connected with the Washington DC crowd in the hospital and i met several during my tenure.

 

excited, i went to visit Mr. Marshall and entered the room where he was in bed and his wife in a chair next to him. we struck up a conversation and both he and wife told me fascinating stories, mostly centered around chaplains or ministers, religion, and so on.  as in  most cases, the chaplains let the patient lead the conversation and they listen. needless to say, i was impressed.


before leaving the room, i offered to serve them communion of which he politely refused saying he only took communion (if i recall correctly) at certain times.


well, here’s the point: over the past several years as i’ve continued to learn, mature, and reflect on life, i am amazed at how naive i was back then. first of all i knew nothing of the man nor his history and real significance to American life and culture. had i known then what (i think) i know now, i would have engaged him and his wife with much more of meaningful conversation. it’s one of those cases when i really wish i could revisit the past and atone for my mistakes and stupidity.

On Teachers and Education

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Bob Haines . . .© 2014

 

here were a couple of teachers i really didn’t care for at all and still don’t appreciate. coach Lowe was a sadistic SOB. just sayin’.
some were good’ns — ooohhhh la la Ms. Taylor.
any teachers reading this — you’re are one of the good’ns — hang in there.

there are many good things about the educational “system”.
and there are a whole of of bad things IMO

today students are taught more to think verses rote. i recall doing a whole of lot memorizing such as math formulas, historical dates, places and such. but it seem to me back then that that was the purpose — memorizing for memorizing sake. what date was ole Abe shot in Ford’s theater. damned if i know and furthermore could care less. but i enjoy reading about him, his ideas, the issues and trends of his day.

i think students should learn about religion — ALL religious ideas. the early part of my life, there was only one religion and it was called Baptist — not Christianity — Baptist. then a little later there were two — Baptist and Methodist. not Southern baptist and united methodist — baptist and methodist. i never went inside the Methodist church house in my first home town until last year. then i moved and discovered there were Episcopalians — did i spell that right? — and Catholics — not Roman Catholics, just Catholics. i never went to that Episcopal church in my second home town either until i was about 30 years old. neither of my 2 hometowns had Catholic churches and i don’t think there were many catholics anyway. the baptist were against smoking, drinking, cussin, and dancing and the Episcopal’s did all 4 — many of the baptists did also and everyone knew it but they always denied it on Sunday.

i knew Jews were in the Bible but never heard of Muslims until i went to Pakistan at the age of 19 and worked alongside 2 Pakistani airmen — two of the nicest guys i ever met. one was very religious and trying to convert me and i was trying to convert him. neither of us caved in, but we both came away with a new appreciation for each others different beliefs.

i think philosophy or the history of philosophy should be taught in school — get an idea of how ideas evolved and how trends and science and all that developed. maybe throw in a little anthropology and other courses you don’t get until college — at least what they are about. maybe one course defining all the basic fields of study — psychology, sociology, bobology

~ Bob Haines . . .© 2014

Is It Easter Yet

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© Copyright 2914 Bob Haines
All Rights Reserved

 

(Posted my Easter reflections on Facebook yesterday.  Decided to publish it today, since today is just as important as yesterday to reflect on things that matter.)

 

to those of you who celebrate Easter today, Happy Easter.
the liturgical color, of course, is white.

some of you are right now at a Sunrise Service. oh, i remember as a kid having to wake up early and head out. one time we had one at a friend’s place on a small lake and i thought that was neat. i did one on the beach at Mayport one year and the wind was blowing in off the ocean and it was quite cold. the choir decided to just sing one song. i was the speaker and condensed the message down to a basic outline. my poor RPs had to set up.

 

when i was a kid, the custom was to have an easter egg basket when you got out of bed, but the problem was it was hidden and you had to find it. i though that was rather stupid then and i still think it was stupid, but the parents, you know they know what is fun for the kids. just give me my friggin’ basket!!!


we also always got a new easter “outfit”. ahh all the ladies and girls with their new white dresses. i had to wear a necktie. as George Carlin would have said, F – T – S!!! all my red neck friends would call me “preacher”. OMG i hated that with a passion.


it was Easter and later on we would have an Easter Egg Hunt. under the direction of our parents, we would “color” the eggs — that was kinda fun (& messy) because you could be creative.


as a kid, i was, for some reason very sensitive to sermons. don’t know why. and i was always wondering why things in the real world didn’t seem to coincide with what the Bible said and what the preacher said — you know things like racial segregation (love?) and easter eggs (resurrection?).


well thru the years i went along with the status quo, had to make a living, so go with the flow. always have a Christmas kids party and church with Santa Clause. if you piss too many people off, your life becomes miserable because they want to be in charge of your life because anyone making waves would impact their lives and you want everyone to be happy and safe together.


well, thank God, we now have a retirement system that frees the individual to be himself, and i can celebrate the central idea of Easter without having to celebrate it — you know, i can do it the way i want to which means, to me, that everyday is Easter.


now i just hope the Social Security Administration doesn’t declare me dead before i die as they did to one man i saw reported on the news this mornings — not once, but twice!

ON SOCIAL MEDIA SELF-PROCLAIMED PREACHERS, TEACHERS, AND MORALIZERS

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i have found in my Facebook travels that there are many self-proclaimed “preachers”, teachers, and those who want to educate and/or convince others of the rightness or truth of their positions, philosophies, and ideals.

the problem i have observed is that one cannot possibly hope of achieving their end without themselves empathizing with those whom they want to persuade.  in other words one must not only understand the other side one must actively get down on the other person’s level, actively and truly care for that person in such a way that one win the respect of the person one is trying to educate.  otherwise, there is no need to spout off because no one is going to listen.

and if one walks away from the opposition because one thinks of himself or herself as on a higher plane of authority because of background and education, or because one thinks of himself or herself as better than the other person, or if one thinks of himself or herself as having the only truth or have already arrived, to the point of being unwilling to listen to the very least of humankind, then what’s the point?

furthermore, it seems to me that anyone who proclaims someone else arrogant is himself or herself of greater arrogance simply by claiming the other person to be arrogant.  without the essence of unconditional love for the other person, teaching is impossible IMO.

(BTW i’m guilty so i speak out of experience, maybe most of the time, but i understand my frailty and make adjustments and i think i’m getting better).

Reflections On The Poor In America

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Emma Lazarus writes in her sonnet, “The New Colossus”, which is engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the lower level of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your . . . poor, . . . ”

Jesus of Nazarus said, “The poor you will always have with you, . . . ” (Matthew 26:11)

Rachel Maddow is reported to have said (although I don’t have a cited source):  “People are poor because they don’t have other opportunities.”

First let me begin by stating that, in general, it seems that the definite article, “the”, is most often overused, or used without thinking about it.   For example, a friend and college professor once wrote a book entitled, “A History of Florida Baptists.”  He told me that he used the article, “A” because he didn’t want to insinuate the overall definitive history of Florida Baptists, but a history as investigated and reported by himself.

One often hears a politician, after a political race, state that “the American people have spoken”, to which I respond, “which American people?”  There are many groups of American people, not one.  The only thing that unites the American people is the U. S. Constitution.  Otherwise we are a divided nation into many peoples when it comes to race, color, creeds, political opinions, and so on.  More often than not, it is a slim majority of the electorate that elects a public official.

So, when you speak of “the” poor, and that they have no opportunities, are you talking about “each and every one, and, at any and all times?  It is my contention that, in general, in America, the poor do not of necessity have to remain poor.  There are ample opportunities, i.e. avenues, for which the poor have mechanisms to escape their poorness.  With that said, I will agree that there are some poor who will remain poor.  They will remain poor out of ignorance, because they choose to do so, or because their opportunities to escape did not come to fruition for whatever reason.  Nevertheless, what separates this country from many others is the opportunity to excel, become successful, and, yes, get rich, regardless of where one started out in life, including being born into poverty.

I will not take the time and effort to enumerate the opportunities and possibilities to escape poorness in America.  Suffice it to say that countless numbers have done so and the opportunities continue to exist, and will continue to exist as long as the  Constitution remains, and, as well, the free enterprise system,  and we don’t fall into a purely socialistic system of government and society.

Thank You Veterans

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[© 1994, 2010, 2012, 2014 Robert A. Haines, Jr. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED]

Today is a time of reflection and remembrance.

I would like to make a few points that I hope are relevant to Americans, veterans and non-veterans alike.

President George Washington said, “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their country.”

When remembering the millions of people who have been liberated by American forces around the globe by history’s most evil oppressors, another cliché’ rings true, “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”

Approximately 25 million of our fellow citizens once carried the title of Marine, soldier, airman, sailor, Coast Guardsman, National Guardsman, Merchant Mariner, and now carry the title of veteran. We know them as our neighbors, friends, colleagues, and family members. They make us proud to be Americans.

Veterans understand profoundly the meaning of service and sacrifice – so they are not the kind of people who take life for granted.

Many of you once swore to uphold the security of our country and I thank you for that service.
. . . 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 . . .

The armistice to end the great war (WWI) to end all wars went into effect at that time.

It is indeed an honor to mark a date set in history, a day to give thanks for the sacrifices made for us in the past, to celebrate our progress from those efforts, and to rededicate ourselves for peace in our future.

On this day, in this month, at this hour, our nation remembers the moment when the guns of World War I went silent — and we recognize the service and the sacrifice of our nation’s veterans. From Valley Forge to Vietnam, from Kuwait to Kandahar, from Berlin to Baghdad, our veterans have borne the costs of America’s wars – and they have stood watch over America’s peace. The American people are grateful to the veterans and all who have fought for our freedom.

On this Veterans Day, we give thanks for the millions Americans who strengthened our nation with their example of service and sacrifice. Our veterans are drawn from many generations and from many backgrounds. Some charged across great battlefields. Some fought on the high seas. Some patrolled the open skies. All contributed to the character and to the greatness of America.

On this Veterans Day, we also honor a new generation of men and women who are defending our freedom. Since September the 11th, 2001, our Armed Forces have engaged the enemy, the terrorists, on many fronts. At this moment, more than a million Americans are on active duty, serving in the cause of freedom and peace around the world. They are our nation’s finest citizens. They confront grave danger to defend the safety of the American people. Through their sacrifice, they’re making this nation safer and more secure — and they are earning the proud title of veteran.
We are deeply grateful to the men and women who rise every day in defense of America and our friends. Today’s generation of American service members are performing their duties with skill, with effectiveness, and with honor. They are deployed on many fronts in the war on terror, tracking the enemies of freedom and holding them to account. And at this hour they continue their work — striking hard against the forces of murder and chaos. Members of the active duty armed forces, National Guard, and reserves have faced hard conditions – tough duty, long deployments, and the loss of comrades.

Veterans Day is an American holiday honoring military veterans – all veterans, men, women, combat and non-combat, overseas and stateside of all ranks and occupations. Today we honor, not only the infantry in the field, the special forces and recon troops behind the lines of combat, but the mail clerk, the cook, the humvee and jeep drivers, the engineers, the medics and corpsman, and, yes, even the chaplain, lawyers, doctors – we honor ALL veterans who have served, stateside, as well as overseas, on the seas, and in the air.

We are not celebrating to debate whether any war was right or wrong, or any thing such as that, but simply to honor our veterans. Thank you veterans.

Simply put, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank living veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our nation’s national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served have sacrificed in many ways to have done their duty.

As we celebrate another Veterans’ Day, I wonder just what its meaning is to the ones that did not serve in our military.

A day to relax and have fun. I wonder how much of the history behind this holiday is being taught in our schools today, and if the high school students, especially the ones that are nearing graduation, are aware of the sacrifices that the veterans made that ensures these students the rights to make decisions as to what they are going to do with their lives when they finish school. They can choose whether to get a job, or go to college, or join the military.

As a Vietnam Veteran, our choices were limited, it was college or military and most of us couldn’t afford to go to college so we were drafted or volunteered for the service. And a large majority of us went to Vietnam. World War II and Korean veterans didn’t have any choice, it was go to war. That is why I’m adding this little tidbit, so that if there are any young people here, that they might understand the sacrifices that was made in the past to give you the freedom to make the choices you have today. If you appreciate these choices, take the time out this Veterans Day to thank a veteran.
By the way, if you are a bit confused about why we have two days each years to pay homage to military people, Memorial Day in May honors service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle. Deceased veterans might also be remembered on Veterans Day but the day is set aside to thank and honor living veterans who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. Again, thanks, vets for your service.

Today our nation pays tribute to those living veterans who have worn the uniform of the United States of America. Each of these men and women took an oath to defend America, and they upheld that oath with honor and decency. Through the generations, they have humbled dictators and liberated continents and set a standard of courage and idealism for the entire world.

America’s veterans have placed the nation’s security before their own lives, as well as the comfort of their families. Their sacrifice creates a debt that America can never fully repay.

Again, a new generation of Americans is defending our flag and our freedom in the first war of the 21st century. The war came to our shores on September the 11th, 2001. That morning we saw the destruction that terrorists intend for our nation. We know that they want to strike again, and our nation has made a clear choice. We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity.

We will not tire or rest until the war on terror is won.

In the few short years since September the 11th, the evil that reached our shores has reappeared on other days in other places.  In the past years, we have seen  terror offensives.  All these separate images of destruction and suffering that we see on the news can seem like random, isolated acts of madness. Innocent men and women and children have died simply because they boarded the wrong train or worked in the wrong building or checked into the wrong hotel. Yet, while the killers choose their victims indiscriminately, their attacks serve a clear and focused ideology, a set of beliefs and goals that are evil but not insane. Some call this evil “Islamic radicalism,” others “militant jihadism” and still others “Islamofacism.” This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision — the establishment by terrorism, subversion and insurgency of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Hindus and Jews and against Muslims themselves who do not share their radical vision.

Many militants are part of a global, borderless terrorist organization like al Qaeda, which spreads propaganda and provides financing and technical assistance to local extremists, and conducts dramatic and brutal operations, like the attacks of September the 11th. Other militants are found in regional groups often associated with al Qaeda — paramilitary insurgencies and separatist movements in places like Somalia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Chechnya, Kashmir and Algeria.

Still others spring up in local cells, inspired by Islamic radicalism, but not centrally directed.

Islamic radicalism is more like a loose network with many branches than an army under a single command. Yet these operatives fighting on scattered battlefields share a similar ideology and vision for our world. We know the vision of the radicals because they have openly stated it in videos, in audiotapes, in letters, in declarations and on websites.

These extremists want to end American and Western influence in the broader Middle East, because we stand for democracy and peace, and stand in the way of their ambitions.

Over the past few decades, radicals have specifically targeted Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and Jordan for potential takeover. They achieved their goal for a time in Afghanistan, and now they’ve set their sights on Iraq.

With the greater economic and military and political power they seek, the terrorists would be able to advance their stated agenda – to develop weapons of mass destruction, to destroy Israel, to intimidate Europe, to assault the American people and to blackmail our government into isolation.

Some Americans might be tempted to dismiss these goals as fanatical or extreme. They are fanatical and extreme, but they should not be dismissed. Our enemy is utterly committed to their goals, as Zarqawi has vowed: We will either achieve victory over the human race or we will pass to the eternal life. And a civilized world knows very well that other fanatics in history — from Hitler to Stalin to Pol Pot – consumed whole nations in war and genocide before leaving the stage of history.

Evil men obsessed with ambition and unburdened by conscience must be taken very seriously, and we must stop them before their crimes can multiply.

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy is dismissive of free peoples, claiming that men and women who live in liberty are weak and decadent. Leaders of terrorist movements have noted that Americans are the most cowardly of God’s creatures.   But let us be clear, it is cowardice that seeks to kill children and the elderly with car bombs, and cuts the throat of a bound captive, and targets worshipers leaving a mosque. It is courage that liberated more than 50 million people from tyranny. It is courage that keeps an untiring vigil against the enemies of rising democracies. And it is courage in the cause of freedom that will once again destroy the enemies of freedom!
The terrorists’ goal is to overthrow a rising democracy, claim a strategic country as a haven for terror, destabilize the Middle East and strike America and other free nations with increasing violence.

Our goal is to defeat the terrorists and their allies at the heart of their power, so we will defeat the enemy in Iraq.

The work ahead involves great risk for for our American forces. We’ve lost some of our nation’s finest men and women in this war on terror. And, it involves patience for the American public.

The terrorists are as brutal an enemy as we’ve ever faced, unconstrained by any notion of our common humanity or by the rules of warfare. No one should underestimate the difficulties ahead, nor should they overlook the advantages we bring to this fight. Some observers look at the job ahead and adopt a self-defeating pessimism. It is not justified.
With every random bombing, with every funeral of a child, it becomes more clear that the extremists are not patriots or resistance fighters; they’re murderers at war with the Iraqi people themselves.

And our debate at home must also be fair-minded. One of the hallmarks of a free society and what makes our country strong is that our political leaders can discuss their differences openly, even in times of war.

We don’t know the course of our own struggle will take or the sacrifices that might lie ahead. We do know, however, that the defense of freedom is worth our sacrifice.

We do know the love of freedom is the mightiest force of history, and we do know the cause of freedom will once again prevail.

I encourage you all to make an effort to educate our young people of the sacrifices that all veterans have made in service to their country and remind them that the freedom they enjoy in this great country, the United States of America, that freedom is not free!

I am reminded of a story I heard while serving as a Navy chaplain.  A man with bird in his hand said to a wise man; “Is this bird dead or alive?”
Well, the wise man knew that if answered that the bird was dead, that the man could let it go proving that the bird was alive. If he answered, “alive,” the man could crush it to death, proving that the bird was dead. Finally, the wise man said, “The answer is in your hand.” The bird is a symbol of your life and the spirit of humanity. You can kill it or keep it alive.

As we show our flag and our pride today, we remember that the men and women of America’s Armed Forces serve a great cause. They follow in a great tradition, handed down to them by America’s veterans. And in public ceremonies and in private prayer, we give thanks for the freedom we enjoy because of their willingness to serve.

Well over two centuries have passed since George Washington first took command of the Continental Army. Yet we can see in today’s military the same virtues that won this nation our independence, and which have safeguarded our country despite all the challenges of history. The men and women who wear the uniform in the year 2012 follow in a long, honorable, and unbroken tradition of service passed down to them by our veterans. To every veteran, this nation owes a debt we cannot possibly discharge but we will always acknowledge. And so on this day of reflection and appreciation, I offer our esteem and gratitude to all the veterans of the United States Armed Forces.

To all our veterans we have a simple yet heartfelt message – thank you – all of you, for your service. We want you to know that your example serves to inspire others who follow in your footsteps. Thank you for your selfless-service in peacetime and war, here in this nation and throughout the world. For all veterans, regardless of their service and the era in which they have served, have paid a price for the freedom we enjoy.

Let us thank them not only today — Veterans Day — but every day. Remember our veterans and the price they paid physically and emotionally to keep this nation safe. Remember our troops – America’s future veterans – America’s sons and daughters, who have selflessly made the decision to defend your right to make the decision to come here today – and for your decision to be here today to honor our veterans, I thank you and applaud you for your decision. You set the example for all Americans, and should be justly proud.

Additionally, remember that veterans’ families also have paid a price for freedom. We may never be able to adequately thank our veterans, our Soldiers, and their families, but we must always support them.

The freedom of the press, the freedom of religion and the right to vote. These are freedoms that are granted to us by the Constitution of the United States. And they are freedoms that are protected every day by the men and women who courageously serve in our armed forces.

I thank you for honoring those who serve today, and for honoring those who have set such a sterling example – our nation’s veterans. May God bless our veterans, may God bless all who wear the uniform, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.
Veterans, we salute you.

Beetle20140812

Dress, Style, and Uniforms: What’s the Big Deal?

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I have yet to see any direct evidence that wearing uniforms by students of public schools increase their grades, or for that matter, improves morale or behavior.  Where are the scientific studies that prove the case?  I have seen many such opinions and so-called “studies”, but no real and definite proof.

I agree that there should be standard and strict dress codes and that some attire be strictly forbidden.  I believe that students should dress modestly so as not to distract attention away from the task at hand, to teach, study, and learn.

In my opinion, through observation throughout my lifetime, dress doesn’t seem to really matter when it comes to intelligence, work accomplishment, or morality.  I’ve traveled throughout many countries and states during my military career, associated with many different types of people, and I can vouch for my opinions.  I’ve seen the worse and the best in all environments, among all peoples, and cultures.

The only reasonable reason I can see for a uniform is for a sense of pride in an organization or institution.  However, even that can lead to people dressing for the occasion whose heart is not really in it.  It can also lead to fakes, people who either belong or want to belong, and take up the dress or uniform but who really don’t belong for various reasons.

As for church attendance, why be “stuffy” with those church clothes.  It doesn’t make you any better as a person than those who wear casual dress, and can only make  you uncomfortable with that tie around your neck and be more expensive for the church to crank up the air conditioner to cool you off in that jacket in the summer time.

I am a biker and a Harley rider.   In the eyes of many, to belong to such an elite group of people means you must dress the part.  Baloney.  Buying expensive motor clothes doth not make a genuine biker.  In  fact, it will get you in a situation where, while in Walmart, you will  need to show your I.D. when using a credit card, whereas that’s  not the case if you are in a suit and tie and well groomed.

As for uniforms for the military, seems to me that it only serves the purpose of identifying oneself to make a better target by the enemy.  OOPS, no, it creates unity and team spirit — or does it?  I am not for dismissing the requirement for uniforms in the military, only for making them better — and get rid of the hats and “covers,” which serve no purpose except for the grease monkeys.

Oh well, back to my original question.  Someone please find me some proof that dressing alike affects the grades, and/or behavior in public schools.

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