Sunday, December 11, 2016

Not Necessarily the Reason for the Season: Jesus, a Middle Eastern Refugee Who Mostly Didn't Fight Back

One of the great things about diversity is the wide variety of views I get to enjoy. It makes me think and gives me different perspectives to consider. It also reminds me to apply critical thinking to situations -- especially those involving holidays and religion.

Take, for example, the "fighting back" and reminders to us of the "reason for the season" from certain religious individuals when it comes to Christmas.

Never mind that they ignore the pagan roots of this sensationalized, commercialized holiday.

Never mind that they disregard people with beliefs different than their own and with different celebrations this time of year.

Never mind that some of these folks at times can be quite hateful, violent, closed-minded, materialistic, hypocritical individuals.

A friend on Facebook made a very eloquent statement about Jesus. The post and the discussion that followed reminded me of who he really was: a Middle Eastern man who preached peace and forgiveness, and became physical probably only a single time to fight back and protest commercialism in a sacred temple of his god.

She said:

Dear America,

As we get closer to Christmas, I would like to take this moment to remind you of something very important:

Jesus was a Middle Eastern man, who from infancy was sought to be murdered. Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt as refugees for his safety. Jesus was a refugee for part of his life, a Middle Eastern refugee. When he returned to his homeland, Jesus spent most of his life preaching tolerance and spreading hope and love to others. He was never armed and didn't preach violence. Yet, he was put to death for being different by a government and religious leaders that didn't like what he had to say even though he didn't threaten them. The government and religious leaders chose to feel threatened by him because they thought he was a threat to their way of life, a very luxurious way of life that only the upper echelon of their society could afford while many lived in poverty. This was a society where the government and religious leaders stole from the people but still hid behind their beliefs to justify their actions. Because Jesus was seen as a threat, they crucified him. But even in his final hours, Jesus forgave those who put him to death.

So while you give gifts in his name, say grace in his name, and enjoy time with your families in his name, remember who he was. Remember what he stood for. Remember that he was different and that every time you walk into a Christian church where his crucifix is depicted, remember he was a Middle Eastern man, who was a child refugee, who called God by a different name that was put to death over the ignorance and intolerance of others.

Maybe that will remind you to not persecute or judge others unfairly. Maybe that will remind you that there's more to Christmas than your Black Friday items. Maybe it will remind you that there are others out there being put to death for no wrong doing just because they are different. Maybe that will remind you that none of us are better than the other. We're all human, we all live and we all die. Maybe, just maybe that will change the way you view the world and make your heart a little more open and tolerant to all people.



And then, when the topic changed slightly to how he mostly didn't fight back throughout his life, she later said:

Jesus being a Middle Eastern man had more to fear than anyone during that time, especially because he led a peaceful movement that disproved government and religious ideologies that you have to be rich to be favored by God. If anything, what he went through, being himself and standing true to his beliefs is something we all need to stop and examine before putting all of these young men to death. He didn't fight back when arrested and taken for judgement and sentenced during an unfair and swift trial. He didn't fight back when whipped at the pillar. He didn't fight back when he was taunted, beaten and tortured while carrying his cross. He didn't fight back when the nails were driven through his hands and his feet, and he didn't fight back when his cross was risen and he was left to hang there until death. No, instead he forgave. But he was seen as the bad guy all because he was different.

When we think of the individual some claim to be the reason for the season, let's remember who he really was and how he taught people to live.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

I like all incarnations of Star Trek. But, regarding Enterprise...

Star Trek: Enterprise never really felt like the Star Trek we all know and love.  They really strayed in this series. One of the biggest complaints is the handling of Vulcans. In my opinion, the Vulcans of this time haven't gone through their second awakenening/enlightening as a people. Too bad it never was explained.

Out of the entire show, I believe these are a great lead-in to the "later" shows.  These are the episodes I would only recommend watching.

Season 1
Broken Bow
The Andorian Incident
Fortunate Son
Dear Doctor
Shadows of P'Jem
Shuttlepod One
Vox Sola
Fallen Hero

Season 2
Carbon Creek
Dead Stop
The Communicator
Cease Fire

Season 3

Season 4
All but Storm Front 1, Storm Front 2, and These Are The Voyages.

Now.. quick commentary on some of my choices.

In my opinion, one of the best. Great intro on the Romulans.

Another good episode, adds new insights into the Klingons.

I'm reluctantly recommending this one. It's a Borg episode. They don't announce themselves by name but it is a decent sequel/prequel (don't get all timey whimey here!)

This feels like a Next Generation style episode, it's the only really watchable episode for Season 3.

These Are The Voyages...
In the final episode, they show the signing of the Federation charter. Which is regrettable because I consider the whole episode REALLY tacky. The writers meant well and for me to say that the execution was.. poor.. is putting it way too politely and should tell you something. But at least it's not "Spock's Brain" from the original series.. lol

Friday, November 29, 2013

Anybody Remember Black Friday Specials On Groceries?

Black Friday. The day conjures up thoughts of (not) spending time with family in order to purchase goods marked down at unbelievably low prices for a short period of time. Of course, this is part of society in the United States which is driven by greed and profit. Let's take a look at this while considering the FACT that the rich continue to get richer while the poor....

Let's think about this for a second. Our enlightened society is driven by greed, profit and money. Some people are going get rich. Very rich. To feed their greed and maintain their lifestyle they will manipulate the system so they can continue this cycle where the rich get richer. No matter the cost. No pun intended.

One way to make sure that happens is for large businesses and inhuman corporations to pay some workers low wages. Yes this is oversimplifying the situation but pay low wages (i.e. keep expenses low) and voila.. more money to line the pockets of certain people. So low, that some have to choose between feeding themselves, feeding their families or paying their bills. I'm talking about people who cannot afford essential goods and services, not luxury items. People who have to choose between $1 crapburgers and much more expensive healthy options. I will not describe them because in some cases I would perpetuate disturbing stereotypes. Yes, some sensational people make very inexplicable choices but the fact remains: for some, low wages take choices away keeping them from buying food, clothing, health care, and a place to live.

Black Friday: the day that prices for some goods get driven unbelievably low. Goods manufactured outside of the United States, because if they were manufactured here they would most certainly be more expensive. I will not elaborate because I don't have all the facts and I do not understand the economics of the situation. But I will say this: does anyone remember any Black Friday specials on fruits, vegetables, and other groceries?

Which brings me to the reason I decided to blog. Let's consider the shootings, tazings, and other goings on during a time of year where we are supposed to be wishing each other "Happy Holidays." Let's ignore some of the people who are doing the shopping here. I'm talking about the crazy nutbags who trample others over things they really don't need. We all know the type.

Black Friday 2013: Brawls, Tramplings, Shootings on Kotaku


By drawing attention to them, we're not looking at the whole picture.

I'm talking about people who are not sensationalized and are unable to get the goods and services they need. People who are forced -- not by choice -- to have to eat that $1 crapburger because that is the only food they can afford to sustain themselves. Black Friday is probably one of the only days that they can say, "today I will finally buy 'x' because I will actually be able to afford it." I wonder when we'll look back at this day and say, "remember when we only had one shopping day like Black Friday" given that is now spreading into Thursday evening. Shopping after Thanksgiving Dinner, anyone? Assuming you were even able to afford Thanksgiving Dinner of course.

What if we could go shopping and buy the things we both need and want at low prices on any day, not just just after Thanksgiving Dinner?

What if businesses and corporations kept their products marked down all year for everyone to afford, and not just on Black Friday?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Music is amazing. La música es algo increíble.

Music is such an amazing thing:
That melody that transports you to a favorite movie scene or reminds you of a favorite character.
That elusive lyric you cannot understand until learning a life lesson.
That mesmerizing song you can suddenly skip after chuckling at a memory and realizing certain closure when thinking of what was.

La música es algo increíble:
Esa melodía que te transporta a la escena de una película favorita o te recuerda a un personaje de una película favorita.
Esa lírica evasivo que no entiendes hasta que aprendes una lección importante de la vida.
Esa canción hipnótica que de repente puedes ignorar y estas resignado a cómo eran las cosas, dándote cuenta que tienes cierre definitivo con recuerdos divertidos.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

How silly have Obama, Romney, and United States politics become with the 2012 election?

Unbelievable.  With all this Big Bird talk and mudslinging United States politics have become downright silly.  We seem to have a fascination with headlines and soundbites, and we're letting them do the thinking for us.  And we seem to be forgetting basic high school civics lessons.

It is so easy to take headlines, soundbites, and one-liners and run with them.  To focus on them, to ignore the bigger picture.  Take the PBS funding comment which has provided for a rather large amount of comic relief since the first presidential debate.  This has distracted from the bigger issue at hand: what should really be cut when balancing the federal budget?  I'd like to think that I summed it up nicely with this picture..

This piece from the International Business Times seems to sum things up pretty nicely as well.
"What some may overlook about Romney vs. Big Bird is that the $445 million the government would save is peanuts when it comes to the national debt. The $445 million is a start, but it’s less than 1/100th of a percent of the $3.5 trillion federal budget. PBS funding pales in comparison to the $1 trillion-plus deficit, according to Business Insider."

Remember what I started to say about high school civics?  Here's what I mean.  It is so annoying to constantly hear people blame any given President for budget woes, economic failure, bad policy, status quo, you name it.  Yes, the President of the United States is probably the most powerful person in the world, but even this individual has limits.  There's this thing called Congress which consists of over 500 individuals and -- wait for it folks -- tax laws, budgets, government spending all goes through this body.  Congressional elections are far more important than Presidential elections, but not as glamorous, and mathematically speaking in order to create change you really need to so something about the runamok Congress.

So the next time that you hear "we need to cut programs such as PBS from the federal budget," "how's that hope and change working for you," and silly one-liners from all sides think about it folks.  Really, really, think about it.

Tornado Rainbow Triangle